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Understanding The State


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Analysis on The State, U.S.-backed counterinsurgencies and successful resistance movements of oppressed, colonized people throughout history. This presentation is based on the political theory of Uhuru Movement Chairman Omali Yeshitela and was developed by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC), white people organizing solidarity with the African liberation movement. APSC works under the leadership of the Uhuru Movement, led by the African People's Socialist Party. For more information, visit and

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Understanding The State

  1. 1. Understanding The State as taught by African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela
  2. 2. What is The State? <ul><li>The State is this organized bureaucracy. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the police department. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the army, the navy. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the prison system, the courts and what have you. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a repressive organization. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is The State?
  4. 4. What is The State?
  5. 5. It Protects the Status Quo <ul><li>The police become necessary in human society </li></ul><ul><li>only at that juncture in human society </li></ul><ul><li>where it is split between those who have </li></ul><ul><li>and those who ain’t got. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Definitions of The State - Lenin <ul><li>The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. </li></ul><ul><li>The state arises when, where and to the extent that the class antagonisms cannot be objectively reconciled. </li></ul><ul><li>And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Definitions of The State - Lenin <ul><li>The state is an organ of class domination , an organ of oppression , of one class by another. </li></ul><ul><li>Its aim is the creation of “ order ”, which legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the collisions between the classes. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Definitions of The State - Engels <ul><li>The state is a public force, no longer identical with the population, organizing itself as an armed power. The armed force is necessary because of the cleavage of society into classes. </li></ul>The state is not just the army, but prisons and repressive institutions of all kinds, of which ancient society knew nothing.
  9. 9. “ Democracy” is a form of the state that hides the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
  10. 10. “Democracy” – U.S. Constitution <ul><li>Freedom for White People </li></ul><ul><li>“ We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity… “ </li></ul><ul><li>Africans Called 3/5 Human </li></ul><ul><li>Article 1, Section 2, “Representatives and Taxes … shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons , excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons .” </li></ul><ul><li>Formally denied voting rights until 1965 and still disenfran- chised today! </li></ul>
  11. 11. “Democracy” – U.S. Courts <ul><li>White People: due process </li></ul><ul><li>African people: Frame-Up </li></ul>
  12. 12. “Democracy” – Police <ul><li>Friendly Neighborhood Cop </li></ul><ul><li>Terror, Violence, Murder </li></ul>
  13. 13. The state exists to protect the social system that requires the exploitation of African and colonized peoples to maintain white wealth.
  14. 14. Capitalism is Parasitic <ul><li>Built and maintained on the enslavement of African people and the genocide of the Indigenous people and the theft of their land and resources. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Entire White Society on Pedestal <ul><li>The class antagonism between white workers and our ruling class is obscured as whole white population defends its place on pedestal from African and other colonized peoples. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Africans Bear Brunt of Repression <ul><li>The full brunt of U.S. state domination is directed at African and other colonized peoples, inside the U.S. and around the world. </li></ul>
  17. 17. White Civilians Act as the State <ul><li>Historically, white people people voluntarily served in the role of the state, terrorizing African and Indigenous people. </li></ul>
  18. 18. No Law Against Lynching
  19. 19. We grew up playing white people’s state
  20. 20. White people’s state
  21. 21. Volunteer cavalry: genocide against Indigenous people
  22. 22. 1864: Volunteers get horses and plunder from Indigenous victims
  23. 23. White mobs destroy “Black Wall Street”
  24. 24. Parents taught their children
  25. 25. White people’s state
  26. 26. White support of genocide against people of the Philippines
  27. 27. 1960s: Black Power Pushes Back White People’s State
  28. 28. Civilian terror becomes illegal <ul><li>The State and police are strengthened </li></ul>
  29. 29. Thus white people in America experience prosperity, democracy Remaining complicit with the force of the State aimed at colonized peoples inside this country and around the world!
  30. 30. Life is happy on pedestal <ul><li>As long as true face of state is hidden </li></ul>
  31. 31. As long as we are removed <ul><li>Guantanamo </li></ul>
  32. 32. “National Liberation = Terrorism” <ul><li>1980s – Secretary of State Alexander Haig, under U.S. President Ronald Reagan </li></ul>
  33. 33. Counterinsurgency in U.S., abroad, main form of warfare Counterinsurgency: War against those who are struggling for liberation, self-determination
  34. 34. Counterinsurgency <ul><li>Insurgency = the masses of colonized peoples rising up to win freedom from an oppressive government. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Regime change” by another country’s army </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A military coup staged by disgruntled officers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s the just struggle of oppressed people. </li></ul><ul><li>The main mission of the U.S. and other imperialist military is to crush the people’s resistance, to “counter” the insurgency. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Counterinsurgency - White complicity <ul><li>Support for three strikes, police containment against African community </li></ul>
  36. 36. Complicity: Apathy to US war, terror against others
  37. 37. Abu Ghraib
  38. 38. U.S. backed Death Squads Latin America
  39. 39. U.S. backed attacks on Palestine
  40. 40. There has always been “fascism” against African people in U.S.
  41. 44. Counterinsurgency - Nicaragua
  42. 46. Counterinsurgency - Vietnam
  43. 47. Counterinsurgency - Iraq
  44. 48. Economic Crisis of Imperialism
  45. 49. With economic crisis white people begin to see the true face of State
  46. 50. Too Many People on the Pedestal <ul><li>It’s getting crowded! </li></ul>
  47. 51. Economic Crisis of Imperialism <ul><li>Pedestal was used by parasitic capitalists, the bourgeoisie, to have a base of support to exploit the colonies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Now, with crisis of imperialism, capitalists want to save selves, taking all your money and screwing you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bourgeoisie has no regard for white people if they can’t use us how they want. </li></ul></ul>
  48. 52. Now the face of the State is exposed to white people for the first time
  49. 53. 20,000 U.S. army troops stationed inside U.S. for first time!
  50. 54. FEMA camps
  51. 55. White people are afraid White people act like we can’t win, that the state is all powerful
  52. 56. The bourgeois State: plays a key role in defining & consolidating the Nation The State creates institutions of the nation: the police, military, the courts, taxes, the bureaucracy, etc. What Diop calls an African State was not the same as Europe
  53. 57. But African, colonized peoples have always fought against the State! 1712 and 1741--enslaved Africans waged major organized uprisings in New York city--were well organized. Twenty percent of New York’s residents were enslaved Africans. The white people called them “conspiracies” meaning they were well organized.
  54. 58. Oppressed people resist with nothing but united will At least 25 wars of resistance were waged by the Indigenous people against the colonizers between 1622 and 1774. The U.S. waged 40 official “Indian Wars” facing brilliant resistance from Indigenous people between 1775 and 1890. These genocidal wars are said to have slaughtered 45,000 Native people.
  55. 59. All around the world oppressed peoples resist State terror At the turn of the 20th century, after hundreds of years of attempting to repel the British and other European attempt to colonize them--including two British Opium Wars in the 1800s. Chinese workers and peasants organized a powerful resistance of tens of thousands of people. In addition to Britain, Russia, Japan, Germany, France and Italy were attempting to partition China as they had Africa. The Boxers targeted the colonial settlers and neocolonial traitors who had converted to Christianity. The Western powers sent in 25,000 troops to put down the rebellion which went on for over a year. The Chinese Revolution under Mao called the Boxer Rebellion the opening salvo of the Chinese peoples revolution.
  56. 60. China and Vietnam Mao Zedong led the Chinese workers and peasants revolution beginning in 1911 against the imperial Western-collaboratoring Manchu dynasty. 1949 victory of the Peoples Republic of China.
  57. 61. Cuba and Kenya From 1952-1960, the Dedan Kimathi led the courageous Kenyan Land and Freedom Army against British colonialism in Kenya. Called the Mau Mau. British counterinsurgency was vicious--hangings, almost entire Kikuyu population behind barbed wire, slander. Kenya won nominal independence in 1964.
  58. 62. Zimbabwe and Azania PAC Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, broke away from the African National Congress (the Party of Nelson Mandela) in 1959. Sharpeville massacre mobilized the people. PAC waged armed struggle against the colonial government calling for Africa for African people.
  59. 63. Palestine and Nicaragua Nicaragua FSLN, the Sandinista National Liberation Front fought against US backed dictator Somoza, winning victory in 1979.
  60. 64. Venezuela – Resist and Win Venezuela (seized back Chavez after US coup)
  61. 65. U.S. Front of the African Revolution Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X. Omali Yeshitela and the African People’s Socialist Party.
  62. 66. Black Power Movement of the 60s Black Power Movement of the 1960s shook the U.S. to its very foundations. Was an anti-colonial movement inside this country, struggle for political power after voting and civil rights were won. Defined African people as a colonial people, part of the overall African liberation struggle.
  63. 67. JOMO – Omali Yeshitela
  64. 68. Black Power Mov’t Recognized The Black Power Movement influenced and gave strength to the revolutionary movements around the world. Revolutionaries everywhere welcomed the leaders of the movement.
  65. 69. Black movement pushed back repressive McCarthy era
  66. 70. Chairman to InPDUM Conv. <ul><li>“ We recognize that this imperialism is armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the evidence of its putrescence is growing evident to the world’s peoples daily. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly the reckless behavior of U.S. imperialism today is akin to that of a wounded, fearful animal that has tasted its own blood. </li></ul><ul><li>We are not afraid and we will not flinch in the face of the reactionary response of imperialism to its crisis.” </li></ul>
  67. 71. In crisis of imperialism, individual solutions and return to white people’s state won’t work!
  68. 72. African, colonized peoples Building “Dual Power” As part of building a new, liberated society
  69. 73. Collective farms Venezuela
  70. 74. Collective organic farms Cuba
  71. 75. Black Power Movement: Collective schools, childcare
  72. 76. Collective medical clinics: Barefoot doctors
  73. 77. Building the people’s economy in Latin America
  74. 78. Uhuru House
  75. 79. Reparations Tribunal
  76. 80. AAPDEP Rainwater Harvesting
  77. 81. AAPDEP
  78. 82. Uhuru Radio / Uhuru News
  79. 83. ASI – Taking Back Africa’s Wealth People have done it… it’s doable… they’re doing it This is the future!
  80. 84. Sinking imperialism no place to be
  81. 85. Our future is in solidarity with African and national liberations