Black August Convention: Returning to the Source

A Message to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Movement for Black Lives, Black Is Back Coalition, Black United Front and Organization For Black Struggle, Etc.

By 1Hood United & George Jackson University

index2This is a call for Black August to become more than an annual Commemoration to our fallen Freedom Fighters and Resistance but for it to also become a National Convention for each city/state/region to organize and mobilize around an Agenda of Nation Building and Self Determination. Presently we have many movements, such as the MXGM, M4BL and BIBC pursuing great agendas in our peoples interests however these separate agendas need to be coordinated. An annual Black August Convention could unite these agendas into a more cohesive National Agenda that could be collectively pursued. As jumping points to the project of an annual Black August Convention the New Afrikan celebrations of Kwanzaa and Juneteenth would serve as quarterly meetings and rallies for the mobilization of people, organizations, networking and recruitment. Organizations would also use these events to meet and evaluate the progress we have made toward the annual agenda set at each Black August Convention (BAC).

This call for a BAC has roots within our People’s history of resistance in amerikkka. In August, 1920 over 25,000 Africans from all over the world converged in New York’s Madison Square Garden to convene a month long Convention on the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro People’s of the World called for by Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). At the time it marked the largest gathering of Africans in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to asserting a demand for Self Determination for African people, the Convention unanimously adopted the Red, Black and Green as the National Flag for African peoples of the world. At a time when Africans in the United States were being lynched under the red, white and blue our people voted decisively to come out from under amerikkka’s governance and sought their own Sovereignty and Banner.

This was just one chapter of resistance by African peoples during the historic month of August within African history in the Western Hemisphere and over 97 years later African people in amerikkka are still pursuing Self Determination. Our people have always sought self-governance, whether within the present political system or within a territory of our own someone on this earth. From the first captured Africans that jumped ship or fled the plantations for the hills to live in Maroon communities to the advocates of Black Statehood. Our history is full of men and women who advocated Nationhood for the descendants of enslaved Africans. Men and Women like David Walker, Denmark Vessey, Nat Turner, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin Delaney, Harriet Tubman, Queen Mother Moore, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X and countless others. It is time we return to this tradition and an annual Black August Convention would be the medium to do so.

The New Afrikan celebrations of Kwanzaa and Juneteenth have a role to play in organizing a BAC. Kwanzaa, despite its present commercialization is a New Afrikan celebration that embodies some of the best principles of African culture. The Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) of Kwanzaa are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Celebrated on the last 7 days of December, Kwanzaa would be a natural follow up to a Black August Convention to evaluate our progress toward the goals set at the Black August Convention.

Juneteenth is another New Afrikan holiday celebrated nationally within our communities. It commemorates the date on June 19th, 1865 that enslaved Africans in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing them from slavery. At its root, Juneteenth is about Our People’s desire and struggle for Freedom, it is not about the Emancipation Proclamation. Falling between the dates of June 17th and 19th, it is a logical rallying and mobilization point for a Black August Convention using its festivals and to prepare the BAC Agenda.

In utilizing Kwanzaa and Juneteenth we must emphasize that we are not endorsing the commercialization that accompanies these New Afrikan holidays. Rather we are embracing them as stepping stones to rebuilding a National Movement and Agenda. Kwanzaa and Juneteenth are not the agenda, they are the platforms to promote and renew the Black August Convention agenda to provide continuity to our struggle so organizations and activists do not disperse back to their own individual projects after Black August.

By transforming these New Afrikan holidays into strategic events that unifies us as a people and movement toward the Agenda of Self Governance we are following the astute recommendations of our true warrior class, the Black Liberation Army, who advised the movement in the 70’s that: “in establishing the Black Commune (Movement) and along with it the Black cultural strategy, we must be careful we move forward and not backward…We should keep in mind that culture I’d established in the process of revolution also. The heroes/heroines that arise during this period (of struggle), become national heroes/heroines for all time. The dates of memorable occurrences become holidays; the acts & practices, which are taken up by the people during the course of the struggle, are later instituted as ritual or national custom. In short our cultural revolution need only follow the course outlined by the imperatives of our struggle.” BLA Study Guide, 1976.

In pursuit of these “Imperatives of our Struggle” it is Proposed that an annual Black August Convention have the following Working Committees on:index

1.) Cultural Restoration: Practicing and Building revolutionary culture and Critical African

Centered Theory*, not reactionary cultural studies/practices.

2.) Self Government: Autonomy, Sovereignty, Independence.

3.) Self Reliance: Cooperative Economics, Health Care, etc.

4.) Self Defense: Securing our communities, Community Control of Police.

5.) Reparations.

6.) Political: Holding Accountable Black elected officials.

7.) Mass Incarceration.

The above committees are just recommendations that could be expanded or elaborated further by organizations and activists interested in this call from activists behind the walls. The committees however would unite the various agendas already in existence so that as a movement we are complementing each other, not competing with each other.

In closing we must remember that Our Struggle is a PROTRACTED STRUGGLE that moves from one generation to the next. Black August represents a continuation of this struggle, the hosting of the torch from one season of struggle to the next, and from one generation of Freedom Fighters to the next generation of Freedom Fighters. In going forward let’s answer the call of Comrade George Jackson in building the Black August Convention & Agenda: Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution.” – Blood In My Eye.

In Unity & Struggle

Saleem Bandele

For 1Hood United & George Jackson University

*For an example of Critical African Centered Theory see the essay “De-colonizing our Lives: Divining a

Post-Colonial Therapy” by Makungu Akinyela

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Calling on you to Support #FreeTheReal

The #FreeTheReal campaign is aimed at bringing home our countless Brothas and Sistas locked down in the Belly of the Beast and tripped in the cycle of mass incarceration who are serving unjust and unfair sentences. Today, more Black Men & Women are imprisoned, on probation or on parole then were enslaved during the extra of slavery – making prisons the new plantations and mass incarceration the new slavery. Black and Broken bodies from amerikkka’s cities feed this beast and the people running this country have no intention of releasing our loved ones. If anything, the racist policies of the president of white amerikkka, Donald Trump and his klansman Attorney General Sessions, will continue to send the police into our neighborhoods as modern day “slave raiders” hauling off note Black and Brown youth to the new prison plantations. It is time we do something about this.

WHO WE ARE

Toward this end, the #FreeTheReal campaign has been launched to give a voice to the people and communities that have no voice. The #FreeTheReal campaign was developed by imprisoned activists and is geared toward freeing the Real Men and Women imprisoned. These imprisoned activists are members of 1Hood United, a youth empowerment movement committed to improving and controlling our neighborhoods. 1Hood United was inspired by Hip Hop artist Jasiri X’s 1Hood movement as well as Hip Hop artivist Blak Rapp Madusa. 1Hood United #FreeTheReal campaign is to bring attention to other real men and women locked down who have once possessed the same self destructive mentality that our youth now possess but who have abandoned that mentality and behavior and who are now interested in serving as guidance to our youth. Those who have once lived that culture are best suited to bring youth out of it.

Not only that, but we’ve suffered and are still suffering the consequences of living that gangsta lifestyle we once embraced, lived by and in many cases have seen our friends, homies, cousins and comrades killed. Therefore, we have already learned the error of our past ways and are now ready to help a new generation of Black youth avoid the errors we’ve been through.

When we look at the current state of our youth and neighborhoods there is a desperate need for guidance, the right guidance. For too long it has been unconsciously implanted in our youth that real men and women are the big time drug dealers, gangsta’s, shooters, etc. and these are the images they aspire to. From the cradle to an all too early grave (or life in prison), we’ve taken on the king of the jungle mentality and this imagery has led us to murdering each other, destroying our communities, harming our families and the mass incarceration of our youth. Instead of being true Kings and Queens we’ve been played out and tricked out by the system of white supremacy.

We’ve been riding on and warring on each other and it cannot continue at this rate. There are people in power who hate us and who are white supremacists. The Klansman Attorney General has declared war on our Hoods. This means more police, more arrests, more harassments, more prisons, more unjust laws and more police killing Black people. Make no mistake, this is a War and we need our people home so they can defend our neighborhoods from this onslaught coming and who can help solve the problems are people are facing. We must be ready!

1Hood United #FreeTheReal campaign is calling for the release of the real men and women locked down in the Belly of the Beast. This means we’re campaigning for the freedom of the following:

  1. ) #FreeTheReal men and women that have matured out of the gangsta mentality into a positive and productive mentality.
  2. ) #FreeTheReal men and women that understands what it means to be a responsible man or women and being responsible to your family and community.
  3. ) #FreeTheReal men and women that understand being a father does not mean being a sperm donor and being a mother does not mean giving birth. Being a mother and a father means being a positive and present guiding force in the lives of your children.
  4. ) #FreeTheReal means to free those who can become positive role models to the youth in our neighborhoods.
  5. ) #FreeTheReal means to free men and women who understand that riding for your neighborhood does not mean destroying your neighborhood and terrorizing our own people.

To Free The Real  to free those that stand on a foundation that is deeply rooted in honor, integrity, dignity and respect for Black and Brown Life. To Free The Real is to free those who operate and function off of the highest moral standards, principles and who embody what it means to have real character. It is to free those who know that in order to have any form of success we must first have Common-Unity in Our Communities.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT #FreeTheReal

Free the Real is not just about posting a picture and shout out on insta, its not about just a hastag so we are also calling on people to support and join movements that support prisoners and who are working to end mass incarceration. We have included a list of credible organizations at the end of this mission statement that we are asking people to join or support through donations.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Your support is needed now more than ever to free and support your loved ones and people locked down. We need all the People and Families in the hood who have a loved one or friends in prison along with all Street Generals and Street Captains to get on deck and ride for #FreeTheReal by putting its info out front on their social media posts.

We are calling on everyone to:

1.) Send a shout out on Insta, twitter, Facebook, etc to someone you know imprisoned with a picture of them, short statement about them and the hashtag #FreeTheReal.

2.) On every birthday, holiday, family get together’s, cookout’s etc send a shout out to your imprisoned loved ones or someone you know using #FreeTheReal to keep them out front.

3.) Put together Free The Real events in your neighborhoods such as picnics, fish friars, fundraisers, block parties, etc that brings attention to our people locked up from our neighborhoods and communities.

FREE THE REAL!!!

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A Message to the Black Lives Matter Movement from the Belly of the Beast

Demands Toward Dismantling Mass Incarceration and White Supremacy
By Incarcerated Activists of One Hood United

black_lives_matter

This message is long overdue and has been hampered by the restrictions on our ability to communicate with the outside world. However, no amount of barriers or barbed wire will prevent us from having our voices heard within the movement at the frontlines of fighting white supremacist governing and policing. One year before Eric Garner was choked to death by a white police officer, murdered on the streets of NYC while peacefully protesting his arrest, John J-Rock Carter was murdered in a prison cell at the State Correctional Institute at Rockview in Central Pennsylvania for peacefully protesting the abuse of prisoners in the Restrictive Housing Unit (aka the Hole).

John J-Rock Carter was sentence to life without parole for a crime he was convicted of as a juvenile offender. He was 29 years old at the time of his murder. He was murdered by correctional officers who pumped canisters of pepper spray and tear gas into his barricaded cell, suffocating him to death. J-Rock’s death – like the deaths of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland – was ruled justifiable by the state. No one on the outside heard J-Rock’s cries of “I can’t breathe” as the guards pumped canister after canister of pepper spray in his cell. We are sending this message out to ensure his cries are heard along with the cries and demands of the prisoners buried within the Prison Industrial Complex.

Towards this end, we present a list of demands for dismantling mass incarceration and for building Black empowerment and independence. This list of demands is not rooted in reforming mass incarceration or white supremacy, but rather in uprooting and destroying white supremacy and mass incarceration. We are requesting that our demands supplement the demands put forth by the Black Lives Matter movement so that our voices are heard.

We stand on human rights and not civil rights. Mass incarceration is the momentum behind police brutality, as police brutality is justified through the politics of mass incarceration which has criminalized all Black/Brown people. The two cannot be separated. Therefore, we cannot confront police brutality without confronting mass incarceration. And we cannot confront mass incarceration without confronting the Wars on Drugs and Gangs, which are white supremacist legislative assaults on Black/Brown communities.

We believe that the only way a minority population can roll back a legislative assault on its communities is through proportional political representation. Proportional representation for Black people is the most radical demand that can be made on the system of white supremacist governing that is the United States. It is the means by which we as a people can dismantle, not reform, the legislative arms of white supremacy and structural discrimination. Therefore, we ask the Black Lives Matter movement to place Black proportional representation in governing at the top of its demands. Police body cameras, police review boards, and more Black police – while needed – will not uproot police brutality, only structural change to governing will.

In closing, we also state that we are not interested in changing the hearts and minds of white people. Racism is a disease white people must themselves of and get over. We are not their therapists or doctors; we’ve diagnosed the problem. We are only concerned with racism in its structural manifestations, in the form of governing white supremacy and its ability to harm our people and communities. Therefore, not only do we stand in solidarity and support of the demand “Black Lives Matter,” we stand in solidarity with the demand for “Black Power” because it is through Black Power that we will ensure Black Lives Matter. We therefore request the Black Lives Matter Movement to incorporate the following demands into their platforms and programs.black-lives-matter

One Hood United Platform for Dismantling Mass Incarceration:

  • Repeal the 1994 Federal Crime Bill, 1996 Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act, and the 1997 Prison Litigation Reform Act. All of these “acts” of Congress, which were duplicated on the state level, were based on a false narrative and premise that gave rise to mass incarceration which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. If the authors and supporters of these acts were not driven by racial animus, the consequences of these acts demonstrate a racial animus, whether deliberate or unintentional.
  • Demand the immediate resignation of every African American legislator on both the state and federal level that voted in support of the above “acts.” There was due warning about the grave consequences these acts would have on communities of color, especially on youth of color and women. Therefore, there was no justification for supporting these acts. Esteemed U.S. Congressmen like John Lewis are not exempt from these demands. If anything, Rep. Lewis should have been at the forefront of opposing these racially motivated and driven “acts” that are reminiscent of the “Black Codes.” Any African American legislator that voted for these “acts” failed in their most fundamental duty: to defend the interests of their constituents!
  • Repeal the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution which authorizes “involuntary slavery” for persons convicted of a crime. Slavery, under any circumstances, must have no place within the United States Constitution that African Americans must live under, and have fought and died under. The continued inclusion of the justification for slavery in the United States Constitution is an affront to all African Americans and is also one of the main pillars of mass incarceration and police brutality. It justifies the state in dehumanizing prisoners, warehousing them like cargo, and depriving them of basic human rights.
  • Demand political autonomy for minority communities/populations in the United States This entails constitutional and/or legislative recognition of the group’s existence, history, and customs. This entails proportional political representation. Political and judicial representation should be in proportion to the number of African American who live in your city, state and throughout the United States. To learn more about proportional representation visit www.ihraam.org.
  • Demand that the government must obtain consent from minority populations about matters affecting them; this demand includes veto power for minority populations over criminal justice, health care, and other legislative acts that would impact them. This veto would only apply to minority populations. If white people want to lock their own people and youth up at disproportionate rates with harsh and unjust sentences, they are free to do so. But their historical racial animus towards African American people must no longer be allowed to impact African Americans anymore!
  • Demand guaranteed seats in legislatures and other political organs, including intra-governmental bodies, along with the appointment of officials chosen by our people to either specific positions or to a fixed minimum percentage of posts in legislatures and/or other pertinent governing bodies/agencies.
  • Demand real community control of the police. Not through Civilian Review Boards but rather Civilian Control Boards that possess teeth and allow for the immediate termination of police officers, investigative powers, and final review and authority in police department contracts. For more visit www.operationghettostrom.org.
  • Demand the elimination of police unions. Police unions have operated like strong arm outfits, intimidating communities of color and politicians that oppose their agenda. Police unions should be dissolved and incorporated into state, city, and municipal unions.
  • Create Cop Watch programs/chapters in every city, state, and region that coordinate and share information, video, and statistics with each other. For more on Cop Watch Programs visit www.mxgm.org/copwatch-msgm-3-on-brooklyn-review. See also the Referendum on Community Control of the Oakland Police Department on mxgm.org.
  • Demand control of all Educational/School Boards within African American communities, including the ability to draft our own educational curriculums that narrate real African American history and our unique cultural and political experience in the United States. This requires African American parents and activists to take over or create new Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in cities where African Americans are the majority populations. In cities/regions where African Americans are minority populations, then proportional representation should govern.blacklivesmatter1
  • Demand the elimination of public school privatization. Demand the elimination of the state’s, governor’s or legislature’s control over the school boards/districts of predominantly African American cities, such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. African Americans do not constitute the majority population in any state, therefore no state, governor, or legislature should seize control over school districts in predominantly African American cities. This also applies to other minority populations (Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, etc.).
  • Repeal and abolish the Death Penalty, Life Without Parole and Terminal sentences, and all other mandatory sentencing schemes. Demand Restorative Justice as the model for African American communities and other minority populations (should they consent). Restorative Justice is more aligned to the history of African American populations, which place a greater emphasis on healing within the community and personal redemption and salvation. These features are embedded in our cultural traits and history, in contrast to the puritan model of punishment that has predominated the white settler population’s history in the United States.
  • Repeal and abolish the sentencing of juvenile/child offenders as adults within the criminal justice system. This practice is a violation of international human rights law under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also disproportionately impacts children of color and contributes to the criminalization of Black/Latino youth. All offenders sentences as adults for crimes they committed as juveniles should be immediately re-sentenced appropriate to their age at the time the offense was committed. All offenders serving Life Without Parole or excessive sentences imposed on them for crimes they committed as juveniles should immediately have their sentences vacated and be re-sentenced to sentences of no more than twenty years.
  • Demand the appointment of prisoner rights advocates, community activists, and restorative justice advocates to all parole and commutation boards so that the African American community can have input and the final decision on the release of offenders back into our communities. Right wing victim rights advocates that serve a conservative and racist agenda should no longer be permitted to determine or prevent the release of offenders back into our communities. The advocates and activists appointed to these boards shall determine whether or not an offender continues to constitute a danger to the community.
  • Enfranchise all ex-offenders, formerly incarcerated person, and presently incarcerated people. The right to vote should not be terminated upon conviction or incarceration. The right to participate in the choosing of one’s government is a fundamental human right that should not be extinguished by the state. Depriving prisoners of the right to vote is based upon the doctrine that prisoners are slaves of the state enshrined in the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution which permits slavery and involuntary servitudstop_repression_free_all_political_prisonerse of those convicted of a crime.
  • Demand the release of ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN THE UNITED STATES. For more on political prisoners in the United States visit www.thejerichomovement.com
  • We must submit a petition to the United Nations charging the U.S. Criminal Justice System’s legislative laws enacted by white majority legislative bodies as being deliberately racially disproportionate as applied to African Americans and other people of color. The failure of white majority legislatures and appointed judicial bodes to remedy these injustices demonstrates continued racial animus and a violation of international human rights; therefore, the United Nations is the only forum African Americans can petition to remedy the injustice, a reality that further supports the need for African American political autonomy under jurisdiction of international law.

Submitted by:

Robert Saleem Holbrook
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall
David Dawud Lee
John Mandalek Hall
Derrick Ajamu Hampton

The authors of this document are imprisoned members of One Hood United, a movement devoted to community empowerment and youth development. They are also members of the Human Rights Coalition  Comments or questions can be sent to: salimmwasi@gmail.com.

One Hood United Mission Statement

The title of this Movement shall be One Hood United. One Hood United will serve as a platform for uniting community activists with conscious prisoners who have abandoned the gangsta and street mentality, along with behavior which has destroyed our families, neighborhoods and sense of community values. Its objective will be the building of an autonomous movement that will confront the cultural, social, and political problems that our neighborhoods are facing today, tomorrow and into the future. One Hood United will serve as a bridge for resolving and developing solutions to the circle of self-destructive behaviors Black youth are caught up in, recognizing that a moral value system for our youth is the first priority of the movement. One Hood United will strive to be a vehicle to unite neighborhoods, to end senseless violence, and to raise the cultural and political awareness of Black youth so that we can collectively become, in the words of Sista Assata Shakur, “Shields that defend us and spears that penetrate our enemies.” One Hood United will develop new and innovative concepts rooted in the tradition of the Black Liberation Movement and built on family and communal values and the principles of unity, freedom, self determination and struggle which shall serve as the foundation for the movement we are building. One Hood United will use the Nguzo Saba Principles and New Afrikan Creed as its foundation.