Uhuru activists call march opposing Philly mayor’s “doomsday budget” aimed at African community!

Philadelphia, PA — On Friday, October 2, 2009 the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) is calling on the African community and its allies to march on City Hall demanding reparations and freedom for our people, not budget cuts and police containment. The march is an act of self-defense against an all out colonial war that the City of Philadelphia is making against the African community, the most recent attack coming in the form of Mayor Michael Nutter’s “doomsday budget” proposal. It is time that we take the offensive and make City Hall defend itself from charges of genocide that African people have brought against it through the Tribunal on Reparations to African People. Genocide it is…

In May 1985, negro Mayor Wilson Goode bombed the African community killing 11 people. Today, Nutter is dropping an economic bomb that he calls the “doomsday budget” which threatens to leave an even greater path of destruction in the African community. This devastation comes in the form of closed libraries, swimming pools, healthcare and afterschool programs and thousands of African people unemployed and locked up in prison! Yet, even before Nutter began talks of a “doomsday” budget there was already an all out colonial war being made against the African community. The statistics don’t lie. With a 48 percent African population, Philadelphia is the city:

· With the highest poverty rate among the 10 largest U.S. cities.

· Where at least 50 percent of all African men are unemployed.

· Where the African unemployment rate is twice that of whites.

· Where 40 percent of all African people live below the poverty line.

· With the highest incarceration in the U.S. (and by extension, in the world).

· Whose public school system has a 48 percent high school dropout rate.

· Whose 2009 budget only spent 6.9 percent on education and 25 percent on police, prisons and courts.

It is these conditions that have given birth to African resistance in the City of Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, various forces have been fighting back against Nutter’s “war budget.“ One of those representing the African working class community is InPDUM.

InPDUM-led struggles exposed Nutter’s war budget

In Philadelphia, InPDUM has held numerous demonstrations against the police violence in the African community, sometimes being the only organized voice of resistance. Most recently, we held a Tribunal (court) to put the City of Philadelphia on trial for crimes of genocide against the African community. In the process of building this tribunal, local InPDUM Philadelphia branch president Diop Olugbala physically served Mayor Nutter and Police Chief Charles Ramsey with the People’s Subpoena to appear at the Tribunal during the December 10, 2008 Townhall Meeting that Nutter organized at Ben Franklin High School.

Subsequent to the Tribunal we returned to another Mayoral Townhall Meeting at Martin Luther King High School to announce the People’s Verdict, which came in the form of several demands including jailing police officers who murder African people. In that process Nutter had Diop Olugbala physically removed from the meeting for exercising our democratic right to free speech.

On Thursday, March 19, police attacked two organizers of InPDUM during the City Council meeting that was set to feature Mayor Michael Nutter’s introduction of the highly controversial 2010 city war budget. During this process, InPDUM members were holding signs protesting Mayor Nutter’s current budget that spends more than $1 billion a year on the use of police and prisons to attack the black community.

Subsequent to the police attack, Diop Olugbala (aka Wali Rahman) and InPDUM member Shabaka Mnombatha (aka Franklin Moses) — now known as the Philly City Hall 2 — were brutally arrested and now have a list of charges, including aggravated assault on police!

This type of attack is not uncommon in Philadelphia. Brutal attacks on the African community and its organizational leadership are regular occurrences — all funded by the war budgets of the past. It is not unlike when the Philadelphia Police Department, under Frank Rizzo’s administration in September of 1969, attacked the office of the Black Panther Party, then parading several of its members in their underwear before the community with the goal of demoralizing the people. It is not unlike when the City, in 1985, dropped a C4 bomb on the African community in West Philadelphia to silence the MOVE organization killing at least five children and six adults because the City didn’t like what MOVE talked about. This was the City’s same response to Mumia Abu Jamal, who has been on death row for nearly 30 years after being set up because of his involvement in the Black Power Movement of the Sixties and because as a journalist he exposed the city’s attacks on the African community.

It is no different from State-sponsored violence the police carry out against Africans everyday. It is not unlike the police beating of the three young brothers in North Philly that the whole world saw on a Fox News video camera. And it is no different from the economic warfare being made on the entire colonized African community.

War budget part of colonial policy

Whether funded by the state or the city, the majority of the facilities and programs that face closure or have already been closed because of Nutter’s war budget are located in the African community and were built primarily to serve the African community. The effects of Mayor Nutter’s campaign to shut down swimming pools in African communities throughout Philadelphia recently hit national attention when a group of 65 African and Latino children, all members of Creative Steps summer camp, were ousted from the Huntington Valley Club (a primarily white swimming club located in the suburbs of Philadelphia).

While this story received national attention for its implications on “race relations” in this country, the mainstream media failed to report that the swimming pools in the neighborhoods the children from Creative Steps would have normally gone to were closed down because of Nutter’s budget cuts. It is the same closure of swimming pools that also led to a young girl’s recent drowning in the Delaware River, where many African youth are forced to go because of lack of swimming pools.

