Read the Report-back on the National Forum on Police Crimes
in defense of democracy and
to end racist and political repression
Friday and Saturday, May 16 – 17, 2014
University of Chicago International House
1414 E. 59th St, Chicago IL 60637
Full Details of Forum Breakout Sessions
(41st Anniversary souvenir Program Book Order Form)
(EnLy10-LYRIC know your rights youth training wkshp
(National Forum Host Committee)
(Charlene Michell Human Rights Award Dinner Ticket Order Form)
(Download Flyer for Dinner and Rally)
(Download Flyer Full Forum Schedule)
Today, in the face of . . .
- a national epidemic of shootings by police and vigilantes, particularly of African-American young men;
- the growth of mass incarceration in the United States resulting in a significant increase in the numbers of people of color incarcerated;
- the continuation of this country leading the world in the absolute number and rate of incarceration;
- the targeting, detaining, and mass deportation of millions of immigrants;
- the militarization of our borders;
- the institutionalization of an American police state fusing local, state, and federal law enforcement, in the name of countering “terror” under the so-called “PATRIOT Act.”
- the continued incarceration or forced exile of political prisoners, many for over 40 years, including Leonard Peltier, Assata Shakur, Pete O’Neal, Mumia Abu Jamal, the NATO 3 in Chicago, Jeremy Hammond, Chelsea Manning, the Cuban Five, the Angola Three, the prisoners at Guantanamo, victims of “extraordinary renditions,” and the hunting of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
. . . we issue this call for you to join us in a renewed effort to build a multi-racial, multi-national movement to stop police crimes. Join us in Chicago May 16-17, 2014 for a historic National Forum on Police Crimes. Because the police – local, state and federal – are at the cutting edge of racist and political repression.
Our Shared Experience Fighting for Justice
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression originated as a branch of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Our organization was founded right here in Chicago 41 years ago. The movement originated in the wake of the movement to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners. This was a watershed moment in the fight to end racist and political repression, for labor rights, human rights and peace. In 1973 we came together because of an urgent need to respond to the planned destruction of our movement by the FBI and CIA, through their counter intelligence program known as COINTELPRO, simply put, the racist and repressive measures used by the local, state and federal governments in an attempt to stymie and destroy us. We came together in the light of our deep and abiding concern for the democratic rights and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the American people. We came together because we realized the government at the local, state, and federal level was trying to contain and eliminate everyone challenging the status quo. Our mission was clear; defend and extend the democratic rights of the people. Fighting police crimes was always a key component of that struggle.
Our formation as a national organization was a victory in and of itself, and was demonstrated in . . .
- Our successful struggles to free political prisoners such as Rev. Ben Chavis and the Wilmington Ten, Joanne Little, Maggie Bozeman, Mayor Eddie James Carthan, and racist frame-up victims like Johnny Imani Harris.
- Our victories in defeating right to work laws in Missouri and the extension of the Voting Rights Act.
- Our success in calling for and organizing the national people’s hearing on police crime in Los Angeles, California during the 1980s.
- The national and international attention we brought to the plight of political prisoners in the U.S. such as Assata Shakur, Leonard Peltier, Geronimo Pratt, Dharuba bin Wahad, the Puerto Rican Nationalists, and many COINTELPRO victims – through our petition in 1978 to the United Nations charging the government with gross human rights violations.
- These were significant victories in stopping continued attempts to silence every activist in the people’s movement for peace, freedom, and equality.
New and Even Bigger Forces of Repression Have Emerged
Needless to say, we did not stop government repression and police crimes. Since the War on Drugs and 9/11 police crimes have become the cutting edge of mass incarceration, racist and political repression. This is why we are having this National Forum on Police Crimes; to collectively assess the impact that criminal police and criminal police tactics are having in our communities and on the people’s movement for human rights and democracy. We must find a way to stop the reckless, racist-motivated murder of African American, Latino and Native American youth. We believe we can find that way, through mass, united, organized struggle of oppressed people of color and the working class.
Today we must broaden our definition of political prisoner. This includes all who are imprisoned as a result of the so-called “War on Drugs”, those who have been wrongfully convicted through frame-ups, and those who are victims of torture. The draconian “War on Drugs” is a clear-cut government policy leading to the mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos. We also include the millions of immigrants that have been incarcerated in US immigration detention centers. The State considers these ‘centers’ outside the provisions of the criminal system but we call them prisons. The ever expanding incarceration system of immigrant prisons, increasingly run by for-profit corporations, must be fought against as well the “poli-migra”, racist policing strategies that merge local, and state policing with federal immigration enforcement.
People targeted by the PATRIOT ACT must also be included in our definition of political prisoner and political repression. The racist attacks and the FBI repression that are sweeping through Arab-American communities and peace and solidarity movements, demand response due to the historically unprecedented attacks on democracy done under the guise of preventing terrorism. COINTELPRO and the illegal repression of the past have now become legalized since 9/11 under the PATRIOT Act.
We need to recognize and fight back against the attempts to roll-back the gains of the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act. If the right to vote is restricted again we are in danger of undoing the gains that have been made at a cost of many lives and much hard work of our elders. This will lead to the disenfranchisement of millions of African Americans, Latinos and poor people, and would have a profound and devastating impact on the political life of the country.
Call to Action
Today as we approach our forty-first anniversary, our movement faces new dangers and challenges. That is why we issue this call for you to join us in a renewed effort to build a multi-racial, multi-national movement. Our movement will be a united response to that 1%, who in their misuse of power and wealth will use the government and every means at their disposal to restrict and eliminate our democratic rights.
Let us join together to stop police crimes and repressive “law enforcement” institutions against . . .
- people of color
- the LGBTQ community
- peace and solidarity movements
- and all political prisoners
. . . whether through police violence and murder that has reached epidemic levels . . . state-sanctioned vigilante violence . . . the use of torture to extract false confessions . . . the evisceration of the 4th amendment through the PATRIOT Act and NSA surveillance . . . a system of industrialized mass incarceration . . . and systemic injustice institutionalizing present day penal slavery, now widely recognized as lying at the root of the “New Jim Crow”!
We ask that all our sisters and brothers in the various strands of the people’s movement join together, May 16-17, 2014 in having this historic National Forum on Police Crimes. This forum will build a multi-racial, multi-national, and multi-cultural broad-based movement as a precursor to united democratic action. Our focus on united actions will defend and extend our democratic rights to organize, protest and bring power back to We The People!!