[News] To the Ones Who Can Fly: A Message from the Whirlwind

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 14 15:00:33 EDT 2020

https://redvoice.news/to-the-ones-who-can-fly-a-message-from-the-whirlwind/ To
the Ones Who Can Fly: A Message from the Whirlwind K.D. Wilson
<https://redvoice.news/author/wilson/> - 13 Sep 2020
*Image description: Within a black border, we see a cloudy daytime sky
peeking out from behind rows of black women. From the top left corner to
the bottom right, we see: (first row) Assata Shakur, Yaa Asantewaa, Harriet
Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Queen Nanny, Marsha P. Johnson (second row) CeCe
McDonald, Korryn Gaines, Angela Davis, Sandra Bland, Sojourner Truth,
Sylvia Wynter (third row) Miss Major, Bree Newsome, Toni Morrison (fourth
row) Kimberlé Crenshaw, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Billie Holiday (fifth
row) Marielle Franco, Nina Simone, Lucy Parsons, Hortense Spillers, Debbie

To the ones who can fly,

the street queers of the future,

If you read this, you will hear things that we also heard.

You will hear that this land of liberty, your ancestors were brought here
as slaves. You will hear that we suffered for a long time. You will hear
that a civil war happened because white people realized it was evil to own
other beings as property. You will hear that a man named Lincoln signed a
law to help us get free, but then segregation came and Black people had to
fight for freedom again. They will call it the “civil rights movement,” and
they will never explain to you why we had to fight for freedom two times in
the so-called land of the free in the first place. All they will tell you
is that, again, white people realized it was wrong to oppress us. They will
tell you that a President signed the law so that Black people could finally
vote. Then you will look around, and see that we still aren't free, see
that the earth is dying, and that we are very poor, that many of us are in
jail or on the streets, and that a lot of cops brutalize us, and see that
white people still chase and kill us. And you must ask yourself why that
is, in the land of the free?

They will tell you that everything you face is because there’s a lot of
criminals in our community. They will tell you not to be a criminal, if you
want to be able to get the American Dream and its promise of freedom. But
regardless of whether you did a crime, you still don’t have that Dream or
promise. Regardless of whether you did a crime or not, there are still
things — racism, transphobia, sexism, ableism — that keep you from living
the Dream. What, then, is the truth? The truth is we are oppressed, and
America is rigged, set up. There is no land of opportunity, “crime” is just
what they call the things that oppressed people do to either survive a
system of haves and have-nots, or to resist and fight to change it. When
our enslaved ancestors tried to escape, that was a crime. When they freed
one another by burning plantations down, that was a crime. And even if they
didn't resist, even if they just looked for secret places to pray or have
fun, even if they just went to sleep for a little while after being worked
so hard — these acts of survival were also crimes. Every Black person who
knows what it’s like to struggle at the bottom of the barrel should
understand that each of us will eventually be forced to pick one of two
paths — survival or resistance — and both are painted as “criminal” by the
master. The sooner Black people understand this, especially Black trans and
disabled folks forced to the margins, the better. It helps so much when we
have clarity on how we are positioned in society.

Clarity comes from understanding history. As Black people, the stories we
are told about how we got to where we are is only half the picture. This is
called miseducation. I didn’t know this as a young child, but over time I
did learn that it was not true that we started out as slaves. Who the white
Man brought to this land in chains was African people, human beings, who
had gifts and talents. We were medicine people, artisans, divers, farmers,
storytellers, warriors, childrearers, craftspeople, swimmers, builders,
musicians, and more. We were and are a people who hold the skills that are
necessary to build a healthy society, because we passed those skills down
from generation to generation, and we invent new ones and update them as
time has gone on since the beginning of our existence. We were stolen
because people from Europe needed our skills to build new societies for
themselves on stolen land. They wanted to exploit our gifts and talents, to
rob us for our labor and make a profit.

But our people fought back. Back in Afrika we fought. On the slave ships we
fought. In America we fought too. We fought so bad, the whites realized
they couldn’t keep slavery for too long, it was becoming unprofitable each
time we fought and fought. And so they had to figure out a new system to
build their societies, a new way to steal our labor and skills. The people
in the North had this new system already, but the South didn't. This new
system was an industrial system. This new system started in Europe and
spread around the world, destroying the environment as Europeans continued
to steal land and steal our people to finance it. The Civil War happened
because the whites of the South wanted to hold on to the old slavery
system, while the whites of the North wanted to expand the newer slavery
system. That man Lincoln only signed the emancipation declaration, the law
they say got us free, because he hoped it would stop the war and keep the
peace, not because he cared about Black people.

Black people used this fight between the whites of the North and whites of
the South to get free. Eventually we remade life for ourselves by our own
authority. We took back land and began to redefine how democracy could
look, based on our values. We used our gifts and talents to develop society
in a more healthy, egalitarian way. They tell you about segregation right
after the civil war but leave this part out. They leave it out so you don’t
understand why segregation came along. Segregation happened because Black
people had gotten so free by ourselves in the South that whites got scared
we would take revenge. They feared vengeance, because all over the world
people were getting free, from slavery and other systems of oppression,
like the industrial one, which we call “capitalism.” It scared the Man to
see so many Black people beginning to join up in solidarity with these
worldwide struggles, to see us building a powerful and global movement for
freedom. The master sees a planetary movement for liberation as a threat
(this movement is called many names btw, “communism,” “socialism,”
“anarchism,”). So the oppressor started the jim crowism to keep us down.

