This week has been incredibly painful for Sudan. On Monday seven revolutionaries were killed in the protests, and many other protestors are badly injured and are fighting for their lives. Since the coup on 25 October 2021, 71 revolutionaries have been killed. The photo above is of five of the young revolutionaries killed on 17 January.
The military is ramping up the violence, and it is only going to get worse. Hospitals in Khartoum have been getting attacked for weeks now, medics are regularly beaten, tear gas deployed inside the premises, and injured protestors arrested (as in kidnapped from their beds). A massive hike in electricity prices recently shows the regime has a cash problem. The recent killing of a police officer was blamed on a young revolutionary, who has been arrested. It’s clear to most Sudanese that the killing was carried out by elements of the regime to justify the barbaric use of violence, including the use of anti-aircraft weapons, against human bodies, sound bombs, live ammunition, and the deliberate firing of tear gas canisters at the heads and faces of protestors (on Monday this week all the deaths were by bullets but a lot of deaths in recent weeks have been due to trauma from the impact of gas canisters to the head). Resistance committee members in the last week have faced a more aggressive than usual campaign of arrests.
In response to the bloody day, and the escalating repression, the revolutionary forces on Monday announced two days of mass civil disobedience, which started on Tuesday 18 January in preparation for a general strike. Doctors’ unions also announced full withdrawal for three days (18-19-20 January) from all military and security owned hospitals, and a strike of three days from “cold” non-urgent cases in all hospitals.
Please see the link to the original Arabic text here.
Khartoum State Resistance Committees Coordination joint statement (17 January 2022)
We cannot retreat, the price of this journey was and still is our lifetimes, and know, revolutionaries of the world, that we are still steadfast, and we are still victorious, and we are still confident that we will win our battle and the revolution against the rotten bloody regime.
Men and women revolutionaries, Our Rebel People:
A new massacre has been added to the massacres of the military coup d’état against the Sudanese people. Until now, we have lost seven revolutionaries [today] and we consider them martyrs who live among us. Until this moment, we are still counting our wounded; there are many serious injuries with live bullets and tear gas canisters aimed at the faces of the revolutionaries. Daily, the coup council and its militia allies reveal to the world and to the Sudanese who wrongly imagine some good will come out of this, that the council are just gangs that call themselves a state. They steal our resources to kill us, they arm their soldiers at the expense of bread, health, and education in order to spread bullets in the streets. This is not our army, they are the enemies of the Sudanese, and it is necessary to resist them until we win, or they rule an empty country after they have killed us all. This is our covenant with the martyrs.
We call on all the revolutionaries to completely close Khartoum and erect barricades everywhere. Our barricades terrify them and remind them that we are the strongest and largest army in this country. We call on all professionals, employees and workers everywhere to establish their committees in the workplace, and to coordinate well between those committees and the resistance committees in preparation for the general strike and the implementation of civil disobedience on 18-19 January.
We call on the revolutionaries in all the neighborhoods of the country to prepare for a long battle in which we defeat the militias, based on our good preparation of our organization, on the continuation of the announced [civil disobedience] schedules, and on the arrangement of ad-hoc schedules according to what the women and men revolutionaries see [happening] in their neighborhoods.
We will publish our next steps in response to 17 January massacre. This massacre will not go unnoticed. We are the generation that was destined to write the end of the military coups, and we will not postpone this battle. The action is what you see and not what you hear.
The rapid expansion of AFRICOM on the African continent should be a cause for concern as African nations are quickly surrendering their sovereignty to the US. As the only country without a relationship to AFRICOM, Eritrea bears the brunt of US vilification. We must salute Eritrea’s ongoing project of national liberation.
The U.S. has built military-to-military relations with 53 out of the 54 African countries that include agreements to cede operational command to AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command. The broad network of AFRICOM military bases, as well as those from France and other world powers, are examples of how African states are surrendering their sovereignty through neocolonial relationships with Western countries. African self-determination and national sovereignty are impossible as long as the U.S. and its European allies are allowed to use military power to control African land, labor, and resources.
The U.S. military uses the myriad security challenges facing the African continent as an important justification for AFRICOM’s existence, and the most prominent of these justifications is the threat that the U.S.-led “war on terror” is seemingly addressing. However, these security challenges and terror threats are actually driven in large part by the presence of foreign militaries on the continent. Before September 11, 2001, Africa seemed to be free of transnational terror threats . Since then, U.S. military efforts on the continent have grown in every conceivable way, from funding and boots on the ground to missions and outposts, while at the same time the number of transnational “terror” groups has increased in linear fashion . Despite this increase, extremist groups are active in less than 10 of the 54 countries in Africa. Justifications for AFRICOM’s presence on the continent, such as the rise of terrorist groups, ignore that the Pentagon and the CIA have recruited and trained extremists to fight as their proxies on many occasions.
It is clear that the African heads of state with working relationships with AFRICOM are surrendering their sovereignty and inviting a destabilizing presence.
Eritrea is the only country on the African continent without US military relations. In 1977, the last Americans at Kagnew Station, the U.S. military station in present-day Asmara, Eritrea, officially left the US’s listening post in the region. Kagnew was initially acquired through a deal with the Ethiopian government in 1943, an important geostrategic location for the US Navy during the Cold War. At the time, the Eritrean Armed Struggle for Independence against imperial Ethiopia (1961-1991) was ongoing; it was fear of heightened violence and warfare in Eritrea that led to the US’s ultimate and official withdrawal from Asmara and its closure of Kagnew in 1975.
This history is important in understanding the West’s contemporary vilification of Eritrea, as it is the only country on the African continent without a relationship with AFRICOM. We can’t and shouldn’t ignore the significance of this vilification as it relates to any African country’s sovereignty and the refusal to govern based on directives from the United Nations (or its allied entities). Eritrea’s defense forces are not only organized, but soldiers’ military training, skills, and expertise do not come from France, the United States, or any other major Western power. This is a notable difference from other African countries. Even the African Union’s standing army, the African Standby Forces, operates according to the UN’s notion of peacekeeping .
Today, a focal point of critique when it comes to Eritrea is its national service program, “Sawa,” which high school students complete in their final year (12th grade). In its conception in 1994, national service was supposed to be for a limited time period. However, conditions in Eritrea changed when the former political party of Ethiopia, the TPLF, an organization that initiallyclaimed anti-imperialist aims , became a client to US interests in the Horn of Africa. This led to a border conflict and warfare from 1998 – 2000, which ended the period of peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia after formal Eritrean independence in 1991. Post-war, Eritrea was in a no war-no peace situation, whereby the specter of territorial infringement was a real possibility in a TPLF-led Ethiopia that consistently preached a vision of an Abay Tigray (Tigrinya for “large Tigray”) — a dream to expand into and occupy Eritrea, making it a Tigrinya ethno-state. For many, national service in Eritrea is ongoing.
National service is not a totally uncommon feature of modern day nation-states; countries from South Korea to Israel have national service, which include a military training component. But these countries are seldom critiqued for requiring military service of their citizens. The origin of Eritrea’s national service program, “Sawa,” in 1994 came from a need to give youth work post-war. Decades of colonialism and war left a nascent Eritrean society with purposefully destroyed infrastructures in an effort to de-skill Eritreans both technically and militarily. We can tie this to the US’s goal of “policy [and] security interests in Eritrea” when it sponsored the UN resolution to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia in 1952, setting off Haile Selassie’s imperial expansionist project in the Horn. These historical-political events are germane to understanding what it means for an African country like Eritrea, whose policies largely focus on developing human capital and capacity and protecting national sovereignty, and which chooses not to have US-European military relations.
It is helpful and interesting, then, to link Max Weber’s theory of states (and sovereignty), in which he posits that one feature of a legitimate state is a standing army, with how Jemima Pierre theorizes the manifestation of white supremacy and racism in Africa. What does it mean for African people to be organized and possess the military capabilities to defend themselves and their nation? We must eradicate the legacies of imperialism enacted through mechanisms like AFRICOM, which often manifest in unfounded accusations about terrorism and the levying of unjust sanctions . And we must salute and support Eritrea’s project of national liberation.
Dina M. Asfaha is completing her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on medical practices and mutual aid pioneered in the Nakfa trenches of Eritrea during Eritrea’s liberation struggle against imperial Ethiopia (1961-1991), and how these social practices continue to inform the contemporary framework of Eritrean sovereignty.
Tunde Osazua is a member of the Africa Team of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) and the coordinator of BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa Network, which is the organizing arm of the U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign.
The Balls in (Y)our Court:” Naomi Osaka and (Continued) Black Genocide
Osaka’s statement must be seen as part of a radical tradition too often redacted from sports history.
“Genocide creates the imperative for radical transformation, not social reform, and leaves people with no other choice but to dismantle the conditions that spawn it.”
It is easy to assume that sports activism is emerging from its nadir and undergoing a renaissance. From pro basketball to tennis, games and matches have been postponed. League and corporate-approved social justice slogans have taken the place of players’ surnames on game jerseys. Kneeling during the national anthem has become an acceptable nationalist posture. NASCAR has removed the confederate flag from its sanctioned events. And, the black power fist is easily and frequently spotted at many sporting events. It would seem that sports activism is emerging from a long yawn ready to do more than dribble, kick, hit, or swing, but also partake and give energy and significance to the protests for racial justice sweeping across the United States. One could conclude that the sports activists of today from the WNBA to the MLS are continuing the work of Paul Robeson, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Harry Edwards, and others by punctuating a need for change now. And yet, I beg to differ and not because most of what we are witnessing is performative or an example of “woke capitalism” where dissent is socially managed and commodified. Rather, because the sneaker scribbles, league approved social messages, and twitter rants often miss the conceptual analytical mark; that is, they simply reproduce and therefore fortify the common-sense liberal reproach for racial justice and racial equality. Put slightly differently, many of today’s athletes traffic in what the great Harry Edward’s calls “the race relations comfort zone.”
