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Liberation or Gangsterism: Freedom or Slavery, Part II

May 11, 2007


“When you grow up in situations like me and Cliff… there is a lot of respect for brothers like [drug lords] Alpo and Nicky Barnes, those major hustler-player cats. Cause they made it. They made it against society’s laws. They were the kings of their own domain.”

Never Drank the Cool-Aid: The Ivy League Counterfeiter, Cliff Evans

The “Original” Black Mafia (BM)

Albeit a touchy matter to many, it’s an irrefutable fact that the original Black Mafia was first established in Philadelphia, PA, in the late 1960s, and has since seen its cancerous ideas duplicated, imitated and lionized by Black youth ever since. Moreover, although it’s unclear how much the national Nation Of Islam (N01) leadership knew or learned about the BM, there’s no question of the local NOI’s eventual absorption of the BM under Minister Jeremiah X Pugh. In fact, although the BM was originally just local “stick up kids,” culled from neighborhood gangs, their being swallowed up by the NOI would eventually turn them into a truly powerful and terrifying criminal enterprise — completely divorced from everything that the NOI had stood for since its founding in 1930.

Sadly, most of the high level tricks were also used by the government and intelligence agencies to use them against the areas they came from; namely — co-option, the glamorization of gangsterism, separation from the more advanced elements and raw fear. Thus, it must be understood that although the NOI and BPP had different ideologies and styles, to most Black youth, both still held out the promise of helping them to attain what they most desired; self-respect, dignity and freedom.

Interestingly, the puritanical NOI’s dealings with the founders of the BM were similar to that of the Catholic Church’s historical relationship to the Italian Mafia. Meaning, the BM members who attended NOI religious services did so strictly on that basis, while still coming to the attention of the local NOI leadership as unusually good financial contributors. Within the lower class Black community being served, everybody knew that they were hustlers, stick-up kids, or both. So the same way the Italian Mafia would contribute huge sums to the Catholic Church, the BM would eventually do the same thing within Philly’s Temple No. 12.

The national NOI, however, had been under close scrutiny and surveillance by intelligence agencies for decades. In fact, by the time of his death, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, had in excess of one million pages of files within the archives of the FBI alone! Therefore, anyone who still believes that the assassination of Malcolm X did not have a hidden U.S. government hand behind it, has no clear idea of the threat the NOI was perceived to be at that time.

Consequently, the BM’s financial contributors would have come to the attention of the intelligence agencies through their monitoring. Nevertheless, overshadowing all of that were the bloody assaults the FBI and local police were leveling against other radical and revolutionary Black groups, like the local and national BPP chapters and branches, the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and scores of smaller formations. Indeed, FBI agents first tried to recruit Minister Pugh as a snitch against the local BPP by telling him that the BPP was out to get him and supplant the local NOI as competition for the Black youths’ loyalties. Pugh, to his credit, didn’t take the bait and also avoided getting his Temple No. 12 involved in a war with the BPP; although he had to suspect that his taking the blood money from the BM had also come to the attention of the FBI, and thus he was vulnerable.

Miraculously, around the same time, Minister Pugh’s name was removed from the FBI’s Security Index, which contained all

of the country’s top level threats. After Pugh’s being on this list for years, and right after they filed a report on his refusal to be a snitch, why would they relax the pressure? Co-option! How did they think it would unfold? Was it to give Pugh and his temple — and their BM followers — enough rope to hang themselves, or to become addicted to a game that was ultimately controlled by their professed enemies — the U.S. government and their underlings — and thus turn the tables on Pugh and force him to be less radical, more compliant, and no longer a threat on the level of the BPP, RAM and company?

For the BM members, the glamorization of gangsterism fit right in. After all, why would a group of Black stick-up kids and gang members call themselves The Black Mafia? This was in the era of Black Is Beautiful, when millions of Blacks began wearing Afros/Bushes and Afrikan dothing and adopting Afrikan names — completely at odds with aping Italians! Why not name themselves the Zulus, Watusis or the Mau Mau — like every young street gang was doing? No, Hollywood’s projection of gangsterism was getting through!

Consequently, within a couple of years, the BM would uniformly be recognized as expensively dressed, big hat wearing, Cadillac driving, imitations of the Italian mafia. And sadly, they turned countless numbers of street gang members, former RAM cadre and militants from dozens of other Philly groups, who were fighting oppression, into pawns who were used to further destroy their own communities.

