Sunday, September 25, 2011


(These are excerpts from a speech made by Geronimo at a July 26, 1997 "Welcome Home” rally in Los Angeles after his release from prison,)
Amandla! Free the Land! Revolution! Freedom! Uhuru Sasa - that means Freedom Now! We come together as a united nation to fight against our problem. We're Africans, we can do anything, I want to give props to all our queens in struggle, and to my family, and to ya'll, my extended family who sustained me through the years with your support. I've been out of the penitentiary a little over a month and a half, and I'm trying to adopt to ya'll's way of living, but for years, it's a lot different. You know I'm not use to speaking. Most of you who knew me back then saw me on the streets, patrolling these police, trying to bring a message that we're ready to die for what we believe in. Now you all are trying to make a speaker out of me.
And I want to talk to ya'll, because we got some ideas. I'm looking at you all. He was in Folsom with me, he was in Quentin, he was in Soledad with me, she use to help me feed the kids. We patrolled the police at night, and in the morning we were there to feed the children. Because that's something that's very important to understand -- our struggle was based on love! That's what made us so strong, because love is the strongest force there is! We were so in love with our young children that we were ready to take bullets for them, we were ready to die for them.
But while we were keeping the police off our children, we were spoiling them. People said to me in the pen, look at them now, they're spoiled; they don't respect their elders, they don't respect the women, they don't respect themselves, they're listening to the police. You hear this crack shit is coming from the CIA, and yet you're still doing it! What the hell is going on?!
So we didn't realize that while we were giving our lives protecting the children, feeding you all, going without eating, we didn't realize that we were spoiling you. Then when you came in the pen, you get discipline. We need youngsters to understand that real war ain't no joke. A lot of people are talking bulljive and we don't want to hear it, because we've got to be serious about putting together the kind of forces it's going to require to liberate our nation!
I've been to DC, I've been to Philly, to New York, Atlanta, New Orleans; ain't been yet to Dallas or Houston, cities where we had Black Panthers. They're just like this (city). Everyone is so receptive to the principle of revolution right now. So, what do we do about that? There are certain principles we maintained for years in prison and out here on the streets, with people that continued the struggle. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Nation of Islam, all of the groups that have been real in carrying on what we started. I cannot salute you enough, because I know the pressures that have been applied upon you.
In warfare, you have to know your enemy. Until you understand what your enemy is, you'll be killing the wrong person. If a guy sics a killer dog on you, a pack of dogs, you’re going to defend yourself; but you don't turn around the rest of your life hating those dogs, going, "I'm gonna kill those dogs," and your whole life is consumed with those poor dogs, who only did what they were told to do. You have to know who your enemy is. Your enemy is not the dogs; your enemy is the pigs, the pigs sent the dogs! You take the dogs and you put them in your column. You give them some meat, and you turn them and you at them over there, and you get at the pigs; you get at the real enemy.
But it's not easy to know who the real enemy is when you're embroiled in a psychological war. In a psychological war, everything is a lie. It's based on deception. You have various forms of war. We conducted armed struggle on the streets. Walter Pope, John Carr, Sawndre Red - I can name many brothers and sisters who lost their lives conducting armed struggle.
We conducted conventional struggle, defensive struggle, and understood who the real enemy is and how he's coming at you. Right now, and for decades, the enemy has been defeating us through psychological warfare.
He's been tricking you, making you hate each other, making you turn on each other, your brother, your momma, your own family. He's been doing it through all sorts of avenues, and you've got to get hip to it. Lies, deception, gossip, slander, all this he's been generated in the same place the crack is being generated - right in Langley, Virginia.
They come at you with the crack - you know, that's chemical warfare; AIDS - that's biological warfare. You have to understand that various forms of warfare by first understanding your enemy, who would stoop that low. They talk about Saddam Hussein - they've been practicing chemical and biological warfare for decades. Look at what happened at Tuskegee; look at what happened in San Francisco in the 60s (Army germ warfare experiments).
People of my generation know this, but our youngsters don't know this. We're not passing it along to them. You may say, "they never listen." No, they will listen, they do want to learn. We have to take the time. We have to take measures to get across to them, because that's our future, that's who the enemy is targeting; they're targeting our young soldier class.
I’ve been studying war for years - that's why they hate me. All these brothers you see around here patrolled the police. Geronimo didn't start the Panthers in L.A. I'm from the South. Bunchy Carter started the Black Panthers in L.A. Geronimo is not the longest held political prisoner from the Black Panthers. Romaine Chip Fitzgerald, who's still in prison, is the longest held political prisoner in these prisons. I don't want to take credit away from any of these brothers and sisters who fought and died before I came here.
I was in Viet Nam while they were getting killed out here on Montclair and Adams. I came here to help educate and to teach military tactics to the L.A. Panthers, the San Francisco Panthers, the New York Panthers, the Chicago Panthers, all through the South where I came from. New Orleans, Dallas, Houston ... and I've got to get back to all those places, where they say, "you are our homeboy," like I am a homeboy here....
I was in New York, with the New York Panthers, and I said, come in here and lets talk about what is going on. I said, "There is no unity here." They were beautiful brothers, but they allowed a rumor to divide them. I did 27 years, and here it's 1997, and they are still allowing COUNTELPRO-type shit to do this? No, we understand better now. We can't let this happen. We have to set the example. We learn from our mistakes.
COUNTELPRO wasn't no joke. They killed brothers. Putting us in prison ain't nothing. They took lives. They took Bunchy’s life. They took Redd's life, Huey's life, my boy Fred Hampton's life, and I could name and name and name. They made us tell our sister Assata, "Well, we can't get you out of prison, but we have to get you out of the country for a while." We have to decriminalize all that, so Assata, and all those beautiful sisters, can come back not as criminals, but as heroes. Assata is a hero! Nehanda is a hero!
How are we going to do this? People who have done time say,, what is the solution? We can't restrict the legal process within the confines of a foreign government - the United States - who are the descendants of our former slave masters. They're not our presidents, our Supreme Courts. That's bulljive. That's been forced on us! Our solution is to organize our nation! It's the same message Marcus Garvey gave our people in the 20s; it's the same message that Malik el Hajj Shabazz carried on, and that we're still carrying on today. And it's a shame that we haven't done it yet. We thought we'd go into the , next millennium as a free nation.
We have almost 50 million people; that would make us the ninth most populous nation. We have now almost $600 billion going through our nation every year, that would rank us I think the fifth richest nation. We have the
doctors, we have the professors, the technicians. We have everything! And we still don't call ourselves a nation. That's a damn shame.
I can't tell no gang member to respect you when you turn around and bow down to the same sons of bitches that put our ancestors into slavery, and call them, our leaders. I'M sorry, I don't mean no disrespect to our elders and our sisters when I use these extreme words. But I want to drive the point home. After 27 years, how the hell we ain't free? We ain't got our own institutions, our own schools, our own doctors. When I went into the pen, there was a debate between integration and liberation. What did integration get us? Things are worse now than ever for most of our people. The proof of a theory is in the social practice. Liberation is the solution.
I tell them in the pen, "You want to sell drugs? When we liberate. I'm going to give you all the pharmaceutical companies. You all can make all the drugs you want, and you'll own the drug companies."You ask, do we really want to do that? Sure, because I know those brothers aren't going to put those drugs into their children. They'll see them as being medicinal like our ancestors did, as something from the spirit, as Imhotep tried to teach us thousands of years ago. We're going to turn it around and the brother and sister on the street, selling that shit, we're going to put them in charge of the medicine. Don't put them in jail. Don't put anybody in jail! We shouldn't have any jails.
I don't do a lot of talking. I back up what I say. I want to bring out what some of the brothers told me in the pen, Mutulu Shakur, Sekou Odinga, other Black Liberation Army soldiers; when they were busted, they told the pigs, "I am a soldier, this is my name, my rank, my serial number, and that's all you get,” And they're still in jail today, even though they said everything that was required of them by the Geneva Accords, if you are arrested in a war, an insurrection. The U.S. does not recognize us as prisoners of war, and we have to make them. That's a reality. We are at war. Every time a soldier stands up in that war to defend you, if he is attacked, he is supposed to be attacked.... We die for our people. We can do 27 years for our people and not come out and ask for nothing. Our struggle is for the liberation of our people, not to be treated well in the prisons.
Prisons are only a small part of our struggle for liberation. There's other issues, crack in our streets, disrespect for our elders. We used to be able to walk down these streets, old folks 60-70 years old, at night, safely. You let anybody mess with them, we would have got them; if we couldn't have got them, some of the Muslims would have got them, or some of the US (United Slaves) people would have, or the APP.
There's a difference now - they made you hate each other. We went through hell coming up from Louisiana, where they called you colored, Negroes; Kwame Ture, known then as Stokely Carmichael, Kathleen Cleaver, Rap Brown, struggled so hard to make you all understand, that we were no longer Negroes, or colored, we were Black, and they called it the Black Power Movement. Now, this is 1997, and we've grown, we've matured, and through those years some of the greatest minds among us have resolved that we have to cease calling ourselves by an adjective, Black, and we have to be called by a noun, Africans.
We have to get away from shame and fear, and be proud to call ourselves Africans, where life began, where everything evolved from. So we are Africans and we call ourselves New Afrikans, to distinguish ourselves from the mama-land, so this is the new term to identify our nation - New Afrika. Imari Obadele, Chokwe Lumumba, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, were very instrumental in bringing that about, and getting us to understand ourselves, because just like we have to understand our enemy, we also have to understand ourselves. So that self-identification is very important. It goes to our historical personality, based upon our Africanity. It's not based on European-ness, other than it's intrusion by slavery.
When you carry the legacy of the slave-master, you're doing our movement a great disservice. You turn around and give your child the name of this dog that raped your grandmother, and you're giving that child an evil spirit. That's what our ancestors taught us, the power of nommo, the word. You're cursing those children. When they grow up, they may have a first name, Jamal, and the last name of someone who participated in slavery - that won't work. They're going to have that divided consciousness, that social schizophrenia that you see so prevalent, among us, because we are too scared to embrace our ancestry fully, to change both our names and give that legacy to our children so they can carry it on, and not the legacy of our slave-masters.
What a lot of youngsters tell me is that when their elders did take time with them, they were giving them stuff that didn't make sense. So, you elder brothers and sisters, when I say take time with the youngsters, you better give them the real, you better study yourself, come to these meetings, contact somebody and get the knowledge so you can pass it on properly.
Back then, Bunchy and them had to deal with the gangs and gangsters, to change the gangster mentality to a revolutionary mentality. And a lot we can't talk about. We have learned that in the 60s, we ran our mouths a little too much about certain things - but the word will be given to develop certain functions, not because I'm out of prison, but because it's a new trend, a new effort all throughout the country to liberate people, not only in the prison behind the walls, but in the prisons on the other side of the walls. The coming together is sincere, because we know now who we can trust, and we know now who we cannot.
And we cannot do it without you. We understand ourselves as you all; you all understand yourselves as us. We can't see each other as anything apart - I am, therefore we are; we are, therefore I am. The contradictions people see, with people who are in different organizations, have to be understood - don't listen to gossip, rumors, one of our greatest enemies. Hitler started that - or it goes back to Sun Tzu - Hitler and Mussolini would send agents to mingle with the population, and they would tell people that Malcolm X was no good, Elijah Muhammad did this and so, and they got us to killing each other. Among our people, I'm sorry to say, it works more often than not. We have to stop being so eager to hate each other, When we brought in the Black Power movement in the 60s, that was based on love. They said black was ugly; we said Black was beautiful, We began to define our own reality.
When we said Black was beautiful, you would not believe the pride and dignity that swept through our nation. That scared them more than anything. They knew all of the guns, all of the breakfast programs, all the rhetoric, nothing hurt them more than Black people loving each other.
Now, when I went to the pen, I leave the streets, Black was still beautiful. I come back. Blacks hate each other - that trips me out. We even allowed them to come present the old European image - if you don't look like the white man, the white woman, you're ugly. We had made the Black woman, the Black man the standard of beauty. They put a lot of money into promoting that image.
When I left the streets in the 60s, you could ask anybody, we loved each other. So, we had problems - we struggled to resolve those problems, But our main contradiction was with the man. Now our contradictions are among ourselves. We didn't know L.A. to be all these sets fighting with each other. I don't want to repeat these things, because it sounds rhetorical. People ask what you did in the 60s about drugs in the community? We shot and we killed drug dealers. I'm not copping to no crime. Those old dope dealers in the past, they didn't use their product, they had clear heads. First, we would go talk to them. We weren't trying to compete in no drug world, take the dope - it was heroin back then - and flush it. But the ones who didn't agree to the principles that we were trying to lay down, that the community had agreed to, they were smoked. I'm sorry, but that's the reality of it. I'm not saying we're going to come out here and smoke somebody. But we had to live our lives for the revolution, but I'll be damned if I'm going to die, that I'm going to have you selling crack to my kids; you're going first! You all know where dope comes from and I can't say enough for the courage of sister Maxine for confronting them - the CIA. We were telling you for years from Folsom, from Q, from Death Row, but the bourgeois people get a little money, they don't want to listen. But now you're forced to listen - because it's affecting your family, your brother, your sister.
We've got a program that doesn't have a contradiction with any "Black" organization that's struggling. If you have contradictions, we have to resolve them. You've got to struggle and avoid vendettas. That can be handled. We have to regain the spirit of unity before we enter the 21st Century. It's a shame if we enter the next century calling Bill Clinton our leader - it's a shame to Bunchy and to everyone who gave their lives for freedom.
We can't deal with personalities. We've got to deal with principles. We don't care about capitalism, we care about freedom. You have people pimping the revolution. Not once did the Black Panthers accept a dollar from the federal government - and they came with big money. They were offering billions of dollars and we would say, get your ass out of the office. I have never talked with the FBI - I'm too busy talking to my nation.

This speech is available on videotape for $10 from:
Justice Vision;1425 West 12th St., Ste. #262 Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 747-6345
Submitted by: Mansa Lutalo lyapo / aka Mr. Rufus West, #225213, P.O. Box 900 (CCI), Portage WI 53901. (8-27-11) Geronimo passed away this year. May his message live on forever.