Revolutionary democracy and organization highlight the Sixth Congress of the APSP!

 
ST. PETERSBURG, Flori­da—Opening with an element of pageantry that hinted at the sig­nificance of the event, the Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA began on De­cember 7 in Gulfport, Florida, the little beach city sitting on St. Pe­tersburg’s western border.
 
The people who descended on Gulfport for the first two days of our five-day Congress were all about taking care of the people’s business. They came from all over the world—from North, East and West Africa and from Sweden and England in Europe and from the Bahamas in the Caribbean and Canada and the U.S. from North America.
 
For two days, Gulfport, Flori­da was headquarters to the Afri­can Socialist International and the African revolution. From Decem­ber 9th through 11th, the head­quarters would be shifted to St. Petersburg and our Akwaaba Hall in our own Uhuru House.
 
Under the slogan: One Africa! One Nation! One Party! the first day of the Congress was held at Katherine Hickman Hall, which had been decorated by the Con­gress Committee and the Party’s Agitation and Propaganda depart­ment.
 
The large stage was set off by the beautiful Congress logo hang­ing from the ceiling: Red, Black and Green stripes in the figure of Africa resting on a golden symbol of the sun highlighted by a red star.
 
You didn’t have to be an Af­rican Internationalists to under­stand this was something special. It wasn’t just the energy of the participants, many of whom would be meeting each other for the first time. Nor was it the black clad Uhuru security forces whose stolid attire and visage allowed others to com­fortably engage in discussion and ceremony designed to for­ward our strug­gle.
 
More than anything, the significance of the Congress was obvious to all by the fact that we were all there at a Con­gress where or­dinary working class Africans and our guests and allies would be discussing the pressing issues of the day. There was a palpable sense of being to­gether with comrades who would together set the course of history that would make us all, Africa and the world, free!
 
Tammy Harris, Administra­tive Assistant to Chairman Omali Yeshitela, opened the Congress. Then, the curtains to the large stage parted and renowned actor Ron Bobb-Semple brought Mar­cus Garvey to life with a brief pre­sentation in full regalia, followed by drumming and a procession of the Party’s Central Commit­tee, each one of whom carried the Party’s flag to the stage to be greeted by the Congress partici­pants.
 
Gaida Kambon, Secretary General of the African People’s Socialist Party USA, then formally convened the Sixth Congress of the African People’s So­cialist Party.
 
With the Central Com­mittee seated, the stage cur­tains opened again to the sight and sound of Carol Lake seated at her piano. Her imploring and melodic voice hovered soul­fully over the auditorium, plaintively ask­ing the ques­tion “What does it mean to be free?”
 
The youth­ful energy of the hip hop group People’s Vanguard from St. Mary’s, Georgia had the Con­gress participants on their feet, fists pumping in the air, promot­ing the revolution promised by the Sixth Congress.
 
Princess Williams from St. Petersburg performed a beautiful rendition of the Staples Singers song, “When Will We Be Paid?”
 
Plaques and recognition were presented to relatives of victims of police murder and there was recognition of special guests and presentation of solidarity state­ments—from Chokwe Lumumba, leader of the New Afrikan Peo­ple’s Organization and recently elected mayor of Jackson, Mis­sissippi and from Mafundi Lake, political prisoner in Alabama and husband to Carol Lake.
 
SHAPE organization out of Houston, Texas, People’s Orga­nization for Progress out of New Jersey, Emma Khadijah Jones of the organization Malik that was named for her son murdered by police in Connecticut and Nk­wame Cedile from Enkangala Kwantu Embo from South Africa or Occupied Azania sent solidar­ity statements.
 
A solidarity statement was also read from Amaru Pachocutec, representative of an Indigenous group of the Americas and Mar­cos Garcia, Labor Attaché of the Venezuelan embassy in D.C.
 
Solidarity statements reflect Party’s recognition of oneness of struggles of oppressed peoples against imperialism
 
However, solidarity state­ments from Union del Barrio, a Mexican National Liberation Or­ganization and decades long fra­ternal organization of the Party, and from representatives of the Romani people best reflected the Party’s ideology of African Inter­nationalism as a theory embrac­ing a worldview recognizing the struggles and future of Africa as one with the struggling oppressed peoples of the world.
 
The solidarity statement from the African People’s Solidarity Committee, the organization that functions as the North American or European wing of the Party and under its direct leadership, also showed that African International­ism points the way forward for the non-exploiting advanced sector of the oppressor nations to abandon their unity with imperialism and join with the oppressed peoples of the world.
 
The Union del Barrio delega­tion was present in the Katherine Hickman Theater and when called upon they were greeted by thun­derous applause from the Con­gress when they marched from the back of the auditorium to the stage carrying both the Mexican flag and their organizational flag.
 
The Romani people, located primarily in Europe but dispersed throughout the world are a state­less and landless people who suf­fer brutal exploitation, oppression and slander. Commonly referred to as Gypsies, the Romani people were once thought to have come to Europe from Egypt during Eu­rope’s feudal era.
 
Their origin is controversial. Recent studies suggest their ori­gin as India. The Romani are un­der vicious oppression throughout Europe. In some places they are regularly killed by State organiza­tions with impunity.
 
During the Nazi era of Ger­many, thousands of Romani were murdered by the German State, but unlike the Jews, recognized as “white,” there has never been any meaningful reparations to the Romani or recognition of their vic­timization.
 
The Sixth Party Congress would resolve to struggle to help end the isolation of the Romani people and to provide whatever available assistance to their ef­forts to organize themselves in defense of their lives and promo­tion of their self-defined interests in opposition to imperialist white power.
 
The Party has always seen the relationship between Union del Barrio and ourselves as rep­resentative of the interests of our two oppressed peoples, both made landless and shorn of our freedom by U.S. imperialist white power.
 
Our relationship is character­ized by practical unity and efforts to open the door to our respective organizational potential in areas accessible to either of us if the other is not present.
 
Political Report of Main Resolution sets terms for Congress
 
In many ways, the first day of the Congress set the terms for the entire Congress, with what would occur later being deepening po­litical and ideological discussions and studies, punctuated by reso­lutions charting our path between congresses.
 
Perhaps the most important event of the first day, that had im­plications for the entire Congress, was the presentation of the Po­litical Report or Main Resolution presented by Chairman Omali as mandated by our Constitution. The Political Report is 257 pages long and had been in circulation and study within the Party and the world for at least four months prior to the Congress, making it easy for an abbreviated version to be offered the Congress for discus­sion and adoption on the first day.
 
The Political Report was di­vided into nine chapters and dis­cussed a wide spectrum of ques­tions tied to the struggle to over­turn imperialism and build a new world.
 
This included the current ir­reversible crisis of imperialism and its implication for every other question.
 
It dealt with the issue of iden­tity or our national identity. The Political Report also challenged the superstition and “race” nation­alism that have characterized our struggle for freedom from the last period.
 
In addition to the theoretical developments on the so-called national question, among the most important tasks of the Politi­cal Report was elaboration of the question of “parasitism” as the critical component of capitalism.
 
This explains how capitalism was born of African colonial slav­ery and the dispossession of most of the world and how the struggle of these historical imperialist vic­tims is responsible for the current crisis roiling the entire imperialist system.
 
Comrade Deputy Chair Ona Zene Yeshitela, under whose authority the Office of Economic Development and Finance now functions, conducted an incred­ibly successful call for resources on the first day that resulted in the collection of $93,000 in pledges and direct donations!
 
Freedom Ball entertained and offered a vision of a liberated African future
 
The first day of the Congress ended early to give everyone time to prepare for the evening’s event: the One Africa, One Nation Freedom Ball 2013. The entire Congress and more turned out for an evening of entertainment and dancing at the Gulfport Ca­sino where Ron Bob-Semple and Princess Williams functioned as co-hosts.
 
The night was filled with danc­ing and entertainment that in­cluded comedian John X and the young African dancers known as Reality DC.
 
The political highlight of the evening was a presentation by Chairman Omali Yeshitela that brought the packed hall to its feet in appreciation for the vision he offered for a free and liberated Africa and African people in our lifetime.
 
The second day of the Con­gress featured a presentation by Glen Ford, the fearless Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Re­port. Ford lived up to his reputa­tion for sharp, uncompromising analysis with his presentation on the history of U.S. surveillance of the African community in the con­text of the current belated concern by Americans and others because of the revelations of massive col­lection of data from U.S. govern­ment intrusion in every possible electronic communications arena of the world.
 
African Socialist International (ASI) Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa provided a resolution on building a united Africa as the way forward for the liberation of our people. This was discussed and adopted by unanimous vote.
 
There was also a special pre­sentation by Union del Barrio that included a resolution on the unity of our organizations and peoples. This was also discussed and ad­opted unanimously by the Con­gress.
 
Cultural presentations by Kazoots, a Miami-based Hai­tian musical group, the People’s Vanguard and spoken word art­ist Mona Leza would help to keep spirits high.
 
Charo Walker used the sec­ond day to unveil the launching of the Party’s travel agency and notice that the traditional fund­raising Marcus Garvey Legacy Cruise would occur on December 14, 2014, taking Party members and friends to Jamaica and the Bahamas.
 
Party direction and leadership voted on
 
It would be day three at the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg when the most important event of the Congress would occur. This is when the Party membership, after having heard reports from various leaders, voted on the direction of the Party through the Political Re­port and would now adopt resolu­tions, revise the Party’s Constitu­tion and elect those who would lead the Party between congress­es.
 
Waleeah Brooks stepped for­ward and made a report on the work of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (In­PDUM). Comrade Waleeah made this report as her first official act as the newly selected president of InPDUM, having only been ap­pointed a few days before the election following the removal of Diop Olugbala from that post.
 
Sister Waleeah’s enthusiastic unity with the new assignment is part of the evidence of the Party membership open to the new chal­lenges of this incredibly important era of a mortally wounded imperi­alism.
 
Also among the important re­ports to the Congress was the presentation by the Deputy Chair­woman on the amazing work done since the 2010 Fifth Congress to develop the Party’s eco­nomic work. This included a power point that revealed to the Party members the tremendous work that was done to complete the Jiko com­mercial kitchen in St. Petersburg and the ongoing renovation work being done at the Oakland Uhuru House that will result in a com­mercial kitchen being opened there as well.
 
The development of the furni­ture stores in Oakland and Phila­delphia also played a big part in the presentation as well as a further elaboration on the signifi­cance of the creation of Black Star Industries as the umbrella Limited Liability Company for existing and future economic ventures by the Party as part of the process of es­tablishing the economic base for a liberated African nation.
 
All the Party members and observers took this occasion very seriously. Some even commented that the tedious discussions con­cerning resolutions, Constitutional revisions and elections were things they would have thought to be bor­ing in the past, yet were actually some of the most exciting parts of the Congress.
 
The new National Central Committee of the Party included comrades Omali Yeshitela, Chair­man; Ona Zene Yeshitela, Deputy Chair; Gaida Kambon, Secretary General; Dedan Sankara, Direc­tor of Agitation and Propaganda; Chimurenga Waller, Director Na­tional Office of Recruitment and Membership; Luwezi Kinshasa, Director of International Affairs.
 
The All African People’s De­velopment and Empowerment Project and International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement will be represented on the ASI Leader­ship structure by Comrades Aisha Fields and Waleeah Brooks, re­spectively.
 
Others elected to offices of national leadership included Prin­cess Williams, Youth Commission; Ushindi Watu, Northeast Regional leader and Kobina Bantushango, Southeast Regional leader.
 
Following the Congress, Com­rade Waleeah Brooks was ap­pointed to the National Central Committee as the new President of the International People’s Dem­ocratic Uhuru Movement.
 
All Party activity did not hap­pen during the formal Congress meeting. There was another side meeting that happened on the second day of the Congress when representatives of the African So­cialist International convened to confirm the ASI Leadership body that would assume the work to advance the important work of the International.
 
Continuing in the posts of Chair and Secretary General are Omali Yeshitela and Luwezi Kin­shasa, respectively. Comrade Charo Walker assumed the role of Economic Development and Sabrin Ibrahim became ASI Sec­retary. Alex Morely, Chair of the APSP Bahamas, continued in his role as ASI Caribbean Regional Representative and Ka Meritah became North and East Africa Regional Representative. Fenty Tholly, our leader in Sierra Le­one, was given the responsibility of West Africa Regional Repre­sentative, and Makda Johannes became leader of the European region.
 
Ideological discussions and concrete visions for the work presented
 
Day four of the Congress in­cluded some of the many ideo­logical discussions that occurred nearly every day. It included a dis­cussion on the theoretical basis of the advent of the nation and its re­lationship to the development and content of the African nation.
 
Led by Chairman Omali Yeshi­tela, this discussion also included incisive and insightful participation from ASI Secretary General Lu­wezi Kinshasa and Omowale Kef­ing, political editor of The Burning Spear.
 
Reports were also provided by representatives of the ASI, in­cluding Fenty Tholly from Sierra Leone in West Africa, Alex Morley from Bahamas in the Caribbean, Patricia Lumumba from the United Kingdom, Gaida Kambon from the U.S. and Makda Yohannes from Sweden.
 
Ka Meritah also presented reports from Egypt and Kenya in North and East Africa, respectively.
 
Krown, an extremely talented hip hop artist from St. Petersburg of­fered a blistering revolutionary cultural presentation, and Ralph Poynter, husband of the impris­oned political prisoner Lynne Stew­art, was warmly received and his resolution calling for redoubled ef­forts to free Stewart was resound­ingly and unanimously adopted by the Congress.
 
Other reports that were ad­opted by the Congress included the work done by the Department of Agitation and Propaganda since the last Congress and a plan of ac­tion for the development of the de­partment and all the related work by Agitprop Director Dedan San­kara.
 
Following Sankara’s report, he was joined by Deputy Chair Ona Zene Yeshitela in a presentation of joint plans for building economic self-sufficiency for Agitprop.
 
Recruitment and Cadre Development: critical for the Party’s success
 
The last day of the Congress was dedicated primarily to moving the work forward. This included a presentation by Chairman Omali on cadre development as critical to the success of all our Party work. This presentation was based on an elaboration of the Political Re­port.
 
Chimurenga Waller of the Na­tional Office of Recruitment and Membership led the Political Action workshop. Fenty Tholly also con­tributed to this presentation, which involved a discussion of block or­ganizing and tactics and strategies for organizing the African com­munity as a process of occupying actual territory—organizationally, politically and ideologically.
 
The last cultural event of the Congress was performed by Tammy Harris who took a song by Donny Hathaway—“Some Day We’ll All Be Free”—and made it her own, proving to everyone that there is a difference in some­one who is simply saying words and someone who is engaged in changing the world.
 
Harris’s wrenching perfor­mance brought the Congress to its feet. There was not a dry eye in the auditorium at the conclusion of the song that ended the Congress with a new determination by the African People’s Socialist Party to go out into the world to arm the African masses with the theory of African Internationalism and the workers to participation and lead­ership in its own revolutionary Afri­can People’s Socialist Party.
 
 
Take the Congress to the Streets!
 
Uhuru!

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