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Burning Spear News

Black is Back gains momentum! 

When we started this trek on September 12 to build the Black is Back Coalition and the rally and mobilization now scheduled for November 7th in D.C. many marveled at our audacity. Some were dumbfounded that we should take it upon ourselves to challenge the direction of U.S. domestic and foreign policy while an African was at the helm of the U.S. government. Some were intimidated by the notion of confronting an apparently popular black president and especially within the short time span from our inception and the proposed mobilization.

Ivory Coast victims of toxic dumping say British company's payoff not good enough 

IVORY COAST — Africans in Ivory Coast who were victims of dumped toxic waste say a compensation deal offered by a British oil company doesn’t cut it. Trafigura, the company responsible, offered to pay some money to some of the victims following a UN report that linked the toxic dumping to the deaths of at least 15 people and the illness of tens of thousands.

Reports indicate that Trafigura illegally dumped truckload after truckload of toxic chemical waste in 15 locations off the coast of Abidjan, Ivory Coast in August 2006. Just weeks afterwards, tens of thousands of people began experiencing skin burns, bleeding, breathing problems and diarrhea. Some estimates put the number of victims at around 100,000.

Denis Titira Yao, the head of Ivory Coast’s National Federation of Victims of Toxic Waste has said that even though the deal is a starting point, it isn’t nearly enough. Yao said that the London-based oil company needs to pay reparations to all the people affected, secure cleaning-up of all the intoxicated sites, and create a health center to care for the victims.

Even while Trafigura is attempting to payoff some of the victims of its chemical attack to end the class action lawsuit of at least 30,000 victims, it is denying responsibility. Its excuses have ranged from ridiculous claims that the toxic waste it dumped off Africa’s coast couldn’t have made people sick to blaming the whole incident on a sub-contractor.

However, internal emails quoted recently on indicate that Trafigura staff knew the waste was hazardous. Trafigura bought dirty oil by-product from an oil refinery in Mexico to make a lot of money by cleaning it and selling it at much higher prices. Trafigura used a process called “caustic washing” — pouring tons of caustic acid and a catalyst into the oil — to clean it. This cheap method produces such dangerous waste that it is banned in most of the world.

Trafigura initially attempted to unload the toxic waste in the Netherlands, but after being told that it would cost hundreds of thousands of Euros to treat safely, Trafigura instead took it to Africa and had it dumped by the Ivory Coast.

Even today, as more than a dozen Africans lie dead and tens of thousands suffer as a result of Trafigura’s toxic chemical poisoning of the people in Ivory Coast, Trafigura denies responsibility for any wrongdoing. However, reparations are indeed due.

Obama continues war on Somalia with neocolonialism and direct U.S. attacks 

SOMALIA — Obama’s war on Somalia continues to intensify as the U.S. attempts to protect the weak regime it imposes in Mogadishu. On top of the tons of arms the U.S. government have given to the regime that controls only a few blocks of the capital city, Obama’s regime has used air attacks against the people of Somalia to maintain the feeble regime.

On this past Monday, six helicopters flew over a village in the Barawe district, south of Mogadishu, and launched an attack on a car said to contain anti-imperialist militants.

Al-Shabab, an organization opposed to U.S. imperialist intervention in Somalia, struck back just days later against a base of African Union forces that have served as a neocolonial force carrying out imperialist interests.

The attack resulted in a death toll of 21, including at least seven who were killed by the AU forces themselves.

Al-Shabab has also presented demands in exchange for the release of a French mercenary captured in July. Al-Shabab has demanded the immediate withdrawal of AU troops supporting the neocolonial regime in Mogadishu and French warships attacking Africans on the coast of Somalia calling them pirates after they’ve attempted to intervene with European companies overfishing and dumping toxic waste into the waters there.

According to an al-Jazeera report, the war that Obama has taken on as his own has killed more than 18,000 civilians — not including those the imperialists have called “combatants” — and left another 1.5 million homeless since 2007.

U.S. military intervention and destabilization in Somalia has been an ongoing situation for decades following the discovery of a “valley of oil” underneath Somalia.

Black is Back! Coalition demands end to Obama's wars against peoples of the world, Africa and the African community in U.S. 

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States to the obvious joy of millions of African people in the U.S. and around the world, especially in Africa. (Talk live with Coalition members on on Sunday, September 20.)

Other peoples of the world also welcomed the election of Obama, partially because of relief at the end of the hated Bush regime. Many believed that Obama’s election represented a drastic change for the better in the conditions existence of African people in the U.S. and an end to the United States’ predatory relationship towards most of the world.

However, it has become dramatically clear to many that the formal change of complexion at the head of the U.S. government has done nothing to change the nature of the government and little if anything to change U.S. policies toward African people in the U.S. or in the world.

The continuing brutal U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the expansion of war into Pakistan represent an escalation of the foreign policy objectives of the Bush regime. The placement of U.S. military forces–including the euphemistically-characterized “private contractors”–in Columbia, are a direct threat to the security of the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and to the democratic governments and movements emerging throughout South America.

Obama has carried out his campaign promises to go beyond traditional U.S. support for Israeli white settler colonial aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people. He continues the Bush government’s efforts to undermine the Hamas leadership elected by the Palestinian people.

In addition, under Obama there has been an escalation of the attempt to establish the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), a comprehensive military presence on African soil, to defend the impoverished status quo in Africa against efforts of African liberation and imperialist competitors.

Moreover, Obama has continued the proxy wars in Africa that have already cost millions of African lives in places like Somalia and Congo. He continues to promote U.S. foreign policy objectives that require the permanent subjugation of Africa for ongoing imperialist success.

While Obama has opposed the demand for reparations for African people in the U.S. for the history of slavery, exploitation and terror, he has handed over trillions of dollars of taxpayer’s money to the banking elite. Meanwhile millions of African people have lost their homes after being targeted by these same bankers for subprime mortgages that have resulted in the loss of billions of dollars of African community wealth in the form of the mass home foreclosures.

While more than a quarter million jobs are being lost in the U.S. monthly, African people face 15.9 percent official unemployment. African teenagers with 38.9 percent unemployment are jobless at four times the overall U.S. unemployment rate.

In the U.S., where Barack Obama also told us that racial exploitation and oppression are no longer factors in life, the black-white health gap costs the lives of more than 83,000 African people each year. Additionally, African men in the U.S. are incarcerated at rates 8 times higher than white men and one out of three African males in his 30s has a prison record. One out of eight African men in his 20s is now in prison or jail on any given day.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the conditions of existence for African people, most of whom are workers, in the U.S. Clearly the election of Obama is not a sign that things are better for African people. Nor has Obama initiated any policy or made any statements that recognize the dire conditions of existence for African people in the U.S.

In fact, it has been just the other way around. Obama has gone out of his way to appease the most reactionary sectors of the U.S. population by absolving the U.S. government or the capitalist social system of any responsibility for our oppression and exploitation, both in the U.S and in Africa.

In the U.S. he has attacked black fathers for failure to provide for African children while overlooking the horrors and deprivations imposed on African families, including fathers. Obama ignores the chronic unemployment, the CIA-imposed crack cocaine drug economy within our communities, the criminalization and imprisonment of young African men and the pre-determined justifiable killing of growing numbers of African people at the hands of the police.

Obama has also apologized for colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa by characterizing our poverty there as due to corruption and lack of transparency on the part of African leaders. Obama overlooks the fact that the current leaders in Africa were either put there or allowed there by imperialism, including U.S. imperialism that has never hesitated to murder and/or overthrow African leaders that attempted to provide honest, transparent leadership and government for our people.

Obama has refused to criticize the U.S. for its participation in the murder of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961 that allowed for U.S. hireling Joseph Mobutu to bleed the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo dry in the interests of Mobutu and U.S. imperialism. He has overlooked the fact that the U.S. government played the primary role in the 1966 overthrow of Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah whose life work contradicted U.S. interests by attempting to destroy the colonial borders separating Africans from each other and from our resources.

Throughout the world people are struggling to overturn their oppressive relationship to the U.S. These are struggles that have been ongoing for some time now and were highlighted in the past by the glorious struggles of the Vietnamese and Cuban peoples. Today these struggles are evident in the resistance to U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the challenge to U.S. hegemony by growing numbers of peoples and countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

In South America the growing resentment of the people to U.S. domination and expropriation of their wealth can be found in the policies and popularity of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela along with the governments and people of Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Nicaragua and others.

Historically African people in the U.S. have stood with the oppressed peoples of the world in their struggles against imperialism. Historically the colonized African population of the U.S. has provided objective solidarity with the world’s oppressed by constantly confronting imperialism in our own interests within the U.S.

However, the election of Obama as president has undermined our solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world as well as our own efforts for liberation. Among those of us who are least politically astute Obama’s election represents the pinnacle of achievement and an illusion of black power while others who know better celebrate his election as the advent of opportunity for the African middle class.

Many Africans are defensive of Obama because even without proper reporting by the ruling class media it is evident that there is great hatred of Obama by a significant sector of the white population, many of whom have taken to openly displaying weapons at community events promoting his agenda. Even simple attempts by Obama to play presidential by broadcasting to school children has run into a barrage of resistance by white groups and school officials around the U.S. And, if there ever was an organic disposition for presidential assassination in the U.S., Barack Hussein Obama is its target.

However, the hatred of Obama is transference of the white racial hatred of African people that is experienced daily in life by Africans in the U.S. and the world. It is a racial hatred that is part and parcel of the ideological fabric of the U.S. and the imperialist world, a hatred that is encouraged by Obama’s pandering to white anti-African sentiments and his denial of the existence of continuing white racial animosity toward African people.

The election of Obama and the blank check of approval given him by almost all African leadership in the U.S. has paralyzed the African liberation movement and the struggle for black self-determination. By giving blind support for Obama the African liberation movement has acceded leadership to the imperialist Democratic Party and left the African masses defenseless in the face of the growing racial animosity being demonstrated daily by many whites in a country with a proven track record for mass and official violence against our people.

In the meantime, many people around the world are confused by Obama’s election or intimidated by the unconditional support he has acquired from African people. Even within the U.S. there are those who initiated mass mobilizations against the war policies of past U.S. president George W. Bush but are reluctant to do so against the Obama regime for fear of alienating African people.

This is why we must act. We must act in our own interests and self-defense. We must act because of our responsibility to our people and to the peoples of the world that are being brutalized and destroyed by the policies of the U.S. government, the most vicious imperialist government in the world.

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is calling for an African-led mobilization in Washington, D.C. in opposition to the escalating war efforts of the Obama regime and for social justice and reparations for African people in the U.S.

We demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Middle East and especially from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the cessation of U.S. military aggression against the people of Pakistan.

We demand the end of U.S. support for the illegitimate white settler colonial government of Israel and recognition of all rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent, sovereign Palestinian state and the right to return for all Palestinian refugees.

We demand reparations for the hundreds of years of slavery, colonial oppression, exploitation, terror and deprivations that continue to be experienced in the U.S. by African people to this day.

We demand that the so-called “bailout” money given to U.S. auto corporations from public funds by the U.S. government be returned for just distribution to the exploited African auto workers of Detroit and Flint Michigan and other cities and communities where African workers have suffered because of the predatory, profit-driven mismanagement of the auto industry by the auto corporations.

We demand reparations for and/or reinstatement of homes of the scores of thousands of African people who lost their homes to foreclosure stemming from the U.S. government-supported sub prime mortgage scam that targeted Africans and Mexicans as primary victims of capitalist financial institutions.

We commit ourselves to relentless struggle against the state and municipal budget adjustments in the U.S. of North America that attempt to respond to the economic crisis by cutting benefits and services to the African community while maintaining or increasing resources to occupying army police organizations and other institutions of state repression.

We demand an end to the public policy of police containment of African people within the U.S. and its replacement with a public policy of economic development through massive capital infusion that would be used to uplift the entire community by supporting existing African businesses, establishing new African businesses, including cooperatives, and by contributing to the general self-reliance of the African community.

We demand the right to return and reparations for all Africans who lost or were forced to leave their homes by the actions of the U.S. government leading up to, during and subsequent to Hurricane Katrina.

We demand the release of all political prisoners held in U.S. prisons, especially those African men and women such as Sundiata Acoli and other members of the Black Liberation Army who sacrificed their freedom in the struggle against the world-recognized historical oppression of African people within U.S. borders.

We demand immediate, free healthcare for all Africans in the U.S. to deal with the colonially based plethora of illnesses and diseases that afflict our people subsequent to slavery, colonialism and the continued abrogation of our right to self-determination.

We demand freedom of religion, press and the right to free speech, assembly and political association with any group and/or organization, inside North America or elsewhere that has been determined by our people to be beneficial to our struggle for revolutionary national democracy.

We demand immediate reparations for African farmers and an end to the land theft and discriminatory laws and practices used against African farmers within the U.S. that result in land and livelihood loss and the eradication of farming as a viable choice for African people.

We demand prosecution for U.S. government officials for torture of people in the Middle East and of African and other colonized peoples in U.S. prisons.

We recognize the Northern Command or NorCom, the thousands of battle-hardened troops stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as counterinsurgent preemption to frustrate the efforts of Africans and others of the oppressed nations within current U.S. borders to win our liberation, and demand its immediate elimination.

We demand the immediate removal of all U.S. intelligence and military forces from African territory, including the Africa Command or AFRICOM, the newly formed military command formed to prevent revolution and African unification and to oppose foreign competition, especially by China, to U.S. economic and strategic interests in Africa.

We demand that the U.S. government, corporations and financial institutions renounce any claims of debt from Africa, which has been responsible for the development of the U.S. economy and, through the enslavement of African people, centuries of free, near-free and underpaid labor for which reparations are due to Africans in the U.S., throughout North America and Africa.

We demand the removal of U.S. troops and contractors from Colombia and an end to counterinsurgent intervention in Venezuela and South America.

We recognize the ongoing U.S. economic quarantine of Cuba as an act of war and demand its immediate end and the normalization of relations with Cuba that will allow normal commerce with and travel to and from the Island.

These are just some of the demands that we think necessary to advance in our struggle for social justice, peace and reparations. These are demands that distinguish our movement from those reactionaries whose opposition to Obama are motivated by opposition to any symbol of black power.

This is also our statement that we recognize that the election of Barack Hussein Obama did not represent an ascendancy of black people to power, but instead, a new face for white power in black face.

This call to action is a statement to the world that Black is Back, that we have reentered political life as an independent force with our own agenda for self-determination in solidarity with the struggling peoples of the world.

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