Black August and Prison Solidarity

Image description: A deep blue cosmos, full of stars and nebulae. A stormy blue and brown planet, huge, with a tiny moon hovering in front of it hangs over a pair of great, cosmic, Black hands. To the left, the words ”Black August Kritical Kickback.” To the right, ”Prison Solidarity, Sunday August 9th” and at the bottom the words ”Anarkata Freedom School.”

For prison solidarity actions happening this week and beyond, click the following: 

“The Anarkata Kickbacks are a chill, conversation-based learning space. There should be no transphobia, homophobia, fatphobia, ableism, misogynoir, colorism, classism, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any other harmful behavior in the virtual space. Likewise, our conversational norms prioritize the voices of the most marginal among us in the virtual space. That means that we pass the mic to our marginalized fam when they have something to say and refrain from cutting them off. We also pass the mic when others want to speak who aren’t normally as vocal. While I might be one person involved in facilitating the space, know that anyone can take the initiative to facilitate if they feel moved to do so and do not violate our conversational norms.” People are also free to not engage or even leave as they please.”

  • Welcome and Check-Ins
  • Introductions with names and pronouns if folks felt like sharing
  • “Black August origins are found in the Black resistance in the California prison systems with George Jackson among othera: Jonathan Jackson, W.L. Nolan, James McClain, William Christmas, Khatari Gaulden, among others. This past Friday, August 7 was the 50th anniversary of Jonathan Jackson going to Marin County’s courts to liberate Kames McClain, William Christmas, and Ruchell Magee. In the following year, George Jackson wrote letters and texts titled Blood in my Eye which Toni Morrison helped edit. He was assassinated in a week’s time of his writings getting out. Black August commemorates his actions among other Black uprisings and revolutionary activity. Mutulu Shakur’s Birthday was on yesterday, on August 8th and toda,  we are commemorating Michael Brown and the Ferguson uprisings. Also, it is important to acknowledge Black August historically centers cishet men and essential to Anarkata principles is centering the most marginal: Black Trans, Queer, Disabled folx. This means to commemorate Mother Marsha and her revolutionary work in and with STAR. Her Birthday is on August 24th. 
  • “Anarkata is a mosaic of principles which speak to how Black radicals have different entry points into this trajectory and constellation of Black revolutionary work from Black anarchism, Pan-Africanism, Black Transfeminism, Black Radical Ecology, Abolition that are building anti-hierchical propositions. At the forefront is carrying both carework and militancy. Tthese are practices along with mutal aid that have existed in before and beyond colonialism, ingrained and part of Black culture, practice, and activities.
  • Folks shared how this is their first Black August in deep study. 
  • “I always spend a lot time during Black History Month learning learning about history and focusing on things like chattel slavery and the tranatlantic slave trade. But Black August has been looking more at histories of revolutionary resistance”
  • “Ya, I really hear that. I feel like sometimes when events are spoken about chattel slavery and other violent actions the agency is stripped away from Black people. Like they remove the parts that since the beginnings of slavery, we have resisted. On our land, off the ships, and here on turtle island. Wherever there is repression and/or oppression, you will find resistance.”
  • “Ya, agency is a good word, that what gets blurred and taken out. Just like us creating maroon communities in the great dismal swamp. The agency shows proactively how we did things vs what has been done to us.”
  • We read the beginning paragraphs of “ Black LIberation with Rachel Herzing” on true leap press. 
  • “This provides strong memories of the early 2000s with this work. It reminds me how a big issue with the PIC was housing security and this led to the proliferation of control units. This reminds me of the hospitability of folks in NY, New Orleans, and more. This reminds of also of some of the other works folks who went to the conference did making the first iternational solitary confinement conference which was held at temple university. A lot of the work they do, grounded me further in this work and gave me the opportunity to see the great work that folks have been doing as well.”
  • “Thinking about these events also remind me of how the most support I get was/is from folks who are gay, bi, and trans. And so, seeing that even today, Black marginal folks are not being addressed in Black Agust is a problem. This silence comes from a very patriarchal and violent thinking. A lot of these patriarchical analysis are passed on even through mass incarceration. The things that come to the forefront when discussing incarceration is manhood. 
  • “One of the most profound things I read was by Sean Swain called ‘Last act of the circus animals.’ He talks about the circus and lion tamer as an allegory and had these parables of killing the lion tamers. Who uses this idea to talk about the paradigm of mass incarceration. He talks about the inevitability of the whip devouring the lame tamer and how the animals being in the circus has a certain effect. The warden is the lion tamer and the circus represents captivity. Being in the circus represents things that will happened and how you are forced to perform and if you don’t there will be certain repercussions.”
  • We read the beginning pages of “Blood In My Eye” by George Jackson
  • “When George talks about Black right wing traditionalist it is really jarring. It is so interesting to see that some of the same issues with community that I beeing seeing have been part of a long history and part of the same problem. Like you all [right-wing folks] are contributing to your restrictions.”
  • “Yes, I think it is important to see how he orientates folks to show that some Black folks can be obstructive in revolutionary work” 
  • “I think it is also powerful how he states that socialism-communalism isn’t unfamiliar to us, that it is part of our tradition and culture. Also, he really puts a name to neocolonialism and attaches it to capitalism which helps provide a certain clarity.”
  • “Yes, these analyses of continuous conditions”
  • “I think it is important that we have to juxtapose the texts with the reality and how it is a perpetual condition”
  • “The first page about discussing the riot stage and moving towards a black revolutionary consciousness. He says: “They think they don’t need ideology, strategy or tactics. They think being a warrior is quite enough. And yet, without discipline or direction..the black revolutionary is twice doomed” This reminds me of what Kwame Ture says about moving our own unconsciousness to consciousness, moving from mobilization to organization. I think this is where we really build and draw on our culture that opposes reactionary work which George talks about. This is seen in the anarkata statement as well that we must build on our cultures of opposition that creates revolutionary propositions. This reminds me also of why care work is so important and the militancy in it. As well as the care in militancy. 
  • “I think the reason why carework get’s diminished in this moment is because of assimilation. And assimilation in a multiproned way. I think even considering carework needs to be moved out of the arena of cishet. Especially to center how carework has been a radical activity birthed and practiced in BlaQueer communities. This becomes a much more radical proposition. In terms of militancy, it speaks to me about resonance and how it has the ability to be crossover marginal lines and provide deep applications to dismantle assimilation. This militancy speaks to the ability of carework being pronounced and exact, centering the most marginal. Carework can’t be done by cishet folks if they are not resonating with and centering Black queer.’”
  • “I think this also speak to how carework has the ability to (re)create social relations in a revolutionary manner that uproots how Man is created which Sylvia Wynter and Frantz Fanon speak to”
  • “Often, many people want to create a new world for themselves. They want to revolutionize the world for themselves and not revolutionize themselves. They aren’t trying to change the huMan at its core. How would you differentiate who is trying to revolutionize the world for themselves vs folks who are trying to revolutionize themselves in the process.”

-Trigger Warning: Reference to sexual assault; Next three points 

  • “I think a big key is praxis, beyond this popular moment of how people use language to absolve their actions. It has to be rooted more in the actions of letting go of ego when coming to correction, accountability, and especially consequences. This is seen at the fulcrum of sexual violence right now with abolition. I think for this reason important to create an unflinching analysis to how power moves and covers reactionary actions. This is why it important to be reading and learning from INCITE! “Why misognynst’s make great informants”…
  • “I believe there is a double standard when it comes to those things because if you are more marginal, fat, trans, disabled, and working class, folks in your organizing space are less likely to believe you which really reveals how people have gaps in their praxis of keeping misogynists out and they end up retraumatizing the most marginal of us time and time again. It gives weighted benefit towards perpetuator vs survivors even as you to go address the issue”
  • “I think a lot of times folks take up these mantels of restorative justice and transformative justice (rj and tj) without understanding the context that they live and breath in. That often folks are using this language as a response to the moment that is reactionary vs understanding how these events are happening and they are proactively create responses beforehand that don’t lead to reactionary actions. Most RJ circles are preventative measures and it is for restoring the community back to the current context it is in. This requires deep organizing roots in that community where folks are helping community members plant seeds inwardly years before (often with and as children in the process) conflict and heightened violences arise, so they have time for these seeds to grow and create/facillitate self-accountability, actions, as well as proactive, revolutionary thinking inwardly in the unconscious. This creates the space for healthier and safer ways to mitigate future harm. If the current context is ableist, transmysognystic, and problematic, you will be having more of the same issues and RJ work will create more harm.  This is where transformative justice was created to build more circles around responses that simultaneously work on change the current conditions and planting seeds in folks that shift the culture from being reactionary and violent. However, both of these methods are for very, very specific places and cannot be fit outside of organizing spaces/roots where there are not simultaneously other means to build community. Where folks are building interpersonal relations by either working community gardens, film screenings, doing an event, or some other programs. When none of these methods are being practiced, or even when they are, it is important to understand how social capitalism, clout, and ego still shift these narratives and time and time again put resources towards the perpetuators instead of the survivors. People need to understand how the “natural” cultural response/reflection is rooted reactionary culture. That social capital and clout provide mutual benefits not only for the recipient of clout and social capital, but their supporters absolving both from the needed divestment from these violences towards a means that revolutionize themselves. When folks use this mutual benefit, this is where the weighted benefit comes in time and time again which is why we must have a persistent and resilient analysis in who we are centering folks.  This is why it is essential for folks to fight for and carry these nuances and actions in order to continue to build revolutionary, proactive responses for when crises arise. This is why it is essential to read  Merricat’s “Social Capitalism”, and K.D. Wilson’s “Clout Culture.” These pieces are speaking to the necessary actions in having consequences and laneguarding the movement to center the safety of the most marginal and be comprehensive, deep, and intersectional in our approach. I believe this is a praxis of the A.I.D. (Anarchism.Intersectionality.Decolonization) feedback loop.”

-End of discussion on sexual assault 

  • “What are you thoughts on defunding the police? I personally think it is a money game and not organic at all. These review boards and all these things corporations and non profits are putting out is the same s***.”
  • “You are absolutely right, they don’t properly address to ensure their own survival and existence by any means.”
  • “It’s the same s*** and mf’ers are embedded themselves in community. These mf’ers and opportunists are running around community. Peace corps and all of that. They are in community and well funded only stroking their ego. This reminds me of what CR put out, “The revolution will not be funded.” They come in here all starry eyed and well funded f****** up the community. And now their work is controlled by law which also extends surveillance into community which is much more insidious and nuance. This brings in counter intelligence. And not just these opportunists folks, but the nuance, passive aggressive haters. They come in here and provide a certain intimacy to surveillance.”
  • “Yes, I think that is something folks need to be extremely cognizant of in this moment and going forward how surveillance has strong ties to funding and passive-aggressive folks who find a problem with righteous work. Surveillance is interpersonal.”
  • “There’s a schedule and and agenda backed by the money amd tts not about being preoccupied about them and paranoid, it’s about neutralizing them and moving on.”
  • “I think this makes me think about understanding the nuances in visibility and revolutionary work. I think for me it’s understanding that some folks are “quiet” revolutionaries. It’s understanding that visibility provides exposure for folks to be radicalize, speaking to the our subconscious feelings, and neutralizing reactionary discourse. In the same breath, it can also be coopted.”
  • “It’s also understanding we cannot neutralize everything. You can be only so prepared at a certain time.”

I hope you all enjoyed reading these notes. Feel free to join us at the next prison solidarity kickback in 2 weeks! Same place, same time. Peace and Love.

For prison solidarity actions happening this week and beyond, click the following: 

For Further Reading: 

Black August: The True History, Culture, and Practice by Mama Ayanna Mashama

Black Liberation and the Abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex, an interview with Rachel Herzing

Sean Swaine’s Last Act of the Circus Animal

Blood in My Eye by George Jackson

PROUD FLESH Inter/Views: Sylvia Wynter

Why Misogynist Make Great Informants by INCITE!

Social Capitalism by MerriCat

Clout Culture: Queer Liberation and Social Capitalism by Prof.Ound

Anarkata 101: A.I.D. Feedback Loop 

A silver triangle hangs over a black background, akin to a famous Pink Floyd album cover. This is a prism, in which white light enters into the leftmost side of the triangle, and a rainbow exits the rightmost side. The white light has the word ”problems” hanging over it in gray letters. The rainbow has the word ”praxis” shimmering in it in white letters. The sides of the triangel each have names in red letters too: the left side is ”anarchism,” and the right side is ”decolonization” while the bottom, the basis is ”intersectionality.” This is the AID – Anarchism, Intersectionality, Decolonization Feedback loop.

PDF version: AID Feedback Loop

The Revolution Will Not Be Funded by INCITE!

A red book cove

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