In the early afternoon on Sep. 12, a protest by our people demanding the closure of the Peckham Hair and Cosmetics shop in South London went viral, forcing Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London to make a token statement.
The echo of “Touch One! Touch All!’’ developed by African Internationalism more than twenty years ago, was heard when demonstrators chanted “All for one and one for all, if you touch one, then you touch all!”
This protest was called by Africans in the community in response to the aggression against an African woman who was attacked by Sohail Sindho, the shop owner. The sister cannot be named for legal reasons.
The September 11 video shows Sohail Sindho with his arm around the neck of a black woman, setting the black community in an uproar.
The shop remained shut upon the time of writing this article on Saturday, Sep. 16. Many Africans are demanding the shop be permanently closed.
Southeast Asians in London have typically chosen the opportunistic route of getting rich at the expense of our African people.
Historically, British colonialism in Africa and in the Caribbean allowed a sector of South Asian people a middle-class status, with the purpose of acting as a buffer social force between colonized African people and British colonists.
Today throughout Africa, there is a unity between the African petty bourgeoisie, the Southeast Asians, and white colonizers to exploit Africa and African people. India is becoming a major economic exploiter in Africa.
Likewise, in Britain, Southeast Asians – Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Afghans and other groups who aspire to middle class status have accepted colonial exploitation of African people to access wealth and economic development for their respective communities.
That is our hard-earned money from our red, black, green sweat that leaves our community for the Southeast Asian parasitic merchants every week! Just like our African minerals and other wealth are leaving Africa for India, China, Emirates, and other new economically rising groups.
This does not mean that the masses of Southeast Asian workers are not exploited in Britain or in Southeast Asia. The colonial mode of production, brought into existence through the enslavement of African human beings and the colonization of Africa, the so-called Americas and Asia, presents opportunities for other exploited populations to live at the expense of other colonized people, ultimately protecting the parasitic colonial-capitalist system.
We want businesses that develop our community and serve our needs with dignity. We want solidarity based on a common struggle against the colonial mode of production. We want Southeast Asians to be in solidarity with Black Power!
Shoplifting lies used to justify attack
The testimony by Edilenny Douteo, quoted by the bourgeois media as the person who recorded the video of the black woman being attacked said: “I went to the shop to buy some products with my friend. And I saw the lady, they were shouting at each other from the beginning. She was asking for a refund, and they told her that is not possible. So, she went to the shop, and she told them that, ‘if you’re not gonna get my refund, I want to get what I’m supposed to get for my money.”
The images of Sohail Sindho assaulting an African woman could not go unpunished!
Our sister has every right to demand a refund or exchange for a quality product, which is hard to come by in these barely maintained stores that often sell expired items and drug paraphernalia.
We want to also make it clear that we are not “shoplifters” as suggested by the daily Telegraph, a British colonial press engaged in obscuring the core contradiction between the colonized African Nation and the colonizer nation.
We are colonized Africans whose labor built modern Britain and the entire edifice upon which the whole colonial-capitalist economy rests. The real thieves are the ones who kidnapped and dispersed us, and who continue to live off of the stolen resources of Africa. The petty merchants set up shop in our neighborhoods selling alcohol and junk food or, in this case, a beauty supply store which sells products that most often African culture has produced.
We must set the terms for business in our community
On Peckham Rye Lane alone, the main business street where Africans buy their hair products, there are no less than seven Southeast Asian hair and skin product shops which constitute the facto monopoly control. This reality, along with the complicity of the Southwark council local authorities, bars any black business which tries to establish a hair and skin product shop.
The council is also a key architect in the gentrification of the black community in Southwark.
The September 12 protest was also against gentrification with recognition that the parasitic merchants are also part of this genocidal process of forcibly removing Africans from our communities.
Colonial violence must be met with resistance
Colonial violence against black women in Britain does not begin with this assault of our sister in Peckham. We must be opposed to all forms of colonial violence against black women and against black people as a matter of principle. The colonial economy is the source of all violence experienced by black people everywhere.
Police containment, the drug colonial economy, Southeast Asian shops in our community, gentrification, massive imprisonment of the black people, etc., are all parts of the colonial economy that breeds and requires colonial violence against African people in Britain and around the world.
From stop and frisk, school exclusion, anti-African bus/train ticket inspectors, deep poverty and unemployment in our community, to the straight murders of Ricky Bishop, Seun Riggs, Mark Duggan, Chris Kaba to the recent attack in Peckham’s Hair and Cosmetics – we are looking at colonial violence that was given rise to by colonial mode of production some 600 years ago.
We must get organized to stop all colonial violence against our people everywhere.
We must demand the economic development of the black community, in terms of massive economic investment which begins with reparations owed to black people.
We must build our own shops to sell our own products to ourselves and to everyone who comes into our community. The African People’s Socialist Party believes in dual and contending power, and self-determination for African people.
Our more than 50 economic institutions across the world are living examples of putting economic and political power in our own hands, giving us the ability to transform the conditions of our colonial existence, challenge the colonial powers and their parasitic economy, as well as establish the terms for those entering into and wanting to do business in our community.
We are able to do this because our Party addresses the question of the colonial mode of production, the source of all violence and problems for the African Nation.
Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement: InPDUM.org
Parasitic Petty Merchants Must Go! One Enemy! One Struggle! One Goal!