Burning Spear News
Chairman Omali’s 2017 Political Report: Putting Revolution Back on the Agenda!
Since our last Plenary in January 2016 the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) has been engaged in a blistering pace of struggle and development to carry out our responsibility to provide leadership to the African workers and nation during this extraordinary era of imperialist crisis.
This is our third Plenary since the December 2013 Sixth Congress of our Party. Like the two previous plenaries it will examine the state of our work to carry out the mandates and resolutions established by the Sixth Congress and prepare us for the Party’s Seventh Congress scheduled for Oakland, California in 2018.
This Political Report to our Plenary will also define our work and existence at this moment, when incredible upheaval is occurring within the imperialist centers, proving again that imperialist stability depends on parasitic colonial domination of the world.
This Party Plenary also functions as a checkup on our progress in implementing the 5-year-plan that was mandated by the Party’s Sixth Congress Political Report. The Plenary is the method by which we guarantee that our Congress mandates and resolutions become reality, not just empty, inconsequential declarations.
The 5-year plan of the Sixth Congress established a formidable agenda that our Party has been determined to accomplish in our struggle for the complete liberation and unification of Africa and the African nation forcibly divided and dispersed throughout the world.
The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party correctly realized that the crisis of imperialism, the global system of slavery and colonialism that gave birth to our oppression and the capitalist system, has resulted in an uneasy equilibrium defined by the battle between a past of slavery and colonialism and a future of liberation and socialism.
The African People’s Socialist Party was neither shocked nor frightened by the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the headquarters of world imperialism. Indeed, Trump’s election was simply one expression of disequilibrium that sent temporary shudders through the body politics of the U.S. and much of the world.
This does not mean that we dismiss the significance of Trump’s election. The fact is that the entire electoral process was brought into high-profile disrepute through the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the campaign associated with it.
The election campaign process exposed to public view the deep division within the white ruling class. The electoral process itself is simply a generally nonviolent contest between competing sectors of the white colonialist capitalist ruling class for control of the State.
The fact that nearly 25 candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties were involved in the contest for the presidential nomination from their respective parties was evidence that the crisis of imperialism had contributed to an impulse of every white man (and woman) for himself emanating from deep within the marrow of the capitalist class.
Donald Trump is a billionaire capitalist in the service and entertainment industries. He had never run for political office before and was generally treated as a joke by the media and much of the white ruling class.
However, because he is a billionaire that did not have absolute dependency on other capitalists for funding his candidacy, he was able to ignore the traditional campaign etiquette that restricted the discussions, debates and agendas to the stability-engendering system of a generally unified bourgeoisie.
Not only was he not bound by the rule of unity of the electoral game, he was compelled to campaign against the rules in order to wage an effective campaign. To do so Trump used his mass presence in the entertainment industry to go around the system and directly to the people. This was the base upon which he stood to expose his competitors for the presidency from both ruling class parties.
The economic crisis within the white world has been eroding the incomes and confidence of ordinary colonizer citizens. The so-called Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements were popular expressions of dissatisfaction within the white body politic of the U.S. while similar expressions were growing throughout Europe.
However, the electoral process is recognized as the only legitimate method for achieving political power in the U.S. and Trump was able to mobilize much of the demoralization and dissatisfaction into a powerful electoral tool to use against the electoral system itself.
Never in modern history has a viable presidential candidate dared to expose the fact that the electoral system is “rigged.” Never has there been such an open attack by a legitimate presidential candidate and later president-elect on hidebound, economic-influenced U.S. foreign and domestic policies. Trump’s challenges to U.S.-NATO arrangements and Japanese, Korean and other capitalist partnerships worth trillions of dollars to select U.S. economic interests have led to a paroxysm of near-hysterical outrage.
Similarly, his talk about improved U.S. relations with Russia to the dismay of the U.S. arms industry and its “bi-partisan” spokespersons in the U.S. congress and security establishment proves the connection of the electoral process and the competing efforts of sectors of the ruling class for control of the State. It shows Trump’s willingness to fight against the existing arrangements for economic control of the U.S. status quo.
While all the data associated with the 2016 presidential election have yet to be fully explored, we understand that 100 million people refused to cast a vote for either of the two ruling class candidates despite the fact that the only option provided for the people to influence policy is the electoral process.
Additionally Trump and Clinton were the most reviled presidential candidates in U.S. history. At one point during the contest between Democratic Party candidate Clinton and the Republican Trump, Clinton was polling more than 50 per cent negatively and trump slightly higher at nearly 60 per cent.
Trump won the election as U.S. president with only 25 percent of the vote! And, he lost the popular vote to Clinton by 2 million votes.
This is crisis writ large.
Many Africans are justifiably concerned about the outcome of Trump’s election. However, the real problem is the fact that Africans ourselves are ill-prepared to fend for ourselves. Our Revolution of the sixties, once defeated, has had to contend with the shackles imposed by a neocolonial solution. Assimilationist toads have fought with all their might and with the assistance of the ruling class media and State, to prevent the African working class from having the benefit of its own revolutionary leadership. This has kept the African nation as a whole from moving philosophically beyond the politics of assimilationist dependency.
APSP is the vehicle for the advanced detachment
This is the situation that has informed our understanding of the urgency of the moment.
First of all, the imperialist crisis, the uneasy equilibrium with which we have been contending, is manifesting itself with ever-greater clarity in the political arena, especially as seen in the U.S. presidential campaign and election.
Secondly, the neocolonial African assimilationist tendency of our community, while opposed to the election of Trump, is making every effort to support the colonialist-capitalist system. The assimilationists are doing everything possible to keep Africans loyal to the system and the electoral process––primarily to the ruling Democratic party from whence flows their economic security, semblance of power and influence.
The African People’s Socialist Party is the revolutionary vehicle of the advanced detachment through which the conscious and organized African working class continues to wage the struggle for the socialist liberation and unification of our dispersed African nation.
Instead of spontaneity, which allows the issue of the moment to determine our trajectory, our work is based on a plan stemming from a scientific theory. We continue to check up on our work, to measure our successes and correct our errors, to make certain that our practice reflects and validates our theory.
The Party Congress and our Plenaries allow us to bring the membership of the Party into this democratic process of charting our course. They grant the Party leadership the authority to require centralized discipline from all our members and constituent organizations.
An entire section of my Political Report to the Party’s Sixth Congress laid out the tasks of our Party for the work between Congresses. It is the responsibility of this Plenary to examine our success in carrying out these tasks.
The Sixth Party Congress participants adopted the Political Report after serious discussions that began more than three months prior to the convening of the Congress. The Political Report was truly a document of our whole Party and the tasks, the 5-year plan laid out in the Political Report, constitutes the Party’s direction that was voted for by the whole Party.
Our Plenary process is the method the Party has adopted to continue summing up our work of making our plan reality and guaranteeing that we do not veer off on some opportunistic gambit based on the whims of any Party organization, committee, member or leader.
In the chapter of our Political Report to the Sixth Congress printed in the book, “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism,” we explained:
“The resolutions and mandates from our Congress are our bulwarks against spontaneity and opportunism. They are among the factors that distinguish our Party and contribute to the continuity that we think so important.
“Part of the agenda for our Party going into our Sixth Congress can be found in the Political Report to our Fifth Congress. In that report we laid out critical mandates that our Party must address if we are to be successful in recruiting into the Party and forwarding the African Revolution. Some of these mandates were not fulfilled and must be kept on the front burner for our current strategy.”
I am emphasizing the significance of our Congress and Plenaries because we have entered into a situation where, after the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties more than two generations ago, the African People’s Socialist Party is the organization that assumed custody of the revolutionary struggle of the African working class and peasantry, indeed of the entire African nation.
We are the Party that constitutes a historical continuum from the previous era of the Black Revolution of the Sixties to its incipient resurgence today. Our mission was not determined by the events of the moment.
Events often change; elections are held, coups overturn governments, police violence escalates from time to time, our struggle faces setbacks, but the social system that has arisen from slavery and colonialism remains the same and this is the essential ingredient that must inform our analysis during each period.
Our Congresses and Plenaries contribute to our ability to hold the line to protect, defend and solve the problems of the revolution. This is what revolutionaries do.
It is also true that the system of oppression under which the entire world and we live and struggle, is a parasitic capitalist system that owes its existence to and is nourished by slavery and colonialism. The legitimacy of any movement of the oppressed must ultimately be judged by its opposition to slavery, colonialism and the capitalist system birthed by slavery and colonialism.
Africans and the peoples of the world suffer from a dictatorship of a white nationalist imperialist bourgeoisie currently headquartered in the U.S.
While the selection of Barack Hussein Obama as the first African U.S. president and the August 9, 2014 police murder of 18-year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri may have affected our strategy and tactics, the reality of a parasitic capitalist colonial domination of Africa and the world remained the same. This reality shapes our worldview. It makes us African Internationalists.
Our Party solved the problems of the African Revolution
I addressed the critical role of our Party in the continuing process of solving the problems of the revolution in the Political Report to the Sixth Congress Second Plenary in January 2016:
“Since our inception in 1972, our Party has functioned as the primary custodian of the African Liberation struggle. We have summed up all the lessons and contradictions of our revolutionary Movement to reunite the African nation and liberate and unite Africa and African people worldwide under the leadership of the African working class.
“The African Liberation Movement suffered major setbacks since the defeat of the Black Revolution of the 1960s. Not only were giants like Patrice Lumumba of Congo and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana brutally murdered and overthrown by repulsive, shameless, European-created neocolonial stooges, but our Movement was never able to resolve many of the key ideological and political questions facing our people. This demoralized our people whose dreams and aspirations were spoiled by the disillusionment that followed our Movement’s defeat and demise.
“Inside the U.S. it was left to our Party to sum up the significance of the life and death of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King and the destruction of the Black Panther Party along with the accompanying assassinations and imprisonments.
“It was the African People’s Socialist Party that forced the world to recognize that the African Liberation Movement is one struggle being waged across the globe on different fronts by a forcibly dispersed African nation held in colonial slavery in Africa and elsewhere over the last several hundred years.
“It was our philosophy, African Internationalism, that brought this understanding to the forefront. Without African Internationalism it would be impossible to understand why Africans, sometimes called by an assortment of different names, suffer impoverishment, brutality and imposed ignorance all over the world.
“It was African Internationalism that informed my question in the political report to our Party’s Sixth Congress, published in “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism”:
“‘Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?”
“‘To which I answered:
“‘No! No! No! and a thousand times no!’
“It was African Internationalism that helped to locate the millions of Africans that otherwise would be missing from history by false national identities that facilitate our colonization everywhere and deny Africans the confidence and resources that come from recognition that as a nation Africans are more than a billion and a half strong.
“It was African Internationalism that prompted me to write in “An Uneasy Equilibrium”:
“’Africans are not a race but a nation of people, forcibly dispersed across the globe.’
