Fighting Words Statement on Racist Indictment of African People’s Socialist Party

McCarthyism 2023 as APSP/Uhuru Targeted for Challenging U.S.’s Proxy War Against Russia

Attendees of the APSP Plenary 2017 - Members, Supporters and Friends of the African People's Socialist Party and its mass organizations
Attendees of the APSP Plenary 2017: Members, Supporters and Friends of the African People’s Socialist Party and its mass organizations. | Photo:

By Fighting Words Editorial Staff

The Fighting Words Editorial Staff vehemently denounces the racist attack on the African People’s Socialist Party and their Uhuru Solidarity Movement as a vicious attack on the Black Liberation movement, reminiscent of the U.S. McCarthy Era, where people’s freedom of speech and political associations faced criminal prosecutions and political assault.

In a press release of April 18, 2023 the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment by a federal grand jury in Florida charging four leaders of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and their Uhuru Solidarity Movement, together with three Russian nationals. Per the indictment, Ionov, one of the Russian nationals, got APSP members to “to make statements in support of the independence of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian-backed breakaway state in eastern Ukraine” and “the APSP repeatedly hosted Ionov via video conference to discuss the war, during which Ionov falsely stated that anyone who supported Ukraine also supported Naziism and white supremacy, and Yeshitela and another APSP member allegedly made statements of solidarity with the Russian government.”

Per the indictment, the four APSP/Uhuru members charged are:

  • Omali Yeshitela, a U.S. citizen residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis, Missouri, who serves as the chairman and founder of the APSP;
  • Penny Joanne Hess, a U.S. citizen residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis, Missouri, who is chairperson of the African People’s Solidarity Committee;
  • Jesse Nevel, a U.S. citizen residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, and St. Louis, Missouri, who is chair of the APSP’s Uhuru Solidarity Movement; and
  • Augustus C. Romain Jr., aka Gazi Kodzo, a U.S. citizen residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Atlanta, who once served as secretary-general of the APSP and is a founder of the Black Hammer Organization in Georgia.

We support the The Black Alliance for Peace Statement “Not since the Palmer Raids of the early 20th century, nor since the indictment of W.E.B DuBois in 1951, or the confiscation of Paul Robeson’s U.S. passport during the anti-communist “McCarthyist” era, has there been such a hysterical response to African people asserting their rights and freedom of speech in the United States. This renewed attack against anti-imperialist Africans, framed within the absurd notion of “Russian influence,” comes as capitalism decays and U.S. global hegemony loses its hold on the world. The attacks on the APSP and the Uhuru Movement are part of a historical tendency to align African political activists with U.S. “adversary” states to marginalize African internationalism (including solidarity with Cuba and Palestine, for example) and to suppress Black radicalism.”

In a Toward Freedom article; McCarthyism Resurges: Radical U.S.-Based Organizations Condemn U.S. Indictments of African People’s Socialist Party Members they point out:

“The DOJ attempted to connect the charged activists with a Russian conspiracy to interfere in U.S. elections, beginning with the 2016 election of Trump.

“Russia’s foreign intelligence service allegedly weaponized our First Amendment rights—freedoms Russia denies its own citizens—to divide Americans and interfere in elections in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

However, much evidence exists to show the United States interferes the most in other countries’ elections and democratic processes. Aside from invading 201 countries [some countries more than once] since the end of World War II [to 2001], the United States deployed 64 covert operations to subvert governments around the world between 1947 and 1989, according to political scientist Lindsey O’Rourke. Meanwhile, political scientist Dov Levin’s work found that the United States interfered in 81 elections between 1946 and 2000.”

This indictment makes the white supremacist assumption that Africans and Black Americans cannot make their own political analysis and must of course be led by foreign nationals in understanding the role of U.S. imperialism in their proxy war against Russia. It thereby attacks the very freedom of speech and right of political affiliation of the Black Liberation Movement.

Drop the Indictments Now! Hands off Uhuru!


Donate! At least $88,715 urgently needed for legal fees!

To read more background on this situation, see our previous article: FBI Targets U.S. Group for Opposing Ukraine Proxy War

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