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(en) US, Seattle, WA. Another take on "My APOC Conference Experience"

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 8 Nov 2003 11:52:10 +0100 (CET)

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By Gregory Lewis. Seattle, WA. <gregoryclewis-A-yahoo.com>
As I begin this writing, I have been home for about 8 hours now. I think I’ve
slept about 3 of those hours. I feel good. Matter of fact, I feel great! This
is the power of the revolutionary holy ghost. Can I get an “amen” somebody!?!
This historic conference is still rolling around in my head. I feel like
I’m walking on a cloud as I go back to my daily routine as a personal trainer.
I see things here in Seattle differently. And once again, I am hopeful for a
brighter future for oppressed people of all shades (yes, [GASP!] even white folks).
I have so much on my mind, so much to speak on, it just comes to me; I’ll do my
best to keep it orderly.

Background: Lorenzo Ervin and Black Autonomy. Back in 1993, I met
Lorenzo Komboa Ervin. I, along with Left Bank Books, brought him
out here to Seattle to speak as part of a promotional tour of the
reprinting of “Anarchism and the Black Revolution”. From that
meeting, and many hours of phone calls and email correspondence,
came the publication of “Black Autonomy: A newspaper of
Anarchism and Black Revolution”; which ran from 1994 to 1997
(articles can still be found online if your search google. And the IWW
in Seattle has copies archived). I also authored several articles and
pamphlets under the name ‘Greg Jackson’ around that same

From that first meeting, Lorenzo had stressed to me how important
and necessary that an anti-authoritarian people of color tendency be
developed and that a conference needed to happen. In fact, the initial
idea of the BANCO founding conference was to be just that, but as
we saw that mainly folks from down south would be able to attend, its
scope narrowed to be more of a regional gathering for organizer
skill-building and skill-sharing.

I find it sad and disappointing that Lorenzo and his clique decided to
not attend the conference. Personally, as an outsider looking (in terms
of the actual organizing process of this particular event), I see it as
‘sour grapes’; folks who feel that they need to be center-stage
ideologically, while failing to understand their actual role in this
process, their individual and collective significance in this event, and
the overall significance of the event itself. Two words: “grow

The Proposals and the Plenary Sessions.

Personally, I didn’t care one way or the other about the proposals
submitted by Heather or by Lorenzo. Sure, they both sound great on
paper, but I’ve been “in the game” long enough to know
that real action comes from developing relationships between people,
not through documents and position statements written prior to a
meeting with strangers. I came to share what I know, learn new skills,
and meet new people. Period. And this is what was accomplished. A
national/international network of like-minded people of color, albeit
informal, is now a reality. If you want more structure go join one of the
many ineffective, sectarian leftist cults, join the military, or run for
public office. World events, time, and necessity are ultimately what
will make or break our alliances. This is the dialectical, material

Prisoner Support and Critical Race theory.

Those were the only workshops I was able to attend besides the one I
led (I was doing security with Walidah, Eric, and others). I did catch
the tail end of the movie “Afro-Punk”. All were very
enlightening. One of the presenters at the Critical Race theory
workshop (sorry, I don’t recall her name) demonstrated what she
had been taking about by continually by-passing a dark brother who
had his hand up to comment for hella (she was speaking on the
relative privilege lighter-skinned POC have vs. darker folks). She
finally called upon me (a “high-yellow” brother) and I passed
my time on the floor to him and made a point to mention what had just
occurred to the group. Everyone in the room bear witness to what
happened, and let it be known. I don’t know if it was an honest
mistake on her part or if she did that specifically to see if any of us
were swift enough to catch the act and digest her point. I’m pretty
confident she did not do this out of any ill will. I know I do things like
that to my karate students from time to time to see if they are really
paying attention in class.


It was nice to see all the interest in what I had to offer, even from
those who couldn’t attend my workshops.

