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THE PEOPLE’S

NEWS FROM THE PROLETARIAN STRUGGLE

VOICE
of the capitalist state’s repressive apparatus. To paraphrase Brecht, it was as if the rain began to fall from the ground to the sky. In this sense, our action— while admittedly ‘rude’ and ‘ugly’—effectively represented a reversal of existing social relations at the level of ideology. Militant activity as we conceive it prefigures a future in which the masses have seized political power. Our actions must therefore be assessed in terms of their capacity to address the problem of the relation of forces—not as they correlate in the polite, civil space of symmetry (students, the Professor-General and police all in their proper places)—but rather as they divide into discontinuous terms related to each other only through the irreducible gap that separates them. While the revisionist protest aims for a quantitative accumulation of power that will lead to a sudden inversion of places—an inversion that never arrives—the ruptural action depends on a nearly invisible process anchored in the very qualitative principles of our power, foremost among which are division and struggle. We must hold firmly to the question of the relation of forces if we are to avoid drifting into petty bourgeois left opportunism. Power is at stake in each confrontation with the class enemy. Confrontation is never an end in itself. We must always ask ourselves: do our actions in a given concrete situation effectively transform existing social relations and thus help to build proletarian power? Our practice must therefore always be carried out under the command of political directives that are oriented toward the masses. This summation is a call always to elaborate the concrete politics of the class struggle in each concrete situation as we systematize our experiences in the form of political directives.

In This Issue:
THE FIGHT FOR CUNY HUNGER STRIKE SHAKES CALIFORNIA JUSTICE FOR ASHLEY WILLIAMS DONALD FELTON REMEMBERED INTERVIEW WITH B.I.K.O.

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By THE SECRETARIAT OF THE REVOLUTIONARY STUDENT COORDINATING COMITTEE & THE SECRETARIAT OF IGNITE
The controversy surrounding the video of CUNY student protesters confronting David Petraeus has obscured a decisive fact: on September 9, there was not one protest, but there were two protests against the Professor-General. The first protest conformed to what we might call the revisionist protest-structure. The protesters were sequestered in their designated pens, the Professor-General “taught” [sic] in his classroom, police and university officials interposed themselves between the two sides in order to maintain the integrity of the structure. In this protest, everyone was in her or his proper place, everyone carried out her or his assigned function. The unity of the protesters here was what one might call a unity without principle, a unity that does not affirm a rupture with all forms of power of the adversary. The second protest was the one recorded in the now-infamous video of us raining words on the Professor-General as he acted the part of the teacher walking home from work. This was a demonstration of an essentially different type: let us call it a ruptural action. What it activated was precisely a qualitative rupture with the revisionist protest-structure, and beyond that, with existing social relations. In the ruptural action, division and struggle are absolute, while unity is conditional and relative. What many have described as “ugliness” and “rudeness,” we would characterize as a leap into the future that drew a political line of demarcation between the class enemy and ourselves. What do we mean by “a qualitative rupture” and “a leap into the future”? We should first note that the principal reason our video gained notoriety so quickly is that dominant ideology simply could not assimilate the spectacle we staged. Here, a mass of students exercised its power over a man who until very recently occupied the summit

FROM THE GROUND TO THE SKY

Petraeus followed by student protesters, taken from a video recording of the event

“Our action was nothing less than a taking in hand of our historical responsibilities with a view to transforming the terms of the class struggle.”
Only by maintaining the primacy of the question of power can we contribute to the unification of the broad masses under the command of proletarian ideology. The qualitative rupture should thus not be identified, in empiricist fashion, with the literal, physical form of our action, but rather should always be referred to power as its real object. That our September 9 action effected a qualitative rupture at the level of ideology was confirmed by the events of September 17. That evening, we demonstrated outside a fundraising event featuring the Professor-General. Shortly after we abandoned the protest enclosure, the police violently arrested six individuals, most of them members of RSCC prominent in the original video. The brutality of the onslaught cannot be explained by the events of that day alone. In trying to come to terms with the nature of the attack, one can no more appeal to a quantitative relation of forces than to a redistribution of those

CONDEMN THE ASHLEY WILLIAMS SENTENCE
By A VIRGINIA CORRESPONDENT
On Monday, July 22, Ashley Williams was sentenced by the Richmond Circuit Court to five years in prison for murder and felony child neglect. This was in regards to events surrounding the 2009 death of her 1-year-old son D’sean. Ashley Williams is an African American proletarian woman from Richmond’s blue-collar Fulton neighborhood, a single mother, with three other healthy, thriving children. At the time, she was also caring for her elderly mother who suffered from lupus. The facts of the case are locally well-known. D’sean died from failure to thrive, a pediatric condition in which infants inexplicably and rapidly waste away. Williams took D’sean and her other children to family doctors over forty times. Prior to a month before his death, D’sean Williams was seen by family physicians, a Richmond social worker and emergency room staff. Williams was indicted prior to the results of D’sean’s medical autopsy, which came back as “inconclusive”. Legal documentation exists establishing that the Attorney’s Office deliberately buried the medical reports for months, attempting to coerce medical examiners into ruling homicide, and proceeding to illegally hide medical documents from the Defense when the examiners did not comply. Renowned Alleghany County medical examiner and forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril H. Wecht testified for Williams’ defense, stating on the record that, in his professional opinion, D’sean likely suffered from

Resist the War on Black Mothers

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2 || The People’s Voice Newspaper
Reflections on the Death of a Kansas City Worker By A KANSAS CORRESPONDENT
On Monday July 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm 40 year old Donald Fenton, a Kansas City Water Services employee of 14 years, was killed after an inflatable pipe plug upstream gave way releasing water and filling the manhole he was working in with sewage. The exact cause of death is still under current investigation by city officials. Co-workers who remember Don recall his positive work spirit, and the fact that he loved his job and did it to the best of his abilities; but Don was also an exceptional and selfless human being. The author of this article was a coworker of Don’s, who remembers his laugh, his kind and giving heart and his sense of humor. “When I first started Don came to me in a locker room introducing himself and giving me friendly advice and keeping a positive spirit.

DONALD FELTON REMEMBERED

I was told stories of his enormous generosity to his brothers and sisters around him from driving to homes to deliver Turkeys on Thanksgiving to needy families to buying shoes for children who needed them in the neighborhoods surrounding a particular jobsite. Don was a person if he saw you looking down or if he heard something tragic happened in your life he would come to you offering help and a sympathetic ear. Losing him in such a way hit home for many of us who knew him, and who laughed with him. It also brought us to face the reality that our job is a dan-

gerous one and that anyone of us could have died that night. According to Federal OSHA statistics 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 of those 4,609, 17% were in the construction industry. Everyday we as workers in this field face the danger of our excavations being caved in, being struck by an object, falling and other common hazards faced by those of us in this industry. On top of the dangers we are undermanned, overworked and have had our wages frozen for years and still expected to be just as productive, while at the same time Kansas City subsidizes the Power and Light Entertainment District with

tens of millions of dollars, the same KCP&L, that was caught a few years back targeting and denying entrance to Black and Latino people. Many of us continue to lack training with the tools we are expected to use at the job. A worker of 10 years recalled not once being trained on the PSI limit to the inflatable pipe plugs, the same plug that gave way and caused Donald‚Äôs death. With this in mind perhaps Don’s death was preventable, and if so then Kansas City bears responsibility for his death.

CENTRAL BOOKING JAIL KILLS SICK BROOKLYN WOMAN WITH MEDICAL NEGLECT
By NEW YORK CORRESPONDENTS
Anyone who has ever been held at Brooklyn Central Booking, or waited in the arraignment part for a family member’s first appearance in court during the uncertain hours and days after arrest, would probably not be very surprised to learn about the horrifying story of 37-yearold Kyam Decol Livingston’s recent death in a holding cell there. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kyam Livingston was a mother and worked as a security guard. She attended Holy Innocents School, P.S. 181, Dyker Heights Junior High School, and New Utrecht High School, all in Brooklyn. On Saturday, July 20, around 1 AM, she was arrested at her apartment in Brooklyn for allegations related to drinking. By early Sunday morning, July 21, after roughly 30 hours in state custody, she was dead. The account of events leading to Livingston’s death provides a very revealing exposure of the bureaucratic cruelty of the repressive institutions of New York City. On Saturday, July 20, NYPD cops confronted Livingston inside her apartment as she was coming out of the shower wearing a bath towel. They arrested her for violating a limited order of protection that barred her from drinking or arguing loudly in her apartment. They brought her to the Kings County Hospital around 1:30 AM for medical tests. At 9 AM, the hospital released her back into the custody of the state. Cops took her under arrest to the 70th Precinct station at 154 Lawrence Avenue. An hour and a half later, around 10:30 AM, she was transferred from the precinct to Central Booking at 120 Schermerhorn Street. Livingston would go on to spend the next 20 hours at Brooklyn Central Booking in a small jail cell packed with approximately 15 women, as her body went into crisis in the filthy and overcrowded conditions. Central Booking holds people who have not yet been charged with any crime and are supposed to be presumed “innocent” under the bourgeois law. It is well-known that the cells there are disgusting, generally covered with urine, feces, and rotten half-eaten jailhouse food. There are often rodents present. The conditions in the women’s section are even worse than the conditions in the men’s section. Livingston banged on the metal bars of the cell, pleading for medical attention for stomach pains and diarrhea. The other women joined her. to little more than to help the ADAs and facilitate this process. There are court officers quick to manhandle and humiliate any handcuffed defendant who walks out of the bullpen too slowly or in the wrong direction, or asks too many questions due to confusion about their case in the midst of the legal jargon flying back and forth, or waits at the stand unsure about the resolution of their case, which often happens in mere minutes after a wait of more than 24 hours in custody. There are rude and disrespectful clerks who treat family members and friends as if they are stupid when they ask about the location of their loved ones inside the system, or what time they are supposed to be produced in court, or whether they are in the right courtroom. For proletarian and oppressed people, the urine-soaked and feces-stained cells of Central Booking, with their torn mattresses and pests, and on the other side of the jail cell doors – the suits and robes, the uniforms and firearms, the fine engraved emblems on courtroom walls, and the rough wooden benches form a single machinery of class repression. A day spent in the arraignment part, observing the raw and uncovered power of the bourgeois state, is enough to dispel many of the illusions about Justice and Equality For All taught by the school system, the media, and the NGOs. Many people, like Kyam Livingston, do not even make it that far in the system. They are killed by police bullets or medical neglect – it is the same – before they even get to see a judge.

Jail officers told them to quiet down and threatened to delay Livingston from seeing a judge if they refused. When she went into convulsions, one woman officer witnessed it and instructed the others to just “let it play out” rather than calling for help. The jail staff called emergency medical services only after 6:30 AM on Sunday, July 21. The EMS team arrived in time only to transport Livingston’s lifeless body from Central Booking to the Brooklyn Hospital Center at

121 Dekalb Avenue, where she was pronounced dead. Working and poor people in Brooklyn know that the downtown criminal court with its attached jail is a hellhole, with an assortment of personalities all working together in concert to implement the class justice of the rich. There are vicious judges who are quick to send people to Rikers Island, including at least one open and proud racist. There are patronizing judges who speak to grown adults who have cases as if they are children. There are banal and mindless assistant district attorneys (ADAs) with mountains of case folders on their tables, processing hundreds of mostly black and Latino proletarians everyday to feed the prison system. There are many cooperating and cynical defense attorneys, whose work amounts

