We live in very serious political times. We’re in what the African People’s Socialist Party calls the crisis of imperialism. The whole system is crumbling because of the rising resistance of people on whose backs and suffering it rests. This system thrives off the oppression and exploitation of African and colonized workers, because capitalism, and the white world as it exists today, is built on pedestal of white power and imperialist war: on the European assault on Africa, of the slaughter of African human beings and theft of millions of people, turning them into commodities and labor machines to work and produce value for the white world.
It is also built on the slaughter and genocide against the indigenous people and theft of their land, and the colonial domination of oppressed nations of people all over the world, from Afghanistan to Venezuela. This is the horrific violence that is the material basis for the reality we are confronted with today. This is the basis of the failed policies of gentrification and police containment in the Black community and why we see the displacement and police murder of African people every single day.
Gentrification is colonialism
This is the price of our very existence as white people. We are a colonizer population, or some would say today, a gentrifying population. Gentrification is a euphemistic term for colonialism, and comes with settler-colonialist violence against African people, which primarily exists today in the form of what many would call police brutality. Thus, as District 6 City Council candidate and Justice for the Three Drowned Black Girls campaign chair, Eritha Akile Cainion says, “Going against gentrification IS going against police containment. Because gentrification is not just being priced out of your home; it’s being shot and left on the pavement for 4 hours; it looks like being brutally drowned; it looks like the police firing rounds into the roof of your car. This is not a joke; this is not a game; this is the black community’s life on the line.”
Gentrification led to the murder of Dominique Battle, Laniya Miller, and Ashaunti Butler, 3 teenage Black girls all 15 and 16 years old, who were brutally chased and drowned by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department in St. Petersburg, FL in March of last year. Just this past month, the same Sheriff’s Department killed 3 MORE Black teenagers- Jimmie Goshey (14), Dejarae Thomas (16), and Keonte Brown (16)- on August 6th, 2017 in Palm Harbor, FL, where Sheriff’s deputies chased 6 teenage Black boys at nearly 100 miles per hour, causing three of them to die in a fiery crash. This would NEVER happen to white children. White people are not just innocent bystanders of the police murder of African people. We are on stolen land, living on stolen resources, based on stolen labor and stolen lives. We sit on a pedestal of murder of African people. As white people, we have to open the door and begin to look at this. We have to look at the world the way it truly is, and not as we imagine it to be. We have to look at the world as the majority of people experience it under white colonial domination.
Reparations vs. anti-racism: Actions speak louder than words
The Reparations Challenge, a campaign of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, challenges us white people to take an honest stand if we say we hate police murders and the oppression of the Black community. Actions speak louder than words. We can share articles on Facebook of yet another news story that we wake up to every day of the police gunning down an African child or adult, but that doesn’t change the conditions. We can go to an anti-racist seminar and unlearn our racist ideas, but that doesn’t change the conditions. We can take psychedelics, and while that may change the way we perceive the conditions… it doesn’t change the conditions. The African People’s Socialist Party makes it clear that, it’s not enough to struggle against racism or change the ideas in our heads or have a “revolution of the mind.”
For African people, for indigenous people, there is colonialism inside the border of the United States, just as hideously oppressive as all around the world. The only way to change a material system is with material actions. We can’t say we have solidarity with African people, but we’re gonna sit on all the wealth that has and continues to be stolen from all African people, whose labor created what this country is, and that we’re gonna sit on this stolen land of the indigenous people who are forced into concentration camps called reservations, and in many places live to be in their 40s.
A study said It would take African people 228 years to amass the wealth of the average white family to bridge the economic gap with what white people earn today. The African community doesn’t have time for that. They don’t even have 3 years. All over the so-called Americas, black communities are being gentrified out of existence. 50 percent of the people in prison are Black. African children are terrorized in schools by police officers called “resource officers” and funneled straight into the prison system. African women, in particular African trans women of the poor and working class, are the most brutalized and downtrodden sector of the human population. There must be reparations now.
Unity Through Reparations
The theme of the Uhuru Movement’s campaign to elect Jesse Nevel for Mayor, running in solidarity with Eritha Akile Cainion for District 6 City Council is “Unity Through Reparations.” These are truly historic campaigns winning hundreds of white people to the stance of reparations to African people. In the words of Jesse, whose campaign for mayor is the largest Reparations Challenge that USM has ever done: “Unity begins with Justice, and Justice begins with Reparations to the Black community.”
