Acupuncture Interview w/M. Shakur
This interview is thorough! Baba Mutulu is a treasure. His comments in this interview are overflowing with wisdom. Baba shares shares his thoughts on aspects of our reality that aren't often dealt with in the nationalist community. Specifically he deals with the practicality of using acupuncture therapy to treat drug addiction and withdrawal and how this treatment method and others have historically been applied within the context of our liberation movements. Very insightful.
On The History Of The Use Of Acupuncture By Revolutionary Health Workers To Treat Drug Addiction, And US Government Attacks Under The Cover Of The CounterIntelligence Program (COINTELPRO)
Announcer:But, it seems like things have straightened themselves out right about now. We are on. . .we have on the line with us a Brother, Mutulu Shakur, from the. . .who is currently being held in Lompoc Prison.
Let me tell you something about Brother Mutulu Shakur. Brother Mutulu Shakur is a doctor of acupuncture. As an acupuncturist and healthcare worker, Brother Shakur worked from 1971 to '78 for the Lincoln Hospital Detoxification Program in the Bronx in New York. Then, from 1978 to 1982 Dr. Shakur was the co-founder and co-director of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America, also known as BAAANA and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture.
At the Lincoln Detox Center, Dr. Shakur lead a program which used acupuncture to assist in the detoxification of thousands of drug addicts. The Lincoln Detox program was recognized as the largest and most effective of its kind by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Acupuncture Research Society and the World Academic Society of Acupuncture.
Further, at BAAANA, Dr. Shakur continued his remarkable work against drug addiction. He also treated and/or supervised the treatment of thousands of elderly and poor patients who otherwise would have received no treatment of this kind. Patients were able to receive quality healthcare at reasonable prices. Moreover, the clinic at BAAANA served on a regular basis many community leaders, political activists, lawyers, doctors and various international dignitaries. At BAAANA, Dr. Shakur and his co-founder, Dr. Richard Delaney, trained over 100 students in the medical sciences of acupuncture. Some of the trainees at the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture were already medical doctors licensed by various states in the United States.
Also in the late 1970s, just to tell you a little bit about this brother's proficiency in his field, Dr. Shakur traveled with Dr. Mario Wexu, Director of Education at the International Association of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Montreal to the People's Republic of China, where he observed and studied acupuncture applied as the primary form of medical care. We are not just talking about someone who, you know, dibbles and dabbles in his field, but he does some serious research, know what I'm saying.
Brother Shakur also worked with the Revolutionary Action Movement, RAM, in his early years. This was a revolutionary Black Nationalist organization which struggled for black self-determination and socialist change in America. Brother Dr. Shakur has furthermore been a dedicated worker and champion in the struggle against political imprisonment and political convictions of black activists in America.
He has also been a leader in the struggle against illegal United States and local American law enforcement programs designed to destroy the black movement in America and has worked to expose and stop the secret American war against its black colony. Brother Shakur served on the committee to defend Herman Ferguson, a leading black political activist and educator charged with conspiracy in the RAM conspiracy case of the 1960s. Dr. Shakur was a member of the National Committee to Free Political Prisoners. He has worked to legally defend and support political prisoners and prisoners of war like Imari Obadele, Ph.D. and the RNA-11, Reverend Ben Chavis and the Wilmington 10, Geronimo Pratt of the Black Panther Party, Assata Shakur of the Black Liberation Army, Sundiata Acoli also of the Black Liberation Army.
He contributed to the development of a petition to the United Nations by the National Conference of Black Lawyers and others. As a matter of fact, that petition is now documented in the book "Illusions of Justice" by Lennox Hinds. He used to also work with the National Conference of Black Lawyers on developing defense committees for numerous political prisoners and prisoners of war.
In addition, and I'm running out of breath with this Brother's accomplishments, Brother Shakur was most importantly a co-founder and director of the National Task Force for COINTELPRO Litigation and Research which investigated, exposed and instigated suits against the FBI and other American law agencies for criminal acts, domestic spying, dirty tricks, repression, and low intensity warfare maneuvers against the New African independence struggle and others struggling against oppression in America.
Now, having given you this amazing biography, one thing I do have to say before I begin this program is that everything you hear on this show is not necessarily, you may be surprised to know, not necessarily the opinion of the University of Chicago or the University of Chicago's Board of Trustees. But having said that I would like to bring on the air Brother Shakur. Brother Shakur are you with us?
Announcer: Hello Brother Shakur.
MS: How you doing. Free the land, Brother.
Announcer: All right, free the land. Now, Brother Shakur, I just read over some of the things that you been doing. You been a busy Brother even now that you're incarcerated and I'd just like to inquiry as to when we look at your accomplishments and we look at what you are doing with acupuncture a lot of people think first off think Ahmm acupuncturist hmmm...How is somebody with acupuncture going to serve in a struggle etc. etc. doesn't usually strike one as the freedom fighter type of thing to do. So could you explain to us how acupuncture fed into your struggle for black liberation.
MS: Yes, Brother Tyehimba, first of all I would like to thank you and the University for allowing me to talk to the south side of Chicago, people I have not had many opportunities to speak to since I've been incarcerated or since I've come up from being clandestine. It's important for us to understand that the struggle for our liberation is a complete process, Brother, and which requires of us to be prepared to address the causes of our oppression. From that context I have to say that in the '60s we had the pleasure of feeling like we were going to be free in '73, you know. That used to be a slogan we would say.
MS: And as the upheavals and the outrage and the rebellion of the '60s was waged and the struggle between intellectual participation in the movement and the grassroots organized and the new movement began to formulate two lines of the approach to the struggle, some of us were caught in the period of looking at the community being attacked by chemical warfare.
MS: And chemical warfare began to change the shape and the attitude of the brothers and sisters who participated in the, what we called then, the revolution. Whether it be the civil rights aspect of integrating into or assimilating into America or whether it be the revolutionary nationalist aspect of fighting for, in this context and in that period, self-determination and/or liberation by nationhood. So from that point of view the ability to fight chemical warfare was a significant contribution that many organizations gave to the liberation movement because it was at least a physical participation in fighting the ills that the community could still come to the liberation movement for assistance.
For example, the Nation of Islam was very instrumental in fighting drug, heroin addiction by having homes and clean up houses and sweat-out houses all around the country where they could take members of the community who are addicted to drugs and help them cold-turkey. So a lot of the nationalist formations and the grassroots formations began to do the same thing.
A lot of brothers coming out of the penitentiary, cause the penitentiary movement was important. Ex-cons was not what it was today. An ex-con was an individual who gave character, who established a code of conduct in the community. So they began to set up houses, cold-turkey houses and the like to help deal with the problem of drug addiction.
So from the mid'60s to the '70s the ability to fight heroin and other addictions that were being pushed in our community, that ability to do that with the assistance of the liberation formations or organizations became an important material aid to the community.
In view of that, in New York in particular and nationally, the National Drug Abuse Conference and Richard Nixon with Rockefeller implemented into the black community an experiment that they had been experiment. . . a drug that they had experimented on for a long period of time in Kentucky which they had a Lexington, Kentucky experiment program. They implemented what they called a Methadone Maintenance Intervention Program. Now Methadone Maintenance is a drug that was used allegedly, theoretically, to get a person off of heroin but onto methadone monitored by methadone clinics and allegedly its intentions were to detoxify a person addicted to chemical warfare off the methadone.
We seen that as a clear, clear process of taking from the revolutionary movement and the grassroots movement an ability to stay in touch with the community and to render aid and an ability and a setting for a person to demonstrate their love for their brother and sister by spending time, working with that brother or sister through that terrible period of cold-turkey.
Announcer: Well it sounds like we need some of that out here today with all this crack out here. You know.
MS: No question....this is why the Methadone Maintenance Move was a sickness it can move. What happened is Rockefeller....the history of methadone is a very interesting one. I don't know how much time we have and I'm going to try to cut it short. But the Methadone Maintenance came into the community as a requirement for aid to dependent children, a requirement if you wanted to get on welfare, a requirement for parole and requirement for probation. It was called the Rockefeller Program in New York. At the time that Jimmy Carter was Governor of Atlanta, under him was the man named Peter Borne. Peter Borne was the National Drug Abuse Counsel Coordinator for Richard Nixon. They brought methadone into the community. In New York City, 60 percent of the illegal drugs on the street during the early '70s was methadone. So we could not blame drug addiction at that time on Turkey or Afghanistan or the rest of that triangle.
Announcer: It was the United States government and Rockefeller.
MS: It was coming in through Eli Lily and the Brinks trucks that was delivering the drugs to the various methadone clinics around the country. And instead of people being detoxified off of methadone, they were being increased in dosages. So acupuncture, in the hands of revolutionary thinking, Puerto Rican, Blacks, Progressive White people, was an intervention that the government was not willing to accept at the time because it attacked and exposed the intention of the government to impose a chemical warfare on a certain segment of the community. And it exposed the fact that the government wanted to control the flow of drugs into the community. So our. . . hello. . .
MS: . . .our ability to get involved with acupuncture and to learn it, and to learn it from a very fundamental basis was an important contribution to that struggle. So we became victims of counter intelligence not in the classical sense based upon the Hoover documents of stopping the rise of the black messiah or stopping the development of black nationalist hate groups that showed that famous '67 document. We became targets because we were intervening into the chemical war process here ?? was being dealt with by illegal drugs and was being moved into the phase of legal drugs.
Announcer: Well, that was when you were starting to get active with the Lincoln Detox program and could you tell us about some of the development that happened there and the development of BAAANA.
MS: Okay. The Lincoln Detox program was started by the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords Party and a white group called White Lightening. This group began to take over aspects of Lincoln Hospital in order to provide space and treatment care. . .hello?
Announcer: Yeah, we're still here.
MS: . . .for people
Operator: Are you done with your call?
Announcer: No. Hello? Hello?. . .So ladies and gentleman, that's where we left last week or I should say two weeks ago, that was October 4th, where there was just an interruption by the prison telephone operator. And well, you know, as they say the struggle must continue and so we're going to continue on with Brother Mutulu. So, welcoming you back to WHBK, welcome back, Brother Mutulu.
MS: Free the land, Brother.
Announcer: All right, so it's good to have you back.
MS: Yeah, well it's all like you say a struggle always continues, you know, we just have to prepare for the unexpected. It's our ability to handle the strain and allow for us to win anyway. You know.
