The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) celebrated our Fifth Congress on July 10-14, 2010. We made rapid leaps in our development and activities that made it necessary to unify our entire Party and consolidate our understandings and direction.
Below, are the sections of the report that was written and presented by Chairman, Omali Yeshitela and united on by the Party membership.
5th Congress, July 2010
Imperialists cannot stem tide of national liberation
The struggles of the post-colonial peoples and countries against imperial white power represent the defining events in the world today. These are the struggles to reverse the verdict of imperialism and to overturn the last 600 years of imperialist history that created the current political, economic and social configuration of the world.
These struggles have achieved critical mass and try as they may there is nothing the imperialists can do to stem this tide of resistance that represents the true measure of progress in human affairs.
The vicious wars of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and now extended to Pakistan; the genocidal terror directed at the Arab people of Occupied Palestine in defense of the illegitimate white nationalist settler state of Israel that rests uneasily on stolen land; the United Nations and direct U.S. imperial occupation of tiny, historically persecuted and plundered Haiti; the continued subversive efforts to undermine the movements toward independence and social democracy throughout South America — none of these imperialist efforts will succeed in changing the course of history that we in the African People’s Socialist Party have characterized as the era of the Final Offensive against imperialism.
The ongoing chest-thumping threats by the U.S. against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran will fail to turn back the tide of history, regardless of the immediate future of either of the two regimes, both of which we must defend from U.S. aggression.
Neither the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) nor the incredible array of aggressions against Africa — currently and throughout Africa’s colonial and neocolonial history — will succeed in maintaining the imperialist death grip on Africa and its future.
Increasingly the peoples of the world recognize U.S. bluster and machinations as the desperate, near hysterical maneuvering of a dying beast or, as the imperialist pundits like to say, of an empire in decline.
There is no greater evidence of imperialist despair than the selection of Barack Hussein Obama by U.S. white rulers as U.S. president and chief imperialist public representative to the world. More and more, this effort to give imperialism the face of the slave is being recognized by the world to be the cunning act of desperation that it is.
Yet, while the struggles of the world’s peoples against imperialism constitute a powerful threat to the very foundation of imperialism, they are, generally speaking, struggles without consciousness of their interconnectedness. Most often they are struggles of peoples who are compelled by the brutal conditions of existence imposed on them by imperialism, forcing them to rise up as a matter of self-defense.
The Party is the anti-colonial force in this time
The work of our Party is informed by the understanding that capitalism, the social system of the modern empire, has its origin in slavery, brigandage and colonialism. For African and other oppressed peoples, this is what defines our current existence and what is being struggled against on every continent.
The work of the African People’s Socialist Party gives coherence to the struggle against imperialism and must be understood by the whole Party and our movement if only for this reason.
In February of 1997, at the Fourth Congress of our Party held in St. Petersburg, Florida, I defined the African People’s Socialist Party and our significance for the African working class through the basic tenets of our theory, African Internationalism:
“Today, in the African People’s Socialist Party, the African working class has its own revolutionary Party that is conscious of its mission and struggling to achieve strength and position.
“It is an anti-colonial Party of the whole people. Our Party is rooted among the toiling African masses, the African working class, which represents the most consistently revolutionary social force within current U.S. borders. It is with the leadership of the African workers and in their interests that the struggle must be waged in order to achieve a revolutionary conclusion.
“It is a socialist Party. It is conscious of its struggle against colonialism as part and parcel of the worldwide struggle to destroy a parasitic social system, built on slavery, genocide and colonialism, and based on the private ownership and control of the world’s means of production and resources by a handful of bandit states and people at the expense of the vast majority of humanity. The poverty and emiseration of the African and oppressed peoples everywhere have their basis in this parasitic relationship.
“It is an internationalist Party. It understands that the plight of African people in Africa and abroad is due to a process of parasitism that was imposed on most of the world by Europe. The struggle to liberate and unify Africa and its people is a crucial part of the struggle by the world’s peoples to defeat parasitic imperialism.
“It is a revolutionary Party. It realizes that African liberation and unification, the defeat of colonialism and the victory of socialism can only come about through the total and absolute overthrow of parasitic capitalist imperialism by the working class united with the poor peasantry and the toiling masses of the world.
“These characteristics of the African People’s Socialist Party represent an incredible strength of the African working class. It means that even before the crisis of imperialism represents itself as revolutionary struggle by the conscious African masses, the African working class has its own Party in place, conscious of its class-selfish interests and gathering the wherewithal to complete the Black Revolution of the Sixties.
“We are here despite all the efforts of U.S. imperialism to destroy any potential for African Revolution within current U.S. borders. There is no way that the bloody U.S. imperialists could have imagined that even as they were attempting to destroy all remnants of the Black Revolution of the Sixties a revolutionary process would be unfolding right under their noses in the form of the African People’s Socialist Party.
“But such was the case and we are here 25 years later to initiate the Final Offensive against world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism.”
Indeed, in this era in which we live and struggle, when imperialism is facing such formidable contradictions, our Party, now in existence for 38 years, is enthusiastically reaffirming its commitment to African liberation and socialist reunification.
This era places on the shoulders of the advanced detachment of our class and dispersed nation the responsibility of showing the line of march and leading to victory.
It is clear that the history of our Party, the clarity of our advanced revolutionary theory and the correctness of our political line have prepared the African People’s Socialist Party more than any other organization for this task.
However, in order for us to lead the struggle for completion of the great historical mission imposed on our class we must now deepen our preparation for the trek to victory during this historical era of the Final Offensive against imperialism.
In so many ways, the African People’s Socialist Party carries on the legacy of the movement of Marcus Garvey during the 1920s and his organization of 11 million African members, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
For centuries, Africa and her dispersed children have suffered concentrated attacks by imperialism. These attacks resulted in the forcible dispersion throughout the world of millions of our people, while Africa, our national homeland, was captured and divided into territories to facilitate the theft of our resources.
False borders were put in place to thwart our resistance. This imperialist assault has made Africa the essential factor in the development of capitalism as a world economy that enriches the minority white populations of Europe, North America and elsewhere at the expense of Africa and the world’s peoples.
This process of enslaving Africa and African people, along with the rape and plunder of the rest of the world, consolidated the European nation. This gave Europe a reactionary sense of sameness that was tied to the material basis of its stolen wealth and the social system born of slavery and colonialism. In other words, the consolidation of the world capitalist economy and the European nation came as a consequence of assaulting the unity of Africa and African people.
In 1914, nearly 500 years after the initial European assault on Africa and 30 years after the Berlin Conference that divided Africa to facilitate European exploitation, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League was established under the leadership of Garvey.
The UNIA launched the international African anti-colonial resistance movement to unite Africans in a concerted effort to liberate and reunify our Motherland and the forcibly dispersed and enslaved African nation.
The UNIA consolidated Africans in Africa and throughout the world into a united organization with a single center and leadership. Under the slogan, “Africa for Africans, at home and abroad,” the UNIA brought together 11 million members and supporters in the largest anti-imperialist organization in the world.
This was at the turn of the 20th Century when resistance to imperialist colonialism was growing throughout the world even as the imperialists were engaged in the First Imperialist World War to re-divide the world — mainly the colonial and subject peoples — among themselves.
This was an era of great upheaval. The European war to re-divide the world that is commonly known as World War I was upsetting the balance of power in Europe. This First Imperialist World War challenged the notions of European identity conferred to different Europeans at the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna that was used to redraw European borders after the Napoleonic Wars.
At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, Europe established the current borders of Africa in order to peacefully parcel out to different European powers African territory to feed the European capitalist greed for raw materials, enslaved labor and markets in an attempt to avoid intra-European war.
It was during this period of tremendous social and political flux that the UNIA rose to prominence. Marcus Garvey defied the verdict of imperialism that had defined African people according to the identities and needs of our colonizers and claimed African identity for us all. This was a political line that truly recognized the nature of our oppression and exploitation as a people and the line of march for our liberation.
There were other African movements during this period of the rise of Marcus Garvey, and nearly all of them fought Garvey tooth and nail. Although many of these other groups claimed progressive motivation (for example, some called themselves socialists and communists), they all saw themselves struggling for a bourgeois emancipation of African people within imperialist-created borders and definitions.
This was true of the African Assimilationists and other accommodationists who simply capitulated to imperialism under the existing capitalist system, as well as of the Pan-Africanists who organized themselves into a political movement in opposition to the Garvey Movement, sometimes with practical unity and assistance from the imperialists.
The Pan-Africanist movement was created by a sector of the African petty bourgeois Assimilationist movement in the U.S. that was aligned with liberal white imperialist capitalism. It was willing to recognize a relationship between Africans worldwide, but was incapable of recognizing Africans as part of the same dispersed nation that had to be physically liberated and united.
It refused to recognize the need to struggle against white imperialist power for the achievement of a single nation-state, a requirement for harnessing and developing the productive forces necessary for African progress. In later years some progressive Africans such as Kwame Nkrumah ascribed to what they called Pan-Africanism, but it was clearly a different Pan-Africanism than that of W.E.B. DuBois, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and those associated with him during the formative, anti-Garvey stage of the Pan-Africanist movement.
Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney and Mangaliso Sobukwe were anomalies within what was referred to as the Pan-Africanist movement because their politics put them squarely in the camp of African Internationalism. Even so the influence of Pan-Africanism caused Nkrumah, Lumumba and Sobukwe to meet with political disaster and even death. Without the strength of the armed revolutionary party of the African working class, Nkrumah was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup in Ghana, Lumumba was assassinated by imperialist forces in Congo, and Sobukwe was imprisoned in Occupied Azania.
This makes another, essential point about the inadequacies of Pan-Africanism: it permits everyone who is called a Pan-Africanist to be characterized as such, whether reactionary or revolutionary.
The UNIA under the leadership of Marcus Garvey was also notable for its inclusion of the laboring masses of the African world as leaders and members. This was a huge departure from the tradition of the Assimilationists and others who created the Pan-Africanist movement. The Pan-Africanists were essentially intellectuals without a mass base until after they, along with a host of Garvey opponents in tactical alliance with the U.S. government, succeeded in effectively destroying the Garvey Movement thereby setting up their own movement as Garvey’s apparent heir.
The Garvey Movement developed and thrived during an era of imperialist instability when the entire world was engaged in the debate about identity brought about by intra-imperialist struggles for advantage over their adversaries in acquiring slave labor, markets and raw materials.
Garvey brought the Africans into this debate with a bold move for liberation and acquisition of an all-African nation-state. His movement demanded that Africans worldwide recognize that Africa is our national homeland, requiring our collective, organized action for its liberation and unification and the consolidation of the African nation-state.
Many so-called progressives have been ambivalent about the significance of the Garvey Movement, and some prefer to remember him as a deranged bourgeois nationalist. This is a measure of their fidelity to imperialism.
The validity of the Garvey Movement can be measured both by the fact that it was part of the worldwide movement for national liberation against colonial domination raging during that period, and that Garvey’s organization and newspaper influenced many of these struggles around the world.
Notable leaders of the period included Ho Chi Minh of Viet Nam, Sun-Yat Sen of China, Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa of Mexico, Faribundo Marti of El Salvador and Augusto Sandino of Nicaragua, to name only a few of the heads of national liberation movements to wrest control of their countries and peoples from the avaricious grasp of imperialism. None of these leaders and movements was more significant than Marcus Garvey and the UNIA that he created and led.
The work of our Party is based on the fundamental assumptions of the Garvey Movement. We recognize the fact that ours continues to be, even today, a struggle to reverse the verdict of imperialism. We are one African people, a nation forcibly dispersed around the world and whose national homeland, Africa, continues to suffer under the mostly indirect control of imperialist exploiters.
The African People’s Socialist Party has advanced the understanding of the Garvey Movement with the scientific theory of African Internationalism. We are the Garveyites, the African Fundamentalists of the 21st Century.
With the founding of the African People’s Socialist Party we have solved a fundamental problem of the struggle for the genuine liberation of Africa and African people. We have provided our struggle with the sound, scientific, advanced theory, correct political line and organizational structure that are necessary requirements for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide. Victory is in sight and the death of imperialism is forthcoming!
Our theory has helped us to understand and struggle against imperialism during this period of imperialist instability and crisis. It is adherence to the theory of African Internationalism that protects us from the spontaneity that characterizes so much of the African Liberation Movement. Theory allows us to have the long view, to develop a strategy based on recognition of the nature of the imperialist system and the relations of forces at any given time.
For years now, as many within the African Liberation Movement, or what passes itself as a leftist or communist movement, within the U.S. were trembling fearfully at the bluster of the past U.S. regime led by George W. Bush, we of the African People’s Socialist Party were able to say that the Bush war-mongering was simply the desperate thrashing of a dying imperialism. This dying imperialist system has been made frantic by its growing losses to the peoples and countries struggling to recapture our sovereignty and resources upon which imperialism depends to survive and prosper.
Imperialist desperation is not something that began today and our Party did not discover the crisis of imperialism with the advent of George W. Bush at the helm of the predatory imperialist U.S. government.
Years ago, in September 1981, at our Party’s First Congress in Oakland, California, we explained the crisis of imperialism as it represented itself at the time. In the Main Resolution for that Congress, entitled, “A New Beginning: The Road to Black Freedom and Socialism,” we were able to state:
“The period that we live in today is a period that is clearly marked and characterized by the struggles and victories of the colonial, neocolonial, and dependent peoples and countries over world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism. It is also a period . . . characterized by attempts of world capitalism, led by U.S. imperialism, to launch a vicious counteroffensive to smash the struggles and victories of the world’s peoples and countries fighting for national liberation, political independence and economic and political justice.
“While these struggles have been going on for some time and have clearly escalated since the second imperialist world war, they have had markedly different implications for world capitalism within the recent period. The political independence won by colonialist-created states such as Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, etc. on the continent of Africa; the independence won by India, Burma, Pakistan, and of most of South America was an independence from direct colonial rule. It was nominal political independence that left the peoples and countries dominated economically by their former masters and the now-dominant U.S. It was an ‘independence’ under a new, more subtle colonialism, a colonialism that was essentially economic; it was neocolonialism…
“…However, the new current for the struggles of dependent countries and peoples — the current characterized by the struggle against neocolonialism, with a few critical exceptions — represents a new epoch in the struggle against world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism…
“This epoch of struggles and victories over neocolonialism and dependency represents the leading revolutionary tendency in the world today. It is an epoch that finally thrusts humanity upon the threshold of world socialism, for it challenges the very foundations upon which world capitalism is built.
“This epoch of struggles and victories over neocolonialism and dependency directly threatens the primitive and non-capitalist accumulation of capital upon which world capitalism was constructed and without which it cannot survive in its present form.”
Since its inception, the African People’s Socialist Party, heir to the glorious tradition of African resistance, has struggled to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of the emancipation of our brutally oppressed and exploited Africa and the dispersed African nation.
African Internationalism is a theory that explains the world, as well as the place and future of Africans in it. African Internationalism recognizes that capitalism, born as a world economy, has its origin in the assault on Africa and the global trade in African captives as well as the ensuing European onslaught on most of the world.
It was this savage aggression against Africa, Asia and the Americas that raised Europe from a disease-ridden habitat of warring tribes to a dominant force in the world. Europe is today inhabited by a people whose sense of sameness is both defined and challenged by the unifying parasitic capitalist economy that puts them in opposition to the rest of the world upon which their economic lifeline depends.
African Internationalism recognizes that the process of slavery and brigandage that consolidated the political economy, national identity and general well-being of what came to be known as Europe is the same process that results in the wretched, divided, impoverished and exploited lot of Africans and much of the world.
African Internationalism is a scientifically falsifiable theory as can be seen in this question: Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?
The answer is No! No! No! and a thousand times, No! Karl Marx said no, although its significance obviously escaped him. The answer to this question exposes the other shallow theories put forward to explain the advent of capitalism and the comparative conditions of existence separating Europe from the rest of the world.
As African Internationalists we understand that capitalism is inherently parasitic and that its emergence coincides with the beginning of a world economy based on the dialectic of oppressor and oppressed nations.
We understand that all whites, regardless of their class position and station of life, enjoy the parasitic advantages of the oppressor nation. While it is true that within the oppressor nation there are inherent contradictions peculiar to its internal dynamics, all whites occupy an oppressor nation status. This is true of white men and women, workers and bosses, and heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Because of the structure of a world economy, built on a pedestal of the brutal exploitation of Africans and other oppressed nation subjects, the locus of the real class struggle is not between the workers and bosses within the oppressor nation, but between the oppressor and oppressed nations.
On July 19, 1920, V.I. Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, made a presentation to the Second Congress of the Third Communist International that reflected the impact the Garvey movement and other struggles for national liberation was having on the consciousness of Europeans who had previously disregarded our significance.
Faced with the growing clamor and actions of the world’s peoples to escape imperialist domination, Lenin was forced to conclude:
“World imperialism shall fall when the revolutionary onslaught of the exploited and oppressed workers in each country, overcoming resistance from petty bourgeois elements and the influence of the small upper crust of labor aristocrats, merges with the revolutionary onslaught of hundreds of millions of people who have hitherto stood beyond the pale of history, and have been regarded merely as the object of history.”
The fact that Lenin was wrong in his estimation of the significance of the workers from the industrialized capitalist countries in the ultimate defeat of imperialism is not as important as the fact that he and others were forced by the growth and power of our movement to acknowledge that our re-entry into history is a precondition for the defeat of imperialism.
Thank you, Garvey.
The only legitimate leadership of the struggle against world capitalism is the workers and toiling masses of the oppressed nations. The only legitimate, scientifically sound leadership of the African Revolution is the African working class.
The struggle of the oppressed nation workers will be the deciding factor in the defeat of capitalism both from within the countries of the oppressor nation as well as from within the oppressed countries themselves.
African Internationalism is not a theory that simply assumes an ability to explain the conditions of existence of African people. It is a theory of the world and how it came to be the way it is, affecting Africans and everyone in particular ways.
We are not the only ones to have come up with a historical materialist based theory of the world. What distinguishes our Party is the fact that we have moved the discussion to its proper place in the universe and changed its character from an abstract parlor discussion to a required explanation of how to change the world.
For much of the history of capitalism, born as white power, whites have been the subjects of history. The silenced, brutalized and enslaved majority of us have been simply objects of history, spoken of only as we were understood to be significant to whites or what came to be known as Europeans.
This has prevented even some of the most renowned thinkers and philosophers of the white world from being able to recognize our significance to the world, including the white world. We have been the metaphorical “Invisible Man.”
Karl Marx sought to explain capitalism and its advent in a seminal work entitled “Capital” published in 1867. Though Marx’s “Capital” was undoubtedly one of the most influential works of the past century, it marginalized its most important points.
Found buried inside of Marx’s work are key observations that give scientific credibility to the assumptions held by Africans and others who have been the ultimate victims of capitalism and whose emancipation would determine the future of capitalism.
Establishing the origin of capitalism and its dynamics within the European world as having their basis in the forcible expropriation of massive amounts of value from Africans and others, Marx wrote in Part VIII of “Capital”:
“We have seen how money is changed into capital; how through capital surplus value is made, and from surplus value more capital. But the accumulation of capital presupposes surplus value; surplus value presupposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production presupposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and labor power in the hands of producers of commodities. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation (previous accumulation of Adam Smith) preceding capitalistic accumulation; an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production but its starting point.
“This primitive accumulation plays in political economy about the same part as original sin in theology…”
In the same work, Marx defined more clearly what he meant about this capitalist “original sin” of primitive accumulation:
“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation.”
And finally, again in Part VIII of “Capital,” Marx elaborated on the question by stating that capitalist production rested on the enslavement of African people. Marx makes the point that even the white workers owe their predicament to the enslavement of African people. These are his words:
“Whilst the cotton industry introduced child slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world.” (Emphasis added)
In his earlier work “The Poverty of Philosophy,” Marx made the same point:
“Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry. Thus slavery is an economic [sic] category of the greatest importance.
“Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe North America off the map of the world, and you will have anarchy — the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.”
Here then, is the historical materialist basis of African Internationalism, which is, again, not simply an explanation of the conditions of existence for Africans, but an explanation of the world and the relations experienced by all of us in this world that has come to exist with the ascendancy of capitalism as a world economy.
We have to note here as well that Marx’s description of slavery as “an economic category,” and his concept of primitive accumulation provide outstanding examples of historic objectification of African people by Europeans.
The entire historical process that resulted in the total disruption of the political economy of Africa, the imposition of colonial borders and the capture and dispersal of millions of Africans whose forced labor was responsible for the development of Europe and European society is characterized as an “economic category”!
Marx reduced the process of European pillage and plunder of the world and the ensuing genocide and enslavement to “primitive accumulation” of capital, a footnote whose function in history is to explain the “development” of Europe.
In other works Marx developed the concept of the “fetish of the commodity” to explain how commodity production, production for the market, obscures and mystifies the relationship between people, allowing it to be confused with a relationship between things.
A similar thing happened with the concept of “primitive accumulation.” Here the relationship between peoples and countries is also obscured and mystified. Marx attributes European “development” solely to the “genius” and productive forces inside of Europe. He is thereby covering over or liquidating the origin of such “development” in the parasitic impairment of the capacity of independent development in Africa and other places victimized by Europe.
This African Internationalist worldview has always informed the work of our Party around the question of reparations to African people. Before our involvement in this question, the demand was forwarded primarily through legislative or judicial means. The masses of the people were not considered crucial factors. In other words, the success of the demand depended on the good will or integrity of the imperialist state that is responsible for imposing the conditions that caused the demand in the first place. Secondly, before the Party’s involvement, the demand for reparations generally revolved around repayment for slavery.
African Internationalism informs us that the issue is not simply the value of labor stolen from enslaved Africans. The fact is the entire capitalist edifice itself owes its existence and success to the theft of African labor and resources, not only during slavery but even more so subsequent to slavery where the rate of exploitation has become even greater.
Therefore, we understand that the imperialist system cannot possibly repay African people in the truest sense. Imperialism can only attempt to bribe Africans into accepting some kind of payment to quiet the growing struggle by our oppressed and colonized community as it awakens to the bloody history of forcibly extracted value by the imperialists during the entire history of our relationship. This means not only during the time of “slavery,” but also throughout the period of colonialism and now, during this period of trans-colonialism.
Therefore, African Internationalism informs us that our mission is to make the reparations demand a mass demand. We have long recognized the need to take the question beyond the grubby, often bloodstained grasps of imperialist-serving politicians and legislators that are loyal to a system in which they are bought and sold like capitalist commodities. Nor should we leave the determination in the hands of a legal system that also rests on the pedestal of capitalist production born of and sustained by our enslavement.
This is why in 1982 our Party organized the World Tribunal on Reparations for Africans in the U.S. This is why we built the African National Reparations Organization for the sole purpose of making reparations a “household name.” We traveled the U.S for the next 12 years or so holding tribunals in different cities, where the African public was invited to hear and present evidence on the history and current existence of our exploitation and oppression that justifies the demand for reparations.
This is why in 1983 a two-person delegation from our Party traveled in Europe to win support for the reparations demand. This resulted in Africans in Europe and Africa joining in the demand for reparations and most likely influenced the movement resulting in the UN sponsored Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
This is also why we are organizing a World Tribunal on Reparations for All African People, currently scheduled for Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Reparations must be made a mass demand of the more than a billion African people worldwide. Since we recognize the mass mobilizing power of the demand, we support most expressions of the call for reparations from a variety of growing proponents. However, African Internationalists recognize that imperialism cannot survive a successful reparations struggle, which by definition means the return of all value extracted from us by the parasitic capitalist system, which means the death of imperialism. Indeed, this is the objective of our demand for reparations.
Yes! Take African Internationalism to the masses of Africans worldwide. Make the case for reparations and mobilize the demand everywhere and in every manner. Some will fight in the courts and the various imperialist created and/or informed legislatures throughout the world.
Others, the millions of us, who go to bed hungry and who clean the houses and sweep the streets of the ruling class, will — armed with theory and other weapons of persuasion — reach directly into the pocket books and bank accounts of our oppressors. This is the process that will for evermore rid the world of the cankerous imperialist parasite responsible for the misery of the toiling masses of the world.
For African Internationalists the reparations demand is a function of the revolution. Its objective is not to find economic respite in a permanent sea of imperialist rapacity, but to win our liberation, free up the productive forces of Africa and African people. The revolutionary demand for reparations will achieve a new world where those whose socialized labor is responsible for human progress will become the new ruling class of a society where the means of production are socially owned and class rule has begun its death throes.
On the Continent of Africa the demand for reparations in the hands of African Internationalists, made popular among the masses of our people, will allow us to combat the cringing heads of neocolonial states who are ever, hat in hand, begging the imperialists to deepen their intervention in our lives. The demand for reparations, made popular among the masses, will deepen the crisis of imperialism by challenging the neocolonialists to end their careers as perpetual supplicants and join the demand for reparations for our history of exploitation.
An African Internationalist investigation, based on the preceding theoretical assumptions, leads us to conclude, among other things, that key to the liberation of African people is the defeat of the parasitic stranglehold that has been imposed on us by imperialism.
Moreover, as African Internationalists we recognize that Africa has been under some kind of attack for millennia, but that our struggle today is contextualized by the fact that the world economy that gives life to our oppression is a capitalist economy.
Our struggle is not fueled by a subjective need for vengeance against every group that has historically attacked Africa. This means that the struggle must be waged against the capitalist social system that is the basis of our exploitation and wretched conditions of existence today. Our struggle for the unification and emancipation of Our Africa and our people is also a struggle against capitalism.
Hence, our struggle, if it is to be fought to its successful conclusion, must be led by the African working class. It must result in the establishment of a united, socialist Africa responsive to the needs of African people worldwide.
African Internationalism teaches us that slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism, along with African disunification and dispersal, provided the material basis for the European bourgeois national consolidation, the sense of white sameness resting on the pedestal of the oppression of African and colonized peoples.
Hence, we understand that a key function of the revolutionary struggle for the permanent defeat of imperialism and to liberate Africa and her scattered children is the reunification of African people worldwide into a revolutionary, proletarian nation.
“It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large scale industry.” These words by Marx, quoted earlier, recognize the role of the plunder of Africa in the establishment of capitalism and carry within them the suggestion of what it will take to destroy the capitalist world economy.
The African who gave value to the “colonies” is now the oppressed and exploited inhabitant of the colonies that are sometimes incorrectly referred to as nations.
Our conditions of existence in the “colonies,” and elsewhere in this world of imperialist-created borders are centered in and derive from the conditions of existence in Africa that are the consequence of the primitive accumulation of capital, the “original sin.”
Our revolutionary struggle for liberation, unification and socialism in Africa, throughout the “colonies” and other areas of the world to which we have been forcibly dispersed in the construction of capitalism, will prove to be as significant in the defeat of the capitalist social system as the slave trade was in its advent.
The socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class will be the central factor in the defeat of world capitalism and will provide the material basis for the advent for world socialism.
African Internationalism, which demands the total revolutionary liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide under the leadership of the African working class, is informed by this scientifically sound dialectic.
Hence, the African Internationalist struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people is at the same time the key factor in the achievement of socialism as a world economy. It is the way forward for those Marxists and other socialists who are confronted with the false conundrum surrounding the question of “socialism in one country.”
As capitalism was born as a world economy with its basis in the enslavement and dispersal of African people, leading to “considerable masses of capital and labor power in the hands of producers,” so, too, will socialism be born as a world economy in the process of reversing the verdict of imperialism.
Hence, socialism will not be born in one country, but in many countries that are tied to the defining economy of a liberated and united Africa and people under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
This is why a fundamental task of the African revolutionary is the consolidation of the proletarian African nation.
Therefore, the African Socialist International is the first stage of the struggle by the workers and toiling masses of the world to create a genuine Communist International.
In the past all efforts to create such an international were bound to fail as they were based on the false premise of the centrality of white workers of the industrially developed countries for human progress. Even the fact that this has proved absolutely wrong in the real world has to yet penetrate this ideologically reinforced white nationalist assumption.
Of all the so-called socialist revolutions that have ever occurred in history, only the Russian Revolution had a European connection, and Russia was semi-feudal, not an industrialized country. China and Cuba are other examples of socialist revolution and they are among the many revolutionary efforts that have centered in the non-industrial or primary producing countries.
Obviously the historical basis for the advent of socialism did not exist when revolution changed any of the above-mentioned countries. What did exist were the political conditions for socialists to take power in places like Russia, China and Cuba.
The fact is that capitalism was born as a world economy and the Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions did not change the fact that their countries and economies existed within a pervasive capitalist world economy. Therefore, although these revolutions, contending with semi-feudal, semi-colonial and neocolonial economies, were able to make rapid short-term changes in the lives of the workers and toiling masses, they soon ran into their limitations as oases within a sea of capitalist predators.
This view was represented in the Political Report to our Party’s 3rd Congress 20 years ago, in 1990. A long passage from that report is worth repeating here:
“…[T]he fundamental contradiction, the resolution of which would result in the historically-based advent of socialism, has never existed between the industrial (white) working class and ruling class. The real locus of the class contradiction in the real world exists in the conflict between capitalism born as a world system, and the ‘pedestal’ upon which it rests. (Emphasis in original)
“Hence the 1917 revolution in Russia was not a true socialist revolution since the real historical basis for socialism, which is the destruction of the pedestal upon which capitalism rests and which is required for its existence, had not occurred. What happened in Russia in 1917 was the existence of conditions, which constituted the political basis for socialists to seize state power. (Emphasis in original)
“However, this seizure of state power by socialists did not change the reality that the world economy, even the world economy within which Russia existed, was and continues to be, a capitalist world economy. It is the same world economy created by the slave trade and augmented by other facets of parasitic ‘primitive’ accumulation that transformed the vast majority of the world into great reservoirs of human and material resources largely for European and North American exploitation…
“In the case of China whose heroic people made a great revolution which revealed the revolutionary possibilities of colonially oppressed peoples throughout the world, their current efforts at economic development have been characterized by our Party as being like the efforts of someone trapped in a hole attempting to get out by climbing up on his own back…
“China’s current treacherous political collaboration with Western imperialism reflects the growing voluntary re-introduction of China into the capitalist world economy, although this time its current leadership intends for China to play the role of parasite instead of host. In other words, China also intends to transform its material conditions of existence, not through revolution to overthrow capitalism, but through joining imperialism at the trough.
“While the Russians, East Europeans, and Chinese have in the past referred to themselves as socialist states, they have never actually presided over socialist economies, the historic basis for the existence of which continues to unfold even now. Therefore, the crises experienced by any or all of these economies have actually been crises inherent in capitalism and not in socialism. Moreover, the political crises experienced by any or all of these states are crises due in great measure to the inability of a capitalist economy to solve the problems in society. (Emphasis in original)
“While the Soviets, and China to a lesser degree, have been actively involved with the U.S., Western and Japanese imperialism in attempting to ‘manage’ the world, to maintain what can only be called worldwide imperialist ‘stability,’ their efforts will only prove to be futile, as the oppressed and subject workers and peoples of the colonial world are not sympathetic to any deals made which would compromise our just struggles to overthrow our oppression and subjugation.
“Moreover, in spite of difficulties our struggles might experience due to the Soviet, East European and Chinese defections, we will nevertheless see a rapid development of the independent struggles for national liberation now that they are unencumbered by Chinese and especially Soviet or Russian opportunism.
“The rising up of the slave, organized and armed with the theory of African Internationalism, and poised for the final defeat of the parasitic world capitalist system, marks a new page in world history.”
The anti-imperialist struggles of the world’s people for repossession of our sovereignty and resources, both human and material, are the basis of the current, deep, crisis of imperialism. They are struggles to remove the pedestal upon which the entire rotten edifice of imperialism rests. They are struggles that enlist the vast majority of humanity, the laboring masses of every nation, in the creation of a new world without exploitation and oppression, without slaves and slave masters and, ultimately, without borders.
We recognize that the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, the struggle for the consolidation of the African nation is ultimately a struggle that undermines the solidarity of the European nation-state. We understand that under imperialism those who were enslaved, colonized and oppressed as a people will have to win liberation as a people.
We are also clear that the successful nation-building struggles of Africans and others under the leadership of the working class is at the same time the beginning of the process of the withering away of nations.
The European nation was born as a bourgeois nation at the expense of whole peoples and their territories. As we have seen in this discussion, it is a nation that requires the oppression and exploitation of whole peoples for its successful existence.
Hence, African people have to resist the imperialist bourgeoisie as a people. Our assumption of consolidated nationhood will function to destroy the bourgeois nation. Thus the rise of revolutionary worker nation-states destroy the material basis for the existence of nations and borders that function to distinguish and separate one people from another.
This is easier to understand when we finally realize the significance of the fact that capitalism at birth came wrapped in the skin of the racialized European nation-state. It is this reality that made impotent the Marxian assumption of communism resulting from the withering away of the European bourgeois industrialized state.
However, the fact that the European bourgeois nation-state achieves life and definition from its relationship to Africa and the oppressed peoples of the world means that our victory over imperialism, with the African working class at the helm will result in the withering away of nations. This will leave bare and make possible the withering away of the bourgeois state, which will have become historically redundant.
The African Socialist International, the practical expression of African Internationalism, uniting African workers on every continent, provides Africans and the world with the first step in the creation of a real Communist International that for the first time encompasses the enlightened participation of the vast majority of the toiling masses of the world.
Workers of the world, unite under the banner of African Internationalism!
Hosea Jaffe authored an important book, “A History of Africa,” which speaks to the impact of slavery and colonialism on the emergence of parasitic capitalism and the development of white self-consciousness and the white nation itself:
“…Before capitalist colonialism there was no Europe, only a collection of feudal, mercantile and tribal towns, farms, villages, discrete states and kingdoms vying and warring with each other, just as in Africa, but on a different property basis — that of private property in the land. Europe then was neither a concept nor a reality, at most a vague idea that Arabs — but not ‘Europeans’ — had had long ago of some place northwest of Greece. As long as Europe remained isolated from the world, there was no Europe.
“When it became connected with and dependent on, first Africa, then the Americas and finally Asia, it began to become a reality and an idea. Only when Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, English, German, Danish and Swedish confronted and clashed with Africa, America and Asia did the need arise for them to consider themselves as a set, a whole, different from, hostile to and, eventually, superior to Africans [aboriginal], Americans and Asians. Colonialism gave them a common interest.”
In the following passage, Jaffe also identifies the significance of our relationship to capitalism and its historical manifestation as a united white nation-state:
“This common interest — slaving, plantations, the world market, looting, precious metals, spices and territory, markets and sources of wealth — was also the source of their conflicts among themselves. From 1500 on they had already started to quarrel and fight over the colonial booty. In these intra-European conflicts Portugal and Spain had in time to give way to Holland and France, and these in the 18th Century to Britain, while German ‘hidden colonialists,’ Calvinists, Catholics and Jews alike, steadily garnered what they could of the booty without shedding their blood or losing their own property in the process. The ‘scramble for Africa’ that led to the 1884-5 Berlin Conference had its roots in four centuries of struggles between the European powers for the division of Africa. Colonialism, the basis of European unity, was the basis also of its disunity.”
Jaffe does a much better job than Marx in his elaboration of the birth process of Europe that resulted in the wretchedness of the majority of the world’s peoples up to now. Here is the dialectic:
“Europe was born out of colonialism, as the exploiting, oppressing, negating pole that tried always to destroy and assimilate its opposite pole: the rest of the world…
“The first form was that of ‘primary accumulation,’ from the 14th Century to the 19th; the next was that of regular accumulation, with an inertial momentum carried forward from the primary accumulation.
“With capitalism arose Europe, and with Europe the myth of ‘European civilization’ — a civilization based on African slavery, American plantations, Asian spices, precious metals from all three ‘non-European’ continents — based, too, on Indian numerals, Arab algebra, astronomy and navigation (an Arab-Indian took da Gama to India from Mombasa) and Chinese gunpowder, paper and compasses. This non-European European civilization was the narcissus-like admiration of its own conquests. The sword, gunfire, murder, rape, robbery and slavery formed the real material basis for the idea of European superiority.
“It was out of this process that the very idea of a European man arose, an idea that did not exist even in etymology before the 17th Century. Before the slave trade in Africa there was neither a Europe nor a European. Finally, with the European arose the myth of European superiority and separate existence as a special species or ‘race’; there arose indeed the myth of race in general, unknown to mankind before — even the word did not exist before the lingua franca of the Crusades — the particular myth that there was a creature called a European, which implied, from the beginning, a ‘white man.’
“Colonialism, especially in Africa, created the concept and ideology of race. Before capitalist-colonialism there were no races; but now, suddenly and increasingly, there were races: once born, the myth grew into a ‘reality.’”
It is this reality explained here that has helped to shape our worldview as African Internationalists. We are revolutionaries. Our objective is to reverse the verdict of imperialism, to solve the problems of the Revolution and to defeat imperialism for all time in the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class.
Thus, it was not racial venom that led us to say at our Third Congress in 1990:
“The fact is that capitalism was born as parasitic white power and it must be defeated as parasitic white power. Genuine communists of all nationalities must be consciously committed to the overthrow of white power, and white communists must be committed to the struggle for the victory of black power over white power.
“The beginning of the process for white communists in the U.S. and the world to abandon the interests of imperialism and to integrate their own interests with the interests of the toiling masses of the world is to subordinate their interests to the struggles of the oppressed peoples of the world to overthrow parasitic white power.
“In the U.S. this can only be done through joining the anti-colonial struggle for black power. Concretely this means joining the African People’s Solidarity Committee, an organization of and subordinate to the African People’s Socialist Party, the advanced detachment of the revolutionary African working class and poor peasantry.”
No abstract parlor discussion here.
African Internationalists recognize that today Africa and much of the African world suffer from neocolonialism, indirect rule by imperialist powers that continue to control the economy of Africa after the formal end of colonialism or direct white rule.
Often referred to as “Flag Independence,” neocolonialism reduces the current leaders and heads of state in Africa to mere puppets whose strings are pulled by external forces to the great detriment of African people.
The neocolonialists are mostly drawn from the ranks of the African petty bourgeoisie whose primary role is the production of functionaries and thinking representatives of imperialism. They cannot lead the struggle for the liberation of our people to its completion. Nor is it in the interests of the petty bourgeoisie, who economically benefit from their relationship to the colonial powers, to successfully lead the struggle for the elimination of imperialist-created borders in Africa. To do so would mean the destruction of the petty bourgeoisie as a class since the microstates of Africa serve to reproduce the neocolonialists as a social force.
This is why African Internationalism requires the unification of the African working class into its own revolutionary organization with the primary aim of socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.
The revolutionary unification of the African working class means class unity. It is the unification of the revolutionary class that has as its historical mission the defeat of imperialism and the construction of a united socialist nation-state.
In order to succeed in the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, the unified working class must be bound together in a single organization with a single center, political line and common revolutionary trajectory.
This is one of the defining issues differentiating real revolutionaries from Pan-Africanists and other poseurs. This is one of the issues that has won Garvey the wrath of the African petty bourgeois liberals and is daily winning opposition by these same social forces for our Party and the ASI.
African Internationalism recognizes that organizational unity of the African working class is necessary to give every expression of the African Revolution anywhere on earth a strategic character. It recognizes that revolutionary organizational unification under the leadership of the African working class is practical unification of African people and the revolutionary African nation-state.
African Internationalism is, therefore, a theory of practice! One cannot be an African Internationalist by simply holding onto various abstract principles. A distinguishing characteristic of African Internationalism is the fact that it is not a theory to explain the world, but to change it. African Internationalism is theory with a plan.
This means that African Internationalism demands practical engagement in the struggle for practical unification of Africa and African people. The highest expression of this practical engagement is the African Socialist International (ASI), the international Party of the advanced detachment of the organized, revolutionary, African working class.
In November 2009 we witnessed the historic launching of the African People’s Socialist Party-Sierra Leone and the founding of the African Socialist International in West and East Africa. We are experiencing growing organization in Canada, Europe and in several cities in the U.S. We are achieving increasing political and organizational influence throughout the U.S., Africa, South America and the world.
The African People’s Socialist Party has led the struggle to expose the neocolonial regime of Barack Hussein Obama, the most recent and insidious face of U.S. and world imperialism. Even as most bourgeois African nationalists and ersatz communists make excuses for the Obama regime, our Party has held steadfast to the recognition and stance that imperialism is imperialism regardless of the complexion of its latest representative.
The centerpiece of the Party’s work has been the African Socialist International. This work represents our recognition that the African Liberation Movement, whether in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere, has long run into its limitations when waged within the context of the existing imperialist-created borders of Africa and the world. These colonially imposed borders are used to separate Africans from each other and from our resources that are being exploited daily at the expense of our liberty and material well-being.
For years our ASI work revolved around attempting to locate and win participation from existing revolutionary groups within the African world. For years we were disappointed by the inability of existing organizations, either because of ideological limitations, class orientation or both, to give practical unity to the ASI project.
Because of this we modified our strategy for the ASI to include building the African People’s Socialist Party anywhere in the world as we continued to seek other organizations to join our ASI-building efforts. We set out to organize Africans into the Party wherever we recognized the potential. Through these Party cadres we began to establish ASI outposts in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
In 2005, more than twenty years after the First Party Congress in 1981 passed the resolution mandating the building of the ASI, we finally consolidated ASI work on the Continent of Africa itself.
The development of the ASI in West Africa came as a result of ASI conferences held annually by our Party in London. Because of the significance of London as a major transit point for Africans from throughout the world we assumed that we would eventually win participation to the ASI of Africans with immediate ties to the African Continent and from the Caribbean.
In 2001, the brilliant and consistent leadership of Comrade Luwezi Kinshasa in London brought us back in touch with the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) for the first time since the negotiated settlement of 1994 changed the apartheid form of the capitalist state in South Africa. Subsequently we were able to begin work with sectors of the PAC in our attempt to win them to the ASI project. However, despite all our efforts, the internal struggles and other contradictions within PAC, including its ideological inadequacies and inconsistent working class stand, restricted our ability to influence its trajectory towards the direction of the ASI.
In 2005 a leader of a youthful, militant mass organization in Sierra Leone heard our call. The participation of Comrade Chernoh Alpha M. Bah and the Africanist Movement under his leadership has resulted in a major advance for the development of the African Socialist International. In October of 2008, Comrade Chernoh organized an ASI Conference in West Africa that proved to be historic. Socialist revolution was placed on the agenda in Sierra Leone for the first time since the 1930s.
Working with a revolutionary national democratic program to which conference participants were able to contribute, the African Socialist International has given strategic leadership to the struggle of our people in West Africa and set a new example for the struggle of African workers throughout the African Continent and elsewhere.
In November of 2009, consistent with its draft constitution, the ASI consolidated itself in Sierra Leone as the African People’s Socialist Party. During this time, with participation and solidarity from Africans and others from throughout the world, the APSP-Sierra Leone launched Uhuru Radio, an FM station that will represent the views and interests of the African working class, poor peasants and revolutionary national democratic forces of Sierra Leone and the region.
In addition to the work to build the ASI in West Africa, we have consolidated a committee to build the ASI in East Africa and are moving rapidly to build the African People’s Socialist Party-Kenya.
The ASI Conference of the East Africa region held in Nairobi in April of 2009 was successful even without mass publicity efforts, which were not possible due to security concerns that a high public profile would invite attacks by the neocolonial Kenyan government. During the conference almost 50 of the attendees rushed to join the ASI.
Again, this was a result of the courageous work of Comrade Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, a member of our Party and ASI Director of Organization, who developed a rapid mobilization plan to attempt establishment of the ASI in nearly every African region by the end of 2009.
An important aspect of the Nairobi East African Regional Conference, one that demonstrated our growing organizational capacity, was the fact that we were able to go to Kenya with other Party cadres who played important roles in the conference.
These were cadres from London that included Comrade Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary General of the ASI, along with security forces from South Africa and others from the U.S. Since that April conference, Comrade Chernoh has returned to Kenya and conducted other organizational meetings and some trainings and political education. In February 2010 other Party members traveled to Kenya from the U.S. to extend the training of forces there toward launching of the African People’s Socialist Party-Kenya and expanding the ASI work throughout the East Africa region.
The growing capacity of the African People’s Socialist Party was also obvious in the fact that following the April 2009 ASI Regional Conference in East Africa, we were able to simultaneously hold two other successful ASI regional conferences in May. The North American Regional Conference was held in Washington, D.C. and the European Regional Conference was held in Manchester, England.
This work to build the African Socialist International is at a new level of development, but we would do well to remember that the ASI is not a new project of our Party. It is work that, when placed in historical perspective, helps us to understand the farsightedness of our Party. It helps us to understand the significance of our Party as the leader of the international African working class, its advanced detachment, that clearly understands the way forward and is preparing itself for the conquest of political power.
This is work that was formally initiated at our Party’s First Congress in 1981. Comrade Chernoh, the ASI Director of Organization, could not have been more than two years old when we passed the resolution for building the ASI, stating in part:
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries in all countries to unite with us into one all-African international socialist association which would enhance our ability to realize our historic mission to free and unite our people and motherland, and to defeat imperialism and issue in a new day of peace, freedom, and world socialism.
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries in all countries to unite with us into one all-African international association, which would assume the tasks of:
“1. Liberating and uniting all of Africa under a single, all-African socialist state;
“2. Uniting, coordinating, and giving general assistance and direction for the revolutionary struggles of all African people wherever they occur and whenever the aims of such struggles are consistent with the aims of the international association;
“3. Achieving the objective consolidation of African nationality for all African people wherever we are oppressed and exploited throughout the world due to the machinations of imperialism.
“Africans of the world, take history into your own hands!
“Africans of the world, unite to build the African Socialist International!”
In the Main Resolution of the Party’s Third Congress in September 1990 we elaborated on the Party’s position that the African Socialist International is our most important strategic task:
“This work to build the African Socialist International will be the central focus of our revolutionary work. It will occur under the slogan: ‘Izwe Lethu i Afrika,’ appropriated from the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.
“As distinguished from Pan Africanism, which has historically relied principally on the leadership of the African petty bourgeoisie as heads of organizations or illegitimate colonialist-created states for the accomplishment of its aims, the African Socialist International will rely on the social base of conscious Africans organized under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
“Thus, as a mobilizing tool, we have also declared at this Congress that this is the ‘era of the worldwide African Revolution and socialist unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of African workers and poor peasants.’
“We must take the question of Africa, its relationship to the structure of the capitalist world economy and our relationship to it to every African community in the world. This is important for a thousand reasons. Africa is suffering with no obvious relief in sight.”
The fact that we determined that our central work would be building the African Socialist International does not mean that the Party is not involved in struggles on the ground everywhere. Our recognition of the African Socialist International as the central, strategic task of our Party does not mean that we are not engaged in struggling around the pressing issues and concerns of the African working class and colonized nation wherever and whenever they occur in the world.
In fact, we see all these struggles against imperialism as schools for enhancing the fighting capacity of our Party, class and colonially oppressed nation. What it does mean is that the work to liberate and unite Africa and African people worldwide, the work that gives significance to the ASI, is our guiding work, the work around which everything else revolves.
The main vehicle through which the Party carries out mass struggle is the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM). Although InPDUM has been beset with a bevy of contradictions over the years, the organization has recently begun to move forward in some crucial ways.
InPDUM has been the primary leader of organized, strategically informed mass resistance within the African community in the U.S. InPDUM gained critical notoriety during the campaign to elect Barack Hussein Obama as U.S. president. While too many others who claim leadership of our people either capitulated to or were immobilized by the campaign and election of Obama, InPDUM has been on the forefront of the struggle to expose him as just another fast talking shill for a very desperate imperialism.
In the process of this struggle InPDUM has also, by comparison, exposed the opportunism within the African Liberation Movement in the U.S. For the most part these opportunists have abandoned the African workers and masses, leaving them disarmed against imperialism in its new, seductive form. In the absence of a theoretically sound strategic approach to struggle that was based on a correct line and lacking a genuine revolutionary program, most of the African Liberation Movement was thrust into motion with actions defined by Obama’s campaign and election.
In other words, most stands and actions were based on spontaneity, long recognized as the mother of opportunism.
It was InPDUM’s presence and actions at an Obama rally that disrupted Obama’s St. Petersburg, Florida campaign appearance and rattled his composure with the simple chant and slogan/question: “What about the black community?”
It was InPDUM that participated in public forums that critiqued the Obama election as not only a shabby attempt at imperialist camouflage but also as a means of deflecting the political activity of the African masses away from self-interested independent revolutionary politics.
It was InPDUM that used the slogan: “What about the black community?” for its 2008 Convention where it launched our Revolutionary National Democratic Program (RNDP) that addressed the needs and aspirations of our class and people. In an effort to raise the level of discussion during the election, InPDUM struggled to make the programs of the presidential candidates the focus of the debate and to force a comparison between the programs of the Democratic Party represented by Obama and the Revolutionary National Democratic Program of the African masses as put forward by InPDUM.
In addition, InPDUM has led the struggles in cities in California and Pennsylvania against the attempts by local governments to use budget cuts of crucial services to facilitate the bourgeoisie’s attempt to shift the burden of the capitalist economic crisis onto the backs of African people and the laboring masses. These struggles have resulted in vicious police attacks on our organizers in Philadelphia and an attempt to silence resistance through police and court repression.
Nevertheless, InPDUM has been unrelenting. While waging struggle in defense of the two comrades facing felony charges because of their public exposure of the budget bomb being launched against the African community of Philadelphia, InPDUM convened its October 2009 Convention in Philadelphia under the slogans: “They Say Cutback! We Say Payback! Reparations Now!” and “Independence In Our Lifetime!”
These slogans/demands anticipate InPDUM-led political activity among our people that will sharpen the contradictions for the masses who are watching the Obama regime shovel several trillion dollars of taxpayer’s money to banks and other ruling class institutions.
At the same time, because of predatory lending practices initiated by Obama’s campaign finance chairwoman, the Obama regime is overseeing the greatest theft of African community wealth in history in the form of massive loss of homes through foreclosures resulting from subprime mortgages.
With the demand for independence in our lifetime! InPDUM’s slogans also challenge the very legitimacy of Obama’s election as a response to the conditions of existence faced by Africans in the U.S. This is a serious rejection of the bourgeois attempt to present Obama’s election as the end of our history of resistance.
Now InPDUM is gearing up for some of the most important work of its existence. This work is given greater significance because of the crisis of imperialism that makes it especially vulnerable to the struggle of African people for revolutionary democracy.
When InPDUM was founded in 1991 its primary task was dictated by the period. It was a period when the U.S. Front of the African Revolution was still reeling from the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties by the U.S government. The ongoing imperialist counterinsurgency against our movement and our people expressed itself as domestic neocolonialism accompanied by the imposition of a drug economy along with the military assault on the colonized African community that was justified in the name of a war against drugs.
Most of our revolutionary leadership had been destroyed by this assault known primarily as COINTELPRO. Much of the people’s leadership had been jailed, murdered, chased into exile and membership of their organizations dispersed. Our people were left leaderless except for the neocolonialist clients who were given prominent roles as buffoonish ideological transmitters and political covers for the nefarious activities of our imperialist oppressors and the capitalist social system.
InPDUM was founded at the height of this counterinsurgent assault, primarily as a vehicle to defend the democratic rights of the people while exposing the government’s counterinsurgent war on African people.
InPDUM’s aim was to draw Africans back into political life around the immediate vicious attacks that were effectively overturning hard-fought democratic victories won in the sixties.
While it was engaged in ongoing battles and campaigns that required bold leadership, InPDUM’s mission was, nevertheless, defensive. However, the depth of the current crisis of imperialism stemming from the unbridled resistance of the world’s peoples has demanded a different character of InPDUM. From a defensive stance organizing the community against imperialist assaults, InPDUM has now assumed a posture of aggressive mass leadership for the Final Offensive against imperialism.
The change from a defensive stance by InPDUM has been erratic and slow in coming. Additionally, in the recent past the Party has lost sight of the strategic significance of InPDUM for our revolutionary work. This is a contradiction that has been facilitated by inadequate leadership of this important Party organization.
Nevertheless, with the adoption of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program, InPDUM has been clearly positioned as the vehicle through which the first stage of our Revolution is to be waged. In its mass composition InPDUM is becoming the embodiment of the revolutionary national democratic sector of the African population that must be organized to seize black political power.
This requires a different perspective by the Party of InPDUM’s role. It is not defensive; InPDUM has to be the dynamic catalyst for political mobilization of African people in the immediate struggle for the achievement of the revolutionary national democratic power — for the achievement of black power.
U.S. imperialism is waging public wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is also engaged in not-so-public military interventions throughout Africa. Somalia is only one example.
At the same time the U.S. is trying to win public support for some kind of intervention in Sudan as preparation is being made for the installment of open U.S. military dominance of all of Africa through AFRICOM. This is intended to contend with imperialist rivals, protect the neocolonial status quo and give greater coordination of existing and future U.S. military intervention anywhere in Africa.
The U.S. is also busy attempting to reverse its fortune in South America, ramping up counterinsurgent activities against the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and others that have moved and are moving away from the imperialist camp. Many governments throughout the region are now searching for socialist solutions.
New developments leading to electoral success of anti-imperialists in Nicaragua and El Salvador have surely caused growing alarm for the U.S. and there is little doubt of U.S. involvement in the recent coup in Honduras to remove a president that had become part of a progressive bloc threatening U.S. imperialist hegemony in this hemisphere.
The current U.S. regime is also faced with an economy that has tanked. Because bourgeois “economists” are ideologically blinded, they cannot see the connection between the economic crisis and the growing successes by colonized and oppressed peoples to reclaim our resources, our sovereignty and our future. We, in the African People’s Socialist Party, however, are clear on the connection, and we are determined to deepen the crisis by advancing the struggle for African liberation and unification and supporting all other struggles to defeat the imperialist stranglehold on the world.
This is the political and economic context of InPDUM’s work to advance our Revolutionary National Democratic Program. The primary objective of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program of our movement is to establish the political basis for the struggle for black power.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program offers the masses of our people and the people of the world an alternative program to the predatory program being advanced by U.S. imperialism. The RNDP is a program that not only opposes the unjust wars and interventions of the U.S.; it unites with the aspirations of the victims of such wars and interventions. It establishes the basis for international unity with our struggle against U.S. imperialism.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program must be advanced and fought for in the streets, communities, factories and campuses of the U.S. and the world. It is a program of peace and social justice; it is a program that unleashes the masses of our people on a path for the conquest of revolutionary national democratic power, the power to govern ourselves.
This is what makes InPDUM’s work so significant during this time of deep crisis of imperialism. Our program does not attempt to win the people to a process of solving the crisis of imperialism. It contributes to deepening the crisis by organizing practical unity between the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of the world and the struggles of the U.S. Front of the African Liberation Movement for the socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.
This is not something to be taken lightly. Nor should this be understood as a campaign to simply take it upon ourselves to implement one or more points of the overall program.
The task is to become revolutionary politicians who may or may not implement points of the overall program, but who will see as our primary task winning the masses of our people to the whole Revolutionary National Democratic Program as their own.
The RNDP will contend with the program of the imperialist parties of the U.S. and their lesser allies both within and outside the U.S. This is the program that we want the progressive international community to recognize as representing the interests of struggling Africans colonized within the current borders of the U.S.
Using the Revolutionary National Democratic Program as the basis for winning the unity of the African masses in the U.S. to a revolutionary trajectory, the Party must see InPDUM as the vehicle through which we move to conquer real power, the power to govern.
As InPDUM represents the organizational manifestation of the revolutionary national democratic unity of the African masses, we must use InPDUM as a major vehicle for the establishment of a revolutionary national democratic provisional government.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program gives us the ability to concretize the question of political power among the masses of our people with the objective of winning the people to the right and responsibility for self-government.
This marks a critical juncture of our struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide from the U.S. Front of the African Liberation Movement against continued imperialist world domination and for the victory of international socialism.
InPDUM’s advancement of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program also contributes to the unification of the anti-colonialist or pro-independence tendency within the African community. Now, with the concretization of the ASI as the material, organizational manifestation of the strategic goal of the African Revolution, InPDUM’s pursuit of the revolutionary national democratic capture of political power in the U.S. allows our Party to unite with all the legitimate efforts to capture forms of state power within the U.S.
With the existence of the ASI, InPDUM’s work allows for unity with some practical programs of the African anti-colonial, pro-independence tendency as the first stage of the overall African Revolution that will result in the capture and unification of Africa, our national homeland, as well as the African nation dispersed throughout the world.
In September 2009, less than a month prior to InPDUM’s Philadelphia convention, the Party played a key role in initiating the founding of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIB). The coalition was created as a vehicle to influence the struggle against the immediate strategic and desperate crisis-resolving attempt by U.S. imperialism that was masking itself behind the face of Barack Hussein Obama.
The Black is Back Coalition initiated the first national demonstration against the Obama regime in Washington, D.C. It was also the only African-led national demonstration against U.S. foreign and domestic policies since Obama’s election. The coalition provides a perfect instrument for advancing African national democratic revolutionary demands that were influenced by the participation of our Party and adopted and promoted by coalition members.
InPDUM’s participation in the coalition has been critical, not only because of the experience and discipline InPDUM has been able to impart to the coalition efforts, but also because it offers another avenue through which InPDUM can advance the Revolutionary National Democratic Program and the struggle for black power within an actual organization of revolutionary national democratic forces.
The existence of the Black is Back Coalition is further proof that the ideas guiding InPDUM’s Revolutionary National Democratic Program are shared by more and more Africans who are daily being awakened and shaken into action by the crisis of imperialism. It is further proof that Africans from all walks of life and diverse political and ideological views share the basic assumptions of InPDUM as is evidenced by this excerpt from the Main Resolution of BIB’s Consolidation Conference held in January of this year:
“Our list of demands do not assume that peace and social justice can be conferred on the world by simply demanding the resources going to make imperialist war be diverted to ‘domestic‘ use. We are opposed to imperialism itself. Our existence as a coalition marks the initiation of united resistance to imperialism, a resistance that advances the interests of oppressed and exploited African people within the U.S. and worldwide.
“Ours is a resistance for Bread, Peace and Black Power. Obviously the demand for bread includes the call for employment that contributes to the development of our community and a return of all the recently stolen resources due to our people from U.S. actions that accompanied and followed the catastrophe of Katrina and other Gulf region weather systems.
“We want restitution and repair for the subprime mortgage fraud that resulted in the greatest theft of African wealth since slavery. But the demand for bread also means reparations for all the stolen wealth that has accumulated to the coffers of U.S. imperialists from slavery up to now.
“Nor should the demand for peace be interpreted to be an imperialist peace, the type of peace that the slave master can appreciate as long as the slaves are not resisting and the system of slavery goes unchallenged. When we say peace we mean the peace that accompanies social justice, a peace that can only come through fierce uncompromising resistance designed to overturn the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor.
“We want black power, self-determination. And, while we may have differences among ourselves within the coalition about what that self-determination should look like, we do all agree that the fate and future of our people should be determined independently by our people, whose conditions of existence owe themselves primarily to the fact that this critical democratic right has been forcibly appropriated by our oppressors.”
InPDUM is not the only vehicle through which the Party is advancing a winning struggle against U.S. imperialism within current U.S. borders. One major component of the Party’s arsenal is the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), the Party organization comprised essentially of North Americans or white people.
In many ways APSC has been ghettoized within the Uhuru Movement and its significance is not fully understood either by itself or the Party at large. This is essentially because of the race nationalism and race analysis that have contaminated the body politics of the African Liberation Movement.
Race nationalism has been most influential within the diverse movement for self-determination or independence from the U.S. It has been essentially a nationalism based on skin color or racial identity, in most instances liquidating the critical issues of class and the revolutionary capture of state power, and ignoring the question of what kind of social system will be established after independence has been won.
In many instances this race nationalism has prevented its advocates from establishing alliances and unity with any non-African cause, regardless of its political and strategical implications for the struggle against world imperialism and the liberation of our people. It has occasionally also allowed the race nationalists to unite with enemies of our people and tools of imperialism, simply because they were African.
However, the race nationalists are not the only forces who are wedded to a racial analysis of our struggle. Assimilationists of every complexion and political persuasion — black liberal capitalist-aspirants, frothing-at-the-mouth infantile black and white pseudo Marxists along with their liberal variant — are also adherents of racial analysis.
Even the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), a formerly significant student-based middle class Pan-Africanist organization, described ours as a struggle against “racism” and imperialism, an example of an idealist form of philosophical dualism.
Of course, we of the African People’s Socialist Party have always recognized that racism is simply the ideological underpinning of imperialism. Racism is the ideas in the heads of people that unite them with the interests of imperialism, often against their own best interests. It is a consciousness that owes its existence to an economic base stemming from parasitism or “primitive accumulation.”
We have always recognized that the struggle of African people is for the conquest of independent political power. It is a struggle against colonialism which, when victorious, makes insignificant the ideas in the heads of our national oppressors and class enemies.
To minimize the intervention of “race” consciousness in our Party and the world in which the Party has influence, we have always attempted to speak of “white” people in general as Europeans and those who are citizens of a particular state, by the generally used name of the state.
This is why we prefer to refer to “whites” in the U.S. as North Americans, because of their identity with the North American State. This helps to clarify our relationship as oppressor and oppressed in the same way it is clear for Vietnamese and others who have had to struggle against white power. This clarity allowed the Vietnamese to develop a strategy during their struggle to evict the U.S. colonial occupiers that could distinguish between U.S. North Americans and what they defined as the “internal colony” of African people.
On the other hand, just as “whites” are Europeans and North Americans, we are Africans, not “blacks,” an identity that liquidates the struggle for national liberation and the consolidation of the African nation-state. This gives a different kind of political definition of our relationship and correctly informs our struggle for African liberation, unification and socialism.
Race nationalism limits the ability of our movement to define the basis for unity with anyone who is not “black,” while African Internationalism is capable of defining our unity with anyone on terms determined by our anti-imperialist mission to unite, liberate and unify Africa and the dispersed African nation under the leadership of the African working class.
Race nationalism is based on philosophical idealism. It represents the worldview of the imperialist bourgeoisie that invented the concept of race to facilitate the domination of capitalism, which was born as a world system and as white power. It is interesting to note that many of the race nationalists and the Assimilationists have found unity in their support for the campaign and presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, imperialism’s most desperate example of white power in black face.
While the African People’s Socialist Party can be proud of our track record of fighting for science in our struggle and for destroying the ideological basis for most of the backward notions concerning the struggle for socialism and liberation, we have not been absolutely immune to the ideological and political influences of the world.
Moreover, the imperial attitude that too often accompanies whites, sometimes even members of APSC in opposition to its line and formal policies, has fed the subjectivism of some Party members. This has in turn, also occasionally subdued or compromised the Party line among Africans regarding race and the African People’s Solidarity Committee.
Nonetheless, it must be clearly stated that the African People’s Solidarity Committee has proved to be an invaluable Party organization. It has provided us a division of labor that has allowed the Party to extend the struggle for African liberation and socialism into the living rooms and communities of the oppressor nation white population. Only the politically blind will refuse to see the value of this.
African People’s Solidarity Committee comrades are a strategic asset that has also provided our Party with some of our most heroic and dedicated cadres. The African People’s Solidarity Committee is comprised of cadres who have been beaten and arrested by police, kidnapped and traumatized in “deprogramming” attempts, become the “nigger lovers” to the white left and at times have had to endure a form of excommunication from other sectors of white society.
Some of our movement’s longstanding veterans, custodians of much of our history of struggle, tactics and strategy, some of whom were trained by our Chairman up to thirty years ago, are members of the African People’s Solidarity Committee.
Their willingness to adopt African Internationalism as their own and to endure the hardships and struggles consistent with this acceptance of the Party’s worldview have resulted in the development of a well organized, tightly-knit group with a membership that has learned to work well together and that has a passion for African Internationalism and the Party.
Within the ranks of APSC are comrades who have maintained their station in our movement for much longer than much of the Party’s membership. They are comrades who have often been willing to withstand and engage in severe criticism and self-criticism as an aspect of their Party life. They have endured disruptions of personal relationships and, based on the direction of the Party, they have willingly accepted assignments that moved them to different cities and states to carry out political work.
These are comrades whose political history as African Internationalists has prepared them for the crucial task ahead.
The selection and election of Obama as U.S. president is a weapon in the hands of the oppressor to sow even more confusion on the question of “race” in the U.S. The fact that he was elected with a substantial vote from the white oppressor nation citizens is being used to absolve them and the U.S. government of any responsibility for the conditions of existence with which Africans are confronted. The race analysis supports this erroneous, opportunist, self-serving conclusion.
However, the existence and work of the Party through APSC will allow the Party to contend with this bourgeois explanation of the current reality. The existence and work of APSC allows the Party to contend with the imperialist treachery of Obama as white power in a black face with the APSC as our own black power in white face.
APSC represents a living, concrete challenge to bourgeois disingenuousness, providing an example of a principled relationship with the struggling peoples of the world. APSC shows the line of march that can result in a resolution of the contradictions separating white people from the rest of the human family and arm them to fight for black power in their own selfish interest.
In the current period the contradictions of imperialism are being generalized. The cascading, successive, struggles of the oppressed peoples of the world are successfully changing the political and economic contours of the world. This is the source of the crisis of imperialism and the reason the imperialists have geared up for a permanent state of war, currently characterized as a fight against terrorism.
Nevertheless, despite all the imperialist duplicity and claims about fighting terrorism, imperialist war is being increasingly discredited as a viable solution. The economic crisis and bourgeois colonialist state response to it are exposing greater numbers of North American oppressor nation citizens to economic anxiety and political outrage.
The self-interested concerns of the North American oppressor nation citizens are real. The problem historically is that the North American population has usually united with solutions to their perceived problems at the expense of Africans and others. This is an example of the power of the ideological foundation of imperialism.
Historically the ruling class initiators and ultimate beneficiaries of this ideology have used it to promote and validate the obscene ability of whites to unite with their own white ruling class and opportunistically separate their own narrow, self-serving interests from those of the majority of the peoples of the world.
This traditional North American opportunism — the tendency to accept short-term benefits for themselves at the expense of the long-term interests of the masses of the world’s peoples — serves to protect imperialism by splitting the North American people and self-serving, self-defined progressives from the struggling peoples of the world.
However, during this period where so many of the inherent contradictions of imperialism are in a state of simultaneous convergence, we have the greatest opportunity, perhaps in history, to win a significant sector of the North American oppressor nation citizens to unity with a revolutionary solution.
In the earlier-quoted 1920 presentation at the Second Congress of the Third Communist International, Lenin addressed the question of white opportunism and its material basis with these words:
“Why is this opportunism stronger in Western Europe than in our own country [Russia]? It is because the culture of the advanced countries has been, and still is, the result of being able to live at the expense of a thousand million oppressed people. It is because the capitalists of these countries obtain a great deal more in this way than they could obtain as profits by plundering the workers of their own countries.
“It is these thousands of millions in superprofits that form the economic basis of opportunism in the [white] working class movement.”
Today, with North Americans feeling pain and often needing to respond to it, we must look for occasions to use their own pain as the starting point in the discussion, helping them in the process to recognize that although they are not accustomed to it, theirs is not a special pain.
They must be made to understand that theirs is a pain born of the very nature of a social system built and sustained by the pain of slavery, colonialism and genocide committed against the majority population of the world. The theory of African Internationalism must be taken to North Americans and Europeans.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee is the potent weapon that we will employ in this critical task. In order to be effective it is not enough to only educate the North American population to the aggressions of imperialism against Africans and others. We must develop our capacity to explain to the North American population the connection between its current crisis and the very nature of the system born of slavery, colonialism and genocide.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee must become reverse missionaries, taking real “civilization” to the white world, civilization that will help them to throw off the superstition of racial separation and superiority through recognition that their fate and their possibility of a real future will depend on their willingness to join us in destroying the failed god of a parasitic based white supremacy.
The alienated sectors of the North American people must be brought to a scientific understanding of the contradictions they themselves are facing. In other words, we must become experts in winning North Americans to solidarity based on the recognition that solidarity is the only route to creating a new system that will free them from the imperialist-designed segregation from the rest of the world and from the exploitation and other contradictions with which they attempt to contend in their imaginary isolation from the rest of us. The white population must become anti-colonialists as a matter of self-defense.
Not all the North Americans who support and voted for Obama were motivated by conscious opportunism, which is not to say this makes the opportunism less significant. Some North Americans actually saw their support and vote for Obama as taking a stance in the interests of ”racial” justice and reconciliation. Although, because it is motivated by conviction, “honest” opportunism is the most dangerous kind, in this instance it is also an opportunism that may be susceptible to education towards the correct path to “racial” justice.
During this period there is a lot of political motion among grassroots North Americans or whites. One example of this is the so-called Tea Party participants, so named for the Boston Tea Party in 1773 that popularized the struggle between the emerging U.S. capitalist class, tied directly or indirectly to the trade in African people, and the British Empire for control of the resources stolen from the Indigenous people of what is now known as the U.S.
The current Tea Party movement is spurred on by some of the most reactionary sectors of the white population, mostly tied to various arms of the ruling class and, in some instances, one of the ruling parties. While this grassroots activity often criticizes such things as the big bank bailouts and Wall Street profiteers, it has been characterized by vocal outpourings of racial hatred, anticommunism and attacks on so-called immigrants.
Many of these whites are reportedly people who have never engaged in political life in the past. They are ordinary whites that luxuriated in the benefits looted from the oppressed around the world and deposited in the malls and gas tanks of the U.S.
However, the crisis born of the inherent tendency of an economy based on such parasitism to decay and putrefy, has forced them to seek explanations for the social, political and economic turmoil they are experiencing and witnessing.
APSC is the vanguard of the Party’s work to explain to the alienated sectors of the North American population the basis of the chaos that causes them so much anxiety.
The North Americans, like most Europeans, assume they have some idea of the basis of the contradictions because of the fantasies passed on to them historically about the source of their comparative wealth and “good fortune.” It is upon this false ideological foundation that the North American demagogues have mobilized large sectors of the white population.
Nevertheless, those are resources stolen from others that have become increasingly difficult for them to afford in their malls and supermarkets. It is somebody else’s oil, wrenched from the earth with bloody consequences, for which they now have to pay more.
The bauxite, coltan, gold and diamonds along with the cocoa beans, cotton and cheaply produced clothing have cost the rest of us dearly and our combined struggles to seize control of our lives and resources are affecting the ability of North Americans and other Europeans to enjoy a parasitic economy that requires global misery for an oasis of white happiness.
This work by APSC is not easy and it does not provide immediate evidence of general success. However, it is the only way forward if whites are to end their isolation from the rest of us and survive to participate in a new world free from oppression and exploitation.
It is work that requires an ongoing process of intervention into the mass issues that are mobilizing whites with a scientific explanation for their conditions of existence, both as beneficiaries of stolen wealth and victims of parasitic crisis. Our ultimate success is guaranteed by the fact that we have the only answers that speak to the reality of the issues immediately affecting whites and the world. Sooner or later whites, like everyone else, will be forced to accept objective truth over self-gratifying racial nonsense.
The March 29, 2010 edition of Newsweek magazine, a journal of the U.S. white ruling class, quotes former U.S. president William Jefferson Clinton as he describes the pervasive anxiety of North Americans facing the Obama administration:
“There are objective reasons that huge numbers of Americans are confused, angry, frustrated and afraid,” Clinton stated. Elaborating on Clinton’s advice to Obama, the magazine article goes on to say:
“[T]ell us how what you are explaining will lead us to a better place and describe that place. Assume nothing; repeat yourself until you are numb. Only then will the message begin to sink in…”
This is also good advice for revolutionaries in general, but it is especially true for the work of APSC. This is the contest that it faces in competition with all the forces of reaction and the instincts of the white population that will reflexively unite it with imperialism.
APSC is the Party’s primary weapon in this struggle at this critical time when all these contradictions are impacting on so many of the alienated sectors of the U.S. population at the same time. This is not an easy task, but it certainly cannot be any more difficult than the tasks these comrades have taken on in the past. It simply means that we will have to develop new tactics, strategies and approaches to this work. But it is necessary and it will be done and we will win.
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is another Party formation that has enhanced our strategic position. We still have much to learn about how to develop this organization and best utilize it to advance our struggle, but the work it has done up to now clearly demonstrates its potential.
The issue of the impact of capitalist development at the expense of Africa and African people has always been at the heart of our revolutionary work. Indeed, it is the basis of our work and our demand for revolutionary transformation. However, capitalist development, which has sucked the human and material resources out of Africa historically, leaving our scattered people battered and impoverished, cannot be reversed short of revolution.
AAPDEP is an important tool in the struggle against parasitic capitalist development. It allows us to initiate self-serving development-for-liberation projects that will contribute to undermining parasitic capitalist development and the neocolonial structures put in place to promote and protect it.
AAPDEP allows us to move away from the whining politics of “underdevelopment” that are used to characterize our conditions of existence in Africa and elsewhere. AAPDEP promotes and organizes around development-for-liberation under the leadership of the revolutionary process.
This is consistent with the Party’s strategy of Dual and Contending Power, revolutionary national democratic power of the people that is consciously in contention with the power of the existing state in the service of the imperialist-serving ruling class.
In Sierra Leone AAPDEP has initiated and/or participated in several development projects. We have initiated and completed one rainwater-harvesting program that brings clean water to a community there, which suffers like most of Sierra Leone with the consequences of water borne diseases because of a lack of clean water. We have done the preliminary work to bring a healthcare facility to respond to the terrible health conditions that result in three out of five women in Sierra Leone dying during childbirth. (More than the high rate claimed by the United Nations of one in eight)
Currently, we are moving to help with an agriculture program that will provide food, jobs and some commerce there. Additionally, AAPDEP has purchased a boat motor to help a fishing community compete with foreign, imperialist fishing fleets that over-fish the coastline beyond the capacity of non-motorized Sierra Leonean fishing efforts. This project will not only provide fish for the community but also contribute to the ability for the community to sell surplus fish to address pressing needs.
This is not charity work being done by AAPDEP. Nor is it work that assumes the solution to the issues attacking our people in West Africa are a few rainwater, healthcare, agriculture and fishing programs. This is work that AAPDEP is doing under the leadership of revolutionary African Socialist International forces in Sierra Leone. It is effectively one of the methods we are using to enhance the political position of our movement in its contest with the local neocolonial servants of imperialism.
AAPDEP is also involved in projects in the U.S., most notably urban farming and community gardening in the face of the growing economic crisis. This is also being done as a means of improving our political position in the struggle against colonialism. The fact is, whether in the U.S., Sierra Leone or any other place in the world, we are moving to deal with issues and questions impacting our people that the rulers are incapable or unwilling to deal with. This helps us to concretize the issue of democratic revolutionary self-government, while exposing the contradictions of capitalist-colonialism.
The Party has also moved to build a student wing of our organization. The African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO) is our work to win African students to a permanent place in the Revolution.
Students are not a class. However, through the imperialist vetting process of accepted imperialist-influenced definitions of success, especially among the colonized and subject masses, it is not unusual for African students to be burdened with deep-seated petty bourgeois aspirations.
AISO must be the weapon in the hands of the African working class to challenge African students to become revolutionary intellectuals. They must be influenced by AISO to reject the attempts of institutionalized seduction, the ongoing efforts to build a wall of contempt between the students and the African working class, in most instances their neighbors, friends and families.
African students must realize that their presence in the academic institutions is a result of concessions to the bloody battles of the working class for access to what was assumed to be an avenue for the advancement of our whole people, not the self-aggrandizement of a chosen few.
There are African student organizations on campuses throughout the U.S., many of which have existed as a consequence of the struggles of the 1960s. For the most part these students are involved in inconsequential and sometimes even decadent activities. These groups also function as “company unions” or arms of the institutional administration.
At best they involve themselves in minor reforms, often directed at improving their lot as students. Many times these students are drawn to African cultural — sometimes mystical — formations or expressions that lead nowhere. Or, they express their militancy or self-defined “blackness” by sponsoring performers, some of who are political speakers, at their university. In almost every instance, when these students graduate or leave their campuses for other reasons their departure marks the end of their political activism.
AISO is the Party’s method of winning the students to our Revolution. It is our way of seizing as our base the universities, colleges and even the high schools, where thousands of African students are looking for answers to the issues confronting African people and the world. AISO is the Party’s way of contesting bourgeois ideology in the very centers of production and reproduction of bourgeois colonialist ideas and their thinking representatives.
The educational system of the U.S. is one of the major weapons used to undermine the revolutionary consciousness of our people. It is a system that assumes for itself the sometimes not too subtle task of “civilizing” African students.
It is a system that is based on the assumption that African students are simply empty vessels, bringing no worthy history or culture of their own to the educational process, waiting to be filled with white colonially informed “knowledge.” This results in an instinctive resistance by most of the African students (especially in the middle and high schools), the criminalization of many and a process of vetting those timid and malleable souls most likely to perform future neocolonial functions against the interests of Africans and other oppressed and laboring people.
The vetting process continues during “higher” education, where students are faced with intensive ideological assaults and the results of the reversal of policies won by our movement during a higher point of resistance that opened the doors of the colleges and universities to more African and colonized students. The key attack on the students, however, is the ever-increasing cost of tuition that serves to eliminate an even larger proportion of the African students. This leaves the possibility of even a colonial education being primarily open to a narrow elite element of the African population.
Obviously AISO organizers will not suffer from a dearth of issues around which to hone their fighting capacity and organize students and their parents into members and supporters of AISO and the Revolution. AISO can turn the campuses into ideological and political battlegrounds that will have significance beyond the campuses. Such struggles during this period of the students’ lives can serve to shape and develop a militant African Internationalist consciousness for many of them forever.
The campuses will provide our Party with a ready base of Africans whose primary endeavors are intellectually based. These are Africans who are open to new ideas and are fast developing the capacity to process and develop ideas.
By building AISO we assure the Revolution a continuous flow of revolutionary recruits that are won to the ideas of the Revolution and have a greater capability of improving on and transmitting those revolutionary ideas. We immediately raise the level of political discussion within our Party and the movement at large.
However, our work to consolidate AISO has left a lot to be desired and we must consider this one of the outstanding issues to be resolved. Our Party’s Fifth Congress must contribute greatly to our ability to effectively take on this work.
The Party is also currently working for an effective response to the apparently growing religious idealism within our oppressed colonized communities in the U.S. and throughout the world. While it is not clear what effect this religious idealism has on the most dynamic sectors of our community in the U.S., the negative influence of reactionary religious interpretation and leadership that is usually actively or passively connected with the ruling classes, is undeniable.
On the Continent of Africa and in African communities in Europe, especially among recent African expatriates, massive churches are growing daily, filled with the poor and oppressed who are being taught that their earthly suffering will be rewarded in an afterlife.
The African People’s Socialist Party is a party whose philosophy is rooted in philosophical materialism. We are materialists, period. This is true despite the fact that there are philosophical idealists in our ranks — some of whom are closeted — while others are inconsistent materialists. Our work is to win Africans away from all superstition, especially religious superstition, which serves to undermine human confidence in our capacity to take control of our own lives and the future of our people and Continent.
However, as materialists we recognize the influence of religion in this world and we are intent on winning the greatest number of people possible to the Revolution. Not only would we attempt to win a Christian or a Muslim or some other religious adherent to the Revolution, we see it as a part of our responsibility to win them. It is consistent with our recognition of the revolutionary national democratic struggle as the first stage of the Revolution that will require the conscious participation of the entire revolutionary national democratic population, including religious people and groups of all persuasions.
It is in this context that we, historical materialists, are looking closely at the possibility of creating the African Redemption Church, a nondenominational institution open to all who adhere to religious views and convictions. This would not be an attempt to win Africans to religion; rather it would be an attempt to win the religious to revolution.
We are talking here about an institution that would be able to provide a religious basis for winning our Revolution. It would be able to contend with other religious institutions and interpretations that apologize for imperialism and our oppression and it would assault religious institutions as a hideout for those who would use them as an excuse for not assuming their responsibility for the future of their children, their class and their oppressed and dispersed nation.
There have been discussions about this matter for some time in the Party. Our difficulty lies in the fact that those Africans in our ranks who would lead this church-building effort, are themselves philosophical idealists; they are individuals who hold religious conviction. The Party’s Fifth Congress should provide us with an answer to the question of how the Party can achieve and maintain the organization of churches under its discipline so the result is to bring the religious into the Revolution and not to simply create a process of blackenized religious idealism that serves to undermine revolution.
Hopefully this period will also see the Party achieve a greater influence within organized labor, especially within trade unions with significant African membership.
While we recognize that within a capitalist world economy all workers are exploited at the point of production, this has different implications for workers of countries whose peoples and resources constituted the “primitive accumulation,” or start up of the capitalist system itself.
This “primitive accumulation,” made up of whole countries and continents and all that is produced therein; that stems from the enslavement and dispersal of Africans in Africa and globally and continues to operate through colonialism and neocolonialism, is obscured by capitalist production at the point of production.
Neither the workers nor the imperialist economists are able to recognize the relationship between the brutal extraction of coltan from war-torn Congo and the ability to have jobs in Silicon Valley in California and efficiently operating cheap computers throughout the U.S. and around the world.
They do not recognize the relationship of the African extraction of bauxite from mines in Guyana and Guinea-Conakry and the concomitant loss of sovereignty and freedom, to the jobs created in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere in the European world and their ability to shop at any local supermarket for aluminum goods cheaply produced at the points of production there.
Similarly, African, Mexican and other workers in the U.S., as well as internally colonized workers in other parts of the European world, while exploited at the point of production as workers, suffer the brutality of colonial domination that cannot be resolved by simply struggling to recover the loss of value stolen at the point of production. Ours is a struggle for our liberation as a people and a dispersed, captive nation, whose national homeland provides fodder for the capitalist production that feeds the capitalists and all the beneficiaries of capitalist development.
Our task is to win African workers to a consciousness of themselves as workers who never receive the value of their labor and often not even the value necessary for reproducing real life and the ability to labor.
In addition to educating the workers to this theft of value that goes to make the bourgeoisie rich at the expense of the workers, as Africans the workers must be brought to the understanding that it is our colonial oppression as a people that makes this exploitation possible; that it is our experience at the point of the bayonet that created the conditions for exploitation of workers of the oppressor nation at the point of production.
Hence, the African workers must be brought to consciousness of their task to lead the struggle against our national oppression as a strategic necessity for the emancipation of African labor and the elevation of the African working class to the position of the ruling class of a liberated, united Africa and African people worldwide.
Through the African Socialist International, the Party committed to build an international African labor union that would take on the struggle to win concessions from the bosses where laborers are employed, both in the informal and formal sectors of the economies where they work.
However, the greater task of our labor work would be to take revolutionary science to the struggles of the workers and help them to move toward defeating the existing bourgeois ruling class and overturning the capitalist state in the process of themselves, as workers, becoming the new ruling class in a socialist society.
This would be our main task working with labor here in the U.S. And, while we have a history going back many years of working intermittently with organized African labor in the U.S., it has never had strategic significance for our Party. That must change and hopefully we are on course to contribute to that change.
The Party’s Fifth Congress must resolve to re-establish the African National Prison Organization (ANPO) or some other similar organizational vehicle that can intervene in this critical question of the mass incarceration of African people. In 1979 the Party did organize ANPO as a response to this nakedly brutal attack on the democratic rights and integrity of our colonized community. Internal contradictions within the Party, including a lack of capacity for consistent leadership of ANPO, allowed the organization to die an early death.
Today, with more than 2.3 million people in prisons, the U.S. has by far the largest prison population in the world, outnumbering China’s prison population by nearly a million people. One of the obvious reasons for the high number of prisoners in the U.S. is the presence of Africans and other internally colonized subjects. Africans, who according to the U.S. census only make up 13 percent of the population of the U.S., account for at least half of those in prison.
Lame explanations for this rate of incarceration of our people include such inanities as dysfunctional families and pathological communities, poor economies in communities of high African concentration, inadequate job skills, and the like.
However, all these explanations fail to recognize that historically some form of incarceration has victimized our people since we were brought to the shores of the U.S. as enslaved captives. Even at the end of formal enslavement of our people, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed by Congress in January 1865, gave “democratic” cover for our continued enslavement through use of prison, with these words:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (Emphasis added)
The true measure of the significance of these words for Africans and prison was to be seen in the post-slavery implementation of convict leasing throughout the South. Convict leasing, characterized as “worse than slavery,” was a heinous practice of leasing Africans who were convicted on contrived, sometimes designer charges, to plantations of former slave owners and major U.S. corporations and mines.
Convict leasing was considered worse than slavery because unlike the situation with despotic and vermin-like slave owners who had some stake in the preservation of their African private “property,” the African convict was the property of the state and the degenerates to whom he was leased had no concern for his safety or well-being. The slogan of convict leasing was “One dies, get another.”
In addition to being subjected to the most dangerous, backbreaking, dirty and dignity-crushing labor, torture was a sport that was commonly practiced against imprisoned Africans.
When the system of convict leasing was finally ended after almost a hundred years duration, special prisons that replicated the plantation system of slavery were used throughout the South to control the colonized African population and extort more slave labor from Africans. Prisons like Atmore-Holman and Parchman in Alabama and Mississippi and Raiford and Angola in Florida and Louisiana became the models for the prison system throughout the U.S.
Today the prisons are cesspools of murder, rape and other forms of violence that are condoned and encouraged throughout the prison system as a means of bestializing and controlling the prisoners as well as the general African population. Special Housing Units (SHU) that utilize sensory deprivation and mind warping techniques are gratuitously used as means of torture.
While the entire prison system is a form of class oppression, it has a special character in the U.S. that is strongly influenced by its use as a tool of control of Africans, Mexicans and other colonial subjects. It is the use of prisons as a tool of colonial control — its use to control the “others” — that make its bloody tradition and practices permissible to the oppressor nation citizens, even though whites who are imprisoned for lesser durations and with less frequency for similar “offenses” also experience a measure of prison brutality as a form of class oppression.
We are a captive and colonized population that has never known a measure of freedom since our sojourn in the U.S. We consider all Africans imprisoned in the U.S. to be political prisoners. Because colonialism deprives a subject people of its access to self-determination the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized is illegitimate, notwithstanding the efforts of the colonizer to paint its oppression in democratic terms.
This means that all who violate the colonial laws of the U.S. are, in fact, violating an illegitimate relationship that was imposed on a whole people at the point of a gun or through some other form of extortionary violence. It is this reality that makes political prisoners of all Africans held in U.S. prisons.
In addition to ordinary African political prisoners, who we refer to as “non-conscious” political prisoners, U.S. prisons are filled with “conscious” political prisoners, those who have been imprisoned because of acts of resistance or who, while imprisoned were penalized further for acts of resistance. These are men and women who are rotting in prison cells in addition to all those who are imprisoned because of the frame-ups common to our experience as colonial subjects.
The use of the death penalty is another concern that we must address when dealing with the issue of Africans and prisons. It is no accident that the states with the highest incidence of death penalty cases are those with high concentrations of Africans and other colonized people.
The death penalty is another vicious tool of class oppression that expresses itself most sharply against colonial subjects, especially Africans. Opposition to the death penalty must be a defining plank in our anti-prison work.
We must build a prison organization that will take up the issues of political prisoners as well as those others who are unjustly imprisoned according to the class-based colonial laws of the U.S.
But just as important, we have to build a prison organization that will attack the prison system in its totality as a tool of colonial oppression. Our people and the world must be brought to the understanding that U.S. prisons are despicable organizations of mass torture and brutality and that the prison system is a multi-billion dollar colonial industry that has functioned as economic stimulus for the white population for many years.
The Party’s prison organization must make it clear that the real crime is America itself and not the victims of America who are rotting in the colonial prison concentration camps.
We must support all meaningful, non-opportunist efforts to reform the prison system and bring immediate relief to those who are festering in its grips. However, our main task must be to throw open the cell doors and free our people from this form of colonial terror. We must oppose the prison system with all our strength. We must ignite a hatred of the prison system in our people that will make it impossible for the colonial state to successfully maintain its effectiveness against our people and our struggle.
We must also remember that because prison is such a highly concentrated form of class warfare and national oppression, it lends to an easier achievement of revolutionary consciousness among its victims. Prisons must be recognized as critical bases for recruitment into the ranks of the Revolution, and our prison organizational work must have such recruitment as its highest objective. Behind the prison walls are a stationary, highly concentrated population of potential students of revolution who must be transformed into revolutionary anti-colonial weapons of conscious African resistance.
