Neo-Nazi group National Resistance on October 14, 2020, date commemorating Nazi collaborators UPA.
Black Agenda Report Editor and Columnist Ajamu Baraka has thoughts on September 11, Haiti, white supremacy in Biden’s Ukraine policy, the criminalization of dissent, and other issues.
Ajamu Baraka is Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace and an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the U.S. based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition.
The war against Africans intensifies, the puppets and stooges do as they are ordered, while others are satisfied with empty gestures. But the revolutionary path is unchanged, as Ajamu Baraka explains in his observations of the current moment.
1) The term “Black Misleadership Class,” was a popularization by the late Bruce Dixon in the pages of Black Agenda Report (BAR) of a very serious concept rooted in an understanding of the class dynamics and structures of late or monopoly capitalism in the Western colonial/capitalist states and the neocolonial state relationships between those Western states and the still colonized world – albeit with flag independence. Within the West and particularly in the U.S., Bruce and the writers at BAR identified the professional/administrative petit bourgeoisie as the “Black Misleadership class.” Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral and others identified that same petit-bourgeois and aspiring bourgeois class as the “misleaders” in Africa.
2) Today the petit-bourgeois class, from Atlanta that is championing Cop City, to Haiti where it is opening the door to another violent assault from the White West, to the puppet states in West Africa threatening intervention against Niger, are the shameless servants to white colonial power. Targeting and overthrowing that class element must be seen as a central strategic target for advancing the global African revolutionary project.
3)Uncle Tomism functions at an international level. Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries and Gregory Meeks, and Vice President Kamala Harris are all buck dancing Negros for white power.
4) Rwanda’s intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo to protect U.S. and Western mining interests, support for the racist deportation of policies of the U.K., from which deportees from African are being sent to Rwanda, to the role that Rwanda troops were solicited to play in Mozambique to protect French natural gas interests, all make president Paul Kagame the biggest Uncle Tom, house Negro on the continent.
5) The one thing the current crisis is exposing and can never be completely reversed, is the class basis of state policies. That is why a working class based political challenge, even a social democratic one, would be deeply threatening to the capitalist dictatorship.
6) South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa sent letters of invitation to 70 countries for the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa. Guess who didn’t make the cut – U.S., UK and France.
7) Even though President Ramaphosa can appear militant by not inviting key Western nations, his people will not forget that he caved to pressure from the white capitalist class in South Africa that was allowed to keep their blood money from centuries of exploiting Africans by essentially disinviting President Putin from attending in person. South African capital supported the demands from the West that Putin not attend because he is supposed to be a war criminal. Imagine that – Western nations claiming the moral high ground on international criminality.
8) How revolutionary is the call for reparations within the ongoing existence of a settler-colonial state? It seems like the way the demand for reparations is framed by non-radical liberal forces makes the issue deeply conservative.
The logic of reparations seems to depend on two things from Africans: recognition of the existing state which confers and affirms its legitimacy, even while demanding restitution or repair, and secondly and more contradictorily, the demand for reparations from the existing state creates a convergence of interest between the aggrieved group and the state to maintain the viability of the state in order for the state to be in a position to provide repair!
Even if the state conceded to the demand in whatever form agreed to – that is highly unlikely because African revolutionary forces don’t have the institutional power to force that concession from the state and if we had that power, we would be well on the way to overthrowing the state where real and substantial reparatory power would occur.
9) The responsibility of the revolutionary at the center of empire is to help to inoculate the masses against the crude propaganda that is still able to mobilize the multinational working class and colonized masses to embrace policies and a worldview that is counter to their objective interests.
10) Both bourgeois parties are involved in a systematic assault on democracy and human rights. The task of revolutionaries must be to defend democracy and struggle for people(s)-centered human rights as part of the transitional program toward socialist reconstruction.
11) For the U.S. and its Western allies, intervention in Haiti is not a criminal assault but a rescue mission even though the Haitian people said they don’t need to be rescued by the White West. What they want is for the “collective West” to stop interfering in their national affairs and respect their sovereignty.
12) After having set the stage for an armed intervention into Haiti because the Biden administration cares so much about Black life and democracy, the Biden administration searched for a Black face for its white power move on Haiti. For months it cajoled and threatened but it couldn’t find a state in the Americas region beyond the pathetic little mini states of Jamaica and the Bahamas willing to kill Haitians and die for the U.S.
13) Kenya with the help from Rwanda and the blessings of Caribbean Union (CARICOM), as the front organization, was selected to serve as the strike force for the assault on Haiti and the Haitian people. Both states were happy to accommodate and stated that they saw their role as the realization of Pan African solidarity, and, therefore, a duty.
And the response from the white left, the Black misleadership class and even some elements of the Black left to this expression of neoliberal Pan Africanism – crickets.
14) “Biden signs proclamation to honor Emmett Till with a national monument.” I can’t wait for the day when Black people reject any symbolic gestures from this settler state. We don’t want to be on your money, postal stamps and you can also take back Juneteenth but still give the people off on that day.
15) The opportunism and immorality of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is consistent with democrats who can't even call out the obvious racism of Israel.
16) Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, AOC, the squad, they all need to go. Anti-imperialists, the poor and working class have no representation in the fake capitalist democracy monopolized by two corporate parties. This is why I'm a socialist and committed to People(s) Center Human Rights and radical change.
17) We are supposed to go along with the fiction that Netanyahu is more than a white supremacist fascist and international criminal. Oh, and tell the Palestinians living under a brutal fascist occupation that you can't be a fascist and Jewish. Palestinians have human rights.
18) Before Anderson Cooper's discussion (interrogation) of Cornel West's stance on NATO and Biden's war in Ukraine, can anyone remember another anti-war voice being given space in the capitalist media at that level? But hey, in this Orwellian context we shouldn't be surprised.
Ajamu Baraka is Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace and an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the U.S. based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition.
“The structural crisis of capitalism in its neoliberal form has created a legitimacy crisis for the capitalist rulers, making the use of force a permanent strategy for maintaining their dominance.” (from the Black Alliance for Peace Website)
The U.S. recently deployed troops to Peru to shore-up the coup in that country, followed by the deployment of troops to Ecuador and the bizarre AFRICOM plan to insert Kenya and Rwanda forces all the way from Africa to Haiti to support the illegitimate Ariel Henry puppet government in that nation.
This is madness, but desperate madness!
Experiencing their worst nightmare, the French are in the process of being expelled from their African empire. They have desperately drawn the line in Niger, where they had been forced to redeploy their troops after being expelled from Mali. The military has now taken power in Niger and the people have filled the streets of its capital Niamey carrying Russian flags and demanding that the French and the U.S. be expelled from their country with their drone bases, including the mother of all drone bases in Agadez that cost over 100 million dollars to build..
We know, however, that they will not leave peacefully. The people of Iraq demanded that the U.S. leave and their forces are still there, just as they remain in Syria stealing oil and wheat. The people of Haiti demand no intervention but the arrogance and psychopathology of white supremacy compels its leaders to ignore the peoples of the world and rely on what they understand best – violence and domination.
There is no mystery as to why Western European powers are behaving this way as they face the prospect of a world in which they can no longer impose their will and extract the value produced by the world’s peoples and lands for their greater glory. They have concluded that they need to fall back on the very instrument that established Western hegemony in the first place - war in its most extreme expressions.
The violence at the center of the relationship between the European colonizer and the colonized “other” has not changed since Europeans spilled out of Europe into the Americas in 1492, only its forms have taken new shapes.
Since the end of the second imperialist war in 1945, the war that was supposed to end all wars, at least in Europe it was thought, the U.S. as the new leader of the Western imperialist world established the standard of behavior for how the colonial/capitalist West would relate to the non-European world. Even as it proclaimed commitments to human rights and democracy, the U.S. waged wars on every continent, overthrew governments, murdered and tortured anti-colonial fighters, and actively supported murderous wars by its European allies.
The colonial relationship was the lifeblood of Western dominance and colonial powers waged wars from Algeria to what became Zimbabwe to maintain that lifeline in old and new ways. Their efforts were the most brutal in parts of the world where they had significant numbers of white settlers like in Algeria, Kenya, Israel, and South Africa. Their goal was to duplicate “successful” white settler projects in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia where they used genocidal methods to conquer indigenous peoples, steal their land and often their children, and hold the survivors in colonial bondage up to this day.
But change is in the air. With the exposure of the U.S. as a paper tiger after its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its defeat in Ukraine that is yet to be announced to the U.S. population, the peoples of the global South, and in particular in Africa, are in no mood to accept the continued humiliation meted out by the institutions of White colonial/capitalist domination.
This is why when the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), working on behalf of African elites and their Western bosses, said that it would “take all measures necessary,” including “the use of force” against the Niger military within a week to restore to power the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, the response was very different from what would have occurred just a few years ago. Unlike in the past, when Western elites issued orders through their neocolonial puppets and these were followed without opposition, Algeria said that it would not sit aside if Western powers attacked Niger, similar to statements from the government of Guinea, and the military leaders of Burkina Faso and Mali threatened war if the U.S. and France attacked Niger, even if they did so through the Black face of ECOWAS.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement by popular struggle and self-defense of a world liberated from the interlocking issues of global conflict, nuclear armament and proliferation, unjust war, and subversion through the defeat of global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.” (BAP principle of unity )
The struggle for peace is the struggle against Western imperialism led by the U.S., which continues to reveal itself as the greatest existential threat to collective humanity. The U.S. shamelessly declares its commitment to the national security strategy it calls “full spectrum dominance,” the doctrine that guides its project to maintain its global (and even planetary?) hegemony. This doctrine is buttressed by European support from the nations grouped under the NATO military umbrella.
The project is to maintain and advance white power through material and institutional means. And what is meant by global white power? Western dominance through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, control over the global banking system, NATO and the other parts of the U.S. global military apparatus, and U.S. Dollar hegemony. That is how the Black Alliance for Peace defines white power.
But there is more.
White power and the ideology of white supremacy are inextricably linked. The ideology of white supremacy posits that the descendants of the peoples from the territories now referred to as Europe represent the highest examples of human development, that their culture, social institutions, religion, and way of life are inherently and naturally superior. This ideological position is normalized by the international capitalist cultural and ideological apparatus – media, entertainment industry, and Big Tech.
For the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP), white power and white supremacy “cannot be reduced to [the] individualized attitudes and values of people racialized as white. Instead, it should be seen as a structure of domination that is also ideologically embedded in every aspect of U.S. and European society to the extent that it has become normalized and, consequently, invisibilized as general common sense.”
Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Lloyd Austin, Donald Trump, Anderson Cooper, Joe Biden, Paul Kagame (president of Rwanda), William Ruto (president of Kenya) and most of the Black misleadership class in the U.S. are white supremacists.
The normalization of white supremacy and the acceptance of white power requires societal-wide self-deception, as Black philosopher Lewis Gordon argues . It not only exposes the limits of reason and history as expressed in the hegemonic liberal philosophical tradition. In the process of Eurocentrism becoming universalized through the colonial project, white supremacy and white power represent the negation of history and reason. The “coloniality of being” is not an abstract philosophical concept. It is real, and as such, is a fundamental target for us to transform in the decolonial project.
That is why we reject the premise that the European world that created what Frantz Fanon referred to as “a zones of non-being” in all the areas they colonized, completely rejecting the humanity of the colonized to undertake the most ruthless and barbaric exploitation of lands and peoples, are today concerned with well-being, humanity, democracy and “human rights” in Haiti, Niger, Cuba, Palestine, and the barrios and working-class “hoods” of the U.S.
Only the most naive would believe that Europeans today, with their newfound “humanitarianism” and “responsibility to protect,” have in fact altered the historical category of permanent “other” to which they relegated Africans and other colonized peoples’. As U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney declared in the 1857 Dred Scott decision in the U.S. settler-colonial context, Africans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
No, we will not be confused by high-minded declarations from the ruling classes of the most vicious empire in the history of humans on this planet.
The U.S. and European capitalist ruling classes continue to be committed to waging war to avert the end of white world hegemony. This is attested to by U.S. global command structures, including the over 800 military bases, the bipartisan support for the obscene military budget, NATO, and the U.S.–Russia proxy war in Ukraine. It is also demonstrated by the continued militarization of police forces, the mass-incarceration regime, and the infiltration, disruption and subversion of our organizations, including indictments of the Uhuru 3 and increased use of the category of “domestic terrorist” to criminalize opposition.
The lines of resistance are being redrawn.
Led once again by Africans on the continent and in the African diaspora, there will be popular resistance to the armed assault on Haiti. On the continent, the leadership of Mali and Burkina Faso made it absolutely clear that an imperialist attack on Niger will be understood as an attack on Mali and Burkina Faso and they would respond in kind.
The war being waged by the west has intensified. Now it is moving into a new period where its one-sided nature is being replaced with a more effective resistance. The task is clear for us: to accelerate the end of the existential threat that white world hegemony poses for collective humanity.
Ajamu Baraka is Chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace and an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the U.S. based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition.
An upcoming conference will bring Black radicals together to develop strategies for self-determination, Pan-African solidarity, and liberation.
We are immersed in the irreversible contradictions of the end of the epoch of U.S. and European capitalist domination to a world in which for the first time in more than five hundred years, the Western world will no longer be in a position to establish the rules and enforce its “order” on a global scale without effective opposition from the 90 % that makes up the rest of global humanity.
But the white world is not ready to accept the end of white world supremacy without a fight. Under the leadership of the United States, the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination has demonstrated that it is prepared to use unrestrained, murderous violence, the same tools it deployed to establish its hegemony beginning in 1492 – in order to maintain white civilizational dominance. They are delusional. Yet the commitment to the doctrine of full spectrum dominance remains the centerpiece of U.S. policy and requires the elimination of any resistance to this goal domestically.
The “liberal” use of the term “domestic terrorism,” the indictments of the cadre in the African People’s Socialist Party, the jailing of Julian Assange, the counter-intelligence infiltrations, joint-terrorist task forces, “Cop City”, Israeli training of domestic police forces, global command structures and never-ending wars are manifestations of repressive – military-first strategies being deployed by the national security apparatus of the U.S. state to shore up white power.
This is the backdrop and political context for a historic gathering of African/Black radicals beginning Friday, 23 June, to Sunday, 25 June 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The theme for this conference is “Unity in our Lifetime: Connecting the National Black Struggle for Self-Determination with Pan-Africanism .” Kamau Franklin, the founder of Community Movement Builders (CMB) and the organizational host of the gathering states that one of the main objectives of this weekend’s gathering is to “bring together Black radical organizers from all over the country to a single location to discuss the pressing issues of our liberation struggle.”
This is in line with CMB’s mission to “bring power to Black communities by challenging institutions and creating new ones that our people control,” according to Franklin. It is also why CMB is one of the main organizations fighting the establishment of a new repressive institution now popularly known as Cop City. Ashaki Binta the national organizer for the NBLM (National Unity Initiative) says that the conference, “…will be a rare and hopeful gathering of intergenerational Black freedom fighters from across the US and beyond. In our view, this conference is an historic opportunity for Black Liberation Movement forces to examine critical issues facing the movement in this period, reset the tactics and strategies needed at this stage of our struggle, and hopefully solidify a new framework for moving forward. That is our hope.”
Yet, even though there appears to be the objective need for a gathering of this sort in the midst of the deepening crisis, according to Tunde Osazua and Coco Thompson, "Some of the biggest challenges these days are getting organizers and activists in person and into one room to discuss these vital topics that affect us as an African/Black nation—domestically and globally.”
This no doubt is connected to new cultural forms of activism brought on by the covid pandemic and communication technologies. Organizations are grappling with these new challenges across the country.
Whatever the form of communication, in person or virtual, it is clear that the historical movement demands that our forces gather to work out our strategics and to build independent power because the logic of deepening crisis suggest that more repression, austerity and the violation of our individual and collective human rights is at the center of their repressive agenda.
“The panels, plenaries, workshops, and screenings at the conference must critically explore topics from “base building and mass work to ideological positioning, the non-profit industrial complex, political prisoners, policing, gender, incarceration, and the vital role of students and youth in our liberation struggle,” according to Tunde and sister Coco. The aim is to build unity among Black radical forces.
While conference organizers expect a few hundred attendees in Atlanta, the conference will stream the plenaries on Black Power Media . The panels can be viewed according to this schedule on the Community Movement Builders website.
Austerity, militarism, cultural alienation with its manifestation of mindless communal violence, xenophobia and the normalization of white supremacy are all symptomatic of the irreversible death-spiral of the U.S. settler-colonial project. With the disintegration of this project, war in all of its various forms has been embraced by the state as the mechanism for attempting to hold back historical change.
It is imperative that we recognize that reality. Pseudo-sophisticated theories that suggest that the people will be manipulated behind their backs into supporting radical change by avoiding terms the enemy has deemed a threat, like capitalism, socialism, radial democracy, and national oppression, must be rejected as opportunism.
From Cop City in Atlanta to murderous sanctions on Zimbabwe, the “collective West,” as the co-founders of the White Lives Matter More Movement, Zelensky of Ukraine, and Biden of the U.S. like to frame it, are clear on what must be done for them to maintain white capitalist/imperialist power.
The question is: is the newly constituting Black Liberation Movement ready to do what it must do to not only survive but to go on the offensive to win our collective human rights which include the right to self-determination. We will get some answers to that this weekend.
At the National Network On Cuba 2022 Fall Meeting, Cuba’s Ambassador to the United Nations Yuri Gala López explains how State Sponsors of Terrorism designation intensifies the U.S. blockade. (Photo: Bill Hackwell)
The United States has declared war against the Cuban people for more than 60 years. Terrorist designations, sanctions and military threats create great suffering in that nation. BAR contributing editor Ajamu Baraka presented these remarks at a recent International People's Tribunal on US Imperialism on Cuba .
Testimony from Ajamu Baraka:
The International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
June 10, 2023
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a Rogue State as “a nation or state regarded as breaking international law and posing a threat to the security of other nations.” This simple and neat definition not only perfectly captures the character of the relationship between Cuba and the United States, but also the character of U.S. policies toward the nations and peoples of our region and the world since its ascendancy as a global power at the end of the second imperialist war in 1945. And what was the driving interest for much of U.S. policies during the period since 1945? To prevent authentic decolonization in the Global South by incorporating emerging nations into its orbit of control.
This geostrategic objective informed the U.S. response to the Revolution in Cuba. As the U.S. consolidated as a global imperialist power at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s, there were two aspects to its foreign policy: first, its use of subversion and military power as its main instrument of hegemonic control; and secondly, its irrational fear of communism shaped the two aspects of U.S. foreign policy at the end of the decade of the 1950s and early 1960s.
The dialectical relationship of these two aspects, especially if we understand that it is the fear of communism that primarily shapes U.S. policies, explains the heavy-handed, and often counterproductive deployment of institutional and military violence by the U.S. state during this period. In the case of Cuba and other examples, the range of potentially coercive measures that might have been utilized to mitigate against what the U.S. might have defined as an uncontrollable radicalization caused by the Cuban revolution, was forestalled by the decisions made by policymakers in the U.S. to attack the revolution.
That story of subversion and violence is well documented and has been covered extensively today.
In my short remarks, I would like to share an analysis of the meaning of Cuba from the perspective of the radical, anti-colonial, anti-imperialist African revolutionary movement based in the territory known as the United States of America.
First point: We are clear: the hegemonic subversion emanating from the leading global imperialist power from the U.S. will not cease until there is a dramatic shift in the international balance of forces globally away from the U.S. and European colonial powers, but particularly in our region.
The inclusion of Cuba on a list of so-called terrorist states constructed by the number one terrorist state on the planet is a rational and unsurprising development. From the perspective of U.S. imperialism, the survival of the Cuban revolution represents an existential threat. The role that Cuba played as a guarantor state in the initial round of peace talks between the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia and the Colombian state that resulted in the Trump administration placing Cuba back on its infamous list, reveals the objective interests and intentions of imperialism. Even when the U.S. took Cuba off the list and pretended to be involved in a process of reconciliation, the objective was then as it is now – the subversion and ultimate destruction of the Cuba project. The only difference is the strategy deployed.
Second point: Democracy
Every nation, state and peoples have the right to determine for themselves how they approach the issue of democracy and governance. Socialist democracy will not and should not look anything like the phony, process oriented, narrow bourgeois democracies in the U.S. and throughout the capitalist world.
If Cuba had not developed forms of democracy suitable for the challenges of socialist construction within the context of a hostile global environment, it would not have survived. From the Committees in Defense of the Revolution to the workers formations, including the workers’ Parliament during the special period, the democratic participation of the masses took shape based on the evolving material and ideological conditions of the revolution. Those particular constructions of popular power ensured the relative stabilization of the economy under an alternative regime of social production and distribution that survived the ongoing embargo and the abandonment of socialism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc that created the special period.
Not only did Cuba survive, it did so with dignity, maintaining its commitment to “People(s)-Centered Human Rights” that saw a continuation of Cuba’s “high life expectancy, low infant mortality and universal access to health and education.”
Democracy emanates from the people; in fact, it is the sovereignty of the people. When more than 75% of the voting population participates in choosing the National Assembly this year, the comparison to U.S. turnout is stark. It also reveals the absurdity of the U.S. passing legislation like the Helms-Burton Act that demands that Cuba conduct its’ democratic processes in alignment with the false propaganda that the U.S. is a democracy, a falsity empirically documented in 2014.
For the U.S to demand that Cuba develop a system that guarantees “the rights of the Cuban people to express themselves freely,” when the private sector and state collude in the U.S. to restrict the free access to information, is as ridiculous as their demand that Cuba hold free and fair elections when in the U.S. only the rich really determine who runs and who wins elections.
Point three: People(s)-Centered Human rights (PCHRs)
Despite the more than 60 years of attempts to undermine the revolution, the commitment to ensure that the basic human rights of the Cuban people to have access to healthcare, food, education, and housing never wavered. Social justice, participatory democracy, and self-determination, the principles of PCHRs that combine civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights in a framework of collective and individual rights differentiates the PCHRs frame from the liberal, legalistic, state-centered, individualistic Western, bourgeois human rights framework.
A clear example is the fact that Cuba “spends only four per cent per person of U.S. health costs,” but has the same average life expectancy, and lower infant mortality, is another example of why the U.S. wants to see this model of PCHRs erased. Compare that to the plight of Africans in the U.S. who just experienced a genocidal assault during the covid pandemic that resulted in tens of thousands of African Americans dying because we did not having access to adequate healthcare, that compounded the persistent health conditions we suffer in our communities because of colonialist neglect and the industrial targeting of our communities.
Point Four: Race and White Supremacy
“The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the peoples of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice, unparalleled for its principled and selfless character…Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonizers. They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment, and apartheid.”
— Nelson Mandela
The African radical approach to the question of race is not abstract. We are not interested in what is in peoples’ heads and we are not concerned about whether or not someone likes us or not. We are committed to confronting the power of institutional white power in its present expression of colonial/capitalist monopoly domination.
We recognize that white supremacist ideology has been an effective weapon to both rationalize European colonial/capitalist oppression and confuse and divide colonial subjects and the working class.
Furthermore, we recognize that Western radical thought had inadequate theoretical frames for understanding all of the complex expressions of white supremacy that led to political errors in Cuba and in other revolutionary projects. Yet, while detractors of the Cuba project will attempt to weaponize the ongoing struggle against racism and racialization in Cuba, African revolutionaries who stand with Cuba assert that it is only through practice that race, and white supremacy will be defeated.
From the very beginning of the revolutionary process in Cuba, elements of the U.S. Black Liberation Movement were in an intimate relationship with the process. In the first months of the seizure of power in 1959, African Americans revolutionaries, journalists, labor leaders, congresspersons traveled to Cuba. Africans in the U.S. were informed about the events in Cuba and esthetically welcome the revolution.
When Fidel Castro traveled to New York to attend the United Nation, the U.S. administration violated its host agreements by attempting to deny Castro access to official hotels. But Black Harlem responded positively to the Cuba delegation and encouraged the delegation to stay in Harlem at the Hotel Teresa where the delegation met with various African leaders, including the famous meeting of Fidel Castro and Malcom X.
Those close relationships continued. Cuba granted political asylum to a number of members of our movement in the U.S. including Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur in 1984.
We point to the concrete commitment to defeating structures of white supremacy born by the Cuban people shedding their blood for Africa.
Cuba’s extensive and decisive role in the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa is marginalized in the dominant western discourse and narratives. Its critical contribution is not only frequently ignored, but also treated almost as if it had never occurred. However, for our struggle, we will never forget and struggle to remind new generations of Africans of the sacrifices made by Cuba in the cause for African liberation. We informed them of Operación Carlota in response to a direct and urgent request from the government of Angola and its significance as a pivotal element in the defeat of South African military forces that represented a major development in the southern African anti-colonial and national liberation struggle.
Operación Carlota lasted more than 15-years with over 330,000 Cubans serving and thousands making the ultimate sacrifice for African liberation.
That for us is how you demonstrate your commitment to the elimination of race and the structures of white supremacy!
Conclusion: What Must be the Verdict of this peoples’ Tribunal?
The overwhelming evidence over the next few days will affirm that Cuba, and by extension our region and the world, continues to be subjected to the organized gangsterism of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination.
But we also understand that a guilty verdict will not defeat imperialism. A wise individual once said material force can only be defeated by material force.
We cannot avoid the inevitable struggle that must be waged if we are to defeat the gangsters to the North. The U.S. has not hidden their strategy of confrontation, subversion, and direct military intervention.
The objective to reassert U.S. dominance in our region requires the subversion and control of the leading left projects in the region - Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
There is absolutely no commitment to upholding the principle of national sovereignty and the equality of states by the U.S. because the United States believes that our region is in its “front-yard” and the politics and economies of the governments in our region should be defined by Washington.
How do we defeat the embargo? Defeat U.S. imperialism, push the U.S. out of our region, Shut Down SOUTHCOM, complete the anti-colonial war for national liberation.
This is why the Black Alliance for Peace is building a campaign with organizations from across the region to make real the call by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that was made in Havana, Cuba in 2014 to make our region a Zone of Peace.
We aim to build awareness about the idea of a “Zone of Peace” across the Americas.
Quote from declaration:
“Building up the Zone of Peace means prioritizing People(s)-Centered Human Rights
(PCHRs) in the Americas by observing the principles of national sovereignty, equal
rights and self-determination of peoples. This requires ending the foreign military
presence and bases, as well as all structures and practices of regional militarization.
Other aspects of the Zone of Peace include exposing the lie of benevolent and
democracy-driven “humanitarianism” that fuels the soft-power imperialist projects of the
United States and NATO, as well as the Core Group, the United Nations, United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Organization of American States
(OAS). Democracy and “human rights'' as dictated by the West must be understood as no
more than ideological props.”
“…among millions of people in the global South and among the colonized and exploited working classes in global North countries, Cuba and its project will be defended and the call and struggle for socialism will continue. We see the choice. It has always been between the barbarism of the colonial-capitalist North and human freedom and transformation emerging from the South.
For nationally oppressed and exploited African peoples in the United States, we stand with the people of the South, where revolution is emerging. We will defend Cuba, support Venezuela, demand that North Korea’s sovereignty be respected, struggle against global militarization, and oppose U.S. and Western imperialism without equivocation, apology, or hesitation. We are clear on the enemy because we have seen it up close and personal since 1492.”
That is why today we still say:
All Power to the People
And in our revolutionary principles, no matter the subversive power directed at us, we continue to say there will be
No Compromise, No Retreat
Donald Trump calls Russiagate a "hoax" but it is in fact much worse. The manufactured scandal was part of successful efforts to intimidate, to censor, and to discredit opposition to state narratives. Russiagate is used to make the case for the proxy war in Ukraine. Here in the US it plays a role in subjugating the Black liberation movement. It is the 21st century version of COINTELPRO.
“trenches of ideas are more powerful than weapons.” (Jose Marti)
“...the American public was scammed.” (Donald Trump)
Six years and millions of dollars later, the “Durham report” released on May 15th confirmed once again what a few of us had the nerve to argue before all of the reports and stories that subsequently emerged – that “Russiagate” was the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the U.S. public by a section of the capitalist rulers and represented a maturing of a form of U.S. neofascism unique to this historical moment.
The public may have forgotten that during the Trump Administration U.S. Attorney General Bob Barr assigned John H. Durham as special counsel to review the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The Durham report, as it is being referred to in the media, corroborated many of the conclusions reached by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in 2019. Among the findings in the Horowitz report, was evidence suggesting that the FBI made what was referred to as “basic, fundamental, and serious errors” in applying for a warrant to surveil the Trump campaign.
However, the Durham report went further suggesting that the US Justice Department and FBI “failed to uphold their mission” when they launched their initial investigation of former president Donald Trump. What the report alluded to and what is important to remind the public of, is that the “investigation” by the FBI of the Trump campaign constituted a full-blown counterintelligence campaign. Dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” the investigation of a presidential contender from one of the two major parties allowed to conduct national presidential campaigns without overbearing legal constraints, was truly unprecedented.
The Durham report was quite explicit:
“Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their mission of strict fidelity to the law,”
In other words, the FBI operated beyond the boundaries of the law. Let’s examine what this means for the character of what is called U.S. “democracy.”
Taken together - the Mueller report that failed to uncover collusion between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign, and the Horowitz report that revealed violations of FBI protocols and which generated legal proceedings against some agents related to information used to justify launching Crossfire Hurricane, and now the Durham report - it is clear that the political and cultural phenomenon known as “Russiagate” could be legitimately characterized as a state-sponsored domestic psy-op.
Where are the criminal prosecutions?
Democrats have already cried bias since Durham was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr under Trump. One of the reasons that right-wing neoliberal corporate press disappeared the investigation was that rumors were circulating that the investigation was not going to provide additional propaganda for democrats and might even prove embarrassing for democrats who continued to insist that there was a legitimate basis for the concerns of collusion between the Russian Federation and the Trump Administration. Remember, the infamous “Steele Dossier” was paid for by the Clinton campaign and played a significant role in the mythology of Russigate.
The findings of the Durham report should be the final nail in the coffin of Russiagate, but it won’t be. The New York Times is typical of much of the coverage of the Durham report. Look at the framing from the headline of their story: “In Final Report, Trump-Era Special Counsel Denounces Russia Investigation.”
They then proceed to dismiss the report .
“Mr. Durham’s 306-page report revealed little substantial new information about the inquiry, known as Crossfire Hurricane, and it failed to produce the kinds of blockbuster revelations impugning the bureau of politically motivated misconduct that former President Donald J. Trump and his allies suggested Mr. Durham would uncover.”
The Times that pretends to be a champion of democracy is not troubled by the FBI’s “confirmation bias" and a “lack of analytical rigor” that led it to penetrate the campaign of someone running for president. Here we have a state agency injecting itself into a campaign driven by what can only be seen as a partisan bias.
For the New York Times, the damning information from the Mueller to the Durham reports, that at minimum should be seen a dangerous partisan weaponization of the FBI, is no more egregious than the state-private sector collaboration that matured during the Russiagate period that has resulted in the normalization of censorship. For the Times and most of the liberal press in the U.S., an uncritical acceptance of official political/ideological lines that are handed down from the government and capitalist elites on issues ranging from the Ukrainian war to covid strategies is not a threat but a protection against “misinformation and disinformation”!
The complete abandonment of any commitment to liberal democratic rights represented by this position once again is being translated into an open assault on the democratic and human rights of political dissenters in the U.S. The erosion of liberal democratic rights and the enhancement of the repressive capacity of the state largely constructed by neoliberalism over the last six years has made it easier once again to target the group that is always viciously targeted in moments of social and political crisis – African American radicals.
Despite the fact that the Mueller report concluded that there was no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russian Federation and that Russian election interference was largely an urban myth – the FBI’s absurd charges against the African People's Socialist Party (APSP) and its Chairman and supporters is based on the acceptance that the Russians are still involved in “malign influence” campaigns across the U.S. The FBI claims that the APSP has committed the ideological crime of “sowing dissent” among the public by their opposition to the Biden initiated war in Ukraine.
On what became “Russiagate,” the Durham report stated that FBI agents should have engaged in an “objective and honest assessment” of the information that it was basing its decision-making processes on that justified it infiltrating the Trump campaign. “Unfortunately, it did not,” writes John Durham. But that comment suggests an objectivity that is mythological.
The FBI are political police. Their mission is to protect the capitalist state and status quo. Counterintelligence is a dirty game. If activists had not stolen documents that revealed the counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) against the Black liberation movement and other left forces, we would have never known about it and charges of FBI illegality directed at our movement would have been met with charges that the allegations were indicative of discredited “conspiracy theories.”
The targeting of Omali Yeshitela and the organization and movement that he leads was a deliberate political act meant to accomplish two objectives: discredit and silence one of the sharpest and most consistent critic of U.S. imperial policies on the U.S. left and internationally, and to send a message to all of the forces on the left and right that opposition to the neoliberal state will not be without consequences.
One point that we are in agreement with the New York Times is that Russiagate will not die as long as it is a useful tool for intimidating the public. The lawlessness of the FBI is not really lawlessness, it is standard operating procedures when law is instrumental, a weapon of the class struggle. Sanctions, coups, assassinations are all illegal, but essentially that is of little importance to colonial/capitalist power. What matters to neoliberal capitalist power is “sowing discord” that might result in opposition to its program. When that happens, it does not matter if you are the leader of a wing of the bourgeoisie and former president with neofascist proclivities, or the leader of a Black socialist party, you will find yourself facing the full force of the capitalist ruling class and its state power.
Red Scares, McCarthyism, COINTELPRO, "Black Identity Extremists" are all indicative of how the colonized are treated by the state.
“America is just as much a colonial power as England ever was…what do you call second-class citizenship? Why, that's colonization. Second-class citizenship is nothing but 20th (century) slavery. How you gonna to tell me you're a second-class citizen? They don't have second-class citizenship in any other government on this Earth. They just have slaves and people who are free! Well, this country is a hypocrite! They try and make you think they set you free by calling you a second-class citizen. No, you're nothing but a 20th century slave.”
-Malcolm X,The Ballot or the Bullet
In the colonial context, the colonized have no rights that the colonizer ever really needed to recognize. Therefore, any social space that Africans in the U.S. experienced were won through resistance. The historic fight for African self-determination and liberation from the anti-human colonial/capitalist system has been an uninterrupted feature of what we claim as the “Black Radical Tradition.”
An unapologetic opposition to the U.S. colonial/capitalist project and U.S. imperialism centers the Black radical tradition, along with internationalism and a commitment to socialist transformation. It is this tradition of principled, militant resistance that has been a constant source of concern and, consequently, systematic repression of Black/African radicalism by the U.S. colonial/imperialist state.
Fascism, in its historic form within the U.S. Southern apartheid system to its contemporary expressions, spearheaded by hegemonic neoliberal capital and operating through the Democratic Party and the state’s repressive apparatuses, continues to target the organized elements of the radical Black/African movement.
The “Red Scare,” where African Americans were physically attacked and murdered for just wearing their uniforms returning from World War I, the attack on the Garvey Movement, COINTELPRO, to “Black Identity Extremists,” – the state and its paramilitary associations have waged continuous war against African/Black people since the arrival of the first Africans in what became the United States in 1619.
Therefore, the indictments brought against the African People's Socialist Party (APSP) and its Uhuru Movement mass formation should be seen as consistent with colonial practice. The only difference with these indictments is that the target is not just Black radicals. The indictments represent not only a veritable declaration of war against African/Black radicals, but left opposition in general in the U.S. This is the lesson that is strangely being missed, judging by the relative silence from left forces.
We are told from the indictments that “Russia's foreign intelligence service allegedly weaponized our First Amendment rights — freedoms Russia denies to its own citizens — to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States,” according to Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
And how was the APSP dividing “Americans?” They were sowing something referred to as “discord” by opposing the disastrous war in Ukraine initiated in 2014 when, after the U.S.- backed coup, the U.S. gave a green light to their newly installed puppet government to carry out attacks against its own citizens in Eastern Ukraine who were opposed to the coup.
With the indictments, the Biden’s administration’s message is clear. First amendment rights will only be respected as long as you are in agreement with the state. But if you are one of the still oppressed Black members of this white supremacist, settler-colonial state and you dissent from the prevailing views, not only will your first amendment rights not be recognized but you also might face criminal prosecution.
As dangerous as this is, there is also something deeply racist about the implications that oppressed Black people will only oppose U.S. foreign policies when instructed to by a foreign power. The apparent assumption this belief is based on is that Black people are only supposed to be concerned with abstract, domestic demands like demands for “racial justice” or so-called criminal reforms. International issues and specifically U.S. foreign policies are beyond the understanding of Black people and ought to be left for white folks. Of course, this racist construction contradicts the lived history of African/Black internationalism at the center of the Black radical tradition.
Yet, as absurd, and racist as this position is, it, nevertheless, represents the beliefs of members of the Justice Department, or at least is what they pretend to believe. With the indictment of members of the APSP the state claims to have uncovered a vast conspiracy between the Russians and the APSP to corrupt the ideas and perceptions of ordinary “Americans.” And what are those unassailable and unchallenged views and perceptions that ordinary “Americans” are supposed to have? Overwhelming and unanimous support for the Ukrainian war that could only be corrupted by a campaign of Russia inspired “disinformation and misinformation.”
According to the indictment, the task of the APSP was to make it appear that there was strong support in the U.S. for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and to build support for the 2015 United Nations petition that characterized U.S. treatment of African people in the U.S. as genocidal! The idea that the African People’s Socialist party or any Black radical organization needed encouragement from Russia or anywhere to take a position in opposition to U.S. imperialism and the genocidal policies of the settler-state against indigenous and Africans is racist nonsense.
The implications that opposition to the U.S. and NATO-manufactured conflict in Ukraine is ipso-facto evidence that the individual holding that view may be a Russian agent or unduly influenced by Russia propaganda is meant as intimidation. It remains to be seen if this move is an overreach on the part of the state.. However, for international audiences, the indictments is seen as the desperate move by a faltering hegemon that has lost global public opinion on the war and needs domestic ideological reinforcement.
The Fire this Time: McCarthyism Without Left Support
It is clear that the FBI, liberals’ new best friends, are still targeting Black Activists in the U.S. Why? Because for the state and for liberals, independent Black radicals are viewed as a potential if not actual internal enemies and a threat to national security.
The indictment of the APSP represents a tactical escalation that must be seen for what it is – a new declaration of war on Black radicals and by extension the uncompromised elements of the U.S. left.
The historical parallel is when the Truman administration indicted W.E.B. Dubois in 1951 as an agent of a foreign government. At that time he supposedly was an agent of the Soviet Union because as the Vice President of the Peace Information Center, he opposed war with the Soviet Union and advocated for peace and a peaceful relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
In both cases, the targeting of Black radicals reaffirms that radical Black organizations continue to be seen as security threats to the U.S. national security state. The indictments of APSP also further exposes the superficiality of its commitment to liberal values of free speech and the right to association and the more blatant turn to authoritarianism.
The crisis of capital today has resulted in liberalism losing its ability to contain forces of opposition and legitimacy. Consequently, more repressive practices were required. However, the ideological terrain had to be prepared for that to take place. Russiagate played that role.
The result? Unlike during the first McCarthy era when there was some opposition, however tentative, to the heavy hand of government repression, today, with the exception of a few left organizations and commentators from libertarians and the alt-right, the targeting of the APSP has been met with silence.
Once again, Africans will be abandoned. And once again, we are reminded that, despite the ideological mystifications from Negro politicians and confused, class reductionist leftists, the exploited and colonized African/Blacks working class has only itself to rely on to defend our right to self-determination and collective self-defense in this settler-colonial hell-hole called the United States.
raq and Libya were both targeted by the U.S. in the month of March. The anniversaries of these war crimes must be commemorated, and the nature of the US/EU/NATO war machine must be understood.
"The International Criminal Court should uphold an objective and impartial stance, respect the jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by the head of state in accordance with international law, exercise its functions and powers prudently by the law, interpret and apply international law in good faith, and avoid politicization and double standards." (Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin)
This commentary really should be part two from the piece I wrote last week in the run-up to the anti-war mobilization that took place March 18th which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. In that article I made a similar argument about why the U.S. should be seen as the greatest threat to the survival of collective humanity on our planet.
That point, however, needs to be reinforced because in typical arrogance, on the eve of that mobilization and the official March 20th date of the U.S. invasion, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for Russia President Vladimir Putin while Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Barack Obama, responsible for horrific crimes against humanity and literally millions of deaths combined in Serbia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, walk around as free individuals.
It would be comical if it was not so deadly serious and absurd. Just a couple of years ago when the ICC signaled under the leadership of the Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wanted to conduct an investigation into possible crimes in Afghanistan by the U.S. state, the Trump Administration told the court in no uncertain terms that the Court would be subjected to the full wrath of the U.S. government and the Court quietly demurred in favor of a national probe that everyone knew was a sham.
This is just part of the infuriating double standards that Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin refers to. For many in the global South, the “neutral” international mechanisms and structures created to uphold international law have lost significant credibility outside of the West.
The politicization of the ICC on the Ukrainian war and the unprincipled participation of the United Nations that provided political cover for the invasion and occupation of Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 are just two examples of how international structures ostensibly committed to upholding international law and the UN Charter are now seen as corrupt instruments of a dying U.S. and Western colonial empire.
How did we get here?
It is not a mere historical coincidence that the world became a much more dangerous place with the escalation of conflicts that threatened international peace in the 1990s. Without the countervailing force of the Soviet Union, the delusional white supremacists making U.S. policy believed that the next century was going to be a century of unrestrained U.S. domination.
And who would be dominated? Largely the nations of the global South but also Europe with an accelerated integration plan in 1993 that the U.S. supported because it was seen as a more efficient mechanism for deploying U.S. capital and further solidifying trade relations with the huge and lucrative European Market.
Central to the assertion of U.S. global power, however, was the judicious use of military force. “Full Spectrum Dominance” was the strategic objective that would ensure the realization of the “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC ). There was just one challenge that had to be overcome. The U.S. population still suffered from the affliction labeled the “Vietnam syndrome .” Traumatized by the defeat in Vietnam the population was still reticent about giving its full support to foreign engagements that could develop into a possible military confrontation.
How was this challenge overcome? Human rights.
“Humanitarian interventionism ,” with its corollary the “responsibility to protect" would emerge in the late 90s as one of the most innovative propaganda tools ever created. Produced by Western human rights community and championed by psychopaths like Samantha Power, the humanitarianism of the benevolent empire became the ideological instrument that allowed the U.S. to fully commit itself to military options to advance the interests of U.S. corporate and financial interests globally while being fully supported by the U.S. population.
With this new ideological tool, the Clinton Administration bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 without any legal basis but with the moral imperative of the “responsibility to protect.” By the early 2000s it was obvious that the U.S. was not going to be bound by international law. Operating through NATO and with the formulation of a “rules based order” in which the U.S. and its Western European allies would make the rules and enforce the order, the world has been plunged into unending wars, illegal sanctions, political subversion and the corruption of international structures that were supposed to instrumentalize the legal, liberal international order.
But white supremacist colonial hubris resulted in the empire overextending itself.
Twenty years after the illegal and immoral attack on Iraq where it is estimated that over a million people perished and twelve years after the racist attack on Libya where NATO dropped over 26,000 bombs and murdered up to 50,000 people, the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination is in irreversible decline but the U.S. hegemon, like a wounded wild beast is still dangerous and is proving to be even more reckless then just a few years ago.
The disastrous decision to provoke what the U.S. thought would be a limited proxy war with Russia that would allow it to impose sanctions on the Russian Federation will be recorded in history, along with the invasion of Iraq, as the two pivotal decisions that greatly precipitated the decline of the U.S. empire.
However, with over eight hundred U.S. bases globally, a military budget close to a trillion dollars and a doctrine that prioritizes a “military-first strategy,” the coming defeat in Ukraine might translate into even more irresponsible and counterproductive moves against the Chinese over Taiwan in the Pacific and more aggressive actions to maintain U.S. hegemony in the Americas through SOUTHCOM and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The commemoration of the attacks on the peoples of Iraq and Libya is an act of solidarity not only with the peoples of those nations, but with the peoples and nations suffering from the malign policies of this dying empire today. It is a time of rededication to peace and to justice, two elements that are inextricable. In the Black Alliance for Peace , we say that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement by popular struggle and self-defense of a world liberated from global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.
This understanding is the foundation for why we are launching with our partners, an effort to revive the call to make the Americas a Zone of Peace on April the 4th, the day the state murdered Dr. King and the date that the Black Alliance for Peace was launched in 2017.
For Africans and other colonized peoples, the task is clear. The U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination embodies the anti-life structures of colonial/capitalist oppression and must be seen as the primary contradiction facing global humanity. We recognize that other contradictions exist. We are not naive. But for the exploited and colonized peoples of this planet, until there is a shift in the international balance of forces away from the maniacs in the “collective West,” the future of our planet and collective humanity remains imperiled.
History teaches that the greatest threat to peace today is the United States. No other nation creates dangers as great as those emanating from the U.S. commitment to the doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance.
As anti-imperialist and Anti-war activists are preparing to mobilize in Washington D.C. on the 20th anniversary of the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its Western colonial allies, it is imperative that authentic anti-imperialist forces and those earnestly committed to an Anti-war principle recognize two things: the U.S. based transnational ruling class is fully invested in the doctrine of U.S. “Full Spectrum Dominance,” and as a consequence the U.S. state has become an existential threat to collective humanity on our planet.
The recognition of these two “facts” are the only basis of a politics that can unite Anti-war and anti-imperialists and mitigate the ideological and political confusion that permeates progressive politics in the U.S. that has resulted in progressives and even self-defined radicals supporting pro-imperial policies under the guise of humanitarianism and anti-authoritarianism. The Eurocentric and social-imperialist left has played a nefarious role also providing left ideological and moral cover for those same politics under the guise of opposing “authoritarianism,” usually in the global South, and in Russian or Chinese imperialism.
There is a discussion among left forces in the West that poses as a debate point the question of whether or not Western colonial/imperialist powers represent the main global contradiction or should an equal moral and political focus be on all “imperialisms,” meaning great powers such as Russia and China and nations seen as “sub-imperialist.”
This debate has an abstract character to it that reflects the kinds of speculations that petit-bourgeois forces engage in that are completely divorced from the terrible realities that one force – the Pan European Colonial/capitalist White Supremacist Patriarchy – has unleashed on global humanity, beginning in 1492 when European barbarians started to spill out of Europe into what became the Americas.
The invasion and conquering of the peoples of the Americas and the international slave trade shifting to the Americas, which resulted in millions of Africans providing free labor on indigenous lands, literally created Europe, as Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. Dubois, Gerald Horne and other anti-colonial scholars have pointed out.
The material consolidation of European rule in the form of colonial and settler-colonial imperialism was consolidated in major parts of the world, though not all, by the latter part of the 19th century. The “internal” competition among those colonial powers and confrontations with the other existing empires created the competitive redivision of the world that after two horrendous wars in the first half of the 20th century that cost the lives of millions, produced a relative global equilibrium between the colonial/capitalist camp now under the hegemonic leadership of the United States settler state and the Soviet Union. The bipolar world constituted the main configuration of power relationships for most of the 20th century, even with the de-colonizing non-aligned movement of the global South and the entry of China with the Chinese revolution of 1949.
The Chinese project of national development and the successful right-wing counter-revolution in the Soviet Union shaped the politics of last decade of the 20th century and the context of this century, including the absence of a countervailing restraint on the U.S., and an arrogant triumphalism represented in the delusional positions of Francis Fukuyama and the “Project for a New American Century.” It is the unrestrained colonial hubris of the U.S. that drove its disastrous belief that it could conduct two simultaneous wars that led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with an operational defeat in both theaters.
Yet, the expansion of NATO across Eastern Europe continued and its use as an expansionary force for Western imperialism was normalized. The U.S. military budget expanded to obscene levels that exceeded its military spending at the height of the Vietnam war. The U.S. basing system expanded and was strengthened with the creation of the U.S. African Command and the Obama Administration’s initiation of the “pivot to Asia” that generated significant support for the reorganized Indo-Pacific Command. Coups were executed and/or supported over the last two decades, and especially under the Obama Administration, in Honduras, Egypt, and Ukraine. Attempted and constitutional coups were carried out against Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Iran. Wars were initiated with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen with a greenlight given to slaughter Palestinians and for Rwanda and Uganda to wage war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and against political dissidents in Mozambique. More than forty nations are under crippling economic sanctions by the U.S. and the Western powers.
With over 800 to perhaps 1,000 military installations, depending on how one defines bases and installations, a military budget of over $800 billion that exceeds the next nine nations combined, and a national security strategy that openly declares that its strategic objective is “Full Spectrum Dominance,” we are supposed to be debating the primary contradiction and principal threat to humanity?
For the African working classes and other colonized and exploited peoples, the “debate” is one that only the comfortable petit-bourgeois, Eurocentric, national chauvinist, social imperialist left engages in. The rest of us do not have that luxury. That is not to say that there are not serious questions that have been produced by the specific geo/political and economic realities of this conjuncture. We say that despite the complexities of the moment, what is consistent is the hegemony of U.S. criminality on a global scale. Instigating a war in Europe, carrying out a terrorist attack on Nord Stream pipelines, antagonizing the Chinese on Taiwan and engaging in the reckless talk of winning a nuclear war reflect the dangerous psychopathology of decision makers in the U.S. that make them a threat to everyone.
As we come off a National Day of Action Against Police Terror in the settler-colonial state of the U.S., conscious Africans understand our relationship to the colonial state domestically and abroad. We understand that the war being waged against the Palestinians, the subversion against the revolutionary nations of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Cop City in Atlanta and the militarization of the domestic army known as the police, the strengthening of AFRICOM, the proxy war in Ukraine, are all part of the commitment to Full Spectrum Dominance. We are clear.
This is what we are reminded of on this anniversary of the U.S. war against the people of Iraq. As we said in the Black Alliance for Peace when the second stage of the manufactured war in Ukraine that began in 2014 was launched last February, to understand Ukraine we should de-center Ukraine and focus on the geo-strategic interests of imperialism, U.S. and Western imperialism!
Can this approach be the basis of a possible strategic and tactical unity between the Anti-war peace movement and the anti-imperialist movement? Perhaps. We say the Black radical peace tradition offers a way.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement by popular struggle and self-defense of a world liberated from the interlocking issues of global conflict, nuclear armament and proliferation, unjust war, and subversion through the defeat of global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy."
Today, that is still the call and must be the commitment. We want peace, but we understand there will be no peace without justice and justice means altering the international balance of forces away from the hegemony of the European colonial/imperialist states and their ruling classes.
Malcolm X was a legendary revolutionary who is still loved by millions of people. The anniversary of his assassination is an opportunity to reflect on his impact.
February 21, 1965, a diversionary scuffle broke out in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, known as Malcom X, addressed the people of Harlem and, as a result of his international standing, the people of the world. As the attention of the attendees moved toward the scuffle, at least two men approached the stage with weapons. Malcolm’s last words were “don’t do it.” But they did. Pumping Malcolm’s body with bullets and a fatal shotgun blast that took Malcolm from us physically.
What the assassins and the evil powers behind the assassination could never understand was that they did not kill Malcolm. Yes, the body of Malcolm, his energy, his physical presence was no longer with us. But as an African ancestor, his revolutionary spirit never left. It has been animating generations, of not only African anti-colonial revolutionaries, but anti-colonial revolutionaries around the world since that fatal day in 1965.
I have had the opportunity to move around the world through spaces occupied by revolutionary movements and states over the last 50 years. In the beginnings of my travels, I was struck by the consistent revolutionary iconography that I encountered. From the walls of huts that served as meeting places for activists in the forests in the global South, to grand spaces in the offices of movements that had gained some degree of state power in places like Vietnam, Nicaragua, North Korea, I would see consistently certain images – Karl Marx, Che Guevara and Malcolm X!
Malcolm is loved by the people of the world.
Malcolm’s uncompromising revolutionary spirit and political understanding of the fundamental interconnections of the domestic with the international influence a generation of emerging revolutionaries in the U.S. African/Black revolutionaries like Robert Williams and the Revolutionary Action Movement, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party and other formations understood that, “You can’t understand what is going on in Mississippi if you don’t know what is going on in the Congo.” That internationalist perspective and practice politically and structurally integrated the struggles of Africans in the U.S. into the global anti-colonial/anti-capitalist movement.
This development provided the continuity of the African/Black radical internationalism from David Walker’s appeal through the Pan African movement; Garveyism; the mobilizations against the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and the battle against fascism in Spain; anti-colonial agitation at the United Nations; the wars in Korea; Vietnam and the fight for national self-determination of African nations throughout the African world.
The anti-colonial internationalism that Malcolm embodied and our movement continued after his assassination placed Malcolm in a place of reverence throughout the colonial world. A few years ago that universal appreciation was on display in Beirut, Lebanon where anti-colonial fighters, academicians and activists joined in a week long celebration of Malcolm that included a conference that I participated in and a play written on Malcolm’s visit to Beirut in 1964 where he was first denied an opportunity to speak but as a result of the actions of students he was allowed to speak on his second visit in September of that year.
It was a moving experience to see the love and regard that people had for Malcolm, and by extension our movement.
What was Malcolm’s appeal? His simple but profound language that the oppressed and colonized instantaneously understood. On the question of liberation and human rights Malcolm reminded the oppressed that If you are not ready to pay the price required to experience full dignity as a person and as members of a self-determinant people, then you will be consigned to the “zone of non-being,” as Fanon refers to that place where the non-European is assigned. Malcolm referred to that zone as a place where one is a sub-human:
“You’re an animal that belongs in the cotton patch like a horse and a cow, or a chicken or a possum, if you’re not ready to pay the price that is necessary to be paid for recognition and respect as a human being.
“And what is that price?
“The price to make others respect your human rights is death. You have to be ready to die… it’s time for you and me now to let the world know how peaceful we are, how well-meaning we are, how law-abiding we wish to be. But at the same time, we have to let the same world know we’ll blow their world sky-high if we’re not respected and recognized and treated the same as other human beings are treated.”
The enemy of collective humanity fears liberating knowledge and the example of a Malcolm. That is why in their shortsightedness they thought that they would be rid of him if he was physically eliminated. They were wrong. Malcolm, like so many of our revolutionaries, will never die. They live in the memory and consciousness of the people and become manifest materially through the struggles of the people. Malcolm will be with us until we prevail. There are many more of us who are marked. But because we are ready to pay the ultimate price, we have no fear.
Revolutionary love brother Malcolm.
El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, Malcolm X Presente!!
Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Peace Council and leadership body of the U.S. based United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) and the Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition.