"The violence of racist oppression, when internalized by the African American community results in reactionary violence or negative violence, and it must be repressed by the African community if self-defense is to advance beyond vigilantism. Vigilantism is not the political organization of force - it is the social organization of civilian frustration. It can be co-opted by the status quo, misdirected by opportunists, and will eventually fizzle out. The political organization of force by the Black community implies its connection to the struggle for power and control over the entire quality of life available to Black people. Unlike reactionary apolitical violence, or vigilante force, the concept of Black self-defense, e.g. the political organization of force, is proactive force. Self-defense in this context is as broad as the requirements of and the struggle for empowerment - not sacrosanct (extremely sacred immune from criticism or violation) in and of themselves. White folks taught us the efficacy of this approach to this use of force.

By way of example, the tactic of economic boycott can be seen as an economic form of self-defense against economic exploitation, injustice or discrimination - especially when it upsets the colonial relationship between the African-American community and the status quo power. In this sense it is proactive and not reactive. Taking control of social institutions or educational systems that affect the quality of African-American life by establishment political means, I.e. electoral politics, and the creation of grassroots alternative institutions which provide services to the Black community are forms of proactive self-defense, for a primary objective of self-defense, for a primary objective of self-defense is deterrence, and a limited political power is better than no power at all. But it is not always enough to deter racist attack.

Black Americans can never relinquish the right to exert a political consequence on those institutions and individuals who abuse us. Questions of “legality” and “illegality” are relative - the appropriateness is both tactical and ethical. Insofar as Black America is unable to punish racist brutality and exert a political consequence for racist attack we are weak, vulnerable and unequal. It is a moral imperative to organize Black people to defend themselves. We must get away from the plantation mentality and the cowardly notion that organizing force in defense of Black people and in pursuit of our political objectives, when necessary, is somehow amoral and therefore rightly illegal. All people have the right to defend themselves. Moreover, all that is legal is not morally just.

The proper criterion for distinguishing between "right" and "wrong" is not mysterious. It is embodied in the principles that advance the cause of the oppressed and exploited over the cause of those who live by oppression and exploitation. Even though the oppressed and exploited may not always be "correct," their cause is just and right. Nor should we foolishly imagine that, by following the guidance and leadership of those who uphold the cause of the oppressed, we are somehow conferring favors on such leadership. For leadership is a burden - surely the more one knows, the more one is responsible for. This is why current Black leaders act like they don't know what's happening in times of crisis, because white folks will hold them responsible to us - not to the status quo, which demands that our people remain in check.”

Dhoruba Bin Wahad, “Still Black, Still Strong” pg. 73-4



Peace be upon you