Thursday, March 3, 2022

African Students Further Expose the Racist Character of the Ukrainian State

March 3, 2022

African Students Further Expose the Racist Character of the Ukrainian State (

As western media outlets seek to build sympathy for the NATO-backed regime in Kiev, Africans and others oppressed groups are facing targeted discrimination and violence

By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire 

Analytical Review

While the western corporate and government-controlled media outlets build their cases for the unconditional support of the NATO-backed regime in Ukraine, the experiences of African students attempting to flee the war has revealed the discriminatory racist nature of the authorities now in power in Kiev.

According to press accounts one million people have fled the country of Ukraine in the face of a Russian military special operation designed to remove the current administration. 

Nonetheless, there are thousands of students from various African countries who have been not only denied the right to board trains heading for neighboring states to the West such as Poland and Hungary, egregiously their stories have been suppressed and downplayed within the larger scheme of imperialist attempts to influence public opinion to accept a major conventional war against Russia in Eastern Europe. These same students, estimated to be 16,000, have reported horrendous experiences in dealing with the Ukrainian authorities where the official policy is to prioritize the safe passage of Ukrainian women and children out of the country. 

Several governments including the 55-member continental African Union (AU) has issued a statement protesting the treatment of their nationals living and attempting to leave Ukraine in the aftermath of the Russian intervention which began on February 24. Television reports highlighting the racist treatment of African students have appeared on networks from Nigeria and Ghana to the Republic of South Africa.

In a statement released by the AU Commission based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: “The current Chair of the African Union and President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, are following closely the developments in Ukraine and are particularly disturbed by reports that African citizens on the Ukrainian side of the border are being refused the right to cross the border to safety. The two Chairpersons recall that all people have the right to cross international borders during conflict, and as such, should enjoy the same rights to cross to safety from the conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding their nationality or racial identity. Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach of international law. In this regard, The Chairpersons urge all countries to respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war notwithstanding their racial identity. The Chairpersons commend the efforts by African Union Member State countries and their embassies in neighboring countries to receive and orientate African citizens and their families trying to cross the border from Ukraine to safety.” (

Although initially reports surfaced saying students from Ghana were being attacked by incoming Russian military forces, no documented proof of this has been revealed. Unfortunately, such unsubstantiated claims were reprinted by the Africa News website in a report which was clearly designed to provide a rationale for the anti-Russian sentiment being promoted by the United States and other NATO states. (

Nonetheless, all of the oral interviews done by several African-oriented media networks tell a different story. A 20-year-old medical student a Lviv University, Wasiu Sidiq from Nigeria, reported that he and fellow colleagues attempted to board trains to head out of Ukraine to Poland. After waiting in line for more than 28 hours they were told that Ukrainians could board the trains and not them. They told stories of not only verbal insults and discriminatory practices by the Ukrainian authorities as many of them were punched and shoved by the police and military personnel as well.

An article published by African Arguments says of the situation which is typical of the present atmosphere in Ukraine that: “’The reason the queue was not moving was because of the Ukrainians. They said they are the owners of the country,’ a furious Sidiq tells African Arguments over the phone. ‘I told one [Ukrainian] woman that both of us are foreigners right now.’ When the queue finally did start to move, Sidiq says that officials told Africans to form a separate line and other refugees started yelling at them. ‘They started shouting ‘foreigners go back, foreigners go back’. They were literally shouting it to our face,’ he says. ‘They did not care about us at that moment. They just wanted us to die.’… By this time he was exhausted, hungry and dehydrated. He noticed a stand that was giving out food to refugees, but he and other Black students were refused. They were sharing bread, burgers, noodles and coffee,’ he says. ‘We went to meet these people [and tell them] that we were hungry, and they said the food is for only Ukrainians, not Blacks.’’’ (

Neo-Nazi Embedded in Pro-NATO Regime in Kiev

The U.S.-backed coup against the centrist government of President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, often referred to as the “Revolution of Dignity” or the “Maidan Revolution”, could not have taken place without a leading role being played ultra-right wing neo-nazi militias and organizations which were supported by the then administration of President Barack Obama in Washington. These often-violent groupings remain a powerful force in the overall campaign against Russia and Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine. The recognition of the People’s Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk in the eastern Donbass region has been a defensive move to protect these populations from the constant attacks by the Ukrainian military and right-wing militias, which has left thousands of people dead since 2014. 

Even the New York Times in a report published two weeks prior to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine on February 10, written by reporter Andrew E. Kramer, noted the potentially disruptive role of the neo-nazi organizations in preventing any peace agreement or political settlement with Moscow. These groupings categorically oppose any agreement with Moscow and consequently their political position solidarizes with Washington’s.

Kramer emphasized the intransigence of right-wing organizations and their grip over the current government in Kyiv: “Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has few cards to play in any talks with Moscow. Perhaps his strongest is the threat of an insurgency by nationalist groups like Democratic Ax and the even more influential Right Sector in the event of a Russian invasion. Recently, the government has even urged the nationalist parties to arm themselves more heavily. But the groups are a two-edged sword, threatening not just the Kremlin but also the Ukrainian government, which could be rocked and possibly overthrown by them if Mr. Zelensky agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow.” (

The Attempted Isolation of Russia and Its Allies Will Negatively Impact the Western Capitalist States

Yet the western media has apportioned exclusive blame for the existing war on the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin. Economic sanctions tantamount to a complete blockade of a major European country has been implemented. 

However, working and impoverished people in the U.S. and Western Europe are being severely impacted by the foreign policy of Washington, NATO and the European Union (EU). An inflationary spiral not witnessed in four decades is sweeping the U.S. where fuel, food, transport, energy, housing and other commodities and service prices are skyrocketing. 

A State of the Union speech by President Joe Biden on March 1 failed to announce any price controls or freezes which could benefit working and oppressed peoples in the U.S. An escalation in the deployment of Pentagon troops to Poland and other Eastern European NATO-controlled states is further heightening tensions which could result in a broader conventional war between the Russian Federation and NATO led by the U.S.

The legislative agenda promised to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party during 2020-2021 for a robust social spending program, a justice in policing act, the renewed voting rights bill, moratoriums on evictions amid the present economic crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the raising of the minimum wage and an environmental policy to address climate change and ecological degradation has failed over the past year of the Biden tenure. At present Biden’s approval rating is hovering around 40% while his disapproval stands at 55% among the U.S. electorate. At present, the Democrats have almost nothing to offer their constituencies which includes African Americans and other people of color communities suffering from the decline in wages and living standards. 

Consequently, the propaganda and psychological warfare campaign being waged by Washington and NATO is specifically designed to win people over to the notion of a protracted war with Russia. By mischaracterizing the situation in Ukraine including the political character of the Zelensky regime and its dependence upon NATO and fascist domestic elements, the Biden administration and the Pentagon are working feverishly to not only obliterate any alternative views on the Ukrainian situation notwithstanding the aim of neutralizing the social justice, peace and antiwar movements in the West. 

The insistence upon the condemnation of the Russian government even among purported peace activists while social conditions in the U.S. and other western industrialized states rapidly deteriorates, serves to nullify the demands for a dismantlement of NATO, the defunding of the Pentagon and the rejection of imperialist foreign policy. The principal adversaries to peace and sustainable development in the world today are the Pentagon, White House and the capitalist barons of Wall Street.    

Critical Support for Russian Intervention in Ukraine

February 26, 2022

Detroit Says ‘No War on Russia’ on Feb. 11, 2022. | Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire

Critical Support for Russian Intervention in Ukraine – Fighting Words (

By Fighting Words Editorial Staff

The Communist Workers League critically supports the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, which de facto defends the existence of the two worker states in the Donbass region: the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. For eight years these two states, under constant fire from Ukrainian pro-NAZI militias, have been a beacon of hope for both the Russian and Ukrainian working class.

Russian intervention is also a direct result of decades of relentless U.S. policy to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aggressively eastward toward Russia. If Ukraine joined NATO, as threatened, U.S. troops, military bases and missiles would have been placed right along the 1200 mile border that Ukraine shares with Russia. This is clearly unacceptable to Russia.

We call for the dissolution of NATO, a military instrument of U.S. Imperialism designed to maintain Wall Street’s hegemony over not only Europe but also over the rest of the world.

We also call for the ending of all of Biden’s sanctions against Russia, designed to punish and impoverish the Russian people, but which will also further reduce the living standards of the workers and oppressed both in the U.S. and Europe, already racked by record-breaking inflation, gasoline price spikes, rent hikes, termination of child tax credits, wage stagnation, and much more while at the same time pouring trillions into the vaults of the war industry, the oil and gas giants, and the collection of 750 parasite billionaires that currently set policy in this country.

A February 23 New York Times editorial carried this statement that contains an astounding amount of hypocrisy:

But no, there is absolutely no justification for a brazen invasion of a weaker neighbor. To answer Mr. Biden’s anguished question, nobody and nothing have given Mr. Putin the right to seize territory or decide the fate of neighboring nations.

Perhaps the Times believes that its sentiment will resonate with the people of Mexico, or Grenada, or Panama, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Honduras, or Chile, or the Philippines or all the other places that U.S. Imperialism has plotted coups, invaded and / or occupied to enrich its capitalist ruling class. Some like Cuba and Venezuela have already announced support for the Russian intervention and denounced NATO expansion.

Vladimir Putin is no communist or socialist, despite what the U.S. corporate media, particularly the “liberal” portion like CNN and MSNBC proclaims. When Putin announced the Russian “special military operation” into Ukraine, he said:

So, I will start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia — by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.

No, Lenin’s principled stand for the oppressed nations’ right to self determination was not a cause of the current crisis. Instead, it was a bulwark for the success of the Russian Revolution. Combined with the Marxist analysis of capitalism and imperialism, it brought unity to the struggle to overturn the Tsarist regime and create the first successful socialist state that the world had ever seen. Millions of Ukrainians and Russians as well as other nationalities in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.)  perished fighting together to defeat the NAZI onslaught in World War II.

The power of that principle has sustained anti-colonial and national liberation struggle around the world and is an integral part of the oppressed communities struggles here in the U.S., from the Black Panthers to the Young Lords, from the American Indian Movement to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

So what is the cause of the current conflict in Ukraine, where the Russian-speaking residents now feel threatened by the extreme Ukrainian nationalist and fascist militias that determine government policy?

In February 2014, the U.S. funded, to the tune of $5 billion, and supported a right-wing coup that ousted democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled for his life. He had committed the “crime” of choosing to make an economic deal with Russia’s Common Union instead of the European Union. This U.S. gambit was directed by State Department Assistant Director Victoria Nuland and then Vice-President and current President Joe Biden.

In May of 2014, the pro-NAZI Right Sector group attacked Russian-speaking residents protesting the government as they sought shelter in a union building in the city of Odessa. A May 2nd, 2014, article from the Guardian reported:

Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight on Friday as the pro-Ukraine activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.

Bodies lay in pools of blood outside the main entrance as explosions from improvised grenades and Molotov cocktails filled the air. Black smoke from the building and a burning pro-Russia protest camp wreathed the nearby square.

That same weekend, NAZI militias began their “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Ukraine’s east region by conducting vicious pogroms against Russian-speaking communities there. In response, miners and other workers in that region established two “people’s republics” to defend themselves against these fascists. That struggle has lasted eight years and cost 14,000 lives.

Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, won his election by promising to bring peace to the country. Yet as a February 9th New York Times article points out, armed fascist groups play an outsized role in setting policy:

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has few cards to play in any talks with Moscow. Perhaps his strongest is the threat of an insurgency by nationalist groups like Democratic Ax and the even more influential Right Sector in the event of a Russian invasion.

But the groups are a two-edged sword, threatening not just the Kremlin but also the Ukrainian government, which could be rocked and possibly overthrown by them if Mr. Zelensky agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow.

Ukraine’s foreign minister and defense minister have both said in recent days that the greatest risk the country faces is internal destabilization under the threat of a Russian invasion, not an actual attack.

And in a country whose citizens have twice taken to the streets in the post-Soviet period and unceremoniously booted out governments seen as doing Moscow’s bidding, this is no idle threat. Analysts say that Mr. Zelensky would be taking extreme political risks even to entertain a peace deal, which is why he is so careful not to talk about possible avenues for negotiations.

When Zelensky dropped out of the Minsk Agreement negotiations last Spring, he announced that the only “solution” to bring peace was NATO intervention, music to the ears of Wall Street and the Pentagon.

No war with Russia!  Dissolve NATO – End U.S. Imperialism!  Defund the Pentagon! End Sanctions Against Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations!  Money for health care, education, jobs, housing … Not Wars Abroad!

Independent Politics and the Legacy of the Gary Convention Fifty Years On

March 1, 2022

Independent Politics and the Legacy of the Gary Convention Fifty Years On – Fighting Words (

National Black Political Convention delegates, March 1972 National Black Political Convention delegates, March 1972

By Abayomi Azikiwe

From March 10-12, 1972, an estimated 7,000-10,000 African Americans gathered in Gary, Indiana for the National Black Political Convention (NBPC).

The confab was covered extensively in the Black, left and mainstream press due to the significance of the event which brought together a wide spectrum of political currents within the African American community from elected officials, functionaries of the Democratic and Republican parties to leaders of revolutionary grassroots organizations such as the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Congress of African People (CAP).

One account of the event from the Indiana Historical Bureau says:

“Approximately 3,000 official delegates and 7,000 attendees from across the United States met at Gary’s West Side High School from March 10 to March 12. The attendees included a prolific group of Black leaders, such as Reverend Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Amiri Baraka, Muslim leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale, and Malcolm X’s widow Betty Shabazz. Organizers sought to create a cohesive political strategy for Black Americans by the convention’s end.”

Gary, an industrial city known for the production of steel, was representative of the then emerging Black political movement sweeping urban areas throughout the United States. In 1967, Carl B. Stokes won the mayoral elections in Cleveland, Ohio against a white opponent who appealed to the racist sentiments of those feeling threatened by the Hough Rebellion of the previous year.

That same year, 1967, Richard Hatcher won the mayoral race in Gary which was by that time a majority African American city. Millions of African Americans between the First and Second World Wars flooded into the cities seeking employment in industry and to escape the violent institutional racism of the Jim Crow South. After World War II, more African American migrated into the urban areas of the North and West while those remaining in the South launched the independent Civil Rights Movement beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56), the sit-in movement and the Freedom Rides of 1960-1961.

A new radicalized African American political mood was in evidence by the early years of the 1960s, when organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) took over the leadership of the mass struggle for the elimination of segregation and disenfranchisement. By 1963-64, urban rebellions accelerated making their mark on at least 200 cities from Los Angeles on the west coast to Chicago and Detroit in the Midwest all the way South to Birmingham, Cambridge, Nashville, Atlanta, Miami and Memphis to New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City in the east.

The gains won through the mass struggles led to legislative reforms with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, adopted as the flames of rebellions across the U.S. raged encompassing broader segments of the Black population.

However, the racist system struck back with repression including the killings of Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Clark, Fred Hampton, Medgar Evers, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Carol Denise McNair (four African American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham), among countless others. Hundreds of members of the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa, and numerous organizations, were jailed, imprisoned and driven into exile by the early 1970s. The NBPC represented an effort to realign the African American struggle through the building of broader unity across ideological perspectives.

Outcomes of the NBPC

The strength of the Gary Convention was that it was able to mobilize such a broad-based collection of Black organizational leadership. At the same time, this very important advancement in the overall movement contained the elements which hampered its effectiveness. A myriad of issues and questions were before the African American people in 1972.

New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, the first Black woman elected to the House of Representatives, had launched a presidential campaign during the primaries. Chisolm was an advocate of progressive social policies including the full rights for women. Her campaign for the Democratic Party nomination gained significant support including an endorsement from Huey P. Newton, former political prisoner and co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

At the same time, there were numerous organizations which called for the immediate formation of a mass Black political party independent of the Democrats and Republicans. This question was the subject of intense debate and saw formidable opposition from African American elected officials such as Congressman Charles Diggs of Detroit and then State Senator Coleman A. Young, who would be elected as the first Black mayor of the City of Detroit the following year of 1973. Resolutions related to the support for an independent party led to the walk out of some of the Michigan delegation including Diggs and Young.

The Indiana Historical Bureau said of the outcomes of the NBPC that:

“After intense debate, a steering committee tentatively adopted a National Black Agenda. The committee officially published the 68-page document on May 19, Malcolm X’s birthday. The resolutions included Black representation in Congress proportionate to the U.S. Black population, a guaranteed minimum income of $6,500 for four-person households, a 50% cut in the defense and space budgets, and an end to national trade with countries that supplied the U.S. drug market. The resolutions, designed to move Black Americans towards ‘self-determination and true independence,’ represented major, yet tenuous compromise among the Black community.”

The aftermath of the NBPC saw the formation of a National Black Political Assembly (NBPA) which held conferences in 1974 and 1976. By 1980, there was a call to transform the NBPA into the National Black Independent Political Party (NBIPP). This same year saw the eruption of a rebellion in Miami while the failure of the presidency of Jimmy Carter had further alienated many African American activists from the Democratic Party. The disillusionment of African Americans, a key demographic within the electoral framework of Democratic politics along with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the subsequent seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran for more than a year, contributed to the ascendancy of President Ronald Reagan and the advent of a new era of imperialist militarism, political repression and economic recession.

