Friday, December 31, 2021

Ethiopian Offensive Prompts Retreat by Western Backed Rebels


December 29, 2021

Fighting Words Ethiopian Offensive Prompts Retreat by Western Backed Rebels – Fighting Words (

Ethiopia Prime Minister Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum Ethiopia Prime Minister Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum. | Photo: Andrea Caligiuri @aerdnaert

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has returned from the frontline in the battle to halt the advances of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

TPLF rebels launched an attack on the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) during early November of 2020 triggering a conflict which has resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of several million people inside the country and in neighboring Sudan.

Abiy, who was elected to a full term of office in 2021, had already declared a unilateral ceasefire in June. Nonetheless, the TPLF continued the conflict by sending its rebel forces into the Amhara and Afar populated areas of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, a vast country of over 115 million people, the second most populous state on the African continent, is composed of numerous ethnic groups and nationalities. Since the ascendancy of the Abiy administration in the aftermath of a national uprising against the TPLF-led Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) regime in the early months of 2018, the prime minister has sought to unite the country under the political banner of the Prosperity Party (PP).

The TPLF grouping which maintained control of the Tigray province in the north of the country after 2018 has consistently refused to participate in efforts aimed at building national unity in Ethiopia and Pan-African solidarity throughout the Horn of Africa region. The rebels held provincial elections in 2020 despite the call by the central government in Addis Ababa to postpone voting across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obviously, the central government was taken unawares after its forces were attacked in the Tigray provincial capital of Mekelle. In the first few months of the war, the ENDF retook Mekelle and other areas of the province prior to announcing a unilateral ceasefire in June for the purposes of allowing humanitarian assistance and the agricultural production of the farmers.

In recent weeks, after the prime minister visited the frontline, the character of the conflict has shifted once again. The Ethiopian military has been able to retake land from the TPLF in the most contested areas of the country.

United States media outlets apparently working in collaboration with the State Department and the Pentagon, began to spread misinformation about the purported “imminent collapse” of the Abiy government in Addis Ababa in November. These reports were contradicted by the Ethiopian government along with visitors to the country who repeatedly stated that the capital city was calm even with the prime minister’s declaration of a state of emergency.

The claims of mass starvation, sexual assault and accusations of ethnic cleansing and genocide flourished within the western governmental and corporate press agencies. The Ethiopian administration of Prime Minister Abiy was identified by the U.S. and its allies as the perpetuator of these crimes. However, the government denied these allegations saying the charges were solely being leveled by the TPLF and its supporters to further isolate Addis Ababa.

Eyewitness reports related to the war crimes committed by the TPLF’s Defense Forces (TDF) went largely ignored by the western media. TPLF forces took trucks and other equipment sent to the area for humanitarian purposes. The Abiy government accused elements working within the United Nations framework in Ethiopia as being collaborators with the rebels. In the modification of their allegations of war crimes committed by the central government, in recent weeks the western-backed agencies are now saying that abuses have occurred on both sides of the conflict. The prime minister and his government have categorically rejected any accommodation of the TPLF and its demands which often solidarizes with imperialist interests in the Horn of Africa.

An Ethiopian-oriented news agency,, reported on the recent situation on the battlefront noting that:

“Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces retreated to the Tigray region of Ethiopia after facing devastating military defeats in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia over the past three weeks.  Six prominent TPLF military generals whose names are still undisclosed were killed in the Kasagita Front in the Afar region of Ethiopia, as reported by local Ethiopian sources about three weeks ago. After losing a fortified military stronghold in the areas, whose objective was said to be to cut off the supply route to Djibouti and hold Ethiopia in a choke position, losing battles became pervasive in the areas it controlled.  In a span of less than two weeks, TPLF was forced to leave cities after cities in the western, Eastern and Wollo front in the center. Shewarobit, Debre Sina, Ataye, Kemissie, Kombolcham Batie, Dessie, Haik, Wuchale, Wurgehsa, Mersa, Woldia and Kobo were freed from TPLF forces one after the other.”

The Role of the U.S. and United Nations in the Conflict

Under the previous administration of President Donald J. Trump, threats against Addis Ababa were made related to the construction and operations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERD). The project, which is the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa, has been planned for years by the Ethiopian government to enhance its own internal power supply and to assist other states within the broader region known as the Nile Basin Initiative.

Neighboring Egypt has sought to sabotage the GERD under the guise that it will severely curtail access to the waters of the Blue Nile which is shared by both countries. The current arrangements imposed by British imperialism during the early 20th century favors Egypt, its then colonial subject. Ethiopia, although occupied by the Italian fascist forces between 1936-1941, has never been subjected to direct colonial control by European powers.

Trump had urged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to “blow up” the GERD after Ethiopia rejected a deal imposed by Washington. The statement was made to Sudanese interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok during 2020, at the time of Khartoum’s illegal “recognition” of the State of Israel.

Unfortunately, the United Nations humanitarian agencies have taken a position similar to the U.S. in regard to the war. Ethiopia has set strict limits on access to conflict areas which have been utilized by certain UN agencies to make accusations against the government in Addis Ababa.

However, what has created even more tension is the declaration by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct an investigation into the claims of war crimes since November of 2020 in the north of Ethiopia. The government in Addis Ababa has rejected the plans for an investigation saying it will not cooperate since these issues are internal matters.

A press briefing was held on December 21 in Addis Ababa featuring the spokeswoman for Prime Minister Billene Seyoum who addressed the announcement by the UNHRC. in an article on the briefing emphasized:

“Ethiopia says the resolution was politically motivated. Politically motivated because it discredited the efforts by the Ethiopian government to investigate rights abuses in the Tigray region. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government martial court looked into cases of violations by members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces. Those who were found to be guilty were punished in accordance with the martial court. In regard to claims of genocide in Tigray by the TPLF surrogates and some state actors tacitly supporting the designated terrorist group, a joint investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission ruled that there was no genocide in Tigray. The press secretary on Tuesday (Dec. 21) reflected a view that the UN Human Rights Council should stop practices that sound as partisanship and consider the importance of investigating rights abuses in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia where the TPLF carried out multiples of atrocities during the months of occupation in parts of these regions.”

The attacks on Ethiopia have generated mass demonstrations domestically and internationally known as #NoMore. Thousands of Diasporic Ethiopians and Eritreans have held joint demonstrations across the world including the U.S. These actions intensified after the announcement of sanctions by Washington against Ethiopia. In addition, a leaked videotape of a secret meeting involving the U.S., UK, European Union and TPLF officials where plans were being discussed for the imposition of a new government after the removal of Prime Minister Abiy.

These developments illustrate clearly the real aims and objectives of the war being waged against the Ethiopian government. Anti-imperialists throughout the world, especially in the western capitalist states, must be in solidarity with the Ethiopian people in these attempts to destabilize and overthrow the legitimate administration inside the country.

Biden Administration Must Halt War Provocations Against China and Russia


December 29, 2021

Fighting Words Biden Administration Must Halt War Provocations Against China and Russia – Fighting Words (

USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Makin Island meet in the South China Sea. | Photo: US Navy

The following statement was issued by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Michigan Emergency Coalition Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) in response to the belligerent behavior of the United States towards China and Russia.

The people of the United States do not need another “permanent war” in Asia and Eastern Europe. We need an immediate end to racism, and the guarantees from the government to provide housing, food, clean water, heat, quality education and environmental justice

At a recent meeting of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), a discussion was held on the recent escalation of military threats by the administration of President Joe Biden related to disagreements with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation. The United States military withdrew from Afghanistan in August after a 20-year disastrous occupation which resulted in thousands of deaths and the further destabilization of the entire region of Central Asia.

The situation involving China and Taiwan dates back to the consolidation of power by the Chinese Communist Party over the mainland in 1949. The so-called Chinese nationalists who were supported by the Cold War administration of Harry S. Truman, were established on the island of Formosa solely for the purpose of providing a rationale to deny international recognition to the administration of Mao Tse-tung.

In 1971, the PRC was recognized by the United Nations as the sole representatives of China. Taiwan, which has enjoyed the support of the U.S. for decades, eventually lost diplomatic recognition by Washington in 1979 when relations were firmly set up between Beijing and Washington.

Since the advent of the previous administration of President Donald J. Trump, tariffs have been imposed on China along with a growing series of threats related to the unrest in Hong Kong and the question of “Taiwanese Independence.” Taiwan is an integral part of China as well as Hong Kong. There is no reason for the U.S. to utilize these two areas of China to engage in diplomatic hostilities and the maintenance of tariffs.

In regard to the crisis developing on the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the government in Kiev was overthrown at the aegis of the U.S. under the administration of former President Barack Obama during early 2014. The Ukrainian president was removed from office while Russian was outlawed as a national language. A military struggle arose between the anti-fascist elements in Ukraine and the U.S.-imposed regime in Kiev. Today, the Biden administration is again stoking conflict over the question of Ukraine being pressured into joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition and MECAWI are saying that we need to address the enormous social problems existing now in the U.S. Millions have either lost or resigned from their jobs due to the deplorable economic and labor conditions prevailing inside the country. We need immediate relief related to the escalating costs of food, fuel, housing and other necessities of life. The U.S. military budget is far too large and needs to be drastically reduced if not eliminated. The struggle at present is to provide resources and policy guarantees to the majority of working class and oppressed peoples in the U.S.

We are appealing to the oppressed communities and labor organizations to coalesce against the threats of war in Eastern Europe and the Asia Pacific. We must oppose the continuing U.S. occupations of Syria and Iraq. The people of these countries are owed reparations from Washington and Wall Street as well as the people of Afghanistan.

Our challenge is to end racism, national oppression, class exploitation and environmental degradation here in the U.S. and around the world. We must continue to say no to imperialist war, racism and social injustice.

Africa-China Relations Could Serve as Bulwark Against Imperialist Hegemony


December 16, 2021 

Fighting Words Africa-China Relations Could Serve as Bulwark Against Imperialist Hegemony – Fighting Words (

Note: These remarks were prepared and delivered in part for a webinar held on Sunday December 12 entitled “China/Africa Relations: Challenges of Cooperation and Development.” The event was sponsored by the International Manifesto Group and the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa (GRILA).  According to the promotional language for the webinar, the “discussion presented both African and Chinese viewpoints, focusing on the reciprocal contributions made by China and Africa in recent decades to each other’s economic and cultural development. It also addressed the task faced by Africa of optimizing this relationship.” Other participants were Ameth Lo of GRILA; John Ridell, founding director of the Comintern Publishing Project; Danny Haiphong, journalist with Black Agenda Report (BAR); Barry Sautman, professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Huang Chang, associate of the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences; Kristin Plys, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto; Pablo Idahosa, professor of African Studies at York University; and Yan Hairong, teacher at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

By Abayomi Azikiwe

A ministerial summit of the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held on November 29-30 in Dakar, Senegal reinforced the continuing bonds between Beijing and the 55-member African Union (AU).

FOCAC was formed in 2000 during an important period which was marked by several years of substantial economic growth on the continent of Africa and in the People’s Republic of China.

Concurrently, over the same last two decades, the United States, Britain, the European Union (EU) countries and their allies globally, have been embroiled in numerous imperialist interventions resulting in destabilization, military interventions, proxy wars and the expansion of the presence of Pentagon and NATO forces throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. These imperialist endeavors aimed at maintaining the political and economic domination of the world’s population has created enormous difficulties for peoples globally including the working class, nationally oppressed and impoverished living within the western capitalist countries.

Successive administrations in the U.S. and Britain have turned away, even rhetorically, from the notions of multilateralism, reliance on the United Nations to resolve tensions and conflicts as well, creating the conditions for widespread displacement internationally. The migration crisis in North Africa, the Mediterranean extending into Southern, Central and Western Europe, is a direct result of a series of wars and their aftermaths in Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, to name the most well-known and devastating.

The 21st century has witnessed U.S.-instigated regime change in numerous states while the socialist states such as the PRC, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Cuba, Venezuela, etc., have not embarked upon any destabilization efforts let alone invasions into other sovereign states. Due to socialist economic planning and their advancement of the notions of international cooperation and peace even among states with varying social systems, there has been tremendous progress in the areas of international solidarity. The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping is a manifestation of the role of Beijing, Moscow and Pretoria along with the other states which have varied in regard to their political orientation in recent years. These new alliances are perceived as a threat to the role of the U.S., Britain and the EU since they are not participant-members and cannot directly impact the agendas and goals established by FOCAC and BRICS.

With specific reference to the structures and objectives of FOCAC, the website for the grouping says the following:

“The FOCAC follow-up mechanisms are built at three levels: The Ministerial Conference is held every three years; the Senior Officials Follow-up Meeting and the Senior Officials Preparatory Meeting for the Ministerial Conference are held respectively in the year and a few days before the Ministerial Conference is held; and the consultations between the African Diplomatic Corps in China and the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee are held at least twice a year. The Ministerial Conference and the Senior Officials Meeting are held alternately in China and an African country, with China and the African host being co-chairs presiding over the meetings and taking lead in implementing the outcomes of the meetings. The Ministerial Conference is attended by foreign ministers and ministers in charge of international economic cooperation, and the Senior Officials Meeting by director-general level officials of the competent departments of China and African countries.”

At the recent 8th Ministerial meeting of FOCAC in Senegal a myriad of issues were discussed including trade, investment, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic along with the distribution and manufacturing of vaccines. The gathering coincided with the publication of a White Paper by the Chinese government on the China-Africa cooperation.

This event was marked by a keynote address from President Xi Jinping who evaluated the work of FOCAC over the previous twenty-one years and emphasized that the involvement of Beijing on the continent was not conducted in competition with the U.S. or any other country. Xi announced new projects aimed at assisting Africa in curtailing the impact of the pandemic by building capacity on the continent to produce and deliver medicines including vaccines.

The Chinese president spoke to the summit via video-link. His presentation was widely covered in the state media in China.

Over the period since 2000, China has built 80 large-scale electricity projects, 130 medical facilities, 45 stadiums, 170 schools, numerous rail lines and transport services, the new AU headquarters, to only name a few. In addition, there have been 160,000 Africans trained by Chinese educators and technicians both on the continent and in Asia.

Within the White Paper entitled “China and Africa in the New Era”, issued for the FOCAC Conference, it says that:

“China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for the 12 years since 2009. The proportion of Africa’s trade with China in the continent’s total external trade has continued to rise. In 2020, the figure exceeded 21 percent. The structure of China-Africa trade is improving. There has been a marked increase in technology in China’s exports to Africa, with the export of mechanical and electrical products and high-tech products now accounting for more than 50 percent of the total. China has increased its imports of non-resource products from Africa and offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of taxable items exported to China by the 33 least-developed countries in Africa, with the goal of helping more African agricultural and manufactured goods gain access to the Chinese market. China’s imports in services from Africa have been growing at an average annual rate of 20 percent since 2017, creating close to 400,000 jobs for the continent every year. In recent years, China’s imports of agricultural products from Africa have also risen, and China has emerged as the second largest destination for Africa’s agricultural exports. China and Africa have seen booming trade in new business models including cross-border e-commerce. Cooperation under the Silk Road E-commerce initiative has advanced. China has built a mechanism for e-commerce cooperation with Rwanda, and Chinese businesses have been active in investing in overseas order fulfillment centers. High-quality and special products from Africa are now directly available to the Chinese market via e-commerce platforms. The China-Mauritius free trade agreement (FTA), which became effective on January 1, 2021, was the first FTA between China and an African country. It has injected new vitality into China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.”

This conference obviously has reinforced the existing trajectory of growth in mutual cooperation between Beijing and the overwhelming majority of independent African states with the exception of the Monarchy in Eswatini (Swaziland). Of course, there is an internal struggle taking place in Swaziland over whether the country will be governed democratically or not. The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) and its allies are playing a leading role in the democratic movement which has gained considerable attention and support from world communist organizations, labor and anti-imperialist groupings around the world.

State Department Deploys Blinken in Failed Attempt to Weaken FOCAC Conference

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited three African states during mid-November in advance of the FOCAC Conference. Blinken traveled to Kenya, Senegal, the location of the FOCAC Conference, and Nigeria, the most populous state on the continent.

Objectively, no serious observer could argue that the foreign policy of the current President Joe Biden differs fundamentally from his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, in reference to the AU member-states. This lack of even a slight shift in policy towards Africa is reflected in the current conflict in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia where Washington is backing a rebel group, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which previously was the leading force in the country’s government prior to 2018. The TPLF has maintained close links with the U.S. since 1991 under the-then administration of President George W.H. Bush, Sr. It was the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, who declared the TPLF and the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) as the official government in 1991.

Over the next 27 years until 2018, when the EPRDF government collapsed due to an internal uprising which drew mass support, this tendency has collaborated with the U.S. in various military operations across the East Africa region. Since the taking of power by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his election earlier in the year, the U.S. under Trump and Biden have waged campaigns to undermine the government and install armed opposition groups.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), founded under the administration of President George W. Bush, Jr. in 2008, has been maintained and strengthened by every successive regime in Washington. Biden withdrew Pentagon troops from Afghanistan in August after a two decades-long disastrous occupation, however, there are many other geo-political regions of the world where the U.S. is escalating its military presence.

China is a central focus of imperialism in the Asia Pacific region where Beijing is promoting its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The plans for an alternative economic and trading system includes the African continent as well. Blinken’s visit to three African countries where he sought to place the U.S. at the center of discussions over the future of the continent and the world, did not generate much interest.

Coinciding with the U.S. chief envoy’s trip to Africa, the talking points claiming “Chinese debt traps” surfaced in the corporate media. Both Chinese and African officials dismissed such characterizations of relations between the two entities.

Nonetheless, the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other financial institutions have entangled post-colonial African states hampering national planning, regional and continental collaboration, and integration. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing down of economies, the rates of joblessness and poverty have accelerated. A recent travel ban initiated by the U.S. and other western governments directed at several Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations has been condemned as unjustified and damaging to the gross domestic product of these impacted countries.

Global Times noted in an article:

“Even today, the U.S. has still failed to win much trust from African countries, as one of the major purposes of Blinken’s African trip was to get rid of the traumatic effect former U.S. President Donald Trump made to the continent during his term. A recent report by well-known African pollster Afrobarometer shows that China ranks first in terms of external influence in Africa, with 63 percent of Africans saying the economic and political influence of China in their country is ‘somewhat positive’ or ‘very positive,’ and 66 percent perceiving China’s economic and political influence in Africa as positive.”

Democracy: The U.S. vs. China

There was also a White Paper issued in China explaining the concepts of democratic governance embodied within the program of the Communist Party distinguishing its definition from what prevails in the U.S. The U.S. promotes itself as the citadel of world democracy placing human rights as a cornerstone of its foreign policy. This White Paper is entitled “China: Democracy That Works,” which suggests that the western form of democracy has extreme deficiencies.

The worsening economic conditions in the U.S. has served to inflame already existing social contradictions within the society. The country was founded on the seizure of the lands of the indigenous people, their forced removal and mass extermination. Today the indigenous are largely relegated to reservations where many have been subjected to dangerous intrusions into their territories by multinational energy corporations that poison the soil and water sources.

As far as the descendants of African people are concerned, even though the Civil War ended 156 years ago after nearly two-and-one-half centuries of enslavement under Spain, Britain, France and the Netherlands, there is widespread state-sponsored racism across the country where people are often impeded, harassed, arrested, prosecuted, falsely imprisoned and even killed by law-enforcement personnel.

Today, some 56 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Supreme Court along with state legislative structures are working feverishly to deny people the right to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice. Impoverishment is highly correlated with color and national origin, meaning that the problem of racism is institutional.

The U.S. Congress has failed to pass legislation which would reestablish the right to universal suffrage. At the same time, the right to housing, reproductive rights, justice in policing and freedom from unwarranted institutional racism remain elusive within the political system led by the politicians in Washington who are underpinned by Wall Street and the Pentagon.

Global Times reports on the China White Paper emphasizing:

“The publication of the document has challenged the U.S. and the West’s monopolistic definition of democracy, marking the further clarification of human beings’ various practices of democracy. China’s economic and social construction continues to make world-renowned achievements. People’s comprehensive rights are also continuously improving. China has also achieved results that have embarrassed the West in the fight against the sudden COVID-19 outbreak, protecting people’s lives in a most effective way. The whole process of people’s democracy proposed by China has a strong realistic foundation and basis. It will not be a short-lived slogan but will continue to unfold with the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and form a demonstration of democratic construction outside of the West.”

Therefore, under existing conditions internationally, the U.S. cannot reasonably say it is the paramount example of democratic governance. As the people of color communities rapidly become a collective majority by the mid-21st century, the undemocratic practices reflected in the neo-fascist movements gaining ground inside the U.S. will continue to pose a challenge to the working class and oppressed.

Internationalism in the 21st Century

China and Africa have similarities in their historical development, being post-colonial geo-political countries and regions seeking to reaffirm their places within the international community of nations and peoples. China under socialist construction has moved within a reachable distance to surpass the U.S. in economic status.

The main difference is that the U.S. built its wealth on the expropriation of indigenous land and the enslavement of Africans. During the mid-19th century, Mexico had huge swaths of its territory stolen by Washington under the guise of “manifest destiny.”

In the present period, the people of Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean are being blocked, incarcerated in federal detention facilities and deported from the U.S. on a routine basis. Here again, the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration are being extended under Biden. The continued enactment of Title 42 under the Biden regime where migrants fleeing economic distress and human rights violations can be expelled due to there being a public health crisis in the U.S. This measure was specifically designed to deny migrants from Haiti the right to stay within the country despite the role of U.S. imperialism in the isolation and exploitation of Haiti since the early 19th century.

People in North America must not be misled into taking a hostile position towards China in the burgeoning conflict between Washington and Beijing. The role of FOCAC and other structures guiding China-Africa cooperation should be studied as a model for greater international solidarity among working and oppressed people across the globe.

Malcolm X Assassination Review Exonerates Two Men


December 12, 2021

Fighting Words  Malcolm X Assassination Review Exonerates Two Men – Fighting Words (

Malcolm X at last speech at the Audubon with undercover police officer Gene Roberts circled, Feb. 15, 1965 Malcolm X at last speech at the Audubon with undercover police officer Gene Roberts circled, Feb. 15, 1965. | Photo: Bill Quinn/NY Daily News Archive

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Malcolm X, also known as Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was assassinated on February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in New York City.

There were three people arrested, tried and convicted in his murder yet two men have always maintained that they were not guilty of the crime.

During November 2021, the two defendants who served more than twenty years in prison were exonerated by the prosecutor’s office in New York. The third defendant in the case, Talmadge Hayer, also known as Thomas Hagan (now known as Mujahid Abdul Halim), confessed to the murder of Malcolm X although he refused in the 1966 murder trial to reveal the names of the others involved in the assassination squad.

Later during the early 1980s, Talmadge Hayer (Halim) gave up the names of at least four other people who were involved in the gunning down of Malcolm X in 1965. Halim, was released after serving more than 45 years. The other two, Norman Butler (now known as Muhammad Aziz, who is still alive, and Thomas Johnson (later known as Khalil Islam), who is deceased, were declared by New York prosecutors as not being involved in the actual shooting death of Malcolm X on that fateful day in the winter of 1965.

Although the prosecutors have now declared along with the courts that Butler and Johnson were not in the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm was killed, the question remains as to why after 56 years the actual assassins were not brought to justice? Apparently, the names of the actual killers who accompanied Hayer were known to the New York police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the immediate aftermath of the assassination due to informant reports and eyewitness accounts.

The FBI and the New York Police Department through its Bureau of Security Services (BOSS) engaged in consistent surveillance of Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), and any other grouping in which Malcolm was associated. At least one BOSS agent was present at the time of the assassination. Gene Roberts had infiltrated the OAAU and routinely reported back to the NYPD about the activities of the organization.

A recent report on the exoneration of Aziz and Islam indicated that several FBI informants were present in the venue where Malcolm X was slain. After the shooting on February 21, 1965, the emergency services did not appear at the scene, necessitating the followers of Malcolm X and the OAAU to go to the hospital located across the street from the Audubon to retrieve a stretcher to transport the revolutionary leader to the emergency room. He was admitted as “John Doe” and a medical spokesperson said they were not able to revive him after sustaining several gunshot wounds to the chest and other areas of his body.

Halim, who was captured at the scene by Malcolm X’s adherents, was released from detention in 2010. He has maintained a low profile since his parole while the actual assassins, which were reported to have been from the Newark Mosque, remained free until their deaths.

Role of the U.S. Government in the Assassination

The real question which was not answered through the exoneration of two of the defendants, is why did the NYPD and the FBI not follow-up on the information provided by their own informants present in the Audubon Ballroom and other witnesses? What is known is that these law-enforcement agencies had conducted widespread surveillance, wiretapping and other forms of spying on Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam both before and after the split between the two during late 1963 and early 1964. (

After the establishment of the MMI and the OAAU during the spring and summer of 1964, the tracking of Malcolm X and the NOI continued. From April 1964 to the end of his life, Malcolm X had traveled extensively in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. He had visited over a dozen countries where he met with government leaders, religious figures and grassroots communities in all of the countries where he traveled.

Malcolm X believed during the time, as reflected in his writings and speeches, that he was followed by the intelligence services of the U.S. government. De-classified documents from the U.S. administration reveal that his activities were closely monitored by not only the FBI. The State Department, military intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were involved in attempts to undermine the efforts of Malcolm X as he sought international support for the liberation struggle of African American in the U.S.

A recent article in the New York Times says of the surveillance:

“One F.B.I. report from Sept. 28, 1965, even contains a description of the man whom some experts on the assassination have concluded was probably the assassin who wielded a shotgun — William Bradley. That report gives a description of Mr. Bradley, who was 27 years old at the time, that matches the one given by a defense witness of the shooter who had a shotgun.”

This same report continues by noting that:

“’He had been a lieutenant in the Newark mosque and was known as a ‘strongman’ there,’ the F.B.I. report on Mr. Bradley said. ‘He was a machine gunner in the Marine Corps.’ At least one of the witnesses at the trial was an informant for the F.B.I., according to the documents cited in the motion. One document, dated Feb. 25, 1965, said the bureau had ordered its local offices not to disclose to the New York police the fact that any witnesses were federal informants. In addition, several F.B.I. reports indicated that, on the orders of the agency’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, informants were told not to disclose their relationship with the F.B.I. when talking to the New York police and prosecutors about the murder, according to a footnote in the motion. The Police Department documents include descriptions of undercover detectives having been present in the ballroom, at least one of whom was there at the time of the murder. The report may have been referring to Detective Gene Roberts, an undercover officer who, it later came out, was working as a member of Malcolm X’s security detail.”

These revelations since 1965 indicate clearly that a massive cover-up occurred in the aftermath of the assassination. Even Malcolm X said at his last speech at the Audubon on February 15, that the police were well aware of the criminal operations taking place inside the NOI because they had the organization thoroughly infiltrated. He revealed that several undercover police and informants out of guilt had come to him and confessed that they were working for the authorities.

Malcolm X’s Youngest Daughter Found Dead After the Recent Revelations

When Malcolm X was assassinated, his wife, Dr. Betty Shabazz, was expecting twins. They were born months after his death and grew up never knowing their father.

One of the twins, Malikah, was found dead in her Brooklyn apartment on November 22. Police have stated that the death did not appear to be the result of foul play. Malikah Shabazz was found unresponsive by her 24-year-old daughter, Bettih. There has not been any official cause of death announced since the time of her passing.

Malikah, 56, largely lived outside the limelight of the media and public appearances. Several of her other older sisters have become public figures in the theater and literary arenas through speaking engagements, performances and book publishing.

The death of Malikah Shabazz under unexplained circumstances just days after the exoneration of Aziz and Islam, continues the family tragedies which were spawned by the targeting and assassination of her father. Malcolm X sacrificed his life in order to advance the liberation struggles of African Americans and people throughout the globe. His legacy will continue to be a source of inspiration to working and oppressed people internationally.

We Need a Peoples Movement – Not the World Economic Forum


December 9, 2021

Fighting Words We Need a Peoples Movement – Not the World Economic Forum – Fighting Words (

Note: This presentation was written and delivered in part to the New York City People’s Forum during a webinar on the struggle against the opening of an office of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in downtown Detroit. Other panelists were Mike Shane of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, retired pastor of the Episcopal Church of Detroit, Crystal Bernard, Michigan State University senior and member of the Poor People’s Campaign and moderator David Chung of the People’s Forum.

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Detroit, which remains a major industrial center in the sectors of automotive and other sources of production and services, is a focal point for the economic and social transformations of urban areas in the United States and internationally.

Since the 19th century, the city has been a location for various forms of manufacturing, mining and shipping.

Initially there was the strategic location linked to the Great Lakes and rivers which flow into them. The mining of copper during the mid-to-late 19th century which fueled migration eventually gave way to steam engine manufacturing for shipping and the timber trade.

By the early decades of the 20th century, the first assembly line within auto production was established by Henry Ford. The production of millions of automobiles within a matter of years, created the demand for jobs and the consequent suppression and division of labor.

Significant numbers of Africans were brought into Michigan and Detroit as enslaved persons and later through what became known as the Underground Railroad. The first urban rebellion in the city took place in 1833, when an African couple, the Blackburns, fled to the city from enslavement in Kentucky, taking refuge in Detroit.

When the Blackburns were faced with capture and re-enslavement, the African Americans in the city broke them from captivity, made threats to burn down the city and then transported the couple across the Detroit River to Canada. It was 1833 when African enslavement was abolished in the British crown territories. After this period, Canada became a destination point for thousands fleeing from the slave catchers fueled by the Fugitive Slave Acts.

We are saying this to note that the current efforts by modern-day exploitative interests are a continuation of policies of containment and repression. The opening of the World Economic Forum (WEF) offices in Detroit inside the headquarters of the worst capitalist expropriators and abusers, Quicken Loans, Rocket Mortgage, and their various iterations, signals to the conscious elements in the city and nationally, that these interests are by no means done in furthering the aims of finance capital within metropolitan areas of the country.

The Housing Question in Detroit

One of the major issues which the Moratorium NOW! Coalition has been engaged in is the burgeoning housing crisis in Detroit and throughout the southeast Michigan region. Although there are tens of thousands of abandoned structures and vacant land, these resources, which by right belong to the people of the city, are controlled largely by the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA). The DLBA, which was chaired by Dan Gilbert of Rocket Mortgage, is the largest landowner in Detroit, a city more than 80% populated by Black, Brown and other people of color. What right do these people have to seize land destroyed as housing, commercial centers, community institutions, etc.? This land belongs to the people of the city and not the capitalist ruling class.

The forced removals of people in Detroit have been ongoing for more than a century. For the purpose of this discussion, we can begin in 1935, during the Great Depression and the New Deal of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to Detroit in 1935 to announce the construction of the Brewster Projects on the lower east side where tens of thousands of African Americans had settled as a result of the Great Migration.

This act on the part of the Roosevelt administration was viewed as being progressive since it was replacing what was considered “substandard housing”: lacking indoor plumbing, structural deterioration, overcrowding and other problems. There is a long and intricate history of the Brewster and other public housing complexes. Since 1935, there were the so-called Race Riots of June 1943, which occurred during World War II. The third major racial disturbance took place in 1943, 80 years after the 1863 Race Riot during the Civil War.

After the War, the City of Detroit developed and initiated its urban renewal plan which targeted the African American and other oppressed and working class communities. From the mid-1950s through the 1970s, the building of expressways and new upscale housing areas destroyed thousands of homes, apartments, flats, businesses, religious institutions, fraternal organizations, schools, etc.

Of course, by July 1967, the social combustion fueled by displacement, police brutality, de facto segregation, overcrowding in housing and schools exploded into what became the Great Rebellion. The actual violence lasted for six days, yet the aftermath between 1967-1973, was even more dynamic in regard to the efforts to reshape the city which had national and international dimensions.

Independent Political Thinking and Action

The city has been a source of independent and innovative political, social and cultural thinking particularly within the African American community. The Underground Railroad was not only an avenue of escape. It created the conditions for the establishment of African religious institutions, newspapers and new philosophical approaches in the U.S. and Canada to the eradication of the enslavement through mass struggle including emigration.

Mary Ann Shadd who emigrated to Canada after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was the founder and editor of the Provincial Freeman. She was one of the first women who spoke publicly in the U.S. in defiance of social norms and even laws designed to silence half of the population.

Shadd was reported to have been the only woman to participate in the Colored Convention on Freeman as a speaker and theoretician. She wrote a study on the question of emigration as an avenue of resistance to encroaching enslavement of African people.

In the 20th century, many of the pioneering and impactful organizations were founded in city of Detroit including the Nation of Islam (NOI), Republic of New Africa (RNA), League of Revolutionary Black Workers LRBW), National Black Economic Development Conference (NBEDC), the Black Manifesto and many others. On a cultural level, Joe Von Battle of JVB Records and Barry Gordy, Jr. of Motown transformed the recording and distribution of urban music.

In 1973, the first African American Mayor, Coleman A. Young, a former labor organizer and Leftist, was elected to head the city. Young served for two decades under conditions of increased disinvestment, capital and white flight to the suburbs and other regions of the country along with an ageing and deteriorating infrastructure. Despite these challenges, a struggle to end homelessness, unemployment, police repression and the privatization of education continued among mass organizations.

The HUD Crisis of the 1970s

Some 50 years ago, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) crisis gained national attention through an article published in the New York Times. With the failure to implement the 1968 Fair Housing Act, ostensibly designed to eliminate discrimination in the sale and rental of properties, the federal government through benign neglect and inherent institutional racism extended the crisis which arose during Great Migration i.e., the National Housing Act of 1934 and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. These Acts represented the federal rationalization of de jure and de facto residential segregation in the U.S.

According to the New York Times article of December 4, 1971:

“A major scandal involving Federal mortgage programs in Detroit has left the Government the owner of thousands of decrepit homes and may cost up to $200‐million in Federal funds. The Federal programs inadvertently contributed to the decay of troubled neighborhoods, the victimization of the poor who expected homes and the enrichment of real estate speculators. The details of the scandal have been emerging for months in newspaper articles, in local investigations and, this week, in an investigation of the Legal and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee, which held hearings here today. Similar troubles exist in other cities, but Detroit is believed to be the worst example of the perversion of a program aimed to help the poor. The program, to allow the Federal Housing Administration to help poor people, including welfare mothers, to buy homes, began in 1968.”

Destroying the housing stock of a municipality does not only create a crisis of habitation. There is a huge impact on funding for municipal services, education and job creation. During the mid-to-late 1970s, a decline in credible housing was inherited by the Young administration and all residents of the city.

Consequently, there is a direct line between the depression-era construction of public housing, the 1943 race riot, the post-War urban renewal, the 1967 rebellion and its aftermath, leading into the HUD scandal and the continued loss of jobs and services. By the close of the 20th century, the city was poised for further destabilization and depopulation.

Foreclosure Crisis of the 2000s

After the purported deregulation of the financial industry in the years of the presidency of Bill Clinton, by the close of the 1990s, there was the proliferation of “first time mortgage and refinancing schemes” which had a deleterious effect on Detroit and other cities around the U.S. Although the racist practices reinforced by the FHA and HUD had escalated depopulation in the city, the beginning of the decade of the 2000s was still characterized by a majority of residential home ownership in Detroit. However, that would soon change with the deliberate targeting of homeowners for predatory lending schemes. Moreover, it was workers and impoverished which were forced by acts of Congress to bailout the banks, insurance companies and other corporations responsible for the theft of trillions in monetary resources and services.

The predatory lending practices in housing was also reflected in municipal financing. The fact of the rapid decline in populations and household incomes, drained the treasuries of the city making it prey to the financial institutions. Both the municipality and the communities became drowned in debt to the banks through usurious mortgage deals and monetary obligations designed to refinance payments to some of the same entities responsible for the housing losses.

These sources of profit-making for finance capital are directly related to the illegal imposition of emergency management and bankruptcy during the period of 2013-2014. Those who suffered the impact of these measures included the municipal retirees, active employees–who had negotiated pensions and other benefits reduced–along with community members who previously controlled Belle Isle, the Detroit Public Works and Lighting, the Art Institute, among other public institutions, seize by the State of Michigan and “authorities”. This paved the way for the ascendancy and false legitimacy of the Duggan administration and the usurpation of local control of municipal governance.

We Must Reject the WEF and All It Represents

Consequently, the People Against Corporate Theft (PACT) coalition has come into existence to emphasize the necessity of continuing the struggle against displacement, exploitation and oppression. The WEF has nothing to offer the people of Detroit, the U.S. and the globe other than the current crises of their making: environmental degradation, climate change, the privatization of municipal services and education, state repression, a housing shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other social ills.

After 50 years, when the WEF was formed in Switzerland in 1971, the overall conditions of residents living within urban areas like Detroit have further deteriorated. The only alternative we have as the nationally oppressed, working class and poor is to organize against these adversaries.

Demands for quality housing, education and municipal services for all is key. The end of corporate welfare and the demonization of the workers and the poor is essential. We can only rely on ourselves to resolve these issues and create a society of genuine equality and empowerment for the emerging majority.

Southern Africa Travel Ban Led by Western Countries Draws Condemnation


December 3, 2021 

Fighting Words Southern Africa Travel Ban Led by Western Countries Draws Condemnation – Fighting Words (

Coronavirus vaccinations rollout. | Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed/AP

By Abayomi Azikiwe

South Africa has been at the center of the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic since its beginning during the first quarter of 2020. At the time of this writing, nearly 90,000 people have died as a result of the infection while 2.9 million infections have been documented.

The country, the most industrialized on the African continent, has confirmed more cases than any other government within the 55 member-states African Union (AU). Some have attributed the high number of cases in South Africa to its testing capacity which has been rigorous since the advent of the pandemic.

With the detection of a new COVID-19 variant labelled Omicron, the western imperialist countries have responded with the imposition of travel bans specifically targeting the Southern Africa region. Political officials and other sectors of society have roundly condemned these measures noting that the restrictions unfairly designated the sub-continent as the source of the variant and its transmission.

Although the Southern African region has been the focus of Omicron, the variant has been detected in at least 11 other countries, including Israel, Australia and several European states such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. There is no concrete evidence that the variant originated in Botswana or any other country in the sub-continent.

Following the lead of the United States, the UK and EU, other countries even within the AU region, have imposed the same bans related to travel. South Africa has been a leading country in the efforts to vaccinate people domestically and throughout the subcontinent.

Plans are underway for the establishment of manufacturing facilities in South Africa to produce COVID-19 vaccines for continental-wide distribution. The advanced nature of genome sequence monitoring inside the country has been an asset to the overall effort to curtail and eliminate the existing threat.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation over television on November 28 to discuss the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, praising the scientific community for the discovery and encouraging those who had not been vaccinated to do so immediately. At the same time the president expressed his profound disagreement with the travel bans noting that it is unjustly punishing those who made the discovery while further damaging the economies of South Africa and the seven other neighboring states.

The ban covers South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana. It was in Botswana where the initial presence of the variant was detected.

South Africa and other members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have suffered immensely since the lockdowns and restrictions enacted in the aftermath of the pandemic. Many of these states rely heavily on tourism and such a ban on travel for people from the region or those who have visited Southern Africa, will only serve to hamper any semblance of an economic recovery.

Moreover, the ban stigmatizes the region as a principal source of the pandemic when the initial cases of the coronavirus were detected in Asia and Europe during early 2020. Even today, the U.S. remains the epicenter of the pandemic having reported more cases than any other country internationally. Several states, led by Michigan, are experiencing a fourth wave of infections despite widespread efforts to encourage vaccinations by the U.S. government and its agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Yet within the U.S., the pandemic has been highly politicized by right-wing elements so prevalent in the country. Conservative forces tend to oppose not only vaccinations, they also have utilized the public health protocols to disrupt local, legislative, state administrative and federal structures to claim that the enactment of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus infringes upon their personal freedom.

With specific reference to South Africa, Eyewitness News reported on November 29 that:

“An outraged President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday (Nov. 28) said the curbs were scientifically unjustified and called for them to be ‘immediately and urgently’ reversed. Health Minister Joe Phaahla on Monday said many South Africans had felt the country had hastened to go public with the discovery of the new Omicron variant and that had it ‘kept quiet, travel bans would not have happened. But that would have been detrimental, because our approach is for our citizens to not live in false security and false safety,’ said Phaahla. South African scientists won applause from Namibian President Hage Geingob, who said they had ‘unwittingly drawn fire and condemnation’ for their country.”

Southern Africa and the Global Pandemic

Ramaphosa felt compelled to speak to the South African people over the national media in real time on November 28 emphasizing the work which has been done over the last 20 months. He has maintained the country at a Level 1 public health status which imposes restrictions related to curfews, the number of people who can gather indoors and outdoors, and the need to wear masks along with vaccinations.

The president emphasized:

“The G20 Rome Declaration noted the plight of the tourism sector in developing countries, and made a commitment to support a ‘rapid, resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery of the tourism sector’. Countries that have imposed travel restrictions on our country and some of our Southern African sister countries include the United Kingdom, United States, European Union members, Canada, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Seychelles, Brazil and Guatemala, among others. These restrictions are unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our Southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic. We call upon all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our Southern African sister countries to urgently reverse their decisions and lift the ban they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies and to the livelihoods of our people. There is no scientific justification for keeping these restrictions in place.”

Others have pointed out the ongoing vaccination access inequality where on the African continent it is reported that only 6% of the population throughout the AU region have been fully inoculated against the virus. It is inevitable under such circumstances that new variants will continue to emerge globally.

On the European continent there has been a surge in coronavirus infections in several countries over the last few months. According to

“As of November 21, 2021, there were 81,523,935 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the whole of Europe since the first confirmed case on January 25, 2020. Montenegro has the highest incidence of coronavirus cases among its population in Europe at 24,914 per 100,000 people, followed by a rate of 20,408 in Georgia. Slovenia has recorded the third highest rate of cases in Europe at 19,322 cases per 100,000. With over 9.8 million confirmed cases, the UK has been the worst affected country in Europe, which translates into a rate of 14,773 cases per 100,000 population.”

Nonetheless, during early November, Washington lifted restrictions on travel into the U.S. for a host of countries including EU member-states, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, among others. Those who have proof of being fully immunized with World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccines were allowed to travel into the country.

However, in regard to Southern Africa, the travel bans have blanketed all citizens and residents of the region. South Africa, which has fully vaccinated approximately 25% of its population of nearly 60 million people, apparently is excluded from these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke out against the travel bans on people from Southern Africa. The UN chief said of the situation:

“The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa – and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world. I am now deeply concerned about the isolation of Southern African countries due to new COVID-19 travel restrictions.”

WHO has also rejected the travel bans targeting the people of Southern Africa. The UN-affiliated agency’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, demanded that the international community utilize science and international health protocols while refraining from travel bans.

Moeti said in a statement about the bans, noting:

“Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations.”

The existence of new variants of concern further emphasizes the necessity of a global approach to resolving the pandemic. Vaccinations and other medicines to treat COVID-19 must be made available to all the peoples of the world.

Jersey City Municipal Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Supporting Human Rights in the Philippines

December 22, 2021

Fighting Words Jersey City Municipal Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Supporting Human Rights in the Philippines – Fighting Words (

The New Jersey for the Philippine Human Rights Act Coalition held a vigil at Grove Street, Jersey City, to honor victims of human rights violations committed by the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Press Release from NJ4PRHA

Jersey City—On the evening of Wednesday, December 15, Jersey City’s Municipal Council unanimously passed the Resolution Protecting Jersey City Human Rights Defenders for the Philippines and Endorsing the Philippine Human Rights Act (Resolution 21-866). Jersey City is now the first city on the East Coast to have endorsed the Philippine Human Rights Act and the first in the country to extend protections for human rights defenders who may be targeted by the Philippine government.

The municipal council resolution was the initiative of the New Jersey for the Philippine Human Rights Act Coalition (NJ4PHRA) which includes Anakbayan NJ, GABRIELA NJ, Malaya Movement NJ chapter, ICHRP, and Migrante NJ, as well as other allies and community leaders in Jersey City. The resolution was introduced by Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro.

The Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act was signed into law on July 3, 2020 by the Philippines President Duterte; has vague definitions of terrorism; effectively criminalizes dissent against the Philippine government; and authorizes the government to conduct arrests without warrants, surveil suspects for up to 90 days, and detain suspects for up to 24 days. The extraterritorial applications of this law has implications for Filipinos and non-Filipinos both inside and outside the Philippines.

Jessamyn Bonafe, a local organizer and member of Anakbayan North Jersey, a grassroots Filipino youth organization, shared her experience of being red-tagged, or labeled as a terrorist, by the Philippine government. “Organizations like Anakbayan have been integrated within this community for over 10 years. We have had various campaigns that served the Jersey City community.  Even as COVID hit, we helped to address the needs of the people through a food distribution program called Peace Land and Bread. Jersey City community members have also supported our cause and refuted these claims of us being terrorists.”

Kristianne (Kate) Molina, artist at Mana Contemporary, member of GABRIELA NJ and NJ4PHRA emphasized, “the resolution is to de-escalate confrontations between opposing groups claiming activists as terrorists and work on making an equitable, healthy, and safe city while keeping our political liberties intact for critics of the Philippine War on Drugs and the government’s delay in COVID-19 aid.”

Bernadette Patino, a leader in the Malaya Movement New Jersey Chapter, said that local activists are targeted by the Philippine government, “My fellow organizers are being targeted by the highest levels of government in the Philippines, being called ‘extremists’ simply for advocating for our U.S. tax dollars to be spent on our communities here and not go into the hands of a murderous dictator in the Philippines.”

Councilman at-large Rolando Lavarro said the “extraterritorial implications of the Anti Terror Law is real, and as a country we should protect U.S. citizens whether here or travelling abroad and ensure that their rights are protected and that they are not subject to human rights violations.” Lavarro led the introduction of the resolution in the Municipal Council.

Ward E Councilman John Solomon expressed his support, “Thank you to all the activists who spoke so movingly and powerfully on the authoritarian regime targeting free expression and political actions”. Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh shared, “I commend the community members that bring this forward and there are a lot of community members we need to protect.”

Members of Our Revolution and Democratic Socialists of America, who were calling in to support the Medicare for All Resolution, also extended their support. Joel Brooks, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, said, “Hundreds of Filipino Healthcare workers have been frontline caregivers sacrificing their bodies during this pandemic and we need our tax dollars to stay in the United States and not fund repressive anti-human rights governments.”

Prior to the city council meeting, activists sent hundreds of letters to city council members and educated the community on the Anti-Terrorism Law and its pertinence to local residents. Organizations such as Build More Unity and Solidarity Jersey City have also expressed their support during the International Human Rights Vigil, which was organized by NJ4PHRA in Grove Street, Jersey City. Monira Foundation recently sponsored Liwayway: Balik Tanaw, a cultural event where local organizations collaborated on a program highlighting the human rights violations in the Philippines and where the Resolution was first announced.

In passing the Resolution, the city council also endorsed the Philippine Human Rights Act, which will suspend assistance to the police or military of the Philippines until its human rights abuses cease and the perpetrators are held accountable. The bill currently has the support of 28 US representatives, none of whom are from New Jersey. Community members hope that passage of this resolution will help convince NJ legislators, such as Representative Albio Sires, Representative Tom Malinowski, Representative Andy Kim, and Representative Chris Smith, to cosponsor the bill.

Organizing locally can affect governments internationally and it takes twice the collective effort to organize under a pandemic. The Resolution Protecting Jersey City Human Rights Defenders for the Philippines and Endorsing the Philippine Human Rights Act (Resolution 21-866) was a collective effort and is a testament to the diverse solidarity within the Jersey City community.

NJ4PHRA is a coalition of organizations and individuals based in New Jersey organizing to defend human rights in the Philippines by passing the Philippine Human Rights Act in the US Congress. @nj4phra

Taiwan: Flashpoint for War


December 9, 2021

Fighting Words Taiwan: Flashpoint for War – Fighting Words (

Depiction of the White Terror in Tawan 1947 when anti-Communist, pro-U.S. troops massacred tens of thousands-an example of the “democracy” the U.S. supports.

By Chris Fry

On November 23, in a decision remarkable for its hypocrisy, President Biden invited Taiwan to a December 13 virtual “Democracy Summit”. The 119 nations invited to this event were all hand-picked by the U.S. Including Taiwan was Washington’s way of signaling to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that the U.S. is preparing to renounce its 1979 “One China” agreement and recognize Taiwan as an independent state, designed to force the PRC into open war with the U.S. and its allies or else surrender the island to the grip of Wall Street and the Pentagon.

Since taking office, Biden has divided the nations of the world into what he calls “democracies” and “authoritarian states”. According to Biden, the PRC is the latter, while Taiwan is supposedly a “democracy”, meriting recognition as an independent state. This is the supposed basis for Biden continuing Trump’s attack against China, including massive tariffs and shows of military force offshore of China’s coast. The only difference is that, unlike Trump. Biden has enlisted his European allies and Japan to escalate these threats.

Of course, country after country, from Iran to Nicaragua to Venezuela to Chile can testify that their democracies have not prevented the CIA from devising plots to overturn their governments and murder their leaders.

And the U.S. and its allies each have a long record of colonialist empires in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean, forbidding any semblance of democracy among the oppressed people under their brutal rule.

Just one day before Biden made his announcement, in the wake of the neo-Klan January 6th insurrection and the current voter suppression campaign attacking the oppressed communities:

The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance issued a report Monday that said the U.S. “fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale.”

A Dec. 6th Guardian article reports that the PRC has provided its own analysis of U.S. “democracy” before this summit:

Over recent days, official Chinese media outlets and diplomats have made a string of scathing attacks on the US governing system, calling it “a game of money politics” and “rule of the few over the many”.

On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry released a report on the state of democracy in the US. The state-owned Xinhua news agency accompanied the release with a series of cartoons that mocked the US system. Global Times said the report “[exposed] the deficiencies and abuse of democracy in the US”, as well as the “harm of it exporting such democracy.”

“The US is far from a ‘beacon of democracy’ and has nothing worth showing off given the chaotic American society,” Global Times quoted a Chinese academic as saying.

“China’s whole-process people’s democracy is not the kind that wakes up at the time of voting and goes back to dormant afterwards,” he said.

Taiwan’s History and the White Terror

Taiwan is a large island, encompassing nearly 13,000 square miles, some 81 miles off the coast of mainland China. During the ice ages there was a land bridge to the mainland that allowed Indigenous communities to migrate to Taiwan, where they still live mostly in the mountainous eastern region.

In 1683, after driving out a Dutch colony, the Qing Dynasty declared Taiwan to be a Chinese province. Immigration of Chinese farmers increased, and by 1811 there were two million Chinese living on Taiwan.

In 1895, after losing a war with Japan, the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to Japan. The island was occupied for fifty years by Japan until the end of World War II in 1945. There were rebellions against the Japanese occupiers that were ruthlessly suppressed.  Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule, specifically to the Kuomintang (KMT) government, who sent officials and troops to the island.

At the time, the Chinese Civil War had resumed between the KMT, who were on the side of the wealthy landlords who lorded over the Chinese peasants, and the Communists, who were on the side of the peasants and the workers.

When the KMT officials and troops arrived in Taiwan, they brutalized the residents and extorted money just as they were doing on the mainland. On Feb. 27, 1947, KMT cops in Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei rifled butted a widow for selling contraband cigarettes. A cop then fired into a crowd of bystanders, killing one man.

The next day, KMT soldiers fired into crowds of protesters. This would later be called the “228 incident.” Enraged Taiwan residents took over the administration of Taipei and took control of the radio station, where they spread the news of these atrocities, sparking an island-wide uprising. Residents formed a “Settlement Committee”, drawing up 32 demands, including free elections and an end to government corruption. Residents controlled the island for several weeks.

KMT officials stalled for time until government troops arrived. They then initiated a massacre called the “White Terror”, which killed up to 28,000 people.  From a NY Times March 27, 1947 report:

An American who had just arrived in China from Taihoku said that troops from the mainland arrived there March 7 and indulged in three days of indiscriminate killing and looting.  For a time everyone seen on the streets were shot at; homes were broken into and occupants killed.  In the poorer sections the streets were said to have been littered with dead.

There were instances of beheadings and mutilation of bodies, and women were raped, the American said.

Two foreign women, who were at Pingtung near Takao, called the actions of the [KMT] Chinese soldiers there a “massacre.”  They said unarmed Formosans took over the administration of the town peacefully on March 4 and used the local radio station to caution against violence.

In 1949, the KMT army was routed by the Communist Party forces. Two million KMT soldiers, officials, and landlords fled to Taiwan, protected by the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Of course, they took China’s gold supply with them.

Martial law was declared by the KMT government in Taiwan, which would last for 38 years until the end of 1987. Some 140,000 Taiwan residents were imprisoned during this period, all accused of being Communists.  3,000 to 4,000 were executed.

In 1979, after the U.S. recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole government of all of China, Taiwan residents organized “Human Rights Day” illegal demonstrations in the city of Gushan. KMT cops broke it up and many organizers were arrested. In the book “Taiwan: a Political History”, the author Denny Roy describes what happened to one of this movement’s leaders:

In February 1980 Lin Yi-hsiung, a leader of the democratic movement, was in detention and beaten severely by KMT police. His wife saw him in prison and contacted the Amnesty International Osaka office. The next day Lin’s mother and twin 7-year-old daughters were stabbed to death. Lin’s oldest daughter was badly wounded in his home. The authorities claimed to know nothing about it, even though his house was under 24-hour police surveillance.

After martial law was finally lifted, the KMT government finally offered reparations to families who suffered under the White Terror. But the fear of more KMT repression is so pervasive in Taiwan that only a few took up their offer. This is the foundation of terror forced on the Taiwan working class that makes up the so-called democracy on the island.

The landlord class, using the stolen gold and massive U.S. economic assistance, transformed themselves into the new business class in Taiwan. But among them a split developed as the leadership created a parliamentary system for the island. The KMT wing retains the hope that the PRC will somehow collapse, and with U.S. imperialist assistance they can retake control of China.

A new political opposition wing has emerged under the control of the so-called “Democratic Progressive Party”, which more and more stridently calls for Taiwan to declare itself an “independent” country. This position, which is in direct violation of the 1979 “One China” agreement with the PRC, has drawn more and more support from Wall Street, despite the U.S. massive investments in mainland China.

Conflict between these two factions has often been violent, with outright clashes erupting in the halls of Taiwan’s parliament.

The struggle over computer “chips”

One major issue of contention between the imperialist U.S. and socialist China is Taiwan’s semiconductor production and research companies. According to the TechCrunch Dec. 2nd article:

According to TrendForce, a Taipei-based research firm, Taiwan’s semiconductor contract manufacturers accounted for 63% of total global foundry market share in 2020. A detailed breakdown shows that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, alone contributed 54% of the global foundry market share. More recent data shows that even with its Fab 14 (P7) experiencing manufacturing disruptions, TSMC still made up almost 53% of global foundry market share for the second quarter of 2021.

In addition to producing the most chips, Taiwan’s foundries (including TSMC) produce the world’s most advanced chips, which can be found in all the highest-tech machinery — everything from cellphones to fighter jets. In fact, TSMC is responsible for an astonishing 92% of the world’s advanced chips production, making Taiwan’s semiconductor industry arguably the world’s most important.

And this means both the U.S. and China are dependent on it. According to a Nikkei report, TSMC produces computer chips used in F-35 fighter jets, high-performance chips for U.S. military suppliers such as Xilinx, and DoD-approved “military grade” chips…

China is also dependent on foreign chips; in 2020, it imported around $300 billion worth. Unsurprisingly, Taiwan was the leading source.

The article goes on to describe the high stakes in this conflict:

A total loss of chips from Taiwan would call into question the ongoing development of China’s entire tech industry. This would not only infuriate China but pose a threat to its domestic stability, giving the Chinese government more incentive to take the island by force.

If some scenarios cut China off from Taiwanese chips, others would cut off the U.S. In a “peaceful reunification” scenario (where Taiwan is reunited with China without the use of force), Taiwanese foundries would likely find themselves under control of the Chinese government, posing a strategic problem for the U.S. The Chinese government could ask the foundries to stop exporting chips or put restrictions on how many chips they can export — chips the U.S. government needs to mobilize America’s most advanced military equipment.

This one issue alone underlies the recent military escalation by Biden and the Pentagon against China.

