Defend Viola Plummer and self-determination
Published Jun 13, 2007 10:20 PM
If there is a progressive person out there who still believes the myth that New
York City is a bastion of liberal politics, please rethink that. Consider two
extremely reactionary editorials: one in the June 9 New York Post and the other
in the June 12 New York Daily News. Both editorials viciously attacked Viola
Plummer, a Black revolutionary leader of the Brooklyn-based December 12th
The recent spark that led to these editorials is D12’s leading
role—along with New York City Councilperson and former Black Panther
Charles Barron—in trying to get an avenue in the Brooklyn community of
Bedford-Stuyvesant renamed “Sonny Carson Avenue.” The late Sonny
Carson was a well-known Black nationalist community activist who advocated
self-determination. (Read www.workers.org/2007/us/sonny-carson-0617/)
When the majority of white City Council members, lead by the Council Speaker
Christine Quinn, was instrumental in voting down the proposal on May 30 for the
Carson street renaming, Plummer, Barron and other Black activists justifiably
labeled this action as racist.
Excerpts from a June 9 media release by D12 in defense of Plummer read,
“The Bedford Stuyvesant community’s proposal to rename Gates Avenue
to Sonny Abubadika Carson Avenue sparked a heated confrontation in the chambers
of City Hall, where the issue of community self-determination was subjected to
Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s negative prerogative. Subsequently,
veteran political activist and chief of staff for Councilman Charles Barron,
Viola Plummer was overheard by reporters advocating the ‘assassination of
the political career’ of Quinn minion Leroy Comrie, for abstaining from
the Council vote along with six other Black and Latino Council members.
“The next day Comrie joked with Plummer about the incident. However
several days later, a ‘suddenly irate’ Comrie spoke out calling for
Plummer’s firing. Barron and Plummer view this as a calculated diversion
from Quinn’s racist political assault on community self-determination and
her role in dictating leadership to Blacks.”
“Diversion” is crucial in describing the real motives of these
racist editorials. Not only do these editorials have the audacity to call for
Quinn to remove Plummer from her position as Barron’s chief of staff, but
they attack Plummer’s contributions to the struggle—including
defending the right to sovereignty from Harlem to Zimbabwe. These editorials
have a strong divide-and-conquer element.
Let’s be very clear. The Black community in New York, similar to other
oppressed peoples, is being overwhelmed in disproportionate numbers by rampant
police brutality, gentrification, unemployment, inadequate education,
imprisonment and much more. Plummer and Barron are two important leaders of the
legitimate aspirations of the Black community; the New York Post and New York
Daily News editorial boards—bosses’ mouthpieces—certainly are
not. Workers World Party stands in solidarity with these leaders and for the
right of Brooklyn’s Black community to rename a street for Sonny Carson.
To build anti-racist unity and class solidarity, others in the progressive
movement of all nationalities are urged to do the same, in words and in deeds.
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