Friday, August 31, 2012

Lee Lew Lee on Richard Aoki

I once heard Dick Gregory say...

"Thousand points of light? Shit. That's not power. Now when the Sun
rises in the morning and knocks darkness clear out the sky... Now...
That's Power!"

Richard Aoki has always been held in the highest esteem by everyone--and
I mean by every last comrade who knew him--and that should be good
enough for everyone.

For me, there are two ways to look at this allegation made by Seth

Either, Richard used his knowledge of the system to game the system and
fucked up an old and dead FBI agent who was trying to settle an old
final score from back in the day. (Maybe he was the ONE guy who
successfully double-crossed the agent?)?

Or it was an attempt to smear his name in the 60s that lay dormant as a
document time bomb, only to be misunderstood 44 years later.

Wes Swearingen, who was cited, is (I feel) a well-intentioned man of
conscience, whose honest testimony freed Geronimo Pratt.

From what I read in this flurry of accusations by the Rosenfeld, though,
Swearingen may have been merely analyzing the specific documents given
to him to see if the Bureau actually produced them. Period.

Frankly, if they had any specific context that is now long gone,
especially if the other agent mentioned in the story said he had not
seen Aoki since '65, and we are presuming this is many years later.

We must remember that people were 'bad jacketed' all the time back in
the day and these documents may have been from a result to do the same
back in say 1968-9.

Regarding his weapons, I have no clue... and think that is perhaps way
over blown. However, I do know that he was the one that brought the Red
Book into the Party, and no matter what one may feel about that, it
absolutely changed the course of the struggle. That is history, and
certainly led to many things, pro and con, that will be debated for many
years to come. Again, put this into historical context. Remember, this
was 1968. That was an early period in the BPP.

I say that because 20/20 hindsight can be a terrible thing when taken
completely out of context. I cannot personally accept anything said
about anyone "back in the day" unless it is verifiably documented. Not
hearsay from a man who was an enemy of the movement and is dead today.
People must remember to check the SOURCE.

Personally, I never heard anything bad from anyone in the party in the
day about the comrade and was shocked to hear these allegations. To my
point of view, if he was dirty, people would have been suspicious back
in the day, as we always said that 'actions are the criterion of truth'

Remember it WAS 43-44 years ago and the brother is not now here to speak
for himself or defend himself, so this is manifestly unfair... and I
imagine that this was written by someone who never was in the real
struggle back then.

We will all find out in the next life who was for real and who was a
fake... if you believe that this life was not by accident... then the
final judge(s) will be a lot more powerful than we are. That is for sure.

There was Field Marshal Aoki, my brother Guy Kurose in Seattle and
myself as the only 3 bona fide Asian members in the BPP, and we all came
out of the Asian American movement.

Bro. Richard, I only met once in the late 90s and I felt he was a fine
brother when I met him, and now he is gone. I did not even know that he
had passed until this came up yesterday.

Guy Kurose I first met in '69 and we were life long friends when he died
of cancer in 2002. Guy worked with the gang youth until his dying
breath. I will always be happy and honored to know him

I went blind with the tumor and aneurysm in 2003 and had my 2 corrective
brain surgeries on the first day of the Iraq war.

Guess I am the only one left of the 3 of us, and that is a very heavy
feeling, today. There were so many who gave their lives so that the most
basic things could be done for the human rights of all poor and
oppressed people nationwide.

We must always think about how to help the poor and oppressed and fight
prejudice, and the shit-stem of apartheid... no matter what our position
in life. That is our obligation.

Every society, so called civilization, is only as good as the condition
of it's poorest people and deepest attempts to eradicate poverty,
exploitation and massive suffering.

I am sure that Brother Richard Aoki demonstrably and sincerely dedicated
the vast majority of his life and his every living thought to achieve
the overcoming of racism, poverty and inequality, without giving up.

Those who fought and died in the 50s- 60s for US human rights were not
Gods and having been there does not make us Gods. Those who died were
usually motivated by love as the reason for risking their lives to fight
for the simplest things that today this entire nation takes for granted.

If we look at the balance of a person's life and it was lived totally
without duplicity, we must take that person for their word. I think
Richard was indeed, exactly who he claimed to be, who is exactly what
people back in the day of the struggle also knew him to be: a dedicated,
brilliant revolutionary.

If people were proven liars and grand standing opportunists 'back in the
day'... Then they would now be remembered as such by the survivors who
worked with them in the field back in the day.

That final judgement is certainly not the place of authors who were
never there in the 60s U.S. human rights struggle, never shed blood,
sweat nor hard bitter, excruciatingly painful tears for all the fallen
comrades, tears that often flowed yesterday... and we often try to
forget today.

August 21, 2012 Lee Lew-lee (Harlem Chapter of the Black Panther Party,
known in 1969 as Comrade Tsing), and director of the documentary film

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