On Aug. 5 a press conference was held by the December 12th Movement International Secretariat in Brooklyn, New York, in defense and solidarity with the African People’s Socialist Party/UHURU Movement. “On July 29th the FBI broke into the St. Louis home of African People’s Socialist Party Chairman Omali Yeshitela and his wife, Ona Zene Yeshitela, drug them into the street and forced them to sit for hours on the curb in handcuffs. They employed similar tactics at the St. Petersburg, Florida and St. Louis offices of the UHURU Movement. These illegal and fascistic attacks are not just an assault on the African People’s Socialist Party/UHURU Movement (APSP) but on the entire Black Liberation Movement.
“These attacks occur now because the U.S. is in the midst of a severe political economic crisis. Domestically, the living conditions, the quality of life of most people are deteriorating. Internationally, U.S. political and economic influence is waning,” stated spokesperson Roger Wareham.
The press conference garnered a large, diverse group of organizations and elected officials who stood in solidarity and in defense of the ASPS including, the International Democratic People’s UHURU Movement, Black Is Back Coalition, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee NY, KOMOKODA NY (Haiti), Struggle La Lucha, People’s Organization for Progress (POP) NJ, Cuba Sí, Friends & Family of Mumia Abu Jamal (MOVE) PA, National Lawyers Guild, Al Awda NY (Palestine), NYC Councilman Charles Barron, NYS Senator Jabari Brisport, and many others.
Brother Fyc, of the International Democratic People’s UHURU Movement stated, “We say Uhuru because Uhuru means freedom and it’s used as a greeting amongst our comrades. Because freedom needs to be on our minds 24/7/365. That’s exactly why the FBI raided our offices in St. Petersburg and St. Louis. There are many different institutions that the movement has built and these are the things that caused the FBI to come down on us.”
Black Is Back Coalition spokesperson, Lisa Davis, declared, “There is no place I’d rather be this morning. Since we live under this racist, disgraceful, oppressive government. I’d rather be living free, but there is no place else rather than standing here on this side of the struggle with all my comrades. The Black Is Back Coalition is 100 % behind our Chairperson Omali Yeshitela. That vicious scurrilous attack, although nothing new, was a warning shot to let us know that COINTELPRO never went anywhere and we know that. It is fully operating.”
Focusing on the legal issues, Colin Pariot of National Lawyers Guild international committee explained, “The FBI has claimed that these raids were intended to root out foreign influence in U.S. policy. Specifically attacking community activists who dare to express solidarity with people oppressed by the U.S. and its allies across the globe. This is not the first time that the FBI has used these same kinds of charges under the Foreign Agent Registration Act to criminalize international solidarity. But you do not have to be a foreign agent to recognize the role of U.S. imperialism to understand the material interests of communities here in the U.S. are directly tied to those of people living under the boot of imperialism around the world.”