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Burning Spear News

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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.

Hundreds hacked to death in northeast Congo 

DRC — The hundreds of children, elders, women and young men killed in Kiwanja in November by the Laurent Nkunda Batware’s National Congress for the Defence of the People (CDNP), a rebel group claiming to defend the Tutsi population in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still fresh in our memory.

Now the imperialist news media has just announced the hacking with machetes of again mostly children, women and elderly between December 25 and 27 in Faradje, Doruma and Gurba in northeast Congo near the border with the Central African Republic and Sudan. We are told that they were killed by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) — an Uganda-based military force led by Joseph Kony that opposes the Ugandan regime of Yoweri Museveni.

Who are guilty — LRA’s rebels or the Ugandan army and its allies?

According to a December 29 article in the Guardian, “On December 14, regional patience finally ran out. Uganda, South Sudan and Congo announced a joint offensive to flush the rebels out of their bases in the Garamba national park, in northeastern Congo. Operation Lightning Thunder, which was led by Uganda, saw air strikes by MiG fighters and attack helicopters against several LRA hideouts, including Camp Swahili, Kony's reported base.”

These attacks speak volumes. How can the Ugandan and SPLA armies — and the Congolese army who authorized these attacks — distinguish and spare the Congolese population from the LRA’s members when many of them do not even have army uniforms? How would they distinguish civilian from military targets when they are using air strikes? I tend to believe that it is a cover up.

What is a legitimate war or military operation in Africa today?

What is the basis of legitimacy of all these wars? What is the difference between armed rebel groups and governmental armed forces? None of them is involved in a war of liberation.

How many people have Museveni and Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame killed? The imperialist press is quiet on that!

Why are Kagame and Museveni allowed the military solution of hunting down their opponents in Congo? Why is there no international process to get Museveni to negotiate with Joseph Kony and Kagame to negotiate with the Hutu leadership? After all, none of them is against imperialism, and therefore none of them have a basis to shed the blood of Congolese or any African population.

Since there is no army consciously fighting imperialism and the African petty bourgeois compradors and bureaucrats in the Congo and the region, it means the leaders of the LRA and Museveni, as well as the Hutu and Tutsi leaders in Rwanda, are fighting for the right to be the favored servant of white imperialism. That is why this war is an illegitimate war.

However, the people’s resistance by any means is legitimate.

Imperialist press is silent on the crimes of Museveni and Kagame

We know about this massacre because it is allegedly committed by the LRA. The white press of Britain, Canada and the U.S. continue to impose silence on Museveni and Kagame‘s war crimes.

In eastern Congo, the Hutu soldiers of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Tutsi soldiers of the Rwandan army are all experienced mass murderers as a result of their participation in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. There was no good side in that war.

The Congolese army has no loyalty to the people but instead to themselves and their merchant generals who steal even the pay of their own rank and file soldiers. The Ugandan army is responsible for mass murders against the Acholi population in northern Uganda from which the LRA comes. The Rwandan government has committed mass murder in Rwanda and continues to support the ongoing war in Congo. They continue to get away with these war crimes because the imperialist press always blames their victims and because there are no revolutionary struggles in this region of Africa to organize the defense of the peoples.

Revolutionary struggles across the illegitimate borders is the solution

The Congolese army is rotten. It rapes and kills its own population. None of these armed forces — governmental or rebel — are on the side of the people, of Congo or of Africa. They are all on the side of white power imperialism. This is the fundamental problem that needs to be resolved if we want to see peace, dignity and freedom in this part of Africa.

We urgently need an ASI organization on the ground in central and East Africa, which will pull together the whole African population in these regions into one single organization to organize the people’s resistance against neocolonialism, a precondition for the worldwide final offensive of African people against imperialism and its black collaborators.