Reflections From The Wretched of the Earth

Listen to Hybachi LeMar speaking from Jacksonville Correctional Institution:

Reflections From the Wretched of the Earth
(A Response to Study Materials Sent from True Leap Press)

James Yaki reflected on how “revolutionary thinking begins with a series of illuminations. It is a result of both long preparation and a profoundly new – a profoundly original beginning. But every profound change is at the same time a sharp break with the past.”

Who better can relate to a need for a break than the dispossessed, whose sense of powerlessness is due to the course of their lives being in the hands of those that exploit them; who react when their buttons are pushed, who have nothing to lose; who’d think of more reasons to die than to live for; who’d rather say Good-Nite to this world than waking instead inside it.

“What would it matter anyway, if I left the world? Who’d even care to think of it tomorrow if I leave it tonight? I don’t want to ache inside it anymore”. These are the feelings of the repressed, who look faithlessly to the future after a lifetime of doors being slammed in their faces!

In the opening of radical books they read in private the teachings of marginalized intellectuals cast in their mold… They hold a memorial in the hearts for the martyrs… for Malcolm, for Lolita, for Tortuguita. They pour libations for Lumumba. In their solitude study, they find sanctuary: some develop step by step from a city staircase; others, on their lunch break in the cafeteria corner. It fills them with the sense of self when traveling by train; from solitary confinement, with conscientious consideration by candlelight in the abandoned building they squat.

Suddenly, with a semiautomatic beside an underground zine, they don’t feel so alone anymore, when they read in Lorenzo: “Although we recognize the importance of paramilitary violence, and even guerilla attacks, we do not depend on war to achieve liberation alone; for our struggle cannot be won by force alone. No, the people must be armed beforehand with understanding and agreement of our objectives, as well as trust and love of the revolution.”

They know Fanon is speaking for them when they read “these vagrants, these second class citizens … these children who seem not to belong to anyone, the hopeless cases, all those who fluctuate between madness and suicide”. It touches them. It touches a part no public school teacher has been able to reach. A part of themselves no government paid guidance counselor could ever grasp. In this intimate moment of clarity, they become illuminated in the awareness that their pencils were moved to kindle the fire in the consciousness of the miseducated and lost.

“These jobless, these species of subhumans,” Fanon referred to, feel the flame of affinity being fanned in the innermost parts of their being. “They redeem themselves in their own eyes and before history.” They’re awakened by the epiphany that “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, and fulfill it or betray it.”

In our study session, we shifted “Wretched” diagonally between us, as X guided his reading finger and paused at the word ‘proletariat.’ ‘What does that mean?’ ‘It means broken worker. The working class, whether we have a job or not. It’s referring to us, the part of society who makes our living working ourselves to death and are lashed to the dollar throughout the world’. We continued: “The lumpenproletariat constitutes a serious threat to the security of the town, and signifies the irreversible rot and the gangrene eating into the hearts of colonial domination. So the pimps, the hooligans, the unemployed, and the petty criminals, when approached, give the liberation struggle all they have got, devoting themselves to the cause like valiant workers.”

We followed where Fanon was coming from when he spelled out how “Whereas the colonist or the police officer can beat the colonized subject day in and day out, insult him and shove him to his knees: it’s not uncommon to see the colonized subject draw his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive look from another colonized subject.” To progress, it’s imperative that the ghetto streets and lockdown units reflect on how “the oppressor, who never misses an opportunity to let the blacks tear at each other’s throats, is only too willing to exploit those characteristic flaws of the lumpenproletariat’s ignorance and lack of political consciousness. Comprehending this puts us at a tactical advantage in achieving our aims.

The reason we rise when we feel the system’s knee on our neck is because “Deep down the colonized subject acknowledges no authority. He is dominated but not domesticated. He is made to feel inferior but is by no means convinced of his inferiority.”

We don’t study like this for certificates, we study for our survival. To build a new psychology in the shell of the old. To arm ourselves with knowledge before institutions attempt to ideologically disarm us by taking our books. We’re drawn to develop our character – to experience the presence of mind that comes with the genuine sense of understanding. And in the process of putting revolutionary ideals into practice, we see it’s nature itself that rewards us around the world, who radically develop in the light of the teachings, who transforms, when with patient consideration, reflects on the relevance of our existence.