Who is Omali Yeshitela?

By David Stein

(This story is intended as background material for this article)

Who is Omali Yeshitela? What are the views of the man to whom NAACP official Curtis Gatewood pledged his chapter’s support?

Omali Yeshitela is a radical black separatist “revolutionary.” Born in 1941 as Joseph Waller, Yeshitela has dedicated his life to one purpose – to foment a violent revolution in the U.S. that would result in the creation of an ill-defined independent black nation, existing in North America but outside of U.S. jurisdiction and free from U.S. laws. In 1972, he founded the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), and later he created the “Uhuru Movement.”


Yeshitela has been a radical revolutionary for five decades. He’s managed to build a well-maintained and well-operated revolutionary organization. His newspaper, “The Burning Spear,” has been published without interruption since the 1960s.

These are Yeshitela’s views, in his own words.

Yeshitela on violent revolution vs. participating nonviolently through democratic means
Now, I am not calling on everybody to be a revolutionary. If you can be a revolutionary then you should join this movement. If you can’t be a revolutionary then you should support this movement. If you can’t support this movement openly, then you should support this movement secretly. You ought to have some relationship to this movement. We are not the NAACP. We are not the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. No, we don’t believe “we shall overcome some day.” If you thought that’s what you were coming to, this is the wrong place. We don’t believe that we can win our freedom by voting….We are going to have to fight our way out of here. (The Burning Spear, July 2006)

On nonviolence, killing, and Bishop Desmond Tutu:
I want to make this point very clearly that Bishop Tutu is one of the biggest problems we’ve got. Anybody who’s covering up, anybody who’s running around saying, “Oh, please stop killing each other” is a problem….Anybody on the side of the oppressor must die! Must die! Must die! (from Yeshitela’s book, “The Struggle in South Africa is for Black Power”)

On nonviolence and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you want to know why the Civil Rights Movement was based on non-violence, it was because no white ruling class element was about to fund a movement of black people that might go off someplace and buy an Uzi or an AK-47 and make a real struggle in this country. It was led by Martin Luther King and a bunch of other Negro liberals to take black people back onto the plantation in a way that was advantageous to white liberals and the black petty bourgeoisie. You might not like it, but that’s the truth. I ain’t got nothing to do with it. I didn’t make the movement non-violent. Martin Luther King made the movement non-violent. If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at Martin, but don’t throw no bricks at me. (The Burning Spear, February 1991)

However, they want to talk about “pacifism” and “stopping the violence” and sort of stopping everything in place. This pacifism that they talk about in the peace movement is effectively a pacifism that would guarantee the permanent monopoly of violence in the hands of the imperialists. (The Burning Spear, February 2003)

Now I’m not a pacifist, and I don’t think I like pacifists to tell
you the truth. That’s just me. You be one if you want to. That’s your business, but don’t tell me I have to be a pacifist. Don’t tell me that I have to be disarmed in the face of everything that imperialism is bringing to me.
(The Burning Spear, April 2005)

Regarding a local pastor’s charge that Yeshitela was attempting to incite violence in the community
We’ve heard these charges coming from Murphy’s church and other negroes that the Uhurus are trying to incite something. They say that after they killed someone in our community, we put out these flyers in an attempt to incite something. They’re right. They’re right because the people need to be incited and excited about murder in our community. People need to be. So we say they will pay a price, and we want you excited by this. We want you incited to do something about this. (The Burning Spear, June 2005)

On violence against the police
In order to stop the police from hurting members of the community, people threw rocks and bottles at police to cover people’s escape from the police attack. As the night went on AK-47 fire could be heard as shots were taken at the police helicopter. Other skirmishes with police were reported throughout the night.

There is a long pattern and history of police murdering African people all across the U.S. There is not a recent pattern however, of a righteously militant response to such murders — except in St. Petersburg, Florida, the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement and the growing resistance to U.S. imperialism and colonialism within U.S. borders.

