Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
What this means in practical terms is that everything you are used to seeing on Sketchy Thoughts is now being posted straight to Kersplebedeb and simply being automatically mirrored here. So in general, you will probably have a better reading/viewing experience if you head over to Kersplebedeb.
For those who prefer the Sketchy Thoughts blogger layout for whatever reason, this page will continue to be automatically updated whenever something is posted to Kersplebedeb, for at least the short-term future. However, as additional functionality is added to the Kersplebedeb site via wordpress, the Sketchy Thoughts page will probably begin to show its age more and more.
Saturday, April 08, 2023
Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Sleep Deprivation Intensifies Torture Conditions for Prisoners in Advance of Hunger Strikes and Work Actions
Oakland— Less than a month before state-wide hunger strikes are set to resume, The California Department of Corrections has instituted a new policy at Pelican Bay State Prison which has resulted in chronic sleep deprivation for prisoners in solitary confinement.
Both guards and prisoners complained to lawyers conducting legal visits last week about a new policy requiring prison guards to conduct “welfare checks” every thirty minutes on prisoners isolated in the prison’s Security Housing Units (SHU). Normally, prisoners in the SHU are counted every three to four hours by guards who patrol each unit, ensuring prisoners are in their cells. Each prisoner must be observed physically moving or showing skin. The frequency and method of these counts have already been challenged in a Federal lawsuit, /Ashker v. Brown/. Experts claim the sleep deprivation caused by the counts violate prisoners’ 8th Amendment rights.
“Sleep deprivation has many significant psychological consequences including irritability and impairment of the ability to make rational decisions,” says Dr. Terry Kupers, a clinical psychiatrist and an expert on forensic mental health. “Because of the harm it causes, sleep deprivation has been described as torture by organizations such as Amnesty International.”
The new policy has been ordered by Jeffrey Beard, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) newly appointed secretary whose Senate Confirmation Hearing is scheduled for June 19, 2013. The directive applies to over 1,100 prisoners who are in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay.
“Tensions were very high at Pelican Bay last week,” says Anne Weills, an attorney who is representing SHU prisoners at Pelican Bay. “The guards are on edge and upset about this new policy. Obviously the prisoners are on edge and suffering because of the sleep deprivation. But they remain resilient and deeply committed to peaceful actions to make necessary changes.”
In January, prisoners at Pelican Bay announced in an open letter to Governor Brown that they would resume hunger strikes and include work actions to protest the conditions of their confinement. In 2011 over 12,000 prisoners in over a third of California’s 33 prisons participated in two waves of hunger strikes. The 2011 strike was called off when the CDCR promised new policies and other improvements that addressed five demands outlined by prisoners. Almost two years later, prisoners and advocates claim the CDCR’s promises have been empty, and prison conditions have worsened.
“This is torture,” says Azadeh Zohrabi of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “This intensified sleep deprivation adds to the long list of human rights violations endured by thousands of prisoners held in solitary for prolonged and indefinite terms, some for decades.”
Lawyers and advocates have also received demands from prisoners who plan to go on strike in San Quentin, High Desert, and Corcoran State Prisons. Prisoners have been clear that the strike could be called off if Governor Brown engaged in good-faith negotiations. Brown’s office has not responded to their request.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/sleep-deprivation-intensifies-torture-conditions-for-prisoners-in-advance-of-hunger-strikes-and-work-actions/
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/rethinking-class-from-recomposition-to-counterpower-paul-bowman/
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Dr. Mutulu Shakur had a stroke at the end of February and is having trouble obtaining the follow-up medical care that he needs. Please call the warden at Victorville and ask that Mutulu receive the medical care that he needs.
People out here I want some contacts, I have not received any consultation on the concerns deriving from the stroke. I understand folks have been contacting the region and central office from medical follow- up which is a required recommendation for after-care. I have a three month widow to medically and therapeutically to solve the residue of the stroke.
Thank you for all you do, I love mother earth too.
Dr. Mutulu Shakur.
PLEASE CALL THE WARDEN’S OFFICE AT THE VICTORVILLE COMPLEX AND REQUEST THAT DR. MUTULU SHAKUR BE GIVEN THE PHYSICAL THERPY TO DEAL WITH THE PHYSICAL PROBLEMS FROM HIS STROKE. Phone 760-530-5000 Fax 760530-5103
GREETINGS TO ALL, 3/31/2013
I HAD A STROKE ON FEB16TH, I WAS IN THE HOLE BECAUSE THEY HAD A LOCKDOWN IN THE PRISON FOR AN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE. ON THE 15TH TO THE 16TH MY STROKE OCCURRED. I WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL FOR 4 DAYS TO DIAGNOSE THE EFFECTS OF THE STROKE.
I WAS LET OUT THE HOSPITAL ON THAT THURSDAY OF THE FOLLOWING WEEK AND PUT BACK IN THE HOLE AND STAYED TO THIS THURSDAY THE 28TH, MY EMAIL WAS NOT FUNCTIONAL FOR 24 HOURS. IM LETTING YOU ALL KNOW THAT I AM BACK IN GENERAL POPULATION, AND ANY VISITS WILL BE WITH THE GENERAL VISITING AREA. IF WANT TO YOU CAN NOW EMAIL ME EVEN THOUGH IM NOT FOCUSED ON HOW I SHOULD BE, BUT I WILL STILL LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU EVEN IF YOU DONT HEAR FROM ME. MY VOICE IS A LIL STRANGE, MY EYES SIGHT IS A PROBLEM AND I WALK WITH A JIVE LIMP, BUT ALL IN ALL IM AN ALLIGATOR I CAN GO IN MUD AND WATER, AND IF I WASNT IN GOOD SHAPE I WOULD BE IN WORST CONDITION. DONT LOOK FUNNY AT ME BECAUSE I LOOK CROSS EYED BUT I WILL DEAL WITH ALL THE RESIDUE OF THE STROKE AS TIME GOES ON. I THANK YOU ALL fOR ALL YOUR CONCERN.
ANY WAYS I LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. ITS NOT HOW YOU FALL DOWN BUT HOW YOU GET UP.
DR. MUTULU SHAKUR
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/call-the-warden-for-dr-mutulu-shakur/
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/hunger-strike-begins-at-wallens-ridge-state-prison/
Monday, April 15, 2013
The Politics of Security
a presentation by J. Sakai
Monday, May 27th, 6:30 pm
@ QPIRG Concordia
1500 de Maisonneuve O., suite 204
The recent f.b.i. and grand jury repression against anarchists in the Northwest USA, as well as the continued police repression of the Anti-Globalization resistance, has reawakened questions about movement security. There are many misunderstandings about what security is. From the belief that it is an area of cloak and dagger manuevers to the impression that security is about lists of rules that must be obeyed. This is an area where knowledge is traditionally not written up, but passed along by word of mouth. What this workshop is meant to do is to explore the underlying politics of security as an area of struggle. Discussing basic understandings that can be applied in different situations in non-authoritarian and diverse ways.
Whisper translation into French will be available
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/politics-of-security/
Friday, April 12, 2013
The following is Geronimo ji Jaga’s intervention at a September 14, 2000 forum that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) hosted during the Congressional Black Caucus’s legislative weekend in Washington, DC. It was initially included in a pamphlet published in 2001 by the Human Rights Research Fund (founded by activist attorneys Kathleen Cleaver and Natsu Saito) in collaboration with Release 2001, which was subsequently reprinted in full in the book Let Freedom Ring, available from Kersplebedeb Left-Wing Books.
This panel has established important truths already today, but there is one thing that has been omitted: the activists of the ’60s who were killed by cointelpro. What it boils down to is murder. That is something that we have been trying to get established since I have been out of prison. We are trying to get hearings into actual murder cases. And here’s how it would work. When you would have everyone together, like we are all together right herd, we all say, “Okay, we are all going to not disrespect each other,” and everybody agrees. But then the fbi sends someone in who stirs things up, tells lies and causes us to begin to disrespect each other. So one may begin to disrespect another one, and then another one stabs him and he is dead, and then you have the murderers in the background boasting and bragging about it. cointelpro came in so many forms. But the first thing I would think of is these murders. When you have beautiful sisters and brothers such as Fred Hampton, who was shot and killed; you have Robert Wells, put in a sleeping bag and thrown off a freeway, killed in New York City, still unsolved. All of these cases I am talking about are clear cointelpro murders. Fred Bennett, who was killed in San Francisco. Franco Diggs. John Huggins. Bunchy Carter.
They Were Victims. They Were Murdered.
All of the names I have mentioned are victims of cointelpro. They were murdered. Their murderers have never been brought to justice. So this is where we need to begin. We are dealing with straight-up murderers who turn around and call me a murderer and put me in prison for 27 years, when I murdered no one. These murderers are running around. They still are practicing their art of murder, outright murder. [Audience begins to call out names.] John Clark. Watature Pope.
These brothers and sisters were murdered. Mark Clark. Twyman Meyers.
[Geronimo: Come on with some more.]
John Africa. Kombora. Komboze. Tracy. Kayatta. Ralph Featherstone.
That’s very true. There is Malik el Shabazz. And we can continue to call names. This is how important and serious this is to us.
These brothers and sisters we have mentioned, they were family members. They were mothers, they were fathers, they were sisters, they were brothers. And they are dead. They were murdered. It was done by the U.S. government. They have admitted it.
You have brothers like Mutulu—and myself when I was in, and others—who call ourselves prisoners of war. We say political prisoners, okay. And you try to understand, what are you talking about? This war continues. It is an actual war against our people. And it should be handled just as they handled the trials in Nuremburg.
So I want to urge everyone to support and put muscle behind this effort that will expose the true murderers and let the victims out. What is Sundiata Acoli doing in prison? Ruchell Magee. Yogi Pinell. Chip Fitzgerald. There are so many.
We can’t allow that to happen. These hearings will make it very clear, and then these brothers and sisters will be released out of these prisons.
cointelpro didn’t stop at the Black liberation movement—we all should study this—but it went into every movement that was involved in liberation. This is why Laura Whitehorn spent so much time in prison; why Marilyn Buck and Susan Rosenberg and so many who are victims of cointelpro continue to languish.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/cointelpro-murders-intervention-by-geronimo-ji-jaga/
Thursday, April 11, 2013
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/understanding-onkwehonwe-rising-basic-points-of-unity/
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/daniel-mcgowan-forbidden-from-publishing-articles-without-permission-village-voice/
An excerpt from Loic Wacquant’s Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (Duke University Press 2009), pages 59-73:
The Gaols of the Subproletariat: An Experimental Verification
It suffices, to discern the extrapenological functions served by the outsized extension of the US carceral apparatus even as crime plummeted for over a decade, to sketch in broad strokes the sociological profile of the “clientele” it accommodates at its entry point. Whence it turns out that the half-million detainees who glut the country’s 3,300-odd jails on anyone day–and the fourteen million bodies that pass through their gates in the course of a typical year–are essentially drawn from the most marginalized fractions of the working class, and especially from the subproletarian families of color in the segregated cities ravaged by the conjoint transformation of wage labor and social protection.(( The statistics in this section are taken from a survey, conducted by the federal Department of)ustice from October 1995 to March 1996, of a representative sample of 6,ooo detainees in 431 county jails. Caroline Wolf Harlow, Profile of Inmates 1996 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of justice Statistics, 1998). For comparisons over time, these earlier studies were relied upon: Profile of jail Inmates, 1989 and Profile of jail Inmates: Socio-Demographic Findings from the 1978 Survey of Inmates of Local jails (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1991 and 1980, respectively), while various Census Bureau publications were used for comparisons with the national population. Statistical data of this kind have a high coefficient of uncertainty owing to the conditions under which the interviews are conducted, the characteristics of the population questioned, the sensitivity of some of the items asked, and a lack of precision in the coding of responses. However, the orders of magnitude they establish in the respects that interest us here are sufficiently clear that we can tre,p.t them as reliable, especially since other, local investigations suggest that this study tends to underestimate the material insecurity and sociocultural destitution of the carceral population.)) Thus, recovering its historical mission of origin, incarceration serves above all to regulate, if not to perpetuate, poverty and to warehouse the human rejects of the market. In this regard, the gargantuan operation of punishment houses converges with and complements the aggressive rolling out of workfare programs.
Indeed, six in ten occupants of county jails are black or Latino (41 percent and 19 percent, respectively), as against 48 percent in 1978, whereas these two communities put together represent barely one-fifth of the national population. Just under one-half held a full-time job at the time of arrest (49 percent), while 15 percent worked “part-time or occasionally” and the remainder were looking for work (20 percent) or economically inactive (16 percent). This astronomical jobless rate is hardly surprising considering the educational level of this population: one-half had not graduated from high school, even though this requires no examination, and barely 13 percent said that they had pursued vocational, technical, or academic postsecondary education (compared to one-half of this age category in the country as a whole).
As a result of their marginal position on the deskilled labor market, two-thirds of detainees lived in a household with under $1,000 in income per month (and 45 percent in households with under $600), corresponding to less than half the official poverty line for a family of three that year–although two-thirds said that they had received wages. This indicates that the vast majority of the occupants of county jails do come from the ranks of the “working poor,” that fraction of the working class that does not manage to escape poverty although they work, but who are largely ineligible for social protection because they work at poverty-level jobs.((On the one hand, these jobs generally provide neither medical insurance nor social coverage (which depends on the goodwill of the employer). On the other, having a job, and thus an income, however meager, disqualifies them from public assistance and medical coverage for indigent households (public benefits which, in any case, are now very hard to obtain and provide only for strictly limited periods, as we shall document in the next chapter).)) Thus, despite their penury, barely 14 percent received public aid (payments to single parents, food stamps, food assistance for children) on the eve of their arraignment. If we include the 7 percent receiving disability or retirement benefits and the 3 percent on the unemployment rolls, it turns out that less than one-quarter of jail detainees received some government support. The twofold exclusion from stable wage work and public assistance that affects widening sections of the American proletariat explains the lengthening of careers in the illegal economy, and thus the pronounced aging of the jail population: in 1996 one detainee in three was older than 35, twice as many as in 1978. This aging directly parallels that of persistent offenders and the entrenching of criminal commerce in the inner city, where established street gangs have taken an entrepreneurial turn and included more members in their thirties and forties as opportunities in the regular economy dried up.
The material insecurity of detainees in American jails is matched only by their social denudement: only 40 percent grew up with both parents (as against a national average of 77 percent) and fully 14 percent spent their childhood in an orphanage or group home. Nearly half were raised in households receiving public assistance, and over one-quarter grew up living in public housing-the most reviled sector of the urban housing market due to its extreme dilapidation, dangerousness, and the double class and caste segregation that stamps it. Moreover, more than one-third of jail inmates confided to having a parent or guardian who is an alcoholic (30 percent) or drug addict (8 percent). Confirming the fragility of their social ties, a bare 16 percent of them were married, compared to 58 percent for men in their age bracket nationwide.
Besides, incarceration is quite familiar to detainees in the strict sense that more than half of them have or had a close relative in prison (a brother, 30 percent; their father, 16 percent; a sister or mother, 10 percent). The same goes for physical violence and especially gun-related violence. One in nine men and one in three women said that they had suffered physical or sexual abuse during their childhood; three percent of men and one woman in three reported being raped as adults. Everything suggests that these percentages are low estimates, especially for the men, since most inmates have already done time behind bars and homosexual rape is quite common in American houses of detention, where it is estimated that as many as one inmate in four is subject to serious sexual abuse every year. According to a 1994 survey carried out by the head physician at the Cook County Department of Corrections, half of the men admitted to Chicago’s jail had previously been hospitalized as a result of an assault and one in four had been wounded by gunshots at least once. In addition, 60 percent of shooting victims had personally witnessed shootings during their childhood.
A germane study of detainees entering the jails of Washington, D.C., in 1997 found that one in four had suffered serious injuries unrelated to their incarceration. In-depth interviews with a subsample of these men found that 83 percent had been at the scene of a shooting incident; 46 percent had had a family member killed with a gun (in most cases during a robbery, assault, or crossfire); and 40 percent still carried some disability related to an earlier gunshot wound.
Material insecurity, cultural deprivation, social denudement, physical violence–the deplorable health of the denizens of America’s jails is in tune with their degraded class position and condition: more than one-third (37 percent, compared to one-fifth of the general population) report that they suffer from physical, psychic, or emotional problems serious enough to curtail their ability to work. This diagnosis is confirmed by the fact that half of the new entrants into the carceral system had to receive treatment upon admission, aside from the superficial medical examination to which all “fish” are subjected during the procedures initiating them to their detainee status.((The mass processing of detainees at the Los Angeles County jail is depicted in the two ethnographic vignettes of jail intake (drawn from fieldwork carried out in the summer of 1998) offered in chapters 4 and 5 (pages 146-50 and 186-91) [of Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity by Loic Wacquant, Duke University Press 2009].)) (To this percentage one can add the 13 percent of jail inmates injured while behind bars as a result of assaults, riots, and accidents.) And detainees are not only more likely to be in ill health upon being put under lock; they are also at inordinately high risk of becoming ill while there, as America’s jails and prisons have become gigantic incubators for infectious diseases, with prevalence rates of the major afflictions far exceeding those of the general population. It is estimated that 20 to 26 percent of all persons infected with HIV-AIDS in the United States, 29 to 43 percent of those detected with the hepatitis C virus, and 40 percent of all those struck by tuberculosis in 1997 had passed through a correctional facility.
It is moreover well established that American jails have become the shelters of first resort for the mentally ill who were thrown onto the streets by hospitals in the wake of the massive “deinstitutionalization” campaign of the 1960s and 1970s and for those who simply cannot access a grossly defective public health system. It is hardly surprising then that over one-quarter of jail inmates have been treated for mental health problems, while 10 percent have been previously admitted to a psychiatric facility.((The proportion of inmates identified as suffering from mental afflictions during admission is deliberately lowered in keeping with the lack of resources available to treat them. As one psychiatrist working at the clinic of the Twin Towers, the reception center of the Los Angeles jail system, explained to me: “We have an instrument [a psychological test] that gives us 6 to 10 percent of serious cases, but the percentage diagnosed really depends on how many beds we have. If we had the room and the staff, we could easily up that figure to 15, 20, or 30 percent.”)) This is consistent with clinical studies conducted by medical researchers reporting that 6 to 15 percent of the clientele of city and county jails suffer from severe mental illness (rates for convicts in prison range from 10 to 15 percent), and this rate has increased over the past two decades as a result of the downsizing of the medical sector of the state, more rigid criteria for civil commitments, and increasingly negative attitudes among the public and the police. The disproportionate rate of street arrests of mentally ill persons combines in turn with the explosive growth of computerized criminal records [...] to fortify the tendency of the authorities to divert their treatment from the public health to the penal wing of the Leviathan.
As they come almost exclusively from the most precarious strata of the urban proletariat, the denizens of American jails are also, by (socio)logical implication, “regulars” of the carceral system: 59 percent have already experienced detention, and 14 percent were previously put on probation, leaving just under one-quarter who are “novices” to the jailhouse. For, as shall be discussed shortly, the carceral institution has grown more autophagous. This is attested by the rising share of inmates who have been repeatedly convicted: fewer than one detainee in four had served three custodial sentences in 1989; seven years later, that figure reached one-third. Finally, it is significant that 8o percent of those sentenced to at least one year of prison time were defended–if one can call it that–by public defenders. Only half of the detainees shorn of the means to hire their own lawyer were able to speak with counsel within two weeks of being locked up. In fact, it is routine for public defenders to meet their clients for the first time a few minutes before they hastily appear together before a judge, since state-appointed lawyers are typically in charge of hundreds of cases at a time. Thus in Connecticut members of the public attorney’s office, who officiate in three-quarters of the state’s felony trials, each handle an average of 1,045 cases in the course of a year. As in many other jurisdictions, they have filed suit against the agency that employs them in order to compel the state to disburse the funds needed to meet its constitutional mandate to provide all the accused with minimal means of defense in criminal court. Over the past decade, the costs of indigent defense services have ballooned out of control, exacerbating the chronic crisis of legal services for the poor, due not only to the multiplication of punitive statutes such as mandatory minimum sentences and long narcotics related sanctions, but also to “an overall increase in criminal filings and a larger percentage of defendants found to be indigent.”
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/snapshot-of-genocide/
Monday, April 08, 2013
Convicted of the 1983 U.S. Capitol Bombing, and “conspiring to influence, change, and protest policies and practices of the United States government through violent and illegal means”, Laura Whitehorn, an out lesbian and one of six defendants in the Resistance Conspiracy Case, spent 14 years in prison. “OUT” is the story of her life and times: five tumultuous decades of struggle for freedom and justice.
Produced by Sonja de Vries & Rhonda Collins; 2000; Color; 60 minutes; US; English.
Learn more about Laura Whitehorn here!
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/out-the-making-of-a-revolutionary/
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Socialist TV Typeface Videtur Finally Freed http://ilovetypography.com/2013/04/06/socialist-tv-typeface-videtur-finally-freed/
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/socialist-tv-typeface-videtur-finally-freed/
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/daniel-mcgowan-released-after-lawyers-confirm-he-was-jailed-for-huffpost-blog/
Friday, April 05, 2013
Jennifer Pawluck, a 20 year old woman from Montreal, was taken into police custody yesterday [April 3] and questioned after she posted a photo of a graffiti mural on her Instagram. The mural showed a caricature of a Montreal police spokesman Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière, with a bullet hole in his head.
After she posted the image to Instagram, police came to her house and took her in for questioning, releasing her several hours later. The police say that there are secret reasons they detained her, beyond taking a picture of graffiti and posting it, but they won’t say what they are.
Pawluck participated in the mass student demonstrations in Montreal and was part of the ensuing mass arrests. She will have to appear in court on April 17, and is barred from going with a kilometer of police HQ and from communicating with Cmdr Lafrenière. She has not been charged.
This arrest occurs in the context of the Montreal police’s new 2013 gambit to snuff out the embers left from last year’s student strike. Because despite the election victory of the PQ – which was meant to be the nail in the coffin of last year’s historic upsurge – the embers are still hot and little flames keep on popping up.
The SPVM’s response has been to enact zero tolerance against any but officially State-sanctioned protests in Montreal. Unless organizers have given police their route ahead of time and asked permission to protest, police have been attacking demos, kettling people, making arrests, and enforcing Montreal’s new P-6 bylaw (one of three pieces of repressive legislation passed during the 2012 strike). Under P-6, merely being in attendance at a demonstration deemed “illegal” for failing to be sanctioned by the State is sufficient to earn you a $637 fine.
P-6 was passed on May 19, 2012, as part of the (not immediately successful) attempt to clamp down on the student strike which led to the toppling of the Liberal provincial government in September of that year. It was not implemented during the strike, which had the support of a critical mass of the broader population, including social democratic and nationalist forces. In the new context under the current PQ government, where the student question is supposed to have been “settled” and with much smaller numbers willing to take to the streets, P-6 was first implemented on March 15 of this year, at the annual International Day Against Police Brutality demonstration. It was quickly then used at two other demonstrations, all of which were suppressed by police before they could even begin. So far hundreds have been ticketed under this bylaw.
The situation continues to develop, and which way things will go will depend largely on whether people back down or stand up to the police’s campaign of intimidation. This is the context in which both Pawluck’s arrest and the widespread use of P-6 so far this spring must be understood.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/arrested-and-charged-for-uploading-photo-of-anti-cop-graffiti/
Solidarity against police repression in Montreal: We will not submit to the municipal by-law P-6
With this public declaration, we assert our opposition to by-law P-6: we will continue to demonstrate without negotiating our demo routes with police, and we will systematically challenge all tickets that arise from this by-law.
The past year has been marked by an escalation of police repression against political protesters in Montreal. As our political movements take to the streets in larger numbers, with more frequency and militancy, we are attacked more brutally and arbitrarily than ever, with batons, pepper spray, tear gas, sound grenades, and rubber bullets. Our friends are mass arrested, humiliated, kettled, and in many cases badly injured.
Within this context of police escalation against political protesters, the Montreal police (SPVM) are attempting to normalize another practice: arresting demonstrators before they can even begin to demonstrate, or even gather to demonstrate. Three times within one week – March 15 on the International Day Against Police Brutality; March 18 before a planned night demo; and March 22 on the anniversary of student strike protests – the Montreal police stopped demonstrations before they could begin by surrounding protesters with riot police and arresting them en masse, in the hundreds. One clear goal of the police tactic is to scare demonstrators, and potential demonstrators, from taking to the streets
The SPVM can’t be bothered to make criminal charges. Instead, they use municipal by-law “P-6″ which makes demonstrations that don’t provide an advance itinerary to the police to be a contravention of the by-law. A municipal by-law offense is not a criminal charge, it’s the equivalent of a parking ticket. However, the P-6 offence was raised to more than $500 ($637 with fees) for a first offence last May in the context of the student strike movement.
The P-6 by-law prohibits “obstructing the movement, pace or presence” of citizens who are also using public space at the same time. How can we take the streets without obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic? Moreover, the P-6 by-law demands not only communicating demo routes in advance, but also the approval of our routes by the police. This is the equivalent of giving the police the arbitrary power to refuse our routes if they judge them to be too disruptive, and also to prevent marching to locations that have been chosen as political “targets.”
We refuse to negotiate with the police our freedom of expression, our right to demonstrate and our right to disrupt the existing social, political and economic order that we consider profoundly unjust and illegitimate.
Part of the response is in our hands, as part of grassroots, autonomous community organizations. There is no obligation to provide the police our demo routes, and the Montreal police in particular, who abuse their authority with impunity, don’t deserve any accountability from us. Instead, we’re accountable to each other, and the social movements we come from. We always retain the right to protest spontaneously, and with demo routes that reflects our needs and demands.
In the face of police repression, let’s take back the streets with our weapons of solidarity and support.
This statement is endorsed by:
- La Convergence les luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC)
- Action Anti-Raciste / Anti-Racist Action (ARA)
- Assemblée populaire et autonome de Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (APAQ-Hochelaga)
- Assemblée populaire et autonome de Villeray (APAQ-Villeray)
- Association pour la liberté d’éxpression (ALÉ)
- Coalition Justice pour les victimes de bavures policières
- Collectif de solidarité anti-coloniale / Anti-Colonial Solidarity Collective
- CKUT Steering Committee
- Dignidad Migrante
- Les Frères et Soeurs d’Émile-Nelligan
- Front d’action populaire pour le réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU)
- Montréal-Nord Républik
- Mouvement Action-Chômage de Montréal (MAC)
- Organisation populaire des droits sociaux de la région de Montréal (OPDS-RM)
- Parti communiste révolutionnaire (PCR)
- People’s Potato at Concordia
- Personne n’est illégal / No One Is Illegal-Montréal
- Projet Accompagement Solidarité Colombie (PASC)
- La Pointe Libertaire
- QPIRG Concordia
- QPIRG McGill
- RadLaw McGill
- R.A.S.H. Montréal
- Réseau de la Commission populaire / People’s Commission Network
- Société Bolivarienne du Québec
- Union communiste libertaire (UCL)
(If your group also endorses this declaration, please get in touch via email@example.com)
REMINDER: EVERYONE CAN EASILY CHALLENGE A P-6 TICKET
Be sure to plead “not-guilty” on your ticket, and to demand complete disclosure of all proof, and mail it back to Montreal’s municipal court within 30 days. The constitutionality of the municipal by-law will be challenged, and tickets are being challenged en masse, so no one should expect to pay a fine any time soon, or possibly ever.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/mtl-groups-issue-public-declaration-against-police-repression/
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Thursday March 28 @7pm
La Belle Epoque
An informal dinner and letter-writing evening with an anti-prison focus – a space to meet and discuss, as well as to share updates on the situations of different prisoners. This month features a short presentation on the 2011 Pelican Bay hunger strike and the solidarity organizing around it.
In 2011 thousands of prisoners in California carried out the largest mass hunger strike in u.s. prison history, with five basic demands: End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse, Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement, Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food, Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates, and most importantly to Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria.
Despite hollow promises from the prisoncrats, two years later hardly anything has changed, and there is talk of another hunger strike this summer, to be supplemented by a work stoppage. This would represent a significant escalation in the struggle, and so it is more important than ever to renew our commitment to supporting the California prisoners in struggle.
Join us for a brief discussion of the 2011 hunger strikes, support activities that were carried out in Montreal, and what life is like in isolation in Pelican Bay-SHU, the flagship torture unit in California’s gulag archipelago.
Friday, March 29
Join the Prisoner Correspondence Project for a reading from Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex and conversation with two California-based queer anti-prison activists. What are some of the uses and limits of a queer framework in anti-prison organizing? What does it mean for queers to "act local" as prisons become increasingly removed from urban centres? What are the resources and strategies that can be shared in our cross-border contexts?
Eric Stanley is visiting faculty in Critical Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and coeditor of the anthology Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011)
Toshio Meronek is a freelance writer focusing on social justice, disability, prisons, and LGBT/queer issues. From 2010 to 2012, Toshio was editor of The Abolitionist, the newspaper of the anti-prison industrial complex organization Critical Resistance.
Kersplebedeb Leftwingbooks will be present with copies of Captive Genders and other books for sale.
[please post and forward widely] [svp diffusez largement] [français ci-dessous]
Revolution at Point Zero: A Book Launch and Discussion with Silvia Federici
Thursday April 4 at 6:30pm
1610 Ste-Catherine West (Faubourg Building), Room B-060
- This event is free.
- For free on-site childcare, please call 24 hours in advance: 514-848-7585.
- Wheelchair accessible.
- Il y aura une service de traduction chuchotée vers le français.
Join us for a discussion with feminist and anti-capitalist activist Silvia Federici, a veteran of the Wages for Housework campaign and author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation.
Federici will discuss her most recent book Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (PM Press 2012), a collection of texts written between 1975 and 2010. In this talk she will specifically address social reproduction in an era of globalized capitalism providing a feminist and autonomous Marxist analysis of the ongoing recolonization and decimation of much of the planet. As outlined in Revolution at Point Zero, this process fosters a permanent crisis of reproduction and survival. As women continue to bear the brunt of this onslaught, Federici puts forth a vision of the commons as a site of resistance.
Copies of Caliban and the Witch and Revolution at Point Zero will be on sale along with other feminist and anti-capitalist literature.
This event is co-sponsored by QPIRG Concordia, QPIRG McGill and Kersplebedeb Publishing.
(Note that Silvia will also be giving a workshop on "Reproductive Work and the Construction of the Commons in an Era of Primitive Accumulation" at the Anti-Capitalist Teach In on April 7th. For more information, visit: http://www.qpirgconcordia.org/?p=4319)
info: 514-848-7585 – firstname.lastname@example.org
www.qpirgconcordia.org - www.qpirgmcgill.org - www.kersplebedeb.com - www.pmpress.org
La Révolution au Point Zéro:
Discussion et lancement du livre de Silvia Federici
Jeudi le 4 avril à 18h30
1610 Ste-Catherine Ouest (Bâtiment Faubourg), local B-060
- Cet événement est gratuit.
- Pour le service de garde, veuillez téléphoner le numéro suivant (24 heures en avance s.v.p.): 514-848-7585.
- Accessible aux personnes en fauteuil roulant.
- Il y aura la traduction chuchotée vers le français.
Venez rencontrer Silvia Federici, militante féministe et anticapitaliste de longue date, membre du mouvement «salaire contre travail ménager» et auteure du livre Caliban and the Witch : Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation («Caliban et la sorcière: Femmes, corps et accumulation primitive»), dont la traduction française sera publiée sous peu.
Federici discutera de son dernier livre, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (PM Press 2012), un recueil de textes écrits entre 1975 et 2010. Plus précisément, elle apportera une analyse marxiste féministe et autonome pour adresser la question de la reproduction sociale dans un contexte de capitalisme devenu global, de la recolonisation et de la décimation de la presque totalité de la planète. Comme le souligne Revolution at Point Zero, ce processus crée une crise permanente de reproduction et de survie. Alors que les femmes se retrouvent aux premières lignes de cet assaut, Federici nous offre une vision du bien commun en tant que site de résistance.
Des copies de Caliban and the Witch et de Revolution at Point Zero seront disponibles aux côtés d'une sélection de publications féministes et anticapitalistes.
Cet événement est une collaboration entre GRIP-Q Concordia, GRIP-Q McGill et la maison d'édition Kersplebedeb.
(À noter que Silvia offrira un atelier sur "Le travail de reproduction et la construction de biens communs à l'ère de l'accumulation primitive" au teach-in anticapitaliste qui aura lieu le 7 avril. Pour plus d'info: http://www.qpirgconcordia.org/?p=4319&lang=fr)
info: 514-848-7585 – email@example.com
www.qpirgconcordia.org - www.qpirgmcgill.org - www.kersplebedeb.com - www.pmpress.org
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Talking Nonsense Solves No Problems: Reply to an Open Response Letter Allegedly Written by the Amazons-August Collective and NAPLA to the New Afrikan Black Panther Party
The following is an essay Kevin "Rashid" Johnson just sent me and asked me to post. -k
I recently received an “open letter” purporting to be from the Amazons-August 3rd Collective (AA3) and New Afrikan Peoples Liberation Army (NAPLA), which claims to respond to an article I wrote elaborating the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter’s (NABPP-PC) line on New Afrikan Liberation.  The said letter, however, doesn’t analyze nor respond to our article at all. Instead it goes to some lengths, building momentum as it proceeds, to ridicule and angle to undermine the motives and character of the NABPP-PC in general and me as a leading member in particular.
The letter proves to be based purely on conjecture, where its authors, (whoever they might actuallybe), admit having little or no factual knowledge or study of the NABPP-PC as an organization, our history, our political and ideological line, our membership, or much else. Yet we are disparaged as unscientific nostalgic adventurists, egotists, glory-seekers, opportunists and more . The letter is obviously geared to lead others to look upon our Party, its work and members with suspicion and ridicule, characterizing us as a threat to the Movement, the People and the struggle that must be “reigned in,” and without a shred of fact to back its critiques.
My first thought on reading this letter was that it reads exactly like a piece of FBI counterintelligence like old COINTELPRO brown mail written by the political police but claiming to originate from some actual or fictitious organization or persyn, which was sent to a targeted group of persyn or otherwise publicized, with the purpose of inciting groups against each other and to discredit groups and their members in the public eye. These are old and well-established pig tactics, and ones any student of pig covert actions would readily recognize, and that seasoned Comrades would be conscious to avoid using themselves or playing into.
I especially doubted the authenticity of the letter when I considered that leading cadre of the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) have admonished the Movement against publicly lambasting other groups in this fashion. For example New Afrikan People’s Organization (NAPO) Chairman Chokwe Lumumba warned the Movement against this in an article  I know the actual AA3 and NAPLA are familiar with, because it was referenced in an article written last year by Comrade Sanyika Shakur which they signed onto.  Chokwe stated:
“Publicly blasting revolutionary New Afrikan organizations without prior efforts to resolve conflicts and indeed after declining an opportunity to do so behind closed doors (as Malcolm X suggests) has worked to the detriment of the Black Liberation Movement on countless occasions. Garvey vs. the Afrikan Blood Brotherhood, Malcolm vs. Elijah Muhammad, West Coast Panthers vs. NY 21, Panthers vs. cultural nationalists, the Provisional Government Republic of New Afrika Constitutional Crisis of 1969/70 are all examples of the counter-revolutionary consequence of such behavior. The agents of the enemy are drawn to open “wild west” political shoot outs, between revolutionaries like flies are to feces. This type of debate helped to imprison Garvey, discredit the Blood Brotherhood, kill Malcolm, destroy the Panthers and divide the Provisional Government in the 1970’s.He also pointed out that his own NAPO:
“We emphasize that We do not believe that there should never be public debate or struggle between revolutionary groups. But We do believe that before such exchanges occur, maximum caution should be taken to insure that these debates are not self-destructive.”
“has been engaged in political debate recently with many of the Organizations in the Black Liberation Movement… However, these debates have been and continue to be carried out in a secure and productive manner.
“They are occurring in a non-public manner, or publicly after notice of the issues, and with preliminary discussion designed to correct gross misinformation and misconceptions in order to minimize the danger of public comment which mischaracterizes on the basis of distortions or mistakes of fact.
“Among genuine revolutionary groups this process helps to minimize enemy provocation and provides a better opportunity for maximum consideration of all factors involves, before any organization has publicly committed itself to that which might easily be shown to be erroneous information or thinking.” 
Investigate Then SpeakTo the extent this “open” letter is actually the work of AA3 and NAPLA, the NABPP is fully prepared to answer questions or concerns they may have about our organization, line and work. In addition, we can refer them to articles we’ve written and our media that explain a lot of what is questioned or challenged in that letter, including what our purpose is, our history, why and how we originated within the empire’s prisons, why we are an aboveground Party formation and not a clandestine organization, the purpose and functions of leading positions and the election to and revocation of such positions within a revolutionary Party organization, etc. I am also in process of having more of our Party materials posted to my website – rashidmod.com
Reviving the Party: A Dangerous Nostalgia or Rearguard Necessity?We can certainly understand Comrades’ confusions surrounding the need, role, function and structure of a revolutionary political Party. In fact, Comrade Owusu Yaki Yakubu aka Atiba Shanna spoke to this tendency years ago:
“The movement and its organization must be re-built – by cadres. We look to the past and see that one of our major weaknesses was the lack of attention given to properly selecting and training cadres. WE claimed to base ourselves on Marxist-Leninist theory (e.g. with respect to party-building), and to be aware of the class dimensions of the national liberation struggle. Yet, we ignored or overlooked the need to use class-based and vanguard criteria in the selection and training of party members and cadres. In point of fact, we were more ignorant of the process of building revolutionary scientific socialist parties than we realized. (There wasn’t much material on this in The Red Book or Mao’s military writings, and by 1970-71, we’d been so disappointed by Huey Newton & Co., and so misguided by our own petty-bourgeois [and lumpen proletarian–Rashid] mentalities and our misinterpretations of certain South American experiences, that we, in effect, abandoned the principle of the need for a party, i.e. the necessity for a party organization if revolutionary struggle is to be effectively generated and successful.)”Comrade Safiya Bukhari also recognized and emphasized the need to reconstitute a revolutionary NA Panther Party, as the political vanguard of the NAIM in which she’d long been a leading voice and organizer.
As the “open” letter mentions, various groups since the demise of the BPP in 1982  have assumed the name of the original Party. But as Comrade Mumia Abu-Jamal observed in his study and political memoir of his experiences as a member of the BPP, these groups have not built upon or continued the legacy of the BPP. However, in a 2006 article in support of Comrade Hasan Shakur, the Minister of Human Rights of our NABPP-PC until he was murdered by the State of Texas on Black August 31, 2006, Mumia wrote:
“Hasan has joined the newly-formed New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, based in Amerika’s prisons and in honor of his commitment in the face of death, the NABPP has named him its Minister of Human Rights.
