On November 5, black social justice activists will be joined by peace groups, environmentalists, artists and students in a national “Occupy Philadelphia” march entitled “Stop the Wars and Build the Resistance.”
Called by the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, the November 5 mobilization will demand an end to the wars throughout the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and against oppressed communities inside the U.S., which they say are driven by Wall Street interests.
Protesters will rally at noon at Broad and Susquehanna, march down Broad to Thompson, and then go inside for an afternoon conference at 1310 N. Broad Street.
Participants include a diverse list of groups and individuals such as the Green Party of Philadelphia, the Brandywine Peace Community, the ANSWER Coalition Philly Branch, Philly Against the War, Philadelphia independent mayoral candidate Wali “Diop” Rahman, Black and Nobel Bookstore, Attorney Leon Williams, Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality, African American Freedom and Reconstruction League, the Hip Hop Party for the People, Pam Africa of International Friends and Family of Mumia, DC Troy Davis Alliance, New Black Panther Party for Self Defense Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, Malcolm X Center for Self Determination Director Efia Nwangaza, and the United National Antiwar Coalition.
This rare cooperation amongst diverse groups may signal a new day for social change movements in the U.S. with the new predominately white middle class victims of Wall Street excesses joining hands with the long-time victims of economic exploitation and police abuse in the black community.
Philadelphia was chosen as the site for this national convergence because “Philadelphia is prototypical of the war being waged against the internal colonies of the U.S. It is the city where police, under the leadership of the first African mayor, dropped a bomb in 1985 that incinerated an entire African community, killing 11 men, women and children. We will draw the connection between the neo-colonial bombing of 1985 in Philadelphia by the city’s black mayor and the neo-colonial bombing of Libya in Africa by the first black U.S. president.”
In Philadelphia, 72 percent of the 253,000 people stopped and searched by the police department in 2009 were African and Latino men. Philadelphia has the highest incarceration rate and the second highest child hunger rate in the U.S.
Wali “Diop” Rahman is an independent candidate for mayor in Philadelphia’s November 8, 2011 election. He has helped to organize the Black is Back mobilization and gained the support of Occupy Philly activists in his bid to oust the Democrat incumbent. Diop declares, “My opponent is a Wall Street mayor who gives away the hard-earned resources of the people of Philadelphia to the corporate rulers and then imposes draconian measures to suppress the people. I will be marching on November 5th because the people of Philadelphia and the world have a right to resist and win our struggle for economic development on our own terms.”
The November 5 mobilization will protest anti-democratic policies such as “Stop and Frisk”, the Patriot Act and anti-immigrant laws. Marchers will call for the release of Mumia Abu Jamal, the MOVE 9 and the Cuban 5, who they call “political prisoners”. They will also demand an end to the blockade of Cuba and the ongoing U.S. military interventions throughout South America.
According to Chairman Omali Yeshitela, “the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations opposes imperialist wars and supports the righteous resistance of the people in the struggles to regain and retain their resources, sovereignty, dignity and happiness. We understand that the world system of capitalism – for which the U.S. is the leading state power, and Wall Street its economic epicenter – was built on the enslavement of African people and the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and the theft of their land.”
Glen Ford, Senior Editor of Black Agenda Report and a leader in the Black is Back Coalition organizing the November 5 march, argues that capitalism is in deep crisis and that “the nature of that crisis compels finance capitalist institutions to search for ever-increasing returns through rigged markets, derivatives, systematic looting of vulnerable communities, overseas plunder under U.S. military protection and wholesale privatization of public assets in the developed capitalist countries.”
Penny Hess, author and Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, agrees that “Capitalism is not ‘broken’; it was born this way. It cannot be reformed. As a white person, I do not ask for more of the loot stolen by bankers and the U.S. government. We support the demand that the natural resources stolen from the peoples of the world be returned as the only possible basis for peace on this planet.”
For more information, contact the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations at 202-681-7040 or visit blackisbackcoalition.org