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Holding High the Banner of Revolutionary Intercommunalism (By Chairman Shaka Zulu, NABPP and Tom “Big Warrior” Watts, National Chairman White Panther Organization of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter) 5/30/2019)

“Because the Black Panther Party is not embarrassed to change or admit error, tonight I would like to accept the criticism and say that those critics were absolutely right. We are a collection of communities just as the Korean people, the Vietnamese people, and the Chinese people are a collection of communities-a dispersed collection of communities because we have no superstructure of our own. The superstructure we have is the superstructure of Wall Street, which all of our labor produced. This is a distorted form of collectivity. Everything’s been collected but it’s used exclusively in the interest of the ruling circle. This is why the Black Panther Party denounces Black capitalism and says that all we can do is liberate our community, not only in Vietnam but here, not  only in Cambodia and the People’s Republics of China and Korea but the communities of the world.

We must unite as one community and then transform the world into a place where people will be happy, wars will end, the state itself will no longer exist, and we will have communism.” Huey P. Newton, “Speech at Boston College” (1970)

In 1970 the leadership of the original Black Panther Party made a qualitative leap on the ideological-political front-a leap from revolutionary nationalism to Marxism-Leninism and further to what Comrade Huey dubbed “Revolutionary lntercommunalism.” But it did not make this leap successfully. It did not hit the ground running. It did not consolidate as a Party around this more advanced ideological-political line organizationally. Instead, what it did was split apart into reformist and left-adventurist factions, and eventually liquidated itself as a party. We won’t say it ceased to exist, because there have continued to be Black Panthers, particularly inside the prisons, which is where the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (PC) was formed in 2005.

The NABPP (PC) was founded of the basis of revolutionary nationalism, though from the start we were conscious of Huey’s “Theory of Revolutionary lntercommunalism,” and made a serious study of it before making the leap from revolutionary nationalism to full adoption of it in 2010. Revolutionary nationalism is a “two-into-one-ism,” that is an eclectic mix of contradictory elements. In this case nationalism and socialism. They are like oil and water, and inevitably, one will divide into two. But it is how most people make the transition from bourgeois nationalism-what Huey used to call “pork-chop nationalism”-to proletarian internationalism. Generally speaking, a frog can’t sit on a lily-pad, because it won’t support his weight, but a frog can leap from one to another to reach a rock where he can perch.

Nations and nationalism belong to a specific era of history, the bourgeois (capitalist) era. There were empires under feudalism; the Spanish, the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, the English, and so on, but not nations as such. With the rise of the bourgeois class there came the emergence of nation states. They were the product of liberal bourgeois democratic revolutions that overthrew the old feudal order. As Marx and Engels explained in the Communist Manifesto:

“The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest , one frontier, and one customs-tariff.”

But even as nations were being formed, the development of a world market undercut the foundations of nationalism. Lenin explains: “Developing capitalism,” says Lenin, “knows two historical tendencies in the national question. First: the awakening of national life and national movements, struggle against all national oppression, creation of national states. Second: development and acceleration of all kinds of intercourse between nations, breakdown of national barriers, creation of the international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

“Both tendencies are a world-wide law of capitalism. The first predominates at the beginning of its development, the second characterizes mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society” (see Vol. XVIIpp. 139-40). In other words the transformation of independent national economies into a globalized world economy with a global ruling class renders nations and nationalism obsolete. Huey dubbed this “reactionary intercommunalism.” More popularly it is known as “late capitalism” or “the Era of Neoliberalism.”

What Huey recognized was that People’s China, Vietnam, the emerging socialist countries in Afrika, etc., were not really “nations” but temporarily “liberated zones.” They could exist only as “rear areas” in a global “people’s war” in which the decisive front was here, inside the “belly of the beast.” And the decisive issue was black liberation. Mao recognized this as well. As he stated in 1963, in his “Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” and again in 1968 in “A New Storm Against Imperialism”: “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people.”

Comrade George Jackson came to the same conclusion in 1970 stating: “International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S., wondering and waiting for us to come to our senses. Their problems and struggles with the Amerikan monster are much more difficult than they would be if we actively aided them. We are on the inside. We are the only ones (besides the very small white minority left) who can get at the monster’s heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous people who made it possible for the world to live on.”

“The capitalist Eden fits my description of hell. To destroy it will require cooperation and communication between our related parts; communion between colony and colony, nation and nation. The common bond will be the desire to humble the oppressor, the need to destroy capitalist man and his terrible, ugly machine. If there were any differences between us in the black colony and the peoples of other colonies across the country, around the world, we should be willing to forget them in the desperate need for coordination against Amerikan fascism.

“We must accept the spirit of the true internationalism called for by Comrade Che Guevara….We need allies, we have a powerful enemy who cannot be defeated without an allied effort! The enemy at present is the capitalist system and its supporters. Our prime interest is to destroy them. Anyone else with this same interest must be embraced, we must work with, beside, through, over, under anyone, regardless of his or her external physical features, whose aim is the same as ours in this. Capitalism must be destroyed, and after it is destroyed, if we find we still have problems, we’ll work them out. That is the nature of life, struggle, permanent revolution; that is the situation we were born into. There are other peoples on this earth. In denying their existence and turning inward in our misery and accepting any form of racism we are taking on the characteristic of our enemy. We are resigning ourselves to defeat. For in forming a conspiracy aimed at the destruction of the system that holds us all in the throes of a desperate insecurity we must have coordinating elements connecting us and our moves to the moves of the other colonies, the African colonies, those in Asia and Latin Amerika, in Appalachia and the south-western bean fields.

“We must establish a true internationalism with other anticolonial peoples. Then we will be on the road of the true revolutionary. Only then can we expect to seize the power that is rightfully ours, the power to control the circumstances of our day-to-day lives.

“The fascist must expand to live. Consequently, he had pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples. This is an aspect of his being, an ungovernable compulsion. This perverted mechanical monster suffers from a disease that forces him to build ugly things and destroy beauty wherever he finds it.

“We must fall on our enemies, the enemies of all righteousness, with a ruthless relentless will to win! History sweeps on, we must not let it escape our influence this time!!!!”

(Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson, p 202-204, Bantam Ed., pub. 10/70)

This is the essential kernel of “Revolutionary lntercommunalism.” It is not as a disjointed collection of national liberation struggles but as a united struggle to end (by overthrowing) capitalist-imperialism that we can achieve worldwide revolutionary intercommunalism as a stepping stone to world communism. This spear must have a point and one that is right up against the throat of the beast. Together with the strength of all the oppressed people of the world we must ram this spear home and slay the monster.

With the collapse of the original BPP, a lot of revolutionary nationalist comrades slid backwards into “cultural nationalism,” and other forms of bourgeois ideology, and in general adopting a bourgeois political world view dressed up in militant posturing. It is time to end this “chicken shit” behavior and stop pretending it has anything to do with Pantherism! We should still be holding high the panther banner founded by Huey. You can’t be a black nationalist without being a white nationalist (and vice versa), and you can’t be either without being an integrationist into the bloodsucking capitalist system.

All the militant posturing in the world can’t hide that truth!

When Malcolm X said: “Show me a capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker!” he was speaking the hard, cold, liberating truth! There is only one kind of capitalism and one capitalist system, and its headquarters is on Wall Street. Capitalism has only one law and that is to seek out the highest rate of profit on investments, and the “big dawgs” will eat up the “little dawgs” to concentrate wealth into ever fewer hands until the inequality of wealth is negated by socialist revolution. There is no other endgame possible and anyone who tells you different is a fool or a liar. It is late in the game now, and wealth is already well concentrated. If we’re not talking about socialist revolution, we are not revolutionaries. There are only two options, private ownership of the means of production or social ownership of the means of production. There is no third option.

National Socialism is fascism, and fascism is just the ruling class dispensing with the pretext of liberal democracy. It’s still capitalism, just no Bill of Rights.

Social Democracy is still capitalism, just with some liberal concessions. Fascism and Social Democracy do a dance number to keep the masses distracted but real revolution is not on the playbill. You can’t vote away the dictatorship of the rich, you can only overthrow it with the dictatorship of the proletariat. When we say: “All Power to the People!” this is what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about another Liberal Democratic Revolution, not even where there has yet to be one. There we are talking about a New Democratic Revolution-under the leadership of the proletariat, and then only to clear the way for Socialist Revolution and in the context of World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.

Revolutionary lntercommunalism is the recognition that we need to put the emphasis on globalized struggle and overthrow of the global capitalist empire. The system is too integrated already to do otherwise. We can’t have another American Revolution outside the context of overthrowing the global monopoly capitalist empire the U.S. has become.

Where is the U.S. military? It is in 500 military bases around the world. If we’re serious about revolution, we need to have plans to build the United Panther Movement on those bases and in the countries where those bases are located, and on the continents where those countries are located. We need to build people’s power wherever people are concentrated. We need to create revolutionary literature in every language people speak.

We need to be Pan-Afrikanists, but we also need to be Pan-Americanists, Pan-Asianists and Pan-Europeanists too. We need to apply Pantherism to all the World! We need to unite Black Panthers, Brown Panthers, and White Panthers! As Huey said: “We have two evils to defeat, capitalism and racism.” And we need to address the oppression of women and gender oppression in general! We need to end caste oppression and religious oppression! To end child exploitation and the neglect and abuse of elders! We need to create “Serve the People!” programs and “Survival Programs” that address all of the people’s needs no matter what color the people are, what language they speak or where they live. Only in this way can we defeat capitalist-imperialism and create global revolutionary intercommunalism.

Talking about doing less than this is “chicken shit!” It is saying “I only care about ‘y people,”‘ which is really saying “I only care about myself”-which is the ideology of the bourgeoisie. It is what we must defeat if anybody is going to be liberated. When it comes to honoring heroes, history is full of worthy examples of people we should honor and teach our children about. We can people’s pride forgive people for having human failings and weaknesses, but their contributions should outweigh their negative aspects. Most importantly, we should strive ourselves to be people that will inspire our children by our actions and how we represent the bright future in the struggles of today. We should be humble and honest and strive to be the “people’s pride.” That’s what being a Panther is about!



Why Isn’t Donald Trump Headed to Jail?

neoliberalismOn January 3, 2020, Donald Trump had Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, murdered.  He ordered a drone strike against this man and several others that saw him and his car blown apart and incinerated.  So why isn’t Trump headed to jail?  Why is no one else asking these questions?

