Thursday, 16 June 2011


Black Panther in Libya

Sons of Malcolm's Sukant Chandan interviews Deedan Kimaathi (Kenneth Carr) in Tripoli, Libya, Sun 5th June 2011

(Many thanks to young Brother Huey Freeman for doing the transcript)


Good afternoon everyone, this is Sukant Chandan from Sons of Malcolm on the delegation "Global civilians for peace in Libya. It's Sunday, the 5th of June and i'm very honoured to be sitting next to a Panther in Libya. This is comrade, brother Deedan Kamathi (former slave name Kenneth Carr).

We're gonna talk about two things I wanna ask you really. First of all I wanna talk 4,5 minutes about your concrete relationship in terms of the black revolutionary organization that you're in with the Libyan revolution and the Libyan brothers and sisters. And secondly we're gonna talk more about the situation today in Libya. So if you could just convey to our viewers what the relationship was.


Brother Kwame Toure, because of his status is one of the ... - he organizes within All African Peoples Revolutionary Party throughout Africa, especially in the liberated zone - we consider Libya "liberated zone". That was a zone that was being contested or held by european imperialism, capitalism. And within that framework he worked very closely with Mathaba (World Centre for Revolution). That was THE centre for activists from throughout the world's revolutionary organizations and movements and individuals who come to Libya and be about ideological discussions, training, setting up different strategies to spread revolution. Very simple. Brother Rosie Douglas was the head of the Mathaba. An African brother coming outta Dominique and Rosie and brother Kwame very very close and my first time coming to Libya was a delegation of the United States that included the American-Indian movement, included red-wing, included a number of different African in the United States organizations (In What year was that - probably in the mid-80's). And at the Mathaba, we would study universal theory, third theory universal as well as have ideological discussions about the path to integrate our struggles with the worldwide revolution. I came across Irish, I came across freedom fighters from throughout the world there.

And subsequently we'd go back to our organising areas and we would conduct propaganda campaigns, posters, leaflets but different themes. We in particular came up with themes around the questions, smash the CIA and FBI, enemies of African people. Bombs in Africa would be bombs in America. The role of intelligence agencies in drug shipments and drug distributions throughout the world, these kind of themes. Some of the first mass - when I say mass I'm talking about cities like DC where w passed out 100.000 - 200.000 leaflets, posters on the question of zionism, smash the FBI, CIA, enemies of humanity, these kind of things. Basically Libya became a material base, a physical location that was not feared for working with organizations in the United States.

Typically governments like the USSR and many others technically can not get involved in internal affairs of other countries. But brother Gaddafi's Jamahiriya snubbed their nose to that and provided so much support and many of our young cadres to first experience in Africa was through the Mathaba coming through trips to Libya and sitting down in conference rooms full of revolutionaries from throughout the world having this kind of internationalist dialogue and establishing relationships that continue until today.

So Libya became the vanguard country for the pan-African revolution and it also became the vanguard country for the international revolution in terms of - no other African country, even liberated zones in Africa - provided the kind of material, political and ideological support to the liberation movements throughout the world, especially to the liberation movements in the United States and the Carribean. So we salute brother Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya for that and that's why I'm here today and that's why we conduct some kind of a media campaign and actual demonstrations and protests in support of "Hand Off Libya" , "Stop the Bombing of Libya" and "No Regime Change", in fact we need to uplift the Jamahiriya to high elevated position and amongst the anti-war progressive peoples all around the world.


Well, that brings me to the current situation today and we find ourselves here because we're in solidarity with the Jamahiriya revolution in resistance against NATO aggression and the allies amongst the rebels. Now, in Britain, the british media has for many decades deeply demonized Gaddafi and that has resulted to some successful extent for them - in as much that many young people who should be progressive, who may support Palestine, who may oppose the war have been largely silent and even have joined in the propaganda campaign against the Libyan people and the leader Muammar Gaddafi and in support of these pro-NATO rebels who are lynching on mass - as you know - darked skinned

Libyans and black Africans. In contrast many of your comrades from the United States are in support, so I really want you to kind of speak, literally to these young people and convey your thoughts and analysis of the situation as you see it today.


Well, I think first of all - within the anti-war movement of the United States - we have that same split. The white left is against the war but don't provide a platform (anti-war rallies) for any voice that provides support for the Jamahiriya of Libya. At the same token, by their lack of support and de-facto utilizing terms like dictator, some of the coding word symbols that de-facto support the NATO-US invasion of Libya, whereas in African community because Libya is considered Africa, because brother Gaddafi has said that he's turned his back on the Arab League and said "I am African" , "people of Libya are part of the African revolution" and has not only graduated the organization of African unities and African Union but spent billions of dollars to make this real - that we look at brother Gaddafi as providing the correct analysis of the population of Northern Africa is nothing but Africans who happen to have other Arab blood in their bloodline, but fundamentally different Africans in the United States, we have other ethnic make-up on our bloodline, we don't deny our African identity because we have a European or native American bloodline.

We say we're Africans because you know, regardless. That was a part of the Black Power movement. Some of our comrades like - probably some of the most militant sisters in the Black Panther Party - Kathleen Cleaver, she's very very white-looking but because she comes from an African family background she's part of the African family, the black-power pan-African family. So we look at North Africans primarily who lied to us basically who choose to identify with Tunisia to maintain to identify with the French, and Egypt to identify with the Arab World but Libya and increasingly more Africans in North Africa are identifying with the African world because geographically Africa is the rootstock indigenous people of North Africa Africans. Yes, there's an Arab invasion, Arab conquest within North Africa, so what?

As a national minority we have the same phenomenon of Europeans. And because Gaddafi articulated that, it became a like a rallying symbol for black nationalists, for Afro-centrics, for pan-Africanists throughout the United States rather behind brother Gaddafi ideologically. Then once again many organizations had come to Libya and seen the reality of the Libyan revolution and there's a tendency like Malcolm X says or whatever the ruling class, the European capital class attacked probably could be our friends. And we have a tendency to look at that because capitalism doesn't lie some of the time, it lies all of the time. Your question?


It's interesting what you're saying because I think what's unique about this North African country and Muammar Gaddafi is - i mean if you see black people around here - i think it's unique in North Africa they hold themselves with dignity and pride because the revolution is an African revolution. And it's also very conscious, positively conscious about black Africa as well. There's a poster with Libya in the map of black Africa you know so it's very explicit in that regard but what's your reflection of the lynching of black people in Libya by the rebels?


Also what's interesting is you can see the actual development ot consciousness among the so-called Arab looking Libyans. How when you meet them, they say "We're Africans, we're proud of Africa my brother" and they embrace us. I don't find this phenomenon in Egypt, I don't find this phenomenon in Tunisia. I do among the darker Tunisian and darker Egyptians but the lighter-skinned Egyptians and Tunisians do not do that. They look at us kinda strangely with that hesitation and once again he goes back to the white supremacist paragon. The whiter you are the more value you have. The darker you are the more satanic, more evil more criminal minded you are.

In terms of the phenomenon going on in the eastern part of Libya, in Benghazi in particular and Misrata is that there has been resistance of course among Libyans, especially Libyans who have still caught up a kind of traditional feudal Arab-centric world view that look as Africans as inferior to white-skinned or Arab looking people and that this outbreak of violence - controlled by and financed by CIA and foreign intelligence - is part of the objective -ideologically speaking- is to sow dissent among Libyans and to break the bound, the ties, that have tied Libya to the black revolution throughout Africa. And the greatest fear of US imperialism, of western imperialism is that Africa will unite - one central government, one central economy, one central currency that will not be the US Dollar but create our own currency and that we will create our own internal economic marketing production service industries that will have no need for this economic system of the west and western Europe. That's their greatest fear. It's a fear they also have in Latin America right now with the ALBA backed nations following the Bolivarian revolutionary paragon. And it's occurring all over the world, I think.


