Forward Ever to World-Wide Pan-African Unity
These are hard times for Africans. We are a people who have been dispersed to all corners of the world where we have been enslaved and oppressed for centuries and where we now cope with the continuing horrors of a pandemic, police terrorism, theft of natural resources, widespread poverty and illness, racial discrimination, inadequate education and much more. In every corner of the African World, our people experience isolation and a growing sense that a united effort to end our misery is more a dream than a realistic possibility.
African Liberation Day is the one day during each year when African people throughout the world stand united in their commitment to liberation. This year we want to use this special day to dedicate ourselves to sustaining that level of world-wide unity every day of every year. It’s not an easy job. By participating in the 2021 commemoration of African Liberation Day, you are striking a blow against the enemies of oppressed people everywhere by fighting for unity. The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) thanks and salutes you!
Unity is not totally absent from our struggles. For example, in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, Africans throughout the world have been united in action against police terrorism. Many thousands have participated in street manifestations and militant uprisings. However, among the ranks of these demonstrators, the individuals have countless ideas about their objectives, and why they are engaged in these actions. For example, in any demonstration against police terrorism, you will find some who march to defund the police, and others who want only for police forces to hire more Africans. Some want civilian control of police. Others want police abolished altogether. They are united in their actions, but they are not united in thought.
This unity in action and disunity in thought is nothing new. Even during Africa’s colonial era, there were members of Africa’s bourgeoisie who united in nationalist action with workers and peasants to purge the continent of European colonizers. However, they were not united in thought with respect to what should happen in Africa after the colonizers were chased out. The supposed “unity” lasted only long enough for the bourgeoisie to take the place of European colonizers as new African bosses, and without any concerns about the workers and peasants who shed their blood for independence.
We will be free only when we are united in both thought and action. As Kwame Nkrumah observed: “Unity presupposes organization.” We will achieve world-wide Pan-African unity of thought and action when we achieve world-wide Pan-African organization. That’s what the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party fights to achieve every day of every year. Organization for the sake of organization is insufficient. Organization to achieve unity of thought and action will liberate Africa and Africans. An organization that strives to achieve unity of thought and action needs a clear objective and an ideology to focus and guide it. The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party has both.
Our objective is Pan-Africanism
Our Party provides African people organizing globally a vehicle for the achievement of one primary objective – Pan-Africanism, which is: the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism.
There are many other objectives our organization might have that could focus on our local circumstances and that could facilitate our integration into existing systems and institutions. But our liberation requires more than positions in local government, or ownership of small businesses, or membership on corporate boards of directors, or even the support of well-meaning non-governmental organizations. Genuine African liberation requires power. Power does not mean money. Power does not mean fame. Power does not mean close association with those who have power. When Africans gain real power, Africa and Africa’s people worldwide will have the ability to determine and pursue their own destiny without anyone having the capacity to stop them. Fighting for Pan-Africanism is the time-tested strategy for achieving power. It is a strategy implemented by African people organizing globally to achieve one primary objective: the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. It will place within the hands of the masses of African people the wealth of the world’s most mineral rich continent, and a truly democratic government that will use it for their benefit and their protection.
The total liberation of Africa is a critical element of Pan-Africanism. African countries may have African presidents, prime ministers and parliaments, but most of these countries are not under African control. Africa is largely controlled by western governments and foreign corporations. European countries understood back in the 19th Century that Africa possesses enormous natural resources of inestimable value. This one continent has gold, oil, coltan, chromium, bauxite, diamonds and numerous other valuable minerals. Imagine if these resources were in the hands of Africans. Imagine what might be done with these resources to benefit African people all over the world. Europe imagined what Africa’s resources could do for Europe. By 1885, European countries had resolved to colonize and dominate African countries to gain full access to the continent’s wealth.
