Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sealed With A Kiss: Mabel and Kathleen Talk Armed Self-Defense

In a previous post (The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights), I remarked that: “Only in the ridiculous political discourse of the United States, where Barack Obama is a “marxist" (or any kind of “leftist” at all) can citizens' right to gun ownership be considered a purely right-wing demand.”  I discussed how it was the Black Panthers who embraced gun rights forty-some years ago, much to the consternation of conservative Republicans, including California governor Ronald Reagan. And I mentioned how the Panthers themselves were inspired by Robert Williams, a North Carolina activist, whose book, Negroes With Guns, made the forceful case for armed resistance to racist oppression in the United States.

Robert Williams died in 1996, and Rosa Parks delivered a passionate eulogy. Mabel Williams, Robert’s amazing wife, outlived him for many years, continuing her own activism.  Mabel died on April 19th.

In the video clip below (about 10 minutes, see full discussion here), from a conference on “Self Respect, Self Defense & Self Determination” held in Oakland in 2004, you’ll see what an amazing woman she was, as she and Kathleen Cleaver discuss the issue of armed self-defense in the black community.  They talk about how Williams argued that an armed black community “reduced the level of violence,” since it forced murderous white racists “to make a calculation: are they willing to risk their superior life to take your inferior life.” They discussed how “all the black people had guns…It was just not even discussed. You had guns. ..If in fact they heard the Klan was going to ride, they would be prepared. There was no discussion. ” They stressed that, for black revolutionaries: “That was fundamental: the notion that people had to accept the responsibility for standing up for themselves.” 

You know, just a couple of gun nuts.

In this clip, Mabel starts out by describing how Robert’s radicalism was energized by the kind of incident that, we must (and don’t) remember, was completely ordinary in these United States. It was an incident that got Robert “accused ..of being a communist, of course,” since only communists would raise a fuss about such things. Mabel Williams tells us how the story of Robert Williams and Negroes With Guns began, as do many great stories, with a kiss:

Related Posts: Lawyers, Guns, and Twitter: Gun Battles and Class Struggle after San BernardinoThe Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights


  1. This video is private.

  2. Wow. That was an excellent, well-documented piece. I will try to post a link to this article over on Salon, but I have been censored for overt criticism of their writers and my comments are no longer posted to the threads--even though they appear on my own screen as if they have been posted. This is a particularly pernicious form of censorship, since one is not told that the comments are not being posted and is allowed to continue posting for a long period of time without realizing that the censorship is occurring. That being said, it may be time for my sock puppet to reappear--not only to post a link to your excellent work, but also to clarify to all that visit Salon that it is anything but a "salon" in which multiple voices are welcome.

  3. Most thorough coverage of the events, motivations, and potential paths ahead in Ukraine I've read. Thank you for writing it, and I hope you can get it heard more broadly (i.e., over the background roar of western propaganda).

  4. "whose leader seems to have deluded himself into believing that the Kiev government was “duly elected”
    1. He doesn't actually know anything about what's happening in Ukraine (not entirely far fetched)
    2. He doesn't pay any attention at all to whatever pops up on the teleprompter. Which is talk show Material written by sycophantic door spinners and idolizing campaigners who, almost certainly, could NOT give a coherent account, even a distorted partisan one, of what's happening in Ukraine.

  5. Brilliant. Bravo - straight to the blogroll with you.

  6. great piece, though you didn't even mention the natural gas reserves in Ukraine


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