October 6-12, ST. LOUIS, MO─The African People’s Socialist Party’s (APSP) year-long campaign to build its Seventh Congress has successfully concluded over a month ago.
Through the tireless efforts of Chairman Omali Yeshitela completing and turning over the historical Seventh Congress Political Report and leading an entire committee to build this monumental occurrence, the Congress established for the world a transformation of the Black Power Movement, declaring that the “Black Revolution is Alive!” and the Party is the Vanguard─The Advanced Detachment of the African Revolution.
The African People’s Socialist Party convened its first day of the historical Seventh Congress on October 6, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri; ground zero for African resistance.
African people and Comrades from throughout the U.S., world and our devoted allies from Union del Barrio traveled from far locations to layout the future for a liberated, socialist Africa.
Black Power 96.3 FM Station Manager Diakiesse Lungisani charismatically welcomed all attendees to the Seventh Congress of the APSP and taught the audience new chants such as “Vanguard, Vanguard we must Lead; African People Must Be Free!” and “Fly it high, red black and green; Forward to our victory!”
The highest body of the African People’s Socialist Party, the National Central Committee, then moved everyone to their feet with a powerful processional with decorated Spears and the most revolutionary African garb, starting with Southern Regional Representative Kobina Bantushango, Northeast Regional Representative Nana Yaw Grant, Director of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) Dr. Aisha Fields, the President of the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) Yejide Orunmila, the President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) Kalambayi Andenet, the Director of Agitation and Propaganda (Agit-Prop) Akilé Anai, the Deputy Chairwoman Ona Zené Yeshitela, the Secretary General Gazi Kodzo, the Secretary General of the African Socialist International (ASI) Luwezi Kinshasa and finally the introduction of the Chairman, leader of the African Nation, Omali Yeshitela, wielding the most elaborate spear and sending resounding applause throughout the event center before taking a firm stand on the stage and shouting “Izwe Lethu i Afrika!”, meaning “Africa is Ours.”
“Ngoma in Motion” further set the tone of this historical moment with lively drumming that gave this introduction more African character.
Following this groundbreaking historical moment from the leaders of the African Nation, the Party’s own choir performed its first song of the event “African People Must Be Free!”
The week-long, transformative Seventh Congress of the APSP was then convened by Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa, assuring the African Nation of its victory to total liberation and the destruction of parasitic capitalism and colonialism.
Under-Secretary Benjamin Prado of Union del Barrio took the stage and gave a tribute to the 35 year principled relationship with the Party and an acknowledgement of the late Pablo Aceves─long time member of Union and close Companero.
There were video messages of solidarity from around the world in unity with the Party and our resolve to be a liberated African Nation including Ramon Quentes and his new organization, Anti-Conquista; APSP-Kenya Chairwoman M. Kask; Secretary General Asa from APSP Occupied Azania (South Africa) and a letter from Lisa Davis, Vice-Chair of the Black is Back Coalition (BIBC).
Chairman Omali Yeshitela read to the world the powerful Political Report to the Seventh Congress, finishing chapter one before breaking for lunch and resuming the reading, skipping to chapter four to highlight some of the most important details to be internalized by our movement—not before recognizing some important figures in the historical development of the Party like Vincent Lawrence, co-founder of the Party, Union del Barrio, Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa and his selfless leadership in organizing the Comrades on the continent and the brilliant work of Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela who took Party work to an entirely different stage.
Following were presentations from the Black Power Blueprint and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), with a recognition of some of the top donors to this economic development initiative and gifts to New York State assemblyman, Charles Barron, Union del Barrio, recognition of Party veterans Omowale Kefing from The Burning Spear newspaper, Gaida Kambon, Chimurenga Selembao and again Vincent Lawrence.
Some of the victories to occur during the first two days was the Party’s ability to exceed its $75,000 pledge goal for 2019 by at least $10,000, and the 11 new members who committed to join the Party to carry out the work to its successful conclusion.
The evening of the October 6 was spent at a beautiful Black Power Masquerade and Awards ball, with two lively MCs, Diakiesse and Secretary General Gazi, where St. Louis community activists and Party members were issued community awards.
Comrade Tafarie Ngwaniwapo, Chair of APSP Occupied Azania was awarded Comrade of the Quarter. There were vibrant cultural performances like African drumming by the Ngoma brothers, along with stilt walkers, a best dressed contest, a delicious dinner, and the downstairs floor dedicated to dancing, a silent auction and photos.
Day two began with a special tribute by President Yejide Orunmila of ANWO to the courageous African women throughout history who fought against colonialism wherever they were located.
After further readings of the Political Report from Chairman Yeshitela, Charles Barron, who won re-election of his district in New York by an overwhelming majority, took to the stage to show his respect to the Party and the Chairman who also chairs the BIBC, on his 68th birthday.
A report on the Political Economy of the Party was given by Chairman Omali Yeshitela, segueing into the report of the Office of Deputy Chair, called “The Political and Economic are One: Dual and Contending State Power,” followed by a workshop with the various members of this office from the different regions of the U.S. that revealed all of the Party institutions and our prospective projects including Uhuru Jiko in St. Louis and the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace and the Gary Brooks Community Garden across the street from the Uhuru House in St. Louis.
Day three and the remainder of the days moved from the Better Family Life event center to our very own Uhuru House on West Florissant Avenue, where each day began with the raising of the African Red Black and Green Flag, voted on by the African Nation at the Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) convention nearly a century ago, when Africans were determined to re-consolidate our own national identity.
The Party organized an honor guard team that marched militantly to raise and lower the flag in a traditional, ceremonial manner every morning and evening of the Congress.
The African community in St. Louis—from the elders to the children applauding and saluting from school buses—were inspired to see true examples of Black Power in their communities.
Some people went so far as to stop traffic, get out of their cars, and participate in the ceremony!
To open day four, a tribute to African martyrs was given by Kalambayi Andenet, the International President of InPDUM, expanding the definition of the martyr beyond what is typically known as someone killed by the State or “vertical violence” and recognizes that all violence stems from Africans being colonized and having no power over our own lives.
The week advanced with dynamic reports and briefings from various departments including AAPDEP on the current health, infrastructure and environmental situation of Africans on the continent and throughout the world, as well as the economic institution Zenzele Consignment in Hunstville, AL by AAPDEP Director Dr. Aisha Fields; the Office of the Chairman by Chief of Staff Ekenge Mayele; the Office of Secretary General by Secretary General Gazi Kodzo; the ANWO report by Yejide Orunmila; the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) and Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) lead by Chairwoman Penny Hess and Chair Jesse Nevel respectively; the Northeast Regional and Southern Regional reports by Regional Representatives Nana Yaw and Kobina Bantushango respectively; the InPDUM report by President Kalambayi Andenet; Office of National Security by Chimurenga Selembao; and our very own Department of Agitation and Propaganda lead by Akilé Anai who is the Director and Editor-In-Chief of The Burning Spear newspaper.
In addition to the reports stated above, Comrade Tafarie Mugeri and M. Kask—The Chairs of APSP-Occupied Azania and APSP-Kenya respectively—reported on the work being done on the ground in their regions, advancing many constituent organizations such as the African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO) and ANWO.
The reports from each department and constituent organization focused on the victories of these areas as well as the contradictions that prohibited them from carrying out the work called for by the Chairman in its fullest capacity and rekindled the determination of all participants to get involved and take the Party to new levels.
In the whirlwind of dynamic reports, presentations, and festivities was the celebration of the revolutionary birthdays of Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela. Sharing the same birthday, October 9, the Party surprised them with a magnificent cake, music, and heartfelt statements that brought people to tears or caused uncontrollable laughter.
There were three ceremonies of rebirth that served to strip Comrades of their colonial names and taking on names that the African Nation deemed appropriate of their revolutionary qualities: these Comrades were Christine Wilson, Tiffany Cherry and Brandee Ebert who took on the names Shupavu Kirima, Ayanda Chengetai and Kundai Bijikikayi, respectively.
Overflowing at this Seventh Congress was the culture of African people─Africans from St. Louis performing spoken word, to the amazing Black Power Choir directed by Comrade Elikya Bwanya Ngoma.
Performing revolutionary original compositions, this choir set the standards for culture in the Revolution.
A culmination of talent and genius of the African working class was seen at the Congress Culture Night, where Comrades performed poetry, sang songs, rapped, danced, and concluded the evening with the African Nation Fight Song.
Another important aspect of the Congress was the voting process.
Several things were voted on at the Congress, including the adoption of Chairman’s Political Report, the Constitution, the reinstatement of two expelled Party members, and the National Central Committee.
Each election was handled with much seriousness, employing committees and commissions to make sure no details were overlooked.
The slate of the National Central Committee was voted up, presenting the NCC with Chairman Omali Yeshitela, ASI Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa, Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela, APSP-USA Secretary General Gazi Kodzo, Agit-prop Director Akilé Anai, Southern Regional Representative Kobina Bantushango, Northern Regional Representative Nana Yaw Grant, and the NCC’s newest member, Midwest Regional Representative Shupavu Kirima.
Also sitting on the NCC are the Chairman appointed positions of InPDUM’s International President Kalambayi Andenet, ANWO’s International President Yejide Orunmila, and AAPDEP’s International Director Aisha Fields.
The highest body of the Party—the Congress—being able to vote on who can be reinstated to the Party as well as on various resolutions that carry Party work forward, the Political Report and the Constitution is the greatest example of the African working class seizing power.
No Party or organization in the world today exhibits such profound leadership of the African poor and working class proletariat.
For many Party members, this was their first Congress, but it transformed old and new forces alike.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela declared that the APSP and ASI would not leave the Congress the same, and that by 2023, the Party would be transformed dramatically.
In fact, the Party has taken on the ambitious task to build the Eighth Party Congress in Occupied Azania!
This is a call to all Party members to take the work seriously and advance the interests of the poor and working class in leading a successful Revolution.
The first Congress of the African Socialist International will be held in Occupied Azania in 2023.
We will win!
We are winning!