Revolutionary Worker #907, May 18, 1997
Sparked by news of the CIA involvement in flooding U.S. inner cities with crack cocaine, the National Black United Front (NBUF) has decided to formally charge the U.S. government with genocide before the United Nations. The NBUF will present petitions, already signed by thousands of people, that indict "the U.S. government and its co-conspirators with violating the human rights of, and committing genocide against, 40 million people of African descent in the U.S., and five billion other oppressed people worldwide."
In an open letter to the U.N. Secretary-General, the NBUF Chairperson Conrad W. Worrill pointed to the long history of CIA involvement in the drug trade and outlined its effects on the Black communities in the U.S. today. He further condemned the "U.S. government's use of taxpayer resources to wage war" against Black people in the U.S., pointing to the current cuts in welfare and housing, the worsening health care, racist immigration policies, the gutting of public education and the imprisonment of "millions of African and Latino youth."
The NBUF has put forth this effort in the tradition of historic figures such as W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, and Malcolm X--all of whom appealed to the international community for justice for African-Americans. In 1951 Robeson and Dubois joined in an indictment of the U.S. government entitled "We Charge Genocide" which was presented to the United Nations "to expose the nature and depth of racism in the United States, and to arouse the moral conscience of progressive mankind against the inhuman treatment of Black nationals by those in high places."
Many groups are involved in the current effort, both in getting signatures and in compiling documentation for the indictment/complaint. The NBUF aims to submit its preliminary indictment/complaint, along with the petitions, on May 27.
December of 1998 will mark 50 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. During those 50 years, U.S. imperialism has either conspired in, or directly carried out, the violent dispossession of over 2 million Palestinians from their homeland in 1948; the killing of more than a million Algerians during Algeria's war for independence against France; the pogrom-style murders of another million people in Indonesia during the 1966 CIA-engineered coup in that country; the murder of tens of thousands in Chile in the CIA backed Pinochet coup; the killing of over 200,000 people in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua during the so-called "low intensity wars" of the 1980s; and the murder of approximately 3 million human beings in Indochina from 1961 to 1975. The great majority of those killed were non-combatants. The U.S. imperialists used biological and environmental warfare, intentional and wholesale bombing of civilian targets, concentration camps (in the form of "strategic hamlets"), and repeated massacres of entire villages--all of which were clearly genocidal in both intent and effect. And the above are bloody links in a horrific chain that runs from Angola and Mozambique to East Timor, from the Philippines to Peru and beyond. Indeed, the U.S. was able to prostitute the U.N. itself to rubber-stamp its genocidal war against Iraq and its ongoing murderous embargo.
The NBUF points out that the UN convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Looking at the rampant murder of Black and Latino youth in prison over the past decade; at the epidemics of AIDS, TB and crack addiction that rage unchecked in the inner cities while health facilities are cut; and at the punitive welfare repeal measures, aimed particularly at women heads of households and their children, with the threat of slave labor and orphanages more and more coming to the fore--can anyone deny that these, along with many other measures, fit the UN definition of genocide? It is time and past time to call the U.S. imperialists to account for its crimes before international public opinion. In doing so, the opportunity exists to expose these crimes before millions more, both internationally and within the U.S., to tear the political cover off the imperialists, and to unite people still more broadly against their reactionary agenda.
Readers who wish to find out more and/or get involved with this campaign should contact: National Black United Front, 700 East Oakwood Blvd. Chicago, IL 60653, 312-268-7500, ext. 144 or 312-368-5658 or FAX to 312-924-1956.
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