Philadelphia , PA – On Wednesday, December 10, an International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement contingent intervened in a townhall meeting that was organized by the neo-colonial (white power in black face) administration of Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss the recently imposed cuts on the City's budget. The purpose of InPDUM's presence, however, was not to lend any credence to the mockery that was this townhall meeting. Although the Mayor said he was calling the townhall meeting to allow the people to express our concerns about the recent budget cuts, it was really nothing more than a lip service session from City politicians and other representatives of Philadelphia 's ruling class who had no meaningful solutions to the impoverished conditions experienced by the African community of Philadelphia.
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Local Philadelphia InPDUM organizer Kenneth Williams demands real solutions from the city
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International Organizer, Diop Olugbala serves People's Subpoeanas to Nutter and police chief Charles Ramsey
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InPDUM leads mass demonstration outside of Philadelphia townhall meeting
The fact is the real significance of the townhall meeting had nothing to do with the original purpose Nutter and his cronies had established for it. This is because InPDUM transformed the townhall meeting into a townhall hearing--where we indicted the mayor and his Uncle Tom administration for committing crimes of genocide against the African community. Wearing t-shirts that state, “Jail the Killer Cops, the DA and the Mayor," InPDUM took control of the question and answer period. One by one InPDUM and Uhuru Solidarity members blasted Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, exposing their budget cuts as a strategy to funnel more resources into the police containment of the African community. This stance influenced members of the community who attended the meeting, as more and more people began to attack Nutter for sanctioning a military occupation of the African community by the police.
The struggle InPDUM led against Nutter and company was climaxed with the serving of the People’s Subpoenas. InPDUM International Organizer Diop Olugbala served Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey with the People's Subpoena to appear in the Philadelphia Tribunal for Reparations to African People - a court organized by InPDUM to serve the interests of the African working class and to put the City of Philadelphia on trial for crimes committed against the African community. The Tribunal is to be held on Saturday, December 13, 2008 in downtown Philadelphia.
In his statement before serving the subpoeana, Olugbala stated of Nutter, “We have no confidence in this process. We have no regard for this process. It is our belief that when the ones who are supposed to uphold the law act like criminals, we have a responsibility to stop them. We are putting YOU on trial for crimes committed against African people.” Olugbala then walked up to Nutter and Ramsey and served them each a People’s Subpoena.
The people from the community who attended the townhall meeting united with this call, and showed their appreciation by standing up and cheering loudly. InPDUM then led a chant, “Jail the Killers Cops Now!” as they militantly marched out of the building to hold the demonstration.
The Tribunal will expose how the City of Philadelphia, not unlike any other city in the U.S., is a predator of African people. It is the city with the highest incarceration in the U.S. and where the overwhelming majority of the people sent to prison are African. More than 40% of all people in prison in the state of Pennsylvania come from Philadelphia . The economic conditions are equally hostile to African people. Forty percent of African workers in the city live beneath the poverty level, the unemployment rate of African people is twice that of whites, and 50% of all African men below the age of 35 are unemployed. This entire parasitic political economy within the city of Philadelphia is maintained by the gun--through death squads, known as the Philadelphia Police Department, that reigns terror over the entire African community.
Despite his claims of economic crisis for the City, Nutter has managed to keep the police who occupy our community like an army very well funded. During the townhall meeting it was revealed that 24% (one quarter) of the City’s budget is permanently reserved for “criminal justice” (i.e., police, jails, courts, etc.). However, this is just code language for saying that the City invests 24% of its budget in the industry of criminalizing African people and locking us up behind bars!
In the real world, this parasitic relationship between the City of Philadelphia and the African community manifests itself as a heavy-handed style of policing the African community. Every year, dozens of Africans (young men in particular) are murdered by the police in Philadelphia alone. Since August of this year, the Philadelphia Police Department has killed one African per month, earning for this autumn season the title of the “Fall of Blood." The first victim was Shareef Lee Jones, a 14-year-old boy from the Frankfurt section of Philadelphia. Shareef was shot on August 24 by an ex-cop; he then bled to death in back of a Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) squad car while the cops drove him past a nearby hospital at least 3 times. Shareef’s death was then followed by the September 23 assassination of Denill Giddings of North Philadelphia. Giddings, who was trying to rebuild his life, was the target of constant police harassment that at one point resulted in police going to his home. October came with the murder of Michael “Butchie” Johnson on the 22nd day, followed by the November PPD slaying of Norman, who grew up with Denill Giddings and was murdered by the police only blocks away from where Denill was killed.
In the face of these sharp attacks being made by the City of Philadelphia against the African community, InPDUM has determined that our only real defense is to get power in our hands. We have been organizing to expose the U.S. government and all of its state, local, and federal agencies as part of a criminal entity responsible for the poverty, misery, and death of oppressed peoples around the world. InPDUM is determined to get power in the hands of African people so we may bring the U.S. government to justice. Thus, we have been organizing Tribunals (courts) around the world--to put the State on trial for crimes committed against us.
At the Philadelphia Tribunal, there will be testimony provided by various members of the community who have had first-hand experience with the terror imposed on our community by the State. We will hear from family members of police murder victims, as well as expert testimonials from people who have witnessed attacks by the State through the gentrification, foster care, and education systems.
The Philadelphia Tribunal for Reparations to African People comes at a time when the U.S. economy is suffering a deep crisis. African people have the responsibility to deepen the crisis of an economy and government that were built out of our oppression. There can be no path to economic prosperity for anybody on a path paved on the graves of young Africans and resting on the jail cells stuffed with our people. There can be no shelter for this economy in the homes literally stolen from African people. The City of Philadelphia must be exposed as a criminal force that has stolen everything it has from African people, a force that intends to use those stolen resources to facilitate our ongoing oppression. InPDUM says no! InPDUM says that change is long overdue. Real change can only be found in reparations to the African community. Real change can only be found in the real criminals being brought to justice.
Build the Philadelphia Tribunal for Reparations to African People!
Build the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement!