Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Need for a Queer Power Movement

 I know this sounds gay, but I'm in love with being Queer and I'm kind of gross about it. I celebrate my flamboyant tribal freakiness in everything from the fluorescent pink color of my hair to the words that I hurl into the shocked faces of basic bitches like glimmering confetti. I didn't choose to be this fucking weird, but I did choose to embrace my spiritual otherness with the obnoxious bravado of a house on fire and that choice and the tribe for which it stands saved my life.

After barely surviving a bleak Catholic childhood pock marked by casual atrocities committed in the name of divine conformity, I spent the better part of my twenties as a hollowed-out husk; numb, depleted and totally devoid of hope. I took long drives through the countryside praying for a car crash to save me from the dull ache of my suffocating agoraphobic existence. It was only after I discovered that I actually come from a long line of proud freaks who violently straddled the fickle lines between acceptable gender boundaries like meth-addled cowgirls that I truly started living my life for the first time.

To me being Queer is about so much more than who you fuck or which bathroom you piss in. It's a sacred pagan tribal identity for those of us who were purged from our old tribes for transgressing the norms of civilized Christian society. It is a place for misfit toys who were never designed for mass production. Those of us too weird to live but too goddamn pissed-off to die. Above all else though, its home, the first one that I've ever really known and it's under attack from two sides of a schizophrenic empire in decline.

Queer people find ourselves at an existential crossroads at the intersection of annihilation and assimilation. In one direction we face an openly genocidal GOP who are vigorously advocating for our forced internment back into the closets which are now fortified by a growing arsenal of legislative boobytraps. More laws are passed every day in states across this country that utilize the tools of America's formidable police state to terrorize anyone who dares to transgress what certain zealots consider to be properly gendered behavior.

They began their assault by targeting the rights of our children to have a marginally less abusive childhood than we did but their laws only grow bolder by the second, regulating the medical decisions of adults as old as 26 and declaring our public displays of existence to be "drag" punishable by prison sentences measured in years. And with 2024 creeping over the horizon like a rapist on the skylight, all the major-league Republican candidates are promising to make this regional jihad national with none other than Orange Man Bad himself leading the pack as he promises to unleash the full powers of the federal government to enshrine the gender binary in depleted uranium.

Under such dire circumstances, many of my people aren't just turning to the liberal elites in the Democratic Party, they are running to their arms like frightened rabbits, but America's other breeder party is actually trafficking in something far more insidious than good old-fashioned genocide. That warm blanket they are wrapping around your bruised and battered shoulders is actually a straitjacket called assimilation and if you aren't careful, it will strangle you into submission to the very same forces that you're running from.

The Democrats advocate for the creation of a new Queer. A clean and respectful Queer who abides by a single set of pronouns, gets married, minds their manners, pays their taxes and kills other shades of poor people in the straight man's army. Stumbling onto the scene of your nearest major metropolitan Pride parade, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you crashed a roving rainbow-colored policeman's ball sponsored by the scions of the military industrial complex. Next year the drag queens will be straddling Patriot missiles headed for our latest apocalyptic pissing match in Taiwan.

What the Democrats are offering isn't salvation, it's just a softer brand of erasure. They want us to settle down and embrace the same imperial police state that we scraped our knuckles smashing in the face at Stonewall. The very same imperial police state, I might add, that can, will and has been sicked on us at a moment's notice the second we fail to deliver a Democratic victory. 

If the two parties really are just two heads of the same colossal corporate serpent, then what we are really looking at here is a concerted effort to domesticate the last breed of feral heathens, with the DNC holding the carrot and the GOP holding the stick. No matter which hand we choose, we lose everything that defines us as a people in the process. We can either return to the noose hanging in the closet or become the latest mascot advertising the diversity of collars available to the servants of the new world order. Kali help me, I almost prefer the noose in that Faustian bargain.

But there is a third way, a path to true Queer liberation. However, it will require both a revolution and a history lesson. Today's Disneyfied LGBTQ(TM) movement wasn't the first attempt by Queer people to tame other Queer people in the name of inclusion. Before the mid to late sixties, the self-proclaimed leaders in civil rights for gender and sexual minorities referred to themselves as "homophiles" and consisted largely of affluent white cis men in tasteful suits lobbying shrinks and cops to give us a break if we agreed to keep it down.

Thankfully that dreadfully vanilla era ended in a crash with two riots, the one at Stonewall in 1969 and another lesser-known throwdown in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco three years earlier known as the Compton's Cafeteria Riot. Both were led by ragtag coalitions of irate drag queens, sex workers, bulldaggers and trannies who stopped being polite to their abusers in the police state and beat those fucking pigs black and blue. Uncoincidentally, both uprisings were also comprised overwhelmingly of gender outlaws of color and a few of their pale lovers.

From this maelstrom of blood dripping stiletto heels and bruised butch fists rose radical organizations like the Gay Liberation Front and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries who didn't call for integration or assimilation. They called for revolution in concert with their oppressed brothers and sisters fighting for their own liberation in the jungles of Vietnam and the streets of Watts. The original Queer Movement, the one that blasted open the closet door with a twelve-gauge shotgun for millions of proud freaks like me, was inspired not by Martin Luther King or the Southern Poverty Law Center but by Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. Gay Liberation was the kinky lesbian sister of Black Power, and we can all still learn a lot from this era of love and rage.

Black folks found themselves at a similar crossroads to the one that Queer folks face today during the mid-sixties. In spite of massive gains made in the arenas of civil rights and popular opinion, the Black Freedom Movement found themselves staring cross-eyed down two barrels of the same gun. Down one barrel was an increasingly violent campaign of police state repression in the Jim Crow South that had been adopted by the Republican Party in the form of opportunistic creeps like Barry Goldwater and Dick Nixon. And down the other was a newly de-Dixiefied Democratic Party that wanted the assimilated negro to be seen but not heard at the DNC as they used the poorest among them to wipe out the rest of the Third World. Then a few brave brothers and sisters said, 'fuck you' and started a revolution.

This revolution earned its title when Stokely Carmichael chose to purge the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe of pious white liberal interlopers and led the crowds of the 1966 March Against Fear in Mississippi in a chant of 'Black Power!' on national television. The point of this movement wasn't to segregate Black folks but to empower them to build their own autonomous network of organizations, small businesses and cultural institutions right in the belly of Babylon. A network that could co-exist with radical white folks without having to rely on their approval. This model proved terrifying enough to the white power structure that it ultimately smashed segregation to bits and indirectly led not only to Stonewall but to the end of the Vietnam War when it inspired radicals of every shade to bring that war home to the streets.

This is precisely what Queer people need right now. We need a Queer Power Movement to build a network of stateless Queer autonomous zones across the country, free to act without interference from straight government or corporate intervention. We need our own schools in which students are given at least as much authority as the adults tasked with guiding them on the path to forging their own identities. We need our own medical services governed through mutual aid and informed consent rather than pharmaceutical gatekeepers and whitecoat authoritarians. And we need a well-trained and heavily armed civilian militia to defend these Queer institutions from any attempt by the breeder state to interfere with our lives and our communities.

We also need to fortify our own culture with a full metal jacket commitment to anti-authoritarianism and radical diversity. We need to embrace the fact that there is actually great power in being a minority because only minorities contain the kind of intimate tribal societies capable of achieving the level of stateless autonomy that we all deserve. This means rejecting the genocidal notion of the melting pot once and for all and advocating for a coalition of a million minorities, be they Queer, Black, Chicano, Redneck, Zaydi or Palestinian, to declare our independence from any other world order, old or new. Because either we all get free, or we all get fucked and that's one form of sodomy that this proud faggot is not down with.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that inspired this post

* Queen Bitch by David Bowie

* Is It Really So Strange by the Smiths

* Describe by Perfume Genius

* I Found a Reason by the Velvet Underground

* Rockstar by Hole

* The Drowners by Suede

* Trash by New York Dolls

* Some New Kind of Kick by the Cramps

* List of Demands by Saul Williams

* Children of the Revolution by T. Rex

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Queering Mental Illness into a New Revolutionary Consciousness

 Jordan Neely was kind of a weird kid. If you ever saw him, you would know what I mean. There was just something profoundly 'other' about his spirit and through the right set of eyes, it was something beautiful to behold. He looked just like Michael Jackson back when Michael Jackson still looked like Michael Jackson. Joyful, genderless, racially ambiguous. He could dance to absolutely no music at all, and my God could he dance. Perhaps you have seen him, in the subway station or beneath the shimmering lights of Time Square, moving so effortlessly, as if his body had a language all its own that could say all the words that forces beyond his control wouldn't allow him to say. And smiling, always smiling...

