By Comrade Rashid
“Know that I stood committed to not only die for the people but to live for them as well, for that is the real challenge!” – (March 2, 2006 letter from Hasan Shakur to the author)
Following the founding of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC), [formerly the New Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter (NBPP-PC)], in July 2005, Comrade Hasan Shakur was recommended to us, and was quickly recruited as the 3rd member of our Central Committee. Hasan had demonstrated through various initiatives he’d headed, despite facing a sentence of death, his dedicated work in service to the people. He was appointed to be our Minister of Human Rights.
Hasan brought his infectious energy and commitment into the Party and immediately set to work developing the Party and its work. He did this as if he was totally unfazed by designs to take his life within weeks or months. Although this reality seemed not to burden Hasan, it had a definite effect on me. As a persyn conditioned to action and made very uncomfortable with being unable to help a friend and comrade in need, I’d expressed in one of my last letters to Hasan my frustration in knowing that the very same forces that have prematurely destroyed so many promising Black lives were devising to take his life, while I could take no decisive action to help or to stop them.
Hasan assured me that I had not failed him. He stated in reply: ‘We all have a certain level of limitation. We can attempt to surpass it, but there will be boundaries in place that we just cannot surpass. But What we must do is turn that frustration into fuel – fuel that will be used to push you in several other areas. I have a problem with patience. Yet, I must refocus that extra energy to push other agendas, like building bridges, building the Party, and building the Human Rights Ministry as well.
“Do me a favor. Hold your hand – right hand – out with fingers extended. Your individual fingers aren’t very effective weapons for punching through obstacles are they? Now, when I call out a letter, 84 drop a finger, starting with your pinky. “Pl – O! – W! – E! – R! What have you got? Now punch through that adversity and continue to lead by example!”
Comrade Hasan’s level of intelligent fortitude in the face of death reflects a conviction that only a revolutionary awakening brings. It reflects a firm love-inspired confidence in the cause he lived for and the masses of people he sought to serve and lead by example. On this point he wrote to me:
“Brotha, a true servant of the people NEVER forgets his/her role, even in times of need and despair. For me it is natural. I do what I do ’cause I have a sincere love for what I do. I have faith in self, the Creator, and no doubt, my People! Therefore, my blessings will became the Peoples’ blessings as well. You should see the brothas I have had DIRECT influence on – they have the same personality!”
Hasan clearly led by example. And it was his ability to reproduce his own revolutionary fervor in others that tipped the scales of reaction against preserving his life a moment longer. Despite admitted fundamental errors in the proceedings that landed him on death row, the courts refused him the usually granted delay in execution, and the racist, fascist death machine in Texas murdered him on Black August 31st, 2006.
Hasan stood as a shining example that struggle on the road to revolution can awaken, redeem, heal and transform people. Especially those people whom the Establishment claims are unredeemable and beyond healing. He was a living contradiction of this decadent and rotten capitalist system, a cancerous, gangster system that breeds sicknesses which it makes no attempt to cure – because it cannot! Only a revolutionary remolding of our values away from being property-centered and toward becoming people-centered, and struggling to develop similar values within the broad masses can effect the necessary healing process.
This is a process that the imperialists cannot tolerate. For imperialism to reign, the people must be kept divided by fear, hatred and suspicion. Because if they unite and become a common force recognizing the common cause of their poverty and oppression, the common source of their alienation and division, as being a predatory, greed-driven minority; and they realize that through their united action they can liberate themselves from this ruling elite class, then people’s power will reign supreme.
It is because of this reality that the imperialist capitalist class recognizes that people who love people above property and profit constitute a threat to their empire. People who struggle to uproot racism and national oppression, sexism, poverty and inequality and every form of oppression generated by the imperialist capitalist system are bad for business. Comrade Hasan embodied the true spirit of anti-imperialism and the highest aspirations of the New Afrikan Liberation Movement.
Hasan was the third member of our Central Committee, our first recruit and first martyr. Just as lil’ Bobby Hutton, who was murdered by police on April 6th, 1968, was the first recruit and first martyr of the original Black Panther Party. lil’ Bobby’s sacrifice inspired many more recruits to step forward to join the Party and became an impetus and inspiration to the work of the original BPP. So too will Hasan’s sacrifice and memory inspire our New Afrikan Black Panther Party and push our work forward.
The forces of reaction can kill a revolutionary – but they can’t kill the revolution. They can imprison our bodies – but they can’t imprison our spirit. They can’t take away our love for our Comrade and the Panther Love he gave to us! The Struggle continues! Panther Love to the memory and example of Comrade Hasan Shakur! Let 1,000 fighters arise to fill his place!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Minister of Defense Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison