Burning Spear News
The Party's Seventh Congress is almost here and African women are leading us there!
The African women Leadership of the African People's Socialist Party's National Central Committee—The highest body of the Revolutionary Vanguard
At the end of her 1925 article, “Women as Leaders,” which was published in the UNIA’s newspaper, The Negro World, Amy Euphemia Jacques Garvey writes, “We are tired of hearing Negro men say, ‘There is a better day coming,’ while they do nothing to usher in the day.
“We are becoming so impatient that we are getting in the front ranks and serve notice on the world that we will brush aside the halting, cowardly Negro men, and with prayer on our lips and arms prepared for any fray, we will press on and on until victory is over.”
Twenty-five years earlier in Ghana, 60-year old Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa, took up arms against British invaders after challenging the men of her community to fight back saying, “I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will.
“We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields."
The daughters and granddaughters of those fearless African women continue to answer the call to bring forth the African Revolution.
Though we may not always know their names, African women have often made significant contributions in many of the greatest examples of African liberation struggles since Africa was attacked.
In the 2015 documentary film,“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” Clayborne Carson, professor of history, confirms this when he says "one of the ironies in the Black Panther Movement is the image of a Black male in a ripper jacket and a gun, but the reality is that a majority of the rank and file by the end of 1960s were women."
This is also the case for the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). In fact, Chairman Omali Yeshitela recounts that in the early days of the Party he and other Party members were often referred to as “Joe Waller and the girls” by others who attempted to dismiss the seriousness of the Party, because women were at the helm.
The APSP’s Unwavering leadership of African Women
Forty-six years later, African women are still leaders in the African People’s Socialist Party. We occupy five of the ten positions of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA’s National Central Committee: Ona Zené Yeshitela, Deputy Chair with the responsibility of leading all of the Party’s economic projects; Kalambayi Andenet, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM); Yejide Orunmila, President of the African Women’s Commission (AWC); Dr. Aisha Fields, Director of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and Akilé Anai, Director of the Department of Agitation and Propaganda (DAP).
Beyond the Party’s Central Committee, the ranks of our Party are filled with African women who unflinchingly carry out Party work and the work of our mass organizations.
In Kenya, Adhiambo Kasuku, a dynamic young Comrade, is enthusiastically organizing the Kenyan front of APSP.
In Occupied Azania (South Africa), Nompumelelo Mbekisa, a member of the APSP-Occupied Azania’s Central committee and Zika Crowned, are also building the Party, with the specific tasks of bringing more women into the Revolution.
In Sweden, there is Makda Yohannes and Fosiya Aqli who have been tirelessly coordinating the Uhuru Movement in Sweden and the rest of Europe.
Like Garvey, Yaa Asantewaa and the countless other African women who have dedicated their lives to the liberation of our people, we women do not function in an auxiliary capacity.
We form the front lines of the African Revolution who─when armed with the revolutionary science of African Internationalism─have developed and carried out strategy, organized campaigns and organized with and/or led African men and women, alike.
Women: not the reserve, but the front line
As we forge ahead to the Seventh Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party, people should know that this great international Movement building for the socialist reunification of Africa under the leadership of the African poor and working class is driven by women who use political theory to inform the direction of our work.
The Party says, “let’s make cities ‘black again’ by fighting against gentrification.” Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela builds campaigns that organizes the community and raises money to purchase buildings and land in blighted African communities in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Party says African people need to have an African response to disaster that makes the Red Cross unnecessary.
Dr. Aisha Fields, Director of AAPDEP, initiates Project Black Ankh and responds to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and natural disasters in the United States.
The Party says African women need an organization of its own to help fight back against the specific oppression faced by women under colonialism.
As the President of the African National Women’s Organization, I respond by organizing against the State-sponsored kidnapping of African children that tears families apart, criminalizes mothers and pits the community against each other.
When the Party says to carry out a campaign that will organize African people against crimes of genocide, President Kalambayi Andenet of InPDUM organizes other Africans to join a six-city organizing caravan, in the dead of winter, to follow the United Nations Working Group of Experts on African Descent to ensure that poor and working class people’s voices are heard when it comes to the police killings, contaminated water and other acts of genocide.
And when the Party calls on a 21-year-old African woman to lead one of the most significant departments of the Party, or run for city council or to chair a local organizing committee that will politically forward reparations to the black community, Akilé Anai, unreservedly says yes every time.
African Internationalism liberates women
These are just a few of the women who fight for a free and united Africa and just like in Yaa Asantewaa’s and Amy Jacques Garvey’s time, sometimes we have to drag some of the men along or step over them to accomplish the goal.
Victory is not yet won and so the struggle still continues, with women taking every opportunity to be makers and shapers of African history.
The Seventh Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party will provide everyone an opportunity to learn from these African women.
Witness how using political theory formed out of the struggles of the working class can lift up all sectors of our society; providing us an opportunity to smash backwards notions that limit the involvement of our people.
I encourage African women to look at our history, or better yet, attend the Seventh Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party this October to experience for yourself the power of the African Revolution in the hands of working class African women. Find out how to register and attend at apspcongress.org
‘Til its Won!
Africa for Africans at Home and Abroad!