Defeat Patrick McCullough in Oakland District 1!

In 2005 self-appointed Bushrod neighborhood vigilante Patrick McCullough shot his neighbor, 14 year old high school student Melvin McHenry in the back as he was running away from McCullough.

McCullough was not charged or jailed for his crime. He was praised as a hero by police, city officials, the media and white people who are gentrifying the historically black Bushrod neighborhood.

Now McCullough is running for city council from North Oakland’s district one on a platform of law and order violence targeting the African community.

McCullough is a black man who acts as a convenient front for all those intent on dealing with Oakland’s deep social and economic problems with a military solution similar to Israel’s genocidal assault on the Palestinian people of Gaza.

Oakland just granted $7.7 million of tax payers’ money for more police and has launched an aggressive recruitment drive for the OPD with base salaries of over $87,000 a year and up to $244,000 with overtime.

Since this police budget was allocated in March already 2 people have been killed within a few days by the OPD. Casper Banjo, 71, a well-known and respected African artist was gunned down on March 14 by police. On Wednesday, March 19 Oakland police murdered a 15 year old Mexican youth. Both took place in East Oakland.

This is the murderous climate advocated by McCullough. In Oakland, according to the New York Times, one in every five families live on less than $15,000 and the poorest 20 percent live on $7,600 annually. Oakland is a city of deep disparities: crushing African poverty while the Bay Area has the highest rate of millionaires in the country.

California has the world’s sixth largest economy and the third largest prison population. The black population of California is 7 percent but 32 percent of the population of California’s prisons, a growth industry that pumps billions of dollars into the state’s economy.

In 1996 Gary Webb from the San Jose Mercury News exposed that the U.S. government was responsible for the massive influx of crack into Oakland. This came in the wake of COINTELPRO that destroyed the Black Power Movement of the 60s and assassinated L’il Bobby Hutton right here in Oakland.

Urban renewal and gentrification destroyed the economy of the African community where today it is estimated that half of young black people face unemployment. Sometimes just to put food on the table African people are forced into a government and corporate-controlled drug economy that studies show pay minimum wage for young street workers but make millions of dollars for banks and Wall Street.

In a city where white people are snapping up deals on houses and lofts at the expense of an impoverished African community the question is “who is the real criminal?”

The problem is poverty, oppression and public policies of police containment of the African community.

For peace and unity in Oakland we need genuine economic development to transform the conditions of the African and other impoverished communities. We need an end to police containment and violence against African and Mexican people. We need people like Patrick McCullough to pay a political price for their white-backed terror of the African community.

Defeat Patrick McCullough, District 1!
For more information call 510-625-1106.

World Food Crisis and Starvation: Made in America

In America—especially in white America—we take food abundance for granted. From sushi to steak to salad and smoothies, countless food choices are part of our daily routine and a key component of our leisure and fun. One hundred and thirty-four million of us—75 percent of the adult U.S. population—are obese or overweight. (

Even the choice to be slim and fit based on a healthy diet is an option not available to most of humanity. For the majority of us hunger is no more than a momentary pang endured until the next refrigerator, restaurant, deli or grocery presents itself.

For 3 billion people around the world who are facing starvation, the chance for something edible has little to do with nutrition or leisure or fun. Anything to eat is a fleeting panacea for the pain of a chronically empty stomach, a pain that has been compared to battery acid in the abdomen. Thirty people a minute are dying of starvation ( in a world where half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day.

In the news these days are reports of massive food rebellions in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Haiti 80 percent of the population no longer have the resources to eat food. Millions in Haiti are forced to subsist on mud mixed with sugar and shortening. YouTube videos show UN and government police forces firing on crowds of angry people in Haiti, Egypt, Mexico and El Salvador.

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For most of us in North America such realities may seem sad but very far removed for our lives. Ultimately, we believe, world starvation has nothing to do with us.

Living in a country built on the enslavement of African people, the genocide against the Indigenous people, and the spoils of colonial domination the world over, global hunger has, however, everything to do with us.

The reality is that every aspect of this world food crisis is made in white America, by Americans, for America’s economic benefit. Today’s skyrocketing rice and grain prices are not the result of shortages! We are seeing record rice crops globally this year! As an Asia Times article, “Rice, death and the dollar” states, “The global food crisis is a monetary phenomenon, a … consequence of America’s attempt to inflate its way out of a market failure…” (

Here are some of the real factors contributing to the current rapid rise in food costs and starvation worldwide.

Wall Street speculation. With the dollar tanking and banks and corporations going bankrupt (and being bailed out by the government and the Fed), commodities, such as grains and agriculture are the hottest Wall Street investment sector today! For investors they are a “safe haven” against “the falling dollar and the loss of faith in stock markets.” (

As a last ditch effort to save the U.S. economy with the bursting of the housing bubble, investors are now creating a grains bubble, driving prices off the charts, regardless of the cost of suffering for the majority of the world.

Average prices for rice have reached a 20-year high this month, with Thai rice going up from $360 a ton in December 2007 to $850 this week. Investors are working overtime trying to get a piece of these profits, while those living on a dollar or two a day can’t afford even a plate of rice.

Billionaire Jim Rogers is on TV constantly advising people to “buy agriculture!” Tellingly the blog Energy and Capital describes the brutal conditions of starvation for most of the world’s impoverished people, talks about the grain price hikes, says there is “no relief in sight,” and then ends with the statement: “…enough of the doom and gloom. How can I profit from this? Well, I’m gonna tell you…” (

You can be sure that now all the bad subprime mortgage bonds in your money market or retirement funds have been replaced with commodities investments. How many children must die for our baby boomers to enjoy a “secure” retirement?

Biofuels are genocide. Wall Street investors are creating an ethanol bubble too, driving up the prices of grain grown for fuel rather than for food. Farmers around the world can no longer afford to grow grain for food when the earnings for fuel are far greater!

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro has been campaigning for the past couple of years against biofuels. He has called ethanol “genocide,” saying that biofuels will “cost the lives of 3 billion people.”

Castro’s article, “The Internationalization of Genocide,” states, “The five top producers of the corn, barley, sorghum, rye, millet and oats that Bush wants to turn into raw materials for producing ethanol supply 679 million tons of the world market…In turn, the five top consumers, some of which are also producers of these grains, currently need 604 million tons annually. The available surplus comes down to less than 80 million tons.”

Castro adds, “This colossal waste of cereals for producing fuel…would serve only to save the rich countries less than 15 percent of what is annually consumed by their voracious automobiles.” (

Forced deregulation of world agricultural markets. Historically countries around the world produced food for themselves and their governments kept restrictions on the price of food to prevent speculation and price gouging. Haiti, where the people are today forced to subsist on a steady diet of mud, is a perfect example. Twenty-five years ago Haitian farmers grew and exported their own rice.

But in the late 1980s the U.S. backed IMF forced Haiti, as a condition for a desperately needed loan, to deregulate their markets and open them up to competition from the outside. The U.S. then dumped its government-subsidized rice onto Haiti (and many other countries around the world), selling the American rice cheaper than Haiti farmers could sell theirs for. The U.S. rice dumping brought to an abrupt halt Haiti’s own self-sufficient agricultural infrastructure and forced millions of people into desperate poverty.

U.S. Agribusiness. According to Gretchen Gordon in, “The Food Crisis: Global Markets and Deregulation Strike Again,” three major corporations, Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge, “control the vast majority of global grain trading, while Monsanto controls more than one-fifth of the global market in seeds.”

While billions of human beings are starving, Cargill’s third quarter 2007 profits increased more than 86 percent and Monsanto’s were up 45 percent. In fact they are using the current crisis to further impose their genetically modified seeds on the peoples of the world.

The U.S. will not be immune from this crisis. Almost 22 percent of African families in the U.S. experience food insecurity—not knowing where their next meal will come from. One out of twelve Indigenous families forced onto reservations on their own land experience food insecurity with hunger. (

Throughout the U.S. the African community has been hit hard by the collapse of the subprime mortgage scam, which again made Wall Street bankers and investors billions of dollars. Cities with high African populations, such as Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit and Atlanta are seeing tens of thousands of families facing foreclosure and homelessness as a result of this. When the full weight of this crisis hits over the next couple of years millions of African people in America will be plunged even more deeply into poverty.

What can we do?

The United Nations, the U.S. government and the websites of countless organizations are calling for donations of money for food for some of these countries. Charity, however, will never solve this problem, any more than Bush’s little tax refund will prevent the downturn of the U.S. economy.

The only thing that will really change this crisis is the end of a system that acts as a parasite sucking the blood of the peoples of the world. Let’s face it: the prosperity of the white world is directly dependent on slavery, genocide and theft of the resources of just about everyone else. For us to live, they can’t! World peace and cooperation is, of course, forever impossible under such a system.

Going “green” in and of itself is no solution! Environmentalism inside of a system sitting on a pedestal of slavery and colonialism will do nothing but make us feel good for recycling bottles or saving the ozone, while the majority of people continue to suffer and die. Environmental destruction is simply a byproduct of a system that wipes out whole peoples and civilizations to maintain our life style!

What will end hunger and starvation is when the earth’s oppressed peoples finally have control over their land, resources, lives and destinies again. The people of Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, along with African, Mexican and Indigenous people colonized inside this country are struggling for this. This is the struggle for national liberation.

The Uhuru Movement has built the African Socialist International (ASI), made up of African individuals and organizations in Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean, South America, Europe—wherever African people have been dispersed around the world.

The ASI is based on the premise that Africans are one people everywhere and that the food, diamonds, oil, coltan, bauxite, uranium and all the resources of Africa are the birthright of African people the world over, not corporations and Western imperial nations.

The Uhuru Movement, led by the African People’s Socialist Party has built the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) in the U.S. and Africa. InPDUM is a people’s organization that defends the democratic rights of the African community that has been massively imprisoned, placed under martial law and subjected to oppressive educational systems worldwide.

Other dynamic fronts of the Uhuru Movement include the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Program (AAPDEP), organizing African scientists, engineers and health care workers from the U.S. to participate in sustainable electrification, rain water harvesting and heath care projects in West Africa.

There is the African Internationalist Student Organization (AISO) for African students from middle school through graduate school. Uhuru News features the on-line radio station Uhuru Radio, Burning Spear Records and The Burning Spear newspaper. Another front, the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), is an organization of white people working in white communities under the leadership of the Uhuru Movement

White people who find that living at the expense of the suffering of the vast majority of humanity is intolerable can join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement led by APSC. You and I can make a difference, not as mere consumers of information, but by taking a real stand in solidarity for the future of the planet in the hands of African and oppressed people. (

A stand in solidarity with African and oppressed people everywhere allows us to be part of a great movement to end the system of starvation, of slaves and slave masters and participate in building a system of justice and peace. As the source of most of the problems in today’s world, imperialism must go. In its place must be a system built on justice, equity and human needs, not profit, greed and exploitation. This is the vision of the movement for African liberation.

Let’s get to work. There is so much to do.

Subprime on Backs of Africans

Africans bear brunt of subprime crisis in U.S. economy built on slavery and genocide

The subprime mortgage mess is making headlines, but what the media barely mentions is that the African community is bearing the brunt of it.

Once again, bankers, brokers, lenders and even regular white working America have profited mightily and are bailed out by the government when their strategy fails. The African community is used, bled dry, and then criminalized and blamed for the problem.

You have to dig to find out that, for instance, more African borrowers making upwards of $100,000 a year were given subprime mortgages than were whites making under $40,000. African communities were targeted for subprime and adjustable rate mortgages as a very lucrative new market for loan sharks.

Cities with large African populations tell the story: Atlanta (map), Cleveland (map), Detroit, Brooklyn (map), to name a few.

Early in this decade the government and the Fed began lowering interest rates. Housing prices skyrocketed and millions of Americans began tapping into their home equity, fueling a “wealth effect,” and massive spending.

The lower rates sparked the speculative housing market and gentrification, as lower income white people could suddenly become homeowners by buying in an African community. Or they could become entrepreneurs by buying up “ugly houses” to flip.

TV channels were spawned by gentrification and a whole economy centered on Lowe’s, Home Depot, Restoration Hardware, Starbucks, art galleries and cute restaurants. Houses of Africans, including the elderly, were taken from under them as white people demanded that code violations be enforced for their benefit.

As housing prices in African neighborhoods skyrocketed, the culture of the community was criminalized and police presence intensified to protect the white “pioneers” from the surrounding impoverished population. African people were dispersed further and further into decaying suburbs, crunched in with other family members or sent to government-sponsored prison housing.

None of this is new, however. It’s the same story that has played out for more than half a millennium.

Since African human beings were first abducted at gunpoint from Africa, turned into a commodity and transported to America as well-insured cargo, stacked on pallets in the holds of ships, the Western world has gotten its economic stimulus from the oppression of others.

More than anything, America sits on the backs of Africans.

Today we talk about oil prices and fluctuations in the stock market, but there were whole centuries when the price of an African was the most important topic at businessmen’s lunches in New York and London. The Wall Street stock exchange sits on the site of New York auction blocks and slave ship docks.

The African cemetery found under a high rise building on Wall Street is the perfect metaphor for this country: America’s wealth resting literally on the bodies of African people.

As Omali Yeshitela proves in his books Omali Yeshitela Speaks and One Africa! One Nation!, Europe was a cold, barren, impoverished and war-like place in the Middle Ages. It was characterized by oppression, plague and feudal serfdom when it set out to rescue itself by ravaging Africa.

Henry the Navigator of Portugal sent ships out to the coast of West Africa around 1420, and by the year 1500 Europe had already extracted 81,000 African people and 700 tons of gold from Africa.

Around the same time Columbus began the process of massive genocide of the Indigenous people of the Americas and the theft of their land and resources.

We are taught ridiculous myths that somehow Europe worked hard, saved its money and thus became the dominant economic and military power in the world. But an honest look at history shows that the development of wealth and power in Europe parallels its assault on Africa and other peoples every step of the way.

In the 1500s the Spanish government monopolized the trade in African human beings, even as the governments of Holland, England and France were waiting in the wings. They would all go to war for a piece of this most valuable commodity, just as oil wars are being fought today.

Independent businessmen also wanted some of this loot, financing their own ships as pirates or “privateers” under the banner of “free trade.” Entrepreneurs like Jean Lafitte raided the state-owned slave ships laden with human cargo and made a fortune selling Africans off the coast of New Orleans at discount rates.

As Yeshitela, again points out, the trade in African people did far more than make southern plantation owners wealthy. The plantations are long gone but the wealth of African enslavement has been compounded in the overall economy of America a million times over.

What part of Europe’s and America’s economy did not get started on the human trade? Banking, insurance, ship building, industry, universities, tourism, railroads, housing, hotels, law firms, the garment industry, retail sales, Wall Street itself were all spawned by African enslavement.

We’re taught that Africans became “free” after the official enslavement ended in 1865 in the U.S. In reality other forms of African exploitation were found to be more lucrative for the Western economy.

In Africa Europe imposed direct colonialism. There was no word for “genocide” when Europe and America were slaughtering millions of African people on the continent as they ripped out diamonds, rubber, ivory, gold, and other precious resources that further consolidated Western wealth and power.

Rarely discussed, but extremely important to America’s wealth, is the system of convict leasing. For more than 70 years thousands of African people were rounded up under Jim Crow laws, kept in work camps and leased out by state governments to plantations, limestone and phosphorus mines, road gangs and logging teams.

The brutal system of convict leasing rebuilt the economy of the southern states following the Civil War. In the late 19th century more than 80 percent of the revenue of Alabama came from convict leasing. I have read that Hitler modeled work camps on the convict leasing system, which was known to be worse than slavery. The white people’s motto was, “One dies, get another.”

European immigrants coming to America were pretty clear that American “opportunities” came to them because of African enslavement and the genocide against the Indigenous people.

Throughout most of the 19th century street gangs made up of white workers in northern cities functioned as a terrorist force against African people who had escaped to the north.

Lynching was the popular pastime of white America for a hundred years. These chilling festivals of violence had the avid participation of the whole white family. Children were dressed up and posed for photographs in front of the lifeless bodies of African people. This public torture and murder of African people was accompanied by music, dancing and food vendors.

White people terrorized Africans who were prospering in independent economic communities. Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rosewood, Florida are only the most famous examples of this. All over the country Africans banded together, buying land and setting up collective economic ventures that were quite successful, but these were destroyed one after another. White people would never allow Africans to become more prosperous than they.

Similarly, the media tell us the reason Africa is poor today is because its leaders are “corrupt.” But every time an African leader rises up, demanding that the resources of his country benefit the people, the leader has been assassinated or overthrown by America or Europe—from Patrice Lumumba to Kwame Nkrumah to Thomas Sankara.

It’s not corruption; it’s the U.S. policy of neocolonialism, which ensures that Africa’s resources stay in the pocket of Western powers. I have read that more than 80 percent of all the mineral resources the U.S. needs to function are in Africa. This is the basis for the U.S. militarization of Africa under AFRICOM.

In this country, after the leaders of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s were assassinated or imprisoned by the government, the U.S. began flooding African communities with drugs: heroin and later crack cocaine. This is well-documented from many sources.

We cannot underestimate the importance of this illegal drug trade to the U.S. economy. Said by the United Nations to be worth more than $500 billion a year, illegal drugs constitute the third largest commodity in the world, behind oil and arms.

Clearly those billions of narco-dollars are not floating around in African communities, but rather buy the cars, mansions and private jets of the Wall Street elite. They also benefit white society as a whole. Since the late 70s drug money has funded real estate, car dealerships, jewelry stores, restaurants and more.

Meanwhile, the African community is left with a government-imposed, penny-ante illegal drug economy that primarily serves to criminalize the entire African population. The imposed drug economy feeds the prison industry, another booming component of the U.S. economy.

More than half of the 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. today are African, the cornerstone of a $50 billion industry. Called the new gold rush, the prison industry has spawned countless spin-off businesses, including phone companies, clothing, construction, vending machines, instruments of suppression and more.

Most prisons are filled with urban Africans but located in rural white America, where prisons are the third largest industry, behind gambling and pig farming. Many states have a conscious strategy to use prisons as economic stimulus for rural counties, providing white high school graduates high paying jobs as guards.

Some people are predicting that the subprime collapse along with the low dollar and high oil prices could bring about the demise of the U.S. economy.

If so, it’s just the logical conclusion of an obese, parasitic economic system that has been sitting on a shaky foundation of enslavement and genocide for more than 500 years.

