I know that I have been absent for a minute but I plan on being back very soon. This graduation thing got in the way. In the meantime, while I look for inspiration here’s some food for thought from Assata.
Assata, and her tale are so special to me because they represent many of my aspirations. Following her throughout the pages of her autobiography felt like a pulling together of strings and a mirror to hold up against my face. The quotes I chose below are random and all hold a special part of me because they reflect a lot of my internal debates and struggles. Enjoy.
“Revolutionaries in Africa understood that the question of African liberation was not just a question of race, that even if they managed to get rid of the white colonialist, if they didn’t rid themselves of the capitalistic structure, the white colonialist would simply be replaced by Black neocolonialist. There was no a single liberation movement in Africa that was not fighting for socialism. In fact, there was not a single liberation movement in the world that was fighting for capitalism. The whole thing boiled down to a simple equation: anything that that has any kind of value is made, mined, grown, produced, and processed by working people. So why shouldn’t the working people collectively own the wealth? Why shouldn’t working people own and conrol their own resources? Capitalism meant that rich businessmen owned the wealth, while socialism meant that the people who made the wealth owned it.”
“As long as you have a system with a top and a bottom, Black people are always going to be at the bottom, because we are the easiest to discriminate against. That’s why I couldn’t see fighting within the system. Both the democratic and republican parties are controlled by millionaires. They are interested in holding on to their own power, while I was interested in taking it away.”
“A few thought that they had a monopoly on Marx and acted like the only experts in the world on socialism came from Europe. In many instances they downgraded the theoretical and practical contributions made by Third World revolutionaries like Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Augustino Neto, and other liberation movements in the Third World.” – Assata on Whiet Leftisits.
“It opened up my horizons a hell of a lot. I didn’t relate to them as the great white fathers or like some kind of gods, like some of the white revolutionaries did. As far as I was concerned, they were two dudes who had made contributions to revolutionary struggle too great to be ignored.” – Assata on Marx and Lenin
“They were reading Mao’s Red Book but didn’t know who Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, and Nat Turner were. They talked about intercommunalism but still really believed that the Civil War freed the slaves. . . To a lot of Panthers, however, struggle consisted of two aspects: picking up the gun and serving the people.”- on BPP rank and file
” Part of the problem was that the Party had grown so fast that there wasn’t a lot of time to come up with the step by step approaches to things. The other part of the problem was that almost from it’s inception, the BPP was under attack from the u.s. government.”
” Just because you believe in self defense dos not mean you let yourself be sucked into defending yourself on the enemy’s terms.”
” It had never occured to these fools that Lolita was more revolutionary than they could ever be, and that her religionhad helped her remain strong and committed all those years.” – on Lolita Lebron (Puerto Rican revolutionary) and her faith being under attack by other leftists.
“Arrogance was one of the key factors that kept the white left so fractionalized. I felt that instead of fighting together against a common enemy, they wasted time quarrelling about who had the right line.”
” I felt, and still feel, that it is necessary for Black revolutionaries to come together, analyze our history, our present condition, and to define ourselves and our struggle.”
“The first thing the enemy tries to do is to isolate revolutionaries from the masses of people.”
“. . . without support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct it’s analysis of the situation is.”
“Big business proposed the expansion of capitalism and industry into other parts of the country and this is where the Northern capitalist clashed with the Southern slave owners.”
” A whole generation of Black women are hiding under dead white women’s hair.”
I believe in living. I believe in the spectrum
of Beta days and Gamma people.
I believe in sunshine
in windmills and waterfalls,
tricycles and rocking chairs.
And I believe that seeds grow into sprouts,
And sprouts grow into trees.
I believe in the magic of the hands.
And in the wisdom of the eyes.
I believe in rain and tears.
And in the blood of infinity.
I believe in life.
And I have seen the death parade
march through the torso of the earth,
sculpting mud bodies in its path.
I have seen the destruction of the daylight,
and seen the bloodthirsty maggots
prayed to and saluted.
I have seen the kind become the blind
and the blind become the bind
in one easy lesson.
I have walked on cut glass.
I have eaten crow and blunder bread
and breathed the stench of indifference.
I have been locked by the lawless.
Handcuffed by the haters.
Gagged by the greedy.
And, if I know anything at all,
itâ€™s that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.
It can be broken down.
I believe in living.
I believe in birth.
I believe in the sweat of love
and in the fire of truth.
And I believe that a lost ship,
steered by tired, seasick sailors,
can still be guided home