By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (October 31, 2001)

With all the media attention being given to the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on September 11, the historic United Nations World Conference Against Racism that was held in Durban, South Africa, August 31 through September 7, 2001 has virtually vanished from any media coverage of its outcome and significance.

It is important to note that, in this regard, the media coverage of the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) before September 11, 2001 was generally vague, non-investigative, slanted, and negative toward some of the critical issues being raised by African people such as: the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery being Crimes Against Humanity and that African people are owed reparations worldwide. The western media sided with the United States and the European Union, former slave trading nations, that it was inappropriate for these issues to be discussed and deliberated on at the World Conference Against Racism.

Now that the Anthrax episodes have occurred, the media has expanded its coverage to the issue of terrorist threats against America. The United States seems determined to seek revenge against those they have been accused of these attacks that killed thousands of people, by declaring war against terrorism.

Daily, we read in papers, listen to radios, and watch television, witnessing "missiles being launched, bombs being dropped in conjunction with propaganda leaflets and radio messages encouraging another country’s citizens to actively assist in their governments overthrow. Food and medical supplies are also being dropped, supposedly to demonstrate to the Afghan people this nation’s good will."

In an article written by Junious Ricardo Stanton, he raised some critical observations and that is: "Does anyone in their right mind believe there would be this much of a clamor for revenge and retribution had these planes plowed into the Cabrini Green high rise housing project in Chicago, or a Native American reservation, and killed 5,000 people?"

I agree with Stanton when he writes, "We can think for ourselves, stop going for the okey-doke and refuse to buy into the ludicrous idea that war is the only option." We must not let this "war-mongering climate" dilute the accomplishments of the World Conference Against Racism and what it means to the continued struggles of African people. Therefore, it is important to summarize our participation in the WCAR. When we say our, we are talking about the December 12th Movement International Secretariat and the National Black United Front who spearheaded the organizing of the Durban 400. The following represents a brief summary of our participation in the WCAR and its impact. This summary is based around three questions and the first question is:

I. Why did we decide to participate in the WCAR?

    1. To continue organizing around the ideas and legacy of the Malcolm X International Strategy.
    2. Continue to link up with other African people throughout the world around WCAR Project and other progressive forces and advocate our interests.
    3. Create a strategy to impact WCAR around the interests of African people—Those interests we identified were that the:
      1. Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery was a Crime Against Humanity
      2. The Economic Roots of Racism
      3. Reparations for Africans— in the Diaspora and the African Continent
    4. Organize around the WCAR Project to help strengthen the Pan African and Nationalist Movement, particularly as it relates to the Reparations Movement,
    5. Create and establish a mechanism for our on-going collective Pan African Nationalist participation in the WCAR and other international forums through the Durban 400 and the African and African Descendants Caucus.
    6. To aid and provide other African people in our movement an On The Job Training experience in the international arena of politics and diplomacy.
    7. To expand our cadre of organizers in the international arena in their preparation to organize in the interests of African people.

II. What did we gain by participating in the WCAR?

      1. Expanded our contact and network of African and African descended NGO’s.
      2. Expanded our contact and relationship with African, Caribbean, Central and South American countries.
      3. Expanded our contact and relationship with other Third World Countries.
      4. Implemented our WCAR organizing and lobbying strategy.
      5. Generated significant impact on the outcome of the WCAR through the three issues we identified and organized around, that were included the final Durban Declaration.
      6. Helped intensify, further develop, and broaden the worldwide fight and struggle around the demands for Reparations by African people.
      7. Helped strengthen our ties and relationships with other Reparations Organizations and activists in the Reparations Movement.
      8. Helped develop a new cadre of, particularly young people, for the Pan African Nationalist Movement.
      9. Demonstrated to the world that the Pan African/Nationalist Movement in the United States is not dead and is organized sufficiently to continue to wage protracted political battle.
      10. Helped defeat the United States and European Union attempts to sabotage the WCAR around this issue of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery being a Crime Against Humanity and the discussion of Reparations being significantly included in the conference deliberations and outcome.
      11. United in support of the movement forces in South Africa around many of their critical issues by participating in a major demonstration through the streets of Durban.
      12. Demonstrated support for President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe who are fighting to win their land back— Mugabe Is Right - Free The Land - Free The Land.

III. What should be our direction and organizing strategy beyond Durban

      1. Write up collectively and publish our Durban experiences.
      2. Develop the Durban 400 Speakers Bureau for the specific purpose of reporting throughout the country our victory in Durban as we organize for the One Million Masses to March, Demonstrate, Protest, and Demand Reparations from the United States Government on August 17, 2002 in Washington, D.C.
      3. Develop extensive research and literature for this project that should be disseminated in a mass way.
      4. Develop a serious and sophisticated fund raising strategy to insure that the One Million Masses Reparations Demonstration for August 17, 2002 in Washington, D.C. be successful.
      5. Develop an intense media campaign to support this project.

In future articles, we will write more about the significance and implications of the World

Conference Against Racism. We must continue to organize around the interests of African people and not let the current war mood set us back.

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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