Burning Spear News
Black is Back! You can’t kill the revolution!
Chairman Omali Yeshitela speaks at the Black People's March on the white house.
The following article is excerpted from a presentation delivered by African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela during the Black is Back Coalition‘s annual Black People’s March on the White House held November 7, 2021.
Uhuru Amafrika, brothers and sisters. This is an extraordinary moment in history that we as African people have a responsibility to take advantage of. We are participating with an organization called the Black is Back Coalition, and some people have approached us saying “Why do you say black is back? Where has black been?”
And that is the fundamental question because I am able to speak to you today at this moment because I survived the military attack on the Black Revolution of the ‘60s.
It was the military attack that killed King, killed Malcolm X, murdered more than 30 members of the Black Panther Party by 1968 alone and killed Fred Hampton on December 4, 1969. They did this because African people here and around the world were in the vanguard of the struggle against colonialism that dominates the peoples of the world.
We are here today because despite everything they have done to kill leaders and destroy our organizations and jail people throughout the world, they have not succeeded.
You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution!
We are here to say that Barack Hussein Obama was a lie. The assumption that we have reached some kind of “post-racial” period is a lie.
Obama was able to be elected only because there were no Panthers in the streets; only because there was no JOMO (Junta of Militant Organizations) in the streets; only because there were no black revolutionaries pursuing our genuine interests to be free as a people.
If any of that had been the case, Obama would have had to say something about black people, and if he did, white people would not have seen him as a savior of the system.
Despite all of this—despite the murder of Fred Hampton and Malcolm X and King and the co-founder of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP)—you failed. As Fred Hampton once said, “you can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.”
We are here today to say, “Black is Back!”
With the defeat of our revolution, this government put forth all kinds of sell-outs and said that they represented Black Power, but in most instances, they were people who fought against Black Power until they murdered and assassinated our genuine leaders.
We are here also because we think it is important for African people to come to terms with who we are and what we are fighting for.
We are Africans first and foremost
You know it is impossible to get on a ship in Africa as an African in 1619 and get off that same ship in Jamestown, Virginia as a negro. If we were Africans when we got on the ship in Africa, we had to be Africans when we got off the ship in this land.
That is important for us to understand because our people globally have been separated from each other, which means we have been separated from our power.
They call you some kind of “African-American.” How in the hell can you be an African and an American? That’s like saying you are a slave and a slave master.
The fact is America was born at the expense of African and the oppressed Indigenous people who occupied this territory before.
Up until 1915, there was no such thing as Nigeria. The way it came to be Nigeria was because England sent this man named Lugard, a so-called entrepreneur, to this territory, and he was to unite the territories under one administration.
He was faced with the question of what to call it, and his wife, Flora Shaw, said let’s call it “nigger area.” That’s how you got Nigeria, and people are running around willing to die for a “nigger area.”
Also in West Africa, the Portuguese went there and found shrimp on the shore, and so they named the place after the Portuguese word for shrimp—Cameroon. So, you’ve got black people running around calling themselves Cameroonians, but they are not shrimp, any more than you are black-American or negro-American!
The fact is they named us, took our resources, took power over our lives. They defined themselves through that process, and then they defined us.
They stole Mexico in 1848 and drew an illegitimate border there. Then they say if you are a Mexican coming across this border that they created, you are an illegal alien.
So, here you have a situation where aliens come and steal a territory, set up a government of their own, then define themselves as the good guys and define the people from whom they stole the land as the bad guys. That’s what we’re living with.
Africans must fight colonialism wherever we are
So, we recognize that Africa and African people have to be free—every square inch of Africa. You can’t live here in peace if you know the whole continent of Africa is oppressed. The African Nation has been forcibly dispersed. We are one Africa and one nation.
That’s what you’re looking at when you see what they call Haiti. That’s what you’re looking at when you look at Jamaica, Trinidad and all of the Caribbean and Bermuda. You’re looking at one Africa! That’s what you’re looking at when you see Ghana and Somalia and Nigeria and all these other places—one Africa. Africa is everywhere we are.
This is part of the struggle we’re engaged in.
When we look at what’s happening to us and the people around the world, what we are seeing is a disintegration of a social system that came together through colonial slavery and genocide. The peoples around the world have been fighting for hundreds of years to break free from white power.
The theme is deepening the resistance to police terror, and we should understand that we are going to have to use every means we can. We don’t have a right to voluntarily let somebody kill us with impunity just because they got a uniform on. That’s insane!
We must secure the freedom of all political prisoners
We’ve got to deepen the resistance to police terror, and that’s what it is—terror—that we live with on a regular basis. We’re honoring political prisoners and prisoners of war—these courageous African men and women who stood up for black people and Black Power at a time when revolution was the main trend in the entire world. They represent part of the military defeat against our movement.
They ought to be free. They should be honored and given awards for fighting against the system that some people like to pretend they recognize as “law.” Well, if the police were killing our people in the community then what was wrong with shooting them?
You can’t have it both ways. If you can conclude in 2020 and 2021 that the police are bad for unjustly killing black people, as they do frequently now, then what was wrong with killing the police? The police exist as a colonial domestic military force in our communities, and they’ve got to go! There is no reforming that. They’ve got to go!
So, we are saying that these comrades Sundiata Acoli, Ruchelle McGee and others have been locked up for years for fighting for black people. Time to open the doors and let them all out.
The largest prison population in the world is in this country, and it’s in this country because of Africans being here. Africans, Mexicans and Indigenous people fill up those cells because that’s what colonialism requires in order to control us.
How are you going to take somebody’s land, stick them on reservations and keep them locked up in situations where they don’t even have water at different times without extreme violence being imposed on them?
How are you going to take somebody from their land, separate them from their culture and everything else, kill their children on a regular basis, lock up their relatives in prison all the time—how are you going to do that without extreme violence all the time?
We must denounce white power in black face
I’m saying this despite the fact that they’ll let you come into a university. Their objective in letting you come into that university is not you serving your people. That university becomes an institution of indoctrination. That’s their objective.
But, we don’t have to do it just because they set it up like that. That’s why it’s so good that we see a lot of students out here because we’re going to take it all back. And we’re going to support those students at Howard University right now who are on strike. Kwame Nkrumah, who was the first president of independent Ghana, warned us about neocolonialism. Neocolonialism is just white power in black face—black people representing our oppressor.
We see that all the time, and you might have some of that over there at Howard running that institution, who won’t bring what those students need. They say to hell with the students. Well, we can survive without the president, but neither the president nor Howard can survive without us. So, we need to stand with those students, all of us.
But let’s march. Let’s go through these communities and let African people understand that their instincts are absolutely correct. That there is something horrible happening here.
Brothers and sisters, the struggle against colonialism is on the ascendency, and the system is in extreme trouble. That’s why it’s important that we do what we do to fuel the revolutionary capacity to become self-governing once again. Izwe Lethu i Afrika!
One Africa One Nation! Uhuru! Black is back!