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Burning Spear News

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Free the City Hall 2! 

See video of police attack here.

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Thursday, March 19, 2009, police attacked members of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) in the gallery of the City Council during the City Council session where Mayor Nutter was announcing his 2010 budget. International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement members were holding signs protesting Mayor Nutter’s budget, which cuts essential services for the African population while spending more than one billion dollars a year for police and prisons attacking the black community. Subsequent to the police attack, InPDUM international organizer Diop Olugbala, (aka Wali Rahman), and member Shabaka Mnombatha, (aka Franklin Moses), were brutally arrested and are being charged with aggravated assault on police!

As the meeting started, some of the many InPDUM supporters present were holding up signs saying "Unite Philadelphia through Economic and Social Justice", "Jail Killer Police", "Stop the War on the Black Community", and other demands upholding the rights of the impoverished black community.

The meeting began with a resolution to recognize the unbeaten Frankford Chargers youth football team. The Chargers were wearing black armbands in memory of their teammate, 14-year-old Sharif Lee Jones, who was murdered by Philadelphia police on August 24, 2008.

As the team left the chambers, civil affairs police gathered behind the InPDUM organizers and demanded they immediately sit down and stop protesting. A Civil Affairs officer put Diop Olugbala into a chokehold. When Diop and the entire audience protested this attack, the police threw Diop and Shabaka down and arrested them.

During the violent attack, the police threw at least two elderly people to the ground, and another member of InPDUM, an elderly African woman, was taken to the hospital with a broken hip.

The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement calls for people to join the Campaign to Free the City Hall 2!

Stop Philadelphia’s Billion Dollar War Against the African Community!

Throw Nutter in the Gutter! Impeach Mayor Nutter!

InPDUM is calling on people to contact the offices below with the following Demands:

  1. The immediate Release of Wali Rahman and Franklin Moses.
  2. Stop the frame up and drop all charges.

Offices to be contacted:

9th District Jail where our Comrades are being held hostage at 215-686-3090.

And call into Mayor Nutter’s Office 215-686-3000.

InPDUM Prez resigns; former president takes the reigns 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – In a move that shocked the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the membership of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), in January of this year, Ivory Sobukwe-Sodaye tendered her resignation as president of InPDUM.

Citing an inability to lead the organization because of a number of contradictions that included “financial limitations that make it necessary for me to work for Uncle Sam 10 hours a day that contribute to inadequate time given to the movement and the organization” and sharp differences with the leadership of the APSP, Comrade Ivory’s resignation was effective as of January 9, the day the resignation was made to the Party’s leadership.

Comrade Ivory’s resignation was a shock because it came just four months after InPDUM’s successful convention in St. Petersburg, Florida during which Ivory was reappointed leader of the organization by Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the Party’s Central Committee as required by InPDUM’s constitution as an organization of the African People’s Socialist Party. It was also a shock because there had been no suggestion by Comrade Ivory that she was experiencing differences with the Party and difficulties with the work that challenged her ability to carry out the work that had been assigned her by the Party and that she had agreed to carry out.

Comrade Ivory had become a popular leader within the Uhuru Movement and was also a member of the Central Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party — a position that allowed the Party’s Central Committee to exercise leadership of InPDUM although InPDUM’s leading body also contained other leaders that were elected by the convention delegates.

She was just four months into her second term as president. The Party held Comrade Ivory as an example to young Africans and to women, political constituencies that are too often left without representation in the political terrain of the revolutionary movement.

With the resignation of Comrade Ivory, the Party called on Chimurenga Waller to complete Ivory’s term as president. Chimurenga Waller is a longtime member of the Uhuru Movement and the Party, having joined the movement as a 17-year-old in the 1960s. The Party has also sent a response to Comrade Ivory’s resignation after concluding the resignation letter was disingenuous and really brought to the surface profound differences in ideology and political line that were harbored by Comrade Ivory.

The Party has also expelled Comrade Ivory from our ranks, not because of a disagreement, but because her resignation constituted a desertion of her assigned post and an attack on the fundamental organizational principle of the African People’s Socialist Party, democratic centralism. Democratic centralism is the principle that locks the Party in a single trajectory of unity of will and unity of action. Democratic centralism is the principle upon which the voluntary discipline of the Party relies for the victory of our class.

Chimurenga Waller, who will be completing Ivory’s term, preceded Ivory Sobukwe-Sodaye as InPDUM president, a responsibility he held for more than 10 years as a faithful servant of the African working class and a dedicated member of the African People’s Socialist Party. Comrade Chimurenga has never refused to answer the call to service and has always held up the organizational principle of democratic centralism.

While the Party is disappointed in the fact that Comrade Ivory was unable to fulfill her revolutionary responsibility, we are determined not to allow this failure to undermine the Party’s intent to grow our leadership and rank and file with more and more women and young Africans. We will face other disappointments in the pursuit of new and young leadership, but that is how the struggle develops: One step forward; two steps backwards. We will continue to try new leaders and each success will make the failures increasingly less consequential.

