(Remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and OTHERS)
I done seen too many mothers cry, brothers die, while the children left to wonder “Why?” I’m on the side of the righteous in the time of crisis, Is the prize really worth it? I tell em that its PRICELESS. I don’t have hope, kuz hope is for the children, and those UNABLE to take part in what we’re building. But we’re ALL gonna benefit when we defeat the nemesis. A new beginning for humynity, modern day Genesis. It’s THEM that want war kuz we’re bangin on the door, They’d rather see us breathless and layin on the floor. But I woke up this morning to a BEAUTIFUL site. Black, Brown, and white, its TIME TO UNITE!!!
This is the question of our time. It’s the struggle that people go through when they’ve been wrongfully convicted of crimes.
It’s the outrage over Black men dying and our race being marginalized by this capitalist society. We’re targeted by fascist forces of white faces in high places who push the agenda of these racist polices.
Which perpetuates poverty and inflicts us with pain; we’re steady searching for the sunshine but all we seem to find is the thunder and rain.
In order for there to be justice, first there needs to be a change. To abolish the system that views a Black man as a cold-hearted killer or a member of an organized gang.
It’s a damn shame how they view our people as animals who needs to be tamed. When they can’t even seem to control these fascist forces of pigs who really needs to be trained.
Honestly, they really need to be slain for trapping our black bodies in chains, and for killing our brothers in the streets every day like it’s all apart of the game.
Justice is insane! It’s a process full of heartache and pain. It’s like the government is the Devil and we just caught in the flames.
Yankee politics are to blame for causing another Brother to be slain. “I can’t breath! Officer please” was his claim. So to overthrow the capitalist reign, we ain’t gone let that Brother die in vain.
What’s his name? What’s his name? George Floyd! George Floyd!
And to all the other Brothers and Sisters that we lost to this racist system. The People have become conscious; the revolution hasn’t quelled!
On 4 July 2020, 7-year-old Secoriea Turner was fatally shot with her parents present inside the car which she was shot in.(1) Her death has been widespread news in Georgia and has been a popular talking point on the discourse surrounding the oppressed’s action against the racial/national oppression of the United $tates today.
The scene of the incident was the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was murdered by the Atlanta Police Department (APD) on 12 June 2020. The leading narrative of how the shooting went down is that one of the armed barricaders of the Wendy’s had shot at the car that Secoriea was in.(2) According to Community Movement Builders – the Non-Government Organization who called for building of a “peace center” on the razed down Wendy’s site – there were threats by white vigilante-type organizations coming to the Wendy’s site and the local New Afrikan masses armed themselves to honor and defend the life of Rayshard Brooks.(3)
The Wendy’s barricade was started by the revolutionary spirit of the New Afrikan masses to defend themselves against amerikan chauvinism and so-called “white supremacy.” Members and supporters of the armed masses have burned down the Wendy’s site of the murder, and graffiti tagged signs of support for the broad mass movement of New Afrikans against occupying police and the life of Rayshard Brooks. Because they were armed; because they received threats of amerikan chauvinist presence; and because of the APD’s presence in Atlanta, a barricade and check point was necessary and the tensions were high.
It is not crystal clear as to how it went down at the hour of the murder of Secoriea Turner, but we do know the broad facts: APD committed an illegal killing of Rayshard Brooks; amerikan chauvinist elements threatened to come to the site of Rayshard Brook’s killing; New Afrikans barricaded and armed themselves from police and amerikan violence; and a 7-year-old New Afrikan child has been murdered along the conflict.
Should Communists Condemn the Barricade?
When the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) implemented a campaign of bombings across Great Britain (primarily Northern Ireland) the masses of the Northern Irish people were tired of the violence from all sides. Out of the masses the petty-bourgeois/national bourgeois elements were especially tired. So the current and then would-be compradors and neo-colonial leaders of the Sinn Fein signed a peace treaty called the Good Friday agreement, in which they ended up condemning the so called “terrorists” of the Irish Republican movement and the violence coming with it.