I had a friend kind of like that once. His name was Osaze Osagie but to me he was always just Ozzy, and he was kind of a weird kid too. He stood as tall and as dark as an oak tree and dressed like every day was Sunday. You never saw him without a Bible in his hand, but you never heard him preach. I'm precisely the kind of creature that Ozzy's church warns their parishioners about, a gutter mouthed gender outlaw with a profoundly profane disdain for anything even remotely resembling authority. But Ozzy never made me feel uncomfortable. He seemed to exude an aura of gentle wisdom that said far more about the mysterious ways of Christ than conventional diction could ever express. And he was always smiling. That same smile that could be seen on Jordan Neely's face before the world caved in on him.

I met Ozzy at a psych rehab where I was recovering from decades of spiritual abuse that had rendered me an agoraphobic hermit by my mid-twenties. Ozzy had been diagnosed with several words that failed to accurately capture his spirit any better than the Catholic Church managed to capture mine. During one of his darker days his father called the police. Ozzy was talking about hurting himself before he stopped talking at all. The police came to his apartment, covered the peephole on his door and knocked without identifying themselves to someone they knew was already terrified. They claim that Ozzy attacked them with a steak knife. They claim that three heavily armed men required a taser and three bullets to defend themselves. One of those bullets landed in Ozzy's back. He was 29 years old when he was murdered by the state in 2019. I can still see him smiling when I close my eyes.

Four years later it would be Jordan Neely's turn. After spending years being chewed up and spit out by the revolving gears of New York's various institutions for carceral readjustment, Neely finally lost his smile and begged the subways he once danced for to save him. "I don't have food. I don't have a drink. I'm fed up. I don't mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I'm ready to die." These were Jordan Neely's last words to society and society responded to his heated desperation with cold violence. A man trained by the state to kill poor people put Neely into a chokehold for fifteen minutes and two passengers held him down while the rest of the people on that train car calmly sat and watched him die. "You're gonna kill him now." They warned Neely's attacker as if he should be mindful while he takes the garbage to the curb. Jordan Neely may not have been murdered by the state, but the state trained a dozen human beings who could have easily saved him to stay in their seats and behave like a crowd.

Both my friend Ozzy and Jordan Neely were Black, but their race wasn't the only thing that made them disposable. As I said, they were both weird kids and western society considers this to be a condition that should be heavily policed. Osagie and Neely died because they are part of a growing caste of mentally ill Americans. The Surgeon General has declared our existence to be a public health crisis. Loneliness. A pathological disconnection with the outside world that was ferociously accelerated by the societal devastation of the Pandemic but didn't begin with it. 

Even before Covid, approximately half of all American adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness and all the available statistics show a tsunami of mental health issues in this country that has swelled precipitously between the 1930s and the 1990s before leveling off at historic highs. The most visible side effects of this surge have been homelessness and unemployment. Across the wealthiest nation on earth, city streets are cluttered with tent colonies and businesses sit vacant with help wanted signs left unanswered. Many Americans look upon this spectacle with confusion and even open disdain. What could possibly be the source of this crippling social contagion that has rendered 60 million Americans too ill to participate in the banal joys of civilized society? 

I just have to throw my head back and laugh like a lunatic when you people call us crazy and then wonder why we don't meet your approval. Take a look around you, stupid. We live in a world where burning down the rainforest for hamburgers and killing children with robots in Somalia isn't even considered newsworthy. A world where a police officer can lynch a man in his own community during broad daylight while he begs his neighbors to put down their cellphones and save him. A world teetering perilously on the brink of nuclear apocalypse and environmental devastation. And you have the fucking nerve to ask the people who take it personally what the big deal is? Read my lips very carefully so you don't miss a word. Fuck. You.

