Pam Africa speaks in Portland on Reparations
Feb 1 2003, to start off Black history Month, Pam Afrika and Vessala Mohammad Vay gave impassioned speeches on Reparations at PSU. They explained that Reparations are long overdue for descendants of Afrikan slaves and for all who continue to suffer from the legacy left by slavery and the institutionalized racism that is perpetuated when we all refuse to address this huge barrier to creating social, economic, and political change for the purpose of liberating all who suffer in this classist, racist, sexist system.
Until we address these issues, all our movements for equality and liberation from tyranny are doomed to fail and the capitalist system based on corporate and governmental exploitation of all of us, will continue unabated. This is all of our struggle.
As Pam has pointed out repeatedly over the years, this nation was built on the backbones of the blood and sweat and tears of black slave labor. Payment is owed for those years of backbreaking labor. The legacy of lowered earning power and racist institutions, including schools, banks, and especially the prison industrial complex, has resulted in the perpetuation of slavery to this day.
Reparations are by definition only paid to the victor of a war. Therefore this system must be taken down and lose before true reparations can ever be expected. Acknowledgment that a crime against humanity has been and is still being committed is but one step toward accomplishing reparation for this crime of economic, spiritual, psychological and physical enslavement of Afrikans and their descendants.
Vessala also spoke passionately about the purpose of this Reparations movement:
To put this in her words: This is a movement to bring about equality through creating a change in this unjust system. This is an Afrikan agenda but it is of concern to ALL people. "Black People have no future under the present structure and authority in the U.S" This is the statement of the New Black Panther Party 30 years ago, and it is still true today. For until freedom is had for all living beings, nobody is truly free... It is Corporate America who must pay, and who must be taken down
August 2000 there was an International Conference on racism in Durham, South Africa. Colin Powell was forbidden to attend and represent our people. There was no representative for African American people. We went and 4 days later 9-11 occurred. There was no time to deal with what committments we had made in Durham...committments to not allow Americans to remain misinformed ... and we did... until Aug 17th 2002 in Washington D.C. [post-conviction hearings for Mumia Abu Jamal] There was never before a platform like that to deal with Reparations. Elders who had struggled for decades with this issue were overjoyed to know that others of the next generations are picking up this issue and running with it.
This unjust system and slave labor that still goes on [the 13th amendment states that slavery is outlawed UNLESS the person has committed a crime....The result is that this racist system judges when a "crime" is committed, and it also decides that slavery/imprisonment is justified-- rather than looking at the societal implications and working on these, more prisons are built to perpetuate the systemically racist oppression of all without privilege, with an emphasis on oppressing blacks] Over 300 political prisoners are locked away down in "maxi-maxi-prisons" or on death row, receiving no human touch for decades. This is incomprehensibly inhuman.
This Reparations movement seeks to educate, to mobilize the youth to know there will be no reparations without you. The message to the youth must be to continue the struggle for liberation and justice. We must seize the power NOW. We must act NOW. Or we are leaving too much work for the next generations.
Dr. John Henry Clark said the European slave trade was the worst act against humanity and the most protracted imposition of human suffering ever levied. If we don't act on reparations now, we are betraying our own humanity. In 1972 Queen Mother Moore was at a political convention in Gary Indiana, passing out Reparations information. This cry has been heard for as early at the 1600's.
HR 40 is unlikely to be put in place and acted on at a National Level. So Charles Barron from NY, now running for NYC Congress, and then for mayor, has set in motion a Queen Mother Commission bill, that would allow states to set in motion a congressional commission to conider the merit of Reparations and how this could become a reality.
There will be a Conference on Reparations Feb 28th thru March 2nd in Portland. We need to get involved and turn this country upside down! We need to be working with our youth and stand behind them and help them carry on this struggle... Political Prisoners in this country is as original as apple pie. These are PEOPLE with skills and merit, and are called nothin but killers and cop killers. What makes my life less important that a cop's? If a cop shoots at me, why can't I shoot back? Back then another crime causing the death of blacks was to look at/touch a white woman. ... Ex Huntsville Alabama: What's an Afrikan life worth in this country?
Malcolm said: There's nothing wrong with white people doing these things to us. He is doing what he needs to to save his nation. What's wrong is that it's wrong of US to continue to allow this to happen! Nowadays people are more honest about looking at what's going on and what it is we can do to stop it.. What can we do to save the babies.. The revolution will not be televised. Neither will reparations!! And rest assured -- Reparations is part of the revolution that mainstream media will NOT bring into your living room!
I've come here to arm people here with information to take out into the street! Fanny Lou Hayman said, "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I'm here to DO something!" The U.S has a helluva a thing coming, if they think they are going to stop the Reparations Movement. Power to the people!
April 24th is Mumia's birthday. Help us celebrate in Harrisburg VA. That is where the governor lives who was then the top D.A (who later became mayor) at Mumia's trial, who said he's "going to kill Mumia".... This issue is not just about Mumia. It's about all lifers and political prisoners, because his case exemplifies what's wrong with this criminal INjustice system in the U.S. There is only one way to stop this from continuing. We have to unify!
All Power to the People!!
This evening of events was also enhanced throughout the evening by inspiring poetry by Victorio Reyes, who read from his first book, The Rebirth of Crazy Horse, Poems for the Struggle. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another query that was made both here on IMC and at the speaking events at PSU and Laughing Horse was: What can we do to help the Reparations Movement? ("Where do I send my check?")
My answer follows: (Any other suggestions from supporters of Reparations?)
According to what I learned in the powerful compelling call to action by Pam Africa and (sorry about this spelling) Vessala Mohammad Vay, as well as from the PSU student group struggling for years to have a Black Studies Major allowed at PSU, you can send your check to a variety of places to help the struggle for empowerment in black communities.
The hosts of this event, the Black Cultural Affairs Board, are presently working on getting a Black Studies Major made into reality at PSU, and need outside (non-student) help putting pressure on the PSU administration to have an education that better suits their needs. To contact these folks and offer support, email: email@example.com
Currently around 1/3 of all black men between the ages of 15 and 25 are either incarcerated or on parole/probation. We need to advocate for amnesty for all Political Prisoners, while working on abolishing the whole racist prison system. The movement that is currently donating to their families or groups that provide prisoner support legally and financially would be a good place to start. Locally we have prisoner support campaigns for political prisoners (see sidebar here on indymedia), but when we were at the Seattle Race conference, we learned there is a Black Caucus Prisoner support group that is national. That would be my choice for supporting those who have fallen victim to this institutionalized racism that extends from the schools, colleges into the hospital and drug treatment centers, to the police departments all the way to the jails and the employers who won't hire convicted criminals, criminalized by this society's refusal to address the legacy of slavery that is the root of the economic disparity between the earning power of blacks and whites in this country.
I also read a flyer at PSU asking for support in writing letters to women of color in prison. The email given was: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporting the Passage of HR 40 or bills like this in State houses would enable the formation of commissions to consider the subject of Raparations for descendants of African slaves.
It is also important for us to educate ourselves on what exactly the Reparations movement is about... There are a number of good books out on the subject: Ogletree wrote one, and there are quite a few others:
--Should America Pay? Slavery and the Raging Debate over Reparations is the latest release, hot off the presses
--The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, by Randall Robinson ( He is speaking at Reed College Wed Feb 5 at 7:30 in Kaul Auditorium)
--White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack, by Peggy McIntosh
--We Can't Teach What We Don't Know: White Teachers, MultiRacial Schools
--White Men Challenging Racism, Duke University Press,
--Great White Hoax: Responding to David Duke and the Politics of White Nationalism
Attend the NW Regional Conference on Reparations being held here at PSU Feb 28 thru March 3. For more details, go to: http://freedomrider.comfrey.net/reparations/
Attend the speaking events at Reed dealing with Reparations Feb 5 and 13th at 7p.m. at Kaul Auditorium, with Randall Robinson and Charles Ogletree. More info on the portland imc calendar or the newswire post entitled: "Black History Month at Reed"
There's a group of freedom fighters that produces a fine paper detailing the wrongs being perpetuated. This group is called the New Afrikan Liberation Front, and if you want to support the more radical elements speaking out on reparations, support them. One of their recently fallen freedom fighters and other freedom fighters including Cynthia McKinney, appear in their newspaper, "Nation Time" that costs one dollar ("Nation Time, The Voice of the the New Afrikan Liberation Front" POB 340084 Jamiaca, NY 11434 Fax (718) 949-3937 email@example.com). This group advocates a Three Phase Theory to achieving equality and liberation for Afrikans and all oppressed and exploited peoples: 1) Class Struggle for National Unity 2)National Unity for Self Government 3) Self Government for National Independence. You can find copies of this paper at Reflections Bookstore at Killingsworth and MLK.
Here's an excerpt from the Nation Time:
"The Principles of Unity of the New Afrikan Liberation Front are:
1) Land...The primary objective of the NALF is self-determination through a national liberation struggle for land (territory within the historic southeastern Black Belt, independence, and reparations
2) Who is the Enemy... For over 400 years our nation ahs been enslaved, first by the european settlers in north america, and currently, we are colonized by the political descendants of thos settlers, represented by the government of the united states of america. Our collective enemy is the united states government that oppresses and exploits our people through the systems of capitalist imperialism, sexist oppression and racial colonialism.
3) Self Defense/Armed Struggle...We recognize the right to self-defense, as well as the right to armed struggle for self-determination.
4) Prisoners of War, Political Prisoners and Exiles... We seek amnesty for POW's, PP's and Exiles as a non-negotiable self-determination demand.
5) Social Liberation... The fight against racial, class, sexist and social inequality is fundamental to New Afrikan self-determination. Our people are colonized based on the eurocentric myth of white supremacy andits ideoloty of racism. In prisons, work places and through calculated unemployment, our people's labor is exploited and miliions of us are kept poor and economically dependent on capitalism. New Afrikan women are sexually exploited, controlled through violence and socialized to inferior or submissive status by tradition, law and religion based on the ideology of patriarchy/male supremacy.
6) Unity and Autonomy of Organizations/Methods of resolving contradictions... We accept the leadership and discipline of the NALF as determined by a consensus of its membership organizations. The ideological integrity of each organization within the NALF is mutually respected. We will practice constructive criticism and self-criticism for the purpose of resolving contradictions and internal differences.
7) A New Afrikan Consciousness... We recognize that culture is a weapon of resistance. In that light we are committed to building a movement to develop the National consciousness, culture and Spiritual connectedness of the New Afrikan people. Cultural revolution to create the New Afrikan woman and man is a vital aspect of our fight to be liberated from white supremacy, sexist oppressin and capitalism.
8) Our Cultural Symbols... We recognize the Red, Black, and green Flag, the New Afrikan Creed, the New Afrikan Declaration of Independence and the Code of Umoja as the unifying historical, and cultural symbols of our National Liberation Front and our independence movement.
The working theoretical expression of the New Afrikan Liberation Front will be the Three Phase Theory for New Afrikan Liberation"
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