Victory for Bakari and the entire African community!
by Diop Olugbala, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
OAKLAND—The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) is proud to announce that in the struggle to free Bakari Olatunji, the African community has emerged VICTORIOUS!
Bakari Olatunji, aka Rickey Clay, a 25-year veteran and leader in the Uhuru Movement has been set FREE from the clutches of the Alameda County Court system and the California prison system!
What was expected to be a pre-trial hearing to establish a date for Bakari’s trial, ended up being a retreat by the Alameda County district attorney. All charges against Bakari Olatunji were dropped and dismissed.
Bakari was arrested by Oakland police on Friday, May 4 as InPDUM attempted to serve a People’s Subpoena to Oakland police chief Jordan requiring him to appear at InPDUM’s Court for Black Justice, where the Oakland Police Department (OPD) were to stand trial for crimes of brutality and murder on the African community in Oakland.
Bakari was facing the charges of California Penal Code 69PC, commonly known as “resisting an executive officer” and California Penal Code 148A-1, which is the act of “resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.”
According to the California constitution, Bakari faced prison time or probation with possible 24/7 search and supervision, should he be convicted.
This sentence would have meant that the police could stop and search Bakari anytime they wanted for the duration of his probation without the so-called probable cause stipulation.
This is the reality that Africans face in cities throughout the U.S. by tactics of the U.S. counterinsurgency against the African community through its “stop and frisk” and “anti-gang injunctions” and plain old driving-while-African or just being African.
This is the reality in Philadelphia, New York, St. Louis, Houston, L.A., Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Biloxi, Oklahoma City, Dallas, St. Petersburg, New Orleans, Memphis, Durham and wherever else Africans reside in the U.S.
This is why InPDUM worked so hard to free our comrade. The reality is that an attack on Bakari represented an attack on the entire Uhuru Movement as well as the entire African community.
When the police arrested Bakari, they were trying to silence the voice of resistance in the African community. We could not let that happen.
The struggle to win
InPDUM struggled on two main fronts to free Bakari.
On the legal and political fronts of this struggle, INPDUM was well prepared. When Bakari led those forces into the police headquarters to serve the People’s Subpoena, we made sure to capture our every move on video.
This proved invaluable in the later stages of the legal case.
We let the district attorney know that InPDUM had in our possession video footage that clearly shows that Bakari did not come close to doing what they said he did, and that the video, along with the hard copy of the People’s Subpoena itself, clearly revealed that the OPD was violating InPDUM’s right to free speech when they arrested Bakari.
Under the legal maneuvering of Yoland Huang, Bakari’s attorney, this strategy proved to be effective.
Although Bakari was facing legal charges, InPDUM understood that he was not on trial for legal reasons.
Bakari was being politically persecuted for his righteous stance of resistance and for the organizational leadership he has provided the African community of Oakland over the last 25 years as a member of the Uhuru Movement.
Therefore, InPDUM mobilized the people around the politics of this case.
There was not one court date that Bakari attended that was not either preceded by a militant demonstration in front of the courthouse or a barrage of phone calls, emails and faxes from supporters from throughout the world.
Thousands of fliers saying “Free Bakari! Put the OPD on Trial!” flooded the streets of East and West Oakland and were handed out at every possible political event we could attend.
In addition, InPDUM sponsored several rallies at the Uhuru House to mobilize support for Bakari’s case.
One such event was the Black Community Convention, sponsored by the Oakland Chapter of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations (BIB Oakland).
At that event, BIB Oakland adopted a resolution committed to pursue the freedom of Bakari Olatunji.
We also exploited the fact that the OPD itself had in its possession their own video.
To this day, the OPD has refused to give up the video, although court orders demanded they release it. This was an act of police defiance, which the courts permitted to happen on more than one occasion with no consequences to the police.
Further, we reminded the district attorney that should she pursue charges against Bakari, it would be forced to defend the actions of an Oakland Police Department which is notorious for rogue activity, even by the standards of the white ruling elite of this country.
Such cases as the Oakland Riders of the 1990’s and the recent assaults on the Occupy Oakland movement brought the OPD under the heat of its bosses in the highest levels of the U.S. capitalist-colonialist government, which has threatened for the OPD to be taken over by the feds.
The kind of resistance that breeds revolution
Of course this heat was not based in some pursuit on the part of the U.S. government to lookout for the well-being of African people in Oakland.
On the contrary, the feds and the U.S. white ruling class were only concerned that the heavy handed, “shoot first, ask questions later” style of policing had been exposed and scrutinized by the people.
This scrutiny means that a good look at the activities of the Oakland Police Department would only lead to support of the actions of such resisters as Lovelle Mixon and Huey P. Newton.
This was problematic for them, as the feds have grown accustomed to carrying out the war on the African community through more strategic means, such as hiring African cops to kill us instead of the white boys from the sticks.
Throughout Bakari’s case, InPDUM raised up these contradictions, along with the state’s other violations of its own law, as evidence of the colonial nature of the state and all its institutions—including the police, prisons and court system.
The reality is that the state only obeys the law when it serves its interests to do so.
When keeping a Black freedom fighter off the streets requires “extra-legal” measures, such as those the OPD used when they arrested Bakari, the law becomes insignificant.
InPDUM used this contradiction to make a greater call on the people to not only free Bakari, but to build up our own African community controlled state power through which we can prosecute, try and sentence those who attack the African community.
These are verdicts which the revolutionary process will carry out. This is what the Court for Black Justice and InPDUM’s Revolutionary National Democratic Program is all about—it is a program for Black Power.
Free Bakari Victory is part of growing trend of effective resistance of the world’s oppressed peoples
Throughout the world, oppressed people are resisting U.S. imperialist occupation.
From Venezuela, to Libya, to Afghanistan, to Somalia and elsewhere this is the case.
At the same time, a real struggle to destroy U.S. imperialism from within its own belly is being led by InPDUM and the African People’s Socialist Party.
Bakari’s freedom from the clutches of the Oakland court and prison system is InPDUM’s most recent victory in the struggle against U.S. imperialism and colonialism.
Just in August of this year, the State was forced by organized community actions to back down in its attempts to lock up Eric Oliver, a heroic young African man who faced assault charges because he defended himself and his family from a white lynch mob who came to his home and tried to kill his little brother.
InPDUM backed the State down the same way Eric backed the lynch mob down!
On March 23-24, 2013 InPDUM will be holding its International Convention in St. Petersburg, FL. The theme of the Convention will be “One Africa! One Nation! Build Revolutionary Organization to Protect and Defend Our Own!”
At the convention, key organizers from the Free Bakari campaign will join forces with organizers from the Eric Oliver struggle, the Justice for Oury Jalloh struggle (an African who was burnt alive in a German police station) and the Justice for Troy Davis Campaign to conduct a panel discussion entitled “Any Act of Resistance is An Act of Self Defense!”
InPDUM salutes all those brave African men and women and our allies who stood firm throughout the struggle to Free Comrade Bakari.
Let there be two, three, many Bakari’s!
Put the OPD On Trial!
Forward to the 2013 International InPDUM Convention!