Although the NBIPP was never able to consolidate into an effective fighting organization for various reasons which extend beyond the scope of this analysis, the presidential primary campaigns of Reverend Jesse Jackson during 1984 and 1988 mobilized African Americans, labor and some elements within the U.S. left into a coalition which was able to raise issues such as plant closings, Palestinian statehood and the liberation of South Africa and Namibia from the apartheid settler colonialism.

Lessons from Gary for Today

At present the legislative agenda of President Joe Biden is stalled within Congress largely due to the obstruction from moderate Democratic lawmakers. The progressive wing of the Democratic House and Senate are at variance with the moderates and conservatives. Republicans within the House and Senate are united in their opposition to all initiatives proposed by any faction of the Democratic Party.

Inflation is escalating rapidly while the social spending aspects of the Biden agenda has been largely abandoned as a legislative measure. While sinking rapidly within the polls, Biden has turned to provoking a military conflict with the Russian Federation over the status of Ukraine and the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

A convergence of the burgeoning economic crisis with the prospects for a protracted war in Eastern Europe could result in major setbacks for the Democrats in the 2022 midterms. Such a scenario does not bode well for the African American working class and impoverished.

In similar historical circumstances, African Americans have called their own independent conferences, conventions and congresses. Beginning in 1829 during the period of antebellum enslavement in response to the Ohio Exclusionary laws related to African people, a convention movement arose which lasted through the Civil War until the conclusion of the 19th century.

A resource website on this political history says of the convention movement that:

“Providing a powerful structure and platform for Black organizing, more than 200 state and national Colored Conventions were held between 1830 and the 1890s. Filling churches, city hall buildings, courthouses, lecture halls, and theaters, the well-attended Colored Conventions illustrate the diversity of cultural life and political thought among Black communities and their leaders. The meetings included the most prominent writers, organizers, church leaders, newspaper editors, educators, and entrepreneurs in the canon of early African American leadership—and tens of thousands more whose names went unrecorded. While most delegates were male, Black women participated through their newspaper work, entrepreneurial activism, political commitments, and especially their presence. They embodied the movement’s core values and challenged traditional beliefs about women’s place in public society.”

Although it is difficult to predict which form this independent political tradition will take in the 21st century, undoubtedly African Americans will assess their social situation and move towards new tactics and strategies aimed at achieving full equality and self-determination.

Malcolm X’s Legacy and the Debate Surrounding Critical Race Theory


February 25, 2022 

Malcolm X’s Legacy and the Debate Surrounding Critical Race Theory – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Note: These remarks were prepared for and delivered in part at the African American History Month webinar entitled “Critical Race Theory Forum, Let’s Talk: What is Critical Race Theory and What It is Not”. The webinar featured Sammie Lewis, self-raised scholar and feminist; Lloyd Simpson, organizer for Detroit Will Breathe (DWB); Nancy A. Parker, interim managing attorney for the Detroit Justice Center; and Mark P. Fancher, staff attorney for the Michigan ACLU Racial Justice Project. The webinar was co-hosted by Derek Grigsby, organizer for the Moratorium NOW! Coalition (MNC) and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) along with Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW editor and co-founder of MNC and MECAWI.

Examining this topic is important for African American History Month 2022 since the issue has generated controversy which is being exploited politically by the right-wing.

Moreover, we deliberately selected this date, the 57th anniversary of the martyrdom of Malcolm X (Hajj Malik El Shabazz, 1925-1965), since the life of this strategic thinker, organizer and public spokesman for the African people worldwide represents an excellent example of self-education and transformation.

Malcolm was born in Omaha, Nebraska as the son of staunch members of the Garveyite Universal Negro Improvement Association, African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Earl and Louise Little had met at the annual organizational convention held in Montreal, Quebec in 1919, Malcolm and his siblings were obviously exposed to Black Consciousness and Pan-Africanism. Louise Little, a Grenadian born woman, wrote and published articles for the Negro World newspaper, the journal of the UNIA-ACL.

Due to their Garveyite affiliations, the Little family were victimized by racial violence in Omaha and later in Michigan. Earl Little died when Malcolm was only six years old, sending the family into a crisis, eventually resulting in the break-up of the family. Malcolm and the family believed that Earl was killed by a white racist group, possibly the Black Legion or the Ku Klux Klan, both of which maintain a huge presence in Michigan with thousands of members and supporters, even within the ruling class.

Despite the racism which the family suffered, Malcolm had excelled in school as a scholar and athlete. An incident with a racist teacher would impact his thinking related to formal education.

Malcolm would leave school and travel to Boston to live with his older sister Ella Collins. In Boston, according to his autobiography, were years when he was introduced to street life, leading to a criminal career and later imprisonment in the state correctional system.

Education Inside the Prison System

In the Autobiography of Malcolm X, written with the assistance of Alex Haley, the author discusses his transformation while being incarcerated in the Massachusetts Norfolk prison facility. The institution had a large collection of books in their library where Malcolm explored many issues impacting the world far outside the prison walls. He attended debates, discussed worldly subjects with other inmates, wrote letters to people including United States President Harry S. Truman, expressing his opposition to the Korean invasion by the Pentagon in 1950.

He would join the Nation of Islam, formed in Detroit in 1930, while in prison during the early 1950s. Malcolm was paroled in 1952 taking up residence in Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.  His living space in Inkster has now been designated for its historic significance and should in turn, be refurbished and repurposed as a center for education and cultural expressions.

Malcolm X and the CRT Controversy

Undoubtedly, the speeches and writings of Malcolm X are being banned by school board and library commissions under the control of conservative right-wing political forces. These works are joining other African American hidden figures such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Ann Petry, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr. Huey P. Newton, Dr. Angela Davis, George Jackson, among many others.

These bans are not new to the history of the U.S. During the course of our history, African American and African studies were only taught in the segregated schools prior to the 1960s, when the demand for recognition of Black people permeated the previously all and predominantly white institutions. Initially, the response to the demand for Black and Pan-African Studies was that no such field of study existed. Today such an argument has even less weight than it did in 1968. There are immeasurable amounts of literature and other forms of expression which document the history and social existence of African people from prehistory to the present.

The real issues undergirding the attempts to ban literature and educational materials which reveal the actual history of the U.S. and the world involve the changing dimensions of human society both domestically and internationally. As the U.S. changes to a collective minority-majority society, the dominant Euro-American elites will inevitably continue to make the arguments against democratic governance, including in the realm of education.

Even though Critical Race Theory as an intellectual and academic construct arose within the Law Schools of the U.S., the term now is being utilized negatively to advance an agenda which is in perpetual opposition to the advancement and liberation of African and other oppressed peoples. As the author of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones says, there is no one who has produced a fifth-grade teacher who writes lesson plans utilizing the legal definitions of CRT.

Nonetheless, a serious and honest fifth-grade teacher would know that the U.S. is a country born in the forced removal and genocide of the Indigenous people along with the kidnapping, importation, exploitation and oppression of the African people. An educator committed to truth and transparency could not conceal the material fact that the societal institutions in the U.S. reflect the history of institutional racism and economic exploitation. It is necessary to accept that the laws and enforcement institutions are designed to uphold the status-quo as is reflected in the disproportionate presence of Black and Brown people within the jails and prisons of the country.

These core observations and tenets guided the thinking and action of Malcolm X. Despite the efforts to suppress his writing and speeches, successive generations have been influenced by his farsighted analysis. By banning literature in the public schools and libraries, the ruling interests are waging a war in which they cannot win. During the period of African enslavement people were able to learn how to read and produce literature. African people will continue this process of resistance to the dominant structures responsible for their oppression.

Education and Social Transformation: The Continuing Legacy of Malcolm X

For twelve years Malcolm X worked tirelessly for the NOI. He would leave the organization over differences with the leadership under the direction of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad in March 1964. Immediately, Malcolm would form two new groupings, the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and the Organization of Afro American Unity (OAAU). He went abroad for the second and third times since his initial trip to Africa and West Asia in 1959.

His second trip in 1964 landed him that July at the second annual summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Cairo, Egypt. He would compel the OAU to pass a resolution supporting the African American struggle for human rights. Malcolm’s influence was spreading globally making him an even greater threat to the U.S. capitalist and imperialist systems.

As a keen student and observer of international affairs and jurisprudence, Malcolm was able to implement a long-held ideological position linking the struggles for liberation of African people worldwide. His assassination on February 21, 1965, cut short his life, although the ideological foundations of his research and teaching remain valid well into the 21st century.

One source on the educational impact of Malcolm X’s legacy cites two quotes from the martyred leader:

“’Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights. It is the means to help our children and thereby increase self-respect. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today…. ‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.’”

This webinar seeks to lend clarity towards the debate surrounding CRT and its implications for the challenges facing African Americans and people of African descent globally. The attacks against CRT and antiracist education accompanies the restrictions being placed on the right to vote in 19 states. The attacks on education and public libraries are taking place alongside the escalation of police repression, mass incarceration, class exploitation and imperialist war.

Consequently, the building of a movement to encompass all of these struggles is necessary in the current period. The realization of democratic and antiracist education will be ensured only through the social transformation of the existing system.

Disarming the Black Masses Secured the Failure of Reconstruction


February 24, 2022

 Disarming the Black Masses Secured the Failure of Reconstruction – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

During the period of the enslavement of African people by Britain and the United States, violence was a key instrument in the maintenance of the exploitative and oppressive system.

African people between the 17th and 19th centuries prior to the eruption of the Civil War (1861-1865) were largely prohibited from owning and carrying firearms.

Of course, there were exceptions during the war of separation from Britain during the 1770s and 1780s, when Africans fought on both sides of the conflict over who would control the 13 colonies located in the eastern region of what would become the U.S. Also, the War of 1812, when the British attempted to retake their colonies in North America, Africans participated again in both the U.S. and English military campaigns.

However, within these contexts, the enslaved and free Africans were objectively fighting on behalf of European colonial regimes and not for their own freedom. Although the British and the Americans told the Africans that their service in the war of independence and 1812 would lead to emancipation, slavery and national oppression continued leading up to the beginning of the Civil War.

Approximately 200,000 African men and women served in the army and navy during the war between the states. There was extreme resistance among the ruling class to the enlistment of African soldiers in the Union army. Nonetheless, after the failure of the administration of then President Abraham Lincoln to quell the rebellion during the first year-and-a-half of the war, by late 1862, a decision was made to arm Blacks to fight the Confederacy.

Many African enslaved people had already fled from plantations and cities to take refuge among the Union troops. W.E.B. Du Bois in his pioneering book entitled “Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880), described the movement away from plantations in a chapter entitled “The General Strike.”

However, after the defeat of the Confederacy in April 1865 and the assassination of Lincoln just days after the end of the Civil War, the successor President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee opposed any meaningful Reconstruction as advocated by the Radicals within the Republican Party of the time. Eventually the Reconstruction Act of 1867 provided for the organization of militias which were supportive of the building of a democratic existence in the former antebellum South.

These militias composed of African Americans and some whites were vilified by the Democratic Party press, southern politicians and former slave owners. Eventually, when the federal government withdrew its support for Reconstruction after the elections of 1876, the Black militias were subjected to harsh treatment by the white vigilante groupings such as the Ku Klux Klan and the White Leagues.

In a book published by the white southern-born historian, Otis A. Singletary, in 1957, the hostility towards the armed Black militias empowered to defend the Reconstruction state governments in the South is clearly enunciated. Singletary attributes much of the violence in opposition to Reconstruction to the Radicals and the arming of Black men in militia groups in several southern states including Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, among others.

According to Singletary:

“Governor Brownlow (Tennessee), for instance, expressed his displeasure at both the freedom with which Negro militiamen used their guns and their general attitude toward whites. However, the main deterrent was fear. Haunted by the specter of race war, governors temporized and satisfied themselves with half-measures. In Alabama, numerous applications from ‘colored fellow citizens from Mobile, Selma, and Montgomery’ requesting permission to organize militia companies were turned down by the adjutant general on explicit orders from Governor Lewis. Ames hesitated a long while before finally calling up his Negro troops in Mississippi, and, by his own admission, the delay was prompted by his fear that arming militia would cause that state ‘to drift into a war of races.’”

Two examples of the fear and hatred generated by the arming of African Americans in their own self-defense along with solidifying the policies of Reconstruction, were reflected in the outbreaks of violence in New Orleans, Louisiana during 1874 and again at the turn of the century. A dispute over the outcome of the 1872 elections generated protracted disputes which lasted well into 1874.

On September 14, 1874, an estimated 5,000-armed members of the White Leagues, many of whom being former Confederate soldiers, attacked the Capitol with the aim of overthrowing the Reconstruction state government of Republican Governor William Pitt Kellogg. Initially, the White Leagues outnumbered the New Orleans Metropolitan Police and the Black militiamen, inflicting serious casualties including deaths. The reactionaries held out for three days until the then President Ulysses Grant sent in federal troops to restore order in New Orleans.

An account of the attempted coup against the Reconstruction state government said of the incident:

“At 4:00pm, former Confederate general James Longstreet led a force of Metropolitan Police and mostly Black militia to disperse the White Leaguers. The pitched ‘Battle of Liberty Place’ ensued. Many in the League militia were Confederate veterans and they successfully resisted Longstreet’s outnumbered men. While the White League would secure a temporary victory, the arrival of Federal troops in the following days cut short the coup. While the South had experienced riots, race massacres, and terror raids, the Battle of Liberty Place was a sustained mass armed mobilization of a white supremacist militia intent on wresting power away from the bi-racial Republicans. The fighting took the lives of sixteen White Leaguers, thirteen Metropolitan Police officers, and six bystanders.”

Just two years later the federal troops were withdrawn from New Orleans as a by-product of the historic Hayes-Tillman Compromise of 1876. The remaining decades of the 19th century witnessed the forced removal of African Americans from political offices at the local, state and federal levels. There were the repeals of Reconstruction-era laws mandating the enforcement of due process and equal protection under the law. By 1896, a Louisiana African American, Homer Plessy, sought to challenge the Jim Crow laws of the period as it related to public accommodations. Plessy was ruled against by the U.S. Supreme Court which upheld legalized segregation lasting well into the 1950s and 1960s.

Yet another outbreak of racial violence against African Americans erupted in New Orleans on July 24, 1900. The disturbance began when several white police officers sought to harass and then arrest two African American men, Leonard Pierce and Robert Charles, who were sitting outside a building talking. Pierce submitted himself for arrest while Charles, being armed, resisted the assault by the police. A gun battle ensued and one of the policemen was gunned down.

Charles then fled for his own survival from the police. News of the shooting of a white policeman by an African American spread prompting a manhunt by law-enforcement and racist mobs. Three days of arbitrary arrests, beating and killings continued until the economic consequences of the violence led the New Orleans mayor to deploy 1,000 law-enforcement personnel and volunteers to restore order.

After Charles was discovered on July 27, he continued to resist killing seven police officers and other white vigilantes. Once cornered and captured, the white police shot him over one hundred times. In death his character and motivations were maligned by the white press in New Orleans and across the U.S. Altogether it was said that 50 people died in the violence with the majority being African Americans.

According to reports from the period, Robert Charles had been a proponent of civil rights, self-defense and repatriation to West Africa. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the journalist, women’s rights activist and anti-lynching campaigner, investigated the circumstances surrounding the Louisiana race terror of July 1900. She would publish a pamphlet entitled: “Mob Rule in New Orleans.”

Wells-Barnett said in the pamphlet that:

“Men and women of America, are you proud of this record which the Anglo-Saxon race has made for itself? Your silence seems to say that you are. Your silence encourages a continuance of this sort of horror. Only by earnest, active, united endeavor to arouse public sentiment can we hope to put a stop to these demonstrations of American barbarism.”

Lessons for the 21st Century

In the U.S. today racial and class divisions are becoming more pronounced as the government and wealthy rulers seek to continue their undemocratic and exploitative rule. During the period of the 1950s to the 1970s, numerous tendencies arose in the African American community which upheld the right to self-defense against police terror and vigilante mob violence.

The U.S. government has sought to crush all of these efforts by criminalizing the oppressed and their struggle for liberation. Nevertheless, the potential for a renewed civil war remains as the right-wing neo-fascist movement grows more desperate and emboldened in their stated objectives of maintaining and strengthening white supremacy.

Arming the African American masses in their own defense is a legitimate response to increasing repression. These armed militias must also take on a political character, realizing that the overall system of racism and class exploitation must be eliminated to ensure security for the oppressed and working majority.

Self-defense, Punishment and the Legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett


Self-defense, Punishment and the Legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett – Fighting Words (

February 17, 2022 

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times journalist and Howard University journalism professor, is the architect of the revised and expanded book version of “A New Origin Story: The 1619 Project, published in late 2021.

Hannah-Jones often discusses the influence of 19th and early 20th century journalist, women’s rights organizer, anti-lynching campaigner and public speaker, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), on her initial interests and pursuit of a career as a writer focused on themes related to racial justice in the United States.

Many of the issues which Wells-Barnett was engaged in during her lifetime remain as key elements of the repressive apparatus of state power. Therefore, two chapters in the latest iteration of the 1619 Project examine the questions of self-defense and punishment as they relate to the continuing plight of African Americans living under national oppression and institutional racism in the 21st century.

The notion of self-defense in most cases in the U.S. is far different when it relates to African Americans and whites. Within the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, the Second Amendment has historically, and remains, a code word for the right to bear arms against perceived threats, real or imagined.

Whites, by and large, have been given carte blanche authority to carry and utilize arms to inflict punishment upon African Americans. During the period of enslavement from the 17th to the 19th centuries in North America, laws within both the British colonies and the later U.S. territory, provided a rationale for the use of maximum force against enslaved and free Africans who were considered a threat to the racist social order.

Severe beatings, sexual assault and outright murder were all allowed when the interests of white landowners and slave masters were thought to be under attack. There are numerous historical examples of African resistance to bondage in North America being routinely met by mass executions of purported suspects absent any semblance of due process.

In fact, the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857 articulated clearly the belief that African people were less than human beings. The laws which were enacted through the Constitution, said Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, did not apply to people of African descent.

The Right to Self-Defense Did Not Apply to African People

The chapter entitled “Self-Defense” in the 1619 Project was authored by Emory University historian Carol Anderson. In emphasizing the racial character of the legal system originating during the colonial and antebellum periods, it delineates clear lines between the right to self-defense for whites as opposed to people of African descent.

Anderson notes that,

“Though it did not explicitly say so, the Second Amendment was motivated in large part by a need for the new federal government to assure white people in the South that they would be able to defend themselves against Black people. This was codified in a number of state laws in the antebellum period. These were supported by a series of court decisions, such as an 1843 case in Maryland that described free Black people as a ‘dangerous population’ that could not have access to guns even to defend their religious gatherings from attack. The 1846 Nunn decision by the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that a law curtailing the open carrying of guns for white people violated the Second Amendment’s ‘natural right of self-defense’ but kept in place an 1833 law banning free Black people from carrying any type of gun whatsoever.” (pp. 251-252)

In 1862 during the Civil War, when the Union was threatened with defeat by the armed forces of the Confederate State of America, African people were enlisted as soldiers into the military forces by then President Abraham Lincoln. Nearly 200,000 African men and some women participated in the fighting that defeated the Confederacy in 1865. Yet in the aftermath of the Civil War, efforts were undertaken to disarm the Black soldiers. In Memphis, a clash over disarming African American soldiers in 1866 led to the eruption of violent racist attacks against the Black communities which lasted for several days.

Although the freedom of African Americans was won in armed struggle and blood during the War, the social status of Black people remained an open question. Even Lincoln during previous years had advocated the forced immigration of Africans to other countries such as Haiti, an independent Black republic won in a twelve-year revolution against France, or in Liberia, where the American Colonization Society had aided in the relocation of emancipated Africans where an ostensibly independent state was formed in 1847.

After the assassination of Lincoln in April 1865, just days following the surrender of the Confederate army, presidential successor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee granted amnesty to many of the Confederate leaders. These same former slave owners and treasonous soldiers against the U.S., retook positions in state governments where they enacted racially restrictive laws known as the Black Codes.

The failure of Reconstruction after the Compromise of 1876, can at least in part, be attributed to the disarming of African American soldiers and others who served in the war to defeat the insurrection by the slavocracy. With withdrawal of federal troops from the South in 1877, the remaining decades of the 19th century were characterized by the reimposition of a system of exploitation and oppression as severe if not worse than the colonial and antebellum periods of enslavement.

Punishment and the Continuation of National Oppression

The chapter in the 1619 Project on punishment was written by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer, professor and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) which works to defend people wrongfully convicted of crimes which result in long prison terms and capital punishment.

Stevenson points out that,

“The Thirteenth Amendment is credited with ending slavery, but it stopped short of that. It made an exception for those convicted of crimes: ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.’… The existing racial hierarchy was sustained by myths about Black criminality, which led many white people to insist that only the threat of extreme and brutal punishment could preserve order where Black people were concerned. After emancipation, Black people, once seen as less than fully human ‘slaves’, were now seen as less than fully human ‘criminals.’” (p. 279)

This same author emphasizes the growth in the prison population in the U.S. since the 1970s, when less than 350,000 people were incarcerated. Over the last forty years since the early 1980s, the number of people imprisoned has grown exponentially with 2.3 million locked up in prisons and jails. There are another 4.5 million under some form of judicial and law-enforcement supervision through probation, parole and other means.

Disproportionately those entrapped in the criminal justice system are African Americans and people of Latin American descent. Numerous federal and state laws require maximum sentencing for crimes which are often associated with poverty, drug addiction and mental illness. The death penalty is still utilized in some states where the victims of this cruel and unusual punishment are Black, Brown and impoverished.

Consequently, the system of law-enforcement and imprisonment serves the interest of the rulers within a racist capitalist society. Only the complete transformation of the U.S. system of governance can provide relief to entire groups of people seeking equal justice.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: A Legacy Remembered

Born during the Civil War (1862) in Holly Springs, Mississippi as an enslaved person, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was educated as a teacher at what became known as Rust College and eventually settled in Memphis, Tennessee. She taught for several years in the Shelby County school system where she later became highly critical of the unequal distribution of resources solely based upon a racial hierarchy. Due to her outspoken advocacy for the rights of African Americans, she was removed as a teacher within the segregated school system.

Becoming a journalist and later publisher of the African American newspaper Free Speech in Memphis, Wells-Barnett exposed institutional racism and mob violence against Black people. A triple lynching of three African American men took place in 1892. In the subsequent response, her newspaper offices were destroyed in Memphis by a court-sanctioned mob forcing Wells-Barnett to relocate to Chicago, where she continued to work in the founding of the African American women’s club movement and initiated an international campaign against lynching.

Wells-Barnett intervened in numerous struggles including the fight for a national amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for women; the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909; and the effort to win justice for African American soldiers framed during World War I at Camp Logan in Texas for defending themselves against a white racist mob; among many other movements. (

Consequently, it is not surprising that her influence continues well into the 21st century. The 1619 Project led by Hannah-Jones is a tribute to the actual legacy of Wells-Barnett. A renewed interest in her contributions remains very much in evidence in 2022.

The right to self-defense, freedom from unjust punishment and the total liberation from racial capitalism guides the mass mobilizations against the police and vigilante executions of African Americans and other oppressed peoples. Understanding this important history serves to provide the ideological and political underpinning for the building of organizations that can ensure the eventual end to the system of economic exploitation and institutional racial oppression.

African Union Summit Addresses Continental and Global Issues


February 12, 2022 

African Union Summit Addresses Continental and Global Issues – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of the Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia welcomed presidents, ministers and other delegates to the first African Union (AU) Summit held since the advent of COVID-19 in 2020.

This gathering was held under the theme of “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of the Human, Social and Economic Development”.

During the course of the summit held on February 5-6, a change of leadership took place as the chairperson serves only a one-year term of office. President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal assumed control of the AU from H.E. Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who ended his term as the Chairperson of the African Union for 2021. The transition ceremony occurred as part of the official opening of the 35th AU Summit of Heads of State and Government, in the presence of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC), H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, H.E Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, representatives of the United Nations, the Economic Commission for Africa, dignitaries and invited guests as well as the AU staff.

The AU headquarters has been located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since the inception of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU, in May 1963. The formation of the OAU in 1963 came just three years after the so-called “Year of Africa” during 1960 when 18 former colonies gained their independence. Prior to 1960, several African territories such as the Gold Coast, now Ghana, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco had already gained their freedom from colonial rule. Liberia was formed by emancipated Africans from the United States with the assistance of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1847, while Ethiopia, had never been formally colonized although the country was occupied between 1936-1941 by the Italian fascist regime.

In 2002, two decades ago, the OAU was transformed into the AU, where the organizational charter was revised to adopt strengthened principles and guidelines as it relates to the overall objective of enhancing unity through economic, cultural and military cooperation. In recent years, an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was formed in Rwanda and headquartered in Ghana as more states join the initiative to integrate national planning.

Contemporary Questions Facing the AU

Since the early months of the pandemic two years ago, AU member-states have adopted various means of curbing the public health disaster which has compounded the existing social problems related to underdevelopment stemming from the international system of neo-colonialism.

Initially there was the difficulty in securing effective coronavirus tests and later after it was broadly acknowledged that the pandemic was spreading rapidly across Africa, the energy was rapidly shifted to the acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC), an affiliate of the AU based in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has taken on a leading role in educating the African people, the international community and the media on the status of the pandemic, the rollout of the vaccination programs and the already operational production facilities manufacturing vaccines in Africa for continental and foreign distribution.

In the opening report AU Commission Chair Faki Moussa Mahamat commented extensively on the security crisis on the continent. There have been a rash of military coups that have exposed the lack of effectiveness of regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in light of the seizure of power by army officers under the guise of fighting terrorism.

In West Africa, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Chad and Niger have either had coups or attempted usurpation of state power by the military. These defense forces elements have all been shown to enjoy close ties with the Pentagon and the French foreign services. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has thousands of troops occupying permanent and temporary bases from Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to Mali in West Africa. Annual joint military exercises involving Pentagon, French and allied national defense forces have not enhanced the security status of the affected states. To further illustrate the threat of instability, DRC President Tshisekedi was compelled to leave the AU Summit before its conclusion due to the arrest of a leading official inside his government on suspicions of a plot to undermine the authority of the state.

The reality is that the increasing presence of western imperialist military and intelligence agencies has been positively correlated with the worsening security crisis in African states. A coup in the Republic of Sudan in April 2019 has been utilized by Washington and the state of Israel to further penetrate and manipulate the domestic and foreign policy imperatives of the interim regime. Since the masses appear to want immediate democratic rule, the imperialists realize that the realization of self-determination for the people of Sudan could prove disadvantageous for Washington and its allies.

In reference to the character of the discussions at the AU Summit, the North Africa Post reports from the 35th Ordinary Summit that:

“Addressing the session, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed concern over the security situation in the African continent. ‘The security situation of the continent today is deeply marked by terrorism and the dangerous resurgence of unconstitutional changes of governments,’ Mahamat said.

“Chairperson of the pan-African bloc said terrorism and violent extremism was Africa’s security challenge last year with international terror links are embedded in east, west, and southern Africa. ‘The security situation on the continent now calls for a real new approach which should question our peace and security architecture and its correlation with the new destabilizing factors in Africa,’ Mahamat said.”

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the AU Summit was the challenge by South Africa and Algeria to the unilateral decision made during 2021 by Commission Chair Mahamat to grant Israel observer status within the continental organization. Historically the progressive and anti-imperialist forces in Africa have demonstrated unconditional solidarity with Palestine along with other national liberation movements fighting colonialism. To grant Tel Aviv observer status absent broad consultations within the organization raises questions about the loyalty and commitment to the most progressive legacy within the OAU-AU tradition.

Mahamat in a lengthy memorandum explaining his rationale for the decision to grant such a concession to the apartheid Israeli state, attempted to utilize the already existing diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and various African states to justify further acquiescence to Washington’s foreign policy in West Asia and North Africa by the continental organization. The Camp David Accord signed in 1978 between Egypt and Israel has not led to the liberation of Palestine. This was the position articulated by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority who spoke at the AU Summit. The people of Gaza and the West Bank died in large numbers during 2021 due to the bombing by the Israel Air Force (IAF) and the security apparatus utilizing live ammunition against nonviolent demonstrators in Jerusalem and other areas of occupied Palestine. These attacks on the oppressed Palestinians are facilitated by U.S. weapons, intelligence technology and diplomatic cover.

A report published by Al Jazeera on Shtayyeh’s speech, emphasized:

“’Israel should never be rewarded for its violation and for the apartheid regime it does impose on the Palestinian people,‘ he said. ‘Your excellencies, I’m sorry to report to you that the situation of the Palestinian people has only grown more precarious. The decision to grant Israel an observer status is a reward that [Tel Aviv] does not deserve, and we call for this decision to be withdrawn.’”

By the second day of the AU Summit, it was announced that the debate on Palestine would be suspended and relegated to a special committee to be discussed at a later date. Mahamat suggested that the Palestinian question should not divide the AU. Nonetheless, there is nothing more important in the present period than the solidarity of the African people with the Palestinians in their struggle against colonialism and for an independent sovereign state.

Pan-Africanism Cannot Accommodate Apartheid and Neo-colonialism

These contradictions within the AU deliberations must be resolved in order for the majority of African workers, farmers, women and youth to be adequately represented in international bodies. Upholding the right to self-determination of oppressed peoples inside and outside of Africa would considerably lend moral authority to regional organizations which have not been readily effective in resolving internal political crises stemming from the continuing dependency of the 1.3 billion Africans to the world capitalist system.

Today in states where military coups have occurred, the people are rapidly turning against the former colonial and current neo-colonial power blocs within North America, Britain and the European Union (EU). In Mali, the coup government has expelled the French ambassador while people have gone into the streets in the thousands to celebrate the erosion of the legitimacy of Paris.

In both Burkina Faso and Mali, people raised the Russian flag alongside their national symbols as a means of demonstrating their exasperation with France. However, to remove French and U.S. military penetration of African states, the masses must be organized and mobilized independently of imperialist-backed apparatuses in order to exercise genuine liberation and sovereignty.

African Enslavement and the Rise of Capitalism in North America and Beyond


February 5, 2022 

By Abayomi Azikiwe

New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones has continued to make an impact with the revised publication of “The 1619 Project” as an extension of the original work which coincided with the 400th anniversary of the enslavement of African people in the British colony of Virginia.

The book includes historical essays along with poetry and photographs which explore the various social aspects of African American existence for more than four centuries.

One of the most interesting chapters is entitled “Capitalism” (pp. 166-185) written by Princeton University sociologist Matthew Desmond. This contribution to the book illustrates clearly why the teaching of the actual social history of the United States has become a battleground between the right-wing, liberals and progressive political forces.

Desmond explains how the political institutions of the U.S. enshrined within the Constitution of 1789 were designed to accommodate the Atlantic Slave Trade, involuntary servitude and the expansion of European rule throughout the country. This alliance between the northeast colonies and the southeastern ones was indispensable in consolidating a nation-state to encompass all thirteen territories. At the time of the war of separation from Britain, slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies.

During the early years of the post-British empire period, several colonies in the northeast such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire had become even less reliant on enslaved labor and outlawed the practice. However, within other soon to be states such as Virginia, Carolina and Georgia, slavery as an economic system was expanding which prompted the ruling classes in these areas to vehemently defend its claim to disproportionate representation within the legislative branch of government.

The creation of two branches of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives sealed the undemocratic character of the institution. The upper house, the Senate, irrespective of population, each state sends two people to Washington. Legislation requires the approval of both houses of the legislative branch. As in the last year, important bills guaranteeing voting rights, housing, social spending involving child tax credits and assistance to public education cannot pass the current Congress due to the obstinance of a section of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Desmond notes in this discussion that:

“What pro-slavery advocates feared most was democracy itself: that Northern majorities would use the power of the federal government to dismantle slavery. This fear shaped our political institutions in ways still felt today. To protect slavery, Southerners fought for and won several provisions that all but ensured that majoritarian rule over the South would be impossible…. Congress would be divided into two houses, a lower house based on population—with each enslaved Black person counting as three-fifths of a citizen—and an upper house that gave all states an equal number of votes.” (Desmond, p. 168)

By adopting the three-fifth clause in the Constitution, the South was given disproportionate representation based upon African enslavement. The pro-slavery South maintained control of the Congress and White House until the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Even today in the 21st century, Desmond emphasizes that “the fifteen states where slavery remained as of 1861 still hold the power to block a constitutional amendment supported by the other thirty-five.” (Desmond, p. 169)

The author continues the chapter by tracing the origins of the U.S. concepts of private property, business management and race relations back to the system of slavery. Desmond says that “the uncompromising pursuit of measurement and scientific accounting displayed in slave-labor camps predates industrialism…. The cotton plantation was America’s first big business, and the overseer was the nation’s first corporate Big Brother.” (Desmond, p. 180)

It was the southern cotton producing plantations which supplied the textile mills of the northern U.S. and industrial England. As a result of the rapid growth in factories during the mid-decades of the 19th century, new sectors arose to dominance such as shipping, banking, international commerce and real estate.

Connecting African Enslavement to the Rise and Growth of Capitalism

Of course, Desmond in his writings on capitalism for the 1619 Project continues the work of scholars such as Eric Williams, who was born in Trinidad and studied history in England and the U.S. His pioneering work entitled “Capitalism and Slavery”, published in 1944, focused on the link between the rapid industrialization of Britain and the expansion of the exploitation of enslaved African labor.

Williams documents the close connection between the supply of U.S.-produced cotton to the enrichment of British commerce. In the chapter entitled “British Capitalism, 1783-1833, Williams says that:

“The cotton industry was the capitalist industry par excellence. A calculation in 1835 gave an average employment figure of 175 for all cotton mills, 125 for silk, 93 for linen, 44 for wool. The size of the average cotton mill was something unprecedented in British economic history…. In 1835 there were 116,800 power looms in all of Great Britain, all but six per cent in the cotton industry.” (Williams, p. 127-128)

Eventually the contradictions between the expansion of slavery and capitalism forced one system to turn against the other. As Williams said in Capitalism and Slavery in the chapter on “The New Industrial Order”, “The very vested interests which had been built up by the slave system now turned and destroyed that system.” (Williams, p. 136)

A series of rebellions by the enslaved and the Civil War in the U.S. led to the demise of the system of involuntary servitude. However, the dominance of world capitalism has intensified the economic exploitation of a global proletariat.

The Struggle Against Imperialism Remains Paramount in the 21st Century

The demand for mineral resources, trade routes, agricultural commodities, cheap labor and energy continues to fuel imperialism and all its manifestations. Despite the decline of socialism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union from the late 1980s to the 1990s, the ascendancy of the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Cuba, the national liberation movements and independent states in Asia, Africa and Latin America, combined with the shift leftward by several countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, the U.S., Britain and the European Union (EU) are threatened by their waning political and military power.

The withdrawal of the U.S. from Afghanistan during 2021, has created an image of Washington as lacking resolve in its current diplomatic and military objectives. There are constant reports within the corporate media about the need to eradicate crime in the cities along the putative fight against terrorism abroad.

Aerial targeted assassinations of ISIS leaders in northern Syria and in other geo-political regions cannot resolve any of the burgeoning social problems in the U.S. African Americans were instrumental in the electoral defeat of the previous administration of President Donald J. Trump, yet there is widespread discontent over the failure of the current administration of President Joe Biden to deliver on any of the policy imperatives of Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities and oppressed nations residing in the U.S.

Without the mobilization of the progressive electoral constituencies in the U.S. for the upcoming 2022 midterms and 2024 national elections, there is a strong possibility that current political impasse within the Congress will remain. However, the unprecedented reforms instituted since the post-World War II era were often won through mass movements and labor action.

The persistent economic crises brought about by the unresolved issues within the social and economic fabric of the U.S. have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. Many of the same issues which arose during the late 18th century surrounding the drafting of the Constitution remain today. The failure of the Biden administration and Congress to reaffirm the voting rights and economic security of African Americans and the working class as a whole, are reminiscent of the reversals seen during the post-Reconstruction years and the decades after the gains of the 1950s through the 1970s.

The ongoing attacks on the educational system by the right-wing conservative tendencies are a result of the power struggles that continue in the U.S. African Americans have a centuries-long history of resistance to racism and exploitation and will continue to wage a protracted struggle to end oppression and injustice. 

Un-ban Boys Involved in Mall Fight


Un-ban boys involved in mall fight – Fighting Words (

February 28, 2022 

People’s Organization for Progress press conference at the Bridgewater Police Station, | Photo: Terri Kay Terri Kay.

By People’s Organization for Progress

PO BOX 22505

NEWARK, NJ 07101

FEBRUARY 25, 2022



The People’s Organization For Progress (POP) calls upon the Bridgewater Commons mall to lift the ban against two boys involved in a fight that recently took place there which has drawn national attention.

In the aftermath of the fight a spokesperson for the mall stated that both boys, Z’Kye and Joseph, were banned from the mall.

At its meeting last night the organization discussed the ban and decided it would publicly call upon the mall to lift the ban on both boys.

“We condemn the decision made by the Bridgewater Commons mall to ban the boys. It was wrong and we call upon the mall to lift the ban,” stated Lawrence Hamm, Chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress.

“We believe this decision by the mall was premature and ill conceived,” Hamm stated.

“The management of the mall should have at least waited until until the investigation of the Attorney General was complete and his findings were released before deciding whether or not to ban them,” Hamm said.

“Z’Kye was the victim of racially disparate treatment by the police. He was the victim of racial profiling and police brutality. Now he is doubly punished by being banned from the mall,” he said.

“He is a banned person. This sounds like South Africa when it was under the racist system of apartheid, and the American South under Jim Crow,” he said.

Hamm said this decision not only has a detrimental impact on the boys. It demonstrates an insensitivity towards the Black community, people of color, and people of conscience of all races who want justice for Z’Kye.

“Perhaps shoppers at the mall should think seriously about whether or not to spend their spend their money at a mall that exhibits such insensitivity. Perhaps they should consider spending their money elsewhere,” he said.

“During the Civil Rights Movement we boycotted businesses that were insensitive to the needs of our community,” he said.

The incident has drawn national attention because of the way they police handled the incident and their disparate treatment of the boys.

The younger Black teen was immediately tackled, forced face down, and handcuffed with both police officers putting their knees on his back. The light skinned older teen was placed on a couch and not handcuffed.

POP believes this to be a clear case of racial profiling and police brutality. The group called a press conference last Saturday to denounce the actions of the police. Representatives of more than twenty other organizations made statements condemning the police.

POP has additional demands besides lifting the ban. “We demands that the officers should be fired and charged for any  wrong doing, their names should be released publicly, their disciplinary records released, and their body cam videos should be released to the public,” Hamm said.

In addition, he said the town of Bridgewater should do a racial bias audit of all aspects of its policing and present a plan as to how it is going to root out racially biased and discriminatory practices and policies in the police department.

Also, POP demands that Bridgewater establish a police review board with subpoena powers, require racial bias testing and training, require de-escalation training, and that the mayor should issue an apology to Z’Kye, his family, and the Black community.

The group is meeting via Zoom tonight with area residents, activists, volunteers, and concerned citizens to plan future actions related to this issue.

Canadian Truckers’ “Convoy of Hate”

February 15, 2022 

Canadian Truckers’ “Convoy of Hate” – Fighting Words (

Truckers in Canada not fighting for the working class. | Photo: Andrew Meade/ The Hill Times

By Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

This statement is reprinted from the website of the Communist Party of Canada. The original title was “‘Freedom Convoy’: a dangerous movement for the working class, but useful for the ruling class.”

The Communist Party of Canada views the “Freedom Convoy” as a public expression of the increasingly organized and assertive far right. The clear links between the organizers of the convoy and far-right networks indicate that this is not a spontaneous working-class demonstration. On the contrary, it is part of a global phenomenon: the rise and mainstreaming of the far right, which is demonstrated by the strong support (ideologically and financially) from the US far right and circles close to Donald Trump and the Jan. 6th insurrection. The convoy is filled with Nazi and Confederated flags, election signs for Bernier and all sorts of far-right symbols. The $10 million raised through Go Fund Me for this convoy also showcases that this was planned by ultra-right networks. It is certainly not the meagre earnings of the working class that is funding this effort.

We understand the frustrations of a growing part of the population. They are justified. Since the beginning of the pandemic, both federal and provincial governments have been busy ensuring that corporate interests are placed firmly ahead of public health. The deaths we mourn from this deadly pandemic are victims of decades of privatization of our public health system. Emergency financial aid programs, whether it be the emergency wage subsidy or the CERB/CRB, have not served to raise the standard of living of working people, but only to barely keep 7 million people afloat. Over 880 000 people were cast adrift last October after CRB was ended. These programs have also benefited big business, big retailers, banks and lending institutions, and real estate speculators. After spending most of the CERB/CRB payments for groceries at Metro, Sobeys or Loblaws (whose CEO’s wealth rose by $4.5 billion after the first year of the pandemic), after paying rent to big real estate speculators such as Timbercreek, after paying off interest on credit cards, not much of the meagre $500 per week was left for people to make ends meet. Just as dangerously, while living and working conditions are deteriorating for the working majority, the government and the political parties in the pay of big business have agreed to increase military spending.

However, these self-proclaimed “spokesmen of the people” refuse to address these questions. They substitute a populist and anti-scientific discourse in order to funnel the anger of the working people towards other workers, particularly immigrants, women, Black and Indigenous People, Muslims, healthcare workers (who’ve been attacked), teachers and other public organizations. Racism, misogyny, violence and hate speech are commonplace in this convoy, which seeks only to divide workers and instill the idea that the enemy is not the bosses, but working people themselves.

This is far from a “freedom” convoy. This is a convoy of hate which has threatened and attacked the civilian populations in Ottawa and everywhere it has passed through.

They don’t say a word about the central issue of defending and expanding our public services, especially our public health care system; about raising wages and controlling the prices of basic necessities; not a word about nationalizing the pharmaceutical industry to stop Big Pharma’s profiteering (which is contributing to the proliferation of variants), about military spending and the danger of war to guarantee corporate profits. Far from attacking the system, they attack the workers struggling to deliver essential services that will save lives, despite systemic underfunding, privatization, and more.

Communists recognize the interests behind this demonstration very well: big business and the far-right (white supremacists, fascists, fundamentalists, the People’s Party, etc.) We know what it means when the far right organizes itself and tries to take root among the unemployed, the unorganized and the bankrupt. We also know that it will take mass political action by the labour and people’s movements to force Parliament to ​legislate hate groups as criminal organizations, to enact and enforce hate speech laws, and to defeat the rise of the ultra-right.

This is why we call on the most conscious workers, the trade union movement, but also on all progressive and democratic forces to block these reactionaries by unmasking them, and to oppose them by fighting for a a genuine people’s recovery that includes:

A $23 minimum wage and general wage increases, improved working conditions including decent pensions and retirement at 60, stable job creation especially in the manufacturing and value-added industry as well as expanded labour rights;

EI* reform that is non-contributory and accessible to all workers, including first-time job seekers, covering 90% of previous income and that is available for the whole duration of unemployment;

Price controls and price roll-backs on food, fuel, rents and housing;

Reverse privatization and make a massive public investment in healthcare and social services;

Expand Medicare to include long-term care, dental, vision, drugs, and mental health care;

Create a universal, quality, public childcare system;

Public ownership and democratic control of banks, insurance companies, energy and natural resources, and the pharmaceutical industry;

Tax the corporations and the rich; tax relief for working people and the unemployed;

Strict civilian control over the police, the expansion and enforcement of anti-hate laws, and the designation of hate groups as criminal organisations;

Reduce the military budget by 75%.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Aafia Siddiqui, Political Prisoner

February 5, 2022 

Aafia Siddiqui, Political Prisoner – Fighting Words (

Political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui. | Photo: YouTube

By Linda Ford, CounterPunch magazine

The media coverage of the hostage-taking at a synagogue in Texas has been predictably hysterical, Islamophobic and inaccurate about Aafia Siddiqui, the apparent political cause of the hostage-taker Malik Faisad Akram.  According to his family in England he has “mental health issues.”  He was “said to have” weapons and explosives.  He was “said to have” threatened the four hostages but everyone seems to agree no one was harmed. He wanted Siddiqui free from the near-by maximum security Carswell Prison; he wanted to speak to her.   Under heavy criticism the FBI has said that his hostage-taking had nothing to do with their being Jews, “not his issue.”  But to the press, Siddiqui “has a history of anti-semitism,” hence the universal media criticism. To the police, FBI, government, killing Akram represented a successful outcome to the crisis.  Siddiqui’s lawyer and family distanced themselves from Akram’s actions, but to say they remain completely frustrated by their thwarted attempts to free a very ill, frail, and innocent Aafia Siddiqui, after repeated pleas to the US government and unfulfilled promises by the Pakistani government, would be to vastly understate the case.

Pakistani-born Boston graduate student Aafia Siddiqui’s crime was to be caught in America’s post 9/11 anti-Muslim hysteria.  She had come to America in 1990 to study, earning a biology degree and then a Ph.D in neuroscience from MIT.  Her colleagues called her quiet and religious (but not a fundamentalist).  Her marriage to Mohammed Amjad Khan ended in divorce when he proved to be violent and more fundamentalist than Siddiqui.  She was mistakenly accused of anti-American Muslim activism initially (partially because of mistaken identity), but the accusations ballooned. In the early War On Terror days, “associations” became much more significant and damning.  Siddiqui ended up on Attorney General John Ashcroft’s “Watchlist.” As the Big Lies of government grew, soon the New York Post was calling her “Lady Al Queda.”

Once the government labeled her a “terrorist,” she had no chance of escaping the Empire’s punishment. When her true story began to emerge, it was necessary to take action.  While visiting in Pakistan, helped by Pakistani American operatives, she was “disappeared.”  Her youngest child was killed when she was taken, and her other two children imprisoned separately for years. She was beaten, raped, tortured and kept in solitary in black site prisons of the American Empire, particularly in Afghanistan. Other prisoners have testified that they saw her at Bagram, a prison from which the Obama administration prevented prisoners’ court appearances because they might talk about the conditions of their imprisonment. Eventually Aafia Siddiqui would be set up for final punishment and disposal.

From my book Women Politicals in America:

At the trial—in January 2010—the soldiers said that Aafia Siddiqui, accused would-be assassin and presumed Al Qaeda terrorist, did, in fact, get hold of an unsecured M-4 automatic rifle and open fire on US soldiers and FBI agents in Ghazni, Afghanistan.  The day before, she had been picked up by local policemen as a “possible suicide bomber” because she had been “loitering” in a public square with a young boy [whose identity is not clear].  She carried instructions to create biological weapons, descriptions of US “military assets,” numerous jars containing “chemical substances,” and documents containing words like “Empire State Building” and “Brooklyn Bridge.”  The soldiers said that the day after her discovery and arrest, an American army captain, a warrant officer, two army interpreters and two FBI agents came to question Siddiqui at Ghazni police headquarters.  The soldiers said that none of those men were “aware that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind [a] curtain.”  Oddly, no one looked behind it.  And also oddly, the American warrant officer placed his M-4 rifle next to the curtain.  What happened next, said the soldiers, was that Siddiqui pulled the rifle to her, unlatched the safety, pointed the gun  at the captain, and while one of the interpreters grabbed for the gun, Siddiqui fired the gun twice.  The soldiers agreed she had said, “Get the fuck out of here!”  She hit no one.

The soldiers said the interpreter knocked her to the ground and the warrant officer fired “approximately two rounds” into Siddiqui’s stomach.  She collapsed, unconscious.  FBI special Agent Eric Negron testified at her trial that he saw the rifle raised (although he could not see her face behind the curtain).  Negron said that after she was shot he helped restrain the struggling Siddiqui.  “I had to strike her several times with a closed fist across the face.”  Finally she “either fainted or faked that she had fainted” and was handcuffed.  The soldiers had successfully restrained the suspected terrorist Siddiqui.  Although her prints were not on the rifle, the holes in the police station wall put there by the rifle Siddiqui allegedly fired were proved to have been there before the July 2008 incident, and since, if she had tried to kill the soldiers, she missed and was herself grievously shot in the abdomen, her sentence seemed disproportionate.  Aafia Siddiqui was given 86 years in prison.  She had been labeled a terrorist enemy of the Empire and its soldiers, and her case was disposed of accordingly.

Siddiqui had been extradited for the offense of attempting to kill soldiers, but she was tried, completely illegally, as a notorious female terrorist. She was not allowed to speak of her torture or the killing of her baby.  The trial—then as now—of a “terrorist, as with Julian Assange, allows for only the government/prosecutorial side.  The defendant cannot win.  Siddiqui was also in very bad shape, physically and mentally during her trial, with a badly dressed stomach wound that the judge had to intervene to have treated.  She was forced to undergo strip searches every day and was forced to testify.  When she mentioned being in a secret prison, with her children tortured in front of her, the testimony was stricken from the record.  She also, and this is arguably something the hostage-taker Malik Faisad Akram was aware of, did not want “Zionists” chosen as jurors and said her guilty verdict came from Israel, not America.  Some said she was irrational which was entirely possible, but with the anti-Muslim elements of her trial, perhaps not so irrational.

She has been in prison since 2010 and has, according to her family, suffered unjust punishments within the prison, and her medical problems are not treated.  For much of the last 11 years, she has also not been able to communicate with her family.  According to the Free Aafia website, maintained by her family and friends, she was attacked last July and suffered serious injuries.  After a number of years, she and her family are still waiting for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to follow through on promises to help free her from the Empire’s prison.  For the press to continue to call her a hardened terrorist and to overlook the treatment, the torture she has endured at American hands, echoes the ignorant liberal sentiment that Afghanistan is so much worse off without the American government there to torture and kill.  I would like to end this with a 2012 statement from Moazzam Begg, prisoner at US Air Force Base,  Bagram, Afghanistan:

Of all the abuses [prisoner Abu Yahya al-Libi] describes in his account, the presence of a woman and her humiliation and degradation were the most inflammatory to all the prisoners [at Bagram]—they would never forget it.  He describes how she was regularly stripped naked and manhandled by guards, and how she used to scream incessantly in isolation for two years.  He said prisoners protested her treatment, going on hunger strike, feeling ashamed they could do nothing to help.  He described her in detail:  a Pakistani mother—torn away from her children—in her mid-thirties, who had begun to lose her mind.  Her number, he said, was 650.

Linda Ford is a retired history professor living in Madison, NY. She is the author of Women Politicals: From Mother Jones to Lynne Stewart and Iron-Jawed Angels: The Suffrage Militancy of the National Woman’s Party.

Reprinted with permission from CounterPunch magazine: