The Amerikan system was built on and is driven by capitalism. And capitalism cannot exist without an exploiter and exploited. Because of this necessary dichotomy, a certain psychology must exist on both sides: apathy on the side of the exploiter/oppressor, for he must be unconcerned of the effects on the exploited/oppressed, working in excess of what’s necessary for survival (surplus value; and an acceptance of oppression on the side of the oppressed, looking upon the oppressor through subordinate eyes, unwilling to bite the hand that feeds them. But, people must be made to feel inferior if they are to be oppressed. So, at the hands of the indifferent, material-obsessed capitalist, tactics must be employed to cultivate this psychosocial environment. The question is, what’s the most efficient way for an oppressive institution to maintain its power?
Divide and Conquer
Slavery is the feed for the ever-hungry capitalist pig. During the times of old slavery, reading the Willie Lynch Letters, one will find that old plantations separated and categorized slaves by skin tone. Then, each category was treated differently. This created envy and strife amongst the slaves. And, though extreme acts of violence was used to demonstrate power, subjugating slaves through fear and intimidation (a refocusing tool), it was easier for the capitalist “Massa” to fold his arms and watch inner-strife amongst the slaves incite their frustrations with their oppression, giving these frustrations a focal-point of release (amongst each other), curtailing their frustrations from being fomented into rebellion against their capitalist Massas. However, my focus is not the many forms of the divide and conquer strategy, but its effect, and why it’s a necessary tool in Amerika’s capitalist system.
With every year that this divide and conquer tactic was employed, the more entrenched corresponding patterns of behavior (inner-strife, and complacent acceptance capitalist Massas’ oppression) became in the psycho sociology of the slaves, henceforth, the “slave-mentality”. A psycho sociology passed down generation upon generation into the present. And the capitalist Massas wasn’t going to allow everything they created to be foiled by the greatest push by oppressed people to rise in Amerikan history – the civil right and Black Power movement. Thereofre, the Amerikan government formed the Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to search and destroy all of the neo-Nat Turners (Malcolm X, MLK, Newton for example), their respective associates and organizations that were redirecting frustrations of the lumpen from self-genocide, fomenting rebellion against those forces that created their oppressive socio-economical conditions. Further, COINTELPRO exacerbated inner-strife amongst the lumpen through the assassination of a BLOOD, initiating the 3+-decade war between BLOODS and CRIPS.
After the generational -- and almost traditional -- passing down of the slave mentality, along with these assassinations, and the creation of the deadly rivalry between the BLOODS and CRIPS, arose a new type of divide and conquer. One the capitalist Massas would still fold their arms and watch with a slop-eating grin on their face. A self-perpetuated oppression. The institutionalizing of reactionary homicide.
In Huey P. Newton’s boo, Revolutionary Suicide, he wrote of a comparative study he read in the Ebony magazine, done by Dr. Herbert Hendin, on the doubling suicide rate among Black men, surpassing the rate of whites. Dr. Hendin said reactionary suicide was “the reaction of a man who takes his own life in response to social conditions that overwhelm him and condemn him to helplessness”; which, as Huey P. Newton concluded, let to the spiritual deaths of myriads oppressed peoples in Amerika. A fact that still holds true today. Simply put, reactionary suicide is either a spiritual/living- or spiritual/physical-death. However, this analysis must be taken a step further, because most of the oppressed people don’t only react to their oppressive socio-economical environment by taking it out on themselves, but react by taking it out on the larger self of their community. Could this not be termed reactionary homicide? We see it all the time. We were sometimes the perpetrator. We take our frustrations with our own oppression out on the oppressed peoples of our community, perpetuating the system’s oppression, while promoting another’s reactionary suicide. The reacting (without) to reactionary suicides reacting (within).
One thing the neo-Nat Turners recognized was the need to turn the peoples frustrations from self-genocide (reactionary suicide/homicide), and towards the forces that created the oppressive conditions (revolutionary suicide). Like what Huey P. Newton said, if we must die, we might as well die fighting the forces that created our oppression; for surely, the system will not cease its oppression without another civil-war; a peoples-war ‘til the present system is destroyed, ‘cause like cancer, if any traces of the old system remains in the new, it will find a new means to breed its oppression.
Martin Luther King, Jr., while temporarily living amongst the people in a Chicago ghetto, compared it to a pressure-cooker. A depressing construction of buildings, closely-knit on a desolate plot. A place where the lumpen were constantly reminded of their disenfranchised status in the land of the free. A place where the lumpens frustrations with their oppression could be contained and fomented into self-genocide (reactionary suicide/homicide). However, these “pressure-cookers” also exist in the form of prisons, which are nothing more than a microcosm of the free-world. Due to so-called “budget-cuts”, more and more prisons are minimizing, if not cutting completely, educational and other uplifting programs for prisoners; leaving prisons to being nothing other than another depressing construction, but of cages closely-knit on a desolate plot – a plot to keep lumpen peoples in the same slave mentality, from prison-ghettos (ghettos) to prison-ghettos (prison). Same agenda, different setting.
From the Ghetto to the prisons, their pressure cooker environments make reactionary homicide the more prevalent and convenient form of rebellion. One of the things we must do is analyze our emotional responses to our surrounding conditions. For example, within the prison system, it’s common for prisoners to either take their frustrations from their experiences with judicial/prison-persecution out on another prisoner with a “fuck the world” attitude, or indulge in a type of gluttony (reactionary suicide), eating commissary even when they’re not hungry, sub-consciously combating the affects judicial/prison-persecution is having on them. Once these things are recognized, we will have taken the first step in rehabilitation/reprogramming ourselves.
All the disenfranchised people of this nation, whether they are in the Ghetto or prison system, must look upon each other as brothers and sisters and brothers, sick sisters and brothers (if they’re not conscious) with a cancerous slave mentality, that spawned forth reactionary suicide/ homicide. Looking upon each other this way will allow us to be more accepting of each others aggressive and averse attitudes. We must then initiate a dialogue with one another, analyzing the present state of oppression and a means to combat it (learn the laws, rules, your rights, etc., so you’ll know what you’re dealing with), with an eye towards implementing these means. We must embrace Huey P. Newton’s philosophy of revolutionary suicide if we – and the “we” of the next generations – are to combat not only the system’s attack on our dignity and right to live with hope, through the two means we’re socio-economically oppressed (lumpenization and the Judicial persecution system), but our attack on our own, through our lack of self-respect/worth and sense of community, on a reactionary rollercoaster of self-perpetuating genocide (reactionary suicide/homicide).
The Amerikan system has kept the proletariat lumpen, while taking those already rebellious to this oppressive system (the potential revolutionary vanguard), and incarcerated them, so the capitalist Massas may continue to sit back, fold their arms, and capitalize on something they set in motion some four centuries ago. We must re-program the way we think.
Reginald W. Blanton #999395