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McKinney on 27-city tour

Strong turnout at rallies against Libya war

Published Sep 2, 2011 10:48 AM

Continuing a nationwide tour to report on her fact-finding visit to Libya, former Georgia Congressperson Cynthia McKinney spoke at Philadelphia’s Calvary Church on Aug. 26, writes Dolores Cox. More than 200 people, mostly from the city’s oppressed Black communities, filled the room to capacity.

Cynthia McKinney
WW photo: Joseph Piette

McKinney and her international delegation put themselves in harm’s way in order to uncover the truth about the imperialist war and disprove the many lies emanating from the White House and corporate media.

The International Action Center is organizing her North American tour, with endorsements from many grassroots organizations. Betsey Piette and Berta Joubert-Ceci of the Philadelphia IAC coordinated the evening’s program. Speakers included Sara Flounders, IAC national office co-director; Pam Africa, MOVE and the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; and representatives from various anti-war organizations, community groups and independent media.

WW photo: Joseph Piette

Philadelphia supporters rallied against the U.S.-NATO war on Libya with the goal of building unity in support of the Libyan people’s resistance to the daily bombings that have gone on for 159 days as of Aug. 26.

The meeting’s chairperson, Joubert-Ceci, introduced McKinney as a fiery, true revolutionary, worthy of receiving a Che Guevara award and one who put herself on the line for the people. Not only was McKinney’s trip to Libya risky, she stated, but here at home she also needs protection from her own imperialist government.

Cynthia McKinney
Photo: Ric Urrutia

Pam Africa referred to McKinney as an international warrior for peace. Africa made the connection between the U.S. domestic war on African Americans, using Cointelpro to murder leaders, and U.S. terrorism against the African continent and the Middle East, aimed at destroying anti-colonial governments.

Flounders gave a global view of U.S. terrorism and military interventions. The U.S. has hundreds of military bases throughout the world in order to enrich the wealthy. While the U.S. is attacking oil-rich Libya, it is also planning its next war, with carte blanche to murder leaders and their family members.

Photo: Ric Urrutia

People everywhere have an enormous hunger for the truth, but get lies instead, she added. Demonization of targeted leaders is a propaganda strategy used. Libya’s government provides free housing, health care and subsidized higher education for its people. Yet they’re living in hell due to the attacks. U.S. and NATO have no shame! Gadhafi is a threat to the U.S. due to his country’s wealth and aid to the rest of Africa and to other “interests” of the U.S. and former colonial powers.

Flounders made the connection between budget cuts, homelessness and unemployment here at home, and the cost of militarism to U.S. residents, whose taxes pay for the wars. This is a crime against us by our own country. An attack on Libya is an attack on all of us.

Cynthia McKinney described the vast destruction of Libya’s infrastructure and innocent civilians injured and murdered. Graphic video slides accompanied her talk. She said she has a heavy heart when she thinks of the trapped Libyans and journalists, surrounded by rubble and unable to leave the country, and of the assassination/capture attempts of Col. Gadhafi and his sons.

Merciless, unrelenting bombing has had an effect not only on the people, McKinney added, but on the environment as well. Dark clouds and the sky are laden with black grit, ash and depleted uranium from the bombings. She made a comparison with the destruction of Gaza, which she witnessed after days of nonstop Israeli bombings. Targets were similar: homes, schools, hospitals, factories, sewerage systems and electric power installations — war crimes under international law. McKinney stated that she’ll be against U.S. man-made wars every time and continue to raise awareness.

U.S.-NATO interventions, McKinney related, have also created a climate of racism in Europe against African descendants, leading to increasing attacks, and have fostered attacks and killings of dark-skinned Libyans.

It will take unity and solidarity movements to end aggressions and all wars. We must struggle for peace. At the ballot box we must vote for peace and liberation from war mongers in both political parties. Libya has a right to self-determination. Libya for the Libyans!

Full house in Detroit

Kris Hamel reports that it was a full house in Detroit on Aug. 27 as McKinney spoke truth to power about her recent trip to Libya and her defense of that African country from the brutal machinations of NATO and U.S. imperialism. An audience comprised of people of many nationalities, ages, abilities and struggles cheered McKinney and other speakers, including Mark Fancher of the National Conference of Black Lawyers; Maureen Taylor, chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization; Fred Vitale of the Green Party of Michigan and Detroit Greens; and Abayomi Azikiwe, a contributing editor of Workers World newspaper and a Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice organizer.

The program also featured wonderful revolutionary music and song from Siaire Reign and the group Black Reign. The meeting was initiated by MECAWI in conjunction with the IAC national tour.

Denver: Brother Jeff’s packed

McKinney spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center and Cafe in the heart of the historic Five Points Black community of Denver on Aug. 28, writes Larry Hales. One hundred people packed the room in protest against the U.S.-NATO war on the Libyan people and to hear former Congresswoman McKinney, who ended her North American tour here.

The crowd was multinational but primarily made up of activists and members of the Black community. There were also members of the Nation of Islam, students from Libya, immigrant rights activists from Latin America — including Mexico and Peru, from East Africa, West Africa, and one from Algeria.

Speakers also described the struggle for immigrants’ rights and, in particular, that of a coalition of workers from the Swift meat packing plant in Greeley, Colo., that is made up of immigrants from Latin America, Somalia and other communities. An activist from Comité en Defensa del Pueblo spoke, as did two IAC activists, including people’s attorney Mark Burton. Local musician Ietef performed a spoken-word piece. Brother Jeff emceed the event and gave a warm welcome to McKinney, whom the crowd greeted with a standing ovation.

Broad community support in Baltimore

Some 300 people packed the Union Baptist Church on Aug. 24 to hear McKinney speak, writes Steven Ceci. The meeting was initiated by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the All Peoples Congress, Job Is A Right Campaign, Black Think Tank, Ujima Peoples Progress Party and Workers World Party. A coalition of over 17 groups and individuals helped ensure the success of the meeting.

National speakers at the meeting, besides McKinney, included IAC co-director Sara Flounders and Dr. Randy Short. Important community leaders from Baltimore participated, including Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway of Union Baptist Church, Eartha Harris of the Millions More Movement, reparations writer Dr. Raymond Winbush, Pres. Maryland/D.C. AFL-CIO Fred Mason, David Johnson of Black Think Tank and representatives from the Green Party, Answer, All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party, Workers World Party and Ujima Peoples Progress Party. The event was co-chaired by Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, president of the SCLC and Sharon Black of the All Peoples Congress.