Our Party has always believed in the equality of African men and women and held up the leadership of women in our Party and Revolution. For years our position on the question of women in the Party and the world has been summed up in our platform with these words:
“We want an end to the political and social oppression and economic exploitation of African women. We believe in the absolute, unequivocal, political, social and economic equality of African women and men. We believe that a fundamental test of the progressive or revolutionary character of any organization, party, movement or society is its commitment, confirmed in practice, to the destruction of the special oppression of women and the elevation of women to the rightful place as equal partners and leaders in the forward motion of the development of human society and as leaders, makers, and shapers of human history.”
Our commitment on the question of women’s role in society has always been reflected in the leadership of our Party, where women have historically been well represented and sometimes in the majority. However, we have never structured our Party or our work in a manner to guarantee that concerns and issues critical to the progress and protection of women were always considered and advanced as a natural aspect of all our work.
I am not speaking here of feminism, a bourgeois philosophy that advances a biological analysis that liquidates or minimizes issues of class exploitation and national oppression. We recognize that there really is no such thing as women in general, that there is a huge distinction between the women of the slave owning oppressor nation and the women of the enslaved oppressed nation. All available social and economic data reveal that while there are contradictions between the men and women of the colonizer nation, they are contradictions that play themselves out on the pedestal of the oppression of the colonized or oppressed nation.
The truth is that the oppressor nation can and does resolve fundamental contradictions between oppressor nation men and women at the expense of the whole people of the oppressed nation. North American women do win the “right” to occupy prominent places in oppressor nation military forces that are currently murdering men, women and children all over the world, especially in the Middle East and police operations of the barrios and African domestic colonies of the U.S.
But African women, who often bear the brunt of the attacks on our whole people, are catching hell. It is they who suffer the vicious humiliation and degradation associated with the definition of all women who experience bourgeois rule. But African women also suffer the consequence of being of an oppressed nation that is defined as bestial and inhuman by the ruling class of the oppressor nation.
Additionally, as women of an oppressed nation from which value is extracted at the expense of the ability of the oppressed nation to produce and reproduce real life, African women and girls in most places find themselves reduced to beasts of burden fighting for the survival of themselves, their children and families.
African women and girls carrying massive loads on their heads while walking miles, sometimes with the firewood that they will then have to use to cook for their families, is a common site on the Continent. Women and girls carrying pails of water balanced on the two ends of poles across their shoulders after having walked all day to procure it, is an iconic sight, consigned to inanimate mental postcard status that reduces the sense of brutality associated with such cruel labor.
The success of the white ruling class and colonial state in breaking up the colonially-imposed monogamous form of the family has resulted in huge concentrations of housing projects and other communities with households headed by single African women left to fend for themselves and their children.
Welfare and other so-called social safety nets that provide “aid” for families do so with a stipulation that there cannot be a man in the house. This “help” from the colonial state, assisted by the mass incarceration of African men, not only leads to women headed households, but it also heaps artificial contradictions between African men and women onto an already precarious situation.
All too often African women see their children being kidnapped by direct agents of the bourgeois state in places like the U.S., where the children become commodities as foster children or juvenile prisoners. Or, there is the indirect, state-aided kidnapping of their children by white celebrities or agencies whose actions are characterized as charitable benevolence.
Men within our oppressed communities also sometimes subject African women to horrible brutality. Rapes, beatings and even murders of women are not uncommon and are too often viewed with macho approval. These are contradictions of horizontal violence that demand a response by our Party.
They are contradictions that flow from the European-based bourgeois assumption that women are the property of men. They are contradictions that are highly influenced by the reality of bourgeois private property resting on a foundation of Africans ourselves as the primary or primitive private property that gave birth to the capitalist social system. They are contradictions that are inflamed and provoked by the imperialist disruption of African life and the substitute synthetic foundation of colonial society.
African women also find themselves locked into backward social practices that have assumed the weight of culture. Genital mutilation is one of the most obvious of such practices. While there is debate on whether this practice was introduced into Africa by Arabs or other external forces, the fact remains that genital mutilation is a brutal method used in attempt to guarantee male inheritance rights by limiting the sexual freedom of women.
Backward notions of “men’s and women’s” work also limit women. While some such differentiation may have been valid at one point, the fact is that technology has eliminated much of such differentiation that was often based on physical strength.
Today, when work is done by computer or motorized tractor, there is little justification in attempting to prevent women from participation in much of the production process based on physical differences.
This means that in places where the technology has been denied us because of imperialist domination, we must understand that the struggle for technology is a part of the struggle for the emancipation of women. By the same token, the technology that facilitates women’s expanded participation in the labor force contributes to the equalization of men and women in the participation of household labor, previously known as women’s work.
Our Party must initiate serious struggle against the deplorable conditions suffered by African women. This includes the attitudes that afflict men (and women) who have bought into the notion that women are incapable of leading or that the measure of the worth of a man is his capacity to oppress women.
I am proposing that the Party’s Constitution be amended to create a women’s commission as a permanent position in the leadership of the Party. This is in addition to women who always occupy leadership in the Party in different capacities, as has been our history. This is also different from the concept of dual leadership comprised of men and women. The responsibility of the women’s commission would be representation of the interests of African women. It would be to organize women to fulfill their roles as revolutionaries that will help to determine the future of women through their fully conscious, organized participation in defining and creating that future.
One such project for this commission would be the organization of an African National Women’s Organization (ANWO). ANWO could become the powerful home to African women who are constantly under some form of assault by a myriad of contradictions peculiar to African women. ANWO would provide a mass organization for women who need to confront their oppression and exploitation. It would allow the Party to develop a reserve for the Revolution through helping women to recognize the universal contradictions confronting our people and class that are located in the specific contradictions they are confronting as women.
The one area of Party work that has been characterized by great ineptitude is that of recruitment. We have always accepted the fact that by its definition as an organization of the advanced detachment of our class, the African People’s Socialist Party is not a mass organization. However this should not mean that we do not use all our means to build the numbers of our Party. The fact that we are a cadre-based organization should not be used as an excuse for failure to recruit the greatest possible number of quality members into our Party.
The current crisis of imperialism has resulted in ever growing numbers of Africans seeking membership in the Party and a relationship with the movement under our leadership. Others who would seek membership in the Party either do not know of our existence or they do not know they can join the Party. Both of these things are due to shortcomings that must be immediately rectified.
The fact is that we do not have a viable, dynamic recruitment strategy. While most of us are bemoaning a shortage of forces necessary to take on the work, we have not initiated a strategy to resolve this crisis through bringing more forces into the Party.
Instead, in most instances, we resort to overloading a handful of mostly veteran and other experienced forces, with more and more work that tends to limit their capacity to carry out the tasks to which they are assigned. This Congress must change this. We must make recruitment as important and organized a part of the work as any other responsibility.
One attempt to guarantee that recruitment remains a focus of the Party has been to place it on our Standard Party Agenda so that every meeting has to deal with the issue. We must keep recruitment as an agenda item for our regular meetings, but its placement must be changed to reflect the seriousness of the question. Currently recruitment is the last item of the agenda. This means that often, if meetings last too long, the question of recruitment is tabled, while at other times it is merely dutifully touched on without much forethought.
I suggest that the issue of recruitment be placed in a prominent place on our agenda, under the heading of “Most Important General Campaigns of the Party.” This means that every Party organization at every level is obligated to develop Plans of Action for recruiting into the Party and movement wherever they are located. The placement of recruitment on the agenda also demands a thorough discussion of the issue instead of the cursory attention it now receives.
Although we demand a scientific approach to every other question, we neglect to do so with recruitment. This is true despite the recurrent cry from too many of our leaders and committees of too few people to do the work. The crisis of too few people to accommodate the increasing level and complexity of our work is not something that receives proper attention by Party and movement leaders. This must change. It must change because it is necessary for our work and it must change because the crisis of imperialism expresses itself in part by the growing numbers of people, Africans and otherwise, who are approaching us with a desire to join our Party and/or movement.
Throughout the U.S. and much of the world, Africans are in a permanent state of resistance. This is especially true of young Africans, whose very posture is one of resistance. The rebellious way they wear their clothes, their perennial stance of defiance and uniform opposition to various forms and levels of bourgeois authority, especially in the school system — all of this represents raw, politically limited and sometimes blind resistance. Almost everything young Africans do reeks of resistance to colonial authority. It is the task of the Revolution, the Party, to tap into this resistance providing leadership that will transform this resistance into a meaningful and powerful weapon in our arsenal.
This means that we have to do the work critical to recruiting this component of the population into revolutionary political life. Of course, the timely production and distribution of The Burning Spear that carries within its pages work that reflects the reality and contradictions that confront young Africans, will help us to do this. Also, we have to develop a systemic method of utilizing other forms of communication and information dissemination that are popular with our increasingly technologically savvy young people. Our department of Agitation and Propaganda has begun this process, but it is something that must be taken on with enthusiasm and seriousness equal to the significance of the task.
Our objective is to recruit the best sons and daughters of Africa into our Party. We have to recruit all who have the ability to make a meaningful stand on the right side of history into our movement.
Our own presence in our Party and movement is testimony of our views on the Party and Uhuru Movement as the correct vehicle through which our freedom can be won. Why then, would we hesitate to win our friends and families into our Party and movement? Why don’t we recruit those comrades and brothers and sisters who also demonstrate good political sense — those with whom we work with on mass committees or various projects — into the Party and movement?
We are also confronted with what to do with the contacts we make that do result in interest in our Party or movement. Systems and processes have to be developed that will result in human follow-up with every contact and inquiry. This will not mean that they will all result in recruitment. Obviously many will not. The fact that we live in a technological world that permits much discussion and requires little or no action will mean that many of the contacts will be people who simply want to join another discussion group that will explain the world with no responsibility to change it.
Nevertheless, there will be some, perhaps many, who will be serious in their desire to join with our Party precisely because we represent the continuation of a historical revolutionary trajectory on a higher level that is demanded by these times. We must develop organizational processes that will open the doors to these comrades.
I am proposing that our amended Party Constitution include an office with the sole responsibility of overseeing recruitment in our Party and movement as its permanent responsibility. This office will develop Plans of Action for a recruitment strategy that is the responsibility of the whole Party; it will mean that measurable goals are always attached to the issue of recruitment, that recruitment is not just an organizational afterthought that we are concerned with only when faced with the need for another body to take on our growing tasks.
It is true that the people are the real makers of history. The people make history in general and the people must be given the opportunity to make history through our Party, the organizational tool that is the primary weapon for human progress. Throw open the doors and let the people in. This call to recruit must not be taken as a call to organizational opportunism, to choke the Party and our movement with undesirables in order to be able to count more people in our ranks.
It is a call for achieving greater responsibility in our Party and ranks to win to and permit participation in our Revolution by the masses of people who are growing ever more conscious of the need for revolutionary transformation, sometimes because of our work.
On almost every front, on at least four continents, the Party is in serious, strategic motion for the emancipation of African people and the suffering masses of the world from capitalist-imperialist exploitation and oppression. We are building in West and East Africa and contemplating organization in southern Africa.
We have initiated incipient organization in South America and are daily drawing more people into struggle and organization against imperialism throughout North America. This is testimony to the extent and intensity of the work of our Party to destroy imperialist domination of our people and to advance the interests of all the toiling masses in achieving genuine socialist democracy.
Now we are fighting for better accountability, for dedicated adherence to the principle of democratic centralism, the primary organizational principle of the Party. We are struggling for better, more efficient ways to hold the entire organization accountable to the Party and the Revolution. This is one function of this Congress and the lateness of our Fifth Congress gives greater urgency to this issue, especially in the face of the deepening crisis of imperialism and the growth of the Party’s activities in this period.
Our Fifth Congress must serve to bring the whole Party and movement into a greater understanding of where we are as a Party and a movement. This is a basic requirement for the democratic participation within our Party and movement. This is a requirement for holding the entire organization, including its leadership, accountable to the organization and responsible for the whole program of the Party and the activity and behavior of its members.
Consistent with the need for greater accountability, I have directed members of the Party’s Central Committee, including the Political Bureau to write Plans of Action to define their work and offices and to establish measurable guidelines and timelines for judging accomplishment. These are important developments, especially necessary for these times of crisis of imperialism and growth in responsibility and membership of our Party and movement.
Over the last year the Office of the Chair has been working at breakneck speed to implement changes that are consistent with the drive for greater accountability and structural adherence to democratic centralist principles. Central to this has been the creation of a Plan of Action for the development of the Office of the Chair itself. This is absolutely necessary for the administrative work required for leading an organization as significant and complex and growing as quickly as our Party.
Although there are still posts to be filled in the Office of the Chair, there has been much progress toward implementation of our Plan of Action. There is now an Administrative Assistant to the Chair and a Chief of Staff that have contributed to a greater efficiency and productivity than the office has ever enjoyed. Together with the Chair these comrades are actively engaged in helping to locate and vet staff for the unfilled positions.
Our Party has never paid proper attention to this aspect of our work and it may seem mundane and ordinary, but it is necessary if we are serious about seizing and wielding the power to govern. Our preparation today is what may differentiate us from the many organizations of the past that were unable to make the transition from militants and revolutionaries to heads and officers of state.
Our success in constructing a capacity to govern within our organization today will guarantee our success in governing our liberated, united, socialist State tomorrow. With the Plans of Action for the various offices and departments of the Party we are employing methods of the bourgeoisie to enable our Party and the Revolution to function better than the bourgeoisie using its own methods.
One of the most important developments of the Party has been the work in the Department of Agitation and Propaganda. This is a department of the Party that suffers immeasurably from too few cadres and various other organizational contradictions.Despite these shortcomings, which include the infrequent publication of our printed political journal, The Burning Spear, Agitprop has made incredible leaps in other areas. This includes our Internet news publication, Uhurunews.com, which also serves as an online edition of The Burning Spear.
A related success of Agitprop is the establishment of Uhururadio.com, an online radio station. Together these propaganda institutions reach thousands of people worldwide each month. In 2009 our Internet media — Uhurunews.com and Uhururadio.com — reached almost 90,000 people worldwide and our capacity is growing daily.
Through Uhurunews.com and Uhururadio.com the Party’s views are seen and heard throughout the U.S., England or the UK, South Africa, Canada, France, Spain, India, Switzerland, Nigeria, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and virtually all of Africa. The Party is read and heard in Greece, Austria, Portugal, Yemen, Hungary, Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean, as well as in Romania, Slovenia, Pakistan, China and Myanmar, for example.
Through this work by Agitprop the Party is successfully struggling to end the isolation of our struggle for liberation, unification and socialism and demonstrating its relationship to the struggles of the oppressed and struggling peoples of the world.
This important work of Agitprop also helps us to develop practical unity between the struggles of African people in different parts of the world. This also helps us to contend with the popular notion, thanks to the bourgeoisie and its media, that there is no coherent explanation for and struggle against the conditions of African existence other than the self-serving explanations offered by our oppressors.
Although there is always room for improvement and we are currently working to develop our programming, Uhururadio.com is currently broadcasting from within the U.S., Canada and England. (Our South Africa broadcasting has been temporarily terminated because of opportunism and ideological differences with the Pan-Africanist host.) We have one French-language show and are in the process of creating programming in other languages, especially, but not limited to, languages indigenous to Africa.
The crisis of imperialism is leading the white ruling class to go to greater lengths to control the production and distribution of information. In this way the imperialists assume they can keep the people in a permanent state of misinformed complacency. However, one consequence of the blatant manufacturing of information and opinion by the bourgeois media is that more and more people are turning to other sources for their information, some of which allow for the people to participate in the actual production of information and the distribution of ideas independent of the bourgeoisie.
This is contributing to the decline of the bourgeois media. Bourgeois newspapers are folding and other media are in constant states of decline. Although bourgeois pundits speak of this phenomenon as something new, this is not the first time something like this has happened. During the height of the Black Revolution of the 1960s, in the U.S. the Nation of Islam had a weekly distribution rate of one million newspapers and the Black Panther Party more than one quarter million newspapers. Our own newspaper also published several thousand newspapers monthly.
“Alternative,” mostly radical newspapers grew like wildfire throughout the U.S., as more and more people were alienated from the warmongering, anti-democratic bourgeoisie and its worldview and distrusted its information and opinions. This had a tremendous impact on the bourgeois media, forcing them to publish information that approximated an explanation of the reality that the people were discovering on their own. The bourgeois publications even went to great lengths to duplicate the look of the independent radical media in its efforts to regain influence.
Eventually it took the defeat of the African Revolution of the 1960s and the resultant capitulation of most of the North American left for the bourgeoisie to temporarily recapture some of its lost ground. However, this has proved to be a hollow victory for the white ruling class since there is currently a great distrust of the ability and willingness of the bourgeoisie to explain the reality being experienced by the people in this era of great imperialist crisis.
The growth of technology has only facilitated the ability of the people to seek other means of securing, producing and distributing information and ideas.
Moreover, the bourgeois media have long ago determined not to allow the African Revolution or the various struggles of peoples to free themselves from the grip of imperialism to express themselves through their media. For us in the African People’s Socialist Party this move by the imperialists to shut us out of public view has further demonstrated the reality that imperialism has within it the germ of its destruction.
Rather than fold up our tent and skulk into obscurity because of the unwillingness of the bourgeois media to cooperate with us, we have embarked on a process of building our own contending media that allow us to communicate directly to our class, our people and the world.
Additionally, although our media are small in comparison to that of the white ruling class, theirs, like imperialism itself, is in a state of decline as our media continue to grow in capacity and influence.
Our primary work with Agitprop is to develop the office itself. It is chronically understaffed and we are not necessarily using the available forces in the most efficient manner. We also have to improve the tremendously underdeveloped resource-creating capacity of Agitprop. And, most importantly, we have to reestablish the regular publication of our flagship print journal, The Burning Spear.
The Burning Spear is an invaluable ideological and political organizing tool. It allows the masses to read about themselves in struggle and to learn how others in similar situations contend with contradictions. It contributes to our organizational efficiency and its propaganda value includes the confidence it gives to our oppressed people to see our class fighters always politically engaged throughout our communities with The Burning Spear, Voice of the International African Revolution.
However, nothing is as important as the role of The Burning Spear in defining the day-to-day work of all our rank and file cadres.
Every rank and file member of the Party and our mass organizations should be constantly engaged in distribution of The Burning Spear. This is the most important, consistent contact between the Party and the masses and demands a relationship between the Party and the people. There is never a time when there is not something for a cadre to do as long as The Burning Spear is available for distribution.
Distribution of The Burning Spear helps us with recruitment. Forces recruited into the movement through The Spear come prepared to do the political work of Spear distribution. In other words The Burning Spear contributes to our ability to recruit activists, individuals who, through example, expect to do political work.
Importantly Agitprop has acquired an editor for The Burning Spear. This task has been assumed by a veteran of our Party who held the position of editor in the 1980s and has now come back to that post with great enthusiasm.
This provides the Party and Agitprop with leadership specific to the task of producing The Spear, constantly fighting for its high quality and demanding Party cadres maintain a high level of participation with the journal — as writers, readers and distributors. In addition to the editor, The Burning Spear has begun to fill out its production structure, growing ever more efficient moving toward consolidation of frequent, more reliable publication.
Another example of the great significance of Agitprop and the growth of the Party’s work is the fact that during the planned launch of the African People’s Socialist Party-Sierra Leone in November of 2009, Uhuru Radio Sierra Leone, an FM station, was also scheduled to begin broadcasting under the auspices of Agitprop.
The radio station was not launched in 2009 because of a delay by the authorities in assigning a frequency, but we certainly intend for the station to be up and operating by the time of this Congress although our comrades in Sierra Leone have been under intense pressure by the ruling neocolonial government since the announcement by the Party of its presence there.
We are convening our Fifth Congress at a time when imperialism in general and U.S. imperialism, the current leader of the imperialist world, in particular, is experiencing great difficulties. This profound crisis is the result of the unrelenting determination of the world’s oppressed peoples to win our freedom, sovereignty and total control of our labor and resources for our own use and benefit.
This Fifth Congress of our Party is a statement of our unflinching commitment to the liberation and unification of Africa and the dispersed African nation and to carrying out our responsibility in the worldwide movement of peoples and countries for liberation, peace and socialism.
More than anything we must give the greatest significance possible to the task of development of Party cadres. By this we do not mean simply filling the ranks of the Party with new forces or having sterile political education classes that will simply allow them to memorize text that can be regurgitated on command. We mean that members of our Party must be prepared to lead.In practical terms this certainly means that they should be able to lead the particular areas of work for which they may be responsible. Their leaders must give them complete understanding of this work. But they must also be able to lead the masses in general — in their communities and on the campuses, in prisons and at their work places. They must be won to a love for the Revolution and an undying love for the Party that is the instrument through which the Revolution will be pursued and won.
This deep and profound respect and love for the Party is an absolute necessity for our cadres in this period. The Party cadres must be capable of recognizing the programs, commitments, strategy and struggles of the Party as their own. They must see the contradictions as well as victories of the Party as their own.
This means that subjectivism and opportunism, tendencies that place the interests of individuals at the forefront, have no place in Party cadres. The same is true of adventurism and other forms of individualism that substitute personal significance over the significance of the Party and our collective mission.
Individuals displaying subjective tendencies may be able to work in mass organizations under the leadership of the Party, and may be even in the ranks of the Party itself, but they cannot be considered cadres, regardless of the shortage of forces we may be contending with at any given time.
No matter how great or genuine the problems or significance of individuals, they cannot be allowed to undermine the responsibility to place the interests of the Revolution and the Party first, above all else. This means that within the Party all our members must aspire to becoming cadres.
Cadres must be taught to understand that the Party is everything, without which our people will be left with another 500 years of misery, should we survive the desperate aggressions of this imperialism in crisis at all. If there is to be independence, unification and socialism in our lifetime it will be because our Party, deeply united in our mission, is successful. This cannot happen with an organization of whining self-serving, individualistic members incapable of seeing beyond their own real or perceived pain or genius.
Our cadres recognize the value of democratic centralism as the main organizational principle of the Party. They recognize why this is so and how this reflects the fact that we are an organization of unity of will and action, something that is absolutely necessary for making the revolution that will end the misery of our people.
Our cadres understand that to come into the ranks of our glorious Party is to submit to its will, to make the will of our Party our own will as opposed to the tendency of attempting to make our own will the will of the Party, as has been occasionally demonstrated by some Party members, past and present.
Cadres must be schooled in the history of our Party that fought decades of struggles and held true to revolutionary principles while others all around us abandoned the field of battle in the face of our imperialist enemy. They must not only know the history in terms of dates and places of struggles, but cadres must also be made familiar with the tactics and strategies employed by the Party during various periods and in different struggles. This will arm them with a bank of experience that they can call on when faced with similar circumstances.
Our cadres must also know the history of our Party as it is represented by the exemplary stances of various comrades who have undergone sacrifices including alienation from friends and family as well as jailings, beatings, bombings and other attempts on their lives. The history should include the examples of those comrades who have traveled throughout the U.S. and the world to organize the African resistance under the most difficult circumstances. It must be a history that helps to steel cadres for the hardships and victories to come.
Our cadres must be taught African Internationalism. They must study the critical theoretical documents of our Party, especially those developed to explain the world as we were involved in struggle to change it.
This would obviously include texts such as the Constitution of the African People’s Socialist Party and Political Reports to the First, Second, Third, Fourth and this Congress.
We must also study “The Dialectics of Black Revolution” and “Political and Economic Critique of Imperialism and Imperialist Opportunism.” The reports to InPDUM conventions as well as the Main ASI documents must also be studied.
Obviously these are not the only materials that should be used for study. Others include works on political economy and dialectical and historical materialism.
They also include materials that teach cadres how to be in an organization of this type, based on principles of revolutionary discipline. However, we must remember that the best school for the development of cadres is actual, practical struggle. Otherwise we create forces that are incapable of utilizing anything that they learn. We continue to be guided by the understanding that practice is primary and that it provides the only meaningful test of theory.
Our leaders must organize their work to accommodate the struggle for the development of our cadres. Every leading committee and department must play its role. Indeed, I am calling on all our Local and Regional Party leaders to present plans of action for the development of cadres in their areas of responsibility. This is also necessary for our mass organizations, for InPDUM and AAPDEP as well.
Obviously the primary organization for carrying out the task of cadre development at this time is Agitprop. This is something that Agitprop is working on now, but it must be taken on with demonstrably greater urgency. I believe that recent developments in Agitprop give it the ability to quickly devise a Plan of Action for cadre development and I am requiring this to happen expeditiously.
Also, the important role of the Party organizations themselves in this issue of cadre development must not be overlooked. For it is in the Party organizations that we have the greatest opportunity to combine theory and practice.
The Party is organized into committees that give it a division of labor that provides ability for greater efficiency. But this is only if the various committees and departments assume full responsibility for their areas of work. The structural division of labor allows the Party to predict the success of the whole Party by the role of its component leading parts. Hence, if plans are made for the Party and one or more components of the Party, its division of labor, does not enthusiastically and successfully carry out its responsibility the entire plan can be undermined.
Now more than ever the Party must have leaders who are farsighted problem solvers. It should not be necessary to spell out every possible eventuality for leaders of specific areas of the Party structure. They should be the experts in these areas and know them better than anyone. They should be anticipating problems and planning for successes even when no one else in the Party is concentrating on their area of work.
If we move correctly in this period, if we do our work to build cadres and organize the Party rank and file, putting The Burning Spear in the hands of the masses, it will help to recruit new members into our ranks to assist with the tasks with which many of our committees are faced.
However, we cannot continue to use the excuse of too few forces in our leading committees. This is simply one of the tasks that has to be solved by the leaders who head up the committees. Otherwise we will always be explaining away our failures because of not having the people to do the work, when in reality the absence of these forces should be informing us of another critical aspect of the work that has to be taken on.
This paper has explained some of the requirements of cadre development. However, I want to add to the context of this discussion by reminding us that our cadres are the primary force through which we seek to capture and exercise power. They are the forces through which we intend to organize the revolutionary national democratic government and to lead and contend for power on every front.
Our cadres will be the foundation of all our mass work, especially in InPDUM but also AAPDEP and the mass organizations that have not yet been built through which the leadership of the Party will be expressed. Our cadres must be capable of finding the line of march and when necessary, to create organization that will increase the influence of the Party beyond our ranks.
Agitprop must contribute to a thirst for knowledge among our ranks. It must help us to create our own working class intellectuals. It must reestablish a culture of constant political study. Agitprop must also equip Party cadres with the political education and technical skills to make them capable and valuable, not only to our general Party work, but also to the masses we want to organize or who may already be in organization.
The same thing is true of our office of Finance and Economic Development. Not only must this department create real economic development programs for the whole Party, it must anticipate new expenses and plan for meeting the budget requirements of the whole Party and its various programs. This office must also participate in helping to develop contending economic development programs that benefit the masses and help to bring them closer to the embrace of our Party.
It is perhaps here that the examples of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA have most significance. One difference between Garvey and the Pan-Africanists that were born in contention with him and the UNIA is that Garvey’s movement anticipated neocolonialism. Unlike W. E. B. Dubois, author of the infamous “Talented Tenth” scheme that would allow the most educated of the colonized African population to represent imperialism as our indirect rulers, Garvey set out on a path of African self-determination and economic self-sufficiency.
The many economic ventures of Garvey and the UNIA were designed to raise up Africa and African people to our full stature. They were ventures based on the assumption that Africa could become an economic power in the world.
This is the example that we should have in mind in our Office of Finance and Economic Development. The development of our leading Party offices as incipient instruments through which we exercise the power to govern must mean that this is not simply an office that can be satisfied with tolling the bell or treading water. It cannot be an office characterized by holding the fort.
The Office of Finance and Economic Development must be bold in its vision and competent in its ever-expanding capacity.
This is the office that must acquire the expertise to anticipate the emergence of an independent African economy growing out of processes and programs of our Party that are developing now as instruments of contending and dual international economic power.
The African petty bourgeoisie, where most of the expertise we need for such development is located, is not readily accessible to us at this time. It is also true that without ideological transformation, the expertise gained through imperialist institutions is not immediately useful to us. However, this will change.
The conscientious work by the Office of Finance and Economic Development will result in the development of the needed expertise within our ranks; the growth of our Party and the movement under its influence will result in class suicide by elements of the African petty bourgeoisie with such expertise. They will abandon the interests of the petty bourgeoisie, which is a dying social force and adopt the interests of the African working class as their own.
The Office of Finance and Economic Development must re-establish the culture of self-reliance within the ranks of our Party and teach the Party how to constantly be in the process of resource generation as a matter of practice on a regular and consistent basis. Party organizations must be taught the principles of financial accountability and resource security.
However, one of the most important tasks of this office is to develop a program to also teach these things to Party cadres. This is not because all cadres will be involved in finance and economic development, but because we want each cadre to have a rudimentary knowledge that will make her capable of functioning in various mass organizations of the people in this struggle for influence and the acquisition of power.
Some of these tasks being called for in Agitprop and the Office of Finance and Economic Development will have to be taken on in special schools established for this purpose. However, it is urgent that they be taken on. Included in such schools should also be classes on conducting successful meetings and other matters necessary for cadres who have the responsibility for extending the influence of the Party and winning greater participation of the masses in anti-imperialist political life.
Comrades, our time is too short to give a complete analysis of our current situation and all the requirements of our Party. However, it should be clear that ours is a Party with an unmatched history in the struggle against imperialism and for the liberation and unification of Africa and the globally dispersed African nation.
This is a history that must be personally embraced by every member of our Party and our entire movement. The analysis here is one born of the worldview of our Party. It is presented here for your assessment. I am convinced that unity with this document and a vigorous struggle to implement its recommendations will win greater victories for us and carry us that much closer to liberation.