Founders of the Black power group/cult “Black Hammer Organization” denounced the founder Augustus Romain/Gazi Kodzo for turning Black Hammer into a cult. Their statement offers insight into the authoritarian dynamics of vanguardist organizations and contains pointers on how to spot Leftist cults before joining.
Founders’ Statement: Formal Disavowment of The Black Hammer Organization and Condemnation of Augustus Romain/Gazi Kodzo
Introduction - Rob
The Black Hammer Organization (BHO) started as a collective of young earnest people who were so disgusted with the purposeful impoverishment and destruction of our people we went head first into organizing under abusive conditions not once but regrettably… twice. We understood that we were up against pig’s highly sophisticated weapons of warfare. We understood we were up against a network of well funded organizations whose sole purpose is to squash young minds interested in freedom! We understood that we were up against the most mighty empire that the world had ever seen. What we didn’t understand is how susceptible we were to manipulation. What we didn’t understand was the nature of a new type of pig that’s plaguing our movement: The clout demon. Augustus C. Romain Jr. AKA Gazi Kodzo.
In this statement, we are airing out how this person used the BHO, transforming it from a vehicle of liberation to one of abuse and toxicity. But first as the former leaders of BHO and people who set out to be honest revolutionaries we cannot ignore the crime we committed in giving this new breed of pig a platform and allowing ourselves to be used in the subjugation of our people. Leaders of the Black Hammer organization were weaponized in petty internet squabbles berating Black Women, tearing down our political prisoners like Kevin Rashid Johnson, PanAfricanist and Indigenous organizers. Even though we said the colonizer was our enemy, only our brothers, sisters and siblings received this kind of smoke. We were making enemies of those who by any measure should have been our allies. Divide and conquer is the oldest colonial trick in the book and we, as steeped in revolutionary science as we are, fell for it hook line and sinker. Externally, all Black Hammer allies would inevitably be “petty bourgeois sell outs'' that deserved the worst animosity.
Internally, the Black Hammer leaders either stood idly or actively participated as Augustus would verbally abuse his “comrades'' under the guise of criticism. How stupid could we have been to think we were building cadre, we were building lackeys. The Black Hammer leaders were part of rigged meetings devoid of principle under a mockery of so-called democratic centralism in which dissent was isolated and bright comrades whose ideas could have saved so many of our people thrown away. For what? For what? Hammer fucking City. This Digital Neo-Colonialist’s Jonestown… but instead of a city Augustus had to settle for a house, a house overriding with violence of a physical, physiological and sexual nature.
In this capitalist crisis, while the bourgeois is at each other's throats, in a time so ripe for revolution, we the undersigned have commited a crime that could be beyond self-criticism. We have unwittingly aided the white power state by dividing and alienating the people through outright goofy and disturbing shit by helping create an organization that acts as a knife not in the throat of the enemy, but in the backs of our friends. Malcolm X said we cannot begin the healing process by a partial removal of the knife. It must be removed. Black Hammer must be dissolved.
On Augustus Romain (Gazi Kodzo) - Kristen (Dia)
To understand Black Hammer’s transition from a promising revolutionary grassroots organization to an insidious cult of personality, I think it’s very important to understand a few things.
The first being Augustus(Gazi) Romain’s advent to political life. This is an individual who started as a YouTube personality, making videos WITH yt women then transitioning into videos of reactionary rants ABOUT yt people, who also ran a escort service THEN in turn was recruited to become a “revolutionary” by the African People’s Socialist Party cult leader Joe Waller who now calls himself Omali Yeshitela.
Augustus has always bragged about Joe Waller being his “revolutionary father” and with BH being what it is now, that is not far from the truth. Augustus Romaine became the Secretary General of the APSP as a FIGURE HEAD to attract same gender loving and non conforming black and colonized peoples to the APSP, giving Joe Waller the vicinity to mold him as he saw fit. The same contradictions that Augustus exposed about Joe Waller and the APSP, to bolster his OWN platform more than anything, are the same contradictions we see in BH presently, from manipulation to both physical & sexual abuse.
Augustus presented the idea of forming BH to me while we were staying at my mother’s home in November of 2018. This was after he exposed to me the very true nature of the APSP during their “congress” & as SG, he had firsthand knowledge of everything that was going on. When the congress was over and we returned to the APSP’s headquarters in St. Pete, FL, it was then that he convinced me that we should leave.
