The National Alliance Introduction (May 1, 1987)
The following statement by Dr. Lenora Fulani, who led a five person delegation to the International Peace Gathering in Tripoli last week as the guests of the Libyan government, was made upon their arrival back in New York City on April 17. The statement stands in stark contrast to the provocative editorial that appears in the bellicose New York Post three days later. This is the same newspaper that led the wolf pack during the New York gubernatorial campaign last war in smearing Fulani, and the independent Black-led New Alliance Party she leads, as “extremist” and “anti Semitic” because of her refusal to repudiate Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Under the headline “Khadafy’s American Friends “the Post refers to rally in Tripoli last week” that “was graced by a few participants who traveled long distances to share the moment with the colonel, including some from these shores: the New Alliance Party’s Lenora Fulani, for example—a fringe candidate in New York’s 1986 gubernatorial election. The only other American participant in the Peace Gathering singled out for personal attack was long-time and highly respected peace activist Dave Dellinger; the Post editorial, in an effort to discredit the peace movement, spends several paragraphs attacking Dellinger’s credibility, morals and motives in going to Libya. Of Fulani’s participation in the Peace Gathering, the Post writes “No surprise here, of course. Fulani is also a great fan of the notoriously anti-Semitic black Muslim leader, Louis Farrakhan, who is himself in turn, a recipient of Khadafy’s financial largess [sic].”
But this powerful working class Black leader, increasingly a leader of international stature, dismissed by the rabidly racist, anti-poor and right-wing owned Post as a fringe candidate, is no “fringe.” Indeed, she was singled out by the Post because she is a threat. She is a threat not because she is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan or because she is a friend to Muammar Qaddafi—although she is both—but because she is building and shaping an independent, Black-led, multi-racial political movement and party—the New Alliance Party—that is an alternative to the two “major” parties of war. She is a threat because she speaks to and for the masses of poor and working people and progressive middle class people in this country and around the world who know that peace and freedom are inseparable, and are prepared to fight for both.
Lenora Fulani’s Statement
Good afternoon. Together with other members of the American delegation, I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to travel to Libya and attend the International Peace Gathering in commemoration of the genocidal U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi just one year ago.
In returning from Libya, I can only say that I was deeply inspired by the passion and eloquence of the Libyan people in their quest for international peace and progress. I want to extend my thanks to the people of Libya for their militant hospitality, to Col. Muammar Qaddafi for his generosity, and especially to all of the people of color who participated in this historic event. I also ask everyone here—from the white peace movement to the streets of America’s ghettos—to join me in a continuation of this crusade for peace. It’s time to give peace and independent politics a chance.
My visit to Libya and participation in the peace conference was part and parcel of my efforts to shape the candidacy and campaign of a Black independent for President of the United States of America in 1988.
An independent candidacy by a pro-peace, progressive Black lender is crucial to halting the spread of U.S. militarism and intervention in the Third World. This candidate, who will appear on the ballot on an independent ticket in all 50 States, will call for ending support for the parties of war—the Democrats and Republicans—and the beginning of mass support for a Black-led independent political movement for peace.
A peace movement cannot achieve its goals if it is oriented towards the lesser of two evils. Peace is the diametric opposite of any kind of war. We cannot make the mistake of leaving the responsibility for peace in the hands of the military or in the bands of those who profit from arms sales. We must take the initiative as the Libyans did, and take the responsibility for peace into our own hands.
The Tripoli Peace Gathering was historic in that it brought together peace-loving people from around the world to make a unified statement against U.S. imperialism and aggression. As a Black leader, I recognize that it is critical for our community to reach out to the white peace movement, to reach out to other people of color internationally who are so often the victims of imperialist war, with the call for a major people’s initiative for world peace.
To take that initiative, we have to be willing to take some risks. And there is a long and proud tradition of taking risks in the name of peace. The thousands of draft resisters who burned their draft cards and refused to serve in the Viet Nam War took a serious risk in the struggle for peace. The hundreds of thousands who have demonstrated, marched and chained themselves to the gates of military bases in protest of the deployment of nuclear weapons have taken serious risks. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against the Viet Nam War in April of 1967, exactly 20 years ago, in spite of warnings and threats to remain solely in the realm of domestic civil rights, he was taking a major risk—one which undoubtedly hastened the day of his assassination.
In 1987, we must all be willing to take a risk in the interest of peace. We’ve got to take the risk of leaving the corporate-owned parties of war and racism—the major parties which may have different names but share a bipartisan commitment to militarism. In the 1988 Presidential election we must be willing to take the risk of going independent. Thank you.