On May 3 and 4, 2014, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, an organization of white people and other allies that works under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, held its National Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida.The convention was held at Akwaaba Hall in the Uhuru House, the international headquarters of the African People’s Socialist Party. The convention was held under the theme, “Reparations Now! Solidarity with African Liberation!” At the convention, USM launched its campaign to build the Days in Solidarity with African People.
Comrades travelled from Dallas, Texas; New York, New York and from several cities in Florida including Gainesville, Largo, St. Petersburg, and Gulfport to attend.
This convention brought together veterans and new members alike to join in solidarity with the liberation of African people in their struggle to overturn this rotten social system born of slavery, genocide, and colonialism.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement presented on its plan of action for the upcoming year, launched the campaign to build the Days in Solidarity with African People, adopted resolutions, and elected its leadership for 2014-2015.
Challenging the DNA of capitalism
On Saturday, African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) Chairwoman Penny Hess presented on the rise and enrichment of Europe and the white world that occured through the enslavement of Africans, the genocide of the Indigenous people and from stealing the land, labor and resources of the masses of people on the Earth.
“Capitalism was born through robbery, rape, rapine, plunder, slavery, torture, genocide, terror, terrorism, psychological warfare, theft of intellectual property, slaughter, slaughter, slaughter,” said Chairwoman Hess.Chairwoman Hess referred to Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s statement that slavery and colonialism are part of the “DNA of capitalism,” explaining, “This isn’t an aberration of it, this is what it is at its very heart. It has to be overturned, there is no way of making amends with this.”
Chairwoman Hess discussed the historic opportunism of white people who always betrayed colonized people and sided with imperialism in continuing the oppression of Africans and other oppressed people of the world.
“We are under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party so that we can be part of the strategy for African liberation which is in profound solidarity with Mexican people, the Indigenous people, the Palestinian people and oppressed peoples all over the world. This is what puts us as part of the planet Earth.”
Chairman Omali Yeshitela speaks on reparations and the African Revolution
Chairman Omali Yeshitela gave a profound keynote presentation on a wide range of topics directed towards white people to show us that we have a responsibility to join in solidarity with the African Liberation Movement under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party and join the rest of the world in the struggle to destroy U.S. imperialism, the enemy of all humanity.
Chairman Omali said, “The reality is, and always has been the case, the oppressed can never integrate with the oppressor…white people have to integrate with the rest of humanity.”
Chairman Omali addressed the demand for reparations, saying that it is a function of revolution, a form of material solidarity with the struggle for the liberation of African people.Chairman Omali said that white people owe reparations to Africans and other oppressed people because all white people were enriched by and continue to benefit from the enslavement, colonialism, oppression and impoverishment of the masses of the people on Earth.
“Well, ‘I didn’t do it’…That’s the common refrain,” said the Chairman. “Yeah, you didn’t do it, but you didn’t ever complain about taking all the damn resources as a consequence of it being done…Yes you did it! Yes you did it! You did it! You did it! That’s the thing that we are struggling with and…what we have to have the ability to do is to say, ‘I did it and what I am going to do is overturn it and I’m going to make everybody who can be united with this understand what happened so we can be engaged in this collectively.’”
Chairman Omali challenged the Eurocentric notion put forward by white people, capitalists and communists alike, that capitalism was an advancement for humanity:”Capitalism was an assault on human progress! Capitalism is what killed millions and billions and billions of peoples on the planet Earth in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in the attack on India that was talked about and all these other places. That was not production; that was kicking people out of production! And to say that capitalism resulted in this leap in human progress and production is to say that production can happen only in the hands of white people. That’s a lie!”
USM members step forward to build mass movement for reparations to African people
A workshop on the “Days in Solidarity with African People” campaign featured a training by USM members Stu Becker from Dallas, Texas and Johann Bedingfield from Largo, Florida on how to organize an outreach table in the white community with The Burning Spear newspaper.They discussed how to hook people in, demonstrating examples of how to approach people with The Spear. USM outreach tables are a key part of building the Days in Solidarity with African People.
Day 2 featured a dynamic and lively USM resolutions process with the adoption of four resolutions for the upcoming year: “Build Solidarity with the Black is Back Coalition,” “Oppose Colonial Violence Against the African Community,” “Build the Reparations Now Campaign and Days in Solidarity with African People” and “Build the USM Membership and Sustainer Program.”Comrade Kefira Baron presented on “Uhuru Solidarity Movement and the War of Ideas,” a workshop that laid out the political significance of building support for independent African-controlled media and the USM’s website and radio show, “Reparations in Action” on UhuruRadio.com.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement general membership elected its new National Steering Committee with Jesse Nevel as Chair, Kefira Baron as Membership Coordinator, Johann Bedingfield as Literature Distribution Coordinator, Wendy Craig as Treasurer/Economic Development Specialist, Stu Becker as Outreach Coordinator and Dianne Tornay as Secretary.In a powerful expression of unity with African self-determination and reparations, the USM members in attendance and online pledged and donated over three thousand dollars of material solidarity with the African People’s Socialist Party, further proving the Chairman’s theory that white people can find our long-term interest in solidarity with the African Liberation Movement, not with a dying imperialism.
The profound unity of the USM members and sustainers with the call for material solidarity represented a major step forward in the struggle to build a mass movement for reparations to African people.
As Chairwoman Penny Hess said, “Reparations is not charity. Reparations is truly a stand that says, ‘I have an interest in seeing a world without the oppressor and the oppressed, without the slave master and the enslaved.’ These resources have to go back, the system has to go. It is as simple as that.”
Forward to Days in Solidarity with African People!