St. Petersburg, FL. – At the beautiful Akwaaba Hall of the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, FL, members and supporters of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) converged on January 6-8, 2013 for the International Conference of the APSC, held under the theme, “African Resistance, White Solidarity.”
Forces traveled to St. Pete, the “City of African Resistance,” from cities around the country, including San Diego, Oakland, and San Francisco, CA., Miami and Largo, FL,. College Station, TX., Cleveland, OH. and Philadelphia, PA.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee is the organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, organizing white people and other allies to take a stance of principled solidarity with the struggle for African Liberation.
The APSC conference was endorsed by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project, Deep Green Resistance, Green Party of Florida, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, Prison Gates Are Open, Ohkenokne:we Rising, and the Revolutionary Students Union.
Bert Brooks of InPDUM, Rachel Collins of DGR, and Jennifer Sullivan of the Green Party of Florida attended the conference to deliver their statements on behalf of their organizations.
Statements were also sent in by Onhkonwekh:we Rising and the Revolutionary Students Union.
As APSC Secretary General Alison Hoene said in her opening remarks, “We are living in a critical time. This is the era of the final offensive of the African working class.”
Princess “Bella” Williams, member of International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and program manager of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, performed two powerful hip-hop songs with African Internationalist lyrics such as “One Africa, One Nation! Resist the Occupation!”
Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, delivered a keynote presentation later described by Chairman Omali Yesitela as signifying a “crucial development” for APSC. It began with a video presentation that documented the “human face of the ‘primitive accumulation of capital’.”
“Primitive accumulation of capital” is the term used by German philosopher Karl Marx to describe the origins of capitalism in the enslavement of African people and genocide against the Indigenous people.
Chairwoman Hess’s presentation exposed how Marx’s characterization of “primitive accumulation” objectifies the real human beings whose “hopes and dreams were destroyed with a ferocity never before seen on the planet” by European colonizers in order to give rise to the capitalist system.
One segment of the video addressed the suffering felt by many white people following the Connecticut school shooting in which 20 white children were killed.
Hess’s video made the call for white people to recognize that our sense of security and safety has always come at the expense of bloodshed and brutality waged against the majority of the world’s peoples – including children, followed by a stirring series of photos depicting the genocidal murders of African, Arab, Afghan, Vietnamese, Indigenous, Mexican and other colonized children.
“There is nothing benign or save-able about capitalism. Capitalism is a bloodsucking parasitic system. Capitalism must go,” said Chairwoman Hess. “As Chairman Omali once wrote, ‘The road to socialism is painted black.’ Reparations is our relationship to that road.”
In his keynote presentation, entitled “African Internationalism: the political theory of the African Revolution,” Chairman Omali Yeshitela showed how the understanding of capitalism as a parasitic system born from slavery and genocide informs us on how the struggle must be carried out and by whom it must be led: the African, Indigenous and other colonized peoples of the world.
The Chairman explained, “Every victory of the so-called ‘restless natives’ was a victory against capitalism! When Nat Turner said ‘Strike at night and spare no one’ he was striking out against capitalism!”
The Chairman explained that the call for white solidarity is not based on a moral understanding of “righting the historical wrongs.”
It is based on a scientific understanding that the relationship between oppressor and oppressed nations is untenable.
In a dynamic workshop called “Uhuru Movement on the Move,” Deputy Chair of the African People’s Socialist Party Ona Zene’ Yeshitela, who also leads the Office of Economic Development and Finance, provided the political context in which all of the economic development work of the Uhuru Movement takes place:
“All economic work is tied to the political work,” said Deputy Chair Ona.
“The African People’s Socialist Party does not accept African poverty as a natural state of affairs. African poverty is not an economic issue, but a political one. African Liberation is the means by which we are fighting the poverty faced by African people.”
The Deputy Chair presented a slideshow, set to the beat of James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud!,” illustrating the successful programs built by the APEDF and the Uhuru Movement overall, including the Uhuru Radiothon, the Haunted House, the HIV testing program, the Uhuru Jiko Kitchen and the revamping of Akwaaba Hall.
