To have one's race brutally treated for so many years, even after the end of slavery and segregation, people are going to rise up with violence to attain what they believe is rightfully theirs. The most important thing at this time is raising the awareness of everyone; people need to be educated everywhere about all aspects of racism and how it affects people still today.
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I realized that I was connected to Africa. I wasn't just a Colored girl. I was part of a whole world that wanted a better life. I'm part of a majority and not a minority. My life has been a life of growth. If you're not growing, you're not going to understand real love. If you're not reaching out to help others then you're shrinking. My life has been active. I'm not a spectator
That was one of the big problems in the [Black Panther] Party. Criticism and self-criticism were not encouraged, and the little that was given often wasn't taken seriously. Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.
Manhattan Community College had not one course on Peurto Rican history. The Peurto Rican sisters and brothers who knew what was happening became our teachers... once you understand something about the history of a people, their heroes, their hardships, and their sacrifices, it's easier to struggle with them. To support their struggle. For a lot of peole in this country, people who live in other places have no faces. And this is the way the U.S. government wants it to be. They figure as long as the people have no faces and the country has no form, amerikans will not protest when they send in the marines to wipe them out.
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Most of us felt that taking control of our neighborhoods was the first step toward liberation... First, we would take control of the schools; then we would take control of the hospitals; then we would take control of the colleges, the housing, etc., etc. We would have community controlled employment, welfare centers, and city, state, and federal agencies. 'Hold on for a minute, ' somebody said. 'Where are y'all gonna get the money to run all that stuff?' 'We'll take community control of the banks, ' someone answered. 'You'd better take community control of the army, too, because those banks aren't gonna just let you take their money lying down." 'We'll take control of the political institutions in our community. Then we'll take control of the congressional seats, the senate seats, the city council seats, the mayor's office, and every other office you can take control of. We'll take control of the political offices so we can allocate money to the people who need it.' 'Y'all just wishing and hoping, ' someone said. 'You can control the social institutions and the political institutions, but unless you control the economic and military institutions, you can only go so far.
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It seemed that there was no time to catch up with all the things that were happening. I would be at the construction workers' demonstration one day and then marching with the welfare mothers the next. We got down with everything - the rent strikes, the sit-ins, the takeover of the Harlem state office building, whatever it was. If we agreed with it, we would try to give active support in some way. The more active i became, the more i liked it. It was like medicine, making me well, making me whole... My energy just couldn't stop dancing. I was caught up in the music of the struggle and i wanted to dance. I was never bored and never lonely, and the brothers and sisters who became my friends were so beautiful to me.
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He said that he was sorry but Robert Bey had called and told him i was no longer in the party. I was burnt. I got the Bronx Ministry to put him on the phone and proceeded to call him the unprincipled, arrogant idiot he was... i hate arrogance whether it's white or purple or Black. Some people let power get to their heads... the only great people i have met have been modest and humble. You can't claim that you love people when you don't respect them, and you can't call for political unity unless you practice it in your relationships.
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A member of one group told me that if i was really concerned about the liberation of Black people, i should quit school and get a job n a factory, that if i wanted to get rid of the system i would have to work at the factory and organize the workers. When i asked him why he wasn't working in a factory and organizing the workers, he told me that he was staying in school in order to organize the students. I told him i was working to organize the students too and that i felt perfectly certain that the workers could organize themselves without any college student doing it for them. Some of these groups would come up with abstract intellectual theories, totally devoid of practical application, and swear they had the answers to the problems of the world. They attacked the Vietnamese for participating in the Paris peace talks, claiming that by negotiating the Viet Cong were selling out to the U.S. I think they got insulted when i asked them how a group of flabby white boys who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag had the nerve to think they could tell the Viet Cong how to run their show.
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We have to have a vision of the world we want to make in 100 years. And maybe when we have that vision, when we convince enough people that that is a realistic vision, and that the opposite vision is basically that if we don't do something in this 100 years, a hundred years from now this world is gonna be so destroyed, so raped and ravished that we won't HAVE much of a world to save.
All of my experience of studying religion, studying spirituality, studying natural healing, traditional medicine, has kind of enriched my vision of the world. Not only seeing reality as this moment, but as a culmination of all of the history behind us, and all of the fruit that hopefully we will be able to grow from the seeds that we are trying to plant, of goodness and peace and beauty and equality.
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While big corporations make huge, tax-free profits, taxes for the everyday working person skyrocket. While politicians take free trips around the world, those same politicians cut back food stamps for the poor. While politicians increase their salaries, millions of people are being laid off. I do not understand a government so willing to spend millions of dollars on arms, to explore outer space, even the planet Jupiter, and at the same time close down day care centers and fire stations.
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I think that the movement against the World Bank, against the globalization process that is happening, is very positive. We need a globalization, a globalization of people who are committed to social justice, to economic justice. We need a globalization of people who are committed to saving this earth, to making sure that the water is drinkable, that the air is breathable.
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Hip Hop can be a very powerful weapon to help expand young people's political and social consciousness. But just as with any weapon, if you don't know how to use it, if you don't know where to point it, or what you're using it for, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot or killing your sisters or brothers.
It seemed that most women, because they had been caught, gave up on the movement and were just trying to pass the time until they could be released. Men in prison struggled to maintain their pride, including their manhood, because that is all they had left after everything had been taken away.
People are really beginning to see the mechanisms of imperialism. When colonialism existed people could see colonialism. When racial segregation existed in its apartheid form, people could see the "whites only" signs. But it's much more difficult to see the structures of neo-imperialism, neo-colonialism, neo-slavery.
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