My Battle With Loneliness In The Revolution

The following speech was given by Commander in Chief Gazi Kodzo in Rally #16 on the topic of the loneliness of the revolutionary, a common topic in light of recent events and protests as we set off to build a world without colonialism.

I am about to do something that I was programmed to not do by a single Black mother that taught me never to expose yourself or your feelings or your heart because colonialism is going to squash it.

But I’m a revolutionary now and we must be transparent with what we’re going through to the people, and trust in the people – with the understanding the state is out there. That’s why I talk about what I have been through and not what I am going through.

What I’ve been going through lately is really sensitive, and I’m sure I’m not the only person with a problem admitting something like this – it’s loneliness.

Real deep loneliness.

Things happen that trigger different feelings to pile up and then, out of nowhere, you’re dealing with this feeling of loneliness. I had to sit and struggle with it for a long time.

Something I like to do, to settle things internally with myself, is to read up on whatever I’m going through.

I had to google with my VPN on so the Feds wouldn’t know what I was googling ‘cuz you know they’ll send me a 6’4” undercover brotha with a baseball bat (if you know what I mean by “baseball bat”, praise god)!

I googled “How do leaders deal with loneliness,” and I started to read that a lot of leaders deal with a lot of loneliness. The search gave me all of these examples of leaders who struggle with loneliness: CEOs, presidents, and european kings and queens, etc. 

Basically, the conclusion was, “yeah all leaders are lonely and that’s just that. Deal with it, it exists and that’s it.” But that wasn’t good enough for me. This shit gotta get solved so I can move forward.

So I really asked myself, “Where is this loneliness coming from?” The only honest answer was that it started as soon as I gave my life to revolution.

 It didn’t start with just activism or organization, but revolution and when I completely understood what revolution meant, and what cost I would be putting on myself, my family, and my community.

It was when I made that decision that a new person had to be born, and that was Gazi. Gazi means ‘blood.’ The reason I chose that name was I understood what this revolutionary life really meant, and I wouldn’t be afraid to keep going forward, no matter what.

From that beginning, it started — two people within me. Within me was the old me and the new me. I had my old friends still from my old life and my new comrades coming into my new life. Your old friends don’t understand your new comrades, your new comrades don’t understand your old friends. So you’re caught in this place when you are with your old friends trying to do colonial shit and it doesn’t feel like it felt before, like a crack addict trying to get their original hit. Going to the club, hustling and doing ratchet shit just didn’t fill my cup like it used to. 

The past is gone. Your old friends leave. The old jokes and old stories fade away. The old you becomes a friend to itself. 

You get close with your new comrades, trying to build camaraderie, and friendship to mimic old colonial friendships to try to help you deal with the loneliness question, but the comrades who you’ve gotten close with through subjectivity, you know there is distance between you and them because a friend is not the same as a comrade.

Comrades are always working and advancing the revolution. You struggle with one another with criticism and self-criticism, building each other up to be the best cadre that y’all can be, building organization and deepening y’alls knowledge of theory.

But Comrades start to regress and become reactionary.  

You’re moving forward in revolution with the people, with liberation, and you look behind you and you see your close comrade behind you who used to be beside you, and you’re trying to say:

Come on,

Let’s go!

You gotta get over whatever you went through,

You gotta get over your personal shit,

You gotta get over liberalism,

You gotta get over gossip,

and you gotta get over subjectivity!

You’re telling your close comrade,”you gotta get over it! Come on, ‘cuz I’m going forward.” and sometimes they say “thanks for keeping me accountable.” Sometimes they do get over it, but sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes you keep going forward, and they keep going backward. They regress and you’re now lonely. Seeing the people you were close with regress and do reactionary things that you don’t even understand because you’re moving forward, is lonely.

So what I had to realize with myself is I really missed people getting to know the old me, because the new me, the me that I am today, the revolutionary me, is surrounded by revolutionary cadre that are doing the same internal struggles – of defeating their internal neocolonial sell out, petty-bourgeois coon in your head while fighting the world of white power at the same time.

Loneliness is a colonial construct because anticolonialism wants to destroy colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism, which builds this illusion of individualism over the collective. Once the individual believes in the individual, separate and more important than the collective, there the seeds of loneliness begin.

If you are truly amongst the people you can’t be lonely.

I had to realize that I didn’t yet bury the old me! I was missing the old me with mf’ers who are now behind me caught in reactionism. 

I had to accept old comrades becoming new enemies and really understand that this was part of development. I have to be happy where I am, and appreciate the people around me. If I can appreciate them, give revolutionary love to them, then I know damn sure they will give it back to me.

Being a revolutionary has made me a better person.

Because I’m a revolutionary, I’m a much better son than I’ve ever been. I understand why my momma is so guarded, and why she popped off so much. I understand because I understand politically who my momma is, and what these colonialism did to her. I can forgive her and love her through it. 

The revolutionary me is a better brother, better uncle, better cousin, and a better friend.

That’s the me that I am. That old nigga dead. So I’m not alone, and neither are you, because you are if you are in the right organization, you are surrounded by people who really understand who you are, who you want to be, and who help you get there.

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In the words of my dearest Chief Suh,

“We can’t ever be alone when there are people who believe in what you believe in – billions of people who unite, even if they don’t know.”

Even if they think they’re okay, like Chief Diva said, “There’s knowing that deep down they unite because this is the truth, and this is something we have to wage on and fight on for.”

Huey Newton talked about this idea of revolutionary “suicide” and he said,

“By having no family, I inherited the family of humanity. By having no possessions, I have possessed all. By rejecting the love of one, I received the love of all. By surrendering my life to the revolution, I found eternal life.”

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