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Burning Spear News

Update from Sierra Leone on Nov. 27, 2009: The love and dignity of Salone 

Well, I only have a couple days left here in Salone (Sierra Leone), and I already miss being home in Africa. It's difficult -- no, impossible -- to explain the feeling you have being at home. Despite the conditions imposed on our Africa, there is not the feeling of restriction and isolation from each other that you feel in the U.S. and other imperialist centers.

I know the Africans who have lived all their lives in the imperialist centers are thinking, "What is this fool talking about?" That's because you don't even realize you've experienced that feeling all your life until you get home and that feeling isn't imposed on you.

The first time I came to Africa, I thought it was just a feeling of being home that overwhelmed me. But it's more than that. It's more than just seeing the immense beauty of Africa -- and it IS beautiful, both the land and our sisters and brothers. The feeling of isolation is gone here. There is an openness, a connectedness that has been taken away from us in these imperialist centers.

In Africa, two sisters or two brothers who are friends could walk down the street holding hands and nothing is assumed except that they are friends. A brother and a sister can hold hands and it doesn't mean that either of them are coming on to the other. It is just a connectedness and an ability to relate and be closer to each other. It is a natural thing that helps you to see how unnatural the relationships and boundaries that are imposed on us under colonialism are.

In the U.S., if you see two brothers or two sisters holding hands, it's assumed they're MORE than just friends. If I held the hand of another brother's girlfriend -- friend or not -- I'd probably have to fight that brother because he'd assume I'm trying to push up on her. It ain't like that in Africa. Now, this ain't a statement that Africa has been untouched by colonialism in terms of how brothers and sisters -- or even Africans in general -- relate to each other. In fact, imperialism has had a deep ideological impact and there are backwards traditions and attitudes, particularly toward African women, that previously were foreign to Africa.

But notwithstanding that, there remains an openness and connectedness at home that has been stolen from us. We need to consciously restore that as we liberate our Africa and our dispersed people and build this new liberated society.

Another thing I want to note is that here in Salone, I have experienced, more than anywhere else in African communities, an overwhelming sense of dignity. In Salone, the conditions are bad. No electricity, no clean water, which means a lot of unnecessary sickness. On average, people are expected to die before they reach 40. But despite that, Africans walk down the street with their heads high. These brothers and sisters step out clean in the mornings -- and I mean CLEAN, y'all!

There are a lot of educated or skilled people. In other places they might be allowed to join the ranks of the petty bourgeoisie, but here they have no jobs. But you don't see many people begging unless they are blind or lame in some way. Africans try to find some kind of way to hustle up some food if it means growing fruit or making bread and walking around selling it. The dignity of the people is high.

The people also don't need any convincing that they need to make struggle for freedom. I think this must be partially attributed to the organizing work of the African People's Socialist Party-Sierra Leone (APSP-SL) here. These comrades are clearly on the grind, and judging from how the newspapers have been printing articles about the Party every day for the past few days, the sellouts are feeling the heat.

I'm gonna miss Salone. Just hearing the music here alone ought to make the African struggling to get free burst out of every negro!

I'm gonna be goin' away and missing my Africa again soon, but like that chump who calls himself the governor of "Califlower" once said, "I'll be back."
Let's liberate and unite our home and liberate ourselves!

Izwe Lethu I Afrika! (Africa is Our Land!)

Binga

African People’s Socialist Party Sierra Leone to hold founding conference November 16-18, 2009 in Freetown; New workers party will contend for State power 

This month the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) will be launched in Sierra Leone. The new workers party will be established during a 3-day conference to be held from November 16 -18, 2009 at the British Council Hall in Freetown.

The APSP will be the first official socialist party to be formed in the history of the country. This revolutionary workers party will contend with the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC) for control of the state. Organizers say that the APC and SLPP have ruined all aspects of the country’s development in their combined 50 years of nearly unchallenged monopoly of power.

The APSP promises an end to the ethnic division, regional balkanization and fragmentation that has left Africa vulnerable to the exploitation of its rich natural resources by outside interests. They want to use Sierra Leone’s supply of the world’s finest diamonds and other resources to solve the country’s pressing problems, such as the world’s highest infant and maternal mortality rates, a life expectancy below 40 years, the worst health and education services and a nearly complete absence of infrastructural development.

The APSP’s “Revolutionary National Democratic Program” calls for the nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy, expansion of the public service, increasing minimum wage and better conditions of service, an agrarian program for farmers, youth employment and provision of social services to better the condition of life of the people.

According to the organization’s convener, Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, “the APSP is making a break from the usual narrow ethnic-groupings masquerading as political parties in Sierra Leone. It is introducing issue-oriented programs into the political terrain and equally giving voice to the aspirations and desires of the workers and peasants whose energies and strengths have been used by neocolonialist forces for their own selfish upliftment.”

Chernoh Alpha M. Bah is an award-winning journalist, who has built the Africanist Movement into a popular force for change in the region. He declares that, “The future can only belong to the African workers and poor peasants if we build a party for ourselves that has the ability, strength and capacity to lead our struggle for socialist democracy and self-determination, a party that will effectively embody and mirror our collective spirits and aspirations to fight against neo-colonialism and imperialism not only in Sierra Leone but throughout the African world.”

The 3-day conference will include guest presentations by African Socialist International (ASI) Chairman Omali Yeshitela and ASI Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa, who says that, “The establishment of the APSP in Sierra Leone is an exciting development in our worldwide struggle for African unity and national self-determination. It rejects neo-colonialist Pan-Africanism and replaces it with African Internationalism, which puts the African working class at the helm of our struggle for black power.”

For more information, contact [email protected]

From the Bahamas: Forward to the Black is Back Mobilization! 

WE in the Caribbean have lived with the disappointment of black leadership for many generations now. Our elders thought that black leadership would have led to equal and just societies. But they were wrong, dead wrong.

Independence has been attained, black leadership has been elected, yet our institutions remain the same. The way in which life is lived has gone unchanged; the few (both black and white) possess everything while the many (mostly black) possess nothing. Year after year, the black leaders who promised change, once elected, have only sought to look after their own interests.

In instances where honest attempts have been made to revolutionize our existence, the struggle has been squashed. And in countries where the revolutionary fires cannot be put out scores of people have been made to suffer; our brothers and sisters in Haiti and Cuba can attest to this.

Wherever and whenever black leadership exists happily in the Caribbean, know that all is not well. Know that the concerns of the masses are not on center stage, that they are not being addressed. Know that the “leaders” are only using their position of power to enrich themselves and that they are in bed with the imperialists.

Our brothers and sisters in America are now face to face with this reality. The reality that President Barack Obama is not going to radically change the way that America does business either home or abroad simply because he is black.

Last November, following Obama’s victory, we wrote: “BlackFood has always been critical of Senator Barack Obama and his campaign of rhetoric over substance, and we still believe that his skin color is subordinate to the fact that he is a pro-capitalist/imperialist minded politician.

But we believe in the fighting spirit of African-Americans and we believe that they will continue to fight for more equality, justice and democracy no matter the skin color of their president.

What we at BlackFood are unsure of is, exactly how will Mr. Obama’s victory effect black struggle in the U.S. and worldwide?”

Almost a year later that question is being answered by the Black is Back Coalition (www.blackisbackcoalition.org) based in Washington, DC; an African led coalition for social justice, peace and reparations.

The Coalition’s Call to Action states: “The need for this coalition is becoming increasingly obvious to many who have witnessed the paralysis of the African liberation movement within the U.S. subsequent to the election of Barack Hussein Obama as U.S. president. Black is Back is a statement of the re-entry of African people into political life independent of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It is a statement that will rally those African people who have experienced political impotence subsequent to Obama’s election. It is also a statement to the peoples of the world that we know the difference in our interests as Africans and those of U.S. imperialism and that they should also know the difference.”

The Coalition acknowledges the unfortunate plight of black and brown peoples in the United States and also decries the oppressive nature of U.S. foreign policy.

Its formation has signaled that African-Americans are on the move once again.

The first plan of action for the Coalition is a Rally and March on the White House to take place November 7, 2009 beginning in Washington, D.C.’s historic Malcolm X Park.

Not only will BlackFood attend this historic March and Rally, we have expressed unity with the principles of the Black is Black Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations and will serve as an event organizer for the Caribbean region.

We encourage all of our readers who are interested in attending to contact us so that we can assist you with travel plans and also so that we can work together to raise awareness about the event in our region.

Forward to DC!

Charo R. Walker is co-owner of BlackFood.org, as website that "aims to not only sell products that reflect the expressions of our culture but to also create a village where the sprits of love, unity, and revolution are ignited."

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