Religion & Politics

Profiles in Black History: Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael)

Written by Sean P. McKelvey

Last week I wrote about Bayard Rustin; an essential figure in the civil rights movement, who seems basically left behind and forgotten by our history books. Unfortunately, there are a whole slew of activists that were instrumental in ushering necessary change into American society – when it needed it most – that are strangely (and suspiciously, may I add) left out of our history books. This week, I want to place a special spotlight on Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael; another shining example of someone incredibly important yet seemingly left out of history, altogether.

Kwame Ture was born Stokely Carmichael in Trinidad in 1941. He moved and resided in the United States of America from the age of 11 until his eventual exile from the states, which came later in his life. He was exiled after years of activism and academic critique of the U.S. American system that still greatly oppressed himself and basically, any and all other members of his race, at the time, anyway. Stokely Carmichael, was a very passionate and intelligent civil rights activist, who took a more controversial stance than other groups. He was certainly more in line with the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, when he said; “By any means necessary…” than others touting the idea of complete nonviolence, and simply turning the other cheek, so to speak. He was also instrumental in popularizing the Black Power movement, domestically, here in the United States. He was a vehement anti-imperialist who was also a prominent figure globally in the Pan-African movement.

He began developing the Black Power movement, and while he led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he continued developing and spreading the ideals of the Black Power movement as “Honorary Prime Minister,” of the Black Panther Party. He also led the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Ture was involved with and in the Freedom Rides – working tirelessly with the aforementioned organizations – spending countless hours organizing, lecturing, writing, and protesting for civil rights over the course of his life.

All of that activism, unsurprisingly, made him a great target for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI at the time; whom had also targeted Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and countless others in the movement, in this period of time. The COINTELPRO program was one the FBI had developed, at that time, to specifically target what they (typically, wrongfully) considered potentially “problematic” public figures, especially in the civil rights movement. One of the techniques used by COINTELPRO was called “bad-jacketing;” which was spreading disinformation campaigns amongst an organization, about an individual within the organization; specifically to falsely turn that organization against that individual. The FBI spread a disinformation campaign amongst the Black Panther Party that painted Ture as an FBI informant or snitch. This was shortly after he had been named the party’s “Honorary Prime Minister.” Hoover and the FBI targeted especially him, because they believed after Malcolm X’s assassination, he would be the next “black Messiah.” He ended up fleeing to Ghana to escape the FBI’s persecution of him; so he was really, de facto, exiled. He was also placed under CIA surveillance for years after leaving the States as a 2007, a declassified document stated.

After fleeing the US, he became the aide to the Guinean president Ahmed Sekou Toure, and was a student of Ghana’s exiled president Kwame Nkrumah (this is where he took the name Kwame Ture, as a way to honor the two African leaders). He continued writing, lecturing and traveling for years. He remained very active in activism in Africa and throughout the world, until his death in 1998. This is just a quick overview of the man’s life and achievements; there is so much more. I could spend pages writing about it; definitely worth looking up, if this article has interested you at all.

Religion & Politics

Reparations a Revolutionary Demand: White Solidarity With Black Power!

By Kristen Forthun

The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, created by the African People’s Socialist Party and Omali Yeshitela as a strategic component of the African Liberation Movement, goes into our white communities to win white solidarity with the African working class fighting for freedom, liberation, and global socialism in our lifetime. We get to participate in the global struggle of colonized people fighting back and winning against U.S. and European imperialism and global capitalism! This is the work to eradicate exploitation, oppression, and the brutal violence we see daily produced by a parasitic capitalist economic base, done in our names. 

The African People’s Socialist Party lead by Chairman Omali Yeshitela has been waging intense and successful struggle to make reparations a household word since the mid 1970’s. The discussion today is being debated internationally. Both of the white ruling class parties in the United States and the European parliament are engaging in the reparations question. Only when African people’s entire future and development is restored and when the African working class governs their own land, lives, and resources will we be anywhere close to paying what is owed to African people. 

November of 1982 The African People’s Socialist Party facilitated and organized the first; World Tribunal on Reparations to Africans in New York City. This was the first time the United States government has ever been put on trial. The Party organized the four-day long World Tribunal’s and presented the findings across the United States and Europe. An international panel of African judges decided on these four questions. 

  1. Is the United States guilty of genocide against African people in the U.S. as defined by the United Nations convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide? 
  1. Is the United States guilty of violation of the United Nations Charter as it relates to the U.S. treatment of Africans in the United States? 
  1. Is the United States guilty of violation of the spirit and intent of the International convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination? 
  1. Is the United States guilty of violation of the spirit and intent of the International Bill of Human Rights?  

In all four charges the court found the United States government guilty with unanimous decisions. 

Many of us are aware of House Bill H.R 40 to merely get approval to conduct a study on reparations. Now that the Party has the topic of reparations trending in the media, this previously blocked bill by Nancy Pelosi is on the house floor and she is also now suddenly in favor of reparations to African people. The study was conducted extensively and ruled on in 1982 during The World Tribunals.  

