teachings


inayofuata ni another straight-up so inspiring kinda hadithi that it got reposted-as-is, kwasababu sharing is caring, and it is betta to speak our truth, remembering we were never meant to survive…..

To counter some aspects of popular native literature that portray native people as stoic or create characters who speak pidgin English, we are pleased to be able to include some poems that give tender insight into the world of a Lakota mama. The fact that they were written by

the late Isabelle (Ten Fingers) Kills Enemy, a respected Lakota holy woman whom Tilda Long Soldier met in the early seventies, reveals a deeply touching side of a holy womban.

Isabelle’s daughter Valentina Janis explained that during the years when her mama was most active as a healer, she was not around her much and went to only a few of her ceremonies. Valentina shared what she could and then said, “ You know, there is something about my mom that not many people know. She loved to write poems and songs and she even wrote her own music.” Here is a poem on the loss of a child:

SINGING TO HEAVEN

On a moonlight

In a dream, lil’ darling

Dream denotes so you will be gone-gone-gone

From this whole wide world of living.

Just memories you are leaving

Singing, winging your way to heaven

Singing, winging your way to heaven

In this dream world

We’re happy, little darling

Missed you soon from our midst you’re gone-gone-gone

In vain your name we were calling

Searching then we heard your singing.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS), 1906-84

Mother, daughter, granddaughter-these holy womben we met or learned of were not the isolated, childless crones of popular literature. Valentina also showed us a set of songs her mama had composed on staff paper. Not only could this womban, a reservation full-blood born on April 18 1906, write poetry in English but she had also acquired all the skills involved in songwriting.

Cultural anthropologists tell us that shamans were the first poets, artists and songwriters of the human race. They also point out that high intelligence and being multitalented were almost prerequisites to this sacred calling. At the end of her life, Isabelle wandered into the Badlands near her home. Her body was not found for some time.

BEAUTY OF MY MAMA’S PRAYERS

My dearest memories of Mama

As she trod along life’s way

Serenely she paused and stood there

At the altar she knelt and prayed

There’s a sweet strangeness when

Mama prayed for you and me.

And the peace and love on her face

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed brighter

Round her

When my mama knelt and prayed.

Like rainbow o’er the flowers that grow

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like singing or a river that flows

Beauty of my mama’s prayer

Like breezes o’er my fevered brow

When life is low, and the joy of love on her face.

Was like the glowing dawn of day.

The sunlight seemed bright around her,

When my mama knelt en prayed.

-RISING WIND (ISABELLE TEN FINGERS)

Ese.

[excerpts from Healers, Dreamers, and Pipe Carriers – Medicine Women of the Plains Indians –  Walking in The Sacred Manner

by Mark St.Pierre & Tilda Long Soldier]

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Kuna hadithi najua, it’s about the earth na how…..a thousand years ago two philosophers met on a slope of Lebanon [au Mlima Kenya], and one said to the other “where goest thou?” [au unaenda wapi?]

And the other answered.”I am seeking after the fountains of youth which I know wells out among these hills. I have found writings which tell of that fountain flowering toward the sun.

“And you, what are you seeking?”

The first man answered, “I am seeking after the mystery of death.”

Then each of the two philosophers conceived that the other was lacking in their great science, and they begun to wrangle, and to accuse each other of spiritual blindness.

Now while the two philosophers were loud upon the wind, a stranger, a womban who was deemed a simpleton in hir own village, passed by, and when s/he heard the two in hot dispute, s/he stood a while and listened to their argument.

Then s/he came near to them and said, “My good (wo)men, it seems that you both really belong the same school of philosophy, and that you are speaking of the same thing, only you speak in different werds.

One of you seeks (speaks!)  the fountain of youth, and the other seeks (semas!) the mystery of death. Yet indeed they are but one, and as one they dwell in you both.”

Then the stranger turned away saying, “Farewell, sages.” And, as s/he departed he laughed a patient laughter.

The two philosophers looked at each other in silence for a moment, and then they laughed also. And one of them said, “Well now, shall we not walk and seek together?”

[Pamoja Tunafika!  Fafanua…..]

 

[check dis….]

A workshop on Yoruba Spirituality with Prince Bamidele

Sunday March 6th   @ 12pm-4pm

Accents Bookstore 1790 Eglinton Ave. W

(Just east of Dufferin on Eglinton)

Click here for map

Light Lunch provided at 2pm

$15-$30 sliding scale

(no one turned away for lack of funds)

Please Register in Advance

To Register, contact amaikuda@gmail.com or call (647) 340-2265

 

This workshop is open to people of African descent of all ages.  This will be a safe space and Queer Black women are particularly encouraged to attend.

The workshop will cover in- depth, the understanding of Yoruba peoples of western Nigeria and Benin, West Africa. We will explore their ways of life, history and system of belief in relation to spiritualism in the world today.

Topics include different deities of the Yoruba and their special attributes as related to humans; their functions, powers and the significance of prayers to the deities.

Workshops will be in the form of spiritual circle with discussions on Orishas. (See attached flyer for full description)

moyo flyer

***

Moyo wa Africa is a community of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora who are committed to the reclamation of Indigenous African spiritualities, knowledge systems, economic models and resources. Through this work we support our people in a process of resisting and healing from the damage caused by colonialism, and we move towards our vision of rebuilding healthy, independent and sustainable African societies.

For more info, please go to Moyowaafrica.com


This workshop was made possible with the support of the Community One Foundation and

The Girls Action Foundation

www.girlsactionfoundation.ca

Malcolm X was prematurely cut down by an assassin’s bullet 46 years ago today. The following is a presentation made by APSP

all art by kevin rashid johnson, imprisoned minister of defence of the new afrikan black panther party

Chairman Omali Yeshitela at a May 19, 1977 Malcolm X commemoration program in Tampa, Florida.

I would like to thank our sister and brother comrades who are responsible for organizing this program in memory of the great African patriot and leader, Malcolm X. I would like to thank you first of all for organizing the program, and secondly, I would like to thank you for inviting me to participate in the program.

For, as many of you know, I am a great believer in the teachings of Malcolm X, and I am chairman of a political organization based in several states of the United States of North America which believes that Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey were two of the most significant political leaders of African people within current North American borders.

For me and the African People’s Socialist Party, the life and teachings of the great patriot, Malcolm X, mean more than just an annual celebration of his life. For us, the life and teachings of Malcolm X are not something to be understood in the abstract, separate and apart from the material conditions of life experienced by our people. For us, the life and teachings of Malcolm X are revolutionary guides to the liberation of our people in the real world.

I want to make this point because today, when Malcolm X is not here to defend his philosophy, there is a great deal of revisionism going on. There are many people and forces who correctly understand the impact Malcolm X has had on the developing revolutionary consciousness of our people and who would distort Malcolm’s teachings so as to make it serve their own self-serving and dishonest motives and who would therefore turn Brother Malcolm’s politics against the very people he fashioned them to serve.

He Was Not a Saint or a Ghost

Malcolm, in his rightful place in the pantheon of revolutionaries and martyrs

First of all, it should be noted that Malcolm X was a black man, an Afrikan man, who defined himself as “one of 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism.”

Malcolm X was not a saint, or a ghostly apparition that descended mysteriously upon us. He was a man, a black man, an African man, who through his life experiences in America and through study, came to understand the meaning of life for African people held captive here in this North American prison.

It is important to mention this because attempts are often made to deify Malcolm X to an extent that we place the great ideals and aspirations he held for our people beyond the possibility of human realization. We do this so it will not be necessary for us to live up to those ideals.

After placing his ideals on some great, unreachable pedestal, the only thing we have to do is have annual celebrations, take the covers off his philosophy once a year, dust it off a little bit, sing praises to Malcolm, and then go home to wait for the next year to come around when we can come out and have fun with his memory again.

But when we realize that Malcolm X was a man, an African human being just as we are African human beings, it must be clear to us that we not only have the responsibility of unveiling his life and teachings once a year; we have the more important responsibility of living like Malcolm X. We have the responsibility of concretizing, making real in this world, the things that Malcolm X lived and died for. Otherwise, we are simply petty, little frightened and dishonest people who ought not to call his name.

Malcolm X was a great African patriot, a freedom fighter. Some of us are here because we believe and understand this. Others of us do not believe in the greatness of Malcolm X and his teachings, and are only here as political ambulance chasers, going where the action is, and opportunistically exploiting his greatness to push forward teachings which are contradictory to what Malcolm X believed in and taught.

But you and I know that Malcolm X was either a great leader or he was not. He was not “a great leader and teacher, but…” or “a great leader and teacher, except for…”

He was either a great leader or he was not. I say he was a great leader and his teachings should be continuously studied and developed as a guide for our struggle, and I challenge everyone here today to go beyond paying lip service to his memory. I challenge everyone here to be the human being that Malcolm X was, and to take up his philosophy and to live for struggle as he lived for struggle.

And what were some of the things Malcolm X taught and believed?

Malcolm X taught and believed that we, African people, are not Americans. In a speech in Cleveland on April 3, 1964, he made this very clear. In this speech Malcolm X stated:

“I’m not a politician, not even a student of politics. In fact, I’m not a student of much of anything. I’m not a Democrat, I’m not a Republican, and I don’t even consider myself an American. If you and I were Americans, there’d be no problem. Those Honkies that just got off the boat, they’re already Americans. Polacks are already Americans. The Italian refugees are already Americans. Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American, and as long as you and I have been over here, we aren’t Americans yet.”

This is what Malcolm X taught and believed. But most of us — or at least, many of us — don’t believe this. Most of us are so busy being Americans that we excuse every unjust act this country perpetrates against our own people, and against other oppressed peoples of the world.

So, for those of you who are “Americans,” it should be clear to you that you don’t believe in what Malcolm believed or taught, and to the extent that you are here today because you thought you did, or wanted to pretend you do, I want to make you aware of what is correct, and what it is you are pretending.

This is especially important for the pretenders because generally the pretenders do not serve, nor do they ever intend to serve black people, and if we can put what Malcolm X really believed and taught before you, it makes it more difficult for them to pretend. And it may even get them in trouble with their bosses, who I guarantee you will not appreciate the fact that their “Negro-Americans” are out here at a meeting commemorating a great African leader who correctly taught us that we are not Americans.

I know there are probably people here who want to pay homage to Malcolm X without paying homage to his ideas. These people are likely to say that Malcolm’s statement about not being an American was simply a rhetorical statement that he really didn’t mean.

But throughout the speech I just mentioned, Malcolm X made it very clear that he said what he meant and he meant what he said. For example, in another place in the same speech, Malcolm X strikes the same theme:

“No, I am not an American. I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism; one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.

“So, I’m not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver. No, not I. I am speaking as a victim of this American system, and I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.”

So, there was no mistake. Malcolm knew exactly what he was saying. Therefore, when you and I get together to pay homage to Malcolm X on occasions such as this, we have to understand that we are not simply paying homage to the man in the abstract. We are paying homage to his ideas, to his political utterances — to all the factors which made him the great African patriot that he was.

We refuse to give you a politically sanitized Malcolm X. We refuse to give you Malcolm X without his ideas and philosophy. It’s not like Burger King where you “have it your way.” You have to have it the correct way, the Malcolm X way. You can’t just take the part of Malcolm X that makes you comfortable, that’s non-controversial, that won’t disturb your bosses or your lives.

Malcolm X had a political philosophy. It was not a philosophy that he picked up in some book and decided to try and fit the lives and experiences of black people into, like some of your recently-discovered North American misleaders are doing.

The philosophy of Malcolm X was derived from the terrible, real condition of our people in this world. Malcolm X experienced the U.S. as a black man, confronted with all the problems and concerns of other black people in this world.

The Same Problems that Malcolm X Fought Against are the Same Problems We Face Now

The problems and concerns of our people which shaped Malcolm X’s worldview are the same as the problems and concerns we are confronted with today, although some of us would rather ignore them.

They are police terror — the same kind of police terror that shot down Paul Barney, and snuffed the life from Larry Murphy, right here in Tampa; the same kind of police terror that murdered Curtis Murph just a month ago in St. Petersburg, across the bridge from here, and that takes the breath away from any black person in this country when we find ourselves accidentally passing a police station while traveling throughout this country.

The problems and concerns that shaped the worldview of Malcolm X are still with us today. They are economic terror. The same kind of economic terror responsible for one out of every four black adults, and one out of every two black teenagers being unemployed in this country; the economic terror that makes you too cowardly to do the things you ought to do because of fear you’ll lose your job. The kind of economic terror that makes you choose employment and so-called economic security over freedom.

No, Malcolm X’s ideas did not fall from the sky. They were products of the real world that we experience. And since they were born from the world they are good ideas, they are correct ideas, and we ought to know, study, understand and live them.

Malcolm X not only believed and understood that we are not Americans; he defined who we are exactly, and we ought to know what he said about this, too, if we are going to be having programs each year extolling Malcolm X.

In the same April 3 Cleveland speech I have been quoting, Malcolm X said, “…you and I, 22 million African-Americans — that’s what we are — Africans who are in America. You’re nothing but Africans. Nothing but Africans. In fact, you’d get farther calling yourself African instead of Negro.”

Malcolm X was an African Internationalist who realized that the particular problems of African people oppressed in different parts of the world are connected, and the solution for all our problems is dependent on international African unity and cooperation against a common enemy who stands between us, freedom, and a united and socialist Africa.

In a 1964 letter from Accra, which reported on an earlier meeting in Nigeria, Malcolm X had this to say about international unity:

“The people of Nigeria are strongly concerned with the problems of their African brothers in America, but the U.S. information agencies in Africa create the impression that progress is being made and the problem is being solved. Upon close study, one can easily see a gigantic design to keep Africans here and the African-Americans from getting together.

“An African official told me, ‘When one combines the number of peoples of African descent in South, Central and North America, they total well over 80 million. One can easily understand the attempts to keep the Africans from ever uniting with the African-Americans.’ Unity between the Africans of the West and the Africans of the fatherland will well change the course of history.”

Therefore when we commemorate Malcolm X we are also commemorating his views on African Internationalism — views which place us squarely on the side of our oppressed and warring sisters and brothers in Zaire, Azania, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola.

These are views which also place us on the opposite side of the oppressive and barbaric U.S. government, which is the main enemy of African and other peoples throughout the world.

To embrace the ideas of Malcolm X is to embrace the ideas of African Internationalism and the ideas of African Internationalism are opposite and contradictory to the ideals of Americanism. The ideals of African Internationalism promote freedom from oppression and injustice. These ideals promote freedom and independence.

On the other hand, the ideals of Americanism, ideals which were born out of a process that saw mass genocide committed against the native people upon whose land America was founded; the ideals of Americanism which were born of the process resulting in the forced immigration, enslavement, and deaths of millions of African people; ideals which flow from the process resulting in the colonization of Puerto Rico, the theft of Mexican land, the special oppression of our women — these ideals promote death, slavery, and war for all the peoples of the world.

To believe in Malcolm X, to honor and extol the ideas of Malcolm X is to believe in ourselves, our history, and our future. To extol and honor the ideas of Malcolm X is to honor and extol the absolute need to struggle against Americanism. To honor and extol the ideas of Malcolm X is to struggle for the liberation of Africa and the unity of all African people.

Did you come here today to do this? If you did not, perhaps you have come to the wrong program.

But Malcolm X did not believe in the struggle of African people in an abstract or mechanical way. Malcolm X did not have a one-sided view of our struggle as a people. He did not simply say we should identify with Africa and struggle to liberate our national homeland. He went further than this.

Many people like to forget this point, even many people who do believe in the ideas of Malcolm X. They like to pretend that because Malcolm X was an African Internationalist he was only interested in the liberation of Africa. This is a very safe belief for many of our sisters and brothers because it relieves them of the responsibility to struggle where we are.

But Malcolm X saw the whole struggle of African people, a struggle being fought in many different places under different conditions, as an integral part of the same worldwide African Liberation Movement. Moreover, Malcolm X defined the particular aspect of our struggle here in this country in a fashion designed to take the mystery out of revolution and give us the key to the direction we must take.

Malcolm X defined our struggle here within current U.S. borders as a struggle against colonialism. He defined it as a struggle for political independence.

Malcolm X never said we were struggling to prove ourselves to our oppressors. He never said we were struggling to integrate.

In an April 8, 1964 speech in New York, Malcolm X stated: “There are 22 million African-Americans who are ready to fight for independence right here.”

Later in that same speech Malcolm X continued, “And there is no system of this earth which has proven itself more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million Afro-Americans.”

At another place in the speech, Malcolm X says of America, “America is a colonial power. She has colonized 22 million Afro-Americans by depriving us of first-class citizenship, by depriving us of civil rights, actually by depriving us of human rights.”

Explaining the difference between Integrationists and African Internationalists, Malcolm said in the same April 8 speech I have been quoting from, “So, in this country you find two different types of Afro-Americans — the type who looks upon himself as a minority and you (white people) as the majority, because his scope is limited to the American scene; and then you have the type who looks upon himself as a part of the majority and you (white people) as a part of a microscopic minority, and this one uses a different approach in trying to struggle for his rights.

“He doesn’t beg. He doesn’t thank you for what you give him, because you are only giving him what he should have had a hundred years ago. He doesn’t think you are doing him any favors.”

Further on in the same speech Malcolm asks, “How can you (white people) condemn South Africa? There are only 11 million of our people in South Africa. There are 22 million of them here, and we are receiving an injustice which is just as criminal as that which is being done to the black people of South Africa.”

Malcolm X told us that our struggle was a nationalist struggle, a struggle to build the developing African nation. Anticipating a statement that would be made later by another African patriot, Amilcar Cabral, Malcolm X clearly struggled against the notion that ours is a struggle for or against the ideas in anyone’s head.

In a speech entitled, “Message to the Grassroots,” delivered in 1963 in Detroit, Malcolm X had this to say about nationalism:

“When you want a nation, that’s called nationalism. When the white man became involved in a revolution in this country against England, what was it for? He wanted this land so he could set up another white nation. That’s white nationalism… All the revolutions that are going on in Asia and Africa today are based on what? Black nationalism. A revolutionary is a black nationalist. He wants a black nation.”

This is what Malcolm X stood for. Did you know that when you decided to come here today? We must not allow ourselves to simply come out to programs like this and recite poetry, make speeches in the name of Malcolm X and go home.

Malcolm X was a socialist and a black revolutionary. And although I imagine he must have participated in commemorative programs such as this one during his lifetime, he did more than that. He lived struggle and revolution. He acted out his belief in the right for African people to live in dignity, determining our own fate and controlling our own destiny.

He was not someone who just popped up on posters. He was not just a nice guy, voted most popular by some black college fraternity or sorority. He was a black socialist, anti-colonialist, African Internationalist revolutionary.

Can you embrace that? Can you commemorate that? Can you pay homage to all that? I hope so, because that is what Malcolm X was all about.

In a New York discussion in May 1964, Malcolm X spoke about the differences between capitalist and socialist economic and social systems:

“While I was traveling I noticed that most of the countries that had recently emerged into independence have turned away from the so-called capitalistic system in the direction of socialism.”

During that same discussion Malcolm X elaborated:

“Most of the countries that were colonial powers were capitalist countries, and the last bulwark of capitalism today is America. It’s impossible for a white person to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism. You can’t have capitalism without racism. And if you find one and you happen to get that person into a conversation and they have a philosophy that makes you sure they don’t have racism in their outlook, usually they’re socialists or their political philosophy is socialism.”

On December 20, 1964, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York, Malcolm added these words about capitalism:

“You can’t operate a capitalist system unless you are vulturistic; you have to have someone else’s blood to suck to be a capitalist. You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.

“He cannot be anything but a bloodsucker if he’s going to be a capitalist. He’s got to get it from somewhere other than himself. So, when we look at the African continent, when we look at the trouble that’s going on between East and West, we find that the nations of Africa are developing socialistic systems to solve their problems.”

This was the Malcolm X whose memory you are honoring today. Malcolm X was an anti-capitalist. He clearly understood that there can be no freedom for our people under capitalism.

I suspect that some of the people who are here today identify with capitalism as the economic and social system which best represents their aspirations. If I am correct, you now know what Malcolm X thought of capitalism and you.

I hope none of the people on this program are aspiring capitalists. If there are some here they should confess and say they really don’t believe in the ideas and philosophy of Malcolm X. That would be the honest thing to do. Otherwise people will be consciously misled.

I have spent all this time quoting Malcolm X and talking about his philosophy, because I hold his memory very dear. Not in any romantic or idealistic sense, but because of his giant contribution to our people’s struggle for freedom.

In our Party, the African People’s Socialist Party, we consider ourselves heir to Malcolm X’s philosophy. We believe it is absolutely necessary for those of us who speak of freedom and liberation to study the philosophy of Malcolm X.

We believe it is absolutely necessary to continue to develop his philosophy, and to concretize his ideas by living like him — as a revolutionary totally committed in actuality, in the real world, to freedom for African people throughout the world.

In order to do this we must move beyond programs honoring his memory. We must make ideological choices, ideological positions.

Either we are Integrationists, which means we are pro-capitalists, pro-colonialists, and anti-socialist, or we are African Internationalist socialists. We cannot be both.

Either we believe in political independence for African people colonized within current U.S. borders, or we believe in continued colonial subjugation for our people. There are no multiple choices.

As for our Party and its members, we have chosen socialism and independence; we have chosen revolutionary African Internationalism, and we are building the political apparatus designed to give life and form to the vision of Malcolm X. We ask you to join us in this endeavor.

In any event, regardless of what you choose to do, or where and how you choose to do it, if you don’t believe in the ideas and philosophy of Malcolm X, let him be. If you don’t aspire to his definitions of revolution and liberation, don’t participate in programs such as this one, and if you’re not willing to take a philosophical stand for independence, for Africa, for our people and yourself, then don’t call the name of Malcolm X. He belongs to the people.

The following was a sidebar to the 2009 re-publication of this presentation in the APSP’s official organ “The Burning Spear” on what would have been Malcolm’s 85th birthday.

February 21 is the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, arguably the most significant African leader within the U.S. since the heyday of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African League in the first quarter of the 20th Century.

At the First Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party held in Oakland, California in September 1981, a resolution was passed that marked the significance of Malcolm X in the struggle for the liberation of our people.

The struggle of African people to liberate our national homeland, Africa; to resist oppression and exploitation; and to overthrow the system of imperialism and advance the cause of world socialism has seen hundreds and thousands of our people make the ultimate heroic sacrifice, the sacrifice of life itself.

The history of our resistance has been written in blood and flames. It has been punctuated by the courageous examples of such martyrs as Nat Turner, Steven Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney, Nehanda Nyakasinkana, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, Amilcar Cabral, and Lawrence Mann, co-founder of the African People’s Socialist Party.

Historically, the oppressors of African people have attempted to turn history upside down and present the heroic examples of our freedom fighters as evidence of the futility, the hopelessness of our cause for political independence, African liberation and world socialism.

In many instances our oppressors have succeeded in demoralizing great numbers of our people by using the examples of brutally murdered African freedom fighters to prove the invincibility of imperialism and the permanence of African oppression and exploitation.

The African People’s Socialist Party rejects and denounces this reactionary view of the bourgeoisie and calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to proclaim February 21, the anniversary of the 1965 imperialist assassination of Malcolm X, as the Day of the African Martyr.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to take command of the history of our people’s struggle for political independence, African liberation, and socialism, by taking command of the definition of that history and resistance.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to raise high, in a revolutionary manner, the heroic memory of all our fallen martyrs, of all those in every city, village, community and country where they fell as evidence of the determination of our people to fight every battle on every front until liberty has been won.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to initiate special ceremonies and programs in every community where an African revolutionary has fallen and to raise the memory of our fallen freedom fighters to its proper revolutionary and historical significance.

The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all Party members to win the masses, within the U.S. in all mass organizations where the African People’s Socialist Party has influence, to unite with this resolution. We call on every Party unit, region and organization to take out this call to the masses and to actively work to institutionalize February 21 as the Day of the African Martyr.

Source: http://bermudaradical.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/long-live-malcolm-x-revolutionary-martyr-and-true-african-internationalist/

[From i,S.I.S to Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, in the words of  one of my life-long sista/wifeys, “……..i fucking love you….” wanted to send you a special of specialiest of asantes for your divine selves and zawadis…i’m so grateful that we were sent into each other’s lives and that these soul families of ours are so nourishing and positively transforming….dis love letter is reposted with overflowing love, respekt en humility from a life-long dada in India and @  http://www.rehanatejpar.com ]

Hello dear friends,

I hope you are all well and carving your paths the way you wish.  Since I last wrote here, there have been many experiences and moments of self-reflection which have impacted my views on life, learning and where I think I need to grow.  I will try to capture some of my insights and outsights here, bearing in mind that my ideas are constantly being reformed and re-thought, that I am on a journey of seeking and have by no means reached my destination.

I am in Udaipur, Rajasthan and Shikshantar is a beautiful and inspiring place. It’s an open learning community where people of all ages are living and learning in a more practical, collaborative and sustainable way.  Do-it-yourself, zero waste – everything is made into something else. Solar cookers out of old trunks, a bicycle powered washing machine from an old drum and a stationary bicycle, a table from an old door on two wheels, baskets, blinds, coasters made from newspaper, never will you need to go to IKEA again, I tell you.

Guided by Gandhian principles,swadeshi – meeting needs locally and using indigenous products to the land you find yourself, is really important to Shikshantar.  They are growing organic vegetables in the garden, and support local farmers to also grow organic.  They pay a lot of attention to the food they eat, and try to eat a diversity of local millets, which have nourished Indians for millennia but which arebeing eaten less and less with the pressures from industrial agriculture towards monoculture. So although there are thousands of different kinds of rice and grains, today you find only a few largely being used across India, threatening the survival of many.  Cooking and eating is a communal ritual at Shikshantar and a lot of care is put into the process. Everyday all veg, local food is cooked and eaten together – without oil! For India, this is hard to imagine, since oil is in everything. Instead they use alternatives like nuts, mustard seeds, onions, tomatoes.

A sign in the kitchen says “We consider healthy, organic food to be the best form of health insurance.” I couldn’t agree more.

They are really working to shift consciousness and re-imagine other ways of thinking, doing and being

which are outside of the known, dominant systems currently in place.

They understand participation in the dominant system as violent as they know that exploitation is involved in extracting resources, manufracturing products and transporting them. They try to find local, more gentle alternatives to meeting their needs and are bringing forward indigenous knowledges, creativity, and the lesser recognized powers of trust, love, collaboration and spirit to empower their movement.

There’s a revolving door of workshops happening in the space, not to mention knowledgeable people from diverse fields, so learning from doing and discussing is happening constantly.   Last week we had a 10 day film making workshop and people came from across India.  It’s called Swapathgami – the one who makes their own path.  The first project was a personal photography project which I think helped to situate folks in themselves first.  Next they chose groups and created a short film which we screened the last day.  There wasn’t huge emphasis placed on technical skills of editing and videography, but more on creating good stories.  This way you first unleash your creativity and then you will learn how to edit and what shots work more or less as you go.  What was really refreshing was that every other day there was a skills share where participants had the opportunity to share something they know and people picked up far more skills than just film making. I learned how to make a spoon from a coconut!

The film making workshop introduced me to many unschoolers. Shikshantar has a walkout/walkon network which supports people who walkout of school or from their jobs to pursue their own paths, versus the ready-made road. I have for a long time felt and known that the

system of schooling worldwide is insufficient to developing our good character, our practical, life skills, our creativity or knowledge of self which enable us to be in the world in a non-violent way.  What I am realizing now is that schooling is a violent process which views people, souls, as pieces of clay which can be molded into whatever society wants and needs.  And the school’s goal of manufacturing conforming workers to fit into neat boxes in society, tries to beat out the being’s being.

Where is there room for the being to identify what resonates within them, to self-guide their learning, to pursue their own passions and know themselves? There is very little freedom within the processes of schooling.  And what has schooling produced?  The society we live in.  What do you think of our society?  I see a lot of negative, unfortunately (though I am consciously trying to think more positively these days). So I won’t even go into the hierarchies over nature and between humans, the violence, exploitation, constructed needs, and suffering which is man-made and within and around us.  How can we not locate schooling, the most far-reaching socially constructing device in this modern world as a serious cause of society’s ills? How do its disciplining structures and rigidity block our creativity and confidence, producing fears, insecurities and competition?

How has the emphasis placed on literacy resulted in the loss of oral traditions and livelihoods of peoples and cultures worldwide?  How have the schooled and literate produced more harm in the world than the unschooled, illiterates? How can we think differently about the way we could allow our young and old to grow? Learning, after all is what enables humanity’s continual survival and evolution.