But Black people never backed down. We fought jim crow segregation too,
just like when we fought slavery. We made things so unprofitable for the
Man that it caused such a division in America once again, so the President
had to figure out how to preserve peace and ultimately protect the master’s
profit in this nation a second time. He did not sign the law because he
cared about Black people. White America does not truly care for us, and
that is why Black people had to keep fighting anyway, even after
segregation was over. Just like before, though, we pushed to remake life,
for us and by us, using our gifts and talents to fight for a healthier
society. And just like last time, we connected our movements here to the
revolutionary activism that happened worldwide. This scared the oppressor
once again. A global movement for freedom is not something the Man wants to
see, as it threatens white power and capitalism.

Instead of jim crow, though, they had to find a new way to neutralize our
struggle. They found ways to poison us with lead and landfills and they
burnt our communities down. Then, they started to put drugs in our
community so they can say it’s a lot of crime and use cops and prisons to
suppress us. The cops and prisons are like Jim Crow part two.

But again, like before, Black people keep fighting still, fighting in the
prisons — and now in the streets, we are fighting cops. You will hear about
this, and they will tell you it’s because we just wanna do illegal things.
But, no we are fighting cops because we are still fighting slavery, still
fighting to get free. And we are fighting so hard, soon we will cause a new
division, we will threaten their profits, and the President will try to
sign a law to help keep the peace again. They will tell you that this law
was signed because white people finally wanted to respect Black people. Do
not believe them. Understand that Black people have had to keep fighting to
remake life by us and for us for one reason and one reason only: this
country is built on our destruction. And we will start joining up with
global movements for freedom too, just like before, because the entire
world system is exploitative and destructive to all people and to the
environment. When that worldwide struggle comes, the oppressor will get
real scared all over again, and try to bring in a Jim Crow 3.0 — something
we haven’t seen before.

I write this hoping that by that time, you, street queers of the future,
are conscious enough to notice the pattern of history. That you will
say, *‘hey,
this is familiar, it happened two times already, why does it keep
happening’* and you will say *‘nah, I don’t want this to go the same way it
did before.’* I am hopeful that you will continue the struggle, but in a
more insightful way, in order to keep the next versions of jim crow from

Our ancestors used to tell stories about the people who could fly. I
remember learning about that from this tiny picture book my mother had for
us when I was real small. The people had forgotten what powers they had, so
the story went, cuz they were enslaved. But ever so often, there was the
ones who still remembered, cuz they knew the old ways we had brought from
our homeland, and so they could mount up in the air like as if they had
eagle's wings. They would swoop down over the plantation, the story said,
and whisper deep knowledge, knowledge of self, knowledge of spirit,
knowledge of solidarity and of struggle, right on into the ears of those
Black people who had forgot, and get them climbin on up into the sky right
along with them. And there was nothing the slavemaster could do about it.
Nothing at all.

Those stories were about us, and because I know it is about us, is why I am
hopeful that it is the street queers who will shape the consciousness of
Black radical struggle for the future. It is we on the front lines of
violence from the police, of capitalism’s failures that keep us on the
fringes of survival, with no homes or jobs or safety. It is we who continue
to be hyperexploited and superexploited, to sit at the bottom of a
lowerarchy, with a thousand hierarchies stacked against us. We will be
forced to become aware of the patterns in how the oppressor responds to us
as Black people, and how we have been responding to them. We will
understand that there is a contradiction between us and the master and his
system of organized, protected robbery that produces wealth for him. We
will affirm that the life and liberation of Black folk, especially the
disabled street queers, will come only when we abolish that system and
replace it with a society structured around our needs and our autonomy.
Once we understand this, we will be armed to put an end to all the current
oppression we see. We understand contradictions, we will gain knowledge of
self — where we are from, what we have to offer to this universe. We
understand contradictions, we will gain knowledge of struggle — how we have
had to fight and why we fight. We understand contradictions, we will gain
knowledge of what solidarity is — what it means to fight for intersectional
freedom, centering those most vulnerable and overlooked. And if we
understand contradictions, we will gain knowledge of spirit — appreciating
the fact that we are the people who could fly, who hold African lifeways
afloat, and the master only demonizes us and condemns us to hell to scare
our people into adopting their values. If we understand contradictions,
this enables our people to finally fight a global freedom struggle like we
keep trying.

There are some telling us we must not go in that direction. The ones
masking the contradiction, who say it's too extreme. They think it's “a
reach” to consider this moment a slave rebellion, and to see us as slaves.

They say that all we need to do is find the right leaders to help us out.
They believe we have a shared humanity with those who run the Game. And so
they tell us to vote for better rulers, and I can assume that when you come
into your power, they will say the same to you. Stay woke, my sibs. There
were probably slaves who found it worthwhile to negotiate with the master
back in the day. They might have said “We should ask the Man give us our
drums back,” once the drums were taken. I imagine it might have been a good
use of political energy too, if you could use that demand for drums to
expose to fellow slaves why drums were taken away in the first place.
That’s the only reason a negotiation should happen: expose contradictions
and use that to build for revolution.

The tactical slaves could say “the master took drums to prevent
communication among us that could be used to plan rebellions” (which is the
historical truth). In seeing that master snatched away drums in order to
suppress an opportunity for resistance, then we could clearly understand
that the colonizer is invested in our domination at all costs and that that
is why Man suppresses our liberties (whether it is drum use or voting
rights). Negotiation is futile here, we should move as rebels instead and
burn down the master’s house (this is what the slave who is truly tactical
will use a demand or petition to reveal). But some slaves probably never
took it that far, and to this day, many Black people in some sphere of
political activation will not — as much as they claim to be playing “chess,
not checkers”. Some just decided that when master said no to our demand, or
beat us for even asking about our drums, this was simply because Massa was
confused. Massa don’t know better. Massa’s heart needs to be fixed. The
reformists and assimilationists say we just have to keep asking and praying
for drums til we get them. And once we got them, then we could have fun on
the plantation, because God honored us and master finally heard us.
Meanwhile God had nothing to do with it (just like God would not have
softened Pharoah’s heart because God *wanted* Moses to rebel). The only
reason the master gives us our drums is so he could placate us and keep us
from getting angry enough to resist. But more importantly it is so he could
bring his fellows on to watch us play and dance and shout, so they could
enjoy us performing for them, even gamble and make money off this
performance. This is how it is with any other crumbs we try to lick off
Massa’s table.

I pray that you street queers of the future do not listen to the
negotiators. I pray that you understand that the only solution is to ensure
that all power is to all our people, and not our proxies. The destiny of
your generation is to get it to a point where nobody will be stolen and
nobody’s skills will be forcibly robbed of them to build societies for
people in power. What you must achieve is a global system where we will be
able to finally build our culture and communities freely and safely,
healthily, holistically, from the margins, and by our own authority. We
must work to replenish the earth, too, and the way we use its resources
must be structured according to the consensus and involvement of all, not
the ruling few. And we must guard the lane: make sure our planet and its
resources and any person or their labor and gifts is not held captive or
stolen. We must do this by any means necessary. We must establish a love of
freedom. And we must center those on the bottom, so that we take charge of
our destinies at last, and have full participation in the liberation of us

With love,

for the God who makes the ocean roar,

who created the sun that gives us light,

who whispers ‘freedom’ in our hearts,

and for the ancestors, the nomads, the ungoverned,

the refugees, the lil friends, for the kinfolk,

the pirates, the runaways,  the maroons,

the insurgents, the gworls, the peasants,

the guerrilla warriors, the maGes, the street queens,

for the rioters, the single moms, the hood niggas, and all the wild things
Man cannot house,

And for all those who are forgotten and unprotected.

All those who aren’t allowed to love or live as themselves freely

All those who fought and died for our freedom

For all our people wherever they are, and for our homeland, and for our

For all beings, even those who are not human,

and for all the people everyone says are less than human

And for all people whose brains work different or whose bodies work

And for all those in prison or on the street

For all power to all the people. Asé.

If there is no other lesson I impart in this letter, know that the history
of the US is a story of oppression and Upheaval: slave revolts against
white capitalist domination. Each Upheaval threatens the peace in this
nation, and so the government does something to “restore the peace.” They
first try to show fake love for Black people, and when that strategy
doesn’t work (because our people keep fighting anyway), they violently
suppress us. The oppression always leads right back to square one, to more
revolts, because the people will never not resist — and the resistance will
always be criminalized. They get criminalized because rebellions are the
testing ground for more revolutionary propositions. And it is a revolution
that will shake the master’s house to its very root and core.

>From rebellions we get William Dorsey Swann, Frances Thompson, Lucy
Parsons, Hubert Harrison, and others. They are criminalized, as queer
liberationists, feminists, anarchists, nationalists, and socialists. They
came along after the First Upheaval (Civil War) had happened because it was
time to widen the opposition to a more revolutionary proposition. And that
was a threat to the master’s house.

>From rebellions we get Marsha P Johnson, Kuwasi Balagoon, Assata Shakur,
Malcolm X and others. They are criminalized, as trans liberationists,
anarchists, nationalists, socialists, feminists. They came along after the
Second Upheaval (Civil Rights) happened because it was time to widen the
opposition to a more revolutionary proposition. And that was a threat to
the master’s house.

You, the street queers of the future, coming out of the Upheaval
(rebellions) of today, will be criminalized. It will be a spiritual war
too, where they will demonize you and invoke hellfire upon you, because you
keep the struggle alive, and it helps the master when Black people forget
their own lifeways just to spite the queers. But, know that our destiny is
in the stars before us, not the plantations, and that if we just keep on
flying to freedom, the Man won’t be able to hold us down forever.




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