During the 1960’s, African people in the United States mounted an insurgency that threatened the system of domestic colonialism in which we live. This led to a ferocious counterinsurgency that included the assassinations of some of our most important leaders such as Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton, Alprentice ‘Bunchy’ Carter, and John Huggins.
Unlike those who sought to retreat from the radicalism of groups like the Black Panther Party and the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), Omali Yeshitela and his comrades in the African People’s Socialist Party sought to deepen and carry forward that radical tradition in both theory and practice. “Omali Yeshitela Speaks” is a collection of presentations, articles, and interviews that highlights the contributions of one of the most important revolutionary thinkers and leaders operating within U.S. borders today.
Yeshitela operates within the tradition of Field Negro revolt articulated by Malcolm X, but which we might trace back to Nat Turner, Denmark Vessey, Henry Highland Garnett, David Walker, Ida B. Wells, Hubert Harrison, Cyril Briggs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Huey P. Newton, and others. His contribution to revolutionary theory deepens the insights brought to revolutionary theory by Frantz Fanon in “The Wretched of the Earth.”
While Yeshitela operates in the broad arena of revolutionary struggle against world capitalism in which Marx and Engels were such important theoreticians, he brings what he calls the “viewpoint of the slave” to our attention, which is an important, crucial corrective of Marx and Engels’ conception of the world capitalist system.
Marx wrote from the perspective of Europeans seeking to explain the impact of Africa’s stolen wealth on European history. Yeshitela focuses on a much more comprehensive understanding of the relationship of the history of Africa and African people throughout the world to the history and development of capitalism.
“Omali Yeshitela Speaks” is a collection of presentations, articles, and interviews that highlights the contributions of one of the most important revolutionary thinkers and leaders operating within U.S. borders today.”
He focuses on the challenge to the capitalist world order and imperialist order, which can best be constructed from the “viewpoint of the slave.” This standpoint will not be a new concept for many of us, but there is all too little discussion of this issue among intellectuals.
From his discussion of Che Guevara to his discussion of the African Socialist International, to his discussion of where we should stand on the U.S. imperialist war against Iraq, to his discussion of the meaning of the legacy of Malcolm X and of his very public execution, Yeshitela offers us profound insights about the condition of African people on every part of this earth. He talks about the meaning of the fundamental crisis of imperialism under which we are now living and how we might engage effectively in a struggle for our own liberation.
“Omali Yeshitela Speaks” is about a struggle to transform the earth by engaging in a common revolutionary front with all of the enemies of imperialism, but with an eye toward uniting most closely with those social forces in the working class and the peasantry who will be the most unflinching and constant foes of imperialism.
Rod Bush, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at St. John’s University and author of “We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century”