Burning Spear News
Historic USM Convention mobilizes white people to say NO to FBI war on black liberation!
Group photo of in-person attendees of the 2023 USM convention at the Uhuru House in North St. Louis
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) National Convention, March 11-12, 2023, marked a historic turning point in the African People’s Socialist Party’s (APSP) strategy to extend the African Revolution behind enemy lines into the white colonizer population.
The convention theme was a call-to-action: “White People: Say NO to FBI War on Black Liberation!” Participants from around the country convened to defend the APSP and the right of African people to organize for their liberation in the face of escalating U.S. government attacks.
USM is the mass organization of the African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC), working under the leadership of the APSP to build white solidarity with Black Power.
Attendees traveled from Oakland, CA; Minneapolis, MN; St. Petersburg, Largo and Palm Beach, FL; while others attended online from Spokane, WA; San Diego, CA; Portland, OR; Denver, CO and more!
We saw the colonial conditions, akin to a war zone, the northside African community faces daily, as well as the transformation of the northside through the visionary African self-determination programs of the Black Power Blueprint.
The convention kick-off on March 9 at Spine Bookstore in south St. Louis featured APSC Chairman Penny Hess reading from her book “Overturning the Culture of Violence.”
Comrades and supporters gathered on March 10 at the USM solidarity center for a “meet-and-greet” the night before the conference.
With great revolutionary enthusiasm, Day 1 of the convention was convened by MC Sarah Ritterspach, USM member from Minneapolis.
Panels featured summations from leaders in APSP, APSC and USM on the current political period, history of the Uhuru Movement, and the revolutionary trajectory propelling society into a future in which colonized people will be free and self-determining.
“Become an Unindicted Co-conspirator!”
“Building the Movement of Reparations ‘Co-Conspirators',” the political report from USM Chair Jesse Nevel opened as chants of “I AM AN UNINDICTED CO-CONSPIRATOR!” echoed through Akwaaba Hall, a reference to the fact that after the July 29 FBI raids of the Uhuru Movement last year, Chairman Omali Yeshitela was labeled an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the U.S. government’s bogus allegations that the Uhuru Movement is controlled by “the Russians.”
Three other Uhuru leaders, Akilé Anai, Penny Hess and Jesse Nevel were also targeted a “unindicted co-conspirators.”
Chair Jesse’s presentation called on white people to fulfill our responsibility as determined by the leadership of the Party to stand as a buffer between the colonial State and the African Revolution.
Spoken word by FoFeet Alkebulan and Grace Jones showcased the genius of African cultural workers and profoundly moved the audience.
The keynote presentation by Chairman Omali Yeshitela, “African Internationalism: The Science of Liberation” highlighted in a brilliant way everything the Party stands for: revolutionary transformation of the world with socialist vision in which land and resources are reclaimed by African workers and oppressed peoples, and power is built in the interests of the oppressed and colonized peoples of the world.
“Freedom is illegal for enslaved and colonized people,” stated the Chairman, explaining that the colonial State labels Africans “terrorists” and “criminals” when they engage in the struggle for power.
African People’s Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess presented on “Sharing the Same Fate: White Solidarity with Black Power,” outlining how Chairman Yeshitela fought at the height of the counterinsurgent war against Black Power in the ‘70s and maintained his revolutionary trajectory even when it was unpopular. He has fought for the rights of African people every day of his 81 years of life!
Chairwoman Penny called on white people to get organized under the leadership of the African working class: pay reparations, take an active role in USM, do the work required to show true solidarity!
The FBI can’t stop African self-determination
In the anticipated presentation “Building Black Power, Brick by Brick,” APSP Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela showcased the over 50 self-determination programs of Black Star Industries, from Uhuru Foods & Pies to the Black Power Blueprint. The genius of Deputy Chair was on display as attendees learned how she transforms the Chairman’s political reports into economic institutions that build power in the hands of the African working class.
The reparations appeal raised $20,000 in payments to fund BSI, a profound stance of solidarity with the African Liberation Movement and a commitment to defy the U.S. government’s attempts to wage economic warfare against the Party’s self-determination programs.
The panel “A Moment of Peril and Promise: Crisis, Colonial Wars and Humanity’s Future” included presentations from Nancy Mansour of Existence is Resistance, a Palestinian Liberation organization fighting against the illegitimate white colonial settler state of Israel, and African Socialist International Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa, who gave a powerful presentation from London, where he lives in exile from his home in the Congo.
Day 1 closed with “Stop the Legal Lynching of Chairman Omali Yeshitela! Put the FBI On Trial!” which featured outstanding presentations from #HandsOffUhuru Chair Mwezi Odom, APSP Director of AgitProp Akilé Anai and St. Louis Alderman Jesse Todd.
Day 2 of the convention was MC’d with revolutionary zeal by long-time USM member and organizer Jamie Simpson.
During the much anticipated tour of the Black Power Blueprint and locations of the FBI raids, attendees saw first-hand the projects of the BPB including the Gary Brooks Community Garden, Black Power Vanguards Community Basketball Court, African Independence Workforce Program and Housing, and future sites of the Uhuru wa Kulea Health Center and Uhuru Jiko Kitchen and Bakery/Café.
Hands Off Uhuru draws mass support
Numerous organizations endorsed the convention, many of whom presented powerful solidarity statements: Benjamín Prado (Unión del Barrio), Nancy Mansour (Existence is Resistance), John McCarthy (Center for Political Innovation) and Susan Armstrong (Green Party of St. Louis). The Detention Resistance Collective, Our Revolution Twin Cities, Florida Indigenous Alliance and Philadelphia Community Bail Fund also endorsed.
The convention concluded with the enthusiastic re-appointment of USM Chair Jesse Nevel by APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess and APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela, and the unanimous vote of the full slate of the USM National Steering Committee.
The convention then transitioned to an International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement Rally featuring the legal team defending the unindicted co-conspirators.
Unlike the 1960s when there was no organized solidarity movement who stood with and defended the African Revolution against the vicious counterinsurgency war, today white people have the opportunity to stand in principled solidarity with the African Revolution and declare “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” This is history being made by the African People’s Socialist Party! The convention strengthened USM’s resolve: We will not stand idly by if the U.S. government lays a finger on Chairman Yeshitela or the Party! We are all unindicted co-conspirators!
Hands Off Chairman Omali Yeshitela!
Hands Off the Uhuru Movement!
Become a member of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement: UhuruSolidarity.org
Join and Support the Hands Off Uhuru campaign: HandsOffUhuru.org