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Band News (more headlines) 07-15-2002

Tupac Shakur And The LA Rebellion

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April 29th was the tenth anniversary of the LA Rebellion. A decade later, the meaning of that momentous event is clear: A new class of people has been pushed outside of the normal functioning of society. They don't have money so when they get a chance to take diapers or food or stereos they do it. While the media portrays the LA Rebellion as a black thing, of the more than 16,000 people arrested, 51% were Latino, 38% were black, and 11% were white. This reflects the growth of poverty among all sections of the population.

Tupac was popular among all sections of the population. Tupac was a superstar because he was incredibly talented but also because he took the side of the poor, because he represented the spirit of the LA Rebellion and he spread that spirit throughout society.

Tupac knew that nearly 2,000 women were arrested during the LA Rebellion and he was the first prominent figure in America to defend women on welfare ("Keep Ya Head Up"). That was only one of the songs he wrote that defended women in the face of abandonment, beatings, rape, and government neglect ("Brenda's Got a Baby," "Part Time Mutha," "Papa'z Song," "Dear Mama"). Vicky Lindsey, an LA poet ("Poetry From the Hood") whose 19-year-old son Lionel was gunned down in 1995, says: "Tupac's music will live on, he's still the best. 'Dear Mama' reminds me of how my boy felt about me--he used to play it a lot."

Tupac was always quick to give love to the growing number of people locked away in prison ("Much love to my brothers in the pen / See ya when I free ya / If not, when they shut me in"). Just a month before he was killed, Tupac appeared at an LA press conference where he denounced the three strikes bill and spoke of mobilizing his millions of fans of every color into a political force. Tupac also knew that the people in the neighborhoods have enemies and he criticized both the police and the black bourgeoisie ("To the sellouts livin' it up / One way or another you'll be givin' it up").

Ten years after the LA Rebellion and nearly six years after Tupac's murder, millions more Americans from every walk of life now live in poverty. Tupac's challenge to turn them into a political force is still before us. With the help of culture, the people who've been cast aside are the ones who can carry a vision of a new world to the rest of society.

"We can never get nowhere
Unless we share with each other
We got to start makin' changes
Learn to see me as your brother instead of two distant strangers"
TUPAC SHAKUR

The League of Revolutionaries for a New America stands for a cooperative society that nurtures the peaceful, equal, and full development of all people.

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