The third leg of separating them from the more advanced elements operated under cover of Pugh and other insiders continuing to preach Black Nationalist doctrines amongst the youth in the street gangs and within the prisons, never missing an opportunity to hold out the illusion that they could gain pride and respect — while fighting oppression — by joining what they believed was a rebel group that was only awaiting the right time to throw their lot in with the masses of Blacks who were waging non-violent or otherwise bloody battles from coast to coast and on the Afrikan continent.

By tricking them into diverting their energies into gangsterism, Pugh and company were effectively separating them from the more advanced elements; albeit many, if not most, bought into the rationale that their extortion and drug dealing proceeds were a tax that was to be used to build The Nation. A few years later, that would be dubbed drinking the Kool-Aid, after Jim Jones and his CIA handlers tricked and forced hundreds of other Blacks to their deaths. And undoubtedly, Huey had also tricked his people with a similar game, although decades later that was all shown to be completely false! Yes, that money “did” build and/buy some expensive homes, cars, clothing, women and drugs — as well as a few schools and businesses — but to fight oppression — please!

Then, the raw fear being leveled on the entire society had the most devastating effect on them also. Otherwise, how can one explain or account for hundreds — if not thousands — of BM street soldiers, fearless enough to cow Philly’s long-established and ruthless Italian Mafia, and its other mobs, and most of its warring street gangs and independents; the BM that fielded headhunters who literally terrorized the city by decapitations — would in turn produce such a lackluster showing whenever it came to confronting anyone in uniform?

I’ll tell you how: Their leadership had completely disarmed their fighting spirits by always pointing to the shootouts and gun battles that the BPP/BLA and other Blacks were known for and telling them not to resist the police until they gave the order— which never came. Comically, after the police and FBI had succeeded in suppressing, jailing, exiling and co-opting most of the BPP, BLA, RAM and others, then they discovered the BM and in turn attacked them with a vengeance — while none of the BM put up anything resembling real resistance, except to go on the lam; while Minister Jeremiah also made a 180 degree turn, becoming a snitch after being caught in a drug sting.

Thus, their legacy is one of a ruthless group of Black thugs, who have spawned similarly ruthless crews — notably Philly’s Junior Black Mafia (JBM)and the latest clone, Atlanta’s Black Mafia Family. But their most harmful effect comes from their deeds and mystique that has returned a huge segment of Black youth to believing that the only way to gain any respect and dignity is through being the best and most heartless hustler around: full cirde from 1955.

Finally, I used the BPP/BLA and NOI/BM because they present the most well “documented” examples, although both are surrounded by so much mythology that a true analysis is almost never attempted, except by government intelligence sources, who use their findings to refine, update and revise old tricks in order to continue to check and control this country’s rebellious youth, while simultaneously persisting in oppressing the communities they occupy — in line with the ruling class’s agenda.

Concurrently, the middle and upper class youth — from all segments of the First Wave — allowed themselves willy-nilly, and with few exceptions, to be fully co-opted as the new managers of the system they had vowed to radically change. They became the champions of — and made a doctrine out of — the necessity of always using and relying on passive and legal methods, epitomized by their new saint, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Second Wave: 1980-2005 circa

Thus, by 1980, the youth from the First Wave had, for all practical purposes, been defeated. Following which, they collectively descended into a long, debilitating, agonizing, escapist period characterized by pouring themselves into partying. Not discounting the fringe elements, who had their hands full trying to rebuild their sanity and families, or trying to go back to school or survive in prison or exile; everybody else seemed to be dancing on the ceiling, like shell-shocked vets of WWI and WWII and the post-traumatic-stress sufferers of the Vietnam War.

The most misunderstood victims, however, were that generations children; The Second Wave — from 1980-2005 circa. Albeit, those are the years when that generation either reached puberty or became young adults. Paradoxically, they were left in the dark about most of what had occurred before. They were instead left to the tender mercies of the reformed, but still rotten to the core and ruling-class-dominated schools, social institutions and cultural-propaganda machinery.

So, among all lower and working class segments of the youth, Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise fit the bill: They were raised by the State, either in the uncaring schools, juvenile detention centers and homes, or by the TV sets, movies, video arcades or the streets. Within the greatly expanded middle classes — most notably among the people of color — the youth were back to the gospel of relying on getting a good education and a good job as their highest calling; intermixed with an originally more conscientious element who tackled politics and academia as a continuation of the First Wave struggles. The upper class youth, however, were doomed to follow in the footsteps of their ruling class parents, since the radical and revolutionary changes sought, failed to alter the country all that much.

Like a reoccurring nightmare, the Second Wave youth also fell victim to co-option, the glamorization of gangsterism, separation from the most advanced elements, relying on passive methods and the raw fear of an upgraded police state. Left to their own devices, the lower class youth began a search for respect and dignity by devising their own institutions and culture, which came to be dominated by the gangs and Hip Hop — which on their own could be used for good or bad, but lacking any knowledge of the First Wave’s experiences, they were tricked like their parents.

The Gang and Hip Hop Culture

Gangs are a working and lower class phenomenon that dates from the early beginnings of this country, having also been in evidence overseas. In fact, many of those who first joined the First Wave were themselves gang members, most notably Alprentice Bunchy Carter, the martyred founder of the Los Angeles Panthers and head of the notorious Slausons, the forerunners of today’s Crips. As little as it’s understood, they are in fact the lower class’s counterpart to the middle and upper class’s youth clubs, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, fraternities and sororities. The key difference is the level of positive adult input in the middle and upper class groups. And Hip Hop is just the latest manifestation of artistic genius bursting forth from these lower class youth — seeking respect and dignity.

“Orthodox hiphoppers speaks of holy trinity of hip hop fathers: Herc, Afrika Bambaata, and Grandmaster Flash. But, like moisture in the air before it rains, the conditions were ripe for hip hop before the holy trinity began spinning. Hip hop’s prefathers or grandfathers are James Brown, Huey Newton, Muhammad Ali, Richard Pryor, Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Bruce Lee, certain celebrity drug dealers and pimps whose names won’t be mentioned here…” -Toure. Never drank the kool-aid, PICADOUR, 2006

Alas, Hip Hop culture is daily being co-opted in ways so obvious it needs no explanation. But woe be it to us if we don’t come to grips with how the Second Wave’s gangs have been co-opted; an ongoing tragedy, moreover, one that if not turned around will ultimately make the shortcomings of the First Wave pale in comparison!

“Ronald Reagan and crack were hip hop’s 80s anti-fathers: both helped foster the intense poverty and teenage drug-dealing millionaires as well as the urge to rebel against the system that appeared to be moving in for the kill, to finally crush Black America.” – Ibid

Certainly, the gangs have comprised a sub-culture that has historically been a thorn in the side of the ruling class: One that either had to be controlled and used – or eradicated. Usually, that was accomplished by co-option and attrition, with older elements moving on, or being jailed long enough to destroy the group. Our First Wave, as noted, was able to — somewhat — outflank the ruling class by absorbing some key elements that lent their prestige to the rank and file’s acceptance of radical and revolutionary ideas; which were pimped by BM style groups.

It is fascinatingly simple to understand how the Second Wave was tricked and continues to be bamboozled into destroying itself while just about all of the pillars upholding this giant confidence game (con-game) are familiar to everyone through the movies, TV, street culture and our own experiences with friends, family associates, cops, courts, jails, prisons, death and our own unfulfilled yearnings for respect and dignity.

Gangstas, Wankstas and Wannabes

All of the above — more than anything — crave respect and dignity! Forget all of the unformed ideas about the homies wanting the families, fathers and love they never had. That plays a part, but if you think that the homies only need some more hugs, then you’ve drank the kool-aid! Actually, even if you did have a good father, a loving family and extended family; if everything in society is geared towards lessening your self-worth because of your youth, race, tastes in dress, music, speech, lack of material trappings, etc., then you will still hunger for some respect — which will lead to you knowing some dignity within yourself. Even suburban, middle and upper-class youth confront this — to a lesser degree. No, all of the beefin’, flossin’, frontin’, set-trippin’, violence and bodies piling up around them comes from the pursuit of respect and dignity.

This is how 50-Cent put it:

“Niggas out there sellin drugs is after what I got from rappin… When you walk into a dub and the bouncer stop doin whatever the fuck they doing to let you in and say everybody else wait. He special. That’s the same shit they do when you start killin niggas in your hood. This is what we been after all the whole time. Just the wrong route.” -50 Cent, Rolling Stone, 2003, in Toure. never drank the kool-aid: The Life of a Hunted Man, PICADOR, 2006

Admittedly, at times that simple — but raw — truth is so intertwined with so many other things, that it’s hard to grasp. Namely, nowadays, the drug game and other git money games, as well the fact that most sets do provide a sort of alternative family, as well as a strong cohesion that is mistakenly called love. Hence, to cut through the distractions, I’ll illustrate my point as follows:

When the Second Wave was left hanging by the defeated and demoralized First Wave, they unknowingly reverted to methods of seeking dignity and respect that the First Wave had elevated themselves above during their struggle for radical and revolutionary change; a period when gang wars and gang-bangin’ was anathema! The revolutionary psychiatrist, Frantz Fanon, in Wretched of the Earth, notes that the colonized and oppressed are quick to grab their knife against a neighbor or stranger, thereby in a sub-conscious way ducking their fear of directing their pent up rage at those responsible for their suffering: their colonial oppressors.

So, the notable early sets like the Bloods, Crips and Gangster Disciples’ primary activity was bangin’ or gang warring over “turf,” neighborhoods, schools, etc., as well as over real or imagined slights. But the real underlying motivation was all of the parties’ desires to build their reputations and earn stripes, meaning gain prestige in the eyes of fellow bangers — which translated into respect among their peers. It also caused these youth to bond with each other like soldiers do in combat; a bonding like a family’s — even more so. Not surprisingly, many outsiders decreed the bonding was “love,” which also caused some youth to parrot that thought, but to exchange love, you first have to love yourself, and the gang-banger, by definition, has no love for his or her self — in fact, they are desperately seeking respect, without which anyone’s idea of love being present is fooling themselves.

Example: If you “respect” your body, you can also love” your body, and you would not dare destroy it with drugs or alcohol. But if you don’t respect your body, and you go on to destroy it in that fashion, then it follows that you have no love for it either.

The bangin’ raged on for years, piling up as many bodies as the Vietnam War — each elevating the attacker’s or victim’s stature in the eyes of their peers. During those early years, the overseers of the oppressive system bemoaned the carnage, while locking up untold numbers of bangers for a few years, but overall, they did nothing to arrest the problem.

Now, here’s where it gets really interesting! Drugs, as noted, had been flooding into these same communities since the 1960s, However, back then, it was mainly heroin, with marijuana and meth playing relatively minor roles. Remember the Serpico and French Connection movies exposing that? But the early gangs, to their credit, never got deeply involved in that They saw dope fiends as weak, and although they would blow some sherm or chronic, it was just a pass time activity for them: They were serious about bangin’!

Consequently, the bangers were all co-opted, wedded as they were to their form of fratricidal gangsterism and totally separated from the remnants of the First Wave — who they knew next to nothing about. And the “good kids” were being indoctrinated in passive, legal — get a good education — approaches, while both groups were scared to death of the police! Despite the bangers hate and contempt, any two cops could lay a dozen of them out on all fours at will.

Hence, Tupac’s later iconic stature with them, since he could walk his talk:

“„,the fact that while everyone else talks about it, Tupac is the only known rapper who has actually shot a police officer; the walking away from being shot five times with no permanent damage, and walking away from the hospital the next day and the rolling into court for a brief but dramatic wheelchair-bound courtroom appearance — it’s been dangerously compelling and ecstatically brilliant.” -“Tupac,” The Village Voice, 1995, Toure, supra.

But something was on the horizon that was about to cause a seismic shift in this already sony state of affairs and alter things in ways that most still cannot or will not believe. Apparently, since this madness was contained in the lower class communities, the ruling dass’s henchmen had no desire to do anything but keep their Gestapo-like police heavily armed and fully supported, since technology had made what they dubbed the underclass obsolete anyway: See Sean Penn and Robert Duvall’s movie Colors.

Peep the Game

The South Amerikan cocaine trade replaced the French Connection and CIA-controlled US distribution of Southeast Asian Golden Triangle-grown and processed heroin as the drug of choice in the early 1980s. Remember Miami Vice? Well, as usual, this country’s government intelligence agencies and the large banks immediately began a struggle to control this new cocaine trade. Remember: control not get rid of, as their lying propaganda projects with their hyped up War on Drugs! Thus, they were contending with South Amerikan governments, militaries, and large landowners who controlled the raising, processing and shipping of the cocaine; although for a few years, the latter had to also do battle with a few independent drug lords, most notably the notorious Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa family-dominated Medellin Cartel.

