Within the predominantly adrenaline fueled, individualist, adventure/activist culture that is dominant in many sectors of the Oregon, and especially Portland, activist scene, the approach ROP and the A-APRP take towards organizing, as opposed to mobilizing, is not well understood and/or respected, yet. Still, ROPs work is fast becoming a primary target of the forces of reaction and white nationalism. The forces of white supremacy and violence. Those backward forces have targeted ROP for some time now in efforts to intimidate individual and collective ROP activist work and existence. So, when the ROP staff asked for support in providing security at their weekend Annual Caucus meeting in Bend, Oregon, we of course didn't hesitate to say we would support. In spite of the fact our schedule is extremely full, we immediately made adjustments to make being there a priority. Three of us ventured down to Bend on Friday night. An African, an Asian, and a non cis European. Of course, we were greeted with the welcome to town stares the minute we walked in the Deschutes Brewery on Friday night in downtown Bend, but we didn't pay it much mind. We were focused on our security plan for the weekend, which we continued to discuss over dinner.
For the next two days, the three of us carried out that plan in two different locations. While the over 100 most White delegates for the meeting met, had workshops, engaged in discussions, and made plans for how they would organize to combat white supremacy, us three primarily non-European persons patrolled the outside grounds of the buildings, stopped unregistered persons from entering, and stayed alert for any challenge to the people's right to engage in their work. Several times throughout the weekend, the conference participants passed us at the entrances/exits, or throughout the buildings, and they would say things like "you must be bored. Nothing is happening. You had an easy time of it fortunately." From the standpoint of most who are not in tune with the realities and danger of white nationalist terrorism, its not difficult to understand how they would perceive us being idle and not having much to do all weekend. For us, we were constantly alert. Every sound, movement, activity, that took place we documented, investigated, and made sure no threat was present. We may not have seem engaged to the untrained eye, but we were very engaged. So much to the point that everything people came to point out to us we had identified long before they did. On the ride back to Portland yesterday, the three of us discussed how exhausted we were from a weekend of being "on" the entire time. We pledged to place our bodies on the line if any threat arose and we were/are committed to doing that so there was no rest. Even if we appeared to be resting, it may have been happening on some level physically, but mentally, the focus remained sharp for the entire weekend. In fact, I choose to believe our diligence and presence is a major reason why nothing happened.
Many people may wonder why a Pan-Africanist revolutionary would see the necessity of providing security for Europeans/White people? The answer is because I respect and support the work groups like ROP is doing. For people that criticize that work, they are certainly people who are not engaged in organizing work because anyone who is, has to recognize the importance of this work. Of the people assembled this weekend, they had senior activists, youth, LGBTQ, women. They had Bernie supporters, anarchists, and socialists. And if I would have wondered why I was there, all I had to do was listen to the wonderful workshop presenter they had from Kentucky who spoke of the need for White people to heed the vision of Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) when he told White people in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee as early as 1962 to start working to organize their people in their communities. It was also enriching to hear the delegates state all weekend that they must educate the White masses about the connection of capitalism to the system of white supremacy.
Fast forwarding from 1962, I belong to the A-APRP which was the body Kwame Ture placed his confidence in building as the solution to the problems African people face today. So, its easy for me to see the connection between what I do and what ROP is attempting to accomplish. I was highly inspired by those White activists this weekend. And, the trainings I helped facilitate and the relationships being built will hopefully lead towards building capacity for White activists to create their own mechanisms for safety among their organizing networks for future capacity building work. Future community building work. For anyone who still has difficulty seeing the connection, I'll just remind you that the capitalist class has always used White working people as cannon fodder against the African liberation movement. The work ROP is doing is essential in breaking that spell and convincing White people that their alliance need not be to the super rich, but to a broad based working class network of oppressed people that most White people should naturally belong to anyway. The discussion I had with the workshop presenter said it all. We want White people to do this work, not to help us. We are certainly capable of achieving our objective; the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. We don't need Europeans to accomplish this. We do want them to organize their people, not to help us, but because they should want a better world for humanity, and their children, than capitalism can and will ever provide them. With this approach, we are helping each other. We are building capacity for all of humanity.
In many ways, ROP, and organizations like them, are the answers to Kwame's prayers. And I believe he is proud of the work I did this past weekend (along with everything else I try to do). I know the power structure is terrified of the relationships the A-APRP is building and let them quake in their boots because we are just getting started. I'm exhausted today, but I'm proud and inspired. Its clear to me why the departure from my wonderful two comrades yesterday ended with us thanking each other for the opportunity to do this work.