Black August: A Call To Honor the Revolutionary Traditions of the Past
- This month we dedicate ourselves anew to centering the fight against prisons in the movement for Black lives, to studying the wisdom + example of the Black radical tradition, and to taking action for a bold & uncompromising dream of liberation.
- Black August is a watchful time. Black August is also a hopeful time.
- Black August comes from the work of incarcerated & formerly incarcerated Black freedom fighters, and particularly from the work of imprisoned Black revolutionaries in response to the deaths of George Jackson & other people lost to the white supremacist settler state in the California prison system in the 1970s, and these entire 400+ years of white supremacist terror.
- During Black August we recognize the leadership of Black revolutionaries and the incredible tradition & heritage of Black resistance. We are not alone in this current movement. Radical elders have blazed paths to freedom before, and their wisdom can provide clarity on how to proceed today, on topics as diverse as how to bring real systemic change in the Central Coast right now to what our peoples’ liberation 100 years down the line looks like.
- In particular we must exercise clarity about the need to center the struggle of prisoners & incarcerated people in this current moment. Slavery never left. Every prison, jail, & detention center is a continuation of this country’s foundational wounds of the (ongoing) enslavement of African peoples & the (ongoing) attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples.
- So every prison, jail, involuntary commitment facility, and detention center must be torn down.
- During Black August we reaffirm the fact that liberation does not come from our peoples’ inclusion or representation in the settlers’ power structures, culture, institutions, or government. During Black August we commit to getting free outside of & in spite of the state. We commit ourselves to heeding the words of our peoples’ revolutionaries. And we remind ourselves that we can win.
- The Black revolutionaries who started the tradition of Black August weren’t just thinking about their conditions in California’s prisons 50 years ago. They were connecting their struggles to the history of Black freedom fighters & significant events in the month of August in the struggle for Black liberation all around the globe, from Nat Turner’s Rebellion to the Hatian Revolution. They recognized that as long as our peoples have been colonized, our peoples have resisted.
- They committed themselves to contributing to that liberation however they could.
- So during the month of August they made certain commitments.
- They fasted. They consumed no entertainment besides that which furthered their understanding of their people’s story or their knowledge of how to fight the settler’s white supremacist cisheteropatriarchal ableist capitalism. They devoted time to introspection.
- They used this month to study and better understand what exactly we are facing and how exactly our peoples have resisted in the past & can continue to resist.
- We at AACCS, SQE, and BSU urge you all to do the same.
- More information & books, with links to purchase ethically from local (non-Amazon) sources, can be found at nonamebooks.com/Black-August
We invite everyone who wishes to improve their understanding of the context of the current uprising for Black lives to commit to reading or re-reading during the month of August, in particular , one or more of the following:
- The Autobiography of Assata Shakur
- Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davis
- As Black As Resistance by Zoe Samudzi & William Anderson
- Live from Death Row by Mumia Abu-Jamal
- Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
- Discourse on Colonialism by Aime Cesaire
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
And we invite everyone to commit to taking concrete action for Black lives right here in the Central Coast. Donate, join, and be ready to fight with us when the
- time comes.
- We can do this yall. Our peoples don’t have to settle for crumbs.
- This moment is full of 400+ years’ worth of Black radical struggle.
- We are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. And we can transform this world together.