Forever Protecting The Community: We Are Our Own Liberators
When my brother first articulated the vision for the new venture, Forever Protecting the Community, and his general desire to uplift Our people, We were in a supermax prison, in the middle of nowhere. He himself had just days prior been released from a similar prison and had come to visit me. It was Our first time seeing each other in six years, since my trial, in which i was unjustly sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Thick, shatter proof glass separated Us in the visitation booth. i expressed through the phone, between static, my approval and tipped my head in acknowledgment of the self-development and maturation process that i knew had led up to this point in his life. i knew the process intimately, as i myself have undergone it as well in my own way. It is a process of social and mental growth that many before us have gone through. It is a process that sees one evolve from a state of self and socially induced ignorance, towards a state of a more completely functional humyn being, one who is engaged with the community and world around them, being productive therein. It is this way which We were meant to live among each other, but through the process of social-economic development, from a communal economy, into a hyper capitalistic society, We’ve become a mutation of Our true selves. Individualism dominates collectivism, greed has taken the place of contentment. Being as We are born and bred in such a world it takes a process of re-education and re-commitment in order to shun these counter-productive characteristics and act in the furtherance of productivity and communal upliftment.
Sometime later after Our visit, Prisoner A asked me to make a contribution to a collection of short stories that he wished to publish under the banner of Forever Protecting the Community. He stated that his vision was to correct those of Our homeboys behind enemy lines with the movement that was/is in process in the streets. As it is, when Our people are held captive by the state they’re often forgotten about, or merely become just another hashtag, as the world moves on. Additionally he figured, and i agreed, that brothers such as myself who are living the effects of social alienation, political disengagement/dependence, and economic insecurities, the combination of which has led to lives tarnished by and through captivity, should have much to express in regards to the direction of Our communities and Our nation (that is the nation of Black people in Amerika which i refer to as New Afrikans).
In responses to my brother’s request i consciously refused to contribute a ‘short story’. Reason being, short stories are fictional, while the subject matter surrounding the necessity of Forever Protecting the Community is far from fiction. It is real life that drugs and STD’s have ravished Our communities. It is real life that millions of New Afrikans – Black children, wimmin, and men are currently in captivity or under the ‘supervision’ of the state. It is real life that the public school system is failing Our youth, not providing the necessary tools to live a self-sufficient life but only to enter the ranks of the wage slaves. It is real life that in areas which We call ‘Our community’, property ownership among New Afrikan people is less than 5%, this number includes homes, commercial real estate, and ‘essential infrastructure’. These property relations are significant, as it is this factor which creates ‘social alienation, political dis-engagement/dependence, and economic insecurities’, so it is real, very real, that many of us live and die without having owned Our living spaces, and under the rules of Amerikan settler-colonialism and imperialism, it is increasingly difficult to own Our very identities, both collectively and individually.
So because this is Our real life, and has been for sometime, i felt what was/is needed more than mere entertainment is some ‘real talk’ as it pertains to ‘us’. Therefore i’ve offered up this place to shed light and open much needed communal discussion.
The word ‘protect’ means ‘to guard’; ‘to secure’; ‘to hold in safe keeping’; all these definitions imply that there is a force, or forces which seek to bring destruction, in whole or in part, to whatever entity needs guarding, security, safekeeping, or protecting. In Our context We are alluding to the need to secure Our ‘communities’, which are essentially semi-colonized territories dependent upon and occupied by outside forces.
It follows that if and when there is an entity that seeks the destruction of Our territory, Our community, Our nation, Our family, Our people, and Our self, that said entity is an avowed enemy to Our cause and Our interests. So therefore i pose the question, ‘who are Our enemies and who are Our friends?’ 402 years ago with the advent of the Maafa (African slave trade; tragedy) an unresolved contradiction arose. This contradiction has been characterized by the colonization of New Afrikan Black people, first as slaves, a nation of slaves, and oppressed and exploited free people, until now, where Our colonization is characterized by the forced dependence upon the United States, settler-imperialist neo-colonial empire, for the basic functions of modern nationhood. That is free development of independent political, social, and economic production and advancement.
During the last 402 years, what it means to be a New Afrikan in Amerika has been tied to Our ongoing collective struggle to express Ourselves in the full extent of Our humynity, to cast off the old forced colonial relationship, which saw us as completely dependent pawns in the ‘game’ of world affairs, and to exercise a role and position which has been guaranteed to almost all other peoples of the world, that is to determine for Ourselves who We are, what We are (a colonized nation), and how We wish to organize Ourselves for the daily survival of Our people.
For the settler-empire’s part in this contradiction they’ve sought to undermine Our natural, independent, development at every turn. All the empire’s actions towards Our people, whether they be in the field of military intimidation (police terrorism), propaganda, political policies, and all other matters, they have all been to further the relation of dependence upon their governance and economic structure.
Due to these simple truths and the multitude of ramifications that they produce, it shouldn’t be lost on the reader that the enemy of New Afrikan–Black people is the system of economic and political power that has been FORCED upon us. This system is called capitalism-imperialism, and the u.s. government at both federal and local levels is the world leader of this system which is the cause of not only Our collective misery, but that of the majority of the world’s people.
We, as a people, must come to understand that, ‘yes’, ‘protection’ is needed and it is needed from the forces of power. Our enemies are not those of another block, set, or turf who not only look like us, but more importantly, are victims of the same systemic oppression and alienation as us, which has fostered Our like conditions. Our enemies are not those whom the real enemy has told us are the ‘gangs’ and ‘criminals’. These We must begin to see as Ourselves, Our siblings, Our allies, in this struggle. Allies whom have not yet been awakened to their place and position within the ranks of Our New Afrikan Independence Movement.
Forever Protecting the Community, as many of you reading this already know, has grown out of the legacy of the Forum Park Crips, in particular, and that of New Afrikan-Black street organizations in general. Modern street organizations within Our colonies (communities) have for a long time possessed the tendency to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders.
Prior to the creation of the original Crips of Los Angeles in 1971, there were other street organizations. During the mid-1960’s as Our nation was on a collective march to determine for Ourselves Our own destiny, several Black Power organizations began to recruit effectively within the class of people in Our colonies that were or would likely become members of street organizations. These Black Power revolutionaries impressed upon the sisters and brothers that the most effective way to combat the mistreatment they all faced was to unite on the basis of nationhood, and the shared quest for self-determination.
On the West Coast, the main Black Power groups leading the shift in social philosophy and participation among the ‘street class’, were the Black Panther Party, and the US organization. The former would succeed in consolidating ALL of the New Afrikan Black street organizations on the West Side of South Central into one mass body. This effort was led by Panther deputy chairman Alprentice Bunchy Carter: a former leader of the ‘Slausons’ street organization, and convict, turned political revolutionary while in California’s San Quentin Concentration Camp. Bunchy Carter would help politicize most of his former ‘gang’ buddies, recruiting them into the Panther organization and more importantly, re-install the sense of common-unity (community) among the working class of the surrounding area, with the former ‘destroyers’, the ‘gang’ element. This was only possible once the people could see that the 5,000 strong Slausons had made themselves a vehicle for productivity in opposition to the people’s REAL enemies instead of assisting the enemies of the people in the destruction of the people and Our areas of residence. Forever Protecting the Community, if it lives up to its calling, will follow down this same path of self-liberation, utilizing the examples set by the Slausons and others to build upon the advancement of Our nation in Our quest for self-determination and independence.
"The time is NOW for a total refocusing of Our efforts, away from non-productive distractions and other elements of temptations, and focus towards those disciplines that will make us real [contributors] in Our communities. We must stop the gangbanging and drive-bys. Our [nation] is being destroyed by the killing [drugging and imprisonment] of Our own youth. We must stop hating one another because of the block, hood, turf, and color We represent, these actions only continue the cycle of self-destruction.
“And finally, in my sincere appeal for peace and unity: Those of us that have experienced being Our brother’s keeper – We must educate Our members around Us. Education brings about awareness. Awareness generates the ability to think. Our youth must know the end result of crime is shame, disgrace, and imprisonment to themselves, as well as the community. We must come to the point of outlawing those who willfully disrupt Our communities and Our call [to Forever Protect the Community]. Crime must not be accepted as the normal way of doing things.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993 ‘Call For Peace’
As articulated previously, there has been a tendency among New Afrikan-Black street organizations to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they play, or intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders. Larry Hoover leading the transition of his organization from ‘Gangster Disciples’ to ‘Growth and Development’ is one of the most noteworthy and informative examples that We can/should take lessons from. Yet before We delve more into the lessons We can take from this grouping, it is important that We illustrate the hands of the enemy in regards to the growth and expansion of today’s street organizations and the sanctioned culture of gangsterism.
Going back to the mid-60’s, as the Slausons and other similarly situated groups began to cast off the self-destructive, and counter-productive behaviors, they consequently began engaging in the socio-political battles Our people faced at the local, ‘national’, and global levels. Once it became clear to the masses that Our oppression was/is political and economic and that the political reinforced the economic, it became evident that the interests of Our people had to be represented, by Our people, in the political sphere, and subsequently political bodies were formulated. The Black Panther Party, along with the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, were two of the foremost leaders among these such groups. On a national level, the ‘street class’ began to be involved in the development of themselves, and their people on an objective basis, as such naturally their priorities began to shift, instead of clubbing, slanging and banging, this class of people, many of Our predecessors, began to initiate community political education classes, free health clinics, community ‘face lifts’, and clean up programs, free busing to prison for visits, and a host of other ‘survival programs’.
It was during this time, because Our people had clearly drawn a line of demarcation between themselves and the enemies of the people, furthermore the same elements of the New Afrikan-Black Nation which had, by force of circumstance, been most dependent upon the u.s. federal and local governments couldn’t and/or wouldn’t. Such a development signaled to the people that they themselves had the necessary power to liberate themselves, hence the popularity of the phrase, ‘Power to the People’.
Much of the oppressors continued rule depends upon the people’s belief that they’re utterly helpless without the structure of the settler-colonial imperialists. Once this illusion is unmasked and the essence of the establishment is exposed, the oppressive state apparatus must solely rely on brute force to maintain its illegitimate rule upon the people, Our people. The establishment seeks to bypass such a reality. Overt violence for the sake of political repression usually swells the ranks of those in opposition to the illegitimate governmental authorities.
It was this exact situation which saw the federal government intensify the contradiction which began in Black August 1619 to the level of a domestic war between two opposed and contradictory entities, through the FBI’s declared war on the various organizations and people within the Black Liberation Movement, by way of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
The u.s. government’s carrying out of COINTELPRO in order to prevent the self-developed expression of the New Afrikan-Black experience as a colonized nation held captive for centuries by the u.s. government, resulted in numerous political assassinations of New Afrikan-Black liberation combatants, the political/false imprisonment of various souljahs and activists of Our cause, and the subsequent obliteration of what has been up until this point the most progressive era of Our collective struggle in 402 years (the Black Liberation Movement).
The defeat of the movement is important to this discourse on FPC, because it was in the wake of the defeat of the movement that the Crips, Bloods, Folks and Peoples established themselves. The establishment of these street groups was facilitated by the war initiated on the movement, and the subsequent elimination of progressive, productive, and revolutionary leadership in the colonies which We call communities. Ajamu Niamke Kamara (Stanley Tookie Williams), co-founder of the Crips, said the following:
"i’m convinced that had the Black Panther Party still been recruiting - uninterrupted by the duplicitous COINTELPRO… Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would have salivated over the untapped youthful potential We represented.
“Throughout this state and country, We embodied only a small divided body within a multitude of reckless, energetic, fearless, and explosive young Black warriors. Though we were often seen as social dynamite, i believe We were the perfect entity to be indoctrinated in cultural awareness and trained as disciplined soldiers for the Black struggle.”
Unfortunately for the original Crips and Bloods, and the many multitudes who have since followed in their foot steps, in 1971 while Tookie Williams and Raymond Washington were establishing the teenage clique that would become an international menace, the Black Panther Party was enduring a major split within its ranks, which was caused, partially, by the assault(s) of COINTELPRO, that would be the beginning of the end for the Party and the movement.
In the wake of the defeat, the establishment initiated a wide variety of methods to ensure that the widely dispersed wave of righteous rebellion and the desire of an internal colony to free itself from the forced yoke of imperialism and neo-colonialism, would never happen again. To insure that Our people would remain collectively divided and conquered, and sleep, the enemies invented and distributed crack cocaine, and military grade weapons throughout the mid 1980’s and into the 1990’s, allowed for the AIDS/HIV epidemic, created laws and policies that would hold millions of Our youthful and vibrant siblings in captivity based on fabricated and over-exaggerated portrayals of Our colonized territories and peoples, and Our responses to Our colonial oppression.
While the movement for self-determination was brutally crushed by the u.s. government, that same government, wherever it could, assisted the growth and expansion of the street organizations. The very industry that was factually created by the CIA (the Crack Trade) was the vehicle which drove Crips, Bloods, Folk, and Peoples factions in their growth across the u.s. empire. This subsequent growth and expansion led directly to the formation of the street organization, Forum Park Crips, an independent Crip faction in Houston, Texas, along with countless other similar factions and groups. What could have been the u.s. establishment’s motive in instigating the growth of parasitic groups, while murdering and torturing the productive organized bodies? The answer can only possibly be the intended destruction of Our nation and people.
With this realization that We have been manipulated, on a large scale, to act against Our own interests and that of Our nation, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community, though not the solution within itself, surely takes a step in the correct direction.
“… Our women and children are suffering greatly at the hands of an oppressive, dominant, racist political system… We can no longer afford the forced luxury of non-involvement or non-participation. The question remains: How can We contribute within Our limited capacities? .. i say to you: If We accept a partial responsibility for the plight of Our own people, then We must take an active role in the game of POLITICS.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993, “Call to Action”
Where Do We Go From Here? As stated above, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community is not a solution in and of itself, and it remains to be seen whether or not this formation will live out its full potential. What has already taken place however is the necessary act of determining for ones self what your identity and purpose will be. There will be naysayers who will point to all sorts of negative aspects of those who are or become active with the new FPC movement. They will, if hystory is any indicator, deter the general public from supporting and identifying with the movement of Our people and colonies.
In order to get out in front of this foreseeable roadblock to Our progress, We must do one of two things. 1) Abandon the words and personification of ‘gang’, and ‘criminal’, to those who have defined them (Our enemies) so that now they will have purely negative connotations; 2) redefine those words/personifications - or create a new word or phrase to describe organized groups within Our oppressed colonies (communities).
Whichever choice is made, NEW concepts must be developed that reinforce NEW forms of activity that should begin to appear on the basis of the NEW concept. Forever Protecting the Community is the NEW concept, and now what the leaders of this organization must act towards is organizing a wide variety of people of the community to work collectively to transform the ‘gang’ into a progressive organization of New Afrikan people, which struggles and works in the interests of Our people. The problem within Our colonies (communities) isn’t that there are ‘gangs’, but it is the real problems which all peoples under capitalist domination face, it is capitalism itself, and the social, economic and political alienation it creates, which indirectly gives birth to ‘gangs’ and ‘crime’.
Forever Protecting the Community has taken one step towards empowerment – one critical step closer to a new sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – by using the power that We already have, to define Ourselves, name Ourselves and speak for Ourselves – instead of being defined and spoken for by others. The next step consists of leading all the people of the community to share in the responsibility for providing a NEW broader sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – for Our children and Ourselves. It is time now to promote NEW ideas about the life We wanna live and the society We wanna live in. Its time to promote NEW definitions of Our problems (e.g. ‘racism’ or capitalism/colonialism) and the real solutions to Our problems (e.g. ‘empowerment’ or genuine independence). We must begin to promote among Our people the idea that Our purpose isn’t to simply own a nice car, jewelry, a house, or even to quasi control a few city blocks, but to share in Our control of entire cities, entire states, and eventually, to share in the control of Our independent nation.
The task is to begin to formulate a community coalition behind the idea/motto/slogan of Forever Protecting the Community. By a coalition i mean connecting with a variety of people who identify with and support the cause of the organization. Particularly, the following elements within the community should be sought out for support and assistance:
“What We have to do is get together the conscientious progressive thinkers within these [street] organizations that know that they have to make a change in order to survive… We have to put together a concerted effort by all segments of Our community– clergy, business, activists, and progressive thinkers within street organizations [local elected officials, educators, health care providers]. You have to go within these organizations to change them… You can’t just write off a generation… It is time for [New Afrikans] from all over the country to realize what has happened to Our people, and that while much of it can be attributed to outside forces We have to begin to take responsibility for Ourselves.” – Larry Hoover
As a politicized prisoner, and activist, co-founder of the prison activist organization Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., i extend my hand, and that of my comrades and supporters on both side of the walls, in support and solidarity of the Forever Protecting the Community organization, and more importantly i look forward to workin with my brothers, the 10’zzz, on concrete actions both FPC and Team One can collab on that will suit both Our missions.
We of TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. believe the current United Struggle from Within movement which We support, along with the general prison resistance/abolition movements, align perfectly with Forever Protecting the Community’s mission. As such, We humbly ask that if you are a part of or support the mission to FOREVER PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY, that you also contact and actively support the souljahs behind enemy lines within the TX Team One formation fighting against legal slavery in Texas prisons, and the inhumane use of indefinite, and long term solitary confinement, as a toll of social and political repression.
Dare 2 Struggle Dare 2 Win; 1 Love 1 Struggle for LAND AND INDEPENDENCE
“Look you a Blood, i’ma Crip, but i figure we can get back to that Black shit, instead of killin and bangin for crack shit, is n****z too stuck in they ways? i know We long overdue, but is We ready for change? Stand under one flag like an ARMY brigade. Time to put the deuce-deuce down and pick a ‘K’, and if We bangin on sum Black shit. Let’s ride for the dead homies and get the burners for Malcolm and Nat Turner. Talkin’ to them other n*****z, my so called enemies We don’t own one block but We live and die for these city streets. Even though the pain runs deep, REAL n*****z know its time to make PEACE so We can FOCUS ON THE PAYCHECK.” – Nipsey Hussle
“Now if We wanna live the THUG LIFE and the gangsta life and all that, okay, so stop being cowards and let’s have a REVOLUTION. But We don’t wanna do that, dudes just wanna live a character. They wanna be cartoons, but if they really wanted to do something, if they was tough alright, lets start Our OWN COUNTRY, lets start a REVOLUTION, let’s get out of here [prison], let’s do something.” – Tupac Amaru Shakur
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E Co-founder
New Afrikan Independence Movement
To contact/support/learn more about TX Team One:
113 Stockholm, #1A
Brooklyn, NY 11221
To receive the NEW TX Team One Primer write a request to:
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140