Uhuru Movement

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The Uhuru Movement (Uhuru is the Swahili word for freedom.[1]) is a radical international socialist movement centered on the theory of African Internationalism, which provides a historical material explanation for the social and economic conditions of African people worldwide. The Movement has been led by the African People's Socialist Party (APSP)[2] whose chairman is Omali Yeshitela who founded the movement in 1972.

Its black members consider themselves to be African; they do not adhere to the identities given to them as a result of colonialism and enslavement. They are part of the dispersed African Nation.

The APSP has formed several organizations, each with specific tasks and purpose. Affiliated organizations include The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), African Socialist International (ASI), UhuruNews.com, African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC), Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM), Burning Spear Productions, Uhuru Foods, Uhuru Furniture,[3] All African People's Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), and African People's Education and Defense Foundation (APEDF).[4]

Political views[edit]

The Uhuru Movement's political ideology is African Internationalism, which states that capitalism was born parasitic through the attack on Africa and her people [5]. African Internationalism says that Capitalism is imperialism developed to its highest stage [6], not the other way around, as theorized by V.I. Lenin . This understanding comes from Marx's 1867 book Capital where he "spoke of the condition essential to the emergence of capitalism, which he called the 'primitive accumulation' of capital as capitalism’s starting point."[6] The 'primitive accumulation' Marx spoke about was what happened as a result of the attack on Africa and the exploitation and exportation of her resources both human and material. In fact, it was the hundreds of years of free labor and undeterred exploitation of African mineral wealth that took Europe out of the dark ages and laid the foundation of capitalist world system. Without Africa, Europe would be a barren wasteland devoid of resources.

African Internationalism is not a static theory that only refers to past conditions. It continues to explain the conditions that African people are faced today. It refers to African people who live inside imperialist centers such as the United States and Europe, as an "internal colony" [5] and that colonization is not a dead practice as it is practice now through neo-colonialism (white power in black face). From gentrification to police violence, African Internationalism explains the conditions of the oppressed and offers a way to end the oppression.

The 'Movement' has called for the release of all African prisoners in U.S. prisons, described as "concentration camps", and has described U.S. police forces as an "illegitimate standing army". They have called for the withdrawal of police forces from exploited and oppressed African communities.[7]

Members of the Uhuru Movement believe that the conditions of African people cannot improve until capitalism is destroyed which can happen through a revolution that frees and unites Africa with socialism and under the leadership of the African working class. The 'Movement' advocates for the economic and political liberation of African people on both the continent of Africa and abroad, as well building economic and sustainable development in African communities throughout the world.

Areas of work[edit]

The Uhuru Movement is a collective of organizations and institutions that were formed by the African People's Socialist Party. Each organization was created to deal with specific issues related to the conditions faced by African people under colonialism:

Political Organizations[edit]

  • The African People's Socialist Party is an African only political party who adhere to the Party's constitution. Its leading body is the National Central Committee (NCC) which is made up of the leadership of the Uhuru Movement who must be members of the Party.
  • The African Socialist International is the international manifestation of the African People's Socialist Party. Its job is to build Party organizations around the world and network with other revolutionary African organizations who unite with the principles of the African People's Socialist Party. Party members and institutions have been created in several European countries, the Caribbean and South America.
  • International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) "is the leading mass organization in the struggle for Bread, Peace and Black Power in the 21st Century." [8] Now located in three continents around the world, INPDUM has always demanded reparations, state power and self government for African people worldwide!
  • African National Women's Organization (ANWO) is the leading mass organization for African women who struggle against the colonial conditions that remove them from political life.

Community Organizations[edit]

  • All African People's Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) is an international organization establishing development projects in African communities worldwide. Its main work is in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare. It recently completed a project to help Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone.
  • African People's Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) strives to develop and institutionalize programs to defend the human and civil rights of the African community, and to address the grave disparities in education, health, healthcare, and economic development faced by the African community.

Solidarity (non-African) Political Organizations[edit]

  • African People Solidarity Committee (APSC) was founded in 1976 by the African People's Socialist Party (APSP) as a way for Euro-American European (white) people to join the African liberation struggle, working directly under the leadership of the APSP.
  • Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) is an organization of white people created by and working directly under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party. As the only organization of white people working under the leadership of the African Liberation Movement, USM is a strategic component of the revolutionary movement of African people.Their mission is to organize inside the belly of the beast, winning other white people to take a stand in solidarity with the self-defined struggle of African people for liberation, self-determination and power over their own lives and resources.

Economic Institutions[edit]

  • Uhuru Furniture Philadelphia represents the sector of Philadelphia that wants to see genuine change and support sustainable economic development by and for the African community.
  • Uhuru Furniture Oakland represents the sector of Oakland that wants to see genuine change and support sustainable economic development by and for the African community.
  • Uhuru Foods and Pies' mission is to produce and sell the freshest foods to build self-sustaining economic development, designed for the prosperity and self-determination of present and future generations of African people worldwide.
  • Akwaaba Hall in Oakland and St. Petersburg are located event rental spaces offered at a low cost to the community.
  • Burning Spear Newspaper is the voice of the international African Revolution.


  • UhuruNews.com
  • Burning Spear Publications
  • Black Power 96.3 St. Petersburg

Controversies and criticisms[edit]

The Uhuru Movement came to national attention in the United States during the 2008 Presidential campaign season when they interrupted Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, and questioned the candidate, asking "What about the black community?"[9] alleging that he was not speaking out for Africans on issues such as police brutality, high unemployment, predatory lending, and Hurricane Katrina.[10]

In 2004, Uhuru Movement's leader Omali Yeshitela was embroiled in an incident in which he tore down a Halloween display in St. Petersburg that depicted a black man hanging from a noose. Subsequent opinions[11] and letters[12] to the St. Petersburg Times regarding the incident were critical of the Uhuru Movement and Yeshitela's conduct.

The Uhuru Movement was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League ADL in engaging in demonstrations on January 3, 2009, in St. Petersburg, Florida, that the organization claims encouraged anti-Israel and anti-Zionist messages.[13]

In 2009, the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement organized a march in support of Lovelle Mixon and against the Oakland police. Mixon was an Oakland, California, resident who killed four Oakland police officers and died during a shoot out after a traffic stop, coincidentally just blocks away from the local Uhuru headquarters.[14][15] On the other hand, many black Oaklanders, as well as those belonging to other racial groups, seemed largely opposed to such sentiments,[16] a clear majority of those who regularly campaign against abuses of police power also rejected any attempt to attach legitimacy to Mixon's murder rampage[17] and Caroline Mixon, a cousin of Lovelle Mixon, paid a public tribute to the Oakland police, thanking them for serving and protecting the people of Oakland.[18]

At the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, the General Students' Committee (AStA) broke apart in April 2015 as a consequence of internal dispute over antisemitic activism after having organized an event promoting the Uhuru Movement on JGU campus in January.[19]

Preceding to this event, Uhuru leader Omali Yeshitela had delivered a speech about “the roots of racism and Zionism”, and speaking of the Shoah as “this thing they call the 'Holocaust' […] a tool, a weapon against oppressed people everywhere”.[20]

The AStA distanced itself both from the Uhuru Movement. After reelection, the new AStA claimed it would pursue antisemitic propaganda and support organizations classified as terror groups in both the European Union and in the United States.[21]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Standard Swahili-English Dictionary, Frederick Johnson. Oxford University Press (1951), pp. 138, 491.
  2. ^ "African People's Socialist Party-USA - History". Asiuhuru.org. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  3. ^ Uhuru profile, sct.temple.edu; accessed September 18, 2015.
  4. ^ "Uhuru Movement Dot Org: Welcome to the Uhuru Movement!". Uhurumovement.org. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  5. ^ a b "African People's Socialist Party-USA Constitution". uhurunews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  6. ^ a b "War abounds! Break the Silence! Join the Black is Back march on Washington Nov 3rd". uhurunews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  7. ^ Enhancing Police Integrity, Carl B. Klockars, Sanja Kutnjak Ivković, Maria R. Haberfeld. Springer (2006), p. 118.
  8. ^ "About Us | InPDUM". www.inpdum.org. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  9. ^ "Protestor Tells Why He Heckled Obama". NPR. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  10. ^ Miller, Sunlen. "Protesters: "What About The Black Community, Obama?"". ABC News. 
  11. ^ "Uhurus vs. Halloween display". St. Petersburg Times. October 23, 2004. 
  12. ^ "Uhurus went too far in destroying holiday display". St. Petersburg Times. October 23, 2004. 
  13. ^ "Israel's Action in Gaza Spurs Anti-Israel Rallies". ADL. 
  14. ^ "Dozens march for Mixon, against police", San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 2009.
  15. ^ "Calling him a 'true hero', mourners hold vigil for suspected Oakland cop killer Lovelle Mixon", New York Daily News, March 26, 2009.
  16. ^ Woman says she pointed police to Oakland killer, San Francisco Chronicle, March 23, 2009.
  17. ^ Kamiya, Gary (2009-03-28). "Oakland mourns". Salon.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  18. ^ Kuruvila, Matthai (April 1, 2009). "Killer's cousin pays tribute to Oakland cops". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009. 
  19. ^ Schmidt, Carina (April 30, 2015). "Jusos und CampusGrün: Knatsch im AStA, Zusammenarbeit geplatzt/Streit um Referentin eskaliert". Allgemeine Zeitung. Archived from the original on September 17, 2015. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Uhuru Video: Omali Yeshitela speaks on the roots of racism and Zionism". Uhuru News. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. 
  21. ^ "AStA distanziert sich von der Uhuru-Bewegung". General Students' Committee at the University of Mainz. Archived from the original on September 17, 2015.