White people in Portland: We must get organized under the leadership of the African working class 

Massive demonstrations in Portland and throughout the U.S. have shown that millions of white people are looking for a way to take a principled stand of solidarity with the African community’s struggle for social and economic justice. 

The call that is being made to us by the African People’s Socialist Party is that we have to go beyond simply protesting. Now we have to get organized under the leadership of the African working class.

In the past week U.S. president Donald Trump sent federal troops to Portland to suppress the ongoing demonstrations that began after the heroic African uprisings in Minneapolis almost two months ago.

The focus of the media coverage has been redirected away from the African working class people fighting against colonial police terror in their impoverished and exploited communities. Now the spotlight has been fixed on the mostly white protestors of the mostly white city of Portland. 

First, it was “Naked Athena,” viral photographs of a nude white woman sitting on the asphalt in front of a line of riot gear wearing police forces.  

Then, the “wall of moms” dominated the headlines: a group of white middle-aged women who stood between the police and the protestors. 

Many African activists in Portland and other cities were openly critical of the media coverage of the white mothers, pointing out that the real “wall of moms” has always been the courageous African mothers who have been on the front lines in the struggle against the police terror that took their loved ones away from them. 

It is in this context that we feel it is urgent for white people to unite with the African People’s Socialist Party’s call that we take ourselves out of the center and become organized under the leadership of the anti-colonial struggle of the African working class. 

Colonialism must go 

The Party has called on us to abandon the self-serving politic of “anti-racism,” which keeps our feelings and attitudes in the center. 

In order to truly be a part of changing the world, white people must unite in solidarity with African people’s righteous struggle to defeat colonialism

Colonialism is defined as the total domination of the entire African population by a foreign, hostile state power for the benefit of the oppressor, colonizer population.

As APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela has written, “Our struggle has always been for power, not against racism. We are fighting colonialism […] To the extent that we win power the ‘racism’ of others becomes irrelevant.”

As the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party to build white solidarity with Black Power, we have also been actively organizing on the streets in Portland to win white people to the stand of reparations and solidarity with African liberation. 

The African People’s Socialist Party, founded and led by Chairman Omali Yeshitela, believes that white people have a role and a responsibility in standing in solidarity with the African community.  

But it can’t be on our terms.

Here is what Chairman Omali Yeshitela said during one of his recent weekly Sunday morning political education studies: 

“We appreciate the protests because they destabilize the system that oppresses us. But we have to go beyond protest, we have to make the revolution. We must answer the question: to what end? If white people want fundamental change they have to unite under the leadership of the ‘essential workers,’ the African working class and its Advanced Detachment, the African People’s Socialist Party.”

When we do this, we become a strategic component of the movement of African working class people in the U.S. and around the world who are fighting to recapture political and economic power over their own lives and resources, the only thing that will truly put an end to the murders of African people by the police and white nationalist killers.

Two Portlands, two Americas 

Taking ourselves out of the center means acknowledging that there are two Portlands, just as there are two Americas.

There is the experience of wealth, opportunity and security normally enjoyed by the majority white population of Portland and then there is the police terror, impoverishment, mass incarceration, and displacement by gentrification imposed on the African population. 

For African people in Portland and elsewhere the presence of highly militarized police is not a shocker.  It is another day in the life of an African.

For us in the white community it is out of the ordinary and we are quick to label it as the arrival of “fascism” under Trump. As Chairman Omali Yeshitela has so eloquently stated, fascism is what white people call it whenever we begin to experience even the slightest measure of what Africans, Mexicans, Arabs and other colonized peoples have to put up with every single day under the normal status quo of colonial-capitalist oppression.

While Portland has been labeled a “progressive” city, a glance at history betrays this absurd lie.  This history includes “red-lining,” an aggressive form of housing segregation aimed to drive out black residents, and a housing loan scheme in the late 1970s set up to have banks profit off the destruction of black communities. Oregon was founded as an all-white state by a former slave owner in 1844 ordered all Africans to leave Oregon or else be whipped viciously.

While the mayor of Portland is eliciting praise for facing tear gas with the white protestors, the truth is that he and the city government of Portland owe reparations to African people. 

There is a role for white people in this movement.  But it begins with our honest recognition of the truth about our history and our place in capitalist society. We are the colonizer population sitting on the pedestal of the enslavement, genocide and exploitation of African people.

This is not our land. This is the land of the Indigenous people. It was when white people first came here and stole it at gunpoint and it still is today.  

White people have a responsibility to wage the struggle for reparations to African people. All of white society owes reparations to African people because there is no wealth in the white world that is not drenched in stolen African resources and bloodshed. 

Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and get organized under the leadership of the African working class.

Join USM and build the campaign to demand reparations to African people from Bank of America and the Wall Street parasites whose fortunes are built on slavery, mass incarceration and colonial police terror. 

Build solidarity from the white community with the Uhuru Movement’s demands for black community control of the police, the democratic right of the African community to hire, fire, train and discipline the security forces who operate in their communities. 

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