Tactics, Strategies, and the Struggle for Independence: Questions and Reflections

This is part of a series of foundational texts Shaka Shakur wrote for the New Afrikan Liberation Collective. It was originally published on July 6, 2019 under the title “Questions and Reflections for Continued Discussion.”


When you study revolutions in general and “third world” revolutions in particular, people who are fighting to overthrow or remove the yoke of colonial or imperial oppression/domination, you see a “rebirth” of consciousness, a “coming out of the self” through the revolutionary process. Part of the struggle for liberation is also the struggle to not only free the land, to free the nation, but also the struggle to define who we are and what we are and establish for ourselves, our collective identify based on our historical development. That is a part of the right to self-determination as opposed to being branded. As opposed of having an identity such as Negro, nigger, black or African American imposed upon you by some celebrity or other illegitimate authoritative figure that isn’t based upon material fact.

Fact and Fiction: The Right to Self-Determination of the Oppressed

Often our struggle for independence, for new African liberation and self-determination is equated with white separation or white supremacy. Particularly Euro-Amerikans often try to equate the Black Panther Party or any new African nationalist, socialist or revolutionary organization with being black supremacist which is a false contrast not rooted in historical or materialist fact. First of all we hate and are opposed to any form of oppression and we are opposed to any oppressive power structure that denies people their human rights for whatever reason. Second, new Africans do not and have never had the power base, infrastructure or government structure to systematically target Euro-Amerikans for disenfranchisement, lynchings or any other forms of violent oppression, political or otherwise, nor have their ever been a new African political or radical organization that as part of the black supremacist political platform who went around the country targeting or terrorizing Euro-Amerikans in our attempt to keep them enslaved, disenfranchised or under yoke of new African domination.

In fact and in contrast, when you look at the history of such groups as the Klan, White Citizen Counsels etc., these groups were often made up of pillars of the white community, the local law enforcement, the property owners, the business men, school teachers, clergy, farmers, politician etc. In essence the very power structure of white Amerika and its settler population were either directly a member of these groups or acted as auxiliary shock troops when it came time to oppress, control, lynch or disenfranchise New Amerika, Native indigenous people, Mexicans, etc. both as an oppressed people as a whole as well as individuals. In contrast show me one New Afrikan group/organization that has/had the same power and the same politics. You can’t! So stop lying! You cannot equate our reaction to racism, to genocide, to viciousness perpetrated by Euro-Amerika and its power structure and try to label us.

We have a right to be enraged. We have a right on some levels to hate. It’s what you choose to do with that rage and hate and whether or not you choose to channel it toward something good & productive. For us  liberation is both good & productive. We have the right to self-defense. All over the world the U.S. bombed and waged war against oppressed people but tell us to be positive and to sing, pray, forgive and all of that. The United States government sells more weapons on the arms market than any other country in the world. Yet tell communities of color to disarm, that we shouldn’t want, have or train with firearms while the white community even down to its children buy, stockpile and train with firearms by the dozens. Black on Black violence in our communities is a by-product of state sanctioned white on black violence and the subjugation and disenfranchisement of New Afrikan people. The oppressive and genocidal government policies and unequal distribution and concentration of wealth both inflicted and perpetuated by this government is the primary contributing factor to the violence.

On the Question of Multinational Unity

There must be honest conversation about so called race, class and genocide. Amerika refuses to hear the complaints and criticism by the New Afrikan people unless we disremember our story and only remember his-tory, unless we renounce our blackness under the pretense and white-washed concept of “we are all Amerikans”. You see people reject and fear the concept “Black Lives Matter” unless the dominant euro-centric culture gets to control the narrative or unless it is corralled into a safe space and corridor of Amerikanism. Have you ever thought what the criteria for becoming an Amerikan is? Surely just being born isn’t sufficient because if it were you wouldn’t need all these civil right acts, amendments and other pieces of paper that don’t mean anything. Euro Ameikans claim to feel oppressed like a 2nd class citizen in their own country. Why? Because people are saying you’re no longer going to be allowed to dictate and dominate, and control all the resources just because you’re a Euro Amerikan? Why? Because white lives are the only lives that matter and within the next 25 to 20 years you will be considered a national settler minority and you fear this new reality? Thus you seek a desperate Hitlerian final solution. This is why a Donald Trump type can sound so musical to your tone deaf ears.

We know that there are Euro-Amerikans and working class people who are poor and impoverished, who are being screwed over by the ruling capitalist elites and who, like us, want a better quality of life for their children and families. But the question is this: are you willing to join the revolution to achieve a better quality of life or are you going to align yourself with the US police state and neo-fascism so that so that your quality of life improves while that of others– people of color in particular– continues to deteriorate? While people of color continue to be mass-incarcerated and shot in the back by neo-kolonial occupational personal (Kops)? While New Afrikans suffer double digit unemployment and the highest infant mortality rate? What side of history will you stand on?

From Protest to Resistance

How do we move from protest to actual resistance? How do we invade public and private space and serve notice that there can no longer be any business as usual, there can be no peace or so-called democracy with racist oppression, inequality, neo-kolonial, imperialist domination and genocide? A strategy has to be articulated that is multi-pronged. Protest alone is just emotionalism. It’s not going to move us forward. Protest has to be tied into a larger strategy seeking concrete goals and objectives. For example, now that a lot of “us” have regurgitated the Obama Kool aid and the smoke and mirror mirage of hope and change has vaporized and reality has set in, how do we move towards exposing and calling to task a lot of these positive neo-liberals house slaves to task for not representing our collective interest? We should move to force policy changes, legislative changes by putting forth our agendas through mass action and mass organizing and refusing to allow the establishment negro social fireman/firewoman to come in, seek out concerns and try to extinguish righteous rage and voices of the people, especially the voices of the youth.

We need to launch a grass root campaign to mobilize our communities, especially the youth and college students, to move beyond the safe zone of liberal politics and actually create institutions that cater to the needs of our people and communities. We need to engage with a more radical, critical consciousness while striving to pool our resources and build our own social infrastructure, thereby becoming self-empowering. We need to move towards a strategy of self-defense and offense. There has to be accountability and consequences when those that represent power murder us. There has to be political, economic and personal consequences and accountability when racist or terroristic kolonial occupational personal and or individuals murder us in the streets, jails and prisons. The federal government can’t police the police; the department of justice (D.O.J)– with all of its lame investigations—ain’t going to save us. We need to learn how to more effectively strip away the legitimacy of the state and expose the government for what it is. A constructive strategy has to be developed that addresses and deals with the rage and self-hatred that exists among us, the rage that feeds the so called Black on Black violence and homicide rate in our community. How do we harness this anger and rage and give it proper constructive direction? How do we learn to know thyself as we know the enemy?

The act of resistance is a lot different from just protesting. When you resist, you’re no longer just screaming the liberal slogan of “no justice, no peace”. Instead, you have a specific strategy, utilizing a specific set of tactics to obtain specific goals and objectives. When you resist, you’re playing both offense and defense. In this context we want to fight for self-determination, fight for the right to determine the quality of our lives and to be free from continued imperialist racist domination and oppression.

When you have people say we must take this country back, we must make Amerika great again, what do you think they mean? “We can’t let them have our country, we need to bring back the good old days (niggers new their place).” The country/empire is headed towards and authoritarian, militarized, police state and the issue of so call “(race)” i.e. neo-colonial oppression is going to be the main attraction-central theme park. We are our own liberators, no one is going to save you/us. We have to think in terms of survival.

For those behind the prison walls, our voices must be collectively raised as we strive to build principled relationships and coalitions across the lines of superficial divisions. Some of us are going to die behind these lines. For some of us with these 50’s 60’s and life sentences, there ain’t no getting out. It’s just us and therefore we have to fight, struggle and sacrifice to force changes for the future generations, for our sons and daughters, who risk the same fate as us, or worse.

Prisons merely represent just another front in the struggle for liberation of oppressed people. The only difference is we are trapped behind enemy lines. We still have a role to play and contribution. How can I educate myself and others? How can I improve my conditions and reality? How can I add my voice to the chorus of millions screaming for freedom or death? How can I expose and put a stop to the vicious brutality, racist beatings and murders by so called correctional officers (who ain’t correcting a damn thing) and prison rats and in the process firmly establish in word and in deed that such will no longer be passively tolerated/accepted? That there are consequences for murdering the Sandra Blands of the world. How can we demand the tools and programs that improve the quality of our lives and improve the chances of those who do get released someday? And most of all, how do we move to become less dependent upon the state and instead take personal responsibility, to become self-reliant and independent for moving in a positive, self-affirming direction and utilizing our own collective and individual genius to create our own life sustaining programs, infrastructure and institution?

In closing, let me leave you with this thought. When the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution was written, we as a people were not even considered human. We were considered 3/5 of a human being. Later, according to the U.S. Supreme court in the Dred Scott ruling, “A black man had no rights that a white man was bound to respect.” You don’t amend a people into a constitution. You don’t impose a constitution upon a conquered or enslaved people and call it freedom!! When you amend or insert the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and all the other acts that the ruling elites act like don’t exist-they can just as easily be repealed, be removed. All across the land you see the powers that be changing the rules of the game as soon as you learn how to play the game or think you’re winning. We are witnessing new forms of voter suppression, redistricting, new poll taxes, etc. This whole charade is like Three-card Monte– every time you know which card the pea is under, they shuffle the cards again and it doesn’t matter if it’s the republicans, democrats, congressional black caucus, history has repeatedly proven that it is all smoke and mirrors and they and therefore today’s reality not only dictate but issue the mandate that the only solution is to turn over the whole table that the game is being played on. Which side will you stand on?

Shaka Shakur, 1996207
Buckingham Correctional Center
P.O. Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936
A New Afrikan Political Prisoner

Email Shaka at: shakashakur1996207@jpay.com

Featured photo: The New Afrikan Liberation Collective flag