Writings on Disobedience and Democracy
Vinnie Paz is a Philadelphia-based emcee who has been at the forefront of the independent hip-hop scene for the last two decades. Aside from his work as a solo artist, he is the frontman of Jedi Mind Tricks and Army of the Pharaohs. He's also one half of the hip-hop duo Heavy Metal Kings with Ill Bill.
This song is a continuation of a song I had on my last album, and it's heavily inspired by the writings of Howard Zinn. It felt like the right time to rekindle some of these forgotten stories in American history... the stories that aren't necessarily taught in our classrooms.
"We have to stop thinking that we must have military solutions To the problems we face in the world" Yeah "The solutions that we need are..." Picking up where we left off "...dealing of sickness, disease, and hunger Now that’s fundamental If you want to end terrorism, you have to stop being terrorists Which is what war is" They told you World War II was a people’s war Logic should have told them it was imperialist war 18 million served in the armed forces 10 million more overseas – that’s enormous 25 million workers pay for war bonds All of the while people question why the war’s on There was an undercurrent of reluctance There were under publicized signs of resistance Hitler’s Germany was unspeakable evil But let’s discuss real quick what we did to people We opposed the Haitian revolution We turned Guam, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii into institutions Pretended to help Cuba win freedom from Spain This country’s built on the blood of other people’s pain Blacks is looking at anti-Semitism in Germany And thought the situation here was mirroring it perfectly We appeased Hitler all throughout the '30s Only years later we pretended we was worried Roosevelt was hesitant to be gritty And caused a resolution to be buried in committee The main interest was never to stop fascism But advancing imperialism of that prison Roosevelt ain’t care about oppression of the Jews The power was the priority I’m telling you the truth Hitler not the reason that we entered the land Roosevelt was mad that we got hit by Japan Historians will tell you he provoked that shit He told lies in attempts to sugar coat that shit In ‘45 troops were jammed onto the Queen Mary The blacks were stowed down in the depths of the same ferry See there’s a parallel you have to understand That they wanted them to fight but wouldn’t treat them like a man Industrial mobilization had a few divided The economic royalists denounced or derided The irony of victory was heavily a price The war ended 3 million men was in strike There’s no peace in a world of capitalism Nazi eugenic techonomic rationalism The lesson was that war solved problems of control Regardless if it causes any problems for the soul The black revolt in the '50s came as a surprise It shouldn’t have after we took so many of their lives You can’t erase the memory of an oppressed people Reparation doesn’t make it any less evil Some black folk joined the communist party Richard Wright spoke of disillusionment with the body The party was accused of exploiting black people Angelo Herndon felt everything was equal He was arrested they convicted for insurrection How the fuck it’s insurrection I call it dissension Gave him 5 years when all he wanted was protection There was other black men that made the same connection Benjamin Davis defended Herndon as a savior Then Paul Robeson he only magnified the danger Harry Truman had to deal with the militant mood But how the fuck that gonna work when he a racist too In ’54 they said the ended of segregation 10 years later no changes Revolt was always minutes away about to bust Rosa Parks refused the black section of the bus The freedom riders were spreading across the nation They went to jail for marching and fighting discrimination FBI stood by, Justice Department stood by Civil rights workers were beaten, they just stood by 3 civil rights workers, 2 black and 1 white Arrested in Philadelphia, Mississippi one night They were released, beaten with chains and shot to death There were arrests made but it was not confessed The national government remained silent The president wouldn’t defend blacks against violence Civil rights laws were passed but they were fraud Equality was enforced poorly or was ignored Martin Luther King’s speech floored whoever heard it 5 years later he was targeted and murdered In ’65 the Watts Riots burned into the streets The black man would no longer turn the other cheek The Black Panther party scared Nixon But that did nothing to change his position A new black consciousness was born and still alive And that came from the will to survive This is the part where I would talk about Vietnam But me and brother man we already made a song By the '70s distrust had spread across the nation Basic discontent political alienation 55,000 died in the war of moral shame And then Watergate was added to the wall of pain The Watergate burglaries was rather complicated But in the end mostly all of them exonerated Nixon had CIA a G. Gordon Liddy Lie about the Democratic National Committee But eventually they all flipped on him And told the Senate that they had a lot of shit on him After that it was a swift and a sudden fall Nixon resigned before they could impeach the ball They got rid of Nixon but they kept the system His foreign policy still remains in position Corporate interests still remain in position His closest advisors remain in position Vietnam recession and unrest All adds up to a motherfucking mess After Watergate and Vietnam There was a deep economic insecurity in this world of ours Environmental deterioration took its toll A cultural violence upon the families took its toll Problems couldn’t be solved without bold changes But no major party candidates proposed changes American political tradition held fast Urban communities turning into hell fast Black folks are bitterly disappointed with Carter Opposed federal aid the poor people didn’t bother Reagan got elected and he built a military of a trillion dollars later And this motherfucker dummy up He cut benefits for the poor to get the money up Social security, disability went belly up Unemployment grew in the Reagan years 30 million people unemployed in the Reagan years Welfare became an object of attack Especially if you was latino or you was black I’m just scratching the surface of what was wrong We’ll pick the conversation up in the next song To be continued... You can’t be neutral on the moving train I told y’all before You can’t believe everything that your teacher tell you Who is your teacher? Your teacher just learned what they was taught How do you know what they was taught was correct? Know what I mean? Dig into the real history of this country And the fact it was built on blood We gonna go around for a third time But for now I’m just blessing y’all with this one A continuation of the first You can’t be neutral on a moving train Pazienza Howard Zinn thank you for teaching the people Rest in Peace It’s Pazienza baby