Reparations means righting the historic wrongs and building a unified city where no community lives at the expense of another. As Ajamu Baraka said, “Jesse Nevel [and Akile Cainion]’s clear call for reclaiming the city for the people and the real interests of the neighborhoods is a call for struggle, a call for action, a call for unity through reparations to the black community to bring together all people.”
Our reparations as white people in solidarity with Black Power, sincerely comes from the commitment to overturn the relationship we have historically had as white people in which we control the economy. That has been the relationship we have had with African people as part of the colonizer oppressor nation. Its the colonial relationship that we are used to. Through reparations, we can end our self-imposed isolation and join with humanity and be part of a future without colonizer and colonized. Reparations is in our interest, it’s the honest stance.
Imperialism is in crisis, but it doesn’t have to be our crisis as white people. Truly the only answer is to be in solidarity with the right of African, indigenous, and Arab people, to their own land to their own resources, to their own culture.
What does a Reparations Challenge look like?
An example of a small but significant Reparations Challenge event was one that took place on Wednesday, July 26: the Uhuru Solidarity Movement Boston hosted a night called “The Art in Reparations” to raise reparations from white people to Black Star Industries- the agricultural, educational, and healthcare programs of the African People’s Socialist Party.
We made fliers for the event and passed them out at local art fairs and shows. While the Reparations Challenge events are open to people of all nationalities, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement- and any white person who wants to be in solidarity with Black Power- has been called on by the African People’s Socialist Party to organize white people to pay reparations owed to African people.
For The Art in Reparations, organized by local secretary Sam Day, USM members rented a maker’s space and set up a table filled with paper and watercolors for painting, magazines and glue sticks for collaging, needle and thread for sewing, etc. as well as an info table with Burning Spear newspapers and USM literature. Amanda prepared a bean salad and baked vegan cookies. We charged $15 at the door, which included food and use of art supplies. Attendees gathered around the art table to paint and sew and get to know each other.
Halfway through the event, we showed a 15-minute video from Kalambayi Andenet, the fearless president of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, in which she talked about the work of the Uhuru Movement to provide an economic future for African people and address the questions of how to feed, clothe, house, and govern themselves as a free people. She said, “Next time someone asks you when the revolution is gonna start, tell them, I’m sorry to serve you this notice, but the revolution has already started!” The crowd was small but enthusiastic, nodding to her appeal that revolution is the only solution to end violence against oppressed peoples.
At the end of the video, KC led an appeal for reparations, explaining why it is so important for white people to support this struggle for Black Power, by peacefully returning the resources that belong to African people in the first place. To close the night, one of USM’s supporters, Jordan, played his guitar, starting with an acoustic accompaniment to “Wolves” by Dead Prez, which samples a speech from Chairman Omali Yeshitela. The night raised $150 towards USM’s July pledge of reparations to Black Star Industries. It was beautiful to create a space free from substances where white people could challenge each other to forge a new culture of reparations and solidarity with African and Indigenous liberation.
Turn loose your whiteness
This is a call to the white readers to make a pledge of Reparations, or host a Reparations Challenge event. All it takes is an idea. Then take that idea and fill out the form so that the Reparations Challenge committee can support you every step of the way in building this event. As Chair of the Rep Chall campaign, I mean that. You are not alone in this; you have comrades all over the world to share advice and ideas. Host your own art night, or a workshop, or a party, or a bake sale. Recruit your family and friends to become monthly sustainers of Black Star Industries. Submit art to (or buy art from) our new Etsy store.
This is how we join humanity. This is how we challenge whiteness. This is how we turn our backs on white power and parasitic capitalism. This is how we use our skills to bring about a new world where no one lives at the expense of anyone else. This is about challenging ourselves to do what the US government will someday be forced to do by the African Liberation Movement, which is pay reparations.
We have Reparations Challenge mass meetings every Sunday from 1-2 pm EST.
Nothing is required to come to this meeting- just a desire to learn more about raising white reparations to African people!