Announcer: Right. Okay, so now you had been talking about. . . two weeks ago you were talking about the influx of drugs into the country and into the African community. . . the New African community and I was wondering if you could kind of pick up the pieces from where you were two weeks ago.
MS: Yeah,. . . hello? I hear someone messing with the phone so bear with me.
MS: This here conversation has been approved by the warden and the captain. Okay, so I should be able to continue the conversation. All right?
Announcer: I sure hope so.
MS: Okay. I was trying to illustrate how the liberation movements and the civil rights movement and the black. . .
Announcer: Can you speak up a little, Brother.
Announcer: Can you speak up a little?
MS: Sure. I was trying to illustrate how the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Nationalist movement was very fundamental to us in the early '60s, late mid '60s and '70s. And that one of the ways that the organization becomes fundamental, respected and appreciated from the masses is that we as organizational members or organization forms provide some type of material aid to the ails of our community and to the needs of our community.
And so the drug program in Lincoln Hospital that was developed, as I said before by the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords Party and another formation called White Lightening of ex-drug victims. This became a center for revolutionary, political change in the methodology and treatment modality of drug addiction because the method was not only medical but it was also political. And I think that was the continuing from the independent basis that the various formations had prior to the'70s, various organizations as I mentioned the Nation of Islam, RAM and SNCC and other formations dealing with the problems themselves.
So the Lincoln Detox became not only recognized by the community as a political formation but its work in developing and saving men and women of the third world inside of the oppressed communities, resuscitating these brothers and sisters and putting them into some form of healing process within the community we became a threat to the city of New York and consequently with the development of the barefoot doctor acupuncture cadre, we began to move around the country and educate various other communities instead of schools and orientations around acupuncture drug withdrawal and the strategy of methadone and the teaching the brothers and sisters the fundamentals of acupuncture to serious acupuncture, how it was used in the revolutionary context in China and in Vietnam and how we were able to use it in the South Bronx and our success. Primarily because we had a love for our people and we had a commitment to our people, we started very rudimentary.
We started with just finger pressure point and as we began to continue and search for the truth the information came to us, we went to China, we went to Montreal, we went around in England and Switzerland and various parts of the world to understand the theory and the application of acupuncture to drug withdrawal. So we became predictable, we became the base of acupuncturists who were revolutionaries in this country. Most of us belonged to various political formations and we were a part of a cadre of men and women who were not licensed western doctors but we were acupuncturists and oriental medicine and so therefore we opened up a whole avenue of the standards and the oppression of American Medical Association (AMA)against oriental medicine and the whole line of struggle. So acupuncture and Lincoln Detox together was a political and medical threat to the theory of legalized chemical warfare within our community.
Announcer: Now that's deep 'cause the more I find out about, you know, how to take care of one's body, how to get medical treatment, there seems like there was some many concepts involved in what you were doing. The AMA involved and the concept of western medicine and pumping drugs into your system and the toxification of the community, the chemical warfare. This is a part of our history that, I guess, very few of us have had access to. Now, I wonder if you could also tell us a little bit about your case and exactly how things came to a head and how you wound up in prison.
MS: One of the things that's got to be clear is that I am a part of a movement. I have been a part of the movement most of my life and when I became involved in the Lincoln Detox process, I had already been in the Republic of New Afrika, the black caucus, I have been the supporter of the RAM cases in Queens, New York. I had also been involved in the National Black Political Convention. I was already a political animal. When we all hooked up to Lincoln Detox there was major leadership of the Young Lords Party that was a part of what we called the Lincoln Detox Collective. We were also a part of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners. Some of us were a part. . . North Americans were a part of the Midnight Special. The Sister of Bernadine Dohrn was there, Jennifer Dohrn, was a part of the Lincoln Detox Collective. So we had a number of politically conscience people involved in carrying out the fundamental process of dealing with the needs of the community. You follow me?
Announcer: Uh huh.
MS: And seeing that there was too powerful of a access. . . too powerful access for the revolutionary community to have specially as we were moving into 1973 and the oil embargo and third-world nations emerging around the world, revolutionary struggle, the anti-imperialist struggle, struggle for national identity that was happening all over the world. The concept of self-determination within the minimum context of community control and control of one's own health, was too much of a significant barometer for our community to see the potential of freedom, the potential of self-determination, so we became the target.
Announcer: So, it sounds like you're talking about a whole type of medical wing of the liberation movement, almost. Like the various collectives that you were talking about. And I know here in Chicago they had a brother who was involved in starting up a health clinic etc. A whole new concept of medicine, medical care and how care should be provided.
MS: Really the principal of providing medical care wasn't new because if you remember the Black Panther Party publicized people's health clinics. They publicized it from the '60s to the early '70s. But, and I mean, the media publicized it. Other formations in the Libya movement in Cleveland and various nationalist formations in New York and Chicago and Mid West and South, were doing certain type of healthcare. And the voter registration campaign, they were doing certain things. But the significant part about this was that we had also caught them red-handedly providing a chemical addiction to a people that they alleged were trying to detoxify, to clean up the drugs. So it wasn't only that we were providing medical care, we were providing medical care and exposing chemical warfare. We were not only providing medical care and exposing chemical warfare, we were challenging western occidental medicine to eastern medicine and natural healing. So all the fads and the health foods stores and all of the reflexology clinics and all of these things that allow to function today would not exist if revolutionary men and women did not fight tooth and nail to spread the possibilities of another form of healthcare system to the third world grassroots community.
Announcer: As you were saying before, a lot of us are familiar somewhat with the history of the FBI and the CIA, COINTELPRO operations, and the various search and destroy missions of various police departments across the country and in New York it was particularly fierce from what I understand.
MS: Oh it was very significant, it was very significant. A lot of the . . . the thing that you have to understand is people must read the COINTELPROl document directive clearly. And aspects of it talk about misdirecting, discrediting, taking off track, taking away credibility, preventing good work from looking like good work in the community. Fundamental stuff. And that is strategic as opposed to overt. You follow me. And so federally they were beginning to. . .they couldn't come at us direct because it would be hard to explain. If men and women are trying to do something good, why are you attacking them. So, therefore, the misdirection and the discrediting and the media's collaboration by refusing to announce to the community and to the readers what was going on, allowed for the Lincoln Detox Program to be targeted as if it was poverty pimps going on up there. At the time that we were moving there was a group called the National Caucus of Labor Committees.
They began to attack us. Now that we have seen their covert operations and understand them to be destabilizing and working for different forms all over the world, we realize that they were part of the covert action. We attached by Charles Schuman now a Congressman in Washington. He was a Congressman in Brooklyn. He lead an assembly evaluation of all the so-called third-party programs, which were a residential communities where you could keep people in over a certain length of time and try to heal. He felt that we had too much control, that men and women had too much control over brothers and sisters without them being certified, and you know certified men politicized to the Right Wing element. So, Mayor Koch who became the Mayor at the time, was the head of the New York City Board of Estimates. And so he lead, he won his campaign on attacking drug programs and anti-poverty programs in New York City.
So, during the end stages after they had murdered many BLA members, after they had tremendous trials and the Lincoln Detox community, the Lincoln Detox patients, the Lincoln Detox workers, the Lincoln Detox supporters were always in the eye of the storm when it came down to supporting revolutionary causes, positive issues, we've struck when the gypsy cabs went on strike, we struck with the workers. . . the healthcare workers in the hospital, we demanded better healthcare, we fought in the welfare department for proper treatment of welfare recipients, we had a legal defense fund and helped indigenous people who couldn't afford legal services. These are the kinds of people services that were developed out of a revolutionary context from Lincoln Detox Drug Program as a result of politicizing victims of drug addiction and educating the community about chemical warfare, we were able to provide these types of community service, therefore, as the COINTELPRO and the media said that the liberation, they had broke the back of the liberation movement here in the South Bronx under a different banner, under a health banner we had cadres of men and women...in the community out there spreading the word of self-determination and liberation.
Announcer: So this is between the years in Lincoln Detox that's from the years of 1971-78. Is that right?
Announcer: And now, eventually was Lincoln disbanded or what?
MS: The day that I was fired they sent 200 policemen up to the clinic, surrounded the clinic. . .
Announcer: 200 policemen!
MS: Yes. . . and just controlled the whole thing and fired all of us or told us that we were to be sent to other hospitals. Right now today you can go into New York City and in those municipal hospitals within the community, with the black and Puerto Rican and poor communities, a municipal hospital, not the private hospital, but the municipal hospitals, you can now receive acupuncture treatment for drug withdrawal as an alternative method of treatment. And that exists today because many men and women were put in jail, shot and killed, had mental disorder, all the things that go with on going low intensity warfare, all the suffering that can be attributed to that is for ??. The reason why men and women now can go get acupuncture and alternative healthcare has to do with that cadre of men and women. And they need to be praised and that situation needs to be correctly analyzed. Because if we do not analyze it. . .
[break in tape]
Announcer: You were involved with BAAANA, right?
MS: BAAANA was the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America. We went into Harlem and we bought a home in Strivers Row and opened it as an acupuncture clinic in Harlem. And that clinic began to teach brothers and sisters and others the skill of acupuncture to spread around the country in various segments of the population. And we began to certify them internationally, under . . . we were opened under the International Association of Acupuncture and the World Health Organization.
Because I have always been a revolutionary, I have always been a supporter and a member of the liberation movement. Nothing changes. The acupuncture clinic was a clinic and BAAANA was built on a similar structure as Lincoln Hospital. It must be political and any person who was going to learn from our clinic had to be somewhat socially conscience and committed to fighting the ills of the community. And so acupuncture. . . BAAANA became a target just like Lincoln Detox. The only difference is that it was easier to focus on BAAANA, to isolate BAAANA in order for them to deal with this raid on BAAANA that happened in March of 1982.
BAAANA became a target in a RICO conspiracy. What they allege is that because BAAANA was providing this kind of healthcare and the insurance companies were not giving money to BAAANA because they were a part of another counter-intelligence strategy to try to close us down by refusing to pay rightfully due insurance bills to the clinic, they alleged that the clinic was being kept alive by the Black Liberation Army. And they alleged that the Black Liberation Army was robbing armored trucks in order to keep the acupuncture clinic alive as well as other organizations and facilities in the black nation. And so I became a target of an investigation, March 20th, 1982 I was indicted for the liberation of Assata Shakur because I was her legal assistant on many of her cases during the '70s. They target me with her liberation, I was targeted as part of the liberation of freedom fighters as well as the expropriation of 9 or 10 armored trucks during the course of '76 to '81.