The past week I spent with a beautiful family in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. They have unschooled both their children and have chosen a path less traveled.  I observed and played with these children and was so impressed with how mature, confident, creative, and articulate they are.   They really are exceptional humans. They spend the day rotating between drawing, playing active games outside, making jewellery, paper-mache, playing chess…They chose what they want to do, and have learned a lot from observing their mother who is often making something.  These kids know what they want and what they don’t want because they are given space and freedom to choose.  They can articulate themselves well, are witty, smart…, 7 and 11 years…just exceptional. I have so much respect and admiration for their mother’s ability to not intervene in everything in her children’s lives, to let them figure out a problem instead of jumping to telling them what to do, how to do, or just doing it. She trusts them and believes that they are souls on their own unique path and that she must only be a guide to them self-actualizing.  I think about how much I want to create an open learning space where my children and other children could learn through

doing and discussing together.  And then I also think about how bossy and controlling I can be.  And how that comes from ego and insecurity – subconsciously or consciously wanting to have power over life – even my own – to dominate over uncertainty and natural flow to breed anticipated outcomes.  So that things happen the way I think they should – as if I may know better than the Divine what should happen, or how someone ought to be.  When just being who we really are is the best we can be.  Just like a flower, who just is, and doesn’t need to go to school or be told how to be a flower and smell and look good and provide pollen for bees – we also need to just be.  I have much to unlearn.

I’ve been thinking more about movement and theatre and how I have always had a passion to work with these mediums, either as a performer myself or as a facilitator with youth and children, but how I’ve somehow allowed “work” to get in the way of really diving into it or trusting my capabilities in these fields (because I have no piece of paper that says I’m an expert….ahh the diploma disease!).

So now that I have been gifted this time of rethinking I am realizing that I want to work with these mediums to facilitate re-imagining , understanding and transcending oppression, reconnection to our inner voices, cooperation vs. competition, mindfulness of what we think, speak and do, interconnectedness, living non-violently, trust in oneself and others….let me start there. And that I want to yes, be inspired and use the experiences and methods of others who have come before me, and also, more intentionally create my own ways of using these methods especially with children and youth from marginalized communities.   I hope to develop workshops and practice them here and then hopefully with you when I next see you again!!

And in the process I’m working on healing myself from my socialization and schooling which has taught me away from nature and my natural way, to distrust myself and my abilities, to be violent against myself and other beings by taking more than I need and having too many expectations of myself, from negative thinking, and control, disconnection from my body, my waste (and how it should be recycled)…and much more. Healing is happening on all levels. Being slow is helping. Picking vegetables from the garden, cooking and eating really good food is helping (I’m going to start organic farming soon!). Having more time to think, make, read, write, meditate, talk and walk is really helping me to come back to being.

I am blowing you all a kiss of peace, wholeness, health and love. You are all in my hearts.

Rehana

[i,S.I.S note: I give thanks for yesterday, today and tomorrow….   Give thanks to my kukhu and granpa,  give thanks for my family, give thanks for those who share their love with me, and all those who have been sent to me, [give thanks for powah! Of prayer! ] en for all the positive transformashun!….

bless the collective of Bredrin and dadas watering the seeds of, fundraising for and facilitating good (re)education with youth/peers en elders in Brazil, India, Kenya, Uganda and Turtle Island, (like) through Elimu Sanifu, Safe Spaces, QLGBT groups, Black Queer Resistance, Goldelox Productions, AND The People Project; with the support of global networks like Bredrin en Dadas in Solidarity &  Schools Without Borders………  bless all a dem en their families, and all those around us….]

 Open letter to Tdot;

On Friday July 23rd, children and their companions will proceed on a path of peace, before that, we’ll meet to pray for grandmother earth and all our relatives @ taylor creek park, and after we will break/fast together…..

The  ”peace-is-possible” parade plan is to converge @ the parking lot of Shopper’s World, 3003 Danforth at 10:00am,

The parade starts @ 11:00am, and we’ll parade west along the danforth to dawes road, and north to (a picnic lunch in) taylor creek park

@ 1:00pm – the matinee of ‘The Space Between’ by The Peace Camp @ the peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: one version of the peace is possible parade is something like]

Drum circle with the funketeers

6:30AM – Sunrise ceremony  – Yoruba house project

A/(c)/r/ti/vists & volunteers hub

8:00 – (community) breakfast  @ the peace theatre

9:30 – Yoga class – the people project

10:00 – Dance class – house of munro

11:00 – parade led by the samba kidz & the piper: Merril Matthews

11:30 – water stop @ Dentonia  Park United Church

11:45 – silent “B.O.P” march with LAL

 

NOON  – lunch @ taylor creek park – afghan women’s catering group

 

1300 – MATINEE: THE SPACE(S) BETWEEN – outdoor amphitheatre @ the (children’s) peace theatre

305 Dawes Road

1800 – outdoor film screening @ The peace theatre

 red lips [cages for black girls] & trailers of Walking in Victor’s shoes/Nekkyd en The q[‘t] werd series

 

2000 – tambor

Preface: Reflections of light

…..In a revolutionary manner, black women have utilised mass media (writing, film, video, art, etc.) to offer radically different images of ourselves. These actions have been an intervention. We have also dared to move out of our “place” (that is away from the bottom of everything, the place this society often suggests we should reside). Moving ourselves from manipulatable objects to self-empowered subjects, black women have by necessity threatened the status quo……This challenge to the status quo has generated serious anti-black female backlash that combines fierce racism ( en homophobia) with antifeminism…..this backlash requires that those of us who are aware be ever vigilant in our efforts to educate one another, and all black people, for critical consciousness. Backlash, from whatever source, hurts. It retards and obstructs freedom struggle. Intense attacks help create a context of burnout and despair.  

