Former Black Panther Ashanti Alston in Ireland - audio interview


These are two audio interviews with US anarchist Ashanti Alston who the WSM have brought to Ireland to speak at the Anarchist bookfair. Ashanti describes himself as a former member of the Black Panther Party and a former soldier in the Black Liberation Army, in connection with which he served 14 years in prison in the US. Today he is an active US anarchist who speaks at events all over North America, giving him a valuable perspective on the state of the movement today.In part one (30 mins, 15mb mp3) of this two part interview/discussion recorded in Kilmainham, Dublin he talks about his visit to Ireland, the post Seattle anarchist wave in the USA, the formation of Anarchist People Of Color (APOC) the current capitalist crisis and the need to 'seize the moment'.

In part two (50 mins, 18.37 mp3) we go on talk about the US prison - industrial complex, political prisoners in the US, the effect of paranoia on anarchist organising, the election of Obama and finally return once more to the capitalist crisis and its global repercussions.

Below is a running order that roughly detail's the areas covered in each discussion

Part 1 (30 mins)
A general impression of anarchism in North America following the Seattle wave
The inspiration of the Zapatistas and meeting with international anarchists in Chiapas
The growing number of people of color interested in anarchism and the formation of Anarchist People Of Color (APOC)
Building communication and networking between anarchists on the American continent
Bringing struggles together to build them into a powerful movement.
Continental organisation and the potential of Love & Rage
First impressions of Ireland - 'Like a dream come true'
The build up towards the March 30th strike - people are upset, people are frustrated, the rich folks ain't never gonna take no pain
Impressions of the anarchist movement in Ireland
For anarchists this is a moment we haven't had since the Spanish Civil War - Seize the time, seize the moment
The global nature of the anarchist movement today and the connections with indigenous movements that don't self define as anarchist
The internet and the need for face to face contact

Part 2 (50 minutes)
The number of political prisoners still in US jails
The use of the police to keep people under control and the militarization of the police in the major cities
Cop Watch the deterrent power of videoing policing
Prison abolition
Security, provocation and paranoia and how to deal with the consequences on the movement
FBI crackdown on Earth First and Animal Liberation movements as well as SF 8 and Puerto Rican movements
How to get the people out of prison that have been there 10/20 years
Negative effects on paranoia on movement building and building links between movements
The police in North America schools, how schools and other institutions have become like jails
Talking about the Black Panthers in High Schools
The roles of schools in fortifying the system
The percentage of African American males who encounter the prison system
The matrix red pill, blue pill thing
Obama, the new American president
Powerful people have decided he would be a good face for the empire but you can't say that to folks from our (the black) community.
The Obama effect on radicalising people who previously had no interest in politics and the effect of expectations not being met.
It will bring a lot of people into different movements in different ways, on the negative side the right wing christians are buying record numbers of guns
Rising expectations were an important part of the movement in the 60's, we may see the same impact now.
The Obama honeymoon will not last long
The crisis once more - we have to organise from the bottom
We need to go way beyond what happened in the 60's
This might be the time where we get a chance to show some alternatives, everybody is going to have a part to play
Workers need to embrace their potential power
The 'resistance if futile' massive expansion of prison industrial complex under Clinton and the Bush's runs contradictory to the 'Hope' message
Can we use Obama's slogans for another purpose
Anarchists as being part of and not seperete from the community
Guriella cultural stuff
The crisis in Iceland as an indicator of a world wide crisis
The lefts historic overuse of the concept of capitalist crisis
Doug Henwood's podcast as a useful source of economic information
The crisis as a period of real change, the Wily Coyote moment
Getting people to think there are altenatives - its not rocket science
The failure to pull together a black movement out of hurricane Kathrina aftermath
The paralysis of the revolutionary forces, are we going to blow it, are we going to fight each other?

Ashanti's website -

Thanks to for hosting the audio, a version of this article was first published there. The direct links to the mp3's are
Part 1 -
Part 2 -