Matsemela Odom, President, International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM)
Photo from the Africans Charge Genocide Winter Encampment Tour in 2016, which followed the United Nations throughout the U.S to charge the U.S. for genocide against African people
On the morning of September 6, 2022, a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) New York branch contacted me and asked if the Africans Charge Genocide Campaign (ACG) had been concluded. Earlier that morning, the comrade had visited our website AfricansChargeGenocide.org.
For upwards of seven years, AfricansChargeGenocide.org was the address for the Africans Charge Genocide campaign petition. The URL and petition had been housed on Change.org, a supposedly independent petition website. Upon typing the url, the following message was received: “This petition isn’t available. Either the URL is incorrect, it violated our Community Guidelines, or the starter removed it.”
It was immediately clear that the ACG petition had been removed by Change.org with absolutely no explanation. Yet, the reason was apparent: Change.org removed our petition as a part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) assault and counterinsurgency campaign against the Uhuru Movement.
One part of the slanderous attacks leveled against the Uhuru Movement by the FBI was that Russians told us to organize the charge of genocide and for reparations. To any student of African history, this is laughable. Africans have fought for reparations since the 1800s and the Uhuru Movement has led the charge since the 1970s.
The charge of genocide against the United States, and other colonial powers, by Africans goes back to the late 1940s.
The real intent of the charge was to separate the Uhuru Movement from the people. It was to erase the overwhelming evidence of support and unity with the charge of genocide against the U.S. government, expressed by the over 130,000 petition signatures and solidarity statements from people around the world.
Genocide equals colonial violence
The crime of genocide emerged to condemn the European mass killing of other Europeans. The term was created in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, in his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” to describe Nazi policy. Genocide comes from the Greek word genos meaning race or people and the Latin word cidium meaning to kill.
Lemkin initiated the 1948 United Naitons (UN) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention). The Genocide Convention defined genocide as:
A. Killing members of the group;
B. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
C. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
D. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
E. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The United States refused to ratify the Genocide Convention until 1988. In the book, “The United States and the Genocide Convention” (1991), Lawrence LeBlanc proved that the U.S. opposed the convention because they believed Africans and Indigenous people would charge them with genocide. In fact, Lemkin also opposed the African charge of genocide for the same reasons.
While the crime of genocide was not created with Africans in mind, Africans understood that the term defined their conditions under colonial-capitalism.
Taking genocide to the world stage
In 1945, the National Negro Congress (NNC) was the first organization to appeal the UN on the crimes against Africans in the U.S. In 1947, W.E.B. Du Bois and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) presented an appeal to the UN.
By charging the U.S. with genocide, Africans forced colonial and neocolonial crisis. The U.S. state department, liberal bourgeois forces such as Eleanor Roosevelt, and African petty bourgeois leaders like Walter White of the NAACP opposed this.
In 1947, the NNC merged with the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) which was led by the African lawyer William Patterson. The CRC gave the greatest thrust to the campaign.
The CRC drafted “We Charge Genocide,” a 237-page petition. “We Charge Genocide” was signed and supported by Claudia Jones and her organization Sojourners for Truth and Justice, which included Queen Mother Moore, Eslonda Robeson and Shirley Graham Du Bois, as well as W.E.B. Du Bois, Benjamin Davis, and Paul Robeson.
In 1951, the CRC presented the “We Charge Genocide” petition to the UN on two occasions. Paul Robeson presented the petition to the UN in New York and Patterson presented it in Paris.
Patterson, Du Bois, Robeson, Jones, Moore and others were subsequently attacked by the FBI and the colonial State. The CRC was crushed, Jones was deported, Robeson was poisoned and Du Bois was exiled.
During the African Revolution of the 1960s, Malcolm X continued the struggle to charge the U.S. with genocide.
African working class in leadership
Since the publication of the very first serial edition of The Burning Spear newspaper in December 1969, genocide has been used to describe the historic conditions of African people.
The term appears in 323 of the 345 surviving editions of The Spear. The cover of the May 1970 Spear actually became a popular Africans Charge Genocide campaign poster.
Point 11 of the APSP 14-Point Platform, adopted in 1979 and revised in 1981, charged “the U.S. and the international European ruling class and states” with genocide and demanded reparations.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee organized the Walk Against Genocide in the late 1970s.
In 1982, the APSP established the African National Reparations Organization (ANRO) and organized the First International Tribunal for Reparations to Africans in the US. ANRO held subsequent tribunals for 12 more years.
The Uhuru Movement placed the African working class at the helm of the historic charge of genocide.
Africans Charge Genocide mobilized over 100,000
In 2015, InPDUM held the Black People’s Grand Jury and indicted Mike Brown’s killer Darren Wilson. Later that year, InPDUM organized the ACG campaign.
Comparison of the ACG banner and the We Charge Genocide cover displays the historical link. Yet, unlike the earlier efforts, InPDUM represented a civil rights movement led by a revolutionary party of the African working class.
In 2016, InPDUM leaders followed the United Nations throughout the U.S., sleeping in tents, braving the blistering cold weather in what was called the ACG Winter Encampment Tour.
Kalambayi Andenet, then president of InPDUM, spoke in front of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.
InPDUM organized ACG working groups throughout the United States and even influenced the emergence of other campaigns such as ArrestCPS. In San Diego, I led an ACG working group that brought support and political education to Africans stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Thousands of Africans and others in solidarity signed the ACG petition in support of our defense of Mike Brown, the Three Drowned Black Girls (3DBG), and the Flint Water Crisis. Thousands more united with the campaign at the onslaught of the COVID-19 colonialvirus pandemic.
The largest boost to the campaign came following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Our petition soared well over 100,000.
FBI attempts to isolate Party from the people
Those 130,000 signers expressed active unity with the Uhuru Movement and the Africans Charge Genocide campaign.
In 2020, my first-cousin signed the petition and publicly proclaimed that he “had joined [his] cousin’s movement.” It is clear that the signers of the ACG petition saw themselves as members of the movement and it is now up to us to go and capture every one of those signers and more.
Counterinsurgency and Change.org cannot separate us from the people. The people have expressed their unity and defense of the Uhuru Movement through their support of the Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! defense campaign. We must build with them by, once again, placing the Africans Charge Genocide campaign into the hands of African workers around the world.
A new petition has been created. This time it is on the InPDUM website (InPDUM.org) where we control all of the contacts and signatures. InPDUM has also organized a membership drive to win our supporters to membership and organization.
InPDUM demands a return of our website and signatures from Change.org. We also demand reparations, demanding to know what happened with the tens of thousands of dollars donated to their site in support of our campaign.
Email Change.org’s CEO Nick Allardice in support of our demands at email@example.com.
Build ACG Working Groups!
Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!
Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
(InPDUM) today: InPDUM.org