Sunday, May 7, 2023

Why Anarchists Should Give a Fuck About Omali Yeshitela

“Sometimes our positions are unpopular in the short term, even among the masses, only to be vindicated as events unfold to reveal a truth that was obscured by the faulty analysis of the prevailing common perception. On such occasions we must move in opposition to the direction the masses are attempting to go. Otherwise, what is the meaning of leadership?”

-Omali Yeshitela

“The Law waits for you to stumble on a mode of being, a soul different from the FDA-approved purple-stamped standard dead meat — & as soon as you begin to act in harmony with nature the Law garottes & strangles you — so don’t play the blessed liberal middleclass martyr — accept the fact that you’re a criminal & be prepared to act like one.”

-Hakim Bey

 The name is Omali Yeshitela and maybe you've heard of him, but probably not. That's OK. It's not your fault. If you're reading this right now, odds are that you're only an American and the imperial zeitgeist demands a very short memory of its subjects, especially regarding the long history of badass motherfuckers who have resisted its dictates. I'm not special or anything, I'm just a marginalized geek with a lot of time on my hands. So, I'll do you a solid and fill you in, because in the pantheon of forgotten badass motherfuckers, Omali Yeshitela is about as bad as they come and he is currently on trial-by-empire for this sin, fighting for his life. So now seems about as appropriate a time as any for another one of my famous gonzo revisionist history lessons.

Before you can really understand Yeshitela and his importance to imperial apostates like me you have to understand exactly where he came from. Omali is a militant foot soldier in the struggle for Black Power who fought on the same battlefields as Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, H. Rap Brown and Mutulu Shakur and somehow lived to shout about it unbound. He was on the streets, in the shit, deep in the guts of Babylon during the height of J. Edgar Hoover's white supremacist jihad against the struggle for a New Afrikan consciousness and he's still fucking here. After Cointelpro and crack cocaine and Reaganomics and HIV/AIDS and the War on Drugs, Omali Yeshitela stands virtually alone as the last badass motherfucker swinging above ground and outside of a maximum-security plantation from the original Movement. All the snipers missed, and J. Edna died cursing his name. Statistically speaking, this is nothing short of a miracle.

So, above all else, Omali is a militant survivalist. Born Joseph Allen Waller in St. Petersburgh, Florida, the man who would become affectionately known by comrades as Chairman Yeshitela weathered a childhood in the ghettos of that sunny cities impoverished Gas Lamp District and four years in the white man's imperial army to become a founding father of St. Petersburgh's chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. After initiating a rash of successful boycotts to desegregate local business', Waller was infamously charged with a felony for tearing down a racist mural from the walls of St. Petersburgh's city hall. In spite of winning a landmark Supreme Court case that would help solidify this nation's standing on the use of double-jeopardy in persecuting his fellow political prisoners, Joseph Waller still spent two years in prison and over thirty years as a convicted felon before finally being granted clemency in the year 2000.

During that time, Joseph Waller became Omali Yeshitela and Omali Yeshitela declared total war against the system that wronged him and his people. He created the Burning Spear newspaper and formed and lead both the African People's Socialist Party and the international Uhuru Movement. He led the fight to free Dessie Woods after she was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing her white would-be rapist with his own gun. He led campaigns that freed wrongfully convicted death row inmates like Wilbur Lee and Freddie Pitts from the gallows. He was on the frontlines of an uprising in the streets of St. Petersburgh when that city's finest murdered an innocent Black man named Tyron Mark Lewis in 1996. He ran for mayor in 1973 and 2001 on insanely revolutionary platforms that included emptying Florida's prisons and forming a goddamn African People's Liberation Army, and did I mention that motherfucker is still fucking hear!

More importantly, so is the movement he sired, and this movement is why a reactionary post-left tranarchist like me still counts this hardcore communist as a hero in my book. I may have abandoned my traditional Marxist-Leninist dogma along with my penis years ago for a weird gumbo of post-civ Queer tribalism and radical free market agorism, but I remain inspired by any movement that can create a revolutionary alternative to modern corporate supremacy right in the here-and-now and that is precisely what Chairman Yeshitela's African People's Socialist Party has done with their groundbreaking Black Power Blueprint.

They have built a complex and self-sufficient network of institutions across three states that has successfully weaponized the free market in order to create a thriving alternative to capitalism. Women's health centers, community gardens, doula programs, ex-con workforce operations, affordable housing co-ops and scores of non-profit Black-owned small businesses. This is how you win a revolution, by creating autonomous stateless nations inside the belly of the beast and showing the people that living without a master really is as simple as just living without a fucking master. This is what drew a genderfuck hillbilly like me to embrace the values of the Black Power Movement to empower my own people in the first place. I don't care if you call yourself an anarchist, a Maoist or a goddamn Mennonite, if you can sustain a community outside of the system then you are my ally and you have won.

But all of this hard work is in peril now as Omali Yeshitela and his movement find themselves in the crosshairs of Joe Biden's Department of Justice. Nearly a year ago, the FBI conducted a series of heavily armed pre-dawn raids on the homes and offices of the APSP in St. Lois and St. Petersburgh as part of a scant 25-page indictment against Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian citizen and Moscow resident who will conveniently never have to stand trial. Ionov operates an organization barely affiliated with the APSP called the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia which the State Department claims has connections to Putin's Kremlin. The original charge was a vague allegation of "conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States." This was only replaced with a slightly less skimpy 37-page indictment last month that continues to offer just as little in the way of actual proof of wrongdoing. 

The Department of Justice now charges Chairman Yeshitela and three of his Uhuru comrades along with Ionov and two other alleged FSB agents with conducting a "multi-year foreign influence campaign in the United States." This baseless accusation basically amounts to the Russian government paying a bunch of pissed-off Black people to talk smack about the United States. But pissed-off Black people like Yeshitela have been flamboyantly calling out the United States Empire on its bullshit for over half a fucking century without requiring a Kremlin paycheck to do so. If you don't believe me, just read that motherfucker's almost hilariously bold rap sheet.

In 1968, shortly after being paroled for the high crime of desecrating minstrel art, Omali Yeshitela was arrested again for asserting that the "assassin's bullet that killed Dr. Martin Luther King also killed nonviolence." That same year, he was arrested once more for yelling "White pig!" during a sanitation strike. And in 1988, Omali was arrested again for his inappropriate comfortability with the First Amendment, this time for chanting "The police and the Klan work hand-in-hand!" in response to the police shooting of an APSP member named Kenneth Harrington. I'm not sure what part of the term 'Black Revolutionary' you people don't fucking understand but Omali Yeshitela's job is to shout theater in a crowded fire, to paraphrase another honkey fellow traveler by the name of Abbie Hoffman. 

Chairman Yeshitela has also made no secret of his willingness to meet with foreign agents over the years, a conspiracy better known as Freedom of Association. The APSP quite publicly held close relations with the sadly short-lived New Jewel Movement-led government of Grenada as well as Nicaragua's Sandinista's both during and after their revolution against the US-backed Somoza Dynasty. Omali also visited Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles to secure the endorsement of the Irish Republican Socialist Party for the APSP's long fight to secure reparations for slavery. Once again, the American Government is essentially just accusing Russia of paying a bunch of people to do what they've been doing for free for decades and this isn't the first time either. It seems like every time a charismatic Black person shouts "Black Power!" in this country they get charged with being a Kremlin spy. That's how they got rid of Marcus Garvey, that's how they indicted WEB Dubois and that's how they ruined Paul Robeson. 

The million-dollar question here is why? Why the hell is Black Power still so goddamn scary to the biggest fucking empire on earth? After all, these are the most radical of the most marginalized. As I pointed out at the beginning of this revisionist history rant, most of you motherfuckers have probably never even heard the name Omali Yeshitela before some white bitch shoved it in your face. Some of you are probably still googling Marcus Garvey, for Christ's sake. So, then what's with the big bad wolf routine from the DOJ? The answer lies in why an anarchist like me does know those names and why an anarchist like you should. These people get it. The basic core philosophy of the Black Power Movement is that all poor people are the victims of the American Empire, and we can only win when we unite, not as one globalist hegemon but as a thousand stateless third world tribes who just want to be left the fuck alone so we can live free and take care of our own in peace and dignity.

Babylon has to crush any motherfucker bad enough to speak this truth like bug before the word gets out that their temples are all made of paper and are mouths are all full of matches. Anyone who hates the state should give a fuck about the persecution of Omali Yeshitela because anyone who hates the state IS Omali Yeshitela. Let this rant be categorized as a hymnal to unapologetic solidarity across all tribes, weird and small.  Sing along if you know the words and we'll burn Babylon to the ground for a song.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Banned in DC by Bad Brains

* Hip Hop by Dead Prez

* Fall Back Down by Rancid

* Keep Ya Head Up by Tupac Shakur

* Joiner by Blondeshell

* Nazi White Trash by Leftover Crack

* Who We Be by DMX

* Anti-Curse by boygenius

* Sailin' On by Bad Brains

* Wolves by Dead Prez

1 comment:

  1. “... most of you motherfuckers have probably never even heard the name Omali Yeshitela...”
    — Nicky/CH

    Spot on Nicky, this motherfucker had never heard of Omali, notwithstanding I resided in Fla. during ‘76 & ‘77, abiding by the rule of follow the money, a quick search turned up two links:
    The 1st is Radio Free Europe’s version, this propaganda entity is funded by USAGM which obtains its loot from the USA’s (United States of Atrocities) taxpayers.

    RFE, as do all the other radio free propaganda mills, besmirch anyone who doesn’t mindlessly praise the corrupt parasite class’ system: