levels. The town or village itself decided local issues...There was a village chiefs' council, numbering up to twenty men, formally organized with a chairman and one or more representatives for each clan (family unit). These chiefs were influential men and women, who might be League sachems (chiefs), war-captains, warriors, or simply old men (and women) who were looked up to and consulted. The council generally met in the presence of the warriors and the women, and rarely diverged in its decisions from the popular consensus, or at least the majority view. This council met in the village's ceremonial longhouse, which usually was merely a laree dwelling.
"The tribes, or nations, have only an uncertain coherence in political matters. and readily split into factions, which might even remove geographically from one another and become permanent subdivisions...The Seneca national council met only occasionally, in the great council house at Canada or at another of the nation's towns as circumstances at the time might dictate. The membership of these tribal councils seems to have been simply the sum of all the chiefs of the village councils. Thus the Seneca tribal council might include as many as a hundred chiefs, and the membership changed as the composition of the village councils changed. The chairman, or speaker, of this council was elected by the council itself. The tribal council debated major issues of external policy such as war and peace, and sale of land; its recommendations, however, were contingent upon the willingness of the individual villages to carry them out, and in matters where agreement in the council was difficult, or an agreed-upon decision was expected to be unpopular, the whole nation might be presented with the problem at a mass meeting where anyone had the right to speak. The chiefs then waited for a consensus. Some of these tribal (i.e., village) chiefs and council speakers were chosen as perennial liaison men for dealings between colonial officials. ..and their village, factional, tribal, or even Six Nations constituencies. They were in this role sometimes referred to as 'chiefs to do business,' and most of the practical work of administration of policy and formulation and communication of issues was handled by these men rather than by the councils themselves. They were often better known to the whites than the hereditary, or sachem, chiefs. Still, the tribe was essentially not a political organization but a group of villages that spoke the same language.
"The only indigenous political structure that effectively coordinated communication and decision at a level above the individual village was the confederacy itself. In the Great Council of the Confederacy at Onondaga, voting representatives of each of the five original nations, together with non-voting delegates from affiliated tribes like the Tuscarora, met annually in autumn, and at other times if called together by a member nation, to discuss crucial issues affecting the welfare of all the tribes: major wars and peacemakings and alliances: the sale of confederate territory; policy in matters of trade, religion, and relations with the whites; internal disputes that might threaten peace and good order....The League also depended heavily upon 'chiefs to do business' in the periods between meetings of its council.
"Of the forty-nine sachems who sat around the great council fire at Onondaga, eight were Seneca.... Although the tribes were unequal in numbers, no tribe had a greater voice in decision than any other, because the representatives of each tribe voted as a unit and decisions had to be unanimous...The Great League itself was in philosophy and in practice an inward-looking, harmony-maintaining body... The Iroquois conceived the normal and desirable way of life to be a peaceful, quiet one and bent much energy toward the maintenance of peace among themselves and their near neighbors...'We bind ourselves together,' had said the mythological founder, Dekanawidah, 'by taking hold of each other's hands so firmly and forming a circle so strong that if a tree should fall upon it, it could not shake or break it, so that our peace and our grandchildren shall remain in the circle of security, peace, and happiness.'
"....The minimum purpose of the League was to maintain unity, strength, and good will among the Five Nations, so, as to make them invulnerable to attack from without and to division from within. The native philosophers who rationalized the League in later years conceived also a maximum purpose: the conversion of all mankind, so that peace and happiness should be the lot of the peoples of the whole earth, and all nations should abide by the same law and be members of the same confederacy."
All of that above is taken from a book called The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, by Anthony F.C. Wallace, and I hope you didn't get turned off by that long quote--but our knowledge of native American history has been perverted or kept from us completely by the descendants of the people who ripped off the whole country from the natives in the first place, slaughtered the people unmercifully, and all but obliterated the beautiful native culture which enabled the people on this continent to live in peace with each other before the white man carne. So that the above is the way the Seneca Iroquois Nation was organized politically--and we can't let ourselves be turned off to the word "political," because all politics means is, as Huey says, "Politics are merely the desire of individuals and groups to satisfy first, their basic needs--food, shelter, and clothing, and security for themselves and their loved ones." That's what politics is, not just a bunch of crooks slipping and sliding around in Washington and the state capitals, wheeling dealing and stealing with the people's trust--politics is really any action any people take to secure for themselves the essential needs of the people. So what I want to do next is take the political framework the Seneca used to govern themselves and provide for their needs, and translate it into our own terms so we in the Woodstock Nation can make use of the principles involved. Because in order to get what we want and what we need for our selves and our Nation, our people, we have to move in a political manner and we have to set up and devise ways and means for taking care of business on all levels.
So first, we can relate to the VILLAGE COUNCILS. Each town or city or place were people of our Nation gather and live should form a tribal council to deal with the problems and needs of the people in that area. Within the cities of the west individual neighborhoods or school districts could make up separate "villages" each with its own council. Each family unit or clan grouping--bands, newspaper collectives, communes, freeks in the same neighborhood or school, all sub-groups of free people--should be represented on the local council, and the meetings should be held regularly and attended by all the people of the "village" unit. At these meetings the people can decide how best to provide for their welfare, security and general well-being. Cultural events--free concerts in the parks, for example, or fund-raising benefits to set up bail-bond funds so brothers and sisters who are arrested by the mother-country forces can be bonded out immediately--can be planned, and methods of implementation can be agreed upon by the "village" as a whole.
The people in the village areas can also decide how to create and carry out plans for the local institutions they need--free health clinics, legal self-defense programs, crafts and retailers unions, people's cultural centers, information outlets, student unions to serve the needs of the people of the Nation who are in the schools and colleges and universities of the mother country--and they can go even further by figuring out ways to set up their own cultural and technological centers, which would be available to all the people of the "village" on a totally cooperative basis. These would include people's ballrooms and performing centers, theaters, recording studios, film laboratories, people's credit unions and banks, etc. We can do all of this stuff, we can certainly do it, but we have to band together and create people's institutions so we can determine our own destinies. Nobody but us--our own people--is going to take care of our problems for us, and we aren't going to get them solved by sitting around complaining or wondering why things are so messed up. The people in each local area have to come together in organized political bodies--tribal councils--and other people's organizations so they can bring, so WE can bring self-determination to the Nation everywhere our people live.
Now the next level we have to organize at is the National level, and the machinery here is the National Tribal Council. The Woodstock National Council, like the Seneca national council, would be made up of the sum of the chiefs or council members of the local tribal councils. This National Council could meet once a year formally, or whenever else the people felt it would be necessary to bring it together--whenever major problems arise that affect the Nation as a whole. Decisions made in the Nation Council meetings would be broadcast throughout the Nation, and the local tribal bodies or settlements could decide for themselves whether or not it would be in their best interest to carry out the National plans. The purpose of the National Council would not be to make laws or make decisions which would be mandatory for the people to follow--that's the way the mother country government, which is most aptly named bourgeois democracy, operates, and we aren't into forcing people or even trying to force people to do things at all--but would be to get the people of the Woodstock Nation together to talk about possibilities and alternatives open to them and how these possibilities can be explored for the good of the people. If the village or regional peoples can relate to the ideas and plans and programs discussed in the National Council, then they can use these ideas and plans and programs to help their people at home. If they can't relate to them, if the ideas and programs and plans don't relate to their own individual circumstances or if they don't agree with them, then they are certainly free to go on doing what they had been doing. The purpose of the Council is only to help the people of the Nation consolidate their energies and resources and knowledge, not to force everybody in the Nation into a single mold. Remember that, because it is important that we develop ways to deal with our problems collectively, and just because the established government is repressive and unresponsive to the people doesn't mean that ALL governments are bad.
Our Nation's government will be as effective and as responsive to the people as we make it, and the point is to make it as responsive and as representative as possible. The same thing goes for any of the collective institutions that we might create to deal with our needs and problems-everything we create has to be for all of our people, and everything has to be designed so that it can be used by all of our people to attempt to help them take care of their needs and problems. And this can be done by all of us being aware right from the formal beginning of our Nation that our government and institutions must exist only to serve the people--all the people, all the time. And those of us who don't relate to the government or to people's institutions will just have to reject them, but those people should also remember to reject the benefits and the services of the people's government and the people's institutions when the rest of us get it all together. You can't be an anti-institutionalist or anarchist and still accept the benefits and services created and performed by institutions, and they will remember who opposed the creation of people's institutions, and those who piss and moan and put the institutions down now are not going to be expected to come running to take part in the national life that is generated by these institutions once they are working properly. Dig THAT, because if we are going to have people's institutions and a people's government then they are going to have the support of all the people who will possibly take part in the benefits created by these things which will be built up by the people themselves acting in their own (our own) best interests.
OK, that much should be clear about the National Council and its possibilities and potentialities. The National Council will provide a framework through which the people can come together formally and talk about their problems and needs and how they can be taken care of. All the various energies and resources of the Nation, all the people of the Nation who have something to offer their brothers and sisters can come together in National Council meetings and work out programs and plans to serve the people and build self-determination for Woodstock Nation. We should call the first National Council meeting sometime this summer, so we can all get together and talk about all of this and decide where and how we can start building the Nation and its formal institutions. Then those of us who relate to the whole form of government proposed here--if enough people do relate to it--can go back to our "villages" and neighborhoods and communes and schools and start putting these ideas into action. But a National Council would be the best thing to start with, as far as I can see, and we will probably be announcing a date for that very soon, and a place to meet, so we can all get together and work these things out for ourselves.
The first National Council should ideally be in the form of a three- or five-day National Pow-Wow, a Gathering of the Tribes of Woodstock Nation, someplace where we can all get together and celebrate our union and our culture together. People are working on finding a place to meet now, and the Nation's bands are being contacted, and other workers, organizers, artists, poets, designers, all people who could work on. this beautiful meeting, and if all goes well, we will really be able to do it right. Village and local chiefs and tribal representatives will all come with plans and ideas and programs out of their people's consciousness, and will come to share these things with everybody else so we can see what our possibilities are, what alternatives are open to us, just what exactly we can do with what we've got as a people. Everyone who relates to the Nation will come forward to register himself or herself as a citizen of the Nation, and the records can be compiled and sorted out and people who are in the same area can be put in touch with each other after the Council meeting is over, so they can start to work together in their local areas to get the Nation together.
Another thing that could happen as a result of a National Council meeting would be to get all the public workers--bands, artists, performers, newspaper collectives, theatre groups, anyone who works in the public media--to start identifying themselves and their work as part of the Woodstock Nation. The National symbol, whatever is agreed upon by the people, could then be displayed on all record albums, newspapers, books, store windows, cars, buildings, communes,
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anything that is identified with the Nation. That way we could build National unity and get other people to recognize the strength and size of our Nation. This is another thing that can be done right now by anyone in the Nation, and we should check it out. We should do everything we can to identify ourselves and our National being to each other and to all people, because unity only breeds unity, and the more together we are now the more together we will become in the future. Right on.
There has been an idea or a National symbol that has come forth out of our collective unconscious, an idea for a symbol that will represent and stand for our Nation, and I will try run down what the symbol is and what it means. We use it on the of the paper--it is a combination of many things that are of our culture and our National consciousness the two cross sticks represent the guitar and the gun, while the middle stick represents a peace pipe bringing the two together and forming a tepee which we can live in. The guitar the gun represent the two sides of our slogan. Life to the Life Culture/Death to the Death Culture, and the people pipe full of weed is what will unite the PEOPLE of the two cultures when the death culture is destroyed. And the the three come together to make a tepee, a shelter under which we can all live, creating life and art, protecting it against hostile invasion, and offering the promise of peace to those who will sit down and smoke with us.
These three elements--the guitar, the gun, and the peace pipe full of weed--make up the tepee, and under the tepee is the name NATION, inscribed in an arc under the two cross-branches. Then starting at the left-hand side, at the base of the guitar, a longer arc is inscribed, reaching over the tepee to the stick of the gun to show that all three sticks, the tepee and the Nation too, are brought under the circle of understanding and unity. This circle, with the sticks and the lower Arc saying NATION, also suggest the peace sign, which we have to relate to in its original meaning, BAN THE BOMB (Nuclear Disarmament). Right on. Now there is one more thing, and that is that the circle of understanding and unity also forms a SUN, and then the flames are added to show that our Nation is a natural thing and a high-energy construct too, that we relate to the SUN as the source of all Life, and that we are all together under the Sun. So that is the significance of the symbol we use, and we hope that people will be able to relate to it.
So this can be discussed at the National Council, whether we should relate to this symbol and what should do with it. And other things we can talk about, that would be of interest to all our people, are related to building our own National economy and controlling the technology we need to develop as a Nation and a people. There are a lot of things we can do in this area, including things like creating a National Bank so we can consolidate and make the best use of our national wealth. We could create the People's National Bank of Woodstock Nation and use it to further economic development of the whole Nation, and issue our own money which would be redeemed by the bank and which could be used within the Nation--people's stores and people's ballrooms and other institutions could accept Woodstock money which they could then redeem at the People's Bank. This is something to think about, because it would be a great step forward, it would help us build the Nation and define our own economy more clearly, It will take a lot of discussion and a lot of planning and a lot of work if the people decide to go ahead with it, but it would really be beautiful to bring something like a People's Bank about.
Other things we could create are People's Record Companies, recording studios, film laboratories, a People's Publishing House, a national printing center which would have enough (and big enough) presses so all of our Nation's newspapers and books and posters and buttons and things could be printed by the people themselves, so we could record our own bands and release their music on our own label, so we could make and develop and edit and print and release our own films and album covers and things. This is the way we can develop self-determination for our people, and keep our wealth from flowing out into the mother country greed factories. We can keep our wealth within our own Nation and use it to build the Nation and serve the needs of the people. If we consolidate our National wealth, if we start thinking about ourselves as a people and a Nation rather than as individuals trying to make it in the capitalist system, we can start doing things like this, we can start getting ourselves together and serving all of our people collectively. We can work toward getting our own radio and television stations, we can start buying pieces of land all over the continent and building them into Earth People's Parks for our people to live and work and play and gather on, we can create people's hospitals and schools and everything else we need to survive and grow into our full human potential. We can do all of this if we start banding together and working out ways to take care of ourselves right now -- to take care of ourselves AS A PEOPLE, not just a bunch of individuals on our own little ego trips and greed trips. We can do all of the things I've mentioned so briefly above, we can do all of these things with the energies and materials and resources we have within our Nation RIGHT NOW, if we start reconsidering the way we function economically within the mother country system and start working out these kinds of collective way and means of self-determination. Because if we are going to be free then we have to determine our own destinies--we can't be free if we have to depend on a hostile economic system to sustain ourselves and our people. We have to build one that suits us, and we have to build it ourselves.
And the beautiful thing is, that once we get this new order set up and working, once we band together and set up or people's institutions and get our National Self-Determination program into effect, we will not only be able to take care of our own people but we will also show other peoples that it can be done, and how it can be done. And we will be striking a killer blow at the mother country economic system, at the plastic death culture, which thrives right now off of our people, which thrives on our disunity and our lack of economic sense--the "owners" make the big money off of the youth of Woodstock Nation, and they only continue to be able to rip us off because we haven't seen through their ruse and got ourselves together to take care of ourselves yel. When we DO get ourselves together, when we do get organized, when we DO move for self-determination on all levels, then the death system of the death culture will be stopped dead in its tracks, and we will be that much closer to the liberation of all the people on the planet!
Now, there is a third thing, and that is the League, or the Six Nations of North America. Within the mother country of Amerika we're not the only national people. There are other peoples who are more oppressed materially than we are, whose national cultures go back hundreds of years on this continent and have been brutally suppressed for years, whose people have been more beaten down and repressed than we have--I am talking about the black colony, and the chicano colony, and the Puerto Rican colony, and the chinese-american colony. These are all peoples who have been treated by the euro-amerikans as colonial peoples in the classic sense--they have been exploited, their cultures have been ripped apart by the white man, they have been kept out of the government which determines their national destinies, they have also been victims of the euro-amerikans' vicious racism directed against all peoples who are not "white" like they are. We have to relate to these national peoples as sovereign Nations just as we are, and we have to support their national liberation struggles because they are our brothers and sisters struggling against the same enemy as we are struggling against for our freedom. There is much we can learn from these peoples--there is much we have already learned from the native American colony and the black colony, for their cultures have given birth to our own national culture--and there is much they can learn from us too. if we all support one another and recognize one another as sovereign nations among the powers of the earth, if we all uphold the principle of self-determination for all peoples, our struggle against the common oppressor will be that much shorter and that much less severe, and we will all emerge victorious that much sooner. Just as we are united among our own people we must unite ourselves as a. people with our brother and sister peoples on the North American continent, and all of us will be the better for it.
My vision is that our Nation, the Woodstock Nation, should work to help create a Six Nations League in North America, bringing all the rising Nations on the continent together with each other in the same way that the Six Nations of the Iroquois were banded together to help each other protect themselves from the aggressors from what is now the mother country, or Euro-Amerika. Our Six Nations League would be established on the model of the Iroquois Confederacy for the purpose of creating harmony, peace and unity among the member Nations, for the purpose of mutual defense against aggress from without, and for the purpose of showing the rest of the world that we are all united peacefully and harmoniously and so are our people. Each Nation would be equally represented on the Great Council of the Six Nations of North America, and the representatives of each Nation would speak for their people as a united people. This would be a beautiful thing. I feel, myself, that it can be done, and that we should start thinking about how to bring this League about, how to get the representatives of the Six Nations together to se up such a League, if the people of the other Nations would be able to relate to such a thing. It would really be a beautiful thing, and it can be done, we can do it, and it's something else that we can talk about at the National Pow-Wow when we get together.
Now, one other thing on this subject, and it's the last thing, before I try to get this message done with, and that is the question of functional administrative bodies for these self-determination, self-government groups we have been talking about. It seems to me that the idea of having "chiefs to do business" is a good plan, and that the local tribal councils, the National Tribal Council, and eventually the League Tribal Council could elect or appoint people who would act full-time for the people as "chiefs to do business," and these people would see to it that the decisions and ideas and plans and programs worked out by the Councils when they are in session are actually carried out on a day-to-day basis. This will take people who have most advanced consciousness, who have the most highly developed sense of responsibility and commitment to their people, but I know that in our Nation there are people who are capable of taking care of business for the Nation, and we will have to seek these brothers and sisters out and ask them to come forward and serve the people on a daily basis, carrying out the administrative work of the Nation. We are first of all an underdeveloped Nation, a new Nation just starting its national life, and there is a lot of work to be done if we are going to get ourselves together and move effectively for self-determination, and we have to think of all these things and commit ourselves to taking care of them for the people. We have to work collectively to build our Nation, we have to seek out the most advanced brothers and sisters in the National community and help each other develop our highest and most beautiful potential, our potential strengths and beauties. And we will do it. Right on!
l have confined myself so far discussing the political struggle and how we can go about carrying it out successfully. Now these are just ideas, just suggestions that I put forth so you can all think about them and check them out and think about how things could be if we all did that. We have to MOVE, we have to get down with it, we have, to pull ourselves together and start dealing with our problems, figure out ways to insure our survival as a people, to insure the survival and the peaceful growth of our people and our national culture. Because we have to realize, one of the main things we have to realize is that we are dealing with some very vicious people, the established power structure is VICIOUS, it will recklessly commit genocide, will rape and plunder and destroy or try to destroy whole peoples and then come back and brag about its ruthlessness, it will hold up its vicious gangsters and marauders and murderers as heroes and wise men, it took this country over by force and mutilated the native peoples and the native cultures in the process and then GLORIFIED its brutality, and continues to this day to glorify its greedy, ruthless, bloody ripoff of the North American continent from the native Americans. You can see them on television or in movies, or on billboards even, glorifying their vicious genocide of the red man on this continent. And the same established order, which committed genocide in order to establish itself on this continent, the same power structure committed mass genocide against black people and brown and yellow people here in this country, it locked up the Japanese-American population of Amerika only twenty-five years ago and took everything they had, it is the only nation ever to drop an atomic bomb on another people, committing genocide in the process, and it is committing genocide against yellow peoples in Southeast Asia right now. So don't forget that the people who are keeping us oppressed are vicious murderers and plunderers who will stop at nothing to retain control over the people and resources they desire and covet for themselves. They aren't playing, this is not a game, we can't forget for a minute that this is a very serious business we have set about, freeing ourselves from the death merchants and their mighty technological arsenal. This isn't a game at all. They've already started shooting down our own brothers and sisters who weren't even armed. This is really happening, and it will only get worse until we get ourselves together and start dealing with this established authority which doesn't not represent us at all, which forces its will and its whims on us at the pain of death. I don't want to be too grim, but that's what's happening out there right now and its not going to go away simply because it should go away, or because it shouldn't be happening, or because we don't like it and want it to stop. That's net going to happen, so we all might as well start adjusting ourselves to reality right now and start preparing ourselves for the kind of struggle its going to take for us to gain our freedom.
This is serious business, and that's why I say that we have to start thinking very serious about organizing ourselves so we can move for self-determination and self-defense. We have to do both, and both take place on the political level first of all. Self-determination also takes place on the economic level, which is just one extension of politics in a different direction. But both take political consciousness, and that's what we have to build in our own minds and in the minds of our people.
We have to realize, and I have to quote brother Che Guevara again, we have to realize that "it is the time to moderate our disputes and to place everything at the service of the struggle." We have to do that. We have to be concerned above all with our survival (self-defense), because if we don't survive we don't do anything else either. And we have to be concerned with our economic development (self determination), so we can grow and maintain ourselves once we have insured our survival, and so we can CONTINUE to insure our survival. We have to survive. And the established order doesn't want us to survive, unless we capitulate entirely and join the established system to support it and continue ITS survival. It's one or the other--either we move to insure our own survival, the survival of our people and our Nation, and by doing so strike a death blow at the death culture; or else we are working to insure the survival of the death culture and the defeat of the life culture. It's one or the
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other. And we say, Life to the Life Culture/Death to the Death Culture, and we work from there. That's where we start, and we move from that point.
Now people of our Nation have been rising against the oppressor--or at least against the symbols of oppression and the troops of oppression-on the campuses, the youth ghettos-people have been rising spontaneously and striking out in their own individual ways, striking out against individual policemen and buildings and things, but we have to realize, we really have to start realizing that spontaneous risings are not enough, that they are far less than enough, that they in fact play right into the hands of the oppressor. Yes they do. And we have to realize that fact, and deal with it.
Spontaneous unarmed risings against an armed, disciplined, highly organized, brutal and technologically far superior oppressor are not in the interests of the people. They are beautiful in that they express the people's righteous anger, and the people's energy, and the people's intense need for change, but they are no more than that. In fact, when you break it down you will see that spontaneous risings are really just another form of ego-tripping, where a brother or sister makes himself or herself feel better by smashing a few windows, or throwing a rock at a pig, or shouting slogans which have no possibility of becoming reality. Spontaneous risings are really encouraged by the pigs, because they know that the masses of the people are further alienated from the youth that way, and the masses will just give the oppressor their support in going down into the youth ghettos and smashing and killing and arresting young people. These risings help raise the consciousness of the youth masses, and express their collective anger and energy, but they are not finally in the best interests of the people's struggle.
Can you dig it? I know a lot of us think that these risings are tremendous blows against the empire, and I know how we all feel when we hear about spontaneous risings or even take part in them -- although I've never been able personally to relate to them, because they don't accomplish anything for the people in exchange. I will gladly give up my life to advance the cause of the people--I think most of us feel that way, we will give up our lives and our freedom in the cause of the people if we know that we are furthering the cause of the people--there can be no mistake about that--but we have to know that what we are doing is in the people's interest. And these risings are not. What I started to say was that we all feel elated when these things happen, I think we all got excited and say "right on" and are eager to hear the results of clashes between young people of our Nation and the mother country's armed forces--but that's just an expression or an indication of our rage and of our frustration finally, because we want to smash this beast so badly, we want so badly to sec it meet its well-deserved death, and we get excited over anything that looks like it's going to help bring it about.
But at the same time we have to relate to the fact that these risings have to be part of an overall strategy, a strategy which calls for and promises the collapse of the death machine. Too many of us don't see the difference between STRATEGY and TACTICS, and we tend to make our tactics our strategy without relating to the need for an overall strategy incorporating all different kinds of tactics. We are only concerned with the people's victory, and everything we do has to be brought within the scope of the strategy that will bring us victory. If demonstrations and risings will advance the people's cause and move us closer to victory, then right on, but we have to start figuring this stuff out in front and picking our shots, choosing our tactics in accordance with the objective conditions of any given place, making sure that any given tactic is in line with the overall strategy for victory, and then moving with all our collective energy and rage to make each tactical battle a success. That's how we will get what we want, that's how we will gain the people's victory, and I'm afraid that's the ONLY way we'll get it. So let's start thinking about this question, and working out a solution, and moving to implement that solution for the good of the people. Because we want victory for the people, we don't want death and defeat -- we can't stand defeat. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the people's victory, and the people's beautiful LIFE, not the people's death or the people's defeat. Dig it. So we can't be doing things that will bring us only death and defeat--we have to do the things that will bring us victory and life.
What will bring us victory? What will bring us more life? First, as I have tried to make clear so far in this message, first we have to formalize our Nation and start the political (economic) struggle for self-determination, building the Nation and building the alternative society right now. We have to support ourselves, we have to support ourselves and our people, and our culture, we will be able to carry on the struggle (self-defense) no matter what forces are marshalled against us. This is the first thing. We have to build the Nation up from the ground, and we have to make it strong so that it will support all of us, all of the people of the Woodstock Nation, no matter what happens to us. If we don't build that base we will not be able to survive the mounting attack that is in the process of being launched against us. We have to build the Nation, so we can support ourselves and so people can see what we are fighting for, so they will be moved to support us in our struggle.
And second, we have to put an end to spontaneous risings and start organizing our defense. Smashing windows and throwing rocks at armed troops are not in the interest of the people. Shutting down the universities is not finally in the interests of the people, although strikes against universities are certainly more effective than a few rocks and bottles thrown spontaneously through some windows at some pigs, and more effective even than a few blown up buildings. I have to say right on to the brothers and sisters who have been active in these areas so far, because they have given us a sign of our collective strength, and our collective energy and rage, but I also have to say that we have to move even further and start ORGANIZING our defense. Strikes are a good tactic, since they expose the economic function of the schools in the death culture, they expose the purely economic function of the schools as training grounds and technological testing laboratories for the death merchants, but even our strikes have to be made more effective. We have to start striking for more than just a few more black students, or more votes for students, or ROTC off campus and out of the youth communities--these are good things, but we have to go further and start striking for complete student control of the schools; we have to start striking for an end to the repressive educational SYSTEM that the colleges and other schools use to condition us to the machine culture, we have to start striking for a total rejuvenation of the educational system, a total restructuring of the system so it can be transformed into a system which is responsive to the needs of the citizens of Woodstock Nation, to the people of the youth culture, so we can use the schools in the best interests of OUR people--our people, and not the owners, for whose benefit the schools are run now. Dig it. The way the schools are now only benefits the death culture--it doesn't benefit the youth culture at all. The schools are used to train our people to function, and to teach them that they HAVE to function, in the death culture, that they won't be able to support themselves if they don't toe the line, that the social system offered by the death merchants is the only possible social order for us. And we KNOW that isn't true.
We have to start striking for control of the institutions by the youth Nation so we can use the schools in the best interests of our people--use them to teach the people what they need to know to survive and grow to their full human potential. We have to take control of the schools, and use them to further the growth of the Woodstock Nation, to further the growth of our people and our revolutionary culture. We can use the facilities and technologies which are at hand on the campuses, we can use the radio stations and printing facilities, and the television equipment, and the scientific laboratories, the cafeterias and dormitories and auditoriums and athletic fields, all those buildings and all that technology, housing and dining and meeting facilities, we can use all of this for OUR people, and when we control the schools we can also throw them open to ALL the people of the communities in which these tremendous physical plants are located. The people need that stuff a lot more than General Motors does, or North American Rockwell, or Standard Oil, or Dow Chemical, or any of the other greedy institutions who now control the schools. And we can get it. We can get it. But we can't get it by throwing rocks through the windows or by rising up spontaneously one or two days a month or a year. We can't get it like that.
We can get it through organizing our people, and educating our people, and banding all of our people together. That's the only way we can get it. And that's the only way it will do us any good. We have to move for self-determination AS A PEOPLE, as we have to think of ourselves as a people. We have to realize that all of us are part of the same Nation, part of the same people, and not just a bunch of individuals. We are all young people, we are all a part of the youth Nation, the youth culture, we all share the same culture to some extent, we all share the same values. We all want to be free. We share the same culture, and we want the same thing. Students and freeks, musicians and scholars, radicals and radio technicians, factory workers and filmmakers, lawyers and laborers--we are all young people in Amerika, and we all share the same culture, and we all want to be free. Some of us are more advanced than others--and I have to say that those of us who are farthest in our daily lives from the death culture are the most advanced members of the youth colony, while those of us who are halfway between the life culture and the death culture--students, primarily, who live in the death culture but identify with the life culture--are the intermediate elements, and those of us who live closest to the death culture--young people in the factories, on the assembly lines, in the offices and armies and golf courses and bars of the death culture--are the least advanced elements of our people. But we are all the same people, that's the important thing--we are all the same people, and we have to start relating to our brothers and sisters in the youth colony no matter what they are doing. Because that's what will bring us together.
WE ARE ALL IN THE NATION -- WE ARE ALL ONE PEOPLE! And we can't forget that. We can't let ourselves forget that, and we can't let the enemy, we can't let the oppressor divide us any longer. We let the oppressor divide us up and define us as antagonistic elements -- students against workers, freeks against straights -- but that has to stop. WE HAVE TO DEFINE OURSELVES IN OUR OWN TERMS, and the term we share in common is our culture - our youth culture. WE ARE ALL ONE PEOPLE. WE ARE ALL ONE NATION. We have to deal with that. And those of us who are the most aware, who in terms of our life in the Nation, in terms of our high-energy life-styles have to remember that when we deal with our brothers and sisters on the college campuses and in the factories and armies of the mother country that we are all one people. We can't let the oppressor divide us any longer, and we have to work continually now to win over all of our people to the National idea, to the National reality, to the vision of the Woodstock Nation. Because we are all one people, and our strength will come from our unity.
Now, I will quote Che one more time, and then I will try again to get this over with, because I know you all have more important things to do than read this message, and I don't want to take any more of your time today. In his Message to the Tricontinental, written from the mountains of Bolivia not very long before brother Che was murdered by the CIA, Che told his people that "The present moment may or may not be the one indicated to initiate a struggle, but we cannot permit ourselves to harbor any illusions, we have no right to believe that freedom can be won without a struggle.
"And the battles will not be mere street fights with stones against tear gas nor peaceful general strikes; nor will they be ones in which an infuriated people destroys the repressive framework of the ruling oligarchy in two or three days. It will be a long, cruel struggle in which the front will be in guerrilla hideouts, in the cities, in the homes of the combatants; in which the repression will seek easy victims among their families. In the stricken peasant populace, in the towns and cities destroyed by the enemy's bombs
"They themselves press us into this struggle; there is no alternative but to prepare for it and decide to undertake it."
Now we have already decided to undertake it I think, or at least we have begun to realize that we have no choice if we want to survive as a people, and if we want our culture to survive, we will have to respond to the repressive measures that the established authority has taken against us, we will have to defend ourselves and our people against the oppressor whether we like it or not. I think we have begun to realize this. And what we have to do now is to seize the time, is to start defining the struggle we are carrying on for our freedom, start defining our struggle in our own terms so we will be able to control the outcome of that struggle. We have to do that. And we will see that when we define our struggle and our objectives in our own terms, and make it absolutely clear to the broad masses of the people what we are fighting for and why, we will be able to gain the support of vast numbers of people not only in the youth colony but in the other struggling national peoples and in the mother country populace as well. This will happen, and the sooner we show the masses of people in the mother country that we are fighting for their interests as well as our own, that we are fighting for the interests of all the people in the world, the sooner they will line up to support us and to make their own struggle against the tiny "ownership" class.
We have to realize that the masses are never our enemy, that the masse are our friends, our real friends, that objectively speaking the masses are as beaten down and oppressed and colonized as we are -- as Huey says, ALL Americans are colonized by the "owners" - but SUBJECTIVELY, since their information and their consciousness is controlled by the "ownership" class, subjectively they feel right now that we are their enemies and that we are trying to destroy THEM, to destroy their whole way of life. The oppressor has been able to brainwash them so successfully that they identify with their own oppressor against the people who are objectively fighting in their interests. But that's feat we are up against, and we have to understand it and start striking out at it in an effective manner. We have to do that.
Another problem we have, which is just the reverse of that one, is that so many of our own people, people in the youth colony, still have the feeling, the subjective, incorrect, totally wrong feeling that the masses are OUR enemy, that we are carrying on our struggle correctly if we attack the masses of workers, policemen, army troops, bureaucrats, store owners and other elements of the masses. That is not true. The masses of the people are our real friends, even if they don't know it, and our job is to educate and teach the masses that we are their friends, and the "owners" are their enemies. We have to do that. We still feel that way about the masses because too many of us still believe and follow the definitions handed down by the oppressor through his mass media and his brainwashing factories and schools. But we have to start realizing that the masses are the people, and the people are our friends, and that any contradictions that arise between us, between the youth colony and the broad masses of the people in the mother country are contradictions among the people and not contradictions between the people and the enemy. That is very important for us to relate to. We can win over the masses, but we can't do it as individuals doing our own little things -- we can only do it by organizing and educating ourselves so we can organize and educate the masses and win them over. This will take an enormous constructive effort on the part of the people of the youth colony, but there is no doubt that we can do it if we just DO IT. We can do it. We can win over the masses, even though that goal might seem fantastic and hopeless to us right now.
How can we do il? We can do it by getting ourselves together, by organizing ourselves, and by defining things for ourselves. We can do it if we realize and start to move on the things that I have tried to explain in this message: that we are a people, that we are a Nation, that we are the Woodstock Nation, that we have to start moving in very definite and very concrete ways for the self-determination and self-defense of our people, that we have to build our Nation and secure its existence, that we have to prepare to defend our Nation through organized political and economic and military struggle, that we have to unite all of our brothers and sisters in the youth colony, that we have to stop playing into the hands of the oppressor by rising spontaneously against the established order, that we have to organize our resistance and our defense very carefully, and that we have to move at the same time to educate and win over the masses of the people in the mother country so they will support us in our struggle and bring pressure to bear against the mother country government. And the most important thing we have to realize is that WE CAN DO ALL OF THIS. We can do it. We can do it first by uniting all our people in the Woodstock Nation, and then by moving as a free Nation of people to establish ourselves and to build our national culture and our national social order so we can serve the needs of our people. We have to do this. We have to build National consciousness in our people, we have to consolidate our National resources and energies and materials, and we have to start using them to advance the interests of our people -- all our people. We can do it. We have already started to do it, and we will keep on doing it until we emerge victorious from the struggle, and bring freedom and self-determination to all the people of North America, and to all the people of the world. Right on!
So we say, and I say in closing, All Power to the People! Power to Woodstock Nation! Many Tribes -- One Nation! Power to all People! Self-determination for ALL Peoples! Build National Consciousness! Start National Construction! Long Live the People's Revolutionary Culture! Life to the Life Culture/Death to the Death Culture! Free Love/ Free Life/ Free Every thing!
SEIZE THE TIME/SERVE THE PEOPLE!
John Sinclair, Prisoner of War 123507
Chairman, White Panther Party
Citizen of Woodstock Nation
Free Territory of North America
Marquette Prison, May 1970
NOBODT BUT US--OUR OWN PEOPLE--IS GOING TO TAKE CARE OF OUR PROBLENS FOR US.
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southern New Mexico as well as in Mexico. At least a dozen southwest tribes organized cut-groups involving the eating of the bean. It contains a toxic alkaloid called sophorine, which, according to Driver, "resemble nicotine in its physiological action." Its use, while hardly as extensive as that of peyote, has made its way clear up into the Plains tribes. Score from the Arikara, Caddo, or any of the west-Texas tribes, or go pick, pulverize, and gobble it yourself. Make up your own ritual--most of the Indians did. Take very small doses, however--it can poison you severely.
VINHO DE JURUMENA and RAPE DOS INDIOS--both from Brazil. The beverage call vinho de Jurumena, it. Yakee is prepared from two trees of the genus Virola of the Myristicaceae family, the family of the nutmeg tree, Myristica Fragrans. Researchers in my own commune tell me that eating a whole nutmeg makes them high for a couple days and increases sexual potency. It's probably easier to get whole nutmegs at the grocery store to gnaw on than to mess around with Yakee: besides, Schultes reports that a witch-doctor once died fromsnuffing Parica.
Hoja de la Pastora, recently discovered by Wasson in use in northeastern Oaxaca, Mexico, is from the species SALVIA DIVINORUM of the Mint family. The Aztecs Indians grind up the leaves, make an infusion of