More than forty years ago, Uhuru Movement founder and leader Chairman Omali Yeshitela made the explosive statement that reparations is more than simply a payout from the U.S. government; it is a function of the revolutionary struggle of African people to reclaim control over their resources and achieve self-determination and political-economic power over their lives.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s goal for the African People’s Socialist Party was to take reparations out of the classrooms and courtrooms and reclaim it as a demand of the African masses – a revolutionary demand.
The Party held the first World Tribunal on reparations in 1982 in Brooklyn, NY to indict the U.S. government for its genocide against African people. The tribunal calculated that $4.1 trillion were owed to African people, the equivalent of $14 trillion today.
The Party’s World Tribunal used international law, such as the UN’s human rights charter, on behalf of the colonized, oppressed African population to expose that African people inside the U.S. are a colonized population living under the foreign, hostile domination of the U.S. government
As the People’s Advocate at the Tribunal, the Chairman explained that the verdicts of the tribunal were legitimate but African people do not yet have the State power to enforce them. Winning State power is the task of the African People’s Socialist Party.
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela has proven, the entire economy of capitalism is based on the assault on Africa, the enslavement of African people and colonialism around the world.
Reparations are owed for more than the period of chattel slavery in the U.S., but for the ongoing oppression of African people that forms the foundation of the social wealth and opportunity available to all strata of the white population.
Reparations in practice: Party builds APSC and USM
As the Chairman has written, “Every white aspiration and dream, every expectation for happiness and a good life—from a successful marriage to a secure future for their children—requires drone strikes in Pakistan, police murders and mass imprisonment in African colonies and barrios of the U.S., and starvation and forced displacement of the oppressed throughout the world.”
The Party’s founding of the African People’s Solidarity Committee in 1976, opened a new front of the African Revolution “behind enemy lines,” as the Chairman says, by recruiting members of the white oppressor nation population to work under the Party’s leadership, going back into our own white communities to build the movement for reparations.
Material solidarity, rather than empty gestures, was required.
Our responsibility is to raise resources for the work of the Party as a concrete expression of our commitment to reparations.
This is how we can begin to right the historic wrongs of slavery, genocide and colonialism that built our lives at the expense of Africans, Indigenous and other colonized peoples.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s theory of African Internationalism has proven that the struggle is not against racism, the ideas in the minds of white people.
African people are a colonized nation dispersed around the world, fighting for power in the hands of the African working class.
Reparations is concrete. African people’s resources, hoarded in the white world, must be turned over to the Black Power Blueprint program of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, transforming the lives and conditions of the African working class in North St Louis and beyond.
As APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess wrote in a column published by The Burning Spear newspaper in 2018, “Reparations is a worldview and campaign that is only possible through joining under the direct leadership of the organized African working class in the form of the African People’s Socialist Party. It is a way of life of action in defense of the African working class and the right of the African Nation to struggle for the unification and liberation of Africa and African people everywhere.”