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from flash mobs to freedom

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on October 13, 2011 at 11:00:11 pm

Title: From Flash Mobs to Freedom


This chapter will report on International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) president Diop Olugbala's run for mayor in the city of Philadelphia in 2011. The African People's Socialist Party (APSP) formed InPDUM in 1991 to enact APSP's goal of bringing a demoralized population of Africans living under oppression in the United States back into political life by creating community committed, not only to improving current conditions and struggle for economic self-determination, but also to culturing a reserve of force for a future revolution. Although APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela ran for mayor of St. Petersburg, FL, in 2001, not much has been written about leaders of revolutionary organizations campaigning for political office. Our "From Flash Mobs to Freedom" chapter addresses this gap. InPDUM's mission is to challenge public policy, reframe mainstream media narratives, and broaden political discussion on education, public safety, and economics to make participation in these discourses possible for the masses of oppressed and working class people in the US and abroad. How does InPDUM's mission get reframed in Olugbala's mayoral platform? In Olugbala's campaign, how are the goals of InPDUM altered to fit the issues facing Philadelphians?


To pursue answers to these questions, we are working closely with materials chronicling the history of InPDUM and the history of African and working class dispossession in Philadelphia. We are also participating in Uhuru Solidarity Movement organizational and outreach efforts. But the initial focus of our chapter will be an analysis of Olugbala's and current mayor Michael Nutter's different responses to the so-called Philadelphia flash mobs of 2010-11.  Our rhetorical analysis--of the amplifications, elisions, possibilities, and foreclosures in the discourse produced in response to the radically different frames that Olugbala and Nutter offer Philadelphians seeking to understand  the organic, technologically-enabled youth movements of resistance emerging in African communities--aims to chart connections and disconnections between these different frameworks, and to deeply consider the dynamics of so-call flash "mobs" in relation to questions and topoi of violence, movement, and freedom. 



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