“’…It was to protect the outgrowth of wealth and power stemming from this oppressive colonial relationship to Africans within the U.S. and throughout the world that the U.S. government destroyed Lumumba, Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Black Panther Party. The Junta of Militant Organizations (JOMO), the organization that preceded our Party, also came under constant attack. Our Movement represented an existential threat to U.S. and Western (read white) imperialism in general.
“’Our Party, through practice and theory, continues up to now to help people understand that despite the ongoing efforts by the U.S. to demonstrate otherwise, the Black Revolution of the Sixties did not simply go away because our militants tired of struggle or came to enjoy our oppressed status in the U.S. Our Revolution was militarily defeated through assassinations, mass jailing, slander, and unrelenting harassment. In a word, it was a war without terms that silenced our struggle.
“’This is the understanding that allowed the African People’s Socialist Party to recognize that the African charlatans, including Barack Hussein Obama, were elevated to high places as neocolonial substitutes for genuine revolutionary African leaders of the past.
“’Indeed, these charlatans, every one of them, are a result of the defeat of the Revolution, not of its success.
“’We have led and participated in campaigns throughout the U.S. and all over the world informed by this understanding and steeled by practice that involved virtually every form of struggle.
“’This is why we can confidently say we are best prepared to lead our people to the reunification of the African nation and the liberation and unification of our African Motherland.
“’Unlike most who see the growing unrest roiling the world--the unremitting wars and the threats to U.S. hegemony in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and increasingly to the African domestic colony of the U.S.––with alarm, we of the African People’s Socialist Party recognize this as an era of general imperialist crisis.
“’This is why the Political Report to the Party’s Sixth Congress was titled “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism.” We recognize the reality that there is a great contest that reveals itself as struggle between an imperialist past that has defined the world for the last five hundred years and a liberated future of a totally free and reunited African nation and the emancipation of the colonized peoples worldwide.’”
Comrades, I can report to this Plenary that our work has been going generally well.
We must build the Office of the Chairman!
Building the Office of the Chairman of the Party is among our most important tasks for this upcoming year. Many of the functioning institutions and structures of the Party have been an outcome of years of leadership from this office. However, the Office of the Chair must also be developed to capacity.
In the recent period we have utilized an ad hoc substitute for an adequate office staff. We have referred to this method as “Office of the Chair” meetings. However, more often than not these meetings do not function as staff for my office. Instead there is a tendency for the meetings to solve problems in other areas of the work that already have appointed and elected leadership.
The Office of the Chair must have a fully competent staff that can function in its interests and in some instances function as the Chair. I need a staff that is fully competent to run the office. Not only does this mean tasks like answering the phone, keeping my schedule and informing me of organizational emergencies, it also means staff members that have the ideological development and political skills to work without direct leadership from me. Obviously this is not something that can be solved by simply recruiting new, undeveloped forces into the office, but it must be solved.
My office must also have a stand-alone budget that will allow me to make the necessary decisions to deploy various material and human resources when and where I need to without concern for the implications this has for other budget items. I must have a discretionary fund that frees my political action from the restriction of other budget considerations. My political decisions cannot be enslaved by financial decisions if I am to be an effective Chairman of our Party.
Recruitment is key!
Recruitment and a general recognition of the significance of Party-building have been long recognized as critical to the ability of our Party to achieve the liberation of our nation and our class. Issues of recruitment and Party-building have been addressed most sharply in our Fifth and Sixth Congresses, with the direction provided by our 2010 Fifth Congress continuing to guide our work even up to now. In fact, at the Party’s Fifth Congress we made the determination that recruitment would be moved to the top of our Standard Party Agenda used for all Party meetings.
Both the Fifth and Sixth Party Congresses outlined our recruitment tasks as organizing the African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO), the student wing of the Party along with African prisoners, labor and women.
Organizing students, prisoners, labor and women opens the door for mass and/or wave recruitment by the Party, where entire groups of members and sectors of our population can be recruited into the Party at one time.
Events over the last two years or more have led to an upsurge of consciousness within the U.S. Front of the African revolution. Many mostly-young Africans have been thrust into political life and many of these into the ranks of our Party.
We are experiencing an explosion of membership growth. Much of the work in our headquarters has revolved around the bottleneck in our process that prevented efficient entry into the Party by the hundreds of new applicants.
This is a problem that our National Office of Recruitment and Membership (NORM) has mostly solved. The NORM office is being rapidly and efficiently built with adequate personnel and a developing Plan of Action by Comrade Gazi Kodzo, our NORM Director.
NORM is fast developing a methodology to study the demographics of our members throughout the world from the various locations within the U.S. to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.
Most of our recruitment success is connected to the efforts of NORM and the administrative arms of the Party headquarters.
Finally, we have a coordinated, dedicated office of recruitment and the benefit of other leading offices that consistently push our recruitment efforts. This is crucial at this time when the masses of young Africans are seeking revolutionary participation in the struggles to overturn our oppression and restore our national dignity.
Anecdotal evidence abounds that the majority of our recruits and Party members are young Africans. Many of them are students. This places our efforts to build the African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO) front and center.
NORM’s Director Comrade Gazi Kodzo must plan to build AISO in 2017. We have to identify the student Party members and begin preparing them to host a student conference to bring a surge of young Africans into the Party in a mass wave.
NORM still has to create a method for bringing another wave of members into the Party, namely African prisoners. Scores of prisoners are recipients of our journal, The Burning Spear. Almost daily we receive communications from prisoners and/or their loved ones enquiring about the mechanism to grow a closer relationship with the Party.
NORM must begin a concrete process for bringing these prisoners into the Party. Most of them will not be prisoners always. They can play a role in transforming the colonial concentration camps into revolutionary universities, preparing Africans for their return to our communities as leaders and members of the Party. Even prisoners who do not see a way out of prison can play a role in educating those in prison and those who will eventually be released.
Build Party leaders! Fill out our organizational structure!
Because of the massive influx into the Party, we have entrusted various departments, organizations and leading committees to the hands of several untested forces. Our cadre-building program has been kicked into high gear to facilitate the newly recruited members.
This was inevitable. We have had to give these new Party members an opportunity to lead. The role of our Party requires us to do everything possible to respond to the call of history during this incredible and possibly advantageous crisis of imperialism.
The energy brought to our Party by these new forces is palpable. Some of them have proved to be extraordinarily enthusiastic to make the struggle against imperialism for the liberation of our dispersed nation and horribly exploited class.
They are endeavoring to overturn the individualism that stems from being slaves to social media and too divorced from collective, human political relationships. They are struggling against liberalism and the tendency to blame and avoid blame and learning to initiate principled intra-party political struggle through criticism and self-criticism.
They are also attempting to overcome their ideological and political limitations stemming from non-access to more than two generations of revolutionary ideology and political practice.
Adapting to Party Standards of Life is not easy for everyone. Some who are initially infatuated with the idea of being in the Party have only their previous experiences to judge what this means. Despite the very serious work being constantly done to transform Africans to members, then cadres and, finally, into leaders, some who are called on will not immediately be able to measure up as Party leaders.
Our Party places great significance on the question of leadership. In the strictest sense every member of the Party is a leader: on the job, the campus, the neighborhood, prison wing, etc. Our organizational structures emphasize the necessity of leadership for every aspect of our work.
The significance of Party cadres revolves around the question of leadership. Every component of our struggle requires leadership. Whenever there are three or more members of our Party involved in any process our policy is to function with one leader and two followers. This is what allows Party discipline and the strictest form of organization.
The Party itself functions as the organized, political leadership of the African working class. We are also the leadership of the African nation because the African working class, led by its advanced detachment, the Party, is the only social force capable of leading the African nation to total liberation and the capacity to reorganize society to meets the needs of the majority.
This is why the question of leadership is so important to us. This is why we have opened the door to leadership for many of the comrades who are almost totally new to organized revolutionary theory and work. This is also why we must hold all our leaders, including the new comrades, to the highest standards consistent with strict principles of Party organization, especially Democratic Centralism.
To succumb to liberalism around the requirements of leadership will be a betrayal of the Party. It would undermine the morale of cadres and frustrate our ability to advance our struggle at a moment when imperialism is experiencing deep crisis and vulnerability, meaning it is also very dangerous to the well being of our colonized people within the U.S. and throughout the world.
Party building does not only include bringing new members into the Party, it also means non-liberal struggle within the Party to hold our leadership accountable to upholding the mandates of our Political Report and Congress resolutions.
It means demanding that our leaders lead, that they enthusiastically assume on their shoulders the responsibility for the success of their departments, committees, tasks and the Party as a whole.
Party building also means being committed to developing our organizational capacity. We have created structures, protocols and manuals to build real capacity within the Party. This is designed to free us from the uncertainty and unreliability of charismatic leadership––dependency on the leader that gets things done primarily through reliance on personal persuasion, charm and individual influence.
We must initiate a serious internal Party-building campaign that is dedicated to consolidating the different components of our organization. This must also include the Party’s constituent organizations such as the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the All-African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP). This is also true of the Office of the Deputy Chair that has done so much to advance the work of the Party and to generalize and advance the Party’s economic development work.
We have developed Principles of Organization that apply to every Party Department. The main, most important organizational principle, of course, is Democratic Centralism. We have to fight to uphold Democratic Centralism, which means a fierce battle against liberalism, subjectivism, individualism and the host of other bad tendencies that serves to cripple our work and stunt our development.
Back to the books, Comrades! We must begin to religiously utilize the manuals that we created to enhance our capacity. Our Fifth Congress in 2010 mandated the revitalization and modernization of our Party’s Organizational Manual within three months of the 5th Congress.
We demand that our updated organizational manual and a myriad of other manuals created for almost every aspect of the work must be utilized to the fullest. This is one of our safeguards from reliance on spontaneity and charismatic leadership. It places the organization front and center in all our work. This is as it should be.
The Role of the Party’s Secretary General is critical
There is a crucial position inside of the Party’s National Central Committee that is responsible for the consolidation of the organizational structure of the whole Party.
That position is the Party’s Secretary General which plays a critical role in our efficiency in living up to our Congress mandates and resolutions and maintains the accountability of all Party structures to the tasks we set for ourselves.
The work of the Secretary General is what should hold our recruitment work on task. The Secretary General should have general oversight of all our work and maintain a constant overview of what is needed to push the entire Party forward.
The Secretary General is the tool in the hands of the Chair to forge the path established by the Chair inside our organizational process. The office of the SG guarantees that all our constituent organizations are functioning according to our protocols, minimizing the potential for disruption of the work of the Party and Movement by unexpected crises.
The illness of Comrade Gaida Kambon has made it necessary to relieve her of the role of Secretary General. However, the Office of the Secretary General, a post created at the Fifth Congress in 2010, has never functioned to carry out this role.
The Office of the Secretary General has never asserted its presence as Secretary General in the conduct of our Party work. No greater evidence of this is the fact that there is no real Office of the Secretary General that we can now assign someone to. There are no manuals, POAs and protocols established through the actual work of this office that set a standard for how the work of the office should be carried out.
This is something we will have to build from the bottom up. It is a task that my office will take on for resolution within this year and certainly by the time of our Seventh Congress in 2018.
We must fight for the regional structure of the Party
The leadership of our regional work based on the organizational structure of the “national” Party is something that has not been vigorously fought for within our Party. Again this is due in part to the limitations of our Party’s National Secretary General.
Nevertheless, the responsibility for leadership of the Party’s regional work falls squarely on the shoulders of the regional leaders themselves. Going forward the Party must require a dedicated and demonstrably strict adherence to Party building by the regional leaders. All of them. All the time.
There are organizational manuals and organizational principles that must dominate the approach to this work and must be fought for in the strongest possible way. On a practical level we know the efficacy of our regional leadership by the number of cities and states that have the Party’s presence. Our membership growth must reflect the numbers of the Party’s journal, The Burning Spear, sold monthly. The regional work must be reflected in the quantity and quality of regional participation in the Party’s work and institutions.
It will no longer be allowable for Party organizations to exist in name only. We must see growth and development. What is the quantity and quality of our membership? These are critical questions every committee or organizational leader will have to answer in order to validate their position and to continue in positions of leadership.
How can we explain, especially now when the people are actually clamoring for organization and resistance, why we have not grown our organizations and committees after years of existence?
What other practical means of measuring our regional work is applicable? This is even more important than our Plans of Actions, which are meaningless if they are not actually used to guide practical work that we actually carry out. Practice is primary. In this case we think the old saying, “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear a word you say (or write),” is very applicable.
As fast as our Party is growing already, the development of our regional work and the presence of genuine regional leadership operating within the Party structures, would provide our people and our Revolution with the army of cadres necessary to overturn our relationship with colonial capitalism forever.
Department of Agitprop must wage the war of ideas
The Party’s Department of Agitation and Propaganda (Agitprop) is our primary organization for waging the war of ideas that we are permanently confronted with as a people and as a Party.
This area is popularly known as the Department of Agitprop (DAP) within our Party and Movement.
Agitprop is a huge and complex operation that suffered many years from not having enough members and, as we have developed, not having clarity of mission and organizational coherence. Every day new members are clamoring to become part of our Party through Agitprop. The department has grown tremendously over the last two years.
Comrade Themba Tshibanda, who relocated from his home in Chicago to our Party’s headquarters in Florida, is playing an important role in leading DAP. Comrade Themba is another of the new Party members entrusted with a huge responsibility.
Agitprop includes The Burning Spear newspaper, Black Power 96.3 FM radio station and a distribution component.
Within The Burning Spear alone there are 30 or more people on the team. DAP also carries the responsibility for inner-Party political and ideological development.
This department establishes the lines of organization throughout the entire Party and Uhuru Movement. This is only a thumbnail sketch of Agitprop’s role but it is a statement of the enormity of the task assumed by Comrade Themba to lead this department.
Themba has fought tooth and nail to improve his own political, ideological, organizational and technical competence as a leader of this work.
In the process of struggling to move this department forward, more than anyone else in the past, Themba has withstood sometimes blistering criticism for shortcomings and errors. But he has persevered and his stance is one to be emulated.
This does not, however, liquidate the contradictions in Agitprop that Comrade Themba will have to overcome to actually achieve success as leader of Agitprop. The Department still lacks a coherent trajectory and the Agitprop members have to be won to the principles of Democratic Centralism in its internal practice.
I am currently involved in reorganizing our activities at our headquarters that should allow us greater opportunity to oversee the Agitprop work and provide some support for Comrade Themba’s leadership.
At the time of our Second Plenary one year ago, we were able to report that The Burning Spear, which functions within the Department of Agitprop, had consistently gone to press monthly for the previous three years. This was quite an accomplishment, despite the fact that our editor at the time who was preparing to move Spear production where he was located, became ill and was unable to take on this task.
Nevertheless, one of the young Party recruits, Kalonda Mulamba was appointed Editor in Chief of The Burning Spear and has fought relentlessly to transform The Spear production process into a most efficient arm of the Party’s propaganda arsenal. Truly, this is an instance of recruiting new members into important leadership roles bearing fruit beyond our expectations.
Comrade Kalonda has forged most of The Spear team into an army of disciplined forces, moving closer to becoming cadres. There are still some weaknesses to the Spear production process having to do with too few people with specialized skills and the failure to develop the economic component of Spear work that would make production possible without having to cannibalize resources from other income areas of Agitprop.
Comrade Kalonda is one Party leader whose utilization of Party manuals has contributed to the success of her work up to now. The various components of Spear production are shored up with manuals explaining how the work is to be done and Kalonda has not hesitated to make use of them.
While there are struggles with Comrade Kalonda’s work that sometimes includes a hint of commandism and dogmatism, these are contradictions that owe themselves to inexperience in struggling to carry out her mission as leader of the Party’s most important tool for propagating our ideas. Moreover, a little dogmatism in this arena can be a good thing, certainly better than the liberalism that has historically haunted this department.
Additionally, under the leadership of Comrade Kalonda the Spear team is much more aware that one of its missions is to bring the people of the team into Party membership. This is a far reach from the previous liberalism that easily accepted volunteers to the Spear team without an actual organized intent to bring them into the Party. More and more Spear team members are being brought into our Party. In this way The Spear production work is also functioning as an incubator for Party membership. This must be developed and policies adopted to guarantee an ongoing, automatic, process of recruiting Spear team members into the Party proper.
Agitprop has had other successes as well. The department has survived the withdrawal from leaders of critical areas of the work. One such area is economic development; another is Black Power 96.3 FM, the radio station we have acquired and which appears ready to be up and running by the time of this Plenary. I am not understating the importance of having direct leadership over the economic development area of Agitprop or the scramble to fix the problems associated with the desertion of the persons initially responsible for Black Power 96.3 FM.
The fact is previous Political Reports often decried the fact that Agitprop is not bringing in the kind of resources to the department and to the Party that it is uniquely capable of doing. This inherent capability for resource generation is too obvious to belabor in this report and I only mention it as recognition of the fact that Agitprop has not solved this highly solvable problem. But it must be done!
And while we have appointed someone to lead the work of Black Power 96.3, it is necessary to acknowledge the lack of experience of its current leadership. We must also continue to promote fidelity to the Party’s line, style of work, engagement of the masses and creativity in popular application through this invaluable tool in the war of ideas and the propagation of the Party’s worldview to the masses of our people and the people of the world.
Agitprop continues to plod along with more or less success in tackling most of the issues mandated to the department in our Sixth Congress Political Report and in the Second Plenary. These documents are to be studied by the Agitprop department.
Agitprop must begin to operate by the book. It must utilize all our manuals and protocols. It must actually bring in and properly deploy all of the hundreds of Africans who contact it to participate in the work.
Agitprop must commit to an agreed-upon Plan of Action that informs all our work going forward to which the Agitprop committee members and leadership are held accountable. This is a critical missing link in solving the myriad of problems confronting Agitprop.
This holds true for the requirements of our radio work and the organizational principles guiding the work within The Burning Spear. Obviously for The Spear and radio, this means we must expedite recruitment into the Party from the pool of volunteers who join our radio and Spear teams. What does it take to do this? It’s a problem to recognize and solve.
We must also recognize that there is much to do to enhance the cultural development of members of this critical department that is itself responsible for contributing to the cultural development of the African population as a whole.
Revolution is a science and an art. And, while the manuals will make us more competent in carrying out our work scientifically, the art of revolution is another story entirely and it is something that Agitprop, perhaps more than any other department, must be consciously involved in developing and practicing within the Department of Agitprop.
Party’s economic work: Political and economic are one
The economic work of the Party has made tremendous leaps, even since our Sixth Congress. The Office of Deputy Chairwoman Ona Zené Yeshitela has been most effective and conscientious in carrying out the mandates coming from the Sixth Congress Political Report.
Not only has the Deputy Chair transformed the economic work; she has taken literally the understanding of our Party’s slogan that the economic and political work are one. Since the Congress she has struggled to bring the economic work to virtually every committee and department of the Party. Both our Fifth and Sixth Congresses mandated this.
She has introduced and demanded the science and discipline required by our economic institutions into every area of the Party. She has taken organizational and economic training everywhere possible within all the structures of our Party and Movement. More than any other area of the work, that of Deputy Chair Yeshitela demands emulation.
Every area of Party work has benefitted from the leadership of the Deputy Chair. In part, this is because of her fidelity to the Political Reports and mandates from the Party, our Congresses and Plenaries, but also because of the constant utilization of our Organizational Manual and other directives that she helped to organize or develop.
Another thing that has influenced the impact of the leadership provided by Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela is the fact that the economic work, by its very nature, demands concrete manifestations of success. Smooth talking, filibustering or plain old “bullshit” won’t suffice. Economic work and running institutions demand planning and concrete results. This approach to leadership has benefited our Party in virtually every facet of the work, and helped to create a disciplined infrastructure throughout the organization.
Almost all our institutions are thriving under her leadership. They have broken through what appeared to be barriers of stagnation that existed before her leadership took them to new heights, limited today only by lack of availability of competent cadres.
In addition to the ongoing development of the Party’s economic activity, other areas of the mass work are also adopting economic development institutions. They, too, will flourish if the leaders of the work take full advantage of the expertise offered by the Office of the Deputy Chair and if the leaders are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed.
The Party’s economic institutions are not only significant for what they bring directly to the Party and Party-related organizations and committees. They are also important for what they bring to the masses of our people, beyond thein Our economic institutions are also important for what they represent to the psyche of Africans who may have lost collective self-confidence as a result of the cruelty of colonial capitalism that denies Africans the ability to easily initiate successful life-creating or economic ventures.
Our economic institutions speak to the possibility of Africans to achieve economic self-reliance, to be in charge of our own affairs. Every day that a young African passes our fitness center or one of our furniture stores or experiences our food and pies enterprise, walks into the door of our consignment store, makes a purchase of clothing from our clothing store, Uzi, reads our newspaper or hears our radio station, that African experiences a sense of self-capacity and self-worth that is constantly under attack by the normal existence as a colonial subject.
The Party’s leadership must still be won to fully understand the relationship of our economic work to the struggle for total liberation of Our Africa and the forcibly dispersed African nation. Our cadres must take over leadership from the solidarity forces who still coordinate many of our older institutions. Many people think of revolutionary work as comprising only the adrenaline-pumping, anti-colonial political demonstrations or the organization to push back the State after the latest atrocity committed against our people.
But, Comrades, all politics is concentrated economics. We struggle not for the sake of struggle, but for the ability to wrest away from our oppressors the ability to fully engage in the production of life, the ability to feed, clothe and house ourselves as a nation, to have the advantage of the value we have created for our oppressors to change the material conditions of existence of our people. We struggle to end our relationship to capitalist parasitism, to end our relationship to a voracious blood-sucking economic system that requires our permanent political and economic prostration for its success.
Our economic work is the most revolutionary work we are engaged in. Our political work is work to help us achieve and maintain the ability for our people to acquire a better material existence through liberating the productive forces of our nation.
The same rules of discipline apply within the sphere of our economic work as they do elsewhere. The same sacrifices are required in pursuit of our economic objectives as elsewhere. No greater responsibility can be found than in the concrete, quantitatively measured work to raise up the conditions of the suffering, colonized children of the whole African nation.
We must do the political work to enlist the masses of our people to conscious anti-colonial participation in our economic work. Some pseudo leftists have criticized us, claiming that this work means that we are capitalists. They would have African people remain as starving, unemployed dependents of colonial capitalism.
What they do not seem to understand is that capitalism is when the means of production are privately owned and controlled by individuals and corporations that extort surplus value or profit for their own benefit. None of our institutions fit that description. All our institutions are truly owned by the people through the Party, not any individual.
In fact, socialism is that early stage of communism, before the total elimination of the State, when the workers who produce value have socialized ownership of the means of production. Socialism does not mean that production no longer occurs, it means that now socialized production is socially owned.
We must win the masses politically to support our economic institutions, these embryonic manifestations of an independent, anti-colonial African economy. But we must also do more to lead our people in our approach to economic self-reliance and political self-determination.
Our desperate colonial plight has required Africans to engage in what is often called “informal” or “underground” economic activity. This has included everything from established markets that allow independent vendors to provide goods for the people at lower prices, to baked goods and other food sold from our homes. Sometimes Africans utilize mobile shops from the boot or trunk of their cars.
The point is that there is very little capital circulating within our colonized communities. We experience general economic quarantine by the colonial rulers who regularly do everything possible to destroy the independent economic activity of Africans. They shut down vending spaces and in some places expropriate land used for growing food, etc.
We must give serious consideration to organizing this independent economic activity and move to establish popular regulations to promote the safety of producers, products and vendors. The people within our colonized communities will help us to protect the vendors and producers if the vendors and producers will agree to the imposition of safety, pricing and courtesy measures that favor the consumers of their products.
Harlem, New York and Washington, D.C. are two of the notorious examples of African population removal euphemistically called gentrification. Throughout the U.S. and the African world, Africans are experiencing a deliberate policy determination to disperse the African population as an assault on potential concentrations of black economic and political power.
There are a number of ways we must organize our people to fight back against this assault. They include political mobilization against the State-controlled, so-called social benefit programs that provide “assistance” for Africans in distress, providing they move out of their communities as a condition.
We must remember that we occupy many communities today because whites of the colonizer nation deserted the “inner-cities” during the height of the black revolutionary tide of the 1960s. The fact that white people are coming back to the cities now is an indication that they see so little revolutionary anti-colonial political activity in our communities that they assume it is safe to return at the expense of our people. This should be statement enough about some of what must be done to reclaim our communities.
Africans must be influenced to combine with each other to begin grabbing up properties that have been abandoned and degraded in our community as part of the process of chasing us out, undermining property values and opening the door to vultures from the colonizing nation to easy, cheap acquisition.
We must help the people to understand that groups of Africans coming together can begin to acquire property in the community through economic cooperation. We can also create housing and other kinds of economic cooperatives. This can be part of a foundation for cooperative, socialist-influenced economics. Our political task is to teach the people to be contemptuous of any kind of dependency.
Moving forward, the Office of the Deputy Chair must consider how to expand our anti-colonial economic leadership beyond the immediate institutions of the Party. All our Party leaders and most of our committees and organizations must incorporate this message into our propaganda. This will help to truly ground our work for the long haul. It will help to give our work the kind of strategic approach necessary to win because it keeps our vision fixed on the economic objectives of our political work.
We must also develop the ability to host community meetings throughout our base areas within the U.S. and elsewhere that teach Africans how to deal with basic economic issues. This should include everything from how to do personal and family budgets to how to initiate businesses, including business plans and the acquisition of startup capital by collectivizing resources or individual savings, etc.
The Office of the Deputy Chair should also develop a proposal that would call on members and leaders of the Party and our mass work to spend time in our economic institutions. This will allow the entire Party and Movement to understand the relationship of the economic work and institutions to the political agenda of the Party. It will also contribute to the permeation of the discipline and organization inherent to the economic work throughout the Party and all our institutions.
InPDUM: The Party’s most visible mass front
The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) is the mass organization directly under the leadership of the Party that is the main instrument for leading our mass work.
Over the years, InPDUM has been troubled by various contradictions. Our appointment of InPDUM’s current President, Kalambayi Andenet, has been one of the most exciting developments for advancing the Party’s program for mass struggle in recent years. She has been responsible for a significant leap in the membership growth of the organization, which along with the Uhuru Solidarity Movement account for hundreds of new members in our mass work.
In addition, InPDUM, with the assistance of the Office of the Deputy Chair is negotiating the purchase of a property in St. Louis that would provide our Party/Movement with another Uhuru House. It would house economic institutions and an office in the Midwest that will grow our influence there.
There are contradictions, however, in the InPDUM work that require our most dedicated attention to resolve. The primary issue is the reluctance of InPDUM to properly utilize the InPDUM branch building manual for its conduct. This has meant that too much of the work relies on the personal participation of President Kalambayi for continuity and success.
Additionally, the entire InPDUM International Executive Committee must be allowed to play a greater role in the operation of InPDUM. This will allow InPDUM to grow much faster and its leaders and members to become more competent in carrying out the mission of InPDUM all the time.
Our organizational strength relies on the development and commitment of cadres, our fidelity to the mandates and resolutions of our Congress and, in the case of InPDUM and other mass organizations, our fidelity to holding our annual conventions and conferences.
All our organizations must also utilize the organizational manuals designed specifically to help members, leaders and organizers to carry out our work in every level of our Party and structures.
This is our strength: the informed, democratic participation of every member and leader of our Party and Movement under centralized leadership. It is an unbeatable formula that we must adhere to in order to be victorious.
ANWO carries out our commitment to African women
The African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) is a major development within the Party’s organization and must be added to the list of constituent organizations to be rapidly developed according to Party organizational principles consistent with the mandates and resolutions from our Sixth Congress.
The Party’s Fifth Congress in 2010 actually initiated the discussion of ANWO as a response to the oppression of African women and as a tool of the Party to bring masses of African women into political life, the Party and the Revolution.
An excerpt from the Political Report to the Fifth Congress stated quite simply:
“…ANWO could become the powerful home to African women who are constantly under some form of assault by a myriad of contradictions peculiar to African women. ANWO would provide a mass organization for women who need to confront their oppression and exploitation. It would allow the Party to develop a reserve for the Revolution through helping women to recognize the universal contradictions confronting our people and class that are located in the specific contradictions they are confronting as women.”
Here also, the issue is the actual consolidation of ANWO is critical. This means that we must crush the liberalism that allows ANWO to have leaders in the organization in name only, but who do not actually carry out the tasks of leadership necessary for the effective functioning of the organization.
We have been criticizing the ANWO work for some time now. This is because the time is ripe and we see women participating in political work throughout the world. However, they do not have the advantage of African Internationalism and often fall prey to opportunism, especially petty bourgeois feminism.
ANWO and African Internationalism have the answer. Women don’t have to leave the African Revolution to fight for their advancement as women. ANWO can help them to learn this and to throw the full weight of their incredible courage and desire to resist into the camp of African Internationalism.
This will liberate African women as critical components and leaders of the Revolution to liberate our entire colonized people to their advantage as women.
We have to criticize the development of ANWO, however. We need to have an understanding of why we are not bringing more women into this organization although we see African women worldwide constituting some of the boldest and most committed resistance to imperialism in its many faces.
To build ANWO as the mass organization of African women’s resistance, we have to be as bold as the women who, without our leadership and the advantage of African Internationalism, are in the streets and trenches fighting against the symptoms of our colonial condition.
This cannot simply be a debate against the African petty bourgeois feminists who have little if any influence in the lives of ordinary African working class women. We must engage in the struggles that African women are confronted with due to the normal functioning of our colonial domination. Otherwise, we end up with a semi-militant African feminist petty bourgeois version of “Sex in the City,” where the women come together to chat about concerns that are non-consequential in the struggle for the liberation of African women in the conquest of black State power.
Masses of African women must be drawn into active political life under organized African Internationalist organization. Our weakness in this area limits our remarkable growth in membership and distorts our development by restricting the quantity and quality of women leaders in the Party and the Revolution.
The development of a dynamic ANWO requires taking on the critical issues confronting African women as working class colonial subjects who are constantly facing the cruel brunt of white nationalist slander. We must be relentless in doing this as there are literally millions of African women waiting to be recruited into the African Revolution.
ANWO must hold mass conferences and its national convention annually. This will help to define the collective work of the organization.
Annual conferences would give us the opportunity to bring in many women who are fighting official government child theft, the growth of the female African prison population, changes in government housing policies that force African women – already shamed, brutalized and demoralized by the system – to have to move farther away from family and community in order to receive government assistance.
Collective meetings of this nature, carefully built-for every year, will allow African women to experience their power as a group. Now, the self-confidence of African women is constantly having to overcome the sense of isolation that African women experience as individuals.
Organized African Internationalist-led women would be another important front in our Movement to advance the anti-colonial revolutionary struggle of our people. This is especially critical during this time of crisis and ideological, political, organizational weakness and uncertainty currently prevailing within the U.S. and much of the colonial capitalist world.
AAPDEP: Significant mass front in Africa and the U.S.
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is another exciting organization of our Movement. Like ANWO and other organizations and institutions, AAPDEP provides the Party the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of cadres, the forces in whom the Party’s leadership is concentrated and upon whom the Party can rely to unreservedly carry out the mission of the Party, not only inside the U.S. but in Africa and elsewhere.
In some ways AAPDEP has been one of the Party’s most popular initiatives. AAPDEP engages in the kind of practical work that makes believers of people who need to see the immediate consequences of their participation.
Despite some organizational problems within AAPDEP that undermined some of the work in Africa, the AAPDEP front in Sierra Leone, West Africa where we operated birthing clinics, schools and agricultural projects has been significant.
AAPDEP played a hands-on role in fighting against the scourge of Ebola in Sierra Leone and started the process of building the Black Ankh, our own version of an aid organization that contends with the outsized influence of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Now much of AAPDEP’s projects and programs in African and the U.S. work have been put on the back burner while the organization is consumed with the task of building Zenzele, a consignment shop that would provide an ongoing resource-generating entity. Zenzele was also envisioned as the headquarters of AAPDEP where the community could shop and volunteer and where the organization’s national and international projects would be showcased.
Zenzele can be a powerful statement to the African community of what self-determination looks like.
AAPDEP is led by Comrade Sister Aisha Fields, a member of the National Central Committee of our Party. Although she has had no experience in operating a business, Aisha was thoroughly trained for over two years on the operation of the consignment store by Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela and highly skilled and experienced members of her office and successful Party institutions.
It has taken constant struggle by the ODC for Comrade Aisha to take the initiative to carry out the work necessary to make Zenzele successful despite the fact that the entire process had been carefully laid out for her and every question and issue was addressed.
Zenzele is another tool in the possession of the Party through AAPDEP that must deepen the Party’s relationship to the masses of our people. It is an instrument through which the Party can recruit new members into the ranks of our Movement and into the ranks of the Party itself.
The question of AAPDEP’s success with Zenzele and its projects around the world is still being determined by Comrade Aisha’s willingness to lead us beyond an assortment of contradictions that any new project faces.
The meaning of the existence of cadres is the capacity of the Party to extend its leadership into almost any arena through competent, dedicated comrades who will find the line of march and who will solve the problems of the Revolution no matter what obstacles confront us.
APSC: The Party’s organization of white solidarity
The African People’s Solidarity Committee, the Party’s cadre organization of predominately white people working under our direct leadership, is also facing a major challenge. Key leaders of APSC are not available to take on APSC work directly because they have been temporarily assigned to work in some of the Party’s institutions and economic work, something the growing Party membership is allowing us to diminish and eliminate.
Due to the rapid growth of the Party and the deepening crisis of white society, APSC’s mass organization, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) has also grown exponentially, giving USM the appearance of being the determinant factor in our solidarity work.
Unless we take this on seriously we could have the problem of the tail wagging the dog. This contradiction exposes the fact that APSC is confronted with the same issue of organizational consolidation that other committees and organizations face.
APSC must develop a comprehensive plan to recruit and develop APSC members from the large pool of USM members. There is no shortcut to solving the problem.
We need to bring in the members in order to hold APSC to the task of organizational consolidation, of functioning according to the established protocols and organizational principles of every other Party organization. The problems we have recently encountered within APSC revolve around the need for APSC to function as designed, as a cadre organization of the African People’s Socialist Party.
The Political Report to the Party’s Sixth Congress spoke of the work outlined here in the chapter titled: “What is to be done”:
“In summation, to achieve our Party’s commitment to advance the African Revolution that will provide the strategic leadership for the emerging world revolution to overthrow an imperialism in crisis, our Sixth Congress must continue Party-building as our strategic thrust.
“Immediately this will mean developing the existing Party committees, organizations and institutions that now comprise the basic constituent components of our Party. Namely, this includes AAPDEP, APSC (emphasis added), InPDUM, Black Star Industries and the related economic expressions of the Party’s Office of Economic Development and Finance.
“For the most part, the structures, plans and leadership are in place to develop and/or implement this aspect of our Party-building work. We must simply continue to insist that this work is carried out as mandated under the principles and protocols developed through the One People! One Party! One Destiny! Campaign. Recruitment strategies must employ the necessary plans for developing the cadres for the success of this work within each of the constituent organizations and committees.”
More succinctly, we must see the rapid recruitment into the Uhuru Solidarity Movement under the leadership of APSC as the tool to go fishing into a deeper pool of readily available recruits. The USM forces are the reserve forces that we work to acquire. Now we have to determine what it will take for us to concentrate on transforming as many of these forces as rapidly as possible into APSC cadres.
APSC is faced with more than mere organizational contradictions to resolve. The solidarity work is extremely important at this time of imperialist crisis. The majority of the entire colonizer nation is in a state of economic, organizational and ideological disarray. This is one of the things made obvious by the presidential election of 2016.
We know that there is a deep sense of foreboding within the colonizer nation. There is growing drug addiction and, for the first time in generations, if not ever, the death rate of white people is on the uptick. The electoral process has not succeeded in luring them into a sense of control over their future, which appears to be jeopardized by the new norm of economic decline, despite the U.S. government’s boast of full-employment.
There is evidence that for the first time in recent history North Americans of the colonizer nation are confronted with the probability that their children will not be as well-off as they are according to a November 2016 report by the McKinsey Global Institute.
The white sense of security that accompanied the belief that the U.S. had hegemony over the world’s affairs has been shattered by the defiance from forces as diverse as Venezuela, Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea, Russia, China, etc.
The election also revealed that the majority of white people in the U.S. appear to be ideologically adrift. The bedrock of ideological coherence has been untethered from the foundation of previous assumptions of permanent affluence and unquestioned U.S. authority.
The work of the African People’s Solidarity Committee is occurring within this context. It is work that can represent a major thrust by the Party in our effort to advance our struggle against colonial capitalism. We have the genuine explanations of the material basis of the gloomy forecast for a white existence built and reliant on slavery and colonialism.
The APSC must discover innovative ways to engage the colonizer population in struggle to see that their future has always been determined by a relationship to Africans and others who have suffered the consequence of white affluence. The majority of the white people did not believe in the messages of Trump or Clinton and the popularity of the Bernie Sanders campaign that contended most effectively with the Trump appeal to white people is based on a false assumption that whites can continue to have an affluent life under colonial capitalism.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee is an important Party vehicle for exposing this. This is not something that will happen overnight. Whites of the colonizer nation have not simply been waiting for our Party to come through with the magic elixir of African Internationalism for instant relief. APSP will have to develop and incorporate a strategic approach to this very important task.
Also, APSC must initiate the movement for reparations within the population of the moneyed sector of the ruling class. The fact is that millions of white people are in distress, some by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. We must offer them all a way forward in defiance of the election outcome and, to the extent possible, also to unity with our understanding of colonialism and reparations.
The state of the fractures of the body politic of the U.S. can provide us an excellent opportunity to affect the unity of large sectors of the colonizer population with its own ruling class and with the colonial domination of Africans and the oppressed of the world. Opening this front of struggle can only enhance our ability to put revolution back on the agenda within the U.S. and the world.
This year Party focuses on African Socialist International
The Political Report to our second Plenary of the Sixth Congress spoke briefly but eloquently of what was necessary of our African Socialist International (ASI) work at this time:
“Throughout the Americas, our people also suffer an identity crisis that stems from a false national consciousness that has no material foundation. We exist in a form of identity purgatory, neither one thing nor the other, all hyphenated identities that never sufficiently explain our poverty and desperate conditions of existence.
“We are Africans. Period. The ASI must wage a major campaign within the African world, a cultural revolution of sorts. We must wage this campaign in a manner that reveals the heroism and critical role of African workers and peasants, the toiling masses. Our cultural revolution must extol the producers, the workers, the creators of all value and the need for a new society that reinstates the authority of the workers and especially African women from the producing class, who are central to all production and society itself.”
Our ASI work has suffered ups and downs. It has not had the benefit of adequate leadership and support from me as its Chair or from the Party headquartered in the U.S.
This is because of the escalation of the struggle within the U.S. Front of the African Liberation Movement and the advantages it has provided for the Party as a whole, depending on our ability to move rapidly to build our political, economic and organizational capacity.
Although we are still confronted with the age-old task of creating adequately developed leading cadres, we are in a much better place to build the ASI work than in the past.
Historically, the most influential Communist International was built in 1919 through the leadership of the Bolsheviks that had recently come to power in Russia. That International had the practical and political benefit of Bolshevik State power in Russia.
A big contradiction we have always faced in building the African Socialist International is the fact that there is no revolutionary African State that can lend its weight to this project.
In the past, we made efforts to win the governments of Grenada, Libya and Burkina Faso to participation in this project.
A split within the New Jewel Movement ruling party of Grenada facilitated a U.S. invasion that overthrew the government, imprisoned its surviving leaders and eliminated Grenada as a venue and the possibility of the New Jewel Movement as ASI partners or members.
Our meeting with Thomas Sankara, leader of the government of Burkina Faso was non-eventful, mostly because of the lack of unity by the Party envoy sent there who did not effectively carry out the mission of recruiting Sankara to the ASI project.
And, our attempts to win participation from Libya were frustrated by the Libyan diplomatic representatives of the Libyan embassy in London who demonstrated very little interest in building an international African revolutionary organization.
This has meant that the work to build the ASI has fallen squarely on Party resources within the U.S., notwithstanding the splendid work done by Party members in other parts of the world.
However, we do not have the political and material resources provided by Soviet and Russian State support to members of the Communist International. An example of that support was the $1 million plus annual contributions made to the Communist Party of the USA up until the December 26, 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
In many places in the African world, life itself is problematic. This means that the U.S. and European Fronts of the African Revolution, in particular, will carry a heavier load in pulling the ASI together. We will play a critical role in the success of the ASI. This is particularly true of the U.S. Front.
In the U.S. we are not only advantageously located because of the high degree of technological development, but also because of the numbers, density and organized history of resistance of the domestically colonized African population. Moreover, the experiences and work of the Uhuru Movement and African People’s Socialist Party that go back more than 50 years provide an advantage that cannot be overstated.
Within the U.S. we have had the benefit of the many years of work and experience we have acquired, the development of economic institutions and a differently developed psychology among Africans that has long been open to the idea of black power and self-determination as compared to our brothers and sisters in Europe.
As a community, Africans in the U.S. have been less intoxicated by the notion of the “American Dream” than Africans elsewhere. In his retort to the “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X showed that Africans here have been living a nightmare.
Our work to build the ASI has always been predicated on the assumption that, while Africans are individually impoverished, collectively we can utilize our skills and limited resources to build our international Party of competent revolutionary cadres necessary for the liberation and unification of Africa and Africans worldwide.
The only meaningful precedent we have to learn from is that provided by the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Africa Communities League (UNIA) of the early 20th century. We will study the work of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA, but we will also continue to learn from our own experiences and experiments.
Some are bewildered by the fact that Garvey was able to build such a mammoth organization of millions of Africans on virtually every continent on earth in the early 1900s, before modern methods of communications like the Internet were available.
While it is true that Garvey was an extraordinary organizer, there were other factors that played a role in his efforts that we must be aware of when moving forward with our own work to unite the international struggle to free Africa and Africans through the ASI today.
The main thing is that during the Garvey era of the early 1920s, almost all of our people everywhere in the world were denied self-interested, productive participation within the basic capitalist economy, which was essentially a colonial economy. Our people were dominated by the most vulgar kind of political oppression and life-draining economic exploitation. Everywhere!
Organizations like the NAACP and black pseudo-socialists and communists all contentedly relied on a subservient, dependent relationship with white people or some form of white power. The dominant political philosophy promoted continued, if modified, servitude as the solution to our oppressive exploitation in the U.S., Africa, the Caribbean and everywhere.
W.E.B. Dubois and the NAACP promoted assimilation with whites as the way forward. Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, promoted another form of capitulation that relied on Africans making ourselves necessary to white people and capable of caring for ourselves within our own colonized reality.
Impressed by Washington because of his emphasis on Africans doing for Africans, Garvey took this component of Washington’s philosophy and revolutionized it with the demand that Africans capture black State power to serve our interests. Africa for Africans!
Garvey’s attraction was that he called on Africans to assert ourselves in becoming masters of our own fate and creating our own economy––with steamship lines and recording companies and factories, and so on.
Based on the existing circumstances of our colonial status, Garvey opened the only door for Africans to come together collectively to feed, clothe and house ourselves. Even some patriotic elements of the African petty bourgeoisie, especially those who were denied full entry into the colonial capitalist economy, were attracted to the Garvey Movement as a way to realize their aims for economic advancement and national dignity that could not be attained within the white world.
Since that time, with the advent of neocolonialism and black entry into white-owned and controlled corporations and business enterprises, the nominal ability for Africans to advance using the white colonial institutions had a severe impact on the consciousness of Africans.
The U.S. government also instituted laws and policies to make it nearly impossible for independent African economic growth. Africans developing insurance companies from collective burial societies and black-only stock offerings, such as that which propelled the Black Star Shipping Lines, became almost impossible. This was another method of forced dependency within the overall colonial control of African people.
Recently the primary economic activity within the African community has been the illegal drug economy placed there as a counterinsurgent revenue-generating resource for a troubled legal capitalist economy.
Today we are confronted with many of the same circumstances that gave energy to Garvey and the UNIA. The parasitic capitalist economy is losing steam all over the world. The European economies are threatened with collapse and there is also great economic uncertainty within the U.S. The promise of economic advancement by the African petty bourgeoisie and aspirants within the U.S. has been brutally withdrawn.
Neocolonialism in Africa and around the world has fallen into great disfavor among African people. The white parasitic “donor” nation continues to reveal its fangs daily, denying Africa access to our own resources in Africa and blocking every attempt we make to enter Europe and the U.S. where much of our stolen wealth is located.
The Political Report to our Sixth Congress provides our Party with the strategic direction for building the ASI. It also calls on us to resolve some of the organizational problems that have hampered our work in the past. We must deepen our resolve to carry out this work with the urgency demanded of the times. We must also remember that it is our work with the ASI that lends practical, materialist legitimacy to our philosophy of African Internationalism.
We must build an army of cadres
Our work to consolidate every component of the Party, to build our committees will ultimately be determined by the quality of our cadres. Recruitment is important and we can no longer pretend that numbers do not matter. They do.
However, the importance of the number of Party members is not as significant as the quality of our cadres. We do not only need to celebrate our growth in numbers and do all that is necessary to facilitate the influx of new Party members. What is even more important to our Party is the quality of our cadres, the depth of their unity with the Party and their willingness to carry out the mission of the Revolution as defined by the Party.
This question of cadres is not new. We spoke of cadres in the Political Report to the Party’s Fifth Congress in July 2010. This excerpt reveals what we mean by cadres and what qualities they must possess to make our Party competent to overthrow imperialist white power and propel our people to our proper place in history under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
“No matter how great or genuine the problems or significance of individuals, they cannot be allowed to undermine the responsibility to place the interests of the revolution and the Party first, above all else. This means that within the Party all our members must aspire to becoming cadres.
“Cadres must be taught to understand that the Party is everything, without which our people will be left with another 500 years of misery, should we survive the desperate aggressions of this imperialism in crisis at all. If there is to be independence, unification and socialism in our lifetime it will be because our Party, deeply united in our mission is successful. This cannot happen with an organization of whining self-serving, individualistic members incapable of seeing beyond their own real or perceived pain or genius.”
This is the kind of membership required to seize and wield political power in the contest with the most vicious imperialist enemy the world has ever encountered. This is a membership and leadership that have become professional revolutionaries, that have adopted struggle and Party membership as a way of life, not something that is pursued when it is convenient.
For some comrades this is difficult. Our sense of morality is distorted by our relationship with colonial capitalism, where we are taught that individual freedoms and individual responsibility for our families and loved ones is the pursuit of the highest order.
At the same time, colonial capitalism crushes down our whole people, reducing us to little more that hapless, pathetic, inconsequential beings who are murdered daily en masse as a normal function of colonial capitalism.
Socialist morality––real morality––requires us to understand that we cannot sacrifice the future of our oppressed and despised people for our own individual interests, no matter how important these interests are to us as individuals. Our cadres must rise above the bourgeois pursuit of personal happiness, acquired independently of the happiness of our nation and our class.
This is what much of the Party’s internal political struggles revolve around: the willingness of Party members and especially Party leaders to commit fully to the pursuit of the revolutionary emancipation of our people; to fight with all our will to liberate our people and build a new world of free people who benefit from the fruits of our labor and our genius.
Le Duan was one of the leaders of the Viet Nam revolution. He wrote prodigiously on the issue and character of cadres. In a political document titled, “Some problems of cadres and organization in socialist revolution,” he wrote:
“After the Party has worked out a correct political line, organizational work in general and cadre work in particular are decisive factors for success in the revolutionary tasks.”
Le Duan gave these defining characteristics of cadres:
“Complete loyalty to the ideals of socialism and communism, to the interests of the working class and the nation, to the political line of the Party; the severest sense of organization and discipline; close contacts with the masses, and the ability to fulfill the tasks assigned – these are the fundamental, unvarying requirements in the qualifications of cadres, in whatever period…”
These are the standards to which our Party members and leaders must strive and the standards by which we judge Party members and by which we also must be judged.
Members of our Party do not simply have intra-Party relations; we do not simply have the responsibility of acting a certain way with Party members within the relative security of our inner-Party life. We also have the responsibility for leading the masses of our people, of participating in the mass organizations and associations within our oppressed communities as well as creating organizations of the people that require our leadership.
We are not casual bystanders and cheerleaders on the sidelines of history who only record political events as they occur. We are architects of the unfolding milieu, helping to define and guide it every step of the way according to the African Internationalist analysis.
We must lead.
Our Party has benefit of 45-years of revolutionary leadership
We have established our 5-Year Plan with the Political Report to the Sixth Congress, the document debated and voted on by Party members to guide our work until our next Congress in 2018. The Political Report to our Fifth Congress played an indispensable role in shaping that Plan.
From 2010 through our Sixth Congress in 2013, up to the present time, we have been working with this plan, modifying and reinforcing our understanding of the plan as it continues to be tested by events and by our practice.
Our Party has the benefit of a 45-year-old history of genuine revolutionary struggle, through which we have acquired experience and an unmatched level of political maturity.
We have developed Party structures necessary to carry out our mission. We have developed a number of institutions that represent our understanding of our revolutionary tasks, including preparing to take political power in our own hands and to govern.
We have developed political clarity by waging ideological campaigns within our own Party and in the world, testing our worldview while making the most serious assault on our colonialist capitalist oppressors.
We have fought to bring science to the struggle for our liberation, rejecting superstition in all its forms.
It is the African People’s Socialist Party that has fought the ongoing battle against the philosophical idealistic nonsense that ours is a struggle against “racism,” the ideas in the heads of our oppressors. We have declared it is not the ideas in the heads of anyone that oppresses us, rather it is the material reality upon which these ideas are based, from which they stem.
Our conditions of existence constitute colonial domination by a foreign and alien State power that has appropriated for itself the power of life and death over our people worldwide. This colonial State power functions as a servant to a parasitic social system that has devoured Africa and Africans worldwide, along with our dreams for happiness and collective well-being.
It is not only that the fight against “racism” is something that keeps our white colonial oppressors in the center of the white-created and defined world, it is also that is an insoluble struggle that cannot provide a concrete solution or a concrete victory.
It is the African People’s Socialist Party that has pointed out that a struggle against “racism” actually perpetuates the very same thing it claims to oppose: the idea of white supremacy is reinforced by the fact that its presumed victims are consumed by the idea of the supremacy of whites as reflected in the struggle against it or against “racism.”
This is critical, especially in an era where imperialism is reeling with crisis responding to the success or threat of success by anti-colonial struggles globally. These struggles are resulting in cataclysmic threats to the parasitic capitalist world economy.
It is this nonsense about “race”-generated contradictions that contributes to the subjective personalized politics that lock people into highly subjective personalized responses to political struggle based on a condition (race) that neither the colonizer nor the colonized can do anything to change.
On the other hand, when we identify colonialism, the foreign and alien domination of a people for political advantage and economic exploitation, it removes the subjective factor of race as the dominant issue and allows anyone who wants to do so to participate in uniting with the oppressed. It does not require anyone to “like” or have a personal affinity for anyone else.
In the same vein the African People’s Socialist Party has demystified “white” people. The science of African Internationalism has given us all the necessary information concerning the violent behavior of Europeans against the rest of the world. It is behavior that is generated by a superstructure resting on an economic base of slavery and colonialism.
Capitalism is the parasitic political economy that thrust white people, Europe and Europeans, into history. Capitalism, spawned by slavery and colonialism yanked bedraggled warring tribes and people located northwest of Greece into a coherent group tied together by a common economy and sense of sameness that owed its unity and success to world slavery.
The African People’s Socialist Party, our Party, identified that the struggle against colonialism represents the critical front in the war against capitalism, the enemy of all humanity.
We founded the African People’s Solidarity Committee because we are philosophical materialists. We understand that theory is meaningless if it cannot be implemented and that the concrete existence of the African People’s Solidarity Committee under the leadership of our Party is a material manifestation of the correctness of African Internationalism and our theoretical interpretation of the role of white people in relationship to our condition and our struggle.
The African People’s Socialist Party put the issue of reparations for African people on the political map in the U.S. and the world. We did not invent the issue of reparations and we were not the first to organize around the demand.
However, our Party is the first to make reparations a mass issue, having determined in 1980 that we would make reparations a household word and successfully doing just that. In 1982 we created the first World Tribunal on Reparations for African People in the U.S. alone, although we made every effort to do so in unity with existing anti-colonial organizations of the time.
Our Party created the African National Reparations Organization (ANRO), the first mass organization to fight solely for reparations in the history of the U.S. We then took the reparations demand to Africans in Europe during a European tour in 1983.
We expanded the demand for reparations beyond stolen labor during slavery to include the theft of stolen value even since the formal end of slavery that occurs in a thousand different ways, including the theft of life itself through colonial conditions and health disparities that reduce the African life span.
Reparations are simply an aspiration, a wish, for the African Liberation Movement. Except for us. The questions of how do we get reparations and to whom they should go, are questions that are being resolved daily by our Party and the relationship of our Party to the African People’s Solidarity Committee, whose very existence revolves around the question of reparations to African people
Reparations are being collected by the solidarity forces working under our leadership and the reparations are being used in the arena of anti-colonial economic development. The reparations demand is not a wish or an aspiration. It is real, thanks to the creative application of African Internationalism by our Party.
We waged mass campaigns during the 1970s that served to keep our struggle alive even after the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties. We conducted national campaigns to free political prisoners like Connie Tucker, a member of our Party, and Dessie Woods, the African woman who killed a white man with his own gun in Georgia when he attempted to rape her.
We organized the mobilization to Free Dessie Woods in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977. That was the first major African anti-colonial mass mobilization since the defeat of our revolution.
Although the African Revolution of the 1960s was defeated, our Party has never stopped fighting. We provided leadership after the mass arrests that followed the assassinations of Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fred Hampton, Lawrence Mann, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We participate in the political struggles of today not as newcomers, but as the leaders who have brought our people this far during the most difficult of times, as the Party that is determined to put revolution back on the agenda as the only solution to the bitter conditions Africans and other colonized peoples face daily throughout the world.
The demand by African people for national liberation is a demand that recognizes the fact that we are colonized, that the African nation as a whole lives under foreign domination. We have been waging this concerted struggle for six hundred years, since the Portuguese invasion that initiated the capture and enslavement of African people in 1415.
Because the African nation has been forcibly dispersed throughout the world, the struggle for national liberation has naturally travelled with us as part of the process that gave rise to the capitalist system as a worldwide system.
The concentrated, self-conscious struggle for African national liberation reached its apex under the leadership of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in the first quarter of the 20th century, informed by the slogan: “Africa for Africans, at home and abroad.”
What will liberated Africa look like?
Since that time, after many setbacks, serious class-based battles within the African community and the establishment of neocolonialism as a generalized condition for African people, we are forced to look beyond national liberation to the question of the kind of society we are fighting for and to identity the social forces necessary to achieve it.
Africans, a once free people existing within our own independent economies in Africa, have been transformed into commodities (first-capital) and producers of capital (first-workers) within a social system defined by the relationship between capitalist production and producers resting on a foundation of slavery and colonial domination of peoples and territories.
National liberation serves the purpose of freeing Africans from direct foreign domination. However, direct foreign domination is not necessary for vicious, life-draining economic exploitation, either by foreign or domestic capital. National liberation under the leadership of the African petty bourgeoisie leaves in place a system of exploitation. African toilers, producers, continue to be exploited under the aegis of a domestic flag maybe, as in Libya, a Red, Black and Green flag.
To be victorious, our revolution must take place under the leadership of the African working class. This is the role of the African People’s Socialist Party, the advanced detachment, general staff of the African working class.
Only the African working class, aligned with other toilers, especially the poor peasants, has a stake in destroying the entire system of exploitation and all of its attendant structures, including the artificial borders that exploit Africa but function as the incubators for the reproduction of the neocolonial petty bourgeois class as a social force.
Only the African working class is compelled to fight for the destruction of class society and the exploitation that produced it.
Under the independent revolutionary leadership of the African working class, organized under African Internationalist principles, victory will mean the defeat of foreign imperialists and their domestic minions.
It will mean that the toilers--the workers and poor peasants in particular--will become the new, temporary ruling class, the custodians of the means of production now owned and controlled by capitalists, mostly foreign.
Liberation under the leadership of African Internationalist-informed workers, organized in the African People’s Socialist Party will mean the end of economic exploitation, and once the imperialists and African petty bourgeois neocolonialist have been crushed, the end of all exploitation.
This means that African women, who will play a fundamental role in the liberation of our Africa, will rise to full stature with all the rights and authority this infers. This means a major assault will be made against all restrictions on the rights of women that hide under the flimsy and in most cases, false mask of “tradition.”
Nor will African liberation under the leadership of the African working class tolerate social, economic and political oppression of sectors of the African nation and working class because of spurious, bourgeois morality.
We condemn the morality and relations that permit Europeans’ (white people), imperialist corporations, countries and neocolonial thugs to exploit our people’s life and resources in Africa and to flaunt laws protecting sovereignty, the environment and customs with impunity while attacking African people and the working class based on sexual orientation or relations between same gender loving individuals.
The liberated African worker’s State will only oppress the imperialists and the neocolonialists who have surrendered Africa’s future to them. We will call on the entire African working class and all African patriots to rise up against all who would divide the nation and the working class based on the false contradictions of sexual identity, ethnic identity and regional and religious differences.
The African Revolution that liberates and unites Africa and African people under African Internationalism, the organized, conscious and victorious leadership of the African working class will be the death knell of imperialist white power and capitalism as a world economy. It will finally allow for the African workers to take social possession of the means of production.
Our victory will mean the entire process of production--mining, building, manufacturing, shipping, distribution, etc.--will occur through workers councils throughout the production process. This will guarantee safety and creativity throughout. Workers will not approve going into mines that are unsafe and improvement in the productive process will not be motivated by profit, that has no regard for safety and proficiency otherwise, but by the needs and aspirations of workers as producers and consumers.
Additionally, because the state of the African economy smothered by the whims and requirements of imperialist white power, has minimal industrial development, much of the lackluster economic life is centered in the countryside. The African Internationalist Revolution will be the first major step in the world in resolving the contradiction between the city and countryside. The full, rapid development of Africa will require it.
We will have to reorganize the African economy––destroying all borders––into a full-fledged anti-colonial economy. Today’s economic activity in Africa is tied to the interests of foreign, imperialist exploiters: every bit of food grown or not grown, every factory, every decision to develop a diamond, gold, iron or bauxite mine instead of production that satisfies our needs, is imperialist-driven.
It has been the imperialist-driven economy that has driven so many African men, women and children from the artificially-created cruel conditions of the countryside into unsanitary and overcrowded cultural-crushing cities.
The African working class, as the transitory ruling class, will organize production based on the real needs of the people rather than the contrived, profit-driven and profit-motivated needs of the capitalists.
Collective housing, neighborhood councils with the power to solve domestic problems, efficient public transportation, African educational systems, literacy eradication campaigns, centers for music, cultural development and socializing, birthing programs and socialist care for our elderly, time and centers for reflection, revolutionary rehabilitation programs, barefoot doctors deployed into the community as in China, and, as in Cuba, places where lovers can go for privacy will become ordinary features of life, overturning the horrible day-to-day grind that characterizes our reality today.
Even the form of the family will be reorganized under the dictatorship of the African worker’s State. It will allow adults to enter into agreements of relationship that are free from economic compulsion. Women will be assured economic independence so financial duress will not be a factor that determines their commitment to a relationship nor enslaves their emotions.
The immediate role of the African worker’s State will be to function as a protector of society against incestuous, exploitative and oppressive relationships and their consequences. African men and women can determine whatever arrangements they contract among themselves with the State functioning as arbiter only until the time when the rule of habit and tradition overturns the rule of the State that becomes unnecessary in human affairs.
Our Party also has a deep commitment to the well being of our African children, recognizing that under the system of parasitic capitalism our children live with daily trauma. They are demeaned, locked up and gunned down by the colonial police, and tormented in the white school system.
The APSP follows in the footsteps of the African Revolution of Haiti whose victory in 1804 produced a progressive constitution that for the first time in history abolished all notion of an “illegitimate child” and pledged a commitment to the nurturing and protection of every child.
The African adage declaring the role of the village in raising a child will be given new life. Women will be freed from the burden as isolated, individual primary childcare givers. The family now becomes the society in a relationship that has the force of law and collective resources of the people that have been liberated from their role as “surplus" under private ownership within the capitalist system.
This means the institution of State-funded and administered nurseries and childcare collectives that benefit parents and children in a manner that could never happen under colonial capitalist society developed through the commodification of African parents and children. Parents and the community at large will be able to engage in a stress-free, non-competitive relationship with our children.
The African Internationalist liberation and unification of Africa and Africans worldwide will be the major blow to destroy the entire capitalist system that was an outgrowth of colonialism. It will be the fundamental instrument in the emergence of world socialism, providing the defining direction for the world economy.
The achievement of African Internationalist socialism will be the essential force in the achievement of permanent world peace, easily understood when it is recognized that most wars are fought by States contending with each other and with peoples for profit-generating resources. We will replace capitalist competition with socialist cooperation, something not possible before now.
The African socialist workers’ State
Le Duan was Secretary General of the Communist Party of Viet Nam with the responsibility of delivering the Political Report to their Fourth Congress in late December of 1976. In this Political Report, Le Duan spoke of the possibilities of the socialist worker's State after the conquest of national liberation: “Now that our motherland has recovered complete independence, national independence and socialism have become one.”
Le Duan continued, “only under socialism can the age-old dream of the working people come true, i.e. liberation from oppression, exploitation poverty, and backwardness, a life in plenty, with an assured tomorrow, a civilized and happy life. Only socialism can bring to the working people the full right to mastery and restore genuine human dignity to man, enabling him to be the real master of society, of nature, and of himself. Under socialism, our motherland will have a modern economy, advanced culture and science, strong national defense, thereby ensuring our country’s eternal independence, freedom and ever more prosperous development. Only socialism can bring about the unification of our motherland at the highest and fullest degree, in the fields of territory, political and moral life, economy, culture, society, as well as in the field of rights and duties, thereby fostering the solidarity and sincere and deep mutual love between all members of society.”
There will be no forced idleness under post-liberated socialist construction in Africa and abroad. The work to build adequate infrastructure, housing and schools, to electrify our cities and countryside, to grow food and purify our water and eradicate disease and the deadly mosquito are just some of the tasks guaranteed to offer full employment for our people for years to come.
This is productive labor that serves the people instead of bourgeois profit. This is productive labor that cannot happen under colonialist capitalism that grinds down and demoralizes the worker and humiliates the African colonial subject.
Capitalist production functions on the base of stolen lands and peoples. It is production that only pays workers and toilers for their ability to produce, never for what we produce. The difference in the two is what capitalists refer to as “surplus” value or profit. The capitalist keeps this “surplus” for himself though he never works or produces anything.
The African workers State can only come into existence by the workers destroying the colonial base of capitalist production, replacing the oppressive State of the colonialist capitalist and transforming “surplus” value into social wealth to provide for the well being of society.
This is how the Africa worker’s State will provide free healthcare, education, housing, childcare, etc. for the toiling masses: through expropriating the stolen resources from the colonialist capitalists, destroying the system of private ownership of social production and creating a system of social ownership of social production, in a word: socialism, the early stage of communism.
This is the new world we are fighting for in this Party. It is not a world to be achieved through reforming police departments or improving police-community relations within the U.S. or anywhere else. It is not something that can be achieved by a $15.00 per hour minimum wage for workers in general over a period of years.
We will have to make a revolution under the leadership of the advanced detachment of the African working class, guided by the advanced theory of African Internationalism to initiate the world free from economic slavery and colonial oppression. This is why we must fight to put revolution on the political agenda for our people once again.
Our recognition of the role played by imperialist parasitism in the advent of the capitalist system as a world system also gave the African People’s Socialist Party an understanding of the nature of the capitalist State as distinguished from the European feudal State that preceded it.
Most white socialists and many “progressives” recognize the State as a coercive instrument in the service of the ruling class that is necessary to protect the status quo from disruption and overthrow by exploited classes, and to compete with capitalists internationally for profits at their expense.
However, unlike other States in history, the capitalist State did not come into existence for the purpose of protecting a domestic social system. It was organized to deal with the reorganization of the world’s political economy that came into being as capitalism, required the dispossession and enslavement of Africans and much of the world previously external to Europe.
The initial acts that gave birth, shape and definition to the capitalist State was killing and controlling Indigenous peoples, stealing and occupying foreign territories and capturing, forcibly dispersing and enslaving African people in Africa and abroad.
The capitalist State rose in contention with the feudal State of Europe. In short order it became a popular, white people’s State that employed enthusiastic and willing masses of white people as a form of institutionalized, emergent State violence used to kill and take land from the Indigenous peoples of what is now North America and Australia and to enslave Africans and others worldwide.
In fact, part of the much-touted “progress” of capitalism was its elevation of ordinary white people to the status of landowners on stolen land and workers in a slave-developed economy. This was the economic incentive for white men “scalping’ Indigenous people in the Americas, slaughtering Indigenous people in Australia and Africa and waging an “independence” struggle against European feudal States to steal Indigenous lands throughout South America.
The brutality of the capitalist State against Africans within the U.S. and elsewhere, the viciousness of the capitalist State in subduing African, indigenous, Asian and other peoples is not an anomaly. It is inherent to its nature and consistent with its genesis as a State protecting a social system rooted in colonial slavery.
While the capitalist State is a coercive institution that sometimes mistreats, jails and even shoots its European citizens who get caught in its friendly fire, its primary purpose is the violent suppression of the colonized population. As African Internationalism has explained, white people function as part of the capitalist State. In its treatment of Africans, Mexicans, the Indigenous, etc., its true function as a colonial State is raw and exposed. The purpose of the U.S. State is to contain the Other, the colonial pedestal upon which all capitalist activity occurs and which benefits the entire colonizer population.
This is why in all European-controlled countries white citizens are generally united with efforts of the State to crush any form of African and colonial resistance.
It is true that democracy is a form of the State. However, for the colonized, the pursuit of democracy is the struggle to limit and eliminate the intervention of the colonial State in their lives and affairs. This is why our Party has raised the demand of Black Community Control of the Police in the popular struggle against police murder in the U.S. This is why we have instituted numerous African people’s tribunals to try and judge colonial aggression against our people, whether for reparations or police murders.
Revolutionary violence is necessary for our freedom
Our pursuit of genuine freedom, which can only come about through the total liberation and unification of every square inch of Africa and African people worldwide, the African nation, can only come about through revolution. By this we mean that the colonialist capitalist State must be overthrown and the blight of the capitalist system eradicated from the face of the Earth.
History has proven that it is totally impossible to cajole the oppressor into turning power over to the dispossessed laboring masses upon which his system and future relies. Nor will the colonial-capitalist State willingly surrender its authority as protector of the capitalist system through elections that it established and administers for the resolution of generally nonviolent struggle between competing sectors of the capitalist class for control of the system.
There will be no exception for African people in the pursuit of power over our lives. We will have to fight for it. It is not simply a struggle with misguided people who are afflicted with an irrational hatred or fear of African people. Massive fortunes and a parasitic way of life purchased through bloody conquest depend on this current arrangement, this status quo, for their success and survival.
It will, in the final analysis, take the force of arms to overcome the armed forces of the colonial capitalist State. It is the vicious armed forces of colonial white power that enables the ongoing domination of African people. All the petty bourgeois nonsense about a “Willie Lynch” syndrome is exposed in face of the concrete reality of the armed-to-the-teeth colonial State.
Revolutionary armed struggle against colonialism and capitalism is the only thing that has ever brought any real semblance of liberation to oppressed peoples anywhere on Earth and there will be no exception for Africans. There is no correct religion, culture or secret documents hidden from our access that, once discovered, can free us.
Africans will have to assume full responsibility for our liberation by recognizing that revolution is the only solution and that we are going to have to pursue revolution through the purifying, cleansing, exuberant, process of organized, politically-informed, unrelenting, revolutionary violence.
The electoral process is a tool in our liberation arsenal
This is not to say that we will not use other forms of struggle in the process of achieving liberation. We will. We will not desert the electoral path altogether. Whenever possible and necessary we will take advantage of the democratic space available to our Revolution. This is earned space, everywhere it exists. It was not given to us; it was a result of bloody, life-threatening, anti-colonial mass mobilizations from Kenya to Ghana, from Congo to South Africa, all the way to Mississippi, USA.
The bourgeois electoral process was created as an institution for nonviolent struggle between contending sectors of the ruling class for control of the State to their profit-making advantage. Nothing more. It is not designed to overthrow the system. It is one of the methods employed to protect the system by providing the means for competing capitalists to fight it out without threatening the stability or existence of the system itself.
Because it was established to address the interests of the ruling class, organized, independent, revolutionary workers can access the electoral process and make use of this “legitimate” expression of political activity to take our program before masses of our people normally beyond our reach. It also denies the African neocolonial petty bourgeois forces a monopoly in this generally sanitized political arena.
We should use this electoral institution when possible and tactically appropriate, not as a revolutionary solution, but as a platform to achieve a revolutionary solution. Our Party has done this in the past and we should prepare do it again.
When we have utilized the electoral process in the past it has been as an afterthought, something decided on at the moment because of special prevailing circumstances. Now, Comrades, we must add the electoral process to our arsenal of weapons to forward the revolution. We must become experts at using the electoral process to advance our revolutionary objectives.
Our Revolution must concern itself with the capture of quantifiable ideological, political and organizational territory. This is something that even the most politically unsophisticated street organization or gang, understands better than most revolutionary pretenders. We must control turf, deciding who can penetrate our perimeter, what they can do and when and how they may do it.
The electoral process can provide us with one of the assortments of methods we use to claim turf. It can also allow us to capture the loyalty and political participation from a sector of the colonized African community for whom electoral politics has been the entry into political life and who has been denied other forms of political struggle for more than two generations.
The electoral process can also provide us the vehicle for allowing those Africans, for whom it is necessary, the ability to learn from experience that the colonialist-capitalist ruling class is unwilling to peacefully relinquish power to the oppressed.
We must begin the process of grooming hardcore, highly committed, ideologically sound revolutionaries from within our ranks to participate in the elections while also providing ideological and political influence over popular masses from within the colony who may involve themselves in elections.
Our Party’s mass work has already influenced the development of a Revolutionary National Democratic Program that can inform most electoral work, whether by our Party, Movement, or the national democratic sector of the population at large.
This can be part of our overall, ongoing fight to undermine the influence of colonial and neocolonial power through acquiring dual power on every front. Strategic utilization of the electoral process can win support for our anti-colonial economic development. It can undermine the authority of the ruling class when their representatives are faced with the impossible task of publicly defending colonial authority from the ideological and political assaults delivered by our Party, Movement and the anti-colonial representatives of the people at large.
Our Party must move to institutionalize a committee of cadres dedicated to electoral work on an ongoing basis. This committee will keep the ruling class and State on the back foot precisely because the electoral system was created for servants of colonial capitalism and will not be prepared for non-opportunist, anti-colonial revolutionary African working class competition in its own arena.
Black is Back Coalition contends with neocolonialism
Our mass work with the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will also facilitate our electoral work. The Coalition has provided the only mass-based opposition to the two major ruling class parties in the U.S.
Through the work in the Coalition, our Party has been able to contend with the corrosive impact of neocolonial opportunist political and ideological surrender of our struggle by bourgeois-supported and created hustlers.
We have been able to advance the general struggle for African self-determination, something that has been off the radar of our Movement since the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties. The Coalition has hosted a series of statewide and national conferences and events designed to win mass support for self-determination. Within days of this Plenary the Coalition is sponsoring a National Rally for Black Self-Determination in the imperialist capital of Washington, D.C.
There are different approaches to the electoral system within the Coalition. The important thing is that they are––most of them––anti-colonial approaches and all are committed to promoting the National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination that has been vetted by a popular process embracing thousands of African people.
Strategic participation within the electoral process also helps Party members refine our message. Since convincing our community to vote their unity with our program is key to our success in this arena, it becomes incumbent on Party members to speak concisely and fittingly toward that end. Reckless, empty rhetoric will not suffice.
Forward to African Independence in our Lifetime
In 1989 I made a presentation at a mass meeting in Oakland, California that was later included in a book published by our Party titled Black Power Since the Sixties. The book contained a number of polemics concerning the ideological weaknesses of the overall African anti-colonial movement centered in the U.S. and questioned the fidelity of our Movement to revolutionary principles and conclusions.
Twenty-eight years later, the African People’s Socialist Party reaffirms our commitment to Revolution as the only way to attain our liberation and unification as a nation. The 1989 presentation was titled, “The Revolutionary Party is the Vehicle For Making The Revolution.”
Here is a relevant excerpt from that presentation:
“We want to have a revolution. We can’t get out of this without revolution. If we’re going to have revolution, then we have to have a particular kind of organization. We can’t have an organization like the Boy Scouts, for example. We can’t have an organization like the glee club. We can’t have organizations like the Democrats or Republicans. You have to have a special kind of organization. It’s got to be a revolutionary organization to make a revolution.
“Guess what else you need. You need revolutionaries. You need men and women who are organized around certain principles. Those principles under the leadership of a revolutionary organization subordinate every other question to the revolution. Every question is subordinate to the revolution. Every question!
“What is the vehicle for making the revolution? The revolutionary party is the vehicle for making the revolution. Every effort therefore is to strengthen the revolutionary party. Every effort is for the revolutionary party to become the leadership of the masses around every question. Every question must be subordinate to the Revolution.
“There must be an organization of men and women whose profession is revolution. They might be plumbers, they might be schoolteachers. They might have any other kind of occupation, but their profession is revolution. So when they plumb they plumb in a revolutionary fashion and in a way that promotes the revolution, and when they teach, they teach in a way that promotes the revolution. They organize on the job wherever they are for the purpose of the revolution.
“Every question is subordinate. There is not a single question that can be free of the question of making the revolution. Now, the glee club is not like that; neither is the Boy Scouts, nor the Democratic party.”
Ideological weakness has allowed much of the world to succumb to the idea that imperialism is a permanent feature of the world that must somehow be worked around or maneuvered to accommodate the interests of the world’s peoples. We know differently. There can be no ‘peaceful coexistence’ between avaricious, predatory imperialism and African and other colonized peoples whose oppressive exploitation is the very lifeblood of imperialism.
Imperialism must die, it must be destroyed and revolution is the only means for bringing this reality into being. The existing imperialist popular cultural expression of vampires and zombies is a reflection of nervousness of a superstructure of decadence resting on a tectonic change occurring within an economic base of capitalism resting on colonial resistance.
What this imperialist popular culture reflects is the reality of a dying but not dead imperialism. Our Party, shovels in hand, torches firmly in hand, are among the grave diggers that will torch and slay this monster and forever liberate ourselves and the world from this monstrosity.
Comrades, our work is laid out for us and this period of the crisis of imperialism provides us with the greatest opportunity ever for building and completing the African Revolution. Everything about Americanism is in disarray. There is no longer an ideological anchor to imperialism.
The African People’s Socialist Party has a glorious history of 45 years of struggle. We are the only African Revolutionary organization out there. We have never compromised. We have the political line of African Internationalism, the strategy, and the organization to win. We have solved the question of the white people and we have the unity of oppressed peoples around the world.
It is up to every Party member anywhere in the world to bolster our stance and increase our commitment to be leaders and cadres to seize the time and usher in the unification and liberation of Africa under the leadership of the African working class and the return of our stolen resources.
We are winning!