On October 1, 2, 5 and 8, the African Socialist International (ASI) held public meetings throughout Europe hosting our Chairman, Omali Yeshitela.
I recalled on an early Thursday morning, us anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chairman Omali and Deputy Chair Ona Zene Yeshitela, after what felt like a lifetime since we had had the pleasure of hosting our international leadership in the UK.
As the morning progressed, the weather was actually quite warm for this time of year, which I looked at as a good sign of things to come, as we had only one more week to work with and we wanted to work hard to make the tour a success.
As the Chairman and Deputy Chair exited the flight deck, we greeted each other, and made preparations to get them back to base to rest.
Kicking off the tour in London
Events were organised in London, High Wycombe, Birmingham, & Belgium. InPDUM London forces were instrumental in organising for the London event with Comrades Trevor, Anthony, Hotep, Denise and Rosaline making exceptional contributions.
The tour first kicked off at our base in London. "Black Star Showtime" provided the sound and music for the London event.
Despite us starting slightly late, the event was well attended.
The African Socialist International would like to recognize our Comrade, Brother Tongogara from the Free Mumia Coalition (UK), who gave an important presentation on the historic and political basis for the unity of African people in Britain.
He chronicled over 50 years of black struggle from his personal introduction in the liberation struggle to the insidious British operations that have targeted the African community, like Operation Cleansweep that has killed a number of Africans including Ricky Bishop and Operation Swamp that imposes the stop and search policies of the African community that sparked the 1981 Brixton rebellions, to the current crisis of imperialism which led up to the killing of an African named Mark Duggan under Operation Trident, sparking the 2011 Black August Rebellions.
The ASI would also like to recognise Comrade Brother Gueu Made from Comite Des Patriotes Ivoiriens who gave a historic and political observation of the plight of our community in Ivory Coast chronicling 50 years of French oppression.
Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary-General of the African Socialist International, noted Ivory Coast as a strategic place for our revolution. It’s told that Ivory Coast holds more gold than Ghana, and Ivory Coast also produces the chocolate that enriches imperialist corporations.
Brother Gueu said that Ivory Coast was a former French colony until so-called independence in 1960, which Gueu noted was not real independence. He explained that at that point Ivory Coast was ruled by Felix Houphouet-Boigny, a primitive African petty bourgeois puppet who handed over all of Ivory Coast’s economic power to France — just as we see Alassane Ouattara doing today.
In the 1960s, 75 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Ivory Coast would go to the French Treasury. Today it stands that 51 percent of the GDP of Ivory Coast goes to the French treasury. The French still own and run all the institutions that affect our community there, including water, transportation and housing.
Gueu explained that part of the attack against President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast this year was due to the fact Gbagbo was attempting to not hand over all of Ivory Coast’s resources to France, which in turn led to French and U.S intervention in his overthrow.
Gueu boldly declared that over the last decade since Gbagbo was elected in 2000, every UN decision made in regards to Ivory Coast was a conscious attack against the interests of the people with assistance from the French who have been commonly criminalizing the people of Ivory Coast.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela then took the stage and electrified the audience, his presentation summed up the connection of the Ivory Coast experience to the African experience in Britain to the African experience in the U.S. The Chairman’s theory of African Internationalism helped the people identify that we are dealing with the same class enemies in all these places.
The Chairman reemphasised that “we have to begin moving past discussions, as there’s a pattern emerging of African resistance throughout the world, where more and more people are looking for organisation — organisation that we can provide”!
The Chairman broke down the development of capitalism and the European nation consolidated through an attack on the African nation. He stated, “This new world economy born out of slavery ensured tremendous wealth and civilisation for Europeans, contrary to the myth many of us learnt in colonial schools, where Europe and the capitalist economy were able to develop independently from the rest of the world, because Europeans were smarter and able to transform the social, economic and political conditions for their development out of thin air.”
The Chairman continued, “The text books fail to mention that it is we Africans and oppressed communities of Asia and South America that are the primitive accumulation of capital, working in the fields of Africa and Asia bringing an influx of resources and wealth to a diseased and un-free Europe that made it unnecessary for them to work and create that start-up capital.”
The Chairman spoke on the need for the permanent mobilisation and organisation of Africans as the bearer and catalyst of our vision of a unified and liberated Africa under the leadership of African workers in alliance with the peasants.
Here the Chairman showed us, not only his years of experience in revolutionary science but also his practical approach to the street. The Chairman is truly an example for everybody especially with his sacrifice and his loyalty to Africans and to the revolution. He is an example of objectivity and scientific rigor. All of that with a humbleness that is more than impressive.
During the tour, the Chairman informed us of his opportunity to speak to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when attending a meeting in New York on September 20, 2011, about the UN. Chairman Omali said that the narrative of the people resisting imperialism and the explanation of the problems of the world are starting to come into line with what we have always exposed.
High Wycombe event makes way for building movement there
After holding a successful meeting at our base in London, we moved swiftly to High Wycombe. We must recognise our Comrade Brother Kojo Asare Bonsu who organised and hosted our event on October 2 there. The attendees were very receptive at this event. Some even stayed behind afterwards to speak to organisers about how to build the movement as a permanent base in High Wycombe.
Many said that having the Chairman back in Europe five years after the conference to build the African Socialist International in London in 2006 was an honour and a humbling experience. Some commented on how they had been in attendance when the Chairman last visited High Wycombe almost a decade ago and how they were now amazed with the leaps and bounds the movement has made internationally.
The Chairman reported on the ASI initiating the farming projects in West Africa, and how meaningful these projects have been in transforming the lives of the communities involved. He told the audience that “if you’ve got skills, we have specific projects” to begin the process of tying us all together to solve the problems of the people and the revolution.
The Chairman reported on the All African People’s Development & Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and its work in assisting our people in providing clean drinking water through creating wells and using rainwater harvesting systems.
He also reported that we now have and run a clinic in Sierra Leone, which has put our movement at the forefront of delivering healthy babies under the worst kinds of circumstances. Sierra Leone has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.
In addition, under the dynamic leadership of Comrade Nurse Mary Koroma, AAPDEP now has a membership of over 400 nurses and is expanding.
He also acknowledged the role of culture in the revolution and the necessity for culture to serve the interests of the people. This statement followed the brilliant performances by Amra productions and family, Damela, El Crisis, Souljah of the gods and Sixteen performing at the London and High Wycombe events.
Africans everywhere fighting for Africa as one people in one trajectory, represents the highest expression of crisis for this imperialist monster.
Building economic institutions
The Chairman’s presence showed us other possibilities of developing the revolution to another level, especially in economic terms and in the development of a network of African revolutionaries.
We concretely learned that every means available should be used to advance the revolution as long as we are guided with the revolutionary science of African internationalism. Discipline and the knowledge of revolutionary science allow us to eliminate tendencies against the revolution like opportunism and dogmatism.
Institutions like Uhuru Foods and organisations like the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project were all on the agenda for us to build here in the UK as Europe needs to have these African economic development programs that are tied to the same process as the U.S, for means of making economic development circulating resources throughout the African community.
Chairman Omali and Deputy Chair Ona were working rapidly and non-stop. In fact, on Tuesday, October 4, the Political Education for InPDUM’s planning meeting on Economic Development at the Lettsom Hall in London was given by the Chairman.
Deputy Chair Ona elaborated further on the success of Uhurufoods at this event. Her determination, toughness, perspicacity and her courage makes her an example for all African women activists. It shows the necessity to involve more women in the revolution to destroy the domination of humans over humans no matter what race or sex they are, which is in contention with this system of imperialism.
Comrade Jo from ASI Belgium said “the quality of the organization in the USA stimulates us in Europe to work harder and better. It also gives us the courage to diversify our force for the development of our financial self-determination and logistical capacity. We are grateful that the Chairman brought us more than 40 years of experience from St. Petersburg, which allows us to avoid the mistakes we would have been confronted with if we were separated in this revolution”.
Concluding the tour
The Birmingham, England and Brussels, Belgium events taught us again about the urgency of building organisation where it doesn’t exist. I felt that there was a real hunger to build organisation from the audience and the prospects lay open to us to maximise our development.
The Chairman commonly said during his presentation that the world was watching the Black August rebellions that swept across England this year, and in fact, history may say that the spark that leads to the revolutionary emancipation of African people may start from here as the catalyst.
The police had been waging counterinsurgency attacks on Africans in Britain leading to the rebellions.
In Britain, Africans are stopped by police 26 times the rate of Europeans.
The proportion of Africans in prison in England and Wales is higher than in the United States where we are jailed seven times the rates we make up of the country’s population.
At the time of the rebellions, InPDUM was aware of three Africans murdered by the British police this year. Since the Black August Rebellions we are now aware of eight Africans that have been killed by the Police in 2011.
The ASI would again like to thank Comrade Brother Bini Brown in Birmingham for hosting our event on October 5. Brother Bini gave us access to New Style Radio 98.7fm where presenter Simon Solomon interviewed the Chairman about the event we had planned that evening and about the movement itself.
The audience was widely receptive to the prospects of building a World Tribunal on Reparations to African people. The tribunal will be the place where African people can put the imperialists on trial for crimes committed against us including slavery and colonialism.
At the event, InPDUM President Kwabena Gyakye made a special call for the audience to recognise the family of Kingsley Burrell in the Birmingham meeting. Kingsley Burrell was one of the victims of police murder this year.
And the ASI would also like to recognise Comrades Jo & Markus from ASI Belgium that organised brilliantly for the Belgium event on October 8. Sister Jo who is based in Brussels, also participated and attended the London and High Wycombe events earlier in the week. Brother Markus intended to attend also, but due to State interference, he was denied access in the UK from Brussels.
The implementation of building the World Tribunal on Reparations to African People in Belgium is a colossal project, but there has been an increased awareness of the African population there that has started to realize the uselessness of the institutions that are supposed to defend the material and intellectual interests of the community.
Comrade Jo declared, “The presence of the Chairman to initiate this project officially is without any doubts a key element for the credibility of this project and secures us the attention of the African Diaspora that know what to look for in a revolutionary.
“We realized that the internalization and the professionalization of the struggle are necessary to lead an organized and operational African revolution. The arrival of the Chairman raised our awareness, motivation and ambition to create a front that’s efficient for the African revolution in continental Europe and the French speaking parts of Africa.”
The Brussels meeting was mostly conducted in French with translations by ASI Secretary-General Luwezi Kinshasa and Likay Ifefo of ASI London.
The way forward
Building the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations as an international organization across Europe and building for the World Tribunal on Reparations to African people was both positively and enthusiastically received at all four events.
In the seven years I’ve been in the Uhuru Movement, I’ve never seen more of a readiness among the community to disregard the borders that have been imposed on us to keep us separated.
The imperialist explanation and ideology is getting rejected as they constantly expose themselves as the enemy of the oppressed peoples of the planet and our explanations of the real problems affecting our community in Somalia, Congo, Ivory Coast, England and anywhere else we exist is more widely accepted.
One cannot ignore how the Chairman’s meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad on September 20 may have influenced some of Ahmadinejad’s own speech at the UN General assembly 2011.
Luwezi Kinshasa has said, “The freedom movement is here to achieve freedom for all African people. The theory and tactics of African Internationalism is the tool to overturn this parasitic system of slavery. We have a responsibility to be a part of the African working class reponse to the crisis of imperialism, and our response must be as a single nation, wherever we are. We know that imperialist aggression against Africa is an aggression without regard for borders, So we in turn should build an African resistance without borders. ”
Luwezi announced to a standing ovation at all the events that we want the Chairman back in the UK in May 2012 for African Liberation Day to take place possibly in Belgium or Germany.
We are truly on the move to build our movement for freedom and an important component of that is the World Tribunal on Reparations to African People. It’s time for us to determine who the real looters are.
Build a single united African Liberation Movement!
Build the African Socialist International in Europe !
Resistance is the main trend in the world !