The People’s Voice Newspaper || 3
THE CALIFORNIA PRISON HUNGER STRIKE
A New Wave of US Proletarian Struggle
By THE SPARC GENERAL CHAIRPERSON
Beginning on July 6th, over 30,000 prisoners throughout California began the largest hunger strike in state history. This was a huge statement made by the prison population as it echoed and amplified across the country. As the hunger strike enters its seventh week the bourgeois media still has paid little attention to this momentous event, leaving it to grassroots organizations and independent media to provide coverage. Once it became apparent that the hunger strike would persist the bourgeois media had to address it. Their lackeys have been assigned the task of committing character assassination against the hunger strike leaders. They attempt to perpetuate the apolitical notion that these are anti-social, criminal elements trying to dupe the people into being sympathetic to their opportunistic cause for greater gang control in the prisons. It is true that many of the individuals involved have ties to gangs and have ended up in prison as a result of lumpen activity. You will be hard pressed to find any prisoner who hasn’t gotten their hands dirty at one point or another. These are not people who were purposefully imprisoned for their revolutionary activity on the outside, these are individuals who come from the most ghettoized and impoverished areas in the country, who resort to actions that land them in prison because we live in a system that offers no substantial support to its population and creates the conditions for a dogeat-dog world. What do you expect a person to do when they are faced with the choice of survival or death? These are the brutal facts of living inside sician to treat her son’s condition with PediaSure. Days before her son’s death, Williams ran out of PediaSure and did not have money on hand to buy more. More importantly, Williams’ former attorney and former the center of global imperialism. But you will never see the bourgeois media providing objective analysis explaining these social realities of capitalism. In fact popular culture does everything it can to make prisoners the butt of the joke, from prison rape to shankings. It is all too common to see prisoners portrayed in a manner that dehumanizes them and masks the true torture and brutality they face. These tactics to separate and isolate the phenomena of incarceration from the masses fall flat when so many, especially those from the oppressed nationalities, have cycled through the prison system and inter-related institutions meant to consistently track all who have been convicted. The overall effect this has upon the masses, who know what its like to be under the thumb of the imperialist state, is one of collective resentment towards the capitalist establishment that views them as subhuman trash worthy of ridicule. These mother took him to his pediatrician, weighing 17 pounds with a massive skin infection, that …. was in fact a Staph infection of the child’s skin. Instead the doctor ordered no follow-up visit, and sent her home with Dove soap and Bacitracin [a topical, over-thecounter antibiotic]. That’s the only treatment that this little boy that is dying got from his Medicaid doctor.” Material evidence presented by the defense included photo and video evidence of Williams desperately trying to feed her son, as well as the 911 call Williams made on the night of her son’s death, described by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as “a distraught Williams … heard hysterically crying throughout the call.” King Salim Khalfani, the executive director of the Virginia NAACP, put it succinctly when he described Williams as a victim of “this assembly-line, plea-bargain system of injustice”. Pauline Ewald has stated that she was “physically and verbally assaulted” by Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Langer in an attempt to coerce her into advising Williams to take a plea bargain. The prosecutor conspired to have Pauline Ewald thrown off the case and replaced with stateappointed attorney Devika Davis, who collaborated with the prosecution to throw out crucial medical evidence and manipulate Williams into taking a plea bargain. When Williams later retracted