Editor’s Note: The below document is the Political Report to the 5th Party Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party. This report, written by Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela, was mandated by the Party’s Political Bureau, Central Committee, and membership.
We believe our Party’s theoretical and ideological formulations as represented by this report to the 5th Party Congress can stand scrutiny from any sector of the communist, socialist and progressive tendencies throughout the world.
This document is being put forward as a public forum for anyone interested in advancing the overall struggle against U.S.-led western imperialism. From workers to students, communist parties to socialist parties, unattached activists to revolutionaries and professors, we welcome you to scrutinize this document and make your view and opinions public through any media outlets you might have, including The Burning Spear newspaper and The Burning Spear online (Uhuru News).
The African People’s Socialist Party stands for active ideological struggle in and outside the Party. Our leader, Chairman Omali Yeshitela, the foremost practitioner of revolutionary theoretical work, puts forth a brilliant analysis of the current situation with respect to social classes and class struggle, and the crisis of imperialist capitalism.
He puts forward in the Political Report that the major contradiction in this world is that which exist between the oppressed nations and the oppressor nations.
The report says that the struggle against imperialism must be lead by a conscious African working class that is organized to fight for its selfish interest, which is also the best interest of the toiling masses of the world, including those workers of the oppressor nations whom Chairman Omali calls on to abandon the interest of their respective bourgeoisies, and to unite with the colonized and neocolonized peoples of the world.
This leads to a call for a real Communist International that would be instrumental in defeating world capitalism.
The Chairman’s Report clearly declares the Party as the heir to the Garvey Movement and the developers of African Internationalism, a scientific Garveyism with its no non-sense line of Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad!
For nearly 40 years straight the Party has practiced what Marcus preached, from a worldwide African organization to self-reliant economic institutions.
And finally the Chairman’s call to build the Party and Party organizations and movements, through recruitment to the revolution will be the Party’s key to implementing all other aspects of the tactics and strategy for African liberation.
We ask of you to organize study groups, participate in the Party’s online study which will be held the first three Sunday’s in May on Uhuru Radio at 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Hold community forums and classroom discussions. And finally, invite Chairman Omali to speak before your group or on your campus, or workplace. Let us hear from you.
Editor, The Burning Spear newspaper
Download the Report to the Congress (PDF 456KB)
Political Report to the Fifth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party
The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) salutes our much-awaited and long overdue Fifth Congress. This is a Congress that is demanded by the current period of imperialism in extreme crisis and by the incredible transformation of our Party. We have made such rapid leaps in our development and activities that this Congress is necessary to unify our entire Party and consolidate our understandings and direction.
Imperialists cannot stem tide of national liberation
The struggles of the post-colonial peoples and countries against imperial white power represent the defining events in the world today. These are the struggles to reverse the verdict of imperialism and to overturn the last 600 years of imperialist history that created the current political, economic and social configuration of the world.
These struggles have achieved critical mass and try as they may there is nothing the imperialists can do to stem this tide of resistance that represents the true measure of progress in human affairs.
The vicious wars of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and now extended to Pakistan; the genocidal terror directed at the Arab people of Occupied Palestine in defense of the illegitimate white nationalist settler state of Israel that rests uneasily on stolen land; the United Nations and direct U.S. imperial occupation of tiny, historically persecuted and plundered Haiti; the continued subversive efforts to undermine the movements toward independence and social democracy throughout South America — none of these imperialist efforts will succeed in changing the course of history that we in the African People’s Socialist Party have characterized as the era of the Final Offensive against imperialism.
The ongoing chest-thumping threats by the U.S. against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran will fail to turn back the tide of history, regardless of the immediate future of either of the two regimes, both of which we must defend from U.S. aggression.
Neither the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) nor the incredible array of aggressions against Africa — currently and throughout Africa’s colonial and neocolonial history — will succeed in maintaining the imperialist death grip on Africa and its future.
Increasingly the peoples of the world recognize U.S. bluster and machinations as the desperate, near hysterical maneuvering of a dying beast or, as the imperialist pundits like to say, of an empire in decline.
There is no greater evidence of imperialist despair than the selection of Barack Hussein Obama by U.S. white rulers as U.S. president and chief imperialist public representative to the world. More and more, this effort to give imperialism the face of the slave is being recognized by the world to be the cunning act of desperation that it is.
Yet, while the struggles of the world’s peoples against imperialism constitute a powerful threat to the very foundation of imperialism, they are, generally speaking, struggles without consciousness of their interconnectedness. Most often they are struggles of peoples who are compelled by the brutal conditions of existence imposed on them by imperialism, forcing them to rise up as a matter of self-defense.
The Party is the anti-colonial force in this time
The work of our Party is informed by the understanding that capitalism, the social system of the modern empire, has its origin in slavery, brigandage and colonialism. For African and other oppressed peoples, this is what defines our current existence and what is being struggled against on every continent.
The work of the African People’s Socialist Party gives coherence to the struggle against imperialism and must be understood by the whole Party and our movement if only for this reason.
In February of 1997, at the Fourth Congress of our Party held in St. Petersburg, Florida, I defined the African People’s Socialist Party and our significance for the African working class through the basic tenets of our theory, African Internationalism:
“Today, in the African People’s Socialist Party, the African working class has its own revolutionary Party that is conscious of its mission and struggling to achieve strength and position.
“It is an anti-colonial Party of the whole people. Our Party is rooted among the toiling African masses, the African working class, which represents the most consistently revolutionary social force within current U.S. borders. It is with the leadership of the African workers and in their interests that the struggle must be waged in order to achieve a revolutionary conclusion.
“It is a socialist Party. It is conscious of its struggle against colonialism as part and parcel of the worldwide struggle to destroy a parasitic social system, built on slavery, genocide and colonialism, and based on the private ownership and control of the world’s means of production and resources by a handful of bandit states and people at the expense of the vast majority of humanity. The poverty and emiseration of the African and oppressed peoples everywhere have their basis in this parasitic relationship.
“It is an internationalist Party. It understands that the plight of African people in Africa and abroad is due to a process of parasitism that was imposed on most of the world by Europe. The struggle to liberate and unify Africa and its people is a crucial part of the struggle by the world’s peoples to defeat parasitic imperialism.
“It is a revolutionary Party. It realizes that African liberation and unification, the defeat of colonialism and the victory of socialism can only come about through the total and absolute overthrow of parasitic capitalist imperialism by the working class united with the poor peasantry and the toiling masses of the world.
“These characteristics of the African People’s Socialist Party represent an incredible strength of the African working class. It means that even before the crisis of imperialism represents itself as revolutionary struggle by the conscious African masses, the African working class has its own Party in place, conscious of its class-selfish interests and gathering the wherewithal to complete the Black Revolution of the Sixties.
“We are here despite all the efforts of U.S. imperialism to destroy any potential for African Revolution within current U.S. borders. There is no way that the bloody U.S. imperialists could have imagined that even as they were attempting to destroy all remnants of the Black Revolution of the Sixties a revolutionary process would be unfolding right under their noses in the form of the African People’s Socialist Party.
“But such was the case and we are here 25 years later to initiate the Final Offensive against world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism.”
Indeed, in this era in which we live and struggle, when imperialism is facing such formidable contradictions, our Party, now in existence for 38 years, is enthusiastically reaffirming its commitment to African liberation and socialist reunification.
This era places on the shoulders of the advanced detachment of our class and dispersed nation the responsibility of showing the line of march and leading to victory.
It is clear that the history of our Party, the clarity of our advanced revolutionary theory and the correctness of our political line have prepared the African People’s Socialist Party more than any other organization for this task.
However, in order for us to lead the struggle for completion of the great historical mission imposed on our class we must now deepen our preparation for the trek to victory during this historical era of the Final Offensive against imperialism.
African People’s Socialist Party is heir to Marcus Garvey
In so many ways, the African People’s Socialist Party carries on the legacy of the movement of Marcus Garvey during the 1920s and his organization of 11 million African members, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
For centuries, Africa and her dispersed children have suffered concentrated attacks by imperialism. These attacks resulted in the forcible dispersion throughout the world of millions of our people, while Africa, our national homeland, was captured and divided into territories to facilitate the theft of our resources.
False borders were put in place to thwart our resistance. This imperialist assault has made Africa the essential factor in the development of capitalism as a world economy that enriches the minority white populations of Europe, North America and elsewhere at the expense of Africa and the world’s peoples.
This process of enslaving Africa and African people, along with the rape and plunder of the rest of the world, consolidated the European nation. This gave Europe a reactionary sense of sameness that was tied to the material basis of its stolen wealth and the social system born of slavery and colonialism. In other words, the consolidation of the world capitalist economy and the European nation came as a consequence of assaulting the unity of Africa and African people.
In 1914, nearly 500 years after the initial European assault on Africa and 30 years after the Berlin Conference that divided Africa to facilitate European exploitation, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League was established under the leadership of Garvey.
The UNIA launched the international African anti-colonial resistance movement to unite Africans in a concerted effort to liberate and reunify our Motherland and the forcibly dispersed and enslaved African nation.
The UNIA consolidated Africans in Africa and throughout the world into a united organization with a single center and leadership. Under the slogan, “Africa for Africans, at home and abroad,” the UNIA brought together 11 million members and supporters in the largest anti-imperialist organization in the world.
This was at the turn of the 20th Century when resistance to imperialist colonialism was growing throughout the world even as the imperialists were engaged in the First Imperialist World War to re-divide the world — mainly the colonial and subject peoples — among themselves.
This was an era of great upheaval. The European war to re-divide the world that is commonly known as World War I was upsetting the balance of power in Europe. This First Imperialist World War challenged the notions of European identity conferred to different Europeans at the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna that was used to redraw European borders after the Napoleonic Wars.
At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, Europe established the current borders of Africa in order to peacefully parcel out to different European powers African territory to feed the European capitalist greed for raw materials, enslaved labor and markets in an attempt to avoid intra-European war.
It was during this period of tremendous social and political flux that the UNIA rose to prominence. Marcus Garvey defied the verdict of imperialism that had defined African people according to the identities and needs of our colonizers and claimed African identity for us all. This was a political line that truly recognized the nature of our oppression and exploitation as a people and the line of march for our liberation.
Pan-Africanism was the petty bourgeoisie; Garvey led the African working class
There were other African movements during this period of the rise of Marcus Garvey, and nearly all of them fought Garvey tooth and nail. Although many of these other groups claimed progressive motivation (for example, some called themselves socialists and communists), they all saw themselves struggling for a bourgeois emancipation of African people within imperialist-created borders and definitions.
This was true of the African Assimilationists and other accommodationists who simply capitulated to imperialism under the existing capitalist system, as well as of the Pan-Africanists who organized themselves into a political movement in opposition to the Garvey Movement, sometimes with practical unity and assistance from the imperialists.
The Pan-Africanist movement was created by a sector of the African petty bourgeois Assimilationist movement in the U.S. that was aligned with liberal white imperialist capitalism. It was willing to recognize a relationship between Africans worldwide, but was incapable of recognizing Africans as part of the same dispersed nation that had to be physically liberated and united.
It refused to recognize the need to struggle against white imperialist power for the achievement of a single nation-state, a requirement for harnessing and developing the productive forces necessary for African progress. In later years some progressive Africans such as Kwame Nkrumah ascribed to what they called Pan-Africanism, but it was clearly a different Pan-Africanism than that of W.E.B. DuBois, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and those associated with him during the formative, anti-Garvey stage of the Pan-Africanist movement.
Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney and Mangaliso Sobukwe were anomalies within what was referred to as the Pan-Africanist movement because their politics put them squarely in the camp of African Internationalism. Even so the influence of Pan-Africanism caused Nkrumah, Lumumba and Sobukwe to meet with political disaster and even death. Without the strength of the armed revolutionary party of the African working class, Nkrumah was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup in Ghana, Lumumba was assassinated by imperialist forces in Congo, and Sobukwe was imprisoned in Occupied Azania.
This makes another, essential point about the inadequacies of Pan-Africanism: it permits everyone who is called a Pan-Africanist to be characterized as such, whether reactionary or revolutionary.
The UNIA under the leadership of Marcus Garvey was also notable for its inclusion of the laboring masses of the African world as leaders and members. This was a huge departure from the tradition of the Assimilationists and others who created the Pan-Africanist movement. The Pan-Africanists were essentially intellectuals without a mass base until after they, along with a host of Garvey opponents in tactical alliance with the U.S. government, succeeded in effectively destroying the Garvey Movement thereby setting up their own movement as Garvey’s apparent heir.
The Garvey Movement developed and thrived during an era of imperialist instability when the entire world was engaged in the debate about identity brought about by intra-imperialist struggles for advantage over their adversaries in acquiring slave labor, markets and raw materials.
Garvey brought the Africans into this debate with a bold move for liberation and acquisition of an all-African nation-state. His movement demanded that Africans worldwide recognize that Africa is our national homeland, requiring our collective, organized action for its liberation and unification and the consolidation of the African nation-state.
Many so-called progressives have been ambivalent about the significance of the Garvey Movement, and some prefer to remember him as a deranged bourgeois nationalist. This is a measure of their fidelity to imperialism.
The validity of the Garvey Movement can be measured both by the fact that it was part of the worldwide movement for national liberation against colonial domination raging during that period, and that Garvey’s organization and newspaper influenced many of these struggles around the world.
Notable leaders of the period included Ho Chi Minh of Viet Nam, Sun-Yat Sen of China, Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa of Mexico, Faribundo Marti of El Salvador and Augusto Sandino of Nicaragua, to name only a few of the heads of national liberation movements to wrest control of their countries and peoples from the avaricious grasp of imperialism. None of these leaders and movements was more significant than Marcus Garvey and the UNIA that he created and led.
African Internationalism advances Garvey Movement, defines imperialism in crisis
The work of our Party is based on the fundamental assumptions of the Garvey Movement. We recognize the fact that ours continues to be, even today, a struggle to reverse the verdict of imperialism. We are one African people, a nation forcibly dispersed around the world and whose national homeland, Africa, continues to suffer under the mostly indirect control of imperialist exploiters.
The African People’s Socialist Party has advanced the understanding of the Garvey Movement with the scientific theory of African Internationalism. We are the Garveyites, the African Fundamentalists of the 21st Century.
With the founding of the African People’s Socialist Party we have solved a fundamental problem of the struggle for the genuine liberation of Africa and African people. We have provided our struggle with the sound, scientific, advanced theory, correct political line and organizational structure that are necessary requirements for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide. Victory is in sight and the death of imperialism is forthcoming!
Our theory has helped us to understand and struggle against imperialism during this period of imperialist instability and crisis. It is adherence to the theory of African Internationalism that protects us from the spontaneity that characterizes so much of the African Liberation Movement. Theory allows us to have the long view, to develop a strategy based on recognition of the nature of the imperialist system and the relations of forces at any given time.
For years now, as many within the African Liberation Movement, or what passes itself as a leftist or communist movement, within the U.S. were trembling fearfully at the bluster of the past U.S. regime led by George W. Bush, we of the African People’s Socialist Party were able to say that the Bush war-mongering was simply the desperate thrashing of a dying imperialism. This dying imperialist system has been made frantic by its growing losses to the peoples and countries struggling to recapture our sovereignty and resources upon which imperialism depends to survive and prosper.
Imperialist desperation is not something that began today and our Party did not discover the crisis of imperialism with the advent of George W. Bush at the helm of the predatory imperialist U.S. government.
Years ago, in September 1981, at our Party’s First Congress in Oakland, California, we explained the crisis of imperialism as it represented itself at the time. In the Main Resolution for that Congress, entitled, “A New Beginning: The Road to Black Freedom and Socialism,” we were able to state:
“The period that we live in today is a period that is clearly marked and characterized by the struggles and victories of the colonial, neocolonial, and dependent peoples and countries over world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism. It is also a period . . . characterized by attempts of world capitalism, led by U.S. imperialism, to launch a vicious counteroffensive to smash the struggles and victories of the world’s peoples and countries fighting for national liberation, political independence and economic and political justice.
“While these struggles have been going on for some time and have clearly escalated since the second imperialist world war, they have had markedly different implications for world capitalism within the recent period. The political independence won by colonialist-created states such as Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, etc. on the continent of Africa; the independence won by India, Burma, Pakistan, and of most of South America was an independence from direct colonial rule. It was nominal political independence that left the peoples and countries dominated economically by their former masters and the now-dominant U.S. It was an ‘independence’ under a new, more subtle colonialism, a colonialism that was essentially economic; it was neocolonialism…
“…However, the new current for the struggles of dependent countries and peoples — the current characterized by the struggle against neocolonialism, with a few critical exceptions — represents a new epoch in the struggle against world capitalism led by U.S. imperialism…
“This epoch of struggles and victories over neocolonialism and dependency represents the leading revolutionary tendency in the world today. It is an epoch that finally thrusts humanity upon the threshold of world socialism, for it challenges the very foundations upon which world capitalism is built.
“This epoch of struggles and victories over neocolonialism and dependency directly threatens the primitive and non-capitalist accumulation of capital upon which world capitalism was constructed and without which it cannot survive in its present form.”
Since its inception, the African People’s Socialist Party, heir to the glorious tradition of African resistance, has struggled to overcome all obstacles standing in the way of the emancipation of our brutally oppressed and exploited Africa and the dispersed African nation.
African Internationalism shows the way forward
African Internationalism is a theory that explains the world, as well as the place and future of Africans in it. African Internationalism recognizes that capitalism, born as a world economy, has its origin in the assault on Africa and the global trade in African captives as well as the ensuing European onslaught on most of the world.
It was this savage aggression against Africa, Asia and the Americas that raised Europe from a disease-ridden habitat of warring tribes to a dominant force in the world. Europe is today inhabited by a people whose sense of sameness is both defined and challenged by the unifying parasitic capitalist economy that puts them in opposition to the rest of the world upon which their economic lifeline depends.
African Internationalism recognizes that the process of slavery and brigandage that consolidated the political economy, national identity and general well-being of what came to be known as Europe is the same process that results in the wretched, divided, impoverished and exploited lot of Africans and much of the world.
African Internationalism is a scientifically falsifiable theory as can be seen in this question: Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?
The answer is No! No! No! and a thousand times, No! Karl Marx said no, although its significance obviously escaped him. The answer to this question exposes the other shallow theories put forward to explain the advent of capitalism and the comparative conditions of existence separating Europe from the rest of the world.
As African Internationalists we understand that capitalism is inherently parasitic and that its emergence coincides with the beginning of a world economy based on the dialectic of oppressor and oppressed nations.
We understand that all whites, regardless of their class position and station of life, enjoy the parasitic advantages of the oppressor nation. While it is true that within the oppressor nation there are inherent contradictions peculiar to its internal dynamics, all whites occupy an oppressor nation status. This is true of white men and women, workers and bosses, and heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Because of the structure of a world economy, built on a pedestal of the brutal exploitation of Africans and other oppressed nation subjects, the locus of the real class struggle is not between the workers and bosses within the oppressor nation, but between the oppressor and oppressed nations.
On July 19, 1920, V.I. Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, made a presentation to the Second Congress of the Third Communist International that reflected the impact the Garvey movement and other struggles for national liberation was having on the consciousness of Europeans who had previously disregarded our significance.
Faced with the growing clamor and actions of the world’s peoples to escape imperialist domination, Lenin was forced to conclude:
“World imperialism shall fall when the revolutionary onslaught of the exploited and oppressed workers in each country, overcoming resistance from petty bourgeois elements and the influence of the small upper crust of labor aristocrats, merges with the revolutionary onslaught of hundreds of millions of people who have hitherto stood beyond the pale of history, and have been regarded merely as the object of history.”
The fact that Lenin was wrong in his estimation of the significance of the workers from the industrialized capitalist countries in the ultimate defeat of imperialism is not as important as the fact that he and others were forced by the growth and power of our movement to acknowledge that our re-entry into history is a precondition for the defeat of imperialism.
Thank you, Garvey.
The only legitimate leadership of the struggle against world capitalism is the workers and toiling masses of the oppressed nations. The only legitimate, scientifically sound leadership of the African Revolution is the African working class.
The struggle of the oppressed nation workers will be the deciding factor in the defeat of capitalism both from within the countries of the oppressor nation as well as from within the oppressed countries themselves.
African Internationalism is not a theory that simply assumes an ability to explain the conditions of existence of African people. It is a theory of the world and how it came to be the way it is, affecting Africans and everyone in particular ways.
We are not the only ones to have come up with a historical materialist based theory of the world. What distinguishes our Party is the fact that we have moved the discussion to its proper place in the universe and changed its character from an abstract parlor discussion to a required explanation of how to change the world.
For much of the history of capitalism, born as white power, whites have been the subjects of history. The silenced, brutalized and enslaved majority of us have been simply objects of history, spoken of only as we were understood to be significant to whites or what came to be known as Europeans.
This has prevented even some of the most renowned thinkers and philosophers of the white world from being able to recognize our significance to the world, including the white world. We have been the metaphorical “Invisible Man.”
Karl Marx sought to explain capitalism and its advent in a seminal work entitled “Capital” published in 1867. Though Marx’s “Capital” was undoubtedly one of the most influential works of the past century, it marginalized its most important points.
Found buried inside of Marx’s work are key observations that give scientific credibility to the assumptions held by Africans and others who have been the ultimate victims of capitalism and whose emancipation would determine the future of capitalism.
Establishing the origin of capitalism and its dynamics within the European world as having their basis in the forcible expropriation of massive amounts of value from Africans and others, Marx wrote in Part VIII of “Capital”:
“We have seen how money is changed into capital; how through capital surplus value is made, and from surplus value more capital. But the accumulation of capital presupposes surplus value; surplus value presupposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production presupposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and labor power in the hands of producers of commodities. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation (previous accumulation of Adam Smith) preceding capitalistic accumulation; an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production but its starting point.
“This primitive accumulation plays in political economy about the same part as original sin in theology…”
In the same work, Marx defined more clearly what he meant about this capitalist “original sin” of primitive accumulation:
“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.”
And finally, again in Part VIII of “Capital,” Marx elaborated on the question by stating that capitalist production rested on the enslavement of African people. Marx makes the point that even the white workers owe their predicament to the enslavement of African people. These are his words:
“Whilst the cotton industry introduced child slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world.” (Emphasis added)
In his earlier work “The Poverty of Philosophy,” Marx made the same point:
“Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry. Thus slavery is an economic [sic] category of the greatest importance.
“Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe North America off the map of the world, and you will have anarchy — the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.”
Here then, is the historical materialist basis of African Internationalism, which is, again, not simply an explanation of the conditions of existence for Africans, but an explanation of the world and the relations experienced by all of us in this world that has come to exist with the ascendancy of capitalism as a world economy.
We have to note here as well that Marx’s description of slavery as “an economic category,” and his concept of primitive accumulation provide outstanding examples of historic objectification of African people by Europeans.
The entire historical process that resulted in the total disruption of the political economy of Africa, the imposition of colonial borders and the capture and dispersal of millions of Africans whose forced labor was responsible for the development of Europe and European society is characterized as an “economic category”!
Marx reduced the process of European pillage and plunder of the world and the ensuing genocide and enslavement to “primitive accumulation” of capital, a footnote whose function in history is to explain the “development” of Europe.
In other works Marx developed the concept of the “fetish of the commodity” to explain how commodity production, production for the market, obscures and mystifies the relationship between people, allowing it to be confused with a relationship between things.
A similar thing happened with the concept of “primitive accumulation.” Here the relationship between peoples and countries is also obscured and mystified. Marx attributes European “development” solely to the “genius” and productive forces inside of Europe. He is thereby covering over or liquidating the origin of such “development” in the parasitic impairment of the capacity of independent development in Africa and other places victimized by Europe.
African Internationalism led on the issue of reparations
This African Internationalist worldview has always informed the work of our Party around the question of reparations to African people. Before our involvement in this question, the demand was forwarded primarily through legislative or judicial means. The masses of the people were not considered crucial factors. In other words, the success of the demand depended on the good will or integrity of the imperialist state that is responsible for imposing the conditions that caused the demand in the first place. Secondly, before the Party’s involvement, the demand for reparations generally revolved around repayment for slavery.
African Internationalism informs us that the issue is not simply the value of labor stolen from enslaved Africans. The fact is the entire capitalist edifice itself owes its existence and success to the theft of African labor and resources, not only during slavery but even more so subsequent to slavery where the rate of exploitation has become even greater.
Therefore, we understand that the imperialist system cannot possibly repay African people in the truest sense. Imperialism can only attempt to bribe Africans into accepting some kind of payment to quiet the growing struggle by our oppressed and colonized community as it awakens to the bloody history of forcibly extracted value by the imperialists during the entire history of our relationship. This means not only during the time of “slavery,” but also throughout the period of colonialism and now, during this period of trans-colonialism.
Therefore, African Internationalism informs us that our mission is to make the reparations demand a mass demand. We have long recognized the need to take the question beyond the grubby, often bloodstained grasps of imperialist-serving politicians and legislators that are loyal to a system in which they are bought and sold like capitalist commodities. Nor should we leave the determination in the hands of a legal system that also rests on the pedestal of capitalist production born of and sustained by our enslavement.
This is why in 1982 our Party organized the World Tribunal on Reparations for Africans in the U.S. This is why we built the African National Reparations Organization for the sole purpose of making reparations a “household name.” We traveled the U.S for the next 12 years or so holding tribunals in different cities, where the African public was invited to hear and present evidence on the history and current existence of our exploitation and oppression that justifies the demand for reparations.
This is why in 1983 a two-person delegation from our Party traveled in Europe to win support for the reparations demand. This resulted in Africans in Europe and Africa joining in the demand for reparations and most likely influenced the movement resulting in the UN sponsored Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
This is also why we are organizing a World Tribunal on Reparations for All African People, currently scheduled for Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Reparations must be made a mass demand of the more than a billion African people worldwide. Since we recognize the mass mobilizing power of the demand, we support most expressions of the call for reparations from a variety of growing proponents. However, African Internationalists recognize that imperialism cannot survive a successful reparations struggle, which by definition means the return of all value extracted from us by the parasitic capitalist system, which means the death of imperialism. Indeed, this is the objective of our demand for reparations.
Yes! Take African Internationalism to the masses of Africans worldwide. Make the case for reparations and mobilize the demand everywhere and in every manner. Some will fight in the courts and the various imperialist created and/or informed legislatures throughout the world.
Others, the millions of us, who go to bed hungry and who clean the houses and sweep the streets of the ruling class, will — armed with theory and other weapons of persuasion — reach directly into the pocket books and bank accounts of our oppressors. This is the process that will for evermore rid the world of the cankerous imperialist parasite responsible for the misery of the toiling masses of the world.
For African Internationalists the reparations demand is a function of the revolution. Its objective is not to find economic respite in a permanent sea of imperialist rapacity, but to win our liberation, free up the productive forces of Africa and African people. The revolutionary demand for reparations will achieve a new world where those whose socialized labor is responsible for human progress will become the new ruling class of a society where the means of production are socially owned and class rule has begun its death throes.
On the Continent of Africa the demand for reparations in the hands of African Internationalists, made popular among the masses of our people, will allow us to combat the cringing heads of neocolonial states who are ever, hat in hand, begging the imperialists to deepen their intervention in our lives. The demand for reparations, made popular among the masses, will deepen the crisis of imperialism by challenging the neocolonialists to end their careers as perpetual supplicants and join the demand for reparations for our history of exploitation.
African workers must lead the struggle against parasitic capitalism
An African Internationalist investigation, based on the preceding theoretical assumptions, leads us to conclude, among other things, that key to the liberation of African people is the defeat of the parasitic stranglehold that has been imposed on us by imperialism.
Moreover, as African Internationalists we recognize that Africa has been under some kind of attack for millennia, but that our struggle today is contextualized by the fact that the world economy that gives life to our oppression is a capitalist economy.
Our struggle is not fueled by a subjective need for vengeance against every group that has historically attacked Africa. This means that the struggle must be waged against the capitalist social system that is the basis of our exploitation and wretched conditions of existence today. Our struggle for the unification and emancipation of Our Africa and our people is also a struggle against capitalism.
Hence, our struggle, if it is to be fought to its successful conclusion, must be led by the African working class. It must result in the establishment of a united, socialist Africa responsive to the needs of African people worldwide.
African Internationalism teaches us that slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism, along with African disunification and dispersal, provided the material basis for the European bourgeois national consolidation, the sense of white sameness resting on the pedestal of the oppression of African and colonized peoples.
Hence, we understand that a key function of the revolutionary struggle for the permanent defeat of imperialism and to liberate Africa and her scattered children is the reunification of African people worldwide into a revolutionary, proletarian nation.
“It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large scale industry.” These words by Marx, quoted earlier, recognize the role of the plunder of Africa in the establishment of capitalism and carry within them the suggestion of what it will take to destroy the capitalist world economy.
The African who gave value to the “colonies” is now the oppressed and exploited inhabitant of the colonies that are sometimes incorrectly referred to as nations.
Our conditions of existence in the “colonies,” and elsewhere in this world of imperialist-created borders are centered in and derive from the conditions of existence in Africa that are the consequence of the primitive accumulation of capital, the “original sin.”
Our revolutionary struggle for liberation, unification and socialism in Africa, throughout the “colonies” and other areas of the world to which we have been forcibly dispersed in the construction of capitalism, will prove to be as significant in the defeat of the capitalist social system as the slave trade was in its advent.
The socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class will be the central factor in the defeat of world capitalism and will provide the material basis for the advent for world socialism.
African Internationalism, which demands the total revolutionary liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide under the leadership of the African working class, is informed by this scientifically sound dialectic.
Hence, the African Internationalist struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people is at the same time the key factor in the achievement of socialism as a world economy. It is the way forward for those Marxists and other socialists who are confronted with the false conundrum surrounding the question of “socialism in one country.”
As capitalism was born as a world economy with its basis in the enslavement and dispersal of African people, leading to “considerable masses of capital and labor power in the hands of producers,” so, too, will socialism be born as a world economy in the process of reversing the verdict of imperialism.
Hence, socialism will not be born in one country, but in many countries that are tied to the defining economy of a liberated and united Africa and people under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
This is why a fundamental task of the African revolutionary is the consolidation of the proletarian African nation.
ASI is the basis for a genuine Communist International
Therefore, the African Socialist International is the first stage of the struggle by the workers and toiling masses of the world to create a genuine Communist International.
In the past all efforts to create such an international were bound to fail as they were based on the false premise of the centrality of white workers of the industrially developed countries for human progress. Even the fact that this has proved absolutely wrong in the real world has to yet penetrate this ideologically reinforced white nationalist assumption.
Of all the so-called socialist revolutions that have ever occurred in history, only the Russian Revolution had a European connection, and Russia was semi-feudal, not an industrialized country. China and Cuba are other examples of socialist revolution and they are among the many revolutionary efforts that have centered in the non-industrial or primary producing countries.
Obviously the historical basis for the advent of socialism did not exist when revolution changed any of the above-mentioned countries. What did exist were the political conditions for socialists to take power in places like Russia, China and Cuba.
The fact is that capitalism was born as a world economy and the Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions did not change the fact that their countries and economies existed within a pervasive capitalist world economy. Therefore, although these revolutions, contending with semi-feudal, semi-colonial and neocolonial economies, were able to make rapid short-term changes in the lives of the workers and toiling masses, they soon ran into their limitations as oases within a sea of capitalist predators.
This view was represented in the Political Report to our Party’s 3rd Congress 20 years ago, in 1990. A long passage from that report is worth repeating here:
“…[T]he fundamental contradiction, the resolution of which would result in the historically-based advent of socialism, has never existed between the industrial (white) working class and ruling class. The real locus of the class contradiction in the real world exists in the conflict between capitalism born as a world system, and the ‘pedestal’ upon which it rests. (Emphasis in original)
“Hence the 1917 revolution in Russia was not a true socialist revolution since the real historical basis for socialism, which is the destruction of the pedestal upon which capitalism rests and which is required for its existence, had not occurred. What happened in Russia in 1917 was the existence of conditions, which constituted the political basis for socialists to seize state power. (Emphasis in original)
“However, this seizure of state power by socialists did not change the reality that the world economy, even the world economy within which Russia existed, was and continues to be, a capitalist world economy. It is the same world economy created by the slave trade and augmented by other facets of parasitic ‘primitive’ accumulation that transformed the vast majority of the world into great reservoirs of human and material resources largely for European and North American exploitation…
“In the case of China whose heroic people made a great revolution which revealed the revolutionary possibilities of colonially oppressed peoples throughout the world, their current efforts at economic development have been characterized by our Party as being like the efforts of someone trapped in a hole attempting to get out by climbing up on his own back…
“China’s current treacherous political collaboration with Western imperialism reflects the growing voluntary re-introduction of China into the capitalist world economy, although this time its current leadership intends for China to play the role of parasite instead of host. In other words, China also intends to transform its material conditions of existence, not through revolution to overthrow capitalism, but through joining imperialism at the trough.
“While the Russians, East Europeans, and Chinese have in the past referred to themselves as socialist states, they have never actually presided over socialist economies, the historic basis for the existence of which continues to unfold even now. Therefore, the crises experienced by any or all of these economies have actually been crises inherent in capitalism and not in socialism. Moreover, the political crises experienced by any or all of these states are crises due in great measure to the inability of a capitalist economy to solve the problems in society. (Emphasis in original)
“While the Soviets, and China to a lesser degree, have been actively involved with the U.S., Western and Japanese imperialism in attempting to ‘manage’ the world, to maintain what can only be called worldwide imperialist ‘stability,’ their efforts will only prove to be futile, as the oppressed and subject workers and peoples of the colonial world are not sympathetic to any deals made which would compromise our just struggles to overthrow our oppression and subjugation.
“Moreover, in spite of difficulties our struggles might experience due to the Soviet, East European and Chinese defections, we will nevertheless see a rapid development of the independent struggles for national liberation now that they are unencumbered by Chinese and especially Soviet or Russian opportunism.
“The rising up of the slave, organized and armed with the theory of African Internationalism, and poised for the final defeat of the parasitic world capitalist system, marks a new page in world history.”
The anti-imperialist struggles of the world’s people for repossession of our sovereignty and resources, both human and material, are the basis of the current, deep, crisis of imperialism. They are struggles to remove the pedestal upon which the entire rotten edifice of imperialism rests. They are struggles that enlist the vast majority of humanity, the laboring masses of every nation, in the creation of a new world without exploitation and oppression, without slaves and slave masters and, ultimately, without borders.
We recognize that the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, the struggle for the consolidation of the African nation is ultimately a struggle that undermines the solidarity of the European nation-state. We understand that under imperialism those who were enslaved, colonized and oppressed as a people will have to win liberation as a people.
We are also clear that the successful nation-building struggles of Africans and others under the leadership of the working class is at the same time the beginning of the process of the withering away of nations.
The European nation was born as a bourgeois nation at the expense of whole peoples and their territories. As we have seen in this discussion, it is a nation that requires the oppression and exploitation of whole peoples for its successful existence.
Hence, African people have to resist the imperialist bourgeoisie as a people. Our assumption of consolidated nationhood will function to destroy the bourgeois nation. Thus the rise of revolutionary worker nation-states destroy the material basis for the existence of nations and borders that function to distinguish and separate one people from another.
This is easier to understand when we finally realize the significance of the fact that capitalism at birth came wrapped in the skin of the racialized European nation-state. It is this reality that made impotent the Marxian assumption of communism resulting from the withering away of the European bourgeois industrialized state.
However, the fact that the European bourgeois nation-state achieves life and definition from its relationship to Africa and the oppressed peoples of the world means that our victory over imperialism, with the African working class at the helm will result in the withering away of nations. This will leave bare and make possible the withering away of the bourgeois state, which will have become historically redundant.
The African Socialist International, the practical expression of African Internationalism, uniting African workers on every continent, provides Africans and the world with the first step in the creation of a real Communist International that for the first time encompasses the enlightened participation of the vast majority of the toiling masses of the world.
Workers of the world, unite under the banner of African Internationalism!
White nation-state built on pedestal of slavery, colonialism
Hosea Jaffe authored an important book, “A History of Africa,” which speaks to the impact of slavery and colonialism on the emergence of parasitic capitalism and the development of white self-consciousness and the white nation itself:
“…Before capitalist colonialism there was no Europe, only a collection of feudal, mercantile and tribal towns, farms, villages, discrete states and kingdoms vying and warring with each other, just as in Africa, but on a different property basis — that of private property in the land. Europe then was neither a concept nor a reality, at most a vague idea that Arabs — but not ‘Europeans’ — had had long ago of some place northwest of Greece. As long as Europe remained isolated from the world, there was no Europe.
“When it became connected with and dependent on, first Africa, then the Americas and finally Asia, it began to become a reality and an idea. Only when Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, English, German, Danish and Swedish confronted and clashed with Africa, America and Asia did the need arise for them to consider themselves as a set, a whole, different from, hostile to and, eventually, superior to Africans [aboriginal], Americans and Asians. Colonialism gave them a common interest.”
In the following passage, Jaffe also identifies the significance of our relationship to capitalism and its historical manifestation as a united white nation-state:
“This common interest — slaving, plantations, the world market, looting, precious metals, spices and territory, markets and sources of wealth — was also the source of their conflicts among themselves. From 1500 on they had already started to quarrel and fight over the colonial booty. In these intra-European conflicts Portugal and Spain had in time to give way to Holland and France, and these in the 18th Century to Britain, while German ‘hidden colonialists,’ Calvinists, Catholics and Jews alike, steadily garnered what they could of the booty without shedding their blood or losing their own property in the process. The ‘scramble for Africa’ that led to the 1884-5 Berlin Conference had its roots in four centuries of struggles between the European powers for the division of Africa. Colonialism, the basis of European unity, was the basis also of its disunity.”