High Discipline! High Morale!

Izwe Lethu I Afrika!

African People's Socialist Party Fifth Congress scheduled for Philadelphia in December 2009 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — For nearly one week in December, Africans from throughout the U.S. will convene in Philadelphia to participate in the much-awaited Fifth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). Joined by Party members and guests from Africa and other continents, Party members will come to Philadelphia to carry out their responsibility to elect national leaders, participate in developing policy and establish the direction of the Party in the Congress, which is the Party’s highest body.

The month and location of the Fifth Party Congress was decided during a meeting of the Party’s Central Committee, held in St. Petersburg on September 29 and 30, 2008. The African People’s Socialist Party Central Committee is the organization’s highest body between congresses. In the political overview prepared for the September Central Committee meeting, APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela laid out the need for the Congress, declaring:

“There are a number of reasons I think the Congress is necessary now, but topping the list is our need to bring our whole Party, all its membership and constituent organizations, into a collective, recognized and understood trajectory, organizationally, politically, ideologically and strategically.

“We must all gain clarity of direction, and also, we must have an opportunity to legitimize our leadership through elections. Up to now we have attempted to use conferences, conventions and assorted events to provide summations and direction to our movement and Party. This is insufficient. We must have a Congress and all the work we would do in the interim would be geared to win new members to our Party and constituent organizations through building for the Congress.”

Congress important to hold Party to democratic centralism

The Party’s Congress is the most democratic expression of the Party. It is here that the rank and file Party members, either directly or through their delegated representatives, have the opportunity to come together and put their imprint on the Party’s policies, elect its national leadership and debate and determine the Party’s understanding of the period and the tasks ahead.

Democracy in the Party is one of its defining characteristics. The main or primary organizational principle of the Party is democratic centralism, a principle that allows the membership to elect its leaders and decide critical policy issues. Democratic centralism also holds the leadership accountable to the membership. The Party Congress is the most significant democratic institution. It is here that the leadership reports to the entire membership on its work, giving the membership an opportunity to express approval or disapproval through debate and vote.

One reason the Congress is so important as an instrument of democracy in the hands of the entire membership is because after voting on the programs and polices and electing the leadership of the Party, the membership of the Party extends to the leadership extraordinary power to carry out its will, holding the entire organization to the decisions of the majority. This is the centralist component of democratic centralism.

Other aspects of democratic centralism include the subordination of lower Party organizations to higher organizations and the subordination of the entire Party membership to the Central Committee, responsible for leading the Party between congresses.

These principles are critical for a revolutionary organization that must march in disciplined lock step if genuine liberation is to be won and the defeat of our national oppressors and class opponents is to be guaranteed. Obviously, a revolutionary Party — the general staff and advanced detachment of the African working class — must have discipline and a leadership that is capable of carrying out its will without fear of different individual members or lower organizations deciding to go in a different direction whenever they would have the whim to do so. In fact, the opponents of the revolution and the Party hate democratic centralism precisely because it provides the Party with a steel wall of unity of will and action that the enemy cannot penetrate.

In the recent period, the Party has not held its Congress as mandated by our Constitution. While the Party’s current Constitution allows the Congress to be postponed under certain circumstances, it is nevertheless true that such delays cannot occur without sacrifice of democracy. This is especially true when a Party is as active as the African People’s Socialist Party, nearly always on the field of battle with our national oppressor and class enemies. Such an active party must work especially hard to hold our Congress as a means of allowing the full membership to discuss the work and participate in determining its legitimacy.

Single worldwide African revolutionary organization seen as way forward since First Congress

The First Congress of our Party was held in Oakland, California in 1981, nine years after the founding of the Party. When the Party was founded in 1972, the U.S. government was in the process of successfully crushing the Black Revolution of the Sixties through assassination, jailings and a general terror that did not allow an open call to build a revolutionary congress. This, along with the fact that there was not at the time a tradition of congresses within the U.S. front of the African liberation movement, contributed to the delay in holding our first Congress.

One of the resolutions that came from the Party’s First Congress recognized that the liberation of African people within current U.S. borders had to be a part of the struggle for the total liberation of African people worldwide. This resolution called for the creation of the African Socialist International (ASI) as the necessary organizational response to the conditions of existence of African people everywhere. It was a resolution that recognized that the oppression of African people within current U.S. borders owed its existence to the oppression of Africa as a whole; that it was this attack on and continued domination of Africa that had spread African subjugation worldwide. Therefore, our response had to be a worldwide, or global response.

The perfect example for our response was to be seen in the example of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA), founded by Marcus Garvey in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Under Garvey’s leadership the UNIA grew to include millions of African people on nearly every continent into a single organization. The African Socialist International is the resurrection of the Garvey movement in the 21st century. It is Garveyism in the era of imperialism in serious, critical decline, imperialism in the era of neocolonialism.

Unlike the Pan-Africanist movement that does not have a single center and that has as many different definitions of what it is as there are organizations that claim adherence to the concept, African Internationalism, the theory of the African People’s Socialist Party, regards the Garvey example of a single organization with a single center and ideology as the correct model. Therefore, the ASI was conceived as a worldwide organization of Africans committed to the liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class, the social force of producers around which the new society of free African people would be organized.

Since the early ‘90s the work to build the ASI has been the centerpiece of APSP work. Conferences to build the ASI brought Africans from throughout the African world to London almost annually. This work contributed to the delay in holding the Party’s Fifth Congress since the Party would have to use the Congress to amend or change the Party’s current Constitution to make it consistent with the then yet-to-be-developed constitution of the leading ASI.

However, the growing work of the ASI that has led to the creation of a draft constitution being currently used as a working document by ASI participants in various regions of Africa, Europe and North America and the growth of the Party on the ground in the U.S. have added an urgency and new possibilities to the political equation. In addition, the growing crisis of imperialism that is currently threatening the continuing hegemony of U.S. imperialism and Euro-American domination of the world economy contribute to the imperialist fissures that promise great contradictions and equally great possibilities that the Party must be united to face.

Not the least of these contradictions and possibilities are to be found in the imperialist selection of Barack Obama to become its standard bearer in the U.S. presidential elections and, subsequent to his election, its dark-skinned representative.

All roads lead to the Fifth Congress of the APSP!

All the constituent organizations of the African People’s Socialist Party are being mobilized to win maximum participation in the Congress from within the Party as well as from the general African community, especially the African working class.

These constituent organizations include well-established organizations like the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), custodian of the Party’s mass work through which the working class will lead the revolutionary national democratic stage of our revolution and the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), the organization of primarily whites or North Americans through which the Party extends the African revolution into the work places, communities and living rooms of the North American population at large.

Newer constituent organizations of the APSP include the African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO), the recently organized student wing of the Party. AISO’s existence will help to give the Party and the revolution greater continuity and raise the level of ideological development within the Party and the revolution in general.

The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), a development program that revolutionizes development projects by tying them to the struggle against imperialism and putting them in the hands of the workers and poor peasants throughout the African world will play a fundamental role in building for and participating in the Congress.

These are just some of the Party’s constituent organizations, all of which are currently engaged in serious and intense work throughout the U.S. and, in some cases, in Africa, that will achieve their final marching orders from the upcoming Fifth Congress. In addition, the Party’s information arm that includes various mediums of communication will struggle to build and better define itself through participation in the Congress.

The Fifth Congress will have to address the Party’s current Constitution. Changing conditions in the world, the growth of the Party and the development of the African Socialist International will require major changes in the Party’s Constitution.

The conditions within which the Party is building for its Fifth Congress can be found within the Chairman’s overview for the September meeting of the Central Committee. According to the Chairman in that overview:

“The most important thing for us to understand is that we are witnessing the greatest crisis of the capitalist system and imperial order in our lifetimes. If we can successfully build the capacity of our Party and the various programs and understanding… we can turn this crisis of imperialism into a victory party for the oppressed and exploited masses of Africa and the world.”

African Village Survival Initiative Conference provides solutions to economic crisis 

Community gardens, solar energy and self-sufficient economic institutions will be the focus of the founding conference of the African Village Survival Initiative to be held on Sunday, March 22 at the Uhuru House.

The morning session of the day-long conference will feature an overview by Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela and a multi-media presentation designed to help participants understand and survive the current economic crisis. The afternoon session will offer practical workshops on foreclosure prevention, growing your own food, solar energy, and building community businesses. A rain barrel will be awarded in a raffle drawing and participants are encouraged to bring seeds and plants to exchange.

A joint effort of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), the African Village Survival Initiative will provide collective community strategies to deal with the increasing economic hardships faced by African communities.

Dr. Aisha Fields is a physicist and Director of the AAPDEP. She believes that black people must get back to the concept of community in order to survive the growing crisis. “Traditionally, African culture is a culture of collectivism, not individualism. This economic crisis is affecting African people very seriously and we’ve only begun to see the impact in terms of homelessness and poverty hitting our community. If we combine our efforts, we can survive and come out stronger.”

A key component of the African Village Survival Initiative will be the formation of a working gardening collective that will include members growing edibles in their own yards and participating in shared community plots. Through this collective, experienced gardeners can share skills and members can share tools, seeds and harvests. Members will contribute resources, land or labor, according to their abilities.

Ironiff Ifoma, President of the APEDF declares that, “this economic crisis should serve as a wake-up call that our community must get organized to meet our own needs, with our own self-reliant programs and institutions.”

The APEDF is building a recording studio to provide an affordable space on the south side for local artists, and a professional kitchen for use by community groups and businesses. They are inviting neighborhood residents to get involved in these important projects.

The Uhuru House is located at 1245 18th Avenue S. in St. Petersburg. The conference will start at 10:00 a.m., with afternoon workshops beginning at 12:30 p.m., and is open to the public. Also, hear the morning session live on UhuruRadio.com. For more information, contact Dr. Aisha Fields at 727-821-6620 or email [email protected].