Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More on Oscar Grant

More on Oscar Grant


Contact: Tony Coleman, Rachel Jackson

(510) 225-4083 or


WHO: Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: Thursday, July 1st, 11:00 AM

WHERE: 14th & Broadway, Oakland (at the flag poles in Frank Ogawa Plaza )

As the Mehserle murder trial verdict draws near, Oakland community organizers fear that the Mayor and Oakland Police Department’s contradictory actions will hinder the exercise of First Amendment rights. Officials claim to support free speech, while video of heavily armed officers – marching in military formation, swinging batons on peaceful mock-protesters, and preparing pepper spray, tear gas, and tanks – sends the opposite message: that protestors will be brutalized, for the “crime” of protesting police brutality.

Despite this intimidation, the Oakland Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant and all victims of police abuse, supports the call for a community gathering at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland , 6pm, the day the verdict is announced.

Tony Coleman of OneFam raises key questions, “After years of cuts to youth services, now the City can pay for PSA’s and pay outreach workers to say that Oakland officials love young people? Where was funding or action against police abuse last year, when Dellums told protesters he ‘was too busy,’ to comment on the shooting of Oscar Grant? And why are gang-prevention officers high on the list of officers to be cut from the OPD? This is hypocrisy, and it’s way too little, way too late.”

“The police are out of control in California and beyond, from Seattle to Detroit to New York , and it’s past time for Obama to step up,” says Rachel Jackson of the New Years Movement for Justice. “Despite the hype, there are no ‘outside agitators’ when a problem is nationwide. The ‘outsiders’ are officers who don’t live in cities they patrol, would never send their children to Oakland schools, and believe the solution to crime is to pack prisons with non-violent offenders.”

Hannibal Shakur from the Laney Black Student Union drives the point home: “I get targeted by the police regularly, including for the ‘crime’ of documenting police abuse on video. It’s offensive and condescending to imply that young black men need ‘outsiders’ to tell us how to respond to racism.”

Regardless of the Mehserle verdict, police violence must stop. At this historical moment, the Oakland Assembly urges us to look to each other for healing and solutions to community problems. The Oakland Assembly for Justice will facilitate a youth-focused program to express and process emotions our on the day of the verdict, in a space where our voices will be heard.


Day of the Verdict – Community Gathering – 14th & Broadway, 6pm

The Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant is a grassroots coalition of concerned citizens working with statewide partners to stop the epidemic of police abuse. For more information, see

From: "Brooks, Desley" <>
Date: June 30, 2010 1:07:02 PM PDT
To: "Brooks, Desley" <>
Subject: Press Release from the Black Electeds and Clergy of the East Bay.

Contact: Desley Brooks (510) 238-7006

Keith Carson (510) 272-6695

For Immediate Release

Black Elected Officials and Clergy of the Eastbay’s statement regarding Upcoming Oscar Grant Verdict

An Open Letter to the Community:

Within the next couple of days and/or weeks there will be a verdict in the Oscar Grant case. This case has struck a nerve in Oakland and around the world. In anticipation of the verdict the Black Elected Officials and Clergy of the Eastbay wanted to share some information with our community.

Representatives of our organization have been monitoring this case since Oscar Grant was senselessly murdered by Johannes Mehserle on January 1, 2009. We demanded that a reluctant District Attorney file criminal proceedings against Mehserle; we helped to organize community pressure on BART to bring about organizational change and implementation of polices and procedures to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again; we have attended all of the court proceedings; and most importantly we have demanded justice for Oscar Grant, his family and everyone that Oscar represents – because we all could be Oscar Grant.

A community needs to know that its leadership will stand to protect their interests. While we are hopeful that our Justice System will be just; we are mindful of incidences where it has failed us. When the system failed us in the Rodney King case, the Justice Department stepped in to ensure that the Community’s interests were protected. We, the Black Elected Officials and Clergy of the Eastbay, stand prepared to call upon all State and Federal agencies to seek any and all recourse if an unjust verdict is rendered in this case.

We know that emotions may run high depending on the outcome of Johannes Mehserle’s criminal proceedings. The current State Court proceedings are just one step on the road to justice for Oscar Grant. As such, we are asking that you work with us to shut down anyone who would engage in destructive behavior in our community. We are also asking that you work with us as we continue to demand justice for Oscar. We have been assured that the Justice Department is monitoring the Mehserle case.

Martin Luther King said that peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice. In the same vein as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Rodney King, and many others we will receive JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT.

The struggle continues,

Hon. Desley Brooks

Hon. Keith Carson

Minister Keith Muhammad

Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry

Rev. Zachary Carey

Hon. Darleen Brooks

Hon. Kathy Neal

Hon. Marlon McWilson

Bishop Keith Clark

Rev. Dr. Kevin Barnes

Hon. Darryl Moore

Hon. Alice Spearman

Partial listing

Desley Brooks
Oakland City Council Member, District 6
City Hall
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238-7006 (office)
(510) 986-2650 (facsimile)
Keep Making A Difference -- Pay It Forward!

Parable of Oakland Police Riot

Parable of Oakland Police Riot

The Oakland Police are planning to riot. This is the community consensus based on conversations at the crossroads. They shall be waiting for the crowd to gather in front of City Hall after the verdict is announced in the Oscar Grant murder trial. The consensus among the people is that the BART police officer shall not be found guilty of murder. The prosecution has been weak as water, with no real effort to convince the jury Oscar Grant was murdered in cold blood last New Year's day.

Oakland police have been planning for weeks how they will handle the expected protests. They have been training in riot control, the old condemned North County jail has been prepared to handle protesters. Even the jail above City Hall has been made ready. All downtown businesses have been told to close early on Thursday and don't leave cars parked in the downtown area.

