With so much talk about the “Occupies”, a cherished vision of the coming of the Great American Revolution, with news coming in from all over, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, even from Europe, we can easily lose sight of what’s happening in our own town. Even though, the Occupy in Newark, which set down in Military Park, had a less than revolutionary presence when It was here. In fact the Newark City Council provided opinion which kept the police from ejecting them. But their response to community leaders who urged them, if they were really looking to jump on Wall ST. , to go up the street and demonstrate in front of Prudential , the world’s largest insurance company, who refuses to pay its taxes. Their local leaders’ rejoinder was that they didn’t want to be political , even asking one of our local political leaders, Ras Baraka, to refrain from coming back to the park because, what? they did not want to be political!
The mindlessness of that stance is obviously not held by most of the Occupiers. The essence of what the Occupies should mean is political. However what these young people wanted is simply to be able to camp out a few nights in Military Park.
Interestingly, the only time the Occupies did anything political is when they marched in a demonstration led by Larry Hamm and Peoples Organization for Progress, who together with several other political organizations marched from the courthouse throughout downtown Newark, including a significant demonstration in front of giant white tombstone that marks the richest insurance company in the world. Prudential.
In fact, Larry Hamm and POP, have demonstrated every evening in front of Newark’s Courthouse for over 250 days . Their general demands *A National jobs Program *End the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya * Preserve Workers Rights And Collective Bargaining * Moratorium on Foreclosures *Oppose Privatization of Public Education* National Healthcare Program * An Affordable College Education You can join them, From 4:30 to 6 pm Monday to Friday , 12 noon to 2:00 Saturday; 2-3 on Sunday.
The Intersection of Springfield Ave & West Market St, by Lincoln Monument.
The relentlessness and loyalty of these daily marches has been astonishing to old time marchers. Hamm said they will try to top the length of the Montgomery Boycott which ended the racist practice of making Blacks sit in the back of the bus in Montgomery and other southern cities. 1n 1956, initiated by Rosa Parks refusal to sit in the back and Dr. Martin Luther King forming and leading an organization to carry out the boycott 381 days. Larry Hamm and POP want to top that record in calling for some basic changes in US society. And there are white folks in POP , and marching with them as well. This expresses the universal nature of the organization’s demands. But then, as WEB DuBois pointed out it has been the spirit of the Afro American struggle for Democracy that has historically kept the engine of Democratic struggle energized these many years. The Daily Campaign began Monday, June 27, 2011.
On Apr 4, 2012 POP will march , not only as part of their historic move to surpass the Montgomery effort, but to celebrate Dr. King himself. Apr 4 is the anniversary of the very day King was murdered, in Memphis, Tennessee a murder many people, even the King family, feel has never been solved, in support of a strike by Sanitation workers. He was 39 years old and had been the acknowledged leader of the Civil Rights Movement for 13 years, since he was in his 20’s.
Larry Hamm, sometimes called Adhimu Changa (Swahili for Important Youth) is also such a driven man. He has been at it since he was named the youngest member of a Board of Education (Newark’s) in 1971 by Mayor Kenneth Gibson, anywhere in the US at 17. He immediately created a national controversy by allowing the Black Nationalist, Red, Black and Green flag to be flown in some class rooms. Since then with his continuing work in “The Movement” which saw the founding of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) in 1983, Larry Hamm has led POP in notable struggles around Police Brutality and Murders, around issues of Anti-Violence , Anti-War and the Economy.
So that Newark’s answer to the Occupies across the world is that we have a group of Occupiers of our own, The Peoples’ Organization for Progress.
Amiri Baraka 808 S.10thSt. Newark, NJ 07108 973 901-8564