International convention points new direction for InPDUM!

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Pictured above are some of the participants at the InPDUM Convention. President Chimurenga Waller made clear that InPDUM would establish an agenda to expose it’s international character.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — The 13th Convention of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) was held in this city, birthplace of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), at the Royal Theatre on 22nd Street South on July 1-2.

From the very beginning, it was clear to everyone that this convention would be different. InPDUM President Chimurenga Waller opened the gathering of Africans and North Americans, some of whom had traveled from as far away as London, with an overview that explained the intent of the International Executive Committee to establish an agenda that would expose the international character of the organization in practice as well as in name.

The solidarity statements that came to the convention helped to make this point. They came from the Uhuru Movement in Spain, the Africanist Movement in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and Union del Barrio of the Mexican National Liberation Movement. Penny Hess, chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Movement — which, like InPDUM, is an organization of the African People’s Socialist Party and a component of the Uhuru Movement — delivered her powerful solidarity statement in person. A representative of the Africanist Movement was expected to make a statement in person, but its members could not make the meeting because of visa problems.

Also present and participating in the convention were members of fraternal organizations, the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party and the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa. Although these organizations do not share the philosophy of African Internationalism, they are part of the same general tendency of InPDUM, recognizing the nature of our struggle as being for the emancipation of our African nation.

InPDUM’s significance as an international mass democratic organization made clear during convention

APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela made the keynote presentation. As leader of the African People’s Socialist Party, Chairman Omali is also the leader of InPDUM, the primary mass organization of the Party, and he too spoke to the new direction of InPDUM. Central to this is recognition of InPDUM’s role in leading national democratic struggles of African people in Africa and worldwide.

Chairman Omali laid out the historical background leading to the founding of InPDUM as an organization that would bring Africans back into political life by organizing around mass issues subsequent to the military defeat of the black revolution, especially in Africa and the U.S.

The character of InPDUM as a mass democratic organization of the African working class becomes especially important now, during this time when the development of the African Socialist International — the worldwide revolutionary party of the African working class — is achieving greater significance with active participants in southern and western Africa and inroads being made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Europe and South America.

Two unanticipated developments also helped to define the convention. One of them was a peace treaty organized by InPDUM between different factions of young people in St. Petersburg in the wake of three recent killings, all acts of horizontal violence or violence between the people.

The other development was the U.S. government indictment of seven young people on terrorism charges in Liberty City, an impoverished sector of the African population colonized in Miami.

The young Africans who participated in the peace treaty attended the convention briefly. A video that recorded the treaty signing and showed the connection between the fratricidal violence in St. Petersburg and that which has occurred in places like Liberia and Sierra Leone was also shown.

In addition, a workshop on horizontal violence allowed convention participants to determine how the peace treaty that ended the violence between these two factions in St. Petersburg might offer lessons for us in other cities and other areas of the world.

Also present at the convention was Sylvain Plantin, a cousin of one of the Liberty City Seven. He was brought to the convention by President Chimurenga, who had just returned from investigating the Miami situation the night before the convention.

He was able to reaffirm what most convention participants already knew, namely that the men had been framed up by the U.S. colonial government. A resolution of InPDUM support was passed by the convention and a proposal to send an organizer to Liberty City to help with the case was also approved. (See article, page 9) 

“The character of InPDUM as a mass democratic organization of the African working class becomes especially important now, during this time when the development of the African Socialist International — the worldwide revolutionary party of the African working class — is achieving greater significance…”

Highlights of the convention included workshops on immigration and redefining national borders, building the International Tribunal on Reparations for African People, and building the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. Another highlight was the election of the new International Executive Committee. Another of the convention highlights was a theoretical presentation by APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela on the question of national identity.

The two presenters on the immigration issue were Luwezi Kinshasa, a Congolese expatriate living in England who is the leader of the APSP’s international work, and Marleine Bastien of the Haitian Women of Miami.

The immigration workshop began by recognizing that African people everywhere are separated from each other by imperialist-created artificial borders that serve to keep African people separated from each other and from our resources, which have been appropriated by white power imperialism. Resolutions were passed that called for ending the militarization of the borders, the closing of detention centers, especially those holding Africans in Miami and Guantanamo, but also those holding African immigrants throughout Europe and the camps in Africa.

Another resolution expressed solidarity with the resistance by Mexican and Latino workers in opposition to the designer immigration laws that target them and threaten them with criminal charges upon being apprehended and charged with being undocumented.

InPDUM’s primary work to support efforts of International Tribunal on Reparations for African People

The primary work of InPDUM between now and the next convention revolves around reparations. For its reparations work, the convention resolved its active support in the efforts of the International Tribunal on Reparations for African People (ITRAP).

ITRAP is currently organizing to conduct a world tribunal on reparations in Berlin, Germany in June 2007, where white power imperialism will be put on trial by the African world for its crimes against Africa and African people historically and cur rently.

To build InPDUM, the convention established recruitment quotas for the next six months, after which the recruitment tally will be reviewed to determine whether the quotas can be increased. It was also resolved that InPDUM would acquire its own physical office within a year’s time and that the office of the president would be made a fulltime, paid position.

In accordance with InPDUM’s constitution, the president of the organization was chosen by the Central Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party. Chimurenga Waller was chosen on the basis of the consistent work he has done to build the organization and because of the stability he has brought to the organization since becoming its president.

The elected members of the International Executive Committee were Carla Harris from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as secretary; Baye Moye of St. Petersburg, Florida as Treasurer and Kobina Bantushango from Huntsville, Alabama as membership coordinator.

The enthusiasm of the convention participants was made even higher by the discussion led by Omali Yeshitela on the identity of African people worldwide as a dispersed nation.

This discussion helped us to understand that our every struggle is, objectively speaking, an attempt to resolve the profound contradictions stemming from African people having lost our national homeland and our sovereignty, unity and identity because of the attack by imperialism. This attack came first in the form of slavery, then as colonialism, neocolonialism and the false identities imposed on us, both in Africa and abroad.

The discussion on national identity helped the convention to understand that although InPDUM exists to lead the mass-based national democratic struggles, ultimately these struggles are also part and parcel of the fight to liberate and unite Africa and all African people worldwide.

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