The leadership of the African working class
We believe firmly in the leadership of the African working class. If we want to take a true progressive stand for reparations to African people then it cannot be on terms that we, as white people, define. We must embrace the leadership of the African-led movement for black self-determination and liberation.
The Reparations Legacy Project is a project of the Uhuru Solidarity movement, a white organization formed and led by the African People’s Socialist Party. We believe that all white people who want to repair the damage of colonial slavery and systemic injustice and oppression must follow the leadership of the African working class who are defining reparations on their own terms.
Reparations means solidarity, not charity or philanthropy
Charity and philanthropy are not the solutions. Charity maintains the status quo of wealth, power and resources in the hands of the white population and the ruling class. For those of us in the white community to engage in “charity” by turning over a percentage of the stolen African wealth hoarded in our communities as an act of “charity” to the resource-starved, colonized African population serves only to alleviate our own guilt and nothing more. It does not change the material conditions or the structural relations of colonial power that form the basis for the fact that white people have control of over half the world’s resources while the majority of African people live on less than 10 US dollars per day.
Reparations is not an act of charity, nor a philanthropic gift of generosity. It is the practice of material solidarity with the African-led movement for the creation of an independent, anti-colonial, liberated black working class economy that empowers African people to gain control of their own resources so that charity and philanthropy become obsolete. Reparations is a stand on the side of African people working to free up the productive forces in the African community to benefit their own people.
This is our responsibility – and in our interest.
As white people with access to financial wealth, we owe reparations. That is the plain truth. It is our responsibility whether we are business owners, CEOs or just regular white people who inherited wealth because of our place on the pedestal of the oppression of African people. We have a responsibility to play an active role in ending the system of have and have-nots built for our benefit on a foundation of the conquered lands, exploited labor and plundered resources of Africans and other colonized peoples.
A genuine stand to repair the damage that we have benefited from requires more than simply an exercise in unlearning “racism,” the ideas in our heads that we have used to justify the brutalities of colonial oppression and rationalize our unity and complicity with historic and ongoing atrocities against African and oppressed peoples.
Repairing the damage means going beyond changing the ideas in our hands and taking a stance of material solidarity with the struggle to end colonialism, the actual system of oppression of an entire people for the benefit of the colonizer population.
This is the essence of reparations in action. This is the goal of the Reparations Legacy Project.
Reparations goes to the heart of every social problem faced by the planet earth today whether it is permanent warfare, colonial attacks on Mexicans and others falsely labeled as “illegal immigrants,” ecological destruction or any other forms of injustice such as gender-based oppression.
Therefore, more than just our responsibility, this is also in our interest. Despite the short-term benefits we currently receive from colonial-capitalism, in the long term it is not in our interest to alienate ourselves from the rest of humanity. Unity through reparations is a positive future for everyone, ourselves included. The vast majority of human beings are fighting to create a world of equitable distribution of wealth where all people can live, nobody at the expense of another. This is the future we can be a part of when we join the movement for reparations.
White wealth is built on stolen African resources.
In his book An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution Versus Parasitic Capitalism, Chairman Omali Yeshitela posed the question:
“Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?”
It is impossible to quantify the mind-boggling enormity of the wealth amassed by the U.S. and European economies through the centuries-long and ongoing process of slavery, colonialism and genocide: beginning with the assault on Africa, the invasion and enslavement of millions of African human beings, transforming African people into the first commodity of capitalism and as machines of production forced to labor on plantations producing the biggest expansion of productivity in human history, the genocide against the Indigenous people of this land and the theft of their land, the plundering of African resources, minerals, silver, tobacco, coffee, rum, oil, sugar, gold, diamonds, culture, science, genius, talent, arts, knowledge, and continuing through the the exploitation of African labor that intensified after chattel slavery with the advent of convict leasing, sharecropping, the mass imprisonment of African people, redlining and gentrification, the theft of land from African farmers, and so much more.
The wealth of the white world is drenched in the blood and stolen resources, labor value, land and lives of African people. Although most depictions of African enslavement in the U.S. focus on the labor-intensive capitalism of plantation slavery in the American south, the exploitation of enslaved African people permeated every facet of the burgeoning U.S. economy. In other words, slavery was not a southern phenomenon. The hands of white colonizers in the north were also stained in blood, and slavery formed the basis for the wealth of Wall Street and the U.S. economy.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela made it clear spoke at the Occupy Wall Street gathering in Oakland, California in 2011: “Wall Street was built by enslaved African people. The ‘wall’ was to protect the stolen land from the Indigenous people themselves.”
The Reparations Legacy Project was formed to challenge white people including within the Wall Street sector and the capitalist ruling class to take actions to right the historic wrongs that underlie the foundation of our wealth. Reparations to African people is the only way forward.