Nearly 42 years after Martin Luther King’s assassination, "Black is Back" announces the return of black activism to the political arena. In commemoration of MLK’s birthday on January 15, 1929, Voltaire Network is publishing the following statemtent which was made by the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC on November 5, 2009.
- Photo from November 7, 2009 "Black is Back" mobilization in Washington, DC. The mobilization challenged the Obama regime’s wars against oppressed peoples both inside U.S. borders and around the world.
We are here today as representatives of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations.
We are here to announce that on November 7th hundreds of Africans and other people from throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean will be converging on this city for a rally and march in opposition to the U.S. wars and occupations against the peoples of the world and against our own communities in the U.S.
In addition to our U.S. mobilization, African people will demonstrate at the U.S. embassy in London, England under the same slogan of: “Stop U.S. Occupation and War Inside the U.S. and Abroad.”
Some of our concerns are obvious and will be recognized as common to many of the anti-war demands of an assortment of groups that have come to this city in the past.
Like others we are concerned about the growing U.S. aggression against the peoples of the Middle East, including Occupied Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We are also concerned about the announcement that the Obama regime has established a U.S. military presence, supported by hired mercenaries euphemistically referred to as “contractors” in Colombia as a direct threat to the government of Venezuela and other progressive governments of the region.
However, as our name infers, we recognize that the call for peace is empty of meaning if it is not accompanied by a demand for social justice. Therefore, our coalition not only addresses the question of peace, but we endorse the principle of resistance to imperialist aggression and occupation and announce our support for such resistance.
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is also concerned with the wars and aggressions, some covertly supported by the U.S., in Africa, the Caribbean and within the U.S. itself.
On November 7th we will also denounce the proxy wars being fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo that have cost the lives of approximately 7 million Africans since 1998 as the U.S. and other Western Imperialist powers drain the territory of natural resources, especially Coltan, necessary for the functioning of cell phones and computers.
We will denounce the establishment of AFRICOM, a military command created to guarantee the continuation of the parasitic relationship between the U.S. and Africa and to contend with imperialist rivals that would challenge U.S. hegemony on the Continent of Africa.
We will demand reparations to Africans within the U.S. who have experienced the brutality of slavery, convict leasing and other forms of terroristic exploitation to the benefit of the general U.S. economy and the continuing emiseration of African people in Africa and the U.S. even up to this day. We have witnessed the trillion-dollar giveaway of taxpayer money to the capitalist thugs who are responsible for the economic crisis currently being experienced in this country and refuse to accept the notion that resolution to the crisis should come at the expense of Africans and other working people. While the Obama regime and various other sectors of the government – federal, state and local – are demanding cutbacks, we say PAYBACK! REPARATIONS NOW!
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is also compelled to rally and march on November 7th because of the paralysis being experienced by much of our community and other progressives since the s/election of Barack Obama as president of the U.S.
At a time when many organizations within our oppressed communities would be seeking alternatives to the social system responsible for our historic oppression and exploitation, the s/election of Obama has drawn millions of Africans and their hopes and dreams for a better future back into the safe embrace of the Democratic Party, a bastion of imperialist aggression and domination.
We are compelled to rally and march on November 7th in defense of the proud legacy of resistance to oppression and unjust wars that has historically distinguished our people and community. Notwithstanding the presidency and policies of Barack Hussein Obama, the mass of our people are not war mongers; we are not servants of capital at the expense of the wellbeing of our people and other workers.
Finally, we want to make it clear that while our relatively small coalition is new, having been founded less than two months ago, we are a coalition that is representative of a broad and diverse sector of the African community.
Our membership and leadership range from nationalists, socialists, revolutionaries, civil libertarians, cultural workers, radio personalities, community activists, political prisoners, students, civil rights veterans and an assortment of others who are determined to shatter the silence and the assumption of universal support for U.S. imperialism within our community because white power is now represented to the world in black face.
We denounce the notion of some kind of post racial harmony in the face of the billions of dollars lost to our community through home foreclosures and the subprime mortgage scheme that targeted African and Mexican people within the U.S. We refuse to ignore the mass incarceration of our people, especially young African men and women of childbearing age. We demand the right to return for our people who lost their homes and valuables to Katrina and the other Gulf coast weather systems while the U.S. government and other agencies “dithered” and even contributed to our distress.
Finally we must say that our people have survived the worst things this government has thrown at us to destroy our movement for happiness and a return of the resources stolen from us. The assassinations of our leaders, such as Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton and lesser-known figures have not crushed our fighting spirit. We have survived the criminalization of our freedom fighters, many of whom have been rotting in U.S. prisons far longer than Mandela in South Africa, while others are living furtive existences in exile.
Our statement to our oppressors in the U.S. and the world and, more importantly, to African people everywhere is that November 7th will be our clearest demonstration of the failure of oppression and reaction. BLACK IS BACK!
Black is Back Coalition: Steering Committee
Omali Yeshitela, APSP - Chair
Ayesha Fleary, AAPDEP – Secretary
Yaa Asantewa Ohema, NCOBRA – Fundraiser
Jared Ball, Vox Union Media – Media Coordinator
Efia Nwangaza, Malcolm X Center for Self Determination – Recruitment Coordinator
Chioma Oruh, ASI North America – Outreach Coordinator
Ousainou Mbenga – APSP – Logistics Coordinator
Rich Piedrahita – APSP – Graphic Designer/Website Manager
Riley Hamilton – Uhuru Radio – Website Manager
The election of Barack Obama as U.S. president has not ended the suffering of our people or U.S. injustices around the world. While the US Congress has given Wall Street and the auto industry trillions of dollars, the same Congress refuses to repair the legacy of slavery for descendants of enslaved Africans or prevent ethnic cleansing of black people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Massive home losses due to criminal banking practices attests to the ongoing theft of billions of dollars of black community wealth. Every day, our people suffer police brutality and murder, unjust imprisonment, depression-level unemployment, slave labor in prison and disenfranchisement. People who dedicated their lives to our freedom during the 1960s still rot in U.S. prisons. U.S. wars have been expanded beyond the African community in the US to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now threaten Venezuela.
Reparations Now! Pass HR 40!
Single Payer Health Care/Medicare for All!
Stop Gentrification, Home Mortgage Foreclosures, Bail-out the victims!
Free Mumia Abu Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin, all US political prisoners/pows/exiles!
End Mass Black Incarceration! Count Them Home for Census!
STOP Police violence, Black Community Containment Policy!
NO! to US wars, occupations, domination, exploitation!
US Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Middle East! Hands off Iran!
Rescind the Patriot Act! Drug Wars in U.S, Colombia, Ghana!