In 1982, the African People’s Socialist Party hosted the first annual World Tribunal on Reparations.
APSP’s chairman, Omali Yeshitela, and the APSP organized the first World Tribunal on Reparations to African People in the U.S. on November 13 and 14, 1982, in Brooklyn, New York.
The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) is a pan-Africanist political party with a focus on reparations. The APSP was formed in May 1972 by the merger of three Black power organizations based in Florida–the Junta of Militant Organizations (JOMO), based in St. Petersburg and led by Yeshitela; the Black Rights Fighters based in Ft. Myers, directed by Lawrence Mann; and the Black Study Group based in Gainesville, led by Katura Carey. In Aug. 2022, several of the APSPs properties were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The raids came as the Justice Department indicted a Russian man living overseas named Aleksandr Ionov using U.S.-based groups to spread Russian propaganda. Yeshitela said he was zip-tied while his home was raided and denied the FBI’s implication was that the APSP group was taking orders from Russia.
Yeshitela is one of the original co-founders. Yeshitela said the mission of the APSP was to “complete the Black Revolution of the Sixties.” The APSP also leads the Uhuru Movement, which is centered around the theory of African internationalism.
Yeshitela, a writer and theoretician, also founded the Burning Spear newspaper, the official journal of the APSP. It has been published since 1968.
Yeshitela is the author of numerous books and pamphlets including “Vanguard: Advanced Detachment of the African Revolution” and “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism.”
Here are seven things to know about the 1982 World Tribunal On Reparations.
1.What the Tribunal Found
The Tribunal declared that the U.S. was guilty of stolen labor from African people. The verdict of the Tribunal, which was held based on international law that allows an oppressed people to bring their case before the world arena, was that the U.S. is guilty of genocide and the enslavement of African people, which built the wealth of the U.S.
2. Tribunal declared what was due
The Tribunal found that the debt owed to African people in the U.S. was $4.1 trillion, the amount was explained in the 1983 book “Stolen Black Labor: The Political Economy of Domestic Colonialism,” by Yeshitela. The $4.1 trillion was to be paid by the U.S. to African people based on the wealth accumulated from stolen, enslaved, and underpaid labor of African people, the Tribunal demanded, according to the APSP’s The Burning Spear newspaper.
3. APSP’s reparations platform
The APSP adopted its 14-point platform on September 23, 1979, and one of the points was a demand for reparations.
“We want the U.S. and the international European ruling class and states to pay Africa and African people for the centuries of genocide, oppression, and enslavement of our people,” stated point 11 of the Working Platform, according to the Party’s website.
It continued, “We believe that Africa and African people are due reparations, just economic compensation, billions of dollars which must be paid to the Organization of African Unity or any other legitimate international organization of African people for equitable distribution for the development of Africa. We also believe that reparations must be distributed to the various independent African states dispersed throughout the world, and to the legitimate representatives of African people forcibly dispersed throughout the world who have not yet won liberation.”
4. Tribunal purpose
The Party held the first World Tribunal on reparations in 1982 in Brooklyn, NY, to indict the U.S. government for its genocide against African people.
5. Tribunal argument for reparations
The Party’s World Tribunal cited international law, such as the UN’s human rights charter, on behalf of the colonized, oppressed African population to expose that African people inside the U.S. “are a colonized population living under the foreign, hostile domination of the U.S. government,” African People’s Solidarity Committee blog reported.
6. Reparations go beyond slavery
The Tribunal point out that reparations “are owed for more than the period of chattel slavery in the U.S., but for the ongoing oppression of African people that forms the foundation of the social wealth and opportunity available to all strata of the white population,” according to the African People’s Solidarity Committee blog.
7. Reasons for reparations
The Tribunal listed the several reasons for reparations. One of the reasons: “White people benefit economically, politically, and socially from African people’s suffering, enslavement, and oppression. The oppression of Africans makes up the pedestal upon which our lives are constructed. Every wave of landless European workers climbed up the ‘ladder of success’ at the expense of African people in a system overflowing with wealth and opportunity created by slavery, theft, and genocide,” reported The Burning Spear.
Photo: Screenshot of Omali Yeshitela, We Should Embrace a Closer African Union, Oxford Union, OxfordUnion YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5darwG1fNIY