Revive King’s Tradition of Solidarity & Struggle
MARCH AGAINST RACISM ON DR. KING’S BIRTHDAY HOLIDAY
Gentrification of Harlem
for Working People
If the true legacy, the leadership and the courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to have any real meaning for today as we approach the 40th anniversary of his martyrdom next April 4, then the King birthday holiday on January 21, 2008 must be more than an exercise in platitudes and official declarations from the White House, the State House or City Hall.
We urge you to sign on to this call for A Martin Luther King DAY MARCH AGAINST RACISM in NYC on January 21, which is the federal holiday that honor’s Dr. King’s birthday. We urge activists in other localities to initiate MLK Day marches against racism as well.
There is a time for celebrations and there’s a time for fighting. Now is a time that we need to fight. And fight like hell. On this King Holiday we must organize and march against the forces of racism, reaction and war, not just the war abroad but the war raging here at home. To know what’s happening, is to know that nothing is more important than jump starting a multi-racial movement against racism.
One need only open their eyes to see that we are in the midst of a rising storm of racism, xenophobia and bigotry including neo-fascist appeals, unprecedented in many decades. The racism is not just coming from the fringes; it’s been deemed respectable and popular and it’s being pushed by the mainstream corporate media.
What’s more the storm is gaining strength at a time when the economy is heading into a crises that is bound to make economic survival for those who are already impoverished more difficult, while tossing millions more who thought they were getting along okay, out of their homes and jobs.
It’s an old game but the game is as toxic and deadly as ever. The system is setting up its scapegoats for the hard times by gearing up for racist hate. Lou Dobbs has suddenly become very important. Why? Because in times like these, the system’s biggest worry is that poor and working people will come together and demand social and economic justice. If we fail to unite and fight racism we should only expect much more of the same.
Reports of nooses hanging in locker rooms across the country are up a 1000 percent. Mychal Bell, one of the Jena 6, will have to stay in prison for almost another year, but “shock jock” Don Imus is back on the air with presidential candidates and VIP’s tripping over each other to get on his show.
Immigrants have been turned in to the “Willie Hortons” of the 2008 presidential elections as candidates compete with each other over who can sound the toughest against undocumented workers.
From New Orleans to Harlem and in every other part of the country, Black people are being pushed out of their homes as the drive by the wealthy to gentrify, helped by hurricanes and mortgage foreclosures, is barreling full steam ahead. The wholesale incarceration of a generation of young Black people is not slowing down; it’s accelerating. The police war against Black youth is not easing; it’s growing. Racial profiling Black and Brown skinned people has never been more widespread.
More immigrant workers have been arrested in raids, denied housing and healthcare, locked up in concentration camp-type detention centers, deported, harassed, beaten up, or murdered, than at any time since the infamous anti-immigrant Palmer raids 90 years ago. And just like 90 years ago, anti-immigrant bigotry and repression is being used to derail labor union organizing.
Bush’s endless war is not only against people thousands of miles away, it has made Muslims and people of Arab, African, or South Asian fair game for harassment, persecution and torture.
Lest we forget, from the Supreme Court, to bigoted cops, jailers, judges, and anti-gay thugs, the rights of women are under attack, and there is war against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people.
Exposing corporate media made demagogues like Dobbs, Imus, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and their ilk, whose job it is to keep us divided, is only one part of our challenge, but it’s an important one. The establishment, with the help of CNN, has recast the multi-millionaire and former cheerleader for Wall St., Lou Dobbs as the spokesperson for the middle-class as against the elite. In order to buy this fantasy you have to forget that the average worker might make in a very good year what the very wealthy Dobbs makes in one day.
But Dobbs’ target is not really the elite, a group that he belongs to and serves. His target is primarily desperately poor Latin@ undocumented immigrant workers. And though Dobbs will claim that he’s only after undocumented workers, the venom that he spews six nights a week on prime time TV fans bigotry against anyone who looks or speaks like she or he is not “American”.
In fact, more and more, Dobbs reserves most of his wrath for “certain socio-ethic groups” who favor the undocumented over “Americans”. Along with anti-immigrant bashing, and attacking Mexico and China, Dobbs has lately begun to call on union members who are “American citizens” to rise up against “treacherous” labor union leaders who dare to organize undocumented workers.
Combating the divide and conquer strategy is going to take work, time, courage and commitment. One of the most obvious ways to fight it is to work to make sure that the thousands of white people who will get on buses to go to a protest against the war in Iraq, will also get on the buses going to support a Jena 6 rally or an immigrant rights rally. When that happens it makes demagogues like Dobbs weaker and all of us stronger.
Let’s send the message far and wide that the most important occasion in January 2008 is not the Iowa caucus or the other primaries that month, but the truly united anti-racist marches that will take place either on King’s birthday holiday, January 21, or around that time.
Let’s honor the dreamer by loudly proclaiming that the racists and the big money behind them, better beware; a powerful anti-racist movement is going on the offensive, and it will stay on the offensive until we have put an end to their foul storm.
Signers (as of Jan 17)
-Action Center for Justice, Charlotte, NC
-Al Awda, Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, New York
-All Peoples Congress, Baltimore
-Artists and Activists United for Peace
-Audre Lorde Project, New York
-Axis of Logic
-Black Waxx Multi-Media
-CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
-Community Vision Council, Brooklyn, NY
-Cuba Solidarity-New York
-Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)
-Freedom Socialist Part, New York, NY
-Garifuna Coalition USA, Bronx, NY
-The Ghetto Chronicles
-Iglesia San Romero de las Americas, New York, NY
-Int’l Action Center
-King / Chavez Coalition for Justice & Unity, San Diego, CA
-Latinos Unidos de Michigan
-Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
-May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights
-Michigan Emergency Coalition Against War and Injustice (MECAWI)
-Detroit Green Party
-New England Human Rights for Haiti
-No Draft, No Way
-NYC Anti-Racist Action
-N.Y. Committee to Free the Cuban Five
-N.Y. Free Mumia Coalition
-People’s Video Network
-POCC, Brooklyn, NY
-Radical Women, New York, NY
-RI Peoples Assembly/Asemblea Popular
-RI Poor Peoples Campaign
-RI Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee
-Stonewall Warriors, Boston
-Sylvia Rivera Law Project
-Troops Out Now Coalition
-Western Mass. IAC/ Troops Out Now Coalition, Springfield, Mass.
-Western Mass. Mobilization Against Poverty, Racism & War, Springfield, Mass.
-Women’s Fightback Network, Boston
-Angelo Adams & Lisa Reels, RI Peoples Assembly
-Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal*
-Elvira Arellano, Sin Fronteras, Mexico*
-Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council*
-Charles Barron, NY City Councilperson
-Bill Bateman, RI Poor Peoples Campaign, RI Peoples Assembly
-Medea Benjamin, CODE PINK*
-Joseph P. Buccannan, Longtime Community Activist
-Elvira Bustamonte, Asemblea Popular de RI
-Jenna Carl, San Antonio, TX
-Nicholas Camerota, Prof. of Philosophy & Political Theory, Springfield (Mass.) Technical Community College*
-Jerry Castro, Executive Director, Garifuna Coalition USA, Bronx, NY
-Ed Childs, Chief Shop Steward, Local 26, UNITE/HERE, Harvard Cafeteria Workers*
-Lloyd Clarke, Frankenmuth, MI
-S. Comrade, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum*
-Heather Cottin, Adjunct Organizing Comm., PSC/CUNY*
-Susan E. Davis, National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981*
-Manolo De Los Santos, Secretary, Iglesia San Romero de las Americas, New York, NY
-Tonya Del Soldato, Advocacy Coordinator, Hudson Pride*, Jersey City, NJ
-Arin Dickson, artist, activist, Elkins, West Virginia
-David Dixon, Coordinator, Action Center for Justice, Charlotte, NC
-Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN-USA*
-Leslie Feinberg, co-founder, Rainbow Flags for Mumia
-Bob Guild, Venceremos Brigade*, Englewood, N.J.
-Teresa Gutierrez, May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights
-Steve Gillis, VP, USW Local 8751 Boston School Bus Union*
-Mike Gimbel, Delegate New York City Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, Local 375, AFSCME*
-Liza Green, Rank and File member, AFSCME Local 3650*
-Derek Grigsby, Co-Chair, Detroit Green Party
-Dwayne Hackney, SOCK/South Side Boys and Girls Club*
-Larry Hales, United Communities Against Police Brutality*; FIST
-Asantewaa Harris, Community Vision Council, Brooklyn, NY
-Mary Kay Harris, Lead Organizer, DARE*
-Jesse Lokahi Heiwa, Peoples Video Network, New York, NY
-Imani Henry, playwright/performer
-Patricia Hilliard, National Writers Union*, UAW Local 1981, Chairperson N.J. Chapter
-Marvin Holland, Homestationonline.org
-Charles Jenkins, Vice-Pres., Coalition of Black Trade Unionists*
-Kathy Riley Jones, RI Poor People Campaign
-Veronica Keitt, Director, “365 Days of Marching-The Amadou Diallo Story” movie
-Rochelle Lee & Brother Everett Muhammad, Co-Chairs, RI Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee
-Emma Lozano, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, Chicago*
-Chuck Mohan, Guyanese American Workers United*
-Monica Moorehead, coordinator, Millions for Mumia
-Susan Morucci, Athens, Greece
-Robert Parhan Jr., RI Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee
-John Prince, DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) Board of Directors*
-Milos Raickovich, composer, College of Staten Island, CUNY*
-Cathy Rhodes, People to End Homelessness*
-Jerry Rivers, Environmental Scientist, NACCE*
-Mike Ruscigno, Teamsters Local 802*
-Julie Silva, RI Poor Peoples Campaign, RI Peoples Assembly
-Chris Silvera, Secretary/Treasurer, Teamsters Local 808
-David Sole, Pres. UAW Local 2334
-Brenda Stokely, NY Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors*
-Bishop Filipe C. Teixeira, OFSJC*
-Dave Welsh, Delegate, San Francisco Labor Council
-Jasmine Woodbury, DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality) youth leader*
-Larry Woodbury, FIST, Rhode Island
-Deborah Wray, President, Public Housing Tenants of Rhode Island*, RI Peoples Assembly
-Richard Jehn, The Rag Blog
Troops Out Now Coalition Boston: 617-522-6626