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Burning Spear News

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AAPDEP calls for conference to unite African people's skills to develop Africa 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — On Februrary 21-22, 2009, Africans from around the world will convene in St. Petersburg, Florida at the International Headquarters of the Uhuru Movement to participate in the Second Annual All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) International Conference.

AAPDEP is a project of the African Socialist International (ASI) that organizes African people to collectively work to overturn the conditions of existence experienced by hundreds of millions of Africans throughout the world who, despite Africa's vast wealth, are forced to live in abject poverty without clean water, decent sanitation, nutritious food, healthcare or electricity.

In an interview with UhuruNews.com, AAPDEP Director Dr. Aisha Fields stated, “In the year since AAPDEP’s founding conference, we have successfully launched several clean water, healthcare and agricultural projects that have made a measurable difference in the lives of thousands of Africans in West and Southern Africa.” She continued, “This second international conference will be used to further consolidate the AAPDEP African Corps of Engineers Scientists and Healthcare Workers (AACESH) as an international body of skilled Africans working to improve the quality of life in Africa and African communities worldwide.”

AAPDEP is calling on all African scientists, agricultural specialists, engineers, doctors, nurses, and others with skills in web design, graphic arts, photography, videography, fundraising and community outreach to register today to participate in this important and timely conference.

Come to St. Petersburg and find your place in AAPDEP and the overall Movement for African self-reliance and self-determination!

Register for the conference at www.developmentforafrica.org or call 727-821-6620 for more information.

Peaceful anti-police march for Oscar Grant 

Several dozen people marched and rallied in Oakland on Monday, accusing police of brutality and murder in the killings of Oscar Grant on New Year's Day and other African Americans in Oakland during the past 40 years.

Organized by Uhuru House of Oakland, the protesters chanted "No justice, no peace" and "Stop police brutality in the black community" as they marched from the West Oakland BART station to DeFremery Park.

The Uhuru movement accuses police of oppressing African Americans, demands reparations for blacks for slavery and colonialism, and pushes for "real economic development instead of more police."

Monday's march by about 115 people was peaceful. In two earlier and much larger protests over Grant's death in Oakland, some demonstrators vandalized businesses and cars.

Grant, who was from Hayward, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle.

The officer resigned from the BART police force Jan. 7 rather than talk to internal affairs inspectors who could have built a disciplinary case against him. Last week Mehserle was charged with murder.

Protest organizers distributed a flyer picturing Grant and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who was shown with the word "Guilty!" printed across his chest.

A "people's tribunal" will be held Jan. 31 against "Dellums and other officials for brutality and lack of economic development inside the African community," said Bakari Olatunji, lead organizer for Uhuru House, the Oakland chapter of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement.

Olatunji called police "an occupying army inside the black community like the Israeli army inside Gaza."

Another organizer, Wendy Snyder, told the rally, "We need to get to the root of imperialism that U.S. white power created." Snyder belongs to a white Uhuru support group.

The Uhuru group says the killing of Grant resulted from "the policy of police containment of our African community," which Uhuru says included the introduction of crack cocaine into the black community by the U.S. government and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X by an FBI counterintelligence operation begun in 1968.

One speaker called for violence against police. He drew both cheers and disavowals.

Jack Heyman, an executive board member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, told the demonstrators, "The longshoremen's union stands in solidarity with those who want justice for Oscar Grant."

He recalled police assaults on dockworkers in the 1934 general strike and Oakland police firing wooden bullets and other nonlethal projectiles at longshore union members during a 2003 protest at the Port of Oakland against the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

E-mail Charles Burress at [email protected]

This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Long Live Cynthia Ntombe ka Plaatjie! 

AZANIA — On January 9, Cynthia Ntombe ka Plaatjie — wife of Thami ka Plaatjie, former Secretary-General of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania and current President of the Pan Africanist Movement (PAM) — was killed in an automobile accident near Sebokeng, South Africa. She was a gracious comrade whose great love for African people was felt by anyone in her presence.

In a letter to Thami ka Plaatjie, Gaida Kambon, Secretary-General of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) wrote, “Those of us who journeyed to Azania and shared the hospitality of your home with you and our sister are especially saddened as we remember the kindness and grace of sister Ntombe. The welcome that was extended to our leadership during our first visit to our homeland made us feel like members of your family and put us at tremendous ease. Our Party can never forget our dear sister for the important role she played in making that happen by opening her home to us, making it possible for us to come home and participate in the struggle with our brothers and sisters on that front.”

Cynthia Ntombe ka Plaatjie will be greatly missed by African revolutionaries whose lives she has touched in various parts of the African world and who carry on her memory as they continue the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa.

Uhuru Movement calls for support for Palestinian liberation struggle; opposition to Israeli genocide 

The following is a statement made by the St. Petersburg, FL local organization of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement on January 6, 2009 opposing the Israeli genocide assault on the Gaza Strip in Occupied Palestine and calling for increased actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination and return of stolen land.

Over the past two weeks, the world has watched as the U.S.-supported, illegitimate settler State of Israel has been waging a holocaust against the people of Palestine using a U.S.-funded military force. We have seen deliberate targeting of schools, churches and mosques including the bombing of a United Nations school. This genocidal assault using American helicopter gunships, tanks and other heavy artillery to exterminate Palestinian children, women, men and elderly people is part of a longstanding effort to expand the Zionist state’s occupation of stolen Palestinian land.

The Uhuru Movement recognizes that the settler State of Israel is an illegitimate occupying force. We reject the notion that the Palestinian people should be dispossessed and wiped out based on some claim that god, functioning as a real estate agent, gave Palestinian land to Jewish settlers. In fact, it was the British government’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 “giving” land belonging to the Palestinian people to Zionist Jews. In fact, there were several places claimed to be the national homeland of the Jews before Palestine, including Uganda in Africa.

The reality is that the establishment of the illegitimate settler State of Israel in 1948 was a political determination that came through genocide against the Palestinian people.

The U.S. government’s funding of the Israeli State’s genocide in Occupied Palestine is complicity. Israel functions as a military outpost for U.S. government interests in the Middle East region. It is exposing that the U.S. government can provide billions to the illegitimate settler State of Israel for its continuing genocide while it can find no resources to relieve people in the U.S. who have lost their homes as a result of the bankers’ subprime mortgage scams that targeted African and Latino people. We also recognize that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama’s refusal to speak to the holocaust being waged against the Palestinian people is a statement that with his presidency, the U.S. government will continue its participation in genocide in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

We in the African community have a natural unity with the people of Palestine because the occupation experienced by the people of Palestine is not unlike the occupation experienced by African communities in the U.S. Just as the People in the Gaza Strip experience containment, African communities in the U.S. experience police containment. Just as Israeli military forces use brutality, prison and murder to repress and prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their right to self-determination, so do police in African communities in places like Chicago, New York and St. Petersburg use brutality, prison and murder to contain and repress the African community. So it is easy for the African community to support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The Uhuru Movement supports unconditionally the struggle of the Palestinian people to end the occupation and take back all of their stolen land. We are calling on all freedom-loving people to increase actions in support of the Palestinian people and an immediate end to the Israeli military offensive against the 1.5 million civilians in the Gaza Strip.

We will be holding a forum on Thursday, January 8 to expose the history of the occupation of Palestine and the U.S. role in the continuing genocide of the Palestinian people and to consolidate opposition to the current genocidal assault in Gaza. This event will include participation from the Refuge Ministries, St. Pete for Peace, the Green Party and other progressive organizations and individuals in the area.