Monday, December 29, 2008
Gaza and all of Occupied Palestine was stolen by the U.S. and European-backed Israeli settler colonizers who live as parasites on the backs of the labor and resources of the Palestinian people.
Israel continues to bomb Palestinians, slaughtering children and the civilian population. Now Israel is reportedly preparing for a ground invasion.
The Palestinian people have a human right to fight for their land, resources and national liberation by any means necessary.
Check out this clip from BBC coverage of the third day of Israeli bombing of Gaza.
U.S. President-elect Obama says he will “monitor” the situation in Occupied Palestine from his vacation spot in Occupied Hawaii. Obama’s imperialist Zionism is clear as his chilling silence on this atrocity speaks volumes.
A London Independent article from Sunday, Dec. 29, notes that when Obama traveled to Israel in July 2008 he stated, "’If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. The state of Israel faces determined enemies who seek its destruction, but it also has a friend and ally in the United States that will always stand by the people of Israel.’”
“Underlining his point,” the Independent continues, Obama “held a press conference next to a collection of spent rockets in Sderot, the Israeli town near the Gaza border, which has been a frequent target of rocket attacks from Hamas militants.
“Today as the Israeli military pounded targets in Gaza for a second day, Mr Obama’s key strategist David Axelrod, appeared on the political talk show Meet The Press and reminded viewers about the president-elect’s visit to Sderot...
“(Soon to be Secretary of State Hillary) Clinton,” the article states, “has long taken a hard line against Hamas, describing them as a terrorist organization whose administration in Gaza cannot be recognized until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel’s right to exist. She has also spoken out against the International Court of Justice when it questioned the security fence Israel has built along its border.”
The Independent article also reveals that Clinton is considering sending Obama’s recently appointed Middle East policy advisor, devoted Zionist and neo-con Dennis Ross to Israel as her envoy.
A former staffer for Paul Wolfowitz, member of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby and supporter of the Iraq war, Ross wrote Obama’s speech to AIPAC given just hours after he won the primary. That was the speech where Obama prostrated himself to Israel, promising them sole proprietorship of Jerusalem, something no other head of state or even the United Nations has ever done.
The Palestinian people are the victims of colonial terror carried out by the illegitimate Israeli state. The only “solution” to this problem is for the Palestinian people to regain their land and self-determination back. Every Palestinian person dispersed around the world has a right to that land.
But we must recognize the same colonial terror is being carried out right here inside the illegitimate U.S borders in our name against African, Mexican and Indigenous people!
Gaza is right here in West Oakland, North Philadelphia and the south side of Chicago.
Border wall? It’s here, attempting to keep out the people from whom the southwest US was stolen as soon as gold was found in the Sierra mountains.
Forcibly dispersed populations? African people are in this country as a result of the slave trade. Africans did not come to the U.S. “for a better life,” they were forced here under sheer terror and made to labor like cattle in a system that created the foundation for all the wealth of America today.
State terror against oppressed people? The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world with 2.5 million people locked up, mostly for being African and impoverished. An estimated 10 million young black men put through the prison system every year. This is the only country in the world that puts black children in prison for life without possibility of parole.
The U.S. carries out daily police raids murdering black youth in the back, sending out low-flying helicopters and SWAT teams breaking down doors of citizens of African communities. This is done in the name of drug crimes, 75% of which are in white communities.
Bombings of oppressed communities? The city of Philadelphia carried out the bombing and burning of a whole African neighborhood surrounding the MOVE organization house 20 years ago.
Built on wiping out of the Native people and the enslavement of African people, the U.S. taught the world about genocide, slavery, terror, lynching and colonial domination.
It’s not enough to denounce U.S. terror we’ve got to join in solidarity with African and all oppressed peoples in their struggle to liberate their land, resources and self-determination.
Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, under the leadership of the African-led Uhuru Movement. We must do our part in changing this imperialist-dominated world.
Join in building a movement of North Americans and Europeans who recognize that our genuine interests in a future of peace on this planet can only come through justice. That means U.S. imperialism has got to go!
African, Indigenous, Palestinian and all oppressed peoples have a right to struggle for their freedom and independence. National liberation: the solution to the problems of the world; the only road to peace.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Obama upped his goal for jobs to be created during the first two years of his administration from 2.5 million to 3 million.
All this for the bargain price of only $800 billion, a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $8.5 trillion—almost 60 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product—that the federal government has committed to recent financial bailouts.
But Obama’s ambitious 3 million job goal will not offset the 2 million jobs lost this year plus the 4 million projected losses in 2009.
And that is not counting all those people who are underemployed or who stopped looking, along with the millions of mostly African and Mexican people falsely locked up or otherwise tied up in the colonial prison system in this country.
Imprisoning African people has been the number one economic stimulus plan for white America for the past 25 years.
Obama is going to attempt to stimulate the economy and save the dying capitalist system by pouring government money into infrastructure, energy, health, education and support for the poor and unemployed.
Comparisons with Depression-era president Franklin Roosevelt are flying and optimism is growing, but here are 3 reasons why Obama’s economic plan won’t work.
1. Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t work either. What brought the U.S. out of its economic crisis of the 1930s and into the mass prosperity of the 60s and 70s was not the New Deal. It was the fact that the U.S. emerged from the Second Imperialist War as the leader of world capitalism.
After 1945 the U.S. now controlled all the resources and near slave labor coming from nations that had been colonized by the British and French for the past hundred years. Stolen wealth of a capitalist system built on slavery and genocide flowed into the U.S. and the dollar became the world reserve currency.
2. FDR’s New Deal was carried out at the expense of the majority of the African community.
Roosevelt’s social programs such as welfare were for white people only. White farmers were paid a government subsidy to not plant crops, leading to thousands of African share croppers being pushed off farms.
The establishment of minimum wage caused the layoffs of black workers. Racist unions were bolstered keeping African people out. Social security excluded agriculture and domestic service, jobs held by 75 percent of the African community.
What would the New Deal have cost if it included African people? While it is not likely that Obama would be able to blatantly exclude the black community from his plan, he has completely denied the crushing poverty and martial law in African communities and the oppression coming out the legacy of enslavement in this country.
Obama has not even addressed the unjust, two-tiered, Jim Crow U.S. prison system that holds two and a half million mostly poor, mostly African people. With his myth of a “post-racial America” Obama covers over the fact that the majority of the U.S. poor are and long have been African and oppressed people.
Unless Obama’s recovery plan consciously goes about “leveling the playing field,” it will never benefit African people in this country to the same extent that it will the white population.
3. If Obama is serious about trying to rescue capitalism from its current crisis he would demand that Wall Street bankers be brought to trial for their criminal acts in defrauding U.S. citizens. He would call for complete transparency and force the bankers to open up their books and disclose all of their “toxic assets” that now remain hidden.
Of course Obama is not going to do that. Instead, he enlisted into his cabinet and team the same old criminals who helped create this crisis. Obama’s chief economic advisor is Robert Rubin, the Citigroup Director who is being sued for the same kind of fraud that Bernard Madoff just got exposed for!
Obama’s Secretary of Treasury will be Timothy Geithner, the head of the New York Federal Reserve bank who facilitated the fraud being carried out on Wall Street in the past several years. Please! And what about Wall Street insider Mary Shapiro who will be head of the SEC?
(See: Government bailout hits $8.5 trillion by Kathleen Pender, SFGate.com
Bad Deal: How FDR made life worse for African Americans
There's lots of talk about recovery programs, but here is an article from the St. Petersburg Times that tells the real story about how the powers that be are planning to rebuild the economy. It doesn't matter if the administration is republican or democrat, their strategy for African people is the same: crminialize, impoverish, imprison.
St. Petersburg Times, December 20, 2008:
"More than 100,000 people in state prisons
Miami. Florida's prison population topped 100,000 for the first time Thursday, making it third in line after California and Texas.
To prepare for more prisoners, the state has purchased and begun setting up tents to house inmates, though none are being used.
Department of Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil told lawmakers this month that prisoner growth shows not signs of stopping.
The State will need to build 19 prisons in the next five years if nothing is done to slow the growth, he said.
He estimated the cost at $1.9 billion, nearly equal to the department's annual budget."
There are currently 137 prisons in Florida, so 19 more is about a 12 percent increase. As if one in eight young African men in prison is not enough!
Justice and reparations for African people now!
Monday, November 24, 2008
In between the two Bushes William Jefferson Clinton implemented many programs and policies that Bush Sr. only dreamed about. The Clinton administration also set the stage for Bush II, laying out a perfect platform for W to launch all his most blatantly destructive policies towards oppressed peoples everywhere in a last ditch attempt to save America’s position as the “world’s sole superpower.”
Clinton was called “the first black president,” and like Obama he used broad-based support from African voters to attack Africans and other oppressed people in this country and in the world.
Clinton passed the massive Crime Bill that put 100,000 new police on the streets of African communities, producing an immediate corresponding spike in police murder, violence and martial law in African, Mexican and oppressed communities across the country.
The Crime Bill implemented Jim Crow sentencing, three-strikes legislation and mandatory minimums. It provided $9.7 billion in funding for a colonial prison system than now ensnares more than seven million mostly African, Mexican and oppressed people annually.
The Crime Bill gave a nod of approval to death-squad-type police forces terrorizing African communities such as the murderous Rampart Division in Los Angeles, Riders of Oakland and the brutal Operation Sunrise of Philadelphia.
Clinton’s Crime Bill legitimized the government’s pumping of illegal drugs into communities whose liberation movement, leaders and spokespeople had been wiped out by COINTELPRO a generation earlier and whose economic base had been destroyed by urban renewal and gentrification for the benefit of white communities.
With one fell swoop the Clinton administration thus criminalized impoverished and working class African and Mexican communities, fueled the Wall Street boom with illegal drug money laundering and gave a nearly $10 billion-dollar economic stimulus to “Main Street” through massive prison building with all its spin-offs, restoring prosperity especially to depressed rural white America.
So it’s no small thing that Obama named Joe Biden who authored Clinton’s Crime Bill as his vice president and named as Attorney General Eric Holder who was Clinton’s Assistant AG, whose role was to actually put the 100,000 police into African communities.
Clinton also ended key social services such as “welfare,” created the anti-terrorism bill whose key provisions were adopted in Bush’s USA Patriot Act, passed the North American Free Trade Act, bombed Sudan, invaded Somalia and maintained sanctions against Iraq that starved hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
The Clinton Administration relaxed HUD and Fannie Mae lending practices to target African and Mexican communities with subprime mortgages that were previously known as “predatory lending.” He passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that repealed the Glass Steagall Act of 1933. This basically deregulated Wall Street and opened the door for use of subprime mortgage backed securities as fraudulent investment tools and creating the basis for the economic crisis being experienced today.
Clinton’s first Secretary of the Treasury was open Wall Street insider and free-market advocate Robert Rubin. Rubin was followed by Lawrence Summers, who is more of the same with the added baggage of advocating while employed at the World Bank that the U.S. dump toxic waste in Africa. Summers was later forced to resign as president of Harvard because of his open bigotry towards Africans and women.
So the fact that Obama named Tim Geithner, current head of the New York Federal Reserve and protégé of Rubin and Summers as Secretary of the Treasury is another blow to “hope and change.” Summers was chosen Director of the National Economic Council. And there you have it. The guys who did everything possible to help themselves and their friends’ in the white power banking elite stuff their pockets and bank accounts at the expense of the people are going to solve this economic crisis of imperialism? Please!
After Geithner was named to the treasury position on Friday the DOW went up nearly 500 points, the first bright spot for Wall Street in weeks. The bankers know they have a friend in Geithner, and that tells the story of the unfolding Obama presidency right there.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here is some information about his cabinet selections so far.
Penny Pritzker, nominated for Secretary of Commerce: Pritzker has reportedly declined this position. If this is true it is obviously because of her instrumental role in the whole subprime mortgage scam and other shady financial dealings that would come under public scrutiny during senate confirmation hearings for her post. According to reports Pritzker's financial record is so dubious she never even filled out the vetting form required for the Obama transition team of which she is a part.
According to today's New York Times, "Burt Ely, a banking consultant who testified at a 2001 Senate committee hearing about the failure [due to subprime mortgage dealings] of [the Pritzker family-owned] Superior Bank, said it had never made sense for Ms. Pritzker to become a nominee. 'The confirmation hearing could have been quite ugly for all that would have been dredged up about Superior as well as possibly other Pritzker dealings,' Mr. Ely said Thursday."
Read the rest of the revealing article in today’s New York Times (Nov. 21, 2008) about her.
For more on Pritzker who is reported to be the inventor of the subprime mortgage scam as an investment tool, see our slide show "Can Obama really bring the change we need?" on the APSC home page. This presentation also has other in-depth info on Obama's positions, backers and advisors.
Janet Napolitano, nominated to Secretary of Homeland Security: Though her appointment to Homeland Security is being heralded as an improvement over the Bush administration by some, Napolitano in fact signals a tough stand for the Obama administration on vicious border enforcement and other policies against Mexican workers. Here is what the Washington Post said about her on June 26, 2006:
“Among the nation's top Democrats, Napolitano has developed some of the toughest policies against illegal immigration. She was one of the first major politicians to call for deployment of the National Guard along the border and declared a state of emergency in her state's counties nearest Mexico. She has aggressively pursued smugglers in Arizona. In February, she joined with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) to outline a plan for immigration reform that called for more funding for border security, more visas for foreign workers and no blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants.”
See the whole Washington Post article on Napolitano.
Eric Holder–Attorney General: Holder is a Clinton-era bureaucrat from the DOJ who played a major role in implementing the Crime Bill’s mandate to put 100,000 new police on the ground when he was assistant Attorney General under Clinton. Though he is being "warmly received" by both Republicans and Democrats, Holder is being criticized for some of his positions and past actions by liberals.
As a private lawyer Holder played a key role in “negotiating an agreement with the Justice Department that got Chiquita Bananas for paying protection money to right wing death squads in Colombia.” Also Holder was part of the legal team that in 2005 developed strategies for securing reauthorization of the Patriot Act. (See article on Nation.com).
No one outside of the Uhuru Movement, however, is criticizing Holder for his most serious crimes: his role in enforcing the brutal policies of police containment of the African community, such as supporting mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and three strikes legislation and putting more and more cops on the streets of black neighborhoods already under siege by U.S. government-imposed martial law.
See yesterday's Uhuru Solidarity blog entry here on Eric Holder.
For an in-depth look at the backgrounds of the top 20 people on Obama's war and plunder-loving foreign policy team see, "This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House," by Jeremy Scahill that appeared on AlterNet.org today.
For the most dynamic analysis of the unfolding Obama presidency and the current economic and political crisis of imperialism from the point of view of the African working class, listen to "Africa Live" at 11 am EST every Sunday on Uhuru Radio featuring Chairman Omali Yeshitela and others, and visit UhuruNews.com.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Holder brokered a deal with the Justice Department that required Chiquita to pay a fine of $25 million and for the firm’s top officials to plead guilty for this transgression of U.S. law. Of course not one Chiquita official went to prison for this crime against humanity. (Counterpunch, “Holder, Chiquita and Colombia by Mario A. Murillo, 11.19.08)
It is important that this is exposed. But what nobody talks about is the fact that Holder enthusiastically endorses the U.S. death squads that murder, terrorize and sweep up millions of African and Mexican people into the torture chambers called prisons right here in North America under the name of “law enforcement.”
Vice President to be Joseph Biden was the author of the Clinton Administration’s 1994 Crime Control Act while Holder was Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General. Holder played a key role in putting the Crime Bill’s 100,000 new police on the streets.
There was tacit acceptance on the part of the majority of the white population that those police were supposed to target African communities. The powers-that-be had long worked to make the word “criminal” synonymous with “black,” ever since the CIA had flooded impoverished African communities with deadly drugs as part of the government plan for crushing the black power movement of the 1960s.
One of the provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill required the Attorney General to collect data and publish an annual report on the number of people killed and wounded by police and the use of deadly force. That never happened. With a simple internet search you can find out precise stats on, say, infertility, diabetes, poverty or homeownership.
But how many people are victims of police murder and what are their demographics? No records.
An article by Fox Butterfield on the CommonDreams.org site from April 29, 2001 quotes Temple University criminal justice professor James Fyfe as saying that the brutality figures are not kept because they would be “very embarrassing to a lot of police departments.”
We all know, though, that mostly young, mostly impoverished African men are far and away the majority of those at the receiving end of police violence and life-wasting sentencing laws.
Simply reading the newspaper in Philadelphia shows us that at least one African man is murdered by the police in that city every month and often twice that or more.
We know that one in eight young black men are locked up in the mammoth U.S. prison system that acts as a handy economic stimulus tool for Wall Street and white communities both in good financial times and bad.
Discriminatory, two-tiered Jim Crow drug laws, mandatory minimums and three strikes legislation are the cornerstone of a publicly-accepted policy of police containment of the African community.