African resistance to colonialism was protracted and fierce. By the end of the 20th Century this resistance had succeeded in driving European governments out of Africa and leaving African countries nominally independent. However, this independence was illusory. Unwilling to surrender access to the valuable natural resources of Africa, imperialists devised a new form of colonialism that to all appearances was not colonialism at all. This new form of colonialism – or “neo-colonialism” relies heavily on the betrayal of Africa’s people by Africans who by one means or another control the reins of African governments.
Some of these African neo-colonial heads of state are vicious dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo, who during his tyrannical tenure stole much of the country’s treasury and had innumerable people killed. The U.S. and Western Europe turned a blind eye to his crimes for many years because he allowed foreign interests to steal and exploit Congo’s resources. There are still other African neo-colonial government officials who mean well, but they are constrained and directed by a well-organized system of imperialism (i.e., domination of African territory by non-African foreign forces). Even these well-meaning government officials are bound to carry out the agenda of their puppet-masters in the U.S. and Europe.
Imperialist control of Africa is by force. If an African leader attempts to steer an independent course even after experiencing threats and coercion, intelligence agencies of the western governments will engineer a coup, or in some cases an assassination. In other cases where an African leader not only attempts to act independently but establishes effective defenses to subversion, imperialists may resort to economic warfare. This happened in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s governing party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, initiated a program for the return of land occupied by European settlers to Africans. In response, the U.S., England and other western countries commenced and maintained an economic embargo against Zimbabwe for many years that caused substantial economic decline and consequent social and political instability.
Imperialism is also not reluctant to use armed force against those who do not cooperate with the neo-colonial agenda. This was made easier by the creation of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The purpose of AFRICOM is to dominate Africa militarily without appearing to dominate Africa militarily. The way it works is U.S. military forces serve as behind the scenes “advisors” to the armies of African countries. These African armies are directed to carry out missions that advance imperialist interests. One example is AFRICOM’s leadership in the overthrow and vicious murder of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. AFRICOM armed reactionary and racist forces whose campaign of terror allowed the U.S. and France to gain control of Libyan oil fields and end Gadhafi’s plans for an independent gold-backed Pan-African currency. AFRICOM now has operations in almost all African countries.
Pan-Africanism requires Africa to be totally liberated from all these foreign forces and interests so that Africa can not only genuinely govern itself but also control its own natural wealth for the benefit of its own people in Africa and in other parts of the world.
“Divide and conquer” is a very old strategy used by oppressors. Africa is extremely divided, and it is for that reason that Pan-Africanism can be achieved only if Africa is united. How did Africa become divided in the first place? As the year 1884 neared its end, the major European powers that lusted after Africa’s wealth concluded that it made no sense for them to fight each other because there was enough in Africa for everyone to exploit. Representatives of the various European countries came together in Berlin and cut up and distributed portions of a map of Africa in much the same way one would divide a birthday cake. Each European country proceeded to colonize the African territory assigned to them.
When dividing the African continent, Europe paid no heed to existing communities and nation states. Borders and boundaries were established for European convenience, and in the process, Africans with political and social differences were forced into relationships with those they did not necessarily want in their communities. Language differences and other factors created tension and division within the colonies, and these territories were much easier to dominate.
Notwithstanding the Intra-African conflicts in the colonies, resistance to colonialism occurred nevertheless. As these movements gained momentum, conditions became ripe during World War II for African countries to begin to win at least nominal independence. With its attention and resources consumed by the war, Europe lacked the capacity to maintain direct control of its colonies. Independence ushered in a new era of struggle.
Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, became a vocal proponent of Pan-Africanism. Other heads of state like Sekou Toure of Guinea and Patrice Lumumba of Congo echoed these calls much to the chagrin of the United States and Western Europe. The continuing interest in the exploitation of Africa made these African revolutionaries a threat to efforts to establish a new form of colonialism, or neo-colonialism. Consequently, Nkrumah was overthrown by a plot devised by the CIA. Toure was repeatedly attacked and harassed by the French. Lumumba was assassinated by African stooges of the CIA. Other African revolutionaries were also targeted by imperialist forces in the years that followed.
The attacks on African revolutionaries and revolutionary forces have historically been made easier by disunity in Africa. For example, one country that has thrown off imperialist control and is traveling a revolutionary path may be regarded as a “liberated zone.” However, a country on its border may still be a “zone under enemy control” that still bears the burden of western domination. Such a country may be used as a convenient staging ground for attacks and invasions of the neighboring liberated country. Such a strategy could not be pursued if Africa were united in its opposition to neo-colonialism.
There is a yet larger and more important benefit of a united Africa. To understand it, imagine the state of New York in the U.S. as an independent, sovereign country. Even the fact that it has one of the largest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world would not give it very much power or influence on the world stage. It would be overwhelmed economically, diplomatically and militarily by not only the world’s superpowers, but also by many smaller countries. However, if you annex New York to 49 other states that together call themselves the United States of America, then New York along with these other states becomes a force to be reckoned with. The more than 50 little countries in Africa are no different. Alone, they have no more power than would a “country” called New York. However, if all these countries come together to form the United States of Africa, there will be no other country on the planet with as much economic, diplomatic, or military power. That can mean only good things for Africans worldwide.
When Africa unites to achieve Pan-Africanism, scientific socialism must guide and govern the continent’s economics. Many Africans not only fail to include scientific socialism as part of their agenda, they also don’t even know what it is. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds.
Any country is always faced with a basic question: “How are we going to deal with the nation’s money and resources?” If those answering the question believe in a capitalist approach to economics, they will say: “Let’s put the wealth of the nation in the hands of a small elite group. This group can determine whether the broad masses of people will share in this wealth, and if so, to what extent.” Africa has already had many years of experience with capitalism, and the results have not been good. Among other things, capitalism gave Africa the slave trade, colonialism, widespread poverty, environmental disasters, wars, foreign theft and exploitation of natural resources, corruption, and disease. There is another path that Africa must follow. It is the socialist path.
A socialist will say: “Let’s put the wealth of the nation in the hands of everyone. This will ensure that decisions about what to do with it will always be in the best interests of the broad masses of the people. The people themselves will never purposely make decisions that will hurt themselves.” Why, for example would the people ever decide to allow foreign corporations to come into Africa to steal their oil and most valuable minerals? Socialism just makes good sense. It is a scientific approach to economics because it is based on concrete, practical considerations rather than romantic, theoretical notions about how money and resources should be handled.
It should therefore be clear that Pan-Africanism is the objective that Africans throughout the world must pursue. For those who conclude that Pan-Africanism is the proper objective, there is a need to ensure that as efforts are made to achieve it, those efforts are properly directed and effective. This is accomplished through the adoption of an ideology. There are many socialist ideologies that are based on the ideas of Marx, Lenin, Mao, Trotsky, and others. But the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party has adopted an ideology that is both proper and effective because it is grounded in the analyses of Africans themselves.
What Must You Do?
Our unity of thought and action can be achieved within a struggle for Pan-Africanism. Unity is required because Pan-Africanism cannot be accomplished by an individual. The capitalist propaganda about individualism drives myths about super heroic feats of individuals, when in fact no individual accomplishes anything of significance alone. These individualist ideas are absorbed by osmosis even by many of those who are oppressed, and they wait in vain for a “leader” who will rescue them from their misery. This mortal messiah will never come because it is not possible for an individual – even a well-meaning one – to liberate a people. On the other hand, when individuals work together, they have the capacity to overcome even the fiercest oppressors. Organization is the stuff of which revolutions are made. Organization contemplates a steadfast and abiding commitment that involves both work and study. A member of an organization engages in a consistent collective process of self-education to ensure that any work done on behalf of the organization is fully informed and effective.
What must you do? You must join an organization. Africa needs you! Africa’s people scattered around the world need you! The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) needs you! In the A-APRP you will have the opportunity to not only work for your people, but to also learn things universities don’t teach, and to otherwise gain knowledge that will make you the most effective organizer you can be. Enlist in the A-APRP’s work and study program today!