Saturday, April 3, 2010

Take a stand against criminalization of African youth gatherings in Philly

Alison Hoehne of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement in Philadelphia wrote this response to an article published this week on, "African youth in Philadelphia threaten to shut city down—InPDUM demands hands off the so-called 'flash mobs' (African youth)"

Uhuru! This powerful situation unfolding in Philly is giving us in the white community the opportunity to see first hand the reality that the Uhuru Movement has been exposing for so long -- that there are truly two realities in Philly and in the U.S.-- one experienced by the entire white population and a totally different one experienced by African and Latino people.

Just last night there was a flash mob action during rush hour at the 30th Street Amtrak station with 600 young people swarming through the station. They jammed up the whole concourse and stood frozen in place for three long minutes as commuters tried to get through. Were they viciously clubbed by police and arrested? Was there mass hysteria and condemnation by the city government and population? Were they criminalized in the media today as scum criminal types trying to intimidate our good citizens?

Hell no! They were Drexel University students carrying out a charming, "whimsical" (Phila Inquirer), action to show that hundreds of people can come together in Philly peacefully. "This is not a riot" they said, and claimed to be "taking back" the concept of flash mobs as a cool thing to do, unlike the recent African youth rebellions.

Can you imagine 600 young Africans going into 30th Street station and standing still, jamming the place up and not being so much as touched by the Amtrak police, Septa police and Philadelphia police? I remember when ONE unarmed, homeless and mentally ill African man was shot dead in that station for defending himself from Amtrak police by holding a chair in front of him to keep the police thugs from attacking him!

We have to wake our community up! Who are the real criminals and where is the violence really coming from?

Talking of mobs. Does anyone remember the Williams family in Gray's Ferry getting attacked outside their house by the white nationalist mob of firemen coming out of their "beef and beer" in 1997? The Uhuru Movement and the African community led demonstrations of hundreds of people to protest this attack, (and exposing that this was a daily occurrence), forcing the DA's office to make a reluctant arrest or two. It was reminiscent of the white mob attacks on African people in Philly and the Northeast throughout the 1800s. There's a plaque on Lombard at 6th to the "Lombard Street Riot" where hundreds of Irish and Italians viciously attacked the African parade that was celebrating Jamaican independence. Hundreds of African were beaten and many killed. African homes, churches and an orphanage were burned down, yet none of the white people were arrested. This was the norm.

This is our true history. The entire white population has participated in terrorizing African people to keep the jobs, land and resources stolen from African and indigenous people for ourselves.

Nothing has changed. YET!

African people have always struggled against slavery and colonial terror and oppression. The recent African gatherings/youth rebellions are part of an intensification of organized resistance led today by the Uhuru Movement. Oppressed and colonized people around the world and right here are rising up to take back what's theirs. We'd better understand it and get on the right side or we're going to go down with imperialism and reaction!

We in the white community have the opportunity to take the right stand as never before!

Yes, 29 more young Africans have been sent to prison in Philly in one swoop. Crime rates have gone down after all, so the police have got to do something to help fill those prison beds that Wall Street brokers are betting on. The prison system is what's keeping the economies of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia afloat. More young people from the African community in Phila are sent to prison than almost anywhere in the country, creating a billion dollar economy -- jobs for clerks, police, judges, parasitic lawyers & DAs -- not to mention prison slave labor where Africans make most of the paint products and paint brushes in the U.S., electronic parts, office furniture, even bombs, for pennies a day.

Where is the outcry about this violent system that locks up a whole generation of young African people to make money for white people? Where's the outcry at the brutal police murders of African people which happens every week in Philly without a word of protest from the same folks who are all upset about a table at Macy's getting knocked over?

Why is there no outrage when the reports comes out that the First Congressional District (large parts of Phila, Chester etc) has the second highest rate of hunger in the U.S. or that up to 76% of families in African communities in North and West Phila live in dire poverty! There are no jobs for young African people. Two out of five people in Phila public schools are termed permanent truants. This means there is nothing for African students in the colonial schools except hostile teachers, humiliation and police.

It's truly time that we get organized if we want to change this reality. We must support the right of African people to fight back and organize to transform their conditions of life. Any sincere white person and all allies of the African community reading this needs to join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and get organized under the leadership of the African working class revolution. We surely owe African people reparations and we can start by actively working in solidarity with the movement for African liberation and self-determination.

Take a stand with us to make the outcry from the white community against the criminalization of the African community and in solidarity with the just demands of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement:
  1. Hands off the Philly African youth gatherings: drop all trumped-up charges against those Africans rounded up in the Center City and South Street incidents.
  2. Reparations to the African community: $1.1 billion for community-controlled education, housing and economic development—not police containment.
  3. We demand community control of the police.
  4. Free Diop Olugbala! Hands off the City Hall 2!
Join today at

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