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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

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

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.