Thursday, March 26, 2009

Uhuru Movement statement

This statement also posted on

The Uhuru Movement thanks all of our friends and supporters who have voiced their concerns about the position taken by the Uhuru Movement on the March 21 killings of four Oakland policemen and twenty-six year old Lovelle Mixon.

We unite with your interest in dialog and resolution to this situation and in building unity among the various communities in Oakland through genuine social justice.

The Uhuru Movement has always understood that our friends may disagree with some of our positions—positions which always uphold justice for the African working class community.

We understand and unite with your concerns that the tense situation in Oakland must be resolved.

It is unfortunate that it takes a situation like this to bring Oakland’s real problems to the surface.

We have to take the March 21 events in the context of the long history that the Oakland police department has had with the Oakland African working class community.

It was the infamous brutality of the Oakland police that gave rise to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in the 1960s.

There has been the exposure of the notorious Oakland “Riders,” whose brazen violence, harassment, racism and dishonesty are well known.

There have been relentless police murders of African community members young and old, such as Casper Banjo, an elderly African man and well-known, respected artist who was blatantly shot by the police last year.

There are hundreds of African and Mexican working class people who have been murdered by police over the years, real human beings whose names fade from the collective memory so quickly. Many of these victims have been blatantly slandered in the media, doubling the pain of the grieving families.

The recent cold-blooded, point blank BART police murder of young Oscar Grant was only unusual because it was caught from many angles on video.

But it is much more than this. Oakland has a very clear publicly supported policy of police containment, implementing an incessant martial law with ever-present SWAT teams and police helicopters circling over neighborhoods daily.

California’s prison population is the fourth largest in the entire world and the OPD does everything possible to feed young African men and women from Oakland into that system for their entire lives.

Discriminatory legislation such as Three Strikes locks up countless African people as young as 14 years old for things that white people get to go to rehab for.

It has long been documented in articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News, for example, that the US government is responsible for imposing the devastating crack cocaine plague in African communities, and it is well known that the police have and continue to facilitate this.

The Uhuru Movement does not support the loss of life of any person. But the loss of life at the hands of the police in the African community of Oakland has been going on for half a century.

The “tensions” in Oakland are caused by the police, not by an impoverished community struggling to survive.

Even the mainstream media sources such as the New York Times and National Public Radio have had to mention in most reports that many in the African community do not support the police’s position in this case, and understand that the Mixon’s actions were the result of years of oppression of a whole community which has come to a boiling point.

Lovelle Mixon’s life, like that of thousands of young African men in the impoverished neighborhoods of Oakland, was over long before he was killed by police. He faced a hopeless dead end of joblessness, poverty and criminalization by a society that would rather lock up young African men than make college or jobs available to them.

The police are not social workers; they are a military force with the assignment to carry out a violent containment policy against a whole community. The purpose of the police is to maintain power for the status quo and uphold the relations of poverty and wealth in the city.

If we want to move forward and “build bridges” as a city there is only one road to do so. We have to truly understand the calls of a community under siege and demand an immediate end to this completely failed public policy of police containment, this war without terms waged against the African community of Oakland.

We have to demand a policy of genuine economic development for the African community—development that truly benefits and uplifts the deeply impoverished African working class of this city, and is not just another cover for gentrification and dispersal of the oppressed.

We appreciate your continued support of the Uhuru Movement and urge you to take an active stand in transforming Oakland into a model city of shared prosperity and true social justice.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stop the Genocidal War on the African Community Now! Economic and Social Justice for the African Community!

The following is a statement put out by the Oakland branch of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement about the situation in Oakland, CA, reposted from

The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) calls on all progressive-minded people to stand against the brutal, long-standing, publicly-supported policies of police containment that keep the African community under the grip of a colonial occupation for which the Oakland Police Department (OPD) is the front line of assault.

We call for support for the African community demands for genuine economic development and social justice for the African community.

The deaths of four members of the OPD on March 21, 2009, were the result of these relentless policies, which are manifested daily in the cold-blooded police murders, brutality and harassment of African men and women, youth and elderly by the heavily armed, military style Oakland police force;

In draconian laws such as Three Strikes that discriminatorily lock up tens of thousands of African people for life in the multi-billion dollar California prison industry;

In the hostile, substandard education system that profiles African male children as young as six years old as criminals and “super-predators,” and feeds the shameful juvenile prison industry that violates every principle of international law;

In the highly-documented government-imposed illegal drug trade which is often the only last-ditch source of employment in a community whose own economic infrastructure has been destroyed by “urban renewal” and gentrification;

In the specific targeting of African homeowners for predatory subprime mortgages, thousands of which are now in foreclosure;

In the cruel foster care system that turns African babies and children, victimized by this system, into profitable commodities for the lucrative white foster-care industry.

It was the historic brutality of the Oakland Police Department that gave rise to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in the 1960s.

We recognize that African communities of Oakland and throughout the U.S. are locked down under a deadly colonial occupation no different than the conditions imposed on the Iraqi and Afghani people under the U.S. military occupation and the near genocidal colonial assault on the Palestinian people by the illegitimate settler-state of Israel.

We believe that all oppressed and colonized peoples have a right to struggle for liberation and to resist, as Malcolm X said, by any means necessary.

Just like the resistance of Nat Turner and Gabriel Prosser, enslaved Africans once vilified and today considered heroes, African people in Oakland have a right to struggle against this government-imposed terror. This is exactly what our brother Lovelle Mixon did.

We believe the actions brother Lovelle Mixon took were in fact a direct response to a system that upholds itself and protects itself through the imposition of a police state within the African community to enforce systematic harassment, torture, death and destruction on the African community, so that it can continue to thrive.

Africans have come to the conclusion that if you do not resist oppression from the police, you will end up unjustly murdered by them, all criminal charges will be dropped against them, hence injustice within the system perpetuates itself while Africans continue to die.

Knowing the history of how the police treat Africans, Lovelle Mixon felt he had to defend himself in the face of the oppressive police state. And he did so, honorably. Like the missiles launched from Gaza and the Iraqi resistance forces, African people will rightfully fight to free themselves against oppression in every form.

We call on the citizens of Oakland to unite with the demands raised by the Uhuru Movement for genuine economic development to the African working class community, for reparations for the families of victims of police violence, for a community controlled police review board with subpoena powers and for an immediate end to these failed public policies of police containment which have brought so much suffering to the African community for so long.

We call on Oakland citizens to join us in rejecting the knee-jerk criminalization of the oppressed African community by the city and state governments, and in recognizing that in order to go forward as a city we must unite in the quest for economic and social justice for the African community.


The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement is an organization led by the African working class to defend the democratic rights of the African community.