Chioma sends us notice via email about a International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement member being locked up on weed possession charges. That alone is not abnormal, but when you learn about the lengths the courts are going through to keep this brother in jail, with no bail (even though he posses no threat to the community), you'll see the politics in the case. You can support brother Bandele by donating (link) or by volunteering as a field organizer/street teamer by emailing the organization (link)
(InPDUM: International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement) Ajamu Bandele, Victim of a Government Set Up: On Wed, October 29th, Ajamu Bandele fka Orlando Gibson, president of the York branch of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, was arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police in York , PA and charged with possession of marijuana with conspiracy to distribute. While the State claims that its arrest of Comrade Ajamu represents a "war on drugs", "war on gangs" and "war on crime", his arrest comes at a time in which Ajamu was doing serious political work in the city of York to expose the State's "war on drugs, gangs and crime" as a war on the African community!
Before emerging as part of the international leadership structure of InPDUM, Ajamu was leading the African community of York in fierce struggle against Route 222 - a federal government "anti-gang" task force initiative to strip the African community in various cities across the U.S. of what little democratic rights we have managed to achieve. Through this York-InPDUM campaign and others like it, Ajamu had gained a reputation for criticizing the State for orchestrating and profiting from and orchestrating the same drug economy that it is accusing Ajamu of participating in! Comrades, brothers and sisters, we know that Ajamu is the victim of a set up. Not only are the charges the State has made against him not true, but there is a person who has stepped forward and written a statement in which he assumes responsibility for bringing marijuana in Ajamu's presence without his knowledge.
Conspiracy Revealed in Denial of Bond and Legal Defense
More evidence of the political nature of this case is to be found in the Pennsylvania State Parole Board’s detainer on Ajamu's $12,500 bond – which in effect requires that he suffer the horrendous conditions in the infamous York County Jail - a prison notorious for its inhumane treatment of prisoners, including its refusal to provide heat during the below freezing winters. The detainer, which also denies Ajamu the ability to work and live in the community until his trial, would never be imposed on someone with the same honorable reputation as Ajamu’s. The reality is that Ajamu was known throughout the city of York as one of the most productive members of the community - a fighter for justice for African people and a pillar of the community. In addition, he is the sole provider for his 7 year old son Quazil. Without the ability to work and earn a living, his son’s future is tenuous. It is clear that the State is not interested in Quazil's future. Its only concern is maintaining the status quo of repression and poverty of the African working class and denying us the political leadership (such as Ajamu's) necessary to protect our interests.
To ensure that Ajamu will never see the streets again, the State has used its influence to not only deny Ajamu bond, but also to deny him a quality lawyer. The last several lawyers who Ajamu has either retained or attempted to retain have either taken his money without providing any services or have charged more than they know he can afford. It is clear that Ajamu suffers being blacklisted amongst lawyers throughout the Susquehanna Valley area of Pennsylvania .
Imprisonment of Africans U.S. Imperialism's Response to Economic Crisis
It must be understood that Ajamu's arrest comes at a time in which the U.S. capitalist-colonialist government is suffering a deep and profound economic and political crisis. This crisis stems from the increasing difficulty that U.S. imperialism is having in its efforts to expropriate the value and wealth of the resources of oppressed peoples. This crisis stems from the resistance U.S. is being met with by African and other oppressed people in demand of our resources and self determination. The oil and freedom the U.S. attempts to steal from Iraq is being defended by the Iraqi people. The same can be said around the world - from Venezuela to Nigeria and within U.S. borders as well!
Historically, the U.S. economy was built off the tremendous repression and exploitation of African people here. From chattel slavery to convict leasing to the modern day prison system - locking African people up has always been (and continues to be) the U.S. 's "economic stimulus package".
At the same time, this exploitative, anti-democratic relationship that we have with the U.S. government has been the basis for African resistance within the U.S. From Nat Turner to Marcus Garvey to the Black Panther Party, there has not been one period in our history of captivity by white power that African people were not resisting - fighting to be a free, self governing, self determining people.
It is the movement for African Liberation that has set the terms for how the U.S. shapes its colonial laws and policies. The criminalization of African people is a necessary tactic of the U.S. "lawmakers" and the white ruling class whose economic and political interests is in an African population forever being behind bars and without freedom. We have seen how the expansive prison system has generated billions of dollars every year for the U.S. economy since the 1970's. Private companies like Victoria 's Secret, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft Word steal the labor of Africans in U.S. prisons. Phone companies like Verizon and MCI, bus companies, hotels, etc steal billions every year off desperate Africans families trying to communicate with each other. This is the economic stimulus package!
But the political basis of the prisons is perhaps the most important to expose, for as we reveal how the prisons are not in place to "stop crime", "rehabilitate" or "protect the citizenry", we expose the repressive nature of the prisons - to lock up all the freedom fighters and potential freedom fighters. Many of the African community’s heroes, past and present, real African patriots, who have committed no crime but having the desire to see their people free, are rotting in U.S. prisons today. Sundiata Acoli, Mumia Abu-Jamal and H. Rap Brown are just a few examples of such heroes. But it is not only those well known names from the Black Power Movement, but the entire African community, has been the target of the prison system, for the purpose of containing the revolutionary potential of the African population. In the state of Pennsylvania Prison System (where the State hopes to eventually send Ajamu) has grown more than 500% since the Black Power Revolution of the 1960's. This is a clear indication of the political significance of the prison system - to contain the African Revolution. This is clearly true in the case of Ajamu Bandele. Ajamu is one of the most dynamic leaders of a movement that would see African people free from the bloodsucking clutches of U.S. imperialism - whether it is in York , PA or Durban , SA.
InPDUM's Motion Changing York's Political Climate
The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement understands that if Ajamu, or any of the 2 million Africans locked down in U.S. prisons are to be free, it will be as a consequence of the political struggle we make to free him. It will be because the State knows that it will suffer a serious political consequence if it does not release our Comrade. Because of this, InPDUM has been waging a widespread campaign of information (including the signing of petitions as well as call ins, write ins to the York courts demanding his release) to raise awareness on and gain more influence for Ajamu's case.
In addition, on Tuesday, December 2nd over 25 members of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and various friends and supporters of the InPDUM converged on York, PA to protest the arrest of InPDUM York branch President Ajamu Bandele and to attend his preliminary hearing at which the decision for the case to go to trial was made by York County Magistrate Richard Martin. Although we did not expect any justice to come from a white man in a robe, we knew that our presence would make it very difficult for the State to keep our comrade captive like it was "business as usual.” For two hours solid, the InPDUM marched in front of the doorsteps of the District County Court demanding the immediate release of comrade Ajamu – using such chants as "they took comrade Ajamu’s freedom – cuz he was out here building InPDUM!"
Since the December 2nd demonstration and international information and education campaign we have waged, the African community of York has been buzzing with anticipation of InPDUM's next move. However, this is not simply a call to watch the struggle to Free Ajamu - this is a call to JOIN the struggle to Free Ajamu! (source)