Chokwe Lumumba

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Chokwe Lumumba


Chokwe Lumumba - a founder and leader of the Republic of New Afrika, the New Afrikan People's Organization and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, defense attorney for Tupac Shakur and others, and a first term city councilman - became, in June 2013, the new mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. [1]

He died after only 6 months in office in 2014.

Background

Chokwe Lumumba was born in 1943 into a family of seven brothers and sisters in the public housing projects of Detroit’s West Side. Originally named Edwin Taliaferro, he later renounced this as a “slave name” in favor of Lumumba, after the Congolese nationalist and prime minister, and Chokwe, the name of an Angolan tribe. His early education was in Catholic schools, where blatant racism was part of the learning experience:

At Saint Theresa High School, where he was student council president and captain of the football team, he began to engage in political protest activities. He and his mother would stand on street corners to collect money to support the activities of the Student National Coordinating Committee , a primarily African American organization promoting respect for civil rights throughout the South. A speech given by Martin Luther King in 1963 inspired Lumumba to make civil rights his life’s work. [2]

Activism

Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, affected Lumumba profoundly. He says, “I think the single most important thing in my political development is his death. You see, to my mother he was the Black Moses. She followed him and she always talked to me about him”. On the day following King’s death, Lumumba, participated in a student takeover of the University Center Building of Western Michigan University, where he was a student. The protesters demanded that the university hire more African American teachers and create Martin Luther King scholarships for African American students.

Lumumba became part of the movement to establish African American studies programs at other universities throughout the Midwest and he helped organize Black student movements in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. He formed the Black United Front at Kalamazoo College in western Michigan, forcing a shift of resources from buildings to childhood education in the predominantly African American area of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In 1969 Lumumba entered law school at Wayne State University in Detroit. In the first year, however, eighteen of the twenty-four Black students in his class "failed due to a discriminatory grading system". In response to this "injustice", Lumumba and other Black students occupied the law school administration building demanding reinstatement of the students and fair grading practices. As a result Wayne State readmitted the students and established an anonymous system of grading. Ultimately all but two of the students received good grades and graduated, many of them becoming prominent attorneys and judges. Lumumba himself graduated cum laude in 1975. Lumumba continued his advocacy of equal education at Wayne State and has supported programs that allow African American students to succeed in the law school environment.

After graduation, Lumumba became an advocate for the protection of Black communities, following attacks by local police and vigilante groups. Rather than harassing the so-called “radical leadership”, special units of the Detroit police, had begun targeting the African American community for “pre-emptive action”.

Lumumba confronted these abuses with community patrols against violence and drug dealing and an urban scout program for young people to protect themselves against gang and racial attacks. He created the Malcolm X Center to educate and train young Black activists. He established Africa-centric schools to teach the dismantling of racism and sexism and inspire Black pride. He challenged the excessive rates for heat and electricity being charged residents of poor neighborhoods.[3]

Hayward Brown case

In the early 1970s in a case of national prominence, Lumumba defended Hayward Brown, a radical Black activist who had previously been acquitted of assaulting a police officer. Lumumba defended Brown on charges of possession of a concealed weapon in the virtually all-white suburb of Dearborn, Michigan. When a jury of nine Blacks and three whites could not reach a verdict, Lumumba declared,

The Wayne County prosecutor has chased Haywood Brown relentlessly from jury to jury, from judge to judge and from court to court with trumped-up charges¼.Not only are his human rights being violated, ours are likewise. They are using our tax dollars in their endeavor to silence another freedom fighter.[4]

Nationall Black United Front Convention

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Michael Simanga, Jamala Rogers, Chokwe Lumumba, at the Nationall Black United Front Convention in Atlanta.

Republic of New Afrika

Also at this time Lumumba became vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization formed to coordinate the efforts of individual activists, Black nationalists, and grassroots groups of diverse philosophies. The RNA was staunchly anti-capitalist, sought reparations for slavery, and aimed at giving African Americans control over their lives and land. Although the RNA drew support from prominent civil rights figures like Congressman Julian Bond and comedian Dick Gregory, it became a key target of the FBI’s Cointelpro program, a system of illegal government subversion intended to destroy groups perceived to be a threat to the USA. They followed him throughout the country, attempted to recruit a cousin to spy on him, and kept constant watch on his mother’s house.

In September of 1971, he was arrested during a citywide sweep after the murder of a Detroit police officer. While he was being booked, police officers referred to his involvement with the RNA saying, “We’re going to send you all back to Africa in boxes with African names on them”. Lumumba’s younger brother, then 13, was arrested and held in jail but never charged. Police have made a point of informing Lumumba’s landlords of his past political activities.

In 1972 the RNA purchased land near Jackson, Mississippi, as the geographic base for the movement. The RNA met with discrimination, threats, harassment, roadblocks, and arrests by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Lumumba took responsibility for confronting and negotiating with theses agencies and managed to convince the FBI to order the removal of roadblocks preventing access to the land. Local police and the FBI mounted an assault on a house that was serving as RNA headquarters in Jackson. In 1973, Mississippi police officers stopped Lumumba and his wife while they were out for a walk; he recalls, “They put a shotgun in my gut and asked, ‘Are you the second-in-charge of the black-ass niggers?’”

Back in Detroit

Back in Detroit in 1976, Lumumba joined the staff of the Detroit Public Defenders Office, providing free counsel to indigent clients. In 1978 he set up his own law firm with the intention of combining his political advocacy with his legal skills. He sued Wayne State University for abandoning their program of affirmative action in admitting African American students. He defended Alton Maddox, a prominent police-abuse attorney suspended by the Michigan Bar Association because he refused to give authorities information about a client.

On July 22, 1978, inmates at the maximum security prison in Pontiac, Illinois rioted to protest violations against prisoner rights, including unsanitary living conditions; cramped quarters; cold, insect-infested food; lack of medical treatment; and guard brutality. Many prisoners were injured and three guards were killed in the riot; twenty-eight African Americans and three Latinos were charged. Sixteen of the accused, popularly known as the “Pontiac Sixteen”, faced murder charges and a possible death sentence if convicted. Lumumba agreed to defend Ozzie Williams, whom he perceived to be one of the most political of those charged, in this significant case. Eventually, all charges against the defendants were dismissed. Lumumba said at the time, “The Pontiac Sixteen trial is ¼ the type of case that I got into the legal profession to deal with”. At trial ten of the Pontiac Sixteen were found not guilty; all charges against the other defendants were dismissed.[5]

New York march

Lumumba was an organizer of and speaker at the February 1980 New York City march for the rights of African Americans. Five thousand people walked from Harlem to the United Nations Building to demand an international forum on the plight of minority populations in the US.[6]

Brinks case

He was lead defense counsel in the “Brinks Case”, a major legal confrontation between the Justice Department and a group of revolutionaries who had been charged with the October 1981 robbery of $1.6 million from an armored car and the killing of two police officers and a guard in Rockland County, New York. On November 10, 1981, New York Judge Irving Ben Cooper barred Lumumba from representing Fulani Sunni Ali (Cynthia Boston) on charges arising from the Brink’s incident, citing his political ideology, his values as a lawyer, and his behavior on the witness stand. Of this ruling Stephen Shapiro, then chief counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union said, “The opinion incredibly ignores two sacred rights in this country: the right to free speech and association, and the right of a criminal defendant to choose her own lawyer”. Lumumba ultimately won the right to represent Fulani Sunni Ali and her husband, Bilal Sunni Ali. The charges against Fulani were ultimately dismissed when witnesses established her whereabouts in New Orleans at the time of the Brink’s incident in New York.

On September 3, 1983, the Brinks Case ended in a stunning defeat for the US Government. Six of the eight defendants were acquitted of all major charges, and no defendant was convicted in the actual robbery. As a result of his comments to the press, Lumumba was held in contempt by the District Judge.[7]

New Afrikan Freedom Fighter Day

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On 1982 Chokwe Lumumba, National Committee to Honor New Afrikan Freedom Fighters, headlined a New Afrikan Freedom Fighter Day in Harlem.

Lumumba spoke alongside Imari Obadele, Republic of New Afrika, Ben Chavis, National Black Independent Political Party, Serge Mukendi, Congolese National Liberation Front, Jose Lopez, Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Jim Haughton, Fightback, Zala Chandler, Coalition of Concerned Black Women, National Conference of Black Lawyers, First World Poets, Spirit of Life Ensemble, and others...

  • LAND AND INDEPENDENCE FOR NEW AFRIKA!
  • FREE ALL PRISONERS OF WAR!
  • DON'T COLLABORATE STOP THE GRAND JURY!
  • SUPPORT THE NEW AFRIKAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS!
  • THE BLACK NATION IS AT WAR!
  • WE NEED AN ARMY!

"The Black Community Must Never Turn Its Back On Its Freedom Fighters"

Representing radicals

In 1985 Lumumba worked with a legal team that successfully uncovered evidence demonstrating how the FBI targeted and "framed" activist Geronimo Pratt. That work ultimately helped win Pratt’s release ten years later. In similar cases he defended Assata Shakur, Mutulu Shakur, and Mutulu’s son, the popular music performer Tupac Shakur. In 1991 he represented activists in Los Angeles protesting the videotaped police beating of a young Black man named Rodney King. Lumumba notes with pride that most of his political clients have gone on to become effective activists; Geronimo Pratt, for example, now works as a community development advocate in Louisiana and Africa.[8]

Anti-Apartheid

In 1985 Lumumba became active in the movement against apartheid in South Africa, training and motivating young people to become active in “fighting for something other than drug turf”.[9]

Back to Mississippi

When Lumumba returned to Mississippi in 1988, his application to practice law in the state was held in limbo for three years. But he rapidly became a noted legal and community advocate, focusing on clients who had experienced violations of their fundamental human rights. For example, he defended DeWayne Boyd, a civil rights activist who had helped to sue the US Department of Agriculture for reparations for African Americans. Lumumba offered his protection to Boyd, who was in Mississippi trying to prevent the illegal expropriation of African American-owned land.

After he was granted the right to practice law in 1991, Lumumba represented the family of Johnnie Griffin, a community activist who had been shot by the police, in a wrongful-death suit. A self-avowed segregationist police officer shot Griffin to death at his home in front of his four children. Lumumba won $250,000 in compensatory damages for the family.

In the 1990s Lumumba increasingly specialized in cases where racial prejudice and political power combine to produce biased investigations, unjust arrests, and excessively punitive sentences. In a landmark case for Mississippi, he wins the acquittal of George Little, a young African American charged with murder for defending himself against an attack by a white man.

Lumumba has consistently participated in demonstrations against the activities of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1990 he represented anti-Klan demonstrators accused of infringing on the Klan’s civil rights. As a demonstrator and outspoken advocate, Lumumba has had police protecting the Klan point their guns directly at him. He has also defended groups of anti-Klan demonstrators in other parts of the country.

The Mississippi legal establishment has also directed its hostility against him. In 2000 the Mississippi Bar publicly reprimanded Lumumba for speaking out against Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger. A self-proclaimed segregationist, Yerger had dismissed a lawsuit filed against a white police officer brought by Lumumba for an African American client. Lumumba challenged the judge’s decision as being discriminatory. Judge Yerger held him in contempt and filed a complaint with the Mississippi Bar.[10]

Legal battle

Lumumba is currently embroiled in a fight for professional survival, facing the potential loss of his ability to practice law in Mississippi. In the summer of 1996, an African American named Henry Payton came before Judge Marcus Gordon of the Leake County Circuit Court in Carthage, Mississippi. Payton was convicted of bank robbery and arson and sentenced to five years in prison. However, the conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which found that Judge Gordon had violated Payton’s rights in the trial. The case was returned to Gordon for a new trial; Payton hired Lumumba to defend him.

According to reports, during the trial Judge Gordon openly expressed animosity toward Lumumba and bias against Payton. Lumumba requested that the judge disqualify himself; the judge refused. When the jury was unable to reach a verdict, Gordon ordered them to deliberate further and two hours later the jury returned with a verdict of guilty. This time, Judge Gordon gave Payton a sentence of forty-eight years in prison.

After the trial several jurors said that they would not have found Payton guilty, but had understood the judge’s instructions to mean that the law required them to put aside their honest beliefs to reach a verdict. Other jurors admitted that they were acquainted with one of the prosecution’s key witnesses and had decided that Payton was guilty before the trial began.

In October 2001, Lumumba filed a motion for a new trial. At the hearing Judge Gordon would not allow any of the jurors to testify and refused to order the appearance of people with knowledge of jury misconduct. Lumumba accused Gordon of being unfair. Later Lumumba told a reporter that Gordon “had the judicial demeanor of a barbarian”. He was held in contempt, ejected from the courtroom and jailed for three days. He was fined $300 for saying he was proud to be removed from the courtroom, and $500 for “failing to demonstrate contrition”.

On April 10, 2003, two lawyers and a judge from Harrison County, Mississippi, formed a tribunal and held a hearing on the charges. Lumumba explained that his comments during the Payton trial were prompted by the biased manner of Judge Gordon, including: allowing Payton to be brought before the jury in chains; cutting off Lumumba’s voir dire of potential jurors; interrupting Lumumba’s opening statement; reading erroneous instructions to the jury; and sentencing Payton to forty-eight years. One of Lumumba’s attorneys argued that he had spoken out only with the intention of defending his client’s rights, that the statement made about the judge’s demeanor was protected as free speech, and that the transcript of the proceedings failed to show any evidence Lumumba had disrespected or disrupted the court. The tribunal found Lumumba guilty and ordered that he be publicly reprimanded.

The Mississippi Bar is apparently not satisfied with this reprimand and is appealing the tribunal’s decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court, requesting a one year suspension — a punishment that would require Lumumba to give up all his clients and retake the state bar examination. A hearing was held on April 22, 2003, but a ruling has not yet been announced.

In a separate proceeding, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Lumumba’s conviction for contempt of court. Leake County refused bond and he served three days in jail.

Lumumba says, “Of course the origin of these proceedings is political. It comes down to the Bar not wanting an assertive human rights lawyer who will challenge the various local courts and tribunals in Mississippi”.

Though Front Line is not in a position to express an opinion on the merits of the pending proceedings, the circumstances of these charges against Lumumba raise substantial questions about whether he is being singled out for harsh treatment on the basis of his political beliefs and advocacy for unpopular clients and causes rather than his actual conduct in the courtroom.[11]

Malcolm X conference

A conference, Malcolm X: Radical Tradition and a Legacy of Struggle was held in New York City, November 14 1990.

The "Black Liberation and Social Revolution: U.S.A. Perspectives" panel consisted of;

Chairperson:

Panel:

Black Radical Congress

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At the 1998 Black Radical Congress in Chicago, a panel was convened on "Organizing the South"

This panel will discuss the historic role of the Black South in the larger history of Black exploitation and the struggle for Black freedom.

Panelists were Ashaki Binta, Chokwe Lumumba, Ajamu Dillahunt, (coordinator) Gary Grant, Latosha Brown[12]

“Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century”

10th Anniversary Meeting of the Black Radical Congress, “Forging a Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century” Black Radical Congress, June 20-22, 2008, St. Louis, Missouri.

Endorsers for the Congress included Chokwe Lumumba New African Peoples Organization.[13]

USSF

At the United States Social Forum in Detroit , a forum was held "Presente! Left Movement Veterans Discuss the Path to Power and the Role of the Left in the US" June 24th from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at Cobo Hall.

Description: Long-time activists Bill Gallegos, Lian Hurst Mann, Chokwe Lumumba, Jane Slaughter, Linda Burnham, and Pam Tau Lee join other Leftists that have plied their trade for over 30 years in an urgent discussion on the role of the left in today’s social movements. [14]

It was sponsored by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL.[15]

Jackson Mayor

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In a stunning turn of events Chokwe defeated Jackson's three-term incumbent and first African American mayor Harvey Johnson, the white Republican-financed young Black businessman Jonathan Lee, and others to win leadership of the city with the second highest percentage of Black people in the United States.

I was privileged to briefly participate in the victory of one of the most radical mayors in U.S. history, right in the heart of Dixie, and to glimpse a new Black-led progressive coalition that intends to fight for the state.

By depriving incumbent Johnson of their support, whites inadvertently helped Lumumba upset Johnson in the primary. And in the Lee/Lumumba runoff the full throated white backing of Lee helped most Black voters come crystal clear who he really represented in stark contrast to the powerful progressive grassroots candidacy of Chokwe Lumumba. Lee filled the airwaves with dire warnings of Lumumba's "militancy," "divisiveness" and "anti-Christianity," but a large Black majority went for Lumumba in huge percentages.

Lumumba told the Clarion Ledger, "I was even more impressed with the people and ... their ability to, I think, take on the issues and to see through what I think in many instances was misdirection. They [voters] had a lot of distractions, and they saw through them."

Mississippi also has a growing Latino population. Members of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Coalition, acting as individuals, played a strong role in Lumumba's election.

There were numerous candidates on the May 7 Democratic primary ballot for mayor, but four Blacks led the way. Going in, the favorites were incumbent Mayor Harvey Johnson and 35-year-old businessman Jonathan Lee who billed himself as representing a new generation of Black leadership.

Councilperson Chokwe Lumumba and attorney Regina Quinn were considered long shots.

As mentioned white business interests shunned Johnson and white voters came in big behind Lee by about ninety percent. The Jackson Free Press reported that Lee contributors had previously given more than $1.25 million to Republicans such as Mitt Romney.

Lumumba and Johnson each took about 30 percent of the Black vote with Lee and Quinn garnering about 15 percent of African Americans.

In an upset, Lumumba managed to narrowly edge out Johnson to make the runoff due to the white racial block vote for Lee, the splintering of African American middle class voters among all four main candidates, and a big turnout for Lumumba by Black voters, especially in his City Council district, the largely affluent and Second Ward.

Upon his election as city councilman four years ago, Lumumba had organized a People's Assembly in the Second Ward to educate and activate his constituents. Four years later that People's Assembly urged Lumumba to run for Mayor and helped draft his program, the Jackson Plan. The big turnout was the fruit of that bottom up nomination process.

Overall, 30.7 percent (34,652) of Jackson's 110,000 voters cast ballots, slightly higher than the previous mayoral race. Lee took 34.2 percent (11,929); Lumumba won 24.7 percent (8,290); Johnson 21 percent; and Quinn 11 percent.

The challenge facing Lumumba in the runoff was daunting. Overall he was outspent by Lee $410,109 to $100,710. And to win he had to turnout and carry virtually all of the Black voters who had supported incumbent Johnson and attorney Quinn in the primary.

Surprisingly he accomplished both, winning the Democratic runoff by 54 to 46 percent (3,000 votes) despite an enormous white turnout for Lee.

The runoff campaign quickly got nasty, as Lee choked the airwaves with claims that Lumumba was an "un-Christian" (read Muslim) "militant," non-Democrat who would "divide the city." Lumumba regularly introduced himself as "the Christian brother with an African name" and claimed a track record of fighting for change in the "militant" tradition of Dr. King and Medgar Evers. He called himself a Freedom Democrat in honor of Fannie Lou Hamer.

The legendary grassroots organizer Hollis Watkins worked for Chokwe Lumumba from the beginning and Congressman Bennie Thompson, the most powerful Black politician in the state, rallied to Lumumba's support in the runoff. Thompson, the only Democratic congressperson from Mississippi, and Watkins, who has earned tremendous moral authority for his non-stop, courageous organizing from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the early sixties up to today, gave Lumumba a crucial imprimatur of approval and confidence, and mobilized substantial resources to his side.

It is important to note, however, that the small percentage of white voters Lumumba won were also crucial to his slim 3,000 vote margin of victory. A determined band of white campaigners flanked Lumumba and fought hard to achieve this important result.

Having put all its eggs in the Lee basket, the Republicans did not muster a candidate of their own in the general election of June 4. And they were too demoralized to re-mobilize behind one of the three unknown independents. Lumumba was officially elected mayor in a landslide.

His election is a lightning bolt: Has anyone with Lumumba's deep radical political history and who still leads a radical black organization ever been elected mayor of a significant U.S. city?

Mississippi's progressives are determined to enhance the power of Blacks, win back the House and transform Mississippi into a battleground state in the years to come. The defeat of the personhood amendment and the election of Chokwe Lumumba are hallmarks of this process, and give renewed impulse and energy to recent motion of social justice forces throughout the country to make electoral work a key part of our struggle for freedom.[16]

"Jackson Plan"

Lumumba campaigned on a political program called “The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice.”

In describing this platform, which comes from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the Jackson People’s Assembly, Lumumba stated on Democracy Now!: “We have formed like a people’s assembly, that’s key to what we’ve done here, where we have — every three months, the population can come out and participate in an open forum to say what’s on their mind. They can come out and learn some of the problems that the city is facing and some of the solutions that some of the problem solvers are supposed to be offering".[17]

Thompson endorsement

Lumumba, Thompson

In mid May 2013 Rep. Bennie Thompson spent a day campaigning with Jackson Mississippi mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba around the city. He was also joined by former candidate Regina Quinn, Sen. Sollie Norwood (D- Jackson), Supervisor Kenny Stokes and Councilwomaman Larita Cooper-Stokes.

In the past week, we’ve seen a slew of endorsements between both Jackson mayoral candidates Councilman Chokwe Lumumba and Jonathan Lee. There is no question that the most prized endorsement belonged to Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson of Bolton.

In this 1 minute radio ad that features the congressman’s very familiar hook “He’s the one we need”, Rep. Thompson skewers Lee by tying him to Rankin and Madison County Republicans and referring to Councilman Lumumba as “the real Democrat” in the race.

I’m certain that all of the candidates sought the endorsement of Congressman Thompson but now that he has thrown his support behind Chokwe Lumumba, it will be interesting to see if it will close the gap and and change the trajectory of the race.

Militant support

Bob Wing traveled from his home in Durham to spend eight days working to elect Chokwe Lumumba during the runoff election. Wing thankedd Ajamu Dillahunt, Makani Themba and Derrick Johnson for their editorial suggestions for a People's World article on Lumumba's victory.[18]

FRSO support

Ash-Lee Henderson participated in a Freedom Road Socialist Organization delegation to Jackson, Mississippi to support the Chokwe Lumumba campaign during the Democratic Primary in May 2013. Both members and friends of Freedom Road participated in canvassing, poll-watching, sign holding and other activities to support Chokwe Lumumba and Joyce Hardwick, the two candidates recruited to run on the People’s Assemblies platform.

Ash-Lee: I think the first time I heard about the Lumumba campaign was when members of People’s Durham told me about the campaign and invited folks from Tennessee to join them on their Black Belt Summer trip in June 2012. The Black Belt Summer trip included a stop in Jackson to learn about the People’s Assembly and do some ground work for the Lumumba campaign. I was not able to go along on that trip, but when the opportunity presented itself to go and help out the campaign during the Democratic primary, it was the People’s Assembly model and platform—the embodiment of direct democracy and self-determination—that made me feel I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I believe strongly that we must Organize the South and show solidarity between the Southern States. I understood that the campaign would be attacked from the right and from white supremacists with access to lots of money, so I wanted to be one in the number and bring other folks with me to support the campaign. I knew it would take a lot of folks on the ground doing canvassing, poll-watching, and sign holding, among other things to fight back against those attacks and the massive amounts of money from the opposition. I was able to bring 3-4 other folks with me from Chattanooga to work during the Democratic primary, the primary runoff, and the general election. We kept going back because the people kept winning and because of the relationships we built with the grassroots folks working on the campaign day to day.[19]

African People’s Socialist Party support

Lumumba;s campaign was endorsed by UHURU, the website of the African People’s Socialist Party;

Chokwe Lumumba is running for mayor of Mississippi’s biggest city, Jackson.

The campaign is winning attention and support from Africans and other progressives from throughout the U.S.

It is just the latest and one of the most significant of recent electoral efforts by revolutionary activists to test the possibilities and limitations of bourgeois electoral politics to advance the interests of colonially oppressed Africans in the U.S.
The success of the presidential campaigns of Barack Hussein Obama has done more in the last period to legitimize the electoral process as the road to power in the African community.
Nevertheless, electoral politics has been a question that has agitated the revolutionary African movement since the Black Revolution of the Sixties. Many perceive the defeat of that movement as necessary for the success of Barack Hussein Obama, relieving him of the necessity of addressing the pressing life and death issues of the African community and alienating the whites who voted for him.
Unlike Obama, however, Chokwe Lumumba has a sterling record of working for the emancipation of African people, especially within current U.S. borders.
Lumumba was a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (RNA), a revolutionary pro-independence African liberation formation founded in 1968 at the height of the Black Revolution of the Sixties.
As a member of that organization and a genuine patriot of African liberation and self-determination, Lumumba risked his life and liberty on more than one occasion. The RNA was targeted by the U.S. government almost upon its founding.
In 1969 police attacked an important RNA New Afrikan Day meeting - a celebration of RNA's founding, held in Detroit at New Bethel Baptist Church, pastored by Aretha Franklin’s father. The attack resulted in the death of one cop and the arrests of more than 200 of the African celebrants. All of those arrested were freed and exonerated.
On August 18, 1971 the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. national political police, along with the local police department, attacked RNA headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi. RNA members had to fight for their lives and several of them were arrested.
While these were important events in the history of Lumumba and the movement he represented, they do not tell the story of what Lumumba and his courageous compatriots were really about. For the truth of the matter is they were part of a movement of people throughout the world who believed in the right of all people to be free and were willing to challenge the greatest oppressive power in the world to bring that freedom about.
Lumumba is a lawyer. He has that in common with Barack Hussein Obama. However, his work in the legal arena has also been to serve the cause of the liberation of African people.

He has defended political prisoners and prisoners of war who were jailed because of their efforts to win the happiness and stolen resources of African people.
Lumumba supported the reparations struggle at a time when its organizers were considered part of a lunatic fringe.
Lumumba's reputation as a defender of African people's rights, led the Black is Back Coalition for Peace, Social Justice and Reparations to endorse his candidacy at its national conference held in Newark, New Jersey in August 2012.
Subsequent to that endorsement the coalition also made a modest contribution from its modest treasury to Lumumba’s campaign.

Similarly, members of the African People’s Socialist Party joined with the growing ranks of Lumumba supporters and made a small financial contribution to his campaign.
We have known Lumumba from the inception of the Republic of New Afrika. We have done some work together over the years and we have also engaged in strenuous ideological struggles with Lumumba and the Republic of New Afrika. No doubt there will be others in the future.
Nevertheless, we support this campaign and this candidate because there has never been any doubt in our minds about the integrity and intent of Lumumba and his organization(s).
He and the Republic of New Afrika have always believed in self-determination for our people. They have always been able to demonstrate that belief at great risks to themselves and their families.
The African People’s Socialist Party has always held up as a strategic aim the need to win an understanding that the pro-independence sector of our movement represents the genuine aspirations of African people to be free and self-determining.
This is one thing that has made it easy for us to support Lumumba and most of his organizational efforts toward that end.
Lumumba will have to win allies and support from sectors of the African national petty bourgeoisie in Jackson and other places in order to have maximum access to the African masses that do not have the advantage of independent political organization for the moment. That is to be expected.
However, his success in that effort will contribute to the deepening of the democratic process initiated in Mississippi by the Civil Rights Movement that ultimately benefited the petty bourgeoisie at the expense of the masses of impoverished African workers.
Those of us who believe in the revolution and the struggle for African independence should maximize our support for Lumumba’s campaign.
Those of us who claim to be “progressives,” “leftists,” especially those who worked for and supported Barack Hussein Obama, must join in making this campaign a success in whatever ways we can.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Lumumba will win this election or that if he does he will be able to make the difference we need in terms of furthering the general aims of the struggle for African self-determination.
But it will be an educational process for the African revolution and worth the effort.[20]

Lumumba Transition Executive Committee

Circa June 18, Jackson Mayor-elect Chokwe Lumumba announced the members of an advisory committee that will help ease his transition into the mayor’s office in July.

References

  1. PW, “Jackson, hell yes:” Chokwe Lumumba elected mayor, by: Bob Wing June 10 2013
  2. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  3. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  4. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  5. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  6. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  7. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  8. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  9. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  10. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  11. Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba
  12. [THE BLACK SCHOLAR VOLUME 28, NO. 3/4, page 45]
  13. Info Exchange, 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Black Radical Congress, June 20-22, 2008
  14. Us Out at the US Social Forum! Posted on Saturday May 29th, 2010
  15. USSF program, accessed November 2015
  16. PW, “Jackson, hell yes:” Chokwe Lumumba elected mayor, by: Bob Wing, June 10 2013
  17. WW People’s Assembly platform brings mayoral victory for Chokwe Lumumba By Monica Moorehead on June 11, 2013
  18. PW, “Jackson, hell yes:” Chokwe Lumumba elected mayor, by: Bob Wing, June 10 2013
  19. FRSO, “When we fight, we win!” Talking about Jackson and the Chokwe Lumumba campaign Posted on Tuesday August 6th, 2013 by Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson
  20. [http://uhurunews.com/story?resource_name=uhuru-movement-endorsed-chokwe-lumumba-for-jackson-mississippi-mayoral-bid, UHURUNEWS.com Uhuru Movement endorses Chokwe Lumumba for Jackson, Mississippi mayoral bid Uhuru News Published Apr 7, 2013]
  21. [http://www.blackmountainnews.com/article/D0/20130618/NEWS01/306180048/Lumumba-transition-Morale-major-weakness-, BlackMountain News, Lumumba on transition: Morale is 'major weakness' Jun. 18, 2013]