Besides the fact that I have devoted my life to the global struggle for humanity and to the Afrikan phase of that struggle in particular, there is the reality that every time they kill an Afrikan child or young man, I am reminded that as special as my male child is to God and to me and to his mother, to the monstrous system we face, he is but one potential suspicion away from murder by the state, by a would-be “neighborhood watch” official, or tragically by his own brother. We must stop the idea that the killing of Afrikan boys and men is to be done “on the cheap.” And to those who raise the issue about Ferguson and I have heard it, saying, “Well, we get upset about this, but we don’t care about it when we kill ourselves”. Some of us DO, and there are many steps we need to take for THAT problem also and I have written, spoken, taught, and organized in that regard. Yet, there is something particularly evil about state murder because the state has a legitimacy that you and I don’t. The young brother in the hood who kills me for money or perhaps for my clothing or perhaps because he thinks I am someone else, kills in his ignorance, his materialism, his complete lack of awareness of the circumstances in which he and I find ourselves. The officer of the so-called law who kills is paid for by me, charged with my protection, trained supposedly to do everything in his or her power to sustain my life and that of my community. So when they abuse that trust, the argument that they just didn’t know, or didn’t understand the context, or sought material gain from me is of no effect. And were my brother to kill me, he must face the prospect that my family or the state or my organization structure will come for him. In fact, studies show the odds are that one of those or others looking for him, WILL find him, and he too will lose his life in a tragedy. But for those in the gang of blue, behind the night sticks, bayonets, armored tanks, and shields, what is the consequence? Leave with pay. So they say. I agree It is time for us to make sure that they leave and that there is there fair and just payment involved.
I am and always have been a soldier for the people first, an intellectual second, not the other way around. I learned that those who went the other way around in the Eurocentric world never seemed to quite get to soldiering.
Alongside, not behind, every man of worth is a woman of equal or greater worth who may be his mother or his soulmate, but she is surely there and must be for him to rise.
We don’t have this kind of leader today. If we did, our sons would not so easily be gunned down in the streets. True leadership must begin with faith in God (so much of the movement now is anti-God), it must then follow with a true statement of the problem. That is the key of Garvey. Unlike all the Negro leadership that was to follow, paid for by the enemies of Afrikan people and still paid for by them, he spoke that while Eurocentrism and white supremacy and plutocratic and imperialist capital accumulation and all the other systems of oppression were clearly evident, that the power of God and the people was greater than those things and their evils. The central problem for the Afrika was not her enemies, but her non-response to their attacks due in turn to a lack of confidence in her own abilities to do so, partially induced by Eurocentric socialization and miseducation, and partially by physical repression which drives fear. The model for his life was Christ. He argued that Christ was the martyr example for how the righteous man should live and he set himself to try to be the example for how the political, socially, and economically conscious Afrikan should live. He did not talk about building. He built. He created a newspaper, a global newspaper. He created a military force. He created a hospital with doctors and nurses staffing it. And on and on. He would study the needs of the people and understood that leadership was assigned, not to negotiate and beg from power, but to use the power of the people to build structures and institutions to meet their need. Even his followers and many of the organizations that claim him were not courageous enough to follow him. Like those who claim King and X and so many others who came after, they want the mantles of association and the recognition without the life threatening struggle for humanity. Today is not a day for merely venerating his life and words. My ancestor calls me to tell you to finish his work. His work was not about a dream, or some integration into someone else’s worldview, but a reality in which Afrikans build, work, and succeed for themselves in common and in peace with the rest of humanity. He argued that the latter peace could not come until kujichagulia came and that those who began a “negotiation” with the system with nothing, thinking themselves nothing and capable of nothing, would negotiate AS beggars and end up with a beggars or perhaps a Faustian bargain. Garvey is not truly dead, but merely sleeping for the time allotted as we all must. My question to the Afrikan on his honored behalf is why are YOU sleeping? Your work, unlike his, is not done. The grave has not yet summoned you, although it will one day and sooner rather than later if you do not take advantage of the work that must be done for yourself in the light of day. As Christ calls to the spirit of Lazarus, those who lay in tombs prepared for them that are not truly for them in God’s will, so too Garvey calls to the Afrikan, Wake up! Stand up! You are not dead, though others think you to be, though you perhaps think yourself to be. Your families, your nations, your businesses, your homes, your schools, these need your hand and only your hand in God’s hand will make them be and sustain them for you, for your children, for your children’s children. The whirlwind is at hand. Come brother, come sister let us go..together..as one..on one accord and be witnesses for our history and worthy of it..to be witness for God and the Lord and be worthy of our Father who has sent us forth. For our good, and for the good of all the world, for until mother is made well, her children, the children of all the world, will lack.
These officers don’t need more training, they need punishment. When you act like a beast among human beings, you should be caged like one until you recover and the state has no problem jailing our people and punishing them when they have done little or nothing. We have addicts in jail who are sick. But yet when it comes to an officer trained to defend people who can’t stop choking them to death, shooting them, or electrocuting them, you say TRAINING. To HELL with that. What you need to do is to treat them as you treat other murderers and torturers. Fire them. Bar them from any military or law enforcement. Take their pensions. Put them in jail for life. When they know that will surely be their fate, the ones who are not truly psychotic or psychopathic will stop. The reason this keeps happening is that there are no consequences. You do an investigation and you either lie and say murder was justifiable on the grounds that the person deserved it ( a lot like the old you were raped because of your clothes rubbish) OR you find them guilty and give them some laughable minor penalty and let them come back into policing somewhere else. Just like the priests who were molesting children. You don’t get a second offense and a third problem if you effectively deal with the first one. The punishment system for these police gang members should be racketeering level, just like you made it for our youth. If you can jail my child at 16 for life because he joins a gang, then jail these armed thugs in blue with the same malice and just like their victims, they should never see daylight again. It’s no revenge because no punishment will bring their victims back, but they should never be able to hurt another citizen again and if that is good enough of a standard for me, it should be the standard for them. When people began to kill cops, they immediately raised the penalties. No matter how many Afrikans and Latinos and indigenous people they slaughter, we keep coming back to “training”, rather than a jail cell or a mental ward where they belong and hell where they will end up as a result of such evil.
If I were to shoot a law enforcement officer would they say, oh Imani just needs more training? Would I still keep my job and get a pension? They kick students out of school and all educational opportunities permanently in some systems for one joint and you mean to tell me the best we can come up with officers sworn to defend citizens who KILL them is some training? I reiterate my call for community based militias for oppressed people to act as a deterrent for those inside and out who have turned our communities into death zones. The cost for the destruction of Afrikan life must be raised above zero and presidential statements and platitudes are useless when we must collect and dispose of dead bodies. . It is PAST time.
I don’t need ANOTHER dead Afrikan to remind me that the game in Eurocentrism is called “try to stay alive”. We’ve been forced to play it since we were brought into this reality.
Police brutality is the not the result of one wayward officer after another, but the overall system of Eurocentrism promoting Afrikan death and the death of other oppressed people at home and abroad, and it is time that we as a people deal with that system and replace permanently and irrevocably those leaders who cannot or will not (mostly because they are beholden to it).
here are in my mind four essential conditions for any future for the law enforcement agencies in this society as it relates to Afrikan people and communities. Otherwise, the people will be compelled to begin taking the law into their own hands and defend themselves against the law and bloodshed in the interests of neither the state nor the people is likely to be the result. (1) The structure of penalties faced by officers found guilty of crimes against citizens must be made the exact same as those that would be faced by a citizen who committed them, and particularly committed against a duly sworn officer of the law performing his or her duty, (2) Officers suspected of crimes against citizens must be completely removed from duty until the conclusion of the investigation and immediately fired if found guilty or culpable and permanently barred from ANY position associated with law enforcement , military, or private or public security activities, their ranks stripped with their pensions being limited to any amount that accrued before that finding. (3) When sentenced to jail time, which should ALWAYS be required, officers should be confined to the general population and given no special dispensations as it relates to correctional accommodations, and no opportunity for parole or time reduction and (4) Any such crime should automatically be federal and there should be an associated federal statute against any duly sworn officer of the law engaging in crimes against citizens. This seems to me to the minimum. The current problem is that most of these crimes go unpunished and if they are punished they are punished with minimum penalties and with the capacity of police unions to mitigate the economic and other punitive effects.
