Young Chairman Fred Speaks…
Interview by Heru of the Black Imperial Society
"You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution" was a battle cry made famous by the 21 year old leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. Now 32 years after the government assassinated him, his son, Fred Hampton Jr. has stepped back in the ring to funk it out, with Uncle Sam, after spending a little under nine years in virtually every concentration camp in Illinois on 2 politically trumped up charges of arson. After being unleashed on September 14, 2001, young Chairman Fred has been at working hard from his office otherwise known as the streets, organizing Black people to better their social and living conditions. On July
12, we caught up with the young Chairman in New Orleans, via telephone, to do an interview, sharing some of his opinions on some of the headlines of the day. Although Gil Scott said that the revolution will not be televised, me and Fred hooked up to put it into print for ya. Here it is!
Can you explain to us, how you were captured in May of 1992?
I was kidnapped, I say that and mean that literally. As I was walking down the street with my daughter, who was 3 years old at the time, I was vamped on by more "law enforcement agencies" (CPD, ATF,etc) with more acronyms than alphabet soup. They literally snatched me from my community, my family, and my people, similar to how Africans were kidnapped from the homeland and placed in dungeons via slave ships, not knowing if they would see their family or loved ones ever again.
How did you feel when you saw footage of the Inglewood Police beating up handcuffed 16 year old, Donovan Jackson?
It should be a state of shock, but in reality, it was not and is not for the fact that African people in specific and colonized people in general see such sites or more severe sites on a daily basis. It can be compared to asking the Vietnamese about how they felt, seeing one of their counterparts get beaten by American soldiers, during the U.S. invasion of Vietnam. I recognize that the police act as an occupying army inside the Black community, and enforce the agenda of the ruling class. In fact, I hesitate on using terms like police brutality, because it can give the perception that these Gestapos are moving on their own separate accord, or it’s a simple case of some "bad police". When in reality they represent the frontlines of the attack that is waged on African people under such guises as "the war on drugs", "the war on gangs", and "the war on crime".
What can we do in our own defense?
Our first step is similar to the slogan utilized by alcoholics anonymous. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that we have a problem. When China was plagued by massive opium usage, Mao Tse-Tung and the courageous people of China came to the conclusion that Britain was not there to help them in any way. In fact it was Britain who was responsible for flooding dope into their communities, and attempting to produce a nation of junkies. We have to come to grips with the fact that Uncle Sam is the pusherman, the Whitehouse is the rock house, and the pigz are an armed faction that protects the interest of Uncle Sam and not the people. As individuals we are doomed, we have to be organized. We can not afford the luxury to get caught up in, what I define as, the sidetracking of the slave; "Was he/she in a gang?", "Was he/she speeding?" or "Does he/she have a record?", etc. We have to take the non-compromising position that our freedom fighters and our people, in general, belong to us, the state can’t have them.
What is your opinion of September 11?
Although stating it in a comical way, Richard Pryor’s statement holds a lot of weight, when he said "when white people go through the Black community, they see cats shooting needles, getting high off dope, etc. They reply ‘um…that’s a shame’ then they go home to their communities, and their son comes to the front porch with a can of Budweiser beer, and then they say, ‘Oh my god! It’s
an epidemic’". The fact is that Black people are forced to deal with being victims of terrorism on a daily basis. Whether it was during the era of chattel slavery, seeing a sista get her pregnant belly slit and the fetus stomped to death, or the infamous massacre on Monroe (street) in Chicago on December 4, 1969, which took the lives of (Black Panthers) Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark, and Sista Akua Njeri formerly known as Deborah Johnson who was at the time 18 years old, the wife/comrade of Chairman Fred having a policeman’s revolver pressed against her pregnant belly. Or whether it was Black men, women, and children being bombed on Osage Ave in Philly, on May 13, 1985 or that of seeing our 16 year old babies such as Donovan Jackson in Los Angeles California being handcuffed and beaten by members of one of the most notorious gangs, the "LAPD". African people in specific, and colonized people in general, have been/and are victimized by terrorism under such euphemisms as "educating the savages", "the Red Scare" ,
"Richard Nixon’s so called campaign for law and order", "the war on gangs", "the war on drugs", to "Bill Clinton’s anti-crime bill".
What role do you think that Hip Hop can play in the future of our revolutionary movement?
