African People’s Solidarity Committee must rise to the challenge of the period!

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Penny Hess is the chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, an organization of North Americans that works under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party.

The following is a presentation made by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, on January 23, 2005 at a conference of the African People’s Solidarity Committee held in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Uhuru Comrades! It is a great honor to represent the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) at this historic national conference. We begin by expressing our most profound respect, admiration and revolutionary love for the African People’s Socialist Party and Chairman Omali Yeshitela, under whose leadership we work, and we salute all the members of the Party.

I acknowledge as well all the members of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, my dearest comrades. APSC is making history every day by breaking our bonds with white power and U.S. imperialism by standing in organized solidarity with the movement for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere led by the African working class.

This conference could not come about at a better time. The profound crisis of imperialism faced by the rising resistance of oppressed peoples around the world sets the scene for a period which the Party is working fiercely to seize for every drop of its revolutionary potential.

As we can clearly see, the influence of the African People’s Socialist Party is growing daily. The Party is at the most significant turning point in its 33-year history — on the threshold of its rightful place on the world stage as the African Liberation Movement rises up again worldwide.

The Chairman has been on a tireless journey over the past six months, traveling the world, speaking before audiences of African people and winning adherents and supporters to the Party’s platform and political worldview. At the same time, the Party has organizers on the ground building the Uhuru Movement in cities in the U.S. and England.

The Party’s organization, the African Socialist International, has been successfully founded and is getting stronger. The ASI could well be the catalyst for the “final offensive” empowering African workers everywhere to rise up to liberate themselves, their resources and their homeland from the vicious grip of U.S. and Western imperialism.

The theft of Africa and African people is the cornerstone of the wealth and power of parasitic capitalism, and the ultimate liberation and unification of Africa under the leadership of the African working class will constitute the deathblow to imperialist power.

This is not some future dream. The struggles all over the world, the instability of imperialism on every front and the growing strength of the African People’s Socialist Party indicate that this process is taking place right before our eyes.

The Party’s line of Yeshitelism gives African people — along with other oppressed peoples and even forward-looking members of the white population — hope and clarity about the unfolding of the future of this planet under the leadership of colonized and oppressed workers.

With its sharp understandings of the parasitic nature of capitalism, Yeshitelism has the ability to ignite the will of the masses of oppressed peoples everywhere, informing the world not only of the origins of the present oppressive social system, but the ways to overturn it.

It is clear that we are on the doorstep of an era when revolution will once again be the main trend in the world — this time with the line of the African People’s Socialist Party as the driving force, capable of bringing down imperialism.

On-going white opportunism

Living on a pedestal of the enslavement, colonization and oppression of the majority of humanity, white people have always gotten our needs met at the expense of African and other oppressed peoples. This is the essence of parasitic capitalism. Without the understanding of parasitism, no one has the ability to comprehend the current world situation or the way forward.

Despite the obvious crisis of imperialism and widespread colonial resistance, including the 9-11 attacks inside U.S. borders, the majority of the white world is still busily working to solve their personal problems and enjoy a life of stolen affluence, blissfully oblivious of conditions for most of the people on the planet. The price paid by African and oppressed peoples in deadly poverty, disease, suffering and terroristic political repression is of no concern to the white world.

Bin Laden’s recent communiqué warned, “No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas, thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it from happening again.”

Nevertheless, most white people go about happily with their heads in the sand, remaining consciously “ignorant” of the murderous, terroristic attacks the U.S. government carries out daily against oppressed humanity inside this country and around the world in the name of the North American population for our economic and political benefit.

As the Chairman so eloquently states in his report to the Party’s Plenary, “The citizens of the U.S. are essentially preoccupied with efforts, which once realized, will offer them full rights, prosperity and security within the existing imperial order founded on the deprivation of rights, resources and security for the rest of the world.

“APSC is making history every day by breaking our bonds with white power and U.S. imperialism by standing in organized solidarity with the movement for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere led by the African working class.”

“Same sex marriage, national health insurance, old-age care, tax relief, cheap gasoline and a healthy economy, safe neighborhoods, quality education for their children, clear air and other environmental safeguards, protection from attacks by resisting colonial subjects, safety for their children, relatives and neighbors functioning as colonial occupation forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and like places, repeal of the anti-democratic measures directed at U.S. citizens, such as the Patriot Act — these constitute the essential concerns of the U.S. North American citizens.

“The resolution of these concerns for North American citizens will function to unify any disgruntled sectors of the North American population with their imperialist rulers against the rest of us.”

While in some ways the North American population is polarized for and against the Bush presidency, the Chairman makes it clear that white people in general are unified in their U.S. imperialist patriotism pretty much across the board. The differences lie in how overt they feel the U.S. government should be in its imperial policies inside the U.S. and around the world.

The left wants a more attractive, “inclusive” imperialism with a strong neo-colonialism that would keep the terroristic extraction of the resources of colonized peoples hidden from their view. The right likes a more hard line, war-mongering, blatantly imperialist imperialism.

In its own way the left upholds the validity of U.S. imperialism and parasitic capitalism as strongly or stronger than any other sector of the white population. Its goal is to include all sectors of the North American population — even those who have been historically oppressed or disenfranchised — in the process of sharing imperialist wealth and power.

The left refuses to acknowledge the colonial oppression of African people inside the U.S. The left denies the fact that racism is simply the ideology of imperialism which uses white nationalism as justification for the extraction of untold wealth for the white world at the expense of terror and oppression for Africans and other oppressed peoples.

The white left refuses to make any comparison between the containment policies imposed on African people here and the attacks the U.S. government is waging against the Iraqi and other peoples around the world. While the left recoils in fear at Rumsfeld, Gonzales and the Patriot Act, it does not admit that torture, terror and liquidation of human and civil rights have always been practiced against colonized peoples inside this country and around the world.

There is no act of terror or torture that the U.S. has not inflicted on the Vietnamese, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, to name a few, and on African people here — in the containment policies against African communities, in prisons and against the African Liberation Movement.

The left aims to keep white power in place, promoting integration, “diversity,” and anti-racism in relationship to African people, putting itself at odds with the goals of the African National Liberation Movement as an anti-colonial struggle.

The left’s attack on the Uhuru Movement in the form of “pacifism” reflects this. Most of the left would make no such demands of “nonviolence” on resistance and liberation movements anywhere else in the world. Nicaraguans, Mexicans and Vietnamese can militarily fight for and win their liberation; African people, who’s oppression makes up the pedestal on which white people sit, cannot.

The left shows no interest in the conditions of African people inside this country except to vote in laws that continue counterinsurgent and police containment policies against them. There is no outrage at the genocidal levels of imprisonment of African people or at the on going and escalating police brutality.

Any effort by the African community to resist these conditions — either on an individual or organized level — are condemned by the left, even as they support similar resistance elsewhere.

In short, the white left panders to the worst self-interest of the white population, providing no answers, leadership or way forward. Besides a few marches and ill-fated attempts to unite all disgruntled sectors of white people, there is no strategy, nor can there be.

Nevertheless, there are thousands and thousands of North Americans who want to be wakened from this sleep of the living dead. Political books top best-seller lists as many people seek in vain for an analysis of the crisis of imperialism.

North Americans who have no hope for the future for themselves or their children rely on a frightening array of drugs such as Prozac or marijuana or methamphetamine to calm their anxieties about a life on an increasingly shaky imperialist pedestal that they had believed to be unassailable. Any well-meaning white person has no idea how to take positive action that can truly effect change and transformation. Many North Americans are alienated from white society and horrified by injustice they see around them but do not know where to turn.

“Most of the Party’s work today constitutes struggle in the arena of ideas. Our Party and our people are engaged in a contest of ideas with our colonial oppressor,” the Chairman states in his paper. Clearly, the current world situation, the crisis of imperialism and the demands of the growing leadership of the Party demand that APSC step up to take responsibility to play a powerful role in winning the war of ideas within the North American and European population.

“But APSC has very serious weaknesses right now and the only way that we can possibly overturn our weaknesses is to overturn all our backwards-moving struggles and unite with one will to move forward. We have to collectively come together to transform our weaknesses into strengths and come out of this conference running!”

If we are ever to win a meaningful sector of white people to break with white power and stand on the side of African and colonized peoples, the time is now.

The significance of the African People’s Solidarity Committee

As Chairman Omali Yeshitela wrote in his report to the Party’s Plenary, the African People’s Solidarity Committee “has been significant in helping the Party to break out of the encirclement created by the U.S. government subsequent to the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties. This organization has allowed us to destroy the ability of white power to be able to have absolute reliance on the total white population as a reserve force for reaction.

“Through the existence and work of the APSC we have been able to extend the African revolution directly into the lives and homes of sectors of the general North American population and to win actual material solidarity to our struggle. We have undermined the ability of the North American left, mostly ideological imperialists, to easily intervene in our struggle for its own opportunistic purposes.

“Through APSC we have been able to make the reasonable demand that all white people of the oppressor nation who proclaim to be working in unity with our struggle against U.S. domestic colonialism, express that unity practically by working under the leadership of our movement through participation with the APSC.”

For years, the Chairman has criticized the African People’s Solidarity Committee for not understanding its own significance. APSC can no longer afford such a luxury. It is our responsibility to internalize APSC’s profound historical significance if we are to move forward with this period.

APSC represents the first time in history a revolutionary organization of colonized African workers won members of the oppressor population to become organized under their strategic leadership for their liberation and for the destruction of the oppressor nation itself. The African People’s Socialist Party won white people to go back into the enemy lines to take on the struggle with other North Americans just like ourselves.

For the first time, white people can take an honest stand in relation to African and all oppressed humanity — not by charity or well-wishing, but by doing the day-to-day work to forward the strategy for the liberation of Africa and African people. The fact that APSC is under the strategic leadership of the Party and that APSC embraces the Party’s line as its own are two characteristics that dramatically distinguish ASPC from any other white organization that has ever existed.

APSC is a revolutionary organization. For North Americans, APSC is the only possible way to be organized in a revolutionary and anti-imperialist organization — through being under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party.

Like the Party, APSC is organized around the principles of democratic centralism, the revolutionary organizational formation. It differs from a petty bourgeois liberal or anarchist group, being centered around the iron-clad revolutionary principles of Yeshitelism which carry out the revolutionary will of the African working class.

Struggle, criticism and self-criticism and study are key factors of APSC’s identity and ASPC must deepen its understanding and practice of democratic centralism.

APSC in struggle to rise up to demands of periods

Right now the African People’s Solidarity Committee is in a process of tremendous struggle — inside the leadership body and throughout our ranks. This is the most profound period of struggle since 1985 when the very existence of the solidarity organization was challenged by an opportunist line inside it that equated the conditions of white workers with the colonial domination of African people.

Some people left the Movement as a result of that struggle, but APSC came out of it strong and consolidated. After a successful conference led by the Party in which the opposing forces were defeated, APSC emerged united.

We were infused with tremendous energy to take on our central understanding of ourselves as an organization whose main focus, identity and aim is to win other North Americans to unity with reparations to African people. We put that understanding on the ground concretely by beginning to build an actual economic infrastructure which provides stable and ever growing resources to the African People’s Socialist Party.

That struggle, and the work to build economic institutions that function every day, was a real turning point for APSC. We began to “reverse the flow of parasitism.” It was the first time that the African Liberation Movement was able to win North Americans to raise resources on the terms of the African movement itself.

It was this struggle that won APSC to begin to internalize Yeshitelism as our own worldview and to begin to take responsibility for forging our work based on our own understandings of the Party’s line. We said that we no longer wanted the Party to have to struggle with us to take things on that ought to be perfectly obvious to us based on an internalized understanding of Yeshitelism.

Inside of APSC right now there is again a struggle to try to suppress all forward motion. It wants to set limits for the African People’s Socialist Party and push back the demands of this period of imperialism in crisis and growing African resistance.

“APSC represents the first time in history a revolutionary organization of colonized African workers won members of the oppressor population to become organized under their strategic leadership for their liberation and for the destruction of the oppressor nation itself.”

It wants to ignore the rising leadership of the Party, a leadership that puts the financial and political needs of the Party into a whole new arena. It is a struggle to maintain the status quo, to let the self-interest, opportunism and convenient ignorance of the white population as a whole dominate our organization.

As always it is a struggle to try to set the terms for the strategy of the African People’s Socialist Party and put ourselves in the center. It is a struggle that unites with the U.S. State, that does not take this period seriously or recognize the danger and security risks for the Chairman and the Party entailed in the Party’s work in this period.

It is a struggle to rest on laurels, hide in work or bury ourselves in tasks and institutions rather than take responsibility to fight politically, build an enormous base of North American solidarity and win all the resources possible from that base.

The struggle inside APSC is a struggle for petty bourgeois anarchy against African working class organization. It is against leading work and having a personal stake in the outcome of our work.

It is a struggle that unites with “whiteness” rather than forcing the question of solidarity with African liberation inside the white population. It is a struggle that disregards the millions of African people who must live in deadening poverty, suffer from curable diseases in a state of colonial domination so that the white lifestyle will be maintained.

The struggle in APSC wants to rely on rhetoric and empty words rather than demand that the white population recognize that the greatest contradiction for African people is not slavery and racism but the loss of the right of self-determination.

African people here and around the world have every right to regain their continent, their homeland, their self-determination and self-government. They have the right to be in charge of their own affairs, to use their own resources for their benefit and as they see fit. They have the right to enter into relations with any other peoples they so choose—just as any other people has the right to do so.

Sovereignty, justice and national liberation belong to African people. Africa is their homeland and it belongs to them. It makes total sense and it has to be won in the white population.

I believe that this struggle inside of the African People’s Solidarity Committee is good. It is what propels us into the new period. I know that we will come out of this in a powerful place.

Comrades, we have to really appreciate our ability to be members of APSC. Without this vision and this work there is nothing to hook onto but a dying imperialism and greedy, self-centered population of other white people.

There is no identity for ourselves except as enemy of the majority of other people, an identity connected to a vicious U.S. imperialism so hated by so many. Without APSC we can be nothing but parasites living at the expense of everyone else.

APSC puts us into a process that gives us hope and confidence that the wrongs of the present and past are going to be righted, that we ourselves will take responsibility for our legacy of parasitism and oppression. It connects us with African people in a principled way and with the vast majority of humanity who are struggling to create a new and just world.

Just knowing the African People’s Socialist Party and working under their wise, visionary and profound leadership lets us understand that life led by liberated Africans and oppressed peoples will bring all of humankind to a higher level of existence. Only then will we be part of a world without oppressors and the oppressed, without suffering and exploitation, a world of justice and peace.

The African People’s Solidarity Committee has tremendous strengths. It has the excitement of its ties to the vibrant and dynamic Uhuru Movement. It is an organization with great longevity that has outlasted all the others!

APSC has trained and steeled cadres, both young and older, who have creatively solved problems, developed skills and built lasting and ever growing institutions — things that it never thought itself capable of. It has a core of dedicated and committed forces, some of whom have fought many battles and others who have brought new blood and skills.

But APSC has very serious weaknesses right now and the only way that we can possibly overturn our weaknesses is to overturn all our backwards-moving struggles and unite with one will to move forward. We have to collectively come together to transform our weaknesses into strengths and come out of this conference running!

Comrades, I am really confident that the African People’s Solidarity Committee can consolidate, overturn our contradictions and build unity for the tasks of this period. We can move forward to rise up to the challenges of this great new period.

I have full faith in the commitment, creativity and leadership of the members of APSC to solve our problems, recruit and open up massive resources.

It is an honor to work under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party and to be able to see a future for humanity through working under the Party’s leadership.

Forward to the African Revolution!

Uhuru!

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