Organizing social movement gatherings & Peoples Movements Assembly, to meet and create convergence of social movements and integrating of struggle at the frontline for systemic social change.
Organizando asambleas de movimientos sociales para crear convergencia y así la integración de los movimientos sociales en la acción al cambio social sistemático.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Black Panther speak on Occupy Wall Street
Wall Street Protestor Blasts Jay-Z, Diddy, Kanye, Lil Wayne for Not Being Involved in Social Warfare
Former Black Panther Richie Williams celebrates the 40th anniversary of the founding of the organization's New York chapter.
NEW YORK – A former Black Panther Party leader who warred against the police and the establishment in the 1970s put Jay-Z, Diddy, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and other elite rappers on blast for being apolitical, high-priced slaves to capitalism and for blatantly flaunting their conspicuous consumption in people’s faces.
Richie Williams finds it deplorable that these admired hip-hop figures, whom he was willing to die for before they were even born, are jingling their fame and fortune in front of their admirers’ eyes while the country is in the throes of the most profound economic cataclysm in 80 years. When Williams was their age, he and his Black Panther Party comrades selflessly battled the police and the FBI for all blacks’ rights to seek prosperity, only for the rappers to turn out to be self-centered, narcissistic and politically-ignorant entertainers who devote little or no time and resources to further their community.
“I just want to say one thing: The Jay-Zs, the P. Diddys, the Kanye Wests, the Lil Waynes need to step up to the plate and make their voices heard and never mind all that bling-bling. Get out here with your people and take this [Occupy Wall Street protest] to the next level,” he said, pointing an accusatory finger for added emphasis.
“Never mind hanging out with the Nets, the Mets and the mayor [Michael Bloomberg],” he continues. “Tell the police commissioner about how horribly they are treating us, and talk about police brutality. Stop sucking up to [the establishment] and to the police commissioner. I won’t call the police what we used to call them. But bacon fat still sucks,” he finished, noting that it was common for black freedom fighters of the sixties to refer to law enforcement officers as “pigs.”
Williams, who served seven years during the Vietnam War and now has 10 grandchildren, still wants to be in the mix for positive change. And he admonishes all of us, quoting Bob Marley, “Don’t give up the fight.”
The art collector is also the author of From a Whisper to a Scream: Revisiting the Amerikkkan Holocaust. After he noted that the New York chapter of the Black Panther Party is celebrating their 40th anniversary throughout 2011, “Richie,” born Richard Cooper Williams, took time to touch upon other subjects during our brief encounter:
Do you believe that this movement today will lead to positive changes as protests turned the tide in the ’60s and ’70s?
Yes I do. I am not going to be a naysayer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because we’ve got to change the structure of this country.
Does this remind you of the days of the Black Power and Peace movements? There are a lot of similarities. We’re in solidarity with the people here today. What’s happening here today is for the same reasons, the same causes that we fought for 40 years ago.
Do you believe that the police and Mayor Bloomberg are treating the protesters differently than they would if this place was filled with African Americans and other minorities? We took the brunt of the police force’s passion, if you will [back int he 70s]. This cause here today is for the same reasons, the same causes. But we were beaten down and brutalized. When the country saw the picture of the white girl being arrested, they said ‘let’s go down there because this is happening to our children’. But when it was happening to [black] children, it was just us.
Not to sound racist, but this [movement of white uprising] is happening because it’s affecting white people. It’s affecting all of us, but this has been happening to black people since the beginning of this country. The ‘chickens are now coming home to roost’, as Malcolm said. A lot of white folk have spent what they have, are in debt and are in houses that are underwater with mortgages. And unfortunately, or fortunately, it took this to bring us all together.
What has this economic crisis done to America’s middle class?There is no more middle class. They have become, like Richard Pryor once said of the Vietnamese [during the Vietnam War], the white middle class have become the ‘new n——.’
How does hearing what many rappers talk about today make you feel? I came back [from the Vietnam War] and fought a civil war that the Frederick Douglasses and Harriett Tubmans set up for us. They made it possible for us and your father and mother, and it is a disgrace and we are doing their memories a disservice by not carrying on the groundwork that they laid for us.
Does seeing all of this unfold before you take you back to your Panther days? Yes. I’m 73 years old. I’m still a young man, in my spirit. And I wake up every day and I have not lost that fire in my belly. And I’m going out of here on fire.