Although its incredible to comprehend in 2019, even with over 500 years of practical experience telling us otherwise, many African people living in settler colonies like the U.S., Canada, Azania (South Africa), etc., still have faith that we can fit a square peg in a round hole. That we can find some way to function within these capitalist societies free from white supremacy and oppression.
When people talk about "art" most primarily think of music, dance, painting, drawing, sculpturing, etc. For some odd reason, writing fiction is often overlooked as art although it meets all the criteria of all the other art genres. Its creative and it reflects the vision, ideas, statements, hopes, and aspirations of the persons producing it. Or maybe, my impression of how people see written fiction is colored by the people I come in contact with who may just not reflect the literary fiction reading public. I don't know about that, but I do know that these days are extremely stressful ones.
This past weekend, we learned the sad news that our young brother comrade from our All African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) New York, U.S., chapter, had suddenly made his physical transition. Steve Deslouches - who we called "Steevie" - a mere 26 years old, was gone.
I first met Steevie in May of 2015 at our annual African Liberation Day commemoration observed in Washington D.C., U.S. I was working to help build our Oregon A-APRP chapter at the time, but I was asked to go out to D.C., and Philadelphia, and serve as our keynote speaker for both African Liberation Day programs in each of those cities. Steevie came up to me after my presentation to express his excitement at the information contained in it and the passion in which he felt it was delivered. I was equally impressed by the fact he had caught a train from New York just to come down to the program by himself. I also joked with him that his physical appearance and demeanor reminded me of long time A-APRP Central Committee member Macheo Shabaka - who ironically, we also lost in July of 2018.
One of the principle rules I've learned about successful organizing over the years is the absolute importance of follow up. This is a minor, yet critically important element, that is missing from most work. I've always viewed revolutionary organizing within a hostile capitalist society as a struggle of gaining any and every advantage that you can. Consequently, I've always tried to pay special attention to follow up. What I've learned from this focus is most of time when you collect people's contact information, which I often do, and follow up with them, regardless of your efforts, you most often never connect with them again. My belief is the reason for this is most people are ready to complain and/or pontificate about our problems, but very few people are actually ready to consistently engage to do anything about our problems. That's why I was so impressed with Steevie after that African Liberation Day program when he beat me by reaching out to me first. We talked, mostly electronically, throughout that summer. He often had questions about my writings on this blog. He wanted me to refer books to him. He had questions about how to go about organizing the A-APRP in New York City.
In October of that same year, I saw Steevie again at the Million Man March event in Washington D.C. There were about 10 brothers there from the A-APRP from various chapters throughout the U.S. We met that morning and spent that entire day passing out or organizing materials and having conversations with thousands of our people. It was a great day and I recall spending hours on our feet working with Brother Steevie and the other young organizers.
After the Million Man March Steevie and I continued to stay in contact. We would talk every month or so. Eventually, he began to open up to me some, articulating some of the personal struggles he was battling with. He was very forthright and honest about his challenges which was refreshing in this day and time when truth and justice are so often completely divorced from day to day reality. I'm no expert on much of what he shared with me, but he expressed that he wanted to continue to hear from me the things that inspired me to do this work. How I continued to overcome the negativity. How I managed to stay positive about the work and my own personal walk through life in a backward society. I tried my best to give him what he wanted.
The last couple of times I talked to Steevie, a few months ago, we talked for quite some time. He was actively working on a plan for himself and I encouraged him to do whatever he needed to do to move forward. I was always impressed with his honesty and willingness to listen to those around him. To me, he represented the exact potential we have within our young people to rise up and overcome the oppression we experience. Here was a young person who was so committed to seeing things improve for us. A person who was willing to struggle to better themselves to be in the best position to make their best contribution. A person who wanted to take advantage of every resource around them to help them on their journey. I was honored that Steevie felt I could in some way enhance his efforts.
When a tragedy like this happens, without any details (because I don't have any), the normal response is to wonder if we have somehow failed this person who succumbed and thinking that makes us sad. It's making me sad, but as I've thought about Steevie all weekend, I've come to a different analysis of this unfortunate situation. The stark reality is that this system has always, and will always, come to destroy our people. Its working to destroy everyone, but the African masses will always represent the most serious threat to capitalism simply because that entire system is based on our oppression not just in one part of the world, but throughout the entire planet. There are no people more widespread on Earth then we Africans and our systemic oppression is the exact reason why this is so. The capitalist system attacks us physically by using state institutions to repress us e.g. police, social services, prisons, etc. It attacks us other ways physically by confining us to the slave diet that is causing our health epidemics worldwide. And, it attacks us psychologically by treating us as if we are less than human. For many people, this becomes more than they can handle. This is why its so very important that a central core of our work is always to reaffirm the humanity of our people and of all of the world's populations.
I'm heartbroken about losing Steevie. I'm heartbroken about all of the loss of life that could be avoided, but I'm going to use this to encourage myself to continue to remember my humanity and your humanity, because this humanity is our best weapon against the forces that are trying to destroy us. I didn't know Steevie very long, but I'm going to tell myself that this is how he would wish us to honor him going forward.
This precious African child - seven year old Jazmine Barnes - was murdered Sunday by some deranged European. He pulled the trigger, but the problem, and the solution, is bigger than just reacting to this tragic individual act. Its time for us to get organized to stop this madness once and for all. And, if you don't think we can, then you are unwittingly a part of the problem.
Like most of you, I'm absolutely outraged by the news that some infected European roach shot and killed an African baby. That another human spit wad kicked a one year old African baby. That even another piece of horse manure grabbed an African femme youth working at a capitalist fast food restaurant. And, all of this within the last week or so. Of course, this type of terrorism happens against our people daily and has been happening to us for centuries (for those of you who wish to reduce this to just the result of the present idiot in D.C. All his election has done is release the toxins that already flow in this backward society).
In this world dominated by the economics of capitalism, where profit supersedes the importance of people's needs, we have all had it drilled into us for the last 100 years that socialism is a bad thing. We can easily use the word "drilled" because all one has to do is ask for a comprehensive definition of socialism to find out the people who say they oppose it find it extremely difficult to provide anything that could even pose as a definition for what socialism truly is. And, we hear the constant data proclaiming that people read more in 2019 than ever, but those statistics don't explain the quality of material being read. In other words, a person taking those reading surveys can count a dime store romance novel as reading a book as much as a comprehensive analysis and history of socialist movements. What I'm saying is you don't see people everyday reading about socialism, yet the degree and passion people have in talking about it would suggest otherwise. In response to that contradiction, what we wish to do here is challenge that dilemma.
Everyday, everywhere on Earth, somebody European is coming into spaces with African people (or Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, etc) to express their perspective that nationalism is a primitive form of human consciousness. Even most of these people who claim to support national liberation for colonized people still see any semblance of national identity as reactionary and contrary to forward human progress.
I don't celebrate Christmas. I'm not a Christian. I'm not a Muslim, or Jew, or a practitioner of any organized form of spiritual worship. Christmas in industrialized capitalist countries, of course, has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus beyond the name meaning a Mass for Christ, or the birth of Christ. The capitalists wanted to make this holiday so much about spending your hard earned money with them that they even organized to make the holiday commemorated on December 25th, the end of the year, despite overwhelming evidence that Jesus wasn't born anytime close to December. What this month does do for capitalists is provide the largest shopping environment at the end of the calendar year, providing capitalism with a dependable revenue boost at the end of the year.
There's no shortage of ignorance in any capitalist society. And, since this country is the center of world capitalism, its stands to reason that despite the undeniable reality that information is everywhere around us, ignorance is the standard in this society. Actually, ignorance is actually celebrated here. I'll give an example. Whenever I've spoken and/or written about the topic of our LBGTQ communities, I've received simple questions from the most simple minded among us asking and/or "accusing" me of being gay. Although I do think that is a very stupid way to respond to any type of analysis, I'm not offended when that happens because I've spent my entire life working for unity among African people. And, when I say working for it, I mean making sacrifices, suffering the worse type of disrespect, and many, many other things most of you will never have any idea about. I and others choose this path because we are committed to making contributions towards alleviating the oppression our people experience. Our commitment has led us to take studying our circumstances very seriously, That study and that work have helped us develop a very selfless approach to everything that we do. Its definitely not perfect, but its without question a consistent effort.
Wait for it. Are you ready? Its not Nelson Mandela. Certainly, its not some silly answer like Barack Obama. Not even close. Of course, we don't claim to have done a formal survey on this. We haven't conducted a scientific experiment on this question. Our assessment is going to be entirely based on our understanding of African politics over the 25 year period in question and informal discussions with Africans everywhere.