Not business as usual for DC city coucil

Not business as usual for DC City Council

Tuesday morning, December 7th, in Washington, DC a demonstration was organized at the John A. Wilson building on Pennsylvania Avenue, right by the White House where DC city council meets. The demonstration brought together by Empower DC and various other organizations was in response to the massive budget cuts that city council is preparing to make while leaving the city elite who have money, living off the back of the black community, untouched. The group supported a 1% increase to tax on people who make over 200,000 dollars a year and was in opposition to the proposed help budget cut of atleast 50 million dollars for low-budget and small business.

Given their stance the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) stood in support of this demonstration and participated in it. Although we were not so concerned with the actual tax raise of the rich as much as the cuts to our community because we know this government has money. Even if they don’t, what they do have is still made off the backs of the black community even when talking about tax money from the rich in DC for the simple fact that all this country’s wealth was made off the poor and oppressed peoples of the world. So we say, “No you can’t take anything else from our community, not a single dime.”

The demonstration was originally planned to be outside of the Wilson building but due to the weather organizers decided to actually hold it inside the building on the 5th floor right outside of the city council chambers. Soon enough the state in the form of the police moved on the demonstration saying that we were in violation of fire code and giving excuses as to why we couldn’t speak louder than a whisper. This brought an end to any hope of conducting a real demonstration and exercising our 1st amendment right.

InPDUM organizers used this as opportunity to gain support for event on the 18th entitled, “Stop the war on the black community.” Telling people that this is not democracy, they tell us we can’t speak in what is supposed to be our city hall, we must wait silently to go inside then sit silently as they make decisions to attack our communities. Expounding on our point, we raised the need for our own city hall and organization that really spoke to the needs of our people; we need community control, self-determination! In our move to organize, police attempted to tell InPDUM organizers that there is “no soliciting” in city hall and we would have to go outside. InPDUM courageously kept organizing using the high number of people and limited force of police to maintain our democratic right to resist our oppression using Mao Zedong’s understanding in the quote, ‘The guerrillas must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.”

Although everybody was in the same demonstration the class question became an issue. During InPDUM’s organizing efforts we spoke to DHS workers who were mostly black females, and they began to unite with the politics being spread, perhaps more than anybody else in the demonstration. Although they united, their leadership did not, telling us not to speak to them, that “we” have our own agenda. Even though their leadership said that they had their own agenda most of the DHS workers obviously did not get the memo, since their middle class sell-out leadership had to hound them about what they were here for and not to talk to anybody else. This was done in a similar way a boss or overseer does its workers about staying on the job and not slacking off.

The participants of the demonstration eventually got into the city council chambers where the city council finally came out an hour after they were supposed to after hiding behind closed doors. Most likely this was done in a hope that the people who were there to speak on the interests of the community would have to go to their job and leave. Although this tactic nearly worked on some of us, the council could not buy enough time. Demonstration organizer Ben Parisi stated that since we were not able to speak outside of city council chambers we will speak inside. Seeming as though nobody wanted to be first up to bat InPDUM took this opportunity to put out our statement that we would have made otherwise.

When the city council finally hit the gavel, InPDUM member Asafo Yerodin stood up and started reading the statement that had been prepared (statement below). Being able to make important statements about the attack on welfare or and budget were directly related to the gentrification of the city before being removed by police officers. A reported 9 other people were removed from the meeting after this.

InPDUM takes this as a win although the proposal was denied to raise the tax which the demonstration was mainly for. It forced Marrion Barry in the council meeting to warn other council members that they would have to deal with their conscience if they vote against programs to help the poor, although it would have been more appropriately said if he said they would have to deal with their constituents with InPDUM growing daily in DC. It also puts InPDUM as an organization who stands for Black Power back at the front of it all. We are creating better relationships with other organizations that we are determined to work with in the future, taking a better stance on the issues which others will learn from, and most importantly we are building with the people who are going to be the true representation of power in DC.

Statement prepared for People’s Hearing demonstration

The InPDUM is thankful to be a part of this demonstration which goes hand in hand with the work we have been doing for our event titled, “Stop the War on the Black Community,” on December 18th at noon at Everlasting Life Cafe, where president of InPDUM Diop Olugbala will be speaking. We unite with this demonstration that is challenging the current regime in the city council led by mayor elect Vincent Gray in their attempts to cut the budget by 50 million dollars for low income and small business. This move by the DC government is not the first and definitely not the last with talks led by sell-out Marion Barry already occurring around cutting the welfare for half the people on it.

We recognize this attack as a part of the gentrification of African people in DC. This attack is using economics, police containment, prisons, and various other measures to achieve their aim to forcefully remove the black community.

We know welfare from the start is an attack on our people from the moment we were placed on it. Welfare was used to create dependency on this government and stifle our aim of self-determination. After a portion of our community was made dependent on the same system that has never had our interests at heart, the attack of the black family began. This was orchestrated by increasing the amount of welfare a woman who had children, would get if a man was not in the house. Even as going as far as to exclude households from welfare if there was a man in the house.

Now the attack is becoming deeper. They are trying to take welfare out completely. Taking it away until there is nothing left. Just as they are doing with everything else, every inch that the US government was forced to concede on due to our struggle for political independence during the black power struggle of the 60’s.

However we must be clear, contrary to what other sell out leaders such as Marrion Barry have said with similar positions their move to give us welfare was a strategy to control us and destroy the organization in our community. In the same way that taking the welfare is a method to crush a disorganized community.

So InPDUM makes our position, “They say cut back, we say payback!” Go ahead and take the welfare and whatever else you want from the budget, but if you do, give us our reparations! Reparations for Trey Joyner, De’Onte Rawlings and the many others who the, so called objective, media has not reported on. Reparations for the drugs placed in our community and the many who have been wrongfully imprisoned due to the war on drugs against our community. Reparations for the years and years of underdevelopment in our community. You can’t take what has been allowed to us without giving what is owed to us!

They Say Cut Back, We say Payback!

Take welfare, Give Us Reparations!

Africans have a Right to Resist!


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