Jaffe does a much better job than Marx in his elaboration of the birth process of Europe that resulted in the wretchedness of the majority of the world’s peoples up to now. Here is the dialectic:
“Europe was born out of colonialism, as the exploiting, oppressing, negating pole that tried always to destroy and assimilate its opposite pole: the rest of the world…
“The first form was that of ‘primary accumulation,’ from the 14th Century to the 19th; the next was that of regular accumulation, with an inertial momentum carried forward from the primary accumulation.
“With capitalism arose Europe, and with Europe the myth of ‘European civilization’ — a civilization based on African slavery, American plantations, Asian spices, precious metals from all three ‘non-European’ continents — based, too, on Indian numerals, Arab algebra, astronomy and navigation (an Arab-Indian took da Gama to India from Mombasa) and Chinese gunpowder, paper and compasses. This non-European European civilization was the narcissus-like admiration of its own conquests. The sword, gunfire, murder, rape, robbery and slavery formed the real material basis for the idea of European superiority.
“It was out of this process that the very idea of a European man arose, an idea that did not exist even in etymology before the 17th Century. Before the slave trade in Africa there was neither a Europe nor a European. Finally, with the European arose the myth of European superiority and separate existence as a special species or ‘race’; there arose indeed the myth of race in general, unknown to mankind before — even the word did not exist before the lingua franca of the Crusades — the particular myth that there was a creature called a European, which implied, from the beginning, a ‘white man.’
“Colonialism, especially in Africa, created the concept and ideology of race. Before capitalist-colonialism there were no races; but now, suddenly and increasingly, there were races: once born, the myth grew into a ‘reality.’”
White communists must be committed to overthrowing white power
It is this reality explained here that has helped to shape our worldview as African Internationalists. We are revolutionaries. Our objective is to reverse the verdict of imperialism, to solve the problems of the Revolution and to defeat imperialism for all time in the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class.
Thus, it was not racial venom that led us to say at our Third Congress in 1990:
“The fact is that capitalism was born as parasitic white power and it must be defeated as parasitic white power. Genuine communists of all nationalities must be consciously committed to the overthrow of white power, and white communists must be committed to the struggle for the victory of black power over white power.
“The beginning of the process for white communists in the U.S. and the world to abandon the interests of imperialism and to integrate their own interests with the interests of the toiling masses of the world is to subordinate their interests to the struggles of the oppressed peoples of the world to overthrow parasitic white power.
“In the U.S. this can only be done through joining the anti-colonial struggle for black power. Concretely this means joining the African People’s Solidarity Committee, an organization of and subordinate to the African People’s Socialist Party, the advanced detachment of the revolutionary African working class and poor peasantry.”
No abstract parlor discussion here.
African Internationalists recognize that today Africa and much of the African world suffer from neocolonialism, indirect rule by imperialist powers that continue to control the economy of Africa after the formal end of colonialism or direct white rule.
Often referred to as “Flag Independence,” neocolonialism reduces the current leaders and heads of state in Africa to mere puppets whose strings are pulled by external forces to the great detriment of African people.
The neocolonialists are mostly drawn from the ranks of the African petty bourgeoisie whose primary role is the production of functionaries and thinking representatives of imperialism. They cannot lead the struggle for the liberation of our people to its completion. Nor is it in the interests of the petty bourgeoisie, who economically benefit from their relationship to the colonial powers, to successfully lead the struggle for the elimination of imperialist-created borders in Africa. To do so would mean the destruction of the petty bourgeoisie as a class since the microstates of Africa serve to reproduce the neocolonialists as a social force.
This is why African Internationalism requires the unification of the African working class into its own revolutionary organization with the primary aim of socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.
The revolutionary unification of the African working class means class unity. It is the unification of the revolutionary class that has as its historical mission the defeat of imperialism and the construction of a united socialist nation-state.
In order to succeed in the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, the unified working class must be bound together in a single organization with a single center, political line and common revolutionary trajectory.
This is one of the defining issues differentiating real revolutionaries from Pan-Africanists and other poseurs. This is one of the issues that has won Garvey the wrath of the African petty bourgeois liberals and is daily winning opposition by these same social forces for our Party and the ASI.
African Internationalism recognizes that organizational unity of the African working class is necessary to give every expression of the African Revolution anywhere on earth a strategic character. It recognizes that revolutionary organizational unification under the leadership of the African working class is practical unification of African people and the revolutionary African nation-state.
African Internationalism is, therefore, a theory of practice! One cannot be an African Internationalist by simply holding onto various abstract principles. A distinguishing characteristic of African Internationalism is the fact that it is not a theory to explain the world, but to change it. African Internationalism is theory with a plan.
This means that African Internationalism demands practical engagement in the struggle for practical unification of Africa and African people. The highest expression of this practical engagement is the African Socialist International (ASI), the international Party of the advanced detachment of the organized, revolutionary, African working class.
The African Socialist International is growing in Africa
In November 2009 we witnessed the historic launching of the African People’s Socialist Party-Sierra Leone and the founding of the African Socialist International in West and East Africa. We are experiencing growing organization in Canada, Europe and in several cities in the U.S. We are achieving increasing political and organizational influence throughout the U.S., Africa, South America and the world.
The African People’s Socialist Party has led the struggle to expose the neocolonial regime of Barack Hussein Obama, the most recent and insidious face of U.S. and world imperialism. Even as most bourgeois African nationalists and ersatz communists make excuses for the Obama regime, our Party has held steadfast to the recognition and stance that imperialism is imperialism regardless of the complexion of its latest representative.
The centerpiece of the Party’s work has been the African Socialist International. This work represents our recognition that the African Liberation Movement, whether in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere, has long run into its limitations when waged within the context of the existing imperialist-created borders of Africa and the world. These colonially imposed borders are used to separate Africans from each other and from our resources that are being exploited daily at the expense of our liberty and material well-being.
For years our ASI work revolved around attempting to locate and win participation from existing revolutionary groups within the African world. For years we were disappointed by the inability of existing organizations, either because of ideological limitations, class orientation or both, to give practical unity to the ASI project.
Because of this we modified our strategy for the ASI to include building the African People’s Socialist Party anywhere in the world as we continued to seek other organizations to join our ASI-building efforts. We set out to organize Africans into the Party wherever we recognized the potential. Through these Party cadres we began to establish ASI outposts in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
In 2005, more than twenty years after the First Party Congress in 1981 passed the resolution mandating the building of the ASI, we finally consolidated ASI work on the Continent of Africa itself.
The development of the ASI in West Africa came as a result of ASI conferences held annually by our Party in London. Because of the significance of London as a major transit point for Africans from throughout the world we assumed that we would eventually win participation to the ASI of Africans with immediate ties to the African Continent and from the Caribbean.
In 2001, the brilliant and consistent leadership of Comrade Luwezi Kinshasa in London brought us back in touch with the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) for the first time since the negotiated settlement of 1994 changed the apartheid form of the capitalist state in South Africa. Subsequently we were able to begin work with sectors of the PAC in our attempt to win them to the ASI project. However, despite all our efforts, the internal struggles and other contradictions within PAC, including its ideological inadequacies and inconsistent working class stand, restricted our ability to influence its trajectory towards the direction of the ASI.
In 2005 a leader of a youthful, militant mass organization in Sierra Leone heard our call. The participation of Comrade Chernoh Alpha M. Bah and the Africanist Movement under his leadership has resulted in a major advance for the development of the African Socialist International. In October of 2008, Comrade Chernoh organized an ASI Conference in West Africa that proved to be historic. Socialist revolution was placed on the agenda in Sierra Leone for the first time since the 1930s.
Working with a revolutionary national democratic program to which conference participants were able to contribute, the African Socialist International has given strategic leadership to the struggle of our people in West Africa and set a new example for the struggle of African workers throughout the African Continent and elsewhere.
In November of 2009, consistent with its draft constitution, the ASI consolidated itself in Sierra Leone as the African People’s Socialist Party. During this time, with participation and solidarity from Africans and others from throughout the world, the APSP-Sierra Leone launched Uhuru Radio, an FM station that will represent the views and interests of the African working class, poor peasants and revolutionary national democratic forces of Sierra Leone and the region.
In addition to the work to build the ASI in West Africa, we have consolidated a committee to build the ASI in East Africa and are moving rapidly to build the African People’s Socialist Party-Kenya.
The ASI Conference of the East Africa region held in Nairobi in April of 2009 was successful even without mass publicity efforts, which were not possible due to security concerns that a high public profile would invite attacks by the neocolonial Kenyan government. During the conference almost 50 of the attendees rushed to join the ASI.
Again, this was a result of the courageous work of Comrade Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, a member of our Party and ASI Director of Organization, who developed a rapid mobilization plan to attempt establishment of the ASI in nearly every African region by the end of 2009.
An important aspect of the Nairobi East African Regional Conference, one that demonstrated our growing organizational capacity, was the fact that we were able to go to Kenya with other Party cadres who played important roles in the conference.
These were cadres from London that included Comrade Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary General of the ASI, along with security forces from South Africa and others from the U.S. Since that April conference, Comrade Chernoh has returned to Kenya and conducted other organizational meetings and some trainings and political education. In February 2010 other Party members traveled to Kenya from the U.S. to extend the training of forces there toward launching of the African People’s Socialist Party-Kenya and expanding the ASI work throughout the East Africa region.
The growing capacity of the African People’s Socialist Party was also obvious in the fact that following the April 2009 ASI Regional Conference in East Africa, we were able to simultaneously hold two other successful ASI regional conferences in May. The North American Regional Conference was held in Washington, D.C. and the European Regional Conference was held in Manchester, England.
ASI resolution adopted at Party’s First Congress
This work to build the African Socialist International is at a new level of development, but we would do well to remember that the ASI is not a new project of our Party. It is work that, when placed in historical perspective, helps us to understand the farsightedness of our Party. It helps us to understand the significance of our Party as the leader of the international African working class, its advanced detachment, that clearly understands the way forward and is preparing itself for the conquest of political power.
This is work that was formally initiated at our Party’s First Congress in 1981. Comrade Chernoh, the ASI Director of Organization, could not have been more than two years old when we passed the resolution for building the ASI, stating in part:
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries in all countries to unite with us into one all-African international socialist association which would enhance our ability to realize our historic mission to free and unite our people and motherland, and to defeat imperialism and issue in a new day of peace, freedom, and world socialism.
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries in all countries to unite with us into one all-African international association, which would assume the tasks of:
“1. Liberating and uniting all of Africa under a single, all-African socialist state;
“2. Uniting, coordinating, and giving general assistance and direction for the revolutionary struggles of all African people wherever they occur and whenever the aims of such struggles are consistent with the aims of the international association;
“3. Achieving the objective consolidation of African nationality for all African people wherever we are oppressed and exploited throughout the world due to the machinations of imperialism.
“Africans of the world, take history into your own hands!
“Africans of the world, unite to build the African Socialist International!”
In the Main Resolution of the Party’s Third Congress in September 1990 we elaborated on the Party’s position that the African Socialist International is our most important strategic task:
“This work to build the African Socialist International will be the central focus of our revolutionary work. It will occur under the slogan: ‘Izwe Lethu i Afrika,’ appropriated from the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.
“As distinguished from Pan Africanism, which has historically relied principally on the leadership of the African petty bourgeoisie as heads of organizations or illegitimate colonialist-created states for the accomplishment of its aims, the African Socialist International will rely on the social base of conscious Africans organized under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
“Thus, as a mobilizing tool, we have also declared at this Congress that this is the ‘era of the worldwide African Revolution and socialist unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of African workers and poor peasants.’
“We must take the question of Africa, its relationship to the structure of the capitalist world economy and our relationship to it to every African community in the world. This is important for a thousand reasons. Africa is suffering with no obvious relief in sight.”
The fact that we determined that our central work would be building the African Socialist International does not mean that the Party is not involved in struggles on the ground everywhere. Our recognition of the African Socialist International as the central, strategic task of our Party does not mean that we are not engaged in struggling around the pressing issues and concerns of the African working class and colonized nation wherever and whenever they occur in the world.
In fact, we see all these struggles against imperialism as schools for enhancing the fighting capacity of our Party, class and colonially oppressed nation. What it does mean is that the work to liberate and unite Africa and African people worldwide, the work that gives significance to the ASI, is our guiding work, the work around which everything else revolves.
InPDUM leads mass resistance
The main vehicle through which the Party carries out mass struggle is the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM). Although InPDUM has been beset with a bevy of contradictions over the years, the organization has recently begun to move forward in some crucial ways.
InPDUM has been the primary leader of organized, strategically informed mass resistance within the African community in the U.S. InPDUM gained critical notoriety during the campaign to elect Barack Hussein Obama as U.S. president. While too many others who claim leadership of our people either capitulated to or were immobilized by the campaign and election of Obama, InPDUM has been on the forefront of the struggle to expose him as just another fast talking shill for a very desperate imperialism.
In the process of this struggle InPDUM has also, by comparison, exposed the opportunism within the African Liberation Movement in the U.S. For the most part these opportunists have abandoned the African workers and masses, leaving them disarmed against imperialism in its new, seductive form. In the absence of a theoretically sound strategic approach to struggle that was based on a correct line and lacking a genuine revolutionary program, most of the African Liberation Movement was thrust into motion with actions defined by Obama’s campaign and election.
In other words, most stands and actions were based on spontaneity, long recognized as the mother of opportunism.
It was InPDUM’s presence and actions at an Obama rally that disrupted Obama’s St. Petersburg, Florida campaign appearance and rattled his composure with the simple chant and slogan/question: “What about the black community?”
It was InPDUM that participated in public forums that critiqued the Obama election as not only a shabby attempt at imperialist camouflage but also as a means of deflecting the political activity of the African masses away from self-interested independent revolutionary politics.
It was InPDUM that used the slogan: “What about the black community?” for its 2008 Convention where it launched our Revolutionary National Democratic Program (RNDP) that addressed the needs and aspirations of our class and people. In an effort to raise the level of discussion during the election, InPDUM struggled to make the programs of the presidential candidates the focus of the debate and to force a comparison between the programs of the Democratic Party represented by Obama and the Revolutionary National Democratic Program of the African masses as put forward by InPDUM.
In addition, InPDUM has led the struggles in cities in California and Pennsylvania against the attempts by local governments to use budget cuts of crucial services to facilitate the bourgeoisie’s attempt to shift the burden of the capitalist economic crisis onto the backs of African people and the laboring masses. These struggles have resulted in vicious police attacks on our organizers in Philadelphia and an attempt to silence resistance through police and court repression.
Nevertheless, InPDUM has been unrelenting. While waging struggle in defense of the two comrades facing felony charges because of their public exposure of the budget bomb being launched against the African community of Philadelphia, InPDUM convened its October 2009 Convention in Philadelphia under the slogans: “They Say Cutback! We Say Payback! Reparations Now!” and “Independence In Our Lifetime!”
These slogans/demands anticipate InPDUM-led political activity among our people that will sharpen the contradictions for the masses who are watching the Obama regime shovel several trillion dollars of taxpayer’s money to banks and other ruling class institutions.
At the same time, because of predatory lending practices initiated by Obama’s campaign finance chairwoman, the Obama regime is overseeing the greatest theft of African community wealth in history in the form of massive loss of homes through foreclosures resulting from subprime mortgages.
With the demand for independence in our lifetime! InPDUM’s slogans also challenge the very legitimacy of Obama’s election as a response to the conditions of existence faced by Africans in the U.S. This is a serious rejection of the bourgeois attempt to present Obama’s election as the end of our history of resistance.
Now InPDUM is gearing up for some of the most important work of its existence. This work is given greater significance because of the crisis of imperialism that makes it especially vulnerable to the struggle of African people for revolutionary democracy.
When InPDUM was founded in 1991 its primary task was dictated by the period. It was a period when the U.S. Front of the African Revolution was still reeling from the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties by the U.S government. The ongoing imperialist counterinsurgency against our movement and our people expressed itself as domestic neocolonialism accompanied by the imposition of a drug economy along with the military assault on the colonized African community that was justified in the name of a war against drugs.
Most of our revolutionary leadership had been destroyed by this assault known primarily as COINTELPRO. Much of the people’s leadership had been jailed, murdered, chased into exile and membership of their organizations dispersed. Our people were left leaderless except for the neocolonialist clients who were given prominent roles as buffoonish ideological transmitters and political covers for the nefarious activities of our imperialist oppressors and the capitalist social system.
InPDUM was founded at the height of this counterinsurgent assault, primarily as a vehicle to defend the democratic rights of the people while exposing the government’s counterinsurgent war on African people.
InPDUM’s aim was to draw Africans back into political life around the immediate vicious attacks that were effectively overturning hard-fought democratic victories won in the sixties.
While it was engaged in ongoing battles and campaigns that required bold leadership, InPDUM’s mission was, nevertheless, defensive. However, the depth of the current crisis of imperialism stemming from the unbridled resistance of the world’s peoples has demanded a different character of InPDUM. From a defensive stance organizing the community against imperialist assaults, InPDUM has now assumed a posture of aggressive mass leadership for the Final Offensive against imperialism.
The change from a defensive stance by InPDUM has been erratic and slow in coming. Additionally, in the recent past the Party has lost sight of the strategic significance of InPDUM for our revolutionary work. This is a contradiction that has been facilitated by inadequate leadership of this important Party organization.
Nevertheless, with the adoption of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program, InPDUM has been clearly positioned as the vehicle through which the first stage of our Revolution is to be waged. In its mass composition InPDUM is becoming the embodiment of the revolutionary national democratic sector of the African population that must be organized to seize black political power.
This requires a different perspective by the Party of InPDUM’s role. It is not defensive; InPDUM has to be the dynamic catalyst for political mobilization of African people in the immediate struggle for the achievement of the revolutionary national democratic power — for the achievement of black power.
Revolutionary National Democratic Program: the political basis for black power
U.S. imperialism is waging public wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is also engaged in not-so-public military interventions throughout Africa. Somalia is only one example.
At the same time the U.S. is trying to win public support for some kind of intervention in Sudan as preparation is being made for the installment of open U.S. military dominance of all of Africa through AFRICOM. This is intended to contend with imperialist rivals, protect the neocolonial status quo and give greater coordination of existing and future U.S. military intervention anywhere in Africa.
The U.S. is also busy attempting to reverse its fortune in South America, ramping up counterinsurgent activities against the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and others that have moved and are moving away from the imperialist camp. Many governments throughout the region are now searching for socialist solutions.
New developments leading to electoral success of anti-imperialists in Nicaragua and El Salvador have surely caused growing alarm for the U.S. and there is little doubt of U.S. involvement in the recent coup in Honduras to remove a president that had become part of a progressive bloc threatening U.S. imperialist hegemony in this hemisphere.
The current U.S. regime is also faced with an economy that has tanked. Because bourgeois “economists” are ideologically blinded, they cannot see the connection between the economic crisis and the growing successes by colonized and oppressed peoples to reclaim our resources, our sovereignty and our future. We, in the African People’s Socialist Party, however, are clear on the connection, and we are determined to deepen the crisis by advancing the struggle for African liberation and unification and supporting all other struggles to defeat the imperialist stranglehold on the world.
This is the political and economic context of InPDUM’s work to advance our Revolutionary National Democratic Program. The primary objective of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program of our movement is to establish the political basis for the struggle for black power.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program offers the masses of our people and the people of the world an alternative program to the predatory program being advanced by U.S. imperialism. The RNDP is a program that not only opposes the unjust wars and interventions of the U.S.; it unites with the aspirations of the victims of such wars and interventions. It establishes the basis for international unity with our struggle against U.S. imperialism.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program must be advanced and fought for in the streets, communities, factories and campuses of the U.S. and the world. It is a program of peace and social justice; it is a program that unleashes the masses of our people on a path for the conquest of revolutionary national democratic power, the power to govern ourselves.
This is what makes InPDUM’s work so significant during this time of deep crisis of imperialism. Our program does not attempt to win the people to a process of solving the crisis of imperialism. It contributes to deepening the crisis by organizing practical unity between the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of the world and the struggles of the U.S. Front of the African Liberation Movement for the socialist liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide.
This is not something to be taken lightly. Nor should this be understood as a campaign to simply take it upon ourselves to implement one or more points of the overall program.
The task is to become revolutionary politicians who may or may not implement points of the overall program, but who will see as our primary task winning the masses of our people to the whole Revolutionary National Democratic Program as their own.
The RNDP will contend with the program of the imperialist parties of the U.S. and their lesser allies both within and outside the U.S. This is the program that we want the progressive international community to recognize as representing the interests of struggling Africans colonized within the current borders of the U.S.
Using the Revolutionary National Democratic Program as the basis for winning the unity of the African masses in the U.S. to a revolutionary trajectory, the Party must see InPDUM as the vehicle through which we move to conquer real power, the power to govern.
As InPDUM represents the organizational manifestation of the revolutionary national democratic unity of the African masses, we must use InPDUM as a major vehicle for the establishment of a revolutionary national democratic provisional government.
The Revolutionary National Democratic Program gives us the ability to concretize the question of political power among the masses of our people with the objective of winning the people to the right and responsibility for self-government.
This marks a critical juncture of our struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people worldwide from the U.S. Front of the African Liberation Movement against continued imperialist world domination and for the victory of international socialism.
InPDUM’s advancement of the Revolutionary National Democratic Program also contributes to the unification of the anti-colonialist or pro-independence tendency within the African community. Now, with the concretization of the ASI as the material, organizational manifestation of the strategic goal of the African Revolution, InPDUM’s pursuit of the revolutionary national democratic capture of political power in the U.S. allows our Party to unite with all the legitimate efforts to capture forms of state power within the U.S.
With the existence of the ASI, InPDUM’s work allows for unity with some practical programs of the African anti-colonial, pro-independence tendency as the first stage of the overall African Revolution that will result in the capture and unification of Africa, our national homeland, as well as the African nation dispersed throughout the world.
Black is Back Coalition helps to advance RNDP
In September 2009, less than a month prior to InPDUM’s Philadelphia convention, the Party played a key role in initiating the founding of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIB). The coalition was created as a vehicle to influence the struggle against the immediate strategic and desperate crisis-resolving attempt by U.S. imperialism that was masking itself behind the face of Barack Hussein Obama.
The Black is Back Coalition initiated the first national demonstration against the Obama regime in Washington, D.C. It was also the only African-led national demonstration against U.S. foreign and domestic policies since Obama’s election. T