Uhuru, Sisters and Brothers,
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.
However, it was not long before it became clear to us and others that we were exactly correct to organize this coalition and to call for the November mobilization demanding resistance to U.S. wars and occupation inside the U.S. and abroad.
Some of us came to the coalition and the mobilization reluctantly, having been Obama supporters and hoping that his election would mean a real change in direction for the U.S. government and, that for the first time, maybe the interests of our historically oppressed and brutalized people would become legitimate agenda items for this government.
Some of us had overlooked his campaign statements and actions that denied reparations for our people, joined the reactionary chorus of white nationalists in condemning black fathers and sought favor from Jewish money and influence by groveling at the feet of reactionary Zionists in Miami. As unseemly as it was, many thought, it was simply an act to get elected, one that he would renounce once in power.
Others of us came to the coalition fully convinced that Obama was exactly what he appeared to be: a tool of imperialist white power, designed to disguise the real source of power, deflect criticism and undermine the efforts of the oppressed to organize to resist our oppression. We saw the selection and election of Obama as an attempt to confuse the world’s peoples by placing at the helm of U.S. imperialist power someone who looks like the vast majority of the peoples being victimized by imperialism.
Whatever our initial thoughts about Obama it soon became clear to those of us who came to the coalition that the U.S. government was actually escalating its predatory war initiatives – adding more troops to Afghanistan, killing more people in Pakistan, maintaining the occupation of Iraq, firmly supporting the illegitimate settler state of Israel, enforcing the economic blockade of Zimbabwe and Cuba and extending military forces to Columbia as a real threat to the popular government of Venezuela.
We watched Obama bring into his cabinet holdovers from the Bush regime and his giveaway of trillions of dollars from the public treasury to bankers and corporate bosses. Meanwhile our people were expected to suffer in silence the consequences of the subprime mortgage scam that was invented by his campaign financial chair and that resulted in massive foreclosures and the loss of billions of dollars from our already suffering community.
In addition we knew that the government of Pennsylvania was maneuvering throughout the judicial system and attempting to manipulate white public opinion to justify the execution of Mumia Abu Jamal. Scores of other men and women, who sacrificed their lives to win our freedom during a time when we were murdered in our churches and homes for simply wanting to register for the Democratic Patty that now so firmly embraces Obama, are rotting in prison cells or existing furtively in exile.
Hundreds of thousands of our young people have been disappeared into the prison system, especially young men of childbearing age, those most likely to join the ranks of resistance to our miserable conditions of existence.
No wonder we answered with a resounding “yes!” to the idea of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. No matter what our stance around Obama had been in the past and what it might be even now, the reality of our situation as a people has compelled us to build a social movement that does not rely on the goodwill of our rulers or the charm of those who claim to represent our interests.
We have come to understand that anyone who claims to represent the interests of our people must be compelled by the strength of our organizational will to address our interests as a condition for receiving our support.
We know that the destruction of our movement by the U.S. government – from the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton and Bobby Hutton and the mass imprisonment of black community organizers from the Black Panther Party and other legitimate organizations – is what made it unnecessary for Obama to be accountable to his own community.
But, truly, Black is Back! This is something that was made clear almost immediately with our founding and the call we have made to our people to step forward to reclaim the mantle of resistance that is our righteous legacy.
Almost daily Africans are joyfully uniting to claim their place in the ranks of our sorely needed movement. Not only in the U.S., but in England, Canada and, most recently, in the Caribbean. Growing numbers of students have volunteered to organize their campuses. In almost every region and in more and more states and cities the march is on and the cry is: “Forward to DC!”
Of course, there are those who will not be with us and they will have a dozen reasons for not joining in this movement. Some are politically crippled by ignorance. They have yet to understand the issues, something we can repair moving forward. Some do not share our vision or are incapable of accepting our principles of unity.
However, we are clearly on the right track and it would be a mistake for us to stop or turn back now to attempt to satisfy those who are currently unwilling or those who assume they have a better way. We are an incredible coalition building a social movement that many would have believed impossible just a few weeks ago. But we are here and we are growing.
Opposition to our movement has been slow to mount, but it is surely forthcoming. It has been slow to materialize because our enemies had considered themselves successful in neutralizing or destroying our will to resist. The selection of Obama was to play a strategic role in reinforcing that presumption. Our existence is the greatest threat to the status quo since the destruction of our movement through mass jailing and assassinations.
Our movement is not something that will jump on the treadmill of appeasement of the various politicians or even Obama himself. We are not lobbyists who control the politicians with their deep pockets, and while lobbying is not in and of itself something that is untenable, we recognize that our power is in the organized people, not the politicians. Our coalition and our November mobilization, more than anything else, are to provide us the organization and the social movement through which our declaration of Black is Back! will shake the very foundations of the D.C. establishment.