African Internationalism: The theory of the African working class

The following is an excerpt from Chapter III of the 6th Congress Political Report, The Theory of African Internationalism by Chairman Omali Yeshitela.

The African People’s Socialist Party was able to resolve all the most important outstanding questions left unresolved after the U.S. government defeat of the Black Revolution of the 1960s through the scientific approach of the theory of African Internationalism. This is an approach grounded in dialectical materialism.

The political theory of African Internationalism distinguishes the Party not only from the white left but also from any other African Liberation organization on the planet today. African Internationalism is a theory developed from the African Independence tendency throughout our history, notably the organization and movement led by Marcus Garvey in the 20th century.

African Internationalism is based on materialism

The Party views the world in a scientific way, through the lens of materialism as opposed to the religious or cultural nationalist worldview called idealism.

Idealism is an erroneous, petty bourgeois view that sees ideas, gods or the spiritual or other greater power as the primary force that determines reality. Idealism teaches that there are aspects of life or the universe that are static and unknowable.

African Internationalism is based on materialism, the understanding that our experience of the world is a product of our material conditions and that the world is tangible, completely knowable through our senses, existing independently of our minds. The materialist worldview of African Internationalism informs the African working class that the world can be changed and that it is our responsibility to change it. African Internationalism is a theory that requires action—the unity of theory and practice.

Dialectical materialism is the understanding that all things are in a process of coming into being and dying away. There are contradictions found in the unity of opposites. For example, there is both unity and struggle in the dialectic of the oppressed and the oppressors.

Without the oppressor there would be no oppressed. It is in the interest of the oppressed to resolve this contradiction by destroying the oppressor and liberating themselves. The dialectical materialism of African Internationalism allows us to understand that imperialism—born at our expense—is in the process of dying away and that the oppressed are on the ascendency, rising up striking out at the contradiction of imperialist domination. 

Thus, the Chairman describes the current world situation as “an uneasy equilibrium between the past and the future,” describing the deepening struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor.

The dialectical materialist theory of African Internationalism is the viewpoint of the African working class, empowering us to understand the objective truth about how the world got to be the way it is and how we must change the world by uniting and liberating Africa and African people everywhere. 

African Internationalism recognizes that the struggle against “racism” is a “self-defeating waste of time that denies Africans our national identity and dignity.”

“Racism” is an idealist concept, invented by the colonizers, that “relegates us to the Sisyphean task of winning acceptance from and often becoming one with our oppressors,” instead of leading us to win our liberation and independence.

African Internationalism understands that African people are not a race but a nation of people forcibly dispersed across the globe. African people, wherever we are located, are a colonized nation of people struggling for African liberation.

African Internationalism: European wealth and African impoverishment are as a result of European assault on Africa

The material conditions faced by African people the world over have their origin in the assault on Africa by an impoverished, disease-ridden, feudal Europe that enslaved African people, colonized us, stole our land, labor and resources, amassing unprecedented wealth for Europe and giving birth to capitalism.

Europe’s assault on Africa and the world proves that capitalism was born from imperialism, and not, as the Soviet revolutionary V.I. Lenin believed, that imperialism was the last stage of capitalism.

The motivating factor of history is the need for human beings to produce and reproduce life. African people, along with other oppressed and colonized peoples, have spent the past 500 years forcibly producing and reproducing life for Europe, North America and the white population, not for ourselves.

To have the entire African nation and other colonized nations producing and reproducing life only for the benefit of the white nation rescued Europe from their oppressive conditions, creating the basis of imperialism and the massive wealth and power of European nation today.

The essential question is that capitalism is parasitic. A parasite is an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from which the parasite obtains nutriment.  An example of a parasite is a blood-sucking organism such as a tick or a tapeworm. White power is the parasite—Africans and colonized peoples are the hosts.

Capitalism was born parasitic—it could not exist without enslavement, genocides, colonialism and terror waged against oppressed peoples of the Earth. Capitalism continues to be parasitic, stealing the resources of the oppressed through resource wars, neocolonialism and economic domination. If capitalism were deprived of the stolen resources of Africa and other colonized nations, capitalism would quickly die.

Slavery and colonialism gave rise not only to capitalism but also to the capitalist ruling class as well as the white middle class and the working classes. All white people sit on the pedestal of the oppression of Africans and others.

“Primitive accumulation,” as described by Marx, was Africans and other oppressed people’s bodies, lands and resources

The Chairman notes that Karl Marx described the birth of capitalism as the “primitive accumulation” of capital. The Chairman quotes Marx:

“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.”

Marx said that primitive accumulation played “in political economy about the same part as original sin in theology.” The Chairman shows that what Marx called the primitive accumulation was not a “theory” or economic process. It was African and oppressed human beings ourselves and our civilizations, culture and independence that have been destroyed for more than 500 years.

African and oppressed peoples were locked into a process that pushed us backwards into poverty, oppression, powerlessness and misery, while the same process catapulted Europe forward into wealth, education, democracy and power at our expense. Capitalism is seen by Europeans as being “progressive,” but what is progressive for Europeans is oppressive for us.

Despite Marx’s acknowledgement of the process primitive accumulation, the Chairman points out that Marx came to the wrong conclusion about this question. Marx had the worldview of a middle class white man in 19th century Europe. He could not see that primitive accumulation reflected the real conditions of the majority of humanity.

Marx was wrong. He could not see that African and other oppressed peoples make up the pedestal upon which capitalism sits. The rape of Africa is the cornerstone of imperialism’s stolen wealth, making African workers the leading force in the struggle against capitalism—not white workers located inside of Europe.

“The road to socialism is painted black”

The Chairman says, “The road to socialism is painted black.” The essence of class struggle in the whole world is not between white workers and the white ruling class. It is concentrated in the struggle against colonialism. This is why the African People’s Socialist Party is the party of the African working class and why African workers lead the worldwide struggle to defeat parasitic capitalism and imperialism.

Only the Party was able to scientifically analyze the material basis of white opportunism as lying in the fact that all white people exist on a pedestal of African oppression. White people have always attempted to solve their contradictions with their ruling class at the expense of colonized peoples not in solidarity with them.

Based on our theory, the Party successfully formed the African People’s Solidarity Committee under the Party’s leadership with the job to take African Internationalism into the white communities, winning other white people to recognize their interest in standing in solidarity with the movement for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere.


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