The term “Revolutionary” gets tossed about so much these days that it has become cliché. Clearly, this is a term that needs clarification.
This is precisely the aim ofthis essay. Based on my studies and activities throughout the years, revolutionaries have 7 important and interrelated missions in an oppressive society.
1. To expose and critique the political, economic, religious and other systems oppressing the masses and educate the masses to how these systems negatively impact their lives, so as to create righteous indignation against oppressive systems and to stimulate a desire among the people to confront and defeat them.
2. To expose establishment propaganda, explain it to the people, and help them develop the ability to recognize, understand and counter it themselves.
3. To develop meaningful relationships with the people based on fairness, competence, hard work and accurate information so as to create feelings of mutual respect and credibility which will be used to push forward in solidarity.
4. To transform the collective consciousness/culture/values of the people to eliminate their own self-defeating, shallow and divisive views and practices and replace them with those that are self-affirming, significant and liberating.
5. To work with the people to dismantle/eliminate oppressive systems and to create alternative systems/institutions to sustain/develop/protect our lives which are based on freedom, justice, and equality (Such systems should not replicate the oppression or injustice in already-existing systems).
6.To develop competent and trustworthy allies in this struggle to enhance our ability to do the tremendous work necessary and destabilize and debilitate oppressive systems at every opportunity.
7. To inspire and develop faith, hope and pride among the people in an effort to counter the negative and spirit-crushing propaganda of the opposition, and to create the capacity of the people to believe in themselves, love themselves and work for themselves.
Agyei Tyehimba is an educator, activist and author from Harlem, N.Y. Agyei is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. In April of 2014, he released Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.”
Agyei earned his Bachelor’s Degree in sociology from Syracuse University, his Master’s Degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and his Master’s Degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.