In addition to the swimming pools, various community activist groups and daycare centers that are vital to the economic and social life of the African community are being shut down. And while the funding for programs and institutions that lean toward economic development for our communities continue to be cut, the federal, state and local government continues to pump massive amounts of capital into the public safety budget (ie. police, prisons and courts) used for the police containment of the African and Latino community.

Nutter committed to white power — not African people

As the struggle between the people and City Hall intensifies, Nutter has begun to set up a smoke screen of press conferences and rallies where he led chants calling for an end to the budget cuts, hoping to obscure this reality. Nutter must think that we have forgotten that he was the one who began the discussion about budget cuts in the first place!

It was Nutter who closed down swimming pools and libraries in the African community. It was Nutter who refused to reallocate the City’s $1.1 billion police containment budget for genuine economic development for the African community. And today, it is Nutter who refuses to demand any money from the state of Pennsylvania for economic development in this city.

By his own admission, all Nutter asked for was permission from the state of Pennsylvania to maintain Philly’s war economy by charging us more sales taxes. “We’re not asking the Commonwealth, we’re not asking the General Assembly, we’re not asking the governor for a dime,” Nutter said arrogantly. Why not?! If anyone should pay it is the white rulers of this city and country – the bankers and corrupt politicians that rob us for billions every year.

Then, Nutter had the nerve to come back and tell the people that if he doesn’t get permission from his bosses to charge us more taxes he will have to impose what he called “the doomsday budget” through which the people will be pushed into an even deeper level of poverty. Through the doomsday budget more than 3,000 city workers will be fired. City services like trash collection and even more community centers will be cut.

Doomsday budget response to crisis of parasitic system

Nutter’s war budget is part of U.S. imperialism’s military response to this worldwide resistance (and the resistance to come) to the theft of labor and resources that fund the parasitic imperialist system. How else will the government be able to keep African people separated from our freedom and resources but with police who occupy our communities like marines do in Iraq?

In fact, it is the theft of African labor in this country and around the world that created the budget – whether on a local, federal or state level. Today, the majority of jobs for white people are tied to the political economy of the counterinsurgency (war) against the African community, creating an economic basis for white people’s opportunist unity with the counterinsurgency and a parasitic job market that benefits white people at the expense of African and other colonized people.

In states like Pennsylvania, prisons have sustained rural white communities during times of economic crisis. This explains why the number of prisons in this state has grown by over 500 percent since the 1970s. The locking up of African people has served as a form of economic stimulus for white communities in Pennsylvania.

The institutions that are currently funded by Philadelphia’s budget are also institutions that serve the interests of our oppressor. What else does the police budget represent in our communities, but funding for a colonial occupying army, responsible for the daily police murders, attacks, harassment, drive by shootings, importation of drugs, and abuse of African women. What interest do we have in saving jobs created to attack the African community?

March to unite the entire city against the budget cuts and for self-determination for African community

InPDUM believes that the African community must organize in our own interests. We are calling on all trade unionists, clergymen, activists, artists, teachers, social workers, city employees, homeowners, renters, progressive, grassroots and pro-independence organizations and lovers of freedom and social justice in Philadelphia and beyond to participate in the “They Say Cutback, We Say Cutback” March on Friday, October 2, where we will march on City Hall raising up demands of reparations and self-determination for African people in this city. The march will be followed by InPDUM’s International Convention, which will also be held under the theme “They Say Cutback, We Say Payback! Reparations Now! Independence in Our Lifetime!” The convention will be held on Saturday-Sunday, October 3-4 at the Park Ave Banquet Hall. Through these mobilizations we are specifically calling on all people to unite with the following demands:

 

1. Reparations for the hundreds of years of slavery, colonial oppression, exploitation, terror and deprivations that continue to be experienced by African people to this day. This includes reparations to family members of police murder victims, victims of the sub-prime mortgage scheme and other crimes of genocide being committed against African people in Philadelphia. If City Hall has billions for police and prisons that attack African people then it has billions for reparations and economic development for African people!

2. End to the state and municipal budget adjustments in the U.S. of North America that attempt to respond to the economic crisis by cutting benefits and services to the African community while maintaining or increasing resources to occupying army police organizations and other institutions of state repression.

3. African community control of schools, police and all the institutions of coercive colonial state power that wreak perennial havoc within our colonized community.

4. Restoration of all jobs to African people that have been lost and all social services to the African community whose funding has been cut as a consequence of Nutter’s budget cuts.

5. Elimination of any form of employment based in the counterinsurgent war against the African community (ie. prisons and police).

6. Hands Off the City Hall 2 — all charges be dropped against Diop Olugbala (fka Wali Rahman) and Shabaka Mnombatha (fka Franklin Moses)

7. Impeach Mayor Nutter!

To join the coordinating Committee for the October 2nd march or for more information about the “They Say Cutback, We Say Payback” March and Convention call:

215-459-7551 mail: info@inpdum.org isit IInPDUM Convention Site

Weekly meetings will are held on Tuesday nights at 7:30PM at 733 Lancaster Avenue. Philadelphia , PA

www.inpdum.org

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