The Devil Wears Dashikis
An Exposé on the Black Hammer Cult
Introduction (Marcus Sundjata Brown)
Pt. 1. Send in the Clown: Augustus Romain, Jr., The “Main Character”
No Cap to the Cap: The Inconsistent Past of Augustus Romain, Jr.
Who is Augustus Romain Jr., For Real??
Myth of Gazi as “Revolutionary Leader” and “Proud African”
Pt. 2: #2BFrank About the Dangers of Clout Culture
The Rotten Core of Black Hammer Organization
“You Don’t Play With Revolution” (CLR James)
Gussy Unmasked: Savvy’s Testimony
Gussy Romaine: “Stunt Queen” of the Flies
Pt. 4: Theoretical and Practical Lessons for the Struggle (Conclusion)
The demagogic YouTuber known as Gazi Kodzo wanted to be “the leader of the anti-white revolution.” Instead they may go down as one of the more repulsive cult leaders in recent Black history
Editorial Note: Red Voice News is publishing this exposé in response to a cyber-attack perpetrated against our website, which our tech team was able to trace, with mad receipts, directly back to a member of the Black Hammer Organization, who goes by the initials “DP.” It is believed that this crime was greenlighted when one of our staff was seen interacting with alleged victims of the cult leader called Gazi Kodzo. The attack is itself compelling evidence that Gazi and Black Hammer feared what might come from those interactions. As principled communists, we refuse to back down from fascist assaults, especially one as cowardly and poorly executed as this. Though we had no plans to do so originally, we are therefore using this platform to denounce Gazi Kodzo as an enemy of the people, and to elevate the voices of these brave comrades, who have accused Gazi’s self-styled “dictatorship” of serious counter-revolutionary crimes, that include but are not limited to: racketeering, domestic violence, reckless endangerment, sexual harassment, routine physical and emotional abuse, threatening comrades with deadly weapons, blackmail, coercion, destruction of property, labor exploitation, and kidnapping.
Red Voice is a prison abolitionist publication. We are categorically opposed to carceral or state solutions to the acts that are alleged herein, though we do know that Black Hammer itself is quite comfortable with calling the police (which in this case would be an even bigger mistake than the initial attack). We also cannot speak on behalf of any of Gazi’s alleged victims about what should happen to this individual, so that justice can be served. Our aim is simply to let the victims’ voices be heard; to alert the Black liberation movement to the clear danger of this social media cult for Black and all colonized people; and to get the remaining members of BHO to a place of safety, far beyond the grasp of Gazi Kodzo, their alleged abuser.
Pictured: “Commander-In-Chief” Gazi Kodzo, a.k.a. Augustus Romain, Jr., along with two members of the Black Hammer Organization, who like so many others have since left Gazi’s side
Introduction (Marcus Sundjata Brown)
It’s early May, 2021. The Black Hammer Organization, “the baddest anti-colonial organization on the planet,” has just reportedly purchased 200 acres of land in the Colorado Rockies—“ten thousand feet in the air with RICH soil!”—on which to build a communist utopia, complete with “indestructible” huts and an underground farm. No rent, no ‘rona, no cops, no whites. A TikTok video shows an enthusiastic young person sitting at a nearby stream, shouting “Land Back Yall!!” with performative rolls of the neck (the video will later be taken down). Printouts booming the phrase “BUILD HAMMER CITY” appear on lamp-posts and bus shelters in major cities across the US, where they vie for space with promo stickers for drill rappers, and fliers for tenants’ unions. Portentously, the Black Hammer website speaks of the need for “dictatorship over the lives and labor” of colonized people.
Maybe in other circumstances, this moment might be seen for what it really is: the determined drive to Black freedom that moves each generation, crashing right into a dangerous scam. Instead, in the post-Floyd, post-Breonna mood of white panic, the story of the Hammer City “ethnostate” is picked up by Fox News, Newsmax, and other right-wing news sites with mainstream traffic. The leadership in Colorado is visibly hype. They even set up a press conference to flaunt their newfound fame to the world. Increasingly for far-right groups like the Proud Boys, Hammer City is seen as the legitimate program of a growing, mass-based movement to the immediate left of Black Lives Matter.
In the hands of the capitalist press, Black Hammer becomes an ink blot for white anxieties around Black revolt, immigration, overseas communism. It seems to small sections of the paranoid right like the long-awaited and tightly planned race revenge of Black and colonized people on the US.
But the reality of this organization is far more horrific for Black and Third World people, than it could ever be for white viewers from their great remove. Despite the best intentions of many comrades at the beginning, Black Hammer has essentially become an anti-democratic, destructive cult, centered on a deeply disturbed YouTuber and professional scammer known as Gazi Kodzo.
The announcement, months later, that “Hammer City Colorado” fell through, is just the first public sign of the rot that had set into Black Hammer from the beginning, that is now eating at its base. Now come the mass defections, the dissolution of entire chapters; now come the accusations of life-endangering abuse, of labor exploitation, of Gazi’s wild misappropriation of funds.
Then the victims start talking publicly, and shit gets worse. Like horror movie worse.
Many details of daily life at the core of Black Hammer Organization (BHO) sound unbelievable, like a bad movie script around a New Age cult from the Sixties, only updated with Gen-Z communist slogans, and some of the worst features of “left Twitter.” But that’s only because of the dramatic bent of “Commander-in-Chief” (CIC) Gazi, who seems to know no limit when brutalizing “comrades” with tested cult techniques; as long as it means more clout, more money, and a good show for the Tube.
For example, there are reported “soul contracts,” that are exactly how they sound, and are signed in a special room at gunpoint. Legal names, addresses, workplaces, social security numbers—all are extracted by the same violent means, since owning somebody’s soul is not enough. There is exploitation of members’ sexuality for financial gain, and to build up the org’s membership (known in cult studies as “flirty fishing”). There are shroom-induced journeys in the “spaceship,” a room where live-in cult members receive mandatory instruction in the “Commander’s” plagiarized and disordered worldview. There are hallucinatory camping trips to “Hammer City” in the Colorado Rockies, smeared across with hunger and frostbite, with poisoning, with gun threats from whites; and all of it inspired by naive group screenings of ”Wild, Wild Country” on Netflix.
More troubling is a young Black woman’s account of escaping by night from an armed compound, where she once had to defend herself with a knife from multiple cis male attackers; where she now felt her life would end if she stayed. Then there is the threat against the lives of Black trans activists, casually issued by “Commander,” so as to enforce transmisogyny in the ranks. There’s the overwork and starvation, the doxxing, the blackmail, the financial exploitation; there are the divided relationships, and trespasses of physical and sexual boundaries. Even here there is profound anti-blackness, and the theft of Indigenous identities and movement slogans. There is privilege for key leadership, and coerced hard labor for everyone else. In short, there’s everything that made the Colony unlivable for Black and Third World people. But now it got a cute doggie, dreads, and a dashiki. Now, in a cloying and relatable Black voice, it commands us through smartphones to work ourselves to death.
These are just some of the more startling accusations made by four prominent ex-members of Black Hammer—Savvy, Pat and Jack, and Xiuh—who were recently interviewed by Red Voice News. In our conversations I found these to be sincere, talented, hard-working, and courageous comrades. They are funny too, and likable as hell. They all believe in anti-colonial revolution, even now. They still show the undying love for their people that must have got them through the darkest moments of their time in Black Hammer.
The organization as they describe it is a tragedy of the people’s talent and good faith, wasted in the hands of an entitled and highly disagreeable cult leader; who goes by the title “Commander,” yet is unable to function as an adult. Who relies instead on a succession of (usually Black femme) “chiefs” to cook, clean, and plan their day, essentially to baby them; so that they can carry on with their true work—barking senseless orders, showing off cute ’fits, tweeting taunts and threats, berating and gaslighting comrades on endless group calls, and spending the org’s money as soon as it pours in, with casual swipes of their exclusive red debit card.
It is alleged by a confidential source that there are victims who have suffered far worse abuse from Gazi than anything we can responsibly print here. Without going into more detail, we can only say it is extremely urgent for the physical and psychological safety of remaining “Hammers,” that the Black left loudly denounce this warped scam on our people; that we demand the immediate release of its remaining “Hammer House” captives to their families; that we warn any prospective Black Hammer recruits of the pure evil for which they are signing up.
That is why Red Voice is publishing this comprehensive, three-part exposé on Gazi Kodzo and the Black Hammer Organization. Our report is based on the first-hand testimony of some of Gazi’s most trusted former collaborators, and on the personal experience of several of our writers with “Gazi.” It is also based on an extensive trail of antiblack, queerphobic, pro-capitalist, and pro-police statements made by Gazi themselves, and by some of their subordinates, any one of which would be a proverbial death sentence in most communist and anarchist circles. We have tried to be as detailed as possible, so that no reasonable doubt can remain about the dangerously toxic character of Black Hammer as it stands today; nor about our duty as revolutionaries to stop it.
The last section features an extended discussion of the theoretical and practical lessons around issues of gender, sexuality, hierarchy, and power for the Black left; lessons that appear more relevant now than ever, during the collapse of Black Hammer. Gazi Kodzo is truly a monster, there’s no denying that. But we strongly feel that it won’t be enough to admit this fact, and carry on with organizing as usual. After all, as a former cult member, Gazi could only build their own cult by throwing all the blame for their actions on their old leadership. The Black left really has to ask itself how somebody so politically shallow yet self-assured, so proudly anti-intellectual, and reliant for their “mass base” on social media “likes” and “follows,” had managed to hide themselves among serious revolutionaries for long enough to cause all this hell. When we can hardly see what was clear before in our established practice, it becomes a problem for theory.
For the readers’ convenience we have outlined a schedule of content for this series, along with the writers’ names and organizational affiliations:
I. Send in the Clown: Augustus Romain, Jr., The “Main Character” (Marcus Sundjata Brown/Shupavu Wa Karima, Third World Peoples’ Alliance and Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party)
II. Clout Culture and the #2BFrank Moment (Kylie Marsh, freelance journalist and former BHO member)
III. Gussy Unmasked: The Decline of Black Hammer Org (Marcus Sundjata Brown)
IV. Theoretical and Practical Lessons for the Movement (Nsambu Za Suekema, Anarkata and Black Anarchic Radical Movements/Third World Peoples’ Alliance)
Pt. 1. Send in the Clown: Augustus Romain, Jr., The “Main Character”
Augustus Romain, lifelong performer and fool, is not a Black revolutionary; as we will see, they do not care about Black people at all. Instead they are a profoundly damaged personality, with strong delusional and sadistic traits; one whose main talents seem to be for lying and manipulation. This has led to highly inconsistent accounts of their age, their upbringing, and political activity prior to assuming their latest ridiculous role as “Commander-In-Chief” (CIC)—the so-called “main character” in the Black liberation movement. In this section we will try to separate some fact from fiction, and paint a truer picture of the person who has damaged so many Black and colonized lives
No Cap to the Cap: The Inconsistent Past of Augustus Romain, Jr.
Pictured: the deluded self-concept of “Commander-in-Chief” Gazi Kodzo; who is willing to take credit for “anti-colonialism,” “colonized people,” “decolonization,” and many other concepts that have been around for decades upon decades, as any serious Black revolutionary should know. Check how Gazi refers to themselves as the “main character” of Black struggle, and bases that on having quotes in the mainstream (i.e., the white capitalist) press. Notice too that they claim to be the “VANGAURD” (sic), yet their main project (Hammer City) failed to materialize because they fell behind the basic details of a capitalist land purchase. All bad.
For a famous “main character,” there are very few credible sources on the internet about the life and career of “CIC.” A Wikitia article that was last updated in June 2020, that was most likely prepared by Black Hammer themselves and then forgotten, is one of the only linear accounts that we have of the life of “political activist” Gazi Kodzo. It claims that Gazi, an “African Fundamentalist,” was born June 23, 1990, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and raised in Atlanta. It portrays Gazi as a young Black liberation fighter in the tradition of Marcus Garvey; one who spent most of their twenties steeped in anti-colonial politics and commentary, and in organizing for African liberation. In their mid-twenties, after several years of prior organizing and study, Kodzo joined the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), an all-Black revolutionary formation, whose aim is continental unity and socialism for the African working class. The Chairman of the Party is Omali Yeshitela, a charismatic and controversial political organizer, based out of St. Petersburg, FL.
Black Hammer’s “founding myth,” from June, 2020. According to cult experts, marginal sects often create exaggerated or outright false narratives around the founders of their movements, in order to enhance their prestige with new recruits (Tourish and Wohlforth, On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left, 7)
In the YouTube video “Why I Left the Uhuru Movement,” Gazi describes how they rose to the office of Secretary General—second-most powerful position in APSP, after the Chairman—due to their tremendous work ethic, and especially their expert use of social media for reaching the African masses. (In private conversations, Gazi would sometimes credit their rapid rise to their superior social skills. Instructively, they like to refer to themselves as a “lovable” tyrant.)
Then Gazi resigned from the Party in disgust, after learning that APSP was really an abusive and exploitative cult—the front for a multi-million dollar business, built by unpaid Black labor, yet controlled by wealthy whites in the “subordinate” Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM). The USM leadership, it was claimed, had for decades exploited the free labor of APSP members in many Uhuru enterprises, such as “Uhuru Furniture” and “Uhuru Pies.” They had used their financial power to control the Party bureaucracy since the Eighties, had shaped it into an effective dictatorship in the hands of Yeshitela, who secretly was in on the con.
So along with other defectors from the Party, and with stray elements from Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panther Party, Gazi co-founded Black Hammer Organization in February, 2019. According to the date of birth provided in the Wikitia document—June 23rd, 1990—Gazi Kodzo would have been around 28 at the time. And it really is an impressive achievement, for someone so young to have built the premier revolutionary movement for the African and colonized masses.
These two accounts taken together leave us with the impression that Gazi has a deep and abiding love for their people, that tried to express itself in different forms of anti-colonial activism throughout their early and mid-twenties; until at last they had learned enough to strike out with their own strategy for Black liberation.
What the Wikitia page and YouTube testimony both leave out, though, is Gazi’s legal name. That is probably deliberate. Augustus Romain, Jr. of Stone Mountain, GA—the only person in the United States with the name—is not really 31 years of age (as of September 2021). A casual Google search reveals that they are, in fact, 35:
This could simply be an error in the online record. But Comrade Savvy, Gazi’s former chief of staff (COS) and one of our main sources for this story, claims to have seen Gazi’s birth certificate, and asserts that this is in fact Gazi’s actual age. Interestingly, another source, Comrade Xiuh, claims that she was told directly by Gazi that they are 40 years old. In spite of the discrepancy, it is possible that both accounts are correct. As we will learn later from Savvy’s testimony, Gazi Kodzo appears to have unsteady and possibly dangerous beliefs about their own real age.
Inconsistencies and cover-ups in Romain’s background don’t stop there. In fact, the age discrepancy only raises further questions about Black Hammer’s founding myth, and about its founder’s real motives.
In the Wikitia article, for example, we never meet with “Smiletone,” Romain’s previous online persona: a driven, yet spastic and unappealing YouTuber, an aspiring actor who was based not in Atlanta, but in Hollywood.
Pictures from the “Smiletone” blog (smiletone.blogspot.com) depict the lifestyle of a pseudo-celebrity in “Hello Kitty” glasses; a person who feels entirely at home with the rich and powerful glitterati; who is more than comfortable in all-white spaces. Mansion-party schmoozing and run-ins with celebs take up most of the blog’s space, which spans from 2011–2013, that is, through much of Romain’s mid-twenties (based on their real age, as established above):
Pictured: “Anti-colonial activist Gazi Kodzo” in their mid-twenties, gushing over the mansion party they put together with their boss, who runs the Blaze Modeling Agency
Pictured: “Anti-colonial activist Gazi Kodzo” in their mid-20’s, when they were “sharpening their politics” by deeply inhaling the essence of “bleach demon”
Pictured: “anti-colonial activist Gazi Kodzo” in their mid-twenties, feeling good/feeling great after the mansion party, shouts “God bless America!” to all the viewers who attended
Pictured: “anti-colonial activist Gazi Kodzo” in their mid-twenties, sharing a quote from the imperialist mass murderer, Winston Churchill, that helps them out when they’re feeling down. Sadly for many Hammers, “if you’re going through hell, keep going” still works well as an organization slogan
This bougie blog tells a very different story from the “African Fundamentalist” journey on Wikitia, where it was claimed that the entirety of Gazi’s political work prior to Black Hammer revolved around anti-colonialism, and that they began sharpening their political skills and outlook in their early twenties.
Yet this would mean that by the time of the mansion party, Gazi was already an experienced anti-colonial activist. In that case we would have to believe that an African revolutionary was coordinating Beverly Hills mansion parties with their ex-model boss, then squealing because it landed them on television. That this activist somehow felt that imperialist America is blessed, because their YouTube views have grown. Unless Smiletone was the spook who sat by the mansion door, this Wikitia entry is clearly a tissue of lies.
Maybe the lies can be excused as the products of simple embarrassment? After all, sometimes folks do lie on their age on dating sites; and most people have pictures at periods of their lives they would rather forget. But why pretend, when launching a revolutionary movement, that your early and mid-20’s were dedicated to Garvey, to prison abolition, to African liberation; when really they were dedicated to party mansions, to “Drunken McNugget” challenges, to degrading, head-petting videos like “The Common White Girl Tag” (at the conclusion of which, two white hosts call Romain the biggest white girl out the three)?
A “revolutionary” who cannot be honest about their age, their prior locations and activities, or their real level of political consciousness before joining any movement, is easily an agent for chaos. They could be a police or fed plant. They could be a con artist, looking to bite strategies and slogans, and claim them as their own. They could be lying on their age to more easily manipulate young folks, for any number of unsettling reasons. They could be covering up histories of abuse or wrecker activity in other cities and states, in other years or decades. But there are still more dangers locked in that back room with old Smiletone.
For instance, there is testimony from several former Black Hammer members (including both Savvy and Xiuh), that within the organization Gazi would openly discuss their former life as a “Hollywood pimp”—less glamorously, an exploiter of others’ sexual labor. Then there is Romain Sr.’s bourgeois class position, and dangerous ties to the state: the fact, as Gazi sometimes boasts with typical lack of awareness, that “my daddy is friends with George Bush!” (This should be a highly alarming claim to any security-minded organizer with past or present ties to Gazi’s activities.)
And then there is the pitiful eyewitness truth about Gazi’s arrival in Florida to advance the African Revolution, as recounted by one of our authors, Cmde. Shupavu Wa Kirima, who served for a time with Gazi on the Central Committee of the APSP.
Who is Augustus Romain Jr., For Real??
So who really is Augustus Romain Jr. better known as Gazi Kodzo? And how were they able to position themselves as the Commander-In-Chief of Black Hammer Organization, an organization that enjoyed a momentary flash-in-the-pan type success, before devolving into one of the most damaging and abuse-filled cults in recent memory?
Gazi, in large part, has Omali Yeshitela, Chairman (for life) of the African People’s Socialist Party, to thank for their meteoric rise to national prominence on the Black Left. It was Omali Yeshitela, who back in 2015, found Gazi’s reactionary anti-white rants on YouTube and decided that Gazi and their social media antics could be put to better use within the ranks of Yeshitela’s party. Let’s be clear, Yeshitela’s no fool and saw an opportunity in Gazi. He recognized that with a more polished and coherent political line and a pinch of “party discipline,” he could mould Smiletone into Gazi Kodzo—a young, black, militant, and most importantly, gay/same gender loving revolutionary. This would be a boon for APSP’s membership and would check more than a couple boxes in lending credibility to APSP’s “inclusive of all Africans” image that Yeshitela was working to create.
According to Gazi’s claims, they were living the high life in Los Angeles as a big-time modeling agent by day and high-end pimp by night. They lived in a $2,500/month beachfront property, drove a luxury vehicle, and had built up a sizable enough following on YouTube that the residual income from that alone would have been ample to sustain them. Basically, if we are to believe Gazi’s story, then they had all of the trappings of a successful capitalist stooge/sellout.
However, the truth of the matter is that when Yeshitela flew Gazi out to St. Petersburg, FL, which at the time was the party’s headquarters, for that first meeting in which Gazi was recruited into the party, the person that got off of that plane was a far cry from any Hollywood big-shot. Gazi was completely strung out on pills and coke. They were literally homeless. Fragile and skittish to the point that they had to undergo a two-week process of “drying out” before they could even begin receiving structured political education on the APSP’s political and ideological line.
Gazi has often referred to Yeshitela as their “revolutionary father,” and in many ways this is true. It was Yeshitela who Gazi wanted so desperately to impress, who they tried to emulate. It was even Yeshitela’s guesthouse that Gazi sobered up in, and continued to reside in, during the course of their time in the party. While Yeshitela was congratulating himself on having secured the new young queer face of the party, Gazi was in fact a neurotic, chemically dependent, highly toxic 30- year old maniac that was playing Yeshitela right back, and had a lot less to lose.
After barely two weeks clean and completely dependent upon Yeshitela for food, clothing, and shelter, Gazi was made into the Director of the National Office for Recruitment and Membership (NORM) for the APSP. Along with a salary, one of the precious few salaried positions within the party, Gazi was allowed to live rent- free in Yeshitela’s two bedroom guesthouse and given virtually free rein over the party’s membership. Gazi, who describes themselves as a “stunt queen from Atlanta,” immediately set about to alternately manipulate the membership numbers, and relax the rules for membership, in an effort to make it appear as if their presence alone had caused prospective candidates to flood in.
Cmde. Shupavu’s account does not tell the full tale of Gazi’s time in APSP. More details and testimony on specific abuses by “SecGen” Gazi are forthcoming. From what our writers have already heard, they do establish a definite pattern of official misconduct and abuse that has sadly followed Gazi into Black Hammer.
But her account does give us key features of Gazi’s psychology and behavior—the compulsive lying about their lifestyle and sources of income; the deluded sense of self-importance, even of celebrity, that is unsupported by real achievements; the unhealthy appetite for party drugs, as evident in Atlanta today as in Hollywood back then; the casual way of conning and manipulating comrades, in order to advance to powerful roles in a revolutionary organization.
This is a dangerous enough profile. But under “Chairman’s” wing, Gazi would build up a repertoire of tricks for group control that would later serve them well, when it came time to found their own political cult. Importantly for Gazi, who is an “entertainer” and not at all a thinker, Yeshitela would also give instruction in the ideology of the African working class—“African Internationalism”—which seemed to simplify and make sense of Black and colonized people’s poverty and despair, in a capitalist world clearly set up for whites.
This background, and not the “founding myth” peddled by Black Hammer, explains how the petty-bou, dysfunctional partier “Smiletone” made their full transition to Gazi Kodzo, the African freedom fighter and “revolutionary leader” who now claims to lead hundreds of Hammers.
But did Gazi really believe in all this? They apparently knew the Party line well enough; but then, they had just come on their knees from Hollywood, where knowing your lines was the whole industry—an industry that desperate and drug-addled “Smiletone” had failed to get their foot in.
Myth of Gazi as “Revolutionary Leader” and “Proud African”
The “African Fundamentalist” Gazi Kodzo is not only ignorant of African history. They really despise our ancestral homeland, and mock it in ways that would only occur to white racists to say; as can be seen in this screenshot from their early “anti-colonial” years
The overt politics of Black Hammer Organization are anti-colonial, revolutionary, and communist in their aim. But beyond that it is hard to pin their members down to any one clear political tendency, since the org seems to borrow ideas and imagery from everywhere—as long as it’s not white.
Elements of Third World communism are there, and BHO claims to support socialist states, like DPRK and China. But there are also cultural nationalist moments, as when Gazi rejects Karl Marx and other communist figures simply for their whiteness, or ascribes special powers to melanin. The highly bureaucratic, paper-pushing style of organization is straight out of Yeshitela’s handbook; while the...celebration—some say fetishization—of colonized working-class culture is right out the Black Twenty-Something side of TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter.
More recently, pseudo-shamanism has been added to that gumbo—though this is apparently less inspired by traditions of African and First Nations people, than by Gazi’s own magical thinking, and frequent abuse of psychedelics.
There’s some Christian seasoning off in there, too. Lately the cult lectures are rebranded as “sermons.” Gazi’s tirades are suddenly being delivered in a bad Pentecostal style. They are received with awkward “amens!” and “that’s rights!,” shouted by a literal captive audience in the Hammer House. Bodyguards wielding small bats flank “the Commander” on each side, while they rant excitedly, like a scene from a Jim Jones biopic. And like the People’s Temple, there doesn’t seem to be anything tying these many threads together into a coherent worldview, except the cynical hope of gathering the biggest flock for the leader’s hidden purpose.
And what is that purpose? Is Gazi just playing dress-up here? What does Gazi really believe? Are they an African Internationalist and dialectical materialist, or are they some kind of Social Gospel minister, or what?
It seems that the major political contradiction in Black Hammer, that will probably contribute to its death in a matter of months or weeks, is that its membership understands itself to be a communist organization; but its “Commander” has no principles at all—political, ethical, or otherwise. Gazi likes to dress up for an audience, they like to be seen and heard, and admired; Gazi likes money and sex, and going to the club, and humiliating and wielding power over others. Gazi likes to inflict pain and to be feared. And these appear to be the real reasons behind their hard-nosed “Commander” image, and their calls for dictatorship—not communism, not national liberation.
In fact, Gazi’s nearest ideological affinity is with fascism, as can be seen in countless screenshots of private conversations that reveal Augustus as, among other things, an anti-African, an ableist, a misogynist, a transphobe, an anti-Semite. Consider the following screenshots (Gazi’s favorite form of proof):
Apart from the clear antisemitism of this status, there is the added insult to the Palestinian people, since no responsible communist would advocate for Palestine’s liberation by recommending Jews go “back to the oven.” Statuses like these show that Gazi only engages with politics in order to draw attention to their own odious personality, not for colonized liberation
Here is Gazi telling a nonblack Hammer that they will kill Black trans women for being oppressive “neocolonial puppets” who engage in “trauma porn” by raising awareness to transphobic murders. This is clearly a “revolutionary leader” demanding that their nonblack membership ignore the call to defend Black trans lives, and accentuating their point with a death threat to trans activists
Here is the “Garveyite” Gazi Kodzo, saying that they would not even send $20 to continental Africans if it meant they would die. This person clearly does not love African people, but crassly employs pro-Black rhetoric and African aesthetics to garner support
We can reproduce horrible statements like these ad nauseum. But at a minimum, it’s clear that no individual like this should have “command” over an organization dedicated to the liberation of African and all oppressed people, to the liberation of trans folks from murderous phobic violence, to the relentless fight against the fascism that murders Black and white Jews alike.
Given all that we have said about Augustus Romain so far, one would have to question whether they can be trusted in any position of responsibility at all, let alone in politics. Yet as we will see in Part 2, detailing the rise of Black Hammer and the #2BFrank scandal, Gazi was not only entrusted with leadership; they were enabled in some of their most pathological tendencies, at a decisive moment for the fate of Black Hammer—and not only by individuals within the organization.
Pt. 2: #2BFrank About the Dangers of Clout Culture
By Kylie Marsh
(Editorial Note: Red Voice observes the principle of self-determination for oppressed nations, along with the movement for Indigenous sovereignty all over the world. Though we roundly reject the anti-Semitic views of Gazi Kodzo concerning Jews of any color—including whites—we affirm that Israel is a settler-colonial nation-state that needs to be dismantled, for the liberation of Palestinian people as well as the non-white Jews of that state, who suffer from an inferior, neocolonial form of second-class citizenship.)
The social media career of Gazi Kodzo can be seen as a desperate chase for attention, that grows more and more tasteless with each passing year.
Even now, when the entire US left has severed ties with Black Hammer, and they stand accused of serious crimes that have landed other cult leaders in prison for decades, Gazi is still lost in the clout chase, hoping to get famous by tagging rapper Nicki Minaj in bizarre anti-vaxxing protests held by their organization, which has been reduced to a step-ladder to Gazi’s own celebrity.
Black Hammer Organization was not always like this, clay in the hands of a wannabe influencer. The organization is relatively new, having only been founded in 2019 by a group of leftists who broke off from groups like Black Lives Matter, The New Black Panther Party and African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). As we learned in interviews, many of these individuals struggled with Gazi to make BHO into a serious revolutionary organization. But as we will see in this section, Gazi used their pseudo-celebrity and the fleeting benefits of their clout-chasing tactics to turn Black Hammer into a social media cult, whose ultimate goal was not Black and colonized liberation, but simply fame for the largely untalented Augustus Romain.
The 35-year-old known as Gazi Kodzo (born Augustus Romain, Jr.), was ousted from the African People’s Socialist Party near the end of 2018, following a vote of the party leadership. Apart from multiple abuses of their office, including allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, we are told by Comrade Shupavu that a major reason for Gazi’s removal was their flair for needlessly provocative, click-bait social media content, that drew negative attention to the Party. (At one point, Shupavu remarkably claims, Gazi wanted the Party to agree to a VH1 reality show about Gazi’s life as a leader in a Black revolutionary movement!)
Gazi’s story is different, stating that they personally elected to leave the organization in several videos on their YouTube channel. In a late 2018 video, Romain said they’d left the APSP and started a new chapter in their life to create something better, “like when Beyonce left Destiny’s Child, when Tina Turner left Ike and when Diana Ross left The Supremes.”
Gazi has always been a controversial presence on social media, starting back in 2006 when their YouTube channel went under the name Smiletone. Though they have been on YouTube for some 15 years, they have only managed to amass 44.1K followers on the platform.
They also have accounts on TikTok, a private Twitter account, and public Instagram and Facebook accounts.
Today, despite their Diana Ross delusions, their YouTube channel Commander Gazi shows a depressing lack of growth. The channel’s most popular video, entitled “White People Are Paying Reparations,” has 1.4 million views, but was uploaded in 2016, and dates back to their time in Uhuru. Gazi claimed the videos are still earning them revenue in a Zoom meeting of Black Hammer membership on the 9th of September. But ex-members who previously had access to Romain’s social media accounts posted on Twitter that they currently fail to bring in more than $5 USD a month from the platform. Their second most popular YouTube video has only 209K views and was uploaded in 2015.
According to one of our ex-Hammer sources, Comrade Pat, who is Gazi’s former social media director, the vast majority of those subscribers are white supremacists that tune in from time to time to laugh at Gazi, who is an easy straw man for the Black liberation movement that they want to violently suppress. Gazi apparently enjoys the attention, and has even uploaded a video where they claim, with a wide smile, to have given birth to Black Hammer and to the Proud Boys, who supposedly formed in the comments section of Gazi’s YouTube channel. (In their typically tasteless way, they state that they have given birth to “two bad bitches,” with the implication that Black Hammer and the Proud Boys are on an even plane, or that there is something commendable about the Proud Boys, a far-right, white supremacist militia.)
Almost immediately, Gazi began associating their “political” movement not just with the goal of becoming famous, but also with crowdfunding for liberation projects that never materialize, in the meantime allegedly providing a stream of income to support Gazi’s excessive lifestyle.
The “Black Power Project,” organized on GoFundMe, was likely the first seed that grew into the Black Hammer Organization. This fund only managed to amass a little under four thousand dollars, though its goal was to raise ten thousand “by the end of 2019.” The Black Power Project promised free services including treatment and testing for HIV and Hepatitis. None of this has taken place, and the “Project” has since been forgotten.
But it was Gazi’s penchant for bizarre and sadistic political commentary, rather than their humanitarian cons, that would propel them and their organization to infamy, which Gazi seems to identify with fame.
Black Hammer first gained national attention in April 2020 by rustling the feathers of leftists, liberals, and right-wingers alike, after Gazi tweeted a middle finger emoji followed by the name of Anne Frank, calling her a “Becky” and a “Karen,” derogatory terms used for racist, unkind, pearl-clutching White women. Viral responses to Romain’s tweet came from other communists and websites like StopAntiSemitism.Org.
There was a section of the Black left that was highly critical of this statement. Who mocks the death of a young Jewish girl at the hands of the same fascism that wants to liquidate all non-white humanity? What African tradition revels in the suffering and death of those who are not old enough to decide which side to take in the fight against colonialism, capitalism and fascism?
Who would do something like this? Augustus Romain, the lifelong clout chaser, who thinks all publicity is good publicity, as long as it puts all eyes on Gussy. But it didn’t seem to serve any special political objective, until Gazi’s enablers went to work.
The organization’s membership scrambled to politicize the issue, doing their best to dig up negative information about the young Holocaust victim’s family. Romain’s incendiary, and frankly (pardon the pun) anti-Semitic tweet was sent in April of last year. By June, it was called “truthful and crucial for the decolonial revolution” by the Black Hammer Times (Black Hammer’s tabloid-esque news publication).
Members who should have known better now drew parallels with James Baldwin and Malcolm X, who in their own time were criticized as anti-Semitic for their commentary on Black-Jewish relations; not stopping to note the difference in tone and target in Gazi’s statement. Members who were more well-read than Gazi cited the poet Aime Cesaire’s passages on the greater African Holocaust in the Congo “Free State,” forgetting that Cesaire’s purpose was to show the origins of fascism in European colonialism—not to dismiss the horror that victims of the European Holocaust had also suffered.
But Black Hammer members were not alone in this misinterpretation of events. Members of more established Black and colonized political organizations, such as Anticonquista, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, and Black Alliance for Peace, also tweeted statements in support or defense of Romain’s comments; understandably in response to White leftists on the internet criticizing Black leadership, not because of their own anti-Semitism.
Here is one of Gazi’s few talents on full display: manipulating comrades with otherwise good intentions, who see an opportunity to inject Black and colonized histories into the mainstream, whereas Gazi sees only the chance to have thousands talking about them. The tweet supposedly highlighted what Gazi felt was hypocrisy on the part of US educational system, which largely ignores its own historical attempts at State-mandated genocide against African and Native peoples. But former Chief of Staff Savvy told us that Gazi was simply being anti-Semitic (possibly without really understanding how), and a pseudo- PR team of Hammers worked to politicize the scandal after the tweet was released.
The Hammer Times article continued this narrative by playing a game of Oppression Olympics, asking readers “what makes Anne Frank’s story so tragic while the lives of our young, Colonized girls taken at the hands of this imperialist beast, go unnoticed?” The article continues to reference more of Gazi’s tweets, threading a narrative that absolved them of anti-Semitism. (Notice that Gazi did not use this opportunity to uplift the names of Harriet Jacobs, Aiyana Jones, or any other prominent Black women victims of slavery and domestic colonialism over the past 500 years—only to dance on Anne Frank’s unmarked grave.)
To add more insult to injury, a month after the Anne Frank controversy opened up, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Minister of Defense of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party, and a celebrated political prisoner, theoretician and organizer, published his own expose on Black Hammer Organization. Johnson’s article was a scathing review of Romain’s character and fascist outlook, making plain their compulsion to manipulate, lie, and throw any moral conscience out the window to get their way. Every tactic was exposed in Agents of Disruption and Deception.
“Operation Storm of White Tears” (OSWT) was a leaked internal document from BHO, laying out a highly cynical strategy to divide and weaken communist organizations throughout the US, simply to improve the overall standing of Black Hammer; and to catapult BHO to fame, which is literally presented as the organization’s objective, by manufacturing Anne Frank-style controversies, then neutralizing criticism by playing on victimhood narratives of the membership.
OSWT began when Rashid and other comrades raised criticisms against Gazi’s “Anne Frank” Tweet. This is par for the course with them. The document is supposed to be Black Hammer protocol, but it serves just as well for a profile of the conscious-wrecker outlook of Gazi Kodzo. Had the US left taken this document more seriously, had we listened to Rashid, we could have saved ourselves and Black Hammer members much heartache down the line.
In response to Rashid’s principled criticisms, Gazi lashed out angrily, revealing the lie behind their stated “prison abolitionist” ideals, tarring Rashid as a so-called “jailbird,” before manufacturing a ridiculous rumor that Rashid was not a real human being, but a fictional character created by a white leftist called Tom Watts. Not being satisfied with this, Gazi then deputized one of their most despicable followers to masquerade as a white woman named “Olivia,” who “exposed” the details of an illicit affair with Rashid in a Medium article that has since been taken down. Members of the Panther Solidarity Organization quickly traced this profile back to one Alyx McCoy, a white man posing as Indigenous, and an alleged sexual abuser, about whom we will have more to say shortly.
Members who have left or been shut out of Black Hammer give the same testimony as Rashid: they raised a criticism against Gazi’s leadership or decisions made for the organization, to which Gazi responded with prompt and absolute expulsion and character assassination.
From inability to take any criticism at all and calling ex-members and dissenters federal agents of the United States, to their distorted self-perception, grandiosity, and crypto-fascism, Johnson’s article proves that Gazi and Black Hammer have not updated their tactics.
The “White Jewish” Question
While Jewish folks straddle the line between White and Brown Middle Easterners in the United States, the cultural-ethnic position of Anne Frank and the Jews of Central Europe facing genocide and imperialism (which go hand in hand) was not White, as Hitler and the volkisch race theorists understood only too well.
Even liberals understand that the White supremacist concept of race is malleable; it must adapt to fulfill the needs of the White, capitalist, imperialist nation. Leftists should have already mastered this concept.
Though instances of clarity and factual understanding are rare for Gazi, what they have to say about the word “genocide” is true. The United Nations passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (or just Genocide Convention for short) at the close of the Second World War. Similarly late, the United Nations did not adopt the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples until 2007; the nations which voted against at the time were the settler-colonial nations of the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Unfortunately, this is where the facts end and the nonsense resumes.
Anyone who has studied history understands that Jews were legally and culturally excluded from identifying with White Christian nations since the early Medieval period. It was the mere existence of Judaism that helped created a stark division between groups of people who may appear today in the West with similar phenotypes. White supremacy, at its genesis, was formed by this distinction (along with the cultural struggle against the African Moors in Southern Europe).
Even in the US, where white Jews have historically attained to the status of the “white ethnic” and enjoy most of the same privileges as their white Gentile counterparts in the settler-colonial project, the whiteness of Jewish people has always been up for debate in moments of national crisis.
For example, anti-war demonstrations across the United States demanded the government not get involved in World War II, despite the fact that protesters self-identified as anti-fascist. The America First Committee, formed in 1940, had bipartisan support: at its peak, its membership topped 800 thousand, and included notable anti-Semites like Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford. Lindbergh later advocated that the plight of the Jewish people was not enough to enter a war that ultimately was not within national interest.
American journalists diligently reported the plight of German Jews in the 1930s. The United States refused some European Jewish refugees in 1940. In public opinion polls sourced by the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum, half of American respondents thought that the fact that two million Jews had been murdered “was just a rumor.” The United States remained neutral until its naval base at Pearl Harbor in the colonized nation of Hawaii was targeted by Japan, one of the axis powers. After all, the threat of fascism was an ocean away.
That the United States entered the war on the pretense that it morally opposed fascism is retroactive damage-control. The United States didn’t enter the war until it was directly provoked. Therefore, Gazi’s claim that the US only sprang into action in the Second World War because of the Whiteness of the Holocaust victims couldn’t be further from the truth.
Though today in the United States Jews fill a space between White and other, Anne Frank was not White at the time of the Holocaust, and the US did not enter the war to liberate her or her people. This scandal is one example of a pattern of Black Hammer’s only praxis: do anything outrageous to gain media attention and clout to rein in more vulnerable marginalized people.
The Rotten Core of Black Hammer Organization
With typical exaggeration, The Hammer Times claims that the organization has over 700 members. Comrade Savvy has said there are chapters all over the world. But there is no clear indication on the website, nor anywhere else, of just how many chapters there are, and in which countries they operate; and on Twitter, Savvy has loudly mocked Black Hammer’s claim that they have “hundreds of members” in their dying org.
What kind of movement really developed in the shadow of Gazi Kodzo’s clout chase?
The Black Hammer Organization began as a movement for Black Power, using “Black Power” as their call- and- response cult mantra, and using the red, black and green color scheme of the Garveyite flag. But the Black Hammer of today claims they work for the equality and liberation of “all colonized people,” a line that was conveniently adopted as the org hemorrhaged Black members and began mass-recruiting White Latine and non-Black people of color.
The cult even changed its discipline-inducing mantra to “Land Back,” appropriated from the Six Nations movement in Ontario for Indigenous sovereignty, and right on time for its “Hammer City” campaign. According to Comrade Xiuh, Gazi had simply heard her enthusiastically repeating this slogan from the Six Nations land disputes with the settlers of Caledonia, and decided to make it the mantra of the entire organization, without any understanding of or consultation with First Nations on how best to support their fight against the settler-colony.
The clout- chasing nature of Gazi and their cult of personal followers is only exacerbated by the attention they have received on social media. Gazi is known to impulse-post, sacrificing their so-called “revolutionary” and “liberatory” leftist politics to gain clicks, views, follows, and clout.
After offending Jews and their allies by making anti-Semitic remarks against Anne Frank, the so-called “Black Hitler” was rebranded as “leader of the anti-White revolution” on the Hammer Times.
In 2020, during the height of the COVID outbreak, oppression visibly crystalized around the Black lumpen, leading to revolts in nearly every major US city. To young folks who happened to see Romain and his personal cult on social media, Black Hammer signaled a point of exit from the pandemic, from educational, healthcare, housing, nutritional and employment inequity that characterizes their struggle.
Membership (which relies on payment of dues as big as $100 dollars monthly) and donations flooded to the cult through the website.
Gazi was even legitimized by appearing on Fox News and Newsmax, two mainstream right-wing “news” programs. The Black Hammer Organization was used to strengthen fears amongst White reactionaries in the United States against leftist politics.
“All press is good press” is the only mantra Gazi follows in the daily public relations of their organization, despite the plagiarized core tenets on their website. Sadly, Gazi remains at the top of alt-right uncensored hate forums, and one can only guess that they also make up a significant portion of donations, views, clicks are hate watching and mockery. This phenomenon has not only made people laugh at Black Hammer, but their insistence on being the front and center or “main character” of Communist political bodies in the United States has made a mockery of all leftists in the United States.
Principled communists know that liberation comes from organization of the community. The collective good takes precedence over the individual. That is the core value. Yet everything that Gazi has done in the past, and will do in the future, is solely for their own selfish, subjective, petit-bourgeois goal of being well-known. Gazi does not care whether they are known for being “Black Hitler,” a modeling agent, a Hollywood pimp, or a Nicki Minaj stan—as long as they are known.
Nothing is off-limits for the elite leadership of Black Hammer. There are no morals, no manners, or boundaries when it comes to their dirty strategy of slander, and allegedly, harassment, exploitation of sex work, and outright sexual violence are all fair game.
This provides more damning context for Black Hammer Rally #63, the “revolutionary consent” rally. Black Hammer Chief “Turey,” also known as Alyx McCoy, self-criticized and admitted to being guilty of sexual assault. Comrade Xiuh was present at the meeting.
“It was never put in any detail. Alyx McCoy’s allegations were very kept under wraps,” she said.
“I had tried to speak to Gazi about Alyx McCoy’s behavior for a while, but, once again, I was afraid to speak up against another comrade – especially a chief.”
Our team was able to speak with several sources, some of which choose to remain anonymous, that confirm this testimony. Perhaps most disturbingly, Alyx McCoy is still a part of cult leadership, living comfortably amongst Romain and other cult members in the Atlanta “Hammer House,” even appearing in photo-ops in a desperate show of lingering support for Gazi’s leadership:
Pictured: Gazi Kodzo and their remaining Hammer House hostages, riding the MARTA, mid-September 2021. “Turey” aka Alyx McCoy, alleged sexual abuser and white man pretending to be Indigenous, stands awkwardly in the back, behind Gazi
“Why is this person who is an admitted sexual abuser remaining in the org?” Xiuh asked.
Just last month, members who were ousted from the organization were slandered in the Hammer Times as “pedophiles” and their “apologists.”
This makes even less sense when confronted with the fact that Black Hammer purports to be staunchly anti-State, constantly using rhetoric of “infiltration” by “the feds” to explain away membership turnover; yet uses the government names of any of its critics in their slander campaigns. In a Tuesday rally livestreamed to YouTube, Romain also advocated reporting the allegations of pedophilia to the police.
Pictured: a former “Secretary General” of Black Hammer Organization, threatening to call someone’s parole officer for having weed at the house, in response to criticisms of their org. Though this person has since been expelled from the organization, they remained in their position for over two months after this Tweet. As the “SecGen” is the second-most powerful position in BHO, this Tweet indicates the degree of comfort that Black Hammer leadership has in general with running to pigs behind political contradictions, even for false accusations
According to Savvy, Gazi used the false allegations of pedophilia against an ex-Hammer member and their supporters as a way to regain power in the organization, after having been near-unanimously voted from their “Commander-In-Chief” position by the International Central Committee (ICC), the democratic-centralist leading body of the organization. (More details on this contradiction will be revealed in Pt. 3.) Gazi claimed to have recorded audio evidence from a past meeting in which the accused admitted to sexually assaulting children at a daycare center. “Put a thumbs up reaction if you remember that meeting,” Gazi commanded to participants in the Zoom meeting. Interestingly, the audio has never been released, though Gazi hypocritically insists on recorded evidence of any abuse allegations made against themselves.
And the hypocrisy in BHO truly has no end. It includes use of patriarchal forms of sexuality and objectification to recruit new members, even going so far as to suggest Xiuh create an NSFW OnlyFans account to fund the cult.
“Gazi would never outright say that they want someone to do sex work, but he would say that people should make an OnlyFans and do sex work to fund the organization under their own consent,” she said.
Savvy echoed this, saying that organization “outreach” took shape in the form of dressing up provocatively and going out to clubs and bars in Atlanta. Gazi encouraged cult members to flirt with the public to recruit members, as well as purchase marijuana for them.
She also said this is why the Black Hammer Instagram account featured provocative and semi-nude photos for “Man Crush Mondays,” “Woman Crush Wednesdays” and even a gender-neutral “Them Crush Thursdays.”
This thread of using sexuality to recruit new members reportedly turned more ominous, when a former BH chief admitted to using Tinder to recruit new members, to which Gazi said, “that sounds like a great idea” (according to Xiuh’s account). Savvy herself was banned from the platform for doing this. In a recent video, since taken down from the Commander Gazi YouTube channel, titled “Abundance is Our Future,” the then-Black Hammer cyber-recruitment chief advocates for making Tinder-based recruitment a regular practice; though according to nearly everyone we interviewed, this had already been informally practiced and encouraged in the org for a long time.
The tactic of drawing in members and funds to a political or religious organization by using the sexuality of its members is a highly dangerous cult practice, that was pioneered by the Children of God cult in the 70’s, where it was called “flirty fishing.” The organization’s leader, Moses David Berg, an infamous mass pedophile, spent decades on the run from Interpol for numerous sex crimes, including sex trafficking, tied to expanding the “flirty fishing” tactic overseas.
Apart from the obvious impropriety of enticing members into a political organization through flirtation, this practice can lead to a number of dangerous outcomes. Members could feel undue pressure to engage in romantic or sexual relationships with new recruits whose main interest, after all, was to find a date online. Individuals who are not at all interested in politics could join the organization believing that they have joined an extended dating pool, inviting sexual harassment and assault. And as at least one former member has claimed, members could feel compelled to turn over money raised from their CashApps as plugged on their dating profiles, directly to the Black Hammer treasury.
All of this is incredibly risky stuff for marginalized gender (maGe) members of the organization in particular. Nobody organizing for the liberation of all workers—including sex workers—should feel pressure to sexualize themselves for maximum recruitment, or to turn over the proceeds of their sex work to a revolutionary organization.
Unfortunately, Black Hammer does not discriminate in the ages of those they prey upon. Accused of exposing minors to sexually explicit content on their Instagram page, leadership insisted to Xiuh that Black Hammer’s official organization documents have always required that members be 18 years of age or older. Gazi assured her that there is a consent form for the parents of individuals who are 16 and older to sign.
Xiuh used the Wayback Machine to check the archive of the Black Hammer website. To her dismay, this was a lie – the age restriction had been changed after the age controversy.
“It was a complete fabrication. There was no document that said minors couldn’t be in the organization,” she said. “When they were getting a bunch of flack for that accusation, they changed it on the fly. I believed it because I believed no one would do something so shitty. Seriously, we’re dealing with people’s kids now.”
Just when you think there is a limit to the depravity of this cult’s actions, there is yet another page to be turned; another scandal to be uncovered.
And another scam, too, which is exactly what the utopian project of Hammer City became in the hands of the lifelong liar and thief, Augustus Romain, Jr.
At the age of 25, Xiuh was fed up with White leftist leadership in organizing spaces. She was also in a position of vulnerability (like most of the cult’s victims), wrestling on and off with houselessness.
Having been present at the Standing Rock conflict, Black Hammer’s loud cry for decolonization drew her to the cult in late 2019.
“At first at least, people were generally nice,” she said. “It seemed like a group where we could protect each other, and we did.”
Black Hammer suffers from a dearth of members despite claiming to have chapters all over the nation and the world; new members are only rank and file for a short period until being appointed by Gazi to be Chiefs or Ministers. Quickly after joining, Xiuh gained a leadership position on the Land Liberator Council, which was tasked with researching location and necessities for the autonomous commune known as “Hammer City.”
Xiuh, being of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, but (wrongly) believing that she was also Anishinaabe based on a family story, was a victim of one of Gazi’s preferred recruitment tactics, in which they play white-passing and white Latine people’s guilt like a fiddle.
Pictured: Gazi Kodzo attempting to gaslight a white person into believing they are Indigenous, in order to artificially grow the numbers of their organization. Although Gazi claims to be “anti-white,” we see time and time again that they have no problem with white folks as long as they are willing to fall under Gazi’s “dictatorship.” White people do not need the added inspiration to steal Indigenous identities, as First Nations people know very well. But as our interviews revealed, Gazi insists on Latine and white Hammers identifying with specific First Nations, even if the claims of membership are entirely spurious
Gazi’s habit of being directly and aggressively racist against Indigenous and African people showed itself when they asked Xiuh to take an ancestry test to prove her blood quantum. When she discovered that, in fact, her grandmother’s claim about Anishinaabe heritage was incorrect, Xiuh decided to step down from Land Liberators. But according to her account, Gazi and Secretary-General Anco—whose own claims of Indigeneity are a matter of controversy—insisted that she remain on board, and even conceal the truth about her ancestry.
“If you are Mexican [like me] or any kind of Latin American, they want you to claim you are Indigenous,” Xiuh says about the reductive and degrading practice of the Black Hammer Organization.
According to Comrade Savvy, the Hammer City project as approved by the ICC was originally supposed to be a more communal project set up in the tropical zone of the US South. However, Gazi’s own aspirations for Hammer City were solidified after showing the membership the Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country,” which details the years-long violent confrontation between the destructive, pro-capitalist Rajneeshi cult and the United States government, over a swath of land they purchased in Oregon and called “Rajneeshpuram.”
Gradually, Xiuh claims, she was snubbed by Party leadership, who rejected her recommendations for dialogue with and consent from Indigenous nations in each of the proposed locations for the Hammer City site. Soon, she was removed from chats and her messages were ignored, and the process was taken over by the ICC. (It is important to note that Comrade Savvy’s account conflicts in some respects with Xiuh’s. In Pt. 3 we will provide Savvy’s full testimony, perhaps the most harrowing account of Black Hammer membership on record.)
There would be no public signs of Black Hammer’s decline from the “#2BFrank” peak until late spring 2021, when two highly-respected comrades within the org—Comrades Pat and Jack—released a YouTube video denouncing Black Hammer as an abusive cult. But in addition to some admittedly good work that was done by Hammers on the ground, crucial elements for Black Hammer’s fall are all here, in its year-plus of “wins”: fraud, coercion, alt-right clickbait tactics, sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation, exposing minors to sexually explicit content, and manipulating people in the movement to provide cover for their destructive cult behavior.
The events described in this article only peel back a few layers of the onion. Every day, new information is revealed, more Hammers disaffiliate with the cult, and Gazi comes up with new schemes to assassinate the character of their enemies.
In their latest cry for attention, the Hammers staged a laughable protest against vaccinations, riding the wave of media chatter over Nicki Minaj’s tweets advocating against COVID vaccinations. This makes sense, considering that Nicki Minaj has a reputation for sexual abuse apologetics, and given the leadership’s history of arbitrarily deciding which sexual assaults are grounds for expulsion from the cult.
Without raising alarm about Augustus Romain and the Hammers, the cycle of chasing grift after grift will continue. More people will be taken advantage of and face trauma, wasting their precious time being swindled into being Romain’s personal followers rather than doing actual work to liberate any community from the oppression of White supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism. What can be viler than that?
Pt. 3: Gussy Unmasked
[Content Warning: this article, the last part of a three-part exposé on the destructive cult known as Black Hammer Organization, describes alleged cases of kidnapping, domestic violence, extreme labor exploitation, sexual manipulation and harassment, verbal and physical abuse, and a number of other disturbing anecdotes about life in the Atlanta Hammer House. Please include this warning when re-sharing the link or any parts of this article.]
Pictured: Orisha Oya, deity of the thunder and lightning, that are now crashing down on all Black Hammer’s attempts to get back right, after scarring too many African lives
“You Don’t Play With Revolution” (CLR James)
Comrades Pat and Jack were basically the last straw for BHO’s integrity, for its spirit of internal criticism and respect for African people. Once Pat was being pushed out of Gazi’s office, Comrade Savvy tells us, it became obvious to her (and everyone else we talked to) that something was seriously wrong with Black Hammer. When the couple went to YouTube and denounced BHO as a cult, that’s when Gussy’s mask started slipping for real.
Pat is a vivacious school teacher and graphic designer from Brooklyn, with an infectious laugh and easygoing manner. Jack is a professionally trained music teacher from Harlem, and a Lukumi initiate, under the Orisha Oya—deity of the wind and storms, of birth and death, all of which carry together in their voice.
The relationship is strong, indomitable really. It was their love for each other, and their reverence for the egungun (ancestors), that finally pulled them away from the Black Hammer Organization, which wanted to trample on both sacred bonds.
Pat joined first; then Jack joined the movement, once their year-long rites of religious initiation were complete. “I was in [Gazi’s] office for a long time,” Pat explains. “Then [Gazi] wanted me to be their social media director, which I did for three months.”
In that position, Pat would quickly learn that Gazi’s lauded YouTube career was based almost entirely on white supremacist subscribers, who checked in from time to time to see if there was anything as cringeworthy as Gazi’s “Reparations” video—still their biggest hit, dating from 2016. After reviewing months of receipts, Pat was forced to conclude that Gazi’s lifestyle was mainly supported by the organization’s treasury, since their YouTube ad revenue never rose above $15 a month.
That treasury was fed by round-the-clock free labor by Pat and Jack, and dozens more serious militants like them, in a cultic pattern known as the spiral of escalating commitment.
Comrade Jack describes the couple’s increasing investment in an unrealistic, mind-numbing workload, one that’s designed to break Black militants down to work mules.
“The workload was crazy. We were working twenty-hour days, even checking in to BHO at our colonial jobs.”
Pat describes having to change their lens prescription, because of the damage done to their eyes from staring so long at computer screens during online cadre meetings, which could last from six to eight hours on a weekly basis.
“The reason it was easy for people who are smart to get involved [to this degree] is because we think about the revolution, and how much it requires of your time and energy, and how much [of that] will have to be directed against your [colonial] enemy,” Jack clarifies. “Some uncomfortable and heavy work might be necessary to take on the enemy.”
Though they worked harder than many to make BHO run, their real dedication was to national liberation, to the African Nation that they held sacred—not to a personality, not to an organization.
“We are dedicated to the revolution. We weren’t “Gazi-ites.” We are children of the revolution and understand the need for it. We work colonial jobs [as educators] and understand how that [work] affects the future, so we do what we can to implant the message into the children.”
The couple explains that the impossible workload took a toll on their relationship, that it affected Jack’s artistic endeavors, and how they struggled through all that to realize the organization’s potential for building “dual contending power” to the colonial system. But it was an uphill battle, strategized by a petty-bou “Commander” with no realistic sense of the labor process for working-class Africans.
“A lot of the workload came from incompetence, and leadership not giving the rank- and- file the ability to learn and grow about the things they were actually [supposed to be] doing,” Pat tells us, with a note of sadness for what could have been.
“A lot of this [also] came from Gazi’s sporadic nature. All of a sudden everybody has to [drop what they’re doing and] beef with Conscious Lee [the TikTok star]. It got to the point where I was in cadre circles saying that this has to stop, you’re stretching people too far. [The office of] social media was doing literally ten posts a day, and people were on the verge of trying to commit suicide.”
As social media director, Pat was responsible for producing every single live show for Black Hammer Organization, which broadcasts on nearly a daily basis.
But Gazi wasn’t driving people to these lengths from pure malice or greed. “Gazi was doing that so people wouldn’t have time to ask questions about other things [in the organization],” Pat explains.
This is another well-known pattern of destructive cults: plunging people into so much work that they don’t have time to question the breakneck pace and abusive conduct of their leadership. Dr. Janja Lalich, renowned sociologist and survivor of the Democratic Workers Party (a US-based Maoist cult from the 70’s), lists overwork of membership as a “mind-altering practice,” one among fifteen of the prime characteristics of a cult.
Another key cult characteristic is that “[q]uestioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished,” and according to Pat and Jack, this feature was fully on display in BHO.
“It was considered ’gossip’ if you complained [about workload or leadership], and you would be held to criticism; you would be treated as though you were trying to start a coup if you raised concerns.”
Pictured: Esu, Yoruba deity of the crossroads, gatekeeper of the spiritual realm and messenger to the Orishas. According to West African tradition, they can open the gate for any force, good or bad, and are revered for tricks they play on the dishonest. In other words, Esu is not to be messed with by non-initiates, not at all.
Disturbing as those details may be, there is another, more ominous side to Black Hammer, as Pat and Jack describe it. Not content with a dictatorship over the material lives and labor of their membership, “CIC” Gazi now has spiritual pretensions, and wants to own the literal souls of BHO members.
The couple describe accounts of a special room in the Atlanta “Hammer House,” confirmed by several of their contacts, where members are forced to sign over their literal souls at gunpoint. According to one visitor, “entering that room was like entering another realm, another source.”
This claim seems shocking at first. Most people think of Black Hammer as strictly a political cult; and communists are used to militant atheism in our abusive microsects, not to dark magic.
Yet as we explained in Pt. 1 of our expose, Black Hammer truly aims to be a one-stop fraud shop. Augustus—Gussy for short—is nothing else if not a performer; so they have recently decided to play spiritual guru, too. In that role they stomp on Africa’s religious traditions as foolishly and disdainfully as on its history and politics.
That is the real meaning behind this unsettling cult video by Black Hammer, released in 2020. In the video, Gazi bounces around the stage like a whole theater kid on Tina, wearing full Joker makeup, taunting white anarchists, and laughing over the death of Anne Frank; while silent, anonymous goons stand guard in the back, like shock troops in a DC cartoon.
When viewers mocked Gussy’s reveal as Earth’s lamest super-villain, members of Black Hammer shot back angrily that this was, in fact, an “Esu invocation,” that Gazi was really channeling the Yoruba trickster-deity. By a stroke of gaslight magic, Gazi’s critics were now failing to show adequate respect to African traditions.
Only, less naive viewers had noticed that there were none of the traditional effects of an Ifa ceremony on that stage—no ritual garments, no drum, no altar or offerings, no officiating Babalawo.
As it turns out, Gazi had consulted with Pat and Jack prior to doing the video, and then directly ignored their instructions for doing the event as an authentic Ifa ritual.
“Gazi did that invocation against literally every recommendation from the Babalawo [we had consulted],” Jack explains. “We were on the phone with Gazi for two hours, and then the next day they did this live, four days ahead of schedule.”
This cavalier approach to Ifa practices was deeply concerning to the couple, who take their ancestral faith very seriously, and had hoped to bring what they called a spiritual quadrant (or Squad) into Black Hammer Organization. Seeing the power in the idea, and probably sensing the threat in Jack’s spiritual leadership, Gazi began incorporating more religious themes into their revolutionary role-playing, but in a way that trivialized and cut corners with African traditional cosmology.
“You can’t use a deity that people actually worship as a caricature,” Jack insists. “Esu is the elemental force of the universe.” Here was Gazi the consummate fool, playing games with the OG trickster; not knowing they might get played right back, in ways they can’t recover from.
Still, candlelight vigils divorced from any ritual, pseudo-“traditional” name changes based on Google searches, and other forms of ersatz African religion started creeping into the org’s practices.
It’s probably not a coincidence that, as Gazi began stealing and diluting spiritual practices from Jack, and as Pat was transitioned to a role in the Political Education and Command Committee (PECC), key org leadership began actively trying to drive a wedge between the couple, and that these actions took a specifically antiblack form.
The contradiction reached a head when two key non-Black chiefs in the Secretary General’s office grew nervous at Pat and Jack’s influence, since they saw the couple as a threat to their positions, and therefore to their income. Select leadership of BHO, including Secretary General Anco and his partner, were receiving a discreet monthly allowance from the Treasury, that the rest of the org did not know about. They were also singularly bad at their jobs, and highly abusive to comrades. They owed their positions mainly to their sycophantic relationship to Gazi.
“We were effective in the org and that’s why we were a problem,” Jack explains. Pat claims that they were a voice of reason in the org, always trying to ensure that too-ambitious plans of action were checked by a realistic sense of what could be done with the org’s time and resources. The couple felt that non-Black “Gazi-ites” resented their influence, and also resented their lane-guarding for Black people.
“We were constantly having to tell [non-black leadership] to stay out of Black folk’s business. At the point I had joined, all the founding members [who were Black] had left. The org had transitioned into a policy of “colonized unity,” which is fine, but at the same time antiblackness is at the core of the colonial struggle. Then eventually [antiblackness] started disappearing from the conversation.”
During one especially tense meeting, which had carried on until 2 AM, Pat was being harshly criticized by Anco and Sante, neither of whom are Black, for assigning the “wrong” Political Education (PE) material for the org, Harriet Washington’s Medical Apartheid. At that point, Jack could see that Pat was being railroaded by jealous leadership, and loudly intervened to defend their partner.
“If I gotta cuss you out it’s not for no reason. You are coming for mine in a way that is violent. Out of respect for you imma tell you the truth, instead of doing what I would with enemies.”
Symbolically, SG Anco tried to force a Black woman comrade who was transcribing the meeting to stop reacting to Pat and Jack’s unjust treatment, to stay quiet about the entire exchange and not to say “anything to anybody” about what happened there. After that night, Black Hammer officially stopped keeping minutes at its meetings.
This conflict was the breaking point. “Black” Hammer was now giving more Beige than Black. Soon after, they left the org they had done so much to bring others into. Jack had created the signature, gospel-inspired jingle that started each Black Hammer broadcast; had introduced much-needed African spirituality and ethics to the org. Pat had brought a high level of political education to the Hammers, and cutting-edge graphic design to their social media content.
Then Pat and Jack released a widely-shared video explaining the many reasons they felt that Black Hammer is a cult. To some comrades, it was the death-knell of the organization. All the problems that Pat and Jack had identified—financial mismanagement and lack of transparency; a burgeoning personality cult propped up by abusive bureaucrats; a highly exploitative and unrealistic workload; a vacuum of any kind of ethical or spiritual principles in Gazi’s inner circle, and also their unabashed antiblackness—all that would only get worse once these comrades left.
In our final and most harrowing testimony, from Comrade Savvy, we will see how these deformed traits of a revolutionary org all converged in a special way, to make the life of a young, working-class Black woman into a perfect hell.
Gussy Unmasked: Savvy’s Testimony
Pictured: the members of Augustus Romain, Jr.’s bougie social class, trying out a different costumed hustle on the Continent, with the same result for the Black masses—but a bigger payday for them, at least, than for backward hustlin ass Augustus
Savvy was 23 when she first discovered Black Hammer. She was newly unemployed, fired up, and looking to get involved in the Black freedom struggle in a more serious way. Throwing herself into the George Floyd protests in her city, she soon began to feel that her understanding of politics was inadequate. Like young Black militants in each generation, she was looking for answers, and not finding them in the power structure.
Then she discovered Black Hammer through their social media content.
“I saw the way they politicized the paparazzi-style stuff that our people are drawn to. They were making politics digestible [for everyday people].”
She attended an org meeting, where she met powerful comrades with inviting personalities and sharp political analyses. She saw the excellent outreach work that was being done by local chapters, like handing out protective personal equipment (PPE), and assembling water filtration devices to fight the contaminated water crisis in majority-Black cities. Savvy had found her political home, a base from which to build “dual contending power” against the colonial system.
She did not know who Gazi was when she first joined. She was a Hammer because she wanted to liberate her people, not because of her love of celebrity or desire for clout. But through hard work and personal sacrifice, she would very quickly rise through the ranks of Black Hammer, eventually becoming Gazi’s social media coordinator. It was during her transition into that office that Savvy’s opinion of Gazi started to take definite shape.
“All of [my experience with BHO] was good except for Gazi. We were doing legitimate work across the world. Gazi used that [collective] power to flex on others, basically to say ‘I can do whatever the fuck I want to do.’”
Savvy began to notice that Gazi would pull comrades away from important work, just so that they could swarm Gazi’s enemies in various Twitter and Facebook beefs.
“Gazi was always good at trying to drag somebody. In the organization [they] had [their] own Twitter squad. ‘Urgent message’ would pop up in the chat, and everybody had to go like and boost Gazi’s stuff.”
She also saw that Gazi was an expert manipulator, who would coach subordinates in what to do and say in advance, then pretend that the results of meetings were unrehearsed; that comrades were in spontaneous unity with the Commander.
These manipulations affected Black Hammer’s entire structure, even at the highest level. Although Black Hammer claimed to be a democratic centralist organization, whose leading body was the International Central Committee (ICC), Savvy claims that “the key people that they had in Colorado were like the biggest wigs, the real ICC of the organization.”
The first time that Savvy was “trapped” by Gazi, in fact, was when she arrived in Colorado to help build Hammer City. “Once I got there,” she says, “they said I’m not leaving.”
This would become a pattern for her, for other comrades, too. Gazi wanted the power to relocate cadres as the organization (i.e., Gazi) saw fit, sometimes not even alerting them of the decision until they arrived at their new home for what was only supposed to be a visit.
Savvy would move a total of four times during her year-plus involvement with Black Hammer. In all but one case, she was expected to cover the travel expenses herself. (The one exception was the 26-hour drive from Colorado to Atlanta, following the failure of Hammer City. Though she suggests that being stuck in a car with Gazi on a cross-country trip has its own high costs.)
In his well-known paper “Cult Formation” (1991), psychiatrist and cult expert Robert Jay Lifton defines milieu control as the concerted effort by a high-control organization to reduce the individual autonomy of its members, to isolate them from outside sources of information and dissenting opinions from the organization’s leadership—basically to make the cult member fully dependent on the cult, for their maximum financial, sexual, and other forms of exploitation.
This was exactly what Savvy was witnessing take place in Black Hammer at this point in its development. In Colorado, Savvy did not yet have to live in the run-down “Hammer House,” a basement apartment and makeshift headquarters that Gazi then shared with three other cadre, though she was expected to report there daily for work, at 8 AM sharp.
Already, she was being exposed to the high-control atmosphere that would later swallow the whole organization. Already, Gazi had come up with a shrewd explanation for why people should give up their independence, and fall under their “command.”
“We were told to abandon the Colony [which could mean your job, your school, your apartment, your family, your mate], because the Colony was dying anyway, and Black Hammer was building the new world after that,” she explains. “But it’s really Gazi just making you dependent on Gazi.”
The Hammer Houses, as they were growing throughout the country, were not being funded by Black Hammer’s national organization, but directly by local org membership. And so were all of the local outreach efforts, even though these efforts were then used in propaganda, to plug Black Hammer Org’s CashApp and Venmo accounts.
“So we had to fundraise [for everything we did], sometimes we had to use our own food stamps to buy outreach supplies. You did it because you felt like you were doing it for the masses. At the end of the day you just lining Gazi’s pockets.”
Initially, Gazi did not have access to Black Hammer’s accounts, which were held in trust by the Office of Economic Development. However, as the org grew and Gazi’s power expanded within it, they would use their stooges in the Ministry of Defense to change all that, forcing the ICC to hand over the accounts at gunpoint.
The picture that Savvy paints here is of a fairly sophisticated racketeering operation, held up by a highly authoritarian cult structure, whose supreme leader identified their own interests with those of the organization. Black Hammer took extraordinary measures to make young people fully dependent on the org. Ostensibly to achieve a post-colonial utopia, but really to draw in more dollars for the avaricious leader.
And the biggest financial draw—the one that energized the most membership, and unaffiliated Black and Third World people fed up with Corona, and cops, and landlords—was Hammer City, the land for which was (falsely advertised as being) purchased in Colorado, in early May, 2021.
So to raise even more money before the land purchase was finalized, Black Hammer began posting videos and uploading photos of camping expeditions on the “rich soil” of their patch of land in the Colorado Rockies.
Wild, Wild Campsite
Pictured: Ma Anand Sheela—murderous and morally bankrupt second-in-command of the hyper-capitalist Rajneesh cult, and Gazi’s weird muse for Hammer City
According to Savvy, the reality of Hammer City Colorado was less like Black utopia than an episode of Black Survivor.
“I went to the last trip to the land, before we lost the land. I was staying with the North Carolina chapter at that time. I got off the plane at 11 PM; by 3 AM I had to be back up, so that we could make the six-hour drive up the mountain.”
As they got closer to the site, the riders were blindfolded, purportedly for security reasons, but more probably so the surrounding area could not be memorized, in case an escape was made by foot.
Once they arrived, Savvy discovered that Gazi’s “dictatorship over the colonized” was only a poison-induced fever dream.
“We almost died on the land!,” Savvy claims, without a hint of exaggeration.
“I thought they packed up everything. We were supposed to have all kinds of supplies for living out there. We got out there, we didn’t have enough firewood, we didn’t have water; we had to go to a hotel room to get some water. We didn’t have enough food, so we had to go down to the bottom of the mountain to get food on the third day. We didn’t shower for five days.”
Savvy had regretted that the Hammer City land purchase was for territory in the Rockies, because the original plan had been for a plot of fertile land in the more inviting climate of Florida or in Georgia. Instead she found herself ten thousand feet in the air, “in the most extreme climate I’ve ever been in in my life. It was scorching hot in the day and deathly cold at night.”
According to Savvy, she suffered frostbite from exposure to the night air, due to lack of firewood and adequate camping equipment. But her worst affliction was due to the unresearched suggestion, approved by Gazi, that the Hammers substitute mugwort for firewood.
Savvy was told that mugwort had spiritual properties, that burning it would induce powerful dreams, according to unspecified Indigenous medical knowledge. Instead, the Hammers became frighteningly sick from handling and inhaling fumes from the poisonous plant, which contains thujone, a chemical compound that is toxic in high doses.
Several comrades passed out from the mugwort smoke, including Savvy. One of her hands also developed an allergic reaction, swelling up to four times its size. The whole ordeal left her hand with a bleeding, oozing rash for weeks after the trip’s end. Even after their return, though, Gazi still expected Savvy to perform routine manual labor for the org, her hands still in that condition.
(Since Gazi’s sadism knows no bounds, once she left the organization, they would post a picture of Savvy’s swollen and bleeding hand on Twitter—with none of the above context—in order to make fun of her looks.)
But the most symbolic moment of Hammer City’s failure was its inability to defend its people from the threat of armed whites.
One day, while they were cooking a meager breakfast and discussing Mao, an older white man with a sawed-off rifle pulled up on the armed encampment.
“The white dude starts yelling about [our] cars being in the middle of the road. Then he pulls out a gun. Our defense [team] was soft as cotton, they let him pull out a gun and tell them to put theirs down, and they did. We had to have a huge self-crit after that situation.”
The security of the entire Hammer City project, in fact, had been compromised by Gazi themselves, who insisted on letting the whole world know through internet flexing that Black Hammer was in San Miguel County—including white supremacists in the nearby town.
In one of their patented strokes of unreality, Gazi decided that the best solution to this problem would be to bring in white members of the Black Hammer Reparations Corps, to infiltrate the nearby town, and politically neutralize them as a threat to Hammer City.
That strategy, of course, is familiar from the “neo-sannyasin” cult’s infiltration of the town of Antelope, Oregon in 1982, in order to overwhelm the votes of its small local population and expand the power of neighboring Rajneeshpuram.
This plan was detailed at length in the celebrated “Wild, Wild Country” docuseries on Netflix, which Black Hammer members were bizarrely instructed to watch as political education for the Hammer City project. Gazi had obviously intended to stay in San Miguel County, to wage their own Sheela-style campaign of defiance against county residents.
But unlike Black Hammer, the Rajneeshees had millions of dollars, several thousand followers worldwide, and years of experience running an “intentional community” overseas in Pune, India, going into the Rajneeshpuram experiment. Importantly, too, they had a keen grasp on the niceties of the law.
Though Savvy confirms that the down-payment on the “Hammer City” land was made, it was not secured, and the owners decided to pull out at the last minute. At that point, “Hammer City” had become a highly publicized and illegal squat. This is when the cops got involved, and were supposed to be coming to the camp site to remove the Hammers by force.
But in a last display of eccentricity or cowardice, Gazi decided to retreat into the woods, where a makeshift shelter was constructed for them and a few close companions to hide out, while Savvy and the rest of the Hammers stood by in the sleeting rain, waiting for well-armed sheriff’s deputies to arrive.
(Ultimately, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Department chose to expel the Hammers less dramatically, with a polite yet firm phone call, recorded by an officer and shared to social media.)
This episode gives two compelling reasons why it’s good that Hammer City never materialized. It shows, first of all, that Gazi has no grasp of the concept of reckless endangerment. At any point in this story, one of the Hammers under their supervision could have died from mugwort poisoning, from hypothermia, from starvation, or from police or vigilante gun violence. We can only guess how many brushes with death, or actual deaths, might have taken place, had the land purchase gone through.
It also shows that Gazi’s long-term plans as a leader are based on totally unachievable power fantasies, gleaned from TV shows and movies, and the examples of infamous dictators and cult leaders; fantasies that Gazi tries to realize at their followers’ expense. If they were at all capable of pulling off their schemes, it would only embolden them to hatch even more grandiose plans, meaning more sorrow for their exploited and harassed membership.
To be clear, a tendency to confuse fantasy with reality is not a bad or dangerous thing, in itself: our purpose is not to stigmatize mental health challenges. But when that is joined to self-conscious and cynical tactics of social manipulation, and a profound lack of empathy for the suffering caused to others in pursuing these fantasies, we have a formula for disaster on a grand scale.
As Savvy’s nightmare experience living in the Atlanta Hammer House would soon reveal.
Gussy Romaine: “Stunt Queen” of the Flies
Once Hammer City collapsed, Gazi decided to relocate the Colorado Hammers to Atlanta. There was vague talk of re-distributing the Hammer City funds to each of the local chapters, but nothing was concretely done to make that happen.
Instead, Gazi and select leadership became more and more lavish in their private spending with the people’s donations; and life in the rebranded Atlanta chapter grew darker, more crushingly abusive, and less connected from any political objective or sense of outside reality.
As Gazi’s Chief of Staff during the Atlanta period, being responsible for laying out most the details of their daily life, and keeping many of their closest secrets, Savvy’s face was pressed right against it all, the evil truth of Gussy unmasked—which made her too valuable an asset for Gazi to ever let go, at any cost.
In Atlanta, the strict household regime that was already evident in Colorado intensified, and Gazi began using techniques of thought reform that can only be described as hostage-holding and physical torture.
“If you wasn’t up at 8 AM somebody from Defense was there to get you up [by force]. We had to be in bed, with the doors locked, by 11 PM.”
Atlanta Hammers were not allowed any privacy or time away from their daily responsibilities, which ranged from monotonous and unpaid, paper-pushing work for Black Hammer, to building Gazi’s social media brand, to rigorous domestic labor, which was also applied as a punishment. They lived on a starvation diet, that at one point included a weekly meat ration. They stayed several members to a room—all except for Gazi, who had a queen-sized room entirely to themselves. Armed members of Defense stood guard to ensure that nobody left the house. If people fell short of Gazi’s exacting and ever-shifting demands, they met with humiliating and physically exhausting forms of punishment.
“Once I made the mistake of going to the grocery store without telling Gazi. Gazi flipped out and made me run ten laps around the house and do fifty push-ups, and stand outside for hours. When [Defense member, name redacted] fucks up, Gazi makes them sleep outside.”
During “breaks” from this endless work, supported on a starvation diet, the Hammer House residents were subjected to regular, Manson-esque trips in the “space ship,” a room where Gazi would loudly berate, love-bomb, and trauma-bond with them for hours, sometimes after group consumption of psychedelic mushrooms.
During a rare recording of one of these sessions, Gazi can be seen manically bouncing through the room, with hands outstretched like a cross; while they rave, with tears streaming down their face, about their messianic status as the “gravedigger of colonialism”; and then pressuring the bewildered Hammers, all seated on the ground, to profess their collective love for Gazi in the form of a cheer.
“We couldn’t move out of our spot without asking for permission. If we tried to leave, a Defense member would put their hand at the door, and wait for Gazi to say it’s okay to let us through.”
Perhaps the only time Hammers were allowed to leave this den of horrors was when they went on “outreach” in the metro Atlanta community, which was hardly a break for the membership.
“Outreach is miserable as fuck. When we first got to Atlanta we had to go out seven days straight, every morning at 7 AM. We had to be up at the club until 2–3 AM too. Gazi was forcing us to drink out there. Forcing us to get drugs from people out there. DURING COVID.”
Gazi claimed that this was the organization going directly to the masses, that Black Hammer was meeting the people where they were at. But Savvy thinks that was just a cover for Gazi’s real intention.
“They just wanted to go to the club scene to stunt on their old friends,” she says, implying that Gazi’s team of young, carefully trained servants would prove that little Gussy had really become the “Atlanta stunt queen” they always pretended to be.
And in fact, despite all their talk of the “colonized proletariat” and committing “class suicide,” Gazi had all the airs of a Hollywood big-shot, treating their staff like the worst finger-snapping celebrity boss.
As Chief of Staff, Savvy had to serve as Gazi’s personal assistant, drug mule, domestic servant, unpaid therapist, and emotional punching bag. In the morning she was expected to lay out their unlabeled drug pills, bring them water, prepare their coffee and breakfast, create agendas for them, and reach out to comrades they wanted to meet with for that day.
“I had to carry around their ‘caffeine’ and shroom pills [for regular dosing] on my person at all times,” Savvy explains.
When asked why she often uses scare quotes to describe the caffeine pills, Savvy clarifies that these pills came from an unlabeled container, so that she doesn’t know what they really are. She also explains that Defense is fed a regular diet of these pills, that keep them in a constant state of sleep-deprived, excitable activity.
(At the risk of being overly speculative, it sounds to this writer like these “caffeine” pills might actually be unprescribed stimulants, maybe amphetamines, which can lead to enhanced aggressiveness, mania, and dangerous risk-taking when used off label. These are especially dangerous in combination with psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin (shrooms), which Gazi apparently consumes in risky quantities, per Savvy’s account.)
Gazi was not only decadent in their drug abuse. In fact, they lived entirely off the Black Hammer Treasury, and spent freely and lavishly from the Hammer City fund, along with the Secretary General (SG).
“Gazi had a red debit card with all the money on it, and so did SG, and the money was all funneled up to them. Gazi used the money for whatever they wanted, like going to the thrift store, or buying stuff on the internet.”
As a gift to themselves for their “service to the people,” Savvy says, Gazi purchased a $2,000 puppy, named Gugu, that they never showed to the general Hammer membership—who would naturally have questions about how Gazi could afford such a thing in their condition of “class suicide.”
To consolidate this regime of luxury for themselves, and spartan obedience for others, Gazi used a number of unhealthy social engineering tactics. They specifically targeted people who were in vulnerable positions, to make them dependent on the organization: houseless folks, victims of domestic violence, folks with mental health challenges, folks whose gender/queer identity caused rifts with their families. They cynically shared details of their own troubled past, in order to trauma-bond with their victims, to more effectively lull them into a state of slavery, after winning their trust.
And quite naturally for the proud “Hollywood pimp,” they pushed members to enter into or terminate romantic relationships with one another.
“Gazi pairs people up that [they want] to date [each other]. [They] specifically tried to pair me up with [name redacted]. I wasn’t feeling it at all. Gazi was very mad about that. Gazi has broken people up, planted stuff in their ears about their relationships. Any sexual relationships outside the org are not recognized by the org.”
When asked what she meant by this last point, Savvy clarified that if a Hammer was in a monogamous relationship with someone outside the org, Gazi did not respect that, and would still push for them to get romantically involved with another Hammer.
The sexual boundary-pushing at the Hammer House was constant. It ranged from casual sexual harassment to outright violation of consent. Always, members were encouraged to use their sexuality to bring attention, members, and money to the org.
During one live stream, Gazi suddenly announced that if the stream got a hundred likes, they would make a Defense member take their shirt off. The organization had regular “Instagram thirst trap” days, where the nude or semi-nude bodies of their members were put on display, to boost engagement with Black Hammer’s IG page. They called them “Man Crush Mondays,” “Woman Crush Wednesdays,” “Them Crush Thursdays.”
“Gazi said you gotta flirt with the people, you gotta dress sexy, you gotta get that contact by any means necessary. The colonized masses ‘love what they love’ and we gotta meet them where they at,” was the justification for all this nonsense.
As if that did not present a troubling enough picture of Gazi’s sense of sexual propriety, Savvy explained to us that Gazi apparently has very strange beliefs about their own real age.
“One day, Gazi broke down at the club crying, talking about how they ‘trans-age,’ that they believe they are a 16–17 year old girl,” she claims.
Without disclosing any further details that we know of, but can’t responsibly print on this site, Red Voice trusts our readers to draw their own conclusions about the dangers of such a belief for a thirty-five year old, self-proclaimed “Hollywood pimp,” with a very poor idea of consent and of appropriate sexual boundaries.
And that, according to Savvy, is the sick domestic regime of Augustus, “stunt queen from Atlanta,” stripped of all the nonsense political slogans, and glossy filters for the Gram. An abusive and closely guarded slave camp for its starved and fearful hostages, some of them still under the drinking age. “Defended” by a pliant pretorian guard of cis males, who threaten members with bodily harm and even death, just to keep from being brutalized themselves. Ruled by one of the more ignorant, soulless, and self-hating worms to ever crawl out the Negro bourgeoisie, and try to front like some revolutionary, sent here to save us, not enslave us.
It’s midsummer now. For his birthday, Gazi’s partner wanted to visit their hometown, affluent Stone Mountain. Like nearly everything else in Gazi’s life, Savvy was made responsible for planning this event. When she got home, she was made responsible for picking up birthday dinner, too.
Apparently, Gazi’s plate had tilted in the bag, and some of the sauce from their dish had spilled out. Gazi called Savvy an “incompetent b*tch” and told her she had to self-criticize (write a report stating her error and how she will do better). They then confiscated some weed and a bit of moonshine that Savvy had to herself, announcing “you can’t have that anymore.”
The next morning, at 7:30, Savvy woke up to Gazi screaming at her about their Facebook, and commanding her to go stand outside, before she had even had a chance to use the bathroom. While outside, she noticed that she was being removed from various Black Hammer chats. She received a text from SG Anco, telling her that she was going to be moved by the organization yet again (one of Gazi’s favorite forms of threat).
“At that point I just snapped. I went inside and started packing my stuff to get away from there.”
That’s when Gazi came downstairs, and told her to stop yelling in the house. When she showed defiance, Gazi had the male Defense members swarm her.
Fearful of being attacked by three grown men, she pulled a knife out and told them “I’ll hurt all you b*tches.”
At this point, the three Defense goons grabbed her, and one of them dragged her outside, while she screamed for help.
“That’s when I started turning up outside, messing up all the patio furniture.”
Inside, Gazi was doing something more destructive—pouring bleach on all Savvy’s clothes, and her suitcase, too. Then they threw her belongings out on the street.
Thankfully, Savvy was able to get in contact with a cousin who lived in Georgia, one of the few relatives with whom she has contact. As she made her way to her cousin’s house, Gazi began doing what many domestic abusers do: calling her non-stop, pretending to be apologetic. They claimed that if Savvy stayed with the organization, she could live at the North Carolina house instead. Savvy reluctantly agreed, but she did so with a plan.
“I thought, Let me get the info I need to get these people out [of the cult].” But it would not be that easy.
In late July, the New York chapter of Black Hammer Organization publicly denounced Gazi Kodzo as a serial abuser and grifter. (This was apparently in response to Gazi’s attempted defamation of one of the East Coast membership as an “alleged” pedophile, though Red Voice has not had the chance to interview with the interested parties for clearer details.) In their denunciation, among a litany of other horrendous accusations, the New York chapter cited Savvy’s physical assault and the destruction of her clothes.
Gazi saw the writing on the wall and panicked, and decided to do what they always do when their comrades leave them: put together a public show of support for Gazi.
In this case, they had the North Carolina chapter drive for hours to the Atlanta Hammer House, so that they could YouTube livestream a group response to the accusations being made against Gazi. That is when, Savvy alleges, the visiting Hammers were intimidated with guns, and Savvy was compelled to present a false testimony about the experience around her assault.
The NC Hammers had brought [name redacted] with them. The chief, who reportedly was brought into their Hammer House as the result of an outreach in a park, had been houseless, and suffered from epileptic seizures, during which time they would inflict harm on themselves. The Hammers took him in, looked after him, learned how to properly attend to him during one of his episodes.
During the livestream, the loud activity of Gazi and the other Hammers triggered one of these episodes. Gazi began essentially “faith-healing” [name redacted], and can be heard whispering affirmations to him, apparently to calm him down so that the show could continue, when what he needed was medical intervention.
Not only was this a window into the true cult nature of the ATL Hammer House for the Carolina chiefs: the entire world could see that something was terribly wrong here, that life in Black Hammer was looking a lot more like a bunker of the abused, gaslighted, and coerced.
But there was still another reason for this gathering, according to Savvy. Gazi wanted her back at the Hammer House. They reportedly got on their knees and begged Savvy to return and act as Chief of Staff again. Here was the emotional manipulation that was the carrot to the sticks held by Gazi’s private security force.
So, when the other Hammers returned to NC, Savvy and [name redacted] had to stay, in a house where she felt the next conflict could lead to her death. But she was already preparing for her second escape.
“The day I knew I was gonna leave, I had already talked to the people in the NC chapter. I spent that whole day packing up my stuff. I was tryna get [name redacted] out, but I knew he would compromise the escape.” (Gazi had apparently begun the process of intensively love-bombing this person, who would later make strong accusations of abuse against Savvy and the other NC Hammers.)
Gazi was apparently suspicious, and had Defense take away Savvy’s phone. But she didn’t care, she needed to be out, that night.
“I finessed my way outside for a smoke break in the rain and just disappeared. Defense was right at the door, and defense stay with guns. I had to run barefoot in the rain, in the middle of the night.”
Eventually Savvy made her way back to the NC House. She left her phone, which Gazi quickly destroyed, but she brought her life and her sanity with her. Now she mainly hammers nails into the coffin of the dying Black Hammer Organization.
These days, BHO is a shivering shell of its old self. Savvy estimates that there may be two dozen active members in the whole country, a considerable drop from its peak membership of several hundred. The old sources of external revenue have mostly dried up, since everybody in the US left know’s what’s up with that fool Gazi now. Most of the remaining membership is concentrated in the Atlanta Hammer House, where Gazi and their hostages are reportedly on the verge of eviction.
In their latest streams, Augustus Romain looks haggard, confused, angry, and frightened. And they should be. If these accusations are all true, they have left a trail of abuse at least as long as any of the destructive cults that have recently garnered national attention, such as NXIVM or “Love Has Won,” and they have done so before the really big payday.
Each week, it seems, another hostage in the Hammer House manages to escape. Our writers recently spoke with one escapee who claims that they were basically a domestic servant for Gazi Kodzo, and that Kodzo would punish them for unsatisfactory work by denying them hospital visits, leading to the degeneration of their lifelong physical illness. Another hostage is the child of a former US State Department official; still another is the child of a prominent Democratic attorney in the state of Kentucky.
By consciously choosing to become a cult leader, Gazi had stepped into an exceedingly dangerous game, one they were never smart or disciplined enough for, and now Esu is catching up with them.
Still, a lifelong fool will remain a fool until they have no life left. Gazi is trying everything they can to rebrand, since all their bridges are burned as a “communist revolutionary.” Recently, they tried to exploit the tropical storm Ida crisis in New Orleans, by bringing care packages to (mainly unaffected) residents.
That gimmick didn’t work to get the attention of Charlamagne, Saweetie, and other celebrities that they tagged on their social media photo-ops. So now they’re posing as “Barbz” (Nicki Minaj fans) instead of Black Hammer revolutionaries, and leading small anti-vaxx protests outside the CDC, after the style of the Westboro Baptist Church, in the miserable hope of riding the rapper’s clout to all-important fame.
Gazi has also been sharing Tweets from Candace Owens, Black darling of the far right, and threatening to sic the Proud Boys and ICE on their former chiefs. In all likelihood, if Black Hammer somehow survives, their dwindling sect will make a sharp turn toward anti-communism and bare-faced reaction—like the LaRouche cult, after their own wrecker activity had isolated them from the entire Trotskyist left, and forced them to turn to fascist groups for financial aid.
You can run left, or you can run right, reactionary scum. There’s not a corner of this earth where the ancestors won’t see you, and turn whatever you try into dust. “Ma’at” is an ancient word that means “justice,” Augustus. Yours is coming.
Pt. 4: Theoretical and Practical Lessons for the Struggle (Conclusion)
Conclusion to the Series (by Nsambu Za Suekama)
If you have made it to this installment in the series, you are probably reeling from all the details. And you are probably wondering what must be done next.
Even before the publication of this article series, there was a wave of denunciations and even disaffiliations over the last few weeks regarding Black Hammer Organization in general, and Gazi Kodzo in particular (and/or the cult of personality that has been allowed to form around Gazi through social media and the other horrid means detailed here). Those developments simultaneously led to but also were made possible by the work that went into this document; but, more importantly, they need to be understood as part of a broader reckoning in the Black and Third World revolutionary struggle. That reckoning has to do with past and ongoing histories of abuse, cult-like dynamics, individualism, clout, de jure and de facto hierarchies, and the gendered labor divisions, assumptions, and violence these all tend to rely on and reinforce.
This reckoning has had reverberations throughout the Left, across radical tendencies, and most significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as heightening climate catastrophes, and the anti-police rebellions that ensued after the murder of George Floyd. From well known political formations such as the PSL, to IWOC/IWW contradictions, to Black Rose/Rosa Negra, and even the MOVE organization, to lesser known movement spaces, radical projects, affinity groups, collectives, alliances, parties, and more. All are being shaken up by a sharpened resistance to and refusal among colonized folk especially Black ones to accept the dynamics of clout, hierarchy (both formal and informal), abuse, individualism, and gender exploitation, which often imbricate upon one another. And this reckoning has had theoretical, practical, methodological, procedural, intracommunal, interpersonal, and individual implications.
That this upheaval within our movements/organizations is happening whilst the bourgeoisie continues to use cultural representation of gender/sexual issues to either push liberal or conservative agendas, is a sure sign that if we are to speak of colonialism as a primary contradiction in the class struggle, which the revolutionary Black/Third World Left is known for: then we must amend Du Bois’ poignant observation. Where the problem of the 20th century is the color line, a relation of domination between the Man and the darker peoples of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific; the problem of the 21st century is that said “color line’’ is threaded at the nexus of gendered labor divisions/institutions/contradictions (and the values and practices traced back to them). Thus, all anti-capitalist liberation struggles among the colonized and oppressed, which are indeed the only true way to address the mounting economic and health and ecological issues we see building around us today, must confront them if we are to truly achieve full communism and autonomy for all peoples and sustainability for our ecosystem. Black Hammer Organization, however, and a great number of organizations claiming to be anti-colonial, have failed to meet this need. Instead there is a sort of ideological “pick me”/“tap dancing” energy very prominent, where folks like Gazi will declare that before they were “woke” they would make sexuality important to their sense of self, as if to be revolutionary then requires a type of asceticism for queer/trans people (akin to the race-first logics of cultural nationalists). Pronouncements like that are not simply about personal lifestyle choices, but a political commitment that is shaped in bourgeois/colonial logic.
