In DC, Black activists hit racist wars at home, abroad

By Larry Hales
Washington, D.C.

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, called for by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement led by Omali Yeshitela and made up of organizations and leaders on the left in the Black community, held its first major mobilization on Nov. 7.

The Black is Back Coalition’s demands call for the end of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and of U.S. support for the Zionist settler state of Israel and repressive regimes around the world. The coalition also calls for reparations, the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin and all political prisoners from incarceration, and an end to police brutality, home foreclosures, gentrification and the prison-industrial complex. In all, there are 10 progressive demands directed at U.S. imperialism and the repressive state apparatus.

More than 300 people gathered at Malcolm X Park, near Howard University, to listen to many speakers from around the country, including New York City Councilperson Charles Barron, Nellie Bailey of Harlem Tenants Council, Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report, Larry Hamm of People’s Organization for Progress, a representative of the youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together, and many other radicals and revolutionaries from the Black community.

The march was the first national anti-war march to be held in Washington, D.C., since the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first Black president of the U.S. It was also significant in that it was called for and led by Black organizations and individuals from around the country.

More than one speaker mentioned the FBI assassination of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Dearborn, Mich. Many also spoke sympathetically about the shooting at Fort Hood, the largest military base in the world, by an Army major of Palestinian descent. Highlighting the crimes committed against oppressed people around the world, particularly Palestinians, speakers placed the Fort Hood incident in its proper political context, especially considering the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment in the U.S. military.

Pam Africa of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal spoke about Abu-Jamal’s case and the danger that he now faces. A district attorney, supported by Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police, is calling for Abu-Jamal’s execution, while an anti- Abu-Jamal film is soon to be released.

Each speaker talked about the constant war being waged against Black and other oppressed people in the U.S. and its relation to imperialist war. Larry Holmes of the Bail Out the People Movement spoke about the March for Jobs held in Pittsburgh before the G-20 conference and about the current economic crisis.

The demonstration was very spirited. It ended with a march from the park to the White House, behind a lead banner displaying the coalition’s name.

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