Burning Spear News
The Black Is Back Coalition forwards African self-determination on MLK weekend with rally in D.C.!
Black Is Back Coalition Steering Committee leads as panel.
WASHINGTON, D.C.––The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIBC) held its Rally for Self-determination January 14, 2017 at Howard University. The Rally came on the heels of the National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination Convention that was held November 5 through November 6, 2016 in Washington D.C.
While many organizations and individual leaders such as Al Sharpton held marches and rallies throughout the weekend were doing so in response to the election of Donald Trump, the Coalition recognizes that there is a need for black self-determination despite who sits in the white people’s house.
This message was made clear throughout the Rally as the various speakers took to the stage. Black Is Back Steering Committee Vice-Chair Lisa Davis served as the MC for the event and kicked things off by passionately stirring the crowd to its feet with shouts of “Uhuru” and “Black Is Back!”
Lisa Davis stated to the crowd that they were “sending a message to the incoming administration and the one leaving” that black is back!
Before performing, Mutulu Olubaga (M-1) of the rap group Dead Prez stated to the audience that “I’m proud to be here, my start was with this organization [Uhuru Movement].” He credited African Internationalism with being the influence behind his politically conscious lyrics.
He also informed the audience that R&B singer Raheem Davaughn unites with the Coalition and the Uhuru Movement.
“We are to dump on the whole damn system”
Chairman Omali Yeshitela spoke to the importance of the Rally and how the war against the Black Power Movement’s purpose was to push Africans out of political life in the U.S.
He highlighted all of the crimes against Africans that took place under democratic administrations including the current one. He told the crowd “neither democrats nor republicans have ever been a friend to African people.”
He addressed the crisis that imperialism is currently facing when he said “everywhere you look around white power is in trouble.”
The Chairman went on to address the need for Africans to pull away from the Democratic party as well as its “stooges” such Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
The Chairman concluded his point by saying “imperialism is a sinking ship. We should be drilling more holes in it.”
Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report gave a great analysis during the first panel discussion on the crisis of imperialism stating that it is “disintegrating before our very eyes.”
He pointed out that white power is in such a crisis, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would’ve faced opposition and efforts to delegitimize their presidency.
Glen reiterated the point that we are forging our own political agenda despite who is president. He told the crowd “we’re not here to dump on Trump. We’re here to dump on the whole damn system.”
Chairman Omali pointed out how only 100,000,000 people voted in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and that Trump won with only 25 percent of the popular vote.
Black Agenda Report’s Margaret Kimberly followed up with the discussion of the petty bourgeoisie’s stance of loyalty to white power where she pointed out Africans like Corey Booker and other democrats and their ties to parasitic capitalist corporations.
The engagement of struggle is key to unity
It was made clear during the panel that our unity must be more than skin deep and that we Africans must struggle for our own material interests and not be fooled by white power stooges with black faces such as what happened after the Black Power Movement was killed and replaced by leaders who were handpicked by the white ruling class to distract and neutralize revolution.
Chairman Omali criticized Barack Obama for his crimes against African people. He passionately declared that “Obama is a serial killer.”
During the Q&A session, Gerald Brady asked the panel to suggest ways to expose the African petty bourgeoisie politicians during the question and period.
Glen Ford answered by saying that Africans should harass them on their home turf and let them know that they are being challenged by the African working class.
Carla Martin from Washington D.C.’s Fourth Ward commented to the panel that participants should canvass their neighborhoods and organize to build cadre for defense.
S. Williams from Black Reparations Now, a Washington D.C. based organization proposed to the panel that black political representatives be held accountable through reports and evaluations.
Culture of Revolution
“The winds of change are blowing. We have to seize the moment, we must have Black [Self] determination.” Waleeah Brooks
“The task at hand is to take the National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination to the people of Newark, NJ or whatever city that you are from and struggle hard for adoption!” Ushindi Watu
The second half of the Rally was kicked off with a spirited medley of freedom songs performed by Luci Murphy who has sung for over 50 years.
Participants were able to shop and eat at the different African vendors.
The second panel included Black Is Back's Diop Olugbala, New Afrika Independence Party’s Khalid Raheem, Harlem Tenants’ Council’s Nellie Bailey and Zaki Baruti of the Universal African People's Organization.
Organizing and defense was discussed. Khalid Raheem urged Africans to join gun clubs to learn how to protect ourselves.
Zaki Baruti told the audience that “we need to call up armies of our people.”
Diop said “this is the period to seize the time.”
A question about allowing white people into our movements was asked by an African man.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela responded by informing him that infiltration and betrayal can come to the movement in any color.
He went on to say how we have to understand that nothing is underground about the movement. He said “there will be no secret revolution.” So now is the time to unite with those who are principled and are working for our material interest.
He genially stated “I don't unite with white people in general. I unite with those who unite with my program.”
This gave the audience a brand new understanding of what solidarity from white people and peoples of other nations truly mean.
Down to business
Parts of the 19 Point Agenda for Self-determination were discussed by different members of the Coalition.
African National Women's Organization (ANWO) president Yejide Orunmila spoke on first point in the agenda––African women.
She talked about Korryn Gaines and African women's right to defend themselves and their community. She exposes the current practice of African women having their children kidnapped by the State.
Yejide went on to address the horizontal violence that threaten the safety of African women in their own homes and how the movement cannot survive without African women.
Black Community Control of the Police Working Group Chair Diop Olugbala gave a presentation on Black Community Control of the Police which is Point 3. He laid out the campaign's three goals of mass political education and recruitment, the immediate withdrawal of police from African communities and to build and defend resistance.
Kundé Mwamvita, mother of the “3 Drown Black Girls” spoke about the campaign to get justice for her daughter Dominique Battle and her two friends La’Niyah Miller and Ashaunti Butler who were drowned by Pinellas County, FL sheriff deputies after being car chased into a pond.
She ended her speech with the phrase “F the State!”
NCOBRA’s Kamm Howard spoke on the Reparations Working Group's effort to secure reparations for Africans as apart of Point 6 on the 19 Point Agenda. He informed the audience that there are corporations, institutions and families that owe reparations and not just governments.
Nellie Bailey addressed the audience on Point 11––gentrification. Zaki Baruti came soon after with Point 15, dealing with voting and political representation. He proposed that working class Africans seize senate seats in our local regions.
We heard touching words from Shelia Reid whose son Jerome Reid was murdered by police in Bridgeton, NJ. She was followed by Makdes Woineshet who spoke on the crisis in Yemen.
M-1 from Dead Prez brought the Rally to a close by performing one of his most popular and stirring songs “It's Bigger than HipHop.”
This was bigger than a Rally. It was bigger than Trump. It was the stamp of a new era in black political life.
This is the time in which we take our future by the horns and declare that we will be the masters of our own fate as a people.
We will no longer look to white political parties and African petty bourgeois charlatans for leadership.
Rather, we will look to ourselves, the African working class.
Black Is Back!