I feel like I must have known of the Black Panthers all my life, and my knee-jerk reaction has been to respect them. Learning about them over the years only bolstered that respect. Anyway, today, thanks to the little movie called American Revolution 2, by Howard Alk and Mike Gray, from 1969, I heard for the first time about the Young Patriots. These were white dudes who moved to Chicago from the South, looking for work and a better life, only to find themselves living in slums of Uptown. They were harassed by the cops just like other poorest Chicagoans, e.g. Southside and Westside blacks and they basically rose up in protest against police harassment, so-called urban renewal, and poor living conditions. That was the first step. The Young Patriots drew their inspiration from the Black Panthers so naturally they struck a partnership with them in order to join forces and overthrow capitalism. Some quick googling, and I found an interview where one BP talks a little bit about what happened next. Fascinating and instructive!
My point is, the information about Chicago is out there, and I'm slowly putting together the history puzzle. With once hard-to-find films now available as home DVDs, and with people tirelessly inundating the Internet with subversive materials, it's never been easier to uncover the "secret history."
As far as living in the moment, the Cafe Mestizo open mic was great tonight. Nick, Patrick and Eric, and their band Lower Class Odyssey are sounding better and better--completely live, vocals, bass and drums. I am emphasizing completely live, because I was thinking on my way back home from the open mic about something. MCs who work with DJs have to rap on top of a pre-recorded beat. That's normal, that's hip hop, I have no problem with that. But they don't have to rap on top of their tracks that already feature their vocals--that's one step away from lipsynching, and we are talking about talented underground rappers who write their own lyrics, not some pop starlets on so-called live television. Therefore, my respect also goes to D-Nick, who rapped live, not on top of his previously recorded voice.