All sorts of people called for the prosecution of the Saudi Arabian crown prince on suspicion that he ordered the October 2, 2018, hit on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  In that case, a hit squad of Saudi Security officials killed and dismembered Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.  Khashoggi died no less gruesomely than did Soleimani.

The Saudi prince denies ordering Khashoggi’s death, but Trump admits to ordering the attack on Soleimani.  Yet, no one is calling for Trump’s prosecution.

U.S. officials admit that killing a high ranking foreign official like Soleimani was an act of war.  Under article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act of 1973, only Congress has the power to declare war.  Congress has never declared war with Iran.  Trump, therefore, had no legal authority to kill Soleimani.  So, again, why isn’t he on his way to jail?

This is the same “law and order” president that denigrated Central American migrants fleeing violence and broken societies as “criminals and rapists”, and made “Lock her up!” a rallying cry among his supporters during his presidential campaign against his opponent, Hillary Clinton. And this is a country that locks up millions of poor people and people of color under the guise of holding them accountable for breaking the law.  Even though 95% of them were not convicted by juries of their peers, as the Constitution promises, but were instead pressured into pleading guilty, whether innocent or not, under Amerika’s corrupt plea bargaining system.[1]

But of course, the principles of accountability have never applied when an extrajudicial lynching is going down.  The federal government has always played a vacillating role in organizing and defending lynchings versus opposing them.  Burning and dismembering dark flesh is nothing new in Amerikan culture.  Nor rationalizing and whipping up broad support for extrajudicial lynchings with sensational claims for the victim having committed some unproven crime.  Remember Muammar Gaddafi, the late president of Libya?  How after Amerika joined in a bombing campaign against his country in 2011, he was literally lynched by a street mob in broad daylight — having been shot point-blank in the head while a dagger was shoved into his rectum.  Remember then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s glib remarks after his murder, that sounded like a spectator after a southern mob lynching?  “We came, we saw, he died!”

As an imprisoned black man in Amerika, I know imperialist Amerika’s triple standards all too well.  I know why no one’s even suggesting that Trump belongs in jail.  Why, you ask?  Because from yesterday’s nooses and bonfires to today’s high tech drones, and from the U.S. South to the Global South, lynching is still as Amerikan as apple pie!

Dare to Struggle!  Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!




[1] The Joint Legislative Committee on Crime in New York described the pleas bargain process in a report as follows: “The final climactic act in the plea bargaining procedure is a charade which in itself has aspects of dishonesty which rival the original crime in many instances.  The accused is made to assert publically that his guilt on a specific crime which in many cases he has not committed; in some cases, he pleads guilty to a non-existent crime.  He must further indicate that he is entering his plea freely… and that he is not doing so because of any promises made to him. “In plea bargaining, the accused pleads guilty, whether he is or not, and saves the state the trouble of trial in return for the promise of a less severe punishment.” Quoted in, Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Harper Perennial: NY, 2002), p.



source: Why Isn’t Donald Trump Headed to Jail?

Main Line #5 January 2020

Gorilla Theater

May 17 2011

Who is King Kong?
You say he me? Hell naw, you wrong!
Yeah, they called us both “ape” from day one.
And we was both kings back home,
The Kongo for one.
And just like Kong,
We was defiant and strong.
And yeah, he big and black,
like a whole society of us.
And was hunted from dawn to dusk,
to capture for the sake
of enriching a nation of united snakes.
Chained to stakes
in filthy ships’ holds,
abducted to be sold
as a spectacle.
Expected to
make the slaver a fortune in gold,
smiling like sambos.
Hell no!
Slaver think we supposed
to curb our outrage,
’bout bein’ his monkeys onstage.
Claim he done us a favor
saved us
from our backward ways –
by puttin’ us in a cage.
To entertain our oppressor,
our possessor.
Be his happy slaves.
Be his buck.
But naw, we bucked,
broke our chains
set them self-righteous, lily-white
spectators to flight.
Outta spite!
Cuz they felt alright,
making a joke of our plight.
Put their gorilla theater to flames.
They think they right,
claim we insane.
Say we wrong for fighting to be free,
for making a mockery
of their civilization,
shittin’ all over their technology.
finding cracks and footholds to scale their walls,
with natural dexterity.
Still lookin’ to reign tall.
Now they gotta look up at me!
No! Stop! The slaver say:
Cuz your nimble hands and feet,
was made to serve me,
to dance, compete, be my athlete.
But stay away from Fay Wray!
He say
she forbidden fruit!
But he use her too.
I mean ain’t it funny,
even the woman he supposed to cherish
just an object to make money.
To berate. Dominate.
But the ape
treated her better than her own mate.
Kinda why it was fate,
she felt a soft spot for ol’ Kong.
Her own misery
made her see
the slavers was wrong,
But she was pampered not strong.
Afraid to put her neck on the line,
for a gorilla
like he did for her
when she was in a bind.
She was blind.
And even when she tried to break out
her own detention
a breakaway slave sojourner
had to save her convention.
But WASPs got twisted minds,
rape Kong’s kind,
then claim when we demand freedom,
we talkin’ ’bout Fay Wray’s behind.
He say, “She mine!”
Won’t turn her loose.
But our struggle inspires her
to wanna bust loose.
‘Til white reaction bring out the guns and noose.
Then she bail, leave us jailed,
inside she vacillate.
Watch them pierce, flail and flagellate,
our flesh and
their firepower and incinerate.
To teach the untamed ape
by lynching, a lesson
’bout rebellin’,
with guns branded by Smith and Wesson.
And we suppose to just take shit.
But, hell naw! We don’t buy it.
Like Kong we go ape shit.
They call it inner-city riot…
and declare a state of emergency.
But we need direction,
to stage a real insurgency
to get free.
That’s why they aim to slay and scourge,
leaders like Malcolm X, Comrade George,
Fred Hampton, MLK.
They target the head
to make us easy to play
against ourselves
and make us easy prey.
Til we exterminated,
the nightmare scenario eliminated.
Manufactured white fright vindicated.
Distorting class contradictions
with ones based on skin.
A distraction
from united action
against the rich white men,
who got
Black, White, Yellow
Red and Brown all penned in.
Yeah, you right,
that King Kong script
did have us in mind.
A subliminal message, to teach our kind
that capitalism’s the greatest
gorilla killa of all time.
So we best fold and bend,
or face mass hysteria
to bury the
beast within.
Fear and hate
whipped up by media spin.
So bow down, do as the Romans do,
stay in line.
But we still here,
biding our time.
Ain’t dead yet!
Done fell and got back up a thousand times.
Survived every hardship
their murderous minds could design.
And we still clinging to the walls,
beating our chest,
still rebellin’ yet!
And we might be ’bout to get –
Expose the racist lies.
all colors to uprise.
Unite the masses,
against the ruling classes.
their agents and spies.
Man the passes,
to hunt the hunters,
and kill the killas.
Flip their script …
from gorilla to guerrillas.

Bio: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson & the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter


In 1990, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson was a drug dealer, an ambitious member of amerika’s Black lumpen proletariat, or underclass. Like so many, as a young adult he was arrested and received a lengthy prison sentence. He has been incarcerated ever since – for the past eighteen years in conditions of solitary confinement.

As Rashid has written, “Because I accepted my lifestyle and all of its consequences, I was always reluctant to involve my family or others on the outside of prison in my conflicts with the pigs. I dealt with my own problems–directly.”

In 1993, Rashid was transferred to Greenville prison. As he has written:

What I was to encounter at Greensville defied anything that I’d expected. The pigs had a refined system and license for brutalizing prisoners. I was not to understand the magnitude of the situation until a few days after being there. The pigs had a tier of handpicked proxy prisoners, whom they used to violently suppress those who got out of line. The ringleader – I’ll call him Pumpkin – was a career con with a reputation for butchering other prisoners. He had a trustee job (all trustees were similarly selected). Pumpkin was allowed by the pigs to keep weapons on his person. Part of the mental terror game was that while he was out cleaning (everyone knew he was a pig hit man and stayed armed), the pigs would bring others out around him in handcuffs (segregation prisoners must be handcuffed from behind when outside their cells, unless they have a trustee job, or are locked inside an exercise yard or shower stall). The she-pigs (guards and nurses) were the tools used to sic Pumpkin on others. He regarded and jealously guarded these she-pigs like actual mates, whereas all they did for him was bring him bubble gum, watch him masturbate in their presence and flirt with him.

The setup game usually went like this: one of their she-dogs would provoke an argument with the target (refuse him something he was due, etc.). She’d then report to Pumpkin that the target had “disrespected’ her, or any of many other claims. Pumpkin would then come to the target’s cell and start a hostile verbal exchange, send a challenge via third-party message, etc. Once the conflict was established, the pigs would move the target into the tier with Pumpkin and his cronies – the entire tier rode with him. The pigs would thoroughly search the target’s property for weapons before moving him, to ensure that he had no means of defense. Once assigned to a cell on Pumpkin’s tier, the target was fair game. If he was stouthearted, he’d stand his ground. The next day or so the pigs would put them on the exercise yard together, remove everyone’s handcuffs except the target’s (they’d put five to seven prisoners in each pen), and allow them to mob attack the still handcuffed target. Or if they wanted him butchered, he’d be unhandcuffed and left to contend unarmed against a knife-wielding Pumpkin.

Rashid took the lead in organizing and waging war against the “Pumpkin” and his goon squad, and the guards who were giving the orders to dole out abuse as well. Not only did this force Pumpkin’s crew to back down and sue for peace, but it brought about some limited reforms at Greenville itself, though it also led to Rashid’s being transfered again, and to the beginning of what would be 18 years (and counting) in “segregation”:

On account of the systematic attacks on the pigs at the height of their abuses, the DOC’s internal affairs office decided to get involved in investigating the years of prisoner complaints of brutality in the unit. In their efforts to neutralize our responses, the internal affairs unit ended up having a dozen pigs criminally prosecuted for brutality and using other prisoners to enter prisoners’ cells and attack them – once allowing a prisoner to use riot gear. Two pigs were ultimately convicted. Pumpkin was also prosecuted and convicted for an incident where the pigs opened another prisoner’s cell, allowing him to ambush him. The prisoner was stabbed multiple times. Pumpkin’s trustee job was immediately terminated under the backlash of this incident. […] Several weeks later I was transferred back to Mecklenburg prison, returning to the scene of past abuses […]

During my stay at Mecklenburg, one of the ranking pigs, who were instrumental in torturing me with the freezing strip cell treatment, was ambushed. On this occasion I’d been strapped to the bunk by the pigs. In order for a prisoner to receive meals and toilet breaks while strapped down, the pigs must come to his cell, remove the chains and straps and handcuff him. They will leave the cell, close the door, and remove the cuffs through a hatch in the door. However, during this 1994 episode, when the pigs came in to release me for a toilet break, the claim is that I’d gotten out of the restraints and was lying on the bunk under a blanket as though still strapped down. When the ranking pig and two others moved to lift the blanket, I allegedly rose up, with weapon in hand, and attacked. Two of them (the ranking pig included) received multiple stab wounds, and the third pig received a cracked jaw. This incident, in its obvious preplanning and execution, left the pigs in such a quandary that no retribution followed. Indeed, I was several days later transferred to Buckingham and quickly released into the general population.

By this time it was realized that I was not insane at all, but calculating and determined. While prison administrators and those who proposed to “study” me from a distance put forward the fiction that I was inclined to “unprovoked” violence against the pigs, the pigs who dealt with me on a day-to-day basis knew, very clearly, that any violence from me was always in response to their own acts of violence or abuse of me or my peers. As long as the pigs remembered this, things went well, but there was always some lone pig with a cowboy complex who had to test his hand, and I’d answer it. The majority of the pigs at Buckingham didn’t want me in the population walking about. They therefore attempted several times through trumped-up reports to have me returned to segregation. On the last occasion that this was done, I was charged with being in an “unauthorized area” of the prison. The pigs waited until I’d locked into the cell at count time to come and lock me up in segregation. I refused to go peacefully. One pig threatened that if I didn’t, I’d receive a severe “ass-whipping.” In response I agreed to walk peacefully to segregation. When the pigs opened the cell door to escort me out, the threatening pig received a nose broken in two places. I’ve been in segregation ever since.

While in segregation, Rashid taught himself law, and began litigating against the prisons. For a period of six years he launched various lawsuits, and at first scored several victories, until he acquired the reputation of being troublemaker with various judges who then sought to shut him out of the courts:

With the added psychological deterrent of litigation, my clashes with the pigs declined somewhat in frequency. They focused primarily on isolating me from others. Their efforts to perpetuate a discontinuity in our unity has been the pigs’ only effective weapon against me. And they’ve admitted in a thousand ways that their greatest fear is ending up with many other prisoners on their hands who think and act as I do. Their isolating me was long a tactic that I could not devise an effective countermeasure against, that is, until after 2001, when I was first exposed to revolutionary theory and have since come to understand the role of ideology. Without a unifying ideology, there can be no unity of struggle. Ideology was something I’d never had, and thus something I could not share. The prisoners who’d united in struggle with me had done so because of me. Not because of a shared principle. Therefore, when I was no longer around, they lost the initiative to struggle on, and the pigs were free to resort to their old oppressive acts.

With the beginnings of my studies in revolutionary history and theory in 2001, litigation and my isolated clashes with the pigs paled in importance. My first exposure to revolutionary ideas came with my meeting Hanif Shabazz-Bey in 2001. Hanif is a political prisoner who is apparently well known within prison movement circles. Upon meeting we developed an instant affinity. He began sending me a variety of publications through which I was first exposed to the works of George Jackson. […]

I became engrossed in acquiring and studying all that George had studied and more, which included the classics and not-so-classics: Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse-tung, Karl Marx, Frantz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, Che Guevara, Rosa Luxemburg, Harry Magdoff, Paul Sweezy, Albert Szymanski, bell hooks, Cornel West, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Vo Nguyen Giap, etc. I investigated the various revolutionary schools of thought – Communism, Anarchy, New Afrikan Nationalism, Feminism, and other left-leaning theories. I studied military thinkers and military history, sociology and history, political science, economic theories (left and right), revolutionary history, etc. and I am still studying, refining my views, and testing them in practice.

The more I studied, reflected, practiced, and drew insight from my own practical experiences, the more it all fell together, so clear and obvious. As my conceptualizations developed, I wrote a few essays, usually at others’ requests, (my ideas were still forming, some I could not clearly articulate, so I adopted terms, thoughts, and ideas. But it was all quickly coming together.) I could see where the failures and successes had occurred in various anti-colonial, class, anti-racist, feminist, and anti-imperialist struggles. And I could see where the failure to apply the scientific Marxist approach to the study and practice of resisting oppressive conditions (Historical and Dialectical Materialism) resulted in failed idealist attempts to make the desired social changes. […]

I still endure repression at the hands of the pigs, as do my peers. I still take a principled stand against this repression. But above all else, I am working on bringing my peers into a principled ideological and political consciousness that will give them discipline and a cause to struggle for, while simultaneously imparting to them the correct methods of mass based struggle. The pigs’ response continues to be to isolate me. Their violence has proven futile. Even in this most totalitarian of environments, innovation and relentless commitment to an ideal has proven, to my satisfaction, that the oppressive institutions are not invulnerable. Fear is our greatest hindrance. Fear and half measures. They can isolate me, but they cannot isolate an ideal.

In the mid-2000s, Rashid took up an illicit correspendence with another revolutionary held at the same supermax prison as him, but in general population. Messages were smuggled back and forth between segregation and general pop for several months. This correspondence, in which Rashid and “Outlaw” discuss revolutionary theory and practice, the challenges of dealing with other less committed prisoners, reactionaries, and snitches, and the question of how to best organize behind bars, has been collected together and is available now in the book Defying the Tomb, published by Kersplebedeb in 2010.

As well as Rashid and Outlaw’s letters, Defying the Tomb contains several essays by Rashid, a foreword by Russell “Maroon” Shoats, a foreword and afterword by Tom Big Warrior, and an afterword by Sundiata Acoli. (The quotes above are from Rashid’s autobiographical sketch, also included in the book.)

Defying the Tomb has been reviewed by former political prisoner Ed Mead

A few months after Outlaw and Rashid exchanged the last letters included in this book, Comrade Shaka Sankofa Zulu and Rashid came together to found the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC). The NABPP-PC has since developed branches in various prisons across the u$ empire and has its own newsletter, Right On!

Many of the thoughts and ideas that went into the formation of the NABPP-PC and its mass organization, the New Afrikan Service Organization, can be seen in their developmental stages in these letter exchanges with Outlaw.

Right On! is published by Rising Sun Press, are several other newsletters promoting Marxism-Leninism, with a focus on national liberation and the prison struggle. A collection of these newsletters from the period of 2005 to 2008 have been made available as an anthology. These were scanned in by some comrades, and are being made available for free download with permission from the publisher. Just click on the image to the right, or right here.


By Chairman Shaka Zulu

Lots of people aren’t familiar with the term “bourgeoisie” or for that matter with thinking in terms of the different classes—even though we live in a class-based society. Moreover, we live in an epoch of history that is based upon class exploitation  and class dictatorship. In this “Epoch of Exploitation,” there have been different ages each with their own distinctive class structures based upon the relationship each class had to the mode and means of production.

These can basically be defined as: Slavery, Feudalism, and Capitalism. In each of these periods, there was an exploiting ruling class, an exploited laboring class, and a middle class. Under slavery, there were Freemen as well as Slaves and Slave Owners. These might even be slave traders or hired men of the slave owners.

Under Feudalism, the lower class were the Serfs or poor peasants, and the ruling class were the landed nobility, the Lords, and Ladies. The middle class were the Burgers or Bourgeoisie, who lived in independent towns or burgs, which were centers of trade and manufacturing. These “freemen,” who governed their towns more or less democratically, waged a struggle with the Lords to maintain their independence and this culminated in a wave of Liberal Bourgeois Democratic Revolutions that overthrew Feudalism and replaced kingdoms with republics.

The bourgeoisie became the new ruling class and the petty bourgeoisie (little capitalists) became the new middle class, and a new class–the Proletariat—the urban wage workers and the poor peasants were the lower class. As the Industrial Revolution took off, the bourgeoisie got richer and the petty bourgeoisie more numerous, while the proletariat were formed into industrial armies to serve in the struggle with Nature to extract raw materials like coal and iron ore and transform them into steel and goods of all type.

In this Bourgeois Era, the bourgeoisie reconstructed society in their own image and interest. Under this Bourgeois Class Dictatorship, the state exists to maintain the inequality of the class relations and protect the property and interests of the ownership classes. Bourgeois Democracy is basically a charade to mask over the reality of class dictatorship. The masses may get to vote, but the ruling class calls the tune. Money talks and the government obeys.

The charade is for the benefit of the Petty Bourgeoisie who are the voters and hopers that the government can be made to serve their class interests. The dream that they will one day climb into the upper class and share in the privilege and opulence motivates them to subordinate their own class interests to those of the bourgeoisie. A greater challenge to the bourgeois class dictatorship is getting the working class to adopt its world view and politics that clearly do not serve their interests.

This is where the middle class are of use, and where some proletarians find their niche and a point of entry into the petty bourgeoisie as promoters of bourgeois ideology and politics. I’m talking about all manner of jobs and positions from union boss to preacher and news commentator to teacher. These hacks and hucksters sell us the illusion that this is the best of all possible systems and all is right with the world so long as we do as we are told.

They serve the ruling class by playing the game of “divide and rule” and throwing water on any sparks of resistance. They feed the masses disinformation and “fake news” and feed people’s idealism and false hopes to prevent them from identifying and thinking about their true class interests.

The job of our Party is to help the masses cut through this BS and to arm the people with an understanding of revolutionary science on which our political-ideological line is based. We call this Pantherism, and it is based on application of revolutionary science—dialectical materialism—to the concrete conditions we face in the 21st Century.

We make no bones about it, we are revolutionary socialists determined to bring the Epoch of Exploitation to and end and empower the common people. In other words to advance the evolution of human society to Communism.


Shaka Zulu is chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party’s prison chapter.


Six Questions and Answers, with Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

rashid-2013-self-portrait11. What can we learn from the history of revolutionary struggles about the transition from bourgeois forms of security and policing to proletarian forms of state security

As a class question, we must of course begin with distinguishing between bourgeois and proletarian forms of state power. The state is nothing but the organization of the armed force of one class over its rival class(es). The bourgeoisie, as a tiny oppressor class that exploits or marginalizes all other classes to its own benefit, organizes its institutions of state power (military, police, prisons), that exist outside and above all other classes, to enforce and preserve its dominance and rule over everyone else.

To seize and exercise state power the proletariat, as the social majority, must in turn arm itself and its class allies to enforce its own power over the bourgeoisie.

Which brings us to the substance of your question concerning what lessons we’ve learned about transitioning from bourgeois state power (the capitalist state) to proletarian state power (the socialist state). In any event it won’t be and has never been a ‘peaceful’ process, simply because the bourgeoisie will never relinquish its power without the most violent resistance; which is the very reason it maintains its armed forces.

Well, we’ve had both urban and rural models of such transition. Russia was the first urban model (although subsumed in a rural society), China was the first successful rural one. There were many other attempts, but few succeeded however.

What proved necessary in the successful cases is foremost there must be a vanguard party organized under the ideological and political line of the revolutionary proletariat. This party must work to educate and organize the masses to recognize the need, and actively take up the struggle, to seize power from the bourgeoisie.

In the urban context, (especially in the advanced capitalist countries), where the bourgeoisie’s armed forces are entrenched, this requires a protracted political approach focused on educating and organizing the masses and creating institutions of dual and alternative collective political and economic power, with armed struggle prepared for but projected into the distant future (likely as civil war).

But in the rural context, where revolutionary forces have room to maneuver because the bourgeoisie’s armed forces are much less concentrated, the masses may resort to relatively immediate armed struggle, with political work operating to keep the masses and the armed forces educated and organized, and revolutionary politics in command of the armed struggle. This was Mao Tse-tung’s contribution to revolutionary armed struggle called Peoples War, and with its mobile armed mass base areas these forces operated like a state on wheels.

But the advances of technology since the 1970s, have seen conditions change that require a reassessing of the earlier methods of revolutionary struggle and transition of state power.

The rural populations (peasantry) of the underdeveloped world who are best suited to Mao’s PW model have been shrinking, as agrobusiness has been steadily pushing them off the land and into urban areas as permanent unemployables and lumpen proletarians, where they must survive by any means possible. Then too, with their traditional role as manual laborers being increasingly replaced by machines, the proletariat in the capitalist countries in also shrinking, and they too are pushed into a mass of permanent unemployables and lumpen.

So the only class, or sub-class, whose numbers are on the rise today are this bulk of marginalized largely urban people who don’t factor into the traditional roles of past struggles, with one exception. That being the struggle waged here in US the urban centers under the leadership of the original BPP, which designated itself a lumpen vanguard party. As such the BPP brought something entirely new and decisive to the table.

As the BPP’s theoretical leader, Huey P. Newton explained this changing social economic reality and accurately predicted their present development in his 1970 theory of “Revolutionary Intercommunalism,” and met the challenge of creating the type of party formation suited to meeting the new challenges of educating and organizing this growing social force for revolutionary struggle.

The BPP was able to create a model for developing institutions of dual and alternative political and economic power through its Serve the People programs creating the basis for transition of power to the marginalized under a revolutionary intercommunalist model instead of the traditional national socialist model.

The challenge in this situation where such work has been met with the most violent repression by bourgeois state forces is developing effective security forces right under their noses to protect the masses and their programs.

This is the work we in the NABPP are building on and seek to advance.


2. What has your experience of being a hyper-surveilled, incarcerated revolutionary taught you that is broadly applicable to the secure practice of revolutionaries in general

For one, the masses are our best and only real protection against repression. So in all the work we do, we must rely on and actively seek and win the support of the people, which is the basic Maoist method of doing political work and is what the imperialists themselves admit makes it the most effective and feared model of revolutionary struggle.

I’ve also learned that a lot of very important work fails because many people just don’t attempt it, due to policing themselves. Many fear pig repression and think any work that is effective must necessarily be done hidden out of sight, fearing as they do being seen by the state.

Essentially, they don’t know how to do aboveground work, and don’t recognize the importance of it, especially in these advanced countries. They think for work to be ‘revolutionary’ it must be underground and focused on armed struggle. And even those who do political work they stifle it by using an underground style which largely isolates them from the masses.

I think Huey P. Newton summed it up aptly when he stated,

“Many would-be revolutionaries work under the fallacious notion that the vanguard party should be a secret organization which the power structure knows nothing about, and that the masses know nothing about except for occasional letters that come their homes in the night. Underground parties cannot distribute leaflets announcing an underground meeting. Such contradictions and inconsistencies are not recognized by these so-called revolutionaries. They are, in fact, afraid of the very danger they are asking the people to confront. These so-called revolutionaries want the people to say what they themselves are afraid to say, to do what they themselves are afraid to do. That kind of revolutionary is a coward and a hypocrite. A true revolutionary realizes if he is sincere, death is imminent. The things he is saying and doing are extremely dangerous. Without this … realization, it is pointless to proceed as a revolutionary.

“If these impostors would investigate the history of revolution they would see that the vanguard group always starts out aboveground and is driven underground by the oppressor.”

3. Do you see it as a vulnerability to have our leaders organizing from prison? Some comrades refuse to engage in party/mass organizational work if it is conducted from prison. Don’t we sacrifice our best leadership if we don’t work directly/organizationally with our incarcerated leaders?

It can be a disadvantage, because it slows down development. But it is also an advantage, and our party is an example of this.

Historically, most revolutionary parties began on the outside and ended up targeted with repression, which included imprisonment of its cadre and supporters — fear of repression served as a deterrent for many would be revolutionaries as it was intended to do. For the NABPP, we developed in exactly the opposite direction. We began inside the prisons and are now transitioning to the outside.

Our cadre are getting out and hitting the ground going directly to work for the people. Look at our HQ in Newark, NJ where our chairman got out and has in less than a year led in developing a number of community STP programs, organizing mass protests that have shut down a prison construction project, given publicity and support to the people facing a crisis with lead in the water systems, etc.

So unlike the hothouse flower we’re already used to and steeled against state repression. The threat of prison doesn’t shake us — we’ve been there and done that. Like Huey asked, “Prison Where is Thy Victory?,” and John Sinclair of the original White Panther Party said, “prison ain’t shit to be afraid of.” And it was Malcolm X who was himself transformed into the great leader that he was inside prison who called prisons, “universities of the oppressed.”

All of my own work has been done from behind prison walls, and I have the state’s own reports and reactions of kicking me out of multiple state prison systems to attest to the value of what I’ve been able to contribute.

So, I think that, yes, some of our best leadership is definitely behind these walls.

Consider too that some of our best leaders developed inside prison: Malcolm X, George Jackson and Atiba Shanna aka James Yaki Sayles, for example. Which is something our party has factored into its strategy from day one. We’ve recognized the prisons to be potential revolutionary universities. Since our founding the NABPP has actively advanced the strategy of “transforming the prisons into schools of liberation,” of converting the lumpen (criminal) mentality into a revolutionary mentality.

In fact we can’t overlook remolding prisoners, because if we don’t, the enemy will appeal to and use them as forces of reaction against the revolutionary forces. Lenin, Mao and especially Frantz Fanon and the original BPP recognized this. What’s more, with the opposition’s ongoing strategy of mass imprisonment, massive numbers of our people have been swept up in these modern concentration camps. We must reach them with the politics of liberation. They are in fact a large part of our Party’s mass base.


4. How do you vet leadership and cadre? On what criteria to you make your judgement? Organizationally and personally.

Ideally this is determined by their ideological and political development and practice. But we expect and give space for people to make mistakes, although we also expect them to improve as they go. So we must be patient but also observe closely the correlation between their stated principles and their practice.


5. How should underground work relate to aboveground? How can the masses identify with the work of underground revolutionaries without compromising the security of the clandestine network?

Underground work serves different purposes and needs. One of which being to protect political cadre and train cadre to replace the fallen. Also to create a protective network and infrastructure for political workers forced to go to ground in the face of violent repression.

In whatever case the above ground forces should actively educate the masses on the role, function and purpose of underground actions while ensuring that the clandestine forces consist of the most disciplined and politically grounded people. It must also be understood that these elements do not replace the masses in their role as the forces that must seize power.


6. In your assessment, has the balance of forces between the police and the potential of revolutionary mass action fundamentally shifted over the past 5 decades? How does this affect our ability to form organs of political power among the masses?

What shifted, but I don’t think is generally recognized by many, is the PW theory is today too simplistic. Today we must organize and create base areas under the nose of the bourgeoisie with the growing concentration of marginalized people in impoverished urban settings. As I noted earlier the traditional mass base of rural peasants who feature in the PW strategy is shrinking. And Maoist forces in rural areas have been pushed to the furthest margins of those areas unable to expand.

There is little opportunity for New Democratic revolution in these countries, which calls for alliances with the native national bourgeoisie who are now being rendered obsolete by the rise and normalization of neocolonialism and virtual elimination of nation states.


Panther community service programs grow

PHOTO: Shaka Zulu launches NABPP-UPM Free Breakfast Program 102619
What do Panthers do when they’re released from prison? They serve the people! Shaka Zulu leads the launch of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-United Panther Movement Free Breakfast Program in Newark on Saturday, Oct. 26, by distributing bags of food to 150 families.

by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson

A key strategy of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP), from its inception, has been to empower the oppressed communities through the creation and growth of programs that serve the needs of the communities and build them into base areas of social, political and economic revolution.

Since beginning the transition from a prison-based organization to the outside and developing its headquarters in Newark, N.J., earlier this year, the NABPP and its mass organization, the United Panther Movement (UPM), have been steadily sinking roots in the oppressed communities and developing Serve the People programs.

Empower the Block

The earliest program, called Empower the Block, has brought Panthers and volunteers out on weekends to clean up trash and educate the people on the need and their independent power to clean up their neighborhoods which the system’s so-called sanitation service refuse to serve.

No Prison Fridays

The next initiative were weekly demonstrations called No Prison Fridays, which developed in response to a prison construction project slated for Newark’s inner city.

In only a few weeks, these Panther-initiated protests grew from involving less than a dozen participants to hundreds, and forced the New Jersey governor to cancel the construction project.

Black August Barbecue

Next came the Panthers’ Black August Barbecue, where NABPP and UPM comrades served the communities wholesome meals and political education through a free public barbecue commemorating Black August on Aug. 31, 2019.

Free water distribution and protests

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, where lead-tainted water was piped into the homes of Flint, Michigan’s poor communities, a similar crisis has surfaced in Newark.

About a year ago, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka went on record with lies projected against public suspicions, that there was no lead problem in Newark’s water, which was proven false by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who sued forcing the release of documents that showed lead contamination in Newark as bad or worse than in Flint.

A group called the Newark Water Commission (NWC) organized protests against the situation and the local government’s indifference and cover-ups. Several times Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose dismissed the protests as involving only people from outside Newark, which the Panthers openly contradicted.

On Aug. 23 the Newark water situation was protested at the MTV Video Music Awards held in Newark, where the Panthers helped mobilize hundreds of local demonstrators in collaboration with the NWC.

The Panthers then joined protests on Sept. 21 at the United Nations in New York, alongside Boriqua Resistance against the ongoing US colonization and occupation of Puerto Rico. At that demonstration the groups also called attention to the water situation in Newark.

On Oct. 3, the Panthers helped organize and joined protesters along with the NWC in disrupting Mayor Baraka’s Town Hall meeting. Chairman Shaka Sankofa Zulu of the NABPP directly confronted Public Safety Director Ambrose and was physically expelled along with other protesters by cops.

Two days later, on Oct. 5, Panthers distributed 250 free cases of water and free meals to Newark residents.

Free Food (Breakfast and Lunch) Program

But the Panthers’ most important program involves distributing free food through which it will conduct a free breakfast and lunch program. This program began Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.

At its Oct. 26 unveiling, the program distributed over 150 bags of groceries to people from Newark’s poor communities. Each bag contained fresh meats, tuna, assorted vegetables, bread, eggs etc. Also distributed were dozens of free cases of water and a number of large cardboard boxes of assorted packaged foods.

The program, staffed by Panthers and community volunteers, will continue to occur each Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and will serve free breakfast and lunch meals.

Free Busing to Prisons

The Panthers are also in the process of launching a Free Busing to Prisons program. This will provide members of the oppressed communities, which have been so terribly impacted and destabilized by mass imprisonment, free transportation to visit loved ones frequently imprisoned far away from the communities.


The role of the NABPP and UPM is not to merely criticize this system, nor simply tell the people that they are exploited, oppressed, played against each other, have unmet needs, and are lied to and manipulated against their own best interests in a thousand ways; nor, as the many opportunists and agents of the system do, to feed them false hope, or the lie that this is the best of all possible worlds; nor that their salvation can somehow be found in the very system that creates all their problems.

Our role instead, as our unfolding programs are setting the basis for, is to serve the people and demonstrate that through their own cooperation and collective power (as opposed to the individualism and competition which the system teaches) they can solve their own problems, meet their own needs, and ultimately free themselves from this exploitative, oppressive, racist order that enables a handful of scavengers to hoard and monopolize socially produced wealth and resources while everyone else suffers.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!

All Power to the People!

Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 264847, Pendleton Correctional Facility, G-20-2C, 4490 W. Reformatory Road, Pendleton, IN 46064.


The Ten Point Program and Platform – New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter

Black Panther Red Star


We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities.


We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the Amerikan businessmen will not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.


We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Amerikan racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people. Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.


We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that the people in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the people.


We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self. If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the world, then you will have little chance to know anything else.


We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced scientific and medical information, so we may provide ourselves with proper medical attention and care.


We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against Black people, other people of color and poor people inside the United States. We believe it is our right, therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed people should be armed for self-defense of our homes and communities against these fascist police forces.


We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars it is the right of the people to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.


We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions, because the masses of men and women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the victims of oppressive conditions which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice and freedom from imprisonment while awaiting trial.


When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

All members and potential members must study and memorize our Ten Point Program and Platform.

On Pan Afrikanism: Interview with Comrade Rashid by JR Valrey of Block Report Radio

“George and the Dragon,” drawn in 2016, is a favorite among Rashid’s enormous fan base.


Rashid: Let me begin with a general outline of what I’m aiming for in this interview. My focus is less on just criticizing the capitalist imperialist system and the innumerable miseries, horrors and conflicts it causes the majority of the world’s people. Instead, I want to propose solutions, and with a particular focus on the role that the political organization I aspire to see develop will play in this struggle. That organization being an intercommunal Black Panther Party, which will include Brown and White Panther formations as arms of the Party, based within all concentrations – especially urbanized – of oppressed and marginalized people the world over.

To this end I’m going to also address some of the erroneous ideas, influences and efforts that I feel have led past and present efforts astray and have held sway, often as a result of our continuing to make accommodations with this oppressive and exploitative system and adopting its values, which has molded our ways of doing things.

This may be the documentary Rashid refers to at the end of the section headed “The assassination of Qaddafi.” Please email if you watch it with your opinion as to whether it’s the right one and what you think of it.

In reality the ruling class’s main line of defense is not its police, military, prisons and courts but its ideological influences. It is all the more dangerous when these influences come to guide the movement from within. Independent of COINTELPRO-type countermeasures, those promoting such deviationism within the movement do the most damage; they sabotage and undermine the struggle – and intentions are quite irrelevant.

As Malcolm X observed, when you control the way people think, you control them. You don’t have to tell them to stay in a certain place or not to go beyond certain limits or not to engage with certain people or ideas; they’ll do it automatically. Similarly, Amilcar Cabral recognized that the most effective way to enslave or colonize a people is to infiltrate the enslaver’s values and ways of thinking into the cultural systems of the victimized peoples. Clearly, people across the world have been gripped by capitalist values, and these values have infected the thinking and struggles of those attempting to fight this very system. This needs to be repudiated, and without apology.

There have also been no shortage of critics of the system and those who excel at inciting mass disaffection and outrage, often provoking spontaneous outbursts which are short-lived and often contained and coopted by the enemy establishment. What’s been missing, and is most important, are strategic thinkers and ones with a broad view of the problem, its roots and how the pieces fit together. It goes back to Sun Tzu’s teachings that wars and battles are won or lost before they are even fought. Planning is key. And you’ve got to know who your enemy is and what his strengths and weaknesses are, as well as your own.

The next wave of revolutionary struggle must be organized and prepared. This is what I hope to contribute through this dialogue.

Pan Afrikanism and class struggle

Rashid has been in prison for a long time. When he first became known as an extraordinary thinker, writer and artist, the drawing on the left was his self-portrait, updated with the more recent self-portrait on the right in 2013.

JR Valrey: What is your definition of Pan Afrikanism and how do you deal with the class contradictions within Pan Afrikanism? Also, are you a disciple of W.E.B. DuBois and his talented tenth theory or do you follow the mass line of Marcus Garvey?

Rashid: My take on Pan Afrikanism (which is Revolutionary Pan Afrikanism) is that of a movement to unify Afrika’s people – those on the continent as well as throughout the Diaspora (and of all complexions). For me, this is a more concrete and practical movement than has been conceptualized by others. This Revolutionary Pan Afrikanism (RPA) has its roots, worldview and leadership based not in any elites (or any “Talented Tenth” concept), but rather in the world’s broad masses of exploited, marginalized and oppressed Afrikans – namely, the Afrikan proletariat, peasantry, lumpen, unemployables etc.

But RPA is not an end in itself, it’s a component part of a much larger struggle to not only break free of our living over a century under the yoke of imperialism, which has largely been imposed by Western Europe and Amerika (the “West”), but to completely eradicate this entire global system, which is a struggle that Afrika and her children cannot win alone.

This makes it a class struggle that must be rooted in the proletariat, which is the main exploited class and producer of social wealth under capitalism. The proletariat exists everywhere that capitalism thrives. As such, it has no nationality, no race, no gender etc., and is therefore truly global in its composition and worldview.

Everybody pretty much agrees that Black people were formed into a nation (a New Afrikan nation) in Amerika and that this nation is linked to its African origins. Where it breaks down is that it doesn’t fit the neat definitions on the national question of the past. The reality is more complex than orthodoxy will allow.

This is because New Afrikans are no longer principally a peasant nation tied to sharecropping cotton and are in fact a primarily proletarian nation centered in urban areas. This doesn’t necessarily “liquidate the national question in the U.S.,” but it does tie it more closely to the issue of proletarian revolution.

Instead of struggling to reconstitute the New Afrikan nation as a state in the Black Belt South, the original Black Panther Party correctly looked to New Afrikan self-determination in the communities where Black people were concentrated.

For many New Afrikan/Black nationalists the problem is how can Black people be a nation if they don’t have a significant land base.

As I’ve written in “Black Liberation in the 21st Century” in “Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson” (Montreal, Quebec: Kersplebedeb, 2015, pp. 200-201): “If we look at the New Afrikan Nation as being part of a greater Pan-Afrikan Nation, inclusive of the peoples of Afrika and the Afrikan Diaspora (as Malcolm X did) and this liberation struggle in the context of world proletarian socialist revolution, then we shall see the issue a bit differently. Then we can also see our struggle within the context of a future socialist Amerika that is multi-ethnic and a strong ally of the oppressed peoples internationally.

“The proletariat fundamentally has no country and seeks to create a world without boundaries or nation states. So to the proletariat, national liberation is not an end in itself but a stage to pass through on the road to World Communism. It is a stepping stone to greater unity and the ending of all oppression. In revolutionary socialist struggle, the principal class alliance has traditionally been that between the proletariat and the peasantry – the two major laboring classes – which is the meaning behind the symbol of the hammer and sickle.”

In the RPA context, the proletariat is largely concentrated in the Diaspora – in the West – where capitalism is most advanced and, not coincidentally, the very societies that have achieved the greatest concentrations of wealth and power exactly because of exploiting and robbing Afrika’s people and resources. On the other hand, the Afrikan peasantry, the least technologically developed class, is largely concentrated on the continent and “underdeveloped” Third World regions. Although there are substantial proletarian pockets across these areas, on account of pockets of developed industries – particularly those relocated from the imperialist centers to take advantage of cheaper labor, fewer environmental regulations, and lack of workers’ unions, protections and benefits. But the proletariat in these regions is a relatively “new” class.

The answer lies in bringing revolutionary Communist ideology to Afrika through a RPA movement. The Nation of Afrikans in Amerika and the West – New Afrikans, being predominantly proletarian in composition – must become the base of proletarian ideology and practice and an inspiration to the Afrikan peasantry.

This is an earlier riff, from 2004, on Rashid’s frequent focus on that most powerful of influencers behind bars, the revolutionary George Jackson.

At the same time New Afrikans must draw from Afrikans the conscious spiritual orientation of the tribal societies that is the source of communal values and Pan Afrikanism. We in the Diaspora must “return to the source” while those on the continent must learn the revolutionary science and the intercommunal and international outlook of the proletariat. The method of revolutionary China under Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s leadership and its peasant movement and struggle for socialism can be applied in an adaptive way.

We need to concentrate and blend the various strains of the Afrikan experience and our adaptations to the Diaspora and cross-cultural and economic exchange into a Pan Afrikan culture and consciousness and productive relations that are rooted in proletarian intercommunalism, internationalism and humanism.

Globally, the fastest growing sub-class is the lumpen proletariat, also the unemployable strata of the proletariat, who are concentrated in and around urban centers: ghettoes, barrios, favelas, shantytowns, refugee camps, tent cities and also prisons. Many of them are peasants displaced by poverty, capital intensive agribusiness, imperialist instigated violence, land theft and so on. These people have fled or been driven into these areas of mass concentration in search of work, safety and survival, much as we New Afrikans/Blacks in Amerika were driven and fled into the U.S. urban centers by racist violence and rural poverty.

These concentrations need revolutionary political organization and resources the most. They are the most desperate, resource deprived, marginalized and insecure.

They are also the least conscious and aware of the cause and nature of their conditions and are prone to the most reactionary and predacious social practices and methods of survival, and to enemy corruption. As such they are the social base of the Intercommunal BPP and United Panther Movement (UPM), which we aim to build everywhere that such people are concentrated, with the aim of politically organizing them, educating them, helping them to meet their own basic needs, and uniting them into a larger United Front Against Imperialism, Racism and Oppression.

We need RPA and Black Panther consciousness to provide Afrika a common language. Afrika needs to be united as a revolutionary socialist republic in order to summon her strength to develop her vast resources and hold her own against imperialist pirates.

A big problem and obstacle has been the “Balkanization” of Afrika and other Third World regions, or the establishment of “national” borders along the very same borders that were set up by the prior European colonizers that divided the continent and Third World into arbitrary zones without regard for the national communities they contained or cut across, and which prevented the unification and consolidation of Afrika’s people, land and resources. This has also been the case with all previously colonized people and is what RPA and building other Pan-blocs (for example, Pan Asian, Pan Amerikan, Pan European etc.) must counter.

One practical step in this direction would be to create a Pan Afrikan passport and get different countries to recognize it. Free travel between states would help break this down and stimulate a sense of unity. For New Afrikans in Europe and the U.S., a Pan Afrikan passport would strengthen our identification with Afrika and sense of independence from Western rule. It would inspire a cultural awakening similar to the era of Afrika’s anti-colonial struggles, which inspired our own liberation struggles in the West during that time.

The imperialist ruling class and its minions moved decisively to destroy that identification, using dual tactics. On the one hand they used repression (outright violence and prisons), and on the other hand they expanded the Black middle – or elite – class (the petty bourgeoisie), and promoted Black capitalism (using a handful of “success” cases) and the “Democratic coalition” as the pretended solution to our suffering – which has still not met our needs nor solved any of our problems, yet we continue to fall for their false promises.

Under proletarian leadership, this RPA and broader struggles aim to unite as many other strata as possible against the imperialist bourgeoisie, while remaining conscious that the interests of these various strata will at certain stages clash. Also, full agreement will often be impossible to achieve. Our aim is to organize the masses stage by stage around their common interests and needs.

Also, as Mao Tse-tung taught us, a matter of first importance is at each stage of revolutionary struggle to make a correct analysis of the class orientation and interests of each strata, to the end of determining who are the real friends and who are the real enemies of the revolutionary forces.

Of particular importance to this unity is our work to build revolutionary bases amongst the urban concentrations, because as Frantz Fanon and Comrade Huey P. Newton recognized, if this strata is not won over to the revolutionary camp, the imperialists will co-opt and use them as a weapon of violent reaction against the revolutionary forces.

But so long as we base ourselves within the masses and remain true to the revolutionary proletarian line, the class struggle will always favor the forces of revolution. This holds no less true in the RPA context.

These are the Serve the People programs Rashid praises in this interview. He urges their resurrection.

In fact, Amilcar Cabral, who was a Pan Afrikanist and Afrika’s foremost revolutionary nationalist theorist and leader, pointedly observed that disunity among Afrikans is really a reflection of divisions engendered by their elites. So the error has always been permitting the elite classes and their interests to lead society and social movements.

In Cabral’s own words: “There are no real conflicts between the peoples of Africa. There are only conflicts between their elites. When the people take power into their own hands, as they will with the march of events in this continent, there will remain no great obstacles to effective African solidarity.”

And he wasn’t speaking based on mere speculation or theory, but instead from the experience of leading one of Afrika’s most successful liberation struggles, in Guinea Bissau, where he was able to unite previously divided tribes (Foulas, Mandjaks, Balantes and others) into Afrika’s most formidable revolutionary nationalist struggle. Furthermore, he was able to turn the population and officers of his people’s own colonizers in Portugal against their own ruling class, which nearly caused a popular revolution there as well.

But Cabral was assassinated by Portuguese agents much too early in the stages of the budding Revolutionary Pan Afrikanism (RPA) struggle, which he was part of leading. And lack of a broad proletarian party leadership allowed the elites to seize power from the masses and reverse the course of all-Afrikan unity that Cabral aspired to set in motion.

I don’t think anyone has ever connected the idea that the Afrikan peasantry is there and the proletariat is here in the West, and therefore this is where the ideological center is. We have the resources to pull RPA together. And there’s no shortage of oppressed Black people. In fact our greatest strength is in numbers. We just lack a unifying vision.

According to recent UN tallies, of 43 “least developed” countries, 33 are in Afrika, with most of the rest in Asia and the Pacific. In 29 Afrikan countries, the percentage of people living on less than $2 per day increased from 82 percent in the late 1960s to 87.5 percent during the latter ‘90s. And the numbers living on less than $1 per day rose from 89.6 million to 235.5 million. More recently the figures have been around 300 million desperate poor Black Afrikans and another 200 million or so poor Blacks in the Diaspora.

We can develop a social base of dozens of millions of people. We can build a party of tens of thousands of active members and, if we spread it out, hundreds of thousands.

With a party and base this large, and linked together, RPA will become a living reality and we can effectively conquer divisive elitist class lines. In fact the Panther approach to organizing the masses to meet their own needs and develop revolutionary base areas right where they are – by means of Serve the People programs, where we live amongst them, learn from and teach them, and show them how to solve their own problems collectively – differs fundamentally from the elitist bourgeois approach of merely handing down crumbs as “charity” or “aid,” which only fosters dependence.

We’ve learned from the experience of the original BPP with its Serve the People (STP) programs, that when the pigs tried to turn the people against the Party and its STP programs, it backfired, and ended in fueling their disaffection and disillusionment with the establishment. So the system ended in having to make concessions to the people by implementing free school meals and expanding welfare – which they did in specific response to the BPP’s STP programs – and other free service programs. All of which have been substantially rolled back, making conditions ripe for a resurgence and expansion of STP programs within all the oppressed communities, especially across the impoverished Third World and Afrika.

Pan Afrikanism – successes and failures

JR: After the Afrikan independence movements, what have some of the highlights of the Pan Afrikan movement been?

Rashid: When viewed dispassionately, I think we cannot but agree with Comrade Huey P. Newton that Afrika’s national “independence” movements failed. Not a single one of Afrika’s previously colonized countries gained genuine liberation. Many are more exploited and destabilized now than when they were under colonial rule.

Not only did they form along the same old colonial borders, but every one of them continues to have their resources, land, labor power and overall productive forces dominated and robbed by the West, and now China and Russia are angling for a cut of the wealth. Not one Afrikan country controls its own economy, and the West has a free hand in “intervening” in their internal affairs on every level, especially militarily (which is what U.S. AFRICOM is doing in the interest of giving Amerika the imperialist advantage over the entire continent).

As Rashid says: “Not only did (Afrikan countries) form along the same old colonial borders, but every one of them continues to have their resources, land, labor power and overall productive forces dominated and robbed by the West, and now China and Russia are angling for a cut of the wealth. Not one Afrikan country controls its own economy.” This is a 2012 drawing.

In a 1966 speech he delivered in Havana, Cuba, titled, “The Weapon of Theory,” Amilcar Cabral pointed out that when a people’s productive forces remain dominated by foreign powers, they have not achieved national liberation. That having a flag, an anthem and an administration that merely looks like the native people does not make them a free nation.

The ability to develop their own productive forces free of foreign control is the determining factor of a people’s freedom. Again, none of the previous colonized peoples have won this. Yet, die hard nationalists today refuse to recognize this and that the world’s economies have now been so completely interwoven that no country can exist independently economically; they therefore cling dogmatically to a proven failed strategy.

In fact, these failures of the national liberation struggles, especially the continued Balkanization of Afrika under neo-colonial regimes, has fed the failures of Pan Afrikanism as a strategy. So in light of the nationalist failures, I certainly don’t see any real “highlights” in the Pan Afrikan movement. As said, during the era of those nationalist struggles, there was a strong subjective sense of Afrikan identification. But this passed, in particular because of the success of neo-colonialism, which undermined “liberation” by substituting the European colonizers with dark native faces, who continued to carry out the policies of the West as against their “own” people for a cut of the profits.

Often these were “dark faces in high places” that had been tutored by the West, so you ended up, as I pointed out early on, with folks who think like and share the values of their people’s enemy controlling their struggle. The same occurred here with more Blacks integrated into the middle class and established system, who were then used as proxies of the system to mislead and control the Black masses and “guide” their resistance against oppression into the system’s empty protest channels (the courts,  marches, voting and so on), which continues today. Also, the corrupt and incompetent rule that has prevailed in Afrika by the puppet and opportunist regimes propped up by the West, which has left their societies torn by strife, destabilized and impoverished, prompted our loss of pride in Afrika and a general sense of dissociation from anything Afrikan.

The genuine revolutionary lines and forces were also isolated, eliminated and replaced by various revisionist lines and puppets. So the West remained the controlling force across the continent, through the medium of native faces in power.

The OAU and a United States of Afrika

JR: Do you think it was a mistake for Kwame Nkrumah, Haile Selassie and the other fathers of the Organization of African Unity to create the transitional organization versus just creating the United States of Africa immediately? And what do you think of the year-long presidency of Robert Mugabe over the African Union?

Rashid: As for the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), both served as tools of the imperialists and their Afrikan puppets and opportunists to undermine genuine Afrikan liberation.

Through the UN, Amerika posed as an anti-colonial ally of the Afrikan people, calling on the Europeans to voluntarily give up their colonies. But it was a trick aimed to allow power to be handed over “peacefully” to Afrikan puppets and friendly assets who would continue to allow the West, especially Amerika, preferential access to Afrika’s wealth and resources.

In turn, these puppet regimes were allowed to join the UN – in purely nominal roles – as the “recognized” and “legitimate” rulers of the new neo-colonial Afrikan states. But all the while Amerika backed and supplied the Europeans and racist apartheid South Afrika in violently repressing the revolutionary struggles that refused to sell out to them, such as in Guinea Bissau, Angola and Mozambique.

This was why Frantz Fanon recognized that no regime that “accepted” a peaceful transition of power would be allowed to exercise genuine freedom and warned Kwame Nkrumah to not allow the British to “give” Ghana independence, but to “seize it.” But Nkrumah, who literally wrote the book exposing neo-colonialism, didn’t follow this sound advice; instead, he allowed Britain to give political power over to his own regime which had no mass base in Ghana.

The OAU was dominated by Afrikan puppets and opportunists who the West could continue to do business with. In fact, as a counter to all-Afrikan unity, they enacted into the OAU’s founding charter to maintain the old colonial borders as “inviolable” national borders. Nkrumah protested that those borders should be disregarded and that the OAU should be organized as an all-Afrikan organization, but he was outvoted. The OAU was a den of aspiring capitalists and degenerate bureaucrats prompted by self-interest at the expense of Afrika’s suffering masses. The African Union (AU) represents the same class interests today, and Mugabe was a bureaucratic bourgeois nationalist whose class interests as such coincide with the function of the OAU and now the AU.

Before he was overthrown as president of Ghana, in a CIA-orchestrated coup, Nkrumah exposed that the OAU’s so-called “liberation committee” had allocated more money to feather the nests of its staffers than it had given to the national liberation movements it was supposed to be helping to obtain arms and supplies with which to fight the colonial powers.

Like the cultural nationalism of the Panther era, which they called “pork chop nationalism” and which the pigs actively promoted against the revolutionary line of the BPP, and still promote today (then in the form of groups like Ron Karenga’s US organization and today in groups like the so-called New Black Panther Party), Pan Afrikanism as it exists within the advanced capitalist countries where it’s largely based is largely a cultural phenomenon. It principally takes the form of Afrikan “studies,” adopting, glorifying or imitating Afrikan-styled art forms (dance, dress, visual art, theater, names etc.), which contributes in no material way to our struggles to overcome our oppressed conditions, communalize our social relations, or unite Afrikans across lines of tribe, nation, religion, or between the Motherland and Diaspora.

In fact, there’s no real work to unite our terribly divided peoples here. This cultural identification with Afrikan art forms and symbology must be attended by a proletarian culture that will give us a truly global outlook.

The success of neo-colonialism in Afrika was and is also largely due to the failures of the liberation struggles to advance along the socialist path under proletarian leadership following the expulsion of the former colonial powers. The lack of a strong revolutionary proletariat, attended by a weak national bourgeoisie, made it easy to play on tribal divisions and corruptibility of the new regimes and political parties.

The revolutionary movements were besieged, isolated and forced to focus the limited resources of the new states inward to try and develop their economies to meet the basic needs of the society, while surrounded by puppet states and targeted by reactionaries and imperialist agents at every turn. Key revolutionary leaders were assassinated and replaced by their opposites.

Rashid’s 2014 depiction of Africom demonstrates what he said in this interview four years later. His perceptions are remarkably prescient and enduring.

The formation of the OAU, a den of aspiring bourgeois opportunists, facilitated this, which only could have been thwarted by uniting the revolutionary forces across the continent into an all-Afrikan Revolutionary Party and People’s Army, as Nkrumah proposed, but failed utterly to apply. Instead he joined the OAU.

Your question on forming the OAU versus immediately creating a United States of Afrika, I think must be looked at differently.

With what Nkrumah understood about neo-colonialism (as noted, he wrote the definitive breakdown of it, which prompted U.S. protest of the publication of his book in 1965 titled, “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism,” and a CIA-orchestrated coup that overthrew him the next year), and his call for a Pan Afrikan Revolutionary Communist Party and People’s Army, the major mistake was he did the exact opposite of much of what he knew and promoted.

Only after it was too late did he seem to recognize the gravity of his errors. Amilcar Cabral delivered a eulogy at his funeral, in which he told of Nkrumah’s confession to him that he’d made major mistakes and, if he had another chance, he would go about Afrikan liberation differently.

And it wasn’t a mere United States of Afrika that he envisioned but a socialist (not capitalist) continental republic, which I see as still the way forward. Indeed, it would be a Union of Soviet Afrikan Republics (USAR), which we in the Diaspora would also belong to. A Pan Afrikan nation. And it’s quite practical.

In fact, Afrikans in general should see the communities of Afrikans in the Diaspora – and especially in the imperialist countries – as their own, and their great ally in the struggle for Afrikan socialism and unity. Let me add that the West would be only too glad to see a United States of Afrika ruled over by a neo-colonial Afrikan bourgeoisie. This is what we see growing out of AFRICOM, which is deployed in most Afrikan countries and new bases are sprouting like weeds.

Amerika has coopted the concept of a United States of Afrika and is integrating it into its own “new world order.” As a comrade recently shared with me, there’s a U.S. of Afrika public group on Facebook with 38,000 members, right next to the U.S. Afrikan Development Foundation, a government agency created by Barack Obama that matches up U.S. investors with Afrikan entrepreneurs with ideas. Then there are two closed groups called United States of Africa, one with 75,377 members and the other with 15,401 members, and a Lovers of the African Union and the United States of Africa (13,278 members) and Yes We Can: United States of Africa (7,893 members).

The assassination of Qaddafi

JR: What do you think about the recent assassination of African Union leader and founder Muammar Qaddafi of Libya? How did the Pan Afrikan world respond? What do you think about the Pan Afrikan response to Qaddafi’s assassination?

Rashid: Muammar Qaddafi’s assassination was an important element of Amerika’s renewed designs to monopolize Afrika’s vast natural resources – its oil wealth in particular. Libya had Afrika’s only advanced and developed oil producing industry and it sits on an important strategic hub – right on the Mediterranean Sea where three continents join – from which Afrika’s raw wealth can be readily exported abroad to European and Asian markets, which is a key component of AFRICOM. As the late Robert Moeller, then deputy commander of AFRICOM, admitted in 2008, “Protecting the free flow of Africa’s natural resources to the global market is one of AFRICOM’s guiding principles.” Sometimes the imperialist forces are forthright about their aims.

Libya also gives the imperialists access to the whole interior region of Afrika – especially a whole swath of territory dividing North Afrika from Sub­ Saharan Afrika, which was early on designated by AFRICOM as “the terrorist zone” and includes large portions of Algeria and Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

They claim the local governments can’t protect these areas well enough to enforce the law – a common pretext for imperialist intervention or occupation. Through AFRICOM, however, they plan to use Afrikans to fight their wars and police their areas of interest. So of course there will be plenty of terrorist activity to justify this involvement.

Targeted are the nomadic Blacks and others trying to survive on barren land. And, of course, there is oil beneath the sand. Libya gives them access to this whole interior region for oil extraction on a massive scale. Qaddafi was an obstacle that had to be removed, and a destabilized Libya gives them the perfect pretext for their “counter-terrorist” presence and activity.

Now Qaddafi wasn’t exactly a liberator. He was a bourgeois nationalist who vacillated between pandering to the West, including by giving Italy, Libya’s old colonial ruler, increasing control over Libya’s oil industry – while spouting anti-Western rhetoric and posturing as opposed to the West – and granting some concessions to the Libyan people using the country’s oil wealth. Because he couldn’t outright betray the Libyan people and retain power and his anti-Western credentials, he was an obstacle to Western designs to completely dominate the region.

Qaddafi knew his days were numbered and toned down his anti-Western rhetoric considerably, especially under the George W. Bush years during which AFRICOM was first proposed, and he made considerable concessions to the West. He gave donations to the London School of Economics. He even adopted policies to repress Black Afrikans, contracting in 2010 with Italy to block their unwanted migration through Italy to Europe.

Remember, under George W. Bush, Libya went from a “terrorist state” to U.S. ally in its so-called war on terror, which opened the door for new contracts with U.S. oil corporations. And Qaddafi turned over part of the oil industry to private interests, changes for which he received praise from the imperialist International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2011.

But he wasn’t compliant enough, so he had to go. So the West stirred up internal unrest and disaffection in Libya and entreated Nouri Mesmari, Qaddafi’s chief of protocol, to defect to France in 2010. This same Mesmari gave up all Qaddafi’s military secrets and masterminded the Western airstrikes on Libya, which France led.

The Western media and politicians gloated over his savage murder, which was broadcast around the globe – he was shot point blank in the head and had a dagger shoved into his rectum. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Libya and pronounced to the media with a grin, “We came, we saw, he died.”

As far as any Pan Afrikan response, I’ve read of a range of criticisms and expressions of outrage, but that’s about it. I’m sure other Afrikan and Third World leaders and rulers saw themselves as potentially in Qaddafi’s shoes. No Afrikan country has resisted AFRICOM’s tentacles spreading across the continent following Qaddafi’s assassination and Libya’s literal destruction and descent into violent chaos. Everyone knew Amerika’s intentions in Libya, as Obama persistently announced that Qaddafi “must go.”

So I know of no substantial “response” of the Pan Afrikan world to either Qaddafi’s murder nor AFRICOM.

On what we can see in the development of AFRICOM, I should share comments shared by a comrade about a good YouTube documentary on Sierra Leone that started with the 1980s and followed the history of protest, civil war and imperialist (European) intervention right up until they lured the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leadership into the government and then massacred them.

Meanwhile, the masses were butchered, maimed and left homeless and starving while their rich natural resources are still being exploited by the U.S.-European capitalist-imperialists. A horrible tragedy from beginning to end, as horrible as colonialism.

You could see the seeds of the AFRICOM strategy germinating in the Sierra Leone civil war and intervention, he said. You could also see the need for an All-Afrikan People’s Liberation Army to counter this strategy and for a United Panther Movement based in the urban oppressed communities.

The mass poverty and dire needs of the oppressed masses in Afrika call for basic survival programs.

Pan Afrikan contributors

JR: We must always remember our ancestors and we must contribute to the Pan Afrikanist struggle for self-determination today. Who are some of the modern-day practitioners and theoreticians of Pan Afrikanism that you respect? Why do you respect them? What Pan Afrikanist organizations do you support and why?

Rashid: As far as those Pan Afrikan theorists and practitioners who’ve made an impression on me, most were historical figures. Comrades like W.E.B. DuBois, Nkrumah, Hubert Harrison, Patrice Lumumba, Robert Sobukwe, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Cabral and others. These were not people who only elaborated a Pan Afrikan line, but they also struggled in more than nominal ways to unite Afrikan people, although all made errors.

Today I know of no Pan Afrikan theorists with any real plan of action, although some may have some good educational and agitational work. One group I can name is the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), led by Chair Omali Yeshitela. I believe the Dead Prez rap group follow him. But I take issue with his Pan Afrikan theory. I see a major ideological flaw in this party’s line.

They’ve expressed: “As opposed to Marxism, our party adheres to the philosophy of Yeshitelism, also called African Internationalism, which recognizes that the fundamental contradiction in the world is not between white workers and bosses, but between oppressed and oppressor nations. It is colonialism not capitalism. We understand that the destruction of imperialism will come, not from white workers overthrowing their capitalist bosses, but from the national liberation of Africans and all other colonized peoples whose oppression makes up the pedestal that the whole capitalist edifice – including the relationship between white workers and white bosses – rests upon.”

This is a case of “right church wrong pew.” First of all, the fundamental contradiction is between the socialized nature of production and the private ownership of the means of production. That’s basic socialist theory.

Who ever said it was between white workers and white bosses? Certainly not Marx. And what is colonialism but capitalism?

If capitalism isn’t overthrown in the imperialist countries, how will their colonies break free of neo-colonialism? In fact, this whole line of argument tends to support neo-colonialism as “independence.” As if putting Black faces in high places is the solution. I can see how this might have sounded credible decades ago, before we’d seen the effects and designs of neo-colonialism. But today we can clearly see it is supportive of imperialism and catastrophic for Afrikan peoples.

I think Omali Yeshitela is stuck with having put his name on a half-baked theory. The idea of Pan Afrikan unity is good, but the other half of the equation is revolution in the imperialist countries and alas, dealing with them white workers – and Black, Asian and Arab capitalists too. Uh oh! Back to Marxism again!

I think the APSP has done some good work in bringing Pan Afrikan awareness to their social base in St. Petersburg, Florida, where their organization is based. But, like other Pan Afrikanists I know of, they have no strategy for making revolution, which reduces the role of Black revolutionaries to being a cheering section for Third World revolutionaries.

In other places, South Afrika for example, I like some of what I’ve heard about efforts to revive Pan Afrikanism of the earlier mode. Like the Pan African Congress-New Road faction. Originally the PAC was founded in the late 1950s by Robert Sobukwe, as a split from the African National Congress. Sobukwe was a Pan Afrikanist who later embraced Maoism while in prison. While the present leadership is opportunist and revisionist, the New Road faction is trying to take the PAC back to its roots.

On reparations

Rashid often ends his letters to comrades with “Panther Love.” All of the themes in this 2006 drawing are included in that salutation.

JR: What do you think about the Pan Afrikan struggle in the Caribbean unifying for the cause of reparations?

Rashid: As for Caribbeans uniting for reparations, I find any appeal to the imperialists for reparations to be erroneous.

As already noted, Frantz Fanon warned not to allow them to give you anything, and Nkrumah realized his own error in not heeding this advice, but far too late. Likewise, Sun Tzu warned that anything your enemy gives you will be used against you and to never take what he offers you. He didn’t even mention begging your enemy for reparations. It’s too ridiculous to merit contemplation really. The BPP took Fanon’s and Sun Tzu’s teachings to heart and stood out for its emphasis on self-reliance and building people’s power through its Serve the People Community Survival programs – and not as a bargaining chip but to prepare for revolution.

In explaining the concept of “revolutionary suicide,” BPP co-founder Huey P. Newton observed, in his autobiography of the same name, that poverty is not a vice, but a condition of denial caused by a reactionary system that would kill its victims. In this he drew a distinction between the beggar and the poor man.

The beggar (in this instance one who would plead for reparations) has lost his dignity and self-respect, having been reduced by fear and despair to self-murder, spiritual death – reactionary suicide. Whereas the poor man who has not given up his dignity, hope and desire to live can achieve the highest nobility by, instead of begging, rising up to take his rightful due (the right to be free, the right to live). So, while the disgraced beggar can be swept out with the broom, the poor man in fighting to change an intolerable condition must be driven out with a stick.

And any reparations money wouldn’t be free of course. Just as the money poured into the ghettoes after the uprisings of the 1960s and the BPP era wasn’t “free cheese.” Like the “aid” offered to the former colonies was dollar colonialism meant to enslave not liberate. Begging for reparations is simply volunteering for this subjugation. But of course, “progressive” minded people have always said, “We can do good things with this.” And they still come begging. If mice could talk, would they not ask for cheese. Slaves get food – but not for nothing.

How often have we heard progressive minded people condemn Mao for the period of belt-tightening during the Great Leap Forward, when all they had to do to get through the lean years and receive food aid was beg the U.S. or back off exposing Nikita Khrushchev as a capitalist turncoat?

But of all the former colonies, who made it to carry out socialist revolution? China did.

By the end of the Great Leap Forward, China was self-sufficient in food production and well on its way to industrializing and building socialism without Russian aid, U.S. aid or anybody’s aid. Mao was an ardent student of Sun Tzu, and it paid off. As Comrade Jalil Muntaqim said, “We must be our own liberators” – and each other’s.

What does “reparations” mean? Nothing more than to compensate, to make amends. How can any of the imperialist countries and their corporate controllers compensate or make amends with any oppressed peoples – Blacks in particular – for past crimes? Especially when those crimes continue today under more advanced and sophisticated but equally (often more) brutal forms, and on a global scale.

To accept compensation for past crimes in the form of wealth gained from those and continuing corporate crimes not only legitimizes today’s imperialism and its ongoing genocides, enslavements, marginalizations and impoverishments of masses of oppressed peoples, but it absolves the past that put imperialism in the saddle.

Our objective should be revolution, to overthrow this entire global criminal system, not make accommodations and amends with it by accepting its blood money. This is a duty we owe to those who suffered yesterday, to those enslaved and plundered of their land, lives and resources today and to tomorrow’s generations so they will not also suffer under racist imperialism.

Separating all ties to imperialism and destroying it will liberate the entire globe. The West defeated the independence struggles across Afrika and the Third World through training, organizing and advising counter-revolutionary Third World administrations and armies, using corporate blood money under the guise of economic aid.

So imperialism has already been paying off so-called “representatives” of the oppressed peoples on a global scale as part of its business as usual. That “aid” has led to no revolutions, rather it has served the goals of counter-revolution and preserving imperialism.

Take for example too the “reparations” paid by Germany to the Jews for its role in the Jewish Holocaust and the fact that Amerika pays out billions of dollars annually to the Jewish state. Those payments have not toppled German imperialism nor won revolutionary gains for the Jewish working class, dark skinned (Sephardic, Ethiopian and other) Jews and Arabs inside Israel against the neo-colonial Jewish bourgeoisie.

In fact, those concessions paid out in the name of “reparations” have created fascist Zionist hegemony in the Middle East, centered in a modern apartheid state that practices open racism against Arabs and Afrikans within Israel and genocide, displacement and land theft against those outside of Israel. A duplication of Amerika’s own historical and continuing policies against Native Americans.

The emphasis should be on Serve the People programs and self-sufficiency and not reparations and dependence, although the latter can be used as part of the argument for the people and charitable organizations (not the ruling classes, governments and corporations) of the imperialist countries to contribute to the Serve the People programs.

It is important that revolutionaries put forward a correct ideological and political line. On the issue of reparations, it is a wrong and backward line that runs counter to any suffering people’s liberation and must be repudiated.

JR: What is the role of Pan Afrikanism in the prison movement, and at what age do you think it is appropriate to introduce children to Pan Afrikanism?

Rashid: The prisons are like Malcolm X observed, “universities of the oppressed.” Typically, they teach one how to become professional criminals; this is their actual function under the system, not “rehabilitation.”  We must conversely use them to teach the oppressed to become professional revolutionaries, which the Revolutionary Pan Afrikanism (RPA) teachings will facilitate. The prisons must become our schools of liberation.

And this so the ideology and strategy will flow onto the street and to the youth with nothing to lose and a world to win. Over 85 percent of those in prison will return to society at some point. Infused with RPA values, they can return to build, uplift and serve their communities instead of returning with criminal values and behaviors. It will also give them a sense of purpose, pride and confidence in themselves and their power to win and rebuild the world along the lines of Revolutionary Intercommunalism.

Nine-tenths of our problem is false conditioning – a psychological and an historically ingrained inferiority complex and self-hate caused by submission to slavery and colonialism – the destruction and substitution of culture. To shake this off is to awaken the Black Dragon.

The latent power of the Black masses and the rest of the world’s oppressed is truly awesome. This power needs direction, organization and leadership. This is what RPA will give and the role of the Panther. Afrikan people the world over can be powerful standard-bearers for world proletarian revolution and the overthrow of capitalist imperialism. We must reeducate them with these values.

The youth are the inheritors and builders of the future. As such it is imperative that they be taught from the earliest ages the values and lessons of RPA. It could be no other way. Again, quoting Malcolm X, “Only a fool would allow their enemy to teach their children.” The world’s condition is what it is, because of the lies we’ve been taught for generations under slavery and colonialism. We must not allow another generation to fall victim to imperialist lies.

To illuminate the path forward and give hope to the hopeless and courage to the slaves … that is our mission!

Dare to Struggle! Dare to Win!

All Power to the People!