Chairman Omali Yeshitela
From the day he ripped down the racist mural from the walls of City Hall in St Petersburg, Florida in 1966, Chairman Omali Yeshitela (then known as Joseph Waller) has never stopped fighting for freedom for African people everywhere. Mobilized in his youth by anti-colonial movements around the world and the struggle for black liberation inside the U.S., Yeshitela dedicated his life to uniting and liberating Africa and African people everywhere.
In the heat of revolutionary struggle and during his early years as a political prisoner, Yeshitela was driven to discover the reasons why black people all over the world are impoverished and oppressed. Yeshitela developed the political theory of African Internationalism that understands the world through the eyes of the African working class.
Through African Internationalism the Chairman exposes the significance of Marx’s concept of the “primitive accumulation of capital,” the starting point of capitalist wealth accumulation, playing in “political economy about the same part as original sin in theology.”
Breathing life into Marx’s analysis, Yeshitela noted that “African Internationalism recognizes that the process of slavery and brigandage that consolidated the political economy, national identity and general well-being of what came to be known as Europe is the same process that results in the wretched, divided, impoverished and exploited lot of Africans and much of the world.”
Yeshitela contends that the leading force of struggle is the African and oppressed working class throughout the world against “parasitic capitalism,” embodied in U.S. and Western imperialism built on enslavement, genocide and colonialism.
In 1968 Chairman Yeshitela founded The Burning Spear newspaper that continues to be published today. Throughout the years Yeshitela has authored numerous books, pamphlets and articles, including his latest book, An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism.
In 1972, Yeshitela formed the African People’s Socialist Party which he chairs. He built the worldwide Uhuru Movement and the African Socialist International with branches now active in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and on the continent of Africa.
Many of the most critical and legendary campaigns of the African community over the past 40 years have been led by Chairman Omali and the Uhuru Movement.
The campaign to free Dessie Woods, an African woman sentenced to 22 years for killing a white attempted rapist with his own gun in the 1970s, reverberated throughout the world with its slogan, “Free Dessie Woods, Smash Colonial Violence!”
The historic Measure O, the Community Control of Housing Initiative placed on the ballot in Oakland, CA as a land and housing reform measure in 1984, won 22,000 votes and raised forever the struggle for African community control of housing.
In 1996, the Chairman united and mobilized the African community following the rebellions sparked by the police murder of 17-year-old TyRon Lewis just four blocks from the Uhuru House in St Petersburg, FL. The Chairman launched the demand for “economic development, not police containment,” forcing the U.S. government to send in the Civil Rights Commission for hearings.
Chairman Omali succeeded in making reparations a household word with the establishment of the International Tribunal on Reparations for African People which was first held in Brooklyn, New York in 1982. Hearings of the tribunal, which determined that U.S. owes African people in the U.S. $4.1 trillion in reparations for stolen labor alone, have been held thirteen times.
In 1976 Chairman Omali formed the African People’s Solidarity Committee, the organization of white people under the leadership of the Party. Chairman Omali also founded several mass organizations including the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM), which for more than 20 years has been in the forefront of defending the African community from police violence and other colonial attacks.
Other organizations created by Chairman Omali include the All-African People’s Development and Empowerment Program (AAPDEP), the African National Prison Organization (ANPO) and the Black is Back Coalition (BIB).
Throughout the years, Chairman Omali launched numerous successful African-controlled economic institutions such as Spear Graphics and the popular Uhuru Bakery Café in Oakland in the 1980s. The Party’s Uhuru Foods and Pies and Uhuru Furniture Stores are institutions that have enjoyed tremendous community-based success and support for more than 25 years.
The Chairman built Uhuru House centers in St Petersburg and Oakland, and the TyRon Lewis Community Gym, Uhuru Radio and UhuruNews.com based at Party headquarters.
In 2012 the Africa People’s Socialist Party launched Black Star Industries bringing all of the economic institutions of the Party under one umbrella and creating partnerships with community members.
Following a worldwide speaking tour in 2013, Chairman Omali convened the African People’s Socialist Party Sixth Congress in St. Petersburg, FL.
In 2014 Chairman Omali published his historic new book, An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism and led a month-long Cadre Intensive in St. Petersburg, attended by Party members from Africa, the U.S. and Europe.
The Chairman and Party members organized on the ground in Ferguson, MO following the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The Chairman spoke to churches and to the national mobilization to Ferguson. His video commentaries summing up the situation in Ferguson went viral.
Today, Chairman Omali Yeshitela speaks to his growing base of Party organizations, members and supporters around the world. He writes and actively leads the worldwide movement for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere.