Revolution #236, June 19, 2011

Richard Brown: "We Have to Have a Revolution"

This is a transcript of the speech by Richard Brown at the April 11 event in Harlem, "On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics: A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a Whole New World." Brown is one of the San Francisco 8—a group of eight former Black Panther Party members and supporters who in recent years have been viciously railroaded by the government.

All power to the people. I wanna thank the people of N.Y. for having me here, it's been a pleasure. You've done everything you could in the last few days to make my visit very, very pleasurable and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It's also an honor to be here tonight because I'm here to celebrate revolution and to pay my respects to a bad-ass white boy. I want you to understand what it is to be in the trenches for decades. Longevity and consistency. This brother is somebody that I truly admire because he has been there, he has done that. And he's still there just like I am. I've been fighting for a long time. In fact, I've been fighting in the streets and in the trenches for over 50 years. I didn't say that I'm 50 years old and I've been fighting all my life, I've been fighting over 50 years.

Started out fighting and actually before that as a young man growing up in racist America, fighting in the racist school system in order to get an education. Fighting the police as a teenager in order to keep them from murdering me like they did my brothers and my sisters in the community. And when I joined the Black Panther Party, the fight really started. I had to fight the local police and the FBI. I had to fight COINTELPRO. They murdered many of my comrades, framed my comrades and framed me. And sent us to prison and decimated the Black Panther Party.

And today, to this very day, I am still fighting for my freedom and for the freedom of people everywhere all round the world and I'm fighting Homeland Security which is just COINTELPRO on steroids. It's the new modern day COINTELPRO.

And I haven't been doing this by myself all these years. Bob Avakian has been doing it also. He came out with a book called BAsics, I got it the other day. I'm reading it. I'm not all the way through it because I don't read like that. I know there's some people who get the book and the next day they tell you, "oh yeah, I read that." I don't read like that, I study, I read, I analyze, I study. And I really don't… I'm trying to get into the book and everything about it.  I'm halfway through it and I can tell you that everything I've read so far, I agree with and I appreciate him doing this.

One thing I want to say to the young people, please get this book. Get it. Young people, you have to get it. You have to start reading and you definitely have to start reading material like this.

When I was in the Black Panther Party, we used the Red Book as a means of uniting a whole community, and uniting each other. We read that book every night in the Black Panther office, we took it to the street corners and some nights we would go into the communities to people in our community, we'd go in their living room, and we'd have block parties to bring the community together and read from the Red Book.  It united us, it gave us principles, it taught us how to work together and we did everything we could in order to bring about a revolution. That's what this country needs and that's what we have to do.  We have to have a revolution.

Young people, let me tell you. I'm 70 years old but I ain't tired, I ain't gave up, I'm not sick… well, I am sick, I have COPD, but anyway, I'm still here. And I'm not discouraged. I'm getting pretty damn impatient, though. What the hell are we waiting on?!

Young people, come on now, it's your turn now. I ain't going to leave you by yourself, but you have to step forward and take this… get this book, read it, organize and bring about a revolution. We have to have a revolution in this country in order to save us and people all around the world.

I promised myself that when I spoke, I would mention three things.

Number one, the comrades who have passed, who fought and gave their own, to bring about a revolution.

Number two, the comrades who are languishing in the belly of the beast, men and women of all ethnic groups who have been trying to bring about a revolution.

And number three, the sisters in the Black Panther Party, I appreciate you so much. You didn't get the recognition that you deserve and honestly, there would never have been a Black Panther Party if it hadn't been for you. You were the backbone, you were the spirit… you did everything. You not only worked at the office and fed the children, you fought side by side with me in the streets, we fought those damn pigs. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And I want to say again, let's bring about a revolution...

All power to the people. (resounding applause)

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