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The unity of African and Mexican people in the struggle against the colonial State – Part Two
Editor’s Note: The following is a transcription of a special episode of the Omali Taught Me Sunday Study from June 28, 2020, the second in a series discussing the unity of African and Mexican people in the struggle against the colonial state.
African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela, African Socialist International Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa and Unión del Barrio Under-Secretary General Benjamín Prado discuss defining the struggle: colonialism vs. racism.
#OmaliTaughtMe is broadcast LIVE Sundays at 8am U.S. Eastern Time. Watch on TheBurningSpear.com or listen on Black Power 96.3 FM Radio in St. Petersburg, FL (and streaming on the Black Power 96 Radio mobile app and BlackPower96.org)
AKILÉ: Uhuru comrades and welcome to today's Omali Taught Me Sunday Study featuring Chairman Omali Yeshitela. My name is Akilé Anai, director of Agitation and Propaganda for the African People’s Socialist Party as well as your emcee for this morning.
Today’s study is highly important; we encourage you right now to invite your friends and family to it. Last week, we introduced a new series of this study displaying a practical unity of Mexican and African People in the struggle against the colonial State.
For this episode, we are defining the struggle of Africans and all colonized workers of the world: colonialism versus racism.
For this discussion, I am joined by the Africa Socialist International Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa and one of the leaders of the Mexican Liberation Organization, Unión del Barrio, the Undersecretary General Benjamín Prado.
We will start with an overview from our Chairman followed by contributions from SG Luwezi and Benjamín. After thorough discussion among our panelists, we will open it up for our live viewers to ask questions.
It's my honor now to introduce our leadership, the leader of the African Nation and the worldwide African Revolution, Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
CHAIRMAN: Uhuru and thank you so much comrade, dear sister, Akilé.
I'd like to just begin this discussion by recognizing that during this incredible period that we are experiencing now of heightened resistance by masses of people, certainly within the United States, but the truth of the matter is that the resistance has been growing for a while now around the world.
And a really important contributing factor to how things are unfolding is what has developed inside the United States. And that's essentially because in the United States we see the center, even if only in a shaky way, of the whole imperialist center; the chief imperialist hegemon of the world is located here.
And because of this, what happens here can sometimes appear to be an exaggerated representation of reality but it is true that the peoples of the world have been in a choke hold by U.S. imperialism for a long period of time and the people of the world are demanding the right to breathe.
And so here in the United States, the resistance of peoples around the world has been given greater significance because of the uprising stemming from the murder on May 25th of George Floyd. That's the immediate basis for it, for what has occurred.
And of course, the murder of George Floyd happened within the context of the colonial virus that was killing African people and had the colonized African community in the United States in a state of lockdown and terror.
So that was exacerbated and the rage of the people exploded with the public execution of George Floyd. And so what we're seeing around the world of course is, again, a really heightened state of resistance.
And we are revolutionaries; the African People’s Socialist Party is a revolutionary organization. Our objective, plain and simple, is for the total, absolute, unquestioned liberation and unification of Africa and African people as a part and fundamental, we believe, to the destruction of the whole capitalist system that rests upon a pedestal of colonialism, something we’re going to be talking about on today
Our Party is in several places throughout the United States and various places around the world. But we're not every place and we are not so ubiquitous that we could lead every demonstration, be involved in every mobilization that's happening, or even the vast majority of demonstrations and mobilizations.
Though our movement, under the leadership of the Party, has initiated several of the demonstrations that have occurred and have participated in several others that we did not initiate. But the fact that we have not been the leaders of initiating the demonstrations and mobilizations, clearly should indicate to us that the people don't need us to teach them how to do a demonstration. That the people don't need the revolutionaries to teach them how to throw a brick or something to that effect.
What is needed is for revolutionaries to be able to intervene in the motion of the masses of the people and to take science into that to provide ideological and political leadership, for the most part, that would give an uprising or a protest a revolutionary character.
We have the responsibility to turn protests and uprisings into revolution. Protests and uprisings do not themselves make revolution. Revolutionaries are responsible for providing their kind of ideological, theoretical, and political leadership that would make revolution a consequence of protests.
So that's one of the reasons that this discussion is so important for us because it's happening within the context of the growing resistance of the people.
And it's also necessary for us to recognize that in the United States, there is not much love for theory. Theory is not something that is easily embraced, and certainly among the African working class and the other workers that have been so brutalized by bourgeois academia, that we are hesitant to even engage, in many ways, with issues of theory.
And those within our communities who have access to theory are usually those who work for our oppressors and, generally speaking, we don't like what they have to say. And because they use a certain rationale of the educated to discourage struggle, to undermine us, and to show how resistance itself is a form of uncivilized behavior; being civilized, of course, being something that has been defined by the European colonizers.
So there is not much appreciation, there’s too little appreciation for the issue of theory. And this is even among activists, and sometimes more among activists who are more concerned with getting action than in getting ideas.
So that's why it's important for us to entertain this discussion of theory, right now. It's more important now than any time because what happens on occasions such as this, is that fast-talking servants of the bourgeoisie, of the ruling class, enter into the mix. We can see that happening within the United States every day.
And given an opportunity, they would provide some kind of leadership for masses of the people that takes them away from revolutionary conclusions and things that would help to overturn our oppression. So that's why we’re having this discussion.
I'd like to go and look at a piece that comes from the political report that I made to the 6th Congress and that was contained also in the political report to the 7th Congress of our Party. It deals with the question of the nation, which is one of those issues that's really muddled in the whole world and it is absolutely true within the United States.
And a simple investigation shows why it's absolutely necessary they muddy this question within the United States because in the United States, what we have is a regime that rests upon a foundation of stolen territory.
You have a government, you have a system that has its origin in European settlers coming to this territory, in many instances running from poverty, feudal despair, disease and what-have-you in Europe and settling in this territory. In the employ of an Empire, settling in this territory, killing, and murdering.
Words like “killing” and “murdering” do not suffice in describing the horrible conditions; the terror imposed is unimaginable, it's almost hard to describe. And I think that profanity was something that was created to talk about this thing because there are few words that can be adequately used to describe what was done to the indigenous inhabitants of this land.
So I'm not even gonna give some of the obvious and notorious examples of brutality that the Europeans imposed here in the process of carving out, taking this land, taking this territory, something that has been romanticized in what they call history books.
And so this land base here was the foundation. Initially, the objective for the settlers, the Europeans who came here, was to extract value that would go back to Europe. They came here for empire; empire was the project.
They came here to extract value and while they were doing just that, they concluded that they want it for themselves as opposed to being required to send the value of the stolen loot back to Europe.
And they initiated what they call a “revolution” that resulted in breaking ties with the empire and holding onto this territory for themselves. And on this territory, they used the original custodians of the land, the indigenous people, and millions of Africans who were kidnapped from Africa and brought here to work this land.
So here you have a social system that has its origin there and it's absolutely necessary for us to understand that.
If you understand that Europeans looking for what they call “freedom” came to this land, stole the land, killed the people in order to take it, kidnapped African people and brought us here to create value on stolen land that contributed to the construction of an economy that dominates the world today, it becomes easier to understand that just because you see thousands of people in the streets and some of them are European and some of them are Africans that they are not necessarily on the same page. They are not necessarily engaged in a struggle revolving around the same interest.
So theory is really important to us.
I want to take just a moment to quote from the Question of the Nation, from the book An Uneasy Equilibrium, that was the political report to our Congress, our 7th Congress.
Here I'm quoting in An Uneasy Equilibrium something from a book written by a man whose name was Hosea Jaffe. It's interesting that I should mention this because I had lost this book by Jaffe some years ago.
I was in San Diego at an event that was hosted by Unión del Barrio many years later. I think it was Adriana who worked at a library or somehow had some authority in a library or bookstore there. And I spoke there and I found this book. I recovered this book that I hadn't seen in so many years.
And here's what Hosea Jaffe says, and the name of the book is A History of Africa. This is not an attempt to endorse the entire book or anything but I thought Jaffe was really insightful in the passage that I'm going to read. And it goes:
“The 15th century then saw the multiplication of the primary accumulation of European capitalism. And Africa played the most important part in the process as the principal arena of European colonialism, the very genesis and foundation of the capitalist system.
