FBI Raids African People’s Socialist Party, Claims the Group Was ‘Controlled’ by FSB
13:58 GMT 30.07.2022 (Updated: 11:36 GMT 23.11.2022)
The party’s leader denounced the raid as an attempt to “isolate the Black Power movement” and proof that the US imperialist political system is in a state of “crisis.”
FBI agents across multiple states executed a raid on the property of the African People’s Socialist Party on Friday, handcuffing their leader and his wife in St. Louis, and arresting Akile Anai, their director of agitation and propaganda, after luring her from her house “under false pretenses” in St. Petersburg, the group announced Friday.
The African People’s Socialist Party finds itself in the crosshairs of the FBI after the law enforcement agency claimed that a Russian national named Alexander Ionov exercised "direction or control over these groups on behalf of [Russia’s] FSB,” a charge the group bitterly denies.
“The African People’s Socialist Party stands on its own and is able to make determinations for itself, which we’ve been doing for the last fifty years,” Anai told reporters Friday, adding that the claim is “insulting” because it “presupposes that African people don’t have the capacity to lead and struggle ourselves.”
The FBI has a long tradition of using such accusations to smear black revolutionaries as dupes or puppets of Moscow. Internal FBI documents show the bureau considered beloved civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a “whole-hearted” communist who followed a “Marxist-Leninist line.” The agency spent years harassing and attempting to intimidate King and waging its own private war against groups like the Black Panthers under the umbrella of COINTELPRO, a domestic surveillance and infiltration project which targeted communists – and the black leaders who FBI agents became convinced they were propping up.
At a press conference immediately preceding the party’s, an FBI Tampa field office special agent described Ionov’s alleged conduct as “some of the most egregious and blatant violations we’ve seen by the Russian government in order to destabilize and undermine trust in American democracy.” And Anai took serious issue with that claim as well.
“They’re talking about “interference in local elections and social media.” No, I’ll tell you: it’s Mark Zuckerberg that interferes with the ability of people to communicate with each other…. And the US is attempting to explain its own contradictions with Russia. Because it cannot rule in the same old way. It does not have the unity of its entire population. That’s what Trump represented. And they say it was Russian intervention in the election. They say it’s an undemocratic process. What does the US government know about genuine democracy when it takes away the ability for African people to feed, clothe, and house ourselves on a daily basis? You want to talk about destabilization? Talk to Nicaragua. Talk to Venezuela. Talk to Cuba. Talk to Russia and ask about undemocratic processes.”
“They’re using Russia as part of a propaganda tool against the people, to… win your unity with the US government,” a regime which she noted “has no ability to answer any of your questions. None. It can’t solve any of your problems and they tell you it’s Russia’s fault. Russia is not in your community causing you to starve. Russia is not in your community pushing you out. Russia is not the St. Pete police department that killed Tyron Lewis is 1996. It was not Russia. It was the US government that did that.”
As to whether it’s not “concerning” that “the federal government thinks that the Russians were trying to influence local elections, and essentially on some level try to take the vote away from just average citizens,” Anai was emphatic:
“The US does this all the time, it intervenes.” But she was immediately interrupted by the same reporter, who insisted that “we’re not talking about Russia.”
“But that’s what I am [talking about], though,” Anai continued. “You want to make it about Russia and think that Russia’s the big, bad guy that intervenes in local elections or something like that when the US has its practice, it’s a historic practice, takes elected officials that the people put into office and destabilizes that government and ousts them.”
Anai noted that there are, however, people from whom the party would refuse assistance. “There are groups we would say no to, that would work against the interests of our community and our people and the struggle. Yes, we would say ‘absolutely no.’ We would say ‘no’ to the Democratic Party, we would say ‘no’ to the Republican Party… we would say ‘no’ to these forces that try to maintain the social system.”
The communications director ultimately declined to elaborate on whether the group has any ties with Ionov. But at the end of the day, “We will continue to work with any force that supports the anti-colonial African revolution,” Anai affirmed. “We’ll work with them.”