Black is Back Coalition Storms Harlem in Defense of Assata Shakur!
On Thursday, May 9, 2013 the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice Peace and Reparations (BIBC) held a demonstration in front of the Harlem State Office Building to protest the U.S. government’s recent announcement of the increased bounty placed on the life of Assata Shakur from $1 million to $2 million and her addition to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list.
The demonstration included participation from numerous activists and organizations including Jaime Fuentes of Casas de las Americas – a Cuban organization that has fought tirelessly for the freedom of the Cuban 5 and that played an instrumental role in the logistics of Che Guevara’s trip to NYC when he addressed the UN. Other speakers included Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, Nellie Bailey of Occupy Harlem, Ralph Poynter of the Lynn Stewart Defense Committee, Diop Olugbala of the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement, Khalil Khan Vasquez of the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, Shaka Shakur of the Black Souljahz and Sadiki “Shepp” Olugbala of the Peoples Survival Program. There were numerous other activists in attendance, including Pam Africa of MOVE and the Free Mumia Movement, Agnes Johnson and the December 12th Movement.
The BIBC held this important mobilization as an immediate response to what is clearly an attempt on the part of the U.S. government to criminalize the African Liberation Movement. The characterization of Assata Shakur as a terrorist is not only untrue, but is also an attempt to isolate the people from the revolution.
Therefore scores of revolutionaries, activists and progressives came out in defense of Assata, not only because they love Assata, but because they understand the implications that the attack on Assata have on the African Liberation Movement in general.
The demonstration was strong. And the BIBC was clear, through presentations, banners and militant chants, that the U.S. government and imperialism as a whole is the greatest purveyor of terror that has ever existed in human history and that African people have a right and a responsibility to resist.
Such chants included:
“Who’s the terrorist don’t tell no lie! The CIA and the FBI!”
“Obama you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”
and of course
“Hands Off Assata Shakur!”
The presentations given were equally militant and sharp. Glen Ford’s presentation was particularly sharp.
“We of the Black is Back Coalition are here to expose who the real terrorist is. That terrorist is usually called Uncle Sam, but today he is known as Barack Obama. Barack Obama is the one with 700 military bases around the world spreading fear and terror on every corner of the globe. Obama is the one who is arming the terrorists in Syria in an attempt to plunge the Middle East deeper into chaos.”
Through the demonstration the BIBC also exposed Barack Obama as imperialism’s current strategy to carry out its reign of terror in such a way that will disarm the people from defending ourselves ideologically or otherwise. The banner stated very clearly, “Hands Off Assata! Obama is the Terrorist!” The BIBC’s criticism of Obama was not only correct. It was strategic as well.
BIB understands that the intensifying attack being made against Assata and the African Liberation Movement in general could only be made possible, with minimal political consequence, through a neo-colonial Black president Obama and U.S. attorney general Eric Holder.
While these government officials are Black, it is clear that they do not represent the interests of Black people. It is Obama who has intensified a campaign of imperialist war against African and African people around the world. It is Obama who has ordered the dropping of drone bombs in various parts of the African continent. It is Obama who has given a green light to the police throughout the U.S. to shoot and kill African people at will, an initiative that has resulted in the most recent finding that an African is murdered by the police in the U.S. every 28 hours.
The fact is that while George Bush’s regime set the stage for the bounty on Assata, it is Obama who has played the leading role in the play of U.S. imperialist repression waged around the world, a play whose final act consists of such attempts to completely wipe out any remnant of African resistance within U.S. borders.
The BIBC understands that that the recent attack on Assata will not go away as a consequence of one demonstration. Therefore an ongoing campaign in defense of Assata and condemnation of the terrorism of U.S. imperialism must be waged.
To advance this struggle the BIBC will be doing the following things:
The BIBC will be launching the “Assata Shakur is Welcome Here!” campaign, through which posters and “memes” stating “Assata Shakur is Welcomed Here!” will be posted widely in the windows of peoples residences, on their Facebook profile pics and elsewhere. This campaign is designed to isolate the U.S. government as the real terrorist and to make it impossible for the State to isolate Assata and the movement for Black Power.
On Wednesday, May 22 the BIBC forces in the New York City/New Jersey area will hold a “Hands Off Assata!” conference. The goal of the conference will be to recruit people who attended the demonstration into the BIBC itself and to further develop and advance the strategy to defend Assata Shakur and the African Liberation Movement within U.S. borders.
The conference will be held on Wednesday, May 22 6:00PM @ ST. MARY’S CHURCH, 521 West 126th NY, NY 10027 (BET. OLD BROADWAY AND AMSTERDAM AVE)
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 917.830.5338