A few weeks ago, Black Hammer announced that it would begin constructing Hammer City, a place exclusively for people of color — without the pigs, without rent, and without Coronavirus. Chief Ina, who is Chief of Campaigns at Black Hammer, has been with this project since the beginning. The Black Hammer Times sat down with her to ask some questions about Hammer City.
This is obviously a huge campaign! Who’s leading the development of Hammer City?
The development of the city is overseen by me. It’s myself and a bunch of subsequent teams, all in the campaigns office, doing the logistics, planning, research, and development. We are working under the dictatorship of the Indigenous people of Turtle Island (amerikkka). This means we are moving based on their directions on how they want to move forward. So the Indigenous people of this land have the agency over what Hammer City looks like.
How deep does that direction go? What does a dictatorship of Indigenous people look like over a city?
It goes deep — it’s every decision that gets made, from the crops down to the materials used to build the houses!
What are the long term plans for Hammer City?
We want to practice self-determination for colonized communities: not just physically building that foundation, but also mentally. One of our goals is to understand what colonized people are capable of when we’re given the opportunity to figure out the way we want to build a society to serve our own needs. The way current colonial society looks is not the way we decided how it should look.
The long term plan is to build Hammer Cities all over the world, we want to build self-determination for all colonized people. We’re affected by colonialism globally, so we want to attack colonialism all across the globe. Ultimately, the end goal is to get all of our land back. Once colonized people have our land, colonialism will be finished, because the colonized people will have self-determination over land resources, with absolute control over what is going on there, how we’re living, how resources are used.
What’s the first step to come after fundraising?
We’re doing a bunch of stuff at the same time, so we have different phases that we’re fundraising for. Right now it’s building the foundation, which includes ownership, figuring out where we’re going to be located, and even developing the building plans. That’s a whole process that we’re doing.
The next step is building, and then expansion: How to build a base and expand it. This is the answer for colonized people. We’re going through a genocide right now with Coronavirus, and that’s our forefront. We’re building this for the people so they can also be a part of this process. And we’ll need to be fundraising throughout all of that.
So, the plan is to get boots on the ground as soon as possible?
Exactly. We can’t afford to wait, things are only going to get worse. The government is no longer putting a moratorium on evictions, people are still getting laid off. We can’t afford to wait and hope that things will change, we have to put stuff in motion.
Why is the first Hammer City being built in the u.s.? Why not Nigeria, or Puerto Rico?
We talk a lot in Black Hammer about living in the imperial core, the heart of colonialism. We are involved with what’s going on with colonized people all over the globe. We’re connected to that. Therefore, it’s important to make the first step here as an act of unity because the things that happen here affect colonized people everywhere, from the heart of it. If you can build a Hammer City in the United Snakes, you can build one anywhere.
How will self-defense work?
The important thing to remember is that we are fully capable of defending our communities, and the state actively pushes us to not have that. They don’t want us to have that self-defense. We’re already doing the work of protecting our communities.
I think it’s important to remember that’s how it’s going to be in Hammer City, we’re not going to allow Colonialism inside to fuck us over. The masses will protect us. This is why it’s so important that everything Black Hammer does is connected to the people. We do that on purpose because they are our sword and shield.
Hammer City grew out of Black Hammer’s Disaster Relief Committee, growing into its own campaign, right? So, how is it different from Disaster Relief?
Number one, it’s a lot bigger! Number two, the overall goals are different. Disaster Relief is really important, colonized people need that PPE, but it’s not a long term solution. We’re going to be going through this pandemic for the next couple of years, and we need a more long term, material solution for people, not just a band-aid solution. We need that material shift.
How can people get involved right now?
If people want to get involved they can email us at BHCampaigns@protonmail.com and they can sign up to join!
Who should sign up to work on Hammer City?
We need medical people: doulas, dentists, herbalists, primary care providers, nurses. I know mad nurses who are really going through it, who quit because of Coronavirus. We need y’all who have the technical skills to come and help build hammer city – designers, engineers, that type of stuff.
So, with these evictions, with “essential workers” getting laid off, how would a society run without those things? Without rent and money, I mean.
It’s interesting because it reminds me of the time I went to Cuba. The colonizers I was with were arguing with Cubans about homeownership. The white people were like “How do you own it? Doesn’t everyone need to own a house?”
The Cubans didn’t understand! They were like “You live there, and if you need a home you move in.”I understand it’s a weird concept in amerikkka, but you don’t need to pay to live. That’s literally it. You don’t have to pay to live. If you’re paying money to a landlord, you’re paying money to a parasite.
In Hammer City, you’re going to have to work because we all have to work together to support each other and survive. Everyone’s going to have a role to play, but no one’s going to have to scramble to have a home, to be safe. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need money to have that. That’s how colonizers set up a society, but that’s not how society has to be.
What is it that Chief Gazi says, that there’s a difference between commerce and Capitalism?
Exactly. A lot of people on my team are becoming experts at this shit because they’re passionate, and they care about the cause, and they care about the people, and they understand that this is the real, material answer.
People who really just give a fuck, who will show up to weekly meetings, and who work hard to make this thing a reality. That’s the kind of people I have on the committee, that’s the kind of person we need! Come help us tear down colonialism and build a new world.
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