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Announcement :: Human Rights : Race
InPDUM exposes Philadelphia’s plot to repress African youth resistance
13 Jan 2011
Forward to the National Convention!
Prepare to Defend the JOMO 3!
On Monday, February 21, 2011—the third day of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s (InPDUM) National Convention—a special African Youth Resistance Conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA.
At this Youth Conference, InPDUM will officially unleash the Junta of Militant Organizations (JOMO), the mass youth wing of the Uhuru Movement.
InPDUM anticipates poor and oppressed young African workers to attend and participate at the Convention from throughout North America, including St Petersburg, FL, Toronto, Canada and Philadelphia.
Attendance is especially encouraged among those trapped in the colonial court and prison system.
It is amongst this sector of our youth that we find the most dynamic and resistant forces, whose acts of individual and unorganized resistance have been defined by white power as “acts of crime.”
Through building JOMO, InPDUM aims to unite and organize young African workers for the liberation of our entire people.
As all revolutionary organizations within the Uhuru Movement that have been built in the past, JOMO and its founding conference are being built in the heat of struggle.
The following is a chapter in the story of that struggle.
The Philadelphia branch of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and its mass organization the Junta of Militant Organization (JOMO) will be taking on a struggle to defend three young African workers who were recently framed up and arrested by the infamous Philadelphia police department as part of its general campaign to lock up the masses of young Africans in the city under the guise of the war on the “flashmobs.”
On December 14, the police arrested Tyshawn Hicks (16), Kareem Moore (17) and four other youth, claiming they had in their possession a video, which shows these brothers committing several “crimes,” including aggravated assault and theft.
The assault charges stem from an altercation that occurred between at least two young African women in downtown Philadelphia on November 17, 2010.
According to the faculty members who saw much of the tape, it only shows two youth fighting.
The others, who the police claim include Tyshawn and Kareem, were just standing there watching. So where was the assault?
While Tyshawn and Kareem were on lock down in two different youth jails, another JOMO supporter, Raysairone Johnson (17) was arrested for assault charges, stemming from events that occurred the same date on November 17.
In the process of trying to force a confession out of each of these brothers, the police have violated the law, which protects minors from any form of interrogation or forced confession without a parent or lawyer present.
They interrogated both Tyshawn and Raysairone without a lawyer or guardian present.
In addition, Raysairone was initially locked down in Philadelphia’s adult jail, even though he is a minor. Police claim this was done because they had the wrong name and birthdate for Raysairone.
His mother Carmella had to run all over town on the bus trying to get the paperwork to prove that her son doesn’t belong in an adult jail!
In addition to their legal right to a lawyer and guardian’s presence during interrogation, the state has also violated their constitutional right that protects them from double jeopardy.
Under US law, no one should be tried and convicted for the same crime twice.
The state, however, has used the accusation that this is Raysairone and Tyshawn’s second assault charge as a means to lock them up, claiming that they violated their “probation.”
As a result of this extra-legal tactic both Tyshawn and Raysairone have been placed back in prison at St. Gabe’s and the Youth Study Center.
We demand the right to resolve contradictions on our own terms!
Despite whatever errors they made in the past, imperialism is dead wrong for locking these brothers up.
Moreover, their participation in the Uhuru Movement prior to their arrests was evidence of their effort to transform themselves into freedom fighters – recognizing that their enemy is not other poor and oppressed African workers, their enemy is US imperialism.
Similar to what is being done with the JOMO 3, the fundamental task of InPDUM and JOMO is to lead the people, especially the youth, out of confusion and into revolution.
This means we must struggle, with their participation, against all anti-social behavior that upsets the community and enables the state to divide us.
This includes horizontal violence, like the fight caught on video that occurred between two Africans. Activity like this divides our community and exposes us to the state.
The tape, while it does not prove these 3 brothers did anything, gave the police the justification to lock somebody up.
Further, the tape, in that it displayed clearly anti-social behavior (i.e. fighting) amongst at least two young Africans, prevented the community as a whole from being able to protest the police’s efforts to lock somebody, anybody up.
Notwithstanding this, these three brothers are political prisoners, as are the masses of African men, women and children who are in prison.
The only difference between the masses and political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal and Sundiata Acoli is that they were locked for their conscious participation in organized resistance.
Even though the masses are not conscious of their reasons for resisting colonial law and government, they are still political prisoners.
For this reason we call Tyshawn, Kareem and Raysairone the JOMO 3.
We have chosen this name because even as these young brothers were being hunted down by lynch mob police forces, they were coming closer to the Uhuru Movement and JOMO.
Literally, the day before Tyshawn and Kareem were arrested they were doing outreach on the subway with JOMO organizers!
The police snatched away from the movement before we could build a strong enough capacity to prevent them doing so. But we are coming to get them!
“The Law” is defined by those in power and used to justify repression of the powerless
Indeed, the “crimes” that the JOMO 3 are being charged with are responses to the oppression and poverty Africans suffer as a whole.
In North Philly, where these 3 brothers come from, Africans suffer with the city’s highest rate of police murder and the country’s highest imprisonment rate.
Seventy-five percent of North Philly lives in deep poverty, all as a result of the government’s public policy of police containment, which deprives the people of any meaningful form of economic development. For African youth the situation is even bleaker:
* Philadelphia, a City where half of the population is African, has the second highest children hunger rate in the US.
* 50% of African youth are unemployed
* 210,000 (mostly young) Africans were stopped by the police in 2009 for no reason other than being black.
* 45% of African students in Philly are forced out of the underfunded school system while the police and prisons get $1.1 billion from the City
Meanwhile, the white population in Philadelphia and throughout the US lives off the stolen resources of African and oppressed people.
The billions of dollars stolen through police containment and economic enstranglement of North Philly are concentrated in financial institution like Citizens Bank and TD Banks (where the city keeps its money).
This wealth is then distributed amongst the white community in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the form of well paying jobs and other services that do not exist for Africans.
The end result is the average African household taking in only 10 cents for every dollar taken in by the average white household.
The relationship between the oppressed African community and the oppressor, ruling class and white population-led state, is parasitic and unjust.
InPDUM rejects the US government’s criminalization of Tyshawn, Kareem, Raysairone and all African youth. These brothers are victims of crime perpetrated by this government.
The criminals are not the oppressed and exploited African youth who engage in petty fist fights amongst each other.
The real criminal is the US government and its domestic police brutalize and murder African people throughout this country.
The real terrorist is the US government and its military forces that murder colonized people around the world, from Iraq to Haiti, through its wars of aggression.
War on flashmobs revealed as war on African youth
It must be said that the arrests of the JOMO 3 occurred in the middle of a campaign that the City has been carrying out to win popular support for locking up the masses of African youth.
This campaign has been carried out through the city’s declared war on crime, drugs and most recently the “flashmobs.”
In February and March there was a standoff between the masses of young African workers and the police and merchants of Center City and downtown Philadelphia.
These youth uprisings began as calls on African youth, relayed through cell text messages, to participate in the filming of dance videos in different spots in downtown Philly.
When the police violently attacked these gatherings they turned into uprisings, where the youth then began to defend themselves from the police.
At its peak, the sequence of youth uprisings in downtown Philly reached the thousands. They brought Center City to a standstill.
The youth who participated in these uprisings were then criminalized and labeled by the media and the police as “flashmobs.”
Guilty of genocide! Philadelphia neocolonial trinity: mayor Michael Nutter, DA Seth Williams and police chief Charles Ramsey.
In that process, Mayor Michael Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams and Police Chief Charles Ramsey, all Africans (who InPDUM calls the Uncle Tom Trinity), joined forces to carry out a media lynching of African youth that resulted in the trial and felony conviction of at least 31 African youth.
During the “flashmob” struggle InPDUM distributed thousands of leaflets throughout the City that read “The Police, DA and City Hall Are the Real Flashmob.”
The leaflets called on the people to defend African youth and put the City on trial for its crimes against our community.
It also exposed the fact that white kids don’t have to deal with this type of repression even when they rioted downtown after the Phillies won the World Series.
Since the first youth uprisings occurred the City has intensified its efforts to imprison the masses of young African workers. This is being done for two reasons:
1. Resistance among young African workers poses a clear threat to Philadelphia’s parasitic economy. If African youth were ever to achieve organizational capacity alongside revolutionary consciousness that InPDUM is increasingly providing, our revolution would wield a deadly weapon capable of dealing the decisive blow to US imperialism. The state has been aware of this threat since the 1960s, when African resistance was led by revolutionary organizations like the Black Panther Party and the original JOMO in Florida. For this reason, the flashmobs were listed in the same document published by the Institute for International Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) that listed InPDUM and its president Diop Olugbala as “terrorist threats.” In this document the ITRR writes,
“ITRR analysts see the ‘flash mob’ phenomenon, even if it is initiated as an innocent youth gathering and event, as potential cover for more intentional criminal activity such as ‘pre-operational probing of security force reactions and weaknesses, or even as a diversion ahead of, or during, coordinated criminal activity or terrorist attack.”
The state’s strategy to contain this threat is through its increasing repression of the African community. This is part of the basis of heavy handed police programs like Stop and Frisk and the brutality and harassment associated with it.
2. At the same time Philadelphia’s economy is built off the imprisonment of African people. Philadelphia is the city with the highest rate of imprisonment in the US and arguably the world. The City spends $1.1 billion annually on police, prisons and courts as an investment in an industry that generates billions more through court fines, bail and bond, prison labor as well as under the table payments to judges, police and other agents of the state for participation in the mass imprisonment of our youth. In 2010, there were at least two Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judges under investigation for taking bribes from private prisons in exchange for convictions.
More evidence of this growing industry is the City of Philadelphia’s building of a “state of the art” youth prison in West Philly where it aims to contain masses of young Africans. Philadelphia’s public school system only receives $200 million for every billion received by the police and prison system. This explains why Philadelphia’s largest youth prison is called the Youth “Study” Center. The City’s long term plan is to get rid of the education system as we know it and replace it with prisons. In fact, the zip code that Tyshawn and Raysairone come from doesn’t have any high school at all!
The cases of the JOMO 3 represent the overall repression and criminalization that young African workers in Philly and throughout this country are targets of.
As they dragged these young brothers away in handcuffs police detectives informed their mothers that they were doing this as a way to stop the “flashmobs.”
These young brothers are just a handful out of millions of African victims of the US government’s modern day, bloodthirsty lynch mob, in the form of the state (police, prisons and courts).
The state is determined to find a scapegoat through which it may justify its repression and exploitation of African youth.
This is not only being done in Philadelphia. There is a “war on flashmobs” occurring in every city in North America where there is an African population.
In Oakland, CA it manifests itself as the “anti-gang initiative” which justifies the mass imprisonment of African youth under the guise of a “war on gangs.”
Under this initiative, the state has made it illegal for certain youth to hang out in or even pass through a certain neighborhood.
In some cities there are even laws against wearing ones clothes a certain way (i.e. sagging pants, wearing bandanas and colors or baseball caps).
The state intends to carry this repression and exploitation out with the least amount of resistance possible, even from within the African community.
This is why it is so crucial that we build organization to help the people understand who the real criminal is and to wage resistance against it!
Resistance must be organized! Those who resist must be disciplined!
InPDUM and JOMO are committed to defending the JOMO 3, not because they are special individuals, but because their cases are symbolic of the government’s general campaign to criminalize and imprison the masses of African youth.
The following are the goals of the Free the JOMO 3 struggle:
1. Free Tyshawn, Kareem and Raysairone from jail. All charges dropped.
2. Mobilize the masses of African youth to participate in the upcoming African Youth Conference - scheduled for February 21, the third day of the National Convention of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM). The Youth Conference will cover several workshops dealing with the day to day struggles African youth face in the world today.
3. Recruit the masses of African youth to join JOMO, the youth wing of the Uhuru Movement. Through their involvement in JOMO the youth will be given a bigger view of struggle than that of the ongoing petty resistance associated only with their day to day experiences. They will see that they are part of a much bigger community of Africans around the world who are being organized by the Uhuru Movement into action to liberate themselves, their parents and their neighbors to build a future.
4. Tear down the divisions that white power has created between the youth and their parents. Complaints of the youth being disrespectful to themselves and their community are debunked through their active participation in the struggle to liberate themselves and their community. At the same time, the disdain the youth once had for adults who demand respect but do nothing to resist their oppress will be overturned as the youth see these adults by their side fighting against white power.
Free the JOMO 3!
The Police are the Flashmob!
Forward to the InPDUM National Convention and African Youth Resistance Conference!
To register for the Youth Conference go to inpdum.org
What You Can Do:
The JOMO 3 will be going to trial on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8AM at the Philadelphia Family Court located at 1801 Vine St.
They will be facing judge Abram Frank Reynolds, a neocolonial African judge who has a reputation of giving Africans prison sentences literally based on the amount of buttons on their shirts or birds flying in the sky.
InPDUM and JOMO are calling on everyone to call in to Judge Reynolds’ office with the following demand:
“We want the immediate release of Tyshawn Hicks, Raysairone Johnson and Kareem Moore. There is no evidence to support the charges against them.
We know that these young men are locked up because the City is looking for a face to the “flashmob” it claims to be waging a war against.
We know that the war is really on African youth. We are opposed to this war and we call on you to stop this attack.”
Call Judge Reynolds at:
This work is in the public domain