OPD Chief Bates says he wants peace but is prepared for war. Mayor Dellums concurs. The religious leaders, aka Pharaoh's magicians, are in league with the police to keeps the masses calm.

Yet the consensus among the people is that, if anything, it shall be a police inspired riot, instigated by agent provocateurs, Cointelpro agents and undercover police. The police want a riot so they can justify not getting laid off, having their budget cut and forced to contribute to their retirement fund. A good riot will make them eligible for Federal funds such as gang abatement monies and other grants from criminal justice and Homeland security.

So the OPD is ready to whup heads and slaughter demonstrators after they are instigated by agent provocateurs.

As far as we're concerned, justice for Oscar Grant was granted by Louvelle Mixon. Dr. Fritz Pointer said Mixon's shootout with the OPD allowed the Oakland masses to enjoy an "obscene pride" after years of police abuse under the color of law.

We are against all violence except in self defense. When the police stop acting like an occupying army and understand they work for the people and not the reverse, perhaps then, and only then, shall there be real peace in the hood.

The Supreme Court's decision to allow Americans to defend themselves with guns must be understood by reading the subtext: let them niggers keep killing each other, so long as they don't cross the line into the white community. If they cross the line, we're ready for them.

We know who sells guns to the brothers and sisters in the hood, and we know who allows the dope in. We cannot disassociate guns and drugs from politicians and developers who are eager to gentrify ghetto neighborhoods with buppies , yuppies and puppies. They will employ such tactics as gang abatement and eminent domain to ethnically cleanse the hood for the pseudo liberal black and white bourgeoisie.

A friend attended a gang abatement meeting full of whites. He wondered aloud where are the guys who are targets of gang abatement? Four of them were in jail and two others are home owners who must now stay one hundred blocks from their homes.

We cannot view this problem solely in a local context, but it must be seen within the wider context of the global wars against the poor in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. Through the tribal chiefs, America paid insurgents in Iraq to lay down their arms--that was the real surge, not the phony surge of General Patraeus, that was essentially the ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods in Baghdad, separating the Sunnia from the Shia by in numerous checkpoints, along with forcing four million internally and externally displaced refugees. In the most restive Anbar Province, Sunni insurgents were paid to lay down their arms and join the security patrols in their neighborhoods. This is the reason for the dramatic decrease in violence.

They are employing the same tactic in Afghanistan. The plan is to pay the Taliban billions to lay down their arms and pledge allegiance to the corrupt Karzai who is hardly the president of a nation but the Mayor of Kabul, the Capital. The Taliban shall be given jobs, housing and education.

Isn't this fantastic! Jobs, housing and education! Why not try this tactic in the hoods of America, specifically in Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums, OPD Chief Bates, Attorney General Holder, President Barack Hussein Obama. But oh, no, you rather pay the Taliban because they are a threat to your national security, although there is more violence in the hoods of America annually than the combined violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Is not the violence in the hoods of America a threat to national security? Children can't go to school, men and women can't go to work and come home safely, worshippers can't attend church, the elderly are prisoners in their homes in the day and night. Where is the national security?

It is costing you one million dollars per soldier per year to occupy Afghanistan, yet you have not reported the killing of one Al Queda soldier on the soil of Afghanistan. And then you say you must stay in Afghanistant until you improve the army who is so illiterate they are too retarded to defend themselves, yet these are the people who ran out Alexander the Great, the Monguls, the British, the Russians, and soon they will run your asses out. Yet you tell us you must occupy their land until they are literate enough to defend themselves?

I rest my case. Let us pray for peace in the streets of Oakland, a valiant city, home of the Western Pullman Porters, home of the Black Panthers. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
--Marvin X
Academy of Da Corner
14th and Broadway

The Wisdom of Plato Negro, Parables/fables
Black Bird Press, 2010
311 pages

Black Bird Press
1222 Dwight Way
Berkeley Ca 94702

Dolphy bass clarinet

Charles Mingus Meditations On Integration

Film Review: Patrice Lumumba by Raoul Peck

Film Review

Patrice Lumumba

A Film by Raoul Peck

Reviewed By Marvin X
© 2002 by Marvin X

Note: We send out this review on the 50th anniversary of independence in the Congo. Lumumba said he was fifty years ahead of his time, and so it is. But even fifty years later the same problems of poverty, ignorance and disease remain, the Europeans are still there stealing the wealth, although the Chinese have entered the drama. Hopefully, with the Chinese, in exchange for precious minerals, there shall be construction and reconstruction, although we don't understand with a population of seventy million mostly unemployed why Chinese laborers are needed. There seems little jubilation among the population. One Congolese said, "After fifty years of independence, happiness has come to the man in charge and those around him--they eat well and are well paid."


My African consciousness began with the murder of Patrice Lumumba. After high
school graduation, I enrolled at Oakland's Merritt College and found myself in the midst of the black revolutionary student movement. Students Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Richard Thorne, Maurice Dawson, Kenny Freeman, Ernie Allen, Ann Williams, Carol Freeman and others were rapping daily on the steps at the front door of Merritt College. Some of them wore sweatshirts with Jomo Kenyatta's picture, sold by Donald Warden's African American Association, which held meetings on campus, and sometimes Donald Warden, renamed Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansour, rapped. The theme was often the African independence struggle, especially the Mau Mau's in Kenya.

But a frequent topic was the 1961 brutal murder of the democratically elected Congolese Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba. The brothers were well read and in their raps they documented the facts and figures of the African liberation struggle. They gave reference to such books as Kwame Nkrumah's Neo-Colonialism: the final stage of imperialism, where he documented the riches of Africa, especially the Congo, that the West coveted and committed mass murder to maintain. Patrice Lumumba was the first African leader I'd known about who was assassinated, and the brutal way he was eliminated helped expedite my African consciousness, especially learning how his so-called comrades betrayed him to continue the Western world's plunder of the Congo's vast mineral riches.

