Burning Spear News
Solving The Problems of the Revolution: The Advanced Detachment
Marcus Mosiah Garvey—Twentieth century leader of the African nation and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Our Party fights for the interests of the African working class
All societies contain an advanced sector. These are people who, for whatever reason, stand out because of their willingness to step forward to address the pressing problems found in society at any given time.
It is they who generally attempt to sum up the areas of social concern and to put forward solutions.
The individuals who take on this important social task are those who comprise the advanced sector.
Political parties are parties that are comprised of these individuals, but political parties are also parties of particular classes.
In the development of capitalism, political parties have historically been representatives of the colonial-capitalist class.
They represent the selfish interests of that class even though the colonial-capitalist class, because it is a minority, exploiting class, must usually disguise its class rule as the popular will of the oppressed and exploited masses.
Today, the African working class has our own organization that fights for the selfish interests of our class.
Up until now, most of our political activism has taken place inside the ranks of the parties of our oppressors, the colonial-capitalist rulers of society.
They have been able to continue their rule because we have not had our own working class parties to advance our own selfish class interests that are diametrically opposed to the interests of our oppressors.
How the African petty bourgeoisie became the face of “liberation”
As colonial subjects of imperialist white power, Africans have only had access to the electoral process since the 1960s.
Before that time our political interests were usually determined by the white colonial rulers or by the African petty bourgeoisie and organizations they established.
In the U.S., some of these petty bourgeois-led organizations won popular acclaim because of their successful mobilization of the oppressed African masses to become directly involved in the movement for basic democratic rights under colonialism.
Similarly, on the continent of Africa, it was the African petty bourgeoisie that rose to prominence in the quest for political independence within the capitalist system presided over by imperialist white power.
While some of the demands of the pro-independence African petty bourgeoisie appeared to be radical, they were generally incapable of challenging the capitalist system that has its origin in our colonial domination.
This meant that the outcome was a capitalist outcome that now had African management.
Garvey and the UNIA
A meaningful, notable exception to this was the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) that was organized by Marcus Garvey to pursue the liberation of Africa and Africans globally and the achievement of our independent capacity for self-government.
The UNIA organized branches throughout the world with a membership of 6 to 11 million Africans.
It created groundbreaking economic institutions that included a steamship line, factories, recording companies and a host of other economic projects intended to initiate a threatening, independent, anti-colonial international economy for African people.
The Garvey Movement was incessantly attacked by international imperialist white power, especially the U.S. government that falsely charged and imprisoned Garvey before deporting him to Jamaica, his place of birth.
While the UNIA never touted its working class constitution, it was the working class character of the Garvey Movement that won Garvey the enmity of the African petty bourgeoisie of the era in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Many of them, especially the distinguished W.E.B. Du Bois, cooperated with the U.S. government and others to destroy the Garvey Movement, in part because of its black working class composition.
We are the Garveyites of the 21st century. Like Garvey, we do speak to the interests of the African nation as expressed through the interests and worldview of the independently organized African working class.
The philosophy of the UNIA was African Fundamentalism, not Pan-Africanism. The worldview of our Party, 21st century Garveyites, is African Internationalism─again, not Pan-Africanism.
The importance of the Party as a means of true liberation
As the party of the African working class, we are always consciously contending with the parties and interests of the oppressor nation and the exploiting capitalist class.
The African People’s Socialist Party is not the African working class; we are its Advanced Detachment, its general staff, its Vanguard which, like the class parties of the oppressors, looks out for the interests of the whole class whether the whole class is at any given moment capable of recognizing what its class interests are.
The African working class is always in a posture of resistance. This is most obvious in the behavior of young working class Africans who consciously defy convention that usually defines how “reasonable,” “civilized” behavior should look.
They are constantly breaking out of the social boundaries imposed on our community by colonialism and in many cases, they set new social and cultural trends which, after initial strong ruling class and African petty bourgeois denunciation, are co-opted by proper colonial society.
Africans resist now and everywhere!
The resistance of the African working class can be seen in the spontaneous rebellions and threats of rebellion that require an oppressive presence of the domestic colonial military police waging barely disguised war in every African community within the U.S. and the entire world.
When the African working class does not have access to its own African People’s Socialist Party, their defiance is most often not politically motivated and directed.
When it is occasionally politically directed, it comes under the influence of the white rulers, sometimes transmitted by radical sectors of the African petty bourgeoisie.
We have seen this recently in the aftermath of the 2014 uprising in St. Louis-Ferguson following the colonial police murder of Mike Brown.
We have also seen the result of this indirect ruling class influence over the masses of African workers in Occupied Azania (South Africa) with the rise of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela and a host of other radical sectors of the African petty bourgeoisie.
Similarly, African working class protests are roiling the African continent, including the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The weakness of the African Revolution is again exposed by the fact that the majority of the African working class and poor peasantry do not have the advantage of the African People’s Socialist Party, its own Party fighting for the selfish interests of the colonized African working class.
The African People’s Socialist Party has been the instrument of the African working class that continues to rally the class to its own interests, to its own side, so to speak.