Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ahjamu Umi, Portland's Confused Black Panther

Here's another of many reasons why the Occupy movement is nothing more than a slow motion, discredited, urine-soaked screed against civility.

This self-described Black Panther spoke to a gathering of Occupy Portland loons on February 12, 2012.

There is much more to this self-described "revolutionary" than meets the eye. He's also a capitalist and entrepreneur. Weird? You bet.

The speaker is Ahjamu Umi, and he praised murderer Che Guevara and several famous Black Panthers who he proudly claims as personal mentors. He told the crowd that "socialism is a good thing" and admitted to committing gun crimes in his past. Umi was warmly welcomed by an Occupy Portland organizer, who introduced him to a small anti-war crowd on a cloudy Sunday.
Ahjamu Umi, Confused Commie

"It is now my pleasure to introduce our first speaker," she said, "from Occupy The Dream, the black 99 percent, and All African People's Revolutionary Party, Ahjamu Umi." She asks for a round of applause, which she gets, from the small crowd.

"How you doing Portland, Oregon?" he started with. "Y'all ready for action?" He did not specify the kind of action they should be ready for. More public urination and defecation? More Occupy-style sexual assaults? More vandalism? Terrorizing old people in a bank lobby?

"I'm a revolutionary," Umi said, "and I'm for love." Then, without further adieu, Umi lunged into the weird world of bizarre counter-factual liberal myths and fantastical lies.

"Che Guevara talked about revolution is about love," he said. Perhaps Umi is completely ignorant of the fact that Che Guevara was a psychotic killer who advocated complete totalitarianism. Or, perhaps, Umi purposely perpetuates the false myth of Che as kind-hearted revolutionary.

Guevara "presided over the Cuban Revolution's first firing squads," wrote Paul Berman at "He founded Cuba's 'labor camp' system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims."

"To get himself killed," Berman wrote, "and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che's imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for 'two, three, many Vietnams'."

Che Guevara: Hate is Good
Is that the Guevara style of "love"that Ahjamu Umi referred to? Or maybe Umi means the kind of love that motivated Guevara top personally murder over 100 people. (You can see a list of Che's murder victims in Cuba from 1957 to 1959.) Is Umi aware that his hero Che was a racist who was not particularly fond of black people?

Ahjamu Umi says that Che Guevara said revolution "is about love," but in fact quite the opposite is true. Che was a cold blooded killer who valued hatred as an essential weapon for revolutionaries. In Guevara's world, revolution was about hate. Umi says otherwise, but well documented proof exists that Guevara was a consummate hater.

In his infamous "Message to the Tricontinental," Che Guevara said this about hate:
"Hatred as an element of the struggle," a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy." 
Does that sound like the same love that Umi claims Che Guevara held as a pillar of revolution? The first "Tricontinental Conference of African, Asian, and Latin American Peoples" was held in Havana in January, 1966.

A staff report prepared for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary described the conference as "probably the most powerful gathering of pro-Communist, anti-American forces in the history of the Western Hemisphere." Ahjamu Umi is inspired by the types who attended that conference.

Mr. Umi is a multifaceted kind of guy. The self-proclaimed revolutionary and communist is also a professional life coach, a "business enhancement consultant," writer, book author, and more. Umi is obviously no slacker and probably finds little time for sleep.

Umi's Facebook profile says that he works for capitalist institutions such as "banks, credit unions and other finance related entities." Positions Umi has held include Vice President of Consumer Lending at Bank of the Cascades (9/2008 - 11/2010), Vice President Chief Lending Officer at Point West Credit Union (2/2007 - 8/2008). In April, 2007, Point West announced Umi's arrival with this amusing passage:
"For fun, Ahjamu enjoys jetskiing, weightlifting, mentoring, and the occassional karaoke contest. He also enjoys international travel. He helped build a school in Sierra Leone, West Africa both through raising money and physically constructing the school. Ahjamu helped to negotiate gang treaties in Los Angeles and Sacramento and participated in a neighborhood program to confront drug dealers and force them out of his community"
Point West's cheery announcement said nothing about Ahjamu Umi's revolutionary ambitions or his love of Che Guevara. One wonders if Point West was aware that Vice President Umi probably met with the All African People's Revolutionary Party when he visited West Africa. They said nothing about Umi's work with revolutionary movements to tear down financial institutions such as Point West.

