Jesse Nevel, Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, spoke at the 2017 Days in Solidarity with African People event in Huntsville.
My name is Jesse Nevel, I’m the Chair of Uhuru Solidarity Movement and a member of African People’s Solidarity Committee, which has the honor of working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party and Chairman Omali Yeshitela. Firstly I just want to salute Uhuru Solidarity Movement member Kerry Porter, who’s done an amazing job for years building white solidarity with black power in Alabama.
I want to salute Chairwoman Penny Hess of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, who for 41 years has been carrying out the mission laid out by the Party and the Chairman to win other white people to the question of reparations to African people and is a role model for all of us in this generation to be able to take up this mission as our own, and as our own future, to complete this revolutionary process.
I want to salute Dr. Aisha Fields of Party and the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP). When I was 19 years old, I went to an event in Sarasota and this is the first time I met the Uhuru Movement and I saw Penny Hess, and Dr. Aisha Fields speak. And I remember something from that day that I never forgot, something that Dr. Aisha said – that African people are not suffering from a lack of charity; African people are suffering from a lack of control of their own resources, from a lack of self-determination. Being here at this event at this amazing AAPDEP conference for the last 2 days has made that so clear. That the brilliance, the genius, of African people has had a choke hold put on it by white power and imperialism. If African people had control of their resources, there would not be a single starving African child on the planet earth. There might not be a single starving person anywhere.
I also want to salute Chairman Omali Yeshitela, the brilliance of African Internationalism, and the future that Chairman Omali and the African People’s Socialist Party has made possible for the entire planet. And for the science for the understanding that despite all the horrific things we have done, as white people – that white people are still human beings that can be won to what it means to join the rest of humanity. As the Chairman has said: when given the opportunity to be the best that human beings can be, we will rise to the occasion.
We say we’re talking about reparations and not charity. Sometimes you hear this saying: “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Well, African people know how to fish. It’s just that we have been stealing their fish; and their water. And then calling them pirates when they try to take it back, like in Somalia. So, reparations is to stop stealing the fish, and give back all the fish and the water that belongs to African people. That’s what we’re talking about.
White people have done some horrible things to the people and the planet earth. We’ve also done some horrible things to ourselves. We’ve isolated ourselves from the whole human race. What are white people? We isolated ourselves. We were isolated before- in poverty, under feudalism, and then we attacked the whole planet. Instead of saying, hey, can we have some resources, can we share? No; we were like, we’re gonna kill you and steal your stuff. This is beautiful, I’m gonna kill it. I’m gonna steal it, I’m gonna rape it. That’s what we did. And then we isolated ourselves in wealth, stolen from the rest of the planet.
When you go into a music store, there’s a section called World Music, like a separate category from the rest of the music store. That’s a microcosm of our relationship to the rest of the world. We separated ourselves from the rest of humanity and that’s a miserable existence, in a very twisted way. It’s a miserable existence to be alone on a mountain of bones, which is where we’ve placed ourselves by murdering the vast majority of people on the planet, which is the basis of our existence. We don’t even have the ability to define it, to explain it, without African Internationalism, the theory of the African working class. We come up with most ridiculous explanations. Or we just kill ourselves. It sucks. We commit suicide or do drugs or drink ourselves to death.
Throughout this conference there was an amazing workshop on mental health. And Kobina of the Party quoted Frantz Fanon, who said that the way for the colonized to be healed is to kill the colonizer; and I think we can add that the way for the colonizer to be healed is to kill the colonizer. That doesn’t mean kill yourself. Because national suicide means killing your whiteness. And all whiteness is, is our attachment to a white power social system that requires violence to survive. And it is going to die because African working class people are not going to take it anymore, they are going to be free, so this social system is going to die. And instead of dying with it, we can join with African people to celebrate its death. The beautiful thing is, this is not some anarchistic nihilistic vision of world destruction.
This is the process of the emergence of a new world. And the beautiful thing is, the Party is not even waiting to destroy this system to build a new world. They’re building it right now. And we can be part of it, through reparations and solidarity with black power.