[For #AfricanLiberationMonth, Black Hammer Times is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating African revolutionaries who are alive today! This week we sat down with Chief Fatih, of the Black Hammer Organization]
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your roles in Black Hammer?
Yeah, I am Chief Fatih, and I represent the Yoruba Nations of West Africa. I use they/them pronouns. I am the Colorado Chapter Chief and Secretary of Curriculum in the Propaganda Committee.
Can you talk about what the Colorado Chapter is up to?
Yes, so first of all, Hammer City is gonna be in Colorado, so our Chapter is really trying to make sure that we have everything in place, not just for things we need in our Chapter like doing outreach, but ensuring that we’re ready to build Hammer City. Currently, we’re working on the upcoming monthly vigil and doing massive outreach. We do outreach every weekend. Really, it’s just meeting the people where they’re at, going out and serving them, and gearing up for Hammer City.
What is that responsibility like to be leading the Chapter that is basically hosting Hammer City?
It is the most incredible honor I’ve ever had! Nowhere else in the colony have I understood and internalized what that means: ensuring we understand who our people are, and growing our chapter from the people that we meet during outreach, and ensuring we are out serving the people, making sure they can trust in our leadership and our organization, and doing it with a sense of urgency — shit’s getting crazy! I mean, we got a new strain of COVID-19 —
Three new strains!
Three new strains. I know Colorado frequently has spikes in cases. It’s like knowing what we need to do and who we have to be for our people that we serve, plus ensuring that our comrades understand that once Hammer City is here, we’re ready: we’ve got the cadre, we’ve got the supplies, we’ve got everything that we need right here. So it’s a tremendous power — One, it’s a responsibility that I have the privilege to have, and two, it helps the “new man” that Black Hammer talks about in our monthly “Forging the Hammer” studies. It’s not easy at all — no one said it would be easy. I mean, if it were easy, we would have already been liberated.
Speaking of “the new man”, as Che Guevara calls it, what has been the most significant change that revolution has brought to your life?
My god — a sense of urgency, and really understanding what that means. How to act with it, how to lead with it, how to move with it. The older that I get, and watching white power crumble around us every day, Black Hammer has instilled this sense of urgency that we need to move in such a way where we can quickly respond to our people’s needs. I used to think that I always had a sense of urgency, but I realized that I didn’t once I became a Chapter Chief. Going out to do outreach, understanding that our people don’t have the items they need and things that the state won’t provide — can’t or won’t. With the vigils that we throw every month, these are the opportunities where we can reach our people. We can win them to our political line; we can have a chat with them as we’re handing out life-saving PPE, clothing, food. It’s never been so clear how quickly and how urgently we have to do these things.
I’ve never really had that sense of urgency until I joined. Every day, I can feel myself changing, and I can feel myself fighting that change, mainly because of how uncomfortable it is. To understand that, I have to be quicker in thinking about what things need to get done with respect to serving the people and making sure that we’re doing that. It’s just really fighting that liberalism, fighting the plantation, fighting the colony. Everything I do, every time I think of where my priorities lie, it’s with the people, making sure they are housed, that they are clothed, that they are safe from the pandemic, in a way I never have before.
We’ve seen what changes are possible, and a part of dialectical materialism — revolutionary science — is bringing about change that hasn’t happened yet. What are some of those changes you’d like to bring to the revolution?
I would like to see myself activate our comrades more. I was brought into the organization and activated pretty quickly, and I love how I felt like I was a part of something so fast. Someone came to me and said, “Hey, we’d love for you to do this.” I think within our Chapter, I would love to do more of that.
I would like to really have comradery because I genuinely love all of our comrades. I want to be able to call them up on the phone and be like, “Hey, how are you doing?” I mean, it’s important to do the things that we do, that we organize the things that we organize, but even if it’s just five minutes to be silly. Sometimes I think we forget to celebrate our own happiness within our groups, even if it is for just a little while.
That’s what we’re protecting. Hammer City, our self-defense classes, the Chapter work, these are lines of defense to protect those moments so they can get bigger and bigger.
Right. People tell me that I’m even-tempered. But I don’t even know what that means. I think I brought a little calmness into the revolution in how I interact with our comrades.
Where do you think that comes from? Did anything inspire that in you?
I watched my mom do a lot without any complaints or being frazzled. You know, for the longest time, I thought I was a military kid because we moved a lot, but it was actually because we didn’t have the money to stay where we were. I remember getting so worked up over things that I couldn’t control, and she’d say, “work on the things that you can control.” I think about that a lot.
Did you know there was this one moment? I’ll never forget this, I was like nine years old, and they were throwing this Halloween party at school. We were looking for costumes, and she was looking at the prices. I could figure out that she didn’t want anything too expensive, but I wanted this skeleton costume, and I think it was over her budget. I was like, “I really want this, I really want this!” and she got it. Then we went to get something to eat, and she didn’t eat anything. It took me a while to realize she sacrificed her own food to make me happy. She didn’t bring it up.
And I felt dumb. I was in high school by the time I asked myself, “Why would I put her through something like that?” It was the fact that, for her, she just wanted me to smile, and she did that without any praise or anything. And that’s like the organization, I guess. We’re willing to sacrifice a lot. Commander-in-Chief Gazi says I have to commit class suicide [laughs]. And I get it! At the end of the day, what am I gonna do developing apps for the colony to further destitute our own people? I’m not trying to be about that sellout life. Our organization embodies the same things my mom had done, the selfless nature of giving and providing so that it just comes naturally.
How do you think that history has influenced what African Liberation looks like to you?
I know what African Liberation looks like to me. Growing up, I lived with my mom, who was poor working-class, who came to this country to be a doctor. She was educated, in the sense that she went to high school in Nigeria, and she came here and started going to college. I wasn’t planned. My parents had this fairy tale life where they got married, but I came along, and my mom was like, “Oh, well, I guess I’m pregnant!” Between having to grow up there and going to live with my dad, who didn’t have that same education, but came here, found his way into college, and now lives this ridiculous petty-bourgeois life — I’m having to hear about how Africans on Turtle Island need this or need that, and having to here about how the Igbos or the Hausas in Nigeria are terrible, blah blah blah. Like, these are our people, whether they’re on Turtle Island or the Motherland! Why are we disparaging our siblings like that? For me, African Liberation is that division, that disparaging, gone completely.
This is why I joined Black Hammer because it answered that. I struggled with that question; with that duality, I don’t know what to call it. I was born in Nigeria, but I spent 30 years here in the u.s., and I had to hear Nigerians tell me that I really wasn’t Nigerian, that I was more amerikkkan because I understood the culture better. And then Africans here saying I wasn’t really Black like that. This divide doesn’t really make sense to me.
I grew up poor in the united snakes and understood being on free lunch and all these assistance programs, and definitely understood some things that when I tried to explain to my dad, he would say that my mom wasn’t working hard enough. What? That doesn’t make any sense, this fighting that goes on between Africans.
Black Hammer answered this question with our principles of unity. Everything else just kind of fell in line.
It’s that moment, realizing that we’re siblings, and our eventual coming together and moving forward.
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