From the turn of the 16th century the Americas and Asia were added to this foundation and cut off, and out of this totality arose capitalism and modern Europe itself. Before capitalist colonialism, there was no Europe, only a collection of feudal, mercantile, and tribal towns, farms, villages, discrete states, and kingdoms vying and warring with each other, just as in Africa, when on a different property basis, that of private property in the land.
Europe then was neither a concept nor a reality; at most a vague idea that Arabs, but not Europeans, had long ago, of someplace northwest of Greece. As long as Europe remained isolated from the world, there was no Europe.
When it became connected with and dependent on first Africa, then the Americas, and finally Asia, it began to become a reality and an idea. Only when Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, English, German, Danish, and Swedish confronted and clashed with Africa, America, and Asia, did the need arise for them to consider themselves as a set, a whole different from, hostile to, and eventually superior to Africans, Americans, and Asians. Colonialism gave them a common interest.”
This is Jaffe. And then we say further in this book:
“This so-called common interest, the sense of sameness, common history, and psychological makeup manifested in a common culture. Elements contained in most definitions of the nation was forged through slavery and colonialism.
This was the nation-building process, the sense of sameness and common culture of violence are features of the subjective factors identifying the European nation. Contrary to white leftists and modern-day Marxists, both the white ruling class and the white working class owe their existence to this process.
They are historical twins containing the same DNA and spawned by a history of genocide and enslavement of other peoples that is repugnant in its entirety. The parasitic capitalist economy is the objective factor, the material basis upon which the subjective relies. It is the bonding element of the nation that holds this collective community together.
The European nation, and we do mean European with its multiplicity of languages, classes, and internal borders, was born as a bourgeois nation, a white Christian nation, spawned through the blood and gore of slavery and colonialism, and resting upon a foundation of capitalism benefiting Europe at the expense of Africans and the rest of the world.
Aspects of the European nation’s subjective content, it’s self-perception, were forged through the assault on Islam during the Christian Crusades of the feudal era for control of much of the same territory in North Africa and the Middle East that imperialism is contending for today.
However, the most essential component of Europe's subjective identification grew out of its history of genocidal aggression against Africa that included colonial slavery. Herein lies the process that bonded Europe into a single nation, though differentiated by sometimes competing capitalist centers designated as countries and incorrectly identified as nations.
This, like the anti-Islamic national component, is residual from the pre-colonial European feudal era, where contending European powers defined themselves primarily in relationship to each other except for the uniting, looting expeditions through the Middle East that occurred under the religious banner of Christianity. Thus, the European nation was born white and Christian.
Moreover, it was born as a bourgeois nation, as the center of capitalist production stemming from parasitic accumulation of capital flowing from colonial slavery. Even the European working-class was born on the pedestal of colonialism and slavery; therefore, ultimately realizing the benefits of an oppressor nation and identifying with its own bourgeoisie.”
I just think it was really important to look at that, at least for some kind of understanding of the approach of our Party and our movement toward this question and helping us to recognize why we say that the central question that we're looking at is colonialism.
And it’s upon this foundation of colonialism that the entire capitalist social system rests and acts and functions that it requires for its survival. It is the introduction of the parasite,a profoundly voracious parasite, unto the body of humanity that was stretched across the globe.
And today when we look at how we deal with what's happening right now in this country and around the world, as oppressed peoples are fighting against all of these symptoms of parasitic entanglement, it’s extraordinarily important for revolutionaries, genuine revolutionaries, to introduce the science into this struggle and help to bring some kind of clarity.
That's why we say that the so-called struggle against racism is misdirected energy and consciously misdirected. And much of what we see happening is not simply some accident that people would run out and say “Black Lives Matter” as opposed to overturning this social system.
As opposed to the slogan that we saw happen in the 1960s, even they said, “Off the pig!” and that we heard repeated for the first time since that in Ferguson on Canfield Drive after the murder of 18 year-old Mike Brown. And the masses rose up in 2014 saying, “Kill the police!”
The fact is that there is obvious, conscious misdirection.
And in our communities, we see forces who were created through this process. Where we see the element of class introduced in a very serious way into our communities through giving a sector of the African population an objective material stake in the ongoing existence of the capitalist system that sucks the blood and life out of our people, giving them a material stake in it.
Sometimes we have the African petty bourgeois, neo-colonial forces moving ignorantly but even then their ignorance is informed by the objective material interest. And they have an interest in maintaining the status quo; so, they would have us fight to integrate into the system that's killing us, as opposed to destroying the system itself.
That's like uniting with the virus. Somehow, you gonna solve this problem by uniting with the virus when the objective has to be to destroy the virus that's killing us.
So that's why we don't take lightly this whole issue of the kind of slogans that we're seeing tossed around and put out there before the masses. And that's why it's important for revolutionaries to intervene in these struggles and to take revolutionary science to it; and that's why we are having this discussion today.
And I want to really express a profound, important welcome again to comrade Benjamín Prado from Unión del Barrio: our sister party that we have been working with for more than 35 years, longer than most marriages have been able to survive, certainly in this country.
And then of course comrade Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa who has had the responsibility for a long time now of extending the Party’s reach throughout Africa and in Europe and various other places outside of the United States.
So I just want to welcome everybody and turn it over to dear sister Akilé, who will give us some leadership moving forward. Uhuru.
AKILÉ: Uhuru Chairman. I just want to really appreciate and thank you for that profound overview. And now we're going to turn it over to comrade Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa, of the African Socialist International. So Uhuru SG Luwezi.
LUWEZI: Yes, Uhuru comrade Director Akilé. I just want to start by saluting my leadership, Chairman Omali Yeshitela for giving me the best privilege and honor to be in this study. Also want to salute comrade Benjamín Prado. It is really a pleasure to have you on this forum.
Basically, this question of colonialism versus racism as the Chairman was saying, is consciously done, it is not an improvisation. It’s something the imperialist rulers, intellectuals, work at to undermine the consciousness of the vast majority of colonized people around the world.
First of all, what it does, this concept of racism, it really puts Europeans, white people, within the center. It obscures even the past of Europe. I wanna say the past of Europe because Europe was defended from the beginning for its access to what is referred to today as “civilization.”
Even the word “Europe” itself, you know, if you Google it, you will find out that it comes from Phoenicia. Phoenicia is basically today Lebanon, but what they don't tell you is that Phoenicia was part of Africa, part of Egypt. And Europa was the name of a princess from Phoenicia.
So basically it’s an Egyptian princess name. And if you put racism into thoughts, how can you justify even the name you have of Europe is not an indigenous name to Europe?
Europe has a writing system as we all know, and a numeracy system: they borrowed from Africa, from ancient Egypt.
Today, people speak French and English, and so on, but if you begin to analyze the amount of borrowing in the French language that came from Arabic, you will be just done.
So racism obscures all those things. And it's also significant to deal with this question. If you go for example, in Asia, in Japan, you all know the history of Japan. Japan attempted to colonize Asia. That was not a question of racism because we all recognize that Japan, China, Vietnam, other countries in Asia, they belong to the same, you may say group of people, in the way they look.
So the fundamental contradiction between Japan and China that led to the second World War or even the first World War, to begin with, was not a racial question. It was that Japan made the decision that Asia is going to be oppressed and exploited by Japanese. That's the decision the Japanese ruling class made.
Japan entered an alliance with Germany, with Italy; in fact, when Japanese soldiers were fighting the British in Asia, the Italians sided with them. But you would say Italians are Europeans, British are Europeans, this is a racist alliance. They should just stick together but they didn't because everyone was trying to pursue their own interest.
And if you look at even the way the struggle unfolded in Asia, you will see the class consciousness in Asia was sharpened by the fact also that Japan was the colonizer, was the oppressor.
So not only do they have to deal with the French imperialism, the British imperialism, and the U.S. imperialism, but they also have to deal with the Japanese imperialists — who look just like them.
And this really had a profound impact because among Africans there’s this discussion of how come revolutions succeeded in Asia but they didn't succeed in Africa. People have to understand the class consciousness, basically colonial question, was fully understood in that part of Asia.
You look at the question of immigration and there is a connection between the fact that it’s colonization; the way it was understood in Asia because of Japanese colonization. mmigration, at one point, if you’re Chinese and come into Britain or France and you don't have your papers, you should be concerned.
In fact, you had all these white police basically criminalizing all the oppressed people, all the immigrants and Chinese were part of it. But since China has become a power, since China’s no longer colonized, we saw something in Britain.
We saw Boris Johnson, who is the current Prime Minister of Britain, when he was the Mayor of London, traveling to China trying to secure Chinese tourists, to make it easy for the Chinese tourists to come to the UK.
It was not a racial question, it was the British recognized their own interests that they want to keep the economy afloat. They need money to come from China, they didn't say Chinese are not white but Chinese had the money.
So they were motivated by the whole material interest. They weren't motivated by the racial interest and that aside, now all of a sudden you had Chinese tourists coming from China in millions. Not just coming to Europe but going to France, to Spain.
They organized themselves throughout Europe to make sure Chinese do visit them, so they're no longer considered illegal immigrants.
Now they have the money, the British, and the rest of the white ruling class. And Chinese students now represent a lot of money for Europe, including America too. So this question of power as a response to the struggle against colonialism is real.
When we say that in order to solve the colonial question, we need to have our own power and that has to be an international power because you cannot (32:22 - can’t make out what Luwezi is saying before the word “power) have power and our power as far as our African nation is concerned. (32:26 - same thing) and so that power is international power. So this means you’re free in Haiti, it means also you’re free in Brazil, it also means you're in Senegal. You’re free basically everywhere black people are located.
You can also look at this colonial question when you go to what they call the Middle East today. Look at Israel with the occupation of Palestine. You have Saudi Arabia, the ruling class there, they see their interest in colonialism, they see their interests being protected by Israel to a certain extent. They will make alliance with Israel against Syria; they will make an alliance with Israel, with the U.S. of course, against Saddam Hussein at one point, when it became clear that the United States didn't want Saddam Hussein to be a regional power.
But the point is you have the ruling class in the Middle East, particularly around Saudi Arabia, in what they call Emirates and places like that, being more united with white power, which is an imperialist white power, than being united with their own people, than being united with Palestine.
They’re fighting the oppressor, fighting the colonizers, is recognized as getting the settler colonialists out of the Middle East. That the Palestinians are to be free.
You know the Palestinians are Arabs, some of them are Muslims so is the Emirates and so are most of the ruling class over there but clearly they sided with the occupiers.
And so, the question of racism, what it does, it obscures completely the colonial question at all levels. When I say at all levels, I will take the example of the wars, you know these imperialist world wars, like the first imperialist war, also the second imperialist war. This may also be true for other wars.
They only taught us in schools and also in the press and everywhere, it's an imperialist war. And they say between the bandits or the bad guys and the good guys, it’s the Americans, the French and so on.
And we, the colonized, are completely out of the picture. Nobody talks about us and when they do, then we can see us being in armies fighting on the side of whoever colonized you.
But it's more than that because we say all along the problem is parasitic capitalism and parasitic capitalism means that colonialism is the foundation of capitalism and it's parasitic all along the way. And you take this example of this imperialist war.
I have some information here in the case of Belgium. Belgium for example, came out of the Second World War, free of debt. They didn't have to borrow money because all along in Africa, in the Congo particularly, we funded, against our will of course, the war effort of Belgium.
They say that out of Congo, four billion went to pay the Belgian war effort. And they’re saying that, just speaking of strictly the war effort, we paid four billion of French franc. I’m not sure what that is in today's currency, but this is billions so it's a huge amount.
And not only did we pay that but we also died fighting for our crisis. Forty thousand, you know some figure like that. That's a huge figure that died just in that process.
And the Belgian colonizers, in some part of Congo, in the Kivu provinces, they've made an estimate that Congo produced 15 billion Belgian francs just during the war period between 1940 and 1945 just to keep Belgium afloat, just to feed Belgium. Not just to sustain the war effort but to keep Belgium afloat.
So while Belgium was fighting, we were paying for everything. Not just for the military effort, but paying for their food, for everything that Belgium needed, the Congo was producing. And this is their own estimate: 15 billion Belgian franc.
So when you say the question is racism, it just obscures the whole relationship we have. It just obscures all the money we produced. It just obscures all of this. And you could begin just to understand the significance of the figures I'm giving you.
In 1921, the Belgian budget was 2.4 billion, so it gives you an idea what the colonies produced, the significance of the colonies and how white power is dependent on the colonies; it’s dependent on our labor, on our resources, and that is really critical.
So the question of racism is just, it is a waste of time. It not only marginalizes our significance and it keeps the oppressors in the center and it really narrows everything. What’s your interest, to be accepted? To be close to the oppressors? When in reality, the oppressor depends on every aspect of their life on the colonized. And this is just one example.
And now, if I look at basically how colonialism worked for the Belgians, we take the city of Hoboken. Hoboken is in Belgium and they have industrial plants that transform the gold and the copper and the silver. And the silver was a by-product of some of the copper transformations.
There's a real economic relationship: you have a city of Hoboken, the economy dependent on resources coming from Africa. Now you take another city (39:28 don’t know how to spell the city that SG Luwezi is referring to here) Houlin. Houlin specialized in the transformation of cobalt, treatment of uranium and radium.
And you take Antwerp. Antwerp is a maritime city, it’s a city by the sea. That's where the ports, the main ports of Belgium are.
Belgium doesn't produce diamonds. They don't have any diamonds in Belgium but today, Antwerp is the largest diamond market in Europe. It's also the largest place where diamond is cut; they specialize in that.
And in Africa, if you take Sierra Leone for this diamond, Congo for this diamond and in other places, we don't cut the diamond, we don't sell the diamond. There is no market to sell the diamond in Africa.
And that's colonialism. That's not racism, that's colonialism: taking our resources, taking our labor and building Europe, developing Europe at our expense.
That's colonialism. That's what we need to fight against so that we keep our diamond in Africa. If a person wants to buy a diamond, Africa's united so we have our own common market for diamonds.
So we industrialize Africa, so we can cut the diamond ourselves. We transform the copper from Zambia, Congo or elsewhere, ourselves.
And Ghent is another city in Belgium. They specialize in cotton. Of course, they've been getting cotton before the Berlin Conference coming from the Americas produced by Africans in the U.S. and elsewhere.
And after the Berlin Conference, they start getting cotton from Congo and places like that. So the significance of the city of Ghent is in colonialism. No production of cotton, Ghent has no significance, and you can say the same thing for Antwerp and for any city.
You can come to England, you wanna talk about Liverpool; it’s the slave trade that made Liverpool significant. You go to Bristol; it’s the slave trade that made Bristol significant. And you know for every city in Europe, you look at what type of separate industries are located in that city and you begin to understand how colonialism is significant.
There is a book I have here, it says The Future is Asian by Parag Khanna. When we talk about the current crisis, we do say because of the success of China, though in fact in the defense of the success of China, we don't want people to be confused about this being a racial question between China and the United States. No, it's a really profound economic question.
So I'll go first on page 112. We just want people to begin to understand really the significance of the success of China so, I'm gonna read from here very quickly:
“After September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Pakistan became the major conduit for NATO supplies into Afghanistan, making the country and indispensable frontline in the U.S.-led war on terror. But as the weapons, firms, and political support dry up, Pakistan needs a new strategic raise on date.
The answer becoming Central Asia's reliable conduit to the Arabian Sea has been in the works for decades but has now taken poor position among the numerous competing visions for Pakistan's future.
After India and China’s early 1960s border dispute in the western Himalayas, China began to extend the high-altitude Karakoram Highway to Pakistan along the Indus River to Karachi. Though this north-south transversal has been useful for transportation within Pakistan, it has done little to heal the country's east-west divide between the threat of Punjab and Sindh, east of the Indus River and the barren rugged Pashtun and Baloch regions on its west.
The United States’s $20 billion in military assistance to Pakistan since 2001, has focused on counterterrorism but has done little for long-term economic growth. Only in 2014 did Pakistan’s textile export to Europe surpass more than $6 billion.
It was once a truism that to comprehend Pakistan you needed to grasp the roles of Allah, the army, and America. The first two still hold sway but America has been decisively replaced as the third eight by Asia. Pakistan, like other Asian countries, has become fed up with being a supplicant to the United States.
The former cricket star turned national political leader Prime Minister Imran Khan says what almost everyone in the country seems to feel: that Pakistan should stop being a hired gun for the United States and a scapegoat for U.S. failures in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the more the United States threatened their withholding of funding to stop the Pakistan debt crisis, the more the country was pushed into the arms of China and its historical patron Saudi Arabia, which quickly provided a $6 billion bailout. Indeed, Pakistan is fully embracing its easy initialization.
In 2015, Pakistan signed an all-weather strategic partnership with China and, as soon as Trump reduced U.S. military assistance in 2017, Pakistan and China declared that all the trade will be denominated in their own currencies rather than the dollar.
The Pakistan consulate in Shanghai and Chengdu had been working overtime to dole out visas to Chinese merchants and heading over the Karakoram Mountains or flying directly, on new routes, between Chengdu and Pakistan cities.
The total value of the China-Pakistan economic corridor is said to exceed $60 billion in capital allocated to electricity generation, roads, railways, fiber optic internet, manufacturing and agriculture projects, an estimated three million jobs in power plants, level, tanneries and industrial parks, making everything for medical devices to solar panels, are attributable to CPC.
82% of Pakistani have a favorable view of China. And TV commercials show recently arrived Chinese families welcomed into local homes to share fragrant meals, with more than thirty thousand Chinese taking residence in Pakistan from 2014 to 2016.”
I can read more passages like this in this book just to see how the world is changing, how the United States is losing, how China's power is growing, and how Asia's being transformed at the expense, of course, of the United States.
This is what Africans need to realize, this is what Africans need to understand: that our people are not waiting for white people. Our people aren’t waiting for North America or for Europe. People of the world need development, they want to be free, they don't want to be dominated anymore, and they want real changes.
And this is just one of the examples that people need to become aware of. That the world is not what it used to be and we also, Africans, have to be a part of that. And racism, you have to stop putting that in the center; it's colonialism that has made Europe what it is.
Leopold II, the king of Belgium, when he went to Congo he was worth $15 million Belgian franc, $15 million! Most of it, some of it was just the asset he had in the buildings and some gold but when he went to Congo he became a multi-billionaire. That's not racism, that's colonialism that made him a multi- billionaire.
There is someone from Israel, he’s called Dan Gertler. He went to Congo just recently with Kabila. He lent Kabila’s government $100 million dollars; now is a multi-billionaire. That's not racism, that's colonialism, that’s the loot in Africa that made this guy a multi-billionaire.
And you can talk about Apple, you can talk about Microsoft, you can talk about Samsung, it's not just they're selling us all these smart things. It's basically the looting in Africa, the looting of our labor, that's creating, making, the world.
So I just want to appreciate the opportunity to be on this platform and let’s destroy colonialism; let’s destroy white colonial power. Uhuru.
AKILÉ: Uhuru SG Luwezi and I just really want to appreciate that contribution. And before we go into the panel's discussion I want to bring up our comrade the Secretary-General of Unión del Barrio, Benjamín Prado. Uhuru Benjamín.
BENJAMÍN: Uhuru comrades. On behalf of Unión del Barrio, again we really want to appreciate the opportunity to intervene in this really important discussion.
For us as Unión del Barrio, this historic relationship between our organization and the African People's Socialist Party for more than 35 years really represents the articulation of a revolutionary unity, principled unity.
And we do all that and it's important that we recognize that to our founding Comrade Ernesto Bustillos for building that relationship, for having this important relationship with comrade Omali, in particular, but the Party in general.
And for Unión del Barrio to intervene in this kind of discussion is critical because we recognize the significance of having unity amongst Africans and Mexicans as an important step towards challenging our oppressors from continuing to exploit our labor, from continuing to slander us as a peoples on our own land, and the importance of numerical power, but also more importantly of what we're dealing with today, ideological power.
So, just to give a brief context to our organization, Unión del Barrio, so that the audience can really grasp who we are and what it is that we really want. Unión Del Barrio believes that Mexicanas, Mexicans, living both in Mexico and in the Southwest United States suffer from political, economic, and social insecurity because the United States government stole the northern half of our national territory during its invading war of 1846 to 1848.
And that’s important because the question of colonialism is based on a material extraction of wealth. There's a material basis for our struggle as being an anti-colonial struggle — and it's important because we recognize that California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada, as constituting occupied Mexico or what we have historically referred to it as Aztlán “Mexico Ocupado” and it belongs to the Mexican indigenous peoples of this territory.
On this question of colonialism, we have to recognize the material basis of what is affecting us because if not, then we deal with the struggling against the symptoms of the contradiction that we face on a daily basis; whether it be police shootings, being captured by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the massive incarceration of our people.
[By focusing on the question of racism, these symptoms] As just representing some kind of feeling of antagonism and hostility that comes from the institutions of oppression, which are expressed through laws and attitudes by police, without recognizing what the fundamental question or contradiction is, which we do recognize is colonialism because of its material basis.
So we see colonialism in four aspects: one being the natural resources that are stolen in order to accumulate wealth for a very small number of individuals. And even if we take the whole totality of this U.S. settler colonial nation representing only four percent of the world's population, yet consuming more than 25 percent, or 30 percent now, of the world's natural resources, we see the material basis for the U.S. empire, for U.S. imperialism.
Number two: the use of the material resource of human labor used by the colonizer, by this economic system to subject our peoples to the extraction of our labor in order to produce and recreate this terrible system of capitalist accumulation. It is our labor that produces and creates the real world. It is our labor that feeds our communities. It is our labor that builds the roads, that builds the housing, that creates massive amounts of infrastructure and wealth, but we rarely see any of the fruits of that labor.
Number three: using our colonies or using our own neighborhoods as internal colonies to this sick settler colonial state. That's important because that raises this whole question of redlining, as people now more commonly have been referring to, which is nothing new. It has been implemented in a large scale or macro scale through creating what are known as reservations: putting people in completely destitute conditions where our reproduction of our existence is dependent on the colonizer, on the oppressor.
Our communities completely are denied necessary infrastructure, like even a grocery store sometimes where we can get nutritious foods. Instead, we get all this colonizer food in the form of junk food like fried chicken or pizza or burgers or even these fast food restaurants that feed us all this poison and create health conditions for our own working-class peoples and communities. The characteristics of colonialism reproduce themselves wherever capitalism exists.
And it's important for us also to highlight that the only reason why we, as Mexicano and Indigenous people, even speak English or Spanish is because we were colonized. Because our history, our language, our culture, our science was destroyed as a consequence of invasion, war, and occupation by the European colonizers more than 500 years ago.
And for us as indigenous peoples, we have to again build anti-colonial struggle to reclaim much of that, which has been destroyed and distorted. And so part of colonialism is also giving us or imposing upon us, a worldview that represents the interest of our colonizers, the interest of the oppressor, the interest of a slave master.
So for us, it's really critical and important to see our struggles as Mexicanos. I know that there has been criticisms for example of even us as Mexicans waving our Mexican flags, at many of the activities and events, even amongst different Indigenous circles, and we have to contend with that question because we see the building of a Mexican nation as fundamentally an anti-colonial resistance to European colonialism.
And why do we say that? Because the struggles for Mexican liberation and Mexican independence during the anti-colonial struggles of the early 1800s were led primarily by Indigenous peoples. It was an Indigenous resistance. We had the participation of our African brothers and sisters, who were brought to Mexico as slaves, to resist in that resistance.
We have the examples of Vicente Guerrero, of José María Morelos y Pavón who were fundamentally engaged in an anti-colonial struggle against the power of Spain’s ability to continue to enslave our peoples.
The anti-colonial struggles has expressed through Benito Juarez, who was the Mexican president during the mid-1800s who waged a fierce resistance against French colonialism, against the invasion of Mexico by these foreign powers, to attempt to recolonize Mexico in the interest of Spain and the French at that time.
And in the early 1900s, it expressed its anti-colonial nature with the struggles of Emiliano Zapata I, Francisco Pancho Villa, of all these soldereras and revolutionaries who were Indigenous, who were struggling for the fundamental material basis for our revolution which was tierra y libertad, land and freedom.
So our struggle as Indigenous peoples is fundamentally rooted in an anti-colonial struggle for reclaiming our lands, our human labor, as well as our territory. So that for us is a fundamental component for understanding what our struggle is as Indigenous peoples now here within the occupied territories of Mexico, within what we consider an illegal settler nation, that is the United States government and its colonial laws.
Just this week we saw a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in this country, saying that refugees no longer have a right to petition [or] to request asylum here in the United States. And what's interesting to us is the fact that these colonial laws who slander us and consider us foreigners on our own land, they're very clear and they know very well that the peoples around the world who are escaping the imposed poverty, the war that they have created, the destruction that they have imposed, and the brutal economic exploitation that is a product of capitalism in its more vicious form, more commonly known as neoliberal capitalism. We consider it very much parasitic capitalism just in its more savage expression, which is kicking people off their land and forcing people to come here because all the resources end up here.
And so it is correct that we are here many times because the United States is there and it continues to advance a colonial relationship, a colonizer relationship, with the countries that it believes needs to be conquered or attacked for their natural resources.
If you look at the situation in Central America for us, we see that the reality of Central Americans migrating and moving and coming to the United States is really a consequence against, again, colonial domination. And it was the political-economic coups that took place in Central America by the United States that are expressions of colonialism. And it expresses itself through those coups, through economic intervention, through military intervention, and that is the reason why many people have to leave.
But not only do we say that we have a right to migrate as people on our own land, but we also have the right not to migrate—the right to stay in our countries, to defend our lands, to reclaim our resources and to fight imperialism there, in our own community; so that we don't have to come and deal with the hostility that's found on the border, the persecution that's found in our barrios, and deal with this hostility of a settler white population.
But again, if you look at the issues of migration, lack of resources, housing, and education, it's all a consequence of colonialism. And even though we should highlight and expose this hostile expression from the settler population, and it's important that we highlight this expression of hostility, it's also important for us to highlight the causes, the root causes, the material basis of our oppression.
We know that we're working people. We know that we build houses. We know that we can provide food on the shelves of all these groceries and supermarkets. But what's stopping us from having a better way of life and better conditions of life is, in fact, an economic system that is rooted in colonialism.
And that there is an economy that is controlled not by us the workers, but by the capitalists, the imperialists who want to continue to maintain those resources for themselves and for the development of their communities and usually it's white communities here in the United States. But we also have to recognize that there are those who are collaborators in that, in neocolonialism: the expression of other nationalities or races that contribute towards the exploitation of our lands, labor, and resources.
So for us it's really critical that we see that and that we ideologically understand the same enemy because they express themselves in a united front against us to try to divide us, to try to divide the rest of humanity so they can continue to exploit us;(so) they can continue to extract our resources and labor.
Just these last couple of weeks we've seen how the United States is trying to continue to expand its colonial domination over Venezuela. That for us is really important because Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution for us is really an expression. It's at the forefront of an anti-colonial struggle to ensure that the forces of revolution are able to reclaim the material resources for the continent.
It's not only a revolution for Venezuela, but it is a continental revolution as envisioned by Simón Bolívar, by the Indigenous peoples of these lands, to do away with these colonial borders.
We see the anti-colonial struggle being expressed through the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Nuestra America: an economic project that was founded by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez with the objective of integrating the economies of the South, of Latin America, of the Caribbean, to ensure that the United States colonial domination, as expressed through the Monroe Doctrine, is defeated. That no longer will Latin America be the backyard of the United States. And the need to build power from within, again, to reclaim our resources and to be able to put it at the service of the people so that we can have healthcare, education, and housing as a fundamental component of a nation-state that is committed towards an economic alternative that is not capitalistic, that is socialist, that is run by and for the masses of working people in Latin America.
And so with that I believe I’ve come to time and I do want to appreciate this discussion and hopefully we can deepen this conversation on the need to wage anti-colonial struggle and define our struggle as fundamentally being against colonialism. Thank you very much.
AKILÉ: Uhuru Benjamín, thank you. Before we go into entertaining questions from our live viewers, and we do have questions rolling in, I wanted to give a couple of extra minutes for our panelists to go ahead and deepen some of the points we just discussed.
CHAIRMAN: Uhuru. Thank you and this is great discussion. I just want to help us to understand that part of what we engaged in with this discussion is the war of ideas. And the war of ideas that exists between those of us who are colonized and oppressed: Africans, Mexicans, and the vast majority of other people in the world. And those of us who are against the Empire, against imperialism, against the U.S. and essentially, right now, European imperialism. That's what we're talking about; we're talking about a growing unity, especially among the colonized.
So we begin to speak for ourselves because what has happened in the past as has been inferred and sometimes explicitly stated during the discussion up to now, is that we see sectors of our community and our people who when we open our mouths it's the bourgeoisie, it’s the colonial power that speaks through us. And we see them in demonstrations. We see them in our communities. We see them coming from Africans ourselves. We're talking about peoples who've lost self-confidence because of colonial domination.
So even when you have people who call themselves revolutionaries and leftists and what have you, they don't often have the confidence to even speak in the interest of the nation, of their peoples except as those interests that have been expressed through the views of our oppressor. I think it is important to say and to recognize this.
I remember how Africans in Algeria would rise up to fight against the French and the argument by the French because the French had settled in Algeria, as well, just like they did in South Africa; they didn't plan to go any place, they were gonna be there and the line that came from the French was that Algeria couldn't be independent—it's a part of France, it's a province of France—that's what Algeria was and that was the argument. And some Africans in Algeria, though a minority, were able to unite then in part because there had been a stake in the existence of their social system, which had been conferred to them.
That happens in this country and around the world to sectors of our population. Indigenous peoples have been drawn into the economy of the oppressor, of the colonizer, and our children go to school and are fed by this relationship that happens at the expense of the majority of our people.
And this thing with the French is really important because mention of things like, someone was speaking earlier about the various wars, I think it was comrade Luwezi, that Africans have participated in fighting for the colonizers.
When France fought against Vietnam, 71 percent of the French soldiers, if you will, who fought to maintain Vietnamese colonialism were colonized ourselves from Morocco, from various parts of Africa, and what have you fighting to keep somebody else colonized under French domination.
That's the power of ideas. That's what we're talking about now, and why it's so important to say who the hell we are, to define this for ourselves, and recognize our relationship with the oppressor.
And then, of course, what happened is that when Africans from the United States engaged in that war, some 50 to 65 percent of the soldiers on the front line fighting against the Vietnamese were colonized African people. And that's not even to speak to the number of Mexicans, the numbers of Filipinos and other people who fought on the side of the U.S. colonizer against somebody else who was colonized.
And somebody would debate us and say that it doesn't make any difference if you call it racism or colonialism. It damn sure makes a difference in material life because as Malcolm X, just to say, that we were going and fighting for the white man to kill other people but we’re not fighting the white man himself, who was responsible for the condition of our condition and the conditions of the other people.
The Vietnamese understood that, however, I'm happy to say. And Ho Chi Minh attended meetings that were held in New York by Marcus Garvey. And speaking of Garvey, the thing that shows the unity of our movements is that the Garvey movement was very powerful and at the same time, the U.S. had to fight Pancho Villa and Zapata, which were contemporary movements, and even Sun Yat-sen from China who were all leading struggles for national liberation.
None of them were fighting for racial liberation. They understood our oppression as nations of people and that's what we were fighting against. That's when our movements were strongest, when we were able to identify that there was a national oppressor.
So we don't believe in race nationalism. We don’t engage in race nationalism. The objective is to liberate ourselves as a people and that's the struggle that we take into this moment right now in history.
So I just think that's important. And I want to say two other things. One is that what has happened, the way this whole thing has unfolded into the emergence of capitalism because the State has existed for a long time, and we can clearly see its emergence in Europe has been talked about a lot, written about a lot.
Marx, Engels and a whole bunch of other people have shown how this State has come into existence when those societies got split between contending social forces where some group of society existed through expropriating value from another group of society. Then the only thing that could keep that exploited group of society from taking it back and killing the exploiters was this instrument that is called the State. And it's represented in form of the police, the prison systems and a whole array of bureaucracy that requires the monopoly of violence on the side of the oppressor.
So that's the State, that’s something we know. But what has not been addressed adequately is that the capitalist State is different from the States that occurred in Europe. So there was feudalism in Europe, there was what they characterized as slavery in Europe. We saw that State, we saw that instrument that was there for the purpose of maintaining the existing social systems and the existing relations of the oppressed and the oppressor.
But with capitalism, capitalism got its birth through colonialism. Capitalism got its birth through the enslavement of Africans, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and other places.
So it had a particular character that distinguished it, that would even allow the white people who were Europeans, who at one juncture bore the brunt of the State oppression, now they even became instruments of the capitalist State.
That's what you see when white mobs and things like that attack us and that's what the value of what they call racism is; it informs ordinary white people, who otherwise should be fighting against their own capitalist exploiter, one would think, that they benefit from this relationship and they have now become instruments of the capitalist State.
Because the capitalist State is a colonial State. It’s the colonial capitalist State, and all the people who benefit from colonialism, benefit from the existence of the capitalist State that kills and terrorizes us. And that's why this stuff can happen to us and has been able to happen to us with the absolute support, with almost near total support from white people.
And if you see something different about that, it’s because the crisis has become so profound and so deep that white people have to look at their relationship. White people don't have to think about whether or not they support colonialism. Like, you don't think about whether you support breathing, you just do the stuff, you just benefit from it, you exist from it.
But when the colonized are now banging on the gates, guns in hand, threatening the whole operation, then everybody has to begin to rethink their relationship to the system. And then you will find some people who otherwise wouldn't do so, come out with their fists in the air uniting, at least superficially, with the colonized, as they say.
So this is part of what it is that I think is important for us. It helps inform us. There's a lot more that can be said and we don't have enough time for me to be saying that. But I do want to say that that's part of the thing that we have to talk about, too, in terms of what is expropriated from us.
They take our labor, they take our resources, they take our identity, and they even take our science, they take our culture, they colonize this as well, they expropriate it, just like they do everything else, and they put it on the market.
So at one time, we were the singers and we were the dancers and all this and then they criticize the singing and dancing, as long as it was our singing and our dancing. Then they appropriate, they expropriate that from us then they put it on the market and they become the expert dancers and singers and they create institutions that glorify them as singers and dancers and that’s part of what's being stolen from us too.
They steal us when we go and fight wars and die for them. That's stolen from us. When we dribble basketballs and throw footballs and kick soccer balls and stuff, that's stolen from us too. When you go and look at any Olympic game and then you see all of these people who are supposed to be French and are supposed to be Canadian, they're supposed to be Americans and supposed to be you know, Germans, and increasingly all around the world you see all these black people who are now French, Americans, and Germans because it's convenient, it's expropriated, it’s parasite. That's the testimony, that's the example of the parasitism of the system.
And finally, I just want to say happy birthday to comrade Alison Hoehne, who is in the furniture store of the Uhuru Movement, Uhuru Furniture, and my daughter, Kenyan (sp?) who has a birthday coming up Tuesday because if I didn't say those things I'd be in deep trouble. This is the part of the war of ideas. Uhuru comrade Director. [Laughter]
AKILÉ: Uhuru. So we have about five more minutes until we open to our live audience.
SG LUWEZI: I just want to say that colonialism cannot satisfy our material interests but colonialism satisfies the interests of the oppressor nation. And it’s admitted from academics to your popular levels that capitalism is the best system the white people ever had.
That's from their perspective, this is the best system. They can become homeowners, they can travel anywhere they want to go, they can enjoy modernities, they can enjoy everything. So that's the best system they have. And that's how colonialism is experienced by white people.
So the necessity to overthrow the narrative of racism is fundamental because otherwise, the starting points for the white population is always there are bad individuals in the system. If we can sort out those bad individuals: we unlearn racism, we can remove the bad cop, the bad head teacher, or the bad doctor, that’s what it is, the individual. Then the system can be perfect.
When in reality, what we’re saying is that it’s rotten at its foundation. That colonialism is the permanent not just humiliation of the vast majority of colonized people, but it’s the stealing the land of the Indigenous. It’s the destruction of the African nation, as you can see everyday on the television, the image you see of desolation and things like that.
So the vast majority of people on the planet, the African nation, and all colonized people can only have life if colonization is completely overturned. Because now colonization continues in the form of neocolonialism and it’s protected, it’s protecting capitalism. The African petty bourgeoisie are happy to fight against racism because they know it means basically reforming colonialism, just maintaining status quo, so to speak. They know that.
We, the African working class, cannot be satisfied with the struggle against racism because we’re not trying to reform one or two individual bad people inside the white nation. We want to overturn the relationship we have so that we can produce for ourselves! That's the only way we can have we can be satisfied: when we have an economy that produces for ourselves.
At the moment we don't have [that]. And the African independence is there to obscure the colonial contradiction; it's to make the majority of people on the planet, including white people, to say “Africa's free.”
The African nation is not free! So this struggle to overturn racism is profound. We want everybody to know that, as the Chairman said in the beginning, we have the European nation’s knee on the African nation's neck, so we cannot breathe.
That's true for all colonized people. And what do the wars of Libya overthrowing Gaddafi have to do with racism? What's the war on the partition of Sudan? You know, Sudan used to be partitioned, now they have subsidence, what does that reality have to do with racism? The war in Syria, what does that have to do with racism? The war and the current genocide in the Congo, what does that have to do with racism? The land question in South Africa, what does that have to do with racism?
We have invaders, settlers owning most of the land. And you go in Africa, you see everybody is satisfied with capitalism. The Lebanese, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Europeans, the Turks, everybody has some kind of African plan to build themselves at the expense of Africa.
This has nothing to do with racism. This has to do with neocolonialism: the betrayal for the African nation by the African petty bourgeoisie. So that struggle has to be intensified against the African petty bourgeoisie so we can complete the Black revolution Uhuru.
BENJAMÍN: I think that there is a really important issue that's happening, that has come about as a result of this struggle with George Floyd and this movement that has emerged. We see even all these corporations now putting out anti-racist statements. We see emails coming in from corporations who are now taking a position saying “Black Lives Matter.”
I think that it's important because now the oppressor is now taking on a position or a role as being progressive or somehow on the side of the people with these anti-racist statements. Whether it be from Uber or Walmart or all these different companies and corporations.
And so you can take an anti-racist position, but not change the character and nature or structures of the capitalist economic system that creates these terrible conditions for the great majority of our peoples.
And yet, they try to reposition themselves because they see the fragility of their own economic system; because it sits and rests on that pedestal of our oppression and that's why this contention and war of ideas is so fundamental for our people.
We have to see it beyond just the sentiments of individuals but more the material basis for creating and reproducing an economic system that works for us; that works for those of us that produce, that create, that generate the massive amounts of wealth for them.
And we overturn that relationship and say, no we need to reclaim our labor, our land and our resources for us, for the majority of the people. So I think that's important also to sustain.
CHAIRMAN: Related to that, I just want to say compañero, every place I travel in Africa, especially during the period with Comandante Hugo Chávez, played a commanding role in the struggle of oppressed peoples. I'm talking about Hugo Chávez, of course, as the person. Africans all over the continent love Hugo Chávez and loved him because of his stance and opposition to colonialism.
I was really struck by that and that takes us beyond this whole question of defining things in terms of what they would call racism. And what we find is a growing unity of oppressed peoples.
We believe, as the African People's Socialist Party, we recognize that while Africa is our motherland, we are also a part of the revolution of the Americas. I mean, we are everywhere in the Americas. And part of what the Americas look like is a response to the work and oppression of African people throughout the Americas.
And so our unity and solidarity with all of our people here in the Americas is real and it is not based on some artificial contest or some contrived contest with the Mexican people or the Indigenous people[and that happens sometimes in our own communities]. We hear certain kinds of arguments put forth about freedom for African people that somehow would come at the expense of Mexicans or other Indigenous people. We don't believe in that at all.
We are part of the revolution of the Americas and we know that our exploitation and oppression did not come about, as we understand, as a consequence of the white man or imperialism coming to this land and taking this land from African people. The traditional custodians of this land have been the Indigenous peoples. And we are part of the revolutionary project because it put all of us in subjugation. So our objective is to unite with Indigenous people to slay the slave master and destroy slavery. Uhuru. Director.
AKILÉ: Uhuru. That is just such a powerful discussion so far and we're not done. We do have questions from our online viewers but first I want to acknowledge where people are watching from.
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We are now going to go into one of our first questions. This comes from Morty in Richmond, Virginia and it's directed towards the Chairman: “Is there a contradiction in the term ‘institutional’ or ‘structural’ racism? They are popularized by bourgeois media/academia; why do they invent new terms when colonialism already exists?”
CHAIRMAN: That's one way they have to recognize the existence of colonialism—they just want to give it a name that satisfies their ideological interpretation of reality, which is racism. Because with racism, you have no material interest in racism. They've been forced to do that, they've been forced to say that it’s institutionalized racism.
Once you begin to struggle against racism and raise up the colonial contradiction to liquidate the colonial question or to obscure or to hide it, they want to give it a racial clothing. So they say it’s institutional racism and they define institutional racism based on the very same features of colonialism for the most part.
So it's a method of obscurantism that our colonial oppressors are using in this instance and they've retreated to that position. They'd rather not even recognize the institutions that happen but in the demand for the defeat of colonialism, it’s required for them to make those kinds of statements.
I was looking at something recently saying that one of the contributing things that Fanon did, and there's a lot we can unite with that came from Fanon, is that he recognized that when you look at colonialism what's extremely important is all of the injuries. I mean, we look at our communities, we were talking about this perhaps before this study began or perhaps during the first study, how the damage that's been done to our people. That the people have been mentally and spiritually crushed by colonialism. And one thing that Fanon recognized that I agree with is that the colonized can only be cured through killing the colonizer. That violence plays an extraordinarily important role in the liberation of the colonized. And that it is one of the cleansing things.
You look at the inhumanity. As I said, some time during this discussion, that there are no words that one can use that can adequately describe what the colonialists did to us. What the Spaniards did to the Indigenous people here. What all of them have done to us.
There are pictures that we can see in Algeria of white men standing up in their iconic colonial clothing next to stacks of human heads. People have been decapitated.
There are photos made famous in this country of white families, children, women, men. The delicate white woman with her delicate white children who can't look at video games because they're too violent, standing and pointing at Africans who have been massacred, hanging in trees, and being tortured. These are the things that have happened to us.
There is not going to be an easy way out of this for any of us. We're gonna have to fight like hell to get out of here. And part of the curative thing; I say this because I see a lot of Africans who talk about how we gotta heal ourselves. Yeah, heal yourself with an AK.
I think that the healing process is a lot more involved and interesting than what they would have. There's an assumption that you can heal within this system. You know, there are not enough universities producing enough psychiatrists to provide some kind of healing balm for what colonialism has done and what colonialism does do to us today.
That's gonna be something, self-healing is absolutely necessary in this instance. Uhuru. No allopathic medicines. It's gonna take more than natural medicines to get rid of the consequences of colonialism. Uhuru.
AKILÉ: At any point in time, any of the other panelists can contribute to answering that question. So Benjamín.
BENJAMÍN: Yeah, I think that it's important. Academia really tries to redefine and work on different terms. I think one of them is “historical trauma” to describe colonialism as a way to say, oh it's just a traumatic experience that people have over decades.
Yeah, that's true but let's not change or try to decenter the historical anti-colonial struggle that we've done as a peoples to try to redefine this condition that we're in.
So colonialism as a function and by its nature, it's violent. It is violent and it's true, the only way that our peoples have historically been able to reclaim our lands has historically been through those violent contentions with power.
And so this role of academia to try to then [focus on] “self-healing” and “historical trauma” is a diversion from what clearly has to be an anti-colonial struggle so that we're not just dealing with the symptoms of a problem but getting to the root cause, the material basis of our oppression. And that is a question of land, labor and resources that is tied up with this terrible system called capitalism.
And what we have to do now is reimagine what a world beyond capitalism looks like. What does that mean? And I think the African People's Socialist Party is very much on that path and building these dual institutions that serve the people.
And that's why it's really important to really support those projects, whether it be Uhuru Foods and Pies, the centers, the Burning Spear, as an important ideological guide. All these institutions of dual and contending power and I think that's really, really important.
CHAIRMAN: I just want to say one other thing, just in terms of this bourgeois academic obscurantism and diversion. The thing is not to say that this doesn't exist but to take it from the center, to destroy its significance as a driving force, a defining factor, like intersectionality, whatever the hell that is.
Here you have the intersection and that's what we have to deal with. The intersection of women's oppression and homosexual oppression, black oppression, Mexicans, all of us have this intersectionality that we have to deal with. And that is to obscure and liquidate the colonial question as the driving fundamental factor.
And then you have these pop ideologists, pop ideologues who would throw in everything: it's colonialism, it’s capitalism, it's patriarchy, etc. And this is really powerful because you say patriarchy; this is the petty bourgeoisie, they're introducing the oppression of women, they're really in front of the question now. They're really on the top list of the hierarchy of progress when they say patriarchy, and it’s nonsense.
You’re talking about patriarchy being the problem where I forgot how many millions of Africans they say have disappeared, and African men have disappeared inside this country. Where something like there are only 80 some-odd African men for every 100 African women in this country. Where in Ferguson, they're only 64 African men for every 100 African women and it's colonialism that created that situation.
And patriarchy is the factor in the whole European question. In Europe, there’s a history of their relationship etc. but the colonial contradiction is the fundamental contradiction. And in so saying, it shouldn't be necessary. I know it's not necessary for who I’m talking to right now.
It does not liquidate or obscure the conditions that African women have to contend with. But can we imagine? Is it possible to imagine free African women if African people are not free? It's absolute absurdity.
It's the colonized condition of African people that we have to confront. African women have to be brought into the front lines of that struggle against colonialism and that's how African women would define for themselves what freedom looks like.
In the process of destroying the colonial oppressor who has raped and misused African women historically as a part of a colonial and subject population. That's how we get oppressed as a colonial and subject population. That's how we're gonna win our liberation. Uhuru.
SG LUWEZI: I just want to say quickly, this question of institutionalized racism, the fundamental question is who’s your leadership? That's a really fundamental question. Where is it coming from? Who is putting it in the world because you hear that a lot. You hear that in France and so on.
And this is also part of, as the Chairman said, to obscure the fundamental question. If you go to colonies in Africa, for example, you hear “the rule of law.” You hear “good governments.” What do you mean “good governments?” To be a good governor of the colony, to be an honest administrator of colonialism, the one who does not steal anything.
Like I’m told the president of Tanzania, he will say he wants to be efficient but under colonialism, which means Africa is being looted. If you are dying in every other way, we just have to be clear that the fundamental question is colonialism and we have to start from the beginning.
What's the beginning of this system? And where are we because every stage must help us to deepen the question, to deepen our understanding. We're trying to overturn the verdict of imperialism, so we go in from the beginning.
We're trying to overturn the fact that the African nation has been made to be basically the colony of imperialism. The foundation, the starting point of the success of Europe is colonialism, which is basically the domination of Africa and African people everywhere.
So wherever you are your struggle must be a development of that struggle. And that's why African internationalism is just on point because it's basically from the beginning we say our mission is to overturn the whole system.
We're not saying we want to modify this, which is the best way to do that. No, we say the starting point for us to have collective success is to overturn the whole thing. And then we can see how this will work, how we can move this but the starting point is that overturning the whole thing for collective success and that's the mission of the African working class.
CHAIRMAN: Which requires the destruction of all the colonial borders in the world that separate us from each other, that separate us from our resources, that separate us from the other peoples of the world. Those borders have to go.
They are fundamental; there is not going to be any African freedom in some single location that has been created by colonial capitalism. The whole damn thing has to come down, all of them, every border. And the borders are used to reproduce these social forces, that's the condition for their reproduction. They gotta go.
AKILÉ: There was one question from M.A. Brown asking the Chairman, if you could elaborate on avoiding race nationalism.
CHAIRMAN: I think that's really important and that's just another means of fighting. Letting this whole false concept, this false construct of race to define what it is that we’re about and where it is that we're trying to go.
And there are basic features, we think, of what nations are. That they came into existence based on material conditions in the world and there are subjective and objective factors to determining what a nation is.
An aspect of that, of course, is a sense of sameness, a self-consciousness, a subjective factor, which would allow me to be sitting up in Berlin with comrade Luwezi in a meeting attended by Africans from 13 different so-called countries from around the world. And the comment came up about what happened in New Orleans and Katrina.
And Africans watched that. And an African who was born in the Caribbean, living in France, was saying that we have to have our own black ark to deal with this.
There was a sense of sameness from this African and other Africans from Ethiopia and various other places; they were absolutely appalled and united in recognizing that there is a sense of sameness. We are one people and it's something that we experience every time we come together.
We had a discussion, an event that we did via ZOOM on the 20th anniversary of the Let's Get Free album by Dead Prez. One of the persons who participated was Asa Anpu who lives in what they call South Africa. He was thrilled to hear an African on that album from Dead Prez coming from the United States, saying “We are Africans,” and he said, “You want to be here?”
So there is an aspect of subjectiveness. There’s a subjective factor, a sense of sameness, that we experience. But there's also a material basis for this definition and it is important too.
And you can be misguided and misled by race nationalism that will not allow you to understand who your enemy is if that person is of the same race. Who your friends are if that person is not of the same race as it's been characterized. So the race thing is a false construct that's used to obscure real relationships that exist between human beings.
And in America what race is used to do in this, and much of the world, is to obscure the national interest that African people have as a nation. And so we find race nationalists, who would put on black berets and combat boots and what have you in the face of this contest existing between China and the United States. Where the Chinese sort of understand where their national interests are, whether you agree with them or not. They're certainly undermining the hegemony of the U.S. in the world right now, which is to our benefit.
And so you have Africans going, “Black Power” wearing berets and wearing combat gear boycotting a Chinese restaurant in the United States because there were some Chinese who treated Africans in China badly and because they said that the Africans were responsible for the coronavirus there.
That's race nationalism. So they go, “Black Power! Black Power!” at a Chinese restaurant not even able to recognize the oppression of the African nation is not being done by Chinese in China or certainly at the damn restaurant.
So race nationalism is just something that's misdirecting and misinforming and satisfies people just to see a black skin. It's not what we are talking about.
We are revolutionary. We are African internationalists and we engage in national liberation, not racial liberation. I don't even know if that's a viable concept etc. Uhuru. I'm afraid I did not speak adequately to that but I hope I conveyed something of what helps me to differentiate this.
SG LUWEZI: I just want to say usually when you hear that kind of thinking, we already say the whole African nation is dominated, including the African petty bourgeoisie, that doesn't tell the white petty bourgeoisie what to do, it’s the other way around.
One of the problems with race nationalism is that there’s a clear intent not to fight the African petty bourgeoisie. Instead of saying the African petty bourgeoisie is responsible for this and that, the race nationalists would say we are responsible for that.
Who are we? Not the workers, not the peasant, it’s the African petty bourgeoisie that was responsible today for betraying our struggle.
Can you just imagine sixty years of deepening our struggle? Africa, the African nation would have been freed already. But the African petty bourgeoisie chose to be in partnership with our oppressors at the expense of the African nation.
The race nationalists, if they do criticize somebody, they will criticize him as an individual. They would not criticize the African petty bourgeoisie as a social class, but as an individual.
That’s why you have African race nationalists or Pan-Africanists who support Paul Kagame who was clearly a murderer that Africans should have raised and put to trial straight away.
You know Museveni was opposed to reparations. He should be dismissed from power straight away.
Museveni hosted the Pan-Africanist conference in 1994 to obscure the U.S. plan of genocide in Rwanda. The U.S. knew what they were doing and the Pan-Africanists were caught in Uganda when they announced that the plane that was carrying the president of Rwanda and Rwanda was shut down and that was the signal for genocide basically. Or the spark of it. Because they were in bed with Museveni. They don't recognize these fundamental class questions.
And the other thing is they don't recognize a revolution as the solution. Most of them don’t recognize that; they'll say we need our own culture, our own religion, all that. But the affairs, they were in control of our religion but we were defeated by the invaders at one point of high street. You just have to recognize there’s an objective reality, it’s just true. We lost our control of Africa a while ago, so I just want to say that.
CHAIRMAN: Well you take that same thing: DuBois and the French; the Pan-Africanist Congress, the first political Pan-Africanist movement, the one that defines Pan-Africanism today happened in 1919 in Paris, France.
This was with the assistance of the French colonialists and also facilitated by Blaise Diagne who was from Senegal and a part of the French parliament at the time when France colonized Senegal and much of Africa. In fact, he had primary responsibility for running them throughout West Africa to get African people to fight for France in the first imperialist war.
He facilitated for the French the first Pan-Africanist Congress that ever happened that was in 1919. And that Pan-Africanist Congress was founded in contention with the Universal Negro Improvement Association African Communities League that was created by Marcus Garvey.
Even today you have Pan-Africanists and other liberal Africanists who unite with DuBois as opposed to Garvey because Garvey was for national liberation — Africa for Africans, those at home and those abroad — and DuBois was for the talented tenth. He was the NAACP who had promoted the whole notion of the talented 10% of the African population, the educated and the rest of them, should dominate the rest of us. And in the interest of imperialism.
So that's the consequences of a certain kind of race nationalism that will not allow you to distinguish one African from another, regardless of what kind of responsibility that African may have for our liberation and for our oppression. Uhuru.
BENJAMIN: We do have to say, as Unión del Barrio, we reject this reactionary nationalism or race nationalism as the basis of our struggle. We reject that because it lends to those tendencies of reaction, of oppression, and actually facilitates the division of our oppressed, colonized peoples throughout the world.
Because we do have to have internationalism and see ourselves as part of a humanity that is struggling against our common oppressors. I think it's fundamentally important for us, as Raza Internationalists, to articulate our rejection of that narrow nationalism that does exist.
But we are engaged in a national liberation struggle that unites with the oppressed peoples around the world. We say, yeah, we'll be willing to put away our flag and uphold a flag that represents all of humanity, as long as it's in the context of eliminating that system of oppression and exploitation that has divided us as a human species. So that's really important for us also to clarify.
CHAIRMAN: Well race nationalism is responsible for even the first of these studies that we did to have comments saying, why should we be working with Mexicans or something to that effect. It liquidates any ability to have…
Race nationalism will maintain a permanent isolation of the oppressed working classes from a relationship with others, our class brothers and sisters.
So we may not be immediately defined as parts of the same nation but we're working on that too. But certainly we can say these are class allies, our class brothers and sisters, that we are working with.
AKILÉ: Uhuru. I can interrupt that discussion, I think that people appreciate it. So I just really want to appreciate this panel and salute our leadership, Chairman Omali Yeshitela, for this brilliant study and we will continue to engage with this discussion around the struggle against colonialism as the struggle of African and colonized workers of the world. So just really want to appreciate all of you, Chairman SG Luwezi and SG Benjamín.