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Volunteer and Join! Freedom Summer 2011 - St Petersburg, Florida Summer Project!

Fannie Lou Hamer

The Uhuru Movement is calling on students, artists, legal advisors, computer technicians, health care workers, teachers, young people and workers in general, to come and be part of Freedom Summer 2011: the St. Petersburg, Florida, Summer Project, which is scheduled to take place July 9 to August 9, 2011.

The multifaceted project is designed to advance the struggle for African freedom inside the United States and around the world.

It will achieve this objective through hands-on, on-the-ground training via actual political struggle and the building and consolidation of existing institutions of the Black Liberation Movement.

The Freedom Summers of the past — the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 and the Oakland Summer Project of 1984 — were successful because years of organized black power political work had been done in those locations.

This foundational work made them prime locations where young people could gather and work to advance the struggle of African people to be free.

The same is true in St Petersburg, Florida.

St. Pete is called the “City of African Resistance.” In fact, there has not been a day in the last 40 years that the Black Revolution has not been represented in St Petersburg.

The concept of “Freedom Summer” is not a new idea

In 1964, when lynchings of African people by white American working class mobs were commonplace and Africans in the U.S. had virtually no democratic rights to speak of, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) launched the first Freedom Summer, called the Mississippi Summer Project.

Mississippi then was a place where years of advanced work had already been done and one of the places where the colonial oppression of the African population was perhaps most glaring.

At the time, SNCC’s literature stated, “As the winds of change grow stronger, the threatened political elite of Mississippi becomes more intransigent and fanatical.”

Out of this struggle in Mississippi emerged the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, led by people like the courageous African woman named Fannie Lou Hamer.

Despite intimidation, beatings, murders and bombings of black homes, businesses and churches, the Freedom Summer was still able to register more than 80,000 Africans.

Those 80,000 Africans, in turn, in an unsuccessful bid, voted for an African, Aaron Henry for governor of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party also attended the National Democratic Party Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey that year and challenged the seating of the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party that refused to allow Africans to vote.

As a compromise, the white Democratic Party offered Hamer’s party two seats, leadin her to retort her now famous words, “We didn’t come all the way up here for no two seats.” In those days, Africans were not suppose to refuse anything white people offered us. The struggle for black power was on!

Two years following the Mississippi Summer Project, the cry of Black Power emerged from SNCC.

In 1984, the Uhuru Movement, under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, launched the second historic Freedom Summer: the Oakland Summer Project.
oaklandsumprjct
These were great times to be alive, with the opportunity to participate in this great people’s movement that fought against colonial injustice and degradation.

In Oakland, the work of years past and the Oakland Summer Project forced the “intransigent and fanatical” political elite to spend millions of dollars and to muster every vote it could squeeze out of the white population, in order to defeat a revolutionary land reform law that had been placed on the ballot by the Uhuru Movement’s Summer Project.

More than 30,000 signatures of registered voters, along with hundreds of thousands of drops (Campaign workers dropping literature at virtually every door in the Oakland Flatlands) convinced more than 29,000 voters to come out and say YES on Measure O.

The ballot initiative would actually have stripped big-time landlords and absentee slumlords of property that they had obtained through oppression, exploitation and robbery in the first place.

The initiative would also set rent limits based on the median income of the community that the   rented house was in.

The demand in Oakland for “Houses for the Homeless, and Power to the People!” excited the imagination of the African masses and our allies in Oakland, reminiscent of the Black Revolution of the Sixties prior to its defeat by military forces and the counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) of the United States government.

The seizure by the Movement of empty and abandoned houses to house the homeless, the construction of Tent City for the homeless at Uhuru Park in Oakland, and the serving of more than 10,000 nutritious meals at Tent City were part and parcel of the Movement.

These initiatives were built by students and workers who came from across the country to participate in the Oakland Summer Project.

Today, as pronouncements by forces tied to the “political elite”and police in Florida publicly call for the assassination of Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela, and for drive-by shootings at its national headquarters, the Uhuru House, these anti-freedom, anti-black forces in Florida are also becoming more “ intransigent and fanatical” precisely because the “winds of change” are growing stronger!

The battle for St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg today serves as a revolutionary center for the International African Revolution, representative of a genuine national liberation struggle for dual and contending power.

Firstly, St. Petersburg is the place where the first membership-based organization of SNCC was built.

Secondly, St. Petersburg is the birthplace of JOMO (Junta of Militant Organizations), a genuine black revolutionary working class organization from the ’60s. Its leadership came from SNCC, which, by the time of JOMO’s founding in 1968, had diminished.

Thirdly, St. Petersburg is the 1972 birthplace of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP).

APSP’s leadership came from JOMO, the Fort Myers Black Rights Fighters and the Gainesville Black Study Group, all of which were legitimate fighters for African independence from U.S. domestic colonialism.

Finally, St. Petersburg is also the birthplace of Chairman Omali Yeshitela, the foremost practitioner and theoretician of the International African Revolution.

Chairman Omali’s leadership has raised St. Petersburg up as the revolutionary center of struggle in the U.S. today, against U.S. domestic capitalist-colonialism and the struggle for black workers’ power.

This is why the anti-black stooges of imperialism — and agents of the State itself — have publicly called for the elimination of Chairman Omali.

They see Chairman Omali as the African Internationalist leader who has electrified the youth to the extent that they challenge and actually fight back against the military forces occupying the African community, who are known as the police.
piguhuruhouse
Obviously, the struggles to defend Chairman Omali and the demilitarization of the St. Petersburg African community will be integral to Freedom Summer 2011.

But organizing the African community itself to the process of institution building will be the bulk of the work of those who come to the Project, which is the best defense possible: the people’s involvement in their own liberation.

Involvement in their own liberation is the best defense and the strongest protection of our Chairman from the forces of white nationalist reaction and the colonialist white power State.

Build the Black Community Convention!

A two-day Black Community Convention will be the culmination of the month long Summer Project. This Convention, held on August 6-7, is designed to enhance the power of the people in St. Petersburg and the influence of black power liberation politics of the Uhuru Movement.

To fulfill this stated goal, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) St. Petersburg branch must be built and consolidated.

The Black Community Convention will take on initiating an investigation into the recent cover up in the police killing of an African named Hydra Lacy and the complete destruction of his home and the evidence of what really happened that day. It will also investigate the mayor and police chief for their involvement in the illegal destruction of evidence and the cover up.

It will also take on informing the community of its own rights when dealing with the police.

The Black Community Convention will also take on the launching of economic development programs for the African community to build self-reliance and power in our own hands.

The Black Community Convention will also forward the work to build the Marcus Garvey Academy, a school of our own to educate our own children.

Summer Project to put power in our own hands


The Summer Project will also include a Youth Survival and Development Skills Retreat on July 15-17 to teach young Africans vital survival and development skills such as navigation using a compass, how to identify poisonous and edible plants, how to find and clean water, first aid and other skills.

The Summer Project will produce an issue of The Burning Spear Newspaper as participant comrades will get hands on training in the production process — from writing, to editing to photo journalism to layout.

We want the Summer Project to complete the building of a fully equipped People’s Community Kitchen to serve the nutritional needs of our poor and impoverished community and teach good eating habits.

We want the St Pete Summer Project forces to help complete the outfitting of the Uhuru Recording Studio, which will serve as a viable economic institution of international African Culture.

We want the Summer Project forces to work to help rebuild the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) Community Garden in St. Petersburg, so that homegrown, nutritious vegetables can go from the garden to the People’s Kitchen.

And we plan to initiate a cyberspace training center to bring social network training to our technologically starved community.

These are the challenges that Freedom Summer 2011 is confronted with, and we call on our movement, our people and our genuine allies to rise to the occasion.

In the tradition of those freedom-loving people who historically made the Mississippi and Oakland summer projects resounding advances of the struggle for black freedom, we call on the students and working people of today, from throughout the world, to come to St. Petersburg, Florida, in July and August to participate in this Great Leap Forward!

FORWARD TO ST. PETERSBURG!

ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

BLACK POWER TO THE AFRICAN COMMUNITY!

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