And would you consider Muammar Gaddafi the kind of leader of that in Africa?


There's no doubt about it. He's the vanguard personality. Libya is a vanguard country and the Jamahiriya's a vanguard organisation within the country because no other African country today has committed itself as militantly. I think there were tendencies towards the Cote d'Ivoire but of course they created a civil war, the French invaded and then they overthrow the government and they've been successful a 'coup d'etat' of Laurent Gbagbo. In the Sudan we see fragmentation of South Sudan, we see them try to break away Darfur into a separate nation and there's really no other strong - and those are the three as i see it, major anti-imperialist countries of Africa today. But it's once you're being anti-imperialist at once you're being pro pan-Africanist and though Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire are anti-imperialist they're not militantly pro pan-Africanist and not militantly advancing worldwide revolution for the black world as well as one cant overemphasized Libya's role in terms of other national liberation movements.

We can talk about West Papua against the Indonesians, we can talk about the Irish struggle, we can talk about the native American struggles throughout the hemisphere. Not just the Uniteds States but throughout the hemisphere that brother Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya and i was to say the Jamahiriya because Gaddafi by himself couldn't last one second. It's the people, the masses of people of Libya who through the Jamahiriya and people's assemblies have given life, have given support, have hold this brother up to the position he holds as a revolutionary. I'm not so much caught up with the king as the king-maker. Dr. Martin Luther King for instance. He used to be some brother walking down the streets talking about "We shall overcome". He would not be an historical figure but because of hundreds of thousand of people rally behind him cause he represented the interests of our people and he shows you the best representers, the best refelcters so that our people rose up King to the position he has. So for me to focus on Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi is secondary.

A critical focus on the people of Libya who have chosen the path of revolution., who have chosen the path of anti-imperialism, who have chosen the path of socialism and have chosen the path of internationalism and pan-Africanism that I really wanna kinda big up and support cause once again, he could've been overthrown like that with the ideas he had in that reflected interests in the masses of the Libyan people. Now too often one of the characteristics in the bourgeois media is the focus on personality and that makes the mass of the Libyan people either robots or so brutally repressed they can't have a voice of their own. It's one man that's so powerful that he can terrorize 6 million people. 6 million people that are at the nercy one crazy dictator. It's like looking at Hitler and not looking at Germany's working class and middle class, especially industrialists in Germany that gave rise to Hitler, you know.


Very interesting. If you don't mind literally looking at the camera and addressing our young people. What would be your message to our young people in relation to Libya.


I think students and youth are the spark of revolution number one. I think students and youth need to develop critical thought and change their ethic and value system from the kinda crass commercialism that is being perpetrated by the zionist media, especially music and record industry, come from the music industry and i think the world we are fighting for, the people at my age is really for their generation. And I think that olders who come from the movement have more responsibility to pass on our experiences from the 60's , 70's and 80's to the next generation. I think a lot of us have failed in that. I myself work constantly with young people but there are not enough cadres of the 60's, 70's and 80's and 90's that are really reaching out to the young folks and the young folks need to challenge the olders who are in the movement. How can they work with us? Put pressure upon them to open up their files, open up their experiences to train them not to make the same mistakes we made. That's really really important though but right now part of the European bourgeois tactics is this notion of generation gap.

Just because cat's sag , cat's got purple hair or nose piercings or whatever whatever whatever that people of my generation get caught up in the form, not the essence the rebellion. And for me to issue how do you even become a rebel with a cause as opposed to a rebel without a cause, you know so I have no problem with whatever lifestyle young folks choose as long as we can give a direction to build a better world for their generation because my generation - we're still struggling but the future is in the hands of the youth and students. And I think students and youth are the spark of the revolution. Students we have been, whether it's Fidel Castro and the Cuban communist party and students at the University of Havana, Mao tse tuing at the University of Peking , Sekou Toure of trade union youth, I think we look at revolutions or radical social change that has come from the students and youth as in trade union movements or from the Universities

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