In his February 12 speech to Occupy Portland, Umi said that he has had "great mentors." He named a few. "Kwame Ture," he said, "who you would call Stokely Carchimael. I was mentored by Huey P. Newton. I was mentored by Assata Shakur. I spent time with these revolutionaries, and they taught me truth. So don't insult me by breaking a window or calling yourself a revolutionary. You ain't no revolutionary, you're a coward."

It's good that Umi is against breaking windows, but he then told his audience that "you gotta show 'em why socialism is a good thing. You gotta combat all of this negative propaganda."

"If you ain't down for that you ain't down for revolution," said Umi. Perhaps the part about being willing to kill large numbers of people, like his hero Che Guevara did, will come in a subsequent speech.

Perhaps the mixing of Ahjamu Umi's revolutionary aspirations and his dabblings in the financial and corporate worlds is not so strange. After all, plenty of capitalist corporations have used Che Guevara in their marketing, either naively or cynically. I'm not sure how many financial institutions knowingly employ self-avowed Marxist revolutionaries, though.

Ahjamu Umi's blurry philosophy of "tear it down" and "work within it" seems weird, but even weirder is how the local Occupy Portland (slash) anti-America crowd latch onto hypocrites like him. Occupy claims to be "the 99 percent" who, they say, have little or no access to financial institutions. Yet there they are, applauding a guy who has all kinds of insider financial connections.

Ahjamu Umi calls himself a Black Panther and a revolutionary, but his curriculum vitae shows a man who has made a success of himself. For that he deserves credit. It's a mystery, though, that a man who has utilized the great opportunities of this nation seems so bent on promoting himself as being associated with those who would rip apart the system that supported him.

"I'm from Oakland, California," Umi told his gathering of Occupy Gullibility. "I grew up in the gang culture. I grew up shooting guns and getting shot at, beating people up and getting beat up. Stealing, robbing and doing everything that happens when you grow up in that kind of environment. So I understand the anger that comes with breaking windows," he said, "but that ain't the solution to nothin'." He continued with, "If you're for revolution, if you're for justice, if you're for peace,'ll love the people around you."

Uh huh, just like Che, right? He finished by asking the Occupiers to "turn to the person next to you and say 'Revolution is about love.'" Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'd be willing to bet that Che Guevara - or Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini or any other revolutionary leader - ever asked his followers to turn to their comrades and do a group hug and chant "Revolution is about love."

I would say the same about the American revolutionaries of the 1770s never considered doing such a thing. Why not? Because they know it's a lie.

Ahjamu Umi: 'Revolution is about love'
And that's where I find myself uncomfortably agreeing with Che Guevara: Hatred, not love, is as a vital element of any revolutionary struggle. You need only look at the war propaganda from WWI and WWII - by both Axis and Allies - to see that hatred for the enemy was a crucial part of the messaging. "Relentless hatred of the enemy," said Guevara, "impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine."

Any military drill sergeant will tell you that his primary function is to turn his troops into "an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine." The kind of revolution that Ahjamu Umi and his comrades really want is no party. It's violent. They lie to people by telling them that revolution "is about love" to suck in the suckers, and there are plenty of sucker who suck up that lie.

Umi's personal success in the corporate world has come to him through the existing American capitalist culture, which allowed him to work his way up from poverty. Yet he and his ilk want to destroy the very system that has allowed him, encouraged him even, to climb out of the gang culture of Oakland. Once out, he was warmly embraced by the institutions that he probably still calls racist, and travels freely through a nation that he must surely refer to as oppressive. Perhaps, after all, Ahjamu Umi believes his own lies and untruths. He is a walking, talking contradiction.

Recommended Reading
Enhanced by Zemanta