State Repression

Two Barrels Aim at African People’s Socialist Party

By Don Fitz

With new FBI and Department of “Justice” (DOJ) attacks expected in early January, a defense, mobilization and information session attracted hundreds of allies of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP).  On Friday, December 23 they zoomed into the “Emergency Mass Meeting: Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!”  The APSP told its supporters that it expects indictments in early January 2023 and possibly sooner.

Indictments could include many more than the four names listed as “unindicted co-conspirators” during raids of July 29, 2022: Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Party Director of Agitation and Propaganda Akilé Anai, African People’s Solidarity Committee Chair Penny Hess and Uhuru Solidarity Movement Chair Jesse Nevel.

At 5 am that morning, the FBI invaded multiple St. Louis locations, including the private residence of Omali Yeshitela and his wife and APSP Deputy Chair Ona Zené Yeshitela and the Uhuru Solidarity Center, as well as the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg FL.

During the December 23 webinar, Yeshitela vividly recalled that flashbang grenades were set off and laser points were directed at his chest when he opened the door of their home, and a drone almost hit Ona when she came down the stairs.  Both of them were handcuffed and the entire Black working-class St. Louis neighborhood was under siege for hours.   The federal agents seized all of their devices, such as computers and phones, thereby seriously hampering their political work.

As reported by Toward Freedom, in St. Petersburg FBI agents lured Akilé Anai “outside her home, saying her car had been broken into. Upon opening her car, they forced her to hand over her devices.”

The FBI and DOJ claimed that the raids were sparked by Yeshitela’s having conversations with with Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian they accused of spreading “Russian propaganda.”  During the webinar Yeshitela described how insulting and demeaning it was to insinuate that the APSP is unable to analyze African people’s state of oppression and make decisions for itself but can only reach conclusions after Russians tell it what to think.

This is particularly chilling for those who do solidarity work with Latin America, Africa and Asia.  According to the precedent set by the July 29 raids and indictments, anyone who meets with any representative of another country could face criminal charges under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which the APSP expects to be used to justify their bullying.  Actions against the APSP could lay the foundation for indicting me for interviewing and writing about Cuban doctors.

Legal abuse could be leveled against everyone else who has visited the island and explained what the revolution has accomplished.  The FBI/DOJ could indict Monthly Review for publishing my book on Cuban Health Care along with every other publisher who releases books on Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries that have resisted US imperialism.

A noticeable exception would be citizens and lawmakers who meet with and are influenced by agents of Israel.  They have no reason to fear harassment.  Of course, it might be quite different for those having the temerity to meet with Palestinians.

After the raids, the Black Alliance for Peace announced that it would “concentrate its efforts on not only opposing the U.S. war agenda globally but the war and repression being waged on Black and Brown communities within U.S. borders.”

A major purpose of the December 23 webinar was to build nationwide and international support for the July 29 victims so people are prepared to respond when the indictments come down.  In light of this, the Green Party of St. Louis issued a statement which appears below.  Following it are the APSP’s “Principles of Unity” which it asks organizations to endorse. You can communicate your support at the website HANDSOFFUHURU.ORG.

The Other Barrel

What is written above only describes one barrel of the corporate state’s shotgun.  The other barrel consists of efforts to shut down the many projects under the APSP umbrella.  They simultaneously offer meaningful life-changing needs for those in poor Black US communities and provide examples of what a socialist society could look like.

The projects are part of what the APSP calls its “Black Power Blueprint” (BPB) and what socialist theorists might call “concretization” of its ideas which “prefigure” a post-capitalist society.  The BPB’s efforts may be the most extensive integration of theory and practice occurring in the US today.

Perhaps the prime example is Uhuru Wa Kulea (African Women’s Health Center) which has a vision “to provide health and self-care programs that reinforce our traditional African culture, and invest in the future of our community with doula and childbirth educator certification programs along with opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”  Concepts for the Center rely heavily on the health care system of Cuba, which now has life expectancy greater than the US, due to its focus on women and children.

APSP-related efforts also include

  • The Uhuru House Community Center which transformed a condemned building into a three-story community event and program space named Akwaaba Hall;
  • A Community Basketball Court to allow for “spirited youth programs” and tournaments;
  • Murals at the Gary Brooks Community Garden that has been in operation for two years and at the recently completed Community Basketball Court which depict “Black families controlling our own culture and food economy by planting, growing and harvesting food from the garden;”
  • Completed renovation of a 4-plex apartment building devoted to housing for the African Independence Workforce Program which creates jobs for those re-entering the Black community from the prison system;
  • The Uhuru Jiko Kitchen and Bakery/Café which, once the refurbishing of an existing commercial structure is completed, will bring African economic and cultural life to a depressed commercial area and will help stop gentrification;
  • A planned program for the Black Power Square where condemned buildings have been removed to make way for retail opportunities by utilizing shipping containers to house community-based small businesses and create jobs.

The above are in St. Louis.  APSP also runs Uhuru Foods and Pies in Oakland CA and St. Petersburg FL, a community garden/farm in Huntsville AL, furniture stores in Oakland CA and Philadelphia PA, a radio station in St. Petersburg FL and the Burning Spear newspaper.

The goal of attacking the APSP leaders is to exterminate every project and every component of the BPB which Omali Yeshitela speaks of as “building duel and contending power,” funded to a significant degree through reparations raised by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM).  The government, of course, has virtually unlimited police and legal resources at its disposal to drown out dissent.  If it can force the APSP to divert its energies and limited budget to its legal defense, the FBI/DOJ can undermine projects and terrorize solidarity activists even if it imprisons very few.

This is the message from one barrel of the snarling state:

“Don’t hope for a new life …

“don’t imagine a new world…

“and certainly don’t try to build one …

“because capitalism is all you can look forward to.”

The other barrel of the shotgun screams that efforts by US citizens to build solidarity with victims of global oppression will be met with the most vicious attacks the corporate state can muster.

Statement by Don Fitz on behalf of the Green Party of St. Louis, December 23, 2022.

The Green Party of St. Louis fully agrees with the right of African people to advocate and organize for the unification, liberation and self-determination of Africa and African People as laid out in the “Principles of Unity.”

The FBI raid of July 29 was not just against the APSP.  It was an attack on all working for social justice and liberation.

As has happened many times before, governmental violence was unleashed first against Black/African victims to serve as an example.

The Biden administration is fully responsible for opening one of the most repressive eras in US history.

We would have to go back to the racist president Woodrow Wilson and his imprisonment of Eugene Debs to find a case of people being arrested so blatantly for their political beliefs.

Even during the US war against Viet Nam, people were not arrested merely for listening to Vietnamese views or visiting North Viet Nam.

The current actions of the Biden administration are a message that no one can question his proxy war against Russia –  a message that Americans have lost the right to make their own decisions.

The events of July 29, 2022 are meant to intimidate any who stand in solidarity with movements and countries who are struggling for their liberation, such as Cuba.

They are warning that the same could happen to supporters of revolutionary Venezuela.

The FBI raids are a threat to those who defend the right of Nicaragua to chart its own course.

Indictment of Uhuru members aids and abets those criminals who overthrew the democratically elected government in Peru on Dec 7, 2022.

Biden’s proxy war against Russia gives lie to his supposed opposition to climate change.  One of the real reasons for Biden’s “Hate Russia!” campaign is to allow US corporations to corner the market of fossil fuels in Ukraine and force Europe to buy US natural gas at absurdly high prices.

Under Evo Morales, Bolivia sought to control its own lithium, a critical element for “alternative” energy.  When he was violently overthrown, the Trump/Biden supporter Elon Musk (of Tesla fame) proclaimed “We will coup whoever we want!”

The great majority of the world’s cobalt, also essential for “alternative” energy, lies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (home to many other essential minerals).  Efforts of the Biden administration to destroy the APSP reveals his plan for anyone who advocates self-determination for Africa.

 Principles of Unity

We unite with the right of African people to advocate and organize for the unification, liberation and self-determination of Africa and African People.

  • We denounce the FBI and US government’s attacks on the African Liberation Movement historically and currently
  • We demand that the US government drop the charges against any member of the African People’s Socialist Party, the Uhuru Movement and those named and implied in the indictment and warrants
  • We demand the return of all confiscated property to the Uhuru Movement and compensation for damages and payment of reparations for the attacks
  • We demand an end to FBI surveillance and infiltration of the Uhuru Movement and release of all documents on the Uhuru Movement since the 1960s
  • We denounce the assault on the anti-colonial activity and programs of the African People’s Socialist Party/Uhuru Movement such as the Black Power Blueprint and other economic institutions and projects.

Find out more about the repression!  At 6 pm CT, January 9, 2023 join the APSP update on the indictments and defense.  Click on https://handsoffuhuru.org/ and scroll to “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” to register.  At 7:30 pm CT, January 11, 2023 the Missouri Green Party will have a webinar on “The Long Story of Repression in the US.”  Email outreach@missourigreenparty.org to get information and to register.

Don Fitz (fitzdon@aol.com) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought, where a version of this article originally appeared.  He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor.  His book, Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution, has been available since June 2020.

 

Leave a Reply