Diop Olugbala, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM)
On Tue, May 8, 2012, members and supporters of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and Oakland Freedom Summer Project emerged from the California State Court victorious after discovering that the Oakland Police Department had dropped its charges brought against our comrade Bakari Olatunji.
We went to the court to stand in unity and resistance as we faced the arraignment of comrade Bakari, who was facing felony charges stemming from the police attack on him and other members of the Uhuru Movement during an Oakland Police Dept (OPD) “open house” event.
It was at this event where InPDUM attempted to serve the People’s Subpoena to Police Chief Howard Jordan to appear at the Court for Black Justice and Reparations.
The date of arraignment was preceded by several days of relentless struggle waged by members and supporters of InPDUM from around the world.
Since Bakari’s arrest, the OPD, the jail and the DA’s office were bombarded with phone calls from comrades and supporters from as far as Paris, France and London, UK.
In addition, InPDUM Oakland was already mobilizing the African community here around the weekend of resistance on May 4 and 5.
This weekend of resistance included a candlelight vigil, a march for Black Justice and Court for Black Justice – all actions which served to expose the OPD’s colonial oppression of the African community.
This tremendous response from the people in support of Bakari was topped off by the show of support on the day of the arraignment by InPDUM forces as well as other organizations, including the Onyx Organizing Committee and Occupy Oakland.
Although a press conference was called to express our opposition to Bakari’s arrest and charges and to further expose the OPD as the real criminal organization in Oakland – no ruling class media showed.
This response from such media as the Oakland Tribune, ABC, CBS and NBC news is consistent with the historic stance these forces have taken in uniting with the state against the African community – whether through silence or manipulation of information.
Despite the media boycott of the Uhuru Movement, we moved forward with our resistance, standing as a united force in the courthouse, where our presence was amplified through the dozens, if not hundreds of calls to the State that called to free Bakari.
Bakari’s case an example of counterinsurgency
InPDUM was clear that Bakari was targeted because of his involvement in the Uhuru Movement. He has lead countless struggles over the last 20-30 years in Oakland against the police repression of the African community.
The most recent and perhaps significant struggle that Bakari was a part of was the campaign to Defend Lovelle Mixon, a 26-year-old African who killed four cops who were part of a squad of police who assassinated him.
While every organization and individual in the Bay Area who claimed to be revolutionary and progressive ran for cover in the aftermath of the Lovelle Mixon struggle, it was Bakari and the Uhuru Movement who not only raised up the right of African people to resist, but also defended Lovelle Mixon and held him up as a hero for the African working class.
This stance taken by comrade Bakari put him directly in the crosshairs of the State, evident in the way he was targeted by police at the open house where he was arrested.
Further, Bakari’s arrest was evidence of the OPD’s inability to tolerate criticism, particularly from the African working class and is the latest manifestation of a rogue police force that disregards any form of law and order.
While comrade Bakari faced trumped up charges, the real criminals of the Oakland Police Department wielded, and continue to wield a license from the U.S. government to murder young African men, as they recently did 18-year-old high school senior Alan Dwayne Blueford on Sunday, May 6 – just two days after Bakari’s arrest.
More significantly, Bakari’s freedom is evident of the State’s inability to withstand the organized resistance of the African working class.
While he was locked up in Santa Rita County Jail, Bakari was approached by several jail employees and one sheriff who were recognizing his significance based on the amount of calls they were receiving, if they were not outright begging him to call off the dogs!
Surely, it was for fear of political consequences from the African community that the State decided it was not in its interests to keep Bakari in prison. Thus, they released him and retracted all charges against him.
We won the battle, but the war continues! Revolutionary organization will win!
When we struggle we win! When we stand up they fall down! Moreover, the highest, most effective form of African struggle is resistance under the leadership of organization.
This is the principle that has informed all the work done to free Bakari. This is the principle upon which the court for Black Justice was built. And this is the principle that will result in our ultimate liberation.
The Uhuru Movement has long worked to rebuild a strong movement for Black Power in Oakland.
It is Oakland where the Black Panther Party was founded in the 1960’s.
It was in Oakland in which the African People’s Socialist Party rebuilt the movement for Black Power after the Panthers were crushed militarily by the U.S. And it is in Oakland where we are working to re-establish a base of power from which we wage the African Liberation struggle from the West Coast region of North America.
Our strategy to liberate Oakland has already begun, and will be advanced through the successful completion of the Oakland Freedom Summer Project.
From July 9-29, 2012, we will deploy revolutionary forces from throughout the U.S. into Oakland to wage a month-long campaign to initiate the renovation of the Uhuru House and advance the struggle for African community control of police and education.
This struggle has already begun with the Court for Black Justice, and was aided by the victory of the Free Bakari campaign.
The extraordinary record of police repression in the schools and streets of Oakland provided the basis for mass participation in this campaign.
The OPD’s oppressive record served as the basis for the People’s Verdict of “GUILTY” at the Court for Black Justice.
Now, we are entering the phase in which we must build revolutionary organization to enforce the People’s Sentence.
This will all be tied together during the Oakland Freedom Summer Project.
InPDUM is calling on African students, workers and revolutionaries throughout the world to come to Oakland to join in what promises to be a historic project.
What must be done:
If you are in Oakland, attend the weekly mass meetings to build the Oakland Freedom Summer Project:
Every Sunday at 4PM, Uhuru House – 7911 MacArthur Blvd.
At week’s meeting on Sunday, May 13, we will hold a special VICTORY RALLY as we forward the struggle to build the Committee for African Community Self-Defense!
One Party! One Movement!
Build the Revolutionary Mass Organization for African Liberation!