Prison Radio
Peter “Pitt” Mukuria

Hey there, this is, um, Comrade Pitt, Peter Kamau Mukuria, calling in from Red Onion State Prison in the state of Virginia.

This piece is called “Serve the People, RIBPP Free Food Program.”

So every Friday and Saturday, the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP) launches the free food program. Every Friday, the Panthers, along with community volunteers of North New Jersey, prepares and serve hot meals for the homeless. And every Saturday, the Panthers distribute hundreds of free grocery bags to community members.

These programs were first implemented- implemented Saturday, October 26, 2019. On its October 26 unveiling, the program distributed over 150 bags of groceries to the people. Each bag contained fresh meats, tuna, assorted vegetables, bread, eggs, etc.

This critical program was first implemented by the original Black Panther Party in September 1968 under the leadership of Bobby Seale. Despite having myriad of community programs, the free food program was unequivocally the most essential program for it directly met the people’s most basic need: food.

The message was relatively simple: we are you, your problems are problems. Exploited people need a- land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace, and the Black Panther Party shall not, for one day, alienate ourselves from the masses and forget their needs for survival.

The ideological objective of this program: to raise public consciousness about hunger, homelessness, and abject poverty. However, feeding the homeless and distributing free food isn’t by any means intended as a charity case, or handout. Quite the contrary.

The ideological basis is to empower the people by demonstrating that, through our own cooperation and collective power, we can indeed solve our own problems, meet our own needs, and ultimately free ourselves from this exploitative and oppressive order which enables a handful of scavengers to hoard and monopolize socially produced wealth and resources while everyone else suffers.

A leopard cannot change its spots, and capitalism cannot change true nature. It is driven and governed by only one law, which is the maximization of profit. Even during a pandemic, the government is yet proving once again that it utterly incompetent and unable to meet the people’s material needs because it cannot see it as the interests of the wealthy elite and its sheer greed.

As the rich continue getting richer, capitalism has created artificial scarcity barely enough to live on and [inaudible] politicians cannot even unite to pass simple COVID relief bills to ensure that the people’s needs are met. Therefore, how can we somehow expect our salvation to derive from the same system which created our own problems and refused to address them?

The survival and continuity of Serve The People Free Food program hasn’t been an easy feat, especially since the pandemic hit. Yet since October 26, 2019, the homeless have been served every Friday and hundreds of free grocery bags continue to be distributed every Saturday. This wouldn’t be possible without the donations we receive in every pastor, comrade, volunteer who shows up no matter the weather to ensure that the people’s most basic needs are met.

And I personally want to take this opportunity to thank every Panther, comrade, community volunteer, and donors for ensuring the program’s survival and this- this program will still be replicated in other states. More people won’t go to sleep on empty stomachs. All power to the people and, all is surely, all power comes from the people.

Check us out on Instagram and Facebook at Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party. Check me out on Instagram at @pittpanther_art. This is comrade Pitt, Peter Kamau Mukuria, checking in from Virginia.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.