BRIDGING THE REVOLUTIONARY GAP #archive #history


Já aqui publicamos um artigo da Profane Existence sobre a trégua entre Bloods e Crips. Nesse mesmo número de 1997 publica-se um relato da aproximação de um activista anarquista aos Black Panthers - secção South Central LA -  que ainda estava activa.


This is a story about why I support the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers are a group of people that have continually supported me, my ideas, and all political direct action that I have been involved in. Last year I was at an October 22nd, "Coalition Against Police Brutality" rally in downtown Los Angeles, marching side by side with people whose family members were killed by police. Demonstrators carried funeral spreads of flowers. Banners and signs were held with the list of names of family members who were killed. These names were adorned around the necks of the demonstrators. As we were chanting and marching close to where the speakers were I could not help but to notice that we were approaching a group of militant black revolutinaries standing in a uniform line. It was the Black Panther Party. They saluted everyone with the, "All Power to the People" fist, and then continued to stand at full attention. They were prepared and trained for any opposition that would erupt.
I was shocked at what my eyes had just seen, it was as though I was reliving history. I didn't realize that The Black Panther Party still existed. I had only read a few books and had seen movies on The Panthers, but never had the liberty of meeting them. I decided to approach them, to begin asking them the countless numbers of questions that ran through my head. I collected my thoughts and began speaking. I then realized that I was being ignored, all received was a cold stare and not a word of acknowlagement. They were all focused on the surroundings around the event. Later on in the evening I came to find out the The Panthers were doing security work and they were not allowed to associate with anyone while performing their duties.
The first Black Panther that I spoke with was B.B., she was carrying a stack of Black Panther news papers. When I approached her I gave her a copy of my zine “Walls of Injustice” in which I had dedicated a two page article of the Black Panther party from the 60-70's. She was impressed with the article that I had shown her and she assured me that she would pass it on to her fellow comrades. After my brief conversation with B.B., I joined in on the rally already taking place with speakers on Police Brutality. The Black Panthers stood in guard of all of the speakers. One of the speakers was Kwaku, he is one of the original members from the 70´s who is still active.
After the rally, i was inspired at what i had just witnessed and what i was part of. It was so cool that they were still active i had to get in contact with them. That same evening i looked through their newspaper and call their headquarters. Cormrade Shareef answered the phone. After I told him who I was and how inspired I was to see them he invited me to their headquarters in South Central Los Angeles for one of their weekly meetings. I said "but Comrade Shareef, I'm not Black." Then he said, "Brother, doesn't matter if you're not Black. We are revolutionaries.”


So this is how all of my involvement started with the Black Panthers. I began by going to their headquarters and joinging in on their study grtoups and meetings. At the first meeting that i attended we took turns reading and teaching one another about revolutionary ideas. At first, it was different for me, being the only non-Black person in the wholoe headquarters, but i was made to feel welcome among them. They treated me as though i was their brother. The meeting came to a close with everyone standing with their fists up in the air saluting and chanting: “All Power to the People”. After the long meeting i was escorted to my car by a fellow Black Panther. It was an experience walking through the streets of South Central during the night time. It was very different from Orange County. South Central Los Angeles has a liquor store on almost every street corner, and almost all the buildings have security bars on them. As i drove around the neighborhoods, the walls were defaced with graffiti and gang tagging on them. The Black Panther Headquarters is Located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in South Central Los Angeles. For a month straight I've been driving up there each and every week and attending their meetings.  
I enjoy hearing Shareef speak. He is an extremely powerful speaker. I've heard so many speakers but not like Shareef. There is a huge difference between a textbook educated speaker and someone like Shareef whose education is mainly derived from the streets. Shareef's speeches have had such a powerful impact on me to become even more revolutionarily active. The Black Panthers have been continually active in their community. They offer a community survival program, give out grocery bags of food and clothing, and bus families to prison. They help gangs achieve peace through communication.
One day a Muslim activist stopped by the headquarters and said, “we´ve been serving food to homeless people downtown LA and a security guard threatened us and told us they will kick our ass if we continue.”. Shareef´s reply at the meeting without hesitation, “We will be there and we won´t leave until the security guard apologizes to you.”.
This comment impressed me so much I could not believe that they would commit before even checking their schedule. Through these acts of commitment I feel that the Black Panther's are genuinely sincere people. They all have famifies and children to take care of, yet they are so dedicated to their cause, community, and the future of their people. 


My first project was putting on an event called, "Voices Against Oppression" at Koo's Cafe in Santa Ana. The purpose of this project was to bring everyone all together from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. It was an all day event that featured films, socialization, and education. There were a variety of bands ranging from a straightedge band BURIAL, a peace punk band ARMISTICE, and a revolutionary rap band THE NAT TURNER REVOLT. We also had speakers from animal rights groups, feminist groups, and the New Panther Vanguard Movement. This is just to ceived a write up in the paper. It was a positive and friendly atmosphere, the event was a success.
As time went on I became influenced to become more active in my community. My comrades and I organized a group called Students of Revolutionary Awareness. Our first meeting was held in my apartment, where 50 or more people attended. We've had several different group discussions, A.WAR.E. showed films on resisting police brutality, comrades from South Central L.A. came to speak, we've read letters from political prisoners, and we've ended every meeting with a vegan potluck party.
The last meeting we organized was with Taco and Panther, who are members of the Black Panther Party. Taco and Panther both received their education in prison. Taco is an ex-Blood gang member who did five years in prison for shooting someone in self defense. Panther is an ex-Crip gang member who did seven years. There is this saying, ''that prison is a university for the revolutionaries." .
It was the day of the 'Crack the C.I.A.' rally downtown Los Angeles. The Panthers and I all car pooled on the Panther's Express Bus. We ended up doing security work to make sure no one would be harrassed by the police. We had security at the front, the side and all the way at the back of the march. The rally consisted of Indian drums and Aztec dancers. There was a variety of culture and tradition at the rally. The event went smoothly without anyone being harassed by police.
During Animal Liberation Week, comrades from the Panthers joined me at the protest in Orange county. Taco from the Panthers led the group in the march. One of the leaders of the main stream animal rights groups thanked the Panthers for their support and offered their support in their struggle in retum. Also, Panther and Taco would spend the night at my apartment, in Orange County and we would get up early in the morning and go to the college campus to pass out literature, and sell The Black Panther Newspaper and Tuming the lide. The Panthers continued to lend their support. They joined in and helped us out during the International Women's Day Celebration. In which the Riot Grrri chapters participated in as well. Women groups that were involved were MADIBAN, LUDIC NATION, and RED IN REVERSE amoung others. The event went beautifully with women speakers from different cultural backgrounds.
Our last show was, "All Power to the People." At this event we recieved community involvement with GANG TRUCE from Los Angeles. We received sponsorship from Profane Existence.
This article is written so other punks, feminists and individuals can start working with people of all ethnicities and communities. Just wearing political shirts and patches won't make a change. I have seen people who would even dedicate their lives or risk going back to jail to fight the struggle we face. Wherever there's oppression there will always be resistance. I challenge all!! "Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!!!