The U.S. government assaults the First Amendment using the case of the Uhuru 3

These are summarized notes from Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s presentation discussing the First Amendment at a Hands Off Uhuru webinar hosted on March 30, 2024.

In their own [U.S. government] indictment, much of what we are being charged for doing is journalistic work: holding forums on our website, publishing articles in our newspaper, etc. So the case of the Uhuru 3, in part, is an assault on journalism. Even if we did what the government said we did, it all amounts to an attack on free speech. In the attacks following the violent FBI raids on our homes and offices, we saw [Regions] banks shutting down organization accounts and other forms of assault on our economic programs.

What do bank sanctions attempting to prevent us from building programs for African people in St. Louis have to do with Russians telling us to sow discord? What does taking down a petition, charging the U.S. government with genocide of African people, that over 130,000 people signed, have to do with the Russians? They are attacking us, doing things to assault the struggle we are involved in.

On the question of free speech, when African people were kidnapped and brought here at gunpoint, unlike the white people who came here, we did not come here looking for a better way of life. We lost a better way of life as a consequence of that. As a consequence of finding a better way of life (after colonizing this land now known as the Americas), white people created the Constitution. They were fleeing kings and queens (feudalism) in Europe.

They took this land, took African people (stolen land and labor) to create success for themselves. There is no such thing as an America without slavery and theft of [Indigenous] land and resources. Every white person who lives in America can defend slavery because they have no identity without that. We have no identity with that. This is a conundrum of sorts that has the potential of splitting people who don’t understand what the contradiction is and where our enemy lies.

When we were brought here, we had no rights. How can you have free speech for a slave? How can a colonized person have free speech? The First Amendment was passed in December of 1791, whereas slavery “ended” in 1865. So obviously the First Amendment was not for us, it was for white people. When they [colonial State] attack us on the use of the First Amendment, they’re attacking white people! They are coming for you [colonizer] when they attack us! We have no rights.

The whole struggle of African people has been a struggle for the rights conferred on the citizens, on the colonizers! That’s what gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement, etc.

White people who fall into this place of defending America from us can end up assaulting their own democratic rights, free speech, etc., because they are so frightened with this subjective interpretation of reality that’s been imposed on them (racism, white people, etc) and you miss out on the whole reality of the structures that we live under—colonialism.

A colonial mode of production has us all locked into the same process whether we like it or not. When you say, “put them in jail because they’re black” or “because they talked to some Russians,” what you’re doing is making an assault on yourself!

We are going to be free. We have no illusions about that. We have no second thoughts about that. They can’t do anything to stop the freedom of the people. We are going to be free from colonialism. We aren’t asking you to support our position on African Internationalism. We’re asking you to defend what you say you believe in. We’re not asking Joe Biden or the FBI to become African Internationalists. We’re calling on the people who call themselves “patriots” to fight for what you say you believe in.

If you believe in the First Amendment, even if you don’t like the fact that we talk about colonialism, you’re going to have to defend our right to say it. We’re working in our communities, bringing ideology and transformation. But we’re saying to you, who believe in America, who believe in freedom of speech, assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, that you have to defend us because they’re using this attack on us to take away your rights.

Because these rights weren’t made for us, they were made for white people. They assume that white people’s prejudices will be deep enough based on this whole “racism,” “black vs. white” that you won’t be able to understand the structural relationships that got us all locked into this.

We’re going to tell the truth. That’s why it’s important for me to be on Tucker Carlson. I wanted to talk to those white people. You can’t change being white. Even though you’re white, you’re part of the human family and have a responsibility to stand up for what is right and against oppression and for what you believe in, in terms of the First Amendment and freedom of speech. I’m trying to transform them, not into African Internationalists, but into true democrats.

I’m making a struggle to defend the democracy and democratic rights that the FBI is attacking. Here we are in tiny north St. Louis acting as a bulwark against an attack on the First Amendment, free speech, etc. That’s why they sent tanks. That’s why you’ve got to send money and defend us, because you’re defending yourself!

Black people have been enslaved, the most inhumane attacks have been made against us. Our right for our children to be happy and have a future has come under assault. But Africa and African people are going to be free. We’re going to be free. It’s your problem that you built your future on our enslavement. Your future built on our enslavement will disappear.

So you have to end that and join with us in this struggle. The people can win. The people are everything. Not flash-bang grenades, not the FBI. All out for the trial in Tampa, Florida on September 3rd! We can stop them! Fight for freedom of speech, assembly and thought!

Take action: HandsOffUhuru.org/takeaction

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