The battle for Ferguson: The struggle for independence and autonomy

Build to win! Opinion and Analysis
African People’s Socialist Party Platform Point #8
We want the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. police from our oppressed and exploited communities.
The world has been riveted by ongoing battles being waged in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri by African people following the cold-blooded execution of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a true thug in uniform, white cop Darren Wilson.
Another deeper battle is being waged over the events in Ferguson too.
This is the battle for the narrative of Ferguson and how it is to be interpreted in the people’s minds. This is the more crucial battle because it determines whether the struggle in Ferguson is about reform or revolution.
It will determine whether Ferguson’s African leaders will lead the community down the path of cosmetic political concessions or whether the African community will pursue self-determination and political autonomy.
First, we deal with the political context. Ferguson, Missouri was an example of modern American style apartheid.
Any time you have a city or township that is 70 percent African and yet five out of six city council members are white, and of the 55-member police force only three are African, that is apartheid.
Furthermore, when Africans in Ferguson account for nine out of ten police stops and over 500 arrests in 2013 (496 were African while only 29 were white), the African community in Ferguson not only lives under apartheid, they are dealing with a white dominated police force that operates as an occupying army.
The military might and equipment of this occupying army was on full display during the “peaceful” protests in Ferguson by the African community in August.
Equipment the occupying police army was quick to use on peaceful and unarmed protesters.
How to deal with this occupying army is why the battle for Ferguson’s narrative is so important and it is also one of the main reasons why there was an attempt to silence and suppress the voice of Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s speech at the solidarity rally on August 30 in Ferguson.
It also explains why many so-called African leaders were uncomfortable with his presence and that of other revolutionaries on the ground in Ferguson.
Chairman Yeshitela was not coming to deliver a speech that we should reform the Ferguson police force or political establishment.
Nor was he there to urge a “voter registration” drive to deliver more Africans over to a political system that disempowers our communities while empowering a small minority of corrupt African political and religious leaders.
Chairman Yeshitela was speaking about revolution, self-determination and real control of our communities.
This points to what must be done: we must police ourselves and work to implement Point Number 8 of the African People’s Socialist Party’s Platform.
In order to accomplish this we must control our communities and this forces us to address and seriously deal with the African People’s Socialist Party’s Point No 10:
"We want the right to build an African People’s Liberation Army." This is what it comes down to.
Now before some young African brothas and sistas read this article and rush off to buy some guns and ammo and toss on a black beret and camouflage uniform and rush into the street shooting from the hip, please slow down.
That’s not building a liberation army. That’s militant posturing and we got a lot of that nonsense going down all ready.
Building a liberation army means you must first build up the trust and consciousness of your neighborhood and community.
We have to be the person the people can depend on to address their needs and concerns and protection. Remember an army functions on many levels.
We have to also politicize the community and explain why voter registration drives are not delivering the real change we need because we’re voting in leaders who are collaborators with the very system that is responsible for murdering Michael Brown.
If the people are going to vote someone into office it should at least be someone who represents their interests, not the state’s.
If African people in this immediate period cannot have Independence, we must have autonomy!
If the African people of Ferguson are going to participate in voter registration and electoral politics, they must take an example of the African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s 2001 campaign for mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida and the late Chairman of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Chokwe Lumumba’s 2012 campaign for mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.
Both of these campaigns, successful in their own right, sought to use political elections as a means to gain autonomy, not as an end.
Both of these movements correctly identified the State as oppressive and the people as the sole source of power.
The same young warriors that charged the barricades in Ferguson must now man the barricades in their community and organize not only for the defense of their communities but also for CONTROL.
Anything else is half steppin and will have the people back in the streets the next time the police murder an unarmed African.
To win control they need an ideology and a movement. They need to link up with the Black is Back Coalition and the Uhuru Movement.
We must keep in mind that consciousness without a movement accounts for a moment of activity, but consciousness infused with a movement accounts for movement toward liberation and revolution.
Build to Win! Revolution in our Lifetime!


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