What's up ya'll this is my first posting on the board. I hope ya'll fell me in my response.
What does revolution mean and what does it mean to be a revolutionary? Well here's my answer, I hope it makes sense. (Forgive me I can be long-winded). In our history we have a great number of revolutionaries. The first man or woman to spark a revolt on the slave ships, Joseph Cinque, Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vessey, Nat Turner, John Brown, Sojouner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton, and hundreds and thousands more, some we know by name and others we don't. These people are all 'big name' examples of revolutionaries. I've named them to give insight as to who I believe falls into the category of a revolutionary.
I believe revolutionaries make changes, long lasting, never to be reversed or questioned changes. They start something and put it into motion. Just like a small snowball rolling down a mountainside, as it continues to move it collects more snow and gains more power & momentum. That's what revolutionaries do, they leave behind something that can be built off of: a foundation for more work. We have to understand that their work is not done, we have to understand that just because the battles that they fought in the past may have been intercepted or stamped out the war is not lost. It is still going on and we are still fighting the same evils that they fought.
In my mind, the issues that black people face, are not that much different from those of our ancestors. We are still being lynched (Shaka Sankofa), we are still being enslaved (privatization of prisons by corporations, inmates are a lot cheaper than employees), black men & women still can't walk the streets (Amadou Diallo, and Coach Rodney Byrdsong), we are still less educated (city public schools), we are still used as medical guinea pigs (AIDS epidemic), we are still underpaid (the disparity of compensation for the same jobs), and complete lack of justice (Assata & Mumia). And the list goes on. As you can see the problems are very much the same, but they are now institutionalized and less blatant. What has changed is that as we have been "allowed" to move up in social status in this country, our attention to the social/political ills have been divided. No longer are the rich & poor of our community forced to live next door to each other. So no longer are "your problems my problems" since they don't directly affect me. We are straying away from the community ideology (people with a common unity), and becoming individuals (I got mine, who cares about yours).
But revolution is about us & we and not about I or me. The work of a revolutionary is based on the NEEDS of the people they are working for. (this is why the Panthers started breakfast programs in Chicago for black school children and why Harriet left her husband & the luxuries of living as a free woman to make those 19 trips.) The work of a revolutionary is not about rewards, status or personal gain. (this is why Malcolm X died poor, with nothing of his own). The work of a revolutionary is about much more than jail time, it can mean death. (Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman wanted dead or alive, and the list goes on even to this day). The work of revolutionaries is one without luxuries or concern for material things. Hopefully this comparison doesn't take away from my argument. (If you've seen the Matrix, the life outside of the Matrix "the real world" held few if any comforts.) Revolutionaries also have the understanding that they may never live to see the glory of their labor. But because they have left a legacy through their work by teaching and educating those coming after them the richness of our history, being forthright with their slip ups & mistakes, and enabling them to dream of a future in which we are free, the revolution will continue.
I honestly believe with all that goes into being a revolutionary, very few are willing to step up and take on that type of responsibility. Maybe the Last Poets were right "Niggas are Scared of Revolution". Why? Because though the physical chains are gone, the mental ones have yet to be broken.
So don't sit there & look at me as though you have time to contemplate what your next action will be
Chains can't bind your mind
Uh-uh, ya'll this is war time
Black people, I don't think you understand
We Are At War
-taken from WAR - me