By Jalil A. Muntaqim
The call has been made for progressive and revolutionary groups to get organized to be mobilized for the Spring Break "98 - Jericho March. Although we have demonstrated and protested in our respective cities in support of the release of political prisoners, the Courts and local governments has turned a deaf ear to this human rights issue. Over the years it has become increasingly indisputable that "power concedes nothing without a demand." It is apparent we need to increase pressure and raise the issue of the existence of political prisoners onto the national political debate.
The Jericho March raises a single issue of U.S. recognition of political prisoners and amnesty, as the impetus to forge unity amongst progressive and revolutionary forces across the country. It will permit us to gauge and measure our capacity to influence the body politics of the country. We will be able to expose the U.S. corporate government hypocritical human rights foreign policy on political dissidents, by directing attention to domestic human rights violations.
The national mobilization will traverse the country demanding amnesty for political prisoners. The national mobilization will target the seat of U.S. corporate government - the White House, to ensure the U.S. corporate government respond to our demands.
On February 13, 1996, representatives of the NALF and NY Coalition to Free Mumia Abu Jamal met with Congressional Black Caucus staff members proposing the CBC convene hearing on Cointelpro and the existence of political prisoners. It is an established fact the FBI-Cointelpro activities were illegal. In 1974, the Senate Church Committee condemned these nefarious FBI activities, but the Senate Church Committee failed to establish remedies for those who were victimized by Cointelpro. After more than 20 years Cointelpro victims languish in prisons or in exile. Since the existence of U.S. political prisoners is not a news worthy issue for which the CBC can gain political mileage; the CBC refused to convene the hearings claiming fear the hearings would negatively impact on the reelection of Bill Clinton.
I then becomes incumbent on progressive and revolutionary forces to build a grassroots movement that will groundswell into a national mobilization, a tidalwave of political activism demanding amnesty for political prisoners.
The original concept of the Jericho March was offered by the RNA over ten years ago. It was supposed to be an annual event, but the RNA failed to continue and build this practice. The principle idea is biblical in origin - Book of Joshua - Chapter 6. Joshua was a general of Prophet Moses and his brother Aaron, until they died. Joshua inherited the leadership a political and military leader. On one campaign, Joshua marched his army of people on Jericho, and in a 7 day siege they were able to win the city. The siege of Jericho according to biblical lore was a miracle of "people power", in which upon command they made a loud clamor of shouts and blowing of trumpets that the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
As an example of "people power" our moral argument is of human rights violations on the existence of U.S. political prisoners. This moral and political challenge to the U.S. corporate government captures the essence of the Jericho theme of "people power". We will march on the White House, and in a great shout and blowing of horns, demand amnesty for political prisoners.
During the late 50's and throughout the 60's the U.S. was in social-democratic crisis with the civil rights and anti-Vietnam protest movements. These struggles challenged the moral and political fiber of the country, and forged mass and popular movements. Today, low intensity conflicts (LIC) continues to raise the spectrum of U.S. involvement, but none of these LICs has created cause for mass protest against U.S. Imperialism. Although white supremacy and exploitation continues to permeate the socioeconomic order of U.S. capitalism, there is no urgency to eradicate these disparities and human rights violations.
The right-wing effectively implemented a "Contract on America", in so doing, consolidated corporate authority and control on government spending, and the expansion of U.S. corporate government hegemony in the world. The right-wing has compromised the left of center (i.e., liberals, moderates), and essentially nullified the influence of the political left-wing.
Although, progressive and revolutionary activist has sought to resurrect and rebuild a mass and popular movement, they have failed to identify an issue that can unite the many in the highest political expression of building the revolution. It is with this understanding the Jericho March is significant, as it develops the means to consolidate the most progressive elements in a single political objective. The Jericho March permits the left-wing to further the process of rebuilding by mobilizing our forces. The issue of the existence of political prisoners has been over the years presented in various ways (forums, rallies, demonstrations) across the country. There is not a progressive or revolutionary group in this country that do not know of the existence of U.S. political prisoners. It then becomes a matter of realizing our strength exist in the unity of our numbers, and our ability to get organized to be mobilized. With this single issue, demanding recognition of U.S. political prisoners and amnesty, progressive and revolutionary forces will resurrect a mass and popular movement. The national mobilization will set the stage to forge the essential impetus and momentum to rebuild a left-wing movement on the highest expression of revolutionary development.
On April 13, 1997, I met with the Administrator of NALF and the First Vice-President of PG-RNA. We agreed the Jericho March will be held on Friday, March27, 1998, at the White House. This date was proposed at the RNA-Nation Day for the following reasons: a) It is a business day for the U.S. corporate government, and it is necessary to ensure our demand is recognized by all U.S. government officials of corporate colonialism; b) Spring Break will be in effect on both East and West coast, permitting travel time for college students across the country to participate; c) the PG-RNA will be convening Nation Day "98 in DC during the weekend of March 27-29. It is important to build this event as part of the overall political dynamics of the independence movement and revolutionary struggle in this country.
A national coordinating body will be developed comprising representatives of political prisoners and progressive forces. Regional and local organizers will be identified and requested to actively participate in this endeavor. The Jericho March has been endorsed by NALF, PG-RNA, MOVE, NOGL, Prairie Fire Organization, NYC Coalition to Free Mumia Abu Jamal, ABCF, AIM, ProLibertad, Black Cat Collective, AFSC-NJ, SAFC, NY3 Freedom Campaign, W.W.P., etc. Three colleges had thus far pledged to charter buses for the national mobilization, and it is urged college activist get immediately involved in the organizing process. Leaflets, booklets and posters are being made to further propagate Spring Break "98-Jericho March.
For more information and to learn how you can participate, contact the following: 1. Safiya A. Buhkari, National Coordinator, Jericho March "98, P.O. Box 650, New York, New York 10009. Ph. No# (212), E-mail BJAS4A@ Village.IOS.COM, Bulletin Board at: HTTP:// @ Village.IOS. COM /~BJAS4A.
2. Regional Reps.