On one level, it was hard to believe, since I was attempting to get blackenized and didn't want to face the reality of black treachery. As students, most of us were Black nationalists, not yet the revolutionary black nationalists we would soon become, that allowed some of us to employ a class or Marxist analysis to the Pan African struggle, which Nkrumah's writings brought to the table.

The brothers leaning in the Marxist direction were Ken Freeman, Ernie Allen, and maybe Bobby Seale, all of whom were associated with SoulBook magazine, a revolutionary black nationalist publication featuring the writings of LeRoi Jones, James Boggs, Max Stanford, Robert F. Williams, Sonia Sanchez, Askia M. Toure', myself and others, although I was a budding writer, just out of high school and knew nothing about Marxism.

If I had, it would have helped me understand the class nature of Lumumba's final days. I couldn't comprehend how Mobutu, Kasavubu, and Tshombe could be so wicked to conspire with the white man to kill their brother. It would take the black hands of Malcolm's murderers for me to begin to understand.

Actually, I wouldn't fully understand until years later after reading a monograph by Dr. Walter Rodney, himself the victim of assassination in Guyana, South America, entitled West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade, in which he carefully deconstructed African social classes and their role in the slave trade, detailing how the political, military, judicial, and even religious institutions became corrupt and expedited our removal from the Motherland.

Amiri Baraka sings to us:

My brother the king
Sold me to the ghost
When you put your hand on your sister and made her a slave
When you put your hand on your brother and made him a slave
Watch out for the ghost
The ghost go get you Africa
At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean
Is a railroad of human bones
the king sold the farmer to the ghost....

It is hard to believe it has been forty years since the death of Lumumba, maybe because in the interim we've had innumerable cases in Africa and even in America of similar acts of treachery. Supposedly black ministers were involved in the death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Black elected politicians have been selling out the black community for at least the past thirty years, especially since the 1972 Gary Convention of the Congress of African People. We have no choice but to see our struggle as class struggle, race being incidental.

We cannot have any illusions that a black face will save us, only black hearts. Those who study the Bible and Qur'an know the history of all men is the story of treachery, deceit, lust, greed, jealousy, envy and murder -- but the glass can be seen as half full: the history of man is also about good transcending evil, liberation defeating oppression, ascension after crucifixion, joy after sorrow, victory over defeat. Yet, how many prophets survived? How many righteous people survived and continued in their righteousness, rather than succumb to iniquities?

Men of Lumumba's character are rare upon the stage of history, men dedicated to the liberation of their people, men who are confident that no matter how great the odds, freedom will come soon one morning.

Raoul Peck's film was depressing because it showed a leader in a Indiana Jones snake pit full of vipers and cobras of the worse sort, snakes who danced to the rhythm of Western drums, not those of the mighty Congo, for Lumumba's mission appeared doomed from the start, he said himself that he was fifty years ahead of his time. This may have been the truest statement of the movie, for only ten years remain before the half-century mark in the modern history of the Congo or Zaire. Maybe in the last ten years of his prophecy, the people of Zaire will become truly free.

What the movie failed to give us were the deep structure motivations for the behavior of men like Kasavubu, Tshombe and Mobutu. Yes, the Europeans were there, had been there stealing the wealth, especially of Katanga Province which held 70% of the nation's riches, but we needed to see the very beginning with Belgium King Leopold's butchery, including his role in the European carving up of Africa at the 1890s Berlin Conference. We need to know the custom of chopping off limbs so en vogue today with diamond seeking armies in Zaire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and elsewhere originated with King Leopold. Only then can the unaware and unread understand what demonic forces created such inhuman beings as the three main characters that surrounded Lumumba and ultimately brought about his downfall. From the movie we are tempted to say his own people did him in, but we know better, we must know better-think of diamonds, chrome, uranium, plutonium, cobalt, zinc and other minerals.

Look at Zaire today with several competing armies from neighboring countries (Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, et al) warring over the same minerals for the same European masters who instigated the treacherous actions of Kasavubu, Tshombe and Mobutu. Their names have a poetic ring that we should remember forever as the sound of death in a people, the sound of condensation and the lowest rats in creation, but understand they represent class interests and their class mates are visible throughout Africa and the world, even in the American political landscape: we have Clarence Thomas, Ward Connelly and Colin Powell -- new world rats, but rats none the less, who are every bit the measure of the Congo Three.

And let us not forget the reactionary behavior in the black liberation movement, the murder by incineration of Samuel Napier in the Black Panther fratricide, the assassination of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins by the US organization in the BSU meeting room on the campus of UCLA, the Muslims setting a prostitute on fire in San Francisco and other terrorists actions such as the Zebra killings.

Even the Black Arts Movement had its psychopathic shootouts with the wounding of Larry Neal and other acts we need not list. Shall we neglect to mention the hip hop generation also has its catalogue of madness such as the east coast/west coast killing of rap giants Tupac and Biggie Small. Let Lumumba be a lesson for us all. Let's learn from it and move to higher ground. Some of our madness is simply that -- we cannot attribute all evil acts of man to white oppression, although white oppression in inexcusable. We must take responsibility for Black Madness.

We are happy the director created a screen version of this historic drama. The actors made us feel the good in Lumumba and the evil in his associates, black and white, for the whites performed their usual roles as arrogant, paternalistic colonial masters whose aim was to hold power until the last second as we saw when they released Lumumba from prison to attend independence talks in Belgium. We saw the stark contrast of character in the speeches of Lumumba as prime minister and Kasavubu as president. Lumumba was strong, Kassavubu capitulating even on the eve of freedom, signaling his intent to remain a colonial puppet.