Tiffany Williams of the Tyron Lewis Community Gym led the conference attendees in a physical fitness workshop, bringing all of the participants to their feet for a session of 10 squats and chair drops.
John Thomas, member of the African People’s Socialist Party and fitness instructor at the Tyron Lewis Gym, led a boxing-aerobics demonstration with two young Africans.
Kitty Reilly of APSC and the Office of Reparations and Economic Development led the segment of the workshop in which conference attendees made personal pledges of material solidarity with the APSP for the year 2013.
As Comrade Kitty said, “By contributing to the capacity of the African working class to destroy this parasitic social system, we contribute to the building of the liberated African economy.”
Secretary General of the African People’s Socialist Party, Gaida Kambon, guided the attendees through the glorious 40-years history of the APSP and the Uhuru Movement.
The second day of the conference opened with a workshop entitled “Six Questions Commonly Heard by Organizers of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement,” in which APSC members took on questions such as, “Is fighting racism the answer?” and “Aren’t we all in the same boat?”
A panel discussion entitled “Building the African People’s Solidarity Committee Around the World” featured APSC leaders speaking on different aspects of the upcoming work of the APSC to organize the masses of white people under the leadership of the African Revolution.
Panelists Ali Hoene and Penny Hess spoke on the plans to build APSC in Europe. Stephanie Midler and Harris Daniels of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement spoke on the 2013 plans to build branches of USM all over the U.S.
In an interactive workshop called “Recent theoretical breakthroughs in African Internationalism,” Chairman Omali Yeshitela emphasized that capitalism was born from imperialism, contrary to the understanding put forth by Lenin that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism.
The Chairman stressed that this is no small theoretical question; it is a major question that has profound practical implications. “Theory is not an innocent, abstract thing,” said the Chairman.
“Theory is what determines whether you join the revolution or you join the CIA,” the Chairman said, referring to how the Communist Party USA collaborated with the US government against the Garvey movement and then worked with the U.S. government to form the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA.
The second day of the conference culminated with a community forum on Obama’s second term featuring presentations by Penny Hess, Chairman Omali and Jesse Nevel. “Obama is white power in black face,” said the Chairman. “He winks at the African community every now and then, meanwhile he’s cutting our throats.”
In a workshop called “Reparations in Action,” Kitty spoke on the ORED’s strategic goals for 2013, including promoting the 25th anniversary of the Oakland Uhuru Furniture and Collectibles Store, promoting the One Billion Strong Donor Campaign on social media, and carrying out the Membership and Sustainable Funding (MASF) program.
APSC member Janice Kant summed up the tremendous victory of the official launch of the fully licensed community commercial kitchen, Uhuru Jiko, in the Uhuru House of St. Petersburg.
In 2013 the second Uhuru Jiko will be built in the Uhuru House in Oakland.
Maureen Wagener spoke on the Uhuru Foods and Pies work and in 2013 it will be fully incorporated into the Black Star Industries, a limited liability company launched by the African People’s Socialist Party.
APSC organizer Lisa Watson led a Burning Spear Workshop, calling up comrades to demonstrate how to sell The Burning Spear Newspaper in schools, on the streets, etc.
The 2013 APSC conference marked the beginning of a new era not only for APSC but for the world at large. In his closing remarks Chairman Omali Yeshitela said, "This was an important conference that represents a whole new place that we are at in the world. Growing numbers of white people are realizing that you won’t have to be left out there alone with the anxiety that comes with being in possession of all of the stolen resources while the rest of the world is up in arms trying to get them back.”
As Secretary General Gaida Kambon summed up, “What a glimpse of the future.”
The African People’s Solidarity Committee is in place to build, recruit, organize, and take the stance of solidarity with Black Power to the white community in a whole new way.
Build Solidarity! Smash Charity!