MILLIONS FOR REPARATIONS MASS RALLY AND POLITICAL PRISONERS
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (July 26, 2002)
The Millions For Reparations Mass Rally that will be held August 17, 2002 in Washington, D. C., the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Honorable Marcus Garvey is picking up steam all over America.
One of the critical demands of the Reparations Movement is the release of African in America political prisoners. The issue of African in America political prisoners often gets swept aside in our demands in the Reparations Movement. This should not be. There are many sisters and brothers who have sacrificed much for the liberation of African people in America and are locked up unjustly in America’s prisons and are political prisoners.
When we discuss political prisoners, we are talking about “those persons harassed, arrested, framed, and imprisoned because of their relatively peaceful political activity against the destructive conditions that their people live under.”
The goal of our political prisoners has been “to transfer power from the corrupt and racist business people, government officials, psuedo intellectuals, policemen, judges, and jailers and keep them down to a captive nation of people to be free.” We should all be aware that Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Sister Callie House, and Huey P. Newton spent time in jail because they fought for our freedom, just as Brother Mumia Abu Jamal remains a political prisoner for his uncompromising political journalism.
The origin of the campaign that has resulted in the more than one hundred women and men who are locked up in America’s prisons as political prisoners, many of them African in Americans, is related to the “secret war” that was waged against the Black Liberation Movement by the FBI.
FBI Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s and 70s led this campaign. This illegal and top- secret onslaught was called the “Counterintelligence (COINTELPRO) program that targeted Black activists and organizations.” Its goal was to disrupt, dismantle, discredit, and neutralize Black groups and leaders, thus seriously crippling our movement. They were successful.
That is why it is important for African people in America to join the Reparations Movement and help rebuild the Black Liberation Movement. One of our critical demands of the Reparations Movement must be the freedom of our political prisoners and prisoners of war.
The Jericho Movement explains “The issue of whether or not political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside the borders of the United States of America is one that the government of the United States has successfully been able to refute. They have been able to deny the existence of political prisoners and prisoners of war because we have not taken the battle to them and forced them to address this issue.”
We can begin publicly addressing the issue of our political prisoners, in a massive way, on August 17th at the Millions For Reparations Mass Rally and ignite, educate, and inspire our people to expand the Reparations Movement to include, as a key component, our political prisoners.
In this context, the Jericho Movement further explains that there “are brothers and sisters, men and women who, as a consequence of their political work/or organizational affiliations were given criminal charges, arrested or captured, tried in courts and sent to prison. While trying them as criminals, the government maintained files on them referencing their political activities, designed to insure they remain in prison.” We must expose this tactic by the United States Government in our demands that our political prisoners be freed.
The Reparations Movement must be more energetic in demanding and calling for the release of our political prisoners and prisoners of war that include Jalil Bottom, Charles Sims Africa, Debbi Sims Africa, Herman Bell, Kojo Sababu, Lorenzo Stone Bey, Mark Cook, Mumia Abu Jamal, Mutulu Shakur, Ojore Lutalo, Phil Africa, Richard Mafundi Lake, Robert Seth Hayes, Sekou Kambui, Sundiata Acoli, and Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
It is only fitting that we remind ourselves that the Honorable Marcus Garvey, whose birth we will celebrate at the Millions For Reparations Mass Rally on August 17, 2002 in Washington, D. C. was one of our first political prisoners targeted by the United States Government, indicted on the trumped up charges of mail fraud and convicted. The masses of our people in the mid 1920s demanded Garvey’s release from prison. In 1927, more than 100.000 African people demonstrated and protested that he be released. Garvey was released in 1927 and deported from the United States as a condition of his release.
We must remember Marcus Garvey in our demands to free our political prisoners. They have sacrificed much for us. August 17th is a day to demand from the United States Government what “They Owe Us,” and let them know “It’s Time To Pay Up!
National Black United Front (NBUF)