On January 9-11, members and supporters of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) traveled from 18 different cities to the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, FL for the International Conference on White Solidarity with Black Power, the annual conference of the APSC.
The APSC was founded in 1976 by the African People's Socialist Party to organize for reparations to Africa and African people in the form of material solidarity from the North American (white) community.
Comrades from San Diego and Oakland, CA; Athens and Columbus, OH; Minneapolis, MN; Chicago, IL; New York City, NY; Providence, RI; Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; and Miami, Palm Harbor, Brandon, and Sarasota, FL engaged in three days of rigorous discussion and political education meant to deepen white people's understanding of our key role in the revolutionary struggle for African liberation.
The conference served as APSC’s annual national Plenary, which is mandated by the documents coming out of the African People’s Socialist Party USA (APSP USA) Fifth Congress held last July in Washington, DC. The Party emerged from that historic event as the most acknowledged leading force of the African Liberation Movement. And the Fifth Congress resolved that APSC must be built to meet the demands of the African Revolution in this period of the Final Offensive Against Imperialism.
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APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess spoke about the crisis of imperialism and the role of white people
“The African Revolution is evolution, because it will bring humanity to a higher level,” said APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess in her opening remarks. Hess characterized US imperialism as a dying force, incapable of being reformed, because it owes its existence to slavery and genocide.
Historically, white left forces have resorted to opportunism and charity politics when faced with the revolutionary struggles of African people, but APSC avoids opportunism by working directly under the leadership of the African People's Socialist Party.
Chairwoman Hess explained the significance of this principled relationship: “When left to our own devices, we [North Americans] will always come up in our own interest. Organizing in material solidarity under the leadership of the APSP overturns the economic basis of our opportunism.”
Chairman Omali Yeshitela led a three-hour workshop on "A World Without Borders," in which he explained the controversial issue of "nation-building" by colonized peoples as a necessary pre-requisite for successful anti-imperialist struggle.
Chairman Omali brilliantly showed how the European or white nation was forged at the expense of the African nation and that it will be the emergence of the movement to unite and liberate Africa and African people everywhere that will bring about the destruction of the European nation.
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ASI Chairman Omali Yeshitela spoke on the concepts of the nation and the state, and the prospect of a world without borders
As the Chairman stated, “The European nation was born as a bourgeois nation, a capitalist nation, through exploitation and the expropriation of value from everybody else. Therefore, the fundamental task of the African revolutionary is the liberation and consolidation of the African nation, which will not be born as a bourgeois nation, but will be born in contention with the imperialist bourgeois nation and born as a workers' or proletarian nation."
Reading aloud from the Political Report to the Fifth Congress, the Chairman explained the concept of a world without borders: “African people have to resist the imperialist bourgeoisie as a people. Our assumption of consolidated nationhood will function to destroy the bourgeois nation. Thus, the rise of revolutionary worker nation-states destroy the material basis for the existence of nations and borders that function to distinguish and separate one people from another.”
The Chairman noted the national unity of African people everywhere in music, style, culture, dress and ability to understand each other regardless of the language imposed on them.
He said, “The truth of the matter is there is a sense of sameness among black people all around the world. Even people who call themselves different things. Africans in Haiti were upset when they saw Katrina. Africans I knew from Ethiopia who were meeting in Berlin were upset by when they saw Katrina. And Africans all around the world were upset about Haiti, pissed off about Haiti, hate what the Red Cross is doing in Haiti, hate what Clinton is doing in Haiti, really upset about Haiti. There is a sense of sameness among black people in the world – that is just a fact.”
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InPDUM International President Diop Olugbala presented the history of the African People's Socialist Party
Diop Olugbala, President of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), spoke on the history of the African People's Socialist Party from its origins in the Black Revolution of the 1960s.
A presentation called “Uhuru Solidarity on the Move” looked back on the past year of activity in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and the expansion of its national leadership body.
Ironiff Ifoma, Director of Economic Development and Finance for the APSP-USA, gave a presentation called “Creating an African Internationalist Economy,” on the current period of tremendous growth for her department and the need to “build contending power to bring the masses into the embrace of the Party” by recreating the culture of self-reliance in the African community.
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APSP Director of Economic Development and Finance, Ironiff Ifoma spoke on building economic self-reliance in the African community
Chairwoman Hess presented on the history of ideological development within APSC as its leadership struggled against opportunism and subjectivism before temporarily disbanding in 1981.
When APSC reformed, with Hess as its chairperson, the political line of African Internationalism had been consolidated around the question of reparations from the white community as a revolutionary and principled stance. “Reparations is our revolutionary work,” said Hess.
An event held on the evening of January 10 called “Prisons, the Drug War and African Resistance” included Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Penny Hess, Diop Olugbala and Mwamba Yeshitela, a leader in the campaign for African youth resistance.
Using a slideshow presentation, Chairwoman Hess juxtaposed images to illustrate the parallel conditions of military occupation in Afghanistan and police occupation in oppressed African communities in North America.
President Diop Olugbala discussed his recent work in Philadelphia where he and other InPDUM forces have been leading a campaign to organize African youth into the Junta of Militant Organizations (JOMO), the African youth resistance wing of InPDUM.
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Mwamba Yeshitela of the African Youth Resistance Campaign spoke during the forum on "Prisons, the Drug War and African Resistance"
Mwamba Yeshitela gave a compelling, informative account of his real-life experiences as a young African facing colonial conditions of poverty and police containment on the south side of St. Petersburg.
On the third day of the conference, APSC elected the new National Central Committee (NCC). NCC members include:
Penny Hess, National Chairperson
Alison Hoehne, National Secretary General
Kitty Reilly, National Director of Reparations and Economic Development
Lisa Watson, National Director of Agitation and Propaganda
Maureen Wagener, National Director of Uhuru Foods
Stephanie Midler, National Director of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and Southeast Regional Representative
Joel Hamburger, National Representative of Uhuru Furniture
Wendy Snyder, West Regional Representative
Harris Daniels, Northeast Regional Representative
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Newly elected National Central Committee of the African People's Solidarity Committee
APSC also adopted its Supplement to the Constitution of the African People's Socialist Party USA.
The conference gained several new members, raised resources for the work of the APSP and passed many resolutions, including resolutions to build a movement to stop the US war against the African community and defend the right of African people resist, to build the Uhuru Solidarity Movement nationally among North Americans and to transform Uhuru Foods into an even stronger institution of reparations and material solidarity to the African Liberation Movement.
For more information on APSC and how to join, visit the APSC website at www.apscuhuru.org