The youth group Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) is calling for demonstrations, student walk-ins, teach-ins, any and all concentrated action for Tuesday Dec. 4th.The action is in response to the anniversary of the arrest of Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis along with a minor for the beating of Justin Barker—a white youth who hurled racial epithets and taunts at the young men.
FIST is calling for pressure to continue to be applied until all charges are dropped and the six young Black men are allowed to go free.
There have already been a number of tremendous mobilizations—the convergence on Jena by tens of thousands that coincided with actions all across the country, the student walk-out called by Mos Def and other artists, the response from well known athletes that supported the Jena 6, and the November 7th demonstrations called by the ANSWER Coalition.
The fight that occurred on Dec. 4th of last year, where Justin Barker was only slightly injured, was brought upon by extreme incidences of racism that Black youth were facing in Jena, LA.The hanging of a noose is no joke to oppressed people, especially to Black people who have endured slavery, American Apartheid and continue to endure racist oppression and repression, both from the state and from extra-legal racist organizations.
The state, in the form of the District Attorney and the police and other local officials condoned the act by issuing a mere slap on the wrist to the white students, refusing to take determined action after Robert Bailey Jr., was attacked and after a shotgun was pulled on he and his friends.The most egregious act of condonation being that the District Attorney threatened to make the lives of the students that complained of his handling of the noose “disappear.”
It is important to note that the town of Jena is 85% white and has only 300 Black people in it.Also, the overwhelming majority of white votes in Louisiana and in Jena went for the racist David Duke, not just for governor but for the Senate as well.So, what were the young men to do in this situation but stand up in defense of themselves and their community?Where would they be and what would have happened had they not?
The fact that the state so viciously arrested and charged these men symbolizes what was true 60 years ago, still holds true today, oppressed people don’t have the right to defend themselves from racist attack.
What’s more, this is merely one instance highligthing a rise in racist attacks and the always racist orientation of the criminal justice system.This is why, while the immediate demand should be “Free the Jena 6” and “Drop all Charges,” a determined effort against racism must be raised.
If one were to take a look at David Duke’s Comments and put them side by side with Lou Dobbs, there is scant difference.Both are attempts to make oppressed nationalities the scapegoat for a system that is in crisis and decline.
So, whether its racist attacks against immigrant workers on the border or throughout the country, Immigration Customs Enforcement raids, right wing pundits, police brutality, the death penalty or the booming prison industrial complex—its all the same thing, racism, whether extra-legal or the state itself.
There has been a rise in racist attacks; the numerous sightings of nooses and/or swastikas, physical attacks such as the brutal assault on Megan Williams and against immigrant workers.In response to racism in all its forms, we call on all anti-racists, anti-imperialists, progressives and revolutionaries to not only raise our immediate demand of Free the Jena 6 but to take a stand against racism from the Mexican Border, to New Orleans, to Jena.
Tuesday, Dec 4th at UNC-Chapel Hill
12noon: Speakout in Pitt
Speakers from the following organizations:
Black Student Movement
Arab Student Organization
Muslim East Student Forum
Black Workers for Justice
Fight Imperialism-Stand Together
and more TBA