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Burning Spear News

Four put to death in Arkansas in one week: The black movement must defeat the anti-African “legal” death penalty in the U.S.!

Jun 13, 2017
Omowale Kefing, African People's Socialist Party

LITTLE ROCK, AR.—The state of Arkansas, in a span of eight days from April 20-27, 2017, committed State-sanctioned executions of four death row inmates by injecting them with a mixture of lethal chemicals.

Three of those inmates were colonial African subjects.

The spate of legal executions began with Arkansas frantically moving forward to kill eight people within an eleven-day period.

They were rushing the executions because their stock of midazolam, the powerful sedative used in their deadly injection “cocktail,” had a “use by” date of April 30, 2017 stamped on it.

This means that they would not have access to their chemical weapon of choice if they did not use it by the end of April.

While using chemicals to legally murder Africans in Arkansas, the hypocritical U.S. government was decrying the use of such weapons in Syria.

In Syria, the U.S. is also the usual suspect when it comes to use of chemical warfare. They leave a chemical trail.

U.S. presidency has always been anti-African

The state of Arkansas first murdered Ledell Lee, a 51-year-old African on April 20th, followed by the double murder on April 24 of Eric R. Nance, a 45-year-old white man and Marcel Wayne Williams, a 52-year-old African.

Then on April 27, the state of Arkansas legally murdered Kenneth Dewayne Williams, a 38-year-old African.

The other four executions did not go forward because Wendell Griffen, an African anti-death penalty judge, blocked those executions.

He has subsequently been threatened with impeachment for participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration in which he lay strapped to a gurney.

It has been suggested that Arkansas governor Bill Hutchinson felt comfortable moving forward with these executions because of the anti-African political climate that Donald J. Trump has brought to the U.S. presidency.

The fact is the U.S. presidency has always been anti-African. This was so even as Barack Hussein Obama held the post.

However, it was not governor Bill Hutchinson who first promoted an anti-African agenda by willingly overseeing the murders of African people on death row in Arkansas.

In fact, it was Bill Clinton, on the campaign trail for U.S. president in 1991 while governor of Arkansas, who rushed back to his state to personally preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a 42 - year old African on whom the state had already performed a lobotomy that left him pretty much brain dead.

This anti-African action by Clinton is what many say sealed his spot at the top of the Democratic party ticket to challenge and defeat republican George H.W. Bush.

The death penalty is State-sanctioned colonialist terrorism

Africans inside the U.S. are colonial subjects.

The forced relationship we have to the U.S. government and society has always used the death penalty, legally and extralegally, to maintain its colonial domination over African people.

It was death or the threat of death that was used on the runaway or disobedient slave as the ultimate tool of colonial oppression and terror.

The courts and police within the judicial system are historical U.S. institutions that were all organized without African people’s input or consent.

Often times, the laws and police were constructed specifically to hold African people in bondage.

This being the case, it is impossible for an African to be judged by her/his peers or to receive justice inside a U.S. courtroom.

Out of 158 death row inmates that the Innocence Project proved were wrongly convicted and consequently released from prison, only 81 were African.

On the other hand, there is impunity for the police or white vigilantes who shoot us down and murder us in the streets in extralegal executions.

The death penalty in the U.S. does not even try to disguise its inequality. It is laid bare with statistics.

According to Amnesty International, seventy-seven percent of the people put to death since 1977 were convicted of killing white people.

This is so even though African people make up half of all homicide victims, but the death penalty was sought in only 15 percent of the homicides.

Eighty-two percent of 1,452 “legal” executions since 1976 occurred in the south, with 37 percent taking place in Texas, where more than half those on death row are African, although Africans make up only about 12.5 percent of the Texas population.

In 2016 alone, seventeen unarmed Africans were extrajudicially murdered by different police agencies.

There are six people on death row in the U.S. military and four of them are African.

Out of 435 death row inmates in the Federal penitentiary, only 125 are white, meaning whites only represent 25 percent of the death row population.

The colonial State that protects white power created these oppressive institutions during its founding that continue to lord over our people in 2017.

Our Revolution to overturn this relationship was militarily defeated in the 1960s.

Black movement halted executions

At the height of the Black Revolution of the sixties, Africans forced the U.S. government to halt all legal executions.

They would not dare attempt to march an African into a death chamber with millions of Africans already in the streets talking about Black Power and actively engaging the U.S. in a limited armed struggle.

The government was forced to place a moratorium on the legal murder of Africans during the Black Revolution of the sixties, which meant they could not “legally” murder anyone.

The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) as a young organization cut its teeth by struggling with death penalty cases such as those of Dessie Woods and Wiley Dobbs in Georgia, Pitts and Lee in Florida and Freddie Lee Roberts in California.

If our movement is to be successful in 2017, we must teach the masses to despise the hated death penalty, as they so rightly should. We must not give our colonial oppressors the right to legally oppress us.

We must teach Africans to learn how to get on jury duty and to vote not guilty even if they have the so-called “smoking gun.”

We must disrupt courtrooms where death penalty cases are being tried with the cry, “We Charge Genocide!”

We must organize forums and demonstrations and marches against the genocidal and hated death penalty.

Although we welcome the work of the Innocence Project and the different anti-death penalty groups throughout the U.S. and world, our mission must be the destruction of the capitalist economic system.

This murderous system is responsible for the construction of the death penalty and every other problem the colonized and oppressed suffer today.

We must build the revolutionary organizations, especially the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the African People’s Socialist Party and fight for black worker’s State power that will for once and always, end the white power genocidal death penalty.

Smash the Death Penalty!

Smash the colonialist State!

All Power to the People!

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