Burning Spear News
African Internationalism: "We are Africans because we say we are!"
"An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Nation Versus Parasitic Capitalism" by Chairman Omali Yeshitela
Editors Note: The following is an excerpt from the book: An Uneasy Equilibrium – The African Revolution vs Parasitic Capitalism. The book is the final product of the Political Report to the 6th Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party, delivered on December 8, 2013 in St Petersburg, Florida. This excerpt comes from the section titled “The Question of the Nation.”
When Chairman Omali Yeshitela delivered this presentation in 2013 he had no idea that Africans in tiny Ferguson, Missouri would rise up in black rebellion and fight to the extent that the world would once again recognize the legitimacy of the Black Revolution inside U.S. borders.
But what he did know and what this excerpt attest too is that Africans in Ferguson alone cannot defeat U.S. imperialism, and African Internationalism, grasped by the people, translates to “Reinforcements are on The Way.”
Therefore, whether this rebellion would have taken place in Nairobi, Kenya or Tampa, Florida, it is the question of the African nation that must be internalized by the revolution if we are to advance our revolutionary project.
So we reprint here Chairman Omali’s thesis on the National Question at a time when the people are obviously open to revolutionary theory in order to solve this tremendous contradiction of police murder and violence against Africans throughout the world.
Chairman Omali on “The National Question” is an effort to solve real problems of the Revolution. The question of the Oppressed Nation versus the Oppressor Nation is real, and once understood by the African masses, will render sell-outs like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson null and void.
The national question
We can see our commonality in Africa, but as we pointed out earlier, no nation is defined solely in relationship to itself. To say that the nation is one thing is to say that it is not another.
Dark skin is a product of equatorial Africa, the land of “black” people. “Black” people among ourselves would be incapable of defining ourselves as such.
It is through our relationship with “white” people and the dialectic of the oppressor nation and the oppressed nation that Africans became “black.”
We can say, therefore, that the African nation is one born of its historical ties to its African national homeland, with a core sense of sameness that includes a common culture, history and physiognomy.
Still, to arrive at a full definition of the African nation we must say more than this. The African nation is informed by historical necessity, determined by our conditions of existence at this very moment, hundreds of years subsequent to our defining conflict with the European predator nation.
Europe’s parasitic attachment to Africa and Africans shapes and determines both its successful existence and our national incoherence.
A critical feature of our conditions of existence as a people is the imperialist near-total control of the economic life of Africa and African people wherever we are located in the world. Neither Africa, the land, nor Africans, the people—both fundamental components of the productive forces—have been accessible to Africa for the production and reproduction of real life for Africa and Africans.
Hence Africa has created staggering wealth for imperialism that has benefited the entire European nation—ruling class, middle class, workers and others at our expense.
Everything they have was stolen from our labor, resources and knowledge! We have a historical mandate to take back what is ours and fulfill our destiny as a united, independent, self-governing nation in control of our own Continent and future.
This is an immensely profound reality that must be internalized by Africans and all peoples throughout the globe who have an interest in destroying forever this blood-sucking culture of violence stemming from U.S.-European imperialism.
Therefore, historical necessity—the absolute requirement of any people to produce and reproduce life as a condition of existence, survival and a meaningful future—requires the consolidation of the African nation.
The consolidation of the African nation is a prerequisite for overturning the abject, genocidal conditions of existence of Africans everywhere.
Africa: One nation; one fight
There is no separate solution for the liberation of African people based on colonially-defined borders or identity any place on Earth.
Clearly the African Liberation Movement has run into its limitations when fought within the context of these borders. Civil rights and “flag independence” only serve to obscure our oppressive exploitation, not overturn it.
Millions of Africans have been forcibly dispersed from Africa throughout the world. Europeans and others have come to Africa, some as colonizers, some as subjects of colonial powers who were allowed privilege in Africa as intermediary colonial agents functioning as buffers between Africans and our oppressors, a situation contributing to absolute African dependency and the atrophy of African productive forces.
Other occupants of Africa are descendants of the Arab conquest in Africa preceding that of Europe.
How do these various forces fit into our definition of the African nation?
First of all, all black people forcibly transported to diverse parts of the world as part of the process giving rise to capitalism and the European nation are Africans. Period.
Secondly, all black people throughout the world are potentially part of the African nation, whether they were part of the forcible dispersal or whether their presence in other places predates the assault on Africa.
This includes black people in Australia, India and other places who generally experience a sense of sameness associated with African blackness and the oppression we share because of our blackness. Under imperialist world domination, blackness is universally perceived as justification for our oppression.
For those Africans forcibly dispersed from Africa, we are directly connected to each other by the parasitic capitalist world economy under whose weight we continue to groan in poverty and oppression as the economic foundation of the European nation.
All our cultural expressions, found everywhere we are dispersed—music, dance and other art forms and traditions—have their foundation in Africa.
The African nation and Arabs, whites, others in Africa
On the Continent of Africa, our national homeland, there are many Europeans who came as colonizers. They have chosen to remain in Africa after nominal independence was declared in some territories, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya and South Africa as prime examples.
In South Africa white people called themselves Africans prior to independence. Are these white people genuinely a part of the African nation by just declaring themselves so? The fact is that all Europeans, including those in Africa, are beneficiaries of the imperialist economy derived from
African colonialism and slavery.
This means they live at the expense of Africans. This places them concretely and objectively in the category of the European nation, even as they may now be forced to disguise their European national identity for the purpose of maintaining a parasitic attachment to Africa.
This attachment of European colonizers to Africa objectively undermines the consolidation of the African nation whose blackness is an identifying badge of exploitation and oppression.
Whites can be a part of the African nation
This does not mean that whites from the colonizing nation cannot become a part of the African nation.
What it does mean is that whites would have to commit “national suicide,” abandoning the interests of the European parasitic oppressor nation and uniting with the historical trajectory of the African nation to achieve “black power.”
Whites in Africa must unite with the capture of total economic and political power by African workers in a borderless Continent.
Power in the hands of African workers is the only way to unleash the productive forces of Africa, allowing Africa and Africans to engage fully in the process of producing life for Africa and Africans the world over.
Objectively this would mean white people in Africa would have to voluntarily relinquish to the African nation the vast resources they have accumulated through their past identification with the parasitic European nation.
In the final analysis the struggle against world capitalism, resting as it does on the exploitation of the majority of the peoples of the world, will require the destruction of the “white” or European nation that requires for its existence a parasitic relationship to the majority of humanity.
The national liberation of Africa and African people will be a leading force in that destruction. The role of genuine white or European communists will be to actively engage in the commission of national suicide by becoming one with the national liberation of Africans and others.
This is a far cry from the current position of most self-declared white communists who talk instead about the need of the oppressed of the world to unite with their narcissistically-defined European version of history.
A similar situation is that of the Arabs who came into Africa as conquerors, initiating their enslavement of African people that lasted 1,500 years, and paved the way for the European trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Similar to Europeans, Arabs must embrace the historically necessary trajectory of Africa toward black power as their own.
We saw the potential for this kind of unity in the 1960s when Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt stood as one of the strongest allies of Kwame Nkrumah in his attempt to create a united Africa. Ahmed Ben Bella, revolutionary fighter and first president of liberated Algeria, was another who cast his lot with the African nation.
Both men shared with Africa a sense of sameness that showed promise for consolidating all of North Africa into the African nation.
In addition to the practical examples of Nasser and Ben Bella there is the example of black Haiti, which upon achieving independence from France in 1804, created a constitution declaring citizenship and land ownership for blacks only, but which defined whites, including the Poles who fought with Africans in the struggle for independence, as “black” for the purposes of citizenship.
This was a historic case of whites committing national suicide and consciously abandoning the pedestal upon which the European nation rests as a parasite on Africa and the world.
This is a case of Europeans accepting as their own the struggle for the achievement of revolutionary black power.
We also mentioned the presence in Africa of people from India and other former colonies who were brought to the Continent by the British for the express purpose of acting as a colonial buffer between the imperialists and the often- resisting African masses.
There are literally millions of Indians in Africa today, most of whom live at a much higher standard of living than both the majority of Africans and the majority of people in India. This shows how the pedestal upon which Europeans sit on our backs can be and has been opened up to petty bourgeois sectors of formerly colonized countries who now enjoy the benefits of white power at our expense.
Thus, Arabs, Europeans and residents of Africa from other European colonies can become African if they commit national suicide and abandon their parasitic relationship to African people.
They must financially, politically and in every other way unite with the leadership of and become one with the African working class and the aims of a united and liberated Africa.
We are Africans because we say we are!
African nation defined
The African nation, then, is a community of people whose core identity is based on historical ties to the equatorial continent of black Africa, contributing to a common culture, history and physiognomy.
The African nation is also comprised of all those African people who have been forcibly dispersed to various places in the world through colonial slavery. Dispersed Africans were part of the process of the development of capitalism and the European nation, a process that requires our subjugation and national incoherence.
Additionally, the African nation is comprised of many who experience a sense of sameness, a subjective connection to Africa, mainly because of skin color that helps to define their imperialist-inspired impoverished and oppressed state of existence.
The Dalit in India, the Indigenous of Australia and other areas where the African presence goes back toearliest times, such as in the Asia-Pacific region, are included in this category.
Finally, the African nation can include people of other nationalities living in Africa who commit national suicide, becoming part of the African working class and abandoning all allegiance to a predatory, colonial relationship to African people.
The truth, stated simply, is: we are Africans, whatever else we may be called, because we say we are Africans and we feel like we are Africans.
Africa is the national homeland of all black people worldwide. It is the land to which the identity of the African nation is firmly and irreversibly affixed.
Our historical connection to Africa represents the critical element of the material basis for African nationality.
For although we have been forcibly dispersed by colonial slavery and related factors subsequent to the initial European attack on Africa, our current conditions of existence, both in Africa and abroad, are essentially defined by the consequences of our forced dispersal.
Here we remind ourselves that it was Europe that divided Africa with the illegitimate borders that now still function to facilitate the theft of Africa’s still vast resources by various imperial forces.
The colonial division of Africa continues to separate Africans from each other and from our resources that are being expropriated without cessation.
The 54 delineated territories currently characterized as African nations were created in a conference held in Berlin, Germany in 1884-1885, attended by contending European states that parceled Africa out among themselves, resulting in the map that is known as Africa today.
The result of this European invention has been the evolvement of a false national consciousness that fits the interests of the imperialists who created it at the expense of Africans ourselves.
There were no pre-colonial borders separating Africans from each other. Now borders surround 54 colonially-created entities, many of which cut right down the middle of ancient family or kinship territories, dividing and pitting against each other Africans that lived together for time immemorial.
Clearly, this physical and psychological separation has facilitated false national consciousness, not to mention a myriad of other traumas.
The practical significance of this clarification concerning the African nation and its relationship to the European imperialist nation was discussed in our book, One People! One Party! One Destiny!:
Basis for the current crisis of imperialism
The anti-imperialist struggles of the world’s peoples for repossession of our sovereignty and resources, both human and material, are the basis of the current, deep crisis of imperialism.
They are struggles to remove the pedestal upon which the entire rotten edifice of imperialism rests.
They are struggles that enlist the vast majority of humanity, the laboring masses of every nation, in the creation of a new world without exploitation and oppression, without slaves and slave masters and, ultimately, without borders.
We recognize that the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, the struggle for the consolidation of the African nation is ultimately a struggle that undermines the solidarity of the European nation-state.
We understand that under imperialism those who were enslaved, colonized and oppressed as a people will have to win liberation as a people.
We are also clear that the successful nation- building struggles of Africans and others under the leadership of the working class is at the same time the beginning of the process of the withering away of nations.
The European nation was born as a bourgeois nation at the expense of whole peoples and their territories. As we have seen in this discussion, it is a nation that requires the oppression and exploitation of whole peoples for its successful existence.
Hence, African people have to resist the imperialist bourgeoisie as a people. Our assumption of consolidated nationhood will function to destroy the bourgeois nation.
Thus the rise of revolutionary worker nation-states destroys the material basis for the existence of nations and borders that function to distinguish and separate one people from another.
This is easier to understand when we finally realize the significance of the fact that capitalism at birth came wrapped in the skin of the racialized European nation-state.
It is this reality that made impotent the Marxian assumption of communism resulting from the withering away of the European bourgeois industrialized state.
However, the fact that the European bourgeois nation-state achieves life and definition from its relationship to Africa and the oppressed peoples of the world means that our victory over imperialism, with the African working class at the helm will result in the withering away of nations.
This will leave bare and make possible the withering away of the bourgeois state, which will have become historically redundant.
Consolidating the African nation and building the African People’s Socialist Party as the tool to achieve that goal must be at the top of the agenda of every African on Earth.
Every struggle must lead to this end; every border must be broken down; the crisis of imperialism must be deepened daily.
It is on the shoulders of Africans alive today to complete the struggle that our people have waged for more than 500 years: the liberation of Africa and reunification of African people everywhere—the consolidation of the African nation.
Independence, unification and socialism in our lifetime!
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