Yes, the cult was queer-led, and claimed to be queer affirming/inclusive. It’s not enough, though, to have queer representation in the anti-colonial Left. Gender/sexuality is not as simple as the conversations on identity we are so used to, nor the conversations on styles of dress, on pronouns and labels and names, on presentation and performance and affect, on attraction and intimacy and the like, or even on genetics/biology; although all of these phenomena are to some degree involved in the equation. Scientifically speaking, all supposedly “fixed” biological distinctions, the real phenotypical and genetic variations and diversity within our species that has been marked as “race” and “sex”: like our various skin colors, curl patterns and hair textures, nose shapes, gonad formations and other reproductive organs, hormonal levels, neurotypes, eye colors, body shapes, and more have to do with how social positions deriving from political histories and culture specific modes of organization relate to and exploit and limit our “nature.” Our brains/bodies have a certain natural potentiality for a range of expressions and experiences, though predisposed toward none; we cannot be reduced to them, because societal structures are the most significant factor in how these become shaped into identities and behavioral norms. Hence, Frantz Fanon once wrote that “beside phylogeny and ontogeny stand sociogeny,” and as we learn from Sylvia Wynter, the latter is always a question of class, so much so that we have to acknowledge two things. One, that we are a nature-culture species, not just nature, and two, that we evolve as such dialectically, which requires a materialist standpoint. The way we socially understand and live out and culturally embody and even transform our natural diversities has an economic base to it. Class struggle is key, and a failure to correctly apply it to marginalized genders in the anti-colonial context is what allowed for everything described here to unfold.
As Black revolutionaries and Third Worldists, our materialism must emphasize that national liberation is the horizon within which our class consciousness develops. So, if we are to discuss the economic basis of gender ontology, that has to involve theorizing gender/sexual developments as part of a process that is endogenous to our uniquely African histories on this planet, including our histories of revolutionary participation. The term “endogenous” refers to any phenomenon, resource, any data, any object that is emerging or is discernible within the context of a given biological, social, or other kind of system, based on its dynamics and interactions and development. The Marxists historically looked past the endogenous processes within African life that influenced how Black people would eventually arrive at anti-capitalist struggle. Comrade Marcus Brown once spoke of these phenomena as an “internal dynamism” in Black Against Profit, pt. III: The African Mode of Production, speaking of them as an “innate capacity to develop progressively into freer, more democratic, and more technically advanced social configurations.” The comrade examines, using the scholarship of Cheikh Anta Diop, the development of these organizational patterns in African life, and points out the racist mischaracterization on part of Marxists which deemed our consciousness as tied to a supposed “Asiatic mode of production,” and so located the seat of revolutionary class consciousness in the European proletariat because of a Eurocentric teleology regarding certain relations within African nations (such as so-called “caste” or the development of the Egyptian state).
Cedric Robinson wrote Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, to offer a corrective about our history of struggle as well, displacing the dehumanizing view of African radical activity as merely “superstructural” and unable to grasp class struggle, and thereby challenged Western Marxist chauvinism. And so have other Afrikan thinkers, from Samir Amin to Kwame Nkrumah, to W.E.B Du Bois, and many others, each offering explanations of Black struggle that prioritize our role in our own unique histories and the objective challenge to the bourgeois order we continue to pose because of these endogenous social realities.
But the chauvinism characteristic of the white Marxist view of endogenous African development re: the class struggle has yet to be challenged to the fullest degree. Instead, it’s been carried into our movements, leaving the gender/sexual lifeways endogenous to African contexts throughout our history underexplored. Black women scholars, like Oyeronke Oyewumi (who theorized the unique “worldsense” that outlined African, especially Yoruba gender ontology) in The Invention of Women, and Ifi Amadiume (who looks at the practice of female husbandry in West African societies) in Male Daughters, Female Husbands, as well as other marginalized gender Black radicals, such as Yannenga Toure, a Black Two-Head radical and author of the “Two Head Manifesto” have taken time to analyze these legacies. Following this, we would see, as Sage Hunt, Afro-Native nonbinary transfeminine revolutionary theorist has written, that gender is clearly a “modality through which class is lived.” With that in mind, relations to the mode of production, whether that be the village and communal modes which were predominant in Africa, and even the other modes, less sedentary ones, as well as the less fluid, more somewhat feudalistic modes, all involve gender ontology as a material question. But overall, the Anti-colonial Left has neglected to transect these phenomena, and they have painted all concerns about this as “metaphysical” just like the white Left does to Black radicalisms. And so gender often remains and continues to remain somewhat undertheorized within the historical anti-colonial Left despite surface level appeals to the need for self-determination over our collective societal development. This is an undialectical bypassing of the full weight of our history as African people, and is a residue of white supremacy, and thus extremely vulnerable to opportunism and a culture of abuse and apologism
History would show us that cisheteronormativity is a set of values, institutions, labor divisions, and social practices that is both European in origin, and part of the capitalist order. The prevalence of a biological reduced, binary, hierarchical kinship system and mode of self-understanding that upholds heteronormative gender/sexual codes is only a universal, global assumption now because of how racial capitalism transformed and subordinated pre-existing approaches in indigenous contexts. This fact is seldom discussed or organized against, at least not adequately, in the established anti-colonial Left. On the occasions that this is acknowledged, it is simply said that “Homophobia is unAfrican” (to challenge the neocolonial falsehood that “homosexuality is unAfrican”), which is thus a nature-culture appeal. For example, at a rally following the Queer Liberation March of 2020, Black Hammer Organization showed up and announced something along the lines of “before colonialism, all of our people loved and lived as they wanted.” While it was an acknowledgment of our more inclusive African social relations to the diversity of sexual experience in our species, it did not address the problem materially. As in, this theory of gender ontology was not attuned to the question of economic modes of production and all the structures and hierarchical organizational patterns and labor relegations that that implies, and the implications of this all for modern class struggle. It was functionally useless, because idealist (alongside being a homogenized account). And of course it was, otherwise Black Hammer Organization would have had to examine their own gender contradictions, and especially that of Gazi. The cult’s gender commentary was therefore opportunistic and self-serving, and as comrade Shupavu made clear this was a holdover from a similar opportunistic and self-serving relationship to queerness that went into why Gazi was recruited to the movement in the first place by Omali Yeshitela. In order to call these things as they are, we need a full picture of the Black radical relation to the gender/sexual struggle, and it needs to be more than just a question of cultural acceptance: it has to be materially grounded, thinking about ideology and labor and praxis.
Other anti-colonial Left organizations make immaterial accounts of gender as well, and this can be identified as resulting from a similar investment as to what led white Marxists to insist on anti-black interpretations of African history. White people have identifiable reasons for maintaining a superiority complex across political affiliations. Even if they purport to be anti-racist, their class interest is generally informed by the fact of a primitive and ongoing accumulation at the root of capital, that is visited upon the Third World. The basis of capitalism is this racialized, “organized, protected robbery” of resources and labor in the colonies, plantations, the prisons, the occupied territories and favelas and rez and barrios and Hoods etc; this gives white people an economic reason, even if rarely acknowledged, to prioritize their civilizational dominance and hierarchies and chauvinism. Whether liberal, conservative, or leftist, this problem shows up. Thus, even as Marx could acknowledge that white labor struggles could find no true emancipation where Black oppression persisted, a failure to extend that conclusion to a truly anti-colonial politic was ingrained in the Marxist tradition. When we look at the anti-colonial Left, then, we must understand that there is a correlated material context for the chauvinism and ideological neglect around gender/sexual contradictions too. As Comrade Sage once put it, in the process of primary accumulation, and the forced transformation of communal land relations, labor relations also needed to be transformed; and comrade g, another TMA Black revolutionary, emphasizes that to “make way for a singular, overdetermined labor relation,” required the “paving over” of “already existing gendered relations in Africa... themselves bound in labor.” Built into the violence of imperialism and slavery was the imposition of cisheteropatriarchal patterns of organization and labor assignation. The Anarkata Statement reminds us that these were mystified through religious myth, ethnocentric notions of “human,” and later pseudoscientific naturalisms. Again, this makes the “color line” something threaded by bourgeois gender/sexual institutions. Unsurprisingly, anti-colonial Leftists will, then quote Mao Zedong who once said that “women hold up half the sky,” and make gestures toward women’s liberation, but never question the cissexist/binary view of the general composition of humanity underlying this sentiment. As such they will then relegate cis women revolutionaries to a position of super-exploitation that is a holdover from bourgeois norms in the nuclear family, limiting cis women to “queendom and pedestals,” to the role of a gun-carrying baby-maker.
Similarly, in an organization like BHO, despite queer leadership/membership, there will be exploitation of the labor of marginalized gender folks, and outright violence, and a culture of constant disrespect toward QTGNC peoples and histories and issues. For example, while Gazi’s most well known sensationalistic and xenophobic take was “fuck Anne Frank,” an antisemitic notion disguised as a valid anti-colonial critique, it must be discussed that months prior, Gazi had declared “fuck Zaya Wade,” in a manner equally sensationalistic and xenophobic. Gazi tried to disguise this transmisogynoir toward a teenage girl behind the idea that Zaya Wade is a “class traitor.” Just like their disrespect of Anne Frank was wrapped up in the idea that the young preteen was “a colonizer.” In both cases, it was difficult to distinguish between Gazi’s supposed anti-colonial Left ideology, and that of a right-winger in the cisheteropatriarchal and Abrahamic religious cultural nationalist mold. Reactionaries will always make a scapegoat out of vulnerable individuals upon which to project working class/colonized frustrations. Gender is the linking thread here, and many of the non-Black Third World peoples as well as the white folks in the organization and beyond were happy to participate in or fail to condemn these antisemitic and anti-Black maGe discourses.
The kinds of biases described above are because matter precedes mind, as any truly “scientific” revolutionary should know. Many of our most well known African/Third World revolutionaries were and are shaped in patterns of organization, in relations, in labor divisions, and in overall frames of reference that are cisheteropatriarchal in their very orientation and origin. That comes with the advent of colonialism: for with the imposition of bourgeois relations came the erasure of gender/sexual lifeways that deviated from cisheteronormative propriety. This aided in the atomization and dispossession and overall divide-and-rule actions the Man needed to subjugate us, and even dislocated us from cultural traditions that were a source of unity and self-understanding and which had on some occassions been held by gender/sexually variant people under certain endogenously allocated labor roles. The “internal dynamism” of African societies that was arrested by Western capitalism, therefore, included endogenous gender/sexual realities. One has to consciously be struggling around these questions, both practically and theoretically; but many do not, because the mainstream order of things is that toward which they are predisposed and from which they are a beneficiary, or that they wish to exploit (indeed, Gazi took advantage of gender domination for their own ends, whether it was using armed cis men to control members, or manipulating the economic instability alot of young colonized queer and trans folk face). This will always lead to limitations in the espoused radicalism of anti-colonial Left organizations. And this issue manifests in different ways, some more egregious than others, but it shares a material basis in all cases nonetheless. We can look to Black cishet male revolutionaries like Huey Newton, who were able to acknowledge that he had a gender/sexual bias against marginalized gender peoples that was analogous to the reactionary ways that white working class people took out their economic frustrations on him as a Black person. It is not simply that homophobia is unAfrican, then: homophobia and transantagonism, especially transmisogynoir, is a reactionary insistence on a certain both material and civilizational interest, one structured under racial capitalism. And failing to conscientiously struggle against these tendencies as such is how, even as Huey Newton acknowledged the fascistic basis for his own and his comrades’ biases, and warned folks in the movement not to hastily view gender/sexual liberation struggle as a white/bourgeois strategy against Black people (which, ironically, is the exact opposite of what Gazi/BHO and their supporters have been arguing), Newton was still himself rabidly patriarchal in how he conducted himself as a revolutionary, and abusively so. Furthermore, Kwame Ture, beloved pioneer in the struggle, most commonly associated with both the phrase “homophobia is un-African” and with “Black Power,” still managed to once use trans pursuits of gender affirming care as an example of how much the ruling class would rather support presumably frivolous activities than Black struggle, which is a transphobic, reactionary analysis.
None of the before stated is just abstraction. As argued in an older piece titled “Femme Queen, Warior Queen: Beyond Representation, Toward Self-Determination,” bad theory and bad practice are always linked. Ideological chauvinism around gender liberation is tied to why the anti-colonial Left will platform, enable, protect, and form united fronts with entire cults, or at least fail to denounce the same: even regarding destructive ones such as the NOI or the APSP, or, as we are discussing here, Black Hammer Organization. Because at least these appear to them as “organized” against white power, at least they “do good work,” or at least they “get things done,” and give out masks and food and hold events, etc. etc. etc. and at least they occasionally mention Black marginalized gender issues, at least they echo Malcolm about who the most disrespected is at times. All the while, never challenging the gendered assumptions and praxis (a central component to the very racial capitalist system we claim to be fighting against!) that is most often the thread undergirding the labor divisions, procedures, values, and infrastructures, as well as ideological persuasions, involved in the entire project. Abuse and all manner of manipulation and literal exploitation can be and often is bypassed and overlooked because of this failure to consciously struggle against cisheteropatriarchal norms.
The ideological neglect, based in chauvinism, allows movements to not question the hierarchy and rigidity and cults of personality formed around great and strong individuals or units and deference to single sites of authority in these organizations who get credit and attention and even bread from the blood, sweat, and tears of members under them. The ideological neglect and chauvinism leaves unexamined the voracious almost evangelical/fundamentalist ways each of them wants to be the agent of revolutionary change, the vanguard who has the correct line and “out-organizes” everyone else, and the grift and manipulation that often hides behind these zealous declarations. Ideological neglect and chauvinism will also not question the fact that such values and procedural or methodological infrastructures are inculcated in bourgeois institutions like the church and nuclear family. To say nothing of the fact that it puts a spotlight on figures or formations that, when wiped out by the enemy or by their own internal contradictions, means the diffusion of revolutionary consciousness and necessary movement infrastructures and comradely bonds is slowed down or brought to a halt (let’s think about the revolving door in Black Hammer membership). And, further, it allows for the elevation of individual personality flaws and horrors to the level of antagonistic contradiction (as was so commonly taken advantage of by COINTELPRO to disrupt movement last century).
What does it say about the anti-colonial Left in an age of celebrity “activism” (AOC at the Met; CBS producing a show like “The Activist”; and all the Derays and Shaun Kings), a wholly bourgeois and counterinsurgent phenomenon, that a YouTuber like Gazi was catapulted to prominence, with catastrophic consequences, in part with the help of organizations in our movement? It’s the residue of ruling class ideology and gendered political values that allowed people to get wrapped up in Black Hammer’s antics.
And that is why these formations and milieus are so vulnerable to even non-fed wreckers who come and undermine revolutionary organizations, like the one under consideration in this document. The established anti-colonial Left’s chauvinism and ideological neglect prevents them from fully grasping the value in what INCITE! meant by “misogynists make great informants.” They cannot appreciate that it is as much a question of principles and care for all our people as it is a question of operational security and militant praxis to observe how gender violence and the techniques used to shield it destroy movements and dovetail with pig work. Only an acknowledgement that the emancipation of gender/sexuality is essential to the endogenous Third World national dynamics by which we fight for class liberation could have led the organizers in INCITE! to name how the same deceitful behaviors that allow an abuser to hide their deeds or manipulate sympathy and excuses from folk proximal to them are the exact strategies used by agents of the State infiltrating our movements. And this same acknowledgement, that the problem of the color line is threaded at the nexus of gender/sexuality as a material question, is why more broadly, QTGNC and marginalized gender Africans have identified that when the negrosie needs to distract the people they are exploiting from identifying the pressures of class oppression and amelioration, they will simply whip up fervor around homosexuality through appeals to defending “sovereignty.” Here, the source of deprivation is identified as a Queer/trans problem, juxtaposed against a reactionary nationalism, which is a mystificatory narrative.
Few of the most major anti-colonial Left voices, however, have admitted this when speaking on the composition and strategies of the puppet/misleadership class in this neocolonial age. Just like a good number of them could not predict the monstrosities that would come out of BHO, and did not make attempts to adequately struggle against them. And why would they, when majority of them are used to and/or benefit from the relative degrees of safety, access, ideological commitments and behavioral sanction of cisheteronormative institutions such as the nuclear family, certain religions, education systems, medical industries, the State, etc. thereby sharing adjacent subjective contradictions and even interests as the outright reactionaries? Matter precedes mind, once again, and the weight of a cisheteronormative history, a material question, has imbricated upon our movements to create a certain ideological inertia that can only be addressed through consciously synthesizing from within.
Everyone, including queer, trans, gender nonconforming folk in Third World/colonized contexts need to understand these lessons. No population is inherently radical or inherently reactionary: what’s decisive is how we choose to synthesize the material conditions with the endogenous dynamics unfolding in our histories of societal development. There was a time when the national liberation struggle was not class conscious; it took conscious struggle against internal contradictions in order for anti-capitalism to more visibly become a staple of Black nationalist politics. The African Blood Brotherhood made a similar observation, back in 1922, when they announced their program:
“A race without a program is like a ship at sea without a rudder. It is absolutely at the mercy of the elements. It is buffeted hither and thither and in a storm is bound to flounder. It is in such a plight as this that the Negro race has drifted for the past fifty years and more. Rarely ever did it know exactly what it was seeking and never once did it formulate any intelligent and workable plan of getting what it was seeking, even in the rare instances when it did know what it wanted.”
The Black struggle had at a time demonstrated one qualitative phase of development (a non-class conscious one) that began to give way to a markedly distinct qualitative phase (a class conscious one) only because of the efforts of organizations like the ABB and many others, especially going into the civil rights movements and the mid-to-late 20th century militant decolonization movements. The white Left, however, being chauvinistic, would often dismiss Black and Third World concerns on the mere account of our self-determined interaction with the anti-capitalist movement, which did not pattern their frame of reference. So, they refused to operate in solidarity with many of our organizations, both theoretically and practically. They essentially spat on the ship and wagged their fingers at the tired seasick sailors trying to find a way to guide it home to port, causing a number of our ancestors to break away from alliance with them.
When it comes to the roadblocks in class consciousness along gender/sexual lines, where the ship is still finding its way, both for cisgender/heterosexual people and for QTGNC people, a similar thing is happening. A conscious struggle is needed in order to achieve a higher unity and the next phase in ideological evolution (ie, the ship needs revolutionaries who understand what it takes to build its rudder). But, just as the chauvinists in the white Marxist (and anarchist) settings isolate and even work against Black and Third World radicals that try/tried to do so, Black/Third World women and other marginalized gender radicals have had to either wrestle with or break away from the historical left because of the chauvinistic refusal of solidarity from supposed comrades and allies who also worked against us. Claudia Jones, Frances Beal, the Combahee River Collective are examples of this from the last century; but it is still prominent now. The ship needs a coxswain or a few, yet cishet radicals and even marginalized gender radicals who unite with their chauvinism wag their fingers at those of us who are training ourselves for the task.
These refusals to extend self-determination in this way are wholly connected to many of the conservative, radlib, and neoliberal tendencies the Left likes to critique. Gazi was an entire QTGNC revolutionary anti-colonialist who kept pushing Hotep-like analyses of Black cis male oppression and calling for violence against trans Black women just like these reactionary forces do, and who visited violence and abuse and labor exploitation onto several Black women and other marginalized genders with the help of white/non-Black cis comrades. Then, there are QTGNC Black Lives Matter organizers speaking of “abundance” in the way prosperity ministers do and even going on right-wing platforms like the Breakfast Club to justify their grift, and echoing support of white imperialist politicians. And there are whole Queer- run Black Leftist publications and radio shows pushing the same lines about feminist/queer movements that go into why misleadership in places like Ghana and Nigeria are legislating against QTGNC rights (the latter of which is being facilitated by white religious movements partnering with local governments). Here, then, the white left’s anti-blackness converging with white liberal/conservative reaction, is translated into a bias in our movements along gender/sexual lines that dovetails with parallel biases in bourgeois society across nations, all with the same impact.
And that’s why, after the 2020 rebellions, when the right-wing insists on protecting the nuclear family alongside defending the nation, ratcheting up both the police state and anti-trans/anti-abortion legislation; we have anti-colonial Left voices piling on “identity politics” and related topics more vociferously than they are actually denouncing cisheteropatriarchy and organizing against it! Self-described revolutionaries tailing the ruling class? This, by the way, is the same thing the white Left did after the election of Trump in 2016, with dismissal of “wokeness.” The latter should not be surprising for us, as the divide in the working class is maintained at the color line. But, reductive anti-colonialists, whether cisgender/heterosexual or not, who dismiss or fail to fully apprehend the gender/sexual horizons of the struggle for both self-determination and class liberation, are no different theoretically or practically, from the white reductionists who have been so historically chauvinistic and antagonistic toward Black and Third World movement. Perhaps that’s why the two camps worked together so closely in BHO (and in cults like APSP who BHO patterned themselves on); and why in other organizations both camps have a discursive unity with the conservatives’ insistence on cisheteropatriarchy and anti-feminism in particular.
Is any of this advancing our struggle? Not when certain Black people have chosen to avoid Left politics because of an overrepresentation of whiteness within the anti-capitalist movement. They feel alienated. In this way we lose potential comrades. And, similarly, some QTGNC folk in particular have avoided the Left because of an overrepresentation of cisheteropatriarchy and abuse within the same. Because of alienation. More potential comrades lost. Then the liberals exploit this, encouraging folk to stick with and try to reform the system they know intimately (capitalism and the State); hence the popularity of representation politics, rather than be “fooled” into trying to join liberatory movements that promise something better but that end up an “authoritarian” nightmare behind the scenes. We lose comrades because of these myths.
Is any of this advancing a united front? It is difficult to disprove propaganda from the enemy, if we insist on chauvinism, invalidating legitimate concerns about exclusion and violence and abuse and manipulation that lend certain stories credence. Gazi is just a very extreme example of what’s being described here, and so it was with a few of those who have helped them rise to and remain in prominence. Again, that is what will happen when you refuse to ideologically deal with developments endogenous to our national and gender experiences, to see their implications for class struggle. Like the white left marginalizing Black interests, Gazi/BHO, and their acolytes and supporters across races and tendencies held to a resounding refusal to synthesize specific histories and concerns of the QTGNC struggle with anti-colonial Left ideology. They insisted on calling “intersectionality” a white supremacist project. In an atmosphere like that, of course the dynamics that enable abuse to persist can go hidden.
The ideological chauvinism had practical implications. There was complete erasure and lack of political education around the origins of the modern QTGNC movement as it relates to uprisings and lumpenized labor organizations led by Third World women of trans experience such as the gorls of STAR during the 70s era anti-colonial upheavals. Certain values, praxis, theoretical concerns cannot be synthesized in a movement when you bypass endogenous developments like this in our history. And that’s why a failure to name, anticipate or respond to abuse in a principled way is so common. The need to build a rudder for the ship, borrowing once more from the words of the ABB, was neither acknowledged nor consciously struggled for. Instead, the ship was allowed to verse the high seas without direction, while some claiming to be vanguards either scoffed from the shore or they climbed aboard pretending to steer it, though they lacked the tools to do so, as they knew nothing of the waves or the winds or the stars and navigation, and simply let the most vulnerable rot at the bottom of the hold, and led folk, particularly youth, including underage ones, into destruction. And what came of that? All of the horrors we went over in this document, and then some.
True political education and a culture of genuine revolutionary learning and practice is the only thing that would have allowed folk to identify this stuff from jump and act against it. It is not enough for folk to call themselves “scientific” revolutionaries, Nkrumahists, Marxists/Leninists, Maoists, or whatever other persuasion, too, all while maintaining a movement atmosphere and ideological milieu built on reaction to reaction and vice versa; not dialectics. Gazi’s antics could hardly be critiqued effectively when the self-described materialists around them had only learned to theorize gender by way of cissexist idealists like Tommy Curry (who believes sexualized racism against Black cishet men absolves them of patriarchal violence), Frances Cress Welsing (who believes white supremacy is primarily motivated by fear of Black cishet male virility), Clenora Hudson Weems (who sees Black feminism as divisive and prefers a “holistic” gender politics that is cissexist/heterosexist instead) when discussing gender contradiction. Gazi’s antics could hardly be critiqued effectively when the self-described queer radicals of the Left had only learned to theorize gender struggles by misusing Sylvia Wynter and Hortense Spillers’ critiques about the colonial basis of modern cisheteropatriarchy to idealize precolonial Africa as genderless and all Black people as essentially nonbinary. Gazi’s antics could hardly be critiqued effectively while the ship still lacks a rudder, while no synthesis toward higher unity is being advanced, while bad theoretical moves steeped in chauvinism and class interests mask horrible practices like gender violence and abuse. Even sadder is that due to all this, attempts to establish a better precedent on part of some Black/Third World radicals, particularly trans and nonbinary, especially trans woman, transfeminine, and transmisogyny-affected (TMA) ones, were being and are still being dismissed. There is still reactionary criticism upon reactionary criticism compounding, and all this shitslinging, and divisiveness, and hot takes, sensationalistic media titles (“fuck black history month” and “feminism is inherently bourgeois”), incendiary commentary (like those which denied the literal existence of a Black elder and political prisoner), intentional internet controversy campaigns (“operation storm of white tears”), and endless podcasts and breadtubes with surface level analysis akin to the revolving door of mainstream media reporting, rants that sound more like Shade Room comment sections, and exclusionary academic panel-style events led by wanna-be public intellectual types, the courting of celebrities, and overall reliance on the marketing apparatus that is social media (even to the point of mistaking mere popular education and even populism for political education and conscientization). Does any of this advance the struggle?
Black Hammer Organization’s inconsistency at the theoretical level, their lack of cohesive understanding on colonialism and gender struggles, and the way that provided a smokescreen to cover the abusive and cult-like dynamics: it is made possible by a general problem on the anti-colonial Left where gender and hierarchy are seldom confronted materially. And this milieu is still driving more wedges, still keeps alienating potential comrades from the anti-colonial Left, and it shields chauvinists, and though you can scratch a chauvinist, and almost always either find an apologist for abuse or an actual abuser, like what happened with Gazi, these radicals are mystified as our movements are so rife with the people like the latter, and so they can’t even effectively protect themselves or anyone else from these wreckers, just dusting their hands or looking the other way when the damage is done, or claiming that discussion of these things is a tool of the white Man. Sounds just like how abuse culture happens in the bourgeois world, right? The same stuff that led to a #MeToo movement? Interesting.... The anti-colonial Left must take this moment as indication about how necessary it is to parse embourgeoisement in our spaces. And we can only walk through the manifestations thereof by paying attention to the gendered/sexual contradictions that provide a throughline.
Counterinsurgency is heavily reliant on celebrity activism and social media to water down and misrepresent radical ideas, and the problem of cults and hierarchy, which are gendered problems, is a perfect doorway to these bourgeois tendencies infecting our spaces. All Gazi did was foster a significantly horrible version of an alignment between an old problem and new realities that the rest of our movement hasn’t fully grappled with yet. An organization like Black Hammer could rise to prominence without much opposition as a result of not dealing with this. To the point of being defended despite its egregious doings, and its astounding liberalism, its lack of cohesive scientific analysis or ideology or operational security, and its outright campaigns against other revolutionaries (in which BHO deemed us “opposition” or “enemies”). There is no valid reason that criticism of these issues was dismissed so readily and enthusiastically, or at least not taken seriously, save that there is unpreparedness on the anti-colonial Left to confront gender contradictions as a material/labor/praxis question. If something is not done about this immediately, at theoretical and procedural, and interpersonal and individual levels, at organizational and intracommunal levels, we will see the increased magnification of individualism, of cults of personality and of abuse and the apologism and shielding around the same, as well as grift and opportunism, to the point that there would cease to be a meaningful distinction between a “radical” space and a “radlib” or even “alt-right” space. With the gamut of tactics used by BHO to supposedly propagandize and politically educate that we have seen, the lines here are already blurred. And gender violence, especially (trans)misogynoir, will always be the tell.
There is a web that must be detangled, ultimately, and it is threaded in gendered contradictions that stem from or are reaction to cisheteropatriarchy. It’s this that enabled the rise of BHO/Gazi, which that formation unfortunately took to absolutely depraved extremes, but which much of the anti-colonial Left is guilty of either participating in or failing to meaningfully struggle against. One may say that correlation ain’t causation, but correlation requires a look at the context that shapes a certain connection: and as regards cults, gender violence, etc, a context entrenched in organizational methodologies which value individualism and visibility and one-dimensional expressions of radical thought, that see other ideologies as competition (reminds us, competition on the Left is a residue of capitalist market logic), that regard “the masses’’ as tabulae rasae who must be proselytized with the gospel of Marx or Lenin or Mao or Nkrumah or whomever, often cannot address the issue, see it coming, and they will even stand by it and make excuses or sweep narratives under the rug. And it is because their values come from the same gendered histories and institutions that already rely on abuse and manipulation. Every true revolutionary must have a commitment to extricating themselves from gendered oppression and exploitation and domination and division, and striving not to replicate them, if we want to see all power to the people.
The ruling class is clear on this, that is why they are waging war on bodily autonomy through gender oppression, and on our consciousness through mystification around gender, as part of broader attempts to undermine revolutionary struggle. We want true transformation of ourselves and our movements, we need to be ready for this. We need the tools to anticipate and stamp out future abuse and cults, or at least adequately support victims and repair the damage that has already been done, and that could come in the future. This can only come when we put our faith in the magic of the hands, as Assata called it. Discovering how to practice this is the mission of this generation, and it’s the gender/sexual struggle, it is a confrontation with cisheteropatriarchy as a material question, it is the courage to develop new institutions and new genres of being, it is the willingness to free the available “cultural and political maneuvers” that gender has enclosed, to liberate them from the inherited models so reliant on bourgeois hierarchies and values and labor ascriptions: this phase of struggle is what will help us both discover and fulfill that charge. We owe it to our ancestors and to all survivors and to our descendants, to see it thusly, and to move accordingly. And we owe it to our planet too, because the earth is being killed, and only a real united front of Black/Third World radical movements and networks can heal it. Shall we stagnate because we waited on “demiurges” who only want fame and to enact violence on the most vulnerable? or will we teach ourselves and our people that it’s our collective strength that’s gonna get us free? The choice is ours. Queer or not, we gotta do better.