Message from International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement President Diop Olugbala


Uhuru! Comrades, brothers, sisters and allies,
 
Firstly I want to officially inform everyone that I was released from the Pinellas County jail at approximately 11pm on Wednesday, September 25.
 
I also must thank everyone who participated in the call-in campaign that made my expeditious release possible.
 
As many know, I was arrested by the St. Petersburg police on my way from the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s (InPDUM) office in the Uhuru House, located in the middle of the oppressed African community of the south side of St. Petersburg, Florida.
 
I had just arrived in St. Pete last Saturday to participate in the mobilization effort to build for the Sixth Congress of the African People's Socialist Party, the organization that founded and provides revolutionary political leadership to InPDUM.
 
I hadn't ridden my bike one block away from the Uhuru House when a police car began to ride slowly behind me.
 
When the police passed me by I figured the threat had passed as well. However, the car began to slow down and eventually came to a stop. I continued to ride my bike and eventually passed the police.
 
Right before I turned the corner, the cop, Jenna Price, pulled up right beside me and demanded to know my name. I asked her, "Why do you need to know my name?" as I continued to ride. As I turned the corner, she again demanded my name.
 
This time, clear that this was going to lead to some type of altercation, I stopped my bicycle and waited for her to get out of her car and approach me.
 
As she walked up to me she again demanded my name. I then asked her if I was required by law to give her my name. She said yes. So I told her my legal name, Wali Abdur-Rahman.
 
After I told her my name, she demanded to see my identification. I asked her what reason she had to demand my ID. I was fully aware that it is only the instance in which a person is being detained that they are required by law to present identification to a cop.
 
I was also aware of the fact that it is only the instance in which a cop can provide some meaningful justification or reasonable suspicion that their target has committed a crime that the police are legally allowed to detain that person.
 
I made it very clear to officer Jenna Price that I knew my legal rights. I challenged her every step of the way. I also captured the entire exchange on my video camera phone. I did this in part for legal purposes, as I knew that I would need material evidence of Jenna Price's violation of my rights.
 

Stand your ground against police abuse

 
However, more importantly, the masses of the people need to be educated on the correct way to stand our ground against the ongoing acts of aggression that the police commit against African people in St Pete and worldwide. The people need to know that we don't have to be led like lambs to the slaughter.
 
The people need to know they have a right and a responsibility to resist our colonial oppression that usually comes down through the police. The people also need to be shown and educated how to resist on every level.
 
At this point in the struggle with Jenna Price, Africans who live in the neighborhood began coming out of their houses. Women, men and children came out of the woodwork. Eventually, a crowd of about 30 or 40 people converged on the scene.
 
Clearly taken off guard by the fact that a "nigger" on the street would have the audacity to challenge her, and clearly shaken by the fact that the people were moving on her, Jenna Price got on her radio and called for back up. Within a few seconds another squad car pulled up.
 
By that time comrades and members of the Uhuru Movement were on the scene and began to intervene in the altercation, attempting to protect me from any further harm the police would try to cause their comrade.
 
The more intense the confrontation became, the more police and people began to gather. In response to their fellow pig’s call for back up, one squad car literally came racing down the street as if it was responding to a murder.
 
In their rabid pursuit of African blood, a cop car ran a stop sign and literally crashed into an oncoming car that had the right of way! Not only that, but the police ended up arresting the driver (who happened to be a white man driving through the African community) of the car that they had hit!
 
In the process, the pigs took a brown paper bag out of the trunk of one of their squad cars and placed it in the trunk of the white man's car who they hit. This was done in broad daylight in full view of dozens of people!
 
At the same time, the struggle with Jenna Price continued. It was becoming clear that the police had no control over the situation. All of the Africans on the scene were shouting in protest of my detainment by the police. 
 
Eventually Jenna Price demanded that I come over to her. I refused to walk over to her. We told her if there was something to discuss it could be discussed in the same fashion that we had been communicating up to that point, from the distance we were standing.
 
Clearly frustrated by the lack of respect everyone was showing her and the police as a whole, Price rushed over to me, grabbed me, placed me in handcuffs and slammed me up against the car. At that point all hell broke loose.
 
Comrades of the Uhuru Movement began shouting in protest as I was driven off in a squad car. At the time of my arrest I was not even clear as to what the exact charges for my arrest were.
 

Movement’s call-in campaign rocks entire Pinellas County jail

 
Once I arrived at the Pinellas County jail I was placed in an isolation holding cell, separate from the general population of those locked up.
 
The redneck cop who was taking my mug shot claimed that I was being “uncooperative” so he threw me in the isolation cell in handcuffs.
 
A couple of hours later the superior officer in that particular wing of the jail came to see me, along with two other white cops. It was like a scene out of “Law and Order” or some nonsense like that.
 
He had a cup of coffee in his hand as his flunkees flanked his sides. He said “Ok, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
 
I said, “What is the difference?” He said I had to cooperate. I told him that I had no choice but to cooperate, as they got all the guns and I’m in handcuffs. He didn’t like that.
 
I then started laughing at them, as the whole thing was so ridiculous. He then said, “Ok, have it your way” and slammed the door shut.
 
About an hour later that same officer came back, this time with no coffee in hand and with two negro cops. His stance was completely different. I knew that the Movement was on the move. I knew that calls had begun coming in and that word had gotten to the entire jail staff.
 
The commanding officer was suddenly very nice to me and expressed his desire to see me released as expeditiously as possible. I united with him on that point.
 
A few minutes later I went from an isolation cell to being first in line to make my phone call and get the hell up out of there.
 