In Philippines today, a Protracted People’s War is being waged by communists organizing the peasants of the countryside. The communists have often been declared as the number one security threat by the fascist Duterte government, and within the revolution there are elements of the masses also tired of the violence coming with revolution. The Communist Party of the Philippines have been active in calling for a peace deal past years, but unlike the Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland which abandoned and condemned armed struggle, they did not call for the turning in of weapons by the New People’s Army and instead asked for the killings by the Duterte regime to stop in the cities and the red base areas of the countryside in which the communists had a “stronghold” in.
Both of these examples of calling for peace are from far away countries with different conditions than the ATL, but they are relevant as ever to the international fight against Neo-colonial tactics of imperialism. The violence that comes to the masses with revolution and the contradiction among the people are serious questions communists must be ready to solve in order to overthrow imperialism.
While we Maoists do see the death of Secoriea Turner as a tragedy and our hearts and condolences go out to her family and close ones, we do not agree with the neo-colonial New Afrikan “leaders” actions which have bulldozed the Wendy’s site and the paternalistic negotiation attitudes in which these “leaders” dealt with Community Movement Builders.(4) The comprador-bourgeoisie mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in fact alluded to the armed New Afrikans defending Rayshard Brook’s life and legacy as “the enemy within.”(5)
“We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up in our streets,” said the Comprador mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
“We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks,” said Bottoms. “You can’t blame that on APD [Atlanta Police Department].”
Maoists do not blame the APD for those 75 specific shootings in the span of several weeks. But we do blame national oppression, the pseudo-communists’ inaction in building independent institutions among oppressed nation communities, and the lumpenization that came with the so-called “war on drugs” on the 75 shootings. And we take action to combat national oppression and lumpenization as well.
Going Beyond the Barricade
The failures of the barricade shows the limitations of spontaneity, and the necessity for an organized and self-reliant people’s institution designed to serve the people. There are dogmatic revisionist “Marxists” who claim that the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory of an organized vanguard to lead the people’s struggle and build independent institutions goes against the writings of Marx. These “Marxists” claim that capitalism’s decay will naturally rise the people up due to oppressive conditions. Even in the Third World where proletarians and peasants are the majority, and with the writings of Marx and Engels on the Paris Commune, we see that a proletarian power and proletarian state is needed to overthrow imperialism and preserve socialism. And history has proved that ultimately, political power grows from the barrel of guns. Maoists do not condemn the masses desire to defend themselves from white supremacist and fascist presence, and in fact applaud it. We just believe that it should be crystallized into a more disciplined focus of serving the people and building independent political power.
Notes: 1. Atlanta mayor says ‘enough is enough’ after girl fatally shot near scene of Rayshard Brooks’ death, 6 July 2020, CNN. 2. Ibid. 3. Greyhound, July 2020, Interview With Community Movement Builders On Their Recent Struggle On the Wendy’s Site, Under Lock and Key. 4. Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed gets demolished, 14 July 2020, New York Daily News. 5. Ibid.
Hello - Saludos y Respeto to all those in the struggle, the struggle is real. I must weigh in on the events unfolding in Southern Califas. Namely the two lynchings, the first in Palmdale CA, the second in Victorville CA. What do they have in common? Answer: the Sheriff’s Department! Both racist-both departments have a long history of working together and as a political prisoner held in CDCR these are the same two departments that joined forces to try and silence my voice and bring down the AV Brown Berets.
Both Departments have deputies that are card carrying members of the racist Minute Men, the new KKK. And having shined the spotlight on this fact earned me a Life sentence for crimes I did NOT commit.
And in both cases there is no doubt in my mind there is Departmental involvement. And nothing can surprise us coming from these two historically racist departments.
In both cases these were meant to send a message to the BLM movement against police brutality going across this nation right now, and to discourage it! The Evil and racist regime in Palmdale has a long history of using these tactics to silence the voice of the PEOPLE. And if they can’t kill you, they will bury you behind the wall. And this will not stop until they are made to understand the world is watching and will hold them responsible and accountable for their actions. But the racism and prejudice is systemic NOT only in the Sheriff’s Dept. but also in City Government in the Antelope Valley and Silver Valley (The Sinister Valleys) to a mind-blowing degree.
My heart goes out to the families, friends, and loved ones of these latest victims of these Evil Regimes. I spent years of my life trying to expose the racist and criminal practices of these two partners-in-crime, it has come at a great cost. My family, my freedom, not to mention all my worldly possessions but I will NOT stop until justice has been done, and the Evil has been exposed; because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the ONE. In the end the TRUTH ALWAYS comes out! We must continue to move forward and not be discouraged!
LA LUCHA SIEGE!!! VIVA LA CAUSA!!!
(Justice for Ro Alvin Harsh)
MIM(Prisons) adds: Six lynchings, 5 of them New Afrikans and one [email protected], have been reported on the heals of the recent uprisings against police terrorism.
Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Palmdale, CA is under investigation
Malcolm Harsch a 38-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Victorville, CA has been declared a suicide by police and the family
Dominique Alexander, a 27-year-old New Afrikan man hung in a Manhattan park and was ruled a suicide by the police, who later said an investigation continues
a 17-year-old New Afrikan boy was hung from a tree in Spring, TX was ruled a suicide by police
a [email protected] man was hung in Houston, TX was also ruled a suicide after family stated he was suicidal
Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley, 31, a New Afrikan transgender woman hung in a park in Portland, Oregon was ruled a suicide by police
I am enclosing a memo distributed to the captive population in response to the uprisings by the Americans’ oppressed New Afrikan population. It is claimed that their actions are not punitive, but of course that is clearly not the case. There is evident fear of the latent power of their oppressed nationalities confined within their prisons, as can be noted at the end of the first paragraph.
“As you are aware our Nation is facing difficult times as emotions run high and peaceful protests have turned into violently charged demonstrations. In an effort to maintain the safety and security of the institution, a lock down has been initiated. This lock down is not punitive. … However, we are committed to preventing any type of disruption from occurring, and I strongly emphasize any type of violent behavior will never be accepted or tolerated at this facility.”
MIM(Prisons) adds: This action by the federal government reveals the level of fear that they have right now of the oppressed nations and the youth in general in this country. Prison officials display the same hypocrisy as the police on the streets who have responded to peaceful demonstrations again and again with violence against people for exhibiting their First Amendment rights. Young people are coming home from protests permanently disabled. While thousands are being locked up.
As statistics on police murders and violence are gaining interest, we must ask what about the “peace officers” behind bars? How many have they killed? How many Black men are dying at the hands of the state where cell phone cameras are illegal? Where protests are repressed and there’s no videos to post online?
On 15 September 2017 I heard of an execution performed on the streets of San Jose, California. A young Chicano named Jacob Dominguez was gunned down by the "pitzo." (Nahuatl for pig)
What we need to realize is that la gente Xicana have been fighting this war for 500 years in various stages via our ancestors. From the Spanish colonialists to today's imperialist, first line of defense (the pitzo). The war on Aztlán has been ongoing. The murder of Jacob Dominguez reminds us of this.
This media is the propaganda arm of the state. It's their public relations outfit, the "ministry of propaganda," they just don't call it that. This is why we never hear the corporate media scream revolution or for gente to rise up after pigs execute someone on camera in cold sangre. They can't call for their own demise, even when it's warranted.
What occurred to Jacob Dominguez screams COINTELPRO. When COINTELPRO was launched against groups in the 60s and 70s like the Brown Berets, Crusade for Justice (of which 5 martyrs were assassinated via bombs), the Panthers, and other groups, the feds initiated a death squad tactic where if they couldn't arrest the person in the crosshairs they would kill 'em.
The fact that Jacob Dominguez fit the rebel profile according to the media, long rap sheet, violent past, alleged "gang member", tattoos on face, pigs, feds or other state agents actively hunting him. They could have easily been describing Pancho Villa 100 years ago or any other revolutionaries from the 21st century. The oppressor nation makes war on those it fears. On the people's leaders.
It's too early to know why Jacob Dominguez was assassinated. Perhaps a later investigation will find he had an FBI file. Those deriving from lumpen organizations (LO) usually do if it's an LO that is bout it because it would threaten the state. We are more powerful than we realize because we organize outside the state's influence and set up forms of dual power in the pintas and the barrios. If we injected political ideology we would be ready to fight for state power setting up our own government; fuck a street corner! We are almost there Raza.
Those of us who ride or die, who have given our lives to the people understand the seriousness. We know that because of our influence amongst the lumpen and our political education and heightened consciousness that we do challenge the state. Because of that we may very well be targets of COINTELPRO. We should do all in our power to avoid this. But it is a reality. One I have come to understand. I know the state is hunting again but I will continue to resist until I cannot do so anymore. Like the brotha Fred Hampton said, "you can kill the revolutionary but you can't kill the revolution."
We need a people's army. The Black Liberation Army showed how to repel the state. I'm not suggesting armed struggle now, but at some point when a people continue to get assassinated they will respond to meet force with force. This is where history must be tapped. We need to learn from the past so that each generation is more prepared and organized than the previous generation. Prepare the people! The war has continued on Aztlán since the colonizer first arrived!
MIM(Prisons) responds: While certainly faced with most difficult conditions here in the belly of the beast, we do not think the BLA demonstrated an effective strategy of repelling the state. In their attempts to deal with the over-bearing pressure of COINTELPRO they were unable to form a real people's army. We must learn from their heroic efforts and their mistakes as we search for a viable path.
The recent attention to murder and brutality of New Afrikan men by Amerikan police, and the shooting of police officers in Dallas, Texas by Micah X, apparently in retaliation for this brutality, inspired a lot of thoughtful letters from across the country. Many commented on the need to take up the gun to fight those with guns.
A contributor in Florida asked:
"So, my question is this: how effective and appropriate was the brother's actions (or sacrifice) at this point in time, or what do we, you and the readers make of all this? Are there any lessons, a message, or information to be learned from all of this? Or, ultimately, is there perhaps any more room, space, or a vacuum for more of this kind of self-defense at this point in time? And if so, how does one go about or start preparing, alleviating, educating, demonstrating or organizing for such right now from this example (or lesson) at this point in time? Like Micah X, are we ready to effectively exercise or address any more of this yet - or continue to keep the conversation going?"
If Micah were trying to spark a revolution, this would be a good example of what we call focoism:
The belief that small cells of armed revolutionaries can create the conditions for revolution through their actions. Demonstrated revolutionary victories, the successes of the foci, are supposed to lead the masses to revolution. Focoism often places great emphasis on armed struggle and the immediacy this brings to class warfare. Focoism is different from people's war in that it doesn't promote the mass line as part of guerrilla operations.
It is difficult for us to know Micah's goals and intents without having been there and spoken with em. Regardless of eir intents, the outcome of the actions ey took serve as ammunition for the oppressors to continue oppressing. For them, it is much easier to gain (even more) public opinion and sympathy when they are able to point at specific incidents of a member of a movement "mercilessly" gunning down pigs. Remember that the majority of people in power are already on their side.
While revolutionaries and many in the oppressed nations know that Micah's actions were an act of self-defense, white politicians and leaders will never see it that way. As a Federal prisoner wrote to us: "President Obama called what happened in Dallas Texas 'A Vicious, Calculated, Despicable ATTACK!'" In their eyes, violent actions taken against a pig (or pigs) can never be considered self-defense, especially when the "offender" in question is non-white.
At this point, standalone violent actions such as this one serve to incite the government to act with more urgency against those who they perceive threaten them, and allow them to place themselves ever more in the role of "victim," and to place the oppressed in the role of "aggressor."
Violence is a very necessary part of effecting any kind of true change that puts an end to imperialism, but there is a time for it, and that time is not now. Our focus now is on educating and organizing ourselves, so that we are better able to organize those who already see things as we do. It is important to consider what someone with a drive like this could achieve over a lifetime of work.
