The following report back from the 2013 International Convention of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement was written by Kefira Baron, a Miami-based organizer in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and the Secretary of the USM National Steering Committee.
We call on all of our members and supporters to tune in to the livestream broadcast of our special event on Thursday night, April 25, 6pm est called “Overturning the Culture of Rape and Violence” on livestream.com/uhurunews or in person at 1245 18th Ave S., St. Pete, FL and mark your calendar for the June 15-16 National Convention of the USM, “Overturning the Racial Divide”, in St. Pete, FL. Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement today. Uhuru!
Report back from the 2013 InPDUM Convention
by Kefira Baron, Uhuru Solidarity Movement
On the weekend of March 23-24, 2013, I drove from Miami to “the city of African resistance”, St.Petersburg. This Florida city houses the international headquarters of the Uhuru Movement. “Uhuru”, meaning freedom in Swahili, represents just what this mass movement is building and fighting for in the US and around the world. As a member of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, I work directly under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party. APSP created USM as a way for white people to organize in solidarity with African liberation and self-determination. We raise money in our communities and turn those resources over to the African liberation movement as an expression of reparations. We recognize that the resources in our communities have come at the expense of the colonization of African people for the past five hundred years.
The resources raised by USM are turned over to organizations of the Uhuru Movement to build programs of economic development, like the recently completed Uhuru Jiko kitchen, which promotes self-determination in the African community. This challenges the tradition Euro-American charity model; we say “Solidarity, not Charity!”
We not only support the work of building these programs with material solidarity, we unite with the principles of African Internationalism. African Internationalism is the theory upheld by the Uhuru Movement and sets the terms for African liberation. It is the theory developed by Chairman Omali Yeshitela that explains how capitalism was born from the enslavement of African people and why the struggle against capitalism must be led by the African working class. By embracing African Internationalism as our own worldview, white people can begin to see the world through the eyes of the majority of the people on the planet earth.
Building for dual contending power means building organizations set to carry out all facets of the Uhuru Movement internationally. The revolutionary mass organization building across the world is the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM). To build their work InPDUM holds conventions annually to “build revolutionary organization to protect and defend our own!” as President Diop Olugbala explained at the start of the two days.
Held at the Uhuru House, Akwabba Hall was packed with international organizers of the Movement. Comrades from Sweden to New Jersey cheered “One Africa! One Nation!” before starting with opening speakers. President Diop introduced the program by explaining the importance of “being held during a time when the crisis of imperialism, the vicious bloodsucking social system responsible for the misery of African and the world’s oppressed people, has become deeper than it has ever been.”
As President Diop explained, with the majority of the world’s people suffering, “no African is safe” in the US or around the world. Such conditions heighten the importance for building an organization fighting for dual and contending power.
InPDUM is building under the leadership of APSP to fight against colonialism. As part of the political education, in order to overturn social conditions, it is necessary to understand the issue is colonialism and not racism. Colonialism explains the material conditions that cause “state imposed poverty” in the African community and why we see intensifying attacks on Africa and the Middle East as Obama loots resources. President Diop stated with confidence “oppressed peoples will not back down, this is the final stage of parasitic capitalism.” As President Diop wrapped up his speech, he made a call for Africans to organize all over the world as InPDUM is growing in Africa, the US, and in Europe.
Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, Omali Yeshitela, the keynote speaker, elaborated and developed President Diop’s point by addressing InPDUM’s purpose to mobilize the masses of the African working class under cadre leadership. Chairman Omali harkened back to the pivotal moment when InPDUM attended an Obama rally at Gibbs High school where they questioned, “What about the black community, Obama?” to which he had a stuttering response, all the more of an emphasis of Obama’s neo-colonial agenda as US President.
As I listened to the Chairman speak about the “sinking ship” that is this social system, it only reassured and furthered my understanding of why my active involvement in USM is in my interest. To be provided the opportunity to have a place in the Black Power movement, as the Chairman put it, as “black power in white face”, I have an opportunity to break my allegiance from this dying social system and be part of a blossoming world free of parasitic capitalism.
Citing Brzezinski, a head imperialist thinker, the Chairman pointed out that imperialists can’t even see the future; however, InPDUM has scientific plans laid out building the organization, part of that aim being the seizure of socialized production and ownership. This aim was echoed on the second day in the presentation given by Deputy Chair Ona Zena (APSP) about Black Star Industies, which heads up developing African owned businesses in partnership with the APSP.
The panel discussion regarding African women is a testament to the strength and validity of African Internationalism as a unifying political theory. The presentation challenged the concept of “feminism” which generalizes the idea of women; when in reality colonized women do not live under the same conditions as white women. Feminism does not frame the root issue correctly and therefore does not stand to be a revolutionary theory. Instead feminism acts as a cover for white nationalism and imperialism, overlooking the grave disparities faced by colonized men and women.
Even so, white women hold roles of power in imperialism i.e. Hilary Rodham Clinton. Imperialism does not discriminate against those who are willing to unite with colonizing communities and stealing resources. This same discussion addresses the challenges faced by the commonly termed “LGBQT” community. Africans of the LGBQT community – or, as the speakers preferred, of the ‘same gender loving’ community – spoke on the particular contradictions they faced and framed those issues in the context of a struggle against colonialism and for national liberation of African people.
InPDUM is the unifying mass organization that struggles and builds to meet these goals. The African People’s Solidarity Committee stands in unconditional solidarity with InPDUM as they meet these goals. Chairwoman Penny Hess spoke on behalf of solidarity forces working under the leadership of APSP to overturn this social system and return the stolen resources to the African community. As a solidarity force, I unite with Chairwoman Penny’s message of jumping off the pedestal of history built upon hundreds of years of stolen labor and genocide; we must unite with the rest of humanity.
The majority of the world’s people are suffering under this system of parasitic capitalism- it cannot be reformed. Imperialism is a sinking ship and it is in our interest to jump off the boat and build a raft of solidarity. By building solidarity we have the opportunity to go into our communities, which have been isolated with looted resources built atop the bodies of indigenous and slaves, and explain to people how to address the crisis of imperialism through the framework of African Internationalism.
Uhuru Solidarity Movement must win white people, and other allies to return the resources, pay reparations. By winning resources and turning them over to the hands of African communities we are part of working for a real future. As Chairman Omali explains, we can understand history in a scientific way and we can understand society by looking at the material conditions. If white people, American and European allies, want a place in the future of a new stage of humanity, it has to be under the leadership of African and oppressed peoples as they work to resist imperialism.
As the 2013 InPDUM convention came to a close, excitement for the coming year was tangible in the atmosphere. Leaders, organizers, and newcomers were clearly unified and prepared to struggle for the revolutionary work to be done. Besides arming myself mentally, I bought an olive green military jacket brought over from Europe by InPDUM forces that reads “TOUCH ONE! TOUCH ALL!” People may not know what by looking at me that I take a stance of solidarity, but when I put that jacket on I let people know I am an African Internationalist. As an organizer of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, I call on others to take the same stance and actively build with Uhuru Solidarity Movement as we take a step forward in joining with the rest of humanity and support the resistance of African and oppressed peoples as they reclaim their land and resources from this wretched, violent system.
Victory to African People! Victory to the People of Iraq, of Afghanistan, Mexico, Palestine, and anywhere US and European imperialism has leeched off the blood of peoples suffering! Death to imperialism! Long live revolution! TOUCH ONE, TOUCH ALL! UHURU!