Uhuru Movement Exposed: The Political Cult Of Yeshitelism
The African Peoples Socialist Party has arrogantly championed itself as the ONLY revolutionay vanguard and “advanced detatchment” of the international African working class and poor peasantry for 40 years under the leadership of it’s Chairman Omali Yeshitela (fka Joseph Waller). Yeshitela who grew up as a child of the middle class at the time when very few Africans in St. Petersburg, Florida culd enjoy such a status before he joined the US military as a young man. He returned home to join SNCC and ultimately became popular for tearing down a racist mural ia a public building and going to prison for this act. While there he formed JOMO (Junta Of Militant Organizations) and launched the Burning Spear newspaper before the founding of the African Peoples Socialist Party in 1972.
Miraculously, emerging at the same time that every genuine militant and revolutionary organization in this country like the Black Panther Party, Revolutionary Action Movement, Republic of New Afrika, ect. was under fierce military attack by the state. It is my understanding that the state as part of it’s counterinsurgency strategy was propping up front “Black militant” organizations and leaders to coop the revolution or allowing non-threatening organizations that were merely into the business of spitting dogmatic rhetoric and revolutionary posturing to exist untouched. The FBI knew the function of these organizations would be to undermine legitimate “Black militant” organiations and leadership, attract and neutralize potential revolutionaries due to the internal contradictions leaving them demoralized and disillusioned about participating in revolutionary political struggle again.
As a former member of the APSP that gave mt total commitment to the Uhuru Movement for the 2 years that I was actively involved in a local, regional, and international leadership capacity, that went to prison not because of my involvement in the crime that I was accused of but for my involvement in leading peoples justice campaigns and building the APSP and InPDUM, only to have the campaign demanding my liberation sabotaged from within and above, to now be slandared and publicly attacked by the Uhuru Movement due to my principled and practical unity with Chernoh Alpha M. Bah and the African Socialist Movement of Sierra Leone as they contest the spineless neocolonialist in that country for state power in strategic districts to advance the national democrtic struggle on that front of the Worldwide African Revolution (W.A.R.) .
I declare that it is my position, based on my experience and observation of the Uhuru Movement from both the inside and outside that the APSP is at BEST a corrupt organization riddled ith internal contradictions that systematically udermines its ability to resolve its own issues and that has been allowed by the state to exist so long not because of the resilience of the leadership or correctness of the theory but because it poses no real threat to the enemy and functions to attract and neutralize genuine forces with potential to become revolutionaries. The APSP as it exist today is not the vanguard party of the African working class and poor peasantry that it arrogantly claims to be, it is the Political Cult of Yeshitelism!
A political cult is a political group organized around the charasmatic personality of single supreme leader and his/her philosophy that is revered to the point of worship by his/her followers. This figure is the totalitarian ruler of the group and is above and beyond criticism. The cult leader is the ideological “GOD” that commands that thought and action of his followers. The following neglect their own common sense and take his/her ever word at face value and defend him/her against any and all perceived attacks. This cult of personality develops within authoritarian “top-down” organizational structures in which absolute power is concentrated in the hands of an elite led by the cult leader be he/her a president, pastor, or chairman of a country, church, or vanguard party.
In the case of the APSP the cult leader is Chairman Omali Yeshitela and his hard core of mainly petty bourgeoisie careerist worship him like he is Jesus Christ. This political worship is most extreme among the members of its in house white solidarity organization; the African Peoples Solidarity Committee under the leadership of the wealthy lesbian Penny Hess. Hess and the APSC are the financial engine of the Uhuru Movement. And while they have attepted to slander Chernoh Alpha M. Bah as a capitalist and neocolonialist it is the APSP that is involved in this opportunistic relationship with the APSC. If you don’t believe me then I dare you to attack Hess or ant member of the APSC and see if the APSP doesn’t come out swinging in defense of the white hands that feed them! The fact of the matter is that when we define neocolonialism as foreign economic control with native political administration of a country, how is it any different when it is an African organization financially dependent on white contributions?
The political theory of this cult is Yeshitelism or more recently African Internationalism. Most of the ideas and borrowed concepts from other African leaders and theorist. Like a remixed Hip Hop song the words may be different but it is still the same track. Exploiting the theoretical legacies of Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, and Malcolm X Yeshitela managed to plagerize and claim as his own invention the fundamental ideals of some of our greatest minds. Most of his indoctrinated drones believe that he is in deed the originator and so he can claim a monopoly and copyright on the revolutionary ideology of the entire African revolutionary. Within the cult there is a hard line that “you are incorrect if your not a Yeshitelist”, and that the only orgnization and leader that can lead not only the African liberation movement but the worldwide Socialist revolution to it’s victory is the APSP and Chairman Omali Yeshitela. He is the “messiah” of the relvolution and his hard core followers are his disciples.
I am almost embarrassed and ashamed to even admit that I was once a loyal member in good standing of the Political Cult of Yeshitelism. After I left the Uhuru Movement I spent the remainder of my 33 month political incarceration studying and reflecting on my experience with the APSP as member after member either left or was thrown out for attempting to raise criticisms and make struggles within the organization, especially when that criticism was of Yeshitela or one of hs disciples.
The “Golden Child” of the cult is Diop Olugbala the International President of their mass organization, the International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and former Philadelphia mayoral candidate in the 2011 election. Diop grew up an army brat with both parents and acquired a college degree before joining the Uhuru Movement. I say this because the movement attempts to portray him and he typically tries to orient himself like a “street brother” from the class and conditions of the African masses in the ghetto. He is the darling of Yeshitela believed by many to be his successor. Diop is known for his bold exploits like when he led the “What about the black community?” protest at the Obama rally in St. Petersburg in 2008, or his protest of Mayoy Micheal Nutter and the subsequent “punchless shoving match” with that uncle toms goons during a city council meeting, and more recently for his bold video recorded delivery of a peoples citation to a public official in what appeared to be a pig convention resulting in the arrest of longtime Oakland organizer and former Prison Nurse Bakari Olatunji (ask Askari X about Bakri) earlier this month. What is less known and is well hidden from the public is that Diop is a deadbeat father that uses the politics as “pimp game” to sexually exploit vulnerable sisters into laying with him. Diop is a professional exploiter of African women, the type of lame ass dude that a loving and protective father warns his daughters to avoid and his sons to never be like or befriend. His sexual exploits are well know within the cult but yet he is held up as a leader worthy of emulation. His sexual exploits are not just a moral issue but a serious political problem since on many occasions it has resulted in a number of enthusiastic African women that were promising leaders becoming demoralized and neutralized after growing frustrated with the unwillingness of the leadership to hold him accountable for his crimes against these sisters and his continual elevation into the leadership of the mass organization of the cult. It should come as no surprise that Yeshitela and Diop share these attributes as chairman himself has been criticized fr the same behavior repeatedly over the last 40 years. Both are known for their participation in the exploitation of African women, and their “dare devil” protest activities. So in many ways Diop must truly remind Yeshitela of himself. It is the general culture in the cult for men to be womanizers but what do you expect when the dominant male leaders in the movement are male chauvinist?
I have engaged in discussions with dozens of active and former Uhuru members about how initially we had joined the movement because we were drawn into the rhetoric, oratory skills, and charisma of Yeshitela and believed the hyped up narrative about how the APSp is the ONLY valid organization in existence for African people and how Yeshitela was treated like the great savior and messiah figure of the revolution having survived COINTELPRO to lead the APSP for 40 straight years. Like myself many others were genuinely honest and enthusiastic about joining a so called revolutionary organization and movement. We were eager to learn the theory and organizational skills required to play an active role in the process of liberating African people and changing the entire world. We sought the self transformation that can only come through the service of our oppressed people. Many of us unselfishly gave our time and resources to the organization believing that we were involved with a legitimate revolutionary movement.
Ultimately, though we were confronted with a host of internal contradictions that many of us didn’t consciously acknowledge or truly understand until we were no longer members and could reflect with 20/20 objective vision. From the hierarchical structures that places Yeshitela as the cult leader to the petty bourgeoisie class orgins and composition of his gang of political henchmen, the lack of viable community based programs that the people themselves control, financial dependeny on the white people in the movement, hostility and lack of respect forany other organization or former members, and the general practice of exploitation and abuse of African woman by many of the men in the cult. I declare that the day has come to expose the Uhuru Movement as the Political Cult Of Yeshitelism!