When our ancestors were brought to the Americas from West Afrika as slaves, they were not one people. They were members of many different tribal nations. They were Wolof, Mandinka, Mende, Akan, Ewe, Fon, Yoruba, Igbo, Bakongo, Mbundu, etc. Each of our tribes spoke their own language, and had their own history, customs, traditions, and communities. In fact, before the European enslavement and colonization of our people and land, we did not call ourselves “Black” or “Afrikans,” and we did not consider those outside of our tribe to be our people. Much like how the many different Native American tribal nations didn’t consider themselves one people, or call each other “Indians” until Europeans labelled them as such.

It is because of this tribalism, and our inability to recognize the collective enemy outside of us, and our collective basis and need for unity within us, that we, like the Native American tribes, allowed ourselves to be manipulated by the Europeans into warring against ourselves, turning village against village, tribe against tribe, kingdom against kingdom, and chief against common people. The Europeans flooded our land with guns and liquor, armed all sides in our conflicts, and created a lucrative market for the many prisoners that were taken during our tribal wars, prisoners that were bought by the Europeans and trafficked to the European colonies throughout the Americas as slaves to work on their lucrative sugar, rice, tobacco, and cotton plantations.

Whereas tribalism, before the advent of European conquest, brought unity, community, safety, security, order, and structure to our societies; in the face of a determined enemy bent on subjugating and enslaving us all, our tribalism became a weakness that aided and facilitated our own enslavement and destruction.

Slavery here in Amerika and throughout the diaspora stripped us of our tribal identities, as well as our Afrikan names, languages, history, cultures, religions and social structures, thereby transforming us into a single oppressed people, collectively labelled “negroes,” “niggers,” “coloreds,” and “blacks” by our enslavers. All forms of Afrikan tribalism at this point had been destroyed, but the divide and rule tactics of our enslavers continued to be used against us in the manner of Willie Lynch, taking minute differences amongst us, such as age, shade, size, gender, geography, intelligence, and artificial class distinctions (house slaves vs field slaves), and enlarging them until these minute differences become antagonistic differences that bred envy, distrust, and hatred between us, preventing any effective united move against our collective oppressors.

Once chattel slavery ended in 1865, our people suffered through another 100 years of Jim Crow segregation, discrimination, and terror. The thriving communities we had managed to build from nothing were bombed (Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Rosewood, Florida, etc.), our men were lynched, our women were raped, our people were forcefully disenfranchised, and we remained mired in poverty, fear and racial oppression. It was under these circumstances that our people rose up in rebellion against this society and state of affairs, demanding freedom, justice and equality, from the 1950s to the 1970s. This 20 year period gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement, a non-violent campaign for Black civil rights, integration, and an end to all racist laws and practices across Amerika. This period also gave birth to the Black Power Movement, a militant campaign for Black self-esteem, self-determination, self-defense, independence, and revolution.

It was in the context of the Black Power Movement that the Black Panther Party was formed in Oakland, California. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seals formed the Black Panthers in 1966 to unite, educate and organize Black people for self-determination, self-reliance, and self-defense; to lead our people in a proletarian revolutionary struggle against capitalism and imperialism, for the liberation of not just the Black community, but of the world.

The Black Panthers became the largest and most effective Black liberation organization to come out of the Black Power Movement, earning it the FBI’s designation as the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States. Repression soon followed. The FBI and local police forces around the country declared war on the Black Panthers, which led to the assassination and false imprisonment of key leaders and cadre, and the destruction of its many community service programs. Finally, the Panthers had devised a tactic to unify our people, subvert our differences and effectively move us against our collective oppressors, and the government smashed them. It was in the ashes of the Black Panther Party that the Crops and the Bloods were born.

In Los Angeles, California, before the advent of the Panthers, tribalism, in the form of gangs like the Slausons, Gladiators, Businessmen and Watts Farmers, had reincarnated itself amongst our youth in the 1950s and early 60s. Slausons gangs leader, Bunchy Carter subverted this reactionary tribalism when he joined the Black Panther Party in prison, and came home and revolutionized the Slausons, turning them into Black Panthers, which led to the establishment of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party. Los Angeles, under Bunchy’s leadership, became one of the most active areas of the BPP in the country, unifying the Black youth and elevating them past reactionary tribalism to revolutionary nationalism.

