Hands Off the
Million Youth March in Harlem!

Revolutionary Worker #972, September 6, 1998

As we go to press--the battle continues to carry forward the Million Youth March, and to prevent the power structure of New York City from suppressing the voice and movement of the youth. And it appears that this conflict will continue--right up until the moment when people take to the streets on September 5.

New York City authorities denied a permit for the march--refusing to allow it to be held in Harlem's Malcolm X Boulevard on Labor Day. Instead they insisted the march should be held in an isolated area like Randall's Island, weeks after the planned march date. Meanwhile, Mayor Giuliani repeatedly denounced the march as a "hate march"--and said that his government would decide who marched where, and when.

A court challenge was filed in federal court. At the all-day hearing on August 27, Roger Wareham, member of the December 12th Movement and lawyer for the march, pointed out that the city has approved larger gatherings in city neighborhoods, like the West Indian-American Day parade in Brooklyn and the St. Patrick's Day parade up Fifth Avenue. The U.S. District Court judge, Lewis Kaplan, ruled that "the city had acted arbitrarily often using vague and confusing rules, to block the planned Sept. 5 rally." Kaplan also said that, "Harlem infuses substantial and unique meaning to the events planned."

The Giuliani administration immediately appealed this ruling. Another hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, September 1--just four days before the day of the march.

Meanwhile, the New York media reports that plans are being laid for a virtual police occupation of Harlem. The Daily News reported that the NYPD is planning to send an army of 6,000 cops into Harlem on September 5. According to this report, there are also plans for "undercover cops mingling with the crowd." Apparently the New York City government intends to threaten this march and the surrounding community. The people must oppose this occupation of Harlem by the brutal enforcers of the system.

As the RW recently wrote: "Straight up: Who does Giuliani think he is--telling Black youth and other oppressed youth they can't march in Harlem?! The streets of Harlem should belong to the people--not to this wannabe dictator. The voice of this generation deserves to be heard--speaking out against the ways they are abused, shut out and criminalized. Giuliani's ban on the march in Harlem is an attack on the rising generation, a denial of basic political rights, and an insult to Black people... When the system attacks, the people need to stand firm, unite all who can be united against the real enemy, and beat back the attack. The youth should march where they want and when they want. It's Right to Rebel!"

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