For those who came away like myself, and one could sense the sad silence in the audience as they departed the theatre, a friend remarked that we must not give up hope because the enemy will never tell you when you are winning.

For more writings and/or information on Marvin X go to,

Monday, June 21, 2010



Marvin X

Pull Yo Pants Up

fada Black Prez

and Yo Self!

Essays on Obama Drama and Parables on the

Hustler’s Guide to the Game Called Life

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Message from Da Prez

Father's Day Message from your Prez

The White House, Washington

Good afternoon,

As the father of two young daughters, I know that

being a father is one of the most important jobs any man can have.

My own father left my family when I was two years old.

I was raised by a heroic mother and wonderful

grandparents who provided the support,

discipline and love that helped me get to

where I am today, but I still felt the

weight of that absence throughout

my childhood. It's something that

leaves a hole no government can fill.

Studies show that children who grow up

without their fathers around are more

likely to drop out of high school,

go to jail, or become teen fathers themselves.

And while no government program can

fill the role that fathers play for our children,

what we can do is try to support fathers

who are willing to step up and fulfill

their responsibilities as parents,

partners and providers. That's why

last year I started a nationwide dialogue

on fatherhood to tackle the challenge

of father absence head on.

In Chicago, the Department of Health

and Human Services held a forum

with community leaders, fatherhood

experts and everyday dads to discuss

the importance of responsible fatherhood

support programs. In New Hampshire,

Secretary of Education Duncan explored

the linkages between father absence and

educational attainment in children.

In Atlanta, Attorney General Holder

spoke with fathers in the criminal

justice system about ways local

reentry organizations, domestic

violence groups and fatherhood

programs can join together to support

ex-offenders and incarcerated

individuals who want to be closer to their

families and children.

Now we're taking this to the next level.

Tomorrow, I'll make an announcement

about the next phase of our efforts to

help fathers fulfill their responsibilities

as parents -- The President's Fatherhood

and Mentoring Initiative. You can learn

more at

This Father's Day -- I'm thankful for

the opportunity to be a dad to two

wonderful daughters. And I'm thankful

for all the wonderful fathers, grandfathers,

uncles, brothers and friends who are doing

their best to make a difference in the lives of a child.

Happy Father's Day.

President Barack Obama

Friday, June 18, 2010



Ali Farka - Monsieur le Maire de Niafunké

Ali Farka Touré 'Amandrai'

Pull Yo Pants Up fada Black Prez and Yoself!

Friday, June 18, 2010




Black Bird Press, Berkeley
August 2010
50 pages


Excuse Me, Mr. President
Obama, A One Act Play
Jobs for Terrorists Abroad, None for the Hood
Response to State of Union Speech--The End
The Primary
Hillery and Obama, Neck to Neck
Obama's Last Ghost
Transformational or Transactional?
Wins Nomination
Sermon on the Mount
Speech to Muslims

As Predicted
Weary of Intellectualism
Obama As Joseph

The War that ain’t War

Parable of Oil and White Supremacy
Pull Yo Pants Up fa da Black Pre

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Comments on Take this Hammer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Straight Outta Hunters Point

Comments on Take This Hammer

Comment on film

During the time of the film, 1963, I was a youth worker in Hunters Point, the hilly neighborhood visited in the film. This area of San Francisco has been long coveted by the whites who have finally managed to occupy the area that has the best view and weather in San Francisco. Through gentrification that began around the time of the film,( the term Negro removal was used in those days), whites have finally begun to occupy the community that is extremely zhenophobic, i.e., if you ain't from here, don't come here.

But Hunters Point is a valiant community with the highest rate of black property ownership in the city. Of course all the problems still exist, if not more, drugs, gangs and homicide are epidemic. But it is a militant community. The only rebellion in SF during the 60s happened in Hunters Point.

Many of those housing projects have been and are being torn down and replaced with market rate housing, a few reserved for low income residents. For sure, at the time of Baldwin's visit, there were very few, if any, whites in the area.

The current crisis in the neighborhood is with the old Naval shipyard land that is toxic but in the process of being developed. Radiation dust is periodically blown up into the hilly area by the winds. The area is a cancer cluster with high rates of asthma. There have been community protests for years, recently the Nation of Islam minister addressed the SF Board of Supervisors and called them whores for, yes, putting profits above the health of the people. They are determined to begin developing the land without a thorough clean up of toxic waste. The politicians have flip/floped between support of the community and support of developers.

As per redevelopment in San Francisco, former Mayor Alioto apologized to the North American African community for destroying its economic and cultural life, especially the Fillmore area. Of course there were blacks who collaborated with the destruction.

For an updated film on Hunters Point, see Straight Outta Hunters Point by Kevin Epps.
--Marvin X

----- Original Message ----
From: Abdul Alkalimat
Sent: Wed, June 16, 2010 4:44:53 AM
Subject: Re: Take this Hammer - a James Baldwin documentary

From: Rhone Fraser

I saw this film, thank Earl for sending it, and Alex for making it
possible. I was struck by so many truths Baldwin stated in this film, some of which are in notes on the film I took here, which I would love to discuss on H-Net:

One of the young people interviewed said the only jobs available were those that help you tear down your own home. This speaks to the kind of economy in urban areas that cater to only the economic interests wealthy
philanthropists instead of community centers or schools.

Baldwin said you can't do anything about the moral and psychological effects of living in the ghetto. This reminds me of St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton's observation in *Black Metropolis* of Richard Wright's similar critique of Bronzeville in Chicago:"For him [Wright], all of the segregated Negro communities were intellectually sterile ghettos into which Negroes had been driven by social forces beyond their control, and which incorporated, in exaggerated form, what Wright considered some of the worst facets of American life: conspicuous consumption, pursuit of the products of a mass culture, devotion to frivolous trivialities, and a plethora of escapist religion. Richard Wright made no pretense of being detached or even tolerant about the way of life in Bronzeville" (x, Black Metropolis) Both Wright and Baldwin see that ghetto as institution that is meant to demoralize Blacks in the service of white supremacy; and both became expatriates as some
time in their lives to protest such an institution. James Baldwin expressed his critique of the ghetto in which he grew up in film, three years after Richard Wright's exiled death. Their critiques of the ghetto and gentrification are still so relevant today.

Baldwin also said 'The society makes the assumption that it is more
important to make profit than it is to make citizens...Children learn it is more important to make profit than it is to be aman. And that's the way society really operates." This is true of every new hi-rise that goes up; a high rise put up by people interested in making money, instead of lobbying to divert more funding FROM military occupations to public schools and arts programs.

When he and his host (I wish we knew his name) looked at the gutted Catholic church in downtown San Francisco, I appreciated Baldwin's calling that gutted church a metaphor for the utility of the Catholic church in the lives of black youth in that time and place. It is still an apt metaphor today, along with his critiques of gentrification when noticing the Catholic church's tacit approval of U.S. military occupation and arms exports across the world.

This was an enlightening video; I had so much more to share about this, but these were most pressing comments I had; thank you for sharing. -RF.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

James Baldwin in San Francisco-[-Take This Hammer

At the end of April last year, SF State posted James Baldwin's Take
This Hammer online ( ).

> KQED's film unit follows poet and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he's driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. He is escorted by Youth For Service's Executive Director Orville Luster and intent on discovering: "The real situation of negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present." He declares: "There is no moral distance ... between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone's got to tell it like it is. And that's where it's at." Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: "There will be a negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now." The TV Archive would like to thank Darryl Cox for championing the merits of this film and for his determination that it be preserved and remastered for posterity.

A number of people immediately asked for a copy, but there were
copyright issues so downloads were not allowed.

Two weeks ago Alex Cherian, the film archivist, posted the following
note on the page:

"Please contact me directly with requests to access 'Take This Hammer'
on DVD, at"

Friday, June 11, 2010

The CIA and Christopher "Dudus" Coke

The CIA and Christopher "Dudus" Coke

By Casey Gane-McCalla June 3, 2010 2:06 pm

With the recent violence in Jamaica and the controversy over alleged drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, many people are talking about the infamous Jamaican Shower Posse and the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, where they have their base. What is being is being ignored largely by the media, is the role that the American government and the CIA had in training, arming and giving power to the Shower Posse.

It is interesting that the USA is indicting Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the current leader of the Shower Posse for drug and gun trafficking, given that the CIA was accused of smuggling guns into Jamaica and facilitating the cocaine trade from Jamaica to America in the 70s and 80s. In many ways Dudus was only carrying on a tradition of political corruption, drug running, guns and violence that was started with the help of the CIA.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father was was Lester Coke, also known as Jim Brown, one of the founders of the Shower Posse and a fellow champion and protector of the impoverished Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston. Coke was a political enforcer and bodyguard to Edward Seaga, the leader of the Jamaican Labour Party.

Seaga’s opponent Michael Manley had begun to adopt “socialist” stances and began openly criticizing American foreign policies and meeting with U.S. enemy, Fidel Castro, in the 1970s. Given the cold war the US was having with Russia, the CIA did not want Jamaica to be friendly with communists.

According to Gary Webb’s book,”The Dark Alliance,” Norman Descoteaux, the CIA station chief in Jamaica began a destabilization program of the Manley government in late 70s. Part of that plan was assassinations, money for the Jamaican Labour Party, labor unrest, bribery and shipping weapons to Manley’s opponents, like Lester “Jim Brown” Coke.

Author, Daurius Figueira writes in his book, “Cocaine And Heroin Trafficking In The Caribbean,” “In fact, it meant that illicit drug runners linked to the JLP were integrated into a CIA linked illicit drugs guns and criminal trafficking pipeline.”

Former CIA agent, Philip Agee, said “the CIA was using the JLP as its instrument in the campaign against the Michael Manley government, I’d say most of the violence was coming from the JLP, and behind them was the CIA in terms of getting weapons in and getting money in.”

One of Lester Coke’s associates, Cecil Connor, would claim that he was trained by the CIA to fight political wars for the JLP through killing and spying. Connor would stuff ballot boxes and intimidate voters to help the JLP win elections. Connor would go on from being a political thug to being part of the international Jamaican based cocaine ring known as the Shower Posse. He wound up testifying against Lester Coke and his cohort Vivian Blake, only to return to his native St. Kitts to become a drug kingpin who almost held the country hostage.

Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father, Lester Coke has also been accused of working with the CIA. Timothy White speculates, in his biography of Bob Marley, “Catch A Fire,” that Jim Brown was part of a team of armed gunman that attempted to assassinate Bob Marley led by JLP enforcer Carl “Byah” Mitchell. Authors Laurie Gunst and Vivien Goldman also make the same assertions in their books, “Born Fi Dead” and “The Book Of Exodus.” Marley’s manager Don Taylor claims that one of Marley’s attackers was captured and admitted that the CIA had agreed to pay him in cocaine and guns to kill Marley.

Lester Coke would later be burned to death in a Jamaican jail cell, while awaiting extradition the the United States. Many people have claimed that he was killed so he wouldn’t reveal his secrets dealing with the CIA, JLP and criminal activity.