In case you haven't noticed, I take this shit kind of personally myself and it's not just because a bunch of pompous assholes in white collars and white coats have been diagnosing my feelings as an illness for my entire life. The people that you call mentally ill are essentially just people who are allergic to the arbitrary rules that define our declining civilization as normal. There is another word for this condition that is far more appropriate than ill, and it's called Queer. According to the masters of the universe over at the American Psychiatric Association, the desire to fuck someone with the same genitals as you was a mental illness until 1973 and the existence of third genders like mine was listed as a disorder until 2013. These fine folks in the therapeutic state didn't come to their senses out of a sudden epiphany of moral character. They were kicked into reforming these definitions by pissed-off Queer folk who were tired of being called sick and if you ask me, we should have kept fucking kicking.

Queer people have been indoctrinated by liberal society into believing that our removal from the DSM was some kind of great victory for civil rights, but it was really little more than a strategic PR stunt pushed by the APA to save the good name of a bad system and we all fell for it. In the years since we've disaggregated ourselves from the rest of civilization's malcontents, Queer people have been assimilated beyond recognition into mainstream culture as a lifestyle brand called LGBTQ, but we've also found ourselves more policed than we've been since Stonewall, with a growing asylum of laws that openly seek to strangle us like a straitjacket. This is the thanks that we get for betraying our fellow outsiders. Assimilation always comes at the price of throwing some lesser 'other' beneath the whirling blades of the wheat thresher to prove that you can be just as sadistic as the cool kids. This is how Catholic immigrants became white and this is how Queer people became sane, but it has only made us all weaker in the process because mainstream society is the problem. 

Weird kids like Jordan Neely and my friend Ozzy are just two of many casualties in a war against civilization's unwilling victims and it isn't the loud-mouthed bigots on Fox News leading the charge, it's sensitive liberal heroes like New York Mayor Eric Adams and California Governor Gavin Newsom who are bulldozing homeless encampments by the hundreds and pushing to institutionalize those deemed defective by the police state in the name of progress and liberal guilt. These people shouldn't be given floats in our Disneyfied Pride Parades, they should be chased off of our streets with the rest of the pigfucking fascist scum in a second Stonewall that doesn't stop until we burn down the asylum once and for all.

For generations radicals of every stripe have been searching high and low for a mythic revolutionary class to carry out the final execution of the state. Most leftists are still trapped in the 19th century with fantasies of the workers of the world uniting against their factory masters running through their dizzy skulls. But in 2023, what unites the dispossessed isn't labor, it's mental illness. However, this mindset, the one that finds more and more Americans incompatible with the drudgeries of western civilization by the second, isn't a sickness, it is a new revolutionary consciousness.

Queer people had the right idea by following the lead of Frantz Fanon and the Black Panthers and turning those of us who were too transgressive to be colonized into a stateless third world nation deep inside the belly of Babylon, but they shouldn't have limited our ranks to just five letters in the alphabet. We should have Queered the whole damn DSM and united all of us who find ourselves too pathologically divergent to conform to the dictates of a sick society beneath a single rainbow banner. It's not too late.

Jordan Neely and Osage Osazie may not have been Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender but they were two kids who were too weird and beautiful to be anything but Queer and you better believe that I take their deaths personally because no Queer person should ever be left behind by the revolution.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

* Police Story by Black Flag

* Mad World by Tears for Fears

* Salad by Blondeshell

* Stop Whispering by Radiohead

* Scream by Michael and Janet Jackson

* See No Evil by Television

* Crazy by Patsi Kline

* Beautiful by Lana Del Rey

* If I Ever Leave this World Alive by Flogging Molly

Sunday, May 14, 2023

West Papua's War with the Modern World Should Be All of Ours

 They say that a picture speaks a thousand words. If that's true, then a hostage video must speak at least a million. The only problem with this technology and indeed most technology is that most of these words tend to get garbled when they're all being shouted at once. This deluge of information often results in a sort of narrative overdose that makes my head spin. That is the dilemma I face when watching the videos that have surfaced online of Philip Mehrtens, a 37-year-old bush pilot from New Zealand taken hostage deep in the jungles of the Indonesian occupied region of West Papua this February. In the few clips of footage made available to the public to prove that this man is in fact still alive, Mr. Mehrtens appears wide eyed and dislodged, like a tourist lost on a different planet. He stands as tall and as pale as a ghost, dressed in a denim jacket and a Boonie cap, surrounded by dark men with bushy beards and furious eyes. 