A contributor in Maryland wrote:
"One of the DJs said one of the solutions was for us to just comply with the pigs no matter what when confronted in the streets by them. Basically, don't dare challenge master. But there can be no change without challenge. Why do we continue to lay down?... The white supremacists of this land have taken up refuge behind the badge. They can never be rooted out. Not by Obama, or anyone else. Remember they got a 200 year head start on us."
While it is true that there can be no change without challenge, it is also important to remember that not all challenge enacts change. The pigs in no way deserve respect, compliance or gratitude. And it's true that they won't be rooted out without taking down all of the imperialists first. However, to challenge them now militarily serves to get the wrong people killed and give more instances for the oppressors to point at and say "Look! Look at how irrational and violent they are! We need to give the police more power, for our protection!" The oppressors will always try to paint the oppressed as the villian; we can never avoid this accusation altogether. But we need to look at the balance of forces and ask, in spite of this rhetoric, if we have enough public opinion in our favor that our armed struggle will have enough support to be successful. Suicide missions like Micah's make armed struggle look futile, so we should avoid them until we know we wan win. Even those who have reverence for what Micah did probably wouldn't do it themselves.
Look at the Black Panther Party, and what happened with them. The BPP openly carried guns as a demonstration of potential power, without engaging in focoist actions. But still the Amerikkkan imperialists struck back agressively with guns, drugs and imprisonment, leading to the eventual downfall of the group. We can only expect even more agressive attacks in response to use of the gun. The time for armed struggle is when the fight can be won. Right now, we're not close to that point.
This battle is a good example of why we need a vanguard party to lead the revolutionary struggle, including the armed struggle to take down the imperialists. It also provides some insight into just how hard the bourgeoisie will fight to maintain their position of power. Even after they are defeated militarily by the majority of the world's people we can anticipate that former bourgeois individuals and their lackeys in the police and military, as well as new people who aspire to wealth and power, will not immediately become cooperative and productive members of society serving the people. For this reason we need to think beyond the military battle and into the structure of society after capitalism is overthrown. This is why communists believe we must have a dictatorship of the proletariat under socialism while we undertake the long transition to a society where no groups of people have power over other groups of people. It is tempting to take up the gun now and fight back a death for a death, but we want to build a world where all people contribute productively to the betterment of humynity, and that will take a lot more than the death of a few cops.
by USW5 of United Struggle from Within October 2015 permalinkSeptember 2015 marked a year since the mass kidnapping of college students in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Yet very little is said about it on the national news here in the United $tates. In fact, since last year I have caught nothing of what the families of the disappeared students are up to. How are they coping? Is justice of some sort still being sought? Well fortunately we still get reports on Mexico from the Spanish news and the small community of that region has not laid down hope, nor are they sitting down with arms crossed. The state of Guerrero has made it clear that they don't trust the Mexican government's competence in finding their loved ones' remains but also in bringing down those who are responsible for the mass slaying of 43 college students out of Ayotzinapa.
On 26 September 2014 many students went into the town of Iguala in shuttle busses to protest against the local government. Something they had a reputation for doing. Usually these protests would be broken up by police and the crowds would disperse, but this night was different as the mayor must have had a different method to eliminate the frequent protests from those students in Ayotzinapa college. It was mentioned in the media that the protests were becoming a nuisance not only for the mayor Jose Luis Abarca but for the rest of the population as well. The protesters were stopping traffic, disturbing businesses and constantly shouting revolutionary slogans, waving their red flags with hammer and sickles. Instead of the usual police methods of dealing with the protesters, on September 26 the police just opened fire, killing six people. And then they rounded up the students and turned them over to the local cartel to deal with.
The mayor was in cahoots with the local cartels. After an international outcry both the mayor and his wife were arrested and are still behind bars. Many police officers were interrogated by federal agents and that's when the story along with the names of those involved began to come out.
After being turned over to the "G.U." by police officials, the 43 students were taken to a nearby garbage dump and strangled. Subsequently their bodies were burned and thrown in bags to be dumped at the lake. This story does not add up because it's difficult to get rid of 43 bodies just like that. The population in Iguala remain skeptical of the reports released by the government. How can they not be when it was their own mayor and police officials who were responsible for their loved ones' disappearance! Can it be possible that there are still higher government officials responsible for the students' death out there running the investigation as if it were a unique incident? It is plausible given the prevalent nature of corruption in Mexico.
[h]Who were the 43 students? [/h]
Collectively they were preparing to become teachers. It was going to be their way to reach the masses. Ayotzinapa rural university was founded in 1926 as part of a new revolutionary government's ambition to educate all Mexicans, especially in the rural areas. Since opening, Ayotzinapa has served as an advanced educational privilege for the exploited and oppressed masses in the rural areas of Guerrero state. The university offers underprivileged youth opportunities other than just being rural peasants. This campus is a place where ideas are discussed around social, political and cultural issues and of course methods of how to change circumstances in favor of the masses.
It comes as no surprise that Ayotzinapa produces some of that region's most active agitators. Revolutionary discussions are a normal thing: "Los Normales Rurales" (the normal rurals) are a product of this university that has been a boiling pot for youth who are introduced to Marxist-Leninist revolution. We see images of Marx and Engels, students walking around campus with a Karl Marx t-shirt emblazoned with a hammer & sickle, and Che Guevara and Maoist murals on campus walls. Even universities for relatively privileged youth are often a breeding ground for radicalism, so it is no surprise that higher education for the poor would feed the revolutionary movement as people become educated in the systems of oppression and the successful and failed options for fighting back.
Los Normales Rurales were protesting their local government i.e. mayor and cronies. They were revolutionary propagandists attempting to reach the masses through actions. Like Mao Zedong's China produced the barefoot doctors to provide adequate health care to the rural areas, Ayotzinapa University is producing teachers who will eventually find locations in other rural or urban areas. They will take teaching positions, and, armed with revolutionary theory and knowledge of their national context, they are vital to organizing the proletariat, the peasantry, the students and other sympathetic classes.
[h]Responses to the massacre[/h]
The Mexican government run by Enrique Peña Nieto only made a cursory attempt to serve justice. This was the way the Mexican government handled the massacre of its' citizens at the hands of its' own officials. That area was infested with corrupt government officials and continuously disappeared citizens by the cartels. The search for the missing 43 students only produced the location of more than a dozen mass graves or "fosas."
Many citizens in Iguala are too afraid to speak out and voice their grievances but not their comrades, other "normalistas" still at Ayotzinapa. They are clamoring for the masses to join their fight against a corrupt and murdering government!
The protests were captured and televised and [email protected] all throughout the country got involved, protesting against government officials especially those of the reactionary party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) who Mexicans hold just as responsible as the cartels who carried out the disappearances. PRI is an incorrigibly corrupt party run by the nation's big bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie has its allies who can carry out their dirty work and would rather eliminate any opposition to their existence. The context in that country is ripe for a revolution! The contradictions between the masses and government is at the point of antagonism.
Recently during elections in Guerrero many students along with the masses wearing ski masks destroyed government offices. A concise response to who they wish to elect! The masses in Guerrero have become politicized like the masses in Michoacan state. Forming their own self-defense militias. The masses in Guerrero are on a likeminded path and still searching for the 43 normalistas, and finding more and more "fosas" with bodies. A leader of one of these self defense groups was just found murdered recently! The loved ones of the 43 normalistas are still agitating as strong as they were a year ago.
The Mexican government wants to sweep the incident from almost a year ago under the rug. Not the masses. It may seem like enough for Enrique Peña Nieto, but the Ayotzinapa campus has now become more intense in their revolutionary struggle. For the 43 fallen comrades and the population as a whole the protests persist and the masses have become more receptive to revolution in Guerrero than ever! None of this is reported by English news outlets and while the Spanish news downplays its reporting, revolutionaries in the United $tates must keep up with current events in the international context.
