Lucius Walker

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Lucius Walker


Rev. Dr. Lucius Walker Jr (August 3, 1930 - September 7, 2010) was an American Baptist minister who was heavily involved in seeking to improve U.S.-Cuba relations. Walker died on September 7, 2010 at age 80, from a heart attack. Much of his adult life was spent defending communists, supporting Communist Party USA fronts and causes, attacking U.S. defense and foreign policies during the Cold War, and becoming one of the top clergyman in the communist-support movement. This record goes back to at least the late 1960's and continued on till the day he died, a fact totally ignored by the media. However, he avoided being listed as a sponsor in many of the CPUSA's 1970's fronts, instead, concentrating on supporting the communists in Cuba and Nicaragua.

Background

Lucius Walker was born on August 3, 1930, in Roselle, New Jersey, and thus was a contemporary and associate of the giants of the Civil Rights movement. He got his undergraduate degree from Shaw University, in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1958, he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary, and in 1963 earned a MSSW degree from the University of Wisconsin.

He was instrumental in founding Northcott neighborhood house in Milwaukee, an institution which worked to improve education opportunities for inner city youth.

In 1967, Lucius Walker founded the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), to channel church support to progressive organizing efforts. Between 1973 and 1978, Walker served as Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. He returned to lead IFCO again in 1979. In 1984, he became the first pastor of the Salvation Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, a center of progressive preaching and social activism.

Under Walker's leadership, IFCO helped launch numerous social justice organizing initiatives. In the 1970s, it promoted justice for Haitian Refugees. IFCO's increasing interest in the international dimension of social justice struggles led to an IFCO delegation to Nicaragua in 1988. On August 2, 1988, Walker's party was ambushed by right wing, U.S. supported contras; two Nicaraguans were shot dead and Walker and others were wounded. This did not discourage the reverend.[1]

Pastors for Peace

Thus began the heavy involvement of IFCO and its partner organization, Pastors for Peace, in social justice struggles in the Latin American and Caribbean area.

In 1992, Cuba had just lost its favorable trade relationships with the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc. Arrogant imperialists were crowing that that the Cuban Revolution was finished. Then Reverend Walker burst on the world's consciousness with the IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Friendshipment Caravans, which defied the laws which maintained the blockade by gathering up humanitarian supplies, ranging from food to bicycles to computers, and bringing them across the U.S.-Mexican border and thence to Cuba. The first Friendshipment was in 1992. This writer has a vivid memory of a talk Walker gave in Chicago. He explained that Cuba could not be economically rescued by humanitarian aid, but that the Friendshipments should be seen also as an organizing and educating tool to change the consciousness of the U.S. public, and to build the movement within the United States for a fundamental change in Cuba policy.

There followed 21 Friendshipment Caravans. There were often standoffs at the border in which U.S. agents tried to prevent the caravans from continuing. There were sometimes violent incidents, but neither Walker nor any of his supporters ever backed down an inch. Walker always refused to even apply for a license to bring the supplies to Cuba, on the principled grounds that this would legitimize an unjust system.

The Caravans were expanded to include other places, including Chiapas in Southern Mexico, and El Salvador. Walker was working on the Haiti issue at the time of his death. Walker negotiated with then Cuban President Fidel Castro to make it possible for U.S. youth from poor communities to study at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba. Close to his heart was the issue of the Cuba 5, in whose cause Walker was a major actor. Shortly before his death, he had been working to pressure the U.S. government to issue visas to the wives of two of the Cuba 5 to enable them to visit their husbands in prison; visas which have been cruelly denied for 12 years.[2]

Cuddling Castro

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National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

As of May 1964, Lucius Walker Dir., Northcott Neigh. House, Milwaukee, was listed as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA front, National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization

In 1967, Walker founded the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization.[3] Walker has served as the executive director for the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization and Pastors for Peace, a ministry of the IFCO which was formed in 1988.[4][5] Pastors for Peace is a member group of the No War on Cuba Movement coalition. Other member groups of this coalition include Institute for Policy Studies' program, Social Action & Leadership School for Activists.

Pastors For Peace: U.S./Cuba Friendshipment

Patterned after the Hanoi Lobby efforts of the CPUSA and its fronts including the Bach Mai Hospital Fund, the CPUSA-Mobe-Hayden project known as Medical Aid to Indochina MAI, and similar aid-to-the enemy groups posing as humanitarians, IFCO and its leader Rev. Lucius Walker, formed the group known as Pastors For Peace. One of its projects, aided by other Castroites, was known as U.S./Friendshipment, ran "caravans" of medical and related supplies across the U.S. to the Mexican border where they challenged U.S. authorities to stop them from crossing over on their way to Cuba. This was part of the long-time Communist effort to "defy the 31-year U.S. blockade of Cuba." People's Weekly World, July 31, 1993, Vol. 8, No. 9, front page story "Caravan to Cuba: Showdown at Mexican Border", by Jose Palacios.

A few paragraphs from this story will provide the gist of this propaganda operation.

"As the "World" went to press Wednesay, 300 caravanistas of the U.S./Cuba Friendshipment were in Laredo (Texas), preparing to defy the 31-year U.S. blockade of Cuba."

""You are a beautiful sight!" Rev. Lucius Walker, executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization IFCO, said in greeting the caravan participants."

"It is an honor and a privilege to work with 300 of you who are so strongly committed to the principles of peace and reconciliation. you truly represent the spirit of the American people."

""The caravanistas, with their 100 tons of humanitarian aid, will be at the center of the dispute. They are working full-time to insure that the cargo will pass without export licenses that the embargo imposes for such aid," a spokesman for Pastors For Peace, organizers of the caravan, told reporters."

Supported Communist Party front

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1982 National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression pamphlet

In 1982 Lucius Walker served on the National Coordinating Committee of a Communist Party USA front the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which was led by leading Party members Angela Davis and Charlene Mitchell.

Nicaraguan trouble

At least 500 people jammed the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Cultural Center in Harlem, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2017, to pay tribute to Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, at an event entitled, “The Legacy Continues.” Gail Walker, executive director of IFCO (Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization)/Pastors for Peace, shared emcee duties with Malcolm Sacks of the Venceremos Brigade.

Rev. Walker, Gail Walker’s father, founded Pastors for Peace. He died in 2010. He had been wounded by U.S.-backed contra terrorists seeking to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in 1988. Two people in Walker’s group were killed.[6]

People's Progressive Convention

In 1992, a "call" went out to leftist radicals and communist revolutionaries of various orientations to hold a national People's Progressive Convention in Ypsilanti, Michigan, August 21-23, 1992.

Endorsers included Rev. Lucius Walker - Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization .

Peace for Cuba Appeal

In 1994 Lucius Walker was an initiator of the International Peace for Cuba Appeal, an affiliate of the Workers World Party dominated International Action Center.

Other prominent initiators included Cuban Intelligence agent Philip Agee, academic Noam Chomsky, Congressman John Conyers and Charles Rangel[7].

NCC delegation to Cuba

On March 16, 1999, in Havana, Cuba – The Racial Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches completed its March 11-16 fact-finding mission to Cuba, resolving that the U.S. embargo and economic sanctions against Cuba be lifted.

"It was the unanimous opinion of our delegation," said Czerny Brasuell, the working group’s co-chair, "that the continuing imposition of the U.S. embargo and economic sanctions will not produce credible economic or political results. Certainly, on moral and humanitarian grounds, we believe that this policy primarily targets the elderly and children, not the Cuban government."
One of the group’s goals was to learn more about religious practice and freedom in Cuba. Group members were the guests of the Martin Luther King Center, an interfaith facility and hub for cultural activities (especially for youth), education, worship, and dialogue.

Rev. Raul Suarez Ramos, Director of the Martin Luther King Center, along with Rev. Lucius Walker of Pastors for Peace in the United States, made arrangements for a heavy schedule of interviews and discussions while the group was in Havana. Rev. Ramos, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church at the Center, is also an elected deputy to Cuba’s National Assembly.

The group met with the Cuban Council of Churches, representatives of the Afro-Cuban and Haitian communities, the President of the Cuban Parliament, and the director of North American affairs in the Foreign Ministry.
The question and definition of human rights came up in several conversations, particularly with the "dissident" trial going on at that time. Comparisons were drawn to the number of political prisoners in the United States, some with very long sentences. Concern about the continued arms race and nuclear capacity of the U.S. was also raised.

"It is our belief," said Sammy Toineeta, Coordinator of the Racial Justice Working Group, "that it is in the interests of the people of both countries to end the embargo, and work towards mutual understanding and respect through dialog, cultural exchanges, and manifestations of faith. We will go back to our communities and appeal for the end of the embargo as a first step toward this goal[8]."

"NO WAR, NO WAY"

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Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.

Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.

Actors Jessica Lange and Tyne Daly addressed the crowd. So did political figures, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton; former-U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney and Rep. John Conyers. The Rev. Lucius Walker read an anti-war statement from Rep. Charles Rangel.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark called on those listening to “impeach Bush.” Blase Bonpane, from the Office of the Americas, traveled from Los Angeles to bring greetings. International representation included Ashraf El-Bayoumi from the Cairo Conference against U.S. Aggression on Iraq and Jeremy Corbyn from the Stop the War Coalition and Abe Tomoko spoke as a representative of the Lower House of the Japanese Parliament.

Struggles around the world against U.S. domination were articulated by Teresa Gutierrez and Sara Flounders from the IAC; Hector Castro, director of education, Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, Colombia; Francisco Rivera, Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques; Marie Hilao Enriquez from BAYAN; and Yoomi Jeong from the Korea Truth Commission.

Muslim speakers included Mahdi Bray, Muslim American Society; Ismael Kamal, Muslim Student Association; Ihab Darwish, Free Palestine Alliance; Ghazi Khan Kan, Council on American Islamic Relations; Imam Mousa, Masjid Al-Islam; and Dr. Mansoon Khan from Peace TV.

The Revs. Herbert Daughtry, national pastor of House of the Lord Church; Graylan Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, andJesuit priest John Dear addressed the audience. [9]

No War On Cuba Movement

Lucius Walker

On June 24, 2003, Walker spoke at a Town Hall meeting entitled "US-Cuba relations" which was held at the All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. and sponsored by the No War on Cuba Movement. He spoke alongside Lenard Weinglass, attorney for Antonio Guerrero; Nancy Wright, NWC member and spokesperson; Jose Pertierra, Cuban-American immigration rights attorney; and Jose A. Prieto Sanchez, Cuban Interests Section Representative. The event was moderated by NWC member, Sue Ashdown.[10]

In his talk, Walker highlighted "the valiant effort of the Cuban people to maintain free education and health care in the face of the oppressive US blockade. His talk was followed by some in the audience chanting, "Cuba Si, Bloqueo No!"[10]

Cuban medical scholarships

Cuba's Latin American School of Medical Sciences, which has been educating doctors from undeveloped countries and since 2001, from the United States. Tuition, housing, meals and books are free. Students have to be economically disadvantaged and committed to practicing medicine in underserved U.S. communities.

Castro himself has promoted the six-year medical scholarship program, which began enrolling U.S. students in 2001. The schooling has the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has intervened to protect the U.S. students so that their participation isn't a violation of the 44-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Rev. Lucius Walker's, Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, coordinates the Cuba medical scholarships[11].

Communist honor

The New York Friends of the Peoples Weekly World newspaper held its annual Better World Awards Gala May 6 2007, to celebrate the May Day and Cinco De Mayo holidays and to benefit the paper.

2007 Better World Award honorees include New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, and Latino community activist Adolfo Fana. Past honorees and speakers have included former State Assemblyman Frank Barbaro, NY State Senator Bill Perkins, Rev. Lucius Walker of Pastors for Peace, Congressman Major Owens, and many local union and community activists from throughout the state.[12]

Independent Progressive Politics Network

In 2009 Lucius Walker served on the Advisory Committee of the Independent Progressive Politics Network[13].

2009 Cuba trip

July 31, 2009. from left, Rev. Lucius Walker, Fidel Castro, Ellen Bernstein, and Rev. Tom Smith

A July , 2009. Pastors for Peace delegation to Cuba included, Rev. Lucius Walker, Ellen Bernstein, Rev. Tom Smith and Dan Burgevin of Ithaca, New York[14]

Healthcare-Now!

In 2009 Lucius Walker, Executive Director, Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, New York, NY served on the board of directors of Healthcare-Now! .[15]

Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas

In 2009 Lucius Walker was a member of the Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas.[16]

Death

Lucius Walker died on September 7, 2010 at age 80 from a heart attack.[4]

Farewelled by CPUSA

On September 7, 2010, Communist Party USA's newspaper, People's World published an obituary for Re. Lucius Walker, in which they quoted the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization:[4]

"It is with immeasurable sadness that we write to let you know of the passing of our beloved, heroic, prophetic leader the Rev. Lucius Walker Jr. this morning. We will write with more information as soon as arrangements are made. Please keep his family and his IFCO family in your prayers."

Farewelled by Cuban Parliament

Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban national parliament, made the following statement following news of Walker's death:[17]

"We Cubans are eternally grateful to Lucius Walker, to IFCO and to Pastors for Peace for their constant struggle against the cruel blockade against our people, and for the liberation of our five compatriots who have been unjustly imprisoned for 12 years for having tried to avoid terrorist actions...Lucius will always be with us, he will be reborn in the struggle until victory."

External Links

References

  1. [http://www.peoplesworld.org/reverend-lucius-walker-1930-201/ PW Reverend Lucius Walker, 1930-2010 by: Emile Schepers September 9 2010]
  2. PW Reverend Lucius Walker, 1930-2010 by: Emile Schepers September 9 2010
  3. People's World: Reverend Lucius Walker, 1930-2010, Sept. 9, 2010 (accessed on Sept. 13, 2010)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 People's World: U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment founder, Rev. Lucius Walker, dies, Sept. 7, 2010 (accessed on Sept. 13, 2010)
  5. IFCO website: 43 Years of Continued Struggle for Peace and Justice (accessed on Sept. 13, 2010)
  6. [http://www.workers.org/2017/02/10/harlem-n-y-meeting-remembers-fidel-the-legacy-continues/#.WKPfRvkrLIU WW Harlem, N.Y., meeting remembers Fidel: “The Legacy Continues” By Stephen Millies posted on February 10, 2017]
  7. International Peace for Cuba Appeal - letterhead, Nov. 14, 1994
  8. http://www.ncccusa.org/news/99news34.html
  9. [WW http://www.workers.org/pdf/2003/ww013003.pdf Jan. 30, 2003]
  10. 10.0 10.1 No War On Cuba website: Write-up of Meeting by Bob Snyder, NWC (accessed on Sept. 13, 2010)
  11. http://www.redandgreen.org/Cuba/Medical_School/Medical_School.aspx.htm
  12. Progressive Newspaper Holds Better World Awards, Press Statement April 10, 2007
  13. http://www.ippn.org/IPPN_People
  14. [1] Ithaca Friends of Cuba website, accessed June 14, 2010
  15. Healthcare-Now! Board
  16. http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2008/01/jan-25th-celebrate-life-of-luis-miranda.html
  17. People's World: Reverend Lucius Walker, 1930-2010, Sept. 9, 2010 (accessed on Sept. 13, 2010)