A Nov. 29 article in the Business Insider shows just how far U.S. imperialism is willing to go to “rattle its saber” to maintain its drive for economic hegemony against the PRC:

It’s been a busy two months for the American, British, and Japanese navies — especially their carriers.

In early October, they were part of a massive exercise that saw the US Navy’s USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson, the UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth, and Japan’s JS Ise operating together in the Western Pacific.

A few weeks later, USS Carl Vinson, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and one of Japan’s Izumo-class helicopter carriers, JS Kaga, trained with Royal Australian Navy ships in the eastern Indian Ocean.

In early November, JS Ise and USS America, an amphibious assault ship, trained off of southern Japan, while the USS Carl Vinson and JS Kaga conducted exercises in the South China Sea.

The drills show a concerted effort to develop interoperability between navies with carrier capabilities and is likely meant as a demonstration to China as it continues to increase its own naval power.

Imagine the apoplectic U.S. response if China sailed its one aircraft carrier a few miles off the coast of New York or California! Of course, the corporate media screams headlines about the PRC’s military buildup but fails to note that the ever-increasing U.S. Pentagon budget is more than three times that of China’s, even while Congress fails to approve modest social programs in the face of the deadly pandemic.

It is clear that Wall Street, Biden, and the mad Pentagon general staff wants to threaten a massive and genocidal war against China to maintain its sole capitalist hegemony over the world’s economic system. The weapons systems are so automated that even a minor accident could trigger a global catastrophe. Only a massive mobilization of the progressive movement can counter this. It is time.

Mumia Abu Jamal: 40 Years Unjustly Imprisoned


December 8, 2021 

Fighting Words Mumia Abu Jamal: 40 Years Unjustly Imprisoned – Fighting Words (

Photo: Mobilization

By Mobilization 4 Mumia Abu-Jamal


PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 7, 2021 – Human rights and community activists from throughout the world are organizing online and in-person events to mark the anniversary of the December 9, 1981 unjust arrest of Mumia Abu-Jamal, award-winning Philadelphia journalist, radio personality and former Black Panther. 

Abu-Jamal was arrested, convicted and unjustly imprisoned as the result of judicial, police and prosecutorial misconduct for allegedly killing a Philadelphia policeman — a crime he didn’t commit. Supporters worldwide assert that Abu-Jamal was framed, is innocent and continue to fight for his release, even after four decades.

On Thursday, December 9, from 7:00PM – 9:30PM, an online “Free Mumia Now!” forum ( will feature Temple University Professor Linn Washington, Jr., former political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim, Warrior Woman Mama Pam Africa, retired International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 10 Secretary Treasurer Clarence Thomas, longtime international supporters Julia Wright and Jacky Hortaut from France, Michael Shiffman from Germany and poet/author Ewuare Osayande. Special panels will feature international and youth activists for Mumia.

At 1:00PM, Saturday, Dec. 11 community activists will gather at the Octavius V. Catto Statue on the south side of Philadelphia City Hall for a “March for Mumia” through Center City featuring speakers.

Similar events are being held in Houston, TX, France, Mexico, Vienna, Austria and Germany. 

Many of the judicial, police and prosecutorial misconducts that resulted in Abu-Jamal’s conviction were the same illegal practices that led the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to exonerate 23 innocent men.

Abu-Jamal’s health has deteriorated significantly over the years. He recently underwent open heart surgery, has had cataract surgery, and suffers from cirrhosis of the liver and a severe skin ailment. Independent doctors maintain he must be given a healthy, fresh diet and a regular exercise regimen which would support his cardiac rehabilitation and speed his recovery. Now 67, Abu-Jamal is one of 6,000 aged and ill incarcerated people who have spent decades in prison, who pose no risk to society and should be released. Prison officials have refused to do this.

Immigrant/Migrant Supporters Tell ICE #ReleasesNotTransfers


December 1, 2021

Fighting Words Immigrant/Migrant Supporters Tell ICE #ReleasesNotTransfers – Fighting Words (

Rally against ICE at Bergen County Jail, New Jersey, for Releases Not Transfers. Rally against ICE at Bergen County Jail, New Jersey, for Releases Not Transfers. | Photo: Terri Kay

By Terri Kay

On Wednesday, October 27, a coalition of groups, who have been fighting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, policies of cruel, indefinite detention of immigrants/migrants, held a rally with over 30 people at Bergen County Jail in New Jersey. Organizers stated,

“Even if they are transferred, we will continue to be there for them–friendships continue. We will send a message to ICE, elected officials, and the government that transfers are incredibly destructive and must stop. And we will say also that while we are glad that Bergen will no longer be a detention center, the fight against detention will continue until all ICE centers in NJ and around the country are shut.”

This was on the day before the Bergen County Jail ended its contract with ICE to hold ICE detainees. Bergen was the last county jail in New Jersey to do so, under a statewide directive. Demands focused on these slogans: #CommunitiesNotCages, #ReleasesNotTransfers, and #JustClosures. Per the New Jersey Monitor:

“All three publicly run federal immigration holding centers in New Jersey have ended their contracts in the wake of a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy banning new or renewed contracts with ICE. Murphy signed the law after years of protests by immigrant advocates who challenged the Democrats who run Bergen, Essex, and Hudson counties to stop taking money from ICE.”

However, a private prison in Elizabeth, New Jersey continues to house ICE detainees, having just renewed its contract with ICE until 2023.

Instead of releasing these detainees, ICE was planning to transfer most of them to a jail in Batavia, NY, five hours away. This would rip these people away from their entire local support networks of family, friends, lawyers, and support organizations. “We also want to make it clear to ICE and our legislators that even as NJ’s ICE facilities depopulate – It’s Not Over! We will continue to work for the release of our friends and the end to all ICE detention,” said Kathy O’Leary of Pax Christi – NJ.

Organizations behind the rally included the Interfaith Campaign for Just Closures, Pax Christi-NJ, Northern NJ Sanctuary Coalition, and First Friends of NJ & NY. The Interfaith Campaign for Just Closures launched last month. From the press release for the rally:

“Its members are calling on our legislators to work with family members of people in detention, attorneys and advocates to cut the current ICE contracts and bring about just closures to these facilities. The campaign defines ‘just closures’ as releasing people and not transferring them to other facilities, fewer people in cages and an end to profiting from incarceration. The campaign further urges legislators to work to dismantle the infrastructure of ICE detention nationally starting with supporting HR536 ‘A New Way Forward Act’.”

This rally was preceded on October 22, by a rally in downtown Newark, NJ, on behalf of Haitian immigrants/migrants. It was organized by Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast, League of Haitian American Diaspora Alliance Network, New Jersey Haitian Pastors Association, American Friends Service Committee, and New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, among others. Black migrants are more likely to be targeted by ICE for deportation, they are detained for longer and are more likely to be placed in solitary while in detention. For more on this see this video.

ICE Transfers Most of Bergen County Detainees to Batavia, NY!

From a November 15, 2021 press release by First Friends of NJ & NY, Pax Christi NJ, and Northern NJ Sanctuary Coalition:

“The hope that there would be releases and not transfers for the remaining 15 people in ICE detention in the Bergen County Jail were dashed Friday,  November 12th as all were moved hundreds of miles away to Batavia, New York.

“Just after the stroke of midnight, people were roused from their sleep and told that they were being transferred. At least one person was able to place a call to a family member to let them know what was happening before they were placed in vans and driven through the night, for seven hours, arriving after dawn on Friday morning at the Buffalo Service Processing Center. Several people were able to make calls to volunteers from First Friends of NJ & NY early Friday evening and Saturday to explain what had happened to them. None were able to take any of their personal belongings with them, including paperwork necessary for them to help defend their deportation cases.

“…While our friends have been transferred further away, there is still hope that they will be released. ICE has the sole discretion to release people in detention and our elected officials have influence over ICE. All our friends deserve to be home, in their communities, surrounded by their families, not incarcerated indefinitely simply because of their immigration status. The struggle is not over until all our friends are free and ICE detention is ended in the United States.”

ICE Tries To Deport Liberian Migrant Who Had Been In U.S. Since Childhood

Romeo Konneh, one of the men who was transferred to Batavia, was then transferred to Florence, AZ. ICE was trying to deport him. He is in poor health and in need of an operation. He is one of the men who recorded messages while still at Bergen. He has a wife and 4 children living outside Philly.