It is crucial that black women and all our allies in struggle, especially progressive black men, seize the day and renew our commitment to black liberation and feminist struggle….

blogger’s note: I give thanks for the sistas en mamas who pour their heart and soul into practising and teaching balance, truth, justice and love.  So, in honour of African Liberation Day, these healing words are excerpts from sisters of the yam: black women and self recovery by bell hooks & Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. Ase. Ase. Ase. Ase O…..

 In her essay (Eye to Eye), Audre Lorde urges black females to put our struggle to self actualise at the center of our daily life. She taught us,

Learning to love ourselves as black women goes beyond a simplistic insistence that “black is beautiful”. It goes beyond and deeper than the surface appreciation of black beauty, although that is certainly a good beginning.

But if the quest to reclaim ourselves and each other remains there, then we accept another superficial measurement of self, one superimposed upon the old one and almost as damaging, since it pauses at the superficial. Certainly it is no more empowering.

And it is empowerment – our strengthening in the service of ourselves and each other, in the service of our work and future – that will be the result of this pursuit

We have known, and continue to know, the rewards of struggling together to change society so that we can live in a world that affirms the dignity and presence of black womanhood. In many ways Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self Recovery is a manifestation of that joy and an expression of the awareness that we must be ever vigilant – the struggle continues…..

 

 

Introduction: Healing Darkness

Living as we do in a white supremacist capitalist partriachal context that can best exploit us when we lack a firm grounding in self and identity (knowledge of who we are and where we’re coming from), choosing “wellness” is an act of political resistance. Before many of us can effectively sustain engagement in organised resistance struggle, in black liberation movement, we need to undergo a process of self recovery that can heal individual wounds that may prevent us from functioning fully…..

It is important that black people talk to one another, that we talk with friends and allies, for the telling of our stories enables us to name our pain, our suffering and to seek healing…..

I: Seeking After Truth

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other  until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from each other, the love of black women for each other. But we can practive being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold, by giving more to the brave bruised girl child within each of us, by expecting a little less from her gargantuan efforts to excel. We can love her in the light as well as in the darkness, quiet her frenzy towards perfection and encourage her attentions towards fulfillment…as we arm ourselves with ourselves and each other, we can stand toe to toe inside that rigorous loving and begin to speak the IMPOSIBBLE – to one another. The first step toward genuine change. Eventually, if we speak the truth to each other, it will become unavoidable to ourselves.

Audre Lorde, “Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred, and Anger”

Healing takes place within us as we speak the truth of our lives….commitment to truth telling is thus the first step in any process of self recovery…telling the truth about one’s life is not simply about naming the “bad” things, exposing horrors. It is also about being able to speak openly and honestly about feelings, about a variety of experiences. It is fundamentally not about withholding information so as to exercise power over others….

hence, it must be remembered that to be open and honest in a culture of domination, a culture that relies on lying, is a courageous gesture. Within white-supremacist capitalist partriarchal culture, black people are not supposed to be “well”. This culture makes wellness a “white” luxury. To choose against that culture, to choose wellness, we must be dedicated to truth. By giving up the illusory power that comes from lying and manipulation and opting instead for the personal power and dignity that comes from being honest, black women can begin to eliminate life threatening pain from our lives

II: The Joy of Reconciliation

Healing inner wounds makes reconciliation possible. Reconciliation is one of my favourite words. Evoking our capacity to restore to harmony that which as been broken, severed, and disrupted. The very word serves as a constant reminder in my life that we can come together with those who have hurt us, with those whom we have caused pain, and experience sweet communion.

To be at peace, black women, especially those among us who have been deeply wounded and hurt, must release the bitterness we hold within us. Bitterness is like a poison. When it’s inside us, it spreads even to the parts of the self that allow us to feel joy and a spirit of celebration. Yet many of us choose to hold onto pain through the cultivation of bitterness and an unforgiving heart….when we give ourselves love and peace, we can give these gifts to others. It’s really impossible to live a life in love while hoping that harm and hurt will come to others…

Again, I think it is important that we remember that forgiveness does not mean that we cease to assertively identify wrongs, hold others to account, and demand justice…..this is the true realization of justice – that we want what is peaceful and life sustaining for all and not just for ourselves.

…..we have to forgive with our whole hearts. If we forgive in words but continue to harbour secret resentment, nothing really changes. When forgiveness happens, when there is compassion, the groundwork for reconciliation is possible. For me that is the ultimate joy: That we learn that there are no broken bonds that cannot be mended, no pain that cannot be assuaged

III Touching the Earth

…..Collective black self recovery takes place when we begin to renew our relationship to the earth, when we remember the way of our ancestors. When the earth is sacred to us, our bodies can also be sacred to us……

Ase.O

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