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Harlem march says: 'Hands off Zimbabwe!'

Published Apr 22, 2007 11:13 PM
WW photo: Monica Moorehead

“Mugabe is right!” and “Bush and Blair are wrong!” were two slogans chanted repeatedly during a march in Harlem, N.Y., on April 14 to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the liberation of the southern Africa country of Zimbabwe from British colonialism in 1980. The Brooklyn-based December 12th Movement and Friends of Zimbabwe initiated the march, which was supported by other groups.

The demonstration was more than just a celebration of independence. It also served as an occasion to defend Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and its president, Robert Mugabe, from ongoing threats by U.S. and British imperialism.

The Zimbabwean government has been carrying out a radical land redistribution plan to take back the land for African people that was stolen by white landowners when the country was first colonized in the late 1800s. Both Blair and Bush have been the main cheerleaders for imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. These sanctions have strained the economy of this country.

March organizers also linked the land issue in Zimbabwe to the ongoing crisis of massive gentrification in Harlem caused by big real estate developers who want to turn what was once referred to as the “capital of Black America” into a haven for affluent whites.

On April 13, Workers World Party held a special forum at the Solidarity Center in Manhattan on Zimbabwe featuring Omowale Clay, a leader of the December 12th Movement. A podcast of Clay’s remarks can be heard at www.workers.org.

    —Monica Moorehead