Only independence is freedom

The Drum and Spear, equivalent to our “Letters to the Editor” column, is dedicated to publishing opinion pieces submitted by the people. The articles published here may not reflect the views of The Burning Spear newspaper or the African People’s Socialist Party. Readers are encouraged to submit responses to any articles that appear under this section.

“Nothing is more precious than independence” -Ho Chi Minh

When Africans were captured in Africa and brought to America in chains we lost our freedom as we became captives who were torn from our homeland and colonized on this land to slave for the Americans. As we came under American domination through colonization and enslavement we lost all independence as a people.

The independence that Africans lost when we were dragged to the shores of America in chains is the most precious thing that any people can have. It is freedom from the authority, control and domination of another people and the ability to govern ourselves. Nothing is more precious than independence for it is the freedom that is the birthright of all people.

Four hundred years after Africans were first colonized in America we have yet to regain our independence as a people. We have yet to be free of the rule of the Americans who have dominated and oppressed us to no end and be able to govern ourselves.

Two hundred years ago the Americans gained independence from their Mother Country as British settlers in its crown colonies in America where they held Africans as slaves and where they lived off of the riches and wealth and all of the benefits of the stolen labor of our enslavement just like they lived on the stolen land of the Indigenous peoples whom they were exterminating slowly, but surely. As they revolted against the British crown for what they called “tyranny,” they waged a violent revolution to achieve the independence they sought so they could grab all power and be free to continue enslaving us–expanding slavery and stealing land without limit. The revolt’s leaders issued a Declaration of Independence stating why they were pursuing independence from Britain before embarking upon that bloody revolution to separate from it and sever the political bond that had tied them together as Mother Country and settler colonies.

American tyranny

Now these very same Americans have subjected Africans under their rule to a tyranny that they didn’t suffer and couldn’t even imagine suffering under the British crown for over 400 years. We have more of a reason to revolt against American tyranny than they ever had to revolt against so-called British tyranny. And we are more justified in pursuing independence and waging a revolution to achieve it so that we can be free of their authority, control, domination and rule than they ever were.

Africans in America have various reasons to seek independence from American rule. These reasons are 246 years of enslavement during which we were dehumanized, degraded and denigrated as a people and exploited by being forced to work for absolutely nothing as slaves; 100 years of Jim Crow (during which we were segregated and disenfranchised and where all of our rights as human beings were abridged); 100 years of lynching during which we were hanged, burned alive, tortured and murdered in other horrible ways with utter cruelty; 158 years of imprisonment from the age of convict-leasing to the age of mass incarceration, brutalization by the police, repression and suppression of our struggle for freedom through counterinsurgency; COINTELPRO–the assassination and imprisonment of our leaders and freedom fighters; narcotization through the inundation of narcotics into our communities and the imposition of a drug economy in them; genocide through the systematic cultural and national destruction of our people and 400 years of underdevelopment through exploitation and impoverishment.

Grounds for African independence

All of these reasons encompass a litany of crimes against humanity such as colonialism, slavery, genocide, expulsion, pogroms and massacres that are too numerous to mention, but which bolster, justify and support any call and cause for our independence. Sixty-plus years of nominal integration into the colonial system wherein the Americans still have all authority, control, and opportunities and 50-odd years of enfranchisement in which our rights are abridged daily don’t make this reason for independence any less compelling. They still maintain our colonization and our subordination and marginalization within the colonizing society with no real difference in the status quo and no real freedom for us.

Africans in America don’t need more integration into American society, more civil rights, more representation in the government, sports or Hollywood. That isn’t freedom nor will it bring us any closer to being free. We also don’t need equality with the Americans because there can never be equality between the colonizer and the colonized, the oppressor and the oppressed. It is the height of folly to even think that there can ever be any equality between the slave master and the slave.

Africans need independence

What Africans in America need is independence and freedom from American rule and the power to govern ourselves–without any interference or influence from the Americans. Independence will only come to us with liberation from colonialism and the complete and total liberation of Africa from Western imperialism and capitalism and its unification under an all-African socialist government.

The advocacy of independence by Africans in America inevitably invites accusations of separatism. Those of us who favor independence are labeled separatists by the Americans and the petty-bourgeois Africans–those loyal to colonizers and are content to live with them in the Big House of America as faithful House Negroes who will go off to fight and die for America in its wars of imperialist aggression; but won’t fight and die for the freedom of our people right here in America.

The Americans call us separatists to defame and disparage Africans who want to be independent of them. They even go so far as to associate separation with segregation as if they are the same. But separation is the parting of one people or group from another and the cutting of ties they had together, most often ties of oppression; whereas segregation is the practice of keeping different people separate based on nationality and ethnicity with the dominant group discriminating against the dominated group. We don’t believe in segregation so we are not segregationists. The Americans are the ones who have always been segregationists. They supported Jim Crow and opposed desegregation and often resisted it violently. Their settler-colonialist nation has always been segregated. After the fall of colonialism’s regime of Jim Crow segregation in America, it just ceased to be de jure segregation and became de facto segregation. America remains very segregated to this very day.

As Africans who want to be independent, we know that there can be no independence without separation from our colonizers. No colonized people anywhere in the world have ever gained their independence without separating from their colonizers. Separation is part of the process of decolonization. It is the first step in the colonized becoming free from the colonizer’s rule.

The Americans who denounce Africans who seek independence as separatists are settlers who celebrate the American Revolution through which their founding fathers separated from Britain and founded their bourgeois settler-colonialist nation on our enslavement. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and all of their other founding fathers were separatists just as they were slave owners. Their denouncement of us is sheer hypocrisy just as their association of separation with segregation smacks of sophistry and duplicity.

Unlike the Americans who sought independence from their British brethren, Africans in America have real and valid reasons to seek independence and separate from them and every single one of those reasons are a stinging indictment of American colonialism and its tyranny that supports the cause of Independence.

What Africans in America must come to want as a people is independence and we can only gain it through waging a revolution to throw off the chains and yoke of colonialism and wrench ourselves free. We must have independence in our lifetime! After 400 years of unrelenting oppression under American rule,

it is time for Africans in America to be free and freedom for us lies in independence. And it will only come through the African Revolution!

As we embark on a quest for independence let our motto be Uhuru au kifo!

Freedom (Uhuru) or Death!



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