University of Revolution

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears”

Cannabis canopy shading dice shooting,
Wine-drinking youth on concrete steps
Of 79th Street School—
“Onk, bet you don’t hit!”
“Bet!” “Bet!”
“Bet, nigga!”
Soundtrack punctuating sleepy South Central
L.A. Saturday…

Thirteen months later, they’re baaaack on steps of 79th
Discarding dice for dialectical materialism, betting
Last dollars on cheap Chinese versions of Communist
Manifesto, Marx and Engles, Lenin’s The State and
The State and Revolution, studying Fanon’s Wretched
Of The Earth, reading aloud from Mao’s Little Red Book,
Reciting the Panther 10-Point Program

Neighbors peering from shaded windows, secretly
Proud, dazzled by discipline, dedication, black leather light
Polished boots, berets refracting alchemy of qualitative
Leaps, black magic like Watts ’65, when Slausons, Gladiators,
Businessmen, Farmers, Rebel Rousers arose from crackling
Flames, black smoke plumes, shards of glass, reborn Black
Men, nationalists, revolutionaries, claiming Malcolm fathered
Them in the fire…

Maybe there is a God? I certainly chanted, prayed,
Rhymed, sung, agitated for wet, cold, WikiLeaks
Waking, arousing, Black people to consciousness
Returning our glorious edge—and then came you—
Through open enrollment, University of Revolution,
Worldwide campuses: Tahrir Square, Wisconsin Capitol,
Wall Street, Oscar Grant Plaza, Ferguson; accelerated learning
Sites— nano second lessons, ordinarily requiring months to learn

Then came you! Would you be called, ‘The Ferguson
Generation’ or ‘Gen Ferg,’ were you Madison Avenue-
Made men and women, like your Commander-in-Chief?
Would they dote on you if you were Ready for Hillary?
Would you be celebrated, helping sell Coke, Pepsi and
Serial wars?
Now, they’re calling you ‘low-level terror threats’ and
Old, venomous, things spat so often they’re cliché…

Fuck them! We, The People, hereby confer Gifted
Student Status upon you, with rights, privileges,
Responsibilities, thereby granted enrollees in the
University of Revolution, matriculating, turning
The world upside down—making the last, first and
The first last! Gifted Student Status, not artificial
‘Intelligence’ serving alphabet agencies of slavery
Not the ‘best and brightest’ at bunko: credit default
Swaps, sub-prime loans, stealing savings and homes
From calloused hands limping on swollen, blistered feet

Gifted Students too smart to let charlatans riding
Bareback, backwards, on an ol’ mule harness you
You foiled them by bringing brilliant, bottom-up
Organizing, by being real community organizers,
Like 1950-70 caliber masters of myriad methods and
Forms of mass struggle: mass meetings marches, sit-in,
Teach-ins, pickets, boycotts, mass rallies, strikes,
Pickets, voter registration, armed self-defense—like
Coltrane, Mingus, Monk, Miles masters of Jazz
Improvising, slipping “Which Side Are You On?” in
On the St Louis Symphony, flash mobbing miserly
Wal-Marts, unfurling anti-racist banners on Monday
Night Football, National TV, revealing inconvenient
Truths about cold-blooded murder…
Bringing brilliant bottom-up organizing of real
Community organizers like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin,
Daisy Bates, Caffie Greene dipping digitally into
Underground Wells of Truth, Douglass, Russwurm,
Showing and telling power of people’s mass action
Over social media— any means necessary, ‘cept senior
Mike Brown sitting down for amber suds with hit man
Wilson, no beer with po-po!

Welcome to University of Revolution, bastion of life-long
Learning, continuing education where there’s always more
Core curriculum, more prerequisites to learn like:
LOVE 101
How to love the people, salt of the earth, like Che, Dr King,
Bunchy Carter-style
Delegation 101
A Sly thing, but, different strokes for different folks—some make
Sandwiches, some paint picket signs, some staple them, some
March, some send money, others frequent flyer miles,
Some offer exit strategies, escape routes, some sing like Selma
Voice, Betty Mae Fikes and balm of Gilead Bernice Johnson
Reagon, others orate, agitate, strategize, organize, like Freeman
Brothers and Wayne Pharr, some protest, some invest, with
Returns on their dollars in mind, all needed: militants, dissidents
Communists, socialists, romanticists, optimists, down south, up
South, out south!

Solidarity /Proletarian Internationalism 101:
Denounce Nuremberg Negro war criminals like Unca Jim’s
Corporate Bag Clique (CBC) and other empire apologists;
Support Palestinians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Iraqis like looking
In a magnifying mirror, seeing yourselves in snipers’ crosshairs;
Oppose mass deportations of the Deporter-in-Chief
Support whistleblowers like Snowden, Manning and Asange

Language to Lose 101:
“Mainstream media,” is minority multi-billionaire media
“Preaching to the choir” ‘the choir,’ gets weary, sometimes
Needs good preaching, teaching, too!
“Misleadership Class,” excel at leading of their class, the black
Bourgeoisie, mortal enemies of our class, the working-class
Figures Don’t Lie, But Liars Figure— Statistics 101:
4% of the world’s population 25% of the world’s prison
Population= “democracy?”
48 million live in poverty= “the world’s richest country?”

Overemphasis on voting, Exclusion of Mass Action 101:
Reject fairytales of Dr King prescribing the cure all “Take two
Elections every 2-4 years, June and November and don’t call me”
Shun stories of Fanny Lou Hamer staggering around decades,
Mule shit on her sandals, screamin,’ “Hold your nose and vote!”

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.