It has been clear since the violent, military-style, pre-dawn FBI raids of the Uhuru Movement on July 29, 2022, that the U.S. government is targeting African and colonized people because of our long-fought struggle to be a free and self-determining people. The Department of Justice (DOJ) further revealed their intent to target Africans and other freedom-loving people even if it violates its own democratic principles, as expressed in the U.S. constitution regarding the first amendment right to freedom of speech.
But not just freedom to say anything. The attacks on Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Penny Hess, and Jesse Nevel, coined the Uhuru 3, reflect an assault specifically on anti-colonial speech or speech developed from the viewpoint of African and other colonized people that advocates and/or expresses the interests of, or solidarity with, dominated peoples to be free.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela is being targeted now for the same reasons he was targeted when he exercised his first amendment right and tore down a white nationalist mural that hung in St. Pete, FL city hall in 1966 as a then-member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Since the founding of the African People’s Socialist Party in 1972, Chairman Omali Yeshitela has proved an unwavering leader who has made clear that it was through the process of “looting the world, enslaving African people, and slaughtering the Indigenous people” that the forces recognized as world powers today were able to lock Africans and all colonized people into a single world economy that is perpetually against the development of African workers’ State power and self-determination.
State-sanctioned attacks on speech that colonial powers characterize as “threatening” are not at all new. Participants of the Black Revolution of the ‘60s like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Fred Hampton, and more were killed as a consequence of forwarding anti-colonial speech. At the time, it was characterized as “inflammatory, black nationalist hate speech.” The colonizer invents new terms, new laws, and definitions for the purpose of preventing Africans from communicating our own interests.
FBI has no case, U.S. gov’t motives revealed
The DOJ’s ludicrous indictment makes plain that the “overt acts,” which the FBI deemed threatening to U.S. national security, are all instances that relate to speech and expression. Phrases like “caused a message to be sent,” “drafted a document,” or “attended a conference” are what the FBI states as its reasons for the use of flashbang grenades, drones, and assault rifles against our Movement. It states “running candidates for office,” “petitioning the U.S. government for crimes of genocide against African people,” and building support for reparations are all part of a foreign government conspiracy, not the actual opinions and beliefs of the Uhuru 3 and most African and colonized people for that matter.
This attack is informed by the colonial powers’ anxiousness over what the anti-colonial free speech movement truly represents: speech that is anathema to the colonial mode of production, speech that emboldens and invigorates Africans to join the fight for the freedom and liberation of Africa and African people the world over, and simply, speech that exposes truth.
Criminalizing speech from St. Louis to Palestine
The urgency of the fight to protect anti-colonial free speech today is further heightened by the criminalization of the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” in support of Palestinian liberation, as well as the attacks we’ve seen made on forces like the Tampa 5, Stop Copy City protestors, and more. With the Palestinian liberation struggle achieving world recognition, we see the colonial powers scramble to control the narrative and make illegal the unshakable support for the Palestinian people.
In a Nov. 10 Associated Press article, it was reported that police in Vienna banned a demonstration, “citing the fact that the phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ was mentioned in invitations and characterizing it as a call to violence.” This revolutionary phrase, part and parcel of anti-colonial free speech, is being branded as anti-semitic hate speech; once again to outlaw any speech that condemns colonialism.
Not only is this a reckless distortion of reality, as we call on Jews to abandon their bourgeoisie and join the anti-colonial struggle, but what is evident is that the colonizer has run out of tricks and resorts to the same old used-up tactics: synonymizing righteous fights for liberation to a personal, hate-filled attack on members of the oppressor nation.
In England and Germany, expressing support for Palestine could result in jail-time or threaten one’s citizenship. Recently, the U.S. government passed a resolution declaring that “anti-zionism is anti-semitic.” In other words, they have moved to target those who condemn Israeli settler-colonialism and the white nationalist philosophy that supports its existence.
Since the October 2023 launch of Israel’s intensified genocidal campaign to crush Palestinian resistance, more than 80 journalists have been murdered for reporting on the reality of what’s happening in Gaza. This is the extent this system is willing to go, using the case of the Uhuru 3 to open a door that would officially lead to the end of the first amendment in the U.S.
Build the anti-colonial free speech movement
There are no military pre-dawn raids against those who utter white nationalist speech attacking Africans, Mexicans, Palestinians, and others. There’s no defamation league hunting down individuals and organizations for the horribly offensive barrage of slander that Africans are subjected to on a daily basis. Make no mistake: this attack on anti-colonial free speech reveals that there is no free speech for anyone. When our speech goes against the interests of the colonial ruling class, they will outlaw it, justify their surveillance and harassment, conjure up bogus, frame-up charges and threaten us with prison sentences or worse.
But we are not going back! Building the anti-colonial free speech movement means building our capacity to fight back against the attempts to establish a dangerous precedent of eliminating the right to freedom of speech, especially that which represents the real interests of African, colonized and oppressed peoples inside the U.S. and throughout the world. This is why we call on everyone to join the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Campaign and demand the charges be dropped on the Uhuru 3. For more than a year, we have waged a counteroffensive that has exposed the U.S. government at every turn. As we prepare for a potential trial, we are clear, “We are not retreating, we are building!” And what we are building, comrades, is the anti-colonial free speech movement!
Join the Hands Off Uhuru Fight Back Coalition!
Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!
Drop the Charges!