Obama’s mantra of a “post-racial America” is just not true and we all know it. The majority of black prisoners are locked up on drug charges, despite the fact that white people are two thirds of all drug users and sellers in this country.
Eric Holder endorses and built his career on these policies. Neither Holder nor Obama have expressed any commitment to stop them and bring justice to the besieged African working class communities throughout this country.
The nomination of Eric Holder to the position of AG is but one more of the rapid fire moves made by Barack Obama to prove himself worthy to his Wall Street backers and continue the same old oppressive, good-old-boy policies intensified by every previous administration, regardless of party.
The only way to achieve the aspirations of hope and change is to take responsibility for a country built on a pedestal of the enslavement of African people, the genocide of the Indigenous people and colonial policies of war and pillage around the world and inside this country. There’s a growing movement afoot struggling for the liberation of Africa for the benefit of African people everywhere. If we believe in change and transformation we should support that movement.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Clean drinking water facility in Sierra Leone needs support": Dr. Michelle Strongfields speaks in Philly
On Friday, November 7th, 2008, Dr. Michelle Strongfields spoke at a benefit for the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project at the Dhyana Yoga Center in Olde City in Philadelphia, PA. This benefit was co-sponsored by Uhuru Solidarity Movement as a part of a campaign which people can join to build solidarity with AAPDEP. Dr Strongfields, a Cuban-trained African doctor living in West Philadelphia, reported on her recent work building AAPDEP programs in Sierra Leone addressing the epidemic of infant mortality due to unclean drinking water.
AAPDEP is an African-led organization of the Uhuru Movement established to engage in development projects to transform the dire conditions imposed on African communities worldwide by making use of the vast technical expertise of Africans everywhere. Among other current initiatives, AAPDEP is building a rainwater harvesting and community healthcare facility, as well as a community fishing project in Oloshoro, Sierra Leone, and sponsoring a borehole (pressurized well) for irrigation of a 25-acre section of farmland of the Ujamma Youth Farming Project (UYFP) in Gweru, Zimbabwe.
Dr. Strongfields' presentation exposed that while Africa is the most mineral-rich continent on the planet, centuries of brutal assault by Europeans and the U.S. though the slave trade, colonialism and now neo-colonial plunder, has left the vast majority of African people in a state of starvation, without food, clean water, adequate shelter or health care. Unlike charity programs which don't change the cause of the problems, AAPDEP is providing leadership to African people to transform these conditions and to regain power over their lives and resources. AAPDEP’s programs are “from the people, to the people”, hearing the needs of the community, then focusing the resources available to create solutions led by African people themselves.
Dr. Strongfields began her presentation by showing a picture of Baby Alusine, who the AAPDEP team helped get access to the very limited local health care available in Oloshoro. Severely dehydrated, Baby Alusine ultimately was one of the 15 babies who died in the short time Dr. Strongfields was in Sierra Leone. This death was not only a tragedy for Baby Alusine’s parents and his twin sister, but also for African people as a whole, since he represents “the future of Africa and African people”, the next generation of teachers, health care workers and leaders. It is estimated that every year 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases. This is the single leading cause of death world wide, the majority being children under five years old.
Dr. Strongfields also described the productive organizing work, which created a leadership structure and committees in meetings involving hundreds of local participants. In brainstorming sessions, the community was able to identify basic needs for creating their own solutions. The people resolved to create a facility to harvest and purify rain water as a reliable source of clean drinking water. This facility will also house a rehydration station for local children suffering from diarrhea due to water contaminated by bacteria and parasites, which is often deadly in Africa. Plans were made to get the construction materials, basic medical equipment and supplies of salt and sugar for the rehydration solution, and recruit health care workers to staff the center.
To make these plans a reality, Dr Strongfields stated, required resources, and the people attending the benefit responded. AAPDEP received enthusiastic financial support from the First Friday crowd. In addition, the Dhyana Yoga studio provided the space for the benefit and set an inspiring example by opening up the resources of health and fitness enjoyed by the white community to benefit African people's struggle for sustainability through self-determination.
The benefit continues with an on line auction of items from African Art to original paintings, jewelry, and gift certificates from local Center City businesses. Bids for these many exciting items are being taken online for the next 2 weeks at the AAPDEP website – www.developmentforafrica.org.
There will also be another event benefiting AAPDEP at Dhyana Yoga – a three hour workshop on Kundalini yoga on Sunday, November 23rd. For more information, contact the Uhuru Solidarity Movement local office at (215) 387-0919
Monday, November 10, 2008
As Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela has summed up, African and oppressed peoples everywhere exuberantly see themselves in this victory. It is a validation of the power and brilliance of the African identity that has so long been linked to the notion of the “slave” and colonial subject by this white power system.
After all, capitalism and the United States itself were built on the hideous enslavement of African people, on genocide of the Indigenous people and the indescribable atrocities of colonialism.
For half a millennium “white” has been associated with “good,” while “black” was evil, philosophically justifying a relationship that gives some of the benefits of the stolen loot of the colonial system to the general white population.
That’s why we have two Americas and two worlds, despite Obama’s myth of a “post-racial America.” As much as we all want to believe that, a look at reality tells us it just ain’t true.
There’s the affluent white “first world,” versus the misery of the black, brown and “others,” whose lives, values and cultures were assigned little value by white power. Their stolen labor, land, oil, diamonds, minerals and scientific understandings, however, have always had tremendous worth for capitalism.
This is the basis for the financial and political crisis of imperialism being felt so sharply inside the U.S. and worldwide at this time: people everywhere are just saying “no” to the greedy hands of white power. They will keep their resources to feed their own children, thank you.
They are tired of subsisting on 50 cents a day while the white world has got a diamond on every ring finger and plenty of gas to fuel massive SUVs. From Venezuela, to Nigeria, to Iraq and Russia, people are prepared to fight the parasitic U.S. and imperialist military and economic stanglehold.
So white power has to prop up an Obama or Mandela or Mobutu or Shah of Iran to do its bidding for it. The white face has got a real bad reputation to deal with.
Barack Obama is a figurehead for a new image being carefully crafted by the powers-that-be to attempt to save an imperialist system deep in crisis. This is called neocolonialism.
As psychologically gratifying as his victory may be for African people and even for those of us from the white community who want change, Obama cannot bring us anything new.
There was similar jubilation throughout South Africa, the African continent and the world when Nelson Mandela was made president in 1994. Today the conditions for the average working class African in South Africa are far worse than they were under direct apartheid.
Like Mandela, Obama is a neocolonial puppet of the ruling and owning class of capitalism.
Obama has an uncanny ability to make everyone believe that the new president will carry out the people’s aspirations—whatever they may be. But what did Obama really promise us?
His staff, advisors and financial backers clue us in to his true program. Rahm Emanuel, recently named as Chief of Staff, is a virulent Zionist Democratic neo-con who profiteered from the subprime mortgage scam and fights for free trade.
Obama’s transition teams are made up of the same old usual suspects of banksters, crooks, corporate exploiters and counterinsurgency experts.
With Democratic party majorities in the house and senate Obama could do anything he wants.
But will he take real measures to stem the economic crisis that will benefit the African community and other working people?
Will he stop the epidemic of police murders of young African men or end the laws that justify the discriminatory imprisonment of millions of African people?
Will Obama help African victims of the subprime scam facing foreclosure or will the government aid only go to well-to-do white people?
Will he rescind the USA Patriot Act?
Will Obama really withdraw from Iraq?
Of course not. Just as you and I know there is no “post-racial America,” we know he will not do any of this.
As Omali Yeshitela noted, the only thing that is going to bring about change is the “audacity of struggle,” a mass movement to force Obama to carry out the progressive agenda that many mistakenly believe he represents.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
No matter who becomes president he faces an economic crisis beyond repair. We are witnessing the implosion of a system resting on 500 years of plunder, slavery, genocide, rape and domination so that some could enjoy the resources of everyone else.
As the Mohawk Nation News recently put it, “The stock market crash could be the best thing that ever happened to save the planet…As we watch the demise of the exploitation of our lands and resources, we are seeing a show that is over and no one is clapping for an encore…It’ll never be the same again…”
All around the world people are indeed cheering the downfall of U.S. hegemony, even as many vainly hope that the Obama presidency will change the world.
Despite a momentary upward move by the U.S. and global stock markets things are dire.
Here are some of the headlines:
Bloomberg.com: September Factory Orders Slide More Than Forecast
New York Times: 2 European Banks Offer Gloomy Outlook
New York Times: Automakers Report Grim October Sales
Wall Street Journal: More Utility Bills Go Unpaid
Washington Post: Credit Card Losses May Surpass Historical Peaks
Jerusalem Post: Shipping news suggests world economy is toast
For all those still seeking change with Obama, just remember that he got most of his campaign contributions from Wall Street and he’s got to pay the piper now. His campaign finance chair Penny Pritzker and possible Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin are going to help him do just that. (See the “Obama Exposed” powerpoint at apscuhuru.org)
The Uhuru Movement is changing the world in a positive way, working for unification, justice and liberation for African people everywhere. For us from the white community the Uhuru Solidarity Movement offers us a lifeboat from the sinking Titanic. Climb in!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Our powerpoint slide show on the truth about Obama is there. Also, there you can see our presentation on the current crisis of the U.S. economy (which an Obama presidency will not resolve).
Finally we urge everyone to sign the online petition for reparations to be paid by the city of St. Petersburg, FL for the murders of four teen-aged African men in the past several years by law enforcement. Much background information is available right on the home page about the police murders of these unarmed young men and the cover-up by the Florida good old boy network.
Javon Dawson had just ended his sophomore year at Gibbs High School when he was shot in the back by Officer Terrence Nemeth after a graduation party in June of this year. Nemeth had recently returned from four years as a marine in Iraq—transferring from a job with the U.S. international occupying force to a job enforcing the U.S. domestic occupation of the African community.
Despite the fact that 300 other students and at least 12 other cops were present at the scene the only person who witnessed Javon “with a gun” at the scene was Nemeth, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement report justifying the murder.
If popular support can force the City of St. Petersburg to pay reparations this would establish an important precedent. Reparations would be more than just a financial settlement. It would involve an apology to the families and the community and a commitment to end this violence against the African community.
We are beginning to see fear of martial law manifesting among white people as we learn that the government has stationed the army at Ft. Stewart, GA to handle “civil unrest” in the general population as the crisis of imperialism deepens.
Well, martial law has been in place targeting the African community for a very long time.
FEMA camps? More than a million African people have already been herded into concentration camps called prisons. Thousands of African people—mostly young men—are murdered and brutalized by police annually. Helicopters fly over black communities and Machine-gun toting SWAT teams break down people’s doors on a regular basis.
It’s time for us to take a stand against what is already going on in this country—not just cry when it affects us. If we are interested in any level of democracy defend the rights of African people who live under a U.S. counterinsurgency right here!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
“Don’t bail out Wall Street,” echoed through the streets of St. Petersburg, FL on Saturday Oct. 4 as the Uhuru Movement led a protest against the plunder of U.S. taxpayers’ money for the benefit of bankers and the ruling elite.
The march included representatives of a diverse group of organizations including the Green Party, The Refuge Ministries, Poor People’s Economic Justice Campaign, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, St. Pete for Peace, Progressive Democrats of America and others.
It was the day after the bailout was passed by Congress and the demo showed that we have no respect for a bill that was passed in spite of overwhelming popular opposition.
The bailout guarantees that the bankers and wealthy investors will secure their posh mansions and lifestyles. Meanwhile African and Mexican communities that were targeted for predatory subprime mortgages are losing their homes at record rates and are being criminalized by the media for striving for the very elusive “American dream” of homeownership.
African and Mexican subprime mortgage borrowers were lied to and scammed by a comprehensive plan that included everyone from the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve bank and the Office of Housing and Urban Development to Fannie Mae, Wall Street investment firms, the low-life “creative” mortgage lenders, neocolonial Uncle Tom politicians and Barack Obama’s campaign finance chair Penny Pritzker, credited with being one of the creators of the subprime phenomenon. Everyone on this side of the equation made a bundle money at the expense of the African and Mexican communities, and they are getting bailed out!
African families making more than $100,000 a year were given subprime mortgages far more often than white people making less than $40,000 a year, so, yes, it was a “race” issue.
The reality is that borrowers who are defaulting on mortgages have nothing to do with the creation of this crisis. The current economic crisis was brought about by Wall Street bankers, brokers, hedge fund managers and investors who bundled up all those loans, cut them up into slices and invested them as highly leveraged mortgage backed securities (MBS) around the world. They made into the trillions of dollars doing that.
Had Wall Street not done that we might be seeing a lot of people in foreclosure at the moment, but the parasitic Wall Street financial system would not be crashing down in the way it is now.
What we are seeing, as Chairman Omali Yeshitela always points out, is the crisis of imperialism which is now manifesting on the economic front. From the defeat of the U.S. by the Vietnamese people in the 70s to the victory of the people Cuba and Nicaragua, to the powerful Black Revolution of the 1960s, imperialism has been in a political crisis for a long time.
Now the system built on the enslavement of a whole continent of people, turning them into the world’s most lucrative commodity; built on the genocide of the people of the Americas and the theft of their land and resources; built on colonial domination of the majority of humanity, is crashing down from an implosion of its own blood-sucking weight.
After 500 years of white power African and Indigenous peoples around the globe are rising up to take back what is theirs. This is the only solution for a decent future for all people. As Chairman Omali would say, good riddance to this parasite as it gets flushed down the toilet of history.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
(Written in response to the Philadelphia Inquirer for the article ‘City Police Shootings get Mired in System,’ Sept.3)
We in Uhuru Solidarity Movement would like to thank the Inquirer for keeping in the forefront the facts that District Attorney Lynne Abraham never prosecutes police for murdering African people in Philadelphia, the fraudulent investigations drag out forever, and the officers always end up being acquitted anyway. We unite with the African community’s demands for justice!
In 2006, Philadelphia police killed twenty people in this city, the most since 1980. It was the most people killed by police in the 10 largest cities in the entire country that year. In 2007, six people were shot and killed by the Philadelphia Police Department. Bryan Jones was the first person killed by the police in 2007. Bryan was taking his little cousin home from a New Years Eve Party, when the police shot him in the back of the head.
The D.A.’s office is supposedly still investigating, but not one officer has been prosecuted and Bryan’s family is still grieving the unjustifiable death of Bryan.
The African working class-led Uhuru Movement understands that the D.A. is carrying out the public policy of police containment of the African community. This is obvious in the fact that the D.A. never initiates the prosecution of any police officer. When a prosecution is initiated it is usually initiated by the family of the victim, or from a public demonstration such as those held by the Uhuru Movement.
The police in this city have a long time record for being scandalous and corrupt, such as the unfounded raids in 1985 during Operation Cold Turkey and the notorious Five Squad and the 39th District & 25th District scandals which made it clear it's not a scandal at all but policy from top to bottom to plant drugs, steal money, and frame and imprison innocent African and Latino people. The people locked up by police officers participating in those illegal raids are still in prison today! This Philadelphia Police Department is the same organization responsible for the murder of innocent men, women, and children in the bombing of the MOVE family, and the criminalization of the African community with policies like Stop & Frisk today.
The struggle to end police terror is part of a world-wide movement of the African working class, organizing to take back all their stolen resources, their land, and culture. We understand the public policy of police containment of the African community brings wealth and security to the white community through the drug and prison economies, through gentrification and land-grabs, and it is all at the expense of African people. There is no economic development for African communities in Philly - over half African men are unemployed, and more Africans go to prison from Philly than anywhere in the US!
The Uhuru Movement demands that Lynne Abraham be brought to trial for her disregard of the lives of people like Bryan Jones, Moses DeJesus, Ronald Timbers, Abebe Isaac, Raymond Pelzer and the list goes on. Also, the Uhuru Movement demands that the murderous Philadelphia Police Department be held accountable for these crimes immediately, before another African person is tortured or killed.
Uhuru Solidarity Movement
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Two Americas - Conditions in the African community
Uhuru organizer speaks out on why the struggle with Obama
When Diop Olugbala, along with others from the Uhuru Movement, protested Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, FL on August 1, the movement’s bold challenge was heard around the world.
“What about the black community?” is rapidly becoming the new mantra, targeting not just Obama but all the candidates large and small who are vying to lead the United States of America.
While Obama counts much of the African community in this country among his most enthusiastic supporters he has had no problem avoiding the pressing issues and ever-worsening conditions facing African people in America today.
African men are being shot down by police and rounded up for life long sentences in the prison system in epidemic proportions. The high school where Obama was speaking in St. Petersburg was attended by 17 year old Javon Dawson who was murdered by the St. Petersburg police in early June. Officer and Iraq war veteran Terrence Nemeth shot the unarmed Dawson twice in the back during a graduation party.
Instead of standing with African people Obama has taken every opportunity to use his campaign to attack them. These attacks include his disowning of Rev. Jeremiah Wright as his pastor and Obama’s Father’s Day presentation slamming black men with children.
Behind his slogans for “hope and change” Obama represents the forefront of imperialism’s strategy for neocolonialism, defined by the Uhuru Movement as “white power in black face.” In the U.S. and around the world African and oppressed representatives are hand picked by imperialist powers to carry out their bidding.
Obama’s campaign is portrayed as “populist,” representing the interests of “Main Street” America. But as an August 6 New York Times article revealed, a third of Obama’s $340 million raised for his campaign so far has come from donations of $1,000 or over. Obama has more than 500 “bundlers,” professional fundraisers, most of whom are lobbyists for big corporations.
After 8 years representing the 13th District of Chicago, the most impoverished area of the city, living conditions there are reportedly far worse for black people than before. Obama’s district was home to the infamous Jon Burge, the Chicago police captain exposed for torturing African men, women and children for more than 20 years. Obama has yet to denounce Burge.
This country is built on the enslavement of African people, along with the genocide of the Indigenous people and theft of their land. The oppression of African people, as well as the theft of the labor, land and resources of oppressed peoples around the world make up the economic and political pedestal on which the white population of America and Europe sit.
The history of slavery, genocide and colonialism does not just go away or morph into a post racial America. This history is the basis for every contradiction festering in this country today, from the reality of two Americas – systemic poverty of African communities in the face of U.S. prosperity, to the fact that more young black men are sent to prison than go to college.
Some of us in the white population are beginning to feel pangs of the current U.S. economic crisis. But no one is talking about the long standing economic devastation of African communities where U.S. government imposed illegal drugs, foreclosed homes, gentrification, martial law and policies of police containment feed the multi billion dollar prison industry that has fed the failing U.S. economy for the past 35 years.
The Uhuru Movement understands that Africans are one people inside this country and around the world. The movement is working for the liberation of Africa and all its resources as the birthright of every African person anywhere in the world. This is only just.
The crisis of imperialism is deepening daily because of the resistance of African and oppressed peoples worldwide who are fighting to regain control of their resources, land and self-determination. They are determined to feed their children and build a future for themselves.
It has never been more obvious that the white world is in a crisis because it cannot function without oil, minerals and resources commandeered from others. Today the capitalist legacy of slavery, genocide and colonial extraction that fueled our world for hundreds of years is collapsing.
In the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, we are white people who believe that the future of the planet and the well-being of all peoples will be found in the movement to answer the question, “What about the black community?”
To really bring about hope and change we have to organize under the leadership of African workers struggling for liberation and justice. They are the ones transforming and changing the world from the ground up. Join us – be part of creating a future that all people can believe in. Uhuru!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
"What about the black community, Obama?" Uhuru Movement challenges Obama on unwillingness to speak to African community interests
ST. PETERSBURG, FL — On Friday, August 1, the Barack Obama presidential campaign hit a serious bump in a St. Petersburg, Florida town hall meeting as members of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) challenged Obama on his unwillingness to speak to the interests of the African community.
While demonstrators outside chanted “Obama, McCain, its the same game,” InPDUM members inside raised a banner that read “What about the black community, Obama?”
InPDUM International Organizer Diop Olugbala challenged Obama asking, “In the face of the numerous attacks that are made against the African community or the black community by the same U.S. government that you aspire to lead — and we are talking about attacks like the subprime mortgage that you spoke of that wasn't just a general ambiguous kind of phenomena, but a phenomena that targeted the African community and Latino community; attacks like the killing of Sean Bell by the New York police department and Javon Dawson right here in St. Petersburg by the St. Petersburg police, and Jena 6 and Hurricane Katrina, and the list goes on. In the face of all these attacks that are clearly being made on the African community, why is it that you have not had the ability to not one time speak to the interests and even speak on the behalf of the oppressed and exploited African community or black community in this country?”After stammering, Obama made the claim that he had addressed all of those issues with public statements, but that he just may not have spoken out in the way desired.
It is well known that he did make a statement after the acquittals of the police who pumped 50 bullets into Sean Bell’s car on his wedding day stating that the unjust verdict needed to be respected.
On the U.S. government’s leaving African people for days to die after Hurricane Katrina he stated on September 6, 2005, “I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was colorblind.”
Obama was right that he had not spoken to these issues as would be desired. While he may have conceded that the subprime loans were predatory, he has failed to condemn Penny Pritzker, his national finance advisor, for having made a fortune through the subprime mortgage scheme at the expense of Africans and Latinos.
In fact, Obama’s painting the U.S. as some place on the verge of a “post-racial” society with “race problems” being “90 percent” solved, his opposition to reparations for African people and his liquidating the colonial relationship that African people in the U.S. are held in are disarming. His role as a pied piper — leading African people who are disenchanted with the inability of the U.S. electoral process to provide any solution for them right back to the Democratic Party — is problematic for African people.
His role is one that works against African people’s struggle for self-determination — the loss of which was necessary for the building and maintaining of the United States of America.
The question for African people cannot be confined to whom to vote for in a bourgeois election where freedom and self-determination for African people will never be on the ballot. The question instead must be one of what must be done to win self-determination.
Friday, July 11, 2008
The Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac collapses are very serious for the U.S. government and the entire U.S. parasitic capitalist economy. Fannie and Freddie are U.S. government backed institutions falling under the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Together they have provided over half of all mortgages in the U.S. They were caught up in the same subprime mortgage investment scam as Bear Stearns and all of the Wall Street investment banks. They used subprime mortgages (primarily targeting African people) as bonds to reinvest and make billions of dollars.
When the subprime mortgage defaults skyrocketed last year and the subprime industry collapsed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also affected and lost billions of dollars. In August of last year their shares were $70 for Fannie Mae and $67 for Freddie Mac. Today their shares are $4.70 and $8.54 respectively. They have lost billions of dollars and as the subprime mortgages continue to default in massive numbers, Fannie and Freddie are broke and getting more insolvent every minute! The collapse of these institutions would bring down the entire Wall Street financial sector!
The U.S. government is saying it would bail out these corporations--effectively buying them and putting them into "conservatorship" meaning they would be taken off Wall Street and their debts would be paid for by the U.S. tax payers. Their debts are estimated to be at least 11 trillion dollars! This would more than double the U.S. public debt which is already close to $10 trillion.
This is a very serious blow to the U.S. government and the Bush Administration. The bail-out is a measure of absolute desperation and is no solution. For one thing every other major Wall Street firm is right behind Fannie and Freddie and are also in complete insolvency: Lehman Brothers, etc., etc. If one of these come down, all of them will come down because their investments and debts are so intertwined and interconnected with all the other firms, as opposed to 20 years ago when the government would let banks with bad investments fail. Today if one goes they all will go. Needless to say, the government cannot bail out the entirety of Wall Street! But also $20 trillion in government debt--I don't know what all that will mean--except to say that it is profound crisis for the U.S. government and capitalist system.
Also note that oil and gold are up again today-with oil flirting with $150 a barrel. The stated reasons given by Wall Street for the upswing today are: threat of oil field strike in Brazil, continued "tensions" in Nigeria and the possible threat of an Israeli strike on Iran. Wall Street and overall parasitic capitalist speculation, parasitic greed and frenzy are responsible for the skyrocketing food prices and the deepening immiseration of oppressed and colonized peoples on the planet. Wall Street/U.S. government are responsible for the war and starvation of African people and the majority of the planet. Resistance to this is deepening as oppressed peoples struggle to control their resources and to even survive.
Rising prices are still making some individuals of the ruling class richer and richer. Exxon-Mobile just made the largest profits in the history of capitalism-- $40 billion in 2007. But the resistance of colonized peoples and the implosion of the parasitic system threaten to bring this system down overall.
In fact, this is becoming an accepted probability.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
As part of some of these events I also gave a PowerPoint presentation from APSC with information on Obama’s political stands, his advisors and his financial backers. As many people know, his chief advisor is the imperialist warmonger Zbigniew Brezinski. The head of his financial team is Penny Pritzker, the wealthy banker who ripped off her clients and launched the marketing campaign for subprime mortgages targeting the African community. Obama also got more funding from Wall Street than any other candidate.
As Obamamania swept the country many people held on to their fantasy that the Illinois senator would represent a meaningful departure from imperialist war and oppression. But almost from the minute he secured the Democratic nomination Obama has made it clear that he is a loyal and dutiful servant of white power.
As ABC News summed up after a rapid Obama speech last year calling for U.S. troops to be deployed in Pakistan with or without the permission of its president, Obama is “proposing a geopolitical posture that is more aggressive than that of President Bush.”
