TO MY PEOPLE By ASSATA SHAKUR
NU AFRIKAN LIBERATION
17 APRIL 2005
DATE: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 09:30:41 - 0400
FROM: "The Talking Drum Collective Newsletter"
TO MY PEOPLE
By ASSATA SHAKUR
Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you and i hope
that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me.
My name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and I am a
revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that I mean that I have declared war
on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our men, and kept our
I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians
who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heart-less robots
who protect them and their property.
I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, i am a victim of all the wrath,
hatred, and slander that amerika is capable of. Like all other Black
revolutionaries, amerika is trying to lynch me.
I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with
and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have
participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved,
i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be
me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks,
television, and newspapers. They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in
rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and
shoot to kill.
I am a Black revolutionary, and, by definition, that makes me a part of the
Black Liberation Army. The pigs have used their newspapers and TVs to paint
the Black Liberation Army as vicious, brutal, mad-dog criminals. They have
called us gangsters and gun molls and have compared us to such characters as
john dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it must be clear to anyone
who can think, see, or hear, that we are the victims. The victims and not the
It should also be clear to us by now who the real criminals are. Nixon and his
crime partners have murdered hundreds of Third World brothers and sisters in
Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa. As was proved by
Watergate, the top law enforcement officials in this country are a lying
bunch of criminals. The president, two attorney generals, the head of the
fbi, the head of the cia, and half the white house staff have been implicated
in the Watergate crimes.
They call us murderers, but we did not murder over two hundred fifty unarmed
Black men, women, and children, or wound thousands of others in the riots
they provoked during the sixties. The rulers of this country have always
considered their property more important than our lives. They call us
murderers, but we were not responsible for the twenty-eight brother inmates
and nine hostages murdered at attica. They call us murderers, but we did not
murder and wound over thirty unarmed Black students at Jackson State--or
Southern State, either.
They call us murderers, but we did not murder Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett
Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, George Jackson, Nat Turner, James Chaney, and
countless others. We did not murder, by shooting in the back, sixteen-year-old
Rita Lloyd, eleven-year-old Rickie Bodden, or ten-year-old Clifford
Glover. They call us murderers, but we do not control or enforce a system of
racism and oppression that systematically murders Black and Third World
people. Although Black people supposedly comprise about fifteen percent of
the total amerikkkan population, at least sixty percent of murder victims are
Black. For every pig that is killed in the so-called line of duty, there are
at least fifty Black people murdered by the police.
Black life expectancy is much lower than white and they do their best to kill
us before we are even born. We are burned alive in fire-trap tenements. Our
brothers and sisters OD daily from heroin and methadone. Our babies die from
lead poisoning. Millions of Black people have died as a result of indecent
medical care. This is murder. But they have got the gall to call us
They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark Squires (who is accused, along with
me, of murdering a new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April 7, 1969,
from our Black community and held on one million dollars' ransom in the New
York Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971, along with
all the others, of 156 counts of conspiracy by a jury that took less than two
hours to deliberate. Brother Squires was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped from
his community and family. Over two years of his life was stolen, but they
call us kidnappers. We did not kidnap the thousands of Brothers and Sisters
held captive in amerika's concentration camps. Ninety percent of the prison
population in this country are Black and Third World people who can afford
neither bail nor lawyers.
They call us thieves and bandits. They say we steal. But it was not we who
stole millions of Black people from the continent of Africa. We were robbed
of our language, of our Gods, of our culture, of our human dignity, of our
labor, and of our lives. They call us thieves, yet it is not we who rip off
billions of dollars every year through tax evasions, illegal price fixing,
embezzlement, consumer fraud, bribes, kickbacks, and swindles. They call us
bandits, yet every time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are being
robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are being held
up. And every time we pay our rent the landlord sticks a gun into our ribs.
They call us thieves, but we did not rob and murder millions of Indians by
ripping off their homeland, then call ourselves pioneers. They call us
bandits, but it is not we who are robbing Africa, Asia, and Latin America of
their natural resources and freedom while the people who live there are sick
and starving. The rulers of this country and their flunkies have committed
some of the most brutal, vicious crimes in history. They are the bandits.
They are the murderers. And they should be treated as such. These maniacs are
not fit to judge me, Clark, or any other Black person on trial in amerika.
Black people should and, inevitably, must determine our destinies.
Every revolution in history has been accomplished by actions, al-though words
are necessary. We must create shields that protect us and spears that
penetrate our enemies. Black people must learn how to struggle by struggling.
We must learn by our mistakes.
I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers and sisters, for being on the
new jersey turnpike. I should have known better. The turnpike is a
checkpoint where Black people are stopped, searched, harassed, and assaulted.
Revolutionaries must never be in too much of a hurry or make careless
He who runs when the sun is sleeping will stumble many times.
Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered or captured, the pigs try to
create the impression that they have quashed the movement, destroyed our
forces, and put down the Black Revolution. The pigs also try to give the
impression that five or ten guerrillas are responsible for every
revolutionary action carried out in amerika. That is nonsense. That is
absurd. Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by
our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves
in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills,
leavenworth, and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many
jobless Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks.
Brothers and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering
passively, make up the BLA.
There is, and always will be, until every Black man, woman, and child is free,
a Black Liberation Army. The main function of the Black Liberation Army at
this time is to create good examples, to struggle for Black freedom, and to
prepare for the future. We must defend ourselves and let no one disrespect
us. We must gain our liberation by any means necessary.
It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
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"I would rather be a member of this [Afrikan] race than a Greek in the time of
Alexander, a Roman in the Augustan period, or Anglo-Saxon in the nineteenth
century." - Edward Wilmot Blyden
"Now is the time for us to come together with one another, to organize, to
speak out and speak up on behalf of each other. There is no time to waste,
while we debate, define, and discuss; the enemy continues his genocidal plan.
We need to bear in mind the Ashanti proverb: \'Two men in a burning house
must not stop to argue.' " - Dr. Mutulu Shakur
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