“They simply reproduce and therefore fortify the common-sense liberal reproach for racial justice and racial equality.”
However, all is not lost, for two-time tennis champion and former number one ranked tennis star, Naomi Osaka did something different. Following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Oaska did what many athletes did and announced that she would forgo her Western & Southern semi-finals match and concede victory to her opponent (only to play and win a day later). But unlike her colleagues throughout the sporting world, Osaka did more than boycott and strike, rather she charged “genocide.” She declared that she was tired of “[w]atching the continued genocide of Black people at the hands of the police…” Osaka’s charge of genocide is historically and analytically significant.
First, to charge genocide is to recall when the great actor, activist, and athlete Paul Robeson along with William Patterson and other members of the Civil Rights Congress led a delegation to UN headquarters in New York on December 17, 1951 to deliver “We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petittion to the United Nations for Relief From a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People.” This petition, over 200-pages in length, documented the various forms of brutality, murder, and mayhem that Black people confronted in the first part of the 20th century in order to demonstrate that the government of the United States was in violation of the U.N. Genocide Convention. “We Charge Genocide” stated that “the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against, and long the target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government.” It charged that under Article II of the Convention, the United States failed to enforce its own Constitution and must be punished under international law for its genocidal acts against Black people.
“The petition documented the various forms of brutality, murder, and mayhem that Black people confronted in the first part of the 20th century.”
While nothing came of this petition from a juridical standpoint — seen as merely the work of black communist agitators — genocide as an analytical concept remained in critical circulation throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, Osaka’s statement must be seen as part of and as an extension of a radical tradition too often redacted from sports history, a writing of history too often enamored with integration and representation matters. But a tradition emergent from and constitutive of the Black Liberation Movement at large.
Second, and most importantly, Osaka’s charge of genocide has the potential to help people think beyond calls for equality, tolerance, and justice — dominant frames of the multiracial Left and the Black misleadership class. That is, genocide as a heuristic device affords us the analytical opportunity to think and act beyond what Tryon Woods has recently called in his seminal work Blackhood Against the Police Power the “justice contradiction.” Genocide is not conditional, but an ongoing process that is at once spectacular and unremarkable from a media standpoint. To charge genocide, is to understand the limitations in Milwaukee Bucks point guard George Hill exhausted refrain about being “tired of crooked a** cops.” For such a declaration presupposes that the police are typically good unless otherwise infected by the so-called disease of racism. Instead, genocide understands the spectacular violence of police shootings as a form of overdetermined regularity not unscrupulous illegality. To do anything less, dangerously distorts how we understand antiblackness in this world.
“Genocide understands the spectacular violence of police shootings as a form of overdetermined regularity not unscrupulous illegality.”
Osaka stated that before she is an athlete, she is first and foremost “a black woman.” This declaration would be surprising to the champions of identity politics, especially given that Osaka has affirmed in the recent past that she is both “Asian and black.” But Osaka’s black affirmation is about politics, not cultural identity. That is, to be black, as Harry Edwards has stated, is to adopt a political stance and outlook, to manifest a disposition to act and think in a particular way where freedom and liberation is the goal. To charge genocide is to think and act black without apprehension. Genocide creates the imperative for radical transformation, not social reform, and leaves people with no other choice but to dismantle the conditions that spawn it. Such is the imperative of freedom.
In the end, as Joy James avers, “the charge of genocide is a touchstone for allegiance or rebellion” and Naomi Osaka’s conceptual analysis, albeit brief and unfortunately lost in the morass of racial liberalism, reminds that it’s time to make a decision and do something beyond the dubious rallying cries of the liberal left. Intentional or not, Osaka’s charge is a sine qua non of correct political intervention.We charge genocide!
P. Khalil Saucier, is Director and Professor of Africana Studies, Bucknell University, firstname.lastname@example.org
An initial bold militant action fromElite sports personalities
This past week there was an extraordinary demonstration of bold militant action from professional athletes to speak out against police terror against the African masses. The National Basketball Association (NBA) called off its playoff games. Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), individual tennis players, and even the National Hockey League (NHL) called off games, matches, and practices. As Sekou Ture told us years ago, these things happened because the athletes, being nothing more than conduits of the desires of the masses of people, felt compelled to act because the masses of people are acting. In other words, its pretty safe to say that if there were no mass demonstrations against police terror, the actions from the major sports leagues would never have happened.
And, those mass protests themselves always start out with a strong and uncompromising militancy. That spirit was felt at the 57 year commemoration of the original March on Washington held on August 28, 2020, just like it was felt at the first march in 1963. Despite the spreading of false narratives to define these protests as exercises in “rioting and looting,” by the capitalist system’s propaganda mechanisms, millions of people are apparently willing to openly support these protests. This is good because it proves that most people are refusing to accept the backward analysis that murdering protesters to protect property is OK, while damaging property to protest murder is an unforgivable act.
Carefully hidden moves taken whenever there is mass resistance to oppression
Still, there is a very insidious, almost invisible to the naked untrained eye, process taking place that always takes place whenever there is mass resistance to oppression. In the 1963 March on Washington, the spirit was one not very different than the spirit being articulated today. Two hundred and fifty thousand people descended upon D.C. in August 1963. Up until the Million Man March in 1995, that 1963 event was the largest ever held on the Washington D.C. Mall. People sold their belongings in 63 to get to that march. The reason they did this was because they had an uncompromising desire to see freedom resonate everywhere that we as human beings take breath. And, the original make up of the march was designed to ensure that mass militancy had voice. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had a very militant speech planned that contained clear references to the class question of “the haves and have nots” being the primary contradiction in perpetuating white supremacist policies and actions in this country. For any public speech, especially by an African organization, to express an open challenge to capitalism in 1963, during the height of the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, was unthinkable. Yet, SNCC was prepared, as they always were, to step into that historic role. Writer James Baldwin was to be touted as one of the main speakers. And, calls from all over the country were being made louder and louder for the march to focus on challenging wealth disparities and a plan for the disruption of systemic white supremacy. This was in 1963. And, the question many will be asking is “if we were talking about the exact same things 60 years ago, why are we still talking about those same things today?”
A fundamentally sound response to that question can be found in looking at the role of the African bourgeoisie/petite-bourgeoisie. By Bourgeoisie we mean those class elements within the African community who serve as either the spokespersons for the capitalist ruling classes (bourgeoisie) and/or the classes of African people who serve as capitalist’s middle level managers (petite-bourgeoisie). These elements of African people benefit from aligning themselves politically with the capitalist system, but this system of class struggle is extremely complex. Its actually quite common for many of these bourgeoisie spokespersons, for example, to speak regularly about African upliftment, even to have programs allegedly committed to achieving this objective, while in actuality, their primary focus is on integrating as many of us into the system as possible. What doing this accomplishes is to preserve the sanctity and security of capitalism by eliminating militant action that would potentially threaten the ability of the capitalist system to continue to function unabated.
Weakening the resistance through the house slaves
For the 1963 March on Washington what happened is the Kennedy Administration, being the liberal voice for that branch of the capitalist bourgeoisie class, became increasingly concerned about the moderate elements of the march planning process losing control of the message. As a result, the administration scheduled a series of meetings with the national Black bourgeoisie civil rights leadership to “order” them to get the march under control. By national Black bourgeoisie leadership we mean Roy Wilkins, the then Executive Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Whitney Young, the National Director of the National Urban League. (NUL). Although each organization, particularly the NAACP, have reputations for the local chapters being often much more militant than the national leadership, in the case of Wilkins and Young, neither ever saw a statement for African self-determination that they liked unless it was endorsed by the capitalist class leadership.
So Young and Wilkins led the charge, at the orders of their puppet masters, to strive towards influencing Dr. Martin Luther King and others to submit to changes in the march format designed to soften the message. By others, we mean primarily the so-called “big six” i.e. the leaders of the major civil rights movements of that time. Those six were Young (NUL), Wilkins (NAACP) King (Southern Christian Leadership Conference – SCLC), John Lewis (SNCC), A. Philip Randolph (several organizations over the years), and James Farmer (Congress of Racial Equality – CORE).
A number of meetings were held, some of which reportedly had participation from members of Kennedy’s administration. And, ultimately, the six leaders came to a point where several compromises were made. I say compromise because what we know is there was resistance offered against smashing the militancy of the people made by Lewis of SNCC and even King, but eventually, as the threat of sponsors pulling out and losing the support of the Kennedy administration, these reductions were accepted. As a result, those 250,000 never heard the militant message of challenging and potentially dismantling the capitalist system. Instead, they heard a vastly censored speech by Lewis that, despite the deep cuts to the spirit of his speech, ended up being by far the most militant statement of the day. James Baldwin, a person of integrity who would never accept censorship of what he wanted and needed to say, was removed from the program at the direct request of the Kennedy administration. He was replaced by the moderate put you to the sleep speech given by actor Burt Lancaster. And, today, what is most remembered about a day originally designed to showcase the determination of a quarter of a million people to express the demand from the masses for a complete overhaul of this backward system, is a tame speech by Dr. King i.e. “I have a Dream!” For anyone who actually studies Dr. King, and by study I mean reading his books and studying his work in the SCLC, you know that speech was easily one of his lightest.
Yet today in 2020 and beyond, that speech King delivered has been paraded in front of us for the last almost 60 years as the groundbreaking statement of the civil rights movement. Countless multi-national corporations will include portions of that speech in their advertisements. And, today, people who 100% opposed everything King stood for during and after his lifetime, readily mischaracterize his words and actions to serve their anti-people agendas. And, central to their ability to accomplish this is us understanding the role these Black bourgeoisie like Young and Wilkins played then, and continue to play today, in selling out the militant and justified aspirations of the people.
The prince of Black bourgeoisie politics – Barack Obama
And, those NBA players, who came very close to voting to cancel the entire rest of their season, something that would have been an overwhelmingly powerful act, instead will presumably resume playing this weekend or soon. And apparently it was that prince of Black bourgeoisie politics – Barack Obama – who helped convince these NBA players such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, etc., to return to the court. So, thanks to Obama’s influence, instead of a militant direct action, what we are left with is NBA arenas being set up as voting centers. Centers that give us the option of choosing an ignorant fascist or a neo-liberal. Centers that ask us to accept that a former prosecutor, who has played a hand in incarcerating countless numbers of African and other poor people, is now going to do something to bring us closure to police terrorism against us. Maybe those people believe locking us up is progress beyond just killing us on the street?
The original comment in this piece about the Black bourgeoisie is that their primary loyalty is, and will always be, to the capitalist system. Their job is to continue to convince us that the only problem we have is that we just have not worked hard enough, or even received enough support and incentives, to properly integrate ourselves into the capitalist system. As a result, the Black bourgeoisie preside over programs and actions designed to further facilitate us putting into place mechanisms to supposedly quicken our capacity to just buy that piece of capitalism that has eluded us for 500+ years. From Young and Wilkins to Obama, the snake oil being sold to us is that our acceptance and ability to function effectively in capitalism is just around the corner. That same corner we have been turning for centuries. They are the rabbit in front of the dog racers. And, they will never entertain the reality that all the wealth here exists on stolen land with stolen resources, meaning even the few of us who will advance on personal levels through this system still do so while stepping on the necks of African people in other parts of the world. This Black bourgeoisie is trained well enough by this system to understand that in squashing our militant spirit, they will effectively wipe out our continued political maturation, thus eliminating any chances of us stumbling towards the type of international analysis of imperialism just mentioned.
After months of militant protests, what we are primarily left with today is reliance on the bourgeoisie neo-liberal Democratic Party of mass incarcerators and international terrorists. And, this is supposed to be the platform that will bring us forward progress? And, for the most part, the only rationale being offered for why we should support this sham is to prevent a fascist from remaining in office. From a dialectical analysis, it can easily be argued that we would not have this level of political unsettledness if the current fascist was not where he is. People would not be seeing these contradictions at all if smooth Obama was still there, despite the fact police weren’t murdering any less of us during the Obama years. Kwame Ture’s statement that true liberation only happens through “the power of the organized masses” is ill refutable. We have to get people to see that freedom is not like Uber Eats. It cannot be delivered to you. To achieve it, you have to be engaged in that process. It won’t happen until you happen. Until we can get people to recognize that reality, the Black Bourgeoisie, including the next generation of them after Obama, will continue to derail us with their empty promises of inclusion, all while they make sure to play their house slave role in ensuring that the rebellious slaves remained contained on the plantation.
Before the Europeans arrived in America, Portuguese seafarers snatched the first Africans from their homelands to be sold and exploited in the Iberian Peninsula. Documentary evidence indicates a date: 1444. In 1510, 18 years after the first voyage of Columbus, the monarch Fernando de Castilla authorized the transfer of consignments of Africans to Hispaniola, in order to leave their lives in the mineral veins of the island, like the aborigines. Cuba in 1886 and Brazil in 1888 were the last to abolish slavery in this part of the world.
Between one and the other chronological marks, four centuries of infamy, forced uprooting, exploitation without limits, premature deaths, family fractures, twisted destinies, cultural alienation and massive violation of the most elementary human rights run through history.
Conservative estimates place at about 12 million enslaved Africans who arrived on American soil. To the statistics must be added the children of the victims of trafficking born here, also enslaved, and the numbers of those who died during the journeys.
To the infamy described should be added the sequel to horror, racism as an ideological construction that justified African exploitation and, above all, the immanent and systemic nature of the exploitative process.
In the memory of the Cuban people that trace is not forgotten. Therefore, the wake-up call on the eve of August 23, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, must transcend formality and be projected as an instance for reflection and understanding of what the African legacy means in the world. historical and current fabric of the nation.
The Haitian Revolution
The day, proclaimed by UNESCO, evokes the massive uprising of slaves in the French colony of Saint Domingue, at dawn on August 23, 1791, which began the Haitian revolution, and seeks not only to highlight the indissoluble link between freedom , social justice and defense of human dignity, but also contribute essential historical background to the fight against all forms of oppression and racism that persist on a global scale today.
For years, Cuba has developed the La Ruta del Esclavo program with appreciable results, supported by the coordinated actions of academic and cultural institutions that respond to the educational and cultural policy derived from the revolutionary transformations that have taken place among us for more than half a century. .
Publications, scientific events, promotional actions of social impact in festivals and artistic programs have made possible advances in the study of trafficking and slavery, the heritage values related to the subject and the vindication of expressions of African origin integrated into our identity.
There are conditions for all of this to be further strengthened with the implementation of the National Program to Fight Racism and Racial Discrimination, approved by the Council of Ministers, led by the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, and in the that more than thirty state agencies and socialist civil society organizations are involved.
This will, of course, be a way of honoring a concept expressed by Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, when on December 22, 1975, at the closing of the First Party Congress, and publicizing Operation Carlota, of combative solidarity with Angola, He said: “We are not only a Latin American country, but we are also a Latin African country.”
Say Political Prisoners’ Names While They Are Still Alive. Glen Ford
Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) member, Black Is Back Coalition Steering Committee member and Black Agenda Report Executive Editor Glen Ford discussed during the Black Is Back Coalition national conference held August 15-16, 2020, why it is so important to defend our political prisoners. This talk comes amid the 41st Black August. Watch Day 1 of the conference: https://www.facebook.com/bibcoalition…
Ho Chi Minh was the first Vietnamese supporter of the Russian October Revolution and found Marxism-Leninism the way to liberate the working class and peoples of colonial countries. In 1920, he took part in establishing the French Communist Party at the Tour Congress. Since then, the founder of the Communist Party of Vietnam with his great contributions and dedication, has won the special admiration of many international friends.
During his revolutionary life, Ho Chi Minh traveled to many parts of the world, but China is probably the place he visited the most. In 1925, he founded the Vietnamese Revolutionary Youth Association in Guangzhou and organized a “Communist League” as the core of the association, training communist cadres to lead the Association and popularize Marxism-Leninism in Vietnam.
“Before founding the Vietnam Communist Party, Ho Chi Minh founded the Vietnamese Revolutionary Youth Association in China. This was an organization to spread progressive thought and the spirit of national liberation and independence to young people in Vietnam. The role of Ho Chi Minh in this process can be summed up as follows: true organizer, ruler, founder, and supreme leader,” said Mr. Truong Duc Duy, who served as an interpreter for President Ho Chi Minh and is a former Ambassador of China to Vietnam.
Mr. Duy said that President Ho Chi Minh’s simple lifestyle and frugal spirit won the admiration of many international friends and Chinese people.
“President Ho Chi Minh was a revolutionary leader with a flawless character. He was a revolutionary with a strong will, extremely strong beliefs, and a vision. He had a clear analysis and extensive calculations of the revolutionary struggle in Vietnam, as well as the international struggle for righteousness, and provided precise and disciplined guidelines, strategies, tactics, and policies,” he elaborated.
Many international friends have praised the role of the Communist Party of Vietnam under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh. Professor Doctor of History Vladimir Kolotov, Director of the Ho Chi Minh Research Institute, National University of St. Petersburg (Russia), said that during the past 90 years, the Communist Party of Vietnam with the legacy of President Ho Chi Minh’s thought has shown flexibility and ingenuity in leading Vietnam to great achievements and finding an effective international integration path in a complicated world. General Secretary of the Egyptian Communist Party Salah Adly Abdelhafiz called the Vietnamese Communist Party a potent symbol. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese people have found a prosperous and happy life.
By Ajamu Baraka and Bahman Azad Co-Chairs of the Embassy Protectors Defense Committee
A pretrial hearing of the four Embassy Protectors facing federal prosecution took place before Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 29 in Washington, DC. The hearing, which was to define the parameters of the upcoming trial, became complicated as the judge learned more about the facts of the case.
When the hearing started, Judge Howell stated that she expected to rule on all the issues requiring decisions that day. She added that her previous ruling on discovery, where she denied all of the defendants’ discovery requests, ought to tell the defendants what to expect. However, after four hours, the judge decided to delay some of her decisions on critical elements such as what the jury will be allowed to hear and whether the Embassy Protectors will be able to present a meaningful defense.
Trying to manipulate the upcoming trial
During the course of the morning, it was also evident that the prosecutors were trying to manipulate the upcoming trial in a way that would guarantee a conviction. The first area of contention was whether the word “trespassing” or its equivalent should be included in the trial statement that would be read to the jurors. The Embassy Protectors were not charged with trespassing, yet the prosecution wanted to describe them as trespassing without allowing the four defendants to explain they were in the Venezuelan Embassy with the full permission of the Venezuelan government. This was left unresolved at the end of the day.
The next hurdle for the defendants was whether photos and videos of people who are not on trial or of signs with political messages ought to be included in the exhibits. The defendants’ lawyers argued that people who are not being tried are not relevant to the case and that political messages should not be included, especially if the defendants will not be allowed to explain what they mean to the jury. This was also left unresolved at the end of the day.
Trying to limit what the jury should hear
The most important part of the hearing was the motion by the Trump prosecutors to prevent the four Embassy Protectors or their lawyers from being allowed to tell the jury anything that would explain the context of the case. The prosecutors sought to limit what the jury would hear to three things: The Embassy Protectors were in the Venezuelan Embassy, they were ordered to leave, and they didn’t.
The judge was initially inclined to agree with the prosecutors, questioning the defense about why it mattered that the jury know about things such as who is the president of Venezuela, international law that governs the treatment of embassies and what happened during the time the four protectors were in the embassy.
As the hearing proceeded, it seemed the judge was hearing information that was new to her. She was not familiar with the Vienna Convention or with Protecting Power Agreements, which have been used in diplomatic relations for hundreds of years and are incorporated in the Vienna Convention. The US already has 20 such agreements with other nations. She did not seem to know that the four protectors were given permission to be in the Venezuelan Embassy by the elected government and were given the keys to the Embassy.
Judge seemed unaware of violent acts of the pro-coup mob
When one of the defense lawyers described the pro-coup mob as ‘hoodlums,’ she was perplexed. When he explained that the pro-coup mob outside the Embassy broke doors and windows, broke into the Embassy and damaged it, and cut off access to food, she seemed unaware of their violent actions and attacks on the embassy. The prosecutors failed to inform the court about the fact that the US Secret Service did nothing to stop the mob from physically attacking the embassy as it was their responsibility to protect the embassy. Nor did they mention that the power and water had been illegally shut off.
The judge said granting the prosecutor’s motion would be the equivalent of a directed verdict, i.e. the judge directing a guilty verdict. She asked what defense the protectors would have if she granted their motion. The prosecutors struggled to answer and then posited that the four protectors could say they didn’t understand the order. The judge quickly retorted that this was unlikely given the education levels of the defendants, a medical doctor, a nurse with a Master’s degree, a lawyer and a college professor with a Ph.D.
Will the court respect international law or will the four protectors become political prisoners of US Empire?
The prosecutors, who had entered the courtroom in the morning fully confident that their requests would be granted, squirmed uncomfortably and worked ineffectively to justify their requests as the day progressed. In the end, the judge decided to delay her decisions on these key issues saying she would take the motions under advisement. The hearing was adjourned at approximately 1:30 pm.
Now, the defendants will have to wait for the judge’s rulings on whether the process will be rigged against them or they will be allowed to present a defense. It likely helped that over two dozen supporters attended the hearing.
Attend the trial
The trial begins on February 11. We encourage supporters to attend the trial as the defendants face the full force of the Trump administration. The outcome of this trial impacts all who take bold actions to resist imperialism and respect the self-determination and sovereignty of people around the world.
If you choose to attend the trial, please heed the guidelines described here so your actions do not jeopardize the outcome for the defendants. Of particular importance is that supporters do not attempt to influence the jurors in any way such as approaching them, communicating with them or giving them information.
The situation in France may be reaching a showdown between the Macron government, which is now considering using the Army against the Yellow Vests, and the social movement, to whose demands the regime continues to turn a deaf ear.
In the last week, we have seen a nation-wide strike of High School and other students demanding immediate government intervention to stop the global warming that threatens their future lives. The government response: police brutality against teenagers.
On Saturday, there was a massive March for the Climate all over France, perhaps 150,000 demonstrators, which converged with the “19th Act” of the weekly Yellow Vest demonstrations, which have just celebrated their fourth monthly anniversary. Again, much police brutality, but only against the Yellow Vests, not the Climate people.
On Tuesday (Mar 19th) the CGT and a coalition of other unions sponsored a one-day nation-wide interprofessional strike, which the Yellow vests supported and joined in the name of “convergence” and common goals: restore public services, retirement, social security, salaries, and a demand to be listened to.
Radio silence from Paris.
Simultaneously, the Macron government has hastily passed several new repressive laws making demonstrations all but illegal. Macron has fired the Police Prefect for being too soft on demonstrators (!) and for not using enough of the Flashballs that have already killed an old woman on her balcony and seriously injured (blinded) over a hundred demonstrators, thousands of whom have been arrested. These weapons, made in Switzerland and labeled as weapons of war there, have been proclaimed ‘medium crowd control defense weapons’ by France, despite the protests of Michelle Bachelet and the European and UN Human Rights groups.
If all democratic forms of government have been subjected to the most challenging tests during these times, this has been seen nowhere more ferociously than in Our America, where they have been placed in serious danger. From south to north, military lodges, landholders, power brokers, uncouth oligarchies, and big business, in sinister complicity, with no holds placed by the UN or the OAS, have abolished fundamental human and civil freedoms. The cynical manipulation of popular will, and the violent removal of constitutionally elected governments by despots of a typical totalitarian cut, characterize this dramatic process that threatens the entire continent.
Fifth column pseudo-Marxists and imperialist greed reign today over an array of prostrate nations, at the mercy of big shots, local bosses, carpetbaggers, bankers, and unscrupulous businessmen. A few governments with popular roots, the majority plagued by administrative corruption, social dislocation, electoral demagoguery, and colonial exploitation, complete the somber picture. There is no doubt that the fate of democracy is at stake. The urgent imperative of a broad front of resistance to the uncontrolled aggression of the enemies of popular freedoms is glaringly clear.
Unquestionably, the democratic conception of life, society, and the state is essential to the spirit and historical development of our peoples. But it is no less the case that this concept is now threatened by the most reactionary, rapacious forces of our era.
The central question to be debated is how to push democratic regimes to the point of promoting within the people the impassioned determination to defend them, at the cost of their lives, in all contingencies and vicissitudes. A democratic regime without economic content, without a broad social base, and without the active participation of the people in directing public power, is a useless impediment in this historic period of transition. On this there can be no beating around the bush or euphuisms.
The fundamental problem facing democracy, at this time, is how to organize society without undermining freedom in any way. On the global level, it is imperative that democracy clearly recognize the subjective rights of traditional rights. The questions that torment human beings can only be resolved with the “discovery and establishment of a more just legal structure that allows the problem to be reduced to its true terms.”
Traditional rights can only exist now in function of society. No individual interest that is counterpoised to social interests is legitimate. If we aspire for humans to recover their “lost fertility” and develop fully their aptitudes and powers, things must be socially contextualized. The task which the democratic movement faces is extremely complex.
In the specific case of Our America, we must deal with what history has given us. On the material and cultural level, much progress has been made thus far this century. Viewing the process as a whole, it must be recognized, however, that the economic, social, and administrative structure of Latin American peoples is in need of substantial change. This transformation must be combined with respect for public freedoms and with an international policy that forcefully repudiates regimes that disregard human dignity.
We must insist that only through clean elections, honest administration, public freedoms, economic wellbeing, social justice, diffusion of the merits and consolidation of sovereignty, can representative institutions in the hemisphere be saved. This is a unique opportunity to give the struggle against dictatorships in the Americas content and historical perspective.
American states have assumed the commitment to guarantee our peoples freedom and justice by signing the UN Human Rights Charter and the Rights and Duties charter at the Ninth International Conference of American States in Bogotá.
Peace is the supreme aspiration of men who consider liberty an imperative of conscience. The role played by leaders of the work force is of the first order. No one like them can contribute the most pressing and effective formulas for social improvement to strengthen the democratic regime.
Nor can the problem of industrialization of Our America be neglected. Increasing the economic strength of our peoples is one of the most effective means to build up and consolidate democratic regimes, and rein in imperialists of all bands and types.
The way in which more developed countries can contribute to expanding our economic potential must be considered with this question in mind: Can representative governments that are respectful of public freedoms, and those founded on the usurpation of popular will which deny their citizens access to essential human and civil rights, be placed on equal footing in terms of this help? Can the controversial question of recognizing de facto governments be overlooked?
On this issue, there are no guidelines within intra-American law, or unanimity of opinion among foreign ministries.
If democracy needs both Americas to overcome the deep crisis we face, it is imperative that the good neighbor policy be effectively restored. After the death of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, on many occasions, “We have been the good and others the neighbors.” May the government of the people, by the people, and for the people stop being the government in name only of the people, without the people, and against the people! May the America of Juárez and the America of Lincoln live on equal footing, in peace and harmony!
(Excerpts from 15 años después, Editorial Librería Selecta, Havana, 1950).
* Raúl Roa García (1907-1982) was a writer, professor, historian, political leader, and diplomat, who served the Cuban Revolution as Foreign Minister from 1959 through 1976.