Today, “Behind The Headlines” host Lee Camp speaks to Omali Yeshitela, a man raided by the FBI for the crime of being a black socialist. Together, the two discuss the revolutionary black liberation movement, U.S. imperialism, racism, and the corruption of the two-party system.
In August of last year, the FBI raided the offices of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), with agents using flash-bang grenades at 5 am on a Friday to startle and arrest individuals inside its headquarters.
Yeshitela helped found the APSP in 1972, at a time when the Black Liberation movement was being similarly quashed by government forces. The group’s mission is to advocate for the rights and self-determination of African people globally. The organization has been a sharp critic of the U.S. and NATO-backed war in Ukraine and a defender of poor nations threatened by American sanctions, coups, embargoes, and blockades.
Yeshitela himself was an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s, an organization that came into existence as a bridge between the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power movement. SNCC was also harassed by the FBI, with many of its leaders arrested or chased out of the country.
It is important to note that the APSP’s activism is not limited to the United States, but extends globally, resonating with African people throughout the world. The organization’s focus on self-determination and economic development for African people is crucial in addressing the systemic issues faced by the African diaspora. The recent raid by the FBI serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to silence and repress marginalized communities and their advocates.
In addition to its political activism, the APSP also focuses on building self-sufficient and sustainable communities for African people. This includes efforts to establish cooperatives and collective ownership of land and resources, as well as programs to address issues such as housing, education, and healthcare. The organization believes that the only way for African people to truly be free is through economic and political control of their own lives and communities.
The APSP also operates the Uhuru Movement, which includes a variety of organizations working towards the same goals, such as the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, and Black Star Industries. These organizations work on various fronts, from education and cultural preservation to economic development and community organizing.
The repression faced by the APSP is not an isolated incident, but is part of a larger pattern of targeting black liberation movements and organizations. The FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) was a covert and often illegal program of the 1960s and 1970s, with the goal of disrupting and neutralizing political organizations considered to be a threat to national security. This program targeted a wide range of groups, including the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement.
The recent raid on the APSP, as well as the continued targeting of Black liberation organizations, is a reminder of the ongoing efforts to silence and repress marginalized communities and their advocates. It is crucial to support and amplify the voices of these organizations and their efforts to build self-sufficient and sustainable communities for African people.