Burning Spear News
February 21: The Day of the African Martyr
Long live Sandra Bland and all African martyrs!
ST. PETERSBURG, FL—September 7-9, 1982: after nine years of existence, the African People’s Socialist Party held our first Congress in Oakland, California.
This was a historic event that saw participation and/or solidarity statements from a host of revolutionary and democratic forces from throughout the world.
These included the New Jewel Movement of Grenada, the Revolutionary Workers Party of Argentina, Association of Vietnamese Patriots in the United States and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, among others.
The Party Congress is the highest body of the African People’s Socialist Party and provides an opportunity for Party members to set the direction for the Party through elections and resolutions.
It also provides the opportunity to amend the Party Constitution and consolidate the unity of the organization of the advanced attachment of the African working class, its vanguard.
One of the most important resolutions adopted by the First Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party was the declaration of “February 21–the Day of the African Martyr.”
This resolution recognized how colonial white power uses the brutal murder of our people to crush the will of our people to struggle.
It is a means of saying to the people that if you struggle, this is what will happen to you.
At one point the resolution states that “[i]n many instances our oppressors have succeeded in demoralizing great numbers of our people by using the examples of brutally murdered African freedom fighters to prove the invincibility of imperialism and the permanence of African oppression and exploitation.”
Twenty-five years from the Party’s First Congress, we continue to call on everyone to uphold the mandate of that historic Congress that read, in part:
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to take command of the history of our people’s struggle for political independence, African liberation and socialism, by taking command of the definition of that history of resistance.
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to raise high in a revolutionary manner the heroic memory of all our fallen martyrs of all those in every city village, community and country where they fell as evidence of the determination of our people to fight every battle on every front till liberty has been won.
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all African revolutionaries of all countries to initiate special ceremonies and programs in every community where an African revolutionary has fallen and to raise the memory of our fallen freedom fighters to its proper revolutionary and historical significance.
“The African People’s Socialist Party calls on all Party members to win the masses of Africans within the U.S. in all mass organizations where the African People’s Socialist Party has influence, to unite with this resolution.
“We call on every Party unit, region and organization to take out this call to the masses and to actively work to institutionalize February 21 as the Day of the African Martyr.”