In 1969, a conflict, led, instigated, and facilitated by the government, between the Panthers and another Black Power organization, called the Us Organization, led to the murders of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins, thus neutralizing two major leaders of the BPP in LA. Shortly after this, Geronimo Ji Jaga (née Pratt), the only LA Panther qualified to take over the leadership of the Party in LA, was framed for a murder he didn’t commit. After 27 years of incarceration he was released after the FBI was forced to admit that they had proof all along that he couldn’t have committed the murders he was imprisoned for. So in 1969, all three leaders of the LA Panthers had been neutralized, and the Party itself had been effectively neutralized as well. Without the revolutionary leadership and guidance of the Panthers in our communities, the youth in LA reverted back to reactionary tribalism, forming the gangs we now know as the Crips and Bloods.

The Crips started in 1969 in East LA. Originally, they formed with a similar mission as that of the Black Panthers, to serve and defend their communities, but without any of the class consciousness, organizational structures, and revolutionary principles of the Panthers, thereby allowing their early righteous intentions to degenerate into a struggle for power and domination; in essence, becoming a reactionary tribal army, mobilizing against the community.

Through sheer aggression, the Crips rapidly expanded from neighborhood to neighborhood, recruiting the youth into its army, and making enemies along the way. Neighborhoods who didn’t want to join the Crips and opposed their attacks on civilians in their communities, became rivals to the Crips. However, individually, these rival neighborhoods could not defend themselves against the much larger Crips gangs, so they’d unified into an anti-Crip alliance called the Bloods. The Crips raised the blue flag as the symbol of their tribal army, and the Bloods raised the red flag as a symbol of theirs. Each tribe developed its own customs, traditions, history, and ways of speaking that emphasized its own tribal allegiance.

In Blood history, we are taught that we formed to protect our communities, and fight against oppression, a theme that has followed the expansion on the Bloods from California to New York, where the Bloods started in 1993 in Rikers Island jail to combat the oppression of the Spanish gangs like the Latin Kings and Neatas who dominated the jail and oppressed the Black detainees. It is in this historical stance against oppression that the true cause and character developed of what it means to be a Blood, and defines the meaning of Blood itself: Brotherly Love Overrides Oppression and Destruction. Unfortunately, like the Crips, without true revolutionary principles, guidance and structure, nothing has stopped us from becoming just as oppressive to others as we claim others have been to us. Instead of protecting our communities, we have traditionally preyed on them, and have become locked into cycles of Black-on-Black crime and violence, pitted in gang warfare reminiscent of the tribal warfare of our West Afrikan Ancestors, which caused us to be brought here in the first place.

Bloods kill Crips and Crips kill Bloods. Bloods kill other Bloods from different sets, and Crips kill other Crips from different sets. Our communities are suffering, while the true enemy that is oppressing us all is free to go about business as usual. None of us own our communities that we are dying and killing for. All of our communities are poor, and none of us have any say-so in the institutions that govern and shape our communities. So what are we really banging for? Who is benefitting from all this destruction? The government destroyed the Black Panthers in just a few years, so why have they allowed our tribes to exist for this long? What benefit are we bringing to our communities and what is the purpose of our continued existence?

If history has taught us anything, we must see that reactionary tribalism has only weakened us as a people and made us agents in our own subjugation and exploitation. How are we being true to the meaning of BLOOD when we embrace the role of oppressor and destroyer in our communities. The true Blood is disciplined and militant, and real right in all of his affairs. The true Blood embraces the spirit of the Panther, for the Panther understood the true source of our oppression and moved against it. If our Blood and our bang is to mean anything, we must rise above reactionary tribalism and commit ourselves to becoming a true revolutionary force in our communities.

The Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP) has called upon us to join them in a Clenched Fist Alliance (CFA) for the liberation and empowerment of our people and communities as a whole. Let us take up this call, and embrace the 10 Point Program and Platform of the RIBPP. Let us fulfill our revolutionary duty and heritage. Brotherly Love Overrides Oppression and Destruction. This is the evolution of the Red Panther!

All Power to the People!


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