WASHINGTON, D.C.–The first international convention of the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) was a statement to the world of our determination to be, once again, independent and free.
Women from across the country came to participate in discussions and panels that spoke directly to the interest of working-class African women.
Held on March 24-25, 2018, our theme, ”Building the Revolutionary Capacity of African Women,” was aimed directly at African women who wanted to mobilize against the colonial conditions that disproportionately affect our lives.
The first day opened with a tribute to African women heroes who fought for our people.
We highlighted the contributions of African women workers from the past to the present who struggled in the interest of African people.
We believe this was important for setting the tone of the Convention, because often we witness praise of African women who work in the interest of the oppressor’s system─women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, for example.
This was followed by my presentation which laid out the ideological contradictions of the women’s movement, which exploits the colonial conditions of African and other colonized women, to propel the issues of white oppressor nation’s women.
My presentation put out the need for working-class African women to determine our own trajectory as an anti-colonial movement to dismantle white power in all its forms; including its manifestation in the form feminism.
In our call to attend the convention we spelled out our position as one against colonialism, not patriarchy.
“We are clear that the white oppressor nation is the colonizer, and as such carries out violence against the colonized in the form of political, economic, social and judicial policies.”
“We therefore understand that the following is colonial violence; Welfare, State-Sponsored kidnapping of children, police brutality and murder, domestic abuse, sex work, underemployment, homelessness is colonial violence, poverty, poor or inadequate healthcare, mis-education, gentrification, drugs and police in schools.”
Panels highlight the political maturity of African women workers
Another high point from the convention was the discussion on the “African Village: the relationship between African men and women,” which included Africans who are Gender and Sexuality Non-Conforming (GSNA).
The goal of this panel was to discuss and propose resolutions to overturn contradictions that often keep the nation divided.
The “All Black Hair is Political” panel approached the issue of the attack on the identity of African women through an attack on our hair.
We confirmed that a resistance to these attacks is resistance to colonialism.
The Black Immigration presentation was given by Elikya Ngoma, whose experiences as an African from Haiti living in Miami helped us understand how the influence of colonizer immigration law contributes to dividing the nation, exploitation of African women and children, the breakup of families and criminalizing African immigrants.
The “African Women to the Forefront” panel explored the use of electoral politics and campus organizing to raise the political consciousness of our people.
The “Independent African Economy” panel included Kunde Mwamvita, Dr. Aisha Fields and Kalambayi Andenet, who represented the independent economic institutions of the Uhuru Movement.
They put forth the importance of building and supporting African economic institutions that have a responsibility to the masses of our people.
This panel drove home that it’s not enough to buy black but instead we should Buy Black Power!
All these panels and presentations offered our attendees an opportunity to interact with the speakers by asking questions and offering their own testimony and thoughts.
The audience engagement was amazing. Even the performers and vendors were active participants.
There isn’t any intersection for the poor and working-class
The political success of this Convention proved that there is a need to discuss and mobilize around the issues affecting working-class African women.
What constitutes black women organizing today is divided between the working- class and the petty bourgeois middle-class, whose stance is often riddled with opportunism.
African women workers, who experience some of the deepest contradictions as a result of colonial exploitation, had an opportunity to become members of the African National Women Organization.
Now, they do not have to move alone, but participate in a revolutionary process that empowers and emboldens.
This point was reiterated during the conference by Ro’Shawndra Earvin, who joined ANWO in the heat of her struggle to get access to the resources her mostly white campus afforded to white women sexual violence victims, but were denied to her.
She stated that she called on Sharpton’s, National Action Network (NAN), the NAACP and others to help her, but no one answered the call.
When she called on ANWO, however, we were there. We helped her to develop a plan of action to ensure we expose the contradiction.
ANWO the organization of revolutionary African women
The strategy of the African National Women’s Organization is to forward the objectives of poor and working class African women.
The political theory of African Internationalism helps us understand our place in the world and why African women experience a special oppression.
When we understand this we are better positioned to fight and win.
African Internationalism also helps us understand that “under colonialism, African people as a whole, but specifically African women, have been conditioned to internalize and accept direct violence from the oppressor,”─conditions under which we no longer intend to be victims.
Join the growing movement of African women who are organizing against the colonial exploitation of African women. Find out more about us on anwouhuru.org.
We are Winning!