Recognizing the fact that Hip Hop is phenomenal and in the words of the late great Minister Huey P. Newton, "power is the ability to define phenomenon and make it act in a desired manner". As present day servants of the people, we must utilize this phenomenon, to heighten the consciousness level of the people, in order for it to be compatible with the conditions. As Nat Turner utilized the church, Harriet Moses Tubman utilized what was termed the negro spirituals, as Chairman Fred utilized the phenomenon of the street tribes (gangs), and made these said phenomenons work in a desired manner, that being in the interest of the people. Every possible tool from our scorched earth graffiti artist to our ghetto griots must be won to some point of unity, to work in the interest of the people.
What do you think about all of the senseless Black on Black crime in the Black community?
I struggle against terms such as "Black on Black crime" not saying it in way of copping pleas or making excuses for contradictions that occur inside our community, because without question there are some acts that cats have engaged in that carry no probation. The people have to fight for the democratic space to deal with our own contradictions. Without freedom, ain’t no peace happening. Whether it be drive-bys or pushing plantation poison, we recognize that the principle contradiction is this system. Everything else is secondary or after-effects. A lot of people like to engage or grapple with, what I define as, safe struggles such as "Just say to drugs, etc". Until they come to the conclusion that they got to say no to capitalism, they will find themselves engaging in a time wasting futile exercise. Whether it be "say no to gangs, drugs" or whatever new front that the state and its propaganda is putting forth to justify it’s attacks on African and colonized people.
I reiterate the term "senseless" , to ask what do you think about brothas funkin’ over b.s. like somebody is not from the same turf, or somebody stepped on somebody else’s shoe, or just straight out whoriding on each other for no reason. What do you think about the senseless b.s., we do to each other?
As Field Marshall George Jackson assessed "capitalism, not only affects the economy, but that of the psyche of a people". Many of the characteristics our people have taken on for survival in this "dog-eat-dog" system and there are many of those who unconsciously engage in counter-productive activities. When I was held captive in Galesburg CC in 1995, I was listening to these young brothas rap (talk). A brotha about 19 years old was commenting on how he forced a sista who was demoralized to perform sex acts with a pit bull dog, in order for him to supply her with the next hit. I asked him to repeat this to me over and over. On about the 7th time, he became agitated and asked me, "Can’t you hear?" and why I was aking him to repeat it. At this time another brotha told him who I was, which after a slight pause, the 1st brotha literally had tears in his eyes and told me "Man, that’s fucked up". I’m saying that to say, that many of us also have become desensitized when it comes to our own people being victims. Once the reality that many of our people who have been slandered with such terms as knocks, dopefiends, strawberries, gangbangers, wineheads, cornerhangers, etc, they are still our people, whether they be in unpoliticized tribes or demoralized in one way or another. We recognize what the Black Panther Party stated 30 plus year ago, "differences among the people are reconcilable, but differences between the people and the state are irreconcilable". Let the record reflect that cats can get their community card revoked, once they’ve taken a position to align with the state/ruling class and work in the disinterest of the people. No sympathy for no snitches or sell outs!
What do you think about Black college students looking for the Ameriklan dream of a "good paying" job, a house that they "own" and a expensive car, while in the meantime forgetting about the plight of their people?
We say bring the bourgeoisie skills and skills in general to work in the interest of the people. Now in the case of any Black people who attempt to dodge this reality in search of an Amerikkkan dream, they will be reminded of the nightmares that millions of African people have to deal with everyday of their lives. Whether it be on the New Jersey Turnpike being forced face down on the highway, at gun point, or whether it is having your children fondled in front of your eyes, like those parents in Hunter’s Point by the same police that claim to "serve and protect". Regardless of how many PHD’s or degrees they got, they will be subjected to the same system that "serves and protects" the Diallos, the Tyisha Millers, Mumia Abu Jamals, Idriss Stelleys, Jamil Muwwakils, and the 16 year old Donovan Jacksons.
What are some of your favorite books and music?
George Jackson’s "Soledad Brother", "The Road to Socialism is Painted Black" by Omali Yishetela, "Revolutionary Suicide" by Minister Huey P. Newton, "Assata" by Assata Shakur, "Absence in the Palm of My Hand" by Asha Bandele, "The Red Book" by Mao Tse-Tung. Music … dead prez, Askari X, Geto Boys, 2Pac, Tahir, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Soldiers at War (out of Chicago)
and to pay my dusty’s due, my man Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, the Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, and the Impressions and in that spirit (singing) People get ready for the revolution is coming…(As chairman Fred Sr. and the Ill. Chapter of the Black Panther Party used to sing).
Reporting from the underground bunker of the Black Imperial Society, Heru, Minister of Properganda, of the Black Imperial Society