So I went underground in 1981. I knew I was a target, Mtayari Shabaka was murdered. A great revolutionary by the name of Sekou Odinga who had been a part of the Panther 21 case, who had been a childhood friend of mine, who was a leader of the Black Panther Party, who went to Algiers and opened up the international section. Was captured at the time Mtayari was murdered and he was indicted for being one of the leaders of the clandestine formation of the Black Liberation Army, New African Freedom Fighters. Many other brothers and sisters, Kwasi Balagoon, Chui Ferguson-El, Assata Shakur, Nehanda Abiodun, great sister who was a part of the aboveground structure, who is still underground, who is still being hunted by the law, the FBI, CIA, Interpol, she was a sister who helped start BAAANA on 129th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue in Harlem. She was a great sister, she was a part of the Republic of New Afrika's cadre and was one of the first organizers of the New African People's Organization. Many people know of Assata Shakur and they should but there is another sister named Nehanda Abiodun that they have been hunting and trying to catch ever since we went underground and she is a great comrade, a great sister and all sisters need to know about her. She is a very important contributor to the development of acupuncture and drug withdrawal in the black community, New African community.
So, we felt the wrath of COINTELPRO. We were also, prior to and during the time of the Lincoln Detox Process, my political work was the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners and the National Committee for COINTELPRO Litigation and Research Committee. Now that formation was made up of various political formations and organizations who had suffered during the decline of the revolutionary movement, who were . . . these formations were victims of counter intelligence and COINTELPRO and low intensity warfare. We came together to try to find out why we, political formations such as the African People's Party, the Republic of New Africa, All African People's Revolutionary Party, segments of the Black Panther Party, segments of the Houses ??. How come we could not sit down and unite and further the struggle for human rights of New African people in America and socialist development of our struggle. And that discussion and those people coming together made us realize that we had not thoroughly understood and accepted low intensity warfare and counter intelligence in relationship to the ideological struggles that we were having so-called petty contradictions between ourselves. So that committee became the National Committee for COINTELPRO Litigation and Research. And what we did was begin to go out and look at issues that were dividing us. . .
Announcer: Excuse me, Brother. Give us an idea of what time period you are talking about.
MS: Now we're talking between '73 and '77.
Announcer: Okay. I just wanted to get that.
MS: Right. We're talking about after Assata Shakur was captured and Zayd Malik Shakur was killed and Sundiata Acoli was captured. Okay. Because between '70 and '73 there was complete assassination of BLA members. There was assassination of potential organizers within aboveground formations. There was also false charges ??. All over the country men and women were falling to all kinds of various situations. No this happened somewhat different then to '67 to, well let's say '66 'cause we have to put in Ahmed Evans and what happened in Cleveland, from the '66 to '70 period the consensus of the police and the FBI and the white community was that direct attacks against visible fronts of the black liberation movement was legal and proper. Do you follow me?
MS: So that many organizations who had store fronts who were providing various care and office open to the community were being militarily attacked. Do you follow me?
MS: And those attacks began to kill the momentum of the visibility of liberation formations within the community. So after they confronted us in that fashion, from '70 to '71, the low intensity hunt and destroy method was the second phase of COINTELPRO and us killing each other.
Announcer: A lot of people, I think a lot of people in the audience wonder what low intensity warfare is, but in terms of clearing it up, it's the same tactics that the United States government used against Chile, used against El Salvador and uses around the world to destabilize governments and here, in the United States, to destabilize the African community, the Native American communities, the island of Puerto Rico, etc., etc., etc.
MS: Nothing spooky about it. I think a lot of times we put titles on things to cut the explanation and where we need to put the explanation, make the explanation more clear. Low intensity warfare very simply put, is the play on the weaknesses and uncovered flanks of organizations or formations that are a threat, to the powers that be or to your adversary. As it relates to us and the United States government and military government, we, the liberation movements, were infiltrated with agents, money was stolen and we were beginning to accuse each other, work that we were doing to educate and propagate to the community was being subverted and converted 'cause we did not control the media process. Our own egos were being used against us very fundamentally. Your mail was being stolen when you expected the mail to come for this, that or the other. Shoestring budgets were being stretched to the limits so we would fail to make certain deadlines. So we began to feel inconsistent, impotent, incompetent and we felt that the things were falling apart. So our morale began to weaken. So with a weak morale and a vicious military attack, an assassination of key leader, or a car accident driving him off the road, or an addiction or a supporter or something, anything that can breakdown the fundamental structure and the spirit of a formation is low intensity warfare. Where you're being attacked everyday but it's not the clear line that you anticipate. And it's not haphazard attack. It's a very fundamental, thought out, programmatic attack at the weaknesses that have been reported by the agent to the superior.
Announcer: Okay. Now, you experienced a lot of that as you were just saying in BAAANA and in the Detox, the Lincoln Detox, and as a matter of fact, one of your fellow doctors was killed or died on this scene.
MS: Well, Lincoln Detox was hot-bed for COINTELPRO. During the time from '71, '70 to '77 we had suffered at least 3 or 4 assassinations. The most notable assassination, if you will remember we were talking about the fact that we had. . . we were unlicensed in Western medicine but licensed in Eastern medicine?
MS: Well, during the time that we were licensed in Eastern medicine and practicing acupuncture, the only way that we were able to maintain and continue was that we had a western doctor to support the work program. He was the sign-off person.
MS: This person was not necessary have to be an acupuncturist, matter of fact they prefer he not be, or she not be. And during the course from '70 to '73 initially it was the man by the name. . . one was Steve Levine was the first doctor at Lincoln Hospital but he was not an acupuncturist. A man by the name of Frank Atfeld, M.D. was one of the first western medicine doctors working with the cadre, we evolved the acupuncture collectively together. He left and there was a man by the name of . . . his name was Richard Taft. Now Richard Taft was the grandson of President Taft, or the great grandson of President Taft. When Frank Atfeld left, Richard Taft was the resident doctor okaying the western. . .the eastern treatment modality. You follow me?
MS: And so therefore, he was essential to us in terms of continuing treatment.
MS: The day he was murdered, two days before he was murdered Charles Schumer and the National Caucus of Labor Committees created an attack, a verbal media attack as well as a mass rally to create a diversion of energy from the Lincoln Detox program. The day he was killed, the night he was killed, they had just attacked our clinic, physically. And anyone in the historical period would know that a National Caucus of Labor Committees had ... tight tactics. They would just jump on the people, would beat them with nunchakus. That was their modus operandi. And so the day that Richard Taft was killed Peter Borne who was Reagan's . . . I mean. . . I'm sorry. . . Carter's East Coast Regional Campaign Manager, and the survey of the International Acupuncture availability for drug addiction, came to the clinic. He was the one. . . he was there was Richard Taft's body was found. You want to know who Richard Borne was, I mean . . . Borne, his father was the person in Grenada who owned the American Medical University over there, who called in the troops saying that the Americans were under attack. So his son was there the same day that. . . Richard Taft was murdered. Now the murder was he was shot up with drugs in the back of the auditorium. That's how he died. So that was to discredit the Acupuncture clinic as if the doctors of the clinic was drug addicts.
Announcer: Right, right. That he O.D.'ed
MS: And now, even if you accept the fact that he used drugs, which we don't, why would he use it in the back of the auditorium. And die. Very shaky circumstances. Another great man that was killed, associated with the Lincoln Detox program was a man by the name of Stanley Cohen. A fantastic lawyer. This man had won every case that we had from Lincoln Detox. BLA cases, cases dealing with rights of the welfare clients, workers rights. He had defended Assata Shakur from three major trials. He was getting ready to go into Jersey for the last and final trial, because Assata Shakur was never convicted of the things that they allegedly were looking for her for. She was convicted for defending herself against an assassination plot on the New Jersey Turnpike which killed my brother Zayd Shakur and imprisoned Sundiata Coli. That last trial, just before we were going into that last trial, they found Stanley Cohen O.D.'ed on cocaine. He was the best attorney that the clinic had and that the revolutionaries had at that time, not famous like the rest of them.
Announcer: Okay. Now, we've covered so much. It's been so fascinating.
MS: The reason why I'm covering all of this is because when you read about me and the Big Dance or you read about my POW position in the courts and the stand I take on international laws relates to our struggle. When I say that I'm a prisoner of war, I'm talking about low intensity warfare. I'm talking about a warfare that has been sanctioned as legitimate war by Protocols 1 and 2 of the International UN Convention. You follow me?
MS: And I'm saying that we have to recognize that our suffering cannot be passed off as criminal. Follow me?. . .violation. I am part of a liberation movement. I accept that. I accept the fact that the United States government has waged war on us as a people and I believed in my actions are part of resistance to that war. Consequently, I am catching as a prisoner of war. Do you follow me?
MS: And so when I tell you what the war was like. When I talk to you about acupuncture, and I talk to about healing and I talk to you about legal work, and I talk to you about welfare work, that work is work that must be considered war work. Do you follow me?
MS: Because if we are to save ourselves, we must be clear about what we're dealing with. The lack of clarity creates the confusion. Do you follow me?
MS: And so I give you this whole background because when you read about me or when they say things. . . I mean most of the time they don't like talking about me because they can't make me a classic criminal. They can't make me a petty thief. You see. They have to deal with the whole, you can't deal with the part. And so when we talk about all the ??, Abdul Majid of the Queens Two and Bashir Hameed. These men worked on housing. They worked for better housing in areas like Chicago and New York and Detroit and Philadelphia and Boston. We know what it is to have cold water flats. We know what it is to have rats and roaches and the landlord not coming taking care of that. More tropical areas might not understand the significance of fighting landlords and slumlords. You follow me?
Announcer: Uh huh.
MS: But these brothers, that's the work they did in the community. And so now they are in jail fighting for a new trial for allegedly killing the policemen. You got Mumia in Philadelphia who was a radio personality, a person who dealt with the media, who gave the news, who dealt with the arts of African people, New African people. He's getting ready. They are trying to execute him for defending himself against a policeman. Now how can you execute a political prisoner, a prisoner of war. You can't do that and not violate the treaties of war. When you look at what's going on with African National Congress (ANC) and the Pretoria government right now. The release of prisoners, the phases of release of prisoners. And this is why we must save Mumia, because if we allow him. . . allow them to kill Mumia, execute Mumia all of our future will be executed in pursuant of political struggle. When in other countries, prisoners of war are put in detention camps and saved until the negotiation happens.
Announcer: Well I find that in this country most people say Aprisoners of war, well you must be talking about those people that Ross Perot is talking about or something like there aren't any prisoners of war or political prisoners in this country. I think that's probably the myth that we have to dispel.
MS: Well it's a myth because our movement, our people who deal with the media, do not our interpret our situations properly. So sure, if there's only one war that people know about, the war against Saddam Hussein, then that's the only war they're going refer to. The war against drugs, Noriega. Then that's the only war they're going to refer to. So, we have to understand and we can't charge genocide, we can't demand reparations if we don't realize that we can't say at the same time that the existence of New African people is a war-like existence inside an oppressive colonized situation.
Announcer: Yes. You know that it seems to me along with the concept of being in war is the concept of nationhood. And when we talk about the concept of nationhood, in context of black people, New African people, we're talking about a land base on this country. I wonder if you will tell us. . . if you could just elaborate for me how through your struggle you came to become a New African. What compelled you, what were the things that compelled you to identify yourself as such.
MS: Let me just say. You can't put the cart before the horse.
MS: The issue is, are we at a state of conflict. If we are at a state of conflict, what is going to be the solution.
MS: You have to first accept there is a conflict. If you don't accept there is a conflict, then you can't fathom a separate nation. And if you do, it's egotistical. Well I want my own. It's without basis. But if you understand that we do not coexist in a vacuum, that we are in a life and death struggle. That the history of us being brought here and how we are treated since we've been here, demands that we come up with some formula to resolve this contradiction or else our condition, our condition and our circumstances might be the cause of the fall of all humanity on the planet earth. Because we must be free. Now, everybody doesn't agree with that scenario. You follow me?
Announcer:Yeah that's true.
MS: Some people believe that we can formulate a better living and life condition by participating in an integrated political and economic cultural system. Now, I do not say that they're not revolutionaries. If they are hell bent on changing and changing the rights of people and forcing this government and developing a new government that integrates everybody into an equal formation and rights for everybody, well then all praises due to Allah. Fine. It still does not deal with the question: where do we find ourselves as New African people brought here as slaves. Okay?
MS: But even in that society I will co-exist because you allow me to have my own culture or at least try to find where I'm going. You follow me?
MS: But, I contend that Utopia or that possibility for the last 150 years has not come to be. And in the process, we have been dying, dying, dying, dying, dying. And in order for us to understand what it is that we were fighting for, we must label what we're for, and I'm fighting for a nation. A nation of New African people, not exclusively, but conclusively our nation that develops a culture that deals with our experience and that a culture that will allow the exercise, creativity, the potential of every man, woman and child that enters our nation. So, I come to that because I understood that I have to know why I'm fighting and might die. Why I sacrifice.
MS: People come to it for different reasons. You follow me?
MS: And so we can intellectualize it. We can talk about what Malcolm talked about that all struggle is fought for land. The Turkish struggle, the struggle that you see in Europe and in the Soviet Union is a struggle for national identity. The different nations in the Soviet Union feel that they must have their own land base, they must make their own decisions, and formulate their own policies as it relates to other peoples in the world. And that was the mighty Soviet Union. So are you saying that that is not possible in America? And if it is possible, it's going to be a war of Armageddon. Well I might agree with you. But it does not take away from the fact that you must know why your fighting and why you're sacrificing and why you might die. You can't be vague about that. 'Cause what we're struggling for is the control of the natural resources. And what you saw in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq was a struggle to take a piece of the natural resources that has escaped the U.S. Imperialist's powers because the emergence of territory nationalism.
Announcer: Okay. Now, let me ask you this, I've heard about the Shakur family. I mean, I've heard a lot of beautiful, positive things about. I wonder if you could tell me a little bit about how that. . . what that family is or that connection is. Could you?
Announcer: I mean, it's out of curiosity. I just heard a little bit about it.
MS: The Shakur family extends from a man by the name of Aba Saladin Shakur. Aba Saladin Shakur was responsible for fathering ?? Shakur, Zayd Malik Shakur, myself, Assata Shakur, Sekou Odinga, Abdul Majid, Malika Majid and many other New Africans who were part of the Republic of New Africa and the Black Panther Party and we were of the Shakur tribe. A very . . . Abba Shakur was one of the loyal members of the OAU and the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and a close associate of Brother Macolm Shabazz.
Announcer: Okay. Now, I understand your brother Tupac Shakur is . . . raises some consciousness through his records. As a matter of fact, I heard his last record. It was great.
MS: Yeah. Tupac is my son.
Announcer: Wow, Great, no kidding.
