Interview with Nate Hamilton, Brother of Dontre Hamilton

"We're on the side of righteousness, we're on the side of truth, and we are going to fight back"

November 16, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


At the end of a meeting of the Coalition for Justice in Milwaukee, Nathaniel Hamilton (Nate) spent a few minutes talking with Revolution newspaper about the recent decision of the Department of IN-justice not to file charges against the cop who murdered Dontre Hamilton, Nate’s brother, in April 2014. This was a case of a 31-year-old man having his life brutally stolen by a cop simply for sleeping on a park bench while Black and while mentally ill. The first minute or so of this brief interview was lost. In that segment, Nate reiterated what he said in his press conference after the decision—that his family is angry and disgusted, but they had expected nothing good, and that they will keep fighting. He made a strong point that morality—what’s right—needs to be higher than the law. He said at the press conference, “I will show a constant display of disgust with every form of law enforcement that doesn’t get it right,” and “I say destroy the whole Constitution, because it never worked to begin with for Black people.” The family of Dontre Hamilton participated in Rise Up October in New York City.

In the following transcript of the interview, references to statements by Nate Hamilton refer to those he made at the recent press conference. (See “Justice Department on Dontre Hamilton: If Shooting a Black Man 14 Times for Sleeping in a Park Doesn’t Violate Civil Rights, What Does?”)


Revolution: We at Revolution newspaper really appreciated your statement about destroying the U.S. Constitution because it never worked for Black people. Another thing you said that really struck home was if another Black man dies, then all Black people, Brown people, women—everyone should come out of their houses and hit the streets, and not sleep, and keep going until this stops. I think this really captures the spirit of Stop Mass Incarceration.

Nate Hamilton: We’re restless. We have to be restless toward fighting injustice, and how can we sleep when injustice is still alive and well? And I think that if you feel that connection and that passion for human life, that you respect all life, Black life, Brown life, Italian life, whatever life that may be, if you respect that life, then if you fail to do anything, then you’re just as responsible. And then that goes back to revolution. What side are you on? Are you on the side of the oppressor, or are you on the side of the oppressed? And right now, if you’re on the side of the oppressor, then you’re asking for a battle amongst the poor, and to fight against the poor is to fight against passion, is to fight against the people who have been down so long.

Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23

Protest against the official decision not to charge the cop who killed Dontre Hamilton, Milwaukee, December 23, 2014. Photo: Special to

So to fight against the person who has the odds stacked against them—I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t go against someone that has nothing to lose. And we are a people that has nothing to lose. And that’s what people need to realize. At this point in life we have nothing to lose. We have nothing to be ashamed of. They have already did all they can possibly do against us. And we cannot allow that to continue. But we know that we have been able to wake up every day knowing what we’ve been through. And I’m just telling people to get up out your homes. Don’t allow the system to run you anymore. We as people are supposed to run the system. We are supposed to have dominion over our land; not people having dominion over the people. And right now you see a system that’s been playing control over the population of the U.S., and until we say no more, until we say that we’re going to start punching and kicking back, they are going to continually think they can throw hard blows.

But I believe that if we come out our house we can throw a harder blow, by economically withdrawing, by being as aggravating and as demanding and as irritating to this Constitution, this system, to this belief, of what America looks like. Because we know what they say it’s supposed to look like, and we know what it really looks like. And we the people, it’s our time now to stand up and take our street back, to take our children’s education back, to take our loved ones out of jail for senseless crimes that they shouldn’t be in jail for. We have so much work to do. It starts with us.

Revolution: Your mother, Maria Hamilton, really expressed “what side are you on” tonight when she said she’s done, she’s through, if you don’t get behind these families, not just hers but every family that’s lost a loved one, then she’s done with you.

Nate Hamilton: You have to be both, you have to separate yourself from ignorance. And if you don’t separate yourself from it then you become a part of it.

Revolution: Is there anything in particular that you picked up from participating in Rise Up October that you can apply going forward?

Nate Hamilton: I’ve learned... it was a very strong weekend in New York. And just the commitment of people, just the willingness to get out there in the thousands to be demanding, to be boisterous, to be resistant, was something that I long for here in this city. What happened there and the families coming together was amazing. I think people need to see that. More people need to see that kind of commitment. To see that families all around the nation are tired, are willing to go into the streets, to risk arrest, to go beyond and above—any means to get justice for their children, and to prevent the injustice not just for their children, but for others’ children. We can’t get our babies and our brothers and our sons back, but what we can do, we can prevent our city from demolishing our nation, our Black and Brown families, by getting out here and putting up a resistance. By saying that we are no longer on the side of the oppressor, but we’re on the side of righteousness, we’re on the side of truth, and that we are going to fight back. We’re going to shut down, disrupt, and dismantle any system that gets in our way in our fight.



Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need