Within this country, the youth gangs had next to nothing to do with the early cocaine trade, which was then primarily servicing a middle and upper-dass — white — clientele, which had a few old school big time hustlers, along with some Spanish-speaking wholesalers, who also had their own crews to handle matters. Although, after the fact, the Hip Hop favorites Scarface and New Jack City are good descriptions of that period. But, they both — purposefully – left out the dominant role that the US government intelligence agencies played in controlling things.

Alright, I know you’re down with all of that — and love it! So, let’s move on.

In the middle 1980s, the US began backing a secret war designed to overthrow the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas had fought a long and bloody civil war to rid Nicaragua of its US-sponsored dictatorship in 1979.But after being exposed to the world, the US Congress forbade President Ronald Reagan from continuing his secret war. Like a lot of US presidents, he just ignored Congress and had the CIA raise milions, recruit mercenaries, buy or steal military equipment. and continue the war.

That’s how and why crack and the mayhem it’s caused came upon us. However, you won’t see Hollywood and TV giving that up raw, with few exceptions, like Black director Bill Duke’s Deep Cover, staring Laurence Fishbum and Above The Law with Steven Segal; otherwise; you have to search hard to see it portrayed so dearly — later I’ll explain why.

Anyway, most people have heard that crack was dumped into South Central Los Angeles in the mid 1980s — along with an arsenal of military style assault rifles that would have made a First Wave BPP member ashamed of how poorly equipped s/he was. Needless to say, the huge profits from the crack sales, coupled with everyone being strapped, magnified the body count! Since crack was also so easy to manufacture locally, and so dirt cheap, just about anybody in the hood could get into the business. Gone were the old days of just a few big time hustlers, except on the wholesale level.

But, make no mistake about it, the wholesale cocaine sold for the production and distribution of crack was fully controlled by selected CIA-controlled operatives. So, to all you around the way dawgs who have been bragging about how big you were/are, an organizational flow chart would look something like this: At the top would be President Ronald Reagan, Vice President and former CIA Director, George Bush, Sr., the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, General Secord, Colonel Oliver North, major banking executives, Central and South Amerikan military and government leaders, arms dealers, mercenary pilots and drug lords like Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, (originally); Justice Department attorneys, US Navy and Coast Guard officers, US Customs and Border Patrol officers, state and local police officers, county sheriffs and deputies, and their successors in office — arid at the bottom of the barrel: you dawg!

Now, I know you already knew in your hearts that there were some big dawgs over you, but bet you never guessed that the game came straight out of the White House, or that you were straight-up pawns on the game board. If that sounds too wild, then tell me why it is harder to find any government, CIA, military or bankers — like George Bush, Sr. and his crew — in prison than it is to win the lottery? Yeah, they double-crossed Noreaga, Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, and made Oliver North do some community service, but that’s all. The real crime lords; the government, CIA, military and banking dons all got away. Albeit, after Congresswoman Maxine Walters made a stink about it, the CIA was forced to do two investigations and posted on their official website their findings and admissions of being drug dealers.

NAw dawg, yell were all played! Face it… That’s what happened to you OGs from the 80s. But like Morpheus said in The Matrix, let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Gradually, the US government was forced to crack down on the cocaine coming through Florida, but by then, the South Amerikan cartels and their government and military allies had found new routes through Mexico. At first, the Mexican underworld were just middlemen; but quickly recognizing a golden opportunity, they essentially seized control of most of the cocaine trade between South Amerika and the United States, forcing the South Amerikans into becoming junior partners, who were responsible for the cheaper growing and processing, after which the Mexicans would purchase mountains of cocaine for the transshipment overland and smuggling into the United States and its wholesale markets, that produced oil and automotive industry type profits.

One would wonder how and why would the South Amerikans — powerful players — go for a deal like that? As ever, the answers can be found amongst the Machiavellian and serpentine maneuverings of the US government and their poor Mexican counterparts. You see, in the 1980s, the Mexican government was overseeing an economy that was so bad, that for all practical purposes, they could have — or did — go belly-up bankrupt Indeed, the US and their underlings within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) were forced to periodically give them millions upon millions in loans, in return for further unfair trading concessions, in order to save their economy. Note that the US was then, and remains today, extremely vulnerable to Mexico, because common sense, and past experience, told them that that the worse things got in Mexico, the more destitute their already — dirt poor — majority would become, forcing millions of them to find a way to get into the US to find the means to feed themselves and their families. Rather than keep prevailing on the IMF to keep lending Mexico money, they saw another way to temporarily plug up the hole in their control of international financial matters.

