African Nation declares “Gaza, Gaza, hold the line; victory to Palestine!”

Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s presentation to the 15th annual Black People’s March on the White House, November 4, 2023

Uhuru! Some of you I’ve known for a very long time, and I see comrade Linda Leaks who we worked together in the 1960s when the two of us were the only ones who were producing The Burning Spear newspaper on a regular basis and the U.S. government thought that we must have been underground because we couldn’t have done as much work as we were doing; just the two of us in St Petersburg, Florida where the United States government attacked our movement on July 29th of last year.

I want you to understand that we are doing this mobilization in L.A., it’s not just something that we’re doing here [in D.C.]. Some people have made the mistake in assuming that what we are doing here today on November 4th is in contention with something else that’s happening here on November 4th but we are not involved in attempting to see who could have the bigger peace march or the bigger anti-war march.

The fact is that Palestinians and African people are not engaged in simple marches and demonstrations for peace and against war. We are in a life and death struggle, because after today, Palestinians will still be struggling just as they were struggling in 1964 when Malcolm X was there, just as they were struggling in 1967. Everything was taken away from the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee because SNCC came out on the side of the Palestinians in the so-called Six Day War.

Now the fact is that we are engaged in a struggle against colonialism and there are people who would liquidate that, who will obscure that, who would have us marching and protesting to make white people like us. They say we are supposed to be fighting against racism, but how the hell do you know when you won the war against racism? I’m old enough to remember when there was an entire industry that was surrounding this question of unlearning your racism. White people could pay a lot of money, I say, if I were smart, I would’ve got in on the racket myself. White people could earn a lot of money by white people going to unlearn their racism, but guess what, after they got their diplomas, African people were still oppressed, white people were still on top of everything.

The fact is that the question is against colonialism. It was against colonialism in Palestine, it’s against colonialism here, it’s against colonialism in Cuba, it’s against colonialism in Venezuela, it’s against colonialism all around the world. And we are going to be victorious. So we are not engaged in some kind of struggle to see who could have the biggest peace march.

We founded the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations because of the opportunism in the so-called white anti-imperialist, anti-war movement because they never would come out in solidarity with Palestine. They never would come out in solidarity with people in the Philippines, they never would come out in solidarity with the fact that there are people, children who are put in cages at the border right here, or what is happening to our people in Haiti, they weren’t there.

We had to create our own organization. They would walk across the war that’s being made against African people in this country on a daily basis, they would liquidate that to go fight a war someplace that they’re never going to take their lily-white asses to! They’re not going, they’re not going to Palestine, but they’re here and there’s a struggle that we have been trying to invite them to unite with for fifteen years. That’s the struggle of Black people fighting for power over our own lives, but they are opposed to black people having power over our own lives.

So now for the first time in fifteen years that we’ve been trying to get them to unite with the struggle, I’m not talking about all white people. You know you have to say that kind of stuff, you know what I mean? (Laughter). I’m just talking about the opportunists, I’m not talking about the reparations contingent that’s going to be marching with us, I’m talking about the opportunists.

For fifteen years we’ve asked ANSWER to unite with us for as long as it’s been in existence. For fifteen years we’ve asked the Party for Socialism and Liberation to join with us, they never said why, but they didn’t do it. For the first time, they give us an explanation, “We’re not joining with you to free Black people, because Palestinians are in trouble, and they need our help!”

So at least they come up with an explanation today. They never explained it before but despite this, we don’t have a beef with Palestinians. We are going to be in this struggle together–Palestinians and Africans are going to be in this struggle against colonialism after today. We’re going to have to fight this war after today just like we were fighting it before. We were fighting it for fifteen years. There’s never been a time when the Palestinian question has not been a part of the issue for the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations.

There’s never been a time when we’ve been fighting against colonialism where Palestine was not on the top of our agenda, it’s always been there, that’s why we say “Free, Free Palestine, Long Live Palestine!” But we say more than that. It’s like Comrade Che Guevara says, in terms of solidarity, “it’s more than just a matter of well-wishing…it’s sharing the same fate whether in victory or in death.” That’s where the Palestinian and the African people are locked into, that kind of contest.

Brian Becker, leader of ANSWER, is not involved in that contest, after this thing is over. Becker will retire to his comfort wherever it is he lives with tree-lined streets and what have you, but Palestinians won’t have a community in the Gaza. We say, “Gaza, Gaza Hold The Line, Victory To Palestine!”

We say it’s not enough to be a matter of well wishes, it’s sharing the same fate in victory or death–and Africans and the Palestinians do share the same fate. So I wanted to say that, and I want to also say, that this is no accident what PSL and this other entity, ANSWER, which is questionable, that there is no accident what happened here. We happen to know about Palestinians who have come together trying to deal with this murderous assault that’s being made on Gaza, to try to get together and have a demonstration, mobilization, or some kind of action.

It was ANSWER in the house who was there and said that [ANSWER] can’t do it right away despite [the Palestinians] who wanted to do it right away because Palestinians were being killed then. They [ANSWER] said that we have to wait until November 4th. This is the organization we had asked to join us on November 4th here. So they used the Palestinian question as the means of attacking the Black Liberation Movement.

They know that I’m facing 15 years in prison but they’re not. They know that Penny Hess, and Jesse Nevel are facing 15 years in prison, they know that this attack on the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement was like the canary in the coal mine, cause once they attacked us, you saw these attacks start happening all around this country to people. That’s why there is such a thing as the Tampa Five students from the University of South Florida in Tampa, who were simply protesting because the reactionary governor of Florida had taken away the right for people to teach black history. They protested and they had been indicted by the United States government.

That’s why 61 people have been indicted and got involved in this struggle to stop Cop City in Atlanta. They did that because they want to stop this movement. They opened the door on the rights of all the people when they attack African people, and that’s the way it’s been historically, but they cannot win.

I want to say in addition to what we are doing here, you heard that we are also engaged in a mobilization in Los Angeles. All kinds of people are going to be there cause we’ve characterized this as the movement, an anti-colonial movement for freedom of speech, not just for African people, but all the people. And so in Los Angeles, Filipinos, Africans, Mexicans, you name it, will be involved in the mobilization.

We have a demonstration this morning at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa…a magnificent demonstration, where Africans are standing in front of the U.S. Embassy talking about “Free, Free, Palestine, free Leonard Peltier,” in Pretoria. “Drop The Charges now, Free the Uhuru Movement” that’s in Pretoria, South Africa.

We’ve also heard reports in London at the U.S. Embassy from the demonstration we had there. You know in London they like to brag about how the bobbies carry no guns, the police carry no guns.

Ours, a relatively small demonstration, but comrades from West Papua were there, and there were comrades from other kinds of organizations, and the police came heavily armed with machine guns and what have you.

In London they like to brag about, “the cops don’t carry weapons,” they don’t carry weapons generally speaking, but the colonial question has come home to England just like it’s always been here in the United States. The reason they were able to brag that the police did not carry guns in England is because the United States is a settler colony, born as a settler colony just like Israel is a settler colony, a white nationalist settler colony that rests upon a foundation of genocide and oppression against the Indigenous people here who live in concentration camps that they refer to as ‘Indian reservations.’

We know that we’re talking about how they are trying to move the people out of Palestine so that they can take the land from them and expand what they call Israel now, which is a white people’s country. They know that we know what that is, that is armed gentrification. We’ve seen them do that in Washington D.C. that used to be referred to as Chocolate City.

We’ve seen that in Harlem, we’ve seen that in North St. Louis. Every place we look, that’s what they do. They remove us because [a settler colony] cannot tolerate the people, whose land they stole, being there. We are evidence of a crime that’s being committed against us to create themselves.

So I just want to say, we gon’ go hard to the white house today, we goin’ hard because we goin’ SNCC Style, we’re goin’ Black Power style, that’s what it’s about. We see in this day, all the people can unite with Black Power except white nationalists. Yeah, you got to be able to get down with Black Power because they say that they support the struggle of Palestinians. They’re quite quick to say, “send relief to Palestine,” when real relief to Palestine will come once we open up a new front against colonialism right here, because Israel could not last another 30 days without what they get from the United States. That’s why they have battleships right now in the Mediterranean, that’s why they got U.S. troops on the ground right now in Palestine.

If you remove the United States out of the equation, those white people in the state of Israel will have to go back to Poland, will have to go back to Milwaukee, will have to go back to those other places.

In London, I told you how they came with guns and what have you, but I also want to tell you that they had planned to have a demonstration at the Israeli embassy, but the British government prohibits demonstrations at the Israeli government, they say that’s antisemitic. They have banned the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” you can’t say that without going to jail in England.

These are the countries that are supposed to hold up free speech, they call themselves the ones who brought free speech to the rest of the world, but they would bomb my house at 5 o’clock in the morning last year because of what I said, not because of what I did. They don’t have enough flash bang grenades or anything to stop this movement.

The struggle against colonialism will prevail, there’s no freedom for anybody on the planet earth without this. If you look around the world where you’ve seen suffrage, revolution, it’s always been in the colonial countries everywhere, that’s where the front has always been.

Ho Chi Minh, who once said, he asked the communist party…he was a founding member of the French communist Party, he asked them, “What kind of revolution are you talking about if you’re not talking about colonialism? He said that if you want to fight against imperialism, when you look in Europe, you’re just fighting the tail. If you want to get the head of imperialism, “It’s in the colony,” and that colony is in Palestine, that colony is in Washington D.C., that colony is in St. Louis, that colony is in Venezuela, that colony is in Namibia, that colony is all around the world where we’ve trying for the last 500 years to break out of this, this status of slavery that’s been imposed on us.

Free Leonard Peltier!
Free all the political
prisoners!
FREE ‘EM ALL!
Victory to Palestine!
Gaza, Gaza hold
the line! Victory to
Palestine!
Adelante Siempre!
Uhuru!

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