First, let's reaffirm that we are 100% supportive of Kaepernick's effort. We realize that he is a professional athlete who is operating based on the information he has. In other words, he's not an organizer for justice so we wouldn't expect him to have the type of developed analysis of the capitalist system and its institutions that we would like to see. Actually, if you are reading this, then you probably already understand that providing that analysis is our job.
We understand that the capitalist system is always organized and that the masses of people are not organized. We also understand that the weapon of the oppressed is organization, meaning until we achieve it, we will continue to suffer. Capitalism - meaning in this case the multi-national corporate media structures - realizes that its job is to confuse the masses of people all of the time. They have to do this because they are declining in power everyday. In fact, the only real weapon they have left is their ability to shape public perception. So, they keep the people confused about socialism and every other concept that can help the people. They have many tricks they use, but one of their best is to convince the people that even in the course of protesting against the injustices of the capitalist system, you must always see yourself as expressing your discontent only within the confines of the system. So, if we protest, we must see that as us exercising our "constitutional rights as citizens." If we protest, we must see it as "using the freedoms provided to us by those who serve in the armed forces." What this approach accomplishes, in the most subtle way, is that no matter how militant we get, even refusing to recognize their national anthem, our ability to do so only exists because of what that national anthem supposedly represents. If we believe that, then we are effectively contained from ever seeing anything outside the context provided to us by our enemies and that is precisely their plan.
The job of revolutionaries is to raise the critical questions, so let's do that. Malcolm X said correctly in his historic speech "The Ballot or the Bullet" that the rights you allegedly possess aren't worth the paper they are written on. As he put it "if the civil rights legislation meant anything, you wouldn't need to have it. You wouldn't need to have had more than one passed. The truth is you don't have any rights under this system." The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) is clear proof that we have no constitutional rights. So many of our people have been killed and imprisoned just for standing up against injustice. You are either asleep, confused, or missing your medication dose if you believe we have "the right to free speech." If this is true, how do you explain Fred Hampton, Geronimo Ji Jaga, Ana Mae Pictoh Aquash, Leonard Peltier, Mutulu Shakur, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Malcolm X, Thomas Sankara, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, Sekou Odinga, George Jackson, Assata Shakur, W.E.B. DuBois, Shirley Graham DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, Kwame Ture, Marilyn Buck, the Black Panther Party, and hundreds of thousands of African liberation fighters everywhere who were persecuted, locked up on trumped up charges, and murdered, just for telling the truth. The charges brought against those who were imprisoned were carried out based on evidence so flimsy it wouldn't stand up in Judge Judy's courtroom. For those who were murdered, the truths have all been sorted out and the culprits identified and confirmed. And the ones who's personal character and work were disparaged and attacked have all been cleared of any wrong doing by anyone who has done even cursory research. The common denominator? These people had the capacity to stand up, speak out, and work for justice for our people and humanity. And there are literally thousands upon thousands of Africans who have suffered because of their commitment to justice. No different than the scores of Africans who are being brutalized and murdered by terrorist police for no reason other than being African. As the 1857 Dred Scott decision declared "(Africans) have no rights the state is obligated to protect." So, clearly, this fantasy that we have constitutional rights is nothing more than wishful thinking on behalf of our people and subliminal suggestion on the part of the capitalist system.
As for the military, we simply ask anyone to define for us how anything the U.S. military is doing in any country anywhere is making us freer? I remember being a boy during the Vietnam War and hearing this lame propaganda back in the early 1970s. "They are fighting for our freedom against communism!" I was a little inner city boy fighting against racism and class oppression. As Muhammad Ali famously said, the Vietnamese had nothing to do with my problems and certainly, the ability to defeat them had nothing to do with my freedom. I understood this as a little boy so I'm sure adults today really know how silly this concept is. During World War II, African soldiers were prohibited from entering the European (White) U.S. soldier's mess halls in Europe unless they were cleaning up for them. Meanwhile, the captured German e.g. Nazi troops were permitted to eat with the White soldiers. This was U.S. military policy designed to honor U.S. racial segregation laws. So, this illustrated the very real and ill refutable contradiction where Africans were expected to go overseas and fight and die for a so-called freedom that they didn't even possess here in the U.S.! You can fast forward to 2016 and the same argument and conditions still exist. The war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever else U.S. imperialism decides to go have absolutely nothing to do with providing any freedom for anybody anywhere. These war efforts have always been and will always be about one thing - protecting the economic interests of the capitalist system. Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) received a no bid contract (although federal law is supposed to require a bidding process) to perform clean up in Iraq and Afghanistan. They made millions from this contract just as they did in the Gulf Coast performing the same services after Hurricane Katrina flooding. Its no wonder this company, which had affiliations to Haliburton of which then Vice President Dick Cheney was a past board member, was able to make such a killing. They charged a rate of $20.00 per square inch of clean up when the going rate is $2.00 per square inch. The weapons manufacturers and defense contractors like Dow Chemical and McDonald Douglass made millions off of these war efforts. And certainly, we cannot forget the massive oil companies like Chevron, British Petroleum, etc., who worked directly and indirectly for years to push for the construction of the Casperian Pipeline through the former Soviet Union territories. The Taliban was the final impediment to this pipeline being built and although they are projected today as being such an evil enemy of the U.S., no one can dispute that their leader Omah Mullah, was invited, and traveled to the Bush family home in Campbell, Texas, in 1997. Why? Certainly to attempt to negotiate a way to build that oil pipeline. Most likely, an agreement was not reached and this paved the way for 9/11, the myth of Osama bin Laden, and a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan for going on 20 years.
The sad and undeniable truth is that those who serve in the U.S. military are there to serve the interests of multi-national corporations. Freedom for any people has absolutely nothing to do with why those people are sent to all these countries to fight and more and more of them are realizing that. This is why abandonment of service - called going AWOL - has increased dramatically. Its also why U.S. vets are committing suicide at unprecedented rates. Instead of lying to these young people to pimp them out for capitalism, what they should be told is that they are being used for a corporate agenda and that no one really cares about them or what happens to them. If this was true, support for them would extend much further than a stupid bumper sticker. There are so many of them standing on freeway off ramps it is not hard at all for anyone who really wanted to support them to do so. You may be fooling each other, but you are not fooling us.
I'll go a step farther and say if we are going to honor people for fighting in the U.S. military, then we should start honoring people who participate in gang activity. When you break it down, it's really the exact same thing. People who are trained to fight against an enemy targeting their territory. Its the perception of enemy that matters right? At least that's what we are told. So, whether its a fly by, or a drive by, let's honor them for killing and terrorizing because the terrorism that the U.S. military has carried out makes all the gang violence balled up into one incident look like absolutely nothing. And you can bring as many old pimped out war vets to talk to the youth that you want, you are not going to be able to confuse them forever. The U.S. military is simply an instrument for oppression in order to maintain imperialism. This institution shouldn't be honored. It should be dismantled. And my ability to protest against this backward system has absolutely nothing to do with the military or any imperialist institution. I illustrated earlier that our people have protested at a great price so if I can speak out today, I will give honor to our soldiers for justice. People like the Democratic Part of Guinea. Black Panther Party. Republic of New Afrika. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Those are my troops and everything I give honor to will go to them.
Soon, we will have the capacity to educate well meaning people like Colin Kaepernick about this reality. He is able to protest because of the glorious history of struggle for African liberation and it's that legacy that he is benefiting from. We are the people who have had to shed blood to vote, go to school, live where we wanted, and even catch a filthy bus. If we know that history, we can never be confused into thinking we have "rights" and that we need to thank any imperialist institution for anything we have. Remember that when we protest, it is the U.S. military, in the form of the National Guard, that is always dispatched to repress us. But, these are things we will bring to the light as time goes by. The capitalist system surely knows this. We have even come to the point where Kaepernick's protest has exposed the real legacy of racism and oppression that the so-called national anthem really represents. The fact that most people who live in this country had no idea about the real lyrics of that stupid song before the last couple of days, and we all have been singing that song our entire lives, for hundreds of years, that tells us all we need to know about how closer we are getting to victory.