“Hasan, through his politicization, has devoted his life to what the NABPP calls “Pantherism,” or a fidelity to the Revolution as taught and practiced by the original Black Panther Party.
“Unlike other recent formations, the NABPP studies the writings of Huey P. Newton Bobby Seale, George Jackson, and other founding and leading members. The words of Malcolm X are important tools for understanding and addressing the challenges of today.
This is refreshing news indeed.”
Political Work Involves Wide PublicityWhat defines our work and structure is what sort of organization we are. The NABPP-PC is not an underground (para)military nor a joint political/military organization, but a “legal” aboveground political Party, that aims to be both flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. From the extremes of enemy repression to permissive conditions where open political agitation, education and organizing are possible, Revolutionary Parties have existed, communicated, thrived and ultimately succeeded in defeating oppressive systems under much worse conditions than we find ourselves in Amerika or its prisons.
In revolutionary struggle, especially in its developmental stages, political work takes primacy, which entails educating, and agitating amongst the People. Many in the Movement have instead long given primacy to armed struggle. A tendency that Comarade Owusu Yaki Yakubu also criticized. As Mao Tse-Tung noted, in a struggle for liberation:
“there are various fronts, among which are the fronts of the pen and of the gun, the cultural and military fronts. To defeat the enemy we must rely primarily on the army with guns. But this army alone is not enough; we must also have a cultural army, which is absolutely indispensable for uniting our own ranks and defeating the enemy.”This is the principle behind revolutionaries publishing their line and analyses as broadly amongst the People as possible, and is what the critics who wrote the “open” letter see in the wide distribution of my art and writings in various media and my having developed working alliances with a wide range of organizations and People.
Doing What We Can: Filling a Void; Leading by ExampleOur critics wouldn’t know, because they’ve admittedly done little study of our literature, but the NABPP-PC has repeatedly recognized and publicly acknowledged the limitations that objective conditions place on our ability to be fully integrated with the masses, and be as effective as we’d like in our work. But as Dialectical Materialists, we struggle to understand and work within the laws and limits of objective external conditions, to achieve as much as we can and create more favorable conditions for greater struggle, toward achieving our revolutionary ends. We don’t just “do nothing” because we don’t find ourselves in the most ideal conditions. But we could certainly accomplish much more with the unity and support of AA3 and NAPLA, and vice versa.
We also recognize that today there exists a revolutionary leadership vacuum, and if nothing more we can set an example and offer a blueprint on how a Party organization looks and works, for a Movement that continues to not recognize the fundamental need of a revolutionary Party to lead any revolutionary movement, and for any such struggle to advance and succeed; nor how such an organization is structured and operates. A few articles I’ve written that might be instructive on these points are: “Unity-Struggle-Transformation: On Revolutionary Organization, Leadership, and Cadre Development,” (2012), “On the Vanguard Party, Once Again” (2012), “The New Afrikan Black Panther Party’s Organizational Principles, Policy and Practice: The 3-P’s” (2012), “The NABPP-PC Rules of Discipline and General Directives” (2005).
In any event, we do appreciate and understand the risks and tactical flexibility that goes with this work, and factor that into our line and policies. We are far from naive, reckless or reactionary.
Start from Scratch?!?The NABPP certainly looks to carry forward our People’s centuries old struggle. But it is impossible to advance any struggle across generations without building on the shoulders of those who went before. Indeed, one reason our movements have met with repeated setbacks is because we don’t maintain organizational and historical continuity. Lacking political organizations that retain, build upon, and pass down the memories of our past achievements as well as failures, and thereby enriching our culture and persynality, we find ourselves every few years struggling to reinvent the wheel and repeating the same errors along the way. We suffer organizational and political amnesia. And our critics seek to raise this tendency to a political principle [?!]. “Starting from scratch” is what has us never getting past the opening stages of this race – running only a few yards, falling over some obstacles, then turning around, returning to the starting line and repeating this same process over and over; instead of studying the track, training and preparing, lining up our best runners (and having reserves trained and in place), adjusting to and preparing for changes on the track, in the weather, etc., then running the race, staying the course, and passing the torch to each successive generation of runners until the race is won. That’s organizing to win!
Are We Flippin’ the Scripts of the BLM or NAIM?The NABPP-PC is a product, part and continuation of the BLM and NAM, and seeks to link and advance them into the larger struggles to overthrow this imperialist system and to achieve genuine liberation, not just for New Afrikan peoples, but our Afrikan peoples the world over and all others who suffer under the yoke and lash of imperialism. This entails a multi-faceted strategy, that requires the sort of political organization and United Panther Movement (UPM) we are struggling to build, and working in alliance with various other vanguard and mass organizations.
As to our stand on the National Liberation strategy embraced by AA3, NAPLA and other RNA affiliates, the NABPP is no more antagonistic to them than was the original BPP. And as we will show, our line is consistent with ones that have long existed within NAIM, indeed we are part of NAIM, which explains in part why we in the NABPP account ourselves “New Afrikan” (which in any event is our People’s Nationality, which exists independent of any organizational or political affiliation.)
We tend to agree with the line advanced by Comrade Huey P. Newton in his September 13, 1969, letter to the RNA, on the occasion of the return of RNA President Robert Williams from exile. In fact we feel conditions today — in particular the replacement of colonialism with today’s far more advanced and refined neo-colonialism – validate Huey’s position eve moreso. Based upon carious critiques we have read of our line on New Afrikan liberation from Comrades who embrace the RNA line, it seems Huey’s letter has been lost or forgotten within RNA circles. It is an important historical document we feel, and therefore bears quoting at length. The letter was entitled Huey P. Newton to the Republic of New Afrika, and read:
This is Huey P. Newton at Los Padres, California 1969, September 13. Greetings to the Republic of New Africa and President Robert Williams. I’m very happy to be able to welcome you back home. I might add that this is perfect timing. And we need you very much, the people need you very much. And now that the consciousness of the people is at such a high level, perhaps they will be able to appreciate your leadership, and also be ready to move in a very revolutionary fashion.So, like the original BPP, the NABPP-PC doesn’t negate the right of New Afrikans to secede, the question is at what point is secession a practical and genuine answer to the oppressed condition of New Afrikans – before or after defeating the Amerikan imperialist structure? And in either case the ultimate decision if to secede is one for the People to make . And that decision must be informed so that they know and understand their options pro and contra. Also, consistent with the original Panther line, the NABPP-PC believes – and we have a very developed practical strategy for building a viable movement to deal imperialism the coup de grace – that so long as the imperialist system exists, secession right on its border would not “liberate” us. So there is no major line departure from the original BPP as our critics claim, only the NABPP-PC has gone deeper into the question especially in relation to the development of neocolonialism.
Some time ago I received a message from the Republic of New Africa with a series of questions concerning the philosophy of the Black Panther Party; and very detailed questions on certain stands, and our thinking on these positions. At that time I wasn’t prepared to send a message out. I’ve had to think about many of the questions, and due to the situation here it’s very difficult for me to communicate, so this explains the lapse of time between question and answer. I won’t be able to expound on all the questions but I would like to give some general explanations of the Black Panther Party’s position, as related to the Republic of New Africa.
The Black Panther Party’s position is that the Black people in the country are definitely colonized, and suffer from the colonial plight more than any ethnic group in the country. Perhaps with the exception of the Indian, but surely as much even as the Indian population. We too, realize that the American people in general are colonized. And they’re colonized simply because they’re under a capitalist society, with a small clique of rulers who are the owners of the means of production in control of decision making. They’re the decision making body, therefore, that takes the freedom from the American people in general, and they simply work for the enrichment of this ruling class. As far as Blacks are concerned, of course, we’re at the very bottom of this ladder, we’re exploited not only by the small group of ruling class, we’re oppressed, and repressed by even the working class Whites in the country. And this is simply because the ruling class, the White ruling class uses the old Roman policy of divide and conquer. In other words the White working class is used as pawns or tools of the ruling class, but they too are enslaved. So it’s with that historical policy of dividing and ruling, that the ruling class can effectively and successfully keep the majority of the people in an oppressed position; because they’re divided in certain interest groups, even though these interests that the lower class groups carry doesn’t necessarily serve as beneficial to them.
As far as our stand on separation, we’ve demanded, as you very well know, a plebiscite of the U.N. to supervise, so that Blacks can decide whether they want to secede the union, or what position they’ll take on it. As far as the Black Panther Party is concerned we’re subject to the will of the people, but we feel that the Republic of New Africa is perfectly justified in demanding and declaring the right to secede the union. So we don’t have any contradiction between the Black Panther Party’s position and the Republic of New Africa’s position it’s simply a matter of timing. We feel that certain conditions will have to exist before we’re even given the right to make that choice. We also take into consideration the fact that if Blacks at this very minute were able to secede the union, and say have five states, or six states, it would be almost impossible to function in freedom side by side with a capitalist imperialist country. We all know that mother Africa is not free simply because of imperialism, because of Western domination. And there’s no indication that it would be any different if we were to have a separate country here in North America. As a matter of fact, by all logics we would suffer imperialism and colonialism even more so than the Third World is suffering it now. They are geographically better located, thousands of miles away, but yet they are not able to be free simply because of high technological developments, the highest technological developments that the West has that makes the world so much smaller, one small neighborhood.
So taking all these things into consideration, we conclude that the only way that we’re going to be free is to wipe out once and for all the oppressive structure of America. We realize we can’t do this without a popular struggle, without many alliances and coalitions, and this is the reason that we’re moving in the direction that we are, to get as many alliances as possible of people that are equally dissatisfied with the system. And also we’re carrying on, or attempting to carry on a political education campaign so that the people will be aware of the conditions and therefore perhaps they will be able to take steps to controlling these conditions. We think that the most important thing at this time, is to be able to organize in some fashion so that we’ll have a formidable force to challenge the structure of the American empire. So we invite the Republic of New Africa to struggle with us, because we know from people I’ve talked to, (I’ve talked to May Mallory, and other people who are familiar with the philosophy of the Republic of New Africa), they seem to be very aware that the whole structure of America will have to be changed in order for the people of America to be free. And this again is with the full knowledge and full view of the end goal of the Republic of New Africa to secede. In other words, we’re not really handling this question at this time because we feel that for us that is somewhat premature, that I realize the psychological value of fighting for a territory. But at this time the Black Panther Party feels that we don’t want to be in an enclave type situation where we would be more isolated than we already are now. We’re isolated in the ghetto areas, concentrated in the north, in the metropolitan areas, in the industrial areas, and we think that this is a very good location as far as strategy is concerned, as far as waging a strong battle against the established order. And again I think that it would be perfectly justified if Blacks decided that they wanted to secede the union, but I think the question should be left up to the popular masses, the popular majority. So this is it in a nutshell.
As l said before, I don’t have the facilities here to carry on long discussions. I look forward to talking with Milton Henry [later known as Gaidi Obadele–Rashid] in the near future, if it’s possible, (I know that he has his hands full now) or representatives of the Republic of New Africa, so we can talk these things over. There are many things I heard, things I read, I’m in total agreement with. I would like for the Republic of New Africa to know that we support Robert Williams, and his plight at this time; that we support him one hundred per cent, and we’re willing to give all services asked of us, and we would like to find out exactly what we can do that would be most helpful in the court proceedings coming up, what moral support we could give. Perhaps we could send some representatives, and we will publish in our paper, “THE BLACK PANTHER,” the criminal activities that he’s been victim of for some eight or nine years. I would also like to request of the Republic of New Africa to give us some support to Bobby Seale our Chairman of the Black Panther Party. Bobby Seale is now in prison as you know in San Francisco, he has a case coming up in Chicago, and one in Conn., and we invite the Republic of New Africa to come in support. We would like this very much, and whatever moral support they could possibly give, we would welcome it. We should be working closer together than we are and perhaps this would be an issue that we could work together on. The issue is the political prisoners of America, and people as one to stand for the release of all political prisoners; and this might be a rallying point where all the Black revolutionary organizations and parties could rally around. Because I truly believe that some good comes out of every attack that the oppressor makes, so perhaps this will be a turning point in both our organizations and parties. So I would like to say, “ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE, AND MORE POWER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NEW AFRICA, ROBERT WILLIAMS.”
Neither is the NABPP-PC an interloper nor outside the NAIM because we advocate building a socialist Amerika as a precondition to any realistic option for New Afrikan secession, if secession be the People’s choice. We’ll refer to a leading theoretical voice and veteran of NAIMto make the point viz. Comrade Jalil Muntaqim, whose recently republished book We Are Our Own Liberators (Liberators) has been instructive to many in the NAIM, including those grouped around the teachings of Owusu. Indeed, Owusu’s own theoretical writings have been based on Jalil’s work.
In the very beginning of Liberators, Jalil admits that three alternative strategies on New Afrikan Liberation have long existed within NAIM, not just one. They being, in his own words (and presented asquestions at that):
- Are we to fight for an integrated Social Democratic America?
- Are we to lead the fight to build a multi-national Socialist United States?
- Are we to fight for democratic self-determination and independence of a Republic of New Afrika?
Exposure versus Protecting Political LeadershipInterestingly, while the “open” letter criticizes us as being too exposed, it goes on to contradict this charge by admitting ignorance of and curiosity as to who our members are, where they are based, etc. Also to question our position or membership with respect to wimyn, gays and transgender people. Since we really have no need to publicize this, not knowing where this letter really originated, we’ll answer the letter by quoting from our founding Rules of Discipline which state in relevant part:
“2) We will practice and promote respect for the rights of individuals, oppressed nations and peoples, including the disabled, wimyn, children, elderly, gay/lesbian, all ethnic and racial groups, and especially the working classes of all nations and nationalities.For further elaboration of our line on wimyn’s oppression and the indispensable role of wimyn in revolutionary struggle, see my 2008 article “Wimyn Hold Up Half the Sky!: On the Questions of Wimyn’s Oppression and Revolutionary Wimyn’s Liberation versus Feminism.”
“10) We will not practice discrimination within the Party’s ranks based upon gender or sexual orientation. All ranks and leadership positions within the Party will be equally available to men and wimyn, and their qualifications being determined by their proven abilities and commitment, and they will be equally respected and obeyed by lower ranks.”
And I might add, as far as being adventurist and “showing off” with macho posturing, etc., this is something we specifically oppose, and specifically spoke to as counter-revolutionary lumpen tendencies. Again see my 2005 article “The New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter: Our Line.”Also “Don’t Shank the Guards: Legal Recourse to Guards’ Harassment, Brutality and Rape” (2005). Being adventurist and reactionary, by the way, also includes jumping out the window in response to pig provocations, as our critics imply we should be doing, although this was the pig tactic that put Comrade George in their crosshairs.
While we are by no means pacifists and uphold the right to self-defense, we recognize that before one can be a hammer they must first be an anvil. My experience and practice is what has qualified me in the collective judgment of NABPP-PC Comrades to maintain the position of Defense Minister, which is no more an empty “lofty” title than that of the “President” and other “officer” ranks in the PG-RNA. But we again understand NAIM comrades’ unfamiliarity with the structure of a revolutionary Political Party, in particular the organization of a Central Committee and Political Bureau (Politburo) composed of Ministers who preside over specific civil functions and institutions. As Comrade George noted, all many comrades who come to the struggle from the streets relate to is “the gun.” But as all seasoned and successful revolutionary leaders, from Amilcar Cabral to Mao Tse-Tung have emphasized, the gun must be controlled and guided by the Political Party, that indeed the Party is the source of a revolution’s success or failure.
