Black History Month has been co-opted and hijacked by government insitutions and the mainstream media. Every February they share images and words from a series of handpicked black leaders, stripped of any historical relevance or any spirit of revolutionary black struggle. Fire This Time Newspaper wants to counter the mainstream watered down account of the struggle for black liberation in the U.S. and internationally. In this issue we honour the revolutionary legacy of black liberation leaders that have fought for black rights and for the rights of all oppressed people and nations around the world. We have chosen excerpts from the speeches of five black revolutionary leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and Maurice Bishop, all five were forced to make the most valuable sacrifice for humanity - their lives.
Maurice Bishop (1943-1983) (was the central leader of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) and the anti-imperialist, revolutionary Prime Minister of Grenada, a small island of 100,000 people in the Caribbean. He was in office between March 1979 and October 1983.
Below is series of important quotes from Maurice Bishop taken from the volume of his speeches, “In Nobody’s Backyard”.
“Revolutionaries do not have the right to be cowards. We have to stand up to fight for our country because, the country is ours. It does not belong to anybody else”
“When will imperialism learn? Yes, they can kill our bodies but they can never kill the spirit of a people fighting for their liberation, they can never kill the spirit of a people fighting for their country and fighting to push their country forward.”
“As we have said so often, imperialism never rests and so we must continue to be on our guard, continue to be vigilant, continue to expand and strengthen our revolutionary People’s Militia. We must keep our eyes open for new tricks, for new variations of the enemy’s plan, for new devious twists and turns on the propaganda, and on the economic and the military fronts.”
“And as the international capitalist crisis intensifies, it generates increased imperialist aggression, spearheaded by the most reactionary circles of imperialism’s military–industrial complexes who feel that the solution to this crisis in the build–up of arms, the provocation of wars and the creation of tension spots around the world, the Caribbean region being no exception.”
“Destabilization is the name given to the most recently developed (or newest) method of controlling and exploiting the lives and resources of a country and its people by a bigger and more powerful country through bullying, intimidation and violence. In the old days, such countries – the colonialist and imperialist powers – sent in gunboats or marines to directly take over the country by sheer force. Later on mercenaries were often used in place of soldiers, navy and marines. Today, more and more the new weapon and the new menace is destabilization. This method was used against a number of Caribbean and Third World countries in the 1960s, and also against Jamaica and Guyana in the 1970s. Now, as we predicted, it has come to Grenada. Destabilization takes many forms – there is propaganda destabilization, when the foreign media, and sometimes our own Caribbean press, prints lies and distortions against us; there is economic destabilization, when our trade and our industries are sabotaged and disrupted; and there is violent destabilization, criminal acts of death and destruction…
As we show the world – clearly and unflinchingly – that we intend to remain free and independent; that we intend to consolidate and strengthen the principles and goals of our revolution; as we show this to the world, there will be attacks on us.“
“The right of freedom of expression can really only be relevant if people are not too hungry, or too tired to be able to express themselves. It can only be relevant if appropriate grassroots mechanisms rooted in the people exist, through which the people can effectively participate, can make decisions, can receive reports from the leaders and eventually be trained for ruling and controlling that particular society. This is what democracy is all about.”
“We don’t just speak about their kind of limited human rights but we talk about the human rights that the majority has never been able to enjoy, the human rights that they believe only the minority is entitled to: the human rights to a job, to decent housing, to a good meal when the day comes, to be able to form and to join a trade union, to be able to ensure that you can live a life of dignity and decency. All of these human rights have been the human rights for a small minority over the years in the Caribbean and the time has come for the majority of the people to begin to receive those human rights for the first time.”
“It took several hundred years for feudalism to be finally wiped out and capitalism to emerge as the new dominant mode of production and it will take several hundred years for capitalism to be finally wiped out before socialism becomes the new dominant mode.”
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