What does it mean to be free?
Resistance and popular rebellion is on the rise in the U.S. but our movement also needs vision. We are growing increasingly aware of the things of this world that we do not wish to carry forward, but there is a lack of consensus on the world that we are collectively creating. In short, we talk about wanting to get free, but do we really know what that means?
We are opening up our blog for folks to contribute the way that THEY define FREEDOM.
Participants can contribute written blog pieces of any length, poetry, video, photographs, or artwork to express their personal vision of freedom as we color in our collective vision of the future. Remember, you don't have to plot out the entire revolution, just contribute something to help pollenate our collective imagination.
Ex: "FREEDOM is learning our real history in public schools"
Ex: "When we are Free, gender roles won't exist"
Please submit content via the form below, and encourage others in your network to contribute as well!
Expression is FREEDOM, being able to be who you truly are is FREEDOM. That moment when nothing and no one can tell you what you need or should be is being FREE
It took me a while to learn to free. I hadn’t seen it done, though I had heard of it. And, usually, when I heard it described--how to actually do it--it was only explained: you just do it. Which didn’t help me much understand what it meant to free.
I practiced. Alone, mostly. I didn’t want to try to free in front of any one else, to risk exposure. I preferred to try to free at home or walking from school. I would take the back streets where there weren’t many people, the long way---just to practice. I felt it was easier to free when I was moving, so I always had someplace to go, and I always, always took the back streets. I didn’t get very good at freeing alone. Alone I had no place to resonate and I had no one to tell me if I could actually free.
I was at my cousins house on the East Side when I first saw people free. There was a block party and Tommy the Clown had come--so everyone on the East Side, it seemed to me, was there. The music was loud and everyone was moving, dancing and laughing. I walked to the back of the apartment complex where I saw my cousin and his friends in his car. I nodded to my cousin and he told me to come over.
“Come here little cousin.”
They opened the door and let me in the back seat. They rolled up the windows and didn’t say much of anything, just busied their fingers as my cousin put in a tape. It was synths and horns and snare drums. My cousin’s friend looked back at me and asked me, “do you free?” I didn’t know how to answer. I had practiced, but I didn’t know, yet, if I could actually free.
“Nah, not really,” I shook my head. Someone asked for a lighter, breaking the silence. I didn’t know if they expected me to free. I sat and waited. They let the tape play through a few tracks and no one said anything. They listened. All you could hear was breath, loud. I thought my own breathing was loud. I could hear myself think. I could feel myself watching and waiting and wondering: why were they silent? Can they hear me think? Do they want me to free?
My cousin spoke and filled the car as he exhaled, “you Black, you free”. He told me as if it were fact I knew and should know. I had to free, he was telling me, because I was Black. I had no choice, it was expected of me to free. But, I couldn’t free. I was caught with fear and hesitation. It wasn’t long but I could feel them waiting on me. They were ready for me to free and I shook my head.
The music filled the car. I could hear the bass. Free was flow. Free was connecting and searching and, when the time hit, landing. It was watching flight. They were responding to each other and challenging each other. One would free and another would free and everyone would free together. It was an ensemble. It was noise and it was style. It made me want to free. I told myself, I would free and I would free even If I couldn’t free. I couldn’t then and I can’t quite now tell anyone how to free. You know it when you see it. You do it and it sort of just happens. I wanted to free.
ART is unique to it's creator. ART forms such as music, poetry, art, and dance are the true liberation of the mind, body and soul. As an artist growing up, I struggled to find comic book heroes of color. 30 years later, it's still an epidemic that continues to plague society. Motivated by this, I set out to create this video series I call "Heroes of Color" which celebrates the outstanding achievements of people of color.
Freedom is feeling whole. It is being directed by your passion, without regard for institutionalized limitations. Freedom is love & life combined.
A very unique source of information for current and future revolutionaries has been removed from the immediate internet. The website "nocardneeded.com," which was originally hosted on tumbler, held a multitude of free, anti-authoritarian, pro-socialist e-books and audiobooks concerning revolutionary tactics and philosophies. These were all held as open-source knowledge bases for the public to consume. Among some of the rare pieces of work were Dr. Huey P. Newton's dissertation "War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America," abolitionism papers by Dr. Angela Davis, and republished works by author Abbie Hoffman. The site nocardneeded was originally a blog hosted on tumblr with backlinks to a host of material readers could peruse from the site zinelibrary.info. Zinelibrary.info had been on the web for several years and underwent many hosting complications due to the content served on the website. Free publications included works of art and writing done by graffiti artists and inmates, writings concerning the state of affairs of political prisoners, and worldwide information from the underground. This was, of course, all freely hosted material, completely uncensored, and ready for public consumption. It serves as no coincidence that both Zinelibrary.info and nocardneeded.tumblr.com were removed from their respective hosts in January exactly 2 weeks apart. This represents the state of illusion we currently live under, when millions of voices can be silenced yet no one speaks up in outrage. Freedom of the Press and a free internet is vital for the proper spread of knowledge, and free access to that knowledge is what will drive a nation of people out of the darkness and into the light.
Operation_KKK Official KKK list. Florida Ku Klos Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan http://pastebin.com/wbvP95wg
The Clinton campaign has been up to unscrupulous acts of sabotage targeting Bernie Sanders in the election race. Luke Montgomery (leader of multiple webhosts for the Clinton campaign) has been directly linked to the source code for putting a $5,000 bounty on Donald's Trump's SNL performance. Montgomery's website hosting servers have been found holding a secret Clinton PAC known as "WhiteHouseWonderWoman." Here is one of the secret ads from a vimeo with the same IP address as Luke's other sites, deportracism and fckh8 While this ties the Clinton PAC directly with framing another presidential party in a scandal the money trail tells an even deeper story. A major Clinton PAC has been zealously funding Luke's PAC and there may even be some receipts from George Soros. Full story here: https://medium.com/@1e3d0077c3ca4df4b260e1ee0bceb6/hillary-clinton-may-have-just-committed-election-fraud-and-the-internet-found-out-part-1-bb7647415a71
Physical space: Places to assemble, land, occupying public space without retribution, free of colonial standards of living. Mental space: Places to share our thoughts, our opinions without being subjected to a pejorative narrative. Personal space: No, you cannot touch our hair, put your hands on our children or desecrate our bodies. Reclaim our own space, then we are free.
Be For all intents and purposes, FREEDOM…
By Loba Rodriguez Calderon (a.k.a. Arely Lozano-Baugh)
Freedom maintains that being, living, and choice must be
Revered above all else. And also, protected. That
Every group should be cherished for our inherent
Divinity. For we are all the
Origin of our existence and of our future. We are one in nature and spirit. Connected. Freedom is to
Move: back, forward, and beyond. Moving we have gotten here, and thus we continue. Building our
Independence. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Individuals and groups in a quest for
Sovereignty, self-determination, and community. A generation like others before. Fighting
Together. And through time, maintaining our purpose… To
Overthrow the limits and regulations that
Belittle our existence, opportunities, capacities, possibilities and visions… We are
Every being. The Earth. Evolving. Learning from memories and histories…
Remembering that we are always becoming. Free to feel.
Elated in the rapture of our existence. Present. In
All our being. Thinking. Breathing… Questioning the parameters, meanings, and purposes of every dogma. Always
Learning, lamenting, laughing, longing, lusting, losing and listening. But above all,
Living and loving.
Yelling, at the top of our lungs, “We are Free! This is Our Freedom!”
Forever one in the unity of the Universe.
Radicals because we refuse to stop and cave in. Because we choose to
Elevate one another. To raise as one, lifting each other... Towards our Freedom--Of mind, believing and being.
Empowering all to be Free. Free from chains. Free from hate. Free from constraints.
… For all intents and purposes, Free to Love, Free to Live, Free to Be, Free to Dream.
Somewhere between war paint and minstrel face is me putting on my makeup I wake up after shutting down I-95 to go to my 9 to 5 living somewhere in between two lives I found myself knocking on a door of opportunity to a house I wanted to burn celebrating holidays to a history I wanted to unlearn pushing the wheel of a system that I wanted to turn I ask myself I challenge us all will we stop financing what we fight against watch an empire build as we just pay rent watch businesses grow and we just clock in face capitalism and we just spend and then we stand to protest or post on Instagram against a system we participate in somewhere between being in a die-in and dying in line for shoes we have to choose which side will lose Maybe we’re so focused on what we don’t want we don’t know what we do chastising so many choices that we don’t know which one to choose maybe all we need to be is the light in a dark room finance our own future work for our own welfare maybe we don’t need to burn down a house if we build our own maybe we don’t need to shuck and jive to make a living if we create our own maybe we don’t need to focus on others if we love our own Somewhere between the two is me waking up to a system that I don’t have to fight against nor be an active participant unguarded and ungoverned somewhere soon I see us building, creating, and loving our own somewhere between putting on war paint and minstrel face I find myself and we find our place
by F. Denaud
Last weekend I was ravenous. I cruised right through Kindred, stumbled across Women, Race, and Class and surfed right onto Blues Legacies and Black Feminism x Madame Angela Davis (I'm waiting until my next check to buy it so I've only dug into the free sample, although I did read it some years ago in college.)
Dizzied by black woman badassness, I tried to identify the creative and intuitive logic behind my impromptu syllabus. I find myself identifying, accessing, imploding every day logics as a pastime, so I figured interrogating my own could be fruitful. Beyond the black woman badassness and the strategic use of slavery as a "primary" trauma, there was something else I was circling in all the texts that felt really good.
And then Davis did it.
She deliciously sketches the ways in which sexual independence served as the initial cite of emancipatory changes and experiences. And how the Blues is that golden artifact, that golden moment, when a new Black American sexual consciousness is both articulated and embodied. I had read this before but it registered differently, with a whole new potency (hehe) and potential.
It means sex matters, in ways so complicated and intricate, that I have been asking the wrong questions. Well, not exactly. I had asked this question before but I wasn't sure why.
In what kind of political, social, economic, cultural "arrangement" would Black and Brown Wimmin experience the greatest sexual health and pleasure possible? What would political education committed to, or in service of this vision look, sound, and feel like?
This is a struggle I want to be apart of. This is a way of both organizing that responds to the pitfalls of dogma, abstraction, contradiction, and the phallus. These are my sex dreams.
When I was young, I would recite the National Anthem every day before class began. The entire class stood up, and I put my right hand across my heart, feeling the steady beat of life pumping through the veins.
‘Land of the free, home of the brave,' I recited those words, I would repeat it, letting its meaning wash over me, trying to understand the full meaning and history behind the phrase.
‘Land of the free, home of the brave’. I let the words slowly roll off my tongue every morning I stood up and saluted the flag. Those words resonated with me deeply and made me stand a little bit taller.
As I’ve gotten older, I've seen that this land is not a peaceful one. The United States is a violent nation, always has been, and we shouldn't be surprised that this tradition carries on today. The fairy tale I’ve been told about my homeland is forever shattered, reveling in its shards of glass, a bloody finger pointing accusatory towards me.
The blood dried up under our fingernails belonging to those we slaughtered and pushed under our feet in submission while speaking the same words of freedom that led a college aged kid to place a flower at the end of a barrel of a soldier’s gun, who would not learn to stop worrying and love the bomb. From Ferguson, to Ohio, Oakland, Liberty City, New York, Egypt, to the Gaza Strip, countless and countless cities and bodies standing defiant against bodies protected in riot gear, armed with nothing but the simple demand to let them live.
These same words of freedom has also led our government to spy on us, weighing our fates in secret criminal courts, and allowing public servants to beat us into submission anytime we dare speak our mind.
As the childlike naïveté of America has shattered, I struggle to answer what it means to be free. Freedom for me is the ability to make your own decisions, to walk down the street in peace, to let your child walk to school without wondering if they will make back alive, to laugh with a group of friends, to love freely and openly without condemnation or fear.
That’s what it means to be free. To stand tall when you they want you to crawl. To tilt your head up at the sky when you were programmed to eat the dirt under their feet. Freedom is standing defiant and unwavering, knowing that even if your knees shake, you won't lose your balance, you won't fall, because you've tasted the dirt, you've conformed and contorted yourself into something more digestible until you've lost sight of oneself and fitted yourself into such a small cage, that now, wide in the open, expanding your lungs to take in the air around you, realizing that you could never make yourself that small again.
When we are nolonger slaves to slavery both past and modern day slavery. When I am nolonger identified by the color or the pigmentation of my skin but instead my intellectual profanity. Praised for being different and not shunned for my curiosity. Given the same opportunity like the next man, not the so called "black man" but the other man. Being lifted instead of torn down by society but built up by my heritage and legacy. Making that "dream" a reality. Free, the same way I breath in air should be the same way I live my life, Free. Free to live outside of the box, the system designed to confine me to poverty. Free from shackles that are cuffed on my eyes, ears, and mouth that hold me captive to the unseen conspiracy. Free to be me, to love me as me not what you want me to be, or think I should be, free to be free. When I'm free you'll value the air you breath the same way you value your own life. When Im free the air you breath won't just be free but will be equal to the value of your life. When I am free, we'll all know it. We will all realize we breath the same air, live on the same earth and die the same death. When I am free it will nolonger be you and I, black and white, young and old. When I am free there will only be one, "we" when we are free.
One Hundred Sixty Five years ago, a man by the name of Frederick Douglass shared with the nation exactly what the celebration of American freedom was to the slaves who were still in chains. Mr. Douglass eloquently exposed the abject hypocrisy and privilege it took for America to collectively celebrate an independence which all of her citizens did not know personally. Although today we have our legal freedom via some constitutional amendments, we are not completely free to blindly celebrate the American Freedoms with which the date of July 4th is set to commemorate. In actuality, we still have to deal with the caging of our humanity either by the state which employs racially disparate sentencing and policing models or by the social system which still devalues those of African American heritage at every and any turn. We still have to deal with an American heritage which does not fully accept us as part of its tapestry, an America which despite the fact that the KKK and other intensely anti-Black groups carried Confederate flags for a century and a half after the official end of the Civil War, yet no connection was made between this flag and hatred. Even then, that connection is hotly debated and we must wait for our dignity to be upheld by more votes and more political posturing by politicians. We are not living in an America that values us, even if by law and technicality we now enjoy a modicum of freedom. To my earlier point about racially disparate policing models, a recent report on the American institution of police brutality is especially troubling, mentioning that a much higher amount of Blacks killed by the police tend to be unarmed. Is this freedom? By what standard? Our churches, our oldest institutions and symbols of Black autonomy and land ownership are being burned across the south like Sherman burned Atlanta. Of course no news media wants to cover this and call it how it actually is, these are generally cases of arson, even if there are one or two cases which may be caused by “natural causes” there is no natural cause on Earth which would account for the fact that 8 Historically Black Churches have been burned down in 10 days. Yet media outlets will mourn and grieve over a burned out CVS in which only commerical property would be damaged and replaced. When you burn Black churches, you are in effect burning both centres of Black community and Black hope. Yet there is no outpouring of concern for these ripple effects that no doubt will spread through the various communities which were targeted by these terrorist attacks. Is this any kind of freedom? Where is our freedom to simply be Black and be left alone? Let alone the fact that this celebration of White history and White history makers is not complemented by celebrating a Nat Turner or a Denmark Vesey on Juneteenth, which is the day widely commemorated as the day that the slaves received oral word of their recently declared freedom from servile bondage. Yet these slaves did not have any true freedom, as legal status soon returned them to an essential state of slavery as Black codes held them as property less individuals who could then be arrested for little or no reason. The police departments which evolved from slave catching patrols, further illustrate this contentious relationship between Blackness and the idea of freedom, they held the lives and freedom of the ex-slaves in their hands, just as they still do now. Jim Crow immediately followed the Black Codes, ensuring that Black people in the post antebellum South continued having little to no social mobility without the approval of White Society in America. During Jim Crow, more Confederate flags popped up in resistance to the passage of laws which were designed to integrate African Americans into the larger society, however these laws did not attempt to convey the inherent worth and value of African Americans to the larger society as was evident in the amount of lynchings, public events which inspired terror in the African American populace. Is this freedom? Even after the small victories won during the long and hard Civil Rights struggles of the 40's, 50's, and 60's Blacks who moved northward still had to fend off and deal with a special kind of institutionalized racism, namely housing discrimination as many Northern cities operated and some indeed still operate using a practice of redlining. Districting off zones of the population by race and or income, which in America is still de facto racial segregation. Is this freedom? In this America we still deal with gentrification, which speaks to the way that Black people are subconsciously viewed by many cities’ power matrixes. In many cases there are no improvements made to pockets and areas of a city with a large Black population, but the minute a large corporation or a large influx of White people move into the area, there is an immediate improvement on the conditions and facilities present. Is this freedom? So just what do you expect us to celebrate when we are still not free? What is the Fourth of July to the children and grandchildren of slaves who still feel the effects of this system? What is the Fourth of July to ex-slaves?
Before you speak of freedom consider this: Understanding what being enslaved means. If you can walk out of your home and look at the sun any time you feel like it you are NOT enslaved or a slave. Although at any moment you may become one. No one is safe. Slavery is not a 9 to 5 job leading you like a carrot on a stick to work harder to pay for things you think you can't live without. Slaves don't compete in open markets any more than horses bet on themselves in vegas. Yes the enslaved are under control economically but only because they aren't allowed to own anything. That is part of the rules of slavery. Keep them penniless, in chains, hopeless, helpless and ignorant. For slaves in the 1800's, having a book or a dollar in your hand would have gotten the same reaction. You aren't supposed to have either one. Slavery is waking up knowing someone owns your body and can beat, torture or kill you on a whim. Slavery is not being able to see the light of day even if you wanted to. Slavery has a stock exchange tag like GEO, CEC or CCA. Slavery is when they kidnap you and then sell or lease you to someone else for a profit without your input. Where they work you like a mule for NO PAY and then tell you to be grateful for food, shelter and water. Struggling to buy bread for your starving family isn't slavery. It's poverty. And in our case almost always controlled poverty which creates a criminal and desperate breeding ground for future slaves. Real slavery includes real chains and real shackles. Anything else is a metaphor. Max Parthas - American Slavery Abolitionist New Abolitionists Radio Join the Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery www.blacktalkradionetwork.com