And while political leaders are especially valuable, vulnerable and therefore principal enemy targets, we must structure our organizations so when/if they are successfully targeted we have cadre trained, qualified and ready to pop right up and fill their positions,  we can’t completely insulate our leadership from being targeted by the enemy. But we can organize ourselves so we ensure such collective forms of leadership were losing one or a few won’t destroy our organizations, and so that cadre are trained and able to rebuild our organizations’ branches from scratch as necessary, and whenever they may find themselves. That’s the key. And again that is the sort of organizational example we are trying to establish and set for the Movement.
Applying these principles is one of the most frustrating features of Hamas (although a bourgeois organization), that Israel has confronted in trying to crush Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel began its campaign of targeting Hamas’s leadership by assassinating its founding leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin in 2004. But, as in Yasin’s case, every time Israel has succeeded in assassinating one of Hamas’s leaders, one or more equally qualified members popped right up to fill the position. And Hamas is operating under conditions of military occupation, in what has been called the world’s largest open air prison, namely Gaza strip. Conditions in Gaza are many times worse and more regimented than in any U.S. prison. Yet Hamas has devised, as did Lenin under the repression of the Russian Tsar with his Bolshevik Party, ingenious ways of maintaining secure lines of communication between its cadre and leadership in Gaza, the West Bank and Israeli prisons. The struggle for a Palestinian State is closer to realization than at any prior stage in history since their land was stolen in 1967. Their struggle is “against the law” in Gaza, the West Bank, etc. In fact participation is subject to summary execution. But they have organized to win. If they can do it so can we!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to win!
All Power to the People!
Notes and Added Commentary
- My article “Black Liberation in the 21st Century: A Revolutionary Reassessment of Black Nationalism” was first published inRight On!, vol. 19 (Spring 2010), newsletter of NABPP-PC, then reprinted in California Prison Focus no. 38, Spring 2012,www.prisons.org. It can also be read at www.rashidmod.com. The article drew its first critical response from Sanyika Shakur in an article “Get up For the Downstroke,” posted at www.kersplebedeb.com to which I am preparing a reply, but have been put off in completing because of prison officials repeatedly taking texts I am using for references to refute the many erroneous positions taken and arguments made in that article. [↩]
- To the extent that this “open” letter authentically came from Comrades in the AA3 and NAPLA, it reflects a dangerous tendency, also shown in Comrade Sanyika’s article cited in note 1 above, within the NAIM of comrades passing judgments and formulating critiques without performing the slightest investigation of their subject – in this case, the NABPP-PC. One of the slogans that distinguished the original BPP during its most revolutionary stages was, “No investigation, no right to speak.” This slogan was drawn from the teachings of Mao Tse-Tung, who was one of, if not the most important (and feared by the imperialists) revolutionary teachers and leaders of the era. In elaborating this slogan, he explained, when you speak on something without looking into its present facts and history, without knowing its essense, “whatever you say about it will undoubtedly be nonsense. Talking nonsense solves no problems…” Mao Tse-Tung, “Oppose Book Worship” (1930).
- Chokwe Lumumba, The Roots of the New Afrikan Independence Movement: Revolution Requires Political Maturity
- My article “Black Liberation in the 21st Century: A Revolutionary Reassessment of Black Nationalism” was first published inRight On!, vol. 19 (Spring 2010), newsletter of NABPP-PC, then reprinted in California Prison Focus no. 38, Spring 2012,www.prisons.org. It can also be read at www.rashidmod.com. The article drew its first critical response from Sanyika Shakur in an article “Get up For the Downstroke,” posted at www.kersplebedeb.com to which I am preparing a reply, but have been put off in completing because of prison officials repeatedly taking texts I am using for references to refute the many erroneous positions taken and arguments made in that article.
- Chokwe Lumumba, The Roots of the New Afrikan Independence Movement: Revolution Requires Political Maturity, note 8, p. 34
- If indeed the letter originated from AA3 and NAPLA, we think the comrades should, in light of Comrade Chokwe’s admonition, do a bit of self-criticism, and we invite them to engage in principled struggle with us on any questions or criticisms they may have, beginning with the principle of working in unity, engaging in principled struggle so that we end on a higher level of unity. This is how contradictions within the ranks of the People are resolved, as opposed to contradictions with the enemy.
- Atiba Shanna, “Notes on Cadre Policy and Cadre Development,” Vita Wa Watu: A New Afrikan Theoretical Journal, Book 12 (April 1988), p. 10
- Safiya Bukhari, The War Before: The True Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith and Fighting for Those Left Behind (Feminist Press, 2010).
- Contrary to our critics’ position that the BPP ceased to exist in 1980, “[t]he year 1982 marks the official death of the Black Panther Party, since that was when many of the Party’s programs, like the once-acclaimed Intercommunal Youth Institute (or primary school), and the publication of the BPP newspaper ceased…” Mumia Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2004), pp. 232-33.
- Mumia Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2004), chapter 10, pp. 227-247.
- Mumia Abu-Jamal, “No Place to be Reborn: The Awakening,” Right On! Newsletter of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter vol. 4 (Summer 2006), p.4.
- Atiba Shanna, “On What It Means to ‘Re-Build’ – Part Two: Re-Organization,” Vita Wa Watu: A New Afrikan Theoretical Journal, Book 12 (April 1988), note 6, pp. 39-58.
- Mao Tse-Tung, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Are,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, vol. 3 (Foreign Language Press,1963), p. 69. (emphasis added)
- The articles can be read online at www.rashidmod.com.
- New Afrikans are a nation of People whether we have a piece of land we call our own nation-state or not. Political borders, patriotic holidays, national anthems, and a flag are not what makes a people a nation. Chokwe defined a nation thusly:
“A nation is a people who have shared a long history of inhabitation in a common identifiable territory, while developing a common culture, language and economy; or with regard to economy, a nation is a people who have been collectively subjugated to an imperialist economic system, which has prevented them from developing and organizing an economic life of their own.” Chokwe Lumumba, The Roots of the New Afrikan Independence Movement: Revolution Requires Political Maturity, note 3, p. 12.
According to the second definition, all the groups oppressed by U.S. imperialism constitute a nation, which would include the multi-national and multi-racial working class; also Afrikan People would constitute a Pan-Afrikan nation (both those in the diaspora and on the continent collectively) under this definition which comports with our analysis set out in my article cited in note 1. As to the first definition, it conforms exactly to that set out by Comrade Joseph Stalin in 1912, which contradicts Comrade Sanyika who, in his article cited in note 1, claimed of the RNA, “We don’t import ideas” and disparaged those who do. Here’s how Stalin defined the nation: “A nation is a historically constituted, stable, community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. “Marxism and the National Question,” (1912). Actually, Stalin’s definition became the standard Marxist-Leninist analysis, and was embraced by Communists and Revolutionary Nationalists the world over. In 1913 Comrade V.I. Lenin wrote that Stalin’s work on the national question should be given “prime place” in revolutionary theoretical literature. Lenin, “The Program of the R.S.D.L.P.,” (1913). And it was under Stalin’s leadership that the International Communist Movement recognized and supported the right of New Afrikans to a national territory in the Southeast U.S.
- Atiba Shanna, “On What It Means to ‘Re-Build’ – Part Two: Re-Organization,” Vita Wa Watu: A New Afrikan Theoretical Journal, Book 12 (April 1988), note 11.
- The full document can be read at www.rashidmod.com.
- This article is posted on www.rashidmod.com.
- These articles are posted on www.rashidmod.com.
- Our critics inform us that a Liberation Movement must advance by strategy. True indeed! But what they seem to overlook is the revolutionary Party is the source of the Movement’s strategies. And furthermore, the defense of that leadership falls both to the People and the armed component of the Movement, which like the Party must be mass-based. We might also pull our critics coats to the historically proven reality that the old foco model has proven only to result in disaster, a lesson the Movement hasn’t quite seemed to grasp nor to advance from… again because of the lack of a revolutionary vanguard organization to impart those lessons to it, and formulate more workable and effective strategies suited to the time.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
February 2013: They Waited, Wanted and Watched For Me To Die...