In its efforts to destabilize the Jamaican government in the 1970s, the CIA created a group of drug dealing, gun running, political criminals. Through the cocaine trade, these criminals would eventually become more powerful than the politicians they were connected to. The CIA destabilization program did not only destabilize Jamaica in the 70s, but it destabilized Jamaica for the next 40 years.

Given the secrecy of both CIA and Jamaican society, it is unclear exactly what was the CIA’s role in creating the Shower Posse. Did they give them guns? Were they given cocaine? Were they trained how to smuggle drugs? Did the CIA use the Shower Posse to try and kill Bob Marley? These are all questions that the CIA should answer.

If what is alleged about the CIA is true, then they are partially responsible for the cycle of gun trafficking, gun smuggling and violence that plagues Jamaica today. If the US can extradite the son of one of the CIA’s political enforcers for trafficking guns and cocaine, shouldn’t the CIA be investigated for training Jamaicans on how to conduct political warfare, arming them, giving them cocaine and helping them traffic it? Given the revelation that the CIA allowed Nicaraguan drug dealers to sell cocaine in the US to fund their revolution against their communist government, it is not that far fetched to believe that they would arm Jamaicans to with guns and give them cocaine to fight communists in Jamaica.

A Poem for Dessie Woods/Rashidah Muhammad

A Poem for Dessie X. Woods/Rashidah Muhammad

The following poem by Kalamu ya Salaam honors Dessie X. Woods/Rashidah Muhammad (RIP), a warrior queen who killed her rapist in Georgia before moving to Oakland where she worked with the Uhuru Movement, Marvin X, and became a midwife and community organizer in West Oakland before making her transition due to cancer at 61.

There is a street named Rashidah Muhammad Way, downtown Oakland, but we doubt those who named the street in her honor were aware of her valiant past in Georgia as told in the story following Kalamu's poem.

--Marvin X

HIWAY BLUES (for Dessie Woods)

photo by Alex Jones

HIWAY BLUES (for Dessie Woods)

Ain't it enough

he think he own

these hot blacktop hiways,

them east eighty acres,

that red Chevy pick up

with the dumb bumper stickers

and big wide heavy rubber tires,

two sho nuff ugly brown bloodhounds

and a big tan&white german shepherd

who evil and got yellow teeth?

Ain't it enough

he got a couple a kids to beat on,

a wife who was a high school cheerleader,

a brother who's a doctor,

a cousin with a hardware store,

a divorced sister with dyed hair,

a collection of Hustler magazines

dating back to the beginning,

partial sight in his left eye,

gray hairs growing out his ear,

a sun scorched leathery neck that's cracking,

a rolling limp in his bow legged walk,

and a couple of cases of beer in the closet?

Ain't it enough

he got all that

without having to mess

with me?

Yeah, I shot the


—kalamu ya salaam


Africa loses a courageous warrior!

Long live the defiant resistance of Dessie Woods!
The APSP built the National Committee to Free Dessie Woods and fought to free the courageous African woman who was an example of resistance to the African community

On November 4, 2006 the Uhuru Movement and the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) lost a dear friend and a powerful fighter for the liberation of African people everywhere. Dessie Woods, also known as Rashida Mustafa, died of lung cancer in Oakland, California at the age of 61.

Dessie Woods’ name was known around the world after she was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing a white man in Georgia with his own gun when he tried to rape her. The story of the resistance of Dessie Woods and of the powerful movement led by our Party that freed her is part of the legacy of the ongoing struggle of African people for independence and liberation.

The APSP joins the work to free Dessie Woods

In the early 1970s, the entire Black Liberation Movement was under heavy attack by the U.S. government’s COINTELPRO program, one of the counterinsurgency programs responsible for assassinating our leaders, destroying our revolutionary organizations and locking up African people who took a stand of resistance. During this time, the African People’s Socialist Party was a leading force in defending countless African people who found themselves in prison for fighting back against the conditions imposed on us.

Our Party freed Pitts and Lee, framed up and facing the death penalty in Florida, and Connie Tucker, a Party member who had been imprisoned for her stand. Because of the success of these campaigns the Party was asked to join the existing work to defend Dessie Woods.

The Party was asked to join this campaign by one of the two factions around which the work had developed. This factional struggle represented the ongoing contest between those struggling for African self-determination and the ideological imperialists posing as revolutionaries.

Joining the work to free Dessie Woods was a strategic decision made by our Party. In the Basic Party Line, Chairman Omali Yeshitela makes it clear that “All our work is guided by our understanding that our struggle for national liberation within U.S. borders is an integral part of the whole African Liberation Movement…”

When we joined the work, the existing committee to defend Dessie woods was disorganized and dominated by white left forces. The white women’s movement and their sympathizers who wanted to build a defense for Dessie Woods based on a struggle against rape and sexual abuse of all women. Our Party struggled that the attack on Dessie Woods was part of the colonial violence imposed on all African people for the past 500 years. The white left position was defeated.

The Party formed and led The National Committee to Free Dessie woods with the slogan, “Free Dessie Woods! Smash Colonial Violence!” This was a powerful statement that brought to center stage once again the liberation struggle of African workers inside the U.S.

1975: a defiant example

On June 17, 1975, Dessie Woods and her friend Cheryl Todd were hitch-hiking home to Atlanta, Georgia from an unsuccessful attempt to visit Todd’s brother in Georgia’s infamous Reidsville Prison. The two African women were picked up by an insurance salesman named Ronnie Horne.

As an ordinary southern white man, Horne understood his “right” to assault the two African women if he chose to do so, and he did. Horne began to intimidate the women and when they resisted he pretended to be a cop and threatened to arrest them.

After stopping in a deserted area, Cheryl Todd escaped from Horne’s car and ran. Horne drew his pistol in an attempt to stop her, but Dessie Woods who had been sitting in the back seat, grabbed the gun and struggled.

Dessie was successful in removing this colonial attacker from the land of the living and ensuring that he would never again attack another African woman. She then took Ronnie Horne’s money and made sure that she and Cheryl Todd got safe transportation home to Atlanta.

1976: the trial and demonstrations

For this courageous act of self-defense and African resistance, the women were jailed and convicted. Todd’s family was able to secure an attorney, but Dessie Woods had to rely on a public defender. The attorneys made some small trial victories and had the trial moved to Hawkinsville, Georgia. On January 19, 1976 a contentious trial began in this small plantation town of cotton and peanut farms and a population of 3,000. Woods, Todd and their militant supporters were seen as such a threat to the colonial relations, that scores of law enforcement officials descended on Hawkinsville — armed bailiffs, armed state troopers, sheriffs deputies and local cops.

Beginning with her successful confrontation of Ronnie Horne, Dessie Woods continued to act with calm resolve. Through her carriage during the trial, she personally smashed any preconceived notion of the passivity of African women and the general servility of African people.

Hers was a defiant example too dangerous to go unpunished. The State therefore chose her as their main target, allowing the liberal and white left supporters to separate Cheryl Todd’s case from Woods. Todd was given a light sentence, primarily probation.

The trial was understood to be a sham, and the mass support for Dessie Woods and for justice to African people continued to build. Because of this, the State was unable to convict her for murder, but on February 12, 1976, Dessie Woods was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery. She was sentenced to 10 years and 12 years to be served concurrently.

The Party forms the African People’s Solidarity Committee

In September of 1976, the Party, guided by our strategy, convened the first meeting to organize the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), laying out the theoretical framework for North American people to do anti-colonial organizing — such as the defense of Dessie Woods — under our leadership. A second meeting was held in December of 1976 and the practical work of organizing Dessie Woods Support Committees under the APSP-led National Committee to Defend Dessie Woods was laid out.

On November 1, 1976, the supreme court of Georgia denied Dessie Woods’ appeal and upheld her conviction regardless of the more than 20 errors committed by the trial court. The struggle to free Dessie became our primary mass work and we intensified this work throughout the United States and in Europe.

1977: the resistance intensifies

Despite the legal setbacks, the Party knew that the defense of Dessie Woods was the defense of all African people colonized in the U.S. and understood the strategic necessity to put her case within the context of the African Liberation Movement. This is illustrated in a quote from Ironiff Ifoma’s November 1978 Burning Spear article entitled– “Dessie Woods Is All Of Us” that reads, “rape attacks against black women by white men are not sexual acts but tactics of colonial terror to keep a whole people terrorized.”

The struggle continued to build, and on September 4, 1977 some 500 people from virtually all areas of the country came together in Atlanta, Georgia to militantly demand the freedom of Dessie Woods. The Atlanta rally of predominantly African forces rejuvenated the African Liberation Movement at that time and further consolidated the APSP’s leadership.

This action, along with a subsequent one on September 14 in the San Francisco, California bay area, also demonstrated the growing support for Dessie Woods.

On the inside, Dessie continued to be defiant and organize other prisoners. She paid a heavy price for this, being continually drugged, brutalized and put into solitary confinement.

APSP “on fire” in 1978 with non-stop mobilizing around the case of Dessie Woods

On July 4, 1978 the National Committee to Defend Dessie Woods led two national demonstrations. Collectively known as the July 4th Movement to Free Dessie Woods, the demonstrations held in San Francisco, California and Plains, Georgia raised the slogan “Free Dessie Woods! Smash Colonial Violence!”

These two mobilizations were extremely significant. They continued the momentum from the September 1977 demonstration in Atlanta and further consolidated the Party’s leadership of the pro-independence movement. This was made clear by targeting Plains, Georgia the hometown of peanut farmer turned president James Earl Carter.

As head of the U.S. Government, Carter represented the colonial relationship Africans had to the United States. The treatment of Dessie Woods and all Africans in the U.S. dispelled the myth that he and the Democratic Party were anything but anti-African white ruling class representatives.

“At that moment in 1975 when she took on Ronnie Horne to protect herself and Cheryl Todd, she also took on U.S. imperialism and defended us all.”

The struggle against opportunism and for real solidarity

The significance of the mobilization for July 4 in the San Francisco bay area is found in the profound ideological struggle made by our Party. We declared and determined that we would lead our own liberation struggle; that ours was a struggle against domestic colonialism; and that the white left’s act of “adopting” the cases of individual African women or prisoners was opportunism and unacceptable.

In 1978, San Francisco was a hotbed of so-called progressive causes, including the Women’s Movement, the Gay Movement, and the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC) — which was articulating clear support for the anti-colonial struggle of African People. There was a strong prisoner support movement with many individuals and organizations such as PFOC having significant relationships with prisoners, particularly African prisoners.

Remnants of the Black Panther Party still existed and memories of the Black Power Movement were strong in people’s minds. There was extensive solidarity work being done with the revolutionary movements in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba.

In this atmosphere, the Chairman’s first large public speech was received enthusiastically and the turnout for the July 4th Movement to Free Dessie Woods was large, boisterous and fantastic. This would all change soon, and by 1979 the Party was publicly calling for the disbanding of PFOC as an organization and struggling with the opportunism of APSC and the North American “left”.

Our primary struggle was that we would lead our own liberation movement, and that the correct response from the North American community was to follow our leadership and provide our movement with political and material support. This put us at odds with PFOC and other ideological imperialists.

