PAN AFRICANS ON THE RISE AGAIN
The past year was very successful for the Pan African idea. Pan Africanism was being gradually pushed off the African agenda since United States imperialism organised the military coup de tat which overthrew of Kwame Nkrumah in 1966.Nkrumah’s Convention Peoples Party was rent asunder.
It was split into a myriad of different factions, each claiming the Nkrumahist mantle.
Similarly, the American Central intelligence Agency orchestrated a wide
ranging campaign to disrupt the work of the Pan Africanist Congress of
Azania (South Africa). The PAC was and still is the torch bearer of Pan Africanism in Southern Africa. The PAC went from having majority support among Africans after it organised the anti-pass law campaign. It was this campaign which resulted in the Sharpville massacre in 1960. By the 1990s, the PAC enjoyed the electoral support of less than five per cent of the population.
All kinds of charlatans, hicksters, hustlers, careerists and opportunists
proclaimed themselves to be Pan African leaders. One of these self
proclaimed new breed leaders is Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. He formed a military alliance with United States imperialism, the bitter enemy of Pan Africanism, Africa and Africans. He set up a bogus Pan African Movement which promotes globalisation, the new policy by which the USA will impose economic control of African economies. While Europe was engaged in a war to stop the development of a Pan African union, it was busy developing an all embracing European union.
Not withstanding these setbacks, Pan Africanism remains the most popular
political philosophy on the continent. This was reflected in a poll carried out by BBC Africa Service. Africans voted Kwame Nkrumah Man of the millennium.
In his book Consciencism, Nkrumah tell us that:
"the principles which
animate capitalism are in conflict with the socialist egalitarianism of
traditional African society."
The struggles of the African masses manifested itself in many different ways.
The Ogoni and peoples of the Delta region of Nigeria overcame the fear of
death itself and started fighting the military bandits Babangida and
Abacha. The National Patriotic Party of Liberia scored an impressive military victory against neo-colonialist forces and set out to implement a policy of Africa for Africans. For this, Liberia is now under attack from Britain and the USA aimed at disrupting Liberian economic progress.
At the same time, Yoweri Museveni , said to be a Western proxy by the
British newspaper Daily Telegraph of 20 March 2000 was defeated in his attempt to build a Tutsi Hema Empire. Thus, the US inspired proxy war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is being defeated. The restoration of land to its rightful owners in Zimbabwe and the military successes of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone are other positive factors.
The RUF, with its policy of arms, power and wealth to the people has struck terror into the hearts of Euro-American imperialism. Liberia is out of their control. If Sierra Leone also comes out of their control, this will signal the demise of European economic and social control in Africa. Hence the demonisation of the RUF and its leader Foday Sankoh.
Muamar al Ghadafi's call for the immediate setting up of an African
Union meant that Pan Africanism was once again at the centre of the African political agenda.
The decision of the special OAU conference held at Sirte to set up a Pan African Union by year 2001 was welcome by advocates of Pan Africanism. The main question left unanswered was what kind of African Union.
What would be the economic and social content of this African Union. This
was resolved at the Centenary Pan African conference which called for a
democratic, egalitarian, socialist Pan African Union ruled by African
culture, in which Africa produces what it consumes and consumes what it produces.
This is also the policy of the PAC.
The first major success of the past year was the seventh national Congress of the PAC. Dr. Stanley Mogoba, the PAC President made a passionate call for the PAC to take Pan Africanism back to the people. He launched a nationwide campaign calling for the release of PAC political prisoners and to rebuild the PAC as the alternative to the ANC. Taking Pan Africanism back to the people brought immediate electoral gains in local government elections. The PAC more than doubled its vote The number of Pan African elected local government Councilors rose from twenty seven to ninety five. The local government campaign was organised by Bob Brown, the Director of the Kwame Ture Work Study Institute ad Library of Conakry, Guinea
The second major event was the celebrations of one hundred years of
organised Pan Africanism. This was the commemoration of the Pan African Conference organ ised by Trinidadian born Henry Sylvester Williams. This conference was held in London in July 1900. Sister President Nzinga Ratibisha brought the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilisations (USA) to London to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the 1900 Pan African Conference.
ASCAC members also participated in the Centenary Pan African Conference
organised by Pan Africanists in London. A book about this CPAC entitled How Africans Can Regain Their Lost Power is due to be published in South Africa shortly.
An impressive list of families of former Pan African leaders participated
in this historical event. George James Christian, a delegate at the 1900 Pan African Conference was represented by his grand daughters - writer Margaret Busby and BBC TV News Reader Moira Stuart. Of the delegates to the 1945 Manchester Congress, Ernest Mckenzie-Mavinga was represented by his daughter Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga. George Padmore was represented by his seventy four years old daughter Blyden Nurse-Cowart and grand daughter Lyndia Blyden Randall. Kwame Nkrumah was represented by his daughter Samia Nkrumah. Kwame Ture was represented by his sister Najib Malik. Two Caribbean governments, Bermuda and Dominica were represented at the Congress. Koro Sallah of the Movement For Justice in Africa (Gambia) paid tribute to all Pan Africanists, past, present and future.
Dr. Motsoko Pheko, the Deputy President of the PAC and a member of the
South African Parliament gave a brilliant, sparkling and exhilarating keynote address entitled. In a series of policy proposals, he said that Africa must, stop exporting their raw materials; maximise the study of science and technology in all African institutions of learning; build military capacity to defend African interests; increase the African population; strengthen the Pan African Movement; reject globalisation as an option for African economic development; and unite into a giant, monolithic Pan African Union.
Another major event was the Mathaba Conference held at Sirte, Libya in
August. Many of the twenty one countries that have signed up for the
African Union were represented at the Mathaba. Attendees include Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Museveni of Uganda, Oumar Konare of Mali, Abdoulai Wade of Senegal, Blaize Compoare of Burkina Fasso, Yaya Jama of Gambia, Komba Yala of Guinea Bissau, Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Ghadafi of Libya.
President Abdoulai Wade struck a note of cordiality when he said that Senegal was a province of Africa, that there must be a campaign among Africans for the African Union, not just Generals with no followers. He was in favour of an elected African Parliament and not a nominated Parliament as advocated by some others. He pledged to organise a conference of five hundred African intellectuals in Dakar to determine what shoud happen in the coming African Union.
In looking at the Africa to come, Africans must examine what is happening
in Liberia. Chief Cyril Allen outlined this at the Great Pan African Rally held in London in November. Following the end of the civil war, which was a revolt against corruption and neo-colonial oppression. It was prolonged by the intervention of Nigerian Military Bandit Ibrahim Babangida on behalf of United States imperialism. President Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party won an overwhelming majority at the polls. They immediately began to dismantle the neo-colonial state.
They took control of major sectors of the Liberian economy that were in the hands of USA predator companies. They took control of the massive rubber plantation for which Firestone paid only $1.00 per year. Industrial structures are now being built to process the rubber and manufacture rubber products in Liberia. This will bring employment, economic and social benefits to the long suffering people of Liberia.
They also took iron ore mining out
of the hands of Bethel Steel, another USA predator company.
Now, the USA and Britain have embarked on a campaign of economic warfare
against Liberia. This is dressed up as sanctions for Liberia’s
alleged involvement in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Africans must not allow Britain to recolonise Sierra Leone. British troops should be withdrawn from Liberia to stop them from killing Africans again. After all, Britain has killed millions of Africans over the centuries for Britain's economic benefit.
The coming African Union must implement a policy of No Foreign Troops on African soil.
Pan Africanists can take heart from the revolution being carried out in
Venezuela by President Hugo Chavez, elected by seventy three per cent of
the people in Presidential elections. Venezuela was the first country to
implement a structural adjustment programme. This was imposed on them by
the USA through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This caused massive disruption of the Venezuelan economy and led to mass unemployment and wide spread poverty. Outraged progressive elements in the military staged two attempted military coups. The first led by Chavez when he was a Colonel in the Venezuelan army. For this, he spent two years in prison.
As President, Chavez has rejected globalisation. He points out that
capitalism or liberalism as it is now called, causes poverty. His social
and economic revolution is aimed at lifting the mass of the Venezuelan
population out of poverty and degradation. Chavez has embarked on a programme of building hospitals, schools, roads and improving social structures. He has laid special emphasis on the development of the agricultural sector so that Venezuela can feed itself rather than relying on American imported food products. After the floods of 1999 which brought death and devastation in its wake, Chavez has set aside vast sums for the development of housing to meet the needs of he people.
Approximately forty per cent of the Venezuealan
population are Africans.
As Mao Tsetung said, "imperialism is a paper tiger." Poor peoples
and nations are once more on the march against foreign domination now
dressed up as globalisation; and against local oppression. Local collaborators and agents of foreign capital are finding it increasingly difficult to continue to rule in the same old way. Nigeria is an excellent case study.
When the military bandit Ibrahim Babangida ruled Nigeria, he commissioned a study to find out what Nigerians wanted. Babangida buried the report and instead looted Nigeria's wealth. He and his sidekick Sani Abacha are
probably two of the biggest thieves in history. During the criminal reign
of Abacha, billions of dollars looted from Nigeria were deposited in banks in London. British governments, both Labour and Conservative were aware of this. They kept quiet since it was to their economic benefit.
Pan Africanists must take the lead in implementing the decision of the
Centenary Pan African Conference. This calls on Pan Africanists and
Africans every where to intensify the struggle for Pan Africanism. Having been pushed back for over thirty years and now coming from the depths of despair, Pan Africanism is on the rise again. Provided that Pan Africanists work hard and work relentlessly, in future, the only way we can go is up.
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For details of the forthcoming book How Africans Can Regain Their Lost
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Lester Lewis is a London based Pan Africanist. He is a writer and a
historian of the Diopian school.
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