The growing boycott against U.S. football in the U.S. should not be seen simply as a protest against the racist treatment of former U.S. San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of his protests against police terrorism in 2016. Instead, Africans and all peace and justice loving people must see this boycott as an extension of African people’s worldwide cry for justice and self-determination.
The All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) has spent our entire existence (50 years next year) articulating the position that anything that happens to African people anywhere on Earth is connected to African people everywhere. We say this because we understand that existence as African people in approximately 120 countries is no accident. And our experiences of oppression in all of those countries is no accident either. We know that all of this is the direct result of colonialism and slavery which has financed the development and maintenance of the capitalist system. Since the capitalist system relies on cheap African labor and natural resources, its incumbent upon this system to oppress African people to ensure that imperialism retains free and unfettered access to these components.
All of this is to say that power outages in Ghana are connected to regime repression in Rwanda. And, those things are connected to violence against desert communities in Libya and land struggles in Zimbabwe and Azania, South Africa. In turn, all of these struggles have meaning for our people suffering from institutional oppression in Australia and from police terrorism in North America.
So, the growing boycott against U.S. football in the U.S. should not be seen simply as a protest against the racist treatment of former U.S. San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of his protests against police terrorism in 2016. And the boycott certainly cannot be reduced to a focus of forcing football team owners – the equivalent of modern day slave masters – to give Kaepernick a position picking cotton on the football field.
Instead, Africans and all peace and justice loving people must see this boycott as an extension of African people’s worldwide cry for justice and self-determination. This is important because we know that the basis of African oppression isn’t police terrorism or the other issues mentioned previously. These problems are all manifestations of the real problem, which is the subjugation of Africa by multi-national capitalist interests. This is the problem that originated 500+ years ago and it remains the central component to every issue African people face wherever we are on Earth.
Africans can utilize this boycott to make a significant contribution towards Pan-Africanism by recognizing and framing the boycott as a struggle by African people to assert our humanity and our desire to see justice served in all areas where we lack it as a people. We can identify police terrorism as the flash point that launched the boycott, but we should use this opportunity to recognize that the forces that maintain the police repression against our people are also the same forces that enforce that repression against us not just in the U.S., but in Canada, Europe, and Australia. They are also the same forces who own the corporations that brutally exploit our people in Africa to control the coltan, diamond, gold, cocoa, uranium, bauxite, and other critical mining industries.
We should use the boycott to make the world smaller as it relates to our people’s experiences. Take capitalist patriarch David Rockafeller and his family empire. They own controlling interest in Chevron and its oil producing subsidiaries. As a result, his family’s lobbying influence is significant in directing oil policies in oil producing countries in Africa like Nigeria and Libya. And oil politics dictate politics in those North and West African regions as much if not more than anything else, so this directly impacts our people every-day. We should be talking about this and how Rockafeller’s influence with oil policy is tied to his family’s support for repression in Africa e.g. the development of the African Command, or 75 U.S. military installations in Africa (Africom). This Africom serves as a central component to repress political dissent in Africa such as protests against the oppressive mining industries, including oil.
What all of that has to do with Colin Kaepernick and the U.S. National Football League (NFL) boycott is Kaepernick began his kneel against the so-called U.S. National Anthem because of his protest against police terrorism. The entire purpose police departments came into existence within the U.S. was to provide an armed force that would control the African masses after the end of chattel slavery in 1863. It’s appropriate for Kaepernick to protest the song, but the U.S. constitution itself is equally as revealing for its original purpose in oppressing Africans and others.
The Second Amendment of that constitution speaks to ensuring the existence of armed militias in “states” (within the U.S.). The word state was imposed after the original document had the word country. The reason for this was to protect the rights of these militias, or posses, to be armed while terrorizing Africans. Eventually, those posses turned into police departments. So, the narrative that police are here to “serve and protect” is historically inaccurate. They have always existed to repress African people and their behavior against us today, all over the world, is testament to their continued commitment to their original mission.
Kaepernick and other athletes within the NFL have helped bring this issue more into the light, but what’s missing is the connection between police controlling our people in the West and imperialist military apparatuses like Africom controlling our people in Africa. The question is why the need for this systemic control of African people? What is the system so afraid of that we will do? It’s not just that African people are hated because we dance well, sing well, and have beautiful skin and hair, although certainly, there are misguided people who do despise Africans for these and other dysfunctional reasons. But, its important that we recognize that the core reason for the need for this violent control of African people is because of the continued and daily threat we pose against the forces who dominate us. The capitalists realize that the minute we decide we are ready to collectively do something about our oppression, the African continent must come clearly into our vision because wherever we are, Africa and her liberation is the key to our solution.
The proof of this is more and more, the African masses are rejecting the incorrect identity terms tying us to our colonial origins. Our people worldwide are increasingly calling for Pan-African unity to the point where even neo-colonial puppet regimes in Africa are having to recognize this by proposing lessoned border restrictions between neo-colonial states, even as it relates to providing easier access to Africa for Africans born and living in the Western Hemisphere.
Its time for revolutionary Pan-Africanists to clarify that Kaepernick and the others in the NFL, athletes in the U.S. National Basketball Association, athletes playing international football (soccer), and other protests, are all naming the particular issues in front of them like police terrorism, but what they are really protesting is the worldwide oppression of African people highlighted by the continued domination of Africa. We must connect the dots that Kaepernick himself demonstrates this by his recent trip to Ghana. He articulated while in Ghana that his personal journey in this struggle led him to Africa. It’s a logical progression because like the late Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) who started his activism in the U.S. civil rights movement before eventually moving home to Guinea, West Africa, to continue the fight for Pan-Africanism, when it comes to achieving African dignity, all roads are always going to lead to Africa.
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