The Party struggled that the attempted rape of Dessie Woods was an act of colonial violence targeting all colonized African people, and that the prevention of such atrocities against African women in the future can only be found through the freedom of all African people. This put us at odds with the white women’s and gay movements.

Those ideological struggles made with the white left were earth shaking and ground breaking. The APSC of today is clear proof of our having needed to make the struggle at that time and further proves the correctness of our strategy.

We end 1978 challenging the legitimacy of the U.S. government

The November 1978 issue of the Burning Spear Newspaper has several articles describing our nonstop mobilizing. In early September, members of the National Committee to Free Dessie Woods held a demonstration in Midgeville, Georgia, home of Hardwick Prison, and then went out to the prison itself demanding to see Dessie Woods.

An APSP-led demonstration to free Dessie Woods

The demonstrators were bold, refusing to be intimidated by the guards and prison officials. While they were not able to see Dessie, they did set a militant example for all the visitors and challenged the authority of the State.

In the Point of the Spear of the same issue, the Chairman summed up the situation:

“Months of hard work by the African People’s Socialist Party bore fruit on the night of Friday, October 6 [1978] in San Francisco. It was on this night that the California Dessie Woods Support Coalition (DWSC) sponsored a historic political program entitled, ‘Night of Solidarity With African National Freedom Fighters.’

“This program saw almost 100, mostly North Americans, turn out for a program organized by the mostly North American Dessie Woods Support Coalition to express militant solidarity with African national freedom fighters — freedom fighters whose collective existence up to this period has not been acknowledged by the North American Left movement.

“This was an important program for our Party, for it was the concretization of our strategy for winning support from the progressive sector of the North American people for our struggle for political independence through self-liberation.”

At the end of a dynamic 1978, on October 18, the Dessie Woods Support Coalition sponsored a picket and rally in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco. Fifty people, mostly North Americans, militantly marched chanting “Free Dessie Woods, Put the State On Trial!”

1979: Not One More Year!

The March 1979 issue of the Burning Spear was a special edition with the headline reading “Black Women in the Fight for Freedom.” The Spear issue told of a demonstration held on February 17, 1979, when the Dessie Woods Support Coalition marched across the Golden Gate Bridge, a historic San Francisco landmark, thirty strong demanding “Not One More Year — Dessie Must Be Free!” With voices and signs they demanded loudly and publicly that the U.S. State release Dessie Woods from its death grip in 1979 and end the colonial violence against black people in the U.S.

As this activity was occurring on the outside, Dessie Woods maintained her resistance on the inside of Hardwick Prison. She began her fourth year of incarceration challenging the otherwise routine conditions inside this highly controlled southern concentration camp.

Her militancy and pride in her Africanness quickly began to influence other prisoners who sought out her help. In retaliation, the prison authorities made numerous attempts on her life and continued to drug her.

International solidarity with Dessie Woods

Throughout this period of protracted struggle, our Party was guided by a strategy for liberation of all African people. An important component of that strategy, international recognition and support, had the Party touring Europe in 1979 successfully stopping in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris and culminating with a demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in London on September 26. The Party established fraternal relations with several organized African forces in Paris and London and also received a solidarity statement from the Vietnamese government at their London embassy.

This is further illustrated in the article “Dessie Woods Must Be Free This Year” from the November 1979 issue of the Burning Spear:

“On December 8, hundreds of people in over 12 cities in Europe and the U.S. will be in the streets demanding the immediate release of Dessie Woods and an end to colonial violence against African people. In Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, London, New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Eugene, San Francisco and elsewhere, [U.S. president James Earl] Carter will be confronted with the massive denial of human rights of Dessie Woods and all African people colonized in the U.S. The internationally supported actions led by the APSP will be demanding African independence and the destruction of U.S. colonialism.”

On November 1 in Eugene, Oregon, an enthusiastic crowd of over 200 people enjoyed a variety of culture by African artists and the North American “Amazon Kung-Fu School.” It was a successful fundraiser for the Dessie Woods support work, but still at the end of 1980 after more than four years in prison, Dessie was “in the hole” and brutally beaten. Her parole had been denied and our work to free her continued on the outside.

1981-2006: Dessie Woods is free from prison

In 1981, after serving five years of the original 12, Dessie was released from Hardwick Prison in Georgia, and she relocated to Oakland, California.

In subsequent years, Dessie Woods, known to us as Sister Rashida, was not always active in the Uhuru Movement, but she was a tireless community activist defending her neighborhood and the human rights of Oakland’s African community. She regularly attended events at the Uhuru House in Oakland, California. Her photo as part of a panel on Building the African People’s Childcare Collective was featured on the cover of the October 1983 issue of the Burning Spear Newspaper.

The headline for the article describing the panel’s work was “The Struggle of Black Women is the Struggle of Us All.” This sums up the contribution that Dessie Woods, Sister Rashida, made to Africa and African people. At that moment in 1975 when she took on Ronnie Horne to protect herself and Cheryl Todd, she also took on U.S. imperialism and defended us all.


A Street Named Rashidah Muhammad

There is a street in Oakland
nobody knows
hardly sees
they pass it going downtown on 20th Street/Tom Berkley Way (A Black Man)
Rashidah intersecting Tom Berkley
how nice
a black man's street intersecting a black woman's street
how nice
but who knows this Rashidah Muhammad
how many women or men or children
black or white, Muslim, Christian
but there it is
Rashidah Muhammad Street
named for a little warrior woman
midwife community organizer mother wife lover
who fought and killed her white rapist
down south and survived
police beatings and prison
The Uhuru Movement pushed her case nationwide
Free Dessie X
Free Dessie X
Uhuru! Uhuru!
Salaam Rashidah Muhammad Salaam.
We love you.
--Marvin X

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