By Chief Turey, Chief Shorn
Black Hammer Times sat down with Chief Shorn to discuss Hammer City’s newly announced leadership. Shorn is Chief over this committee of land liberators.
Black Hammer recently announced who the leadership of Hammer City will be! Can you talk about who these Chiefs are?
The leaders of Hammer City are Indigenous people from multinational backgrounds, Indigenous people from all corners of Turtle Island and South America, who have dedicated their time and resources to creating a place where Indigenous people have dictatorship above all else. A place where Indigenous people have the understanding and right to self-determination on our own land.
Any time a revolutionary campaign like Hammer City occurs, it’s threatened with being stamped out by colonizers who want to keep us silent and underfoot for the rest of our lives. Which is why they aren’t allowed to live there.
Other Colonized people, not just Indigenous people, also have a stake in overthrowing Colonialism. Are they going to have leadership roles in Hammer City as well?
Leadership roles are always available for Colonized people of any background, that’s just how Black Hammer operates! As for having self-determination, to be what we call a “land liberator”, someone who tends the land, takes responsibility for it and puts their life and livelihood on the line to protect their homeland, that role can only be filled by Indigenous people—at least on Turtle Island.
In terms of being a leader in Hammer City, any colonized person can be a leader. We need all hands on deck. If someone wants to be a doctor in Hammer City, and they want to organize healthcare for our people, we’ll welcome them with open arms.
Everything that Colonized people have to offer is necessary. Whether it’s life or death things like military and healthcare, down to arts and culture, everything is necessary for future cities to expand and flourish on other continents.
You mentioned that there won’t be any colonizers allowed in Hammer City. Where will the white people go once we take back the land?
The law of the land will be that Europeans will have to leave—unless they have a colonized person to vouch for them, maybe….and that’s a big maybe. That’s really the best that they can hope for: an Indigenous person who is willing to say that they are okay with that person staying.
It’s going to take that Democratic process to decide exactly how that looks, and when it happens. Overall, the answer is Europeans are going back to Europe.
How does Indigenous governance look? Where do the Stewards draw their inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from a mix of Indigenous social practices that govern through centralized leadership. Like the Haudenosaunee, and my nations, Ojibwe and Anishinaabe. All have tribal councils.
The problem is that the tribal councils of today are hand-picked and appointed by the white ruling class for the most “trustworthy” native person they can put on these positions of power, who can campaign for Democrats, stuff like that.
That’s actually where a lot of council seats come from nowadays, but originally being Chief in a tribal council really did mean that the fate of your nation was being determined by you, and other council members.
So, it’s centralized leadership, basically. Laws will have to be made through centralized leadership, as law was through the Indigenous practice of the supreme court, which was originally done by nations like the Mohawk.
And even from the Mohawk Nation, they had a matriarchal society, so women were the Chiefs of the nation. They were called the “clan mothers.” It’s going to be our land liberators who take responsibility for stewardship of Turtle Island through many of the same roles that tribal councils took before colonization. The more that we relearn and rediscover how Indigenous people organized themselves pre-colonialism, the more we’re going to follow those practices. That’s how we’re going to roll.
How do you update those practices for Hammer City, in a post-contact society?
We’ll have our tribal councils, but then we have our democratic system that we already follow. We’ll have meetings between all members of Hammer City, and every subsequent city, and we’ll discuss how the system works, which direction the members want to move.
So, a democratic process.
Yeah! Having transparency within leadership to bring everyone in, and making these decisions a big event so everyone can see, and explaining to everyone how leadership is going to work so there’s no confusion. Then people can decide whether or not they unite with it.
Black Hammer talks a lot about Colonized people having a dictatorship over land, lives, and resources. So, what does it mean to have dictatorship over the land?
Well, we know that power comes from the willingness to enforce something, the ability to make things change, through violent means if necessary. Power also comes from the people, it comes from the masses.
The true working class in the world is African and Colonized people, who make up a vast majority of the global population. We’re the most oppressed sectors of the world, but everything is also made by us. That’s who we consider the masses, and that’s where we get our power from.
Right. The stewards aren’t just enforcing violent means like the colonizer does. We’re building institutions that are exclusively for the lowest and the deepest of the masses.
Exactly. And we’re willing to defend them no matter what. Everyone in a leadership position in Hammer City would be representing Colonized people in their entirety, and would be willing to defend the land without consideration for anyone else. It’s a dictatorship by the masses, for the masses. Our leadership needs to have constant consideration for the masses in every step that we take.
A dictatorship of Indigenous people over Turtle Island would look just like certain National Liberation Fronts, like in South Africa. They kicked out white farmers from the countryside and physically took back that land. Whenever they faced resistance they had to physically take it.
Despite the fact that the land liberators of South Africa admitted they didn’t want to commit violence, it was necessary because they were servants to the people. So, in terms of what Hammer City is doing, leadership would be a centralized command. We get all of our direct commands and guidance from the masses. That’s the dictatorship.
Speaking of building, there’s a lot of emphasis on building Hammer City from the ground up. Why start from scratch?
We don’t exactly have a choice. Any other option would mean getting our direction and funding from outside sources that don’t represent the Indigenous and Colonized working class.
It would mean that someone else would have a plan that we’d have to follow to build Hammer City, and we’re going through every other avenue instead to figure out how Hammer City should be built.
We’re meeting every single day, we’re figuring out what is the safest path for our people, and implementing all of this trial and error because we understand that by building from scratch we get to see how society will be radically different, but still, give Colonized people a really good life.
We are trying to make sure that we always keep in mind the base needs of all human beings, which the colonizer doesn’t do. We’re making sure we can give our people water, food, shelter, and all the most basic shit that a human being deserves.
What are the political consequences of liberating the land from outside influence? These things don’t just happen in a vacuum, there will be ripple effects. Can you describe what those effects will be?
I can only describe based on previous historical examples. Like I was saying with South Africa, all these white farmers were fighting back against the Liberation Front.
There’s going to be conflict, and it’s going to be a conflict if colonizers stand in our way, we’re going to have to push them out, or they’ll have to suffer the mortal consequences of their actions.
There are reactionaries who are willing to take up arms against us, and I’m not going to have any remorse for them.
Other than that, the bigger problem is the system, the colonial-capitalist system. We’re going to be called crazy, they’re going to try to win the war of ideas, making up a whole bunch of shit to justify their actions, to invade liberated land and destroy us.
That’s what we’re anticipating. The united snakes is directly opposed to Colonized people showing their self-determination. We can see this all throughout history. They’re going to be the ones to start the conflict, and our job is to figure out how we’re moving when that time comes.
To bring things back to the example of Haiti, since we’re reading the Black Jacobins over at Da Revolutionary Book Trap, CLR James describes Toussaint L’ouverture having to re-teach Africans how to work the land collectively. He had to embed that culture of collectivism, and from that new mindset, he builds his army.
I think that’s really important too! I think that’s going to be the biggest struggle of all.
Growing crops is always going to be a struggle, but the social aspect—Colonized people have internalized so much of the colonizer’s way, it’s going to be like relearning your humanity. It’s going to be a taste of liberation, and when we have that, people aren’t going to want to go back.
You’ll have to follow and support Hammer City as much as you possibly can to determine what it’s going to look like for colonized people. The more that you’re willing to put forward in terms of resources, the quicker that we’ll be able to show colonized people what liberation looks like!
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