I used to say I have a “two meeting rule”. If we have a community problem and we have two meetings and I come and there is no ACTION plan for stuff we are actually going to DO to make a difference on it, I don’t come back. I usually just leave my card with somebody and be like “hit me up when something actually gets going.” You’d be surprised at the number of times I never hear anything else.
Generally when Afrikans come to me talking about marching somewhere with signs, as a response to a real social problem, I respond “my feet are tired.” Oppressed indeed is a people who can march anywhere and everywhere for their plight but somehow manage to do so without standing up.
Too many Negroes claim they got plans for the people and they know the people are poor and then they be like..”well I got the revolutionary manual for only 19.99 and my video is 24.22″. If you love yo people and they dying and you got anything to say worth saying that can save them, you try to be a prophet FOR them, not to profit FROM them for doing so. Imagine the fireman waiting for your credit card payment while your house burns. Help the masses put the fire out and then we can all live in peace and make paper.
I can’t let the people starve if I got food, just cause they can’t afford it. In the Afrikan tradition I have food SO they can eat and so God and the ancestors can be by my provision for them justified, not just for me.
And don’t try to run no slave theology on me either. Save it. God’s real people defend what God alone can give and has given them and the most precious of these things is life. It was Christ alone who was not to be defended for His death was ordained to and for the purpose of making sure you and I did not HAVE to die prematurely, and that we would have life in abundance, now and then. The notion that we simply have to sit back and be slaughtered is neither theologically required nor practically intelligent. I often said I wished I could draw editorial type cartoons. I wanted to draw a picture of an Afrikan man, father, husband brainwashed by Eurocentrism into thinking he HAD to be a martyr to the evil and the violent, dying and getting to the symbolic gates with St. Peter and hearing God’s voice booming “Fool, what you doing here? ” “Well, Lord a man came to kill me and my family and he succeeded.” “And what did you do to impede him?” “Nothing.” So I told you to love your wife as I love the church, to raise your children, and to protect them and died a mortal death so you could LIVE and you did absolutely nothing to defend any of those things OR my sacrifice?” “Yes, that is correct. I was focused on receiving my eternal reward.” “Peter, show the man his reward.” (Trap door opens..insert flames and sounds of screaming as man descends.) “Even with all time in my hand, I ain’t got time for that. Next.”
Neither Afrikan people, nor any other oppressed people of the earth, were created by God and sent on this mortal plane merely to be martyrs for Eurocentric systems of power. Period. To argue that, either directly or indirectly through a slave theology that says that they cannot morally or otherwise resist such evils, when they must to survive, is beneath contempt, non-scriptural, and a lie unto hell itself.
And an INTENTIONAL one, introduced into Protestant theology during the enslavement period by those who enslaved and intended to continue doing so, who were already outside of the faith, the moral law, and the realm of Christ. They taught the principle of defenselessness to the slaves, while teaching the theology of moral defense to themselves and their children. They taught the slave that the slave was to be obedient to the system of oppression, while teaching their own children that God required resistance to evil. They then trained a generation of clerics to move among Afrikan people and others who were oppressed with this false teaching. God however, had other plans and periodically interrupted their efforts with Christians like the abolitionists, like Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Toussaint L’ Overture, Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Rev Shuttlesworth, and a host of others who realized by force of the Holy Spirit that there had been a cruel trick done, not for the service of Christ, but for the service of slavery, imperialism, and colonialism. There is nothing wrong with being a martyr if God tells you that you are sent for martyrdom for justice, but the idea that martyrdom is required to be Afrikan and Christian is a scam. We have one martyr who died so we do not have to be anymore. Eurocentric Christians by the way, the non-Afrikan ones, know this and if you don’t believe it, challenge their families and their homes and their lives in the South and the West. You may not SURVIVE their defenses. Meanwhile the Afrikan and many others have been taught to wait for death and accept THAT as the will of a God who says I came so that you will have life in abundance. RUBBISH.
If the US government is not prepared to stop this runaway law enforcement structure, then I propose that Afrikan communities compose communal militias as allowed by law, which will be charged with the same responsibilities as Panther units were at an earlier historical time. Their jobs would include being educated about the law as it is applicable to police stops and actions, advising those subject to such stops of their rights, and videotaping and otherwise monitoring such stops and actions and serving as witnesses in cases growing out of such proceedings. They should be backed up by a strategic strike force with appropriate martial arts and weapons training if necessary to physically defend the people when there is no other alternative to prevent the use of deadly force.
And I am not condoning violence, or vigilantism of any kind, but collective self-defense for which I have always been an advocate, and which, were in it in place, would have possibly saved lives and injuries. The most critical failure of the Afrikan leadership in the United States is the failure to propose or provide or prepare for any means for the community to defend itself from collectively organized systems of attack. It has left them no recourse but to resort to individual, disorganized vigilantism which is neither deterrent nor effective.
So while the national NAACP director has condemned such resulting vigilantism as “violence” as all of his ilk invariably do, I would counter, what has the NAACP done for communal defense and what if anything does it PLAN to do? In fact, what has the NAACP done this entire year concerning the epidemic of police brutality that is ravaging Afrikan and Latino and indigenous communities? Not a peep, not a press release, nothing, and you know what they’re going to do? Nothing but talk.
We have no right to condemn our people if we have not given them alternatives for action. I am well aware and have said that looting, vandalism, theft, and such things are not ethically grounded in our culture and not effective for solutions to these situations. I have not changed in that argument. But if Afrikan leaders remain so afraid and so bought off by the structure that they will not stand in communal defense, even when children (and very young adults that are to me still children), are gunned down in the street by those commissioned to protect them, then how can they say anything with credibility to the people when the people just impulsively and perhaps without wisdom, “react?”
So-called “riots” are explosions of pent up social energy, much like a volcano. The difference though, is that volcanoes are actions of a natural sort and eruptions a natural venting of pressure, relatively safe if you are not dumb enough to be one of those humans standing near one. What they share though is a certain degree of predictability. And as such, we can take precautions to prevent loss of life in the eruption. Similarly, we can take precautions and build communal infrastructure to deter and respond to, if necessary, these situations. The failure to do so, means there will still be periodic eruptions that will not be under control and may lead to consequences that will be negative for both the people and the society.
One of the national NAACP directors brought up King’s death and his era again in the context of condemning some of these reactions. The fact that he brought up a blessed ancestor, but one who has been off the mortal plane for around half a century is an example of how disconnected these organizations and these leaders are from reality, the people, and the present. Imagine me going to a drug dealer in our community today and bringing up Garvey. As much as I respect Garvey and try to build on his admirable work, I am not dumb enough to do that, knowing that the drug dealer has no context for that connection. Instead it’s for me to know Garvey and translate his vision into a workable plan for the here and now of the dealer. Similarly, throwing out King every time the people react forcefully and saying they are not being true to him, is hypocrisy when you yourself do little or nothing in the vein of his work to provide for those he died for. RUBBISH.
The gangs so many fear in our communities were largely born in the nationalistic resistance struggles of the 60s and prior to this present epoch there were some trying to do the work of reverting them back. These could potentially could be the foot soldiers who could be re-educated and financed to be community defenders rather than community destroyers.
Guarantee you though, these Eurocentric liberal organizations like the NAACP and the rest of that pack of moribund band will NOT be the people who are going to do it. We need to stop funding these organizations and start new revolutionary organizations for the 21st and next century. We need to move past this perennial 60s nostalgia and dismiss all these “old heads,” replacing them with new young and vibrant leadership who have a new perception for where Afrikan life can go and what it can become in the future, not some perpetually past. As my elder used to say, “folks talk bout the good old days. I was there, they weren’t that good and as an Afrikan if you start time travelling back just a bit too far, you’re in chains.”
Oppression does not simply halt. It is HALTED by a consciously organized, strategically prepared, intelligently led, and relentlessly committed opposition, as committed to freedom from the oppression as the system is to maintenance of the status quo.
If an oppressor is allowed by you to take you and your collective interests for granted, they WILL. To expect anything else is to be unwise and unintelligent, for it is the very NATURE of oppression to do these things.