Ashanti Alston

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Ashanti Alston
"Anarchist Panther"
Born 1954 (1954)

Ashanti Alston Omowali is an anarchist activist, speaker, and writer, and former member of the Black Panther Party. Even though the party no longer exists, Alston sometimes refers to himself as a Black Panther, and sometimes as "the @narchist Panther", a term he coined in his @narchist Panther Zine series. He was also member of the Black Liberation Army, and spent more than a decade in prison after police captured him and he was convicted of armed robbery. Alston disputes the moral issues of property and terms his activity in the BLA "bank expropriation". Alston is the former northeast coordinator for Critical Resistance, a current co-chair of the National Jericho Movement (to free U.S. political prisoners), a member of pro-Zapatista people-of-color U.S.-based Estación Libre, and is on the board of the Institute for Anarchist Studies.

Since 1999, Alston has produced four issues of the zine, @narchist Panther Zine (the name being a reference to his current affiliation as an anarchist, and his past membership in the Black Panther Party). Alston has identified himself as a black anarchist as well as a postmodern anarchist.

In "Beyond Nationalism, but Not Without It", Alston rejects traditional anarchist dogma and says "Every time I hear someone talk about my people as if we are just some 'working class' or 'proletariat' I want to get as far away from that person or group as possible, anarchist, Marxist, whatever".[1] Opponents of this perspective within the Anarchist People of Color camp insist that opposing authority yet placing the needs of people of color above others represents racism, that black nationalism would mean using force to exclude people based on the color of their skin and is utterly incompatible with anarchism, and that one cannot deny a "white nationalism" if one is to have a "black nationalism" and thus it is best that neither exist. While Alston supported a nationalist position in the first issue of his publication, it was a far milder version of the position Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin has taken and Alston does not totally support nationalism or trying to purge anarchism of "non black people".[2]

Alston occasionally speaks at events as diverse as animal rights events and union activist conferences.


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