The Party views reparations as a revolutionary demand and part of the revolutionary struggle. As Chairman Yeshitela argued in the July, 1982 Burning Spear Newspaper “We can target U.S. imperialism in a way which will spread the struggle of the world’s peoples to the very center of imperialism itself…The World Tribunal will offer the peoples of the world an opportunity to strike back at U.S. imperialism from within, to contribute to the development of a revolutionary process within the U.S., which will be capable of eradicating the scourge of U.S. imperialism from the face of the earth.”

A decade before the World Tribunals for Reparations to Africans, the Party created the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC). The APSC is an arm of the Party consisting of white people who have dedicated their life’s work to the struggle of African liberation also known as cadre. When the Party made the call to white people in 1976 the first white person to step forward was, Penny Hess who is the Chairwoman of the APSC today and quoted below. The APSC is too extensive to delve into with this article. But the Party also created an organization for the masses of white people to unite with the freedom and victory of the African working class over parasitic global capitalism, this organization is the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM). USM consist of political organizers, aspiring Cadre and regular white people who unite with paying reparations and being members of the organization of white people who take the advanced revolutionary stance against capitalist, colonialist, white power imperialism that wreaks havoc on the majority of humanity and the planet. Some white people may not be able to study and/or do political organizing each day but they understand the incredible significance of paying what is owed to the legitimate representatives of the African working-class struggle to create global socialism. The Party, the APSC, and USM leadership appreciate and value the people above all else as the people are the makers and shapers of history and it is the people who provide saftey, protection, strength to the revolutionary struggle to completely overturn capitalist, colonialist white power imperialism.   

African and colonized people will be free with or without white people, and reparations will be taken and paid in full. The Party has found it strategic to, instead of ignore white people, to win us to solidarity with the African Liberation Movement. The Party’s advanced revolutionary theory, African Internationalism, explains that we are not, “the devil” or “aliens” that we were starving and dying in barren, feudal Europe. Half of our population died in 4 short years to plague and we violently struck out at the rest of the world to solve our problems.  

And with all of the above stated, the campaigns and institutions related to reparations and the two arms of the Party answering the question of what to do with white people are just a few pieces of the over 100 plus institutions, organizations, campaigns and programs of the African People’s Socialist Party’s body of work over the past 50 years.  
Over the last 3 years the Party has brilliantly run two white people of APSC and USM on electoral campaigns for public office with slogans like,  Unity Through Reparations. The Party has an African woman who is a Party member, Eritha Akilé Cainion whose debates and interviews have gone viral on several occasions across social media. Her last campaign was with the slogan “Make the South Side Black Again”. The “Uhuru Candidates” as our candidates have been referred to have typically been the only candidates to also have actual political platforms in place. The Party understands that elections are only a non-violent rigged contest between sectors of the ruling class for control over the state, but these elections are a way to reach the masses and the Party takes up every opening to reach the people and bring revolutionary science and leadership to the forefront.   

Members of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) made a call to white people in the 1980’s, that if we support the revolutionary struggle of the Sandinistas the best way to do that is to support the African Liberation struggle right here inside the belly of the beast in this illegitimate settler colony called the United States. This rings true if we support the struggle in Bolivia, Haiti, Iran, Venezuela, Mexico, the people in concentration camps in this country referred to as “Indian reservations”, the people in border prisons, all oppressed people who are fighting back against global capitalist, colonial, white power imperialism. When Spokane members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement are at our outreach tables in Riverfront park or at the Malls those outreach tables are directly connected to the Palestinian struggle, Bolivian struggle and the struggle of all oppressed people fighting back and winning power over their own land, lives, and resources against U.S. and European imperialism.  

The African People’s Socialist Party has been fighting for and collecting reparations for decades! They have been building the institutions and organizing the capacity to be a self-governing people once again, in control of their own land, lives, and resources.  

From Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, Penny Hess, in her book, Overturning the Culture of Violence: “We believe that the conditions exist to construct a genuinely internationalist movement among the North American population for the 1st time… Reparations, self criticism, acknowledgement are necessary. But this must be done in the process of changing real conditions in the real world…Everything that belongs to Africa must be returned; the money, the gold, the art, the skills, the materials, the people, the talents. In return, a world is created without the built-in tension brought about by the system of masters and slaves…We in the Uhuru Movement believe that the 21st century is dawning as a new era of liberation, and represents an end to a millennium of oppression and death. At the juncture that we unite in solidarity with the African Revolution, we cease to be voluntary agents of oppression, and we participate in building a hopeful future for all mankind, ourselves included. Uhuru!” – (Pg. 561-563) 

Join this army! Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement!  Take a stand as a white person who takes responsibility and steps to the forefront of a bright future for humanity!