prisoners are only an extension of the proletarian and oppressed nations. If this is how the bourgeois media portrays prisoners, then what is the common understanding by this same media towards the US proletariat as a whole? We must support these individuals in this struggle despite their prior anti-people behaviors. Especially if we look over the course of the last several years through the strong efforts and initiative of those in leadership positions within prisoner organizations openly declaring an end to hostilities between rival factions based upon gang affiliation and race/ nationality. We exist in a new period with the reconstruction of a prisoner movement where once backwards-thinking individuals have become politicized as a result of their internment in the US prison system. We uphold that prisoners can commit to revolutionary thought reform and many have done so through their own efforts in trying to her plea bargain and fired Davis, the city retaliated by placing her in the restricted tier of the Richmond City Jail. During Williams’ trial, the prosecution deliberately tortured her psychologically with enlarged photographs of her son’s emaciated corpse. Richmond’s bourgeois media has been in full force, engaging in its shameless character assassination of Ashley Williams and her family, part and parcel with the capitalist media’s overall constant bombardment of racist and misogynistic propaganda targeting working-class mothers, and Black mothers in particular. The Department of Social Services has also played their insidious role in this case, collaborating with the prosecution, dissuading attorneys from defending Williams, and tearing Williams’ other children against their wishes from the arms of their immediate family, placing them in foster homes. The bourgeois media paints Ashley Williams as a murderer. In response to this and as a matter of basic principle, we indict the criminal careerist and lackey of the bourgeoisie, Mary E. Langer, with her disgusting crocodile tears and her duplicitous bragging about “justice” on the occasion of Williams’ sentencing. We indict all court-appointed defense lawyers who willingly serve as lapdogs to prosecutors, who willingly aid in tightening nooses around the necks make heads from tails about the proliferation of the prison population in the US. As the hunger strike carries on and more lives are lost due to the unrelentingly hostile class position of the prison bureaucrats, capitalists and overall reactionaries, the oppressed masses shall match these sentiments. The question is will the heightened hatred between these antagonistic forces result in higher forms of organization that take on the bourgeois more effectively? It is the duty of every prisoner support group out there to utilize the opportunity to take this class hatred and effectively channel it in a constructive manner that reconstitutes a revolutionary movement inside the prisons and out. Towards the reconstitution of the revolutionary movement! Turn the ironhouses of oppression into schools of liberation! Long Live the California Hunger Strikers! of victim after victim. We indict Social Services and their genocidal crusade to break up Black families. We indict the Medicaid doctor who actually murdered D’sean and who will never face a court of law or the ire of the bourgeois media, and more importantly the Medicaid system in the US which extracts a profit from the suffering and illness of the oppressed masses. We indict all doctors who abandon their Hippocratic Oath in favor of pinching another penny from the blood of the dead. We indict an emergency care infrastructure that charges thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to treat oppressed peoples’ life-threatening conditions. This system allows our children to die by the thousands while the highest-quality hospitals are reserved for the children of the bourgeoisie. We indict food assistance programs in the US, who callously decide who eats and who starves. In short, we indict capitalism, we indict US imperialism. We will only see an end to this utter madness when we wake up to our own conditions and organize a party of the proletariat, to lead the people to victory in socialist revolution. We are all Ashley Williams!

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ASHLEY WILLIAMS

DiGeorges Syndrome, a highly lethal genetic disorder. Several of Williams’ nephews and cousins suffer from the same genetic condition.

D’sean’s autopsy report revealed cultures of Staph and the pneumonia virus. It also clearly indicated that D’sean had died of sepsis (severe internal infection) and had been fed 72 hours prior to his death, but that his body could not produce food because the sepsis had destroyed his intestinal villi. D’sean died because Ashley Williams had been instructed by her Medicaid family phy-

medical writer Pauline M. Ewald stated in an interview on a local radio show: “His mother could have fed him 20 cans of PediaSure a day, it would not have saved him. His body had lost the ability to process any nutrients. I want to make it clear, unequivocally, this kid did not need PediaSure, he needed IV antibiotics, period, end of report…that child only had a 50% chance of surviving if he had gone to the emergency room the day his

4 || The People’s Voice Newspaper
DEMILITARIZE CUNY, OUST PETRAEUS
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
forces across a static system of places. Instead, the violence must be understood (1) dynamically as recognition by the capitalist state of our increasing power in relation to the rupture of September 9, and (2) qualitatively, in relation to the internal nature of our power, irreducible to that of our antagonists. The concept of qualitative rupture should be extended to the argument implicit in our action. Thus, when we characterize the Professor-General as a “war criminal,” it would be erroneous to imagine that we mean by this a transgression of bourgeois law. First, as revolutionaries we aim to transform the juridico-political structure upon which the power of the bourgeoisie rests. Second, the legal system is incapable of recognizing the class struggle, because the law masks the social relations that it formalizes and systematizes by rendering them non-contradictory and universal. Third, the law includes the repressive state apparatus as its necessary supplement, since there can be no legal system without a corresponding system of penalties. For these reasons, our concept of ‘war crime’ refers to a specific class practice essentially inscribed in, and masked by, the bourgeois legal system itself, not a violation of certain of its constituent rules. Far from covertly upholding the law, our accusation of criminality against Petraeus is directed against bourgeois legality as such. The epithet “war criminal” should be understood both as essentially tied to the juridical instance of the capitalist state and as discontinuous with any notion of a breach of bourgeois legal norms. Imperialist war is always a crime against the masses. Our action signals a qualitative rupture not only with the revisionist protest-structure and with bourgeois legal ideology, but also with the role of the university. In capitalist societies, the places occupied by various agents are reproduced through the educational system. Unskilled workers are ejected from the system after high school, managers after college, professionals and engineers after graduate school. The university, like the rest of the educational system, effectively serves the interests of capital. CUNY is no exception. It supplies the regional economy with individuals qualified to fill low- to mid-level skilled positions: junior accountants, teachers, police, nursing assistants and the like. The militarization of CUNY, a process in relation to which the hiring of the Professor-General is a symptom, must be understood in this context. CUNY is the only major university in New York City that proletarian students can hope to attend. The recent return of ROTC to campus represents an aspect of the transformation of CUNY into a kind of apprentice program for military officers. Our immediate aim is to reverse the militarization of CUNY. Our strategic goal is to break with the universityfunction as such. In order to accomplish this, we must undertake a transformation of existing social relations at all levels: economic, juridico-political and ideological. In this process, the university will become a base area that can meet the needs of the proletariat and its allies. It is our hope that our actions contribute to the initiation of this new revolutionary sequence. The central task of militants in the current conjuncture is to exercise proletarian leadership in order to organize the self-education of the masses. The masses themselves will identify as their adversaries all who attempt to separate them from their growing unity and democratic practices. These practices, insofar as they bring about a decisive break with bourgeois class domination, will lead to an inevitable response from the state. The state resorts to concentrated physical repression when the ideological mechanisms that generally reproduce social relations cease to function ‘as they should.’ However, by relying on intense violence—that is, on brute quantitative power—in order to counter the qualitative ruptures forced by the masses, the state only discloses (and reinforces) its own tendency toward increasing weakness. In order to begin the difficult task of opening up a new revolutionary path, we must divide ourselves from all forms of so-called “spontaneous” popular consciousness. The masses live in a society dominated by bourgeois ideology, and without proper leadership, they lapse into reformism. Our action of September 9—and all actions to come—can thus only be understood in reference to a definition that is at the same time a directive: To be a revolutionary is nothing less than to be able to seize the future within the present itself.

AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH STEVE B.I.K.O.
The Harrisonburg, VA based rap artist speaks about racism, struggle and making politically charged music in a capitalist society
musical influences? B.I.K.O.: Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, KRS-One, the original politics and presentation that was Public Enemy, and various reggae bands: Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, and the like. TPV: What role do you see music serving in the revolutionary movement? B.I.K.O.: In this climate of commercialization, obviously, music is being used to breed massive consumerism, gangsterism, etc. Therefore, to present the complete opposite and musical alternative to the mainstream garbage propagated by the radio and media is extremely important, in my opinion. TPV: How have your experiences with the Virginia prison system shaped your politics and your art? B.I.K.O.: In every way. I have lived through the extremes of targeted oppression on the part of the VADOC and those personal experiences have empowered and inspired me to write the type of songs that I do, without reservation, keeping in mind that it is the fear that their efforts seek to embed in political prisoners that I must consistently overcome and be victorious over, each time that I approach the writing process of a song. The Virginia prison system attempted to silence me at every turn while I was in the immediate custody of the state - again, this fact motivates me to struggle against their failed (and failing) efforts, through my music. TPV: How has the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia shaped you as an artist and a revolutionary? B.I.K.O.: Harrisonburg is a town which is a microcosm of America, I believe. The racism which permeates through every institution in this city provides an inexhaustible amount of anger, frustration, depravity and fuel for my fire … TPV: You also wrote “Organize the Hood”, the theme song to the 2013 Memphis Black Power Conference. Tell us about that. B.I.K.O.: “Let’s Organize the Hood: The Memphis Black Power Conference 2013”, was sponsored and organized by the Black Autonomy Federation, “to set a community collective agenda and to give the grassroots continued voice.” “Organize The Hood” was written and produced upon the request of my comrades at the B.A.F. and will also be featured on my upcoming second independent album release for Backward Never Publishing. TPV: What are some ongoing political struggles in Harrisonburg? B.I.K.O.: The same as they are for Black and poor people, everywhere. Racial profiling by the police, sentencing disparities in the courts, disproportionate unemployment rates for people of color (largely due to institutional racism), etc. The challenges are the same for us here as they are for People everywhere. It’s making the People understand this reality that takes work. TPV: On “World on Fire”, you collaborated with [Within Our Gates guitarist] Caleb DePaolis. What challenges and rewards are presented by fusing hip-hop with metal? B.I.K.O.: Caleb DePaolis is an amazingly gifted and talented musician who really works hard to help me bring my musical ideas to fruition. The fusion that he and I created on my new lead-off single “World On Fire” was nothing but rewarding and I hope that he and I can orchestrate other tracks with that similar fusion of hip-hop and heavy metal, going forward. Additionally, my upcoming album will also feature production from another dynamic and talented local producer named DaGuttaman540. TPV: I understand you are TPV: How did you first become politically conscious? B.I.K.O.: If by “politically conscious” you mean acutely aware of the systemic oppression and exploitation of people of color and poor people in general in America, then I would say that this consciousness and awareness has been a part of my thinking and behavior since I was a pre-teen. I grew up with all of the struggles that poor, Black families, specifically, experience in this country - so I was politicized (some would say “convicted”) in the womb. Obviously, this politicization process continued with each passing year that I’ve been fortunate enough to survive in America. TPV: When did you first start making music? B.I.K.O.: Likewise, I’ve been writing rhymes since my youth, as well. Music has always been an important part of my experience. I started recording music of my own in my teenage years; on cassette tapes, performing at neighborhood block parties, etc. It wasn’t until about three years ago that I began to truly see that I, personally, could record music that could make a unique contribution to the People’s struggles - locally and globally. TPV: Who are your primary working on a re-release of your track “Justice for Palestine”. This track owes much of its popularity to its Palestinian fan-base. What message do you have for your Palestinian comrades? B.I.K.O.: Yes, a re-release of the most popular song from my debut album of three years ago is certainly in the works by Caleb & I (“Justice for Palestine”). My message to my Palestinian comrades is very simple: I stand with you in solidarity for the cause of Palestinian self-determination and my music will continue to reflect that fact. The Palestinian Nakba is very similar to Black people’s Maafa; therefore we are in this fight together. TPV: What advice do you have for young musicians and young revolutionaries? B.I.K.O.: To be uncompromising in their commitment to this struggle for self-determination and self-realization free of authoritarianism and exploitation. Never give up the fight for justice for all of the world’s oppressed and never underestimate how much your contribution serves to inspire and motivate others. TPV: Any final thoughts? B.I.K.O.: Dare to struggle, dare to win!