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Ruth-Marion Baruch available at UC Santa Cruz Archives

Black August and Black liberation: “study, fast, train, fight.”

Originally published: Black Alliance for Peace (August 3, 2020)   | 

Each August since 1979, the surviving sectors of the Black Liberation Movement, our supporters, and the new entrants into the ranks of resistors to the ongoing oppression against the African/Black masses and colonized peoples of this territory now called the United States and its settler state, have paid homage to our fallen freedom fighters and those incarcerated for decades in the cages of this country.

The struggle for African/Black freedom in the United States began with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to this territory in 1619. The tradition of resistance to the settler state is different from the tradition celebrated by the elites of this country in response to the death of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). Our positionality first, as an enslaved people and after the formal period of slavery as a nationally oppressed people had forged for us a different interpretation of U.S. history and our relationship to this state.

For the Black Liberation Movement, reconciliation with the settler state toward a “more perfect union” was not only an impossibility because white-supremacist settler power has been crystalized into the state. It also would have been an unprincipled betrayal of our ancestors, who had resisted the assaults on our collective dignity and struggled to destroy the oppressive system—and had no plans to integrate with it.

That struggle intensified in the 1960s and ‘70s, resulting in a vicious counter attack from U.S. state authorities that involved murder, incarcerations, organizational disruption, and an ideological and cultural program to create an “American” out of the rebellious Africans who had earned global prestige for rising up in over 350 cities and creating a revolutionary movement.

Black August was created to not only honor and commemorate those who fought for our human rights, national liberation and self-determination, such as Jonathan and George Jackson, W.L. Nolan, and William Christmas. It is meant to pay homage to all of our revolutionary ancestors and those still ensnared by the state.

A central element of Black August is to call attention to our freedom fighters still held captive as political prisoners and Prisoners of War. Some have moved into their fifth decade shackled as the longest serving political prisoners on the face of the Earth.

This past weekend, Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) members unanimously decided to commit to raising awareness about our imprisoned fighters.

The theme of Black August is to “study, fast, train, fight.” That is what the members of BAP intend to do this month and every month until we rid the Earth of the malignant threat to all of humanity represented by the Pan-European, White-supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy.

PRESS AND MEDIA

Because we celebrate August as Black August, we highlight this Hood Communist article by BAP member Erica Caines on Black revolutionary and prison abolitionist George Jackson.

The “No to the New Cold War in China” webinar that BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka and BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley participated in on July 25 has been viewed more than 70 million times in China and around the world. Ajamu’s talk was transcribed and published in the Global Times, Black Agenda Report and Monthly Review. Margaret’s talk was given Chinese subtitles. Our participation, featured on CGTN Europe, demonstrates how important it is to have African voices articulating the Black radical internationalist tradition.

Ajamu also discussed Joe Biden’s vice-presidential choices on Radio Sputnik’s “Loud & Clear.”

We were dismayed to hear Zimbabwe’s current government has agreed to pay $3.5 billion to white farmers who were dispossessed of land during a decolonization process.

U.S. funding for Togo’s army continues, as this article suggests. When we say “U.S. Out of Africa,” we are clear it is also a call to confront the neocolonial leaders on the continent. That is why BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa Network (USOAN), the organizational arm of our U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM effort, has been building a base among organizations on the African continent itself.

Margaret recently had discussed this effort on the Canadian Voices of Women for Peace webinar. Margaret also appeared on The Convo Couch to discuss U.S. imperialism, the current Black Lives Matter movement and Russiagate.

The global economic depression sparked by the pandemic lockdowns is “a singular event in the history of world capitalism,” said Duboisian scholar Anthony Monteiro to Black Agenda Radio. “It might be the crisis that so disabled the world capitalist system that it will never be the same.”

Johanna Fernandez, host of WBAI’s “It’s a New Day,” interviewed Margaret about the Portland arrests starting at 34 minutes. Margaret also discussed John Lewis’ legacy on Deutsche Welle.

We are not falling for the ruling-class agenda meant to de-politicize the resistance using the liberal petit bourgeois Black misleadership class, as Margaret Kimberley stated this week in Black Agenda Report.

Last week, WPFW’s “Voices With Vision,” co-hosted by Netfa Freeman, who represents Pan-African Community Action (PACA) on BAP’s Coordinating Committee, continued to feature a collage of BAP voices (Saladin Muhammad of BAP member organization Black Workers for Justice and BAP members Kwame Wilburg, Alicia Skeeter and Bilal Mafundi Ali) and National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression voices. The show also included an interview about Community Control in general (schools, land, etc.), as well as the eviction apocalypse soon to be faced by many.

Netfa was also featured in an interview by TeleSUR that was then picked up by CounterPunch, Caribbean News Global, Rebeliòn, Portal Alba, ALAI, Globalizacion, Orinoco Tribune and The Canada Files.

EVENTS

  • August 15-16: The Black Is Back Coalition, of which BAP is a member organization, is holding its annual conference online with the theme, “Fight for Black Power: Free All Political Prisoners.” Register today.

  • August 15: Cooperation Jackson is hosting a People’s Assembly on the housing crisis and on combating police terrorism at 1 p.m. at the Ida B. Wells Plaza, 1128 W. Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi.

  • August 23: At 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST, BAP will hold the first in our Educational Webinar Series. The topic is “How the International War Against Black People Is Being Waged Locally – & How We Unify Against It”. We will be focusing on organizing in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area, but participants from anywhere are welcome. Save the date and look out for more information in future newsletters.

  • August 29: Cooperation Jackson is organizing an art exhibit to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at 1 p.m. at the Ida B. Wells Plaza, 1128 W. Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi.

TAKE ACTION

  • The Black Latina Girls and Women Fund was created by BAP member organization AfroResistance, a Black Latina women-led organization in the service of Black Latinx women in the Americas. This fund offers financial support by giving money directly to Black Latin womxn, girls and femmes who are experiencing severe financial need across the region, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether in Brazil, Colombia, United States or Panama, Black Latina girls, women, and femmes are organizing in their local communities in the fight against several forms of state violence. You can donate here and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #BlackLatinaGWFund.

  • Ask your local, state and federal candidates to sign BAP’s 2020 Candidate Accountability Pledge. If you are a candidate, distinguish yourself from the other corporate warmongering candidates by signing the pledge.

  • Sign up to join BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa Network to receive the bi-weekly AFRICOM Watch Bulletin in your inbox.

  • Make sure you keep up with us throughout the week by subscribing to our YouTube channel, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Instagram and Twitter.

  • We are raising $30,000 to help expand our membership support capacity and revamp our website. Donate and share our GoFundMe campaign with your networks today.

No Compromise, No Retreat!

Struggle to win,
Ajamu, Brandon, Dedan, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Paul, Vanessa, YahNé

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