Jesus Black life aint matter, I know I talked to His Daddy
— Chance The Rapper
While many throughout history have perverted the image of Jesus Christ for their own sick gain, which is often at the expense of exploiting Black and Brown Indigenous People’s, let me stand on my belief clear: Jesus Christ was the first real communist, and His life is the foundation of my politic as a Pan-Africanist Abolitionist. Now I know what you’re thinking: Communism hates religion! Well, let’s re-examine what communism is and is not. Communism is a theoretical framework in which common people control the means of production, each person is afforded what they need and no one goes without. Communism is typically linked to Karl Marx but the theory, ideas, and practice of communism that Marx penned traced back to indigenous folx on the Continent (Africa) and on Turtle Island. These African and Indigenous societies lacked the hierarchies and were structure in a way for the common good. In communist theory, the people are tasked with building a world without private capital, and wealth is distributed as needed, where human beings are able to just be citizens of the world and walk the earth with their basic human needs met. We, the people, are not of this world and therefore do not own it and it is not ours to exploit, therefore are to steward what has been given to us: Mother Earth (the earth literally bore the weight of creating human life while in relation with God). As we analyze Jesus’ parables, commands, and His practice we can find some pretty strong connections with communism, the Black Power/Radical politic, and again, in my opinion, we can find the missing link of the revolution. Radical undying love for the people, Christ was the definition of Revolutionary Suicide. The radical love Jesus had; to live for the people, die for the people, and liberate all people eternally is truly the root of my Black Power Abolitionist politic. It also is my sole belief in the revolution.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Matthew 6:24 NIV
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is filled with clear instructions on how to live, Jesus is laying down his politic! Jesus unapologetically declares that by making money your master (blinks at capitalism) that you cannot follow God. The undying radical love can only exist for one thing, and it means you must make a choice between serving money or serving a God who loves the people. “Why don’t you live for the people? Why don’t you struggle for the people? Why don’t you die for the people?” — Fred Hampton. While many might say “how can you say that Jesus loved the people? What proof do you have”? Although I am a believer in Christ, we can see Jesus’ love for the people through his social practice. Social practices that have continued to be foundational to radical groups centuries later. The Black Panther Party are often regarded as the Vanguard Party, for the impact of their work and contribution to the liberation struggle, and when examining the contribution and lasting impact, the survival programs the Panthers created lay a blueprint for those interested in building Black Power and people power in general. Feed the people, teach the people, love the people, liberate the people. These steps fall right in line with Jesus’ own social practice. Jesus is seen on at least two occasions feeding large groups of people after He finishes teaching them; Jesus heals the young girl and tells her family to feed her, Jesus clearly understands the material need of the people He is serving. As a teacher and rabbi, Jesus views Himself educator and uses His life as a living testimony of his politic. Jesus stands on His politic to speak against misogyny on serval occasions — saving the “sex worker”, empowering women around Him, Jesus speaks against capitalism and oppression. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and describing our neighbors as every single human being we could ever meet. Jesus does not condemn those who do not follow Him, rather He gives Himself to the cause of eternal freedom for all, even for those who harm Him. Jesus loves the people so much that He gives himself as a ransom for the world to be free from the death of sin, liberating all who believe from eternal bondage. Jesus is a radical who is condemned for serving the people. When we examine the liberation struggle, we see how often radicals and revolutionaries are persecuted for simply serving the people; in the country called amerikkka we can see radicals who have sacrificed their lives for the people; what Huey called Revolutionary Suicide.
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Matthew 19:16, 21 NIV
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:15–17 NIV
As Jesus has chosen to live and die by His politic, He has called us to do the same. The same way Fred Hampton lived and died by his politic, the same way Malcolm X lived and died by his politic, the same way Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman and Soujourner Truth and Kwame Ture lived and died by their politic. It would be disrespectful to disregard the work these people have done in the struggle for liberation by not living and dying by my politic. All my (s)heros were considered enemies of the state! They were literally murdered and persecuted for fighting for the liberation of human beings. I would be foolish to believe that I would somehow escape the same fate.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour — when darkness reigns.”
Luke 22:52–53 NIV
Despite the risks that come with a commitment to the liberation struggle: death; state surveillance and harassment; the conservatives, the liberals, and the progressives; the poverty pimps and the good old fashion internet trolls; the reason I can wake up every day and put my life on the line against the evils of this capitalistic fascist state and all its different agents is because every single “radical” dating back to Jesus did the exact same thing. We are fighting in a war of good versus evil, and I know which team I want to be on. I want to be on the side that is deemed “radical” because they believe we can imagine a better world. A world where no one goes without any of their needs: a world where they are healed when they need it, fed when they need it, taught, clothed, sometimes even scolded but all out of a radical undying love for the people.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had…that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
Acts 4:32, 34–35 NIV
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:44–47 NIV
These descriptions of the early followers of Christ coupled with His entire speech of communion and being in commune with one another should be substantial evidence to draw a direct correlation to an abolitionist communist framework. Again my personal faith may take up space in this but I believe that Jesus died and rose to forgive all sin and in doing so liberated all humans. That is the very definition of abolitionist, He freed us all. While I can allow this personal belief to ground me in my politic, I am fully aware that it is not everyone’s belief system but the fact remains that Jesus and His disciplines live in a commune where there is evidence of wealth re-distribution and collective land ownership, all communist traits and characteristics.
While it may sound funny to you, I believe there is ample evidence that would force me to believe that Jesus was a communist who was murdered by the state and rose again to liberate all those who believe. I would be remiss to not be a Pan-Africanist Communist Abolitionist. I believe that the people should have the right to their own land because we do not own the earth, so we can build a world where there are no borders! Every human being should be given their basic needs and have their humanity honored. No matter what they have done, what they look like, who they love, or what language they speak. The people deserved to be loved!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34–35 NIV