In every instance of police murder since the 1996 killing of 18-year-old TyRon Lewis, the justice that the African community has been denied in the courts, has been fought for in the streets. During the rebellions of 1996, which spanned two months, everyday African youth, who were called the “ghostfaces” because they covered their faces with t-shirts and bandannas, shot down a helicopter, burned police substations, media vehicles and anything that represented white power. The masses of people also opened fire on a battle group of 300 police. The ferocity of the community’s organized and calculated strikes against U.S. police troops represents the cutting edge of resistance to a dying but not yet dead North American system of imperialism and colonialism. (The Burning Spear, June 2005)

In March 2009, Lovelle Mixon, a convicted felon, brutally murdered four Oakland police officers – two during a routine traffic stop, and two when he ambushed police who were trying to arrest him. It was the deadliest attack on California police officers since 1970. Yeshitela praised “brother Lavelle” and taunted the victims’ families by publishing a poem, written by Mixon’s sister, that mocked the murdered officers
We believe that all oppressed and colonized peoples have a right to struggle for liberation and to resist, as Malcolm X said, by any means necessary. Just like the resistance of Nat Turner and Gabriel Prosser, enslaved Africans once vilified and today considered heroes, African people in Oakland have a right to struggle against this government-imposed terror. This is exactly what our brother Lovelle Mixon did.

Even if Mixon was not political, he took a righteous stand of resistance to police terror in a community – see: colony – controlled by the police – see: occupying army. Mixon was of the community, and should be remembered.

‘Velle’s name will ring in the street: A legend.
‘Velle Mixon, y’all listen, this is bigger than fiction;
‘Velle went out in a blaze of glory. He said he ain’t going back, Brrrrrat! Brrrrrrat!”
One pig, two pig, laying on the ground;
three pigs, four pigs, I bet they know now.
He knocked them down in an orderly fashion;
so now they hate the Mixons in an orderly passion.
(The Burning Spear, March 2010)

On mass-murderer Omar Thornton (a black man who gunned down eight co-workers in Manchester, Connecticut on August 3rd, 2010)
In the end, Brother Omar took his own life, they say. And, if this is the case, he was not to give the Colonial police or the Colonialist court the opportunity to legally murder him by bullet or death chamber.

The idea that he could have escaped was apparently not included in his justice seeking plans, although it should have been.

According to reports, Brother Omar called his mother after shooting his predetermined antagonists, telling her, “I shot the racists that were bothering me.”

According to the white ruling class media outlet, Associated Press of August 5, which appeared in the Houston Chronicle, “Friends and Family of those who died said they couldn’t imagine their loved ones doing what Thornton said, and the company and union said Thornton never reported any harassment.”

Well, as someone from Alcoholics Anonymous would say to an alcoholic who refuse to believe they have an addiction: you are in denial. By the same token, there are very few colonials who admit they are anti-black racist.

They both reap material rewards; the alcoholic more whiskey, wine, and beer. And the colonial, more vacations, more cars, and more luxury homes, and the convenience of not going to prison, no matter what crimes they commit. They have the luxury of not being shot down in the streets and in their homes by the different U.S. police agencies.


(Mark Essex was an African-American mass-murderer who went on a seven-day killing spree targeting white people in New Orleans in 1972)

(Yeshitela was one of the leading proponents in the African-American community of the conspiracy theory that AIDS was created by the government to kill black people)
African people are plagued by another U.S. government attack. This time it takes the form of chemical and biological warfare (CBW). It’s called AIDS, and it is a tool of genocide – African Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

(Yeshitela admitted that his conspiracy theory might prevent black people from getting tested and seeking treatment; it didn’t seem to bother him)
“Public-health workers say that the discussion of AIDS as a plot against blacks has eroded the credibility of AIDS prevention campaigns and has made some blacks suspicious of AIDS tests and treatments.” The fact is, all evidence shows that AIDS comes from a well-thought out plot by the U.S. government to eliminate African people from this planet. (The Burning Spear, Feb 1991)

Yeshitela on white people
He describes the core of his struggle to be a fight against “white parasitism on the body of humanity.” (The Burning Spear, September 1991)

On Asian and Latino immigrants who open stores in black neighborhoods (he declares them “rightful targets”)
In Philadelphia every major neighborhood shopping area is controlled by parasitic merchants, mostly Koreans….Korean merchants and the sell-out Latino store owners who greedily suck the resources from the community daily were the rightful targets of the rebellion. (The Burning Spear, July 1991)

If you become conscious or even unconscious, you resist white colonial domination, even when it comes in the form of a Korean merchant whose sole purpose for being in your community is one of exploitation. He or she arrives in the morning with an empty bag and leaves at night with one full of your money. (The Burning Spear, November 1990)

(Yeshitela attempted to spread a conspiracy theory that Asian merchants in the black community are trained government assassins)
Our understanding is that the U.S. government is systematically training, arming and deploying these “merchants” as counterinsurgency troops. (The Burning Spear, July 1991)

(Convenience store owner) Yahya Murshed is a parasitic Arab merchant. (The Burning Spear, February 2009)

(This is a quote from an article which was written by APSP member Troy Hendricks. Yeshitela published it prominently in his newspaper)
The Korean or Arab takes all the money, they go to the bankers and they buy from the Jews wholesale….We love the Koreans – in Korea. We don’t want them here oppressing us. (The Burning Spear, February 1991)

Yeshitela during the Gulf War
The African People’s Socialist Party supports Saddam Hussein against U.S. Imperialism.

We support – and I do not equivocate on this – Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government against imperialism.

But we are really clear that we stand on the side of Iraq against U.S. imperialism. We don’t hesitate about it.
(The Burning Spear, November 1990)

On Jesse Jackson
Well, old Uncle Tom Jesse Jackal….this nigger done made his decision. This nigger was working down in North Carolina, see, and they don’t care nothing about no black folks. Jesse Jackson acts like the only question is South Africa….But the nigger already decided which side he’s on when he went and worked for them honkies down there….This old Uncle Tom Nigger, Jesse Jackson. (from Yeshitela’s book, “The Vanguard Party and the Road to Black Power”)

On Jews
But a lot of people act as scabs on a real revolutionary movement. One of the biggest scabs on the revolutionary movement is the Zionist movement.

The truth of the matter is when Jews in Germany were Germans, and Germans were murdering Africans in Southwest Africa and various other places, there was no fundamental contradiction. (The Burning Spear, November 1989)

(Look at what) the white nationalist, foul, settler-colonial state of Israel has done to the Palestinians. They take the people’s land, and then they punish them. They kick them off the land, they brutalize them and they murder them.

You know they had a president from Milwaukee, a white woman from Milwaukee — Golda Meir. They’ve got these white people that they bring from all over the world and they call them Israelis. They change the country’s name from Palestine to Israel. It’s just a whole thuggish process that’s been going on for a while. Israel is a criminal enterprise in a thousand different ways. (The Burning Spear, April 2009)

Over the past two weeks, the world has watched as the U.S.-supported, illegitimate settler State of Israel has been waging a holocaust against the people of Palestine using a U.S.-funded military force. We have seen deliberate targeting of schools, churches and mosques including the bombing of a United Nations school. This genocidal assault using American helicopter gunships, tanks and other heavy artillery to exterminate Palestinian children, women, men and elderly people is part of a longstanding effort to expand the Zionist state’s occupation of stolen Palestinian land.

The reality is that the establishment of the illegitimate settler State of Israel in 1948 was a political determination that came through genocide against the Palestinian people.

We also recognize that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama’s refusal to speak to the holocaust being waged against the Palestinian people is a statement that with his presidency, the U.S. government will continue its participation in genocide in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. (The Burning Spear, January 2009)

On the Holocaust
They (the Jews) want to hold this up as the greatest crime against humanity because it’s something that happened to white people

I don’t know how many Jews were killed in Germany.

They use it to hide the crimes that imperialism has committed against the rest of the world. They say nothing has happened as bad as what happened to those white people, and that’s why it’s got to be six million. If they could make it 40 million, they’d make it 40 million that died there because they need those dead Jews to hold up in the face of any Africans and other oppressed people around the world who say look at what you did to me. They need the dead Jews to say nothing has ever happened as bad as what happened to these white people. (The Burning Spear, April 2009)

On Hamas and Hezbollah
The war against Hamas in Occupied Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon represents an attack on the resistance of the Arab people and a futile attempt by imperial white power to push back the forces of history that are determined to reverse the verdict of imperialism.

Hamas and Hezbollah represent a profound threat to Israel and U.S. imperialism precisely because they reject neocolonialism. They uphold the absolute right of freedom and self-determination and have made it quite clear they are willing to fight and kill occupying Israelis to have it!

The peoples of the Middle East did not submit willingly to European domination and never stopped struggling for freedom and self-determination. Today Hamas and Hezbollah represent the culmination and continuation of that struggle. (The Burning Spear, August 2006)

On Winston Churchill being worse than Hitler
That seems to suggest to me that Hitler was a piker. He was a boy scout compared to Churchill. (The Burning Spear, August 2006)

On 9/11
I don’t know any more than anyone else does in this room about who did 9/11. In my estimation, it could be argued effectively that the United States government did it. The fear that I have about that argument is that it also could represent liberals running from another possibility. I think they might fear even more that there are oppressed peoples around the world who are so fed up with the relationship with U.S. imperialism that they’ll do any damn thing they can to bring it down. I think that some people might rather believe that the Bush regime did it than believe that there might be Arabs and other people who are out there trying to find any way they can to bring America and imperialism down. I believe there are people like that. (The Burning Spear, August 2006)

As quiet as it’s kept, that’s what 9-11 was all about if George Bush didn’t do it. People everywhere are tired of being messed over.
That’s what the so-called “war on terror” is all about. Oppressed peoples around the world are fighting for their freedom. Even when we consider something like 9-11, when we are told people attacked the world trade centers and attacked the Pentagon. We are told that this was being done by Arabs, who are oppressed. The United States is stealing their resources, stealing their oil, supporting dictators that oppress them, keep them living in misery and squalor like African people live here and around the world.
People don’t want that anymore. People are rising up to try to take back their resources and their freedom and to be able to guarantee that their children are going to have a decent life. So they are fighting back.
(The Burning Spear, June 2005)

On religion
(To Yeshitela, Christian ministers who are not “revolutionaries” are “Uncle Toms”)
Your preacher is an old silver-tongued, slick bootlicker rubbing chicken bones. Religion is organized around ignorance. The more you know, the more you move away from it.
(from a speech posted on Youtube)

On schools
(Yeshitela believes that the public school system is a “tool of the imperialists.” He supports only “revolutionary education”)
The public school system represents imperialism in our communities for the rest of our lives….There’s outcry among ‘NAACP types’ about abandoning the public school system. Blacks must abandon public schools. Don’t tell us we have to protect the public school system. It’s a form of colonial control. The public educational system does more damage to our community in a single day than crack cocaine has done for the duration of its existence. (from a speech given on July 10, 2010 – part 1 here, part 2 here)

On the NAACP
The election of Darryl Rousson as head of the local NAACP also served the purpose of the white ruling class in pushing the people back and undermining the influence of the Uhuru Movement. (The Burning Spear, March 2004)

The State used petty bourgeois Negroes to break unity of African community in St. Pete. Now most recently they have been successful in breaking the unity of this community with the NAACP and, specifically, Darryl Rouson, who is a super sellout. I say this without reservation because you cannot do what Rouson and Louis Murphy, that chicken-eating, Negro preacher, have done to our community and then not have anyone condemn you in the community for having done it….We had created a situation where the government was clear that if you kill an African here you’re going to pay a consequence. Now Rouson has given them permission. So they can say, “Well, all the black people don’t believe like the Uhurus!”

They’ve got these “leaders” like Rouson who help them carry it out. As far as we’re concerned, with the murder of Jarrell and the murder of Marquell, Rouson pulled the trigger. Rouson set it up. It couldn’t have happened without them breaking the unity of this community. (The Burning Spear, June 2005)

Then of course you had a situation where (Marcus) Garvey was attacked by everybody who was opposed to a free Africa. That included the U.S. government, the British, the French, all of the imperialist powers, as well as sectors of the African petty bourgeoisie here, specifically and particularly the NAACP and W.E. B. DuBois. DuBois actually created the Pan-Africanist Congress for the purpose of opposing and destroying the Garvey Movement. (The Burning Spear, November 2006)

Originally posted on August 10, 2010

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