Secondly & most importantly, I think it can be accurately assessed that the creation of BH was driven by Augustus’ need for livelihood in addition to building an organization that would sustain HIMSELF. Augustus could not return home to Stone Mountain Georgia to live with his mom and abandoning his SG position with the APSP meant that he’d have no financial resources either. His findings about the APSP stand on their own and it’s even more important to understand that from every video that was used to expose the APSP to even the BH launch party which was promoted as “Gazi’s launch party” was used to shore up HIS supporters and followers. This is evident as he made each contradiction revolve around him as an INDIVIDUAL. It’s also evident in BH’s methods of work as all interactions are solely based in petty spats instigated by Augustus then in turn, the organization is mobilized for his defense as these individuals are deemed his “enemies”. My arguments to first establish a constitution and organizational manual for BH in the developing stages were berated by Augustus as me not putting in a enough effort to build BH. His solution was to take the constitution & organizational manual of the APSP and any other manual that he still has access to and simply change every mention of APSP to BH. Even though we professed that BH would never be another APSP, there was no way to see that we essentially were doing just that.
Lastly, in forming BH, myself along with the other founding members were completely robbed of the opportunity to accurately access and heal from the indoctrination we faced while members as APSP. Augustus and I left St. Petersburg in November, we were already having meetings about BH in January if not sooner. This can only be seen no other way as tactics used against us, knowing that we were still malleable to his personal agenda as we were still permeated with the ideals instilled in us by the APSP; that if you did not give your every waking second to the revolution then you were not a true revolutionary which was only a guise to hide the true parasitic and exploitative relationship between the organization and its members. There was no period for us to no longer see Augustus as the SG of the APSP, as our leadership. Even though we were all to be “chiefs” of the organization, the dynamic of the relationship between this individual and the comrades did not change.
It has taken a very, very long time to even reach THIS point. There have been so many things to unlearn and unpack. And just the embarrassment alone of being a part of not one but TWO cults has been extremely demoralizing and alienating.
I just want to say to all new young revolutionary minds, DO YO MF RESEARCH ABOUT THESE ORGS BEFORE YOU BECOME A MEMBER! Anyone can be won with a mission statement/platform/principles of unity/ but in ADDITION to those things, you must understand their methods of work and how the organization is governed!
Make no mistake, revolution is past due but we can’t afford to lose ANYONE else to these clout chasers and cults of INDIVIDUALS! BH may have begun with the promise of being a true revolutionary grassroots organization but that aspiration was robbed then warped into something insidious by an individual who has no true aim of truly working in the interests of colonized peoples.
How Black Hammer Devolved into a Cult, Pt. 1 - Suh
Here we present a material analysis on the factors driving BHO’s degradation from a promising potential anti-colonial revolutionary force into a full-blown cult of personality. It is important to understand that the work on the ground is legitimate. However, Augustus’ motivations for these serve the people campaigns are insidious, and none of them include actually serving the people - the fact that it ends up happening is of inconsequence to Augustus. The campaigns are done to pull willing revolutionaries in. Once they're in, Augustus targets and love bombs them, grooming them for leadership positions. When he feels they’ve been sufficiently groomed, the cult exposes itself through his outright manipulation, lies, violations of democratic processes, gaslighting, assault, breach of privacy, crossing of boundaries, etc. Even once the person has fully been groomed, Augustus still has them go on outreach. Augustus intends this not only to bring more people into the cult via the political astuteness and charisma of others, but also to pervert political education in order to convince members they are truly serving the people by ‘giving their all to the revolution,’ when in reality they are giving their all to building Augustus’ cult of personality. 'Giving their all' here is literal; Augustus will work people to brink of suicide due to exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and isolation from family and friends.
Augustus uses therapy and trauma bonding to manipulate members. As an example, he once had comrades come into a “healing circle” meeting to share their deepest, darkest secrets and most traumatic experiences. He later used everything from this meeting to berate and emotionally/mentally abuse members when they refused to bend to his will. Augustus also had fake therapy in BHO, wherein one of the ‘therapists’ was reporting what was shared during therapy sessions presumed to be confidential, as all legitimate therapy is. Augustus in turn used this information to seem as if he was intuiting members’ deepest emotions, desires, and insecurities, which he used to lovebomb and ingratiate himself to, or alternatively abuse and berate them. These members were then deluded to believe Augustus really ‘knows them,’ when in reality he was breaching their privacy by spying on their therapy sessions.
Once the trauma bonding is complete, Augustus begins to cross boundaries. For example, he calls members of the cadre circle (second highest leadership body) and ICC (highest leadership body) into meetings at all hours of the day and night. If they do not immediately drop everything and come into the meeting, they are berated under the guise of principled criticism, and sometimes removed from their positions. Members of the ICC and cadre circle are expected to come into these meetings even if they are at work, driving, or in extreme cases at family gatherings or even funerals. Guilt is used as a tactic of coercion. If you refuse, you are told you’re selfish and allowing the poor and working class colonized masses to die. This is highly effective as the people who join Black Hammer are genuinely concerned with building revolution for the liberation of our people. This dynamic allows Augustus to cross boundaries at will.
Boundaries are further crossed by controlling members’ personal lives. Comrades in leadership are tacitly forbidden to date people outside of BHO unless they are actively attempting to or have successfully recruited them. Those who date members within BHO are forced to reveal all details of the relationship, including intimate details such as kinks and sexual preferences. Members do so under the guise that subjective romantic relationships are breeding grounds for disunity, liberalism, and coups within a revolutionary organization. While this is true, this politicization is disingenuous because A) Augustus requests this information not to protect revolutionary work but to cross personal boundaries and B) intimate details such as kinks have no bearing on an organizations’ capacity to do its work. Notably, Augustus does not hold himself to this same standard. He has dated, sexually advanced upon, and even (allegedly) attempted to rape members without ever sharing this with a soul.
Augustus also uses Black Hammer to isolate members from their friends, family, and communities, which is a hallmark property of cults. Anyone in a members’ life who is not in Black Hammer is demonized to the member as selfish, petty bourgeoisie, and a neocolonial sellout. Augustus has gone so far as to manipulate members into breaking up with life partners and spouses. Members are encouraged to only interact with their families insofar as they are recruiting them. Furthermore, because of the exorbitant amount of time members dedicate to BHO, they have no time to dedicate to their own families, loved ones, and communities. Thus, members are isolated passively as well as directly. Members are expected to skip everything from family weddings to their own birthday parties to do what they are told is the work of the revolution, but really is the work of building Augustus’s cult of personality for his ego.
How Black Hammer Devolved into a Cult, Pt. 2 - Mouhamadou
Augustus will often opportunistically use legitimate criticism to browbeat and verbally abuse those under his leadership. Politicized verbal abuse is in and of itself a liberal and reactionary expression of criticism and self-criticism.The restriction of this verbal abuse to periods of political struggle allows Augustus to continue to berate and break down people under his leadership and to show others who witnessed this berating and abuse what they are expected to accept as a progressive revolutionary stance.
This tactic of abuse is insidious because it focuses on political struggle as the time and means through which to use and justify abuse. This abuse works by conditioning people to vie for Augustus’ approval in order to stay safe from his wrath, or simply begin to make them smaller, more servile versions of themselves in order to tolerate this consistent abuse. Eventually, folks who experienced this abuse internalize it enough to begin passing it on to other folks under their own leadership. He coerces people to berate and abuse those under them, by saying that failing to do so is counter-revolutionary because it blocks their development as revolutionaries. In this way, well-meaning people are deceived to replicate his abuse under the guise of criticism and self-criticism.
Another tactic that Augustus often applies is the creation of an inner circle of leadership which he manipulates and abuses using the aforementioned tactic of politicized abuse in order to attack, criticize, and expel dissenting members or attack non-members. This goes so far as Augustus telling folks what to say word for word during Live Events and/or impersonating members of the leadership inner circle by taking their phone and texting other members or non-members via their accounts.
Unsurprisingly, Augustus has never held, managed or been in any leadership position through a legitimate election. All of the elections that go on in BHO, often right down to the chapter secretary roles, are handpicked by Augustus. He will often cycle people out of ICC and CCC roles at whim based on how he is feeling about their competence, their tolerance of his abuse, and their willingness to feed his ego. Any form of dissent is swiftly met with replacement within a two- to three-week period. During this time, the replacement comrade is groomed and set up for a complete seemingly unanimous unity around their leadership position and title.
Every election that is run in BHO, Augustus has and will manipulate in order to achieve the outcome that he intended for that particular election. This is oftentimes due to the fact that he is the only one that has truly called an election. Though the BHO manual states any member can at any time call an election for the CIC role, this has never actually happened, and those who call for it to happen are removed from their positions or expelled. Augustus is the only leader in the BHO that has not been up for re-election legitimately or replaced throughout the entire history of the organization, which is a direct reflection of his complete corruption of the democratic process.
As founders, we can wholeheartedly say that there's never been an election that Augustus has not actively or passively-aggressively manipulated the result of, in many cases telling candidates and voters what to say word for word. In addition, Augustus will often have unelected members in leadership roles for months at a time before calling for an election for that position. Finally, Augustus will have folks in extended meetings, some of them lasting up to 8 hours, which he will immediately call an election after. Often, folks are so exhausted and ready to end the meeting that they will just go along with whatever Augustus proposes, just to end the call. We hope it is clear that Augustus cannot be trusted to run, participate in, or oversee any legitimate elections.
Furthermore, Augustus does not allow for dissenting opinions (or really anyone challenging him at all). One of Augustus’ main tactics for dealing with dissenting members is to conduct purges. Augustus will do this by preparing folks in leadership for the purge by manipulating the narrative so that the purge targets are seen as anti-revolutionary forces or state agents. Once he is satisfied with the level of support he has for the purges, he will immediately call for an urgent meeting and begin the process of expelling members. During this process, anyone who disagrees is also purged.
Augustus has gone as far as developing plans to murder dissenting members in ‘Hammer City’ after having a member challenge him in a meeting where his treatment of memebrs under his leadership was brought up. Augustus will often use the tactic of demonizing ex-members, calling them everything under the sun (from neocolonial sellouts, “feds,” “on FBI payroll” to false allegations of pedophilia, rape apologia, and abuse) in order to coerce them into remaining silent about his abuse or to instil fear into them and other members considering leaving.
Finally, it must be understood that Augustus C. Romain Jr. is purely and simply a grifter. A sell-out. A con artist. And a counter-revolutionary of the highest degree who cannot and should not be trusted in any capacity. His abuse as documented here through his time in the BHO can only be described as a complete and total betrayal of the revolution with the most selfish interest at heart that has traumatized hundreds of budding colonized revolutionaries and potential revolutionaries alike.
We would like to clarify that this is likely what Augustus always intended to do with the BHO. His perversion of political education, consistent verbal abuse, and manipulation are simply the tools Augustus currently chooses to enact his will. Currently, Augustus is likely sleeping in his King-sized bed, with a marble shower, abusing his designer lap dog (which he purchased using $2000 of the ‘Hammer City’ money) and living with members at an Atlanta Mc-Mansion in order with his debit card which has always been linked to the dues account of the organization. Having transferred the remaining $80K of what's left of the $120K raised for ‘Hammer City’ to his personal account, he is likely to spend the money trying to continue to grift and to abuse/exploit budding revolutionary youth, much like his “revolutionary father” Joe Waller aka Omali Yeshitela.
Testimonials and Evidence can be found at tinyurl.com/BHdisavowment. Please note they include discussion of verbal, physical, and sexual assault, gun violence, false pedophilia and abuse allegations on African people, and sicking the state on colonized people.
How To Move Forward - Former Member
As we look around us and drown in the sea of white nationalism and imperialism, we find ourselves desperate to do something to try to change the world for the better. We think about the world that the generation after us will inherit. We dream of a world where African and Indigenous people can truly live in peace and have true autonomy over their lives. No one is saying that there would be a world of utopia, but it could be damn close! Our ancestors lived in harmony with the planet, and while I believe we would have advanced technologically, we still could have lived our lives in a way that shares the world’s resources with others, was not detrimental to the planet, and had a quality life.
This is what ultimately drew some of us into the work, but unfortunately I have decided for now to take an indefinite break from organizing. This does not mean that there is nothing to come, but because I have gotten sucked into 2 cults, I know I now need to be less trusting and use more discernment about who’s really into the work for clout or the need to control others and who’s truly out doing the work. I do see other organizations doing good work and see other Comrades out there who I wish I had encountered before Augustus, but where I will start is by putting out some warning signs of what new revolutionaries and people who want to get involved should look for.
The most important thing is to pay attention to your gut. It’s okay to do some work with the org to see if you like the way they operate first without having to join. If that seems to be a problem, it’s a good idea to back up.
For those surviving being in a cult, the best thing to do is to heal. Before joining any org, talk to a professional that you trust. Make sure you understand first that the experience you just endured was not a healthy one and why it is so important to recognize that situation for what it was first. Unfortunately, there are several different types of cults out there and you want to be able to identify one before they approach you. There are a lot of different ways we can contribute to the Revolution, but these slimy organizations that prey on our desire to be free should be weeded out so that the Comrades who want to make a good change will not steer clear from organizing all together.
Kristen (Dia), Founder
Rob, First AgitProp Chief
Gigi, First SG