Statement on the 17th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan

Statement on the 17th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan

This statement was delivered by Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) member Jose Monzon at an anti-war rally held October 7, 2018 in New York City commemorating the 17th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The rally also demanded an end to all wars.

On behalf of the struggling Black peoples who are a part of the Black Alliance for Peace, we bring you revolutionary greetings.

We want to thank the organizers of this event for not allowing this date to pass without demonstrating people in this nation are still woke, still struggling, and still determined to defeat U.S. imperialism in all of its manifestations.

Seventeen years ago this weekend, citing the Doctrine of Self-Defense, the United States initiated a brutal war against the people of Afghanistan. And once again, the people of that nation found themselves expendable, no more than collateral damage for the Bush administration’s ideological objective of conditioning the people in the United States to support their real intention: the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  

But like so many other empires and nations that invaded Afghanistan, the United States found it could smash a government, but it could not defeat the people of that small nation who were determined to defend their national dignity.

Today, 17 years later, the United States has been defeated. But in its imperial arrogance, it is prevented from admitting that fact to itself, the people and the world—and so the suffering of the people continues.

We in the Black Alliance for Peace say that in the war that should have never been, the war has been lost!

Bring the solders out, close the U.S. bases and provide reparations to the people of that nation who have unnecessarily suffered.

But if you continue to wage war, if your greed for the over $1 trillion worth of precious metals and oil and gas deposits seduce you into believing that you can remain, we pledge today that we will return to the streets, we will continue to resist you and to stand with the people to force you out of Afghanistan, out of Yemen,  to force you out of all of the national territories where you attempt to impose your will.

End of the war in Afghanistan!

Stop the slaughter in Yemen!

Close all U.S. and NATO bases worldwide!

U.S. out of Africa and shut down AFRICOM!

Photo credit: Reuters

Black Alliance for Peace Calls on U.S. Government to Shut Down U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

Black Alliance for Peace Calls on U.S. Government to Shut Down U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)

October 1, 2018—The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has launched U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM, a campaign designed to end the U.S. invasion and occupation of Africa.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of AFRICOM, short for U.S. Africa Command. Although U.S. leaders say AFRICOM is “fighting terrorism” on the continent, we believe geopolitical competition with China is the real reason behind AFRICOM’s existence. AFRICOM is a dangerous structure that has only increased militarism.

When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations—led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya—rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe. But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.

Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, first and former deputy of AFRICOM, declared in 2008, “Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of AFRICOM’s guiding principles.”

We say AFRICOM is the flip side of the domestic war being waged by the same repressive state structure against Black and poor people in the United States. In the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign, we link police violence and the domestic war waged on Black people to U.S. interventionism and militarism abroad.

"Not only does there need to be a mass movement in the U.S. to shut down AFRICOM, this mass movement needs to become inseparably bound with the movement that has swept this country to end murderous police brutality against Black and Brown people,” says Netfa Freeman, of Pan-African Community Action (PACA) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Freeman represents PACA, a BAP member organization, on BAP’s Coordinating Committee. “The whole world must begin to see AFRICOM and the militarization of police departments as counterparts."

It costs $267 million to fund AFRICOM in 2018, according to Vanessa Beck, BAP research team lead and Coordinating Committee member.

“That money is stolen from Africans/Black people in the U.S. to terrorize and steal resources from our sisters and brothers on the African continent,” Beck said. “Instead, that money should be put toward meeting our human needs in the U.S. and toward reparations for people in every African nation affected by U.S. imperialism.”

BAP makes the following demands:

  1. the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,

  2. the demilitarization of the African continent,

  3. the closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and

  4. the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) must oppose AFRICOM and conduct hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent.

We ask the public to join us in demanding an end to the U.S. invasion and occupation of the continent of our ancestors by signing this petition that we will deliver to CBC leaders.

This campaign is BAP’s effort to help shut down all U.S. foreign military bases as well as NATO bases. BAP is a founding member of the Coalition Against U.S Foreign Military Bases.

Visit blackallianceforpeace.com/USoutofAfrica for resources.

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Media Contact: info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Local and National Activists Gather to Address Problem of Police Militarization and Violence in Baltimore

Local and National Activists Gather to Address Problem of Police Militarization and Violence in Baltimore

Press Release                    

Contact: Vanessa Beck: 312 607-0304

August 17, 2018

Local and National Activists Gather to Address Problem of Police Militarization and Violence in Baltimore

“Impunity is defined as “exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action,” and is precisely what defines the war on poor black and brown people being waged by the frontline troops in that war – the police forces – from Baltimore to Birmingham, Alabama,” according to Vanessa Beck, the Baltimore representative of the Black Alliance for Peace. To address the issue of impunity and state violence perpetrated by the police and U.S. state violence in the form of war and militarization in Africa, a forum with local and national activists will take place August 18 from 2p to 4pm at the Walbrook Branch Library, 3203 W. North Ave, in Baltimore.  

Planned before the latest incident in which a Baltimore police officer was caught on tape physically abusing Dashawn McGrier, The Black Alliance for Peace, a new national anti-war alliance, along with local and regional organizations will discuss the issue of police violence in Black communities and U.S. war in Africa.  Titled “Military Occupation of the U.S. Black Communities & the Age of AFRICOM,” the forum will also include a performance by local artist Son of Nun.  The list of speakers includes:  

• Tawanda Jones, Justice for Tyrone West
• Brittany Oliver, Not Without Black Women
• Kelly Davis, Team Keith
• Netfa Freeman, Pan-African Community Action (BAP member organization)
• Maurice Carney, Friends of the Congo (BAP member organization)
• Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace (BAP)

“The forum in Baltimore is an important event not only for Baltimore but for the nation because Baltimore represents ground zero for official police impunity with cases like Freddie Gray, Tyrone West and others but Baltimore is also a site of resistance to the systematic assaults on the collective human rights of Black people,” according to Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace.   

The event is endorsed by: Ujima’s People Party, Not Without Black Women, Pan African Community Action (PACA), Friends of the Congo (FOC), Baltimore-Palestine Solidarity, Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Bases and the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC).

 

This panel discussion was livestreamed on our Facebook page (https://facebook.com/blackallianceforpeace) on August 18, 2018, in Baltimore's Wallbrook Library. The goal was to educate the public on the U.S. government's use of its vast military power to re-colonize the African continent and to subject Black people within its borders to police repression.

                   

On Anniversary of Nuclear Attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Black Alliance for Peace Supports Demand for Immediate Global Denuclearization

On Anniversary of Nuclear Attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Black Alliance for Peace Supports Demand for Immediate Global Denuclearization

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, followed three days later by an attack on Nagasaki. Tens of thousands perished within seconds. For some who died, the only evidence they existed was a radiation shadow found on a concrete wall. The stated justification for this horrific crime was the need to hasten the end of World War II. But not only was Japan already attempting to surrender, it made the final decision to do so because the Soviet Union declared war—Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not need to be bombed.

The United States is still the only nation to use an atomic weapon against human beings. Yet it reserves a self-declared right to determine which nations can and cannot develop the same capability. The international community has spoken out in opposition to that arrogant position by demanding the “denuclearization” of all nations that possess these inhumane weapons of mass destruction. After 72 years of agitation in favor and opposition from all nations that possess nuclear weapons, the United Nations General Assembly voted last July to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) supports this treaty, and calls on all peace and anti-war activists to publicize the existence of this treaty, as well as demand the United States join with the sentiments of the world and eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

Peace loving people around the world must be united in working for a nuclear-free world. Even Ronald Reagan declared after he and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to significantly reduce their arsenals, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Yet presidents Obama and Trump have and are proposing to spend over $1 trillion on nuclear weapons “upgrades.”

The right to life is the ultimate human right with war being the ultimate violator of that right. Yet, contemporary policymakers in the Obama and Bush administrations, who had made the Dr. Strangelove character seem rational, had quietly engaged in discussions about the tactical feasibility of limited nuclear war, as if a nuclear war could possibly be contained. The need for peace, for a world free from the nuclear threat, has never been clearer. The somber anniversary of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are an opportunity to remind the world of the horror of nuclear war and to make sure opposition to war includes its most psychopathic expression—nuclear war! 



Photo credit: Reuters/U.S. Army

Black Alliance for Peace Welcomes Outcome of Meeting Between the United States and North Korea

Black Alliance for Peace Welcomes Outcome of Meeting Between the United States and North Korea

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls on the people of the United States to ensure the leaders of the U.S. state remain committed to continued diplomacy to end the U.S.-Korea conflict. The meeting between Kim Jong Un and the president of the United States was a positive step toward a peaceful resolution of the 68-year Korea war. The decision on the part of the U.S. occupying power to end the provocative and illegal war games with the South Korea state is a necessary concession to demonstrate a commitment to easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula. As the foreign power with 32,000 soldiers and a nuclear umbrella over the North from its bombers and submarines, the United States was correct in responding to North Korea’s unilateral decision to halt nuclear tests and testing of ballistic missiles with the decision to end the U.S.-South Korea military drills.

BAP is concerned with the irresponsible and reckless comments by various political leaders who are opposed to ending the military exercises and are characterizing the outcome of the summit as a win for North Korea. For BAP, the winners of the summit are the South Korean people and all those who cherish peace and an international community committed to law and the principles of the United Nations charter.

As the state primarily responsible for the division of the Korean Peninsula and the subsequent war of annihilation waged against the North, it is only natural that the United States would need to demonstrate a good-faith commitment to a peace process.

The use of sexist and patriarchal imagery along with subtle appeals to white supremacy emanating primarily from Democrats to goad the administration into taking a more aggressive position on North Korea demonstrates once again that Democrats offer no alternative to the politics of domination and aggressive imperialism that has defined U.S. behavior for decades.

BAP considers both parties to be war parties that are committed the use of war, repression and various forms of violence, including economic sanctions, to maintain the global hegemony of the United States. That is why any political space that is created that might move the United States away from its preferred method of using violence to advance the interests of the 1% is positive and must be supported by the people. Left to their own devices, the bought-and-paid-for politicians will never pursue peace when militarism continues to make their patrons rich!

Keeping pressure on the politicians who represent the interests of the capitalist oligarchy requires the re-building of an anti-war, pro-peace and anti-imperialist movement in the United States. The demands for peace voiced by the people of both Koreas are what drove the leaders of North and South Korea to move toward a new relationship between the nations. If the Korean people did not have to deal with the reality of the United States as a foreign neo-colonial power, it would have been able to resolve their differences many years ago.

That is why the issue is not de-nuclearization but de-colonization. We must demand an end to U.S. occupation, withdraw all U.S. troops, close the military bases, and remove the nuclear threat posed by U.S. bombers and submarines.

The Black Alliance for Peace says, “Close all foreign U.S. bases”! Defeat the giant triplets of racism, militarism and materialism that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., identified. And commit to “not one drop of blood from the working class and poor to defend the interests of the capitalist oligarchy.”

For media inquiries, email info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Photo credit: Reuters

The Black Alliance for Peace  Calls on Congressional Black Caucus and Leadership of Poor People’s Campaign to Demand the Dismantling U.S. African Command (AFRICOM)

The Black Alliance for Peace Calls on Congressional Black Caucus and Leadership of Poor People’s Campaign to Demand the Dismantling U.S. African Command (AFRICOM)

On May 25, African Liberation Day, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) called on the United States government to dismantle the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) and withdraw all U.S. forces from the African continent. This demand is in line with the main objective of the newly formed Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases—of which BAP is a founding member—which was formally launched in January. The coalition demands the closure of 800-plus U.S. military bases in other countries, which would save more than $150 billion that could then be re-allocated to realize the economic human rights of the working class and poor in this country.

In our statement on African Liberation Day we called on the members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to publicly oppose the aggressive militarization of the African continent, ramped up by the Obama administration and being continued by the Trump administration.

During the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) actions to end the War Economy, Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence that began this week, BAP is calling on the campaign to take an unequivocal stance in opposition to AFRICOM. Just as we called on the CBC to take a public position against the aggressive expansion of U.S. militarism in Africa, we are also asking the PPC leadership and all activists supporting this week of actions to join us in demanding the United States pull out of Africa and close all U.S. military bases on foreign soil.

For BAP, it is clear the U.S war on “terrorism” in Africa was and remains a subterfuge to expand U.S. influence and its physical presence there. The destruction of Libya, the ongoing war in Somalia, the dismemberment of Sudan, the millions of lives lost in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the widespread political instability throughout the continent is the concrete result of U.S. policies and not some internal or externally motivated “terrorism” and therefore must be opposed by all who claim to represent the interests of Black people.

The PPC states “[t]he truth is that instead of waging a War on Poverty, we have been waging a War on the Poor, at home and abroad, for the financial benefit of a few.” There certainly has been a war. However, it is not “we” who are waging this war but them, the racist capitalist oligarchy that has been operating against the interests of the majority of the people in the United States and throughout the world.

BAP sees a clear connection between the war being waged against Black and poor people domestically through the Obama and Trump administrations’ Department of Defense 1033 program, which has resulted in the obscene militarization of the police, and the U.S. commitment to “full spectrum dominance” that translates into a permanent war against colonized people of color globally. That is why we agree with the PPC’s focus on gun violence, but we say the focus must be even more explicit.

Netfa Freeman, organizer with Pan-African Community Action (PACA) and a member of the BAP Coordinating Committee, points to both the internal and external on issues of militarism and gun violence: "The double standards and dirty-trick twists and turns of the U.S.'s industrial-police-military-intelligence complex has operated on two complementary and parallel tracks when it comes to war, repression, and militarism in Africa and in Black communities within U.S. borders,” he says. “Those tracks are militarized domestic repression in the form of over-policing, police murders and mass incarceration, and in Africa the phony war on terrorism.”

The PPC’s clear demand for “demilitarization of our communities” including “ending federal programs that send military equipment into local and state communities” is in sharp contrast to the support of repressive federal policies by a majority of Black lawmakers at the national level.

In July 2014, two months before the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, 80 percent of the CBC voted against ending the 1033 program; last July, a majority voted in favor of the obscene increase in the military budget that exceeded the $54 billion increase demanded by Trump; and just a week or so ago, a majority of the caucus voted in favor of a right-wing federal “Blue Lives Matter” bill, making “assaults” on police officers a federal hate crime!

The Democratic Party that vehemently opposed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he finally broke with the Johnson administration and the party establishment to oppose the Vietnam War, and which gave political cover to and justifications for the murderous assault against the Black Liberation Movement, is the same party that today supports the war agenda of the corporate and financial oligarchy. It is the same party that under Obama accelerated the 1033 program and prosecuted only one of the dozens of killer-cops that executed black, Latinx and Native people across the country.

BAP is not fooled by the diversionary politics of the Democratic Party. We are clear that opposition to war, militarism and all forms of gun violence requires taking on both parties representing the two wings of the ruling class. A bill providing a blank check to the Trump administration to wage war across the planet in the form of the new “authorization to use military force” is an example of the bi-partisan commitment to permanent war and repression as U.S. policy.

Moral stances also require explicit political positions. Opposition to war and gun violence requires that real political connections are made and concrete positions taken against policies that perpetuate the moral offenses that we oppose.

It also means that those who claim to represent the oppressed must be held to account. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus have failed to represent the interests of their Black constituents who have consistently opposed war and domestic militarism.

BAP applauds the effort by the PPC to recapture the moral ground lost to the right-wing counter-revolution of the 1970s and ‘80s as well as to the moral bankruptcy of the Obama presidency. However, we believe that in this era of right-wing ascendency represented by Trump and the liberal authoritarianism of the Democratic Party, it is important the interests and politics of the working class and poor are clearly delineated from those of the capitalist oligarchy. This means that our politics must be clear and our rhetoric devoid of liberal ambiguities in order to expose the nature and interests of the oppressive system and state.

Our task today is even more pressing than it was 51 years ago when Dr. King called on the oppressed and their allies to defeat “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.”

That is why during this week of action called for by the PPC, BAP is making a clear call for the U.S. to leave Africa and for the people to control the police in their communities. Nothing short of this would reflect the morality and politics of the original Poor People’s Campaign and the revolution of values advocated by Dr. King.

 

For media inquiries, email info@blackallianceforpeace.com

On African Liberation Day, the Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Out of Africa!

On African Liberation Day, the Black Alliance for Peace Demands U.S. Out of Africa!

No U.S. bases in Africa, shut down U.S. African Command (AFRICOM)

 

African Liberation Day (ALD) grew out of the attempts to establish the continental unity of Africa and all African people 55 years ago and is now celebrated every May 25th around the world.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), a project that centers a radical approach to the fight for collective people(s)-centered human rights that centers self-determination, the right for revolutionary change and anti-imperialism is commemorating ALD by demanding without equivocation that the United States close all U.S. bases and withdraws its forces from the African continent.

Why this Demand?

The African continent will never be free to develop its enormous potential as a revolutionary force for the advancement of all African people and all of humanity as long as U.S. imperialism is allowed to operate without restraint.

Today the U.S. is involved in an aggressive military re-conquest of Africa though its United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, formed in 2008 with the goal of enhancing U.S. influence throughout the African continent. AFRICOM has made African nations vassal states following the dictates of U.S. foreign policies, which are antithetical to the needs of African people.

According to Maurice Carney, executive director of “Friends of the Congo” and BAP member, "Due to the US and Europe's inability to compete with China economically on the African continent, the U.S. launched AFRICOM to protect its strategic interests. Although AFRICOM representatives present a benign, humanitarian facade of building wells and training soldiers in human rights practices, its ever-expanding presence (estimated 2000 percent increase since its inception in 2008) has been devastating for the oppressed masses on the continent.”

Blocking the military expansion of the U.S. settler-colonial state must be seen by all serious revolutionary Pan-Africanists as a primary objective. However, BAP members understand that it also means that the internal contradiction represented in the collaboration of the comprador, neo-colonial criminals that run so many of the micro-states on the continent must also be targeted.

It means as well that we must call out the members of the Black elite in the U.S. who collaborate with imperialist power.

Margaret Kimberley from Black Agenda Report and member of the BAP Coordinating Committee points out that “Congressional Black Caucus members were once known as "the conscience of the Congress." Unfortunately, most of them voted for the Trump administration's $80 billion increase to the defense budget in 2017. Those funds will not only deprive the people of the U.S. the numerous governmental programs which provide for their well-being but will also be used to continue wars in Somalia, Congo, Kenya and Niger and result in death and destruction for millions of people.”

Therefore, we demand that as the 10th anniversary of AFRICOM approaches, the Congressional Black Caucus take a public stand in opposition to AFRICOM and cease its support of U.S. militarism and warmongering in Africa but also in the streets of the U.S.  

So, on this African Liberation Day, join us in demanding that AFRICOM be dismantled and this country's predatory actions against millions of Africans end immediately.

For media inquiries, email info@blackallianceforpeace.com.

 

Photo credit: Paul Schmick. Courtesy of the DC Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post

BAP Calls on the United States to Meet North Korean Efforts to Move Toward a Diplomatic Solution

BAP Calls on the United States to Meet North Korean Efforts to Move Toward a Diplomatic Solution

MAY 16, 2018—The United States has no one to blame but itself for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) canceling a meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday with the Republic of Korea (RoK) as part of the peace process.

Arrogantly stretched to capacity while fighting illegal wars on multiple fronts, the United States has further weakened its already anemic moral position. Meanwhile, the international community has expressed outrage over the latest manifestations of U.S. gangsterism: Pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran and five other nations, attacking Syria the day before a weapons inspection, and its complicity in the Israeli massacre of more than 50 Palestinians on Monday, the day before the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.

Per the international principle of a state's right to self-defense, the DPRK has pulled out of talks with its neighbor since the United States has chosen to move forward with its next joint military exercise with the RoK. These exercises are more aptly known as “war games” because they involve the United States playing out a potential attack on the DPRK by firing its weapons and dropping bombs on the RoK side. Any playing out of war is indeed an act of war.

As Black internationalists, we denounce such gangsterism and continued violations of international law.

 

Media Contact: Margaret Kimberley, info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Photo credit: Kim Won-Gin/Getty Images

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza

Black anti-war activists call on members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the leadership of the Poor People’s Campaign to publicly condemn Israeli violence

MAY 15, 2018—While a delegation from the Trump administration and leaders from various parts of the world gathered in Jerusalem to witness the illegal and immoral move of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to the beleaguered and contested city, Israeli soldiers slaughtered unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. The latest count reports more than 50 dead and 2,700 wounded.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) demands the United States condemn Israeli state violence and the use of U.S.-supplied weapons to murder unarmed Palestinians, a violation of U.S. law. Guidelines for the sale and transfer of military equipment stipulates U.S.-supplied arms cannot be used to violate human rights.

However, BAP is clear responsibility for the barbarity the world is witnessing does not only rest with the Israeli colonial state. The systematic violence of ethnic cleansing, house demolitions, exile, assassinations, land thefts, bombings, and the denial of water and other vital services that provide basic dignity could not have occurred without ongoing support from the United States, as well as both major political parties in the United States, the corporate press and every major institution of U.S. society, including many churches.

Support for Israeli settler-colonialism has been the stated policy of both dominant U.S. political parties, along with a firm commitment to ensure the Israeli government has the military means to not only sustain the occupation but impose its military will on its neighbors in the region. The two-state solution was always a subterfuge to delay the eradication of illegal Israeli settlements, while military containment policies represented most dramatically in the apartheid walls that crisscross Palestinian territories on the so-called West Bank actually created new realities on the ground, making a two-state solution impossible.

In accordance with the principles and values reflected in the platform of the Poor People’s Campaign and the stated support for that campaign by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, BAP is calling on both to condemn the attacks and join BAP in calling for an intervention by the international community.

We believe this public stance is important because the recent decisions to sabotage the Iran agreement and give Israel a green light to escalate military aggressions in the sovereign state of Syria, coupled with the brutal violence unleashed against unarmed protesters in Gaza, provide unassailable evidence both the United States and Israel have opted to operate outside the rule of law as rogue criminal states.

Therefore, BAP calls on the international community to use all means at its disposal to force the United States and Israel to comport themselves in line with acceptable international norms. It is quite obvious to us that absent pressure from the international community in the form of arms embargos, economic sanctions and universal moral condemnation, both states will continue to be global threats to peace and international outlaws in relation to human rights.

Media contact: Ajamu Baraka, info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Re-centering Anti-war and Anti-imperialism as Working-class Issues on May Day

Re-centering Anti-war and Anti-imperialism as Working-class Issues on May Day

MAY 1, 2018—May 1 is recognized as International Workers’ Day throughout the world except in the most bourgeois of bourgeois nations—the United States. Yet, even though the capitalist oligarchy has tried to erase the day from the awareness and memory of the working class and worker-oriented organizations and unions, the working class continues to embrace and take ownership of this day as its own.  

Today is the day that the multi-national, multi-racial working classes express solidarity with all those who labor, who have nothing but their labor power to sell in order to eke out a living for themselves and their families. Today, workers from all nations, races, genders and nationalities proclaim that—despite differences—common interests bind us and can serve as a basis for a common political stance and program of liberation from the ravages of capitalist exploitation and great power domination.

On this International Workers’ Day, over 140 million people are classified as low-income in the United States while tax cuts are given to the rich. Thirty-thousand people still die every year simply because they do not have access to health care. Thousands walk the streets not knowing where they are going to lay their heads at night. And millions of working people are paying over half their income on housing and laboring more than 50 hours a week just to keep their heads above water.

And every day, millions of undocumented workers who have been forced from their home countries by the devastating policies of a rapacious, vicious capitalist invasion of their economies must take on back-breaking work not knowing if they must evade ICE—the modern-day slave catchers—to make it home to their families that evening.

These are some of the realities facing workers in the United States, the richest capitalist nation on earth.

For the Black Alliance for Peace, it is these realities and the realities that are even more acute for Black workers and the poor, that inform our political understanding of the historic task of the day. We say without any equivocation that there will be no peace without justice, that the task of workers in the United States is to struggle for a vision of a new world that transcends the backwardness of this degenerate and anachronistic system. We have a name for the source of this degrading and dehumanizing oppression: the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy.

Because we are clear on who/what the enemy is and our responsibilities to fight against oppression, we are also clear we will never support U.S. imperialism in any of its adventures. We are not fooled by the phony humanitarian justifications for interventions by a nation that has consistently proven to be what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called 51 years ago “the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet.”   

That is why on this International Workers’ Day we say once again: “Not one drop of blood from the working class and poor in defense of the gangsterism of the capitalist ruling class.”

We understand that state-sanctioned violence in the war being waged against Black and Brown people domestically is the flip side of the coin of the war being waged against people of color world-wide.

As colonized captives in this oppressor nation, we know that there is a necessity to struggle against domestic policies like the repressive Department of Defense 1033 program that is responsible for militarizing police forces across the country. We also know we must oppose the training of police forces by the Israeli apartheid state. We understand we have a responsibility in this oppressor nation to take on the U.S. state by opposing U.S. military interventions, destabilization campaigns, sanctions, and the subversion of nations in the cross-hairs of U.S. imperialism.

The struggle for Black liberation must be a struggle against imperialist wars.  Defending national sovereignty and self-determination of peoples and nations is not an abstract concept for BAP members—it is a guiding principle of our work.  

Therefore, an anti-war position is a necessary first step and an understandable and welcomed moral position for many in the anti-war community. However, for BAP, an anti-war position without an explicit anti-imperialist position would be a betrayal of the millions still subjected to assaults on the humanity of Africans, Asians and the people of Latin America and the Caribbean by the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination.

Four interrelated issues confront all of humanity, but especially workers and the poor in the United States and abroad today: white supremacy, neoliberal capitalist exploitation, permanent war, and the threat to the planet by capitalist industrial processes.

Confronting these issues will only happen as a result of power being shifted from the capitalist oligarchy back to the people. But we understand that will never happen without a revolutionary movement. The good news is the tide is turning in that direction.

Brave and determined teacher unions made up primarily of women have injected new life into the struggle for the collective human right to organize. New efforts to fight for a living wage are developing across the country. The immigrant/migrant rights movement is disconnecting from the suffocating influence of the liberal establishment and rebuilding the spirit of 2006. The anti-war and anti-imperialist movements are showing new life, and Africans and Black radicals are moving toward consolidating authentic left formations under the leadership of working class organizations and movements.

But we have no illusions about what we are up against. Through its grip on communications and all of the cultural and educational institutions, the rulers are still able to convince significant numbers of workers that no alternative exists and that they can only hope for reform of the system.

Fifty years ago, worker revolts rocked the world from France to Mexico. On this day, 50 years later, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the revolutionary project that re-centers resistance to imperialist war and global structures of white supremacy as representative of a new international workers movement.

International Letter Demands Freedom for Afro-Colombian Activists Imprisoned on False Charges

International Letter Demands Freedom for Afro-Colombian Activists Imprisoned on False Charges

CONTACT:

Charo Mina Rojas

Human Rights and International Coordinator, PCN

Tel: +57-314-370-8931

E-Mail: charominarojas@gmail.com

 

April 26, 2018

International Letter Demands Freedom for Sara Quiñonez and Tulia Maris Valencia

Afro-Colombian Social Movement Leaders Detained on False Charges

For Immediate Release

 

Individuals and organizations from around the world sent a letter today to Colombian Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez demanding that the government drop its baseless charges against social movement leaders Sara Quiñonez and her mother Tulia Maris Valencia. Both women are human rights defenders from the Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera and members of the Black Communities Process (Proceso de Comunidades Negras, PCN).

The human rights advocates face politically motivated accusations as a result of their work on behalf of the collective and human rights of Afro-descendant communities. At their arraignment hearing on April 25, a judge refused to release them pending trial. On April 24, Ms. Quiñonez and Ms. Valencia sent the following message from the courtroom in Cali: “We are women who defend the rights of Afro-Colombian peoples. We are innocent!”

Social movement leaders are particularly alarmed that the government is targeting advocates for arrest while failing to address the dramatic spike in threats and killings against human rights defenders in Colombia since the signing of the Peace Accords. Ms. Quiñonez and Ms. Valencia were forcibly displaced as a result of the threats against them. Following the murders of Genaro Garcia (2016) and Jair Cortes (2017), fellow members of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, Ms. Quiñonez was forcibly displaced with her family to another part of the country where she received protection measures from both Colombia’s own National Protection Unit and from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

Advocates are concerned the April 20 arrests signal that the government is criminalizing efforts to defend the constitutionally recognized collective and territorial rights of Afro-Colombian people. “We are concerned that these arrests are a dangerous harbinger of a possible return to the pre-Peace Accords period where human rights activists – and especially Afro-Colombian activists – were prime targets of the Colombian state,” said Jaribu Hill, Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights and Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) Coordinating Committee.

The Afro-Colombian Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera has been subjected to violence and dispossession at the hands of paramilitary groups, guerrilla groups, narcotics traffickers, soldiers, and multinational corporation over the course of decades. Ms. Quiñonez served as the President and later as the Vice-President of the Community Council, and Ms. Tulia Maris Valencia is also a well-known leader of the women’s group and serves on local committees in the Community Council. Thanks to their crucial work in defense of the community’s rights, the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera is one of the few cases prioritized in the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Accords between the FARC and the Colombian government.

“Afro-Colombian women human rights defenders like Ms. Quiñonez and Ms. Valencia are at the forefront of the type of social justice movements that will lead to meaningful peace, and their work must be permitted to continue. We join with Colombian social movements calling for the authorities to drop the baseless charges against Ms. Quiñonez and Ms. Valencia, and immediately release them,” said Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE.

Any U.S. Attack on Syria Is International Gangsterism

Any U.S. Attack on Syria Is International Gangsterism

Media Contact:

Ajamu Baraka

National Organizer

info@blackallianceforpeace.com

APRIL 10, 2018—The pending military intervention into Syria by the United States represents yet another case of unilateral illegality that continues the systematic assault on international law and morality that has characterized U.S. foreign policies since the end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, when the United States found itself without any countervailing global power. The result for the people of the world has been unending military conflicts, destabilization and the destruction of whole nations.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., correctly identified exactly a year before his assassination that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. The 50th anniversary of his murder just passed on April 4—five decades later, the United States continues to hold that distinctive position. This reality makes any declaration on the part of the United States that it alone has the responsibility to intervene on the side of human-rights protection an absurdity and an insult to the intelligence of the national and international communities.

Today, the people of the United States are supposed to believe the racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic Trump administration is supposedly so concerned about Arab life in Syria that it feels morally compelled to engage in direct military intervention. That is a position we in the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) do not believe based on the documented actions of this administration and all previous administrations. These regimes have demonstrated their utter contempt for the lives of non-Europeans in their quest to maintain their global dominance.

U.S. support for the continued brutality of the apartheid state of Israel and its immoral justifications for Israeli crimes against humanity committed at the apartheid wall in Gaza reflect the bi-partisan moral degeneracy of the ruling parties, media and ruling oligarchy. Their lack of real concern for Palestinian life reveals not only their lack of morality, but the real imperialist interests that determine their opportunistic position on Syria.

Just a few weeks after the massive marches to address U.S. gun violence, the people of the United States are being asked to support the ultimate form of gun violence—war. For BAP, the only way the movement to oppose gun violence in the United States will have any moral credibility is if people link gun violence in the United States to militarism and war abroad.

BAP takes an unequivocal position against U.S. intervention in Syria. We say the only institution with the right and power to protect the peace and resolve international conflict is the United Nations. We condemn any and all unilateral interventions by any state and assert that any state that violates the international norms that are committed to the maintenance of peace as established by the United Nations Charter is a rogue state that deserves international condemnation.

We say if the United States is concerned about human rights, it should:

  • prosecute killer cops who savagely murdered Stephon Clark in Sacramento, California;
  • investigate the approximately 1,000 killings each year at the hands of police in the United States;
  • stop the mass transfer of children from juvenile courts to adult courts;
  • stop the militarization of its domestic police forces;
  • stop the raids of migrant communities;
  • release its political prisoners; and
  • cease the collaboration with the corporate media and private communication companies in its effort to censor and limit news content on the Internet.

But we know centering human rights has never been a commitment of the U.S. state. That is why BAP says if you want peace, you have to be willing to fight for it. This weekend, BAP is mobilizing with groups across the country to highlight our opposition to U.S. warmongering, demanding an end to U.S. lawlessness, calling for the closure of more than 800 U.S. military bases around the world, and ending the war against the Black and Brown working-class and poor. We support self-determination for all oppressed peoples—domestically and internationally.

Stop the ongoing agony in Syria. Demand the United States withdraw its forces from Syria and respect international law. Call for the United States to adhere to international human-rights norms and cease its status as a rogue state.

 

Media Contact:

Ajamu Baraka

National Organizer

info@blackallianceforpeace.com

 

Photo credit: FAIR

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the Murder of Unarmed Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the Murder of Unarmed Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces

APRIL 2, 2018—A reported 30,000 Palestinians peacefully marched in Gaza on March 30 as they made their historic demand for a right to return to their ancestral lands when they were met by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) snipers who opened fire, killing 17 people and wounding about 1,500. The Great Return March was the beginning of a six-week long protest that was due to end May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) marking the day 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes by the new state of Israel in 1947.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) condemns this and all violence carried out against the Palestinian people by the Israeli government. BAP demands an end to the occupation and the continued theft of land and resources by the Israeli government. BAP calls on the U.S. government to cease financial and military support for Israel, which makes every U.S. resident complicit in an ongoing war crime. BAP condemns the corporate media that characterized the assault as a "clash"—where one side had the power of a militarized state and the other side had nothing but unarmed men, women and children.

The Israeli government continues its brazen disregard for life and even bragged about the killing in a now-deleted message posted on Twitter, proclaiming they "know where every bullet landed." Israel has no reason to fear retribution. As a client state of the United States, it acts with complete impunity. Every gun, bullet, bomb and tank in Israel is paid for by our government. The United States uses its seat on the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel and to defend it against the international law it violates on a daily basis.

The killings in Gaza occurred as people across the United States continued to demand justice for Stephon Clark, the Sacramento, California, man killed by police in that city. He is one of over 1,000 people in the United States who die at the hands of police every year. Police departments across the country are trained by the Israelis, who are expert at subjugating and terrorizing their colonized population.

The people are righteously angry about gun violence. The March for Our Lives must be a march for every life, for people victimized by armed individuals, for people killed by police departments, and for people all over the world killed by the U.S. military and its client states. BAP condemns the increased militarization of police departments in this country, which continues the violent occupation of communities of color and makes the deaths of people like Stephon Clark an inevitability.

The connections between Palestine and occupied Turtle Island are clear. BAP demands justice in the United States and in Israel and calls upon peace loving people everywhere to oppose state violence against oppressed people.

We appeal to members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to denounce the Gaza killings and join in efforts to end the unbroken military assistance provided to Israel and the use of U.S. tax revenues to subsidize this apartheid state. We invite members of the public to call the CBC today: (202) 226-9776

Free Palestine! End the occupation!

Black Lives Matter!

 

Media contact:

Ajamu Baraka

blackallianceforpeace@gmail.com

 

Photo credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

The Caracas Declaration

The Caracas Declaration

Between March 5 and March 7, hundreds of representatives from trade unions, grassroots peoples' organizations, youth organizations, Indigenous and African descendant organizations, women’s groups and political parties from over 100 nations gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, to express solidarity with the Venezuelan people and to support their right to self-determination and the integrity of their political process. The Black Alliance for Peace attended, represented by Ajamu Baraka, BAP’s National Organizer.

The “Caracas Declaration” was one of the products of that gathering.

 

Caracas Declaration: On the 5th anniversary of the Death of Hugo Chavez

We, citizens from distinct countries, social movements and organizations, political parties, women, youths, workers, creators and intellectuals, peasants, and religious leaders, gathered here in Caracas on the 5, 6 and 7th March 2018, reaffirm our solidarity and militant support of the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian Revolution and its popular government, which is headed by Nicolas Maduro Moros.

We energetically reject the grave escalation of aggressions against Venezuela’s democracy and
sovereignty by the war-like government of Donald Trump, global corporate powers, and the
American imperialist military-industrial apparatus, which looks to overthrow the legitimate
government of Venezuela, destroy the project of Bolivarian democracy and expropriate the natural resources of the Venezuelan nation.

We denounce that this operation against Venezuela forms part of a global strategy of neo-
colonialization in Latin America and the Caribbean which seeks to impose a new era of servitude and looting through the resurrection of the shameful Monroe Doctrine, a plan which has already begun in numerous countries across the continent.

We reject the threat of Donald Trump of a potential military intervention in Venezuela and we alert that such declarations by him are not mere charlatanism. The military option against the Bolivarian Revolution forms part of the strategic and geopolitical doctrine of the U.S. for the 21st Century. The world must know that a military aggression against Venezuela would provoke a crisis in the region of historic dimensions and uncountable and unpredictable human, economic, and ecological impact.

We warn imperialism and their elites lackeys that play this game: the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world will never allow that Venezuela be touched by the ambitions of the American military boot! If, in their crazy obsession, the hawks of Washington dare attack Venezuela, the homeland of Simon Bolívar, as it was more than 200 years ago, will again be the tomb of an empire.

We denounce the blatant pressure of U.S. imperialism on the region's governments to involve them in political, diplomatic, and even military operations against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

With these actions, they seek to destroy regional integration and bring about the de-facto abolition of the principle of the founding charter of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States, which declares the region as a zone of peace.

We reject the shameful and historical opposed attitude of governments in the region that have caved in to Washington’s politics through the creation of illegal and spurious organisms such as the so-called Group of Lima. The shameful regional elites who today lead the plundering of their peoples, hand over their sovereignty to the transnational corporations, and increase poverty, inequality and violate human rights, lack any moral and political authority to question Venezuelan democracy.

We reject the unilateral and illegal sanctions of the US Government and the European Union against the Venezuelan people, which seek to destroy its economy and break their democratic will.

Blockades and sanctions are crimes against humanity carried out by the international capitalist
system, and are severely hurting the Venezuelan people by sabotaging their productive, commercial and financial processes, preventing access to food, medicines and essential goods.

We reject the perverse U.S. sabotage of the process of dialogue developed in the Dominican
Republic and reiterate that only the absolute respect for the sovereignty of Venezuela, non-
interference in their internal affairs, sincere dialogue and electoral processes based on Venezuelan legislation can define the path to recover the political coexistence between Venezuelans. In this regard, we welcome the call for presidential, regional legislators and councilor elections for May 20, a result of a political agreement with a sector of the Venezuelan opposition.

In these absolutely constitutional and legitimate elections, the Venezuelan people in a transparent and sovereign way will decide the course of their homeland. We alert the peoples of the world to the counterproductive intentions of international governments and organizations that are directly involved in the war against Venezuela to not recognize the results of the elections on May 20, and accelerate attacks after what - no doubt - will be a real democratic expression of the Venezuelan people.

We welcome and support the declaration of the presidential summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America ALBA-TCP that categorically rejects the exclusion of Venezuela from the next Summit of the Americas, to be held in the city of Lima, Peru. Similarly, we support all diplomatic and political actions that governments, countries and peoples take to defend plurality and political diversity in the continent and to safeguard the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.

We recognize the heroic resistance of the people of Venezuela when confronted by the ravages of economic aggression, the financial blockade and all the forms of sabotage that Venezuela is
suffering from, and support the economic, financial, political and diplomatic strategy that the
Bolivarian Government and President Nicolas Maduro are carrying out to overcome the problems and construct the humanist model of Bolivarian socialism.

We are committed to continue the battle for the truth, peace and the sovereignty of Venezuela, to expand the ties of friendship, solidarity and revolutionary commitment to the Venezuelan people.

The peoples of the world, the consciousness of all those who struggle for the just cause of mankind, accompanies at this time and always the Bolivarian revolution, its leadership and its people. We are convinced that Venezuela will be able to – through dialogue, respect for the Constitution, and the indefatigable democratic will of his people—overcome the problems that besets it, and that the Bolivarian revolution will remain a beacon of hope for the peoples of the world who search for a worthy and just destination for humanity.

In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the physical passing of Commander Hugo Chávez,
historical leader of the Venezuelan people, from Caracas we say to the world: Venezuela is not
alone, we are all with her!

We are all Venezuela!
We will win! Caracas, March 7, 2018

Hundreds of Thousands to Protest President Trump’s Military Parade If It Occurs

Hundreds of Thousands to Protest President Trump’s Military Parade If It Occurs

Peace and Justice Groups Say, “There will be more opponents than supporters if the military parade is held.”

US should expect protests at US embassies and other locations worldwide

Washington, DC – Leaders of major peace and anti-war organizations met on February 28, 2018 to collaborate on actions to bring hundreds of thousands of people to Washington, DC in November to protest President Trump’s military parade and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

Participants at the meeting are united in opposition to the military parade because it glorifies war and militarism and wastes taxpayer dollars that could be used to fund people’s necessities and protection of the planet. All agreed to mobilize people to come to DC in November or to any location on any day if plans for the military parade change. There is a lot of enthusiasm to oppose Trump’s military parade. Peace advocates intend to outnumber parade supporters. In fact, a recent informal poll by Military Times of their readers, with 51,000 responses, found 89% opposition to the parade.

“Veterans, active duty GI’s and their families are paying a high price for these endless U.S. wars,” explained Gerry Condon, president of Veterans For Peace. “We are inviting our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the U.S. military to march with us in Washington, DC on November 11, Armistice Day.”

David Swanson, director of World Beyond War, declared, “We will turn out en masse to oppose and overwhelm this glorification of war, whenever and wherever it happens, and to replace it with a demonstration worthy of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, a celebration of what the world could be if we put an end to war for good. A hundred years of using war to end all war has failed miserably; it’s time we tried using peace to end all war.”

Brian Becker, national director of the ANSWER Coalition adds, “The War Parade is aimed at stimulating a new war drive that will bring death and destruction to one (or more) of the countries on the Pentagon hit list, potentially Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela. The over-the-top celebrations of the war machine — in the false guise of ‘patriotism’ — also serve to stifle dissent at home, as Trump has repeatedly shown with his racist attacks on #BlackLivesMatter protesters.”

“Trump’s new idea for a $22 million military march is a big, flashy way to normalize militarization. However, let’s not be fooled. We see more militarized police and soldiers in airports, train stations and bus stations. We see videos like this one of people on an Amtrak train being asked to produce ‘papers.’ That’s why it’s all the more important we oppose the normalization of militarism in our culture,” said Ajamu Baraka, national coordinator of Black Alliance for Peace.

“Since the 1990s, over $5 billion dollars-worth of military grade weapons and equipment have been transferred to local police forces,” said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK. “In 2017, the United States spent $794 billion dollars on foreign and domestic militarism while over 40 million people in this country lived in poverty. We need a transformation of American priorities away from hyper-militarism, and toward serving and healing our people at home and spreading peace and justice in the world.”

Armistice Day was initially a day to remember the brutalities of WWI and celebrate peace, but in 1954 the US Congress changed it to Veterans Day and it has become a day to glorify war and the veterans who fought in them. Veteran’s groups are working together to reclaim Armistice Day. Trump’s military parade is out of touch with the millions of veterans and others who want an end to war and greater investment in human needs at home and abroad as well as protection of the planet at this time of climate change and extreme environmental degradation.

The organizers also intend to urge activists around the world to protest US militarism if the parade is held. US embassies and other locations should become a focal point of opposition to US hegemony. While this parade is intended to show off brutal US weapons to intimidate other countries, it is also an opportunity for the world to take action against US militarism and threats of war.

Contact: Ajamu Baraka, info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Join a United Day of Action Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad

Join a United Day of Action Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad

January 29, 2018—The Black Alliance for Peace, as a founding member of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, asks the public to join us in a day of action on April 14 against the United States’ policy of destructive, endless wars and expensive military interventions that have driven our country and the whole world into an increasingly dangerous crisis—politically, socially, economically, and with catastrophic impact on the environment and health.

To further deepen the crisis, the Defense Department’s new “2018 Defense Strategy” calls for a “more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating Joint Force ... that will sustain American influence and ensure favorable balance of power” for the U.S. around the globe, and warns that the “costs of not implementing this strategy are ... decreasing U.S. global influence ... and reduced access to markets.”

In line with this intensified militaristic policy, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, announced recently that the U.S. military will stay in Syria indefinitely, that the U.S. is planning to partition Syria by creating a 30,000-strong pro-U.S. force on Syria’s northern territory (which has already led to a confrontation with Turkey), and that all units of the U.S. military are now going through military exercises in preparation for war!

People in the U.S. and around the world are under ever increasing attack. Our tax dollars are used for more war, to build walls and jails as the voices of racism, sexism, Islamophobia and homophobia get louder, while human needs are ignored.

This ever-increasing militarization of U.S. government policy at home and abroad calls for an urgent response by all of us.

The time is now to return to the streets as a united movement to make our anti-war and social justice voices heard. As you may know, the recent well-attended and broadly sponsored Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases adopted a resolution calling for united spring actions against U.S. wars at home and abroad. You can see the full text of the resolution on our web site: NoForeignBases.org.

The Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases is proposing a united day of regional actions on the weekend of April 14 – 15. That weekend is right before Tax Day, Earth Day, and May Day, which gives us the ability to draw attention to the increase in military spending and the unpopular new tax bill, to point out that the U.S. military is the largest polluter in the world and address the growing deportation and vilification of immigrants, as well as violation of labor rights.

Please join a conference call 3-4:30 p.m., Saturday February 3, to start our collective organizing work for a united Spring National Action Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad. If you cannot personally make the conference call, please have someone else who can represent your organization.

Please RSVP for the call and provide your organization’s name and contact information via the form provided on our web site, NoForeignBase.org, so we can inform you of the conference call number and access code as soon as it has been set up.

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Call to Global Action Against Illegal U.S. Occupation of Guantánamo

Call to Global Action Against Illegal U.S. Occupation of Guantánamo

January 29, 2018—The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), a founding member of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, is calling for action on or around February 23 to demand the United States end its illegal occupation of Guantánamo in Cuba.

Please see our coalition's letter below.

For more information, email info@blackallianceforpeace.com.

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Afro-Colombian BAP Member's Statement on Gender Violence and Peace to the United Nations Security Council

Afro-Colombian BAP Member's Statement on Gender Violence and Peace to the United Nations Security Council

The following statement was made by Charo Mina-Rojas, a member of the human rights team of the Black Communities’ Process, the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, the Black Alliance for Peace, and the Special High Level Body for Ethnic Peoples, on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Women and peace and security.” The statement highlights the participation of ethnically diverse women in peace negotiations; ensuring the security of human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes. It was originally delivered in Spanish.

I am a woman of African descent, and a peace and human rights activist who has spent half of my life educating and fighting for the cultural, territorial and political rights of Afro-descendant women and our communities and for our free-self-determination. It is an honor and a great responsibility to have been nominated by my global colleagues, to represent today the women and peace and security civil society community at this important debate.

I was extensively involved in the historical Havana peace process between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla group, FARC. Representing the Afro-Colombian National Council for Peace coalition (CONPA), I advocated to ensure that the rights and expectations of Afro-descendant peoples would be part of the Peace Accord that Colombia, and the world, celebrate today. I can speak first hand to the importance of inclusive negotiations and implementation processes, which support the participation of women from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds and are emblematic of the goals and principles of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

Colombia has become a new source of hope because of the comprehensive peace agreement reached. Two provisions were particularly progressive and could bring radical changes to future peace processes around the world: one, the explicit inclusion of a gender perspective as an intersectional principle, and the second, the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter which provides important safeguards to ensure the respect of autonomy and the protection and promotion of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples’ rights from a gender, family and generational perspective. The inclusion of these two specific principles is a historic advancement regarding peace and security that the UN and other countries experiencing violence and armed conflicts could learn from. The Peace Accord was very important for civil society and Indigenous and Afro-descendent people, and we continue to expect the engagement and active participation of women, ethnic groups, and their communities, in its implementation.

Colombia, however, risks wasting this opportunity for peace if it does not completely disarm itself and if the communities most impacted during the internal armed conflict, including women human rights leaders and activists, continue to be ignored in the implementation of the Peace Accord. I am here today to make visible their urgent calls and want to stress that for my people, it is actually a matter of life and death.

There are three urgent priority areas I want to focus on in my statement: participation of ethnically diverse women; ensuring the security for human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes.

First, is ensuring the ongoing participation of women, especially from diverse communities, in all areas relating to the implementation of the Peace Accord. As with women around the world, women in Colombia, and particularly Afro-descendant women, we have been mobilizing for decades to make visible the violations of our rights but also to ensure significant transformations in the way peace and security is approached. My dear sister Rita Lopidia from South Sudan was here last year giving testimony on the importance of South Sudanese women participating in ongoing peace and security dialogues. In Afghanistan, the few women on the High Peace Council need to continue fighting to have their voices heard. In Colombia, there is not a representative of Afro-descendant women on the High Level Body on Gender, the body that was established to oversee the implementation of the agreement’s gender chapter.

As parties to the Peace Accord work with the international community to demobilize FARC fighters, paramilitaries and other armed actors have filled the power vacuum left by FARC forces in many areas in Colombia. This has created an urgent need for local women’s organizations and community leaders to be consulted and participate in the design of local protection strategies to keep our communities safe. The Security Council and international community must support the Colombian government in designing and implementing gender-responsive, community based security and self-protection systems in consultation with Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities. The failure to listen to our security concerns and warnings has had devastating results.

This brings me to my second point, which is the need to guarantee our integral and collective security. Security involves the safety of leaders and communities and the respect and protection of territories and territorial rights. The proliferation of weapons is fueling increased fear and forced displacement among largely Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities and negatively impacting on women’s participation and mobility, as well as resulting in increased sexual and gender based violence. We are alarmed at the increasing number of assassinations and threats to human rights defenders and peace activists across Colombia. For example, in Tumaco, a municipality near the border with Ecuador, urban leaders and members of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, continue to be targeted by paramilitary groups and FARC detractors who seek territorial control in order to grow and sell coca. Just last week, we buried Jair Cortés, the sixth leader killed in that municipality, and we had to urgently move out several women leaders and their families who received death threats.

Sexual and gender-based violence and the stigmatization that comes with it, especially for Indigenous and Afro-descendent women and their children, is also a matter of integral and collective security. The silence around these crimes is as appalling as the crimes themselves. Women activists risk their lives to bring cases before the justice system. There is an urgent need to establish a direct line of communication between Indigenous and Afro-descendent authorities and representatives of women organizations in all mechanisms of the Comprehensive System for Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition to ensure these cases are prioritized, that perpetrators are brought to justice and survivors provided with lifesaving medical and psychosocial services.

Finally, it is crucial that the framework plan for the implementation of the Peace Accord includes specific goals and indicators designed to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner corresponding to the needs, values and rights of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. It is critical that the Colombian government and its implementation commission (CSIVI) accept and integrate the ethnic perspectives and indicators, including the specific gender ethnic indicators, developed and provided to them by Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations earlier this month. Political will on these indicators is needed, as is to include them in the legal framework of the Peace Accord. They will help effectively transform the war-like conditions preventing the well-being, social development and collective security of Indigenous and Afro-descendent women and our communities.

For Afro-descendant women in Colombia and Indigenous women leaders worldwide ensuring our collective security also means that the principles of free, prior and informed consent; consultation; autonomy; cultural integrity, and meaningful participation are respected and our human rights enshrined in national and international human rights standards are fully promoted and protected. Peace in Colombia and elsewhere, is not simply a matter of ending war and violence but addressing collectively the root causes of conflict including social, gender and racial injustice and promoting the well-being of all people of all races and religions. It is about supporting the efforts of local women activists to demilitarize and disarm our whole societies, and curbing the flow of small arms as prescribed in the Arms Trade Treaty and other legal instruments. It is the responsibility of all actors, including the Security Council, the UN system, regional and sub-regional organizations, and importantly, Member States, to fulfill their obligations. The women, peace and security agenda, if implemented and financially resourced, can be the pathway to peace in my country and around the world, where gender equality, women’s empowerment and protection of women’s rights are central to conflict prevention and sustainable peace.

Thank you.

BAP Member to Address United Nations on Colombia Peace Process

BAP Member to Address United Nations on Colombia Peace Process

Charo Mina-Rojas, a long-time Afro-Colombian activist who has been involved in her country's peace process since the 22-day civil strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, will speak to the United Nations Security Council this month. See the document below for the official statement. Mina-Rojas is also a BAP member and organizes for Proceso de Comunidades Negras.

DOWNLOAD: Statement by MADRE and Proceso de Comunidades Negras

 

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Human Rights Activists Call on Colombia to Provide Healthcare, Infrastructure Improvements

Cornel West, Chris Hedges and Human Rights Activists Call on Colombia to Provide Healthcare, Infrastructure Improvements

Peace Process at a Critical Juncture; Began After 22-Day Strike Preventing Millions of Dollars in Exports from Entering Country

Below you will find a letter the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) signed onto. Many of our comrades—from Chris Hedges and Cornel West to CODEPINK and Pan-African Community Action—also have stepped up to demand Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos give in to the demands of Afro-Colombians and Indigenous peoples.

PDF of letter in Spanish and English


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To President Juan Manuel Santos and Members of the Commission to Monitor, Promote, and Verify Implementation of Colombia’s Peace Accord (CSIVI)

Dear President Santos and CSIVI Members,

The undersigned gender, racial, social and environmental justice organizations and advocates from around the world applaud the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter and other racial and gender rights measures in Colombia’s Final Agreement to End the Armed Conflict and Build a Stable and Lasting Peace. If implemented, these provisions will allow Colombia to set a global example of holistic peacebuilding—one that meaningfully addresses the social inequalities that help fuel conflict. We are, however, deeply concerned about the inadequate consultation with and recognition of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities in peace implementation activities to date, and the ways in which this endangers the lives, security, and territorial and human rights of Afro-Descendant and Indigenous Peoples, including women and girls. We encourage the Government to act in good faith to ensure that Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples’ rights are maintained and furthered in peace implementation.

It is crucial that the framework plan for implementing the Peace Accord contain indicators to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner that corresponds to the needs, values, and rights of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples, including their gender-based rights. These can only be developed with meaningful participation of their respective authorities and organizations. We understand that the Government and CSIVI recently agreed to a work agenda with the Special High-Level Body with Ethnic Peoples for Monitoring Implementation of the Peace Accords to develop and include such indicators and to assign resources and provide conditions for meaningful participation of Afro-Descendant and Indigenous Peoples in implementation. This is positive news, as we believe inclusiveness at the outset of the framework plan will help ensure structural advances for Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples, who have disproportionately born the consequences of the armed conflict, and whose communities suffer the greatest levels of poverty and least access to health and educational infrastructure in Colombia.

While it is cause for hope that the Government and CSIVI agreed to this agenda of work, a broader pattern of exclusion keeps us vigilant. For example, while the Peace Accord requires the Government to include an ethnic and cultural perspective in implementing its Security and Protection Program, the parties have failed to meaningfully consult with and support Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities and communities in the design and implementation of community based self-protection plans, and to ensure adequate security overall in their territories. As FARC fighters demobilized, paramilitaries and other armed actors have filled the remaining power vacuum in many areas, as was predicted by parties to the Accord, which named these actors the “greatest threat” to peace.

The site of the majority of fighting during the conflict, these areas heavily overlap with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous territories. Because of the lack of consultation and ensuing insecurity, entire Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities are again facing displacement, as violence, forced disappearances, attacks on human rights defenders, threats, and kidnappings increase. The forced displacement rate increased in the first half of 2017, as compared with the first half of 2016, with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples comprising 94% of those displaced in the first months of 2017.

Afro-Colombian and Indigenous women and children, who suffered disproportionately high levels of conflict-related gender-based violence, face dramatically increased vulnerability to human rights violations in the face of this ongoing physical and economic insecurity. In light of this, it is concerning that there is no representative of Afro-Colombian women’s organizations on the Special Body to Contribute to Guaranteeing Gender Focus in the Implementation of the Final Accord, despite Afro-Colombian women’s and girls’ disproportionate victimization and lack of access to comprehensive care and restitution.

The lack of consultation also bodes poorly for the Government’s commitment to uphold Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Peoples’ right to give or withhold free, prior and informed consent to laws, policies, and development projects that impact their lives and their territories. It was cause for celebration that the Peace Accord reaffirmed this constitutionally protected right, but history reveals a continued pattern of undermining territorial rights in practice, and megaproject development in Colombia has frequently worsened social, economic and environmental crises in these territories. In the context of implementing key components of peace implementation, such as the Development Programs with a Territorial Focus (PDETs), it appears the Government again risks overriding territorial rights. The National Afro-Colombian Peace Council (CONPA) has observed that the Land Renovation Agency (ART), which is tasked with implementing the PDETs, has failed to work directly with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities and organizations to develop a methodology that will ensure meaningful, rather than symbolic, participation in forming the PDETs. Meaningful participation is critical for ensuring that PDETs are grounded in Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples’ own aspirations and goals for well-being and development. It is their respective authorities and organizations who are best positioned to devise participation methods.  

Protecting Afro-Colombian and Indigenous People’s territorial and other collective rights is fundamental to ensuring peace in Colombia. In order to fully implement the Ethnic Chapter, it is critical that the parties consult and collaborate with Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples, including women’s organizations, at all stages of peace implementation. By doing so, we believe that Colombia could transform itself, as it heals from decades of conflict, and become a global leader in social justice and environmental protection. The Chapter and related provisions in the Peace Accord are a step in that direction, and they build on Colombia’s other landmark legal norms for racial and gender justice. Towards fully realizing the vision contained in those laws and policies, we urge you to consider the following recommendations:

-In the framework plan for implementation of the Peace Accord, ensure inclusion of indicators designed to measure the progress and outcomes of policies, programs and reforms in a manner corresponding to the needs, values, and rights of Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples. Develop the indicators in collaboration and consultation with Afro-Colombian and Indigenous authorities, and with women representatives and organizations, and commit the necessary resources for implementing these aspects of the plan.

-Immediately provide security in Afro-Colombian and Indigenous territories, in consultation with their respective authorities and community organizations, in order to prevent violence against them, and to ensure that paramilitaries and other armed actors are investigated and held fully accountable for violence, including gender-based violence. This should include resources for training and strengthening traditional security forces, and should include support for and implementation of a gender perspective.

-Create a line of direct communication between Indigenous and Afro-Colombian authorities and representative organizations, and both the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), and the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence, and Non-Repetition, to adequately address issues facing victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the conflict, and ensure that these bodies prioritize these cases. Ensure data collection includes information disaggregated race, ethnicity and gender.

-Urge the Land Renewal Agency (ART) to meet with Indigenous and Afro-Colombian authorities and representatives, and to develop in consultation with them a strategy to secure full participation and autonomy of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian Peoples in formulation and implementation of PDETs.

-Take good-faith, immediate steps to implement and fund all initiatives in the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Accord, and to ensure respect for the fundamental right of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples to free, prior and informed consent regarding any policies or development program impacting their territories.

We thank you for your consideration of these recommendations.

Sincerely,
Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), USA
Black Alliance for Peace, USA
Common Frontiers, Canada
Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic- CUNY School of Law, USA
Just Associates (JASS), USA
MADRE, USA
NORDIK Institute at Algoma University, CANADA
Washington Office on Latin America, USA
African American Human Rights Foundation, USA
Africa World Now Project, USA
AFROAMERICAS Network
ask! - Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz-Kolumbien, Switzerland
The British Columbia Government and Service Employee’s Union, Canada
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canada
Colombia Working Group, Canada
Center for Constitutional Rights, USA
Center for Women's Global Leadership, USA
Community Economic & Social Development Program at Algoma University, Canada
Coalición de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales y Populares de Colombia, Colombia
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
CODEPINK, USA
Colectivo COPERA- Colectivo para eliminar el racismo en México, México
Colombia Action Solidarity Alliance (CASA), Canada
Corporación Colombia Visión Sur, Colombia
Corporación Mamuncia y Cacumen, Colombia
Defenders' Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, USA
Desarrollo Económico y Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas, A.C., México
Dr. Keith Jennings, President, African American Human Rights Foundation
Economic and Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans, AC (DESMI, AC), Mexico
El Comite Noruego de Solidaridad con America Latina, Norway
Environmental Conflicts Observatory (OCA), Institute for Environmental Studies, National University of Colombia, Colombia
Feminist Alliance for Rights, USA
FOKUS-Forum for Women and Development, Norway
Fondo de Acción Urgente para América Latina y el Caribe (Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean), Colombia
Freedom House, USA
Friends of the Congo, USA
Fondo de Acción Urgente para América Latina y el Caribe, Colombia
The Global Justice Center, USA
Green Party of the United States, USA
Grupo de Investigación Ciencia de la Información, Sociedad y Cultura, Pontificia Universidad la Javeriana, Pontificia Universidad la Javeriana, Colombia
Grupo de Investigación "Conflicto, región y sociedades rurales" de la Facultad de Estudios
Ambientales y Rurales, Colombia
Health and Human Rights Info, Norway
Human Rights Advocates, USA
Institute for Gender Research and Documentation, Sierra Leone
Institute of the Black World 21st Century, USA
Instituto de Bioética - Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, USA
KolumbienKampgne, Germany
Latin America Working Group, USA
Latin American & Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), Canada
LIMPAL Colombia, Colombia
M. Adams, Freedom Inc., USA
Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz, Colombia
The Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, USA
More Gardens Fund, USA
National Lawyers Guild, USA
Observatorio de Conflictos Ambientales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Observatorio de Discriminación Racial, Colombia
Observatorio de Territorios Étnicos y Campesinos – Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales de la Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
Organización Living in English Corp - Autoridad Raizal, Colombia
OutRight Action International, USA
Pan-African Community Action
Pax Christi Medellin - Medellin PC, Colombia
Popular Resistance, USA
Rainforest Action Network, Lindsey Allen, Executive Director, USA
Red de Acción e Investigación Antiracista, Americas
Revival of Panafricanism Forum, USA
SAIH – El Fondo de Asistencia Internacional de los Estudiantes y Académicos noruegos, Norway
Santa Clara Law School - International Human Rights Clinic, USA
SHARE Foundation, El Salvador
Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Canada
StopImperialism.org, USA
Taller de Vida, Colombia
UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, USA
US Peace Council, USA
Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, USA
West African Research & Innovation Management Association, Sierra Leone
Young Feminists Network, Nigeria
Ahmed Eltouny, Green Party US International Committee, USA
Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, Ph.D., University of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone
Amanda Romero, Escuela Superior de Administración Pública (ESAP), Colombia
Ana Isabel Rodriguez Iglesias
Andrea Mérida Cuéllar
Angélica J. Afanador-Pujol, Ph.D., Arizona State University, USA
Arlene Eisen, USA
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
Bill Fletcher, Jr., USA
Blaine Bookey, USA
Brad Geyer, USA
Bruce Mannheim, Senior Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, USA
Carlos Agudelo, France
Carlos Andrés Baquero, Colombia
Carmen Anachury Diaz, Colombia
Caroline Yezer, Research Affiliate, Clark University, USA
Chris Hedges, Author and Human Rights Activist
Cornel West, USA
Daniel Kovalik, Associate General Counsel, United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW), USA
Diana Isabel Guiza Gomez, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Divalizeth Murillo, Reporter, USA
Dr. Anthony Gronowicz, 2013 Green Party Candidate for Mayor of New York
Dr. Bronislaw Czarnocha, Hostos CC, City University of New York, USA
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University, United Kingdom
Dr. Pascha Bueno-Hansen, University of Delaware, USA
Dr. Rose Brewer, Black Alliance for Peace, USA
Dra. Rachel Sieder, CIESAS, D.F., México
Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik, Socialist Party Los Angeles Local, USA
Eva Kolodner, Regional Director East, Global Fund for Women, USA
Francisco Mora Villate, Colombia
Ginetta E.B. Candelario, Smith College, USA
Guillermo Alberto Padilla Rubiano, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Hector Lopez, Green Party, USA
Immanuel Ness, USA
Jaime Arocha, Grupo de Estudios Afrocolombianos, Universidad Nacional, Colombia
James Counts Early, Board of Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Jason Berteotti, Green Party of PA, USA
Jean E. Jackson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Jonathan Fox, School of International Service, American University, USA
Joshua Frank, Managing Editor, CounterPunch
Kevin Zeese, Co-Director, Popular Resistance
Lucy Murphy, Art for People, USA
Lynn Stephen, University of Oregon, USA
M Adams, Freedom, Inc, USA
Marcus A. Johnson, City University of New York, Baruch, USA
Margaret Flowers, Co-Director, Popular Resistance
Margarita Huayhua, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA
Margo Okazawa-Rey, Women for Genuine Security and International Women's Network against Militarism, USA
Margi Clarke, SHARE Foundation, El Salvador
Maria Cristina Guerrero, Corporacion Mandiyaco, Colombia
Mary O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Mauricio Sanchez Alvarez, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, México
Maylei Blackwell, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Mayra Johana Tenjo, Rights and Resources, USA
Mesi Walton, Diaspora Dance, USA
Mneesha Gellman, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Emerson College, USA
Olutimehin Adegbeye, Young Feminists Network, Nigeria)
Paige Andrew, WE-Change Jamaica, Jamaica
Patricia Botero Gómez, Docente e investigadora de la Universidad de Manizales, Colombia
Peter Ranis, Professor Emeritus/ Political Science, City University of New York, USA
Prof. Concepción Martinez, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México
Ramiro S. Fúnez, USA
Robert Andolina, USA
Roosbelinda Cardenas, Hampshire College, USA
Amb. Shirley E. Barnes, U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar (Ret.), USA
Tanya Kateri Hernandez, Fordham University School of Law, USA
Tianna S. Paschel, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Virginie Laurent, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
William Lucy, President Emeritus, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Yellen Aguilar-Ararat, P.C.N., Colombia




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For more information:
Ajamu Baraka
National Organizer and Spokesperson
Black Alliance for Peace
info@blackallianceforpeace.com