MS: He is being attacked by the powers that be because of his own individuality, his own message and ways of demonstrating how our lives, the absence of his extended family, me, Lumumba, Zayd, his mother a great woman, Afeni, one of the only two women in the Panther 21 case, who defended herself during the Panther 21 case and won. She was also a very key figure in the national COINTELPRO Litigation and Research formulation. A fantastic worker in housing and one of the key supporters of political prisoners and prisoners of war during the 1970's. We understand that our children and a lot of things that men. . . you know it's interesting that up, 'cause we just been talking in the family about how we're going to handle the ?? confrontation. Let us be very clear, it is always admirable to have your children believe what you believe. It is always the legacy you like to continue. You feel like you commit yourself, your sacrifices so that they will know, and we have many children. Many of our children, the X-Clan is Sonny Carson's son brother Lumumba. A great comrade. We grew all . . . this is all our family. But they all have seen what low intensity war means. My other son, little Mutulu is involved . . . was involved in the Toni Toni Toni thing, now him and his brother are together.
MS: Yeah. But we see is that many of our children suffer in ways that is yet to be analyzed from the intensity of the war that we have been struggling against. And because our community has not accepted that as a reality and because we are in jail. We are not able to give our family what you might give, not you personally, but they might be able to do in the confines of their home and in founding the culture and in going back to the Egyptology and the history of the Nile and the great cultural lessons that our children are getting. They always seem to forget to give the real, or research the struggle, the contemporary struggle that a major part of our people played a part in, in the '50s, '60, '70s and '80s and '90s. And because we forget that our children who are directly connected to the intensity of the war are constantly evaluating the consequences.
Announcer: I see.
MS: And the way that they respond to the repression, oppression, sometimes might not be what we want them to do. But we, we have begun to understand what the residue of war means. Just like the people, the fathers and mothers in Angola who's children have been shooting their mothers and shooting their fathers at the orders of Savimbi. Just like in South Africa where necklaces was required to rid the townships of informers. Just like the killings and beatings of young kids that are in the ANC and PAC. We will have to see in another generation how that has affected ?? ??, how that affected the masses of people. Are we immune to life and death. Does that mean we lose our passion for living. Is that why we see the killing of old ladies and the drive by shootings of innocent children and the lyrics. . . you know, explaining phenomena heretofore not connected to the principals of our community. We must make that analysis and when you make that analysis I think that the audience will agree that we have a serious problem and you cannot call it genetic like their trying to evaluate our children and say that we are violence prone. And if we allow that you going to allow the gas chambers. If you allow every child to be fingerprinted and foot printed, you're going to allow the gas chambers. If you do not understand that the Tuskegee experiment about the sex allowing men to walk around with syphilis for 30 and 40 years and then we come up with AIDS. If you don't see it, I mean, you know. . .
Announcer: Yeah, what can you say?
MS: It's nothing. . .so you know we all go to the next level with a different understanding. So yeah, those are our children and, you know, KRS1 and MC Light and all of the Rappers, brother Prince and all of these people are yelling out what they see as a political reality. But for lack of a structure and you have to accept the fact that Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam are overtly courting and supporting Ice T and Ice Cube and rightfully they should, they should. And say you got to admire that, but we must do the same. Not we meaning separate from the Nation of Islam but a non-religious formation must purely embrace and support and protect the ?? of the youth of today.
Announcer: Wow. It's been just fantastic having you on the air. I really hope we can do this again sometime. It has been. . . you know we talk. . . I talk about it on the air, the history that you didn't get from Eyes on the Prize.
MS: Oh no question.
Announcer: You know what I'm saying.
MS: But it's a good foundation. It's a good foundation. I think what is missing from Eyes on the Prize is the filler. How did Willy Ricks get to. . .you know. . .Black Power. And how did the struggle between SNCC develop and. . . you know. . .how did the love that you see between Martin and Kwame even though they disagreed practically.
Announcer: Yeah. yeah.
MS: I think it's important to see that when the Deacons for Defense were securing the men and women marching from Montgomery to Mississippi that they were being protected by the Deacons for Defense. That was a capitulation on Martin's behalf that security was needed at some point. So everybody was growing. You know. It's an evolutionary process. And we have to analyze that. One of the things that it made clear is that we had to clearly define what it is we want. Non-violence cannot be an objective, it can be a strategy but it can't be an objective.
Announcer: Okay, Brother. We're about to sign off right now 'cause I'm about to run out of time in about 2 minutes. If there is any final message that you like to shout out the Chicago land audience and who ever else this may go out to.
MS: Yes. I'd just like to say that I've met some great men that have come out of Chicago, that have been in prison. This is my first time in prison. I think that we need . . . all the communities need to come closer together. I think we have to realize that we must support our political prisoners. We must internationalize our support for our political prisoners. We must make that a requirement for our support for other causes because all other causes support their political prisoners. It is not suspicion for the whole half of America to raise up for Nelson Mandela and not raise up for Sekou Odinga and Mumia Abu Jamal and Geronimo Pratt. We must see our struggle in its proper context and we must see the severity of it. And we must have more love for each other. And we must stop being afraid to be in the community offering the solution and deal with it completely and decisively.
Announcer:, All right, Brother. It's been good having you on the air.
Announcer: Free the land.
MS: Free the land and the man.
Announcer: Okay. Bye bye. All right brothers and sisters, that was sure inspirational. Man, some type of history, huh. I'm going to be clearing the airways here...
Peace be upon you
Acupuncture Interview w/M. Shakur