the Iconocast: Ashanti Alston Omowali (episode 42)

March 3, 2012the Iconocast Collective

Post image for the Iconocast: Ashanti Alston Omowali (episode 42)

In this episode, Joanna and Nekeisha interview Ashanti Alston Omowali.

Ashanti is an anarchist activist, speaker, writer, and former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and a former political prisoner. He was also the co-chair of the National Jericho Movement (to free U.S. political prisoners.) Ashanti came of age as the political action of the 1960′s was hitting its peak. He recalls struggling through Malcolm X’s biography as a teen and feeling awestruck at the 1967 rebellions that saw numerous American neighborhoods temporarily taken over by the people who lived there, including his home town of Plainfield, New Jersey. He joined the Black Panther Party while still in high school, starting a chapter in Plainfield, and later going underground with the Black Liberation Army. For a while, he straddled the above ground Panther work of selling newspapers and running breakfast programs with more aggressive underground tactics. In 1974 he was involved in a Connecticut “bank expropriation,” captured and imprisoned for 11 plus years. Today, Ashanti is active in the prison abolition movement (Critical Resistance and the Jericho Movement), in Anarchist People of Color organizing, and in efforts to connect organizers of colour in the north with the Zapatistas (Estacion Libre) in Mexico. He is also a loving father to his son Biko and partner to fellow change agent, Viviane Saleh-Hanna.

If you like the Iconocast, please make a donation to make more episodes possible. Each episode takes tens of hours of pre-interview prep, in-studio recording, and post-interview editing and engineering. Since each episode of the Iconocast involves multiple hosts often in different locations (as well as guests who are often on the other side of the country), recording and editing offers unique challenges. New episodes depend upon your generosity. Click here to donate.

Subscribe to the Iconocast via iTunes or RSS.

Intro and bumper music for this episode is De Usuahia a la Quiaca by Gustavo Santaolalla.

  • Nekeisha

    I just wanted to say that it was such a joy to do this interview. So glad to have reconnected with Ashanti and glad to be able to (re)introduce him to the JR network.

  • Ashanti Alston

    Nekeisha & Joanna: Thank you sooooo much for this opportunity. I just finished listening to myself/ I am just a baby like my son Biko – just absorbing, absorbing, feeling, feeling, living, hoping, dreaming, connecting with others, etc. You have played a big part in my growth and I thank you, all of you. Stumbling sometimes, I am learning to incorporate all this into my practice, my continuing part in the revolution! Ha! I am a Jesus (r)adical and the Empire is not greater than our spirit, our Spirit, huh? Nope, no way. Love yall…

  • Dylan Rooke

    wow. that was so encouraging. thank you Nakeisha, Ashanti, and Joanna. Ashanti, I’d be interested to know more of the work you do with the Zapitistas. though i have not been in connection with any of their communities, this summer will be my 3rd trip down to Chiapas to work with the Tzeltal people. weve been working with some local Presbyterians on a free medical clinic for their people. It’s been such a blessing to learn from, and work beside them. if you have any info to send my way, I’d greatly appreciate it brother. much peace and love to you all. keep up the good work of the subversive Kingdom of peace!

  • Laurel Khutulun Lee

    This was amazing, thank you

  • Nichola Torbett

    Now this is a perspective that rarely gets heard. Wow. Thank you, Ashanti Alston Omowali, Nekeisha and Joanna. Really loved listening to this!

Previous post:

Next post: