A Soldier’s Story : Revolutionary Writings by a New Afrikan Anarchist

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(1946 - 1986)
Kuwasi Balagoon (December 22, 1946 – December 13, 1986), born Donald Weems, was a New Afrikan anarchist and a member of the Black Liberation Army. After serving in the U.S. Army., his experiences of racism within the army led him to tenant organizing in New York City, where he joined the Black Panther Party as it formed, becoming a defendant in the Panther 21 case. Sentenced to a term of between 23 to 29 years, he escaped from Rahway State Prison in New Jersey and went underground with the BLA in 1978. In January 1982, He was captured and charged with participating in an armored truck armed robbery, known as the Brinks robbery , in West Nyack, New York, on October 20, 1981, an action in which two police officers, Waverly Brown and Edward O'Grady, and a money courier (Peter Paige) were killed. Convicted of murder and other charges and sentenced to life imprisonment, he died in prison of pneumocystis pneumonia, an AIDS-related illness, on December 13, 1986, aged 39. (From : Wikipedia.org.)

(1941 - 2000)
Albert Washington is 64 years old and has been locked up in U.S. dungeons since 1971. To the people, to the revolutionary movement, he is known simply as Nuh, the Arabic form of the name Noah. This past December, cancer was found in Nuh's liver. Doctors gave him three to ten months to live. In March he was moved out of Comstock Prison to the prison medical facility at Coxsackie in Upstate New York. This system is utterly merciless. It has neither forgotten or forgiven the revolutionary stand of Nuh. Even now when he faces death from cancer, they refuse to release him. In Oakland, April 22, it was clear that the life and struggle of Nuh is remembered among the people too--in a totally different way. That evening 150 people turned out for a moving evening tribute to Nuh Abdul Qayyum (as he calls himself since embracing Islam). (From : TheJerichoMovement.com.)

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This document contains 10 sections, with 67,146 words or 417,519 characters.

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Introduction to 2019 Edition Close to twenty years after the publication of the first edition of this collection of writings by Kuwasi Balagoon, his light and legacy shine brighter than ever. The project to publish a new edition of A Soldier’s Story was born out of expedience: the many printings of the previous editions were running out, and over the course of time we accumulated some new writings and much new commentary about this freedom fighter so defiant of the state and all forms of oppression—and so defying of easy definition and labeling. Even the word “anarchist” which graces the subtitle of this book can in some circles be controversial: Kuwasi was an active revolutionary nationalist whose love for his people (and all people) was a central element of his being, as was his hatred of authoritarian structures and styles. This new collection, then, following the course of the previous collections, seeks to deepen our understandi... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Introduction to the First Edition Solidarity, Montreal 2001 This is a collection of writings by Kuwasi Balagoon, a man who many anarchists, nationalists, and anti-imperialists may have heard of in passing, but about whom very little has been made broadly available. As you read on, this state of affairs may perplex or even anger you, for certainly what we have here are important and eloquent words by a man who devoted his life to the cause of freedom—freedom from colonialism and national oppression for New Afrika and freedom from the mental shackles we all wear around our minds. A staunch advocate of New Afrikan liberation and the eradication of capitalism, Balagoon was also an anarchist and a participant in armed struggle. Serving a stint in the U.S. army in Germany, he and other Black GIs formed a clandestine direct action group called De Legislators, which set out to punish racist soldiers with beatings or worse. Upon his... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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B.L.A. Albert Nuh Washington, March 14, 1986 Black is a political condition, a state of oppression and consciousness a nation seeking to become, A people who hope. Liberation is freedom from oppression freedom to define, to determine one’s destiny free from despair A slave to hope. Army is a politically armed unit to defend and preserve after it achieves Liberation for those who hope. Albert Nuh Washington was a member of the Black Liberation Army and prisoner of war (one of the New York Three). He died of cancer on April 28, 2000, at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility prison in New York... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Kuwasi in the Twent-First Century Maroon: Kuwasi Balagoon and the Evolution of Revolutionary New Afrikan Anarchism Akinyele Umoja On October 20, 1981, Black revolutionaries and their white radical allies engaged in an attempted “expropriation” of a Brink’s armored truck in Rockland County, New York. That day Rockland police apprehended three white activists and one Black man. A manhunt ensued, and on January 20, 1982, Black revolutionary Kuwasi Balagoon was apprehended in New York City. The alliance of Black and white radicals captured were part of a radical formation called the Revolutionary Armed Task Force (RATF) under the leadership of the Black Liberation Army (BLA). Balagoon was the lone anarchist among the RATF defendants; others identified themselves as Muslims, revolutionary nationalists, and Marxist-Leninists. While Balagoon was closely aligned with and respected by his comrades in the BLA and RATF, his... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Poetry your honor your honor since i’ve been convicted of murder and have taken time to digest just what that means after noting what it means to my family and how it affects people who read the newspapers and all i see now that i’ve made a terrible mistake! and didn’t approach this trial in a respectful, deliberate or thoughtful manner didn’t take advantage of the best legal advice and based my actions on irrelevant matters which i can see now in a much more sober mind had nothing to do with this case i must have been legally insane thinking about: the twenty-five murders of children in atlanta since Wayne Williams’ capture the recent murder of a man in boston by the police the recent murders of two in chicago by police the shooting of a five-year-old little boy in suburban caliph the lynchings in alabama t... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Kuwasi Speaks In the Other Army Excerpted from Look for Me in the Whirlwind (PM Press, 2017) I hit it off all right later in the third platoon, being a field soldier in the field, and being in good understandings with the brothers. But there was a lot of shit that had been bugging me for a long time. Besides the ridiculous changes that all enlisted men went through, there was an added factor: rampant racism on all levels. A captain who was black was demoted to sergeant E-6 before our very eyes and shipped out. Brothers would spend 34 or 35 months of a 36-month enlistment and then get dishonorable discharges—white soldiers had to make successive superduper fuck-ups before the same would happen to them (like throw a German citizen off a bridge into the river in the month of January). If a brother whipped a white boy, under just about any circumstances, then disciplinary action was on the way—but not vice versa. And mother... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Letters From Prison Subsequent to his arrest in December 1981, Balagoon was in frequent contact with comrades who published the Bulldozer newsletter in Toronto, Canada. An anarchist anti-prison publication (the “bulldozer” was meant to be the only acceptable tool for prison reform), several of Balagoon’s writings were first published in this newsletter, which later became known simply as the Prison News Service. Although PNS ceased publication in 1998, luckily several letters from Balagoon have been kept over the years and were made available to the editors of the first edition of this book. As repetition, length, legibility, and relevance make publication of all of these letters unfeasible, an effort was made to assemble a representative and interesting selection of excerpts, with a minimum of editing, that shed light on both Kuwasi as a person and as a political strategist. courtesy of Mary Patten and M... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Kuwasi Remembered The following memories and poems appeared in the 1999 first edition of A Soldier’s Story. In Memory of Kuwasi Balagoon, New Afrikan Freedom Fighter David Gilbert, December 15, 1986 When i think of Kuwasi, i think of the word “heart.” No, i got that backwards. When the term “heart” comes up i think of Kuwasi, because he epitomized it so beautifully—but of course he also lived and expressed many other fine qualities. “Heart” has two distinct meanings: one is great courage; the other is great generosity. Kuwasi was an outstanding example of both. People at this commemoration are aware of Kuwasi’s core identity as a New Afrikan Freedom Fighter. His political activity began as a tenant organizer in Harlem. (He was, incidentally, also part of the Harlem contingent who, bringing food and water,... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Found and Shared In the course of preparing this edition of A Soldier’s Story, the editors received invaluable assistance from former comrades of Kuwasi’s, some of whom still had in their possession writings by Kuwasi that had never been published or widely circulated. The status of the three following texts is unclear; we do not know if Kuwasi considered them complete or if they were drafts he would have wanted to return to. In at least one case, given that the document ends abruptly, it is clear that his intention was to write more. We present them all here, with little editing, to present as broad and wide a scope of Kuwasi’s contributions to radicals who hold him in deep esteem, and to the many who are just learning about this too often overlooked and complicated revolutionary. 1. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? “Where do we go from Here?” is first and foremost a strateg... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Arnold H. Lubasch, “Key Suspect is Arrested in Brink’s Car Robbery,” New York Times, January 22, 1982, accessed October 24, 2018, www.nytimes.com. Kuwasi Balagoon, in Look for Me in the Whirlwind: From the Panther 21 to 21st Century Revolutions, ed. dequi kioni-sadiki and Matt Meyer (Oakland: PM Press, 2017), 201–6; Tim Blunk and Ray Levasseur, eds., Hauling Up the Morning: Writings and Art by Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, 1990), 373; Kazembe Balagun, “Kuwasi at 60,” Monthly Review (December 2006), accessed October 24, 2018, mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2006/balagun311206.html. Balagoon, Look for Me in the Whirlwind, 255–6; Sharon Harley, “‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’: Gloria Richardson, the Cambridge Movement, and the Radical Black Activist Tradition,” in... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)


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January 30, 2021 ; 6:00:56 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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