The State has launched an attack on the Uhuru Movement and the African working class community through its recent announcement to re-impose the charges against Bakari Olatunji, aka Rickey Clay, a veteran of the Uhuru Movement.
Bakari has an arraignment date this Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 9am at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse at 7th and Washington, Department 107 in Oakland, California.
The charges against Bakari are bogus
On Friday, May 4, comrade Bakari was viciously attacked and arrested by Oakland Police as we attempted to serve the People's Subpoena to Oakland police chief Howard Jordan.
Bakari was held for ransom at the notorious Santa Rita County Jail on a $25,000 bail.
He was charged with California Penal Code 69, a felony which means "threatening an officer or resisting arrest with force or violence."
The struggle began as the Oakland branch of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) held a press conference in front of police headquarters in Oakland.
The purpose of the press conference was to announce the Court for Black Justice and Reparations.
Through the Court for Black Justice, the African community, under the leadership of INPDUM, will put the Oakland Police Department (OPD) on trial for crimes of colonial genocide against the African community.
The press conference was strategically held at the same time and location as the "police-community relations" meeting at the Oakland Police Headquarters.
The plan was to go straight from the press conference and demonstration to the police event, where InPDUM organizers would physically serve the People’s Subpoena to police chief Howard Jordan, who was expected to be in attendance.
When InPDUM organizers attempted to enter the building where the meeting was being held, we were immediately blocked from entering the building and told not to go inside.
This is despite the fact that the police were allowing people to come and go freely before, during and after our press conference.
This revealed to us that the police were only interested in allowing Africans to the event who were not interested in criticizing the brutal relationship the police have with the African community.
After a long, heated debate with the police in full view of InPDUM supporters and ruling class and independent media, the police had no choice but to allow us to enter the building.
It was either that or be forced to admit that the police are willing to abrogate our right to free speech as a means of avoiding our criticisms of them.
When we entered the building, police chief Jordan was nowhere to be found, further illustrating our point.
As we searched the room for Jordan, several InPDUM organizers, including President Diop Olugbala and local leader Bakari Olatunji, were immediately attacked by the pigs and physically removed from the building.
After this blatant attack on our movement and our right to peaceful assembly, and after the police succeeded in ousting us from the building, Bakari Olatunji then sustained another attack.
He was targeted by the police, placed in handcuffs and dragged away.
It is only natural for the people who are being hunted in the streets like animals to begin to fight back.
The presence and actions of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) in East Oakland represent the highest expression of the will of the people to resist the police occupation of our community.
It was through InPDUM and the APSP that the African community held the March and Court for Black Justice through which we put the OPD on trial for colonial genocide of the African community.
Both the march and the trial happened just hours before young Alan Blueford was murdered.
Leading up to the march, we canvassed the community with posters raising up the resistance of Lovelle Mixon, a 26-year-old African man who killed four OPD officers who were part of a death squad that assassinated him in East Oakland.
The fliers and posters announcing the Court for Black Justice respected resistance as well, stating that the resistance of Lovelle Mixon must be part of the struggle for African community control of the courts and police.
On the night of Wednesday, May 9, 2012, just four days after the Court for Black Justice, the Oakland Police Department isolated the block on which the Oakland Uhuru House is located and searched all vehicles leaving the area for over ten hours.
This occurred while organizers of the Oakland Freedom Summer Project were in the middle of their political action meeting.
The pigs blocked off Macarthur Boulevard, from 78th Street to 79th Street, which is the same block as the Uhuru House.
There were pigs brandishing AR-15s (assault rifles) walking up and down the block.
They didn’t allow anyone entry to the block and those who were leaving were subject to vehicle stop and search.
Later on, news reports claimed that the pigs had stopped an African couple in their vehicle on 79th and Macarthur, and that a man pulled a gun on the pigs as he ran away.
That same night, police helicopters circled the area and pigs occupied the block.
It is this type of repression and martial law that breeds resistance in the African community.
It is the role of the Uhuru Movement to bring revolutionary science and organization to this resistance.
Without organization of the masses, the state is able to carry out a collective punishment on the African community in the form of roadblocks, home invasions and other counterinsurgent tactics employed by the police under the guise of “finding the suspect.”
Bakari’s case represents long tradition of OPD counterinsurgency against Uhuru Movement
Bakari was targeted because of his involvement in the Uhuru Movement.
He has led countless struggles for almost 30 years in Oakland against the police repression of the African community.
While every organization and individual in the Bay Area who claimed to be revolutionary and progressive ran for cover in the aftermath of the Lovelle Mixon struggle, it was Bakari and the Uhuru Movement who not only honored the right of African people to resist, but also defended Lovelle Mixon and held him up as a hero for the African working class.
This heroic stance taken by comrade Bakari put him directly in the crosshairs of the State, evident in the way he was targeted by police at the open house where he was arrested.
Bakari’s arrest was evidence of the OPD’s inability to tolerate criticism, particularly from the African working class.
This is the latest manifestation of a police force that disregards any form of law and order that challenges the interests of white power.
While comrade Bakari faced trumped up charges, the real criminals of the Oakland Police Department continued to wield a license from the U.S. government to murder young African men, as they recently did 18-year-old high school senior Alan Dwayne Blueford on Sunday, May 6—just two days after Bakari’s arrest.
The State cannot withstand the organized resistance of the African working class
While he was locked up in Santa Rita County Jail, Bakari was approached by several jail employees and one sheriff who were recognizing his significance based on the amount of calls they were receiving, if they were not outright begging him to call off the dogs!
Surely, it was for fear of political consequences from the African community that the State decided it was not in its interests to keep Bakari in prison.
Thus, they released him and initially retracted all charges against him on Tuesday, May 8.
Bakari’s lawyer, Yolanda Huang, was present when the court officer came out to announce that Bakari’s charges had been dropped.
Aware that the state would try to deceive us, we took pictures of the list of people whose charges had been dropped. Bakari’s name was on that list.
State’s attacks on Movement will not work!
It was Che Guevara who once said these famous words “Never trust Imperialism! In no way at all!”
We can never assume that the threat of the arrest of our leaders and attack on our movement will ever stop. We must always be in struggle mode!
On Wed, June 6 at 9am PST, Bakari Olatunji, aka Rickey Clay, will be RE-ARRAIGNED.
The Committee to Free Bakari Olatunji is calling on everyone to participate in the struggle in the following ways:
If you are in Oakland: Attend the demonstration on Wednesday, June 6 at 8:30am at 7th and Washington at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse. The arraignment will be held in Dept 107 at 9am.
Everyone: Call the Oakland Police Dept, Chief of Police and Alameda County District Attorney demanding the immediate release of Rickey Clay on the grounds that he is a political prisoner, locked up only because of his beliefs—NOT because he violated some law. Also, please donate to his bail fund.
Oakland chief of police: 510-238-3131
OPD Jail Division: 510-238-3455
Alameda County district attorney's office: (510) 268-7500