By Gaida Kambon
Secretary-General of the African People’s Socialist Party
The discussion of rape for African people does not begin where the feminist movement, women’s rights groups or where even scholars choose to begin their discussions.
Their self-serving calls for “sisterhood” and use of phrases such as “we are all in this together,” completely ignore the interests of African people.
For African people, any discussion of rape must acknowledge the rape that began some 500 years ago, wounding Africa and forcing misery on African people and our homeland.
It was this unrestrained rape that the whole white world condoned, including religious leaders of the highest echelon. The few who did not participate turned a blind eye.
It was this rape of Africa and her children that built the new white world and transformed the starving, disease-filled warring tribes in Europe into a prosperous worldwide economic system that Chairman Omali of the APSP has defined as parasitic capitalism.
The unification of Europe fortified the intrusion and penetration of Africa, resulting in the dispersal and scattering of Africans all over the world and transferred Europe’s poverty and disease into our mother Africa.
Gigantic blind spots
The first rape in the lives of African people, the rape of mother Africa, guaranteed that her children would suffer her same fate in perpetuity.
Imagine your mother, your protector, your nurturer, your safe haven, your strength, violated and robbed at gunpoint along with the psychological and financial security of her children, then sold to the highest bidder or the latest perversion.
Once sold into slavery, the rape of our people became even more invisible.
There were no laws that recognized the rape of the African slaves. In fact, the laws made provision for slavery.
Laws, such as the second amendment, were enacted for the protection of slave-owners from their slaves.
The African that complained about being raped was subject to punishment, brutal whippings or death.
African women, men and children were raped by white slave-masters as part of his right, and there was no way to cry rape.
In her book, Failing Our Black Children: Statutory Rape Laws, Moral Reform and the Hypocrisy of Denial, Gloria J. Browne-Marshall wrote on rape during slavery:
“Powerless against a lustful husband and blind to the harsh realities of chattel slavery, the enraged slave-master’s wife often vented her jealous rage upon the one person whom she could control, the black woman.”
As if the rape was not enough, white slave-master’s wives would whip African women and blame us with enticing their husbands. (Where was the sisterhood then?!)
Gloria Brown went on further to state:
“Colonial laws regarding statutory rape were not applied to Blacks and Indians. Indians and Blacks, as well as their children, were prohibited by law from defending themselves against abuse, sexual and otherwise, at the hands of Whites. A slave who defended herself against the attack of a white slave-master was subject to cruel beatings or death by either the master or mistress. The life of sexual debasement and cruelty, which was the reality of female slaves, was largely ignored by white Christian society in America. Females of color, regardless of their young age, were viewed as seducers of white men.”
Sally Hemmings, an African child, 14-years-old and born into slavery, was continuously raped by the slave-master Thomas Jefferson and bore six children for this pedophile who became the president of the United States.
American history books exonerate him and explained away his criminal act of rape by labeling the slave/slave-master relationship as an “affair,” insinuating that a slave had free will and could just say no.
During slavery, while white slave-masters were raping African women, the slave-master’s wife or daughter also forced or raped African men. When caught in the act, they and their families cried rape.
African men were hung by the slave-master for the act of being raped by white women.
This occurrence is commonplace even today where white women cry rape whenever caught, spurned or displeased by an African man. The African ends up going to jail or getting killed by the police or ordinary white people as a consequence.
In slave-breeding states such as Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and down to Mississippi, it was accepted practice for a white slave-owner to rape and breed his African women slaves to expand his stock.
Again I ask, where was and is the global sisterhood? How could they have missed all of this brutal history?
The Indigenous people to the Americas were constantly attacked as whole communities were killed. The army would violently rape and torture whomever they chose with impunity.
The very land the women’s rights and feminist movement and all white America sit on and claim as their god-given rights to own is stolen, pilfered and blood-filled gain!
The African People’s Socialist Party recognizes that this land belongs to the Indigenous people and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in any demands they make to reclaim their land!
On November 29, 1864, 750 volunteers of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry, under the command of colonel John Chivington (a Methodist pastor), attacked a Cheyenne and Arapaho village at Arapaho in retaliation for the Hungate’s killing.
The soldiers scalped the victims, then sliced off women’s breasts, cut out their vaginas, cut the testicles from the men, cut off fingers, raped dead women in relays and used baby toddlers as target practice.
163 Indigenous people were killed; 110 of them were women and children. The dead were left to be eaten by coyotes and vultures.
On the way back to Fort Lyon, the soldiers wore the sliced breasts and vaginas atop their hats or stretched over saddlebows. Weeks later, soldiers paraded through Denver, waving body parts of the dead.
The location is now known as Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and claimed to be a retaliatory exploit for the killing of white settlers.
Imperialist war continues to use rape as a tactic
In countries around the world where there are wars fought by U.S. and European imperialism to steal resources, you can make the direct correlations of rape as an imperialist weapon of war.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the place held up by the women’s rights and feminist movements as the poster-child for their anti-rape campaign, the U.S., Britain, Belgium and France are in a ferocious war to control the minerals, coltan, gold, diamonds and other resources.
The Africans are proxy soldiers for these superpowers.
One of the rewards given to the soldiers is to rape women at will.
According to the local health centers, an estimated 40 women are raped in the region every day in the South Kivu province of the Congo.
The U.S. used its puppet, Charles Taylor, to open up the corridor for the U.S. to destabilize the area, then for the U.S. to emerge as the force bringing stability to the area and to facilitate the U.S. theft of resources in the region.
Under Taylor’s presidency, the U.S. declared that drug trafficking, armed mercenaries and armed trafficking had created chaos in the region. Under the pretext of stabilizing the area, the U.S. went in, gaining control of the iron ore, rubber for Flagstone tires, diamonds and other resources.
The areas of Sudan, the northeast area of Darfur, Congo and Liberia were referred to as the epicenter of sexual violence against women during the period of destabilization.
The same thing is seen in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan today.
The common vein running throughout these high profile instances of rape is the white hands of U.S. world imperialism and their enormous theft of resources.
Rape within the colonized population is horizontal violence
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party has taught us through his theory of African Internationalism, there are two forms of violence imposed on us as colonial subjects, vertical violence and horizontal violence.
Both of these situations are rooted in the same parasitic capitalist system. Included in our struggle against parasitic capitalism and colonialism we must define the two.
Vertical violence is violence perpetrated directly by the coercive institutions of the colonial state, such as the police, the courts, prisons, schools, welfare systems, etc.
Horizontal violence represents an expression of imperialist power. It keeps a colonized community in a constant state of destabilizing poverty—not only poverty in the material sense but in every sense, including in the relationships we have between each other and even the relationship one has with him or herself.
Rape among the colonized population, whether in the community, homes or in the prisons, is horizontal violence.
We recognize that under captivity our world-view and all our relationships are distorted.
Colonialism, by its very nature, is a gross distortion of human life, an unnatural way of human existence.
Franz Fanon in his work, The Wretched of the Earth showed that colonized communities tend to focus violence, which should be directed at the oppressor, against themselves within their colonized community.
He went on to point out that this keeps the colonized from recognizing how to overcome their oppression through a revolutionary struggle for national liberation.
Attack the primary contradiction
African Internationalism, the ideology of the African People’s Socialist Party, explains to us that there are primary and secondary contradictions. The primary contradiction is that contradiction from which all the other contradictions are derived.
The primary contradiction for African people is colonialism, where a whole people is dominated and oppressed by a foreign and alien state power for purpose of economic exploitation and political advantage. We believe further that every problem we face is as a consequence of colonialism.
Based on this understanding we were able to wage a successful international campaign to free a courageous African woman named Dessie Woods, who killed her would-be white rapist with his own gun and went to trial for defending herself and her friend in September of 1975, in backwater, redneck, Hawkinsville, Georgia.
The campaign was successful because our Party rejected the call that came from white left groups and feminists, which stated that the struggle was against racism and a crime against women in general.
African Internationalism taught us that the attempted rape was colonial terror and violence. This was the struggle of colonized people against colonialism and parasitic capitalism.
Under the slogan, “Free Dessie Woods, Smash Colonial Violence” our party called for a principled alliance with the North American working class people. This was based on the African Internationalist understanding that the U.S. government and ruling class is the common enemy of African and North American working class people.
Dessie had a right to fight back against colonial violence and terror. Not only did she have a right to fight back, but she had a right to kill her armed attacker.
Dessie herself rejected the notions of the feminists and the white left, boldly declaring that this was a struggle to defend her whole people.
The rapes of European colonization have escaped the women’s rights groups and the feminist movement, who seek the unity of colonized women with their “global sisterhood” and their gender oppression agenda, which was hailed by the notorious Gloria Steinem, a known CIA operative.
What conveniently escapes them is put brilliantly by sister Vanessa Thompson, leader of the African Socialist International in Europe in her article, “The role of feminism as a tool of African colonial oppression,” published in the April 2013 issue of The Burning Spear newspaper.
Comrade Sister Vanessa stated:
“All European women, although experiencing gender oppression, always benefit from the attacks by the parasitic capitalist system on all colonized women. All European women sit on the pedestal of enslavement, genocide and colonialism, no matter if they are from the European bourgeoisie, working class or peasantry.
“After all, European women have more power than the majority of colonized men in the world.
“It is illogical to think that parasitic capitalism as a world system that built itself on rape and violence against colonized people can today be expected to solve the problem of rape of any of its inhabitants.
“Parasitic capitalism itself is the problem and the rapist!”
The U.S. has never been able to make a self-criticism for its own actions, and goes to great lengths to attempt to justify them.
Such examples are the lie that white people went to Africa to bring civilization to the Africans, the myth of Tarzan as the king of the jungle and the many others.
It is a system that has gone to great lengths to codify those explanations in laws (Africans were 3/5 of a human being), create philosophies (the white man’s burden), create institutions and pseudosciences, such as anthropology, all to prove the inferiority of Africans so that the rape and brutality did not exist because, after all, we were supposedly not real human beings!
To believe that such a system can offer a solution borders on psychosis!
The APSP is a materialist organization. We understand the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.
We understand that if we were able to stop rape within our community tomorrow, we would still be colonized and powerless to stop the advent of being raped by a social system founded on rape.
We understand that as long as the rape of our motherland continues and the social system that taught the world how to rape remains intact, we will continue to be raped.
We understand that we must eradicate rape by eradicating the system of parasitic capitalism that was born of rape, we must stop the rape of mother Africa and usher in a new society not built on rape and pillage, but one of equality, justice, self-determination and dignity for oppressed people and therefore all the people on the planet!
Smash parasitic capitalism!
Smash colonial rape!
Long live the African People’s Socialist Party!
Long live African Internationalism!