The colonial contradiction more pronounced than ever as St. Louis African community bears the brunt of the Coronavirus pandemic

April 3, 2020—Kalambayi Andenet, International President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), mother of two and resident of one of north St. Louis’ most oppressed neighborhoods, went to social media this week in anger.

She couldn’t take it anymore.

“The conspiracy theories disarm the people,” she says, referring to false information that somehow African people are unable to catch the virus. She knows at least five people with COVID-19, four of them residents of St. Louis City.

Andenet described one person who felt pressured to go to work everyday for a week, despite having a temperature of 110 degrees. She took Tylenol everyday before work, feeling threatened by her employer that she would lose her job if she did not show up. 

A second person was a healthcare worker whose employer refused to provide testing for workers who are not nurses.

Andenet also learned of a single mother who had to be hospitalized but had nowhere to send her child as family members feared the child would spread the virus to others in the household.

Not only has information been inaccurate and unavailable and personal protective equipment scarce, government leadership has been non-existent.

“African families and communities have been forced to become our own scientists,” Andenet said.

This has been a central component of The People’s War strategy led by the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), another organization of which Andenet is a member and leader.

The People’s War strategy has organized Africans to seek and share the best available information with each other.

In many cases we’ve taken it upon ourselves to identify the foods that strengthen our immune systems.

We are supporting uplifting forms of entertainment offered online to ensure people don’t succumb to loneliness. Others offer exercise classes as a way to help people fight the effects of Coronavirus.

African community in St. Louis devastated by Coronavirus

Africans in the state of Missouri make up 12 percent of the population and 40 percent of all Coronavirus cases according to a recent study.

In North St. Louis, the zip code where Andenet stays as well as an adjacent zip code, have among the highest incidences of Coronavirus.

It also has among the worst poverty in a city where 30 percent of the population lives on an average of $5 a day. Much of the predominately African North St. Louis looks like a literal war zone, with vacant buildings standing out in shocking relief. 

The poverty imposed is undeniable.

Like Africans throughout the world, Africans in St. Louis have faced decade after decade of forced dispersal and economic isolation.

The first shipment of 500 Africans were brought to the St. Louis area to work the lead mines in St. Genevieve County, giving southeast Missouri the moniker, “the lead belt.” The first French and U.S. settler-colonizers, Chouteau and Laclede, and Lewis and Clark, made war on the Indigenous people and held Africans in bondage.

The early 1900s saw a succession of vicious attacks on Africans by mobs of ordinary white “workers.”

Throughout the 20th century, Africans were forced into slums and subject to one social engineering scheme after another by the U.S. government.

Before the Coronavirus, Andenet spent her time fighting what she refers to as “the colonialvirus.”

This virus revealed itself as an attack on the voting strength of the black community by a white ruling class that wants to reduce the number of wards in the city and as attempts to flood the African community with more police to push Africans out of North St. Louis so that the white ruling establishment can plop down an international spy station there, that will attract a young, highly skilled, white professional economy.

According to Andenet, this is the colonialvirus that preceded and gave birth to the Coronavirus. Colonialism is the virus that is responsible not only for COVID-19 but for all of the contradictions Andenet sees every day just outside her door.

The People’s War strategy is attacking COVID-19, but most importantly it aims to eliminate colonial domination faced by African people and the vast majority of the peoples of the world.

Join The People’s War!

Colonialism is the virus!

Black Power is the cure!

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