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Debts Owed: A Generational Perspective on a Time of Remembrance

July 23, 2010


[Editor’s note: Akili had to write this article without mentioning ‘Black August’ by name, because Pelican Bay State Prison erroneously considers any mention of George Jackson or related individuals/events as participation in a prison gang. 4strugglemag wholeheartedly denounces this criminalization of politics and the persecution of our readers for voicing their political beliefs.]

As the illusion of a post-kleptocratic, post-racial corporative Amerika and the dissemination of its public relations propaganda, “a tide which will lift all boats” dribbles from the tobacco-stained lips of the commanding thief (i.e. commander and chief), the muddy quicksand of its domestic and foreign policies continues smothering the lives of poor people the world over.

To protect their booty, rabid watchdogs have been chained to the people’s consciousness, as evidenced by the increasingly repressive forms of isolation and sensory deprivation, under which we suffer in the short corridors and CMUs [1]. The mere mention of certain revolutionaries, movements or the memorial which has been developed over the last 30 plus years to honour them, will arouse the K9’s madness, causing another vicious attack.

Nonetheless, this is our time of remembrance, re-member-ing

the goal
the struggle
the pain
the possibility

and preparing ourselves to face down and deal with all contradictions head up. As Assata Shakur is quoted to have said, “If you’re deaf, dumb and blind to what’s happening in the world, you’re under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what’s happening and you don’t do anything but sit on your ass, then you’re nothing but a punk” [2].

This remembrance is the love-inspired footprint upon our hearts, left to guide us back to who we are meant to be, driving us forward to who we know we can be, reminding us in tangible, objective, political, economic, social, cultural and spiritual terms that ‘impossible’ is a fleeting moment of weakness in which we can ill-afford to indulge.

It teaches us that there are no things with qualities in and of themselves – that there are no conflicts that are absolute and that the law of equilibrium (maat) won’t allow this imbalance to continue much longer.

Therefore, our generational responsibility in advancing revolutionary culture, custom and consciousness is to come full circle, taking the entire historical record, the living legacy of our elders, PP/POWs and applying it to the war situation as we face it today. With an eye towards tomorrow, two points must be foremost in our minds as we practice this remembrance:

“Consciousness is the opposite of indifference, of blindness, blankness. Promoting consciousness involves the general dissemination of the concept that each of us is part of a universal action and interaction; that poles are somewhere connected, that there are material causes for trauma, vertigo, degenerative disease. Connections, connections, cause and effect, clarity on their relation and interrelations. The connection with the past, continuity, flow, movement, the awareness that nothing, nothing remains the same for long. And it follows that if a thing is not building, it is certainly decaying. That life is revolution – and that the world will die if we don’t read and act out its imperatives.” [3]

“People must become their real selves, in spite of this profane and insane, spiritually polluted social environment we’re stuck in. It’s in there, somewhere and people can access it, practice it, develop it and become their real effective anarchist selves. It’s vitally necessary for everyone who wants to live a real life and I’m telling you, it’s possible.” [4]

The reading of these two points leads to a series of questions that will help define the purpose of our practice:

1a. Where are the poles of action and interaction connected?
1b. How do we read and act out the world’s imperatives?
2a. What/who is our “real selves”?
2b. How do we access it, practice it, develop it?

The poles are connected in a web of interdependence and inter-relationships at the core of all existence. They are supported by past and present and future, not as distinct measurements of time but as a continuity, a flow, in the manner explained by Newton’s third law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Their connection is made at the point of our action or inaction. The establishment of consciousness at this level determines a person’s or society’s degree of wellness (i.e. freedom from trauma, vertigo, degenerative disease, etc.)

The world’s imperatives are read by constantly weighing the individual and collective wellness of a person/society against the feather of Maat. Maat (the law of equilibrium) is a major theme in the spiritual cultivation system developed by our Afrikan ancestors of Kamit. Maat is best defined as “man’s ability to perceive the order underlying his/her make up and all things in the world, and to translate it into laws of living (morality, science, religion, etc.)” [5].

We should note the historical record reveals that “poetic language and dialogue were methods used by the ancient Afrikans all over Alkebu-lan (Africa) in every aspect of their recordings of their living experiences and that of their religious outlook; they, not distinguishing any difference between the spiritual and the secular, modern-day Africans to a great degree have continued this custom” [6]. Furthermore, “…Religion is basically the historical recordings of a people’s heritage with a preponderance of mythology surrounding their national heroes who were most instrumental in creating their political compact (nation); it being the height of ancestral worship…” [9].

Also, “…The ancestors of the African and Asian peoples, the ancients did not separate that which is today called “secular history” from “religious history…” [8] and “…the life of many of the Gods (who were for the most part actually deceased kings-pharoahs) had to do with much of their performance while they were still alive on this planet Earth, in Kimit (Egypt) North Africa” [9].

This reveals that communion with the ancestors through the practice of remembrance/memorial ceremonies and living according to Maat are prerequisite to accessing our “real (true) selves.”

Within the mythoscientific literature are key components that elucidate how to build upon the historic examples of our elders and ancestors, one of which is the 7 cardinal virtues: Truth, Justice, Harmony, Balance, Reciprocity, Propriety and Order. These virtues – summarized as ”to know truth you must live it” – must be the colander through which our practice and actions are sifted.

Addressing ourselves to the world’s imperatives via the 7 cardinal virtues, and communion with the ancestors (memorials) develops another Maatian principle – we become Maakheru (true of word and deed). Inevitably, if our practice is sincere like the August body of example we memorialize, we become revolutionaries. Having reached the zenith in human evolution, we earn the title of Ausar, which our Kamitic ancestors explained as having awakened the higher divisions of our spirit/consciousness and truly become one with all. This is the manifestation of our true or real selves, the egalitarian freedom fighter, the scientific socialist, the New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist, the communist, the anarchist.

Chairman Fred Hampton in more clear terms put it this way: “I don’t care how much theory you got, if it don’t have any practice applied to it, then that theory happens to be irrelevant. Right? Any theory you get practice it, and when you practice it you make some mistakes, when you make a mistake you correct that theory and then it will be corrected theory that will be able to be applied and used in any situation. That’s what we’ve got to be able to do” [10].

Practice is part and parcel of Franz Fanon’s instruction that “each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.” Our practice of studying, meditating and physical training every day, and fasting on the specific movement days of the memorial must be seen as and used as our guideline.

It is an opportunity for self-reflection and communion with our sheps and dark deceased [11]. Inspired by those who made the ultimate sacrifice in smoothing the path, we are to move into another year of struggle with renewed vigor and determination to insure the debts owed them are paid in full and that the terror of injustice ceases.

Let us focus our collective consciousness on discovering our generational mission, and committing ourselves to establishing the means by which we will fulfill it and honour those who’ve come before and those who will follow. Remember “consciousness is knowledge, recognition, foresight; common experience, and perception; sensibility, alertness, mindfulness. It stirs the senses, the blood; it exposes and suggests; it will objectify, enrage, direct. There are no positive formulas for a thing so complex. We have guidelines only to help us with its growth. This means that after we are done, with our books, they must be put aside; and the search for method will depend on observations, correct analyses, creativity and seizing the time.”


  1. See Daniel McGowan’s essay “Little Guantanamo: Exposing the CMU” in 4strugglemag issue 13, Summer 2009, which discusses the implementation of Communications Management Units (CMUs) in federal prisons. In 2005, CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) and PBSP (Pelican Bay State Prison) began housing the most politically active/conscious of the indeterminate SHU (Security Housing Unit) class prisoners in a special section of the SHU, called the short corridor (units D1 to D4). This unit is identical to the CMU in purpose and function. It is, however, secretive, and therefore allows for experiments in “repression techniques” which will eventually become standard practice/policy throughout the prison industrial complex, just as the CMU did, if we fail to act and/or act without unity in purpose. This writer was moved to the short corridor under color of “correctional convenience’ in December 2007, in violation of U.S. constitutional rights. But then again, when did the constitution ever serve as anything other than kindling for Amerika’s disposed and permanent slave class?
  2. Assata Shakur as quoted in “The Unleashed Thoughts of an Anarchist: Another Interview” with Anthony Rayson.
  3. George Jackson. Blood in my Eye. Page 22.
  4. Anthony Rayson
  5. Ra Un Nefer Amen: Tree of Life Meditation system, page 5.
  6. Dr. Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan: Africa Mother of Western Civilization, page 270.
  7. Ibid, page 633.
  8. Ibid, page 636.
  9. Ibid, page 637.
  10. Chairman Fred Hampton, Sr. speech at Olivet church in Chicago 1969 (reprinted in Allied Resistance Network magazine, issue 18, winter 2007-08).
  11. In Kamitic mythoscientific literature, sheps and dark deceased are the honoured living or honoured dead, related to ancestor communication rituals/practice. It is believed that although all ancestors have the ability to function as guides and unifiers of the people, only those who attained the level of Ausar (revolutionaries) and were found to be Maa Kheru earned the right and privilege of becoming sheps/dark deceased.

A. Castlin (J-99402)
D-1-210 SHU
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City CA
USA 95532

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