We are re-posting this interview (April 2016) with Dhoruba bin-Wahad as a supplement to his recent statement commemorating Zayd Malik Shakur, Sundiata Acoli and Assata Shakur among the many other “captured comrades.”
Unsilencing Stealth Histories of Armed Struggle and Shortcomings of Left Media Analysis
Dhoruba bin-Wahad, formerly of The Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, discussed his critique of the “alternative press” and Left analysis of the history of armed struggle – what he calls “stealth” histories – as exemplified in a recent interview with Angela Davis.
STATEMENT BY DHORUBA BIN-WAHAD, ON THE OCCASION OF THE TRIBUTE TO ZAYD MALIK SHAKUR AND CAPTURED COMRADES
On March 3rd when a New Jersey State Trooper stopped the car with Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur, and Zaid Malik Shakur heading south on the New Jersey Turnpike, it was not a random traffic stop. Though the NJ Turnpike and the State Troopers were long renown for harassing and stopping Black motorists this was no routine “driving while Black” episode.
Earlier the week before, the FBI led Joint Anti-Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) through one of its component Police Agencies, the NYPD “Major Case Squad”, had put out an APB (All Points Bulletin) to every law enforcement agency in the North East to be on the look out for a Black Woman with possibly two male companions – that woman was Assata Shakur, a known BLA soldier wanted by the police for armed robbery of several Banks and armed assaults on Policeman.
So it was that when this Trooper Foster, spotted what seemed like a vehicle fitting the APB description, he radioed for back up and hastily proceeded to pull the suspected car over. Gun drawn and adrenaline pumping the Cop exited his vehicle to confront the occupants of the “suspected” car. What happened next is not exactly clear, but shooting erupted: Zaid Shakur was killed instantly, Assata was shot and wounded with her hands raised while Sundiata Acoli managed to escape the scene into the surrounding country-side, only to be captured later.
The Police Killing of Zaydd Shakur, and Capture of Assata and Sundiata made national headlines and was celebrated by NYPD alumnae of the “Major Case Squad” (who weeks earlier had ambushed and killed BLA soldiers, Woody Green, Anthony Kimu White, and Twyman Myers in two separate ambushes targeting the BLA. The FBI led and funded Joint Terrorist Task Force, or JTTF, a bastard offspring of the FBI’s “Racial Matters” Desk and post COINTELPRO ‘s “ NEWKILL investigation that targeted NY Panther 21 for the shooting of several New York cops, and the NYPD’s Intelligence Unit “BOSSI”. The FBI acronym “NEWKILL” stands for “New Killing of Police Officers” and was concocted in 1971 by the Nixon White House to “repress a “Black urban guerilla underground” in the wake of the urban rebellions (riots) that rocked America during the Vietnam war years.
Zayd Shakur, was the Deputy Minister of Information for the NY Chapter of the BPP. Always on the move, busily promoting the BPP programs in the “field” or the Hood without any concern for his personal safety Zayd was a devoted freedom fighter. The Brother of Lumumba Shakur, Harlem Branch Field Lieutenant, and named lead defendant in the NY Panther 21 indictment that charged NY Panthers with over 250 counts of conspiracy in a 1968 secret indictment, Zayd was one of the few original New York Panther leaders left in that city after the “21 Bust”.
As an original New York Panther leader from Harlem and Bronx Zayd became a major target of COINTELPRO and New York’s Police Intelligence Unit BOSSI. None of that fazed Zayd who assumed greater responsibilities for Party programs in the wake of the 21 arrest. From New York to Boston, from New Haven to Baltimore, the National leadership relied on Zayd to guide younger Panther’s and community workers assigned to the East Coast by the Party’s National leadership. A soft spoken man, Zaid hailed from a family of Pan-African activists. His father, Baba Shakur, was an elder Nationalist mentor to many of us, including, Kwame Toure who before his departure to Africa was designated the BPP “Prime Minister” by the Party Central Committee before the COINTELPRO instigated demise of the Party in 1971.
Fifty years ago this month we lost a comrade, freedom fighter, and defender of the Black community’s collective integrity. Fifty years ago, our comrade and BPP stalwart Sundiata Acoli was captured and remains in prison to this day. Though neither Zayd or Sundiata were actual BLA soldiers, or Cadre, but as COINTELPRO targets for neutralization, they both were forced underground to survive the 360 degree repression and police criminalization of their above ground political work that culminated in the Party’s division.
Ironically, after Assata had been found “not guilty” on several of the original Bank Robbery charges that had generated the May 3rd confrontation on the New Jersey Turnpike, Assata was convicted of shooting New Jersey Trooper Foster and sentenced to life imprisonment. She would only spend several months in jail before a unit of the Black Underground liberated her from a New Jersey Maximum Security prison. Assata Shakur lives today in Cuba as a Political refugee from the racist police repression of the Black Liberation Movement for which Zayd Malik Shakur, gave his life.
MAY 2017, ATLANTA GA.