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Interview with Black Lives Matter organizer at Workers’ Summit of the Americas

By staff

Fight Back! interviews Josh Higginbotham, Organizer and Director of Research and Development for Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma City, at the Workers’ Summit of the Americas which took place June 10-12 in Tijuana, Mexico. Fight Back!: Why are you here?

Josh Higginbotham: I am here to stand in solidarity with the nations that were excluded from the summit of the Americas, that are specifically targeted by USA sanctions, bureaucratic terrorism. We are the BLM presence from Oklahoma.

Fight Back!: Why should BLM stand in solidarity with these countries?

Higginbotham: It is very easily recognizable that U.S. foreign policy is very often a global version of domestic policy. For instance, the uprisings in 2020, the Black people and allies, said they want the abolition of prisons. The state gave billions of dollars to the institution. The same form of oppression is happening in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Billions of dollars are being given to USAID and the NED which are the ones that have supported coups. The so-called humanitarians maintain the same policies at home and abroad.

Fight Back!: What should people in the USA know or do?

Higginbotham: People in the USA should take a cue from earlier solidarity movements, even within the history of the USA. For instance, some of the biggest improvements that were ever made in the USA happened when the labor movement was Black, brown and white in the 1920s and 30s – unlike the labor movement now, which is changing – and the other solidarity movements can take cues from that earlier time, people were much more internationalists then. Now, that communication has been facilitated in various ways we can literally talk to anyone on earth immediately and for free. We yet are kinda stuck in this mindset that all politics are local. This is the very thing that can destroy solidarity. It is important that workers in any industry in the USA don’t just look to their own interests, but they care just as much to people in other countries, doing similar or more dangerous job, but make 20th of the salary.

Fight Back!: Why should BLM support Venezuela and Cuba?

Higginbotham: First of all, even though you would not get the impression from USA media, that there are as many African descendent lives in Cuba and Venezuela, particularly per capita. Those lives are affected by the same forms of oppression that affect Black people in the USA.

Fight Back!: What do you think is the goal of this conference?

Higginbotham: I think the goal is to come to a better understanding of the circumstances that shape the forms of oppression people everywhere suffer and to build and grow solidarity that will be necessary to create something new in its place.

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