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Diop Olugbala For Mayor 2011

PHILADELPHIA—The Committee to Elect Diop Olugbala formally announces his candidacy for the City of Philadelphia’s 2011 mayoral election. Olugbala is also known as Wali Rahman.

After long, careful discussion with his most trusted political associates and community activists, it has been determined that the interests of the masses of people in Philadelphia will be best served by a candidate whose platform calls for genuine community control for the people—particularly the historically oppressed black and Latino communities of this city. 

Nutter and the Democratic party will not resolve crisis for the people of Philadelphia

Mayor incumbent Michael Nutter and the Democratic party he represents have shown they possess absolutely no ability, nor interest, in representing the masses of working and poor people in Philly.

As we have seen, the Democratic and Republican parties speak only to the interests of the ruling elite of this city.

The quality of life continues to deteriorate for the masses, while the rich and wealthy ruling elite live in ever greater luxury.

A recent report published in the Philadelphia Daily News states that more than 263,000 white people have left the city in the past 20 years.

Meanwhile, the African population, which now comprises 42 percent of the population (the largest of any group), has sunk deeper into poverty than ever before.

At the same time, white incomes have increased.

In the last decade, average income in white households in Philadelphia rose 4 percent to $65,100, while black household incomes fell 10 percent to $40,200.

Overall, more than 40 percent of Philly’s black population lives below the poverty line. In areas like North Philly, 75 percent live in poverty.

This lifestyle of growing poverty and misery for black and Latino workers, alongside growing wealth in the white community, is made possible directly through the public policies implemented by the local government.

Both the Democrats and Republicans are complicit.

Such policies include massive budget cuts to essential services like the public school system, whose funding will decrease by $377 million, or 12 percent, next year.

The closure of libraries, swimming pools and various grassroots non-profit organizations who do positive work in the community are some of the bi-products of these public policies. 

Up until now Nutter and his administration have justified their backward actions by telling us cuts are necessary to resolve the city’s budget deficit (reported to be slightly over $2 billion).

Even if this were true, Nutter’s unwillingness to make Philadelphia’s major corporations—the Eagles, the Phillies, Comcast and Verizon—bear the brunt of the crisis is telling of who he truly represents.

In fact, these corporations are allowed to bleed us for more profits to add to their already stuffed coffers.

Furthermore, in his 2009 proposal to the state legislature calling for intervention on the city’s fiscal crisis, Nutter put forth the following options: fire 5,000 city workers or charge the people 10 percent more in sales tax.

In a city that is overwhelmingly black and Latino, Nutter’s proposal was essentially a strategy to resolve the city’s economic crisis at the expense of blacks and Latinos.

Nowhere in his proposal did Nutter suggest that corporations like Comcast, whose CEO Brian Roberts made $24 million in 2009, be made to pay more taxes to offset the deficit.

Such entities clearly have more money to spare than the working and middle class tax payers of this city. 

Nowhere did Nutter suggest that perhaps the city should decrease its $1 billion budget on police and prisons, which are used to contain the people in this vicious economic quagmire.

Nowhere was it suggested that the billions the state generates from the private and public prison industries be redirected to the economic development for the neighborhood communities where most of the prisoners were born.

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In fact, the prisons and police, or the issue of “public safety,” have increasingly become a tool used by Nutter’s administration to avoid the real, basic issue of the city’s economic crisis.

The problem is that Nutter’s economic policies only speak to the interests of the wealthy.

The problem is that the vast majority of the people’s resources are being spent on new police hires and new prison construction.

Our strength as a community is in our productive potential.

By denying the right to education and opportunity to work, Nutter’s plan offers up no confidence in the people to rescue Philadelphia’s economy.

Instead, he invests in locking our men and women up and, in doing so, creating a culture of fear and xenophobia amongst many who would otherwise be interested in participating in the process of developing Philadelphia’s economy.

Nutter introduced his infamous policy of stop-and-frisk in the middle of his 2008 campaign for mayor.

This was a tactic by those who benefit from the prison and police economy (and, yes, it is an economy) to win support from Nutter’s voting constituency with its own opportunistic agenda.

We are referring to forces like the Fraternal Order of Police, who also endorsed district attorney Seth Williams’ campaign.

The reality is that at the time Nutter announced stop-and-frisk, so-called crime in Philly was at the lowest it had been in decades.

Further, stop-and-frisk has proven to be a dismal failure from a “crime fighting” stand point.

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From 2005 to 2009, the number of Philadelphians stopped and frisked by police climbed from 102,319 to 253,333 (stop-and-frisk began in 2009)—148 percent increase.

In 2010, 72 percent of those stopped at random by police were black people.

At the same time, just 8 percent of those subjected to stop-and-frisk were found to have committed crimes.

Nutter’s plan offers up no vision for the future of Philadelphia.

Recently, a Daily News article reported that leading economists predict the average black man in his 30-50s is expected to never work again.

Many of them, should Nutter and forces like him be allowed to continue their reign of terror, can expect to be imprisoned simply for being black and poor. 

Diop Olugbala for Mayor

It is clear that the people are ready for change.

In the 2011 Democratic primaries, held on May 17, Milton Street—Nutter’s primary opponent—walked away with 25 percent of the primary votes.

He did so through a grassroots campaign that spoke to many of the issues we intend to address.
Diop is unbought and unbossed. Unlike Nutter and Street, Diop is not tied to either the Republican or Democratic party, both of which serve the interest of big money.

Diop Olugbala will run on a program and platform that speaks to the genuine interests of the working and poor of this city—not those with huge bank accounts. 

Diop has been tested over the years, and has always stood on the side of the poor and oppressed working class communities.

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When now U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama was running for the office and thought he could get by without saying a single word about what he would do to better the lives of black people, Diop publicly challenged him on his refusal to say anything about our people.

On August 1, 2008, Diop led a contingent of the Uhuru Movement into Barack Obama’s town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, and raised the question, “What about the black community, Obama?”

Three years later, Obama is doing just what he said on August 1, 2008, NOTHING.

Without the benefit of a big media budget, our organization attempted to bring the serious issues experienced by black working class people across this country into the national political debate.

These issues include the targeting of black and Latino communities with predatory subprime mortgages, a scheme that has made millions for people like Obama’s chief financial advisor Penny Pritzker, while stripping black families of billions of dollars.

The subprime mortgage scandal represents the single greatest loss of wealth our community has suffered since being brought to this country in chains.

We also challenged Obama to take a stand against the police shootings of unarmed black people and to explain why he has publicly defended the judge’s acquittal of the NYC policemen who murdered Sean Bell.

Diop continued his work in Philadelphia where, as the leader of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), he led the campaign to expose Nutter’s 2009 budget cut proposals as a war budget designed to resolve the city’s economic crisis at the expense of the black community.

In December 2008 Diop organized a tribunal to place city officials, including Michael Nutter, Charles Ramsey and then DA Lynn Abraham, on trial for crimes committed against the black community.

Such crimes included Nutter’s economic policies and the stop-and-frisk policy.

Family members of several victims of police violence testified against the city during that tribunal.

In January 2009, Diop called for the formation of the Committee for the People’s Budget, which put forth a realistic and just budget proposal to demonstrate how the city’s budget funds could and should be allocated to meet the needs of the people.

On March 19, 2009, Diop led a contingent of Uhuru Movement activists to protest a city council meeting against Nutter’s war budget.

Protesters demanded that the city’s public policy of police containment be immediately replaced with economic development programs.

They demanded that Nutter not only end the budget cuts but that it pay the black community back for decades of theft of its money and resources.  

In response, a gang of civil affairs police brutally attacked the demonstrators, and arrested Diop and Shabaka Mnombatha, another member of the Uhuru Movement.

Diop was then charged with aggravated assault on the police!

Over the next 17 months, the Uhuru Movement, joined by many other organizations, activists and concerned community members, waged a relentless campaign to free Diop.

In the process, the community began to recognize Diop as the one who stood up to Nutter and city hall, demanding economic and social justice for the people.

Ultimately, Judge Roxeanne Covington, a black woman who was clearly under the influence of city hall and the police department, convicted Diop.

Because of the mass support, however, both locally and globally, Covington was unable to fulfill the district attorney request to throw Diop in prison.

Instead, the state compromised with a two-year probation sentence.

Through his trial and sentencing, Diop concluded that the City of Philadelphia is being run by a triad of criminals.

Its police commissioner is Charles Ramsey. Its district attorney is Seth Williams. And its mayor is Michael Nutter.

These individuals have been united by the Democratic party and the interests of finance capital in the City of Philadelphia.

They have corroborated to continue the legacy of special oppression and exploitation of the black community for which the city government has long been known.

Unlike their predecessors, however, people like Frank Rizzo and Lynn Abraham, these new faces cannot as easily be accused of attacking the black community, simply because they are black themselves.

Diop’s trial was perhaps most symbolic and exposing of that fact.

Here you have a black activist being prosecuted by a black district attorney in a court presided over by a black judge for aggravated assault on a black police officer who works for a black mayor.

Diop’s campaign, however, must serve as a powerful message to Philadelphians and to the world that it is not good enough to simply be black.

In order to win the confidence of the black community, one must also be for the black community.

Diop’s history and current mayoral campaign platform are concrete proof of his commitment to bringing justice to the historically oppressed black community.

Unbought. Unchained. Unbroken. 

Vote Diop for Mayor!!!

Click <a href="http://www.votespa.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/where_to_vote"> here</a> to find your polling location

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