Penny Hess is author of Overturning the Culture of Violence and the chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee which is led by the African People’s Socialist Party. Her analysis is based on the understandings of Omali Yeshitela. She can be reached at

Struggle with Mel Gibson about racist Apocalypto

The other day Alicia Estrada, a Professor of Central American Studies at Cal State Northridge challenged Mel Gibson at a Q&A session following a showing of the very offensive, anti-Indigenous film Apocalypto. You can view a news account about the struggle. Gibson responded in a foul, white nationalist way to the legitimate issues being raised by the Indigenous community. Professor Estrada called up to the microphone a representative of the Mayan community who read a statement in Spanish. With Gibson cursing campus police were sent in forcing Estrada and the Mayan speaker out of the hall.

Last December we posted to the APSC website a statement calling for a boycott of this very foul movie.

We offer our solidarity with the courage of Professor Estrada and the others who took this courageous stand that has brought attention to this film that is a blatant white nationalist attack on the Mayan people.

When the Apocalypto first came out we put out our call for a boycott on the list serve of the Florida Alliance for Peace and Social Justice. A heated discussion ensued and some people defended the film. During that interchange, Chairman Omali Yeshitela weighed in with the following very enlightening statement:

The observation that I would make concerning this discussion is the error of taking the film at face value, independent of its CURRENT historical context. What is that historical context? It is an imperialism, white power, in severe crisis as manifested by events occuring in every area of the world. The film cannot teach us about ancient Maya history or culture, but it does tell us something about the history and culture of imperial white power.

“Regardless of Gibson’s intention this film, like many others, has a serious ideological mission. Just like movies like Sparta, the Gladiator, and some others, the names of which I cannot remember, including one that starred Gibson as a Scottish hero. They speak to an imperialism in crisis that challenges the commonly-held notions of the superiority of imperial white power. The films in the former category are designed to show the courage and nobility of white power, while the film currently being discussed is designed to apologize for the emergence of white power at the expense of African, indigneous and other peoples upon whose destruction white power depended for its emergence.

“I think it is an error to review this movie outside the context of the ideological warfare that we are faced with. Although Gibson may be the author of the film that we are discussing, he is a cultural/ideological gladiator for imperial white power. This is the guy from Australia. Surely, the indigenous from that place did not simply wither away because of the contradictions within their society, although it has been a common argument by imperialists that they have rescued the peoples they oppress from their own self-initiated destruction.

“I am not attempting to draw a perfect analogy between the so-called Aborigines and the Mayans, but I am attempting to show that Gibson cannot approach this question pure of heart, without imperial ideological influences.

“I am convinced that these very same ideological influences were apparent in his so-called anti-Semetic tirade and in his movie, about Jesus. Gibson is said to be a christian fanatic of some sort and the definition of the European or white nation is seriously connected to Christianity and whiteness.

“Watch the revues for the movie. Already there is talk about possible awards. This is because the movie reaches serious ideological/cultural needs of an empire in decline and whose ideals its beneficiaries are seriously challenged to hold on to.

“I haven’t seen the movie, but I know this is what it is about.

“One Africa! One Nation!
“Omali Yeshitela”

Why are we always so surprised? Be more than a consumer of information.

Every day there is a new exposé of another atrocity perpetrated by the U.S. or European governments or corporate powers somewhere in the world.

We find that Chiquita Banana has hired death squads in Latin America. The U.S. government-backed Blackwater mercenary army is stationed around the globe, including in New Orleans against the African community after Hurricane Katrina.

We read about the latest CIA actions, the intensification of the Patriot Act and the torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. We read about the latest victim of police brutality in Brooklyn, scandals in the U.S. prisons that warehouse millions of young African people and the sexual abuse of child prisoners in Texas.

Day after day our eyebrows are arched as we look on in horror. Some have built careers around this commodification of information about imperialist violence and terror, allowing millions of us to feel absolved of any responsibility by just ingesting the latest news.

Not that we shouldn’t be educating ourselves about these brutal realities. All of it must come to light. But we shouldn’t be surprised, as if America—and capitalism itself—is not built on this kind of terror. This IS America: the enslavement of African people, the genocide of the indigenous people and the colonization of peoples around the world. Rape, slaughter, war, violence and theft of peoples’ land and resources for our benefit—this is the American way from the very beginning.

There’s nothing new about what imperialism does to peoples whose resources, labor or land are determined to be necessary for the fueling of America. America is a parasite and parasites wreak destruction. These atrocities feed our lifestyle, past and present.

Our foreparents came over from Europe clear about the possibilities here that were not available in the Old World. Here they could hop up the ladder of success. They could pursue their right to the pursuit of happiness—at the expense of other peoples. That’s why the majority of white working people fought to maintain slavery, to condone or carry out terrorism against African people in the form of lynchings, to support the apartheid system of Jim Crow and the genocidal system of convict leasing.

Americans craved land out west and thus joined the voluntary army against the Indigenous people. Our actions were propelled by the popular white slogan towards the native people of this land: “Exterminate them!”

Today we could not live the American dream without devastation in Iraq, suffering in Palestine and proxy wars in Africa. We could not send our kids to college without there being more African youth inside this country locked up in prisons than there are in universities. Everything we have comes at the expense of African, Indigenous, Arab and Asian people, and the peoples of the world have had enough! The white parasite is hated across the planet.

I am tired of the belief that being progressive means just consuming information.

We have to DO something. We have to recognize that we—the white population benefit economically from the daily violence of the capitalist system. We sit on the pedestal of the exploitation of others. That’s why it is so easy for us to listen, be shocked and have forgotten it by the time we down our morning latte.

I believe we have to take a stand. We are talking about imperialism here and this is the nature of the beast. There are colonies right here: the militarized African communities, the barrios, the concentration camps called Indian Reservations where the policies of the U.S. government are the same as those in Iraq. But we walk right past them.

I believe it’s time to take responsibility for what this government does and has done in our name and for our benefit for hundreds of years. We can stand in solidarity with the struggle of African people around the world for national liberation, for one united and liberated Africa as the birthright of African people. This puts us on the side of the struggling people of the world, not white power and imperialism. African people—and all oppressed peoples—must be free and in control of their own destiny with their own resources.

All peoples have the right to their own land, resources and sovereignty and they are struggling for it. Why should African people in Africa be forced to live on a dollar a day when the vast wealth of their diamonds, gold, oil, coltan, aluminum benefits the white world?

I am part of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party which leads the worldwide struggle for African liberation. This gives us a chance to be part of a future on the side of the majority of humanity rather than as foot soldiers of white power.

Solidarity with the struggle for African liberation means unity with all peoples fighting for liberation. This lets us participate in a future determined by the struggle for freedom, peace and justice, not profit, parasitism, violence and alienation from the human family. When Africa is liberated and united we will see the emergence of a world characterized by prosperity, health and the possibilities for unity of all peoples on the planet. That’s the future that I think a lot of us want to be part of. Check out the African People’s Solidarity Committee at

The tapeworm is dying: the real cause of the collapse of the U.S. economy

A lot of people today are writing about the crisis we see all around us—the U.S. debacle in Iraq, the abrogation of democratic rights for American citizens and the fact that the U.S. economy is going down the tubes.

Most people base their analysis on the premise that today’s problems have come about because of a deviation from the “fundamental values” on which the U.S. was founded. Or that this is something resulting from political corruption and the particularly odious Bush administration.

The problem is most people are searching for answers but are stuck inside the confines of our narrow myopic viewpoint. Most of us peek out of our ivory tower without noticing that it sits on a pedestal of the oppression of the majority of humanity. We are locked into a white way of looking at the world—examining an increasingly problematic reality, only as it affects us. The truth is there is no deviation from America’s values. This country was founded on slavery, genocide and colonialism. The crisis we are trying to sum up is the crisis of imperialism.

I am a white woman, an activist, a member of the African People’s Solidarity Committee. APSC organizes in white communities under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, which is led by Omali Yeshitela, worldwide African leader, revolutionary, author of the book One Africa! One Nation! Working under Omali Yeshitela and the strategy for Black Power enables us in the solidarity movement to begin to see the world through the eyes of African and other peoples, a very enlightening and liberating experience. Suddenly the reality of the whole other “parallel universe” of colonized people—and our relationship to it—becomes glaringly visible.

From the perspective of African, Indigenous and other colonial subjects, what the U.S. is doing around the world today is nothing new. It’s what America and Europe have done from the very beginning. It’s just that now the imperialist joyride is ready to crash and burn off the next cliff and we have to take notice.

The impending downfall of the U.S. economy is not the result of the policies of Greenspan, the Fed, Bernanke or Bush. U.S. imperialism is in crisis because peoples around the world are fighting back, fighting for their lives, fighting for control of their own land, wealth and resources. The U.S. is no longer able to lord it over them with impunity to feed our children at the expense of theirs. Why should diamond workers in Sierra Leone work for 30 cents a day when they could own the mines themselves on their own land?

Europe in the middle ages was barren, impoverished, oppressive and disease ridden. We call it the dark ages. But in China, India, Mongolia, Persia, Iraq, Mali, Ethiopia and among the Indigenous inhabitants of North and South America people were doing just fine. There were thriving ancient trade routes and longstanding global economic relationships. Europe was poor and alienated from the loop. Queen Isabella had to hock her jewels to finance Columbus’ trips to America.

Today Europe and North America are incredibly wealthy and democratic and everyone else is poor and oppressed. What happened?

Europe saved itself by its assault on Africa, the Americas, Asia and others.

By the late 1400s Portugal had already extracted 700 tons of gold from West Africa into Europe. More importantly Portugal began to turn African people into its most lucrative commodity. By the year 1500 Portugal had already established a slave trade of nearly 90,000 human beings, bringing about what Marx called the “rosy dawn” of capitalism.

Every major war in Europe was fought over who would control the trade in African people. The Spanish, the Dutch and ultimately the British took it over. Even the now-glorified pirates were out there in the waters trying to get a piece of the action. Pirates were the “free trade” movement of the day struggling for individual entrepreneurship in the slave industry in opposition to the government-owned slaving monopoly.

The result for Europe was an explosion of wealth unprecedented in world history. The triangular trade, ship building, mineral processing, cotton milling, sugar and tobacco refining and the entire spin-off economy necessitated the expulsion of the peasants from their traditional lands into the cities as workers.

At the same time African people were pushed inland from the coasts as they saw their way of life, culture, civilization and traditional economy destroyed. An open, welcoming people now lived in constant fear that their families would be captured, kidnapped, tortured and enslaved.

This same process was going on in the Americas: genocide, slaughter, rape and pillage—theft of land, gold, silver and resources. Even the concept of democracy came to France and England from the Indigenous societies. There wasn’t the word genocide then. That only happened later when white people did to other white people what they had been doing to African, Indigenous, Asian and Arab people for hundreds of years.

Throughout Asia the same story played out—the Opium Wars to colonize China, the conquest of Southeast Asia as incredibly lucrative drug colonies pumping wealth into France and Britain.

So when were things different or better than they are now?

When George Washington was a notoriously brutal owner of 318 African people who made him a wealthy man? Washington gave those whom he enslaved a daily nutritional allotment of a handful of cornmeal and fish parts.

When Thomas Jefferson was raping his 13-year-old slave Sally Hemings and threatening his human property if they approached his lush organic gardens?

When James Monroe was claiming this hemisphere as the playground and colonial toy of white North America?

When Andrew Jackson was killing the native people and skinning their corpses to make leather thongs? When president after president was carrying out the annihilation of the native people? There were sixty official “Indian Wars” to wipe out the owners of this land, by the way. Sixty Fallujahs and Abu Ghraibs right here. The Indigenous people still live in concentration camps in poverty with an average life expectancy in the 40s.

The more I study slavery as the economic impetus of this country the more it becomes clear what Omali Yeshitela states over and over again. The U.S. economy and entire social system was founded and built on these crimes against humanity.

The auction blocks and slave markets—from New Orleans to Shockoe Bottom in Richmond VA to Wall Street in New York—were the center of economic activity and development. Law firms, brokerage firms, the “stock” market, hotels, restaurants, transportation, universities were built on this. What wasn’t connected to it?

Some might say the Abolition Movement reflected positive American values. Well, Abolitionists were upper class white people who wanted to end the slave trade to make direct colonialism easier. King Leopold, who slaughtered 10 million people in Congo and cut off the hands of millions more as punishment for their refusal to harvest rubber, was an Abolitionist.

Some talk about “globalization” as the new form of economic exploitation. What’s that about? Capitalism has been global from the start—a world trade in exploitation, oppression and genocide throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas.

The promise of wealth for the Average (white) citizen in the U.S. came at the expense of slavery and genocide of others. If white immigrants came here and couldn’t get a job they usually didn’t protest at city hall. They more likely formed gangs in the Northern cities and engaged in the century-long low intensity warfare against African people who had escaped the plantations of the south and were trying to eke out a living in the north.

The New York garment industry was so dependent on cotton harvested by enslaved Africans in the south that New York City seriously considered seceding along with the confederacy in the civil war. White workers in New York rioted and lynched African people when they found out they were being drafted into the Union Army.

Lynchings throughout the south and Midwest were carried out by regular working white people who perceived their interests to be found at the expense of African people. The thousands of lynchings over the years were not furtive middle of the night escapades. They were festive events enjoyed by women, men, children and the elderly.

When African people built a self-sufficient economy of their own—sometimes it was quite prosperious—it was attacked by white mobs and burnt down as in Tulsa OK and Rosewood FL.

White people could get real estate—something never available to them in Europe—by simply becoming a pioneer, a civilian soldier carrying a gun against the native people and stealing their land. Volunteer cavalries slaughtered the native people and gleefully committed unspeakable atrocities like cutting out the vaginas and uteruses of Indigenous women and using them as hat bands and for their saddle horns.

The gold rush is glamorized but it was accompanied by state-subsidized genocide in California. For the enjoyment of all those single white men in the Sierras during the gold rush a whole economy of sex slaves grew up with the kidnapping of 10-year-old Indigenous girls who were sold for $200. Most chilling the state of California paid out more than $1 million in 1850 and 51 to white people who brought in scalps of Indigenous people.

After slavery there was convict leasing. Hundreds of thousands of African people imprisoned in concentration work camps after the civil war based on the Jim Crow laws. This went on for about 70 years. The white man’s slogan for this expendable free workforce was, “One dies, get another.” Convict leasing rebuilt the southern economy. It was responsible for about 75 percent of the economy of Alabama in the late 19th century for example.

What about the Mexican war that stole most of what is the U.S. southwest from Mexico.

What about the “splendid little” Spanish American war, that stole Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines?

What about the U.S. war on the Philippines characterized by atrocities, torture, the “water cure,” and blatant calls from Americans for genocide of the Filipino people?

The first and second world wars were wars to re-divide the world among the imperial thieves. At the end of the second world war the U.S. emerged as the leader of the capitalist world. Struggles for national liberation were rising up throughout the world—India, Kenya, Cuba, Algeria. The US. established a new policy—neocolonialism, in which a tiny elite is selected from inside a colony to carry out the will of the imperial masters.

In the 1960s the Black Power Movement emerged inside the U.S. The cry for Black Power shook this system to its foundations because it was a revolutionary movement of the colonial African population inside the U.S.’s own borders. The movement was crushed by an internal counterinsurgency plan called COINTELPRO. Headed up by the FBI COINTELPRO was responsible for the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton even as the U.S. was assassinating Patrice Lumumba and overthrowing Kwame Nkrumah in Africa.

It is a well-documented fact that as part of the defeat of the movement of the 60s the government flooded the African communities with heroin and then crack.

The illegal drug trade is estimated to be worth $500 billion a year, a commodity incredibly important to the stability of the U.S. economy as a whole. Those profits are reaped at the highest echelons of U.S. society and filter on down. Drug wealth is certainly not in the public housing projects and working class neighborhoods where African men are criminalized and locked up for life as drug “kingpins.”

Along with the drugs came the prisons that now house millions of young African and Mexican people on ‘three strikes” and mandatory minimum laws.

The prison business is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The majority of prisons are located in rural white communities whose economies went bad in the 80s under Reagan. The prisons have been essential to the economic welfare of enormous sectors of white society for the past 25 years. Towns throughout the U.S. are vying to get prison jobs and to fill those cells.

Where would the U.S. economy be if the 2 million people locked up in prisons were out on the streets looking for jobs?

Then there is the “housing bubble,” which is bursting before our eyes. Just like the gold rush and land out west, housing for the past 10 years or more has been a get-rich-quick scheme at the expense of the African community.

With low interest rates white working people could buy up houses, fix them up and “flip” them for profit. This is gentrification in the African neighborhoods, dispersing whole communities by pricing them out, forcing foreclosures on the homes of homeowners, raising property taxes, driving up rents.

Subprime mortgages have been the only mortgages available to the majority of the African community, even the middle class. With their hugely exploitive rates, these mortgages are impossible to maintain for a community that usually has zero assets. The collapse of the subprime mortgage industry will mean that 2.2 million mostly African, Mexican and other poor people will lose their homes in the next few months.

The U.S. economy is parasitic. It always has been. There are no good old days of lofty American values and principles of democracy and common good. The U.S. is in crisis today because around the world people are refusing to let America and Europe bully them to extract the resources they need to live.

Venezuela and much of South America says no to the U.S. Look at Bush’s tour of Latin America. Even the closest U.S. neocolonial puppets were forced to criticize Bush because of pressure from the people.

The people of Lebanon stood up. The Palestinian people are fighting to free themselves from U.S.-backed Israeli colonialism. The Iraqis are fighting.

Africa and African people dispersed around the world are resisting too. There is a growing organization called the African Socialist International made up of African organizations around the world. The ASI articulated the revolutionary democratic demands during the recent month-long strike and rebellions in Guinea-Conakry.

The ASI’s theme is One Africa, one nation. Africa and all its resources belong to African people everywhere. That just makes sense. Africans kidnapped to the Americas as slaves have the right to return to their homeland and enjoy the vast wealth of Africa.

The U.S. and Europe are used to walking all over Africa taking whatever they want. Those days are over. Africa is fighting back.

White people should work in the white communities to educate others of us about the truth. We can be a force inside the belly of the beast for the right of African and oppressed peoples everywhere to their national liberation and justice. It’s in our true interest as human beings to stand on the side of the rest of the world instead of holding up an old oppressive system hated by the majority of the world.

The U.S. economy is facing collapse. This is a good thing. Out of this collapse will come a just economy beneficial to the majority of people everywhere.

I think we can be about more than our bellies and our wallets. I think we can join the struggle of humankind for justice in this hideous violent world. People around the world must free themselves of this vicious violent tapeworm that feeds itself at the expense of others.

A better world is inevitable as all those who have been the objects of history for half a millennium begin to speak with their own voices, expressing their own aspirations, crafting their own destinies. All those subsisting on a dollar a day on lands worth billions of dollars are taking back what is rightfully theirs. This is the dawn of one equitable world community without war and oppression.

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