On December 3, 2013, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) expelled International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) President Diop Olugbala from the ranks of the Party and removed him from the position of President of InPDUM.
Diop had been a member of the Central Committee for three years and had become well known for boldness among members and supporters of the APSP and InPDUM.
However, Comrade Diop has also displayed serious contradictions. These contradictions revolve around the oppression of African women and a sometimes hostile stance toward other comrades.
The APSP takes violations of the Party Rules of Discipline and our Constitution and policies seriously. We take it so seriously that someone who was one of our most well-known leaders was removed from our leading body, then subsequently expelled from the APSP altogether.
We believe only by the adherence to strict discipline, revolutionary principles and socialist morality, that our Party can position itself to lead the struggle against U.S. colonialism. A Party such as ours cannot rightly call itself revolutionary without holding our members accountable to the high standards clearly spelled out in our Constitution, Rules of Party Discipline and other Party protocols.
Prior to disciplining Comrade Diop, the Party held several meetings that served the purpose of investigating new allegations made against him. For the Party, this immediate contradiction was not new. Diop had been disciplined more than three years ago concerning the oppression of African women. That contradiction and rectification was never totally resolved.
The process used to discipline Comrade Diop was also in adherence to the Party’s policy of transparency. We want our methods to inform our membership, as well as fraternal organizations, with respect to the application of Democratic Centralism. We do this to avoid past errors of our movement.
During the era of the 1960s and ‘70s, and as far back as the Garvey Movement, differences between organizations, and sometimes between members of the same organization, led to violence and organizational splits. It made it easy for agents and agents-provacateurs to come into our formations. Political offenders, when called on their transgressions would defend themselves at all cost–even when wrong.
The African People’s Socialist Party of today has matured beyond these contradictions of the 1960s and ‘70s for the most part. This is not to say we will never have these types of contradictions, but the situation with Comrade Diop is an example of the political maturing of our Party.
Further in this paper we will speak to a summation of some of the specific offenses committed by Diop. However, we feel it is necessary to also show what policies and rules were broken in this instance. Comrade Diop has broken the following Rules of Party Discipline:
2. Does not strive to unite our Party with the masses has broken Party discipline.
5. Exploits or oppresses African women through action or statement has broken Party discipline.
7. Fails to initiate constructive criticism or self-criticism has broken Party discipline.
8. Uses words or actions to divide the Party has broken Party discipline.
9. Refuses to recognize and follow the Party’s leadership has broken Party discipline.
10. Discards or weakens Party leadership as opposed to strengthening Party leadership has broken Party discipline.
12. Uses criticism or self-criticism to divide and not unite the Party has broken Party discipline.
15. Does not carry himself or herself worthy of emulation by the masses has broken Party discipline.
16. Displays arrogance through actions or words has broken Party discipline.
20. Fails to carry out Party policy as mandated by the Party’s Constitution and Party’s documents and the National Central Committee, has broken Party discipline.
The National Central Committee’s constitutional authority to remove Comrade Diop is spelled out in the following section:
“6.4 Officers of the NCC may be removed from office for cause. Removal from office may be executed for gross misconduct, theft or misuse of Party resources, violations of the Party Constitution, exhibiting disunity with the Party program or policies, persistent failure to perform the duties and responsibilities of office or position or any actions that serve to discredit or undermine the Party or its programs. An officer may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the sitting NCC after a formal charge is levied against an officer and the charges are substantiated by a Party inquiry.”
In addition, the following sections of our Constitution speak to the reasons and means of discipline:
“4.1.13 Members of the Party may be disciplined for conduct or actions detrimental to the Party. Discipline may include public or written self-criticism, expulsion, public censure, and suspension from Party work or removal from positions of authority.
“4.1.14 Reasons for disciplinary action shall include but are not limited to violations of the Rules of Party Discipline, violation of the Party Constitution, theft of Party or movement resources, falsification of information written or verbal on application or other Party documents, exhibiting disunity with the program and policies of the Party, non-authorized abandonment of post or position or any actions that serve to discredit the Party or its programs in the eyes of the African masses or our allies. “
Deep political contradictions are summed up by the Party concerning Comrade Diop
The decision to expel Comrade Diop from the Party was a response to the deep political contradictions that Diop’s behavior has imposed on the work and image of the Party.
The contradictions concerning Comrade Diop’s behavior and actions that precipitated his expulsion from the Party are myriad. However, these offenses can be narrowed down to their core. Some of these contradictions have been addressed in previous disciplinary actions against Comrade Diop as far back as 2010.
Comrade Diop’s ongoing tendency to engage in the oppression of African women is but one of the issues. The principles on which the Party has based its existence, one of which is to end the special oppression of African women has been violated by comrade Diop repeatedly.
Diop was able to hide this contradiction under the guise of transforming his behavior. Recent complaints made against Diop by women supporters of the Party helped to expose the fact that comrade Diop was essentially engaging in the same oppressive behavior against African women, just under the cover of “honest” and open relationships.
Since these new complaints surfaced, Comrade Diop had come under steady and consistent criticism from the Party for his consistent practice of forming detrimental and organizationally disruptive relationships with the same women he is responsible for organizing into the movement.
While having subjective relationships is not necessarily a contradiction, the fact that many of these relationships would consistently result in women leaving from the ranks of the Party and/or movement is a major problem.
Diop has used the power of his authority in the Party as an attractor, bringing women into primary relationship with him as opposed to the Party and our politics.
He would engage in criticisms with comrades that did not distinguish antagonistic contradictions—those between the people and the imperialists—from non-antagonistic contradictions between the people. Antagonistic contradictions can only be resolved by the defeat of imperialists and imperialism. Non antagonistic contradictions are resolved by persuasion and education
Comrade Diop’s actions have been consistent with the worldview of the imperialists. He has displayed no respect for or confidence in the African working class to be organized for our own liberation.
He has displayed a neocolonial line that would attempt to turn the Party into a vehicle through which the interests of the petty bourgeoisie could be advanced.
This stance of no confidence in the masses is evident in his priority to sleep with African women over developing those women politically. This stance is also evident in his refusal to criticize his comrades in a principled and constructive manner so as to win the comrades to a deeper understanding of the world and the theory of African Internationalism.
An important lesson that Comrade Diop has not internalized is that the members, cadres and leaders that we create as a Party will be a reflection of the type of society we are trying to build. We have no interest in a society based on bullying, oppression, individualism and all of the other bourgeois social characteristics Diop displayed through his conduct.
The society we are attempting to create is a society that is governed by the workers, the creators of all wealth and value in society.
Therefore, the revolution cannot succeed if the masses are not engaged in the revolutionary process. And we cannot win the masses if our leaders and organizers, like Comrade Diop, are not struggling to unite the broad sectors to the African Revolution.
This is a rather broad description of Comrade Diop’s behavior that led to his expulsion.
There is more, but our interest here is to inform our membership and the masses at large of the expulsion and the reason for the expulsion, not to destroy Diop Olugbala or to serve up fodder for unprincipled attacks by his or our enemies or that would breach the privacy of some of the persons affected by the comrade’s conduct.
Diop’s actions violated every principle of discipline expected by Party members and leaders, especially at this critical moment of imperialist crisis when so much is expected of the Party.
Build the Revolutionary Party of the African Working Class!