Few things demonstrate the theoretical and political poverty of the liberation struggle of African people in the U.S. more than the response of our movement to the current presidential election campaign.
The two dominant ruling class parties are, of course, the Democratic and Republican representatives of U.S. white power. There is not a dime worth’s of difference between the two of them, although they, and many of today’s political pundits of all persuasions, are loath to admit it.
They are both imperialist-capitalist parties. They are both defenders of the imperialist-capitalist system that depends on the ongoing parasitic theft of resources from the vast majority of the world’s peoples for its success.
No candidate of either of those parties condemn imperialism. None demand the end of U.S. subsidizing the white nationalist settler state of Israel at the expense of the lives, lands, resources and happiness of the Palestinian Arab people.
Neither of them demands an immediate withdrawal of U.S military forces from the hundreds of bases around the world that are used to threaten, subdue and prevent peoples from capturing their own sovereignty and their capacity to produce life for themselves.
And while there is much discussion during this election about immigration and the threat to build a wall to prevent the Mexican people crossing over into the U.S., none of the candidates mentions the fact that the U.S. stole half of Mexico at gunpoint and reduced all the Mexican people to penury and illegality, within the current borders of the U.S.
As many in the Mexican community are quick to retort: “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!”
Not a single democrat or republican is prepared to recognize the existence of concentration camps within the U.S., especially the ones characterized as “Indian” Reservations, habitats of thousands of people pushed into near-genocide and starvation by a white invasion that has left the traditional custodians of this land often homeless and barely living.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties represent the capitalist-colonialist white ruling class
The Democratic and Republican parties cannot do any of this because they are—both of them—the parties of the capitalist-colonialist white ruling class and the electoral process is one that allows different sectors of the ruling class to conduct nonviolent struggle for control of the capitalist-colonialist State to their economic and political advantage.
The debates the different representatives of the ruling class parties have revolved around the existential crisis of imperialism and the future of white people in the U.S. and the world.
Immigration, terrorism and economics have assumed such outsized importance during this election season because the entire system of parasitic capitalism—capitalism given birth and sustained by slavery and colonialism––is facing its greatest threat ever.
That threat stems from a generalized resistance to the economic and political arrangement that was ushered onto the world stage through slavery and colonialism. Moreover, it is an arrangement that requires the existing subjugation of the world’s peoples for its success.
The 1960s demand for Black Power
The imperialist crisis of the 1960s was a response to the Cuban, South American, Vietnamese and African revolutions attempt to overturn this parasitic relationship.
Our people, within the African community in the U.S., had advanced beyond the absolute, cringing political dependence on the Democratic party that began with the election of U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Our most obvious split with the white liberal Democratic party came at the Democratic Party National Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1964.
This was when the Democrats betrayed the Africans from Mississippi who had risked their lives organizing to attend the convention. Liberals promised that the Democrats would seat the oppressed Africans instead of the white lynch mob Democrats, who literally murdered Africans for attempting to register as Democrats.
From this point on we began to see a progression of our upstanding militants who went into Lowndes County Alabama to build the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, an all black political party that became the first Black Panther Party because of its choice of a black panther as its symbol.
The Black Panther, initiated and popularized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was taken up by militants throughout the U.S., including the local SNCC organization in St. Petersburg, Florida whose office outer wall was adorned by the now-iconic Black Panther symbol.
This political work was accompanied by a demand for black power by the most dynamic sector of our movement. This demand moved us beyond the simpering plea to integrate into the system of our oppression. It united the struggle of Africans within the U.S. with the fast growing struggle against colonialism waged around the world.
The defeat of the African Liberation Movement in the 1960s
Of course the U.S. fought back, on every Front. Patrice Lumumba was overthrown and murdered in Congo.
Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in in Ghana. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was imprisoned and eventually murdered in South Africa.
Che Guevara was wounded, captured and murdered in Bolivia.
A reign of terror and assassination also prevailed in the U.S.
Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton, Lawrence Mann and scores more were assassinated and an unknown number of militants were scooped up by local and federal police organizations.
Most of our militant, anti-imperialist organizations that called for self-determination or independence were destroyed. Their members hunted down, arrested and scattered.
This weakness is responsible for the pitiful reaction of our movement to the 2016 election campaign for U.S. president.
Some of the highest profiled African leaders, who carry the ambiguous labels of “progressive” or “leftists,” have abandoned Hillary Clinton, the main Democratic party standard bearer.
They are either motivated by fear of Donald Trump, the billionaire front-runner of the Republican party, or seduced by the “leftist” rhetoric of the Democratic party insurgent, Bernie Sanders.
Trump and Sanders draw thousands of mostly-white people to their rallies. They both serve to undermine the common refrain from political pundits that an “enthusiasm” deficit exists within the democratic race compared to the republican race.
The fact is an enthusiasm deficit exists between whites who consider themselves out of the concentrated white power loop as compared to those candidates in both parties who are obviously tied to the bankers and traditional custodians of the electoral political process.
The electoral process: a competition between the different sectors of the white ruling class
The electoral process is one wherein different sectors of the bourgeoisie struggle nonviolently for control of the U.S. capitalist colonialist State, while soliciting the participation of the broad masses of white people for its validation.
The white ruling class acquires its popular authority to carry out its policies of genocide and plunder from the general white population. This is what the white world calls democracy.
The mass of white people, however, are feeling the economic pinch that stems from the world’s peoples struggle to recapture our lands and resources from the parasitic capitalist, mostly-white dominated social system. A parasite thus deprived is in crisis. It faces death and destruction.
Trump and Sanders are a response to that crisis of parasitism.
African people around the world and within the U.S. are partially responsible for the crisis of imperialism. We are a part of the great mass of humanity that is on the rise in opposition to continued domination by imperialist white power.
Our responsibility is greatest, within the U.S., because of our strategic location in the “belly of the beast.” It is a responsibility our Party was created to assume and one that we gladly take on.
That responsibility, stated simply, is to assume the leadership of the masses ourselves from the imperialist Democratic party and to minimize the fear and hysterics associated with the Republican party candidate by winning African people, especially from among the working class, to the task of seizing black power over our black lives.
The African People’s Socialist Party: The Party of the African working class
Like all political parties, the African People’s Socialist Party is the party of a particular class. It is its advanced sector. Unlike the Democratic and Republican parties, however, the African People’s Socialist Party is the Party of the African working class, upon whose shoulders rest the fate of the entire forcibly dispersed African nation.
Our responsibility is to not accept the imperialist crisis as our own. It is our responsibility deepen the crisis of imperialism by joining with the peoples of the world in destroying the imperialist order, by striking out to liberate and unite Africa and all African people under the leadership of the international African working class.
This is what every campaign and institution we create is about. This is the basis of our dual power economic programs and our struggle to undermine the U.S. colonial State and replace its ubiquitous presence—police, courts, grand juries, etc.—with representative black power alternatives.
This is why we initiated a campaign for reparations in 1982 that works, bringing in resources to support our revolution. This is why we have created the African Socialist International (ASI) that created Party organizations in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and throughout the U.S., uniting our struggle to win total liberation.
We have not simply left the white people to the clutches of the Democratic and Republican parties. We challenge Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s pseudo socialist Zionist Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, with whom Sanders shares an overlapping enthusiastic white base that is dissatisfied with the current imperialist custodians’ inability to satisfy their needs and still their fears.
Our Party has gone behind enemy lines with the creation of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and the North American solidarity forces under its immediate leadership.
APSC functions as an arm of Our Party to take the struggle for black power into the bowels of white America, in the same manner the Democratic Party has functioned in the African community within the U.S.
While the Democrats provide reasons Africans should continue to rely on imperialism, Our Party, through the APSC, provides reasons whites should abandon a dying system, pay reparations and join the future under the leadership of black power.
This is the way forward.
This is the way we can free ourselves from the dependence on white power and its political parties.
This is the way we can win!
This is the way we will win!
This is the way we are winning!
Join the African People’s Socialist Party!
To read this article in print, purchase the May issue of The Burning Spear newspaper!