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In Defense of Historical Memory Against Imperialism

This transcript is part of a collection of remarks presented by Hood Communist editors at the Second International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Left Parties and Movements in Havana, Cuba. Click here to view the full collection. 

Presented by Musa Springer 

Thank you to the organizers of the event. We are Hood Communist and organizers with the All African People’s Revolutionary Party and the Black Alliance for Peace. Hood Communist is a publication of the revolutionary African left and the African working class. We publish by and for the masses of working class African people globally to further the objective of Pan-Africanism, the unification and liberation of the African continent and its diaspora, under scientific socialism, as defined by the worldwide Pan-African movement. The winning of Pan-Africanism would mean the end to oppression for all African people worldwide and our contribution to the global struggle to build socialism.  

Part of the work of our publication is to reclaim and reinvigorate the history of the African anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles, and to defend the historical memory of revolutionary African struggle. There has been a concerted effort of the global ruling class to erase, co-opt, and belittle this history while our revolutionary African leaders and organizations have been systematically assassinated and silenced. Individuals like Maurice Bishop of Grenada, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Patrice Lubumba in the Congo, Winnie and Nelson Mandela’s incarceration in South Africa, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the US, and the people’s movements that they represented were violently betrayed. However, as the assassinated leader of the Black Panther Party Fred Hampton said “you can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill a revolution.” 

As Africans living in the belly of the beast of imperialism we recognize that our domestic struggle against police terrorism, super exploitation, and domestic colonization are themselves part of the larger anti-imperialist struggle of the underdeveloped world. We also recognize that one major facet of our struggle is against the co-optation of our own history in service of imperialism, and against the assimilation of African people into positions of misleadership within the imperialist project. In this regard our publication serves as a vital organ in the class struggle against the African comprador class also known as the Black misleadership class.  The highest example of this comprador class was US president Barack Obama, who despite being a war criminal in every sense of the word whose actions cost the lives of millions around world, was able to convince thousands of Africans within the US to support US imperialism

Within the battle of ideas, we see our role as amplifying and popularizing the revolutionary struggles of Africans globally against imperialism and colonialism. Because of this, we face massive repression within the U.S.; more than 65 activists where I live in Atlanta, for example, were arrested last year and charged with domestic terrorism for simply protesting and distributing information about police violence and corruption. One social group named ‘Uhuru’ had several members arrested by the FBI, who were charged with alleged ties to Russia and China, and are now on trial for being socialist. These are the kinds of propaganda and lies we must fight. They call us Black people within the US terrorists the same way they call our Palestinian siblings terrorists. Thousands of Black people are killed each year by police, but we are called terrorists if we organize against this!

During the height of the Cold War when many Africans in the US were politically left there were over one hundred African-left publications challenging the politics of US imperialism. Today less than ten African (Black) centered anti-imperialist publications remain. As a part of the African (Black)-centered anti-imperialist publication network, we have assumed our place as part of the strategically organized counter propaganda. For example, in 2021 when Cuba was under attack from reactionary sectors propped up by soft power institutions like National Endowment for Democracy and USAID, our publication produced a series of propaganda in defense of Cuba. This also included an astute analysis of any racial tensions in Cuba that, at the time, were weaponized by the West and African (Black) diasporic Cubans using their identity as Africans to topple the Cuban revolution. 

With the understanding that this current political moment, as the U.S. wages war on multiple fronts with over 800 military bases world wide (including its AFRICOM command in Africa and SOUTHCOM in the Americas) requires a robust campaign of media literacy. People need to understand the fundamentals of media literacy and how to decipher truth. As such, our publication frequently produces ‘101’ essays defining imperialism, media literacy, revolutionary pan africanism, the importance of organizing, and so forth. We also push back on the U.S.’s  flippant and hypocritical use of “human rights” — a driving force behind many color revolutions backed by the U.S. (i.e. Iran, Nicaragua, etc).  We highlight the concept of a people’s centered human rights, that requires a reconceptualization of human rights from the standpoint of oppressed nations; a restructuring of prevailing social relationships that perpetuate oppression; and the acquiring of power on the part of the oppressed to bring about that restructuring necessary for international unity against imperialist forces. 

Lastly, understanding our role as organizers and journalists working within the belly of the beast, we focus greatly on solidarity. We have developed processes to republish and share the works of our comrades in Africa, including statements from various parties, articles from African movements, and other information that we share with the African working class in the United States. We understand that part of the information war waged by imperialism is the war against the free flow of information and ideas to the youth, and we must take special attention to educating and informing the youth. This is why we have worked with Cuba’s Red Barrial Afrodescendiente to facilitate over two dozen exchanges to bring Black journalists, organizers, and cultural workers to meet with Afro Cubans and see for themselves the great strides Cuba has made towards supporting Africans here and abroad.

We invite you to consider the struggle of Africans within the U.S. as itself a struggle against imperialism, and we support the notion mentioned earlier of an editorial collective where all of us in this room and other movements can share and amplify our works consistently. We must create a platform and process to share, translate, and popularize the practical and theoretical reporting on movements globally.


More from this Writer

“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth