The Conference will occur near the 5th anniversary of the September 11, 2009 founding of the Coalition and on the 127th birthday of Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA).
Both these dates are of serious symbolic value for building the Annual Conference. The fact that it is our 5th anniversary is celebratory because it is a statement of the ability of our movement to rebuild itself after the long political draught brought on by the U.S. terror that destroyed so many of our organizations through targeted murders, mass arrests and a vicious, orchestrated slander of our revolution that affects the consciousness of many even today.
That our conference will occur on the birthday of Marcus Garvey, an early victim of U.S. counterinsurgent efforts to destroy our struggle for happiness and return of our stolen resources, amplifies the significance of our Coalition as evidence that even the most vicious colonial repression cannot still the voices of our oppressed people.
Just a few weeks after our founding the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held our first action – the first African march on the White House to criticize the policies of U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama on November 7th, 2009.
The slogan for that mobilization was: Resist U.S. Wars and Occupation in the U.S. and Abroad! Reparations Now!
This was an important slogan because it challenged the liberal tradition of the U.S./European based anti-war or peace movement. Our slogan was not simply calling for peace or to stop the war; we were calling for and uniting with resistance to colonial oppression, the primary source of war today.
Our slogan also did something else the traditional, mostly white antiwar was loath to do: it recognized the presence of wars and colonial occupation within the borders of the U.S., wars and occupation that victimized African people ourselves as well as all the Indigenous people called Mexicans and Indians.
Five years after the founding of the Black is Back Coalition the world continues to be roiled by the desperate and bloody machinations of imperialism, led by a crippled U.S. imperialism.
Five years after the founding of the Coalition we have the field to ourselves. Most of the obvious anti-war activities of the white left have been quieted.
There have been little or no mobilizations in the streets of the U.S. because of the imperialist overthrow of the Libyan government or the bloody reign of terror Europe and the U.S. have brought to Syria.
Nor is there mass indignation being demonstrated because of the current U.S. efforts to destabilize and overthrow the progressive, anti-imperialist government of Venezuela.
A thousand people were killed in Iraq in January alone, years after the “Mission Accomplished” declaration by a blood-drenched George Bush.
People are starving to death in occupied Afghanistan even as they attempt to dodge the cruel drone strikes being initiated by cherubic faced white boys in secure lodgings far from the chaos and brutality they import to the people of that region and growing numbers of people elsewhere around the globe.
U.S.-Saudi influenced and/or engineered mayhem in Egypt continues to take its toll on the lives and freedom of the people. The white nationalist Jewish settler state of Israel is becoming ever more vicious, not only against its traditional Arab Palestinian victims, but thousands of African emigrants are also holding public mass demonstrations against our treatment on this occupied land.
The French are wreaking havoc in the Central Africa Republic and Mali while the U.S. media are extolling the virtues of growing U.S. ventures throughout Africa and especially in Djibouti, which, for all practical purposes, has been commandeered by the U.S. military as a staging ground for continued and escalating counterinsurgent forays throughout the Continent, but especially in Somalia and East Africa.
There is no clamor from the traditional anti-war or peace movement about any of this. The Africans in earthquake-ravaged, cholera-stricken Haiti continue to suffer the punitive consequences of a 200-year old audacious victory over African slavery. Who will rise to their defense if not the Coalition?
This current reality of a crisis-stricken imperialism, desperately lashing out in vicious attempts to reassert its authority over the world’s peoples contextualizes the work to build our Annual Black is Back Coalition Conference on the fifth anniversary of our founding and the birth date of Marcus Garvey.
The wars and occupations that necessitated the 2009 founding of our coalition continue unabated today. The need of our Coalition is even greater now than five years ago.
In the U.S. the economic situation is grave just as it is throughout the world. Like most of Europe the U.S. is experiencing economic distress that is usually reserved for Africans and other victims of imperialism.
From 16 to 30 percent of the U.S. population, depending on what figures are being used, is relying on some kind of government food assistance. Those without jobs and have stopped looking for work total 90 million people out of a total population of 315 million.
However, the conditions suffered by Africans or “black” people are notoriously worse, exemplifying the reality that Africans experience oppression as a whole people; we suffer “national” oppression and not just some innocent misfortune as many of our liberal white friends would have it.
For example, half the African men without high school diplomas are unemployed and teen-aged high school dropouts are facing 95 percent unemployment if they are African.
It is also Africans, Mexicans and other indigenous people who fill the Prison cells in the U.S., which has the largest prison population in the world precisely because of the presence of colonial subjects like Africans, “Indians” and Mexicans.
In a report on the U.S. prison population written by U.S. academics and entitled, “Unlocking America,” it was determined that if Africans and “Latinos” were arrested at the same rate as North Americans or whites in the U.S. the prison population would drop by 50 percent.
War and occupation are as real for Africans, Mexicans and “Indians “ in the U.S. as they are for the peoples of Afghanistan, Palestine and our brothers and sisters in Haiti and the Central African Republic.
It is our recognition of this, along with the urgency of this moment when U.S. and world imperialism is reeling with uncertainty and growing instability because of the increasing deprivation of its plundered lifeblood, that compels us to resurrect a slogan from five years ago to inform our Annual National Conference scheduled for Philadelphia in August.
Resist U.S. wars and Occupation in the U.S. and abroad! Reparations now!
Our Coalition is not only determined to call attention to the crimes of imperialism; we have also accepted the responsibility to lead the way forward. We will continue to make every effort to bring every democratic, anti-imperialist African organization within the U.S. and elsewhere the Coalition is located, into this united, non-sectarian effort.
Build the Annual Conference of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations!
Forward to Philadelphia!