Here are some of his stands since his nomination:
• AIPAC speech to the Israel lobby (the day after he secured the nomination). As a previous supporter of the cause of the Palestinian people Obama pledged full backing for Israel and an "undivided Jerusalem" as Israel's capital. Every world government, including the Bush regime, recognizes the UN resolution designating Jerusalem as an international city.
• Flip flopping on one of his strongest campaign issues: the stated 16-month withdrawal from Iraq. Now he says his decision is based on discussing it with the generals “on the ground.”
• Vicious attack on African men on Father’s Day—a statement that no white candidate could ever get away with. The reality is that more than one of every nine African men has been put in the dungeons of this colonial prison system that is used for economic stimulus for white communities.
• Adopted Bush's Faith Based Initiative, a key Republican neocolonial program targeting black ministers and churches. This program cuts back government funding for social programs in the African community and gives black churches millions of dollars to “administer” programs and private schools.
• Supports the death penalty for child rapists. This is important because you are either for the death penalty or not. As the senator from the state that has a moratorium on the death penalty because so many African men have been found to have been falsely accused, Obama has always claimed to be an execution opponent.
• Dodges all questions on reparations for African people; quit Rev. Wright's church which has strong pro-reparations position.
• Upheld the New York acquittal of the killer cops in the Sean Bell case without even a statement of support for the family. Obama said, "The judge has made his ruling, and we're a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down."
• Would attack Iran: “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he told AIPAC. “I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.”
• Would attack Venezuela: Obama stated, “We have lost Latin America.” Obama declared that the democratically elected governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua are a “vacuum to be filled.” Claimed Iran has influence in Latin America and endorsed Colombia’s “right to attack ‘terrorists’ who cross the border into Venezuela.”
• Promised to continue the embargo against Cuba.
• Obama called the Robert Mugabe government of Zimbabwe "illegitimate and lacks any credibility," and said the United States should tighten sanctions against it.
• Is voting for Bush’s FISA Bill (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) and is supporting wire tapping of individuals and immunity for telecom companies, despite the fact that several times during his campaign he stated strongly that he would vote against this.
• Abandoned campaign financing
• Named as his economic advisors two of Clinton's key free trade advocates—Wall Street insiders and bankers. They are Jason Furman and Robert Rubin, Citigroup's Executive Committee Chair. One pundit writes, "These two are notorious for their justifications of policies that benefit Wall Street, CEOs, and large retailers at the expense of the economic well being and careers of millions of Americans.”
• Now supports the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), even though he criticized Hillary Clinton for her support and pretended throughout his campaign he was against it. Obama stated he "would never withdraw from NAFTA."
• Obama is heavily invested in ethanol, just as Bush is in oil. Now a billion dollar emerging economy the ethanol industry is a key player in the skyrocketing of food prices and food scarcity around the world. Fidel Castro says that ethanol is genocide and will be responsible for starvation of 3 billion people on the planet.
• Obama named a "Senior Working Group on National Security." This is a group of advisors and potential cabinet members, including:
•Madeleine Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of State who advocated "regime change" in Iraq before the Bush administration. Here is her response to questions about the sanctions against Iraq on national TV in the 90s: "We have heard that a half million children have died," Interviewer Leslie Stahl said. "I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it?" Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it," said Albright.
•Warren Christopher, the Clinton Secretary of State after Albright who among much else kept the Bush Sr. sanctions going against Iraq.
• David Boren, former chair of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, long-time friend of the Bush family.
• Along with: Lee Hamilton, former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. William Perry, Clinton’s secretary of defense and weapons dealer. Robert Gates, current Bush defense secretary who was involved in Iran Contra.
Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, hospitalized with a heart attack on June 14, 2008, after being attacked by special forces in Canada at the Cornwall/Akwesasne border. Photo by Sagowaiaks.
By Brenda Norrell
CORNWALL, Ontario -- Kahentinetha Horn, 68, was handcuffed in a police stress hold at the border crossing. Kahentinetha told them she was having chest pains and to loosen the handcuffs. The officers responded by tightening the handcuffs. Kahentinetha was told to bend over in the presence of a male and female officer. She was suffering a trauma induced heart attack. During the attack Katenies, Mohawk Nation News editor, was beaten and jailed by the gang of at least 10 special forces. Kahentinetha is out of the hospital and is recovering. Please consider contributing to the legal fees for a lawsuit against the Canadian police and special forces who attacked the two Mohawk grandmothers.
For more information on Kahentinetha's condition and letters of support: email@example.com
Please send checks and money orders to:
Mohawk Nation News
Quebec CANADA J0L1B0
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The headlines scream the reality:
Foreclosures are skyrocketing. Unsold houses multiply by the tens of thousands even as prices plummet. Tent cities for the homeless are springing up all over the country.
The dollar hovers at its all time low. Oil is courting $150 a barrel. Gas prices are the highest ever on an express elevator to $7 and even $10 a gallon. A half million jobs have been lost so far this year. Private debt of Americans is about $14 trillion.
Food costs are increasing. The stock market is seeing its greatest losses since the 1930s. The highways and infrastructure of this country are in a state of deterioration. Forty-eight million people have no access to health care.
The U.S. war against the Iraqi people has no end in sight and things are escalating in Afghanistan. The threat of an attack on Iran looms on the horizon. Even the weather is in a state of upheaval as the devastation of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and global warming dominates the news.
Most of us in white America have not come to terms with this reality. We are waiting for everything to get back to normal after a momentary annoyance. We still anticipate being able to fire up the SUV again for family outings anytime we want.
But as a recent article in the Los Angeles Times stated, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”
Things are predicted to get much, much worse. Articles comparing the current situation in America to the fall of Rome abound.
This is life in America now. This is the crisis of imperialism, the death throes of capitalism, the end of the empire. Neither Obama nor McCain have answers. Someone has suggested that the candidates should choose economists for running mates, but it won’t help. This downward spiral can’t be reversed.
The party’s over. Cheap oil, the sense of entitlement to use and waste massive resources, instant gratification, the world of the mall and vacations and dinner out is finished for most of us.
This crisis is the natural, predictable outcome of a system African People’s Socialist Party leader Omali Yeshitela likens to a tapeworm, born and maintained by sucking the blood of African and other oppressed peoples on the planet.
It’s a system birthed through the stolen labor of enslaved African people along with the genocide of the Indigenous people and theft of their land and resources. It’s maintained through sheer terror, repression, poverty, war and starvation imposed on the majority of human beings.
This is the crisis of a system that has given us, as white people, bright futures and the promise of unlimited opportunity. We consider that good jobs, meaningful employment, nice housing, cars, education, recreation and leisure are our birthright.
But life on this pedestal has come to us at a terrible price, a price that has cost us our humanity. We have jobs and gas and diamonds because people in Africa, from whose land 80% of our resources are extracted at the barrel of a gun, must subsist on a genocidal dollar a day or less. Our babies have had a future because millions of babies in Iraq and other places must die of poverty, war, starvation on land so rich that resources pour out of the ground.
Many of our sons and daughters assume they will go to college while millions of African sons and daughters in this country must go to prison, fueling a multi-billion dollar two-tiered prison industry that has helped to keep the ailing U.S. economy afloat for the past 20 years.
Dancing in the streets of Africa, Asia and Latin America is likely as the big hulk of America goes under. Bad times for us is excellent news for those in the colonized world. Now they can begin to use their own resources to feed their own children, live past their 40s, realize their own dreams, develop their own countries as they see fit.
Seizing control of peoples’ own resources, land and sovereignty away from the hands of imperialism is the basis of most resistance, whether it has been from the people of Vietnam, Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela or Iraq.
People just want to be free. The Uhuru Movement is leading the struggle to unite and liberate Africa and African people under the leadership of African working people. They are uniting Africans worldwide as one people whose birthright is Africa and all its resources. African people are very serious about retaking Africa as their own. This is what leaders from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X to Kwame Nkrumah have fought for over generations.
If we can look beyond the myopia our own self interest we can see that a world in which the various peoples of the planet have control of their own land and destiny, no one at the expense of others, is the only basis for a world of peace and harmony. Only by righting this historical wrong will the collective genius of the world be unleashed to solve our most difficult problems: hunger, disease, global warming, alienation of culture from culture.
Five hundred years of an empire based on white power in the form of slavery, genocide and colonialism benefiting a tiny minority of the world’s population is coming to an end.
Now is the time for we white people to jump down off this pedestal sitting on the backs of others. Let’s join in solidarity with most of the rest of the world in building a positive future on a foundation of liberation, justice and human rights.
This is not the end. This is a new beginning.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
By Alex Pickett, Published 07.02.08
Sphere of influence: Since Yeshitela (formerly Joe Waller) tore down a racist mural in St. Petersburg's City Hall, he has earned the respect (and ire) of St. Petersburg residents both black and white. Though once praised by high-profile politicians, he has distanced himself from City Hall and prominent African-American organizations in recent years. He continues to remain active in promoting African self-determination in other U.S. cities and Africa.
How he makes a difference: Some historians credit Yeshitela for ushering in the civil-rights movement in St. Pete, and even some white politicians admit he has empowered the city's black community. Through the Uhuru Movement, he has helped create retail stores, a gym, sports leagues and a radio station. Whenever there is an issue involving African-Americans and police, he becomes involved; a day after the shooting death of Javon Dawson by a St. Petersburg police officer earlier this month, he called a press conference condemning the shooting and telling witnesses that they could talk to a lawyer representing Dawson's mother.
CL: Describe to me what led you to tearing down the City Hall painting in the 1960s. Was it a turning point for you?
Yeshitela: I don't think tearing the mural down was a turning point for me. I had already come to a turning point. That's why I was down there. I was with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). I had made a clear choice that was the organization I would be associated with because of its black power demand, and because of its boldness and willingness to take on struggle where traditional civil rights organizations seemed unable to go.We had been involved in letter-writing campaigns to the mayor about that mural, because the mural was horrible. It was an 8-by-4-foot display in the center of city power. It represented to us a relationship. It was like locking this relationship that they perceived as one between the African and white community that should exist forever. It was a caricature of black people. It wasn't a caricature of all the people; it was black people that were caricatured on there.
So after a series of letter writings and a number of marches down to City Hall, on one occasion, I walked into City Hall with five other Africans and tore it from the wall. I'll never forget this nice woman who was standing upstairs and she says, "You black bastard!" And we walked out with the painting.
This was where the whole concept of black power was still exciting to a lot of people around the world and police were unaccustomed to dealing with forces like us. So we started marching down the street carrying the mural. We made it to Central [Avenue] -- I don't remember how far on Central -- and this cop grabbed me. I'll never forget he was trembling. He grabbed me, and he was literally trembling. Others pulled me away and I ended up running down the street, dragging the mural behind me. I got to the back parking lot of Webb City and was stopped and arrested and went to jail.
It was an uproar. It was media from everywhere. They held some of the longest court hearings that went on late into the night. They were historic in terms of their duration into the night. I was charged with I think 11 offenses: disturbing the peace, inciting a riot, resisting arrest with violence, resisting arrest without violence, destruction of public property, just a whole array of charges were thrown at me. I think I was tried for disturbing the peace and probably destruction of public property and sentenced on one of those to six months. I spent a lot of time in the city jail first. They used to keep me isolated, because if I was with other black prisoners it created a problem for them. So they put me in this basement that they had in the city jail and on occasion they would bring little white students through on tours through the jail. And they would bring them down to the hole to see me.
It was an alarming thing for the city officials, and for the state as well, because what happened is it mobilized citizens throughout the state of Florida. Because it was kind of direct action that was talked about a lot philosophically at that time in the civil rights movement.
What was the turning point for you?
I used to -- before there were sit ins and things like this, before Rosa Parks, when there was the little yellow line in the back of the city buses here -- I refused to go behind the yellow line when my mother wasn't with me, to her dismay. I'm the guy who would go to Webb City and would refuse to drink out of the colored water fountains and would go on the fourth floor, where they had the snack bar. Africans on the first floor could eat as long as we were standing, but we could not eat at the snack bar where they sit down. I would go and do it and sit down and they'd kick me out and what have you. Until my high school English teacher learned what I was doing and sort of intervened to stop me from doing that.
It seems like there's been a history of sorts. In fact, one of the reasons I left high school -- I quit high school in my senior year because I was in one of these special classes that's supposedly for bright people and I had this professor who was well recognized as being a top notch professor. He made the statement in class one day that Africans would have to earn the respect of white people and I had a serious disagreement. ... We had struggles around that.
My text for learning how to read was the St. Petersburg Times, and I could read while I was still in diapers. And the stories I grew up reading were of lynchings and other terrible things happening to African people. So it was something that I was always conscious of and to the dismay of my parents, never comfortable with, and always struggled against.
Since Mayor Baker began his Midtown initiatives, have things gotten better in Midtown?
Worse. In the sense that what Baker has done is he co-opted much of the apparent leadership in this community. I don't have to mention Darryl Rouson, but one figure that was of great significance to this community was Goliath Davis. Because he did a tremendous job of containing that terrible police organization temporarily and because of that created a lot of hostility in certain sectors of the white community and certain ideological components of that community. This was an aspect of the city that Baker needed to win as well. To pacify that community without alienating the African community, he kicked Goliath Davis upstairs. I say "kicked upstairs" but I think it was like an elevator because Goliath didn't seem to mind it too much, this concept of deputy mayor. Without a budget. We've seen this kind of thing happen and the conditions of the community continue to deteriorate.
The Hope Six thing that got rid of Jordan Park proper in the name of helping the people. Now only half the people that were there are now there. We can't even trace the others because it wasn't required for them to know what happened to other people. In this community, the white guys in pick-up trucks and clipboards coming through, this massive gentrification where so many people have lost their homes and been kicked out, all in the name of helping us.
And in helping us, the Sweetbay along with other things they have done to help us, raised the value of the property, hence the property taxes, makes it difficult for these old women who have been left now to pay the property taxes and some of that has resulted in loss of their homes. So it hasn't been better at all, it's been worse.
And now you have more return to the policing. What the guy whose there now -- Chuck Harmon -- he brought the [Pinellas County] Sheriff's Department back in. And the sheriff's department has a reputation for rabid anti-African sentiments in that department. They did terrible things in this community following the rebellions that happened here. The sheriff's department is notorious in their brutality. Where as Goliath had told them to keep out, Harmon brought them back in. So after eight years -- they had gone eight years without a single African being killed by a cop -- the first was killed by the sheriff's department, two were killed by the sheriff's department, and now this thing with Javon by the [St. Petersburg] Police Department.
The city reminds me of a heart patient. It has a heart attack, and promises the doctor "I'm going to change my ways, and I'm going to live differently now," and then forget and go back to the same things that started it. That's what this city reminds me of. So it's worse than it was before.
What's the answer to economic development in Midtown?
It is something the city cannot do, that is one thing I'm aware of. They cannot participate in it; it would go against interests of some very entrenched economic forces here. The significance of the African population here is that it is a tremendously important kind of labor reserve for us. And it's cheap labor. And at the point that this community can fend for itself then its labor becomes competitive in terms of what has to be paid for it, and it won't ever happen.
African people are going to have make revolution to be free. We are going to have to be a self-determining people, a people that do not have to rely on the goodwill of anybody else. There are no people on the planet Earth that has ever been able to change their circumstances because of somebody else's good will and that's never happened for us. The thing is that the more one learns about one's condition as an African, the more it becomes clear that the conditions I'm suffering from in St. Petersburg are not separate and distinct from the suffering in Haiti or in Jamaica or in Nigeria or in Sudan. The same historical process is responsible for it and part of it is an attack of Africa, dispersal of African people, a separation of African people from each other and from our resources. That is the resolution there is no other resolution.
Something that may have seemed far fetched just a little while ago, is becoming clearer every day to the point that even pundits tied to the ruling class are raising the question of whether the empire is in decline now. And, of course it is. It is in decline as part of a process that sees other peoples around the world whose resources were necessary for the wealth of the empire. And as people rise up everywhere, the empire is in a state of decline and African people will have to rise up and take back our resources before we'll be free. I don't expect, in the final analysis, any meaningful solutions within the context of the existing system. I'm capable of struggling for certain kinds of reform that contribute to positioning the population and enhancing its capacity to resist and transform our condition. But America can't solve our problems.
But on the same token, the Uhuru Movement seems to have lost influence over the last few years.
You talk about influence. I just read an editorial in the St. Petersburg Times that says nobody will talk to the police. Nobody in the African community. There were 200 and some odd people, they said, where they murdered Javon Dawson, but nobody would talk to the police because of Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru movement. That's what they said. When this crisis happens you will see the person who heads up the Justice For Javon Dawson committee is his stepmother and his cousins and other folks who are members of this organization. We're not as influential as we'd like to be, and we don't have the numbers that we'd like to have.
Have you heard from any witnesses on what exactly happened?
We've heard people. We've also watched Channel 9. I want to mention this because they talk about Omali Yeshitela won't turn over witnesses, they should subpoena Channel 9. Because I saw people on Channel 9, young people, who are saying the boy didn't have a gun. Yes, I have heard people say that they were there and didn't have a gun. I heard one person go further stating that her daughter who was with him earlier on had actually patted him down and there was no weapon in his pockets.
And this whole thing about how we won't let anybody testify is just nonsense, and it's a way to change the subject, because the real deal is that you have a 17-year-old youngster with no criminal history. And the thing that's really interesting about this is every time the police kills somebody in this community, the next day the first thing you see in the newspaper is a mugshot, and the implication there is that the killing was justified because this person has a record. Now, the media that has so much respect for criminal records, in this instance when they can't find a mugshot, they don't say "There's something wrong here. This kid doesn't have a record. That he's never committed a crime in his life, but he decides on this night the first criminal act he's going to engage in is point a gun at the police, and after pointing the gun at police, they find a way to shoot him, though he's shooting at them, twice in the back." Not only is that strange, but the fact is that we've got a 24-year-old kid that's just back from Iraq, from another occupation, who kills him. That's not even a story. The story is the mysterious witnesses that Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru movement won't produce. What about those witnesses that Channel 9 won't produce?
So they create this thing that somehow we're responsible for anybody talking to the police. They have a problem, and the problem is it doesn't make sense the boy was shot in the back, not in the side, in the back.
There's a lawyer now that's working with the family. Her name is Maura Kiefer, and she is trying to interview witnesses that people give to her so that she can have an approach of taking these witnesses, so these youngsters won't have to face the same cops they saw gun down this boy, their parents can be there and this is a condition that she is trying to establish with the state's attorney when she goes to them. We have nothing to do with keeping witnesses from testifying at all.
Would this be as big of an issue with you if this was an African-American cop that shot Javon Dawson?
It'd be more of an issue. His young brother had gone to try and help his brother, and I'm told it was a black cop that told him to "get back or you can get shot too" or something to that effect.
The state is the state, and you know people who work for that institution are just as capable. The police is a military organization. Its job is an occupation force in this community. Just like you got Iraqis who work with the U.S. to occupy their country, there are black people who do it here. Just like you had Indian scouts that helped the calvary to track down the indigenous peoples here and wiped them out, we got Africans that will do the same thing.
It would be just as serious for us, and in some ways it would be more serious if it were an African that did it.
But it is worth noting that in every instance these shootings have happened up until now, they've been white cops that have done it.
I think you had a cop that was afraid. He might have even flashed back to Iraq. You know, that's their job to subdue communities. You're in Fallujah again. You've got all these people who know nothing about, in a community about which you know nothing. Listen, when police were called they were called because of too many youngsters in the street and noise from a party. They weren't called to it because of a robbery, mugging, a rape or a killing; they were called because of too much noise at a party. You could send a social worker to take care of that. But they sent the Save Summer guys out there, and one of them knew what occupation really meant and killed that boy.
How come you and the Uhuru don't come out more strongly against black-on-black crime?
We do. We just don't call it black-on-black crime. Most of what you call black-on-black crime is white-on-black crime. It's a façade.
I mean, it's a thing we're concerned about. On a regular basis we challenge the community about violence, but we have a relationship with the people. We're not the police working against the people and preaching at the people; we work with the people to try to change from within. The solution is not the police and not the church. The solution is organizing people to change their circumstances, that's a long and difficult thing. But believe me when I tell you that we challenge this community in a serious way.
If you had the opportunity to move with me in this community, you would see the relationship that we have with young people and the respect that is there with young people. And the fact is if people thought we were in the vicinity where something illegal or violence against somebody else was about to happen, they would cease and desist. We have that kind of respect, because we struggle against it. But we don't call the newspaper. We don't work like that.
It's like Barack Obama suddenly discovering that fathers need to take care of their children. That was his Sister Souljah moment. That was his way to speak to the so-called white social conservatives. I ain't speaking to white social conservatives, I ain't speaking at city hall or the police department. My discussion happens in this community. ... Our attempt is not to have that discussion with white folk, it's to have that discussion inside our community.
We don't want violence in this community; in fact, we have campaigns and programs that say if a brother kills another, you are the police. You are working with the police, you are doing the very same thing they are doing. We have produced DVDs that are not only distributed here against that kind of stuff but all around the world, but we place the violence in the proper context. ... It's pandering. It's pandering to a racist, colonialist assumptions about this community. It's pandering, and it's contributing to this whole notion of the need to have this external force to control our community. it liquidates the contradictions inside this community caused by policies outside this community. so this whole discussion as it would happen on black-on-black crime places the onus of responsibility for the conditions of existence on its victims. So we won't participate with that. We won't participate with that.
Do you agree with the "no snitching" code?
I think it exists in the police department. In fact, they've done movies on it. they call it the code of silence. I haven't heard any report yet of cops saying what happened that night, just this one cop.
When you talk about a code of snitching ... I believe that what this country does is what they cursed the Nazis for doing. They would have an informant on every corner just snitching on people inside their community for the benefit of the state. If it's bad when Nazis do it, it's bad when African people do it. You can't have it both ways. You can't say it's bad to turn a community into a community of informers and snitches when it comes to white people, and it's good when it comes to African people, that somehow we're supposed to be the informers.
The bigger question is this: Why is it that the police department has so alienated the African community that you have to be worried about a code of snitching? That ain't our problem. That's something wrong in the relationship that exists between the police department and the African community. The question really needs to be asked -- why is it that there is such an animosity existing between the community and the police department that people seem to have a problem talking to them?
Do you worry that sometimes talk of socialism and revolution may turn off younger people from your ideas?
It doesn't worry me. the majority of people we come into contact with don't relate to us because of communism, socialism or capitalism. They relate to us because of the pain this system imposes on them. I think most people can relate to goodness, to try and make things better. So most people who we hear that discussion from, like some middle class folk. Ordinary people aren't debating that question. They're trying to feed their children and get them off to school safety and things like that. But I will tell you this -- what we are discovering is daily young people, I n particular, are demanding revolution. They don't want some milquetoast reformist agenda. Young people are demanding revolutionary transformation. Again, it's not just here. All over other world that's our experience. Because we've been reformed out. For example, how many civil rights bills do you think will ever happen. It's not going to happen anymore and what has been the consequence of the last one, except for the middle class? Nothing.
For an organization for African-American self-determination, there seems to be a lot of white people in your group. What's up with that?
Let me tell you this. [Laughs.] It's an interesting question. We're called black nationalists by some folk, and then they see the white people they say, "Well, there's so many white people that something's wrong with them." I have integrationists, who in an attempt to slander me, spread the word that I'm married to a white woman. And I have the same integrationists who say they hate me because I'm for black power and this and that.
When the Nicaraguan revolution took off, before they got to Managua in July of '79, I didn't even know a Nicaraguan. But I went to find some, so we could put all of our organization resources at their disposal, because we could support the struggle of the Nicaraguan people. We did not require that they abdicate their struggle for self-determination. We did not require that they develop a taste for Ray Charles or anything like that. We were in solidarity with that movement.
We have a movement that anybody who wants to express solidarity with can join, but it is a movement for self-determination. And white people can actually join a movement that supports self-determination for black people. There's really no mystery to it.
The problem that we have is this whole racially-based politic that makes the assumption, somehow, that if there are white people or black people who are working in the same process that somehow it must be some kind of integrationist process, or it must be some process that white people are leading. That's usually how the thought process works.
There are white people that have tremendous solidarity. There have been people who have been in the movement 30 years or more. White people in solidarity with the struggle of African people.
Beyond that, most of the resources of the peoples of the world are located in a white community somewhere and genuine solidarity by white folk is required for us to repossess some of our resources. Some of these are material resources and some are human resources. It's a legitimate thing for white people to work in solidarity with the struggle of African people.
How do you feel about Barack Obama?
He's a wonderful representative for white power. I think that his role in part is at a time of tremendous crisis for this whole system that Barack Obama is a neo-colonial ploy. He is a white power in black face. At a time when Africans would be looking for alternatives to the system, he's dragging Africans into the safe embrace of the Democratic Party and the system. He cleans up the image of America throughout the whole world. He becomes an apologist for white nationalism, I'm not just talking about America but white nationalism proper. He condemns anything that comes from this community. he talks about a post-racial America. He is an apologist for the relationship black people have to this country. It's an interesting situation because a lot of black people follow Obama because they think he stands for black power and a alit of white people follow him because they know he doesn't. I think it's a really interesting situation.
How did you come to meet [hip-hop group] Dead Prez?
They were in our organization. They were in Tallahassee. They joined our organization. One of them used to run our New York office.
Do you know if they are going to tour here any time soon?
I don't [laughs].