One thing that is hard for anyone to deny about this footage is that those reems make it crystal clear that this captured Kiwi has stumbled smack dab in the middle of something which he too is struggling against reason to comprehend. However, I can't seem to ignore the fact that his captors appear to be just as frightened and out of place as their own hostage. Armed with an odd assortment of assault rifles, bows and arrows and dressed to the nine in a clashing hodgepodge of tribal headdresses, war paint and second-hand military fatigues, these men who the western media has largely written off as quixotic savages somehow look strangely familiar to my own furious eyes. 

The only words that my mind can collect to make sense of the fear and loathing that I somehow share with Philip Mehrtens' kidnappers tells me that on the other side of the planet there are men who are also at war with the modern world. The same one that haunts my dreams with menacing footage of freeways and skyscrapers that scream a million words a second in my face, that looming metropolis that holds my soul hostage and stirs a terror deep inside me that smug doctors in white lab coats diagnose as a mental illness. Those dark men with their bushy beards and furious eyes clearly share my private war but unlike me they refuse to lose it in the privacy of a psychiatrist's office, and they refuse to allow the terror we share to rob them of the dignity of not going down without a hostage. God bless them.

Those men are the soldiers of the West Papuan National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement and I am not ashamed to admit that I admire them. They are a poorly armed and loosely affiliated collection of hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers from ancient rival clans who have been united over the last half-century by a shared struggle for the liberation of their own tiny corner of nowhere which has long been cruelly occupied by the colossal juggernaut of the Indonesian Army and its colonialist backers in the United States, the E.U., Australia and New Zealand. 

It is in fact the financial and military support of those western hegemons that has led this mighty little army to kidnap Philip Mehrtens from his single-engine passenger plane in a desperate attempt to hold one of Babylon's own for ransom. That ransom originally took the form of a bold demand for nothing less than full international recognition for West Papua's independence but has since been reduced to simple access to UN peacekeepers. Indonesia's counteroffer was delivered by heavily armed commandos sent to rescue Mehrtens Rambo-style, but the West Papuans sent these western trained killers back to Jakarta wrapped in body bags. In the only hostage video released since, Mehrtens appears alive and well to condemn Indonesia for resorting to dropping bombs on his position in the mountainous Nduga region in the wake of this failed raid.

The fact that most of the western media has covered almost none of this story is nothing new so I will do my very damnedest to catch you up on the modern world's long war against the stubborn people of West Papua. Indonesia is a vast archipelago of 38 provinces spread across thousands of Islands. West Papua is the easternmost territory in this expanse and the western half of the island of New Guinea which is the second largest island on earth after Greenland and home to the world's second largest rainforest after the Amazon. Like all too many third world inventions, Indonesia isn't so much a singular cohesive nation state as it is a colonialist conglomeration cobbled together by the Dutch when they took its islands by force in the late 19th century. 

After the fiery imperial implosion of the Second World War shattered the white man's grip on Southeast Asia, a former Japanese collaborator named Sukarno attempted to unite the many tribes of Indonesia under one flag in opposition to western imperialism. In doing so, this otherwise courageous leader secured his new nation's independence in 1949 but also sowed the seeds for decades of civil war and genocide by trying to use the western contraption of the Westphalian nation state to overcome the reach of his former masters.

The Dutch managed to retain control over West Papua in one last stand but with America's support, Sukarno invaded in 1961. The West Papuans attempted to declare independence the same year but quickly found themselves under attack by their supposed liberators for threatening the cohesion of the new Indonesian nation state. The UN officially took control of the region in 1962 and supervised what has been widely acknowledged by most international observers to be a totally fraudulent election on West Papua's fate in 1969. 

Only 1,026 representatives handpicked by the Indonesian military out of a population of 1 million were allowed to choose their nation's fate at barrel of a gun in what the UN had the gall to declare an Act of Free Choice.  Over 30,000 West Papuans had been slaughtered during the 8-year occupation that proceeded this vote. Considering that this slaughter was overseen by Suharto, the brigadier general chosen by the CIA to take Sukarno's place in 1965, it can hardly be considered shocking that his electoral hostages voted overwhelmingly in favor of their own subjugation.

1969 was also the year that Suharto held a conference in Geneva for the multinational elites who bankrolled his bloody coup. During this bougie soiree Suharto's fascist New Order junta essentially carved up Indonesia's natural resources and handed them over to the highest bidder piece by piece. In West Papua's case, that highest bidder would be the massive Anglo-American Freeport Mining Company whose board members included then National Security Advisor and future Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Freeport would open what would become the world's largest goldmine in West Papua, reducing a sacred mountain to a bottomless pit and either murdering or displacing thousands in the process. This toxic hellhole would become Indonesia's single greatest source of revenue, pulling a million dollars a day from the earth before handing $33 billion dollars of the loot over to the jackals back in Jakarta between 1992 and 2004 alone.

Of course, none of this wealth would find its way back to the people of West Papua, 38% of which continue to live in poverty to this day. But the West Papuan people were treated to all the splendor of the modern world in a 50-year military occupation that continues to rage quietly as we speak. While Freeport counts their gold, over 500,000 civilians have been slaughtered in a massive spree of genocides against any indigenous tribe too proud to bow to progress. That's over 10% of the population. Women and children have been systematically raped, massive highways have been paved over mass graves, villages have been burnt to the ground during routine military sweeps, towers have been erected to house foreign investors and their mistresses, concentration camps have been carved out of the jungle and the Coca-Cola has flowed like wine and the sweet smoke of Menthol Marlboros has stained the air.

And of course, America the beautiful has been there every step of the way with her billions of dollars in guns and lethal aid awarded to the most savage death squads that money can buy, often all in the name of fighting terrorism. But most of the victims of Indonesia's final solution in West Papua don't even carry guns. In 1998, the entire village of Biak was loaded onto ships by the Indonesian Military and thrown into the ocean. Some 200 people, most of them women and children, drowned. Their act of terrorism was raising a flag that declared their independence from a cruel world that has violently intervened on their way of life. A way of life built on traditional Melanesian social contracts among hundreds of clans and marked by an absence of western style hierarchies or even Indonesian style chiefs. A way of life governed only by the will of the village.

West Papua's war isn't just a war against subjugation and genocide. It is a war against the forced homogeny of western civilization that those crimes serve. It is a war against a single world order with a single tribe of assimilated consumers. It is a war against the dislocation of humanity from the natural world and the dislocation of the natural world from the divine. It is a war against madness. I will concede that it is indeed a tragedy that innocent men like Philip Mehrtens have been caught up in this war, but I would also argue that it is far more tragic that the rest of us have not been considering that we too are the victims of this madness. Even with all the gold that we could steal from West Papua, the west is a desert of pathological loneliness, mass shootings and environmental devastation. We are literally choking on the fumes of the modern world that West Papua has decided they would rather die fighting than join. Maybe it is we who should join them.

Then again, maybe that's just the mental illness talking again. The narrative of another burnt out casualty of suburban decay during the heat of the Kali Yuga. But what else can I give when I find myself lost in the eyes of quixotic savages on the internet? My narrative is the only arrow that I have left in my quiver. This week that narrative belongs to West Papua for whatever little that's worth.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: songs that influenced this post

* Wild Wild Life by Talking Heads

* Hey by the Pixies

* The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

* Back of a Van by Regina Spektor

* Gimme Gimme Gimme by Black Flag

* Safari by the Breeders

* Stand and Deliver by Adam & the Ants

* Search and Destroy by Iggy & the Stooges

* The Bends by Radiohead

* Human Behavior by Bjork

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Why Anarchists Should Give a Fuck About Omali Yeshitela

“Sometimes our positions are unpopular in the short term, even among the masses, only to be vindicated as events unfold to reveal a truth that was obscured by the faulty analysis of the prevailing common perception. On such occasions we must move in opposition to the direction the masses are attempting to go. Otherwise, what is the meaning of leadership?”

-Omali Yeshitela

“The Law waits for you to stumble on a mode of being, a soul different from the FDA-approved purple-stamped standard dead meat — & as soon as you begin to act in harmony with nature the Law garottes & strangles you — so don’t play the blessed liberal middleclass martyr — accept the fact that you’re a criminal & be prepared to act like one.”

-Hakim Bey

 The name is Omali Yeshitela and maybe you've heard of him, but probably not. That's OK. It's not your fault. If you're reading this right now, odds are that you're only an American and the imperial zeitgeist demands a very short memory of its subjects, especially regarding the long history of badass motherfuckers who have resisted its dictates. I'm not special or anything, I'm just a marginalized geek with a lot of time on my hands. So, I'll do you a solid and fill you in, because in the pantheon of forgotten badass motherfuckers, Omali Yeshitela is about as bad as they come and he is currently on trial-by-empire for this sin, fighting for his life. So now seems about as appropriate a time as any for another one of my famous gonzo revisionist history lessons.

Before you can really understand Yeshitela and his importance to imperial apostates like me you have to understand exactly where he came from. Omali is a militant foot soldier in the struggle for Black Power who fought on the same battlefields as Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, H. Rap Brown and Mutulu Shakur and somehow lived to shout about it unbound. He was on the streets, in the shit, deep in the guts of Babylon during the height of J. Edgar Hoover's white supremacist jihad against the struggle for a New Afrikan consciousness and he's still fucking here. After Cointelpro and crack cocaine and Reaganomics and HIV/AIDS and the War on Drugs, Omali Yeshitela stands virtually alone as the last badass motherfucker swinging above ground and outside of a maximum-security plantation from the original Movement. All the snipers missed, and J. Edna died cursing his name. Statistically speaking, this is nothing short of a miracle.

So, above all else, Omali is a militant survivalist. Born Joseph Allen Waller in St. Petersburgh, Florida, the man who would become affectionately known by comrades as Chairman Yeshitela weathered a childhood in the ghettos of that sunny cities impoverished Gas Lamp District and four years in the white man's imperial army to become a founding father of St. Petersburgh's chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. After initiating a rash of successful boycotts to desegregate local business', Waller was infamously charged with a felony for tearing down a racist mural from the walls of St. Petersburgh's city hall. In spite of winning a landmark Supreme Court case that would help solidify this nation's standing on the use of double-jeopardy in persecuting his fellow political prisoners, Joseph Waller still spent two years in prison and over thirty years as a convicted felon before finally being granted clemency in the year 2000.

During that time, Joseph Waller became Omali Yeshitela and Omali Yeshitela declared total war against the system that wronged him and his people. He created the Burning Spear newspaper and formed and lead both the African People's Socialist Party and the international Uhuru Movement. He led the fight to free Dessie Woods after she was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing her white would-be rapist with his own gun. He led campaigns that freed wrongfully convicted death row inmates like Wilbur Lee and Freddie Pitts from the gallows. He was on the frontlines of an uprising in the streets of St. Petersburgh when that city's finest murdered an innocent Black man named Tyron Mark Lewis in 1996. He ran for mayor in 1973 and 2001 on insanely revolutionary platforms that included emptying Florida's prisons and forming a goddamn African People's Liberation Army, and did I mention that motherfucker is still fucking hear!

More importantly, so is the movement he sired, and this movement is why a reactionary post-left tranarchist like me still counts this hardcore communist as a hero in my book. I may have abandoned my traditional Marxist-Leninist dogma along with my penis years ago for a weird gumbo of post-civ Queer tribalism and radical free market agorism, but I remain inspired by any movement that can create a revolutionary alternative to modern corporate supremacy right in the here-and-now and that is precisely what Chairman Yeshitela's African People's Socialist Party has done with their groundbreaking Black Power Blueprint.

They have built a complex and self-sufficient network of institutions across three states that has successfully weaponized the free market in order to create a thriving alternative to capitalism. Women's health centers, community gardens, doula programs, ex-con workforce operations, affordable housing co-ops and scores of non-profit Black-owned small businesses. This is how you win a revolution, by creating autonomous stateless nations inside the belly of the beast and showing the people that living without a master really is as simple as just living without a fucking master. This is what drew a genderfuck hillbilly like me to embrace the values of the Black Power Movement to empower my own people in the first place. I don't care if you call yourself an anarchist, a Maoist or a goddamn Mennonite, if you can sustain a community outside of the system then you are my ally and you have won.

But all of this hard work is in peril now as Omali Yeshitela and his movement find themselves in the crosshairs of Joe Biden's Department of Justice. Nearly a year ago, the FBI conducted a series of heavily armed pre-dawn raids on the homes and offices of the APSP in St. Lois and St. Petersburgh as part of a scant 25-page indictment against Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian citizen and Moscow resident who will conveniently never have to stand trial. Ionov operates an organization barely affiliated with the APSP called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia which the State Department claims has connections to Putin's Kremlin. The original charge was a vague allegation of "conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States." This was only replaced with a slightly less skimpy 37-page indictment last month that continues to offer just as little in the way of actual proof of wrongdoing. 

The Department of Justice now charges Chairman Yeshitela and three of his Uhuru comrades along with Ionov and two other alleged FSB agents with conducting a "multi-year foreign influence campaign in the United States." This baseless accusation basically amounts to the Russian government paying a bunch of pissed-off Black people to talk smack about the United States. But pissed-off Black people like Yeshitela have been flamboyantly calling out the United States Empire on its bullshit for over half a fucking century without requiring a Kremlin paycheck to do so. If you don't believe me, just read that motherfucker's almost hilariously bold rap sheet.

In 1968, shortly after being paroled for the high crime of desecrating minstrel art, Omali Yeshitela was arrested again for asserting that the "assassin's bullet that killed Dr. Martin Luther King also killed nonviolence." That same year, he was arrested once more for yelling "White pig!" during a sanitation strike. And in 1988, Omali was arrested again for his inappropriate comfortability with the First Amendment, this time for chanting "The police and the Klan work hand-in-hand!" in response to the police shooting of an APSP member named Kenneth Harrington. I'm not sure what part of the term 'Black Revolutionary' you people don't fucking understand but Omali Yeshitela's job is to shout theater in a crowded fire, to paraphrase another honkey fellow traveler by the name of Abbie Hoffman. 

Chairman Yeshitela has also made no secret of his willingness to meet with foreign agents over the years, a conspiracy better known as Freedom of Association. The APSP quite publicly held close relations with the sadly short-lived New Jewel Movement-led government of Grenada as well as Nicaragua's Sandinista's both during and after their revolution against the US-backed Somoza Dynasty. Omali also visited Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles to secure the endorsement of the Irish Republican Socialist Party for the APSP's long fight to secure reparations for slavery. Once again, the American Government is essentially just accusing Russia of paying a bunch of people to do what they've been doing for free for decades and this isn't the first time either. It seems like every time a charismatic Black person shouts "Black Power!" in this country they get charged with being a Kremlin spy. That's how they got rid of Marcus Garvey, that's how they indicted WEB Dubois and that's how they ruined Paul Robeson. 

The million-dollar question here is why? Why the hell is Black Power still so goddamn scary to the biggest fucking empire on earth? After all, these are the most radical of the most marginalized. As I pointed out at the beginning of this revisionist history rant, most of you motherfuckers have probably never even heard the name Omali Yeshitela before some white bitch shoved it in your face. Some of you are probably still googling Marcus Garvey, for Christ's sake. So, then what's with the big bad wolf routine from the DOJ? The answer lies in why an anarchist like me does know those names and why an anarchist like you should. These people get it. The basic core philosophy of the Black Power Movement is that all poor people are the victims of the American Empire, and we can only win when we unite, not as one globalist hegemon but as a thousand stateless third world tribes who just want to be left the fuck alone so we can live free and take care of our own in peace and dignity.

Babylon has to crush any motherfucker bad enough to speak this truth like bug before the word gets out that their temples are all made of paper and are mouths are all full of matches. Anyone who hates the state should give a fuck about the persecution of Omali Yeshitela because anyone who hates the state IS Omali Yeshitela. Let this rant be categorized as a hymnal to unapologetic solidarity across all tribes, weird and small.  Sing along if you know the words and we'll burn Babylon to the ground for a song.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Banned in DC by Bad Brains

* Hip Hop by Dead Prez

* Fall Back Down by Rancid

* Keep Ya Head Up by Tupac Shakur

* Joiner by Blondeshell

* Nazi White Trash by Leftover Crack

* Who We Be by DMX

* Anti-Curse by boygenius

* Sailin' On by Bad Brains

* Wolves by Dead Prez