Statement from the JOKO Collective
The JOKO Collective joins many distinguished organizations and individuals in the condemnation of the July 29th military-style raids on the African People’s Socialist Party’s (APSP) Uhuru House, Uhuru Solidarity House centers and the private residence of Omali Yeshitela and Ona Zené Yeshitela, Chairman and Vice-Chair of the APSP.
The APSP has an impeccable record of building institutions that provide relief, inspire hope and promote agency in our systematically impoverished and disenfranchised communities. It has an impeccable record of providing political, economic and historical education in our communities as well as direct training in developing progressive political campaigns that center our communities’ needs – rather than the cynical ambitions of the two major U.S. political parties.
The ideological foundation of this work is the critique of global predatory capitalism and imperialism- colonialism. It is the critique of the American state as it embodies these historically destructive systems and predicates its advancement on the global exploitation, containment and control of African peoples and other colonized peoples. Moreover, the foundation of this work is the prescription of resistance through African Internationalism and allyship with all oppressed peoples.
We contend that it is the APSP’s institutional successes in Black communities and the embrace of its ideological tenets across communities that makes it a target of attacks by the U.S. state. These attacks are part and parcel of a 100-year long campaign of U.S. ruling and corporate elites to silence anti-capitalist critique and disrupt the work against exploitation, imperialism and racist oppression that stands to dismantle their hegemony. They are part and parcel of the campaign to stamp out influential Black thought and resistance to oppression in this country that long predates anti-capitalist or anti-imperialist discourses.
We contend that the raids on APSP centers and Omali and Ona Zene Yeshitela’s home (along with other unnamed organizations in Atlanta and Sacramento) under the widely advertised pretext of an urgency to “counter” Russia’s “malign influence” represent a reigniting of the Red Scares of the 20th century. More specifically, they represent heightened efforts to discredit and ultimately criminalize African peoples’ dissent from U.S. policies and political philosophies.
There is no merit to the assertions being made that Black protest, the charge of genocide against the U.S or the push for reparations are somehow contrived by a competing nation attempting to destabilize the U.S. These responses to our oppression are easily shown to be rooted in our historical liberation work. Promoting the idea that they are products of “enemy” influence takes advantage of general ignorance in an attempt to make enemies of independent Black political movements and reproduces the racist trope that Black people need “outside agitators” to recognize the conditions of our oppression and move to change them.
We contend that the raids on APSP is likely the beginning of a new intensification of McCarthyist Era-like scrutiny and persecution of Black dissenters in the U.S. The raids can also work to discourage Black people in the U.S. from engaging in internationalist anti-imperialist solidarity work and keep African Americans isolated from the world,when we dare oppose U.S. foreign policy.
JOKO Collective uplifts the decades-long,institution-building work of APSP with the dynamic leadership of Chairman Omali and Vice Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela. It stands—and will continue to stand—as a model in the dignified legacy of the Black Liberation movement.