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June 4, 2013
Chokwe Lumumba (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Jackson, MS – On June 4, Chokwe Lumumba won the election as mayor here, winning 87% of the vote in the general election. He had all but assured his victory by winning a stunning come-from-behind upset in the Democratic Party primary on May 21 in this 80% Black city in the heart of the Black Belt South.
As Lumumba’s campaign surged toward a surprise victory in the May 21 primary election, some powerful forces in Jackson panicked and tried in vain to stop Lumumba from advancing by pouring money into the opposing candidate’s campaign and by spreading lies and rumors about Lumumba in the Black community.
Lumumba is a lifelong leader in the Black liberation movement. He is associated with the view that there is an oppressed Black Nation in the Black Belt South that has a right to self-determination. He is a co-founder and leader of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which describes itself as “an organization of Afrikans in America/New Afrikans whose mission is to defend the human rights of our people and promote self-determination in our community.”
Lumumba is a lawyer who has defended many Black revolutionary political prisoners over the years, including Assata Shakur during her 1977 trial. He also served as a lawyer for radical hip hop artist Tupac Shakur during some of his prominent legal cases in the 1990s, and has fought and won many campaigns against police brutality.
Although Lumumba ran as a candidate of the Democratic Party, he described himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” a reference to the 1960s Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party leader who organized a parallel Democratic Party in Mississippi to challenge the white supremacist Mississippi Democratic Party of that time. That caused a major showdown and national scandal at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
Lumumba’s electoral effort is part of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Jackson People’s Assembly’s “Jackson Plan” to build toward Black self-determination in the Deep South.
SOURCED from FightBack! News
ALL attributes go to the authors
People’s Assembly platform brings mayoral victory for Chokwe Lumumba
By Monica Moorehead on June 11, 2013
In a historic election, long-time Black political activist and civil rights attorney Chokwe Lumumba was elected mayor of Jackson, Miss., on June 5, winning a whopping 87 percent of the vote. For decades, Lumumba fought for the right to self-determination for Black people. He was vice president of the Republic of New Afrika, which demanded that the southeastern region of the U.S. be ruled under the auspices of an independent Black government as part of reparations for the unpaid labor of enslaved Africans and the continuing legacy of white supremacy.
The RNA became a target of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), resulting in spying on, physical assaults and jailings of RNA leaders, similar to what happened to the Black Panthers. Lumumba was also the attorney for Black freedom fighter Assata Shakur, who was forced into exile in Cuba after she escaped from a New Jersey prison, and the late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, whose mother, Afeni Shakur, was one of the imprisoned Panther 21.
Lumumba legally defended the Scott sisters, Jamie and Gladys, who were falsely accused of robbery and sentenced to double life sentences in a Mississippi prison before they were pardoned due to national mass pressure.
Lumumba was elected to the Jackson City Council in 2009. When he decided to run for mayor last year, he described himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat.” Hamer was the dynamic Black civil rights activist who founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged an entrenched, racist, all-white local delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The MFDP demanded the right to political representation for Black people, including the right to vote.
What led to Lumumba’s mayoral victory was a political program called “The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice.”
In describing this platform, which comes from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the Jackson People’s Assembly, Lumumba stated on “Democracy Now!”: “We have formed like a people’s assembly, that’s key to what we’ve done here, where we have — every three months, the population can come out and participate in an open forum to say what’s on their mind. They can come out and learn some of the problems that the city is facing and some of the solutions that some of the problem solvers are supposed to be offering.
“And this will bring about more public education and political education to the population of the city, make our population more prepared to be motivated and organized in order to participate in the changes which must occur in the city of Jackson in order to move it forward. We say the people must decide. ‘Educate, motivate, organize.’” (June 6)
Mississippi ranks as the poorest U.S. state. Jackson is 80 percent African American and 20 percent white, with a growing number of Latino/a and East Asian immigrants. More than 36 percent of the population live in poverty.