This is Peter Kamal Mukuria, currently here at Red Onion Resort in Pound, VA.
So my dear friend of mine, Rebecca, has been passed away. Her and I used to share a lot of articles and we’d have discussions around them. And so here with me are some things that she had written on her blog back in 2013, and I think it’s pretty important to share to keep her legacy alive and to keep her thoughts alive and more people can learn about Rebecca and who she was and why she meant so much to so many people.
So this one was in 11/17/2013. “Racism: Who’s Your Daddy?” So three years ago today, Angola Three icon Herman Wallace sat in his bed bunk in the solitary confinement cell where he had spent nearly 40 years of his life. And then me a letter in which he wrote:
“If we are to teach our children the need for social change, then we must ourselves have some understanding of what is taking shape not only on Wall Street, on states around the country—but the fall of Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, and now their threat points at Syria. It is capitalism that is in a financial crisis. So what makes people think more capitalism, more imperialistic rule is the best for the world? There are people out there demonstrating and for the life of them cannot tell you what they’re demonstrating for, and that is because they lack real leadership. Conditions will clean their leadership and the [inaudible] is going to be in a world of trouble. It is hard for people in America to accept positive change since we have benefited from the exploitation of underdeveloped countries for nearly 300 years. It is going to take a lot more than peaceful demonstrations to make change. Americans don’t want change. They want reform. There’s a big difference.”
When he was released from prison, almost immediately, he passed to the other side last month. We’ll put it in almost immediately fast without the side last night. (And this is Rebecca speaking. Um, that was by, uh, Herman Wallace, who shared that with Rebecca, so this is Rebecca speaking.) And when he was released from prison and almost immediately passed to the other side last month, I spent a few weeks grieving and then began look into the stacks of A3 papers in my office for a message Herman may have left me after the fact, something he sent me before but which might now take on a stronger meaning.
I found it in the form of this handwritten missive which I’m posting today as the memory of Herman and his longstanding commitment to justice for all. But I’m also posting it to give me an opportunity to discuss in full detail what he wanted us to consider about the connection between the socially constructed political notion of race and our current global economic system: capitalism.
Capitalism is a system that value of money more than life across the board no matter what. It’s happy to poison food [inaudible]. It’s fine with blown-up oil rigs as long as routine maintenance can be staved off long enough to save a little outlay. It has no problem with making slaves as children, even sex slaves, for a hefty amount of profits. And the CEO who earns 475 times what his average employee takes home sees no reason to apologize for his position, his privilege, or his paycheck. That’s not his fault. He was born rich and ruthless, and the other one were not.
Capitalism is a promise of a heaven that never materializes for the workers who make the capitalists rich.
Capitalism is the delusion that hard work always means getting tripped up the ladder when everyone knows that those who work hardest make the least pay of all.
Capitalism is the shell game offered on the emotional street corner of America, the lottery ticket bought daily by [inaudible] workers with dream in vain of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, the online poker machine that never pays off at the truck stop on the highway to unpaid bills.
Capitalism is attempt [inaudible] subsequent generations to yet another level of credit-driven materialism and then pushes a fresh crop of addicts into the dark streets of their own souls to terrorize and steal from and laugh at each other.
Capitalism is the vampire that handles all in her closet for [inaudible] and we will live forever while we watch it drink from the open veins of Latin America and Africa and anywhere else the race to the bottom takes it.
Capitalism is the army of [inaudible] well into the process of kicking in the door of human habitat, leaving for last those that pay for the weapons the soldiers carry and will ultimately turn on those that paid for them.
Capitalism is a Broadway musical that provides a soundtrack for the nightmare that life has already become for so many and will eventually be for all of us if we don’t face the music and don’t refuse to dance.
Capitalism is the darkest at the heart of institutionalized oppression that uses skin tone or nationality or gender or sexual orientation or body type or religiosity to segregate us and pit us against each other like gladiators trained to bludgeon and stab and slice and bleed and die for the entertainment of the capitalists.
Herman Wallace wrote that people in the U.S. think capitalism is good because it has made us fat and foolish, but it’s becoming harder and harder to pretend to be asleep no matter how afraid we have to face reality. I have written more than 500 posts about race on this block over the past nine years, now I am telling you that the concept of race was concocted by Europeans and perfected by the United States for the express purpose of feeding the capitalist machine and its minions.
Do not be deceived. Where there is life, there is hope; where there is breath, there is life. Knowledge of truth is a weapon in the struggle for existence by George [inaudible]. Every power relationship implies a strategy of struggle. And capitalism is not a God.
So that one was shared by my dear friend Rebecca Hensley who passed away. I wanted to share that with you to keep her memory alive and give people an idea of who Rebecca was. She was a dedicated fighter that truly was in it for the fight and was truly rooting for the underdog and truly sacrificed so much to fight and represent for all oppressed people. And Rebecca is not here with us, but her spirit continues to be here with us. And may she live long as always and rest in power.
All power to the people. Thank you for your time.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan.