Point of the Spear: The black struggle in the era of Barack Obama

This is a presentation made by Omali Yeshitela to an audience at the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center in Houston, TX on October 18, 2009. He shared the platform with Kofi Taharka, National Chair of the National Black United Front and Dr. Aisha Fields, Director of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project.

This is an edited version of the Chairman’s presentation. To hear it in its entirety listen to “The Black Struggle in the Era of Obama,” broadcast on October 25, 2009 on www.UhuruRadio.com.


I would like to express my deepest appreciation to brother Deloyd (Deloyd Parker, Executive Director) from the S.H.A.P.E. Center. Also I want to express my appreciation that brother Kofi is here from the National Black United Front (NBUF).

The discussion that we want to have is about the black struggle in the era of Barack Obama.

In the African People’s Socialist Party, we talk about this era that we live in right now as being one that is characterized by a profound crisis of imperialism.

The word imperialism comes from the word empire. You know what an empire is right? Empire is when you got a country that lives off the blood and sweat and resources of other folk.

We’re talking about imperialism in crisis everywhere. It’s not the same old imperialism that used to be so tough and robust and could make anything happen anytime it wanted to.

There’s a serious crisis of this whole social system. It’s a crisis that’s been going on for a long time. But it’s one that really began to deepen and sharpen in this period that they call World War II. We call it the Second Imperialist War.

During this war the whole white world was preoccupied fighting with each other, so a certain space emerged and people who were living under colonial domination began to strike out and were able to struggle for freedom.

In 1947, India became independent. 1949 was the victory of the glorious Chinese revolution. After that you saw in the 1950s the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army, called Mau Mau, rise up to fight the British in Kenya. In 1959 you saw Cuba became independent. In the 1960s the Chinese said that revolution was the main trend in the whole world.

Oppressed people, tired of being oppressed, are rising up and striking out to be free. That was what characterized that period.

Well what was so significant about that, people fighting to be free? The thing that was so significant about it is that imperialism and the whole white world and economy rests upon bloodsucking. It is a parasitic economy. Capitalism is parasitic. It was born parasitic.

Capitalism was born of African people working from can’t see in the morning till can’t see at night. And it took so much brutality to hold us down. You just can’t make somebody work for nothing.

I know you all heard about this thing called the Willie Lynch letter—a so-called white man from the Caribbean who was supposed to have written a letter. Listen, don’t believe that!

Ain’t no letter nobody wrote, no trick nobody told that kept African people under slavery. It was guns, it was ropes, it was lynching, it was dragging people behind cars until their bodies disintegrated like they did right here in Texas. That was the terror that kept us down. No trick, no story that white men told did that. Brutality did that, murder did that. You know what I’m talking about! They did it in Texas too—they still do it in Texas.

And so you’re talking about a period of tremendous struggle that was happening and people all around the world were striking out to win their freedom from imperialism. Imperialism—the whole political economy was born off slavery.

A man named Karl Marx, talking about slavery, he asked, how did capitalism start? Talking about capitalism as a world economy, as a political economy, Marx said that in order for there to be capitalist production, there had to be what they called a primitive accumulation of capital. Something that started the whole thing up.

Marx asked, what is this primitive accumulation of capital, where does it come from? He said it came from turning Africa into a warren for the hunting of black skins. This was the thing that they call the primitive accumulation of capital, the startup. It came from turning much of Asia into drug colonies, like Vietnam for example, where the French took most of the loot out of Vietnam in the form of drug profits. There were more than 3000 dope dens under French colonialism in Vietnam.

And the British fought a war in 1841-2 against China—they call it the Opium War, to turn China into a nation of junkies. That war forced China to take opium from the British to be able to pay for the tea that Britain was getting from there. You see? So it was a brutal parasitic political economy.

Then after slavery they created this thing they call colonialism. Listen, we get taught all of these fairy tales about how all of this stuff started, but slavery itself changed the face of Europe, changed the face of the Americas.

What happened was you had all of this loot coming as a consequence of slavery. You don’t know how much they stole from Africa. Look at you. You want to talk about the value that came from Africa? Walk the streets of Houston. Go downtown; see everything that you’ve created. See what slavery has brought here to America. Those are resources that would have gone to Africa if you had been in Africa, but instead you were slaving right here in America. (Applause)

When we met Europeans, the white man, they were not free, they were unhealthy, they lived under what they called feudalism.

You know about feudalism don’t you? Under feudalism the majority of the people are tied to the land. It’s not exactly slavery, but it’s the next closest thing. While you can’t be bought and sold like under slavery, under feudalism most of what you grow goes to the landlord, to the nobility, the kings and the queens.

With the trade in African people, all these resources and loot began coming into Europe. This created a new group of people that became the capitalists who were even richer than the kings and the queens. Feudalism began to place restrictions on these new forces and so they began to raise slogans calling for freedom.

At this time the nobility had a monopoly on selling black people but the new forces wanted to sell Africans too, so they fought against the nobility. This new group of people overthrew the kings and the queens and they became the new bosses, the new rulers, except they called them capitalists, the bourgeoisie.

Now that ain’t what they told us in history books. The truth is there was the whole group of thugs and criminals that became rich as a consequence of selling black people and robbing and looting other peoples around the world. You are the ones who are responsible for the Industrial Revolution that made Europe so great and brought wealth and resources here to the Americas.

When we met these guys, we were healthy. We had the resources. They tell us that the white man left Europe and went to Africa and all these other places to cure an intellectual itch. They wanted to see what was on the other side of the earth they said, right?

But the reality is it was starvation, poverty and disease that chased Europeans out of Europe. I’m not saying this because I’m not trying to white-bash. You don’t have to make up things about white people! (Laughter)

When they came to Africa to get us, we came out kicking and screaming. They had to come and catch us and put us on those damn ships because we fought to try and stay.

And so here they built a whole world economy off this.

But by the 1940s, you see the oppressed people around the world fighting to take back our resources. Because their whole system relies on the ability to suck our blood, take our resources. They cannot be successful unless they continue to bleed us.

But the point is that the peoples around the world initiated struggle to take back their resources. And this is the thing that has led to the crisis of imperialism.

More and more this resistance is happening, so that it has reached a turning point. Every place you look in the world you see that nobody’s satisfied anymore with living under imperialist domination. It’s a new day. People are not just going to throw their guns down because the white man comes any more.

And so now in order for imperialism to get what it needs it has to disguise itself. They don’t come looking like the white man anymore. In order for it to work now they have white power in a black face. (Applause)

Get somebody who looks just like the rest of the peoples around the world. Get somebody who looks like the majority of the people who are being murdered by imperialism.

So this Negro Obama is someone who you ain’t never heard of before. He ain’t like Deloyd here at this center who’s been here since 1969, working for his community. He didn’t come through the Black United Front like brother Kofi here that has a track record of serving our people.

But Obama, he doesn’t even have to act like he likes you—because white power picked him and put him there. (Applause)

They gave Obama more money for his campaign than anybody has ever had in the history of this country. When did white folks start loving you that much? Hell if you love us that much you didn’t have to go through him, just pass out the $700 million to the community.

When Barack Obama did that so-called first presidential debate in Harlem, New York, the question was asked of the candidates, do you support reparations for black people?

Barack Obama was the first one to say no. Said he doesn’t believe that giving support to those who have been historically wronged is a good thing because somehow it divides the country.

But on the other hand I was in Florida when he was down there on his belly telling the Jews that he was going to turn over all of Jerusalem to the Zionists.

Not even Bush said I’m going to give you all of Jerusalem. They done stole the Palestinian people’s land anyway. Talkin’ about god gave it to them 2000 years go. I don’t know what god you all believe in, but I never knew any god that was supposed to have been a real estate agent. Hell we need him in Houston, as many foreclosures as I see going on here!

Then the Negro goes to Chicago on Father’s Day. He talks about black fathers need to take care of their children. Wait a minute, what black fathers is he talking about? Is he talking about one of the 1.3 million African fathers that are locked up in prisons inside this country today? Those fathers Obama?

How the hell can you condemn black fathers and you can’t condemn white capitalism for denying African people the right to work, for denying African people the right to freedom? (Applause)

I don’t want to hear it. Then he takes himself to Africa. He goes to Africa and then he makes speeches, of all places, in Ghana. He’s telling African people that it’s corruption that’s making you poor. You can’t blame it on colonialism he says. You gotta have transparency.

Let’s talk about transparency! Transparency requires you Obama, you now at the White House, to bring out the records and talk about U.S. involvement in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, one of the greatest champions of African freedom.

Tell us about the role that Lyndon Baines Johnson played in overthrowing Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who talked about a united Africa and African people.

They want corruption! Every Negro in power in Africa, they put him there. And they keep him there until they get tired of him then they kick him out and put somebody else there. The more crooked they are, the more they love him.

Now I know why you all were confused about Obama. I know. He got a left hand jump shot. Hot got a pimp walk, when he wants to, ‘cause he knows you’re looking.

Look this guy is so pitiful that even when this Negro sellout professor from Harvard gets arrested in his own house by a white cop, Obama says the cop acted stupidly.

Obama said the cop acted stupidly and white people went crazy. And then what did he do? He brought the white man and the Uncle Tom professor to the white people’s house and asked them to have beer together. Isn’t that something? But he can’t say anything about the white people; it’s us who are the problem.

He fired his guy out of Oakland because the guy says that Republicans are acting like jackasses. So he’s got to go. He’s already thrown Reverend Wright under the bus much earlier.

Then Kanye West had a Black is Back moment! Kanye snatched the microphone from that hillbilly. And here comes Obama, right, because now Obama’s got to prove himself, cause he’s just done the thing with the cop. So now he’s got to prove himself to white people, what does he say? Obama says Kanye West is acting like a jackass.

So Obama’s only got permission to do bad things to you. And he can get away with that because he looks like you. And you so desperate for somebody to love us, you so desperate to have somebody look like you there. Doesn’t matter that he doesn’t do nothing for you.  You say, just give him a chance, oh, he’d do it if he could, the white people won’t let him do it.

Yes, my goodness! Obama brought in Bush’s guy, Robert Gates. Obama said he wanted peace. He brings in Bush’s war mongerer. So you still got troops in Iraq and there’s no telling if or when they’re going to come out.

He’s expanded the war in Afghanistan and then taken the war into Pakistan. This is your peace-lovin’, left-hand-jump-shootin’, pimp-walking, Negro president. White power in a black face is what you’re looking at.

And I’m saying that Obama is a desperate response by imperialism to this crisis. Cause none of us ever thought that a Negro would be in the white people’s house, did we. Unless it was to come there to clean something up right? And because it’s damn near ideologically impossible. You know white people had to be in deep deep deep trouble or as George Herbert Walker Bush used to say, deep doodoo, in order to select a Negro to represent them in the world.

You’ve heard about subprime mortgage? Some of you might have been burned by subprime mortgage. Did you know where subprime mortgage comes from?

There’s a woman named Penny Pritzker. She is an heiress. She is one of the 400 richest people in the world. She was Barack Obama’s financial chairperson during his campaign. Penny Pritzker created the subprime mortgage. It used to be called predatory lending.

She took predatory lending, washed it off, and then fed it to the bankers. She created the subprime mortgage that targeted Africans and Mexicans primarily, cause y’all wanted to have a piece of the American dream.

Malcolm X was right when he told you that the American dream is the black man’s nightmare.

For African people like ourselves, who would begin looking for alternatives to the Democratic Party, alternatives to the system that oppresses us, they brought in Obama to lure us back into the safe embrace of the Democratic Party. Now you’re not looking for the African People’s Socialist Party. You’re not looking for the Black United Front to solve your problem. You’re looking for the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is an imperialist organization, always has been, always will be. It didn’t change because a Negro became the president. Don’t you know that in so-called democracies like this that the electoral process is only a means by which the contending sectors of the white ruling class fight non-violently for control of the state?

That’s what an election is. That’s why these Negroes have to do what that white person says.

That’s the contest between the different sectors of the ruling class. A sector of the ruling class came to understand that the Bush thing wasn’t working and so now they move to another way and they brought in Obama, they brought in the second team.

And he’s also confused millions of people around the world—Africans in particular because he looks just like us. And because we don’t want to believe that somebody who looks like us could do such terrible things to us. He looks like us, but he is not one of us. And that’s the thing that we have to understand. (Applause)

The era of Obama is the era of imperialism in deep crisis. And our job is not to solve the crisis of imperialism but to deepen the crisis of imperialism. Our job is to become a free and independent people. Our job is to complete the Black Revolution of the Sixties and join in revolutionary struggle with Africans and oppressed peoples around the world. That’s our job. (Applause)

Nobody’s going to give our freedom to us. It’s human nature to try to solve a problem the easy way. You’ll never find anyone that says well let me find a hard way to solve a problem. If voting for this Negro can get us free, let’s vote for this Negro, right? But the truth of the matter is, brothers and sisters, we’re going to have to fight our way out of here.

So I want to thank you so much.

Izwe Lethu I Afrika! I Afrika Izwe Lethu!


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