Overturn the complicity of African women in our own oppression!

 
Editor’s Note: Harriet’s Daughters are the fighting African women who continue the legacy of Harriet Tubman, who was a fearless freedom fighter during the times of slavery in the U.S.
 
Over the course of 10 years, she made over 19 trips to the slave states of the South and helped to bring over 300 Africans to the so-called “free” states of the North.
 
Unfortunately, just bringing people to states where chattel slavery was illegal did not change the overall system of oppression that Africans were faced with throughout the U.S. Now over 150 years later we pick up where Harriet left off.
 
But today as African Internationalist we understand that ours is not a struggle “from slavery to freedom” as Booker T. Washington might say.
 
Rather, it is a struggle from being a free, independent and proud people with our own power and our own land back to being a free, independent and proud people with our own power and our own land.
 
The Harriet’s Daughters page in the Burning Spear, represents the thoughts, concerns and struggles of African women in our movement toward African liberation.
 
There always seem to be questions about the role of women in revolutionary movement; where do we fit in?
 
Should we struggle to end our special oppression first and then focus on African people as a whole? Should our fight be against patriarchy or imperialism?
 
What are the contradictions that affect our full participation in the revolutionary movement, and what can we do to overturn them?
 
This page will serve as a place where African women inside and outside of the Uhuru Movement can answer these questions and usher in a new perspective of what it freedom
means for African women. – Yejide Orunmila
 
By Gaida Kambon, Secretary General-APSP
 
Central to winning the campaign in our community against the oppression of African women is exposing and overturning the complicity of African women in our own oppression. 
 
As an African Internationalist and a woman who has served on the National Central Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) for many years, I should have been one to emulate, to lead on the question of the oppression of African women.
 
Instead, I voluntarily involved myself in a personal relationship that for all practical purposes served to collaborate in my own oppression as an African woman.
 
It was a personal relationship that served as the catalyst or genesis for factionalism to raise its ugly head within the ranks of the Party.
As a result, when the personal relationship and the factionalism were exposed to the Party leadership, disciplinary measures that I unite with were put in place.
 
As a part of my disciplinary actions, this paper—the goal of which is to forward the revolutionary process by winning sisters in the Party and women in our community through education and persuasion to recognize what is in the best interest of African women and the Party—was called for.
 
My goal is to forge a revolutionary path and win African women to science, non-complicity and revolution; and away from slavery, subjectivism and conditioned emotionalism.
 
Furthermore, I think it must be stated emphatically that we are not dealing with bourgeois morality here or our subjective feelings on any question.
 
Subjective feelings which may vary from day to day cannot and must not be the determining factors in our work.
 
Likewise, this is not a discussion on who is sleeping with whom. This question is about making revolution. That is why I joined the APSP. 
 
I entered into a sexual relationship with the brother knowing full well that the leadership of the Party was making struggles with him for his backward stance around women.
 
In many instances, as leadership, I was the one leading the struggle around his contradiction.
I participated in the relationship, at a time when the Party was making fierce struggle with me because of my failure to build my office; one of the most important offices in the Party.
 
My participation in the relationship was a way to isolate the Chairman who, for the most part, was leading the struggle against the assault on African women inside and outside the Party. In doing so, I seriously violated basic organizational principles of the Party.
 
My actions did not advance the revolution but instead promoted factionalism based in subjectivism; two weapons in the bourgeoisie’s arsenal that is used against the people’s movement.
 
The correct stance would have been to leave no stone unturned in the effort to build the Office of the Secretary General of the African People’s Socialist Party, to solve the contradiction in my work, and to lead the charge in the struggle against the special oppression of African women and our sometime complicity with that oppression.
 
To not do that was a capitulation and an abandonment of my responsibility as a leader. The result being sacrificing the Party’s and the people’s long term interest to be free for my own immediate gratification. This is called opportunism.
 
 My indulgence in the relationship did not only represent all the other contradictions mentioned previously, but it was in collaboration with my own oppression.
As stated by our Chairman Omali Yeshitela, “Our responsibility as African Internationalist revolutionary men and women, is to lead, lead, lead! “
 
Organize the Women's Commission/Build the African National Women Organization (ANWO)
 
In the Chairman’s Political Report to the Fifth Congress, the document which summed up the objective condition in the world today and the way forward for African and other oppressed people and the world in general, the Chairman made the call for a special organization to deal with the interests of African women in this way:
 
 “I am proposing that the Party’s Constitution be amended to create a Women’s Commission as a permanent position in leadership of the Party. It would be to organize women to fulfill their roles as revolutionaries that will help to determine the future of women through their fully conscious organized participation in defining and creating that future. 
 
“The responsibility of the Women’s Commission would be representation of the interest of African women. 
 
One project of the Commission would be the organization of the African National Women Organization (ANWO). ANWO could become the powerful home to African women who are constantly under some form of assault by a myriad of contradictions peculiar to African women. “
 
There must be practical campaigns that include massive education and practical organization designed to develop women as better leaders than we already are. It is by recognizing and ending our own collaboration in our oppression that we can move forward to take on and overturn the special oppression of African women.
 
Our Women’s Commission must take the lead and the initiative to solve the pressing questions associated with the ability of African women to participate in the revolutionary process.
Build the Free Childcare Collective
 
One such problem is single mothers with the sole responsibility for raising their children. This phenomenon is frequently at the center of a lot of mayhem in our community.
 
The mission of the Free Childcare Collective is to free up African women in our community who are caught up in the isolating cycle of taking care of the children by themselves.
 
The Free Childcare Collective will operationalize the African Proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It will pull the entire community into the process of raising our children and will especially call on African men to take part in this program as one way in which we collectivize the struggle to overturn imperialism as it articulates itself as oppression of African women, sometimes with the support of African men.
 
Mothers will bring their children to the Collective for five days and to meet the requirement must give a day to staffing the collective and be freed up for four!
 
During their day at the collective, they staff, raise the resources needed to maintain the collective. This approach will free up the sisters to seek employment and participation in revolutionary organization.
 
This is a project that I will be organizing the prototype for in St. Petersburg Florida.
We must make a deep and fundamental commitment to building African People’s Free Childcare Collectives every place where we are located!
 
Our Women’s Commission must intervene in the vicious welfare system. The Commission must collaborate with our Economic Development to prioritize self-sufficiency projects for women that will bring dignity and respect to our sisters who are forced to deal with the inhumane treatment in food stamp lines.
 
Sisters in the African People’s Socialist Party must take up our responsibility as revolutionaries to build the Women’s Commission to speak to the interests of African women, and to recruit poor and working-class African women into the revolution. 
 
Furthermore, one of the ways in which women revolutionaries contribute to the revolution is by winning men to take good positions around significant issues like childcare, house work, equality and women’s leadership.
 
We must prioritize building the African Women’s Commission on the National Central Committee of our Party, in our units, institutions and mass organizations.
 
We must create forums discussions, debates that educate African women and African people in general, to end collaboration in our own oppression, a contradiction that serves the interests of the oppressive state to maintain our oppression.
 
The goal of these activities must be to build the African Women’s Commission. As women in the African People’s Socialist Party, not to do so is to collaborate with our own oppression!
 
In the final analysis the question of the oppression of African women will be resolved in the process of the African working class and poor peasants waging an anti-colonial, pro-independence revolutionary struggle to end the oppression of our whole people.
 
The women of the African People’s Socialist Party are soldiers. We are a part of a revolutionary process to overturn a vicious social system called imperialism that is responsible for all of our misery and hardship as a colonized people.
 
As a revolutionary, I belong to a revolutionary African Internationalist organization that is committed to and fixated on ending the system of imperialism!
 
Likewise I am committed to overturning my contradiction and carrying out my responsibility as a leader and as a woman in the African People’s Socialist Party.
I could care less about beauty parlor gossip or about who is in bed with whom.
 
What I care about and what we as colonized and oppressed African women must be concerned with—who is in bed with imperialism, our real enemy!
 
This is a call to African women: My sisters, join the African People’s Socialist Party to build the
Women’s Commission. Join the African revolution to overturn the oppression of our people, thus overturning our oppression as African Women!
 
Free up the Mighty Power of African Women!
Join the African  Revolution!
 
Uhuru!
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