For years, I had been accused by white anarchists and liberal hippie-
dippies (and there is no shortage of them out here in Seatown) of
advocating macho posturing by teaching real-deal fighting karate, or
more specifically self-defense. We, as people of color, are the targets
and victims of violence more often than they are especially those
among us who are female and/or openly (or perceived to be) gay or
lesbian; often at the hands of those who look like us and live like us
(sad, but true). My journey in the martial arts began due in large part
to being regularly attacked by both niggahs and devils (a niggah is as
a niggah does; same for a devil) because of my skin tone, how I speak,
how I used to dress (I grew up on welfare in a Seattle Housing
Authority apartment; I was “Noah”, in my high-water jeans
from Sears, “waiting for the flood”), how I was a klutz and had
asthma, and the fact that my dad was not around, and my mother was

Instead of football, which was too expensive and dangerous (my
mom’s words), my mom signed me up for boxing. Prior to that, her
boyfriend at the time, a Korea and Vietnam War vet, showed me a few
Special Forces unarmed combat techniques. Later, I would train in
Taekwondo (10 years), Thai Kickboxing (5 years), Karate (7 years),
and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (4 months). I have been in 45 serious street
fights since junior high school, fought roughly 20 ring matches, and
have thrown out 20+ belligerent drunks (male and female) at various
spots I’ve worked at. I have NEVER been knocked out in the
street or in the ring (but I have been knocked out in practice; by both
novices and world champions). For my time and effort I have 1
certificate, 11 trophies, 2 ribbons, and one medal. I also have small
scars near both eyes and damage to the cartilage in both knees. Yet, I
am still able to train, teach,…and fight.

Those who came and participated in the seminar showed great
potential and spirit. It is my sincere hope that they continue on the
path, no matter what fighting art they chose to study.

Look, Walidah, I’m writing again

This is due in large part to Walidah’s encouragement. She wanted
me to write for AWOL magazine. Hopefully, I’ll hear back from
her soon on deadlines and space considerations. This writing is
dedicated to her; I know I wouldn’t have written this if she
hadn’t pulled my coat about it.


This sister gave me so much grief about my lack of dancing skills at
the party. Hey, I was just trying to be polite.

I must admit, I lose my mind when I leave Seattle; I feel free, and I act
upon that feeling. I spend so much time working and studying at home
that I rarely go out. Besides, many people in Seattle are so prudish,
uptight, or violent that at times its no fun and not even worth it. I had
an old pimp from the Midwest tell me once that the hater was born and
bred in Seattle; I believe him. I will definitely make my way to Chicago
and hook up with her. Hopefully, she’ll call or email me (yeah,
I’m a little bit ‘drawn up’).

APOC Conference flavor

There were some funny episodes that I would like to share (well, I
thought they were funny. Hey, you had to be there):


I was driving with some folks from Texas on Saturday morning and
we literally drove up on to the campus while arguing about whether or
not we were on a road or a walking path (I said it was a road). The
startled pedestrian who got out of our way helped to settle the
argument. Oops. Sorry, we were lost.

The student office candidate poster that had horns, a mustache,
and a beard added to it with a red marker. Nice.

The “official” APOC Conference after party at the
Trumbullplex. Even the ‘big city’ (NYC, Chicago, Montreal,
etc) folks said it was crackin’. Whatever happened there, stays
there. ‘Nuff said.

Shemon’s house. Oh my goodness, talk about organized chaos:
a minimum of two people snoring on each floor, people coming in from
all parts all night long, on-going political discussions between new
friends until the sun came up, and little sleep for anyone, especially
poor Shamon. I didn’t sleep at all the first night; I was still on west
coast time.

The Harmony restaurant. That was a trip to see so many of us in
one place, with standing room only. We had those poor employees
runnin’. Much love to them for putting up with us and trusting us
to serve ourselves and not stiff ‘em on the bill.

APOC 2004…?

I will be there. Will you? I hope so. I miss everybody already
&#61514;! If you didn’t go, do yourself a favor, start stacking your
chips NOW, and get ready for an experience of a lifetime. For real.

Coppied from: http://www.illegalvoices.org/apoc/

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