International “Days in Solidarity with African People” Campaign Mobilizes Worldwide Support for African Liberation Movement
In October of 2012, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) and African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) organized successful “Days in Solidarity with African People” (DSAP) events in cities across the US as well as in Warsaw, Poland as the culmination of the international DSAP campaign that began in August.
DSAP is an annual campaign to organize white people and other allies of the African Liberation Movement to take a concrete stand in support of the programs of the African People’s Socialist Party.
This year’s DSAP campaign met its worldwide goal of raising $14,000 through individuals taking the Pledge of Solidarity with African People and making online donations, through individuals holding special fundraising events, and through people organizing in their own communities. Organizers hit the streets on outreach tables, leafleting, and speaking at college campuses to classes and student organizations.
The DSAP events in San Diego, CA, Oakland CA, Philadelphia, PA, St. Petersburg, FL and Warsaw, Poland were held under the theme, “Facing the truth about racial injustice: How white people can see the future through the eyes of the oppressed.”
The DSAP campaign also marked a great leap forward in the work to build the USM as a mass organization working in solidarity with African liberation, recruiting new members and supporters across the globe. The USM is unlike any other organization because it works under the leadership of the African Liberation Movement and engages not just in talk but in action, raising concrete material solidarity with African liberation as an expression of reparations.
DSAP wins broad sectors of Euro-American population to unity with reparations
“The Day in Solidarity with African People is our day from the African People’s Solidarity Committee to attempt to begin the process of righting the historic wrong that is always with us, that is in this country and around the world that has not been resolved and not been solved,” explained APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess.
“We cannot move forward in the world without rectifying our relationship to African people, to Indigenous people, to oppressed people.”
The DSAP campaign reached broad sectors of the white population with the call to unite with the struggle of African people for freedom and reparations. DSAP was embraced by Euro-Americans from all different walks of life who took the pledge of solidarity with African people and participated in organizing in their own communities, recognizing that it is in our interest as white people to rectify our relationship to Africans and other oppressed peoples.
DSAP was endorsed by a diverse array of organizations such as the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project, Union del Barrio, the Green Party of Philadelphia, Anti-Imperialism.com, and the Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela speaks at DSAP events throughout the US
At all of the events in the US, the APSC was honored to host Chairman Omali Yeshitela as the keynote speaker. Chairman Omali is the leader and founder of the Uhuru Movement and Chairman of the African Socialist International.
In his powerful presentations, Chairman Omali exposed how the system of parasitic capitalism was born from the enslavement and colonization of African and Indigenous people. It was this process that lifted Europe out of a state of barbarism and feudal poverty, creating the pedestal of wealth and opportunity enjoyed by the white population at the expense of the rest of the peoples on the planet.
The DSAP campaign is a manifestation of the APSP’s strategy to extend the voice of the enslaved African working class into the communities of the white oppressor nation population.
“There’s a whole world that is talking to you, and you’d better listen!” said Chairman Omali.
The international DSAP events showed how increasingly white people are ready to listen to this powerful message and take a stand on the right side of history.
San Diego, California
The DSAP speaking tour kicked off with a whirlwind of back-to-back events in San Diego, California on October 3rd and 4th.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela and APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess spoke to two Black Studies classes at San Diego Mesa College.
One Vietnamese woman told the Chairman after the presentation that she knew he was not only speaking to and about African people, but all people, and that Vietnam needed a leader such as Chairman Omali.
Speaking to a packed room at the community event at the newly established activists’ cafe, Headquarters Café, Chairwoman Hess explained that it was the enslavement of African people that created the basis for the capitalist economy that white people benefit from today
Chairwoman Hess discussed how the call for reparations acknowledges the terror carried out by the US government and by regular white people alike, through lynching and participation in genocide, and why fighting racism does not address the material conditions of colonial oppression faced by African people.
The Chairman gave a dynamic presentation about the crisis of imperialism that is occurring as a consequence of the resistance of oppressed peoples and how this crisis represents a tremendous opportunity for social transformation.
The final San Diego event was held at San Diego State University. Speaking to a largely Euro-American audience, Chairwoman Penny provided a deep discussion about the complicit role of white people in maintaining this system of oppression, and urged the students to critically examine this system and join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement in the struggle for reparations and winning members from the white community.
The DSAP tour then traveled to Oakland, Califonia for the “Days in Solidarity with African People” event held at the Niebyl Proctor Library on Saturday, October 6th.
Maureen Wagener, the local chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee welcomed the guests and the attendees.
Chairwoman Hess spoke on the right of African people to control their resources. “African people have a right to liberate their own continent and to control the resources – the gold, ivory, coltan, oil, tungsten. Not Shell Oil, not DeBiers Diamonds, not any other corporation with European interests,” said Chairwoman Hess.
“This is why we stand for reparations for hundreds of years of stolen labor, of turning hundreds of millions of African people into commodities, into property for sale.”
In the keynote presentation, Chairman Omali discussed how the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley had its origins in white students attempting to win support for the Civil Rights Movement and the African working class struggle in the South. However, left to its own devices, it became a struggle for the white students to be able say whatever they wanted to say, devoid of any overt and conscious stance in solidarity with the struggle of Black people in Mississippi.
The Chairman explained the material basis of white opportunism: “It’s because you sit on top of this incredible wealth and resources that comes at the expense of everyone else and you find yourself, whether you want to or not, trying to defend this place that you have in the world. But the place that you have in the world has come at the expense of everybody else. And everybody else is trying to tear it down.”
Diop Olugbala, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, presented on the work of the Black is Back Coalition to build African community self-reliance and economic development and put forward the Black Community Convention being held at the Oakland Uhuru House, bringing together the Oscar Grant Foundation, the family of Alan Blueford, murdered by the Oakland Police Department, Race for the Times and others.
President Diop showed a video produced by coalition member Earl Black on the struggle to free Bakari Olatunji, who is an Uhuru Movement veteran in Oakland who is under attack for his leadership in upholding the stance of Lovelle Mixon, who resisted police occupation when he shot and killed four Oakland police officers in 2009.
St. Petersburg, Florida
The DSAP keynote speakers then traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, known as the “City of African Resistance,” where the “Day in Solidarity with African People” event was held on October 11th, at Studio620.
The DSAP event in St Pete held special significance because St Pete is the location of the international headquarters of the Uhuru Movement and the city where the Uhuru Movement was founded. This event brought out longtime supporters and newcomers alike.
The work to build “Day in Solidarity with African People” in St Pete began at the March on the RNC where Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Chairwoman Penny Hess made electrifying presentations and where USM organizers marched with a banner displaying the main image and theme of the DSAP campaign.
The DSAP event in St Pete began with a cultural performance by APEDF Program Manager and InPDUM activist, Princess Williams.
Stephanie Midler, National Chair of Uhuru Solidarity Movement, presented an overview of the DSAP campaign that covered the work taking place throughout the country.
Chairwoman Hess presented a multimedia presentation entitled, “Break the Silence! Solidarity with African Liberation.”
Chairman Omali spoke on how in this period of imperialism in crisis, Africans and other colonized peoples are becoming the subjects of history and white people are becoming the objects of history. The voice of the African working class is making itself heard.
The Chairman announced an upcoming mobilization of the Black is Back Coalition called “Break the Silence: The Unreported Wars and Attacks on Africans Worlwide,” to be held on November 3 and 4th in Washington DC.
APSC and USM organizer Johann Bedingfield and USM National Chair Midler led a workshop called “Reparations in Action” that included a slideshow presentation illustrating all of the programs of the Uhuru Movement and showing Uhuru Movement organizers in action from Stockholm, Sweden to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Chimurenga Waller, the National Director of Recruitment and Membership of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA, spoke on the vicious police chase policy in the city of St Petersburg that has resulted in the injury and death for Africans in south St Pete. Chimurenga called on attendees to support a petition campaign to put an end to this police chase policy.
APEDF Program Manager Princess Williams presented a slideshow on the work of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, including health and fitness programs at the All People’s Tyron Lewis Community Gym and community events at Akwaaba Hall at the Uhuru House.
The DSAP tour went from St Pete to its final US stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the “Day in Solidarity with African People” event held on October 13th at the First Unitarian Church.
Philly’s own soulful singer Tina kicked off the event with a lively rendition of “Aint No Stoppin Us Now” that got everyone clapping and singing along.
USM Chair Midler presented an overview of USM and DSAP, our role as white people in solidarity with African liberation and what we do as organizers in our communities.
Members of endorsing organization Conflict-Free Campus Initiative from Temple, as well as students from Penn State University’s “American Racism” classes where USM organizers had spoken, attended the event, as well as many volunteers and contacts from the APEDF/USM co-sponsored Uhuru Health Fair & Flea Market
Chairwoman Hess presented on the history of colonialism and the historical responsibility of white people to take a stand for reparations to Africans and other colonized peoples.
Chairman Omali challenged everyone in the audience – especially those Euro-Americans attending – to take his presentations and all the information in the event as a call to action, rather than just a passive consumption of information. African Internationalism is a theory that demands to be put into practice.
Ushindi Watu and Waleeah Brooks of InPDUM and Black is Back in Newark, NJ, spoke on a panel discussion that exposed the conditions of the war against the African community and the struggle to build a movement to resist these conditions. Comrades Ushindi and Waleeah put forward the upcoming “Break the Silence” mobilization in Washington DC.
Stephanie Midler also spoke on this panel about how we as white people can stand in solidarity with the right of African people to resist and fight back against the US counterinsurgency war on their communities. Midler called on white people to march in solidarity with Black is Back at the “Break the Silence” mobilization.
On October 27, 2012, the Polish Organization of Red Guards organized the first, historic Day in Solidarity with African People in Warsaw, Poland.
The Warsaw DSAP event opened with speech by comrade Rask Hetmański, chairman of Organization of Red Guards, who spoke on the responsibility of white people to take the stand of solidarity with African people. Comrade Hetmanski raised up the theory of Yeshitelism or African Internationalism as the white people can see the world through the eyes of the oppressed for the first time
As comrade Gzregorz Weber of the Polish Organization of Red Guards summarized in his report, “We can build better future only with real solidarity with oppressed people, only guided by Yeshitelism. This is the only way to worldwide socialism.”
Comrade Hetmanski then introduced a video of a speech by Chairman Omali Yeshitela which the comrades had translated into Polish. “Everyone listened focused to every word of Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s speech,” wrote comrade Weber.
Comrade Hetmanski spoke about white left’s boycott of the event, and said that nonetheless the Polish Day in Solidarity with African People was the success.
As comrade Weber wrote, “Even with one person, this event would be success because it would be one person more on the side of African Revolution and against imperialism. We all take the Pledge of Solidarity with African People and gave our small contribution to the cause of African People in the form of reparations… Although this was the first [DSAP in Warsaw], it will certainly not be the last one.”
Who is the African People’s Solidarity Committee?
APSC is a primarily white organization formed by and working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party. The Party founded APSC in 1976 as a way for white people to take a principled stance of solidarity with the struggle of the African working class to reclaim control of their land, labor, resources, and self-determination.
APSC, a cadre organization of professional revolutionaries, leads the work to recruit the masses of Euro-Americans into the movement for reparations through its mass organization, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM).
The African People’s Socialist Party has mandated in their official Party Constitution for APSC to build annual “Days in Solidarity with African People” events to define what it means for white people to be in solidarity with African people.
From San Diego to Warsaw, the DSAP campaign was incredibly successful in recruiting new members into the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and into active participation in the work of “reparations in action.”
APSC invites all white people and other allies of African liberation who want to join this growing people’s movement for reparations to attend the upcoming international plenary conference of the APSC, to be held in St. Petersburg, FL on January 6-8, 2013. See more information at apscuhuru.org.
Forward to the APSC Plenary Conference, January 6-8, 2012!
Solidarity with African Liberation!