The Black Hammer Times is doing a series of interviews of notable chiefs in the organization to show the real people leading the group. Following our interviews with Chief Afeni and Chief Ina, today we have an interview with Chief Mouhamadou. One of the founding members of the organization, they recently won the election to become the Secretary General, second in command of the entire organization.
We at The Black Hammer Times sat down with Chief Mouhamadou and got a sense of the energy, and history behind this great leader.
First things first: what nation do you represent, what are your pronouns, and what brings you to Black Hammer?
I represent the African nation; my pronouns are they/them exclusively. Simply speaking, what brought me to Black Hammer was a need to get free — a drive to get myself and my people free.
How did you find out about the Black Hammer Organization?
When Commander-in-Chief Gazi left the previous group that we were in, I reached out to him to support the move. He hit me back up a week later, telling me about a new plan, a new project. I was on board immediately, and a couple of months later was on a bus from Boston to Atlanta to get Black Hammer started.
So you were with the organization from the beginning?
Yep, I was part of the original organizing committee that put together the Black Hammer Organization launch party.
We came from such humble beginnings: we had our first meeting in a McDonalds lobby, with a small gathering, trying to plan an organization that could truly get our people to freedom.
But at that point, we had no resources or anything. To grow from that into what we have today is very inspiring.
I’m personally thankful for all the work you’ve done because you’ve brought so many of us here today. Before that, what were your more humble beginnings?
Part of my inspiration and alignment with radical politics early on was due to my settler mother’s career. She’s a liberal humanitarian who worked for the red cross peace corps, and now for the UN. Growing up, we never spent longer than a few years in any one country.
We moved around the continent of Africa a lot, and being able to see the world from a very young age was hugely influential on my global perspective.
And how did you get radicalized?
I can remember the night I got radicalized very clearly. It was the night a grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, the pig who murdered Mike Brown. I remember I was on my own, and in college. For the whole night, I was glued to my computer watching as the country went up in flames.
People were expressing their righteous rage over this injustice and I just sat there bawling my eyes out, feeling so helpless and disconnected from the struggle for liberation that I knew, because of my identity that I was attached to, but which I wasn’t connected with through any of my actions, or words.
I remember sitting there and deciding that, no matter what it was going to be, I was going to be a part of the change, that I was going to make sure that these rebellions of rage were productive, that they meant something.
These kinds of events give people the fire to grow and to challenge themselves and the world. So from that point of radicalization, where did you go next?
I went to a small, liberal arts, primarily white institution which had a lot of performative student-activism. I got involved in racial justice organizing on-campus, and shifted my educational focus to political philosophy and critical race theory so that my studies could reflect what I wanted to do in the world.
As I developed as a student activist, I got entrenched in liberal bourgeois feminism and the whole call-out culture trend which emphasized identity politics. This fake intersectionality meant that one person’s politic or theory was valued over another person’s politic or theory, solely based on their identity, even if their politics were reactionary.
I got really entrenched in that toxic environment, which was unproductive because it didn’t seek any meaningful change for the class of colonized working people as a whole. So after coming to the realization of how toxic this student organizing environment was, I looked for other organizations to be a part of.
I had been following Gazi’s videos, and around this time they joined the APSP (African People’s Socialist Party). Although I now regard it as a cult, at the time I looked into joining that organization as well.
That’s a beautiful history! Today, what’s your role in the Black Hammer Organization, what does it mean to you?
Currently, my role is the Secretary General, meaning I’m second-in-command of the organization. My role is to make sure that the Black Hammer Organization ship is clean and sailing smoothly, that all our contradictions are handled appropriately, and that we’re taking care of our people. And I fucking love that I can do this work because the revolution is my life.
There is nothing to my existence at this point that is more valuable than the liberation of my people. I’m willing to be a leader, if that’s what the revolution asks of me, but personally, that’s not a position I’ve always wanted.
Although Ive never been interested in the spotlight, I love this role because it’s a role that allows me to be entrenched in the revolutionary work, and to see all sides of the contradictions going on. On a day to day basis, I struggle with my comrades so that we have the right political lines to deal with contradictions appropriately.
For me, it’s not about the Secretary General role. Overall, in being a part of the movement in this influential organization, I feel whole. I found my calling.
You talked about things you like in your role now, but are there aspects of Black Hammer that set it apart from other organizations?
On a daily basis, this organization sets itself apart.
So what sets the BHO apart from any other revolutionary organization that I (or my friends) have worked with is that not only are we serious, we’re cut-throat revolutionaries.
I don’t care if I’ve been organizing with someone for decades, if you break the principles of unity or do some abusive fucked up shit, you’re out. (That said, we’re not on some cult bullshit either like preventing members from talking to people who’ve been expelled, but we aren’t here to play!)
We’re not going to allow rapists, or abusers, or fucked up people who can’t unite with the politic into our organization. While other organizations might develop this liberalism where people just shrug and say “that’s the political line,” or “that’s the way forward,” or “that’s the way leadership works,” what I really appreciate about this organization is that we’ve created a culture where we don’t allow that liberalism to take root.
I know that the topic of ‘abuse’ is a critical one. I’ve heard from newcomers that this has been an issue in other organizations, which has made them wary to join future organizations because they’ve been burned in the past. They rightly don’t want to experience that again. It’s so important to hear that from you, to deepen that. Can you give an example of how something like this was handled?
Absolutely. One prime example was a situation where we had a comrade harassing other people and using their position of leadership to coerce and silence other members. We had a member in the membership committee who was using his position to get in contact with femmes in the organization, lying that he was “reaching out in his official capacity” or some bullshit, but was actually just using this as an excuse to comment on their appearance and try to flirt.
The moment when leadership was first made aware of his abuse we were already in a long meeting at 1am and everyone was fucking tired. Despite this, we immediately decided to extend the meeting and were able to bring the victim in. Commander-in-Chief Gazi was very humble about it and apologized for even needing to bring her in to the situation to relive her trauma. We all were self critical to have this occur in our organization and made sure to overturn the contradiction immediately. And that’s exactly what the fuck we did.
That same morning, the perpetrator was out of the organization, and our public self-criticism was published online. We made it clear what our policy was regarding abusive contradictions. To see that happen so immediately is what proved to me that this organization is different from others. We weren’t just going to sit on serious contradictions.
In other “revolutionary” organizations, you can be in meetings all day long, but what does it mean when you’re protecting abusers? What does it mean when your “movement” facilitates and rewards this abusive behavior? Are you doing what you claim to be doing? No!
Are there any projects going on that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’ve got my hands pretty full with projects throughout the organization, and I can say: we got some big things coming.
Even though the organization is just a year old, we’re dealing with the fundamental issues of colonialism. We already have projects in the works to respond to these issues which will connect to the masses of colonized people around the world.
That’s just a teaser. I can’t say exactly what these projects are right now, but they’re coming!
If people are invigorated by all the shit going on, between exploitation, colonization, killings, police brutality and corruption, what’s the best way people can do something about it?
Join a revolutionary organization!
I say that with a grain of salt because I’d like to say join my revolutionary organization, which I know is doing the work and is disciplined and accountable. But really, just do the research into any organizations you’re looking into.
Joining a revolutionary organization is so important. That was how I was politically developed, not by going to candlelight vigils, or putting together a scholarship or some shit.
There’s a reason that in every Black Hammer meeting we have an agenda, a political education, and action items. We need to be organized and productive!
My political development stems directly from my work with an organization. Even though the organization responsible for my early political development turned out out be a cult (run by a man who is running around as a fake revolutionary just to make a profit off of the pain and suffering of colonized working class people), the value of that political development still stands.
Once you’ve done research into a trustworthy organization, just join!
You will be able to see the new world that we’re building, as opposed to just seeing the old one burn around you, thinking that the flames are going to engulf you as well.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that when the masses are united with a revolutionary politic that poor working class colonized people will be at the forefront. My hope is that this happens soon enough that I can enjoy my retirement in a free world!
You suggested to people that they join a revolutionary organization, but do you have any other recommendations for the people? Anything to do? Eat? Read? Watch? Listen to?
There’s no one thing I can recommend that will help you, apart from joining a revolutionary organization.
I got depression and anxiety. There are periods of my life where I’m eating well, and periods where I forget to eat. There are periods when I’m sleeping 12 hours a day, and periods when I’ve barely slept. All of those are symptoms of colonialism, and at the end of the day, they’re all issues that cannot be resolved unless true decolonization is achieved. As an individual, no matter how good my health is, or how good my bank account is doing, my people are still colonized!
My only advice is to join a revolutionary organization.
Any last thoughts on your mind, other thoughts to share?
I want the people to know that the way I’m perceived on the outside is not who I am. It took so much political development to get me to the point where I can speak to the people.
Which is to say that the person who you are now is only a fraction of the beauty and the power and the energy that you are capable of being, and the thing that changed that for me, that catapulted me to a place where I felt secure in my ability to talk to strangers or defend my politics, my identity, my people, is revolutionary organizing. That’s what developed me into the person I am today and gave me the tools to do what I do today.
I used to be a shy-ass kid who had to ask friends to order pizza for me because I had too much anxiety. Now I can look back, and see how small colonialism had made me.
Being able to break away from that shell is a struggle, one that can be painful at times, but it’s a struggle that’s well worth it.