Many comrades in [i]ULK[/i] have expressed solidarity with Palestine, Syria, and Iraqi muslim fighters because of imperialist aggression towards them, yet we have a growing crises happening in Mexico that gets scant attention because it's the norm down there. And there's little mystery on why there are so many undocumented [email protected] in the U.$. to acquire better employment opportunities and escape that country's social crises. As internationalist revolutionaries we should advocate and support Ayotzinapa's current struggle to liberate its community from oppressive forces like the Mexican government and drug trafficking groups. USW conveys its revolutionary solidarity to Ayotzinapa!
14 August 2015 — The long-awaited autobiographical story of NWA, Straight Outta Compton (2015), hit theaters tonight. The action-packed movie glorifies the evolution, and quick dispersal of what they billed as "the world's most dangerous group." While this was part of their hype, there was certainly some truth to the image NWA portrayed and the long-term impact that they had on music and culture in the United $tates. Produced by Ice Cube, with help from Dr. Dre and Tomica Woods-Wright (widow of Eazy-E), the film portrays the history of NWA through their eyes. While generally an accurate history, there are artistic liberties taken in the portrayal of certain events and what is left out.
A key theme of the film is the role of police brutality in shaping the experience of New Afrikans in Compton, particularly young males. There are multiple run-ins with police brutality depicted, and attention is given to the infamous beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and the subsequent riots in Los Angeles that deeply affected all members of NWA. The strong anti-cop message of the movie will resonate with audiences who have been unable to avoid discussion of police murders of New Afrikans over the last year or so. As such, the movie will have a positive impact of pushing forward the contradiction between oppressed nations and the armed forces that occupy their neighborhoods.
Every New Afrikan rebellion in the past year has been triggered by police murders. Murders and attacks on New Afrikans by whites and their police have always been the most common trigger of rebellions since Black ghettos have existed.(1) This was true in the 1960s when the Black Panthers rose to prominence, it was true in the early 1990s after NWA rose to fame, and it's true today when "Black Lives Matter" is a daily topic on corporate and other media. This national contradiction, and how it is experienced in the ghetto, is portrayed in the film by the fact that there are no positive roles played by white characters.
A secondary theme, that surrounded a number of high-profile groups/rappers of the time, was the question of freedom of speech. NWA was part of a musical trend that brought condemnation from the White House and the birth of the "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" warning sticker. Ice Cube does a good job of portraying his character as righteous and politically astute, though he self-admittedly embellished from how events truly occurred.(2) We see the strong political stances Ice Cube took in his music after he left NWA, yet, only a glimpse. They do a montage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, but don't touch on Cube's extensive commentary before and after the riots through his music.
They also curiously leave out any mention of Dre's public feud with Eazy-E after Dre left Ruthless Records, though they do spend time on Ice Cube's feuds with Ruthless.
The movie concludes by glamorizing Dre's rise to fame and independence, after being screwed by Jerry Heller (and Eazy-E) while with NWA, and then by Suge Knight for The Chronic album. They portray his success in guiding new artists like Eminem and 50 Cent to successful careers and his marketing of Beats headphones, which were purchased by Apple, Inc. Ice Cube's great success as an actor and producer are also featured, as are a memorializing of Eazy-E and updates on DJ Yella and MC Ren.
While this ending is a logical wrap up of the story of these five artists and where they are today, the focus on the individuals leaves out much of their real legacy. NWA was part of a cultural shift. Like all historical events, what they did represented much bigger forces in society. The character of Ice Cube recognizes this in a press interview in the film when he says they didn't start a riot at a Detroit show, they were just representing the feelings of the youth of the day. As was stressed in that interview, and throughout their careers, NWA members were just reporters speaking on what they were experiencing. And it was an experience that until then was unknown to a majority of Amerikans. Today that experience has become popularized. It is both glamorized and feared, but it has become a prominent part of the Amerikan consciousness thanks to voices like NWA.
While reality rap has been used (and misconstrued) to reinforce racism by many, the real transformatative impact it has had is in bringing this reality to the forefront so that it could no longer be ignored by Amerikans. Again, this pushed the national contradiction in the United $tates, by making all people face reality and take positions on it.
One problem with the movie is the way it leaves the rebelliousness of NWA as something from the past, that has evolved into successful business sense. NWA was one of a number of greatly influential artists at the time that shaped the future of hip hop. When gangsta rap was breaking out, you had real voices leading the charge. Since then it has been reeled in, and there is generally a dichotomy between the studio garbage that gets corporate play and the countless popular artists who have taken rap to higher levels both artistically and ideologically. Today there is a greater breadth of politically astute artists who are quite influential, despite lacking access to the corporate outlets. A montage of the countless "fuck da police"-inspired songs that have been produced since NWA would be a better recognition of their legacy today, than the focus on mainstream success and lives of some of the individual members.
While being a longer movie, Straight Outta Compton seemed to end quickly. There are plenty of exciting musical moments to make NWA fans nod their heads, plenty of fight scenes, if you're into that, and many rebellious statements made by members of NWA that should make you smile. We look forward to the even longer director's cut, which promises to get deeper into some points that are only hinted at in the theatrical release.(3)
Black lives matter, or so the slogan goes. To who does these lives matter is the real question. Tell this to the black mother who teaches her son to be careful of strangers, polite and respectful to his elders. He pays strict attention to his mother and plays in the playground, where he feels safe. He runs back and forth playing with his friend, his little amerikkkan baseball cap and his two dollar plastic water gun, only to be shot down in a hail of 9mm bullets by men who spend their days training at a gun range qualifying to achieve only the highest marksmen scores.
Black lives matter, or so the slogan goes. Just attempt to explain that to the Black mother whose son's bullet riddled body lies in the street on display for four hours, for other Black men to witness and be a reminder of what is in store for them if they dare think about talking back to a police officer. Yet after the gun smoke has cleared and the law deems this an appropriate action, against a creditable threat, there are those who still are foolish enough to think about having a sit down and dialog the matter of why Black lives don't matter to them.
The so-called Black leaders are only leading us to the devil for slaughter. Black leaders jump on a plane and travel halfway across the globe in an attempt to diplomatically broker a cease fire in a foreign country, yet they are missing in action when it comes to driving into the next county to stand up to the racist cop who proudly stated that he hates niggas.
Black lives matter, or so the slogan goes. Yet if a gay couple gets stared at sideways, the whole country is up in arms and the very best lawyer that money could buy defends them, free of charge, to prove that this great country has stepped into a brand new day. While little Jamal's mother is given some background public defender who claims that the world will listen to us and we will make a difference.
When will they learn that the only way these Black lives will matter is when they tell the world that talking and dialogs only ends up with dead children. The time is done for talking, let's give them the only thing that they understand, the only thing they respect. When a rabid animal approaches you it's not interested in talking or being rational, it deserves to be put down, or the infectious disease that it suffers from will only spread wider and stronger until it consumes an area that can no longer be contained. When will we wake up and stop being lead, and take the lead, before there are no more Black lives to matter.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this writer's call for organizing against the entire system that uses police brutality as just one tool in an arsenal of national oppression and social control. Dialogues with those who have the guns and power will not convince them to just give that up. We can only make serious and lasting change by force. This is why MIM(Prisons) is a revolutionary communist organization: we have learned from history that only a revolution, led by the proletariat and so fought in the interests of the oppressed and exploited, will put an end to the brutality and suffering under capitalism. Police brutality is just one aspect of this suffering.
This writer draws a contrast between the fight against gender oppression (against gays) and the fights against national oppression, noting that there is institutional money and support to fight the former while there is institutional support to maintain the latter. Overall we agree that within U.$. borders the majority actually enjoy gender privilege. But we should not ignore the hate crimes against the queer community. Many of these attacks target oppressed nations. Being New Afrikan and gay or transgender is even more dangerous than just being New Afrikan. In 2012, for instance, 50% of LGBTQ homicide victims were New Afrikan, 19.2% were [email protected] and only 11.5% were white.(1) And we should never pit the gender oppressed against the national oppressed. All oppressed people are allies in the fight against imperialism.