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Fred Hampton & The Colonies In America

In the nineties, the inner-cities of America were seeking to recover from the devastating crack epidemic and the ever-tumultuous “War on Drugs” waged by the Reagan Administration. There were no realistic efforts for education, employment or opportunities for social mobility; instead, drugs would be ushered into the already impoverished communities that were suffering from sky-rocketing unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. Due to the nature of the capitalist system, many manufacturing jobs in the inner-city would be shipped overseas, eliminating the only source of employment for many hard-working African-American families. John M. Hagedorn writes: “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.” In 1996, Nas released his sophomore album ‘It Was Written.’ In it, he vividly describes a common occurrence in the ghettos; he spits, ”Niggas shoot in broad day light. With the broke mac-10 that don’t spray right. Niggas don’t give a fuc* who they hit, as long as the drama’s lit.”

When the drug economy took over, many youth hustled to make a living, going in and out of jail. The nineties in Chicago was a period in which Yummy Sandifier, a child born into this very lifestyle, was making his moves; while most kids during this time period were trading Pokemon cards, Yummy was trading drugs for profit, committing burglaries and breaking into houses. When Yummy sought to shoot down a rival gangbanger, he shot into a crowd missing his target entirely, and unfortunately he ended up killing a school girl instead. This prompted a widespread police insurgency for young Yummy. Fearful that if Yummy was captured he would tell gang secrets, the child was subsequently executed by fellow gang members at the age of only eleven years old.    The same violence and poverty was the dominant lifestyle in many other inner-cities, including New Orleans, Baltimore, Compton, L.A., Queensbridge, Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis as well as others. The ghettoes of America are not impoverished due to a lack of morals, work ethic, or ‘business’ savvy among the population; rather, they are internal colonies which are deliberately and intentionally kept in miserable social conditions by its mother country, America. The U.S. maintains neo-colonies in the Middle East and domestic internal colonies within its borders for access to cheap labor via the prison-industrial complex.

During the Cold War, America was competing ideologically with the Soviet Union over their economic systems of capitalism and communism. As a result of this period, dubbed the “Red Scare,” many corrupt leaders were installed by the United States in countries seeking their independence. Patrice Lumumba was a Pan-Africanist seeking to uplift the colonized people of his country after years of oppression and tyranny from the Belgians. He was dedicated to his people in every way, but fearful that Lumumba might be a communist, he was quickly assassinated by rival forces with full support from the C.I.A. In place, the U.S. selected candidate Mobutu Sese Seko quickly created an authoritarian regime in which he squandered his people’s wealth on personal lavish luxuries while the people of his country continued to starve and had their wealth plundered by American corporations

Similarly, the same situation has regularly occurred for numerous leaders within the black community. Fred Hampton, a Black Panther of Chicago, provided political education classes for youth along with free-breakfast programs. He even worked to forge an alliance between various gangs in Chicago to mitigate the violence. Hampton emerged as a real leader in the black community – and the FBI, CIA and government in general took note of him. A secret government project called COINTELPRO explicitly sought to prevent and quell various radical black movements. In conjunction with the Chicago Police department, the CIA and FBI orchestrated a raid and, during which, assassinated Fred Hampton. FBI, Special Agent Gregg York had this to say:”We expected about twenty Panthers to be in the apartment when the police raided the place. Only two of those black niggers were killed, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.” It was leaders such as Fred Hampton that worked to combat gang violence. One author notes:

“Of course, there’s also the legacy that, without a young leader, I think the West Side of Chicago degenerated a lot into drugs. And without leaders like Fred Hampton, I think the gangs and the drugs became much more prevalent on the West Side. He was an alternative to that. He talked about serving the community, talked about breakfast programs, educating the people, community control of police. So I think that that’s unfortunately another legacy of Fred’s murder.”

Fred Hampton’s murder left a power vacuum and, like in the colonies abroad, the Chicago government would install various corrupt puppet leaders. This relationship between internal colonies and the non-representative government officials is a theme discussed in Nas’ “I Want to Talk to You.”: “As a young black man from the ghetto,” Nas indigently raps, ”Fake black leaders of puppets always talking ‘bout the city budget.” Inner cities are notorious for corrupt and non-representative leadership, one example being Jesse Jackson Jr. who squandered the wealth of the Chicago people (as well as Sandi Jackson). These people are supported by the larger white establishment and should be viewed as puppet leaders within the black community. Nas continues:

“I’m just a black man why y’all made it so hard damn

Niggas gotta go create his own job

Mr. Mayor imagine if this was your backyard

Mr. Governor imagine if it was your kids that starved

Imagine your kids gotta sling crack to survive

Swing a mack to be live cart ack to get high”

  The job that Nas discusses creating is, of course, the lucrative career as a drug pusher. Like impoverished third world countries, ghettos achicagochildsoldiersre essentially a war torn area with starving kids. Like the child soldiers in Uganda, the ghetto has its own child soldiers who swing macks and sell cracks. Like the independence movements of the ‘60s, many nations such as Ghana and the Congo were yearning for their independence to make it out of this exploitative relationship in which it’s population was decimated, impoverished and hungry. In the song “Every Ghetto,” rappers Naz and Blitz further elucidate:“Still I’m sayin’ why do we reside. In the ghetto with a million ways to die. What the fuck will tomorrow bring?”

Like foreign third world countries, the ghettoes in America are without stability. “Jay-Z, who said he “was born the day Fred Hampton died,” comments on the sentiments of wanting to escape his internal colony and the desperation he faces:
“Some how some way I gotta make it up out the hood someday. Some how some way I gotta make it up out this life. Some way I gotta make it up out this hood someday”

 Barack Obama was elected- the masses were disgusted by George W. Bush who presided over the mass extermination of black people under Katrina with lackluster care and numerous wars seeking imperial ambition. Thus, a shift was made to a more benevolent form of imperialism. White power presented through a black face and chants of “change” lured black people in supporting Barack Obama. Far from an real “change”, Obama’s presidency has not changed the colonized/colonizer relationship the ghetto has with its mother country.  The Government orchestrated assassination of Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Marc Clarke, is apart of the same imperial logic as the government orchestrated assassinations of Thomas Sankara and Patrice Lumumba.   To sustain the U.S Empire, corrupt leadership is need within the internal colonies and abroad in its neo-colonies. Blacks within u.s borders are subject to search and seizure, killed in indiscriminate attacks of police brutality, subjugated from the war on drugs, and made to suffer from the prison-industrial complex. Similarly,  Obama’s presidency has contributed to drone strikes of innocents in the Middle East and imperial wars  for economic benefits.  In blacks in domestic colonies  suffering under repression  looking to “make it out the hood” and those in neo-colonies suffering under drone strikes, the street scriptures serve as a viable way to link social conditions within the internal domestic colonies and foreign neo-colonies of the American Empire and struggle for independence.

Chiraq’s Child Soldiers

Think back to when you were nine years old. At this age, most kids in America are able to live care free, jovial lives contemplating about what cool new gadget they want from Santa for Christmas. For African-Americans in urban areas throughout America, their experience is totally different. When Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer was only nine years old, he had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arsons. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years[1].

At 4’6, he was armed with loaded guns and not even remotely afraid to use them. He received the nickname ‘Yummy’ due to his love for junk food.  He lived his life as a drug dealer causing terror in his community by breaking into houses and stealing cars. Before reaching 5-feet tall, he was already putting people 6 feet in the ground. He committed recorded 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors while carrying out his missions for his local gang.  The only picture available of him available of him on the net is a Mugshot—a photo that showcases pain, anguish, and depression. This same face and mentality can also be seen in Chief Keef rap videos[2].

This should come as no surprise. Both Chief Keef and Yummy are from the same Southside neighborhood in Chicago, and both are
members of the Black Disciples. Yummy was killed in 1994, about a year before Chief Keef was born in mid-1995.The same narrative of drug leading, shooting, and criminal activities that are found in many of Chief Keef’s videos and other Hip-Hop lyrics are the only imagery that Yummy knew his entire life.

From uppitynegronetwork.files.wordpress.com

After Yummy shot and killed a fourteen year old, child police went on a manhunt searching relentlessly for him. It was soon discovered that members of his own Black Disciple Gang executed him fearing that he would become a snitch to the police and reveal secrets about their drug trade.

This is what the conditions of poverty fostered by racial segregation produce.

Rapper Tupac Shakur was deeply touched by Yummy Sandifer’s story.  In his ‘White Man’s World” song Tupac gave his condolences by Yummy:

“Rest in Peace to Latasha, Little Yummy, and Kato. Too Much for this cold world to take, ended up being fatal.”  [3]

  

The song then ends with a beautiful, eloquent excerpt of a speech by Louis Farrakhan stating that “the seal and the constitution reflect the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people and for white people. Native Americans, Blacks, and all other nonwhite people were to be the burden barriers for the real citizens of this nation.”

The truth is Yummy Sandifer never had a chance to succeed in this white man’s world, even in the post-Civil-Rights Era. Yummy was born to a 15 year old crack addicted prostitute and an incarcerated father.

That crackhead, or drug junkie, you see on the streets started off life no different from me or you.   That person also had dreams, aspirations, goals, hopes, and loved ones at one point in their life.    People in urban areas often turn to Marjuana, Cocaine, Crack and alcohol in an attempt to help them cope with or temporarily relieve themselves of the stresses and pains that they face every-day under this capitalistic society[4].  This is a reason why ‘loud a type of Marjuanna’ is such a huge subject of Chief Keef rap videos.

Yummy was abused from an early age, having over 40 scars and parts of his skin burnt from cigarettes.  He was eventually placed under the care of the state; once he escaped from his governmental mandated foster home he quickly took to the streets. [5]

Hardaway, who was convicted for Yummy’s murder at fourteen years old, had this to say from prison:

“Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infected community. It’s millions of Yummy’s it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.” [6]

Indeed, there are millions of black children in urban areas throughout America, especially in the Southside of Chicago, who hang out on street corners, looking up to nobody but gang members and the illegal drug economy as the only mechanism to attain things that most whites have handed to them at birth— things like food, clothing, and shelter.  Like Yummy, Hardaway is also a victim; a victim of a racist, capitalist society that created the conditions where an illegal economy was the only way to provide for loved ones and have the basic necessities of life.  You can tell by the tone of Hardaway quote that he is fully capable of being rehabilitated, becoming a productive member of society.

Big L, in his song, ‘How Will I Make It” portrays a similar narrative:

“I’m only at the age of ten and life already seems to me like its heading for a dead end. Cause my moms be smoking mad crack… Nobody know how I feel … I had to steal to fill my stomach with a nice meal… I rob for meat. If I don’t steal I don’t eat. My whole life deserted. Either Imma go to jail or get murdered. All I tried to do was live the one life that I got. But it seems like I can’t get a fair shot.” [8]

From Hip-HopGame.com

Indeed, Yummy, Big L, and millions of unnamed inner-city black youth never had a fair shot in this country, yet America deludes itself as the foremost purveyor of freedom in the world. White Liberals adamantly believe that black people are making ‘steady progress’ in this country often pointing to blacks in ‘high places’ such as Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, and, of course, the President Barack Obama. White Republicans, despite being a cesspool for vicious racists, refuse to give credence to the notion that systematic racism severely restricts the social mobility of African-Americans.

Both of these parties believe that the discrimination, oppression, and disenfranchisement of African-Americans was just a misunderstanding rather than a core element of the U.S. capitalist, imperialist system. The reality is that Civil Rights legislation was never passed for altruistic reasons and the condition of black people in urban areas of America has not improved at all since the civil rights legislation was passed – and this is no accident.

White people did not suddenly have a change of heart and decide to give black people rights—the American government acted in their own self-interest.  During the ‘Cold War,’  America and the Soviet Union were battling over competing ideologies both seeking to establish an imperialistic grip on the world. The American government branded itself the epitome of freedom and democracy while casting the Soviet Union as a communist, totalitarianism regime devoid of human rights and freedoms.  [9]

But then  the Soviet Union began to use video footage of African-Americans in the south having their flesh ripped into and eaten by vicious canines. America could no longer tell the world it was the epitome of human rights and freedom while subjugating its black population to this type of open overt torture and suffering without appearing like a hypocritical liar—thus, superficial changes had to be made in the power structure of America and the manner in which it carried out its oppression against black people. This was one factor that contributed to the passage of Civil Rights legislation.  [10]

Another factor that contributed to the decline of overt institutional racism against blacks was the threat of violence from blacks. After the cold blooded assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., [11] blacks in urban areas throughout America were outraged.  The government referred to the actions of African-Americans after King’s death as ‘riots’ rather than what they really were: rebellions!

Thus, something had to be done to appease blacks and quick; as blacks were heading towards a revolutionary path, something had to be down for America to gain an edge in this ideological war against the Soviet Union to not look absolutely ridiculous when proclaiming it was the leader of human rights and freedoms—thus Civil Rights legislation was passed.

Civil Rights legislation did a much better job at pacifying African-Americans than it ever did at putting an end to racial inequality, discrimination, and racism. In every area of American society from housing to health-care to employment opportunities, black people still face discrimination to this day. Civil Rights legislation was never adamantly enforced.  Chicago is among the most segregated cities in America. As whites live lavishly on the Northside, impoverished Blacks have been suffering on both the South and Westside for decades.  [12]

When Dr. Martin Luther King first came to Chicago he did so to protest housing segregation and the substandard housing of Chicago’s black population. White residents threw rocks at him while others held signs in protest, one reading, “Roses are red. Violents are Black. King would look good with a Knife in his back.” They then led a cheer saying ‘Kill Him!, Kill Him. [13]Over 40 years later, Southside Chicago neighborhoods are nicknamed in the streets (and for good reasons) as Terrortown and Killaward – areas that are just as ‘substandard,’ or perhaps more so, than when King took part in his first protest.  When a reporter asked Chief Keef how dangerous the Southside of Chicago was he simply responded with one word: “Chiraq.” Nothing has changed-  nothing.

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1)The Washington Syndicate,True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, http://thewashingtonsyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/true-crime-the-forgotten-story-of-robert-%E2%80%9Cyummy%E2%80%9D-sandifer/

2) All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1, http://hakeemmuhammad.com/2012/11/28/all-hail-chief-keef-public-enemy-1/

3) Tupac, White mans world, http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/2pac/whitemansworld.html

4) Black Anarcism, Lorenzo Ervin, http://libcom.org/library/anarchism-black-revolution-lorenzo-ervin

5)The Washington Syndicate True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer

http://thewashingtonsyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/true-crime-the-forgotten-story-of-robert-%E2%80%9Cyummy%E2%80%9D-sandifer/

6) IBID

7) Bob Avakian, Youth Deserve a better future,  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk

8) Big L, How Will I make It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL9l5CojBNQ

9) Bob Avakian, Revolution Talk.  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk

10)IBID

11) Peter Gelderloos,What is Democracy,  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-what-is-democracy

12)Chicago Most Segregated City, http://chicagoist.com/2010/10/31/chicago_still_the_most_segregated_c.php

13,MLK, 2009 http://www.secretsocietymusic.org/darcy_james_argues_secret/2009/01/mlk-2009.html