Abayomi Azikiwe is a political analyst and the editor-in-chief at the Pan-African News Wire. He has been cooperating with freedom movements and thriving African and Caribbean governments for decades. Mr. Azikiwe continued his education in the realm of political sciences and has founded numerous organizations in Detroit and other parts of the United States. In an interview with him, we took a deeper loot at the role of the US in the developments in the Middle East and the relations with Iran.
AVA Diplomatic’s Exclusive Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire
You are the editor-in-chief of the Pan-African News Wire. What main objectives was this website designed to serve?
We have been in operation since 1998 when the internet became a mass phenomenon among African people. Our objective is to provide alternative information and viewpoints on developments in Africa, the African Diaspora and the international community in general. Prior to establishing the Pan-African News Wire, we published the Pambana Journal monograph series between 1984-1999 at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Which liberation movements have you cooperated with?
We support all genuine liberation and progressive forces in Africa and around the world. We believe that the Palestinian people have a right to a state of their own. During the struggle against the settler-colonial regimes in Southern Africa we provided first hand information and analysis of the movement for national liberation and social justice. Today we see our role as providing information about efforts to develop Africa economically, politically and socially. Also inside the United States the African American people, the Latin Americans, Asians, Middle-Easterners, Native Americans and other groups suffer from national oppression and discrimination. All of these oppressed nations and nationalities have a right to self-determination, full equality even up to the point of autonomy and separation.
In Detroit, you have had remarkable anti-violence activities. What has formed the main foundation of your anti-violence approach?
The main source of violence in Detroit and other cities stem from the oppressive and exploitative character of the U.S. state. Systematic discrimination against people of color communities place them at great risk involving opportunities for employment, business activity and cultural affairs. Although numerous Civil Rights laws have been passed in the U.S. beginning after the Civil War in 1866 through 1875 and then later during the height of the Civil Rights Movement between 1957 and 1968, there is still widespread racism on an institutional level. In order to end violence in the U.S. there must be a fundamental change in the political economy of the society. Our news agency exposes acts of police brutality and terror directed against the people. We reveal that all levels of government within the U.S., whether local, state or national, place greater priority on the interests of the banks, corporations, the Pentagon and their agents operating within the state.
You are the head of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR). When and for what purpose was this coalition established? What have its activities been?
I served as Chairman of the Board of MCHR between 2007-2011 and then as President between 2011-2014. This organization was established in 1980 mainly by religious leaders who were concerned about the right-wing political direction of the U.S. The organization was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle during the 1980s and early 1990s. Also MCHR has taken a progressive stance in support of the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank. Other issues involving the struggle against racism, gender discrimination and environmental degradation are addressed through educational forums, film series, etc.
Why did you focus on the very concept of anti-violence among the police forces of Detroit?
Police in Detroit historically have represented the interests of the automobile companies and other multi-national corporations. They have exercised brutality against the majority working class and later African American populations. Throughout the decades there has been resistance to police brutality and misconduct. These struggles exploded in 1942-43 during World War II and later in 1967, when National Guard and Army forces were sent in to restore order. Police brutality prompted the U.S. Justice Department to impose two federal consent decrees on the city between 2003 and 2014. Even though the Justice Department consent decrees were discharged there are still problems involving law-enforcement. At present some of the most wealthiest interests in the city are hiring their own private police who not only patrol the downtown commercial area but also engage in intelligence operations against mass organizations such as the Moratorium NOW! Coalition. These issues are now being addressed both through protest actions and in the courts….