By Charisse Burden-Stelly, PhD, Black Alliance for Peace, March 17, 2021
“We stand with the Haitian people because it is our responsibility as believers in self-determination and people-centered human rights, to do so.”
“We will never retreat, even when they attempt to confuse us with intersectional imperialism and identity reductionism.”
The following remarks were delivered at a Black Alliance for Peace protest in front the Haitian consulate in Chicago, on March 15, by BAP member Charisse Burden Stelly, a Visiting Scholar in the Race and Capitalism Project at the University of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. We fundamentally oppose militarized domestic state repression; the policies of de-stabilization and subversion abroad; and the permanent war agenda of the U.S. state globally.
The reason we’re here today in front of the Haiti Consulate-General is simple: we stand in solidarity with the Haitian people against the corrupt and illegitimate regime of Jovenel Moïse, which is propped up by the Joseph R. Biden administration, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States. We understand the connections between the imperial occupation of Haiti and the police occupation supported right here in Chicago by Lori Lightfoot and her anti-people, anti-poor politics, and throughout the United States more broadly. Just like we can’t breathe here in the United States because militarized police forces continue to brutalize, suffocate, and murder us with impunity, neither can the people of Haiti breath as their sovereignty, self-determination, and livelihoods are snuffed out by Pan-European forces like the Core Group, the United Nations, and the International Monetary fund.
“We understand the connections between the imperial occupation of Haiti and the police occupation supported right here in Chicago.”
The Haitian people have taken to the streets because they demand rule by the people and for the people; they have organized a general strike because they demand economic and material conditions that support their needs and livelihoods and not the profits and enrichment of the global elite. Their struggle is connected to the labor struggles right here in the U.S., like the one that’s currently underway in Bessemer, Alabama, for an Amazon Union.
BAP is here today, despite the snow and wind and cold because we see the protests of our Haitian brothers, sisters, and siblings against the Moïse regime as intimately linked to the End SARS struggle in Nigeria, to the Uganda people’s demand for an end to the Museveni dictatorship—the Uganda PEOPLE, that is, and not so-called opposition leaders who are in cahoots with the US State department—to getting Africa Command (AFRICOM) off of the Continent and especially out of the Horn of Africa, and to the demand for an end to brutal sanctions against Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Iran, and other racialized nations that reject U.S. imperialism.
“The Haitian people demand economic and material conditions that support their needs and livelihoods and not the profits and enrichment of the global elite.”
BAP is also here today because we understand that the U.S. funding and training of the Haitian police to undermine the people’s protests is linked to the U.S. 1033 program that militarizes local police departments so they can defend property and the interests of the ruling elite against poor, working, oppressed, and marginalized peoples. We know that this process is linked to the prison industrial complex that tortures and confines political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Mutulu Shakur, Sundiata Akoli, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Rev. Joy Powell, and Russell Maroon Shoatz. We say free ‘em all! And this also means freeing all Africans from the yoke of U.S. imperialism.
At Black Alliance for Peace we say NO COMPROMISE, NO RETREAT because unlike the petit bourgeois Negroes who take every opportunity to compromise with the ruling elite to oppress and repress us, we will NEVER compromise with imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, warmongering, and capitalist exploitation. And unlike the liberals who think that just because the troglodyte Donald Trump is out of office that we no longer have anything to struggle against, we will NEVER retreat from holding any administration accountable for their crimes against humanity even when they attempt to confuse us with intersectional imperialism and identity reductionism.
“We will never compromise with imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, warmongering, and capitalist exploitation.”
In the spirit of chairman Fred Hampton, who said “peace if you’re willing to fight for it,” in the spirit of the freedom fighter Amilcar Cabral who said “tell no lies and claim no easy victories,” in the spirit of mama Ella baker who said “Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit--a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind,” we protest, in the belly of the beast, in the heart of empire, the tentacles of U.S. imperialism, funded by our tax-payer dollars, that brutalize African, oppressed, and poor people throughout the world and here at home. Today we stand with the Haitian people not because they need us to free them—because the Haitian people, since at least 1791, have proven that they are more than capable of liberating themselves—but because it is our responsibility as African people, as anti-imperialists, as anti-war activists, and as believers in self-determination and people-centered human rights, to do so.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. Through educational activities, organizing and movement support, organizations and individuals in the Alliance will work to oppose both militarized domestic state repression, and the policies of de-stabilization, subversion and the permanent war agenda of the U.S. state globally.
Posted March 22, 2021