Thus, another unholy alliance was formed. This one was between the US State Department, the CIA and the big banks and other usual suspects on one side, and their Mexican counterparts — including their first fledgling cartels, on the other; with the South Amerikans now in a junior partnership role. However, I don’t want to give the impression that it was all arranged diplomatically, all neat and tidy: Far from that!

No, it evolved through visionaries among the usual suspects putting their ideas before selected insiders and working to craft an unwritten consensus, the same way that they — along with Cuban exiles in Florida — had earlier created the cocaine trade to fund the growth around Miami, only this time it would be Mexico; a much more pressing and unstable situation. But, it was recognized by all parties that Mexico’s underworld would eventually land in the driver’s seat, due to their ability to take the kind of risks called for, their geographic proximity to the US border, and, most importantly, their strong desire to avoid confronting the US and Mexican governments — like Pablo Escobar had done — thus, they were more than wiling to guarantee that most of their drug profits would be pumped back into the moribund Mexican economy; through large budding projects, upgrading the tourist industry, large-scale farming and other dearly national ventures. And, on the messy side, their gunmen were becoming experts at making reluctant parties fall into fine by offering them a stark choice between gold or lead.

Nevertheless, avoid thinking that the Mexican or South Amerikan underworlds ever became anything more than hired hands of the big dawgs in the US government and their partners in the banking industry, who always remained in control. In fact, under President George Bush, Sr., the invasion of Panama — which was/is a major hub of offshore money laundering – was ordered after their hired hand, Manuel Noriega, became unmanageable in 1989.

These hired hands would ensure that the chosen corrupt politicians would gamer sufficient votes in the Mexican elections by bringing in plane loads of money that the South Amerikan gangsters and government/military partners would make available as part of their overhead expenses. But more importantly to the United States, a major part of the profits would be pumped into the Mexican economy in order to forestall its looming bankruptcy.

Consequently, by the middle 1990s, the Mexican underworld had established the super powerful Gulf, Juarez, Guadalajara, Sinaloa and Tijuana cartels. Moreover, they had consolidated their power by not only controlling who all were elected to key political posts in Mexico, but had also perfected the art of bribing key local, state and regional police heads, as well as strategic generals in Mexico’s armed forces. Check out the movie Traffic and the Antonio Banderas/SeIma Hayek Bandalero and Once Upon a Time in Mexico and again — after the fact you’ll see Hollywood spilling the beans, but don’t let the fancy stunt work lull you into thinking that there’s no substantive truth to the plots!

emember: Mexico’s cartels would not be able to function without the collaboration and protection of the highest levels within the US Establishment; just as the CIA has openly admitted it was an illegal drug merchant during an earlier period, you can believe nothing has changed – except their partners!

The hilarious part is that none of the wannabe real gangstas in the US know that in reality, they are low-level CIA flunkies; or can’t wait to get out of prison and become undercover government agents – slinging crack. Alas, most think it’s crazy to believe that the government of the US would allow it’s cities and small towns to be flooded with cocaine, clinging to the illusion that they are something more than pawns on a chess board.

If one doesn’t go beyond the idea that this whole thing is just a plot to destroy the Black and Brown peoples – a favorite though short-sighted theory – there is no way to see just how deep the rabbit hole really is. I repeat: the main objective was to pump billions of dollars into the Mexican economy in order to avoid a complete meltdown and the subsequent fleeing to the US of 60 million or more Mexicans out of its “then” 90+ million inhabitants. This would have been a crisis that would have dwarfed the numbers who did cross over and are just beginning to make their presence felt.

Actually, the big dawgs in the US probably didn’t know just how they were going to control the fallout that would inevitably accompany their cocaine/crack tax – they routinely tax alcohol, gambling (from the lotteries to the casinos) and even prostitution in certain areas, don’t they? – S9, yeah, a clandestine operation to use cocaine to rescue Mexico and stave off an economically-induced invasion of the US by it’s population, made poverty-stricken by five hundred years of colonialism, slavery, peonage, neocolonialism and the theft of one-third of their country by the United States in the 19th Century: an indirect tax.

