Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Freedom On Our Own Terms: Towards a Revolutionary Culture

“It is past time that black intellectuals, professionals and so-called black scholars assumed a more active role in the leadership of the liberation struggle, instead of laying back theorizing and writing essays in a vacuum, or in various bourgeois publications.”
-from Message to the Black Movement: a Political Statement from the Black Underground
by the Coordinating Committee of the Black Liberation Army

Duly. Noted. With those words in mind, before another moment passes I want to sneak out some passages from this "Message to the Black Movement" that I found in the belly of the beastly plantation university here in Durham, NC. Though the Black Liberation Army decalres itself to be explicitly anti-sexist..and indeed did some radical work to respond to violence against women within black communities...there is no real mention of gender (or reference to their interventions against sexual assault and domestic vioelnce) in this "Message". However I think that these principles are relevant approaches to some of the questions (How do we respond to violence? What is the role of violence in that response? What is our relationship to the law? (How) do we make demands on anyone?) that I/we are thinking about in community (next to the very university that searches me every time I leave the vault because they know I want to steal the pamphlet make a zillion copies and give them to you.) It should be clear why the Black Liberation Army never publicized the date or location of this publication. Consider the citation above complete.

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A Relationship to the Law and to Violence

p7 “We therefore do not view the ‘law’ of our class enemies as valid nor do we feel restricted in struggle to his laws. On the other hand, we understand the “tactical” value of using the law and consequently we understand the tactical value of reform in the liberation process. For example, school takeovers by community parents, rent strikes by tenants, labor union takeovers....

“There can be no conditions on our fight for freedom except those set by the oppressed themselves. Those who claim that revolutionary violence gives the enemy the opportunity to repress the movement in general are profoundly mistaken if they think the reactionary government needs such excuses for repression...” (emphasis by Alexis)

On the Creation of a Revolutionary Culture
“In order to break these psychological-class chains of 20th century enslavement, we must build a revolutionary culture.”
"The dominant reactionary culture must be destroyed before any revolutionary culture can truly manifest itself. In other words, it is in the active struggle of the two that the seeds of a revolutionary culture are laid. Not in the passive creation of an alternative culture.”
(emphasis by Alexis)

On (the Hegemony of) Technology
“One such factor that sets our struggle apart from other (third world) struggles is the profound influence of organized technology on our consciousness, social relationships and behavior. People who live in the technologically advanced societies of the west have been programmed to perceive their needs as being one and the same as the technology that created these artificial needs.”

“Technology in the context of capitalism is the ultimate means by which the masses are programmed out of the need for real freedom...we must create a new need within ourselves for freedom, so that we can harness technology on our behalf.”


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