HOW WE WENT FROM BLACK PANTHERS TO GANGBANGERS. PART I and II.

Just as the U.S. government had duped the Native American with whiskey and small pox infested blankets, so too would its complicity allow anticommunist allies to dupe predominately Black communities with the “READY ROCK.” “Use the niggers as a stepping stone,” was the objective of the C.I.A. and the Fuerza Democratic Nicaraguans (Nicaraguan Democratic Force), commonly referred to as the Contras, who conspired collectively to fund the anticommunist movement in Central America. And so it came to be Nicaragua would gain democratic freedom and the U.S. government could begin to roll out the red carpet to accommodate the North American Free Trade Agreement (N.A.F.T.A.) so American Big Business could exploit third-world quasi-slave labor.

In other words, both N.A.F.T.A and Nicaragua’s democratic freedom would come at the expense of the Black community sucking on Columbia’s glass dick. Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury Newspaper would be the investigative reporter who exposed this menacingly evil plot. The details are as follows:

For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug and gun ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a [San Jose, California] Mercury News investigation has found.This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles… The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America… and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy automatic weapons. It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the Uzi toting “gangstas” of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles.The army’s financiers—who met with the CIA agents both before and during the time they were selling the drugs in L.A.—delivered cut-rate cocaine to the gangs through a young South-Central crack dealer Ricky Donnell Ross. Unaware of his suppliers’ military and political connections, “Freeway Rick”—a dope dealer of mythic proportions in the L.A. drug world—turned the cocaine powder into crack and wholesaled it to gangs across the country. The cash Ross paid for the cocaine, court records show, was then used to buy weapons and equipment for a guerrilla army named the Fuerza Democratic Nicaraguans (Nicaraguan Democratic Force) or FDN, the largest of several anti-communist commonly called the Contras.While the FDN’s war is barely a memory today, black America is still dealing with its poisonous side effects. Urban neighborhoods are grappling with legions of homeless crack addicts. Thousands of young black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine—a drug that was virtually unobtainable in the black neighborhoods before members of the CIA’s army started bringing it into South-Central in the 1980s at bargain-basement prices.And the L.A. gangs, which used their enormous cocaine profits to arm themselves and spread crack across the country, are still thriving, turning entire blocks of major cities into occasional war zones.

This epidemic of gang and drug violence spreading throughout the country I recall as if yesterday. The year was 1986. Manish, we were delinquent youth approaching puberty unmindful of the block-bleeding chaos that plagued the West Coast (WC). However, this began to change as it poured into the heartland and exercised its demoralizing influence.

My initial experience with the WC gang culture I must admit was introduced to me through the movie Colors. Walking out the theater with a local gang—the W.I.P. (Walk-bys In Progress)—we all seemed to be captivated by the intense gang violence and drug activity depicted in the movie’s portrayal of the LA gang culture. A seed had been planted as we joked around with each other, “Whatz up Cuz!,” “Whatz up Blood!” Though, we made no true claim at the time nor did we understand the twenty-plus years of conflict fueling South-Central’s gang wars. Nevertheless, the movie’s sinister energy had harnessed our delinquent souls’ inner-gorilla as had the actual movement for those on the WC who, in rejecting the ideology of Black Nationalism, were manipulated to direct their fierce spirit to the cause of gangbangin’.

Looking back, I strongly believe that movie made many people conscious of the nature of the WC movement. After it made its debut it seemed as if lightening had struck the South with the WC virus. Though, it wasn’t the hype of the silver screen that had cats who-bangin’. The theatrics were live and direct as the media in OKC broadcasted in 1988 “Oklahoma City was baby LA” as fortified trap-houses and gang violence resurrected on street corners like church houses and liquor stores. To the east Arkansas would later produce the critically acclaimed documentary Bangin’ In Little Rock that portrayed a full-blown epidemic of gang violence once isolated to South-Central now having migrated and paralyzed the Dirty Dirty.

By the late ‘90s titles like “Arrest May Slow Drug Flow Into City Temporarily” became redundant in newspapers statewide. This particular title was the actual headline of a May 20, 1996, Daily Oklahoman publication that read in part:

A drug pipeline linking Oklahoma City to the second-largest city in the nation is dumping deadly narcotics onto Oklahoma City streets….Law enforcement officials took a major step last week to plug the pipeline that has fed the state capital for a decade….”“The arrests remove a strong pocket of violent drug dealers and thieves in the south central Oklahoma area….”“It should cut some of the violence in the areas where they operated. [But] there’s always somebody waiting in the wings to pick it up. It’s ongoing….”The conspiracy involved buying multiple kilograms of cocaine power from Los Angeles gang sources, including the Main Street Mafia Crips, the [Eastside] Insane Crips and [a local gang] the Prince Hall Villain[] [Gangsta Crips], and selling it in the Oklahoma City area in the form of crack.Cocaine dealers have looked to Oklahoma City since the late 1980s when crack-cocaine flooded the streets of Los Angeles, lowering the drug’s street value.Oklahoma City, along with major midwestern cities, provided a new stomping ground for West Coast gangs.The number of known gang members in Oklahoma City is 45 times higher today than it was 10 years ago.WC gang activity would eventually make its way to home base. Wewoka was just 45 minutes southeast of OKC and home to one of several large statewide attractions—the Wewoka Rodeo—that offered festivities to the Black community.

The WC gang culture would eventually become just as much a part of the rodeo as the cowboy himself. The LA banger and his new found cronies found Crenshaw in the heartland as ‘64 Impalas began to bounce up-and-down the strip during and after rodeo parades. These events, as well as the local drug markets found on Cedar Street, the Eastside of OKC, North Tulsa, and a few other backwood and metropolitan Black communities throughout the state, would attract the WC gang and drug culture. In time, gang violence would bring to an end many of these events.

The Chicago based Folks and Peoples factions were present too, as well as a few East Coast cliques. Yet it was the WC gangs that did it moving. This goes without saying considering the circumstances created by Freeway Rick’s connect (the CIA’s FDN) which gave gangs like the Hoover Crips an advantage to take the show on the road and captivate impressionable souls across the nation to get active in drug and gang violence.

Media hype would further manipulate the situation by drawing comparisons between the LA factions and the notorious Italian Mafia. The mendacious nature of the American press goes without saying. It misled a whole school of kids to accompany the Crips and Bloods to emulate the Mafia deathstyle. It ignored the fact that the founders of these gangs had reflected little, if at all, on criminal organization for profit. Rather, they organized, for lack of better expression, in the most disastrous manner to date, which influenced the gravest political and social regression that the Black community has ever witnessed. The negligence of such commentary served to attract and mortgage infinite souls beyond the holdings of Standard & Poor’s Fortune 500 companies.

Thereafter, street gangs became a threshold to fulfill empty souls seeking to identify with the Mafia deathstyle. However, violence would be the only facet of mob life they would effectively correspond. Consequently, gang violence would trademark racially motivated legislation (e.g., drive-by laws) that would come to beckon death sentences nationwide due to the innocent being paralyzed with fear to crossfire.

Picking up where I left off with the trafficking of gang and drug activity beyond South-Central, it appeared the gang factions that migrated South had family wherever they pulled up. Rather it was by keen insight or mere happenstance they came to learn that the work, which had marginal gains on the streets of California, would fetch three to ten times the profit in the heartland. Needless to say, local hustlas would in time get up on Game and begin to establish connections on the WC. In the mean time the WC gangs migrated by the herds: The Hoovas, Neighborhoods, the Gangstas, the Brims, 456, and many other red and blue factions from all over the state.

Thirsty for the scratch they came. However, some were fleeing the intense gang wars that had infested their ‘hoods with block-bleeding AK-47 choppa shells. Like a portable slaughter house their gangbangin’ mentalities traveled along suit assailing southern hospitality moreso than the KKK. In addition, many fled the anticipated consequences of their otherwise shifty behavior and criminal indictments.

Assisting this transition were economic factors. As noted, the down turn of the nation’s manufacturing sector was brought about by N.A.F.T.A. Millions of jobs were lost when doors opened wide to Third World quasi-slave labor. Overnight many Black men suddenly found themselves unemployed with mouths to feed. It was here that the F.D.N. pack mule would provide work for the displaced worker.

The impact this would have on the youth would be tremendous. We came to distance ourselves from those traditional pathways (e.g., careers, marriage, family life) of social life. The decline in meaningful job prospects weakened the stabilizing influences and traditional forms of informal social control that, subsequently, strengthened gang life as a dominant informal control and socialization force. We went from our everyday group of kids looking for a summer job, to young adults “papered-up” and “strapped-up” in loosely structured gangs. And as the stakes got higher, so too the violence.

Before the gang life acculturated the South majority of us simply carried about with a sense of jovialness that did not allow a grudge to be held simply because you were from a different ‘hood or town. Because many of our communities were two-stoplight towns everyone was familiar with each other and their families had histories that stretched for generations. This enabled us to function as a village. And where egos and testosterone would clash, a set of mixes (one, two, uppercut) would quickly squash the matter. Occasionally gunplay would reign out. But this was not the norm. That is until gangbangin’ came on the scene to exchange the knuckle-game we practice with little grievance for the high-powered assault weapon’s mayhem and murder.

Needless to say, the blue and red flag divide that spread throughout the South would make conflict visible. In addition, it would intensify tensions and further cripple the community. This was so because our conflicts became irreconcilable. The flustered emotions of a fistfight in time would heal and ironically bring cats closer. But the block-bleeding acts of gunplay influenced by the WC venom left the community torn and damaged beyond repair. The menace had transcended South-Central to influence the country boy to correspond with equal, if not greater, force to enact genocide.

Our conflict would become the most wayward having attached itself to the need to vent aggression moreso than to acquire drug turf. To compensate our ego a manifesto was provided from decades of WC conflict. Like any franchise, instruction manuals accompanied the WC gang migration: “GANGBANGIN’ 101, 102, and 103.” By the time this movement was in full swing and flags were being sailed on the South Coast, the accommodations and terms had in South-Central had set in stone the politics of blue and red light flight as to what set was or was not an ally. However, because our communities were too small for both bangin’ and slangin’, which was like mixing oil with water, accommodations were struck. In some spots we had cliques composed of Crips, Bloods, Vice Lords, etc. who made Dope-Boy Magic. In other spots the entire town was considered a Crip ‘hood or Blood ‘hood, etc. where the youngstas, for example, sought to rep the “set” instead of getting paper. For them the ‘hood was a ego play ground where they could ride the pony and compete for glory and stripes and tag with their war paint for vanity.
                       * * *
Before moving to California in the late ‘90s I could have easily been convinced that because this is the home-state that gave birth to the Crip and Blood gang culture, this would be what I encountered from the top of the state to the bottom in poor Black communities. And it was from San Diego to Sacramento with exception of the Oakland-San Francisco East Bay Area.

Having stumbled across a rare stretch of soil where the blue and red flag divide did not mark crime scenes with yellow tape, the Bay, however, did have its “TURF POLITICS.” In other words, bloodshed was not the result of a love to “WHO-BANG.” Rather, blood was spilled on account of getting money for the most part. There were occasions that turf wars would spark or a dispute would often end with gunplay. Yet the gang activity was more structured and primarily focused on selling drugs or some other pursuit of illicit gain. This sealed off blocks with a number of small cliques that generally got along with each other and networked.

The one clique that everyone seemed to speak on that played a major role in changing the atmosphere after the Bay Area lost its revolutionary zeal was the “69th Village MOB” (69th MOB, hereafter). Second to none, the 69th MOB would transform the home of the Black Panthers into the “Heroin Mecca” of northern California. It would stain the streets of Oakland with blood. Beginning in the 1970s and carrying onto the ‘80s, the 69th MOB made its mark with a rein of terror, which enabled it to carve out a lucrative drug empire.

Provoked by the slums of East Oakland, a ghetto champion would elevate to mythic proportions of shrewdness, savage and altruist all in one Felix “the Cat” Mitchell—founder of the 69th MOB. His reputation precedes him as stories are told daily in the cells of Santa Rita, rap songs, and wherever an ear lends itself to Mafia inclination. His unheard of success has been written of in some the nation’s most esteemed publications. Time Magazine and many others like Don Diva have told of how he built a ten million dollar empire with contacts through the Bay Area and as far east as the Motor City, where heroin sales bestowed him the title “King Heroin.” And this was during the 1970s when major drug connections seldom were afforded to Blacks.

For a decade, until his arrest and subsequent conviction for running and operating a continuing criminal enterprise, “Fe,” as Mitchell is often referred to, led the 69th MOB in ruthless drug battles for control of drug turf against the remainder of the “Big Four,” as his organization, Mickey Moore’s, The Family, and Funktown USA have been dubbed by their Bay Area following. Fe’s no-holds-barred approach and grace—pushing through Bay Area ghettoes in a “Double R”—not only assured him victory in the Big Four drug wars, but etched his name along with the 69th MOB at the top as the most vicious and paid Black criminal organization to ever spring from the Bay Area.

Though, the etchings would no sooner set before the shackles were thrown on the King. Damned to a life sentence without the possibility of parole, Fe would be fatally stabbed within months of his sentence at Leavenworth Penitentiary. Mother Africa would reclaim his soul and his name would be spoken as if a God to the street corner disciples’ ambition.

Too Hollywood for a small town, the media would report the 69th MOB operated a “heroin supermarket” in four housing projects throughout Oakland: the San Antonio Village, Campbell Village, Westwood Gardens, and Lockwood Gardens. During the early 1980s, the Oakland Police Department would credit as many as 35% of the city’s murders each year to drug related activities that could be traced back to the 69th MOB. In 1988, Oakland would be named the murder capital of the United States as officials credited Fe’s reign of terror for creating generations of violent drug dealers and thousands of heroin addicts.

The effect of Fe’s reign goes unabated. Today, Oakland remains in the top ten of the most violent cities in America. The Black youth are highly instable and more deadly than a suicide bomber. And they are more venomous than a baby rattler injecting all of its venom in a single bite because they do not calculate. They just react. They react to prescribed circumstances as if a bearing in a pinball machine bouncing to-and-fro without control of themselves. Consequently, this has made for an environment riddled with crash-dummies, torpedoes and addicts of the sort and of all ages where many of the souljas see little wrong with tooting their horn.

After the King’s untimely, and to many misfortunate demise, his protégé, Darryl “lil’ D” Reed would be the next of Oakland’s ghetto legends. Having been raised for the most part of his life in the San Antonio Village, it was inevitable that lil’ D would be exposed to the daily operations of the 69th MOB. In his autobiography, Weight, lil’ D tells of how these elements influenced him and how it was he came to be Fe’s protégé.

Like heroin did for Fe, crack-cocaine would make legends of the likes of lil’ D. During the mid to late ‘80s there were so many drugs being allowed into the country that squares who just happened to know some hustler were getting their hands on 60 to 100 kilos on consignment. With cocaine flooding the streets like snow storms, many snowmen would be created. Every city had its lil’ D. New York had Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff. LA had Michael “Harry O” Harrison. Detroit had Demetrious “Big Meech” Flenory. Miami had the “Boobie Boys.” For those in the Bay Area, none however would be as praised as lil’ D. Like Fe, lil’D would gain a fierce reputation for violence. Moreover, it was his uncanny success at such a young age that made him standout. By the age twenty he had pioneered the sales of large quantities of crack-cocaine. It’s been said that his roster included over fifty dealers who he supplied with kilos; moving upward of $100,000 in sales a day.

Thirty-six months of lil’D’s life was fit for a king. Filled with luxurious sports cars and all the trimmings of the parvenu, he rose from street dealer to multimillionaire overnight. His reign would be short-lived, however, compared to his mentor’s. Though, death would elude him as well as a life sentence—a federal stint wouldn’t. Caught red-handed on December 8, 1988, standing over a pot puttin’ the whip on 14 birds, the Oakland Police Department would raid his Lake Merritt apartment. Before it was all said and done with the police had uncovered seven more kilos of powder cocaine and 83 empty kilo wrappers. His conviction would result in a 35-year federal prison stint for three counts of possessing and manufacturing 20 kilograms of crack and powder cocaine.

Bore from the legacy of the Big Four, lil’ D and others in the Bay Area like San Francisco’s “A-Team” and Oakland’s Red Walker, would spring a culture of “get money” enthusiasts. Curious as to why the Bay Area was unique in the respect—that is, the absence of the Crip and Blood gang culture in the Black community—and the distinctive “get money” attitude of its gang element, I was eager discover the history behind this region.

Over the years I have gained tremendous insight from a number of sources ranging from the Bay Area’s Black Nationalist legacy—the Black Panther Party founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale—to academic studies pertaining to northern and southern California’s street gang activity. In addition, I’ve seized the opportunity afforded by my incarceration. I’ve walked-the-line at Santa Rita for four years, San Quentin and the New Folsom state prisons for ten, and have come to know many of the Los Angeles O.G.s, members of the 69th MOB, the Black Panther Party, etc. Their first hand accounts have been invaluable to say the least and have provided me insight on the movements they were part of that assisted to lay the foundation for their distinctive gang elements.

What was to be discovered about northern and southern California’s gang culture applies nationally. They are distinct because they were not cultivated by the same endowment. In other words, the character of a gang, or those considered criminal organizations, is a certain style of life and personal relations that are less a cause than a result—the result of the totality of physical characteristics of the environment coupled with its social influences, which have shaped the collective over a period of time. The differing tribal spirits of northern and southern California is the product of the social and economic influences exerted upon them.

Their differences, however, have developed against backgrounds of a similar nature. Each has had to endure obstacles of racial oppression, police brutality, poverty and drug infested neighborhoods. Each has experienced more or less favorable geographical circumstances—each area has a major shipping port. In addition, when considering South-Central, it is a densely populated metropolitan area that, due to its size, has gave way to close to 100 years of inoculate and predatory gang activity; while the history in the Bay Area tells of a village being shaped. This then collectiveness in the Bay Area I attribute to a relatively small Black population. This allowed for close relationships and open lines of communication.

Moreover, there were distinct social influences that shaped these regions. The Bay Area was greatly impacted by the philosophy of Black Nationalism. Los Angeles also shared in the philosophy of Black Nationalism. However, the experience would be short-lived. Notably, the endemic violence favored in this region would infect even its pro-community organizations, which lead to the Black Panther Party withdrawing from the LA region. For even they were not exempt from the fratricidal air. January 17, 1969, will forever remain a tragic day in Black Panther history. On this tragic day Black-on-Black violence beset by the US Organization would lead to the murders of Black Panther Party leaders Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter (n.b., the former leader of the Slauson gang) and John Huggins. This was said to have been the doing of the U.S. government—COINTELPRO having seized upon the animosity directed at the Black Panther Party by other pro-community groups in the LA region that did not take too kindly to the northern California organization having setup shop. Needless to say, to this day there remains this animosity between northern and southern California Blacks.

Having successfully pitted the US Organization against the Black Panther Party, the FBI would be puppeteer to Carter and Huggins’ fate. In recent years an interview with Black Panther Ericka Huggins—window of John Huggins—would receive a telling response to the question of COINTELPRO’s impact on the Black Panther Party:

…it left many people dead, my husband John Huggins and Alprentice Carter another. The [COINTELPRO] did not start with the [Black Panther Party]; it began to do its heinous dirty work with people like [Martin Luther King. Jr.] and the Civil rights Movement at all levels. Its intention was, as they said, to wipe out the [Black Panther Party] by the end of 1969… Looking back at it, taxpayers are appalled at what their money went to: to setting up situations where, for instance, John Huggins and Alprentice Carter could be killed at UCLA…. The FBI setup the circumstances for that; then the print media said it was Black on Black crime. But the FBI was a teacher for us. We learned to look at how insidious and subtle the work of a huge bureaucracy is and how fatal it could be for a small group of people who rebel against the status quo. So the FBI harmed, tortured, harassed and setup the circumstances to kill directly or indirectly many, many, people in the [Black Panther Party]… [J. Edgar] Hoover urged his special agents to “prevent the coalition of militant black nationalists groups… and leaders from gaining respectability… Prevent the rise of a black ‘messiah’ who would unify and electrify the militant Black Nationalist Movement.”

By the early 1970s the assassination of revolutionary Black male political leaders in LA and abroad had created a climate of loss and chaos that was ripe for the growth of the gang element due to feelings of disempowerment that grew from a lack of Black resistance. Suddenly, this spirit of resistance, which had been grounded in an oppositional belief that white power was limited, that it could be challenged and transformed, had dissipated. Without the revolutionary zeal of “Black Power” the Black youth in LA were defenseless in face of their oppressors. Many already harbored feelings of being abandoned by the Black Nationalist organizations. And US organization leader Maulana Karenga had been slandered as a FBI informant. Thus, this organization did not appeal to the LA youth.

Divested of affect, alienated from these organizations the sense of powerlessness caused by the absence of a revolutionary tempest would give way to the gang element. Tookie would write of the matter:

The Crips was a vehicle to provide us with illusionary empowerment, payback, camaraderie, protection, thuggery, and a host of other benefits. We wanted to be exempt from being disenfranchised, dyseducated, disempowered, and destitute…We were seventeen-year-olds with minds polluted by misconceptions, and we wanted to be emancipated from the struggle against the conditions seeking our extinction or emasculation. But regardless of hostile opposition or lack of social privilege, my vested interest, like everyone else’s, was simply to survive….

This can be said to have been the case in the Bay Area and elsewhere throughout the nation where Black Nationalism would eventually loose its zeal. However, it would be the Big Four, the Vice Lords, Black Disciples, etc., instead of the Crips and Bloods that would appeal to the ghetto youth.

Moreover, because Black Nationalism had such a strong presence in these regions, many of the gangs that would take shape, for example the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF), better understood and valued economics and structure. Notably, this organization was manipulated by agents of COINTELPRO to pump tons of heroin into the veins of the Black Nationalist Movement. It’s been said that the leadership of this prison gang was sold on the notion of keeping the Italian Mafia from controlling and profiting from the drug markets in the communities they were to return to; and that the profits they were to see from the sale of drugs would be a means to an end—THE END! Consequently, heroin and other drugs would in time become an “opportunity,” to say for lack of better term, to better position them economically. So they structured-up—MOBBED UP to organize and control the drug markets.

In much the same way, by the ‘80s the likes of lil’ D would do the same with crack-cocaine. However, the logic had changed. No longer were the Italians the motivating factor, it was about “Triple Beam Dreams” as Nas would rap:

A project minded individual criminal tactics/ Us Black kids born with birth defects we hyperactive/ Mentally sex crazed, dysfunctional, they describe us/ They liars at the end of the day we fucking survivors/ I remember watching Scarface the first time/ Look at that big house, Porsche paid for by crime/ How could I sell this poison to my people in my mind/ They dumb and destroy themselves is how I rationalize….

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 3−“TRIBALISM.” 

Ivan Kilgore is the now published author of Domestic Genocide: The Institutionalization of Society. Friend him at Facebook/Ivan Kilgore.com. You can contact him directly at:

California State Prison Sacramento, Ivan Kilgore, No. V31306, FB2-118, P.O. Box 290066, Represa, Ca 95671. Email: domesticgenocide@hotmail.com.Support the United Black Family Scholarship Foundation. Get your copy Today!

Here’s the link to obtain the paperback book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1494485729/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1387516339&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40

And this the link to obtain the ebook:http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00HNSLUAG/ref=redir_mdp_mobile?ref_=cm_sw_r_fa_awdm_-cZXsb1XGQKMX

Read more excerpts t http://www.willisraisedblog.wordpress.com.

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