Sadly, though, our First Wave’s degeneration into the glorification of gangsterism; the Second Wave’s hunger for respect and recognition that fueled the gang carnage; and the Hip-Hop generation’s ability to provide the youth with vicarious fantasies to indulge their senses with the hypnotic allure of the temporary power that the drug game could bring them – led the youth in the US back to emulating the First Wave’s Superfly and Scarface days. Others also see that:

“My theory is that nine times out of ten, if there’s a depression, more a social depression than anything, it brings out the best art in Black people. The best example is Reagan and Bush gave us the best years of hip hop… Hip hop is created thanks to the conditions that crack set: easy money but a lot of work, the violence involved, the stories it produced – crack helped birth hip hop. Now, I’m part conspiracy theorist.” -Ahmir Thompson, aka? Quest love, The Believer, 2003, Toure, supra.

With the deft moves of a conjurer, the big dawgs in the US seized upon all of this and began to nudge these elements around on the international chess board – within their giant con game. Moreover, these big dawgs in the United States had very little choice because you can’t develop something that dangerous and it not be planned. I don’t think crack happened by accident… Crack offered a lot of money to the inner-city youth who didn’t go to college. Which enabled them to become businessmen. It also turned us into marksmen. It also turned us comatose.”

Cocaine in its powder and crack forms is so addictive, and the ambiance of the cultures that use them regularly so alluring amongst the rich and famous; the Hollywood set; corporate executives; lawyers; doctors; weekenders; entertainers; athletes; college kids; suburbanites; hood rats; hustlers; pipers; etc., until its demand is guaranteed! In most ways, it could be argued, it’s just like alcohol and tobacco – which have never been able to be successfully suppressed in the US for long.

It follows then that, despite all of their propaganda about “Just Say Nor and the bogus War On Drugs, the big dawgs never had any intention of even trying to eradicate the use of cocaine. However, at the same time, the Black and Brown communities were becoming major headaches; ones that if left unchecked could evolve into a real strategic threat. Yes, crack had turned their lower class neighborhoods into lucrative mainstays of the big dawgs’ alternative taxing scheme; however, the urgency graphically driven home by the non-Black/Brown communities’ consumption of more – mostly powder – cocaine, but the trade in the Black/Brown hoods and barrios was accompanied by an unforeseen, exponentially rising rate of ever more sophisticated, drug-related violence, especially since the gangs got seriously involved.

Now, as I’ve pointed out, the gangs were mainly just pursuing respect prior to getting involved with hustling drugs; and the carnage connected with that was not a real concern to the big dawgs. But unlike the earlier dumping of heroin in those communities, accompanied by the comparatively isolated violence of the Black Mafia-style groups; whose violence, though terrifying, was also more selective; the widespread availability of crack and assault rifles led the big dawgs to come to understand that if they did not aggressively deal with the ultra-violent, inner-city drug gangs, they would eventually move to consolidate their gains by forming South Amerikan and Mexican-style cartels. They could eventually take over inner city politics, like the Mexican cartels, threatening to become less predictable – once they realized that the money and power would not of themselves provide them with the kind of respect and dignity they sought. To understand why not, just observe the rich and famous Hip Hop artists who continue to wild-out, because they still lack the respect and dignity that comes with struggling for something other than money or power. In short, some type of cause.

Anyway, the Hip Hop generational favorite TV drama The Wire lays out the entire phenomenon pretty much like it had earlier played itself out in Baltimore and other urban areas; in fact, the fictionalized TV series derives its realness from an earlier long-running expose featured in a Baltimore newspaper: Another after the fact but still useful piece of work to study. Indeed, the show depicts the earlier years of the Black gangs getting deeply involved in the crack trade and clearly illustrates my point about the gangs evolving into proto-cartels – and subsequently being triaged before they matured into real strategic threats; leaving the crack trade intact.

That’s why the “Prison Industrial Complex” was formed! It was formed as a tool to neutralize the Second Wave before they woke up to the fact that – despite their money and power – they were being used and played like suckers. A rub that the more astute of the big dawgs feared that money would not sooth. Thus, all of your draconian gun-related and mandatory sentencing laws were first formulated on the federal level – where most of the big dawgs have their most power – and then were forced upon the states. It was all to ensure that the Second Wave would never be able to consolidate any real power, precisely because they were proving themselves to be such ruthless gangstas, in imitation of their Hollywood idols, coupled with the potential power derived from their share of the undercover tax being extracted from their communities: that convinced the big dawgs to triage them every time they get too big, which averaged from one to three years in a run, then everything they acquired was taken. The martyred Hip Hop icon The Notorious B.I.G. put it all together in his classic song – rightly entitled Respect

“Put the drugs on the shelf / Nah, I couldn’t see it / Scarface, King of New York / I wanna be it… Until I got incarcerated / kinda scary… Not able to move behind the steel gate / Time to contemplate / Damn, where did I fail? / All the money I stacked was all the money for bail.” -Biggie Smalls, The New York Times, 1994, Toure, supra.

Let’s get another thing straight! I mean an angle that continues to have short-sighted people chasing ghosts about why powder cocaine and crack am treated so differently. Within the big dawgs’ calculations, there was no reason to harshly punish the powder cocaine dealers and users in the same manner as they were doing with the crack crowd. And, racism was not the driving motive – it was the potential armed threat within these proto-cartels! The big dawgs witnessed a clear example of what was to come by way of the Jamaican posses that cropped up in the Black communities at this time. Young men from the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora, who were also a consequence of the degeneration of its lower class’s attempts to throw off the economic and social effects of its former slavery and colonial oppression. Led by the socialist, Michael Manley, and inspired by the revolutionary music of Bob Nestor Marley, which can be glimpsed in the later Steven Segal Marked for Death and DMX/Nas Belly movies, the Jamaican posses were the Black Mafia on steroids!

Moreover, their quasi-religious nationalism, coupled with their ability to operate nationally and in the Caribbean, as well as their heavily armed soldiers, put the big dawgs’ teeth on edge. Their ten thousand or so were nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands in the wings in the Black and Brown communities!

The cry from the big dawgs’ mouthpieces in Congress was about the gunplay, not so much the drugs. What was not said, however, was the big dawgs anxieties about stopping these gunslingers before they got over their mental blocks about using their weapons against the police – or the system. They wanted to stop them while they were still hung up on imitating their Hollywood and Euro-Mafia icons, who made a mantra out of instructing their gunmen not to use their weapons against the police. Indeed, with few exceptions, the Second Wave allowed themselves to be disarmed and carted off to prison like pussycats!

Add to all that the unforeseen windfall of thousands of new jobs for the rural communities that were being destroyed economically by capitalism’s drive for fuller globalization. These conservative rural communities are vital to the big dawgs, who need their religious-fanatical support.

We must struggle against the short-sighted view about racism alone being the driving motive force that fueled the construction of the prison-industrial complex. Instead, if you do a follow up and add your own research, you’ll be able to detect and document the who, when, where and how the big dawgs set everything in motion; as well as how they continue to use us as pawns in their giant, international, con game.


Ask yourself the following questions:

1. How can we salvage anything from the how the First and Second Waves allowed their search for respect and dignity to degenerate into gangsterism?

2. In what ways can we help the Next Wave avoid our mistakes?
3. What can we do to contribute to documenting who the real big dawgs behind the drug trade are?
4. Why have they never been held accountable?
5. How come our families and communities are the only ones to suffer?
6. How can we overcome our brainwashing?
7. How can we truly gain respect and dignity?
8. In what ways can we atone for our wrongs and redeem ourselves, our families and our communities?
9. What are some of the ways to fight for restitution and reparations for all those harmed by the government imposed – undercover – drug tax?
10. How can we overturn the “13’th Amendment” of the US Constitution and finally abolish slavery in the US?

Once you’ve answered these questions and begun to move to materialize your conclusions, then you will have made the choice between Liberation or Gangsterism: Freedom or Slavery.

Things to Read

1. The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon and fall
2. Black Brothers Inc., The Violent Rise’ of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia, Sean Patrick Griffin
3. Monster. The Autobiography of a L.A. Gang Member, Sanyika Shakur
4. Dark Alliance, Gary Webb
5. Lost History, Robert Parry
6. Down by the River, Charles Bowden
7. Inspector General’s First and Final reports on Iran-Contra and the Illegal Drug Trade, CIA’s official website
8. We Are Our Own Liberators, Jalil Mutaquim

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