Three days from now, on Feb. 15, under the #ProudAfricans banner Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean sisters and brothers from the Tri-state area and around the country will hold a protest rally at the United Nations to repudiate Donald Trump’s January 11 slur against Africans during a White House meeting with senators to discuss immigration policy reform.
The rally will be held at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza park on 47th Street between First and Second Avenues starting at 12 noon. It’s organized by African, African American and Caribbean organizations in New York City. (For more information call 212-340-1975) Everyone opposed to Trump’s racism and anti-immigrants agenda should attend this rally.
Trump’s attack on Africa was launched during a January 11 meeting. He reportedly asked why the U.S. didn’t admit more people from countries like Norway instead of “shithole” countries in Africa. Trump also in comments reported earlier voiced opposition to granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants from Haiti saying “they have Aids” and from Nigeria because they “would never want to return to their huts” in Africa. Trump also demonized El Salvadorians.
Trump’s racist comments are not surprising to anyone. His family business settled for millions of dollars when the Department of Justice took legal action against companies that wouldn’t rent apartments to Black people. Trump personally purchased ads worth about $100,000 in New York City’s daily newspapers calling for the return of the death penalty so five young men –four Black and one Latino– could be executed. They had been accused –falsely it turns out– of raping a White jogger in Central Park.
Even after the so-called Central Park 5 were exonerated after they had already served long prison sentences and New York City settled with them for $44 million Trump still insisted that they were guilty.
Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2016 by demonizing Mexicans as “rapist,” “drug dealers,” and “murderers.” When White racists, including Neo-Nazis and the alt-right nuts, held a rally in Charlottesville and a young woman opposing their hate was run over by a car and murdered Trump said there had been “decent people” on both sides.
It was only a question of time before he directed his bigotry towards continental Africa.
Why is it important to reject and denounce Trump’s racism? The words of an American president –especially a racial arsonist such as Donald Trump– are important and can provoke violent actions against African immigrants here in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere around the world. We already see the ugly exploitation of Africans such as those who are being auctioned into slavery in Libya and those being abused in Israel and sold to Rwanda and Uganda for $3,000 each.
These criminal actions against Africans will also be denounced at the April 15 rally.
African countries are not shitholes. Without Africa, the Western countries wouldn’t enjoy wealth and prosperity today.
Europe and the United States became industrialized as a result of plundering Africa’s resources through the centuries and the labor of enslaved Africans in the United States and during colonial rule.
Today, Africa continues to enrich the industrialized countries through the continent’s raw materials purchased at relatively insignificant prices or still plundered as in Congo through puppet regimes in Uganda and Rwanda.
Structural Adjustment Policies dictated by The World Bank- and IMF- also prevent African countries from industrializing. They continue to export raw materials; acting like plantations for the industrialized countries.
Any African leader who has tried to fundamentally change this neo-colonial relations with the West has paid a severe price or the maximum penalty. When Patrice Lumumba demanded that Congo earn a larger portion of the surplus from its vast mineral wealth he was overthrown after only three months as Prime Minister in 1960 by the Belgian government, mining interests, and the United States. Lumumba was murdered the following year and the murderous kleptocrat Mobutu was installed. He destroyed Congo while ruling for 37 years.
When Kwame Nkrumah tried to create a truly independent nation by focusing on industrializing Ghana through the Volta River project he was overthrown in 1966. A year earlier, he had warned in Neo-colonialism the Last Stage of Imperialism, of the dangers faced by African countries after formal independence from Europe. In the 1980s, when Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso spread the gospel of breaking economic and psychological dependency he was murdered by Blaise Compaore with the support of former colonial power France. Sankara’s successor was in power for 27 years until the youth rose up and ran him out of Burkina Faso.
So it’s not by accident that economic conditions are dire in most African countries. Repressive unaccountable governments are supported by countries such as the U.S., Britain, and France so long as they allow access to the resources needed for Western industry. Those who try to reconfigure the global economic structure to benefit Africans –Lumumba, Nkrumah, Sankara– are eliminated.
The Feb. 15 rally will allow Africans to denounce the continued Western support for dictatorial regimes in Africa.
Sisters and brothers from Haiti will remind the world that their’s was the first Black Republic in the world born after their brave ancestor destroyed Napoleon’s imperial army. That was the Haitian Revolution, a story well told by C.L.R. James in The Black Jacobins.
The rally is anchored by the theme “Protest, Policy, Power.” The “Protest” is to show outrage against Trump’s slur; the “Policy” allows speakers to propose solutions or redress for domestic and international policies that affect African communities; and, the “Power” represents the opportunity for people attending the rally and the organizers to broaden and deepen their alliances.
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The protest is organized by the United African Congress (UAC), The Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Give Them A Hand Foundation, African Diaspora Coalition for Justice, Nextmedia.tv, The Black Star News, African Women Solidarity Action for Development, African Hope Committee, African Commission of Newark, New Jersey, and African Human Rights Commission.