This would not have been possible were it not for the organized response of the masses of people who called into the Pinellas County jail as well as the St. Petersburg police department. The movement had placed the state in a compromised situation, where it was clear that the political consequences of continuing to hold me captive would have been more detrimental than it could handle.
 

Resistance forces State to drop charges

 
Not only did the resistance force the State to release me, it also forced them to change the reasons it initially put forth as to why I was locked up.
 
According to InPDUM organizers who were corresponding with the St. Pete police department, the original charges the State had placed on my arrest report were, riding an unregistered bicycle, riding on the wrong side of the street, running a stop sign and obstruction.
 
However, by the time of my release the only charge that remained was obstruction.
 
This is because the police know they have made a serious error, legally and politically. They are well aware of the fact that my arrest came out of an unlawful stop. Therefore the police had no legal justification for my arrest.
 
They know, as the Uhuru Movement knows, that my arrest was political. It was a response to our resistance to one of their officers’ attempts to bully me.
 

Resistance to police activity in African community must become the norm

 
What happened to me on September 25, my stop and arrest by the St. Petersburg police, is a part of an ongoing counterinsurgent occupation of the African community by a standing army known as the police.
 
What happened to me was what happens to Africans in New York under the banner of “Stop and Frisk.” It is what happens to Africans in Oakland, under the banner of an “anti-gang initiative.”
 
What happened to me was what the police are required to do, not only throughout the U.S. component of our colonized African nation, but in African communities worldwide, as a means of keeping the African population under constant control and in fear.
 
They want to prevent us from building the capacity to get organized to resist our oppression and to take control over the resources that have been and continue to be stolen from us by the U.S. government and worldwide imperialism.
 
At the end of the day the police will do whatever is necessary to repress the African community, even if it means violating the very laws that it claims to uphold.
 
At the end of the day, it is not a question of what the laws say. It is a question of who has the power.
 
Yesterday, the police saw in a very clear way that they do not have the power they think they have.
 
More importantly, the masses of Africans in that community of St. Petersburg and worldwide were shown that they do not have to accept the brutal and inhumane treatment we are subjected to at the hands of the police. The masses saw that we can and must resist, all of the time.
 

Campaign to resist police occupation sets stage for APSP Sixth Congress

 
The fundamental task with which InPDUM and the Uhuru Movement is now confronted is that of building revolutionary organization amongst the masses of African people worldwide so that they have the ability to resist our colonial occupation and its effects on an ongoing basis.
 
This gives even greater significance to the Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) that I have travelled to St. Pete to help build in the first place.
 
The Congress is a process that occurs every three years, through which the entire membership of the APSP, along with the general population of our oppressed and exploited community, come together to discuss and vote on the future of the work of our revolutionary Party for African liberation.
 
Occurring just one month following the time when many major U.S. cities will hold their local government elections, the Congress represents the only real forum through which African people can experience revolutionary democracy.
 
The Congress enables the Party’s membership to elect its leaders for the next three years, along with the amendments to the Constitution and political resolutions that dictate the type of work we will be engaged in for the next three years.
 
Point #8 of our Party’s 14-Point Platform states that, “We want the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. police from our oppressed and exploited communities. We believe that the various U.S. police agencies which occupy our communities are arms of the U.S. colonialist state which is responsible for keeping our people enslaved and terrorized.
 
“We believe that the U.S. police agencies do not serve us, but instead represent the first line of U.S. defense against the just struggle of our people for peace, dignity and socialist democracy. Therefore, we believe the U.S. police is an illegitimate standing army, a colonial army in the African community and must withdraw immediately from our community, to be replaced by our liberation forces whose struggles in defense of our community and against our oppression demonstrate their loyalty to our community and their willingness to serve in its interest.”
 
In the final analysis, the police will not stop attacking the African community as a consequence of someone being voted into political office, no matter how well intended they may be.
 
In fact, the police function in the African community in the same fashion that the U.S. military engages in colonial occupation and war in various parts of the planet, currently focused intensely in the Middle East.
 
The people of Iran, Syria and Afghanistan are clear that they will not be able to vote to determine whether the U.S. military leaves their homeland. That is why they are waging an armed struggle to overturn such colonial occupation and to achieve independence.
 
Similarly the Uhuru Movement is clear that neither the political office of the mayor nor the president will be capable of freeing us. The police will only stop attacking Africans when we get organized to gain the power necessary to make them stop.
 
Therefore, any African or ally of African people who is truly interested in seeing justice for the African community must participate in the effort to build revolutionary organization for black power.
 
This is a call to everyone who shares this vision to attend the Sixth Congress of the APSP and to help us build such an organization and movement.
 
Again, I want to graciously thank everyone who called the Pinellas County Courthouse and St. Petersburg police demanding my release.
 
You should see your participation in that effort as a concrete expression of your unity with the revolutionary aims and objectives of the Uhuru Movement.
 
Now it is time to deepen that unity and commitment to black power by joining the revolutionary Party of the African working class and the movement it leads.
 
The sooner we do this, the sooner we create the conditions necessary for the resistance that got me out of jail to exist everywhere Africans are being locked up.
 

Police Out of the Black Community! U.S. Out of Africa!

Forward to the Sixth Congress of the APSP!

 
To register for Sixth Congress of the APSP go to: apspcongress.org
 
For more info call 727-821-6620.

 

Watch video

Part 1:

St. Petersburg, FL police unlawful arrest of InPDUM President Diop Olugbala - 9/25/2013 - Part 1

Part 2:

St. Petersburg, FL police unlawful arrest of InPDUM President Diop Olugbala - 9/25/2013 - Part 2

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