anti-war coalition A.N.S.W.E.R. is rallying its African American
troops, heavily represented on the speakers' platform at the
huge demonstration in Washington, January 18, but far less visible
in the ranks. In an "Open Letter to the Black Community,"
A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Black contingent encouraged community organizations
to transform Black History Month into a Black Protest for Peace
history is nothing if not a history of struggle against what
Dr. King called the three evils: racism, poverty, and militarism,"
said the letter, proclaiming, "It's time to maximize Black
participation in the peace movement."
of African ancestry have a unique role in the growing movement
to stop President Bush's war on Iraq. If war comes, it will
be Black soldiers who will bear the brunt of the fighting
and dying. The Black community will bear more than its share
of deprivation as a result of massive funds invested in war,
money that is robbed from healthcare, education, nutrition,
and jobs programs. War is the epitome of everything that Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. fought against his entire short life.
And stopping the war on Iraq is a matter of life and death
for everyone, especially people of color. In the coming days
and weeks, let us work to insure maximum participation from
the Black community in the peace movement and in all the important
protests, especially the International Day of Protest for
Peace, February 15th.
stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. The coalition
also supports a "Remember Malcolm X" student protest,
February 21, in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of the
Black leader's assassination. Students are encouraged to mark
the event by "leaving classes to protest the war."
we reported last week ("An
Anti-racist Peace Movement"), A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Black
contingent is "a non-sectarian reflection of Black America
as a whole." Among the core of organizers are:
Herbert Daughtry, National Pastor, The House of The Lord Church
Rev. Grayland Hagler, Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church,
Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME Council 1707 New York
Mumia Abu-Jamal, death row political prisoner, journalist
Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom
Charles Barron, Council Member, Brooklyn, NY
Dennis Serrette, Educational Director, Communication Workers
Consuela Lee, musician, director, Snow Hill Institute of Cultural
Arts and Heritage, Snow Hill, Alabama
Viola Plummer, December 12 Movement
Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan African News Wire
Elizabeth Davis, Washington DC Teacher Federation
Larry Holmes, ANSWER
Cynthia McKinney, Former Congresswoman, Georgia
view the current list of signers or add your signature to
the open letter to the Black community, visit the following
A.N.S.W.E.R. Website page by clicking on the link below:
bizarre and numbing protocols of American racism have led Democratic
and Republican Presidents to believe that they were doing Blacks
a favor by throwing African policy initiatives into a common,
"Black" domestic-foreign political package. It seems
to have never occurred to them that the practice is an insult
to both Black Americans and Africans on the continent. In the
broad scope of U.S. foreign policy, Africa is a ghetto.
the U.S. has segregated Africa within foreign policy,"
said Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, at a
Washington news conference. "Now, Washington must move
African concerns from the margins of U.S. foreign policy to
the center, if it is to sharpen its focus on the most destabilizing
international threats and the most urgent global priorities."
announced the release of a report, "Africa
Policy for a New Era: Ending Segregation in U.S. Foreign Relations."
He was joined by Marie Clarke, National Coordinator of Jubilee
USA Network, and Adotei Akwei, Africa Advocacy Director of Amnesty
massive external debt is the single largest obstacle to the
continent's efforts to fight poverty and defeat HIV/AIDS,"
said Ms. Clark. "Millions die while our Administration
withholds life saving debt cancellation." Clarke described
the debt burden as "a major source of global inequality,
which U.S. policies must address."
International's Adotei Akwei called on Washington to withdraw
support from repressive African regimes. "The U.S. pre-occupation
with the geo-strategic value of African countries in the 'war
on terrorism' must not trump efforts to promote human rights
and advance democracy," he said.
at Haiti and Venezuela
the myriad destabilization tools of U.S. foreign policy is the
capital "strike." Globally, the American-dominated
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank bludgeon nations
into submission. For more fine-tuned economic torture, local
elites are encouraged to wreck their own economies, thus fomenting
opposition to governments objectionable to Washington.
early December, Venezuela has been under siege by a local capital
strike combined with management-led disruptions of the oil industry,
aimed at bringing down the government of President Hugo Chavez.
however, is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, with
very little economy to disrupt. The U.S. has successfully blocked
international aid to the country in an attempt to pressure President
Jean Bertrand Aristide into compliance
with Washington's dictates - yet Aristide hangs on. Last week,
Haiti's tiny elite played the Venezuela card, declaring a national
"strike." In a piece filed with the San
Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, Kevin Pina
not officially behind [the] general strike, the Washington
backed Democratic Convergence continued calling for Aristide's
resignation while demanding Haitians respect the strike in
support of the new "civil society" group claiming
to represent "all sectors of Haitian society." While
tacitly accepting support from the Convergence, the "civil
society" organizations insisted it was not their goal
to force Aristide's resignation. This appeared at odds with
their simultaneous claims that the government no longer enjoys
credibility with a majority of the Haitian people. As one
Lavalas insider summed it up, "They are supporting the
premises of the Convergence [about Aristide and Lavalas] while
saving the option of dramatically calling for his resignation
at a later date. They think this will give them greater credibility
and effectively isolate middle-class support away from Lavalas.
They are talking out of both sides of their mouths."
banks, gas stations, supermarkets and specialty shops kept
their doors closed today which stood in stark contrast to
the bustling activity in the marketplaces of the poor. "Only
those who have money and can afford to stay closed are behind
this strike," stated one woman as she paused from bickering
with a customer over the price of carrots.
owned businesses such as Dominoes Pizza and Shell Gas closed
their doors to support a general strike against Haitian President
Aristide. This stood in stark contrast to the bustling activity
in the markets of the poor majority as the photographs below
seems to show that, in a country with very little capital, the
capital "strike" is an empty threat.
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