The means of production are not in the hands of the colonized workers of the world. The safety of working-class Africans is not in the hands of African communities.
On top of the other forms of exploitation the African working class endures under colonial economies, COVID-19, which African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) Chairman Omali Yeshitela has diagnosed as the colonial virus, continues to threaten the working class in all colonized societies all around the world.
Having been designated as “essential,”—especially the workers exploited by large capitalist exploiters like food manufacturers—these workers are recklessly sacrificed on the altar of greed and oppression. Many of us have been made to work in disease-ridden facilities, fearing for our lives.
Among the capitalist countries, the U.S. stands out as one of the worst abusers of workers. Among the many forms of this exploitation of workers at the hands of capitalist leeches, we find food production and especially meat production plants among the most violent and coercive.
Parasitic colonial capitalists let workers die
Tyson Foods, which is squatting on land stolen from Indigenous people in Iowa, stands out as an example of the callous inhumanity of capitalist exploitation. In Des Moines, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, over 1,000 “essential” workers have been infected with the colonial virus.
Forty percent of the workers in Tyson’s Logansport, Indiana facility, nearly 900 workers, have been infected with the virus. In April, the majority African workers at a Pilgrim’s Pride factory in Cold Spring, Minnesota walked out on their jobs over unsafe conditions and skyrocketing infection rates.
According to the latest July 2 update by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, “there have been at least 26,500 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 254 plants in 33 states, and at least 95 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.”
Built on the genocide of Indigenous people and the forcible dispersal, enslavement and colonization of millions of African people, these meat production facilities and their owners actively contribute to the oppression and domination of Indigenous and African people for the purpose of economic exploitation and political advantage.
Inside these factories, in the locker rooms and break spaces, we find African workers from all places—many of us having been forced to flee colonialist violence in their places of birth—trying to survive colonial exploitation.
Calling us “essential” is making a mockery of their struggle and the capitalist work-and-die order. True, our exploited labor is essential in providing the lifeblood of the parasitic capitalist system, but our essential needs are never met since we are never paid the value of our labor.
Be it in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, African people cannot know peace, prosperity or human dignity until this colonialist domination is overthrown and the power over our lives rests in our own hands.
African workers feed the world and die everywhere
We know that this is not just a national problem, but a cause for international solidarity with the African working class everywhere. Over 1,500 meat plant workers in Germany have been exposed to and infected with the virus. More than 1,000 workers in Ireland have tested positive for the colonial virus.
Over 500 workers in a fish-processing factory in Tema, Ghana, over 600 workers at one meatpacking plant in the Netherlands, about 200 workers in France and hundreds of workers in Spanish food production facilities and workers elsewhere in the world are sick because of the capitalist colonial virus.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost 90 percent of those who have been infected in the meat processing facilities in the U.S. are non-white, aka colonized.
Driven by the need to extract more and more value from workers—many of whom are African migrants forced from our homes by the continued colonial exploitation of and imperialist wars against our homelands—our employers continue to prove their inability to act with basic humanity.
These companies and the governments who supposedly have the obligation to protect their workers instead endanger the working class and force us to endure horrors for the sake of capitalist profits.
The same social system that starves Africans by exporting the food produced in Africa to the rest of the world kills and endangers Africans in the U.S. Our endless toil in life-threatening conditions is rewarded with pittances, our protests with punishment.
The African working class must build our own economic institutions
The parasitic capitalist food system robs the African working class of our own resources and makes us dependent on highly processed, unhealthy food, exacerbating both the food and labor insecurity of the African working class.
Though fully aware of the immense health dangers posed by processed food and meats, these companies continue to push their products on the dinner table of the same African workers they expose to the colonial virus by day.
Led by APSP Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela, the Uhuru Movement’s Black Power Blueprint models the way forward for African working-class communities to simultaneously withdraw from and thereby destroy the parasitic colonial capitalist economy on the one hand and build a self-governing economy in the hands of the African working class on the other hand.
The Black Power Blueprint’s social and economic programs ensure that we, the African working class, seize control of our own food, clothing, housing and commerce.
This self-determination provides us, the African working class, with safe working conditions, healthier food sources and independence from deadly colonial capitalism.
Join the African People’s Socialist Party at apspuhuru.org
Donate to or volunteer for the Black Power Blueprint at blackpowerblueprint.org
Join the movement to build true independence!
Victory to the African working class!