Revolutionary culture, Marcus Garvey brought to life and the vision for the future of humanity were just some of the amazing highlights during the African People’s Socialist Party USA’s (APSP USA) four day plenary, as the party celebrated 40 years of existence.
The plenary was held in St. Petersburg, Florida, home of African resistance, at the Party’s headquarters, the Uhuru House. It welcomed representatives from various part of the African world including Canada, England, Belgium and various parts of the United States.
The plenary was organized to review the Party’s work in between the congresses, provide mass political education and act as a focal point for all the Party’s leaders and activist to strengthen our determination in overthrowing imperialism.
A history of struggle and accomplishments
During the four days the conference a lot was achieved. Chairman Omali Yeshitela opened the conference reading from the powerful Political Report to the Plenary, which gave a historical appreciation and understanding to the significant and context of the plenary.
The military defeat of the Black Power Movement of the Sixties inside US and throughout the African world from Congo to Jamaica only stalled the motion of overthrowing imperialism.
The political report showed the role that the African People’s Socialist Party played in history in keeping the Black Power Movement alive from the 1960s today and advancing it beyond the limitations it faced in the 1960s during its early years.
It showed the significance of African Internationalism, the theory brought to us by Chairman Omali Yeshitela, in taking the struggle beyond one against racism and defining it as one against colonialism and also defining colonialism and slavery as the fundamental relationship that the whole system rests on that must be overturned if the parasitic capitalist system is to go.
The political report also showed how African Internationalism solved other theoretical issues from the Black Power Movement in the Sixties, including the role of white people in history and in the struggle and defining white solidarity with anti-colonial struggle as necessarily working under the leadership of the colonized peoples struggling to overturn the colonial relationship.
This manifested itself in the Party’s founding of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, an organization of white people who work under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party and organize in white communities for reparations and against colonialism.
The political report showed the Party’s historical role in making reparations a broad demand and defining the U.S. government’s war of counterinsurgency on the Black Power Movement of the Sixties and subsequently the African community in general. It showed the Party’s leadership in mass campaigns like the Dessie X Woods campaign in the 1970s that resurrected and reunited the dormant movement throughout the U.S.
The report showed the work of the Party in doing work on various fronts contributing to the world situation we see today as we witness oppressed people rising up around the world to take control of their own resources and lives.
The plenary and the Party’s 40th anniversary occurred at the same time that U.S. and Western imperialism breathe their last breath. The report reminded representatives that the APSP was born to lead this final offensive against imperialism.
The report also defined African Internationalism as not just a theory in the abstract, but a united theory and practice that is manifested in the real world in the African People’s Socialist Party. It defined building the Party as the task of this period.
The reading was followed by profound discussions and questions that are not being had anywhere else. The conference provided ideological clarity on some of the new phenomenon.
New projects to build the Party and African self-reliance
The plenary was also used to announce many of the Party’s new projects and showcase our work throughout the African world.
Included in these was the incredible Black Star Industries (BSI), a project that builds on the legacy of Marcus Garvey to provide opportunities for economic development self-reliance programs to be built in partnership with the community and also brings all of the economic institutions and projects of the African People’s Socialist Party under one umbrella.
Through BSI, individuals in the African community can also get the opportunity to build economic projects they dream of in partnership with BSI.
Also announced at the plenary was the Oakland Summer Project that will launch the grand re-opening of the Uhuru House in Oakland as well as other projects in Oakland.
The plenary also organized workshops on how to do successful outreach and sell The Burning Spear. Many who could not attend watched the plenary live on UhuruNews.com.
It was announced that The Burning Spear was returning to its monthly schedule and comrades were called on to contribute articles and the establishment of new columns were announced on fitness, music and culture.
A video and report from the African Socialist International (ASI) in Europe showed the Party’s leadership in the Congo and Senegal protest movements. They have launched the “We Are Patrice Lumumba Coalition” to influence the Congo protest movement and win Africans to national liberation beyond the colonial borders of Congo.
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project’s (AAPDEP) Ayesha Fleary gave an insightful presentation on AAPDEP’s work in Sierra Leone with the launching and development of several projects throughout Sierra Leone including a maternal health clinic, a nursing school, farming projects and fishing projects for self-reliance.
Comrade Ayesha also announced that Nurse Mary Koroma who leads the work in Sierra Leone will be touring Europe and the U.S. to raise funds again this year.
International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement President Diop Olugbala spoke about the launch of the campaign to defend Fred Reio, an African arrested for a music video violating the right to free speech the U.S. constitution alleges that Africans are supposed to have.
Cultural highlights of the conference
There were many cultural highlights in the plenary. After reciting the African Pledge to the massive red, black and green flag outside Uhuru House each morning, we were entertained with revolutionary rap culture. TriggaNAM, Binga and Torien were among the performers.
We were also treated to a fashion show, showcasing the Uhuru Movement’s t-shirts and accessories.
Sunday evening was lit up with the incredibly moving presentation by Ron Bobb-Semple of his electrifying one-man “Spirit of Marcus Garvey” show. This is a show that will be toured around the world along with presentations by Chairman Omali Yeshitela later this year.
Perhaps one of the most important recognitions in the program was the recognition of the fallen comrades who over the last more than 40 years contributed to building the Party and its organizations. This, along with the recognition of the work of current comrades who won Comrade of the Quarter and Year awards, showed that our Party is not just a here-today-gone-tomorrow kind of organization, but one that has an incredible foundation that has lasted and will lead into the future.
If nothing else, the Plenary showed us that the task we have today is to build the Party. The history of this Party is significant in that it has shown us that this institution has historically been necessary to carry our struggle forward.
This is true more than ever today. Let us build the Party and win our liberation!
Forward to the final offensive!