We have found it necessary to publish here this book (a collection of articles and papers published previously on this blog) to enable easy download by those who could not get it in one way or the other.
Lang T.K.A. Nubuor
ELEMENTS OF REVOLUTIONARY PAN-AFRICANISM
Copyright © Lang T.K.A. Nubuor 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on subsequent purchaser.
Dedicated to the Professional Revolutionary of the orientation of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism who diligently studies, understands and applies Marxism-Nkrumaism to liberate and unify Africa.
The organised masses, if not armed, are helpless in a revolutionary situation. However organised the masses are, it is always by armed insurrection that counter-revolutionary regimes are overthrown.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, A letter to June Milne, dated April 29, 1967
Works by Kwame Nkrumah
Africa Must Unite
Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah
Class Struggle in Africa
Dark Days in Ghana
Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare
I Speak of Freedom
The Struggle Continues*
Towards Colonial Freedom
Voice from Conakry
Ghana: The Way Out
What I Mean by Positive Action
The Big Lie
Two Myths: The Myth of the “Third World”
“African Socialism” Revisited
The Spectre of Black Power
FIRST ENTRY 35
The Problem of our Borders in Africa
SECOND ENTRY 44
The Problem with Prof. Kwame Addo’s Presentation
THIRD ENTRY 51
H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran’s Pigeon-Hole Development Strategy
FOURTH ENTRY 60
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is not a Fool
FIFTH ENTRY 69
The Shivji-Prah Debate
SIXTH ENTRY 124
Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism or Sustaining the Wave of Resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism?
SEVENTH ENTRY 173
On Hon. Samia Nkrumah and the African Revolution
EIGTH ENTRY 236
Spirituality and Religion in Revolutionary Pan-Africanism
If Marx turns Hegel upside down and repudiates divine influence, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah restores divinity on the basis of the premises of Marx to the Marxist discourse as materialist spirituality – a spirituality that does not subsist ‘outside’ the universe but ‘inside’ it in accordance with African cosmogony. God is not ‘outside’ the world but ‘inside’ it.
In his significant book Pan-Africanism or Neo-Colonialism, Elenga M’buyinga asserts that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is the only African head of state to have elaborated a coherent theory of African Unity in the face of the absence of any coherent overall conception of it. He sees that absence as the great weakness of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism1. On his part, Dr. Nkrumah does see this elaborated theory, an element in his ideological system, as one in a state of evolution conditioned by the development of the revolutionary struggle in Africa.
Below here, we see that he describes that ideological system as ‘Marxism-Nkrumaism’ or ‘Nkrumaism’ for short. We also observe therein that he traces its origins to his 1947 publication Towards Colonial Freedom and thus shows that contrary to M’buyinga’s understanding the theory of African Unity predates 1963’s publication of Africa Must Unite as it evolves from the 1947 publication. And that publication clearly flourishes on the tested ideologico-philosophical principles of Marxism. Hence, Dr. Nkrumah’s fidelity to Marxism has never been a post-coup event. That has always been the foundation of his thought and practice system.
In applying the principles of Marxism within the specific conditions of Africa, however, he faces the reality of what he describes as a universal power which he sees as the source of all power in the universe and as the sustenance of all that there is. This realization conditions what he does that both idealist and materialist philosophers never ever did – that is, he implicitly distinguishes the variants of ‘spirit’ employed in philosophical discourse whereby the conclusions derived from the analyses of one variant are without appropriate logical procedure attributed to the other variant. This principally results from considering ‘mind’ as ‘spirit’.
In the philosopher’s consideration of ‘mind’ as ‘spirit’, be it the mind of man or of God, they mess up this so-called spirit with the ‘Spirit’ that is perceived and conceived to be a force that exists as an independent force capable of activity beyond the control of Man. The two are not the same. The standard practice of all hitherto philosophers, including Hegel and Marx, conflates the two disparate categories. Hence, their conclusions on one are necessarily imposed on the other. So, the analyses of the characteristics of the human mind are automatically considered as the analyses of Spirit beings. Let us illustrate this with Karl Marx’s critique of Hegelian theory.
Applying his methodology of alienation-reification-inversion (ARI), Marx analyses how the idealist philosopher comes by the concept of God. He considers the statement ‘Man is good’. The idealist first of all, through the process of alienation, dissociates ‘good’ from the man whose attribute it is. In the next process of reification, this dissociated attribute is given a life of its own and thus converted into an independent active entity. The final process of inversion then turns upside down (inverses) the relationship between Man and his attribute wherein the attribute is now elevated and presented as the producer or the creator (God) of the Man. Good becomes God. The same procedure is at play when the statement ‘Man has mind’ is similarly handled; in which case Mind, also called spirit, is reinvented as God or Spirit and Man as the created being.
On the basis of this illogicality of the idealist philosopher, Marx dismisses the idealist’s argument for the existence of God. In so doing, however, though the illogical operation is well appreciated, Marx himself does not develop an alternative argument for the existence of God but rejects that existence solely on the basis of the Hegelian fallacy which is an argument on Man and his relation to his own attribute but not in his relation to an external force. In his correct re-inversion of the Hegelian procedure, and thus placing Man as the producer or bearer of his own attributes which include his mind, Marx, nevertheless, remains on the turf of conflating mind and Spirit as he extends the rejection of Mind as Man’s creator to the rejection of the external force (Spirit, God). Dr. Nkrumah has the singular distinction of dissolving that conflation.
To do that, he asserts the distinction between mind as a spirit dependent on man and Spirit as an independent existence or a universal power. In his consideration of the dependence of mind, he notes how the state of the mind is dependent on the state (or health) of the brain and not vice versa. The parts of the brain have been established as centres that enable the operations of the mind. In case, for instance, that part of the brain which enables memory activity is injured in one way or the other the mind experiences difficulties. Mind difficulties are, therefore, resolved through physiological interventions in the brain. Universal power suffers no such dependence.
Spirit, as that universal power, is not understood, however, as a non-material entity or, if you like, as something that is essentially different from matter. It is a material entity – once it is understood to be external to the mind of Man – with features that Dr. Nkrumah likens to ether or electricity. Indeed, in Consciencism, he asserts, what he describes as the African traditional standpoint, that matter is not dead weight but one that is alive as a complex of forces in tension. In this respect, he also asserts the African rejection of concepts of ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ about the universe. Such a rejection derives from the African making the two concepts continuous and thus abolishes them. The universal power is ‘within’ the world.
The significance of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s restitution of universal power (which is easily seen as God) to the premises of Marxism2 consists in the recognition that Man does not exist outside the influence of the universal power. For, he asserts that there are universal laws of this power which, if broken, lead man to certain destruction. Living in harmony with such laws is the condition for human fulfilment. This philosophical position rests in harmony with the traditional African thought system which, Dr. Nkrumah argues in Consciencism, must be the basis upon which Christian, Islamic and African thought systems are harmonized into a coherent ideology.
This restitution of divinity to the premises of Marxism advances Marxism out of the world of atheism into the world of materialist spirituality wherein God is asserted as a material reality. It is the distinctive contribution of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to Marxist thought and practice. Within the African condition in particular this justifies the reference to his ideological system not simply as Nkrumaism but objectively as Marxism-Nkrumaism. For, his entire argument is nourished by dialectical materialism which is its rock foundation. In other words, any successful argument against dialectical materialism amounts to a successful demolition of his thought system.
It is important to observe that in the preparation of the second edition of Consciencism, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah proposes to reduce the long sub-title so that Consciencism: Ideology for Decolonisation becomes the new title of the book. He asks June Milne for her thought on that. See his letter, dated June 22, 1969, page 315 of The Conakry Years. Whatever happens, the title ends up being Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonisation. This latter has since then created an apparent bifurcation in Consciencism. Is it a Philosophy and an Ideology? Or, is it a Philosophy with an Ideology? Or, is it an Ideology with a Philosophy?
If it is the first then it is bifurcated. If it is the second then it contradicts Dr. Nkrumah’s assertion that Philosophy is an instrument of Ideology. If it is the third then that stands in accord with his statement that Philosophy is an instrument of Ideology; but that means that, as a subordinate, ‘Philosophy’ should not appear in the title at all. His initial proposal should stay. That is why we refer to Consciencism as ‘the ideological system’ in the text. In Dr. Nkrumah’s own formulation, it is even better to talk about Marxism-Nkrumaism since he considers Consciencism to be a part of the latter. As such a system, it has ramifications of which Philosophy and its branches are but one. This is explained in The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism.
It is also necessary to explain that in Marxism-Nkrumaism philosophy goes beyond historical materialism to dialectical materialism and again beyond to materialist spirituality. Just after a month of making the statement that he was wrong in saying he was a Marxist Christian, Dr. Nkrumah says in a letter to June Milne, dated August 7, 1967, at page 169 of The Conakry Years that
‘You see my whole thinking and action is derived from a synthesis of the materialism of Feuerbach, the dialectical idealism of Hegel, or rather the Hegelian dialectics which presupposes nothing constant but change and movement – the famous Hegelian thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis, and the synthesis negating itself, and so it goes on … Then the evolution theory of Darwin which reduced man from the image of god to that of the biologically developed animal. Man with his unlimited capacity for good and evil. Then the [materialist] dialectical formulation of Marx and Engels which repudiates any divine influence in the affairs of men and in which truth is measured by the pressure of conditions and circumstances of a special situation. It is these which have been shaping my thinking and thoughts. But I also believe that there is a source of all power in the universe.’ (Italics added)
Thus, from materialist dialectics he derives materialist spirituality and as such does not repudiate the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels which he makes the foundation of his philosophical world outlook and from which specifically the derivation is effected. If Marx turns Hegel upside down and repudiates divine influence, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah restores divinity on the basis of the premises of Marx to the Marxist discourse as materialist spirituality – a spirituality that does not subsist ‘outside’ the universe but ‘inside’ it in accordance with African cosmogony. God is not ‘outside’ the world but ‘inside’ it.
In Consciencism, at page 12, Dr. Nkrumah says that ‘African societies did not accept transcendentalism, and may indeed be regarded as having attempted to synthesize the dialectical opposites ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ by making them continuous, that is, by abolishing them.’ At page 97, he says that ‘philosophical consciencism … agrees with the traditional African outlook on many points … In particular, it agrees with the traditional African idea of the absolute and independent existence of matter, the idea of its powers of self-motion in the sense explained, the idea of categorial convertibility, and the idea of the grounding of cardinal principles of ethics in the nature of man.’ See The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism.
In summary, at page 196 of Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years – His Life and Letters, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserts in a note book that the ‘Essence of Marxism-Nkrumaism is contained in Towards Colonial Freedom. This plus Consciencism has its place in the development of Nkrumaism. Latter is not [a] concrete set of laws or principles, but will evolve as the revolutionary struggle in Africa evolves. [Don’t] know exactly what problems and difficulties will arise along the way. But solutions will be found for them.’ Marxism-Nkrumaism is, therefore, not a dogma but a scientific system continually tested and being developed beyond the life and works of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah – initiated in the 1940s with the publication of Towards Colonial Freedom.
In our consideration of the elements of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism in this book we are minded of the need to establish the Marxist foundation of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s thought system. For, it is only within the Marxist context that we can profoundly appreciate his projections for the prosecution of the African Revolution and undertake African continental national reconstruction. Thus, it is within the Marxist-Nkrumaist context only that we can scientifically formulate our current strategies and tactics to liberate and unify continental Africans and our Diaspora under the socialist People’s Republican State of Africa.
- According to Elenga M’buyinga, ‘Revolutionary Pan-Africanism’s strength during these years was its just and popular cause, the independence and unification of Africa. This Pan-Africanism enjoyed the backing of progressive forces throughout the world and the support of the African masses, who were to a greater or lesser extent aware that independence would only come through unification. Its great weakness, however, was a lack of clarity and acuity, the absence of any coherent overall conception of African unity. The first major attempt to fill this lacuna, Nkrumah’s book, Africa Must Unite, was only published in 1963… President Kwame Nkrumah is still the only African head of state to have elaborated a coherent theory of African unity based on the practical realities of African society rather than on feelings and communiqués. His theory asserts that African unity must necessarily take the form of a continent-wide political unification. There will have to be a Continental Government charged with the management of all essential functions, notably the economy, defence and foreign affairs.’
- In their early writings, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were adherents of concepts of God. As a student Marx wrote an examination paper with the title ‘The Union of Believers with Christ According to John 15:1-14, Showing its Basis and Essence, its Absolute Necessity, and its Effects’. On his part, Friedrich Engels waxes poetic in the first stanza of his Poem thus:
Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only son
O step down from Thy heavenly throne
And save my soul for me.
Come down in all Thy blessedness,
Light of Thy Father’s holiness,
Grant that I may choose Thee.
Lovely, splendid, without sorrow is the
Joy with which we raise,
Saviour, unto Thee our praise.
Find these respectively in Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vols. 1 and 2, Progress Publishers, 1975, pages 636 and 556.
Revolutionary Pan-Africanism is that strand in the Pan-African movement disposed towards the primary application of all forms of political struggle for the liberation and unification of the African continent and people under the socialist People’s Republican State of Africa (PRSA). The leading theoretician and strategist of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, variously calls the PRSA ‘People’s Republic of Africa’, ‘Union of African Socialist Republics’, ‘Union of African Republics’, ‘United States of Africa’, etc.
The need to abolish the neo-colonial states in Africa to reverse the arbitrary demarcation of African society during the Berlin Conference of 1884/5 and re-demarcate the continent to redress the division of ethnic entities across the artificial boundaries make the choice of ‘People’s Republic of Africa’ more relevant as it suggests and emphasizes the abolition of the neo-colonial republican states and their replacement with a single state. The People’s Republican State of Africa represents an upgrade of the People’s Republic of Africa to re-emphasize the needed abolition of the neo-colonial republican states.
It is true that at page 193 of June Milne’s Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years – His Life and Letters, in an October 30, 1967 letter to June Milne, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah says that ‘When the time comes we shall know how to re-name the African government, whether People’s Republic of Africa or Union of African Republics’. Certainly, in view of the need to abolish the republics and get that set in our minds the latter name cannot ever be appropriate; the preferred choice is in favour of the former to avoid confusion. For, even within the ranks of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism the notion of the existing form of the neo-colonial republican states appears to be taken for granted as the basis for the reconstruction of the unified African Nation.
That notion retains the form of the existing arbitrary demarcations and projects it, consciously or unconsciously, into the era of post-neo-colonial state reconstruction. It is quite innocently retrogressive and needs to be purged from the Revolutionary Pan-African’s discourse.
We take liberties here to also explain that Revolutionary Pan-Africanism is not an ideology in itself but a movement with a programme directed by the ideology of Marxism-Nkrumaism which is scientific socialism developed and being developed from the conditions of the African continent and people. We see some of us being uncertain or, at worst, confused in this respect. Let us purge this confusion also from the discourse of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
Elements of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism comes after The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism which guides the reader of Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonisation where Dr. Kwame Nkrumah sets out the ideologico-philosophical thought system for decolonization. In the Elements of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism the application of the set of principles emerging out of the study of Consciencism, and therefore Marxism-Nkrumaism, is at play. The application puts the principles to a test as to their capacity to yield convincing results in the analyses of political and socio-economic institutions and events.
As the reader will find out, the test of the principles is conducted in a series of articles and papers that seek to defend Marxism-Nkrumaism on its positions in Revolutionary Pan-Africanism against the opposing tendencies within the Pan-African movement. In this endeavour, we make a further attempt to fine tune a few concepts that in Dr. Nkrumah’s texts appear to lack precision due to their await for final determinations and definitions. An example is Dr. Nkrumah’s proposal for a ‘People’s Republic of Africa or Union of African Republics’ as considered above. This kind of formulation leaves vital issues in limbo. That is where opportunists seize the advantage to wreak havoc in the revolutionary ranks in pursuit of narrow comprador interests.
Dr. Nkrumah is quite aware of such situations. Hence, he is cautious in stating that his ideology is not cast in concrete but evolves with the revolutionary struggle. This insulates Marxism-Nkrumaism from dogmatic applications. The situation does not, however, provide license for selective and opportunistic application of some of its concepts and principles. For, in spite of his humility in making claims as to the concreteness of the ideological system there are indeed parts of that system which have been firmly established. Any interpretation of a concept or principle to conflict with the firmly established ones cannot be logically acceptable within the system.
In this test of concepts and principles, the elements of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism are not singled out in classroom or academic fashion for appraisal. We avoid such schematic treatments. They simply flow in the texts as combat concepts and principles. Their success is determined by the soundness of their application in yielding results. Although their academic validity is at stake in the test it is their intellectual utility, which involves the academic dimension as well, that concerns us; for whereas the academic treatment confines us to issues of grammar, fact and logic the intellectual act goes on to set our hands to the plough of social change and development.
Hence, in focus, these articles and papers are directed at defining Revolutionary Pan-Africanism in terms not only of what it stands for but also what it stands against. They urge a constant focus on the Pan-African political perspective as against the parochialism of the neo-colonial state. They seek the abolition of the neo-colonial states in favour of a single continental state – the People’s Republican State of Africa – structured to facilitate its own ultimate dissolution into the mass of the African people not through a revolution but a reform. Thus while that State emerges from the red soil of the African Revolution it withers away in the green grass of African reform.
June 5, 2012
The first entry in this book is the article ‘The Problem of our Borders in Africa’. It argues that there is a direction towards the unification of Africans on the continent via the daily interaction of the people across the borders separating them from each other. This economic interaction sets in motion political integrationist processes that the neo-colonial state borders obstruct. It points out that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah identifies this problem and suggests that its resolution lies only in a revolutionary armed struggle undertaken by the masses of the African people to dismantle the borders between the countries to pave the way for the creation of the single state of the People’s Republican State of Africa. This is a task that the current African leadership refuses to execute.
In the second entry, the article ‘The Problem with Prof. Kwame Addo’s Presentation’, the need for the development of mass desire and mass consent for this change is illustrated. It expresses dissatisfaction with the use of propaganda techniques to impose schemes on the African masses instead of patient explanation that will not only enhance a deep understanding of such schemes but more importantly encourage commitment to them. The gains to be made from that kind of understanding and commitment aid the development of mass desire and mass consent in support of the expected change. What Prof. Addo does, however, camouflages his commitment to the retention of the neo-colonial borders which actually stand in the way of his regionalist scheme.
This commitment to the retention of the neo-colonial state is so embedded in the conscience of the African elite that they could complain about the borders or barriers and yet proffer plans for development that take these borders for granted as their premise. In the third entry on ‘H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran’s Pigeon-Hole Development Strategy’, the then Ghana High Commissioner to South Africa states that ‘If Africa is to prosper, we must remove all barriers between our nations. We blame colonialists for the partition of Africa and for the creation of artificial boundaries on the continent. However several decades after the collapse of colonialism, we have not dismantled these barriers. We have rather reinforced borders and treated ourselves as if we were not kith and kin’. He leaves it at that and proceeds to offer plans for the efficiency of the neo-colonial state.
This preoccupation with the efficiency of the African neo-colonial state within its borders is also found in the fourth entry ‘Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is not a Fool’. Dr. Nduom, leader and founder as well as the 2012 Presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party, says he does not support any ideology but sells pragmatism. The article argues that Dr. Nduom discerns a threat posed to capital in the face of growing mass agitations. He wants to frustrate the movement of the people through fascist means. His pragmatism is directed at creating a more efficient neo-colonial state for the purpose. He sees what his class allies fail to see – the growing threat. Hence, he wants a constitutional change for more enhanced Presidential powers in his hands.
Up till this point, the entries are concerned with views that are marked by their unsophisticated nature in their attitude towards the retention of the neo-colonial states of Africa in their pigeon-holes. They make no pretence at liberating and unifying Africa. In the next entries, we find very sophisticated neo-colonial Trojan horse advocates of Pan-Africanism like Prof. Kwesi K. Prah, Prof. Chinweizu Ibekwe Chinweizu, Bankie Forster Bankie and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s daughter Samia Yaba Nkrumah. These represent the Sankofa strand in the Pan-African movement. Although they can be seen as representatives of sub-sets in the Sankofa movement they share a common commitment in their opposition to Marxist-Nkrumaist Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
We begin with the most sophisticated among them, Prof. Prah through Prof. Chinweizu and Bankie to the least sophisticated Samia Nkrumah. Thus, in the fifth entry we have ‘The Shivji-Prah Debate’. Here, Prof. Issa G. Shivji’s political economic analysis ‘The Struggle to Convert Nationalism to Pan-Africanism’ receives a response from Prof. Prah in ‘On Records and Keeping Our Eye on the Ball’. In ‘From Sparks to Conflagration – An Intervention’, this author makes an intervention in the debate. Due to copyright reasons we can publish the author’s input only. The professors’ papers can be accessed on the internet either through Google, Pambazuka or at https://consciencism.wordpress.com/history/documents/the-shivji-prah-debate-on-pan-africanism/.
The debate, contrary to what Prof. Shivji intends, according to the ‘Intervention’, tries to define the African in contemporary times. In that respect, the ‘Intervention’ observes that ‘African society is now a multi-racial society. Like American society, African society exhibits a multi-racial texture of Black-Africans, White or Boer-Africans (Afrikaners), Arab-Africans, Indian-Africans and Mixed Blood-Africans (Coloured or Half-Casts or Mulattoes). The emergence of this amalgam over a period of history has been the result of the interplay of a multiplicity of interests, converging and disintegrating but ultimately forging out of this melee the African Nation.’ Who qualifies as a member of this African Nation is the issue at stake.
This question of who qualifies to be an African national or simply an African is again addressed by Prof. Chinweizu I. Chinweizu in a collection of workshop papers published under the title Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism. In the sixth entry here, ‘Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism or Sustaining the Wave of Resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism?’, the issue, in addition to others, is further explored. This paper sees Prof. Chinweizu’s exclusivist definition that considers an African to be only the Black African to be ahistorical insofar as the Arabized Berber, at least, has been in Africa for over three thousand years. It also sees a certain similarity of the conditions of the Arab Diaspora in Africa to the condition of the Black African Diaspora in America.
The anti-Arab sentiments of Prof. Prah and Prof. Chinweizu, which are extended to a denial of the existence of any Arab-Africans in Africa, also find expression in Bankie F. Bankie’s paper in the collection. The sixth entry paper contests his claim that Arabia was one of the imperialist powers who granted independence to African countries. These leading lights of the Sankofa set have devised different models of what they perceive as the Arab threat in Africa. Whereas Prof. Prah says that Arabs in Africa, whatever number of years they have lived on African soil, must be considered for citizenship (as they are presumed to be non-nationals) Prof. Chinweizu wants them excluded and ultimately driven out of Africa. Bankie just wants to leave them excluded.
This paves the way for the seventh entry, ‘On Hon. Samia Nkrumah and the African Revolution’. It is a response to Abdurrahman Nelson’s claim that Samia Nkrumah is the Leader of the African Revolution from whom every African head of state must take instructions. The paper analyses various published speeches of Samia Nkrumah to show not only her membership of the Sankofa strand in Pan-Africanism but more importantly her opposition to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism as specifically defined by her father, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The interesting point about her membership of the Sankofa movement is that by virtue of her being of a mixed race origin (a child of Black African and Arab African parentage) Sankofa theory dismisses her as an African.
The final entry, ‘Spirituality and Religion in Revolutionary Pan-Africanism’, explores an area of African existence and experience most neglected generally in Pan-African discourse and in the discourse of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism in particular – spirituality and religion. The paper gets into the mind of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah through his own published works as well as his published letters and notebooks to bring out his thoughts on spirituality and religion to spell out the position of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism on such issues – he being its foremost theoretician. It finds his opposition to organized religion in preference to spirituality. He consequently opts for Christian Spirituality, Islamic Spirituality, African Traditional Spirituality, etc., and puts them together into a Universal Spirituality – with no separate commitment to any of the former.
To sum up, it should be borne in mind that alongside the issues highlighted here there are others of equal importance that are addressed. We have only mapped up here the trajectory along which the other issues are also addressed.
The Problem of Our Borders
The Force of African History and Unification: History of the Dual Dynamic Principle – An Nkrumaist Perspective is the title of a book in progress. The text below is the Foreword to the book. It focuses our attention on the problem of our borders as a great obstacle to our emerging African Nation.
The book, as a presentation in analytical history, portrays socio-economic interaction and class differentiation as the dual dynamic force of our society and history. It is the recognition of this dual dynamic principle that exposes to us the lines along which our thoughts should flow if we should appreciate the unviability of the separate states of Africa as the political framework for our development.
We understand by this that the development of individual African states outside the framework of a united Africa remains an impossible undertaking until the masses of Africa rise to dismantle the artificial boundaries for a united People’s Republican State of Africa. This is the task that our misleaders, masquerading as our leaders, will never undertake on our behalf since they benefit from our predicament. According to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah the solution lies in the victorious mass armed struggle across the continent.
The force of history dictates the pattern of development of nations. It has never been by accident that in the history of Africa, political institutions and empires have always been built to control and rationalize an emerged economic pattern of life. Economic interactions with immediate and distant neighbours have always led to political integration with such neighbours. The process of integration has never been smooth or without violence.
The disintegration of an empire has always been followed by the integration of its parts into a new empire if only the economic pattern of life shows itself to have merged with that of the new empire. Political unification of people living as neighbours is only inspired by the need to harmonize economic relations within a centralized system for economic efficiency. Such is the dictate of the force of history.
To neglect this logic of history is to miss the most fundamental dynamic in the process of nation-building. It is the understanding of this dynamic which prepares us to intervene in that process. Hence, the ardent unification drive in Africa, throbbing in the heart and mind of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, is the cry of pain at the forceful pigeon-holing of the people of Africa within confines marked by artificial borders on the continent; when on a daily basis the people must have to and seek to freely interact with each other across the borders to transact business.
This reflection in the mind of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of our people’s drive for free economic and social interaction is the reflection of the direction determined by the force of African history. And no other force can forever frustrate its course for self-realization – not even the force of imperialism.
Neo-colonial states in Africa stand in the way of an early realization of that course of history. Rather than intervening in that process to speed it up they have constituted themselves, in behalf of and in collaboration with imperialism, to frustrate it. Forming themselves into regional bodies representing themselves and not our people, these neo-colonial states perpetuate our so-called divisions long designed by imperialism to facilitate our politico-military domination for enhanced economic exploitation of our African Nation.
Such traitors of Africa, interestingly, are paper tigers sustained in outmoded inherited colonial power structures held in place through deceitful democratic practices supported by imperialism. These obstacles to the development and self-realization of Africans, Dr. Nkrumah says, can and must be destroyed in armed struggles.
And unless such armed struggles are ultimately directed for socialist reconstruction of African society, the power regained with the destruction of neo-colonialism can only be given back on a silver platter to the imperialists lurking around for their capitalist fulfilment. That is why the armed struggle is not for reforms, however progressive, but is a revolutionary armed struggle to completely destroy the inherited colonial and newly-created neo-colonial power structures and replace them with new and different structures.
While the revolutionary forces prepare for the armed struggle they seize opportunities of the gains of the popular civil struggles to create the alternative structures that will replace the anachronistic inherited power apparatus. Time is not to be wasted awaiting that destruction before the commencement of the new building process.
The study of African history reveals a trajectory of emerging empires integrating higher populations than the empires that precede them. Hence, the Mali Empire absorbs the previous Ghana Empire into its population and the Songhai Empire in turn absorbs both the Ghana and Mali Empires. From the West African coastline, the Denkyira Empire is incorporated into the Adansi Empire which is in turn absorbed by the Akwamu Empire. The Asante Empire absorbs all these latter and more.
A careful observation shows the growth of these empires over trade routes forming a growing network bringing people together in increasingly larger geographic and demographic space. A similar logic of history is seen at play in other parts of Africa where large empires incorporating larger and larger geographic and demographic space emerge.
The empire-building processes are not seen merely as processes of geographic and demographic expansion. They involve, as well, processes of social stratification whereby feudal and incipient feudal systems emerge. The advent of European capitalism does not involve absorption of territories and populations the African-style. During the colonial stage of imperialism, capitalism divides territories even within a particular European Empire into sub-divisions which later emerge as so-called nations of Africa.
Thus, whereas the processes before the European advent centralize the administration of all territories within the population, the Europeans decentralize their administration on the African continent and have the central authority located outside its population away in Europe. The principle of divide and rule informs this retrogressive behaviour.
Hence, people speaking the same language and sharing the same culture find themselves divided by an arbitrary line of demarcation. That explains why one finds the Ewe in the three countries of Ghana, Togo and Benin. The Hausa are found in Niger and Nigeria. The Tswana are divided between South Africa and Botswana. The Ewe, Hausa and Tswana are then supposed to respectively form different ‘nations’ in their separate countries. Examples of this retrogression are multiplied across the African continent.
The said retrogression stands in opposition to the progressive force of history that manifests in cross-border interaction in the face of huge security arrangements like the digging of canal-like fissures between countries. The removal of such obstacles to free interaction remains a constant demand of Africans on both sides of the artificial borders. This demand cannot forever be a wild-goose chase, a mere dream.
Unless, however, the organized force of the people is set in motion to forcibly dismantle the neo-colonial state structures and remove the borders in an armed struggle the situation threatens to remain with us unduly for a long while. The extreme obstacles that these borders represent in African development are well captured in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s 1964 statement in Cairo that: ‘By far the greatest wrong which the departing colonialists inflicted on us, and which we now continue to inflict on ourselves in our present state of disunity, was to leave us divided into economically unviable States which bear no possibility of real development.’
That is the extent of the border issue in its impact on African development. The winner in that case remains the imperialists and neo-colonialists and the indigenous bourgeoisie. Even so, the force of history finally triumphs. And it triumphs in the face of the deceptive imperialist and neo-colonialist display of might with its armed forces and other mechanisms. For, it is not arms that win the war. It is the people in arms who win that war. And that war, a people’s war, has no colour of race.
It involves not only the working people of Africa, who are its immediate prosecutors on the continent, but also the working peoples of all exploited nations in the world including those in the metropolitan centres of imperialism and neo-colonialism in Europe and America. Only conscious and unconscious collaborators with imperialist and neo-colonialist international reaction see and emphasize colour of race in this serious business of the People’s War.
This study of the unification process in Africa has nothing to do with skin colour though it is conscious of imperialist exploitation of it to divide working people world-wide to the disadvantage of the earth’s toiling masses.
It has everything, however, to do with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s statement on one of the features of a revolutionary party in the following terms: ‘Its essential objective is the total destruction of the puppet government or colonial power, in order to build in its place the organs of the people’s political power based on mass organization and mass education.’
That is, the destruction of the inherited colonial power apparatus and its replacement with an alternative people’s power structure are envisaged. He adds that this ‘objective can only be achieved through a policy of direct confrontation with the enemy, and not through devious negotiations and compromise.’ And that ‘This is the only correct approach to the African situation if the problem of the revolution is to be studied in depth and from the people’s point of view.’
To understand these quotes is to capture the essential trajectory of this book in its portrayal of the force of African history, the logic of which suggests that no African neo-colonial state can develop its resources for the people’s prosperity outside a united Africa established as the People’s Republican State of Africa.
Unlike the ill-fated approach of our forebears, who sought to achieve unification from the top downwards by way of round-table conferences and compromises, the historically-determined approach for the current and coming generations of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora is the self-determination of the mass of our people on the basis of their own initiative and dynamism in the prosecution of an armed struggle to destroy imperialism and neo-colonialism for the replacement of these with structures of the people’s own power for popular participation and representation – across the continent.
History is made only by bold ventures and not by retreating in the face of difficulties. Those who argue that the time is not ripe or that the difficulties are too great for the establishment of a Continental Union Government are not recognizing the imperative needs of the African Continent or the overwhelming wishes and desires of the masses of the people of Africa.
Kwame Nkrumah, A New Africa – Speech at OAU Summit Conference in Accra, Ghana, on October 21, 1965.
The Problem with Professor Kwame Addo’s Presentation
On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, Prof. Kwame Addo makes an architectural presentation of an infrastructural development plan for Ghana at the Freedom Centre in Accra. It has the expressed aim of constitutionally committing any elected governing party to its implementation. Using an impressive digital format, he runs through with the presentation in the manner of a CNN, VOA or BBC news presentation – that is, with the kind of speed that leaves the listener with little or no time to digest before absorbing strategic concepts used in the presentation though those concepts influence them.
In the process, the presentation has a propaganda effect only – just as CNN, VOA and BBC news do. This manifests in the quality of the follow-up discussion. With the exception of the contributions and interventions from Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., who has had a prior interaction with Prof. Addo and viewed the presentation then, none of the other contributions displays a deep appreciation of the issues raised by the presentation. Consequently, listeners leave with a largely uncritical approval of that presentation. That is what propaganda achieves.
The import of such propagandist presentations is that given that listeners fail to achieve a deep understanding of it they are left with a very weak commitment to it. Such an audience, even with the backing of the most gbeyecious (fearful) constitutional instruments, is consequently less disposed to holding a governing party – that is less disposed to the plan’s implementation – committed to it. That is why we need to appreciate the dangerous use of such propaganda in mobilising mass consent and mass desire for change and development.
For, the development of mass consent and mass desire for change is the foundation for setting in motion a mass movement out of which a genuine mass party can emerge to direct that movement which also directs it. Such a mass movement is development-focused. It is not a mere electoral base of a party. Being the foundation of the entire edifice of People’s Power, mass consent and desire requires a very deep understanding of the tasks confronting the African Nation and who benefits from the execution of those tasks.
To this extent, Prof. Kwame Addo fails the Freedom Centre audience. He starts the presentation with a song intended to arouse the narrow spirit of Ghanaian nationalism rather than African nationalism. Taking the borders of Ghana as a sacrosanct given, the song and the undoubtedly impressive graphics flatter the audience into thinking of Ghana as the Star of Africa. This prepares the mind of that audience, which includes other Africans, into the acceptance of the unviable Ghanaian state as the starting point of an integrated regional plan.
The ideological significance of such conscious flattering is the endorsement of the regionalist agenda that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah rejects as a precursor to the political unification of the continent. Osagyefo forcefully explains in Africa Must Unite the necessity for political unification of the continent as the condition upon which the development of the colonially-pigeon-holed people of Africa can be undertaken with the least assistance of foreign powers whose interest in Africa’s continued impoverishment is an article of faith for their survival.
This ideological significance is neatly underscored by Prof. Kwame Addo’s proposal that the implementation of his integrated infrastructural development plan is to be carried out in a mix of Western and Chinese investments. Osagyefo’s insistence that with a united Africa the bulk of the required funding could be internally generated is quietly ignored in the proposal. The supplementary role that the Nkrumaist agenda projects for foreign investors is thus jettisoned in favour of making those investors the main vehicle for our continued impoverishment.
And it is not as if Prof. Addo is not aware of the negative impact of Western so-called aid or investment on Africa. When the issue is raised, he concedes and illustrates with figures how such investment has not helped Africa. His prescription for averting a recurrence is based on his contention that the lack of an integrated plan like the one he presents is the cause of this naked exploitation of Africa. His plan, its endorsement and presentation to the imperialist and neo-colonialist powers, he tells us, is the medicine to our ailment. Sad ignorance this is.
It is in combat against such optimism that Mr. Kwesi Pratt explains in the spirit of Nkrumaism that imperialist and neo-colonialist powers operate with the prime objective of hauling profits and not with any motivation to enhance benefits for their victim-in-need. Indeed, if even Prof. Kwame Addo does not say it he is actually disappointed in the anti-imperialist, though gentle, opposition to his attempt to run down the throat of the African audience a Trojan horse – beautiful in appearance but gbeyeciously dangerous in essence.
And he does not only use flattery to massage the Ghanaian conscience into accepting a clearly-inspired neo-colonialist plan. He also creates a sense of expeditiousness about his presence by creating a false impression of time availability for his presentation. The week before his presentation when his forthcoming presentation is announced, he manages to have the impression created that he will be available for a few minutes only. This necessitates a brief debate as to whether to use the remaining time of the day for some other discussion.
Overwhelmingly, the Freedom Centre participants opt for Prof. Kwame Addo’s presentation – showing a microcosmic consent and desire for development-oriented discussion of “national” issues agitating the African conscience away from the ruling classes’ concerns with where the flag bearer of the opposition NPP passes water or not. In the event of his appearance for the presentation, Prof. Addo does not appear with hard copies of a summary of the eventual presentation. He clearly intends to dump his plan on the audience.
Surprisingly, after his rapid presentation Prof. Kwame Addo does not plead to leave the Centre after the imaginary time he has given his hosts expires. The expected limited time for discussion goes beyond the normal time for Freedom Centre Wednesday discussions. He is among the last to leave the Centre. The anxiety he had created about time is seen to be uncalled-for. In fact, he has been pressured into staying on by the kind of questions and comments made after the presentation and which expose the silent currents under his plan.
Several concepts he uses in the presentation. One person is concerned enough about the flood of concepts to ask what one of them means. It is doubtful if many of those concepts stick in the presentation avalanche. We remember just a few but not in their interconnectedness. Do not blame our memory wearing away thin and infirm. It is such that even the memory of the legendary Yaw Adu-Larbi of ‘What do you know?’ fame is destined to fail to perform in the enterprise. Doctorate holders are similarly bound to fail in any such memory exercises.
Certainly, Prof. Addo succeeds in using a combination of rapidity in presentation and anxiety about time to inflict a certain level of acceptance among the audience for his undoubtedly impressive plan. But the ideological baggage of that plan is definitely exposed and rejected, though in a gentle reception. The critical reflections that are consequent upon the presentation in the ensuing days or weeks will surely unload the ideological baggage that the less cautious swallows together with the acceptable architectural plan.
It is in this respect and for the ultimate acceptance of the architectural plan that this author asks Prof. Kwame Addo for a copy of the presentation intended for a critical evaluation outside the pressures that he exercises on the audience. The availability of such a copy in hardcopy format, as he assures will be made available, will be of great help in this critical evaluation to aid understanding, mastery and possible incorporation of the plan into the African conscience.
Such incorporation will require trimming the unnecessary “national” parochialism off the plan for its expansion over the continent entire. In this regard, we make haste to acknowledge that in spite of its “national” parochialism Prof. Kwame Addo situates the plan in a regional context. But we have also pointed out that the regionalism envisaged therein is constricted by the sacrosanct status accorded the neo-colonial states and their borders. It retains the competitive border claims of these states. Regionalism, therefore, cannot help.
We require and ask for an African continental infrastructural development plan within which the plan for so-called national infrastructure can be situate. We declare that while this continental plan develops on the drawing board a mass consent and desire for smashing down the artificial and restrictive boundaries be developed to enhance the evolution of the mass movement that, under the leadership of its mass party that it also controls, will forever put these neo-colonial and capitalist constraining heritage into the dustbin of African history.
We call on Prof. Kwame Addo to collaborate with other architects in the service of the African Revolution and the emerging African Nation. They have nothing to lose but the half-a-farthing that drops from the neo-colonial and imperialist table in exchange for an African continent they shall be proud of as the child of their creativity and the assurance of an honest living without the accusing fingers of our people and history pointing at them. Let this collaboration stretch its hands over the African continent to all patriotic African architects.
They owe us this duty. But we shall not wait for them. With or without them we wage this struggle to redeem our African heritage in our land and resources. Let them answer to our forebears – dead or alive and represented by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Sékou Touré, Madiba Nelson Mandela, Gamal Nasser, Brother Muamar Gaddafi, Amilcar Cabral, Sam Nujoma, Felix Moumie, Thomas Sankara, Pierre Mulele, Steve Biko, Robert Mugabe and other immortals of our African struggle – in their cry for vindication.
Yes, let all who hear this cry of our forebears stand up at this moment and pay their respects.
Amandla! Ngawethu! Forward Ever to Africa’s Victory!
December 8, 2011.
H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran’s Pigeon-Hole Development Strategy
A week before his presentation on ‘Developmental Challenges in Ghana’, there are speculations at the Freedom Centre as to what actuates H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa, to request for an opportunity to present his paper the following week to the Freedom Centre audience. The received understanding is that he seeks attention, possibly. What turns out to be the content of the attention-arresting piece, presented on January 18, 2012, sets everybody laughing uproariously at the jittery High Commissioner whose nervousness is not helped by the mere entry into the Centre’s space by Hon. Samia Nkrumah who does not even attempt to make an input into the discussion.
At the end of the presentation, a young Assemblyman sitting near us pronounces that while people seek the replacement of what His Excellency describes as corrupt and inefficient state institutions he talks of ‘repairing’ them. The Assemblyman finds the ensuing discussion of the presentation uninteresting until the voices of Lawyer Yaw Opoku and Mr. Kyeretwie Opoku are heard. The explosive comments of Mr. Kwesi Pratt in rejection of conceptions of social democracy as socialism by an unnamed Professor of Political Science obliquely land on the nose of His Excellency’s preference for social democracy. Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr then worsens the case for H.E. with a contribution on appropriate methodology.
Beginning his presentation, H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran states that he speaks in a personal but not in his official capacity. With this clarification, he sets out to prescribe pigeon-hole solutions to Ghana’s developmental challenges. For purposes of clarity, a pigeon-hole solution is understood here as one conceived on the premise that an African country can solve its problems and overcome its challenges on its own outside the framework of a politically liberated and united continent under the People’s Republican State of Africa. The proffered solution does not, so to speak, assume the existence of the African Nation within whose context problems and challenges are met but rather assumes the unviable state as its context.
This is not as if he does not see the need for a united Africa. At page 15 of his presentation he states that ‘If Africa is to prosper, we must remove all barriers between our nations. We blame colonialists for the partition of Africa and for the creation of artificial boundaries on the continent. However several decades after the collapse of colonialism, we have not dismantled these barriers. We have rather reinforced borders and treated ourselves as if we were not kith and kin’. The problem is that in spite of this recognition he insists on the existence of the ‘nations’ of Africa but not their dissolution into the African Nation which expresses the fact of our being ‘kith and kin’. In this respect, he fails to see the continued existence of the supposedly collapsed colonialism in its neo-colonial transfiguration and, hence, its continued role in the retention of the borders.
In fact, H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran does not perceive the urgency of the liberation of the whole of Africa from neo-colonialism and its unification as the immediate pre-requisite for African prosperity even when his own projection is that without this unification Africa cannot prosper. Rather than addressing himself this-wise he relies on the same neo-colonially-controlled institutions like the ECOWAS and the unviable state institutions which, while sheepishly bleating alongside Obama, he calls for their being strengthened instead of being destroyed and replaced. He sincerely and correctly believes that ‘more intra-African trade could be extremely beneficial’ but he restricts his horizons to discredited regionalism instead of the entire continent when he proffers that ‘we should enhance inter-ECOWAS trade and deal with all impediments to Sub-Regional trade’
We are anxiously pointing out that when H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran tells us that ‘We have paid lip service to African Unity and Regional integration and reduced African Union and Sub-Regional meetings into an annual ritual for loud proclamations and show of oratory among leaders’ he is telling us what he actually does in league with the neo-colonial elite. This is what he does at the Freedom Centre. The failure to recognize neo-colonialism, which he does not mention even once in his speech, as the immediate impediment in the path to African development is a strategic failure that misdirects attention and energy to a wild goose chase. It is that failure which conditions the African mind in fruitless policy choices within the neo-colonial system.
The shame and nervousness of the African neo-colonial elite are predicated on their knowing what to do but rather play the ostrich. That explains H.E.’s nervousness and confession of confusion upon Hon. Samia’s entry. In fact, it is not Hon. Samia that he sees but a hallucination of Nkrumah’s Spirit. When he ejaculates the statement that ‘Here is an opponent’ or something to that effect at Hon. Samia’s appearance, he announces his shame in the manner of Judas. And it is that Spirit that shall continually torment the traitorous African neo-colonial elite who continue to oppose and ignore Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s vision for African liberation and unification on the crushed backs of neo-colonialism and imperialism. And this serving High Commissioner is one of them. He concentrates his trade in Ghana where he addresses himself to a reform of the irredeemable.
H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran perceives a very corrupt Ghanaian society encouraged by a regime of impunity. ‘Corruption’, he says, ‘is present at all levels of State and Private Institutions. It is so widespread in Ghana and rather hard to reduce without a radical and robust response’. He then attributes this to impunity thus: ‘There is too much impunity…’ He blames this on the fact that ‘the policy of “zero tolerance for corruption” has not been vigorously pursued in Ghana’. His solution is one of developing a Code of Conduct spread to cover public officials and corporate leaders but not politicians alone. Meanwhile, during discussion time he insists that the depth of corruption is such that it is the victim who initiates the misdemeanour. So that he does not really blame the aggressor in the first place.
The High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa does not locate corruption in the institutional set up. He does not see that colonialism, a system of plunder and stealing, encourages official corruption which the official justifies as a reaction to colonial denial and exploitation. He does not see that that colonial arrangement remains intact under neo-colonialism. It is for this reason that when he is asked how he will eradicate corruption he says that he will be firm against its practice, ensuring that culprits are punished. Everything depends on his personal will but not on an institutional mechanism. He forgets that when he calls for strong institutions he intimates that such ‘institutions will take away … the persistence of a culture of impunity…’ which he previously states as the cause of corruption. You see, that is what happens when you do not really mean what you say.
The attachment of the neo-colonial elite to neo-colonial institutions is the devil hidden in the wheel of attempts to fight corruption which is an institutional malaise that infests the constitution of the newly recruited and deadens his resistance to the disease which becomes malignant. The problem, my brother, is not in our spirit but in our being, the conditions of our existence. We are the victims of neo-colonialism. Its eradication paves the way for our freedom and the recovery of our African Nation to pave the way for continental planning of our resource utilization and effective defence.
And, once again, it is not as if H.E. Mr. Lee Ocran is ignorant of the benefits of planning. But when he says that ‘It is now the moral obligation of all persons in Leadership or Management position to engage in serious repair work and long-term planning to ensure that future generations can thrive without being burdened by our failures of today and yesteryears’ he does not only prescribe planning on the wrong conception of the task as a repair work, however serious it is said to be, but also places a misplaced trust on persons in leadership or management. This cast of mind precludes the mass of the people as the agency of change. It still conceives development in the spirit of paternalistic acts of benevolence dropped unto the people. No, the projected African Nation institutionally structures itself into a People’s State.
The People’s Republican State of Africa, built on the basis of egalitarian humanism brewed in the African pot, has the people organized in down-to-top political structures that have their eyes set on collective behaviour in production and distribution. This is where H.E.’s proclaimed social democracy ideology is called into question. He explains that as a member of the Manifesto Committee of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) he sees the need to box capitalism and socialism together. In his presentation proper, his social democracy projects that the ‘central government has to set the right policy framework and give right and positive policy signals that will allow growth to prosper and unlock private sector investment potentials’. That is, the state focuses on nurturing capitalism.
It is in this spirit that His Excellency states the need ‘to develop local entrepreneurs that will lead manufacturing and industrial sector, thereby encouraging foreign investors to come and partner with them for national development… This will also lead to job creation and more employment of our young people’. Added to this the government introduces ‘differentiated interest rate policies so that the cost of borrowing for industrial and agricultural purposes could be considerably lowered’. So that a small section of the population together with foreign collaborators are financially enabled by the state to create businesses that they control to their benefit. These few then employ the mass of the people to work for them. The state does not facilitate businesses set up and controlled by the people for the people. Social democracy, according to H.E., this is.
When Lawyer Yaw Opoku and Mr. Kyeretwie Opoku raise issue with this obviously backward idea, His Excellency offers to tell a story of his abandonment of socialism. As a young socialist firebrand he is cautioned by an elderly official of state about his socialist orientation which he is assured will change once he becomes a family man after the age of 35. His sojourn later on to study in the Soviet Union makes him see what is practised as socialism to be, in fact, state capitalism contrary to the prescriptions of socialism. His studies in the US likewise make him see things differently. Finally, he rejects state capitalism but does not apply the principles of socialism whose practical manifestation he is yet to find. So the baby and the bathwater are both dispensed with.
He then expects everybody to applaud this wonderful logic of an Excellency. In fact, his sheepish self-indulgent smiles send the decibels of the laughter at this kind of reasoning to levels never before heard at the Freedom Centre. Mr. Kwesi Pratt stands by the nearest wall gently laughing at the gross ignorance, subsisting even after reading four volumes of Karl Marx, exhibited by His Excellency Mr. Lee Ocran. On this author’s part, the laughter might break his ribs. Why so? He observes that Ghanaians, including himself, are capable of laughing when they can be expected to sink into tantrums over somebody who appears to make unflattering assumptions about their intelligence. But the practice of making such assumptions actually begins from the moment H. E. makes attempts at defining development.
Reacting against ‘the impression that development is more about figures than the enhancement of the totality of the human condition’, he sees that development with ‘a human face’. His conception of ‘development goes beyond mere economic indicators (figures), income generation and building of infrastructure’ and includes ‘income distribution, development of local capabilities, promotion of appropriate mindset, attitudes, institutional building, good governance, sound management/leadership practices and provision of total human security.’ He sees the people ‘at the centre of all development’ which for him is not seen as an event but a journey. At times, he says, ‘our people are overly impatient and want to see development now’.
Although he cautions us that he speaks in his personal capacity and not as a government official, his list of developmental advances includes quotation of figures from the 2012 Budget Statement and Economic Policy. The figures portray a progression of all the economic indicators under the present government. In fact, there is no illustration of local capabilities in terms of activities in educational development; nothing about sound leadership practices, etc. Rather what is said to be positive in terms of development shows a drive towards the stability of the neo-colonial system. In his comments, Mr. Kwesi Pratt wonders how only 5% of gains from the mines to the government with the rest ostensibly flying out of the country could be called development.
If social democracy means the application of a cocktail of capitalist and socialist principles, as His Excellency the High Commissioner tells us, he fails to tell us the manifestation of a single application of a socialist principle. As a presentation innocuously crafted to justify the current government’s neo-colonial policies directed at sustaining pigeon-hole existence for the gratification of imperialism, ‘Development Challenges in Ghana’ fails to convince an ant. It is an apology for the neo-colonial system that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asks to be destroyed and replaced with a true people-centred system in which the people are the creators and controllers of production and distribution.
Such a system, Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr explains, derives from the historical practice of the African; which practice, we understand, emanates from African egalitarian humanism – that principle which, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah says, socialism shares with communalism and communism.
January 19, 2012
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is not a Fool
Today, a basic principle for the anti-neo-colonial struggle of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) is that it is the struggle of our people, and that it is our people who must wage it, and therefore its result is ultimately for our people. Obviously a people’s struggle is effectively theirs if the reason for that struggle is based on the aspirations and the desire for justice and progress of the people themselves and not on the aspirations, dreams or ambitions of a single individual who contradicts the actual interests of the people of Ghana.
Kweku Dadzie CPP: Anti-Nduom Victorious! Political Slate Clean! Not Yet Uhuru!
The December 28, 2011 press conference that Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom addresses ‘to declare (his) resolve to work with like-minded men and women from all over the country, to form a very focused, vibrant, independent-minded and progressive Political Movement to contest the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections’ has all the ingredients that a non-Nkrumaist political movement features. Apart from the avoidance of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s name in the entire speech Dr. Nduom makes it crystal clear that his intended political movement is not directed by any ideology.
‘Unlike the other Ghanaian political parties, we are not selling an ideological mission to the Ghanaian people. We are Pragmatists.’ he tells us. As a Pragmatist, Dr. Nduom is committed to the reform of the neo-colonial state. He has a platform with an agenda to ‘Reform state institutions’. By this he intends to make the government of the neo-colonial state ‘efficient and raise revenue to pay public servants well to motivate them facilitate the work of the private sector and Ghanaian society in general’. If this is not a statement of the capitalist neo-colonial ideological position then what else is? So that contrary to Dr. Nkrumah’s position that the neo-colonial state must be replaced, he, like Hon. Samia Nkrumah, rather seeks to strengthen it for the private sector.
Dr. Nkrumah explains that a reform does not lead to a progress out of the existing state system but rather seeks to maintain it in its essence while making mere concessions to the aggrieved sections of society to sustain the survival of that system. It seeks to forestall a revolution that brings about that kind of progress. That explains the kind of change Dr. Nduom is anxious to make to maintain existing property relations whereby a few control the wealth created by all; for, the dangerously existing explosive situation in Africa and the world promises a revolution to place nationally-created wealth in the hands of the majority.
It is only within the context and on the basis of this fundamental concern that we can understand Dr. Nduom’s choice of Pragmatism as his guiding light. For, Pragmatism, which he cautiously spells with a capital ‘S’ to emphasize its political and philosophical but not its ordinary meaning, is that orientation that emphasizes changes within a system but not over and above it. Hence, his commitment to the neo-colonial system as against Dr. Nkrumah’s radical opposition to it should be seen as an important reason why he makes no reference to the author of Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. He has no need for him.
The current desperate state of neo-colonialism in Africa and world imperialism occasions desperate measures. The concentration of power in the hands of the desperate elite becomes an article of faith, a dire necessity for maintaining the existing order. That explains why in his speech Dr. Nduom takes a special note of the presidential system and seeks to effect such constitutional amendment that would strengthen it contrary to calls by the other parties to reduce the President’s powers. This, again, explains why he calls this the ‘new direction’. It is a direction that makes the President the one who determines the direction of events.
In this respect, he states that by the terms of the New Direction, ‘It is the President who makes or doesn’t make things happen’. To emphasize the personal, and dictatorial and fascist, nature of the Presidency he adds that ‘this new direction should stress the personal comparison rather than party consideration’. The President, so to speak, is independent of his own party. To have him independent of parliament, under the facade of strengthening the legislature, a constitutional amendment will ‘abolish the provision that allows Ministers of State to also serve as Members of Parliament’. That is, Ministers are subject to him alone.
In this kind of presidential system, the New Direction says ‘the president … will cooperate with parliament and forge an effective partnership to ensure agreement on an urgent agenda for the accelerated development of Ghana’. So that by the projections of the New Direction the President, with newly enhanced and personal powers, becomes more amenable to cooperating with Parliament than as obtains in the current situation when the unenhanced powers of the President are considered too much by the other parties and render such cooperation below expectation. That is, the President cooperates if given more powers.
Nduomian New Direction has further intentions of eliminating party control over the President. In the first place, the President does not need to be associated with a political party’s representative(s) in Parliament in order to become a President. The suggestion here is that an independent candidate without a political party that has members in Parliament can be elected President of the country. Dr. Nduom’s own words are that ‘we hold the view that one does not need to have an affiliated seat in parliament to become President. We are governed by a presidential system and not a parliamentary system.’ (Actually, ours is a hybrid of the two).
And, secondly, where a presidential candidate is supported by a political party/movement the latter can only be an election machine: meaning that the party’s/movement’s work ends with the electoral process; after the election it has no further work to do, work like ensuring that he complies with the party’s/movement’s programme. He says this in two different ways. Firstly, he says ‘Our new political movement aims to present a credible, united, disciplined and well-organised election machine that is coupled with a clear, specific Platform for Change …’ Secondly, he states that that movement’s ‘goal is to contest the 2012 elections … This journey must end in the Flagstaff House. That, my friends, is our destination.’ The journey, he says, started in 2008.
Note that the Platform for Change, even before the political movement is inaugurated, has been spelt out in the 10-point Agenda attached to the speech. And, again, even before the projected political movement could open up nominations for its presidential candidate, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom declares himself to be its candidate. Hence, he sets the tone for a New Directionist regime where the political movement has nothing to do with the composition of the Platform which the candidate single-handedly churns out and, in case of electoral victory, implements.
In fact, Dr. Nduom has no primordial need for a political party. His speech makes it clear that his preference is for a political movement in which like-minded persons come together for purposes of elections. The electoral laws, he says, compel the transformation of the movement into a party. Else…? Once again, this is how he puts it: ‘We are a Political Movement guided by an agenda for change. Unfortunately, the Ghanaian electoral laws do not permit a collective of independent like-minded people to use the same platform and symbol for presidential and parliamentary campaigns. So we will by necessity convert from Political Movement to become a political party.’ (All emphasis added)
In case the reader has difficulties in seeing the import of the distinction of a political party from a political movement, we pause here to explain that a political movement, like the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S.A. or the North Africa and Middle East movements, does not have a formal leadership whereas a political party has a Constitution and Regulations that outline, among others, how its leaders are elected and held accountable and is also registered as such by an Electoral Commission which is a state organ. A mass political party evolves out of a mass political movement.
That calls our attention to Dr. Nduom’s declaration that ‘Ours is a mass movement, a collective, that is not based on any one individual and one that will depend on merit and hard work to determine who occupies what leadership position.’ Such a mass movement is historically set in motion by a spontaneous demand for some particular change. From the speech, we glean bits of that demand as the true yearning for ‘a new political force in Ghana … of all independent and progressive-minded people who want something different from what has been offered by the political parties so far in the Fourth Republic.’
Putting these elements together, he renders it all thus: ‘Ours is a broad-based national Movement with people who have been crying for the “change we need” after experiencing NDC and NPP administrations that have not delivered to their expectations.’ The speech, in spite of its promise to convert this mass movement into a political party, ends up calling on ‘all Ghanaians to join our progressive Political Movement now so that we can build the alternative that will bring the change we need’. This political movement will be inaugurated ‘in the next two months at a national convention’. It has the 10-point Agenda to be implemented ‘when our candidate is made President of the Republic of Ghana come January 2013’ as its Platform.
Nothing is heard of a political party. Interesting indeed, this is. Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom is aware that a political movement will not be registered to field candidates for both the presidential and parliamentary elections. Only a political party whose candidates could be subjected to its discipline can be registered. He is clearly intent on creating a platform that can get him and some like-minded persons elected as independent candidates to the Presidency and Parliament respectively without being held accountable by such a platform for their performance in Government.
This is certainly a novelty in African political practice and history. Only an extremely crafty mind can fashion it out. What is of great importance in these manoeuvrings is that Dr. Nduom has correctly gauged the political temperature and discerns the emerging spontaneous mass movement against the entire political Establishment which movement he seeks to hijack so as to deplete it of any revolutionary potential. Like the North African situation, he hopes to assume that leadership with absolute powers to pacify such a scene for the essential retention of the neo-colonial system from which he personally benefits.
Masquerading under the cloak of a progressive-minded leader misdirecting the revolutionary mass movement into a reform movement, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom indeed operates upon the realization that only a determined fascist dictatorship can contain the threatening situation. Not surprisingly, he uses the word ‘progressive’ often as most fascists do – taking the wind out of the sail of truly progressive forces. His loud anxiety to be a President with enhanced powers exercised in independence of a legislature with no in-built checks on such powers stems from his seeing the danger, which his class compatriots do not see or take lightly, and yet not being in the position to immediately defuse it at the embryonic stage.
When Hon. Samia Nkrumah accuses him of ‘indiscipline’ and sees only ‘nonsense’ in his acts she betrays a less discerning mind as to the urgencies underpinning his behaviour. The gentleman is desperate. He sees what his colleagues in the major parties do not see. Thus, they do nothing about it in the face of all the opportunities that they presumably have; while he is helplessly without such opportunities. Let it be understood by progressive forces that the man is not really a fool. He is not an ignoramus but a full-blooded politically conscious animal that sniffs the scent of danger from a distance of five million miles. They must heed to the call of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to prevent the misdirection of the revolutionary potential.
It might explode in their face in a state of unpreparedness. This is the time not only to monitor the evolving spontaneous mass movement in terms of its consent and desire for change but also develop a political party from it to direct it while it also controls that party. The mass movement was discerned long ago by Dr. Nkrumah as a revolutionary mass movement with its revolutionary party and revolutionary armed force that marches across the borders crushing the neo-colonial regimes to liberate and unite Africa under the People’s Republican State of Africa.
When Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom says that ‘A new future beckons but it will not come into being unless we make a break from the old way of doing things’ and that ‘The time for action is now’ he speaks with the insight as well as the instinct and meaning of a reactionary mind-set but not a fool. Revolutionaries must repeat it to themselves with the insight as well as instinct and meaning of a revolutionary mind-set. Not a word must be subtracted from it. Not a word must be added to it.
Finally, the quote from Kweku Dadzie at the head of this article shows the ideological current that Dr. Nduom has been contending with all along within the CPP. That he should take a court action against Kweku Dadzie to shut the latter up shows the depth of desperation that opposition to his neo-colonial enterprise caused him to opt out of the CPP. It was an ideological defeat that pushed him out of the party. And it was a triumph of the anti-neo-colonial Cause led by the CPP Youth who now have the task of getting Hon. Samia Nkrumah, the party leader, to commit herself in speech and deed to the Nkrumaist Agenda for the liberation and unification of Africa under the socialist People’s Republican State of Africa. Else, a similar struggle must be waged to force her out with her fellow travellers. We congratulate the CPP Youth.
Forward Ever, Backward Never. Amandla! Ngawethu!
December 30, 2011
The Shivji-Prah Debate
FROM SPARKS TO CONFLAGRATIONS – AN INTERVENTION
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Foremost Pan-African Theoretician and Activist who ever traversed the African landscape, is constantly educating us on the central issues of Pan-Africanism that some compatriots were mixing up in the heat of the 1960s when the Black Power Movement was shaking the foundations of American society. His concerns are not only documented in The Conakry Years but also immortalized in The Spectre of Black Power. If memory serves us right, the central concepts of his Pan-African philosophy remain: territoriality, raciality and class struggle.
Dr. Nkrumah makes the African continent the arena of the Pan-African struggle. He insists that until and unless the continent is liberated from imperialism and neo-colonialism the Black person remains in chains everywhere. This resolves the controversy over territoriality that partly disturbed Marcus Garvey’s relationship with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. The respect and dignity that Dr. Du Bois sought for the Black person in America comes not through their repatriation to Africa, as Garvey sought to do, but through the all-round liberation of the Black person on the African continent, the home of all Blacks.
This dialectical definition of the concept of territoriality in the mind of Dr. Nkrumah at once satisfies the apparent divergent desires of Dr. Du Bois and Garvey as it incorporates them. The Black in America achieves racial equality there with the emancipation of the continental Black and this emancipation, which precedes the emancipation of Man, creates the condition for the American Black to feel free to return to the continent or enjoy the consequent respect and dignity accorded the African Personality in America. Why this concept of territoriality is not acknowledged in the Debate appears strange.
Dr. Nkrumah’s concept of raciality in his definition of Pan-Africanism is predicated on the historical fact of a whole race being suppressed into a single class of workers. In the Americas, the Black, whether they were ‘commoners’ or ‘royals’ while in Africa, were reduced to the same denominator of the working class. Consequently, the loss of respect and dignity of the worker in the perceptions of the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie) was extended to the race that had been so suppressed. In this profound conception of the question of race, Dr. Nkrumah views racism in the context of class struggle.
Thus, fundamental to Pan-Africanism is the concept and reality of the class struggle. The idea of Pan-Africanism being neither capitalist nor socialist or that it could go either way – and therefore without such an ideological direction – is not borne out by the process of its history. From the date of the 5th Pan-African Congress in 1945 through the All-African Peoples’ Conferences it is transformed from an initial struggle for racial equality to one against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and capitalism –the breeding grounds of racism. Scientific socialism directed and directs it.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah now points out that the major obstacle to the realization of Pan-Africanism is the colonial heritage of a balkanized Africa with its arbitrarily engineered borders between and among African states. That balkanization disguises the reality of the African Nation. The Debate between Prof. Issa G. Shivji and Prof. Kwesi K. Prah together with this author’s intervention sorts out the issues touched on above to defuse the current confusion in the African conscience. It is our hope that the heat of the Debate will compel the reconsideration of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s perspectives and conception of the Pan-African Project which the academicians appear to neglect.
The entire development of technology, which is constantly breaking down all barriers, and uniting the world in a way that has never been seen before, is an argument in favour of a world planned economy… a democratically-run society, in which men and women would achieve conscious control over their lives and destinies. On the basis of a harmonious planned economy, pooling the resources of the entire planet, a vista of unlimited development opens up. On the one hand, we have the task of nurturing our own world, of making it fit for human beings, of repairing the ravages caused by the greed of irresponsible multinationals. On the other, we have before us the greatest challenges yet contemplated by our species—the exploration of space, linked to the question of the future survival of humankind.
Alan Woods and Ted Grant, Reason In Revolt
In the twentieth century … Africans have become aware of their own identity and concerned for their standing relative to the rest of the world. White, Negroes, Asians and mixed communities have strongly asserted their claim to self-development, uniqueness and independence. Many conflicts of interest among these groups have not been resolved. Like other continents, Africa has become an amalgam, a crucible of complex forces. Africa is one thread, distinguishable yet not isolated, in the fabric of human history.
Donald L. Wiedner, A History of Africa – South of the Sahara
African society is now a multi-racial society. Like American society, African society exhibits a multi-racial texture of Black-Africans, White or Boer-Africans (Afrikaners), Arab-Africans, Indian-Africans and Mixed Blood-Africans (Coloured or Half-Casts). The emergence of this amalgam over a period of history has been the result of the interplay of a multiplicity of interests, converging and disintegrating but ultimately forging out of this melee the African Nation. The historian, Donald L. Wiedner, observes above that ‘Like other continents, Africa has become an amalgam, a crucible of complex forces. Africa is one thread, distinguishable yet not isolated, in the fabric of human history.’
The process of African history maps up a trajectory of the evolution of political institutions on the heels of economic developments to service the economic system. This map throws up the spectacle of trade and trade routes increasingly connecting the people of Africa. This trade that emerged from communities involved in subsistence agriculture spread across the Sahara to bring Arab traders in contact with Blacks. The trade in salt and gold occasioned the creation of states with the corresponding breakdown of communal societies in the savannah and forest regions. Population explosion in cattle-rearing communities initiated migrations from the West African region to central, eastern and southern Africa to live in contact with the indigenes.
While these developments led to the emergence of empires out of the initial states which were then brought together, the practice of slavery, as a social means of discipline for transgressing persons upon the appearance of private property in society, was debased into commoditization of the person. Blacks were bought or captured from the forest regions and sold in markets across the Sahara and the East African coast. The scale of this trade in human cargoes expanded with the appearance of Europeans on the West African coast, in search of the source of the trans-Saharan trade in gold, and the development of cotton plantations in America. The slave trade became a source of revenue for the semi-feudal kingdoms of Dahomey and Ashanti as well as others in southern Africa while it provided labour in America and Asia.
The European and Arab interaction with Blacks promoted not only state and empire-building activities in African society but also created opportunities for inter-racial marriages and the consequent emergence of mixed races on African soil. The importation of Indian labour from India to work on European plantations in Southern Africa added to the racial mix. Once in Africa the Indians could not return home since they were made to live together irrespective of their castes. The breakdown of the caste system among them disqualified them from re-entry into Indian society in India where they would be treated as outcasts. On African soil, where they appeared free from caste restrictions, their standard of living was higher than in India. In addition, Europeanization and Arabization created a cultural mix whereby some Blacks became detribalized and saw themselves either as Europeans or Arabs by reason of their cultural acquisition.
Fundamental to these developments was the mix of class interests. Within each race of the racial mix were classes. The dominant class within the particular race mobilized the dominated ones against all other races. Hence, in Southern Africa the British elite favoured British residents in appointments against the Dutch (Boers); but they collaborated with the Boer elite not only against the collection of the British and Boer lower classes but also organized those lower classes behind them against the Black and Indian populations. With the Black placed at the bottom of the social-economy this system of collaborations finally held the elites of the various races in an unholy alliance in their economic exploitation of the collection of the lower classes of all the races. For, as Wiedner put it, ‘multiracial interdependence … underlay the nation’s economic life.’
Whenever the Boer elite accused the British of imperialism they tried to mobilize the other races which were perceived as ‘lower’ than them. But once they settled their differences their alliance remained intact; of course, until they finally dislodged the British and inaugurated the apartheid system against all the other races. The issue of race, like ethnicism, had always, as even today, been a device by the elite classes to fight out intra-elite secondary contradictions over the spoils of their exploitation of the underprivileged classes whom they kept and keep divided. And yet the deceit of the masses did not, as it does not, last forever. Seething under elite (bourgeois) oppression, the masses initiated their own liberation; this they did, paradoxically, by courting personalities within their own oppressor elite during the period of nationalism to lead the struggle.
The orientation and ideological direction of the nationalist struggle depended on the extent to which the said leadership identified with the needs and aspirations of the masses. Where such an identification was temporary, the nationalist struggle ended, first, in the substitution of local elite oppression and exploitation in place of foreign oppression and exploitation; and, second, in the realignment of local elite alliance with the erstwhile forces of imperialism for a neo-colonial relationship against the masses in an act of grand betrayal of the masses. However, where the said identification was permanent, the leadership (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah being a classic example) committed what amounted to class suicide and made a life-long commitment to the needs and aspirations of the masses. The survival of such a leadership depended on its attitude towards the inherited colonial power system (the state).
That system was created, built and established for the specific purpose of serving colonial interests against the interests of the colonized people. Like a machine designed to grind maize but not stones, the colonial state apparatus could not be used to serve the interests of the freed people. It either needed to be replaced or reformed through reorientation if the needs and aspirations of the masses were to be fundamentally served. But any reform, by definition, left the basic functions intact and changes could only be cosmetic. On the other hand, to effect a replacement involved a fundamental ideological reorientation and self-sacrifice that only a conscientized and fully conscious people, disposed to long-suffering, could undertake. Where the departing colonial administrator disabled the set up, the task appeared half-completed.
In other words, where the local elite betrayed the masses in leadership a neo-colonial system emerged as a reform of the colonial system which was thereby essentially left intact for business as usual – imperialist capitalist exploitation with the collaboration of the local elite. The attempt to replace the colonial system involved a leadership that was not only committed to the task but had a clear understanding of the character of the required change in terms of structural or institutionalized mass undertaking of that task. In point of historical fact, where the power apparatus was inherited intact the committed leadership at best left it only shaken while it sought to build its replacement (an alternative) alongside it consciously or unconsciously. Where this occurred, it was predicated on a fundamental drive to freeze class formation in Africa as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah attempted to do.
In the rear case of Guinea where the departing colonial power dismantled its power apparatus before leaving, the new leadership had the singular opportunity to create the new institutional structure straight-on. Creating mass-based defence committees and militia, it was burdened, however, with an administrative personnel weighed down with the ideological hangover of the erstwhile colonial power. Its imminent collapse was only a matter of time. It survived an invasion undertaken by Portuguese imperialist and mercenary forces that had the collaboration of personnel within the administration. But the pressure of neo-colonial forces, operating in and out of the country, ended in a coup d’état that put paid to the revolutionary efforts in that country. Neo-colonialism has since then been entrenched in the country.
In the face of the weakness of the emerging balkanized nation-states to stand the demands of development the urgency of the programme in the Declaration of the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester became pronounced. That Declaration, authored by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a secretary of the Congress, had projected a Pan-African perspective for the liberation and development of the continent. The unviability of the nation-states, which represented the truncated process of integrating the African people through the building of states and empires, became and remain the greatest obstacle to the unification and development of African society. In the process, the radical endeavours of replacement of the inherited colonial power system required concerted efforts across the continent.
These efforts were made in a two-pronged strategy of uniting the continent at the level of the states and liberation movements. They led not only to the creation of the Organization of African Unity and the system of All-African Peoples Conferences but more importantly to the consciousness of an African Nation. For, as Wiedner once again puts it, ‘One of the tests of national unity is the unanimity of response, regardless of domestic politics, to foreign dangers.’ Africans face the common dangers of imperialism and neo-colonialism whose blood is capitalism. Their unanimous response to these dangers was held in check and continues to be held in check; but the sustained consciousness and determination of the Kwesi Pratts guarantee ultimate victory as this check cannot be sustained forever in the face of the people’s mass resistance, thanks to historical inevitability. Acts of balkanization stand condemned.
This brief overview illustrates that in the process of imperialist and capitalist exploitation of African society concepts of race, ethnicity and culture are secondary to the capitalist, colonialist and neo-colonialist enterprise. African history portrays a panorama of a multiplicity of racial and ethnic forces in the pursuit of economic interests leading to the evolution of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic class-rendered society. In their collective exploitation of the society the exploiting elites (bourgeois forces), small as they have always been, collaborate and unite the strength of their class, in spite of racial origin and cultural differences among them, to dominate and exploit the overwhelming masses of the working people in the first instance. In this endeavour they play the racial or ethnic card only when they disagree among themselves over the spoils of or prospects for exploitation.
Across the African landscape sprawls the reality of a multi-racial amalgam – the African Nation of Black Africans, Arab Africans, Boer Africans (Afrikaners) and Indian Africans as well as so-called Coloured Africans and even Europeanized and Arabized Africans forged by the force of history. What makes them African is their collective history of living together, with all the difficulties that this implies, and sharing a common stake in the fortunes of Africa as well as exhibiting cultures peculiar to Africa and forged in the cauldron of civilization on the African continent. The false consciousness that an Afrikaner or Indian-African, born and bred on African soil, might suffer on the basis of pigmentation and therefore claim to be either a European or an Indian, in spite of the fact of a cultural and historical heritage that is different from that of the so-called mother country, is only the symptom of the continued exploitation of racial and ethnic concepts to sustain the hegemony of the exploiting elite classes. If it were not so, could Barak Obama commit to America against African interests?
It is in this light that the balkanization of African society, orchestrated by imperialist and neo-colonialist forces and their intellectual surrogates of sociologists and anthropologists, against the Pan-African Project needs to be quickly deciphered and combated with the appropriate measure of force – intellectual and political. This forms the immediate context of our intervention in the Shivji-Prah Debate in Part Two of this paper.
What appears as a parenthetical reference to Professor Kwesi K. Prah’s alleged racialist position on the conception of an African in Professor Issa Shivji’s paper on Nationalism and Pan-Africanism has produced a huge but instructive outburst from Prof. Prah. Like many of such conflagrations it ends up in, at least, an attempted destruction of the Pan-African Project through its balkanization. To be considered an African it is said to be essential that wherever one resides one acquires and exhibits some particular cultural traits historically associated with a particular group of people in the universe.
The historically immediate geographical origin of that person is not considered equally crucial or strategically relevant. Prof. Prah does not deny that the African has a land. He just does not consider this ownership crucial enough in the definition of the African for us to bother our heads over a sizeable part of it, together with its resources, being alienated in a Pan-Arab Project that might divorce such land and resources from their utilization for the fulfilment of the African as he conceives him.
In the process, the territorial space of Africa is essentially divorced from the concept of an African as a historico-cultural personality. For, a conception of the African as one whose personality is not essentially identified with the entire African land mass denies his materiality, the source of his immediate sustenance, and, therefore, his being, existence. We therefore see in our hands an African without a land of birth which he protects and should protect as his own. This essentially locationless African cannot therefore even be living in a Diaspora which connotes, in part, a geographical location of historical origin relative to current abode. He is a universally located person and therefore not located – the universe is his home. The loss of land, even if only a part of it, is a meaningless proposition to such a person. These are harsh implications of Prof. Prah’s concept of the African.
Let it register in the mind of anybody with such a misconception of the African – an African essentially defined with an alienable land – that unless the united world projected in Woods and Grant above is attained the African, conceived as a historico-cultural person primordially located in and immediately associated with the territorial space called Africa with economic and political interests, will be defended with our blood, flesh and life. No inch of Africa can ever and will ever be ceded to any other people. It is not for nothing that Jews have sought a location and defend it after centuries of dislocation. (Of course, today they are denying the same to the Palestinians in contradiction).
Arab Africans and the Arabized on the African continent are no less African than the Asante sitting on Guan land or the Bantu on Khoisan land. Prof. Prah invites us to look at the history of Arabs on the African continent. Yes, in that history we find such Arabs enslaving Blacks. But we also find Asantes and Dahomeyans enslaving fellow Blacks. And all these people were not only involved in the slave trading of the Black but also waged wars to nourish that demeaning trade even when attempts were being made to stop it. The Afrikaners milling around Prof. Prah in South Africa did not only enslave the Bantu but as well seized their fertile land and concentrated them and their family in reserves on infertile sections of their own land.
The feudal systems that emerged in African society were preceded by these slave socio-economic formations which were blind to the pigmentation of the skin in their infliction of collective pain on African society. Together with the ravages of colonialism, these formations have left us with an African society of an amalgam of races sharing a stake in the continent and its independence against imperialism. Hence, we see the emergence and observance of a non-racial policy in Southern Africa. Does Prof. Prah contest that policy?
No one needs telling that there are conflicts of interest among people living in Africa just as we find such conflicts on the other continents. To use cultural differences to define Africanness or Africanity is to worsen this panorama of conflicts by misdirecting our attention from the class struggle. Not only have returnee Black slaves, respectively calling themselves Creoles and Americo-Liberians, sought to dominate the other Blacks they came back to live with on claims of cultural superiority – thanks to the cultural violence inflicted on them by the slave master – but also their descendants have only been recently involved in mutual violence with the ‘indigenes’ in Sierra Leone and Liberia. West Africa is still seething with the repercussions of those conflicts.
So also have we had Sudan involved in conflicts between Arabized Blacks and non-Arabized Blacks – leading to the unfortunate creation of yet another potentially unviable state in Africa. Pan-Africanism, conceived essentially in cultural terms, is an innocuous device to retain African disunity for a more effective imperialist and neo-colonialist exploitation of the continent and its people. This is what Prof. Prah’s strategy of minorities imbibing majority cultures enhances – not the historically-determined aims of unification and scientific socialism – against the Marxist-Nkrumaist strategy of mobilizing and organizing Africans around their land and resources in the first instance. Nkrumah did say at page 80 of Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare that ‘We must have every inch of our land and every one of our mines and industries.’ In Africa Must Unite he puts it this way: ‘There is no single part of the African continent which is not precious to us and our development’.
In his rebuff of Prof. Shivji, Prof. Prah also provides us with a spark to set our own conflagration. Ours aims at the destruction of the myth of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s turning Marxist only after the 1966 coup d’état. This popularized myth constitutes such a monumental intellectual, if not just an academic, injustice to Dr. Nkrumah’s intellectuality that his great works in theory and practice before the coup have been crudely excised from the conscience of the mature or older African and denied to that of the young. And yet even a casual perusal of his Revolutionary Path confirms his desire in The Conakry Years to trace his consistency as a Marxist theoretician and practitioner from his writing of Towards Colonial Freedom in 1945-47 through Class Struggle in Africa to Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare; that is, from the inception of his Pan-African political activities until his demise. Why minds like Prof. Prah’s have not yet tested Dr. Nkrumah’s undertaking in the Revolutionary Path to refute the latter’s claims to Marxist consistency beats the imagination. Such minds have rather created a monstrous myth – without evidential support.
They refer to that myth as if it were an axiom. The publication of Class Struggle in Africa appears to be the genesis of this myth; and, yet, Class Struggle in Africa, together with Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare, represents only a programmatic shift from stemming the tide of the crystallization of classes to the intensive waging of the class struggle in Africa. That was in application of the principle of concrete analysis of the concrete situation. No principle of Marxist theory and practice was consequently violated. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s critical operation within the Marxist theoretical framework and the internationalist programme of the 1950s appears to us as the most conscious undertaking by a Marxist intellectual ever on the African continent to apply theoretical insights with a universal validity to concrete struggles in Africa. In Consciencism we find the summation of the theoretical framework. In Africa Must Unite and Neo-Colonialism, etc., we find its application.
In this respect, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a Marxist scholar and Pan-African activist is explored in Part Two as a sub-theme to explain that he had become a Marxist scholar and Pan-African activist before he returned to Africa in 1947. His application of Marxist principles to African reality revealed to him a society with a class structure that he initially believed could be arrested in its development to enable a quicker transition from the colonial society to ‘a socialist society in which each would give according to his ability, and receive according to his needs’. See Revolutionary Path, p.161. This emphasis on arresting the crystallization of classes in African society on the premise of state-led industrialization process tolerated private enterprise only as a dispensable partner in development. State-led industrialization, prosecuted from above, was then in vogue internationally.
The coup against him and the derailing of the state-led industrialization process in favour of private enterprise necessitated a change of perspective in favour of emphasizing the class struggle to directly destroy the bourgeois classes in armed struggles. This intensification of the class struggle in the mind of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not the initiation of it but just as stated – an intensification of it. He had waged the class struggle by way of seeking to arrest the continued development of classes and therefore abolish them but had failed. He regretted ever being so soft with the bourgeoisie and the neo-colonial surrogates. That was his only important regret. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s consistent struggle for Pan-Africanism under the banner of Scientific Socialism was consistent but not without problems and difficulties.
Before these considerations we explore Prof. Shivji’s view of Pan-Africanism in terms of his prescription of a focus on the political struggles against subjugation and domination on the continent as the concern of Pan-Africanism. Prof. Prah’s reaction to this in terms of his peripheral acknowledgement of those political struggles and preference to multiculturalism – which goes abstract with its concepts of majorities and minorities in the African context but concrete on African-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans in the United States context – is also evaluated. In the final rounds we raise issues with the conception of the Pan-African Project as one without direction under a particular ideological searchlight but rather under some so-called universal principles that can be detected as the limited gains of centuries of mass struggles in various countries.
We intend to leave the reader with the understanding that in the Shivji-Prah Debate, Prof. Prah has failed to provide us with a total concept of Pan-Africanism in our era. Such a concept embraces territoriality and raciality as well as the scientific socialist ideology in its definition – for, the question of race is better appreciated within the context of the class struggle. Hence, by this total concept we have within the African Nation all who, irrespective of race and cultural differences, have established their homes in Africa over the centuries and have established their living on the continent’s land and its resources not as individuals but as groups. So that we have all shades of Black Africans, all shades of Arab Africans, Indian Africans, Boer Africans or Afrikaners as well as Half-Casts and Arabized and Europeanized Africans and Africans of the Diaspora making up the African Nation. African society, like American society, is now a historical multicultural, multi-racial and multi-ethnic society out of which forces of revolution seek to integrate the three main cultural strands with the humanist egalitarian principle of traditional African society as the basis of a dominant ideology for reconstruction.
UNDERSTANDING SHIVJI AND PRAH
To begin with Prof. Issa Shivji, he starts with a statement that identifies the mode of analysis he employs in his paper. As a process of identification, the statement distances the analysis from the mode of conspiracy theories and processes of economics as well as its mechanical reduction to the mode of production. It further distances the analysis from that which portrays a periodisation in terms of stages of history whereby the march of progress of Western civilization is rendered as the essence of events. That is negative identification – stating what the analysis is not. For its positive identification, stating what the analysis is, it is described as one that sees a pattern in the major shifts and changing continuities in their complexity and variability – a pattern of capitalist accumulation over a long period that requires some periodisation in its presentation.
The analysis shows a bifurcation of the process of capitalist accumulation into accumulation by appropriation and accumulation by capitalization. With accumulation by appropriation he means acts of plunder, privation and invasion of the wealth and human resources of the non-capitalist spaces of the world involving unequal exchange as well as the annihilation of the civilizations therein. Within this aspect of the bifurcation it is all rivers of blood and rivers of gold directed at capitalization at the metropole. He also equates this accumulation type with primitive accumulation but not until he differentiates it from the time-specific meaning that Marx renders it. Accumulation by capitalization means to him that accumulation which results from equal exchange. Thus defined, the analysis conceives accumulation as endemic to capitalism throughout its existence – the bifurcation being the necessary condition for its life.
Hence, the analysis rejects suggestions that capitalism is self-contained as it claims Marx does in his portrayal of capitalism. Capitalism, for it, inexorably requires space outside its own area if it is to survive. Prof. Shivji illustrates this with a thesis that maps out the development of capitalism from the city-state to the nation-state, from the nation-state to the colonial state, from the colonial state to the continental colonial state, and from this latter to dissolution of the hierarchical system of nation-states in this era of globalization.
On the periodisation of his presentation, Prof. Shivji says that to periodise the processes of capitalist accumulation is a hazardous undertaking since they overlap and intermingle in such a way that incipient ones within the old are not recognized on time while the old ones persist even when they have ceased to be of use. This self-awareness informs his periodisation of the African encounter with Europe. First of all, he sees a general period of four centuries of the processes of accumulation spanning the term 1475 to 1825. Secondly, he sees within that period two particular periods. The first of these periods appears to be up to 1500 while the second occupies the 1500 to 1825 period. He also appears to approve the period 1780 to 1840 as the inception of the industrial revolution.
To justify accumulation, the West constructs ideologies, religions, cultures and customs centrally based on race, according to Prof. Shivji. Even geography is constructed as such. The essence of the racist construct is to inculcate a sense of being a property in the victim. Outside the West, that construct is used to divide and separate the colonized people from each other lest they harm themselves. Thus, the analysis projects a scene of primary and perpetual concern with capitalist accumulation bearing a bifurcation on the basis of which a racist ideological superstructure is erected.
Prof. Shivji says that this analytical framework forms the context within which he locates the genesis of the grand narrative of nationalism and Pan-Africanism. According to him, this grand narrative shows some five centuries of history as the period when the West did not only construct its own story but also the story of the Rest – that is, the rest of the world including Africa.
In this construction, Prof. Shivji portrays a panoramic scene of destruction of trade routes together with the great Islamic civilizations and centres of learning of Timbuktu in West Africa and Kilwa in East Africa. Treasuries were looted in the process. This is dated to the last quarter of the 15th century. The Portuguese expeditions had specific instructions to both eliminate the Muslim traders and Christianize the ‘natives’. In the next period between the 16th and 19th centuries the slave trade in Blacks dominated the trade between Africans and Europeans in service of sugar and cotton plantations that fed the industrial revolutions from the Americas.
The treatment of these slaves set in motion a resistance movement that conducted itself in ideologies that borrowed elements from the ideologies of domination. Hence, with the latter being racist in content the ideologies of resistance became racist. Blacks sought death for the Whites. It is from this resistance that Prof. Shivji traces the roots of Pan-Africanism which appears initially as racial nationalism. At this point the narrative skips straight to the 20th century and discourses on this racial nationalism as championed by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and the territorial nationalism of Marcus Garvey. Dr. Du Bois is portrayed as seeking accommodation of Blacks within White structures for equal racial treatment (citizenship). Garvey on the other hand is portrayed as seeking a separate racial space for Blacks in a Back to Africa movement.
Prof. Shivji deems it important to keep in mind that throughout its evolution Pan-Africanism has been an essentially anti-imperialist ideological and political movement. And both Dr. Du Bois and Garvey did not question the boundaries set by the dominant political and social constructs – White supremacy and colonially carved borders respectively. He is however silent on what happened to Garvey’s movement while he states that Dr. Du Bois organized a series of Pan-African Congresses attended by a few African-Americans, African-Caribbean and continental Francophone Africans. Between the war years the Congresses were concerned with racial equality, equal treatment and accommodation in existing structures or citizenship, for short.
While not giving us the composition of the 5th Pan-African Congress of 1945, Prof. Shivji tells us that it marks the turning point in the history of Pan-Africanism when, with George Padmore and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as its moving spirits, the unambiguous demand for liberation from colonialism is made – thus giving birth to nationalism. It is at this point that important questions are raised at the Congress as to whether the character of this nationalism should be based on the separate colonially-created borders or across borders. These in turn raise questions about citizenship or race if the borders are to be the basis and whether the African Diaspora is to be included if it should be across the borders. And, again, if it should be across borders the place of Arab inclusion is to be determined. The latter raises the racial/cultural question in the Pan-African context. Even years after independence these remain hot issues, so says Prof. Shivji.
The post-independence era sees the triumph of nationalism based on borders, or what Prof. Shivji calls territorial nationalism, with the achievement of sovereignty. Racial nationalism also triumphs with the achievement of citizenship in the United States (where even the President is now a Black, a reactionary one at that). But at this point, Prof. Shivji says, Pan-Africanism develops a new bifurcation as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declares continued commitment to across-border Pan-Africanism for total liberation and unification of Africa with the support of George Padmore. The bifurcation spreads out into Conferences of Independent States and All-African Peoples’ Conferences. The former later develops into the statist Organization of African Unity and the latter, made up of national liberation movements and other grass root organizations like trade unions, lapses into the shadows of the former in an increasing eclipse.
It is important at this stage to pause a little to clear our minds on what Prof. Shivji means by territorial nationalism. When he says above that both Dr. Du Bois and Garvey operate within the boundaries set by the dominant political and social constructs he means, for example, that Garvey seeks to operate within the borders demarcated by the colonial powers but necessarily not across them, disregarding them. Hence, when he talks about territorial nationalism he implies this Garveyist conception which pigeon-holes the African people in balkanized states. This is confirmed in his paper Mwalimu’s Non-Alignment and Pan-Africanism in Relation to the Tasks of the Post-Neo-Liberal Generation. It is different from the across-borders territorial nationalism, which seeks the abolition of the colonial borders or their reduction to state/regional boundaries as in a federation like Nigeria, and as represented in the visions of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Julius Nyerere. In this sense, Prof. Shivji is consistent – displays an exact use.
Now, in his Mwalimu’s paper, just referred to, Prof. Shivji says that Dr. Nkrumah’s declaration of Ghana’s independence as being incomplete unless it is linked up with the liberation of the entire African continent leads to the creation of the O.A.U. Liberation Committee based in Dar es Salaam. In spite of this common commitment to the Pan-African Project, he says, Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. Nyerere differ in their methods. Nyerere sees a dilemma in committing both to nation-building and development within the balkanized or nation-state and to the Pan-African Project at the same time. He believes that these demands on the Pan-Africanist conflict. But Prof. Shivji believes that they more than conflict as can be seen in the statist discourse on African unity and integration or disintegration which buries the vision of Pan-Africanism. He does not tell us what the content of Nkrumah’s view is, vis-á-vis Dr. Nyerere’s dilemma, but in his Mwalimu’s paper he suggests that Nyerere later concedes to Dr. Nkrumah.
In the midst of this tension, imperialism exploits the situation to orchestrate assassinations and coups d’état to which Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and others fall prey. On Dr. Nyerere’s part, he becomes pre-occupied with his survival. Thus, though these Pan-Africanists understand that in the present state of affairs no single African state can, on its own, develop without African unity their efforts at total liberation and unification are thwarted and buried, thanks to imperialism and their own lack of consensus on approach. Prof. Shivji explains that the twenty five years of the period of these Pan-Africanists are the period of the contention between accumulation by capitalization and accumulation by appropriation. With the Pan-Africanists out of the way, the accumulation by appropriation side of the capitalist equation assumes the ascendancy once more with greater imperialist vim. It is at this stage that Prof. Shivji takes us into the period of neo-liberalism with the emergence of the compradorial classes.
This is the era when the imperialist media welcomes what they call a new breed of African leaders, allies in the imperialist appropriation project. The project is directed at reversing the nationalist project of accumulation by capitalization which is pursued as schemes variously labelled socialism or self-reliance or modernization. It uses the compradorial classes – the local state or private merchant capital – as its instrument. Through the channel of trade, self-serving aid and debt, the compradorial classes facilitate the rapacious exploitation of natural resources and surpluses of the working people to fill the centres of imperialist capitalization. This process absorbs and aborts the nationalist attempts at autocentric development. The project spans the Golden Age of Capitalism (1945 – 1971) within which the nationalist attempts are made. By this, Prof. Shivji shows the tension between accumulation by appropriation and accumulation by capitalization within an overlapping periodisation.
Attributing the defeat of the nationalist project of accumulation by capitalization to the lack of the means – that is, autonomous economic space and political self-determination – as well as historical time and opportunity to master accumulation as the driving force, the nationalists generally do not construct alternative ideologies and institutions for their project. Afflicted, through education, with the colonial master’s theories, culture and history, the nationalists operate on the principle of the atomist individual bearing equal rights. This principle informs their notions of nationalism, sovereignty, self-determination and citizenship. It restricts them to their colonially-determined borders; for, by that principle the individual state struggles it out alone. In the African circumstance, this lack of unity among the states denies them the autonomous economic space and true self-determination; for which reason Prof. Shivji holds that ‘national liberation continues to be the historical agenda’ (Mwalimu’s paper).
He expands on this with the explanation – paraphrasing Amilcar Cabral – that national liberation means a people’s reclaim of their right of liberating the process of their development of national productive forces from imperialist domination. This involves, he says, the fundamental reconstruction of the structure of the economy and re-organization of the state. Under imperialist and capitalist domination none of these can be done. He concludes with conviction that under imperialist domination either one succumbs to neo-colonialism, capitalism, state capitalism or takes the path of socialism. In the period of neo-liberalism, he states in the Mwalimu’s paper that Africa is not colonized but national liberation is aborted as imperialist powers not only use consultants to make policies for Africa but also that they sit ‘in the decision-making processes of all strategic ministries from planning, through finance to central banks’ and thrust policies down the throat of politicians, including parliamentarians, with the use of loans, aid and budget support as carrots and their withdrawal as stick.
In the current situation, strategically-speaking, ‘the tension of the nationalist period between accumulation by capitalisation and accumulation by appropriation has been resolved in favour of the neo-liberal primitive accumulation’, Prof. Shivji says. Even pockets of capitalist accumulation by capitalization are destroyed through deindustrialization while the few achievements of social services in education, health, water, old age pensions and other public services are commoditized under such policies as cost sharing and outsourcing. What he calls imperialist capitals grab African land, minerals, water, flora and fauna with the support of imperialist states and a supposed donor-community. To underscore this support is the process of militarization of Africa through the erection of military bases (AFRICOM) on the continent and around it. This neo-liberal attack on radical nationalism is economic as well as political, cultural and intellectual in its manifestation. In the face of these developments, the need for African unity dawns on many conscious Africans. It is a new realization.
In this new realization, there is an insurrection of Pan-Africanist ideas in a direction to revisit or reconstruct Pan-Africanism and address it as the unfinished project of national liberation from imperialism for the emancipation of the African working people from capitalist hegemony. Prof. Shivji refers to this as a ‘new Pan-Africanism’. By it, a fundamental change involving all across the colour and national lines is projected. In the Mwalimu’s paper, he is concerned with a conceptualization of the ‘new Pan-Africanism’ through a definition of the concept of national liberation. He, first of all, sees the liberation component to mean liberation from imperialism. Secondly, the national component refers to the African Nation in the Pan-African Nation sense as opposed to the limited sense of the territorial nation. To avoid confusion let us remember that when he talks about ‘territorial’ he means the space of a balkanized state as distinguished from the continental space. He claims that though Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. Nyerere both make this point, with them it is neither this explicit nor do they even state it as a reconceptualization of the concept of a nation. They have the European concept of it.
The European concept, he says, conflates the nation with the state; and when we listen to him more carefully it is conflated with country as well. For the avoidance of doubt let us quote how he puts it directly thus: ‘Earlier debates on the concept of nation remained imprisoned in the European history of conflating nation with state. So, for example, even where Mwalimu and other African leaders realised that the so-called African countries did not constitute a nation, they sought to address this issue through various theories of nation-building.’ Italics are ours. We see at one breath the conflation of nation with state and at another the conflation of nation with country. There is some confusion here unless a country is conflated with a state. But in his use of state during his discourse on the O.A.U. as a statist organization his meaning has more to do with the superstructural organ for the exercise of power than with the country in which that organ is situate. And given that in the colonial situation where the state is not necessarily situate in the colony (country) – as we find, for instance, in the French colonial system, more or less – any such conflation creates conceptual problems. This extends to conceptual problems for Prof. Shivji’s conception of Pan-Africanism.
Before we elaborate on those problems let us look at his elaboration of the ‘new Pan-Africanism’. In the Mwalimu’s paper, he has a concept of a state that is a liberation movement in power to complete national liberation which targets imperialism as the enemy. This is a different type of state. He does not detail the content of the difference. Is it different from the national liberation movements Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Julius Nyerere led? Yes. It is like the one that Amilcar Cabral projects. Prof. Shivji proposes the Cabralian concept as a good point of departure. By that concept, an independent African state remains a liberation movement if it is to be independent. ‘Cabral said that “so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent”, he quotes Cabral and we also quote him. How do we understand this? That a liberation movement in an African country creates a different state there and remains anti-imperialist in order to be independent? No. Consider his Pan-African civil society concept.
Prof. Shivji projects a Pan-African civil society as a political arena outside the neo-colonial state which it must engage with. We understand this as the setting in motion of a political liberation movement independent of the state but engaged with it. These are his exact words: ‘we have to make Pan-Africanism a category of intellectual thought, on the one hand, and work towards creating a Pan-African civil society, as a political arena outside the state but in engagement with it, on the other.’ All italics are supplied. Clearly, a Pan-African civil society is to be contrasted with the civil society within borders as it cuts across the borders. Within that society, Prof. Shivji makes the working people the agency for bringing Pan-Africanism about. He declares:
‘The question that the present generation faces is both one of the road to Pan-Africanism – that is whether through regional unities or continental unity – and the social agency for bringing it about … African societies are much more differentiated than they were at the time of independence. This means that we have to look at the agency in a much more differentiated way. Can the African state, with its compradorial ruling classes, really be the agency to lead the process of Pan-African unity? I have my doubts … I suggest that objectively the historical agency for a Pan-African revolution is the working people of Africa. I am using the term ‘working people’ in Rodney’s sense. Working people is a configuration of social class which finds its roots in the political economy of accumulation by dispossession based on old and new forms of plunder, expropriation and financial circuits … The working people is still the agency-in-itself; for it to become agency-for-itself, we need an insurrection of Pan-African political ideas in all its dimensions and comprehensiveness.’
With all this said, Prof. Shivji raises the question as to where to begin from. He does not point at the working people of today but implicitly at the next generation of the working people when he suggests that ‘the place to begin is in the realm of ideas, at the site of the generation of ideas – schools and universities – and dissemination of ideas – media.’
We are now finally poised to determine his concept of the African Nation. When he puts the question as to who constitutes the African Nation for the purposes of national liberation (or who an African is for the purposes of Pan-Africanism) some of the difficulties we experience initially appear cleared; for, it is clear that his concept of the African civil society is an across-border conception that is also multi-racial. That bears the implication of continental territoriality in consonance with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s conception. Listen to what he says appreciatively of Tajudeen Abdel Rahman: ‘Tajudeen kept the universal torch of Pan-Africanism alive. I say universal because for Tajudeen Pan-Africanism was NOT sub-Saharan only, or black only, or Muslim or Christian or Yoruba or Ogoni only. It was truly Pan-Africanist. He wouldn’t give in to culturalism or in to what Nyerere once called, these territorial divisions caused by “imperialist vultures”.’ Those who represent racial and cultural exclusion he identifies in the persons of Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah, Prof. Chinweizu Ibekwe Chinweizu and Bankie Foster Bankie. It is this categorization that sets the conflagration, with Prof. Kwesi K. Prah firing from the angle of racial, cultural and territorial exclusivity.
Prof. Kwesi K. Prah advocates a Pan-Africanism restricted to Africa South of the Sahara, geographically speaking. He excludes Arabs and Arabized Blacks from the Pan-African Project. In this way, he employs not skin pigmentation for his act of exclusivity but history and culture. He is categorical that Arabs, in spite of the number of years that they have been on the continent, are not African. So also are the Indians, Lebanese, Malays and Boers who, for now, require the boundaries of their cultures to blend with and interpenetrate African cultures to become African; until then they are not, being only citizens, legal entities. By this procedure, Blacks of the Diaspora who have lost their language, culture and/or history can only return to the continent not in the conceptual garments of an African but as citizens requiring acculturation – although he acknowledges their roots from the continent.
In his review of Prof. Prah’s Beyond the Color Line: Pan-African Disputations, Ager Dimah outlines Prof. Prah’s commitment to the economic and political goal of African unity and tells us that he makes the determination of the question ‘who is an African?’ the prime condition for any meaningful discussion of African unity. In his own Without African Unity there is No Future for Africa Prof. Prah states that there are two formulae for African unity: either the continentalist or historical-cultural formula. Whereas the former bases the Pan-African Project primarily on the geographical unity of the continent, the latter is primarily based on the unity of the African people, he says. He sees the latter as more meaningful than the former. According to him, this former has the weakness of not contending with the fact that the Arab north has aspirations for an Arab Nation away from the African people.
Prof. Prah uses a criterion that we need to pay strict attention to. In his On Records and Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball, the African is determined not only by their history and culture but also their willingness to see themselves as African. He says that there are some people in Africa who do not want to be known as and called Africans. These people do not have African cultures and live in a caste-like relationship with Africans. Some have African roots but through their Arabization they are now Arabs. Such people are even prepared to go to war against Africans. Listen to him quietly: ‘In North Sudan most of the people who describe themselves as Arabs are historically Arabized Nubians; Africans who have been Arabized. They have become Arabs. Some have been ready to go to war against Africans to promote Arabism.’ Italics are supplied. By this criterion, how do we place the African-American?
The African-American does not speak a single African language. He is a Westernized being employed in the Marine and elsewhere to fight the West’s war against the rest of us. His history is now the history of America. In this culture-specific sense and on the strength of Prof. Prah’s criterion, the Diaspora of African-Americans cannot be captured as African in concept: at best they can only be citizens here in Africa just like the Indians, Lebanese, Malay and Boers. They have become strangers – Americans. This might appear to be understanding Prof. Prah too far. In fact, he explains that continental Africans share homogeneity of religious systems and symbolism as well as rituals with Africans in the Americas – the religious systems bear at the centre of ancestor veneration. More than this, these systems are defined by expressive visual art forms, dance and recognizable rhythms. But these are shared with the Arabized Nubians too.
Having made history and culture the ‘prime points of definition of Africanness’, Prof. Prah explains that ‘colour is no basis for defining an African’. Certainly, the Arabization of the Nubian is a cultural event within historical space. It has nothing to do with biological change. Till today the Nubians remain black just as Westernization leaves the African-American black. In addition to that we find among even non-continental Arabs, Israelis and Indians people with black skin. By implication, an African may be a white or yellow person: what qualifies him is his historico-cultural nurturing – he speaks fine Hausa, for instance; he venerates his ancestors in exquisite performance of appropriate rituals; his dance steps are impeccably Hausa in form and content; and even corrupt if he is a comprador bourgeois. But saying that does not prevent Prof. Prah from attributing colour to the African.
He asks Prof. Shivji whether on the basis of visible biological traits one can confuse a Chinese for an Indian or a Chinese for a European. Meanwhile, he adds that in ‘the Afro-Arab borderlands one cannot always make out an Arab and an African on the basis of colour’. And yet Prof. Prah says that ‘in a crowd of humans it is invariably easy to pick out those that are Africans’. He does not attribute this to their visible exhibition of history and culture but to the ‘advantage of colour and high visibility’. This is his direct statement of it: the ‘advantage of colour and high visibility is such that in a crowd of humans it is invariably easy to pick out those that are Africans.’ May it not occur that the supposed Africans are in fact non-continental Arabs? Or they may exhibit no relevant history and no relevant culture? This is why Prof. Shivji sees that in Prof. Prah the question of colour often gets reduced to the biological rather than the historical and cultural.
It is clear to us that Prof. Kwesi Prah’s handling of the question of race is at best not clear. It oscillates between the biological and the historico-cultural. And this is understandable. For, in the space of history, the biological and historico-cultural assume dialectical relations. The caste system that Prof. Prah rightly abhors is a biologic-historico-cultural social phenomenon that condemns a person born into a particular family to a status of cultural inferiority and neglect while another person is born into a particular family to a status of cultural superiority over historical space. So also the royal families are born to live a life apart from the people. And on the basis of race have millions of people been murdered or enslaved. In these sets of circumstances, consciousness of the colour of one’s skin becomes an enduring feature of the psyche. The struggle to accommodate this burden of history manifests in the oscillations we have at hand. Its resolution begins with the elimination of prejudice within the class context.
This naturally draws our attention to the question of social democracy and the working people that Prof. Prah raises in respect of Prof. Shivji’s advocacy of popular democracy. But there is the issue of majority and minority cultures that require explication and resolution beforehand. Prof. Prah explains that there are minorities amongst Africans with cultures that have helped the latter. Such minorities may come to regard themselves as Africans. The means of achieving this are not explicitly stated. All the same we have an inkling of them in words and phrases like ‘diffusion’, ‘interpenetration’, ‘mixing’, ‘embrace Africans’, ‘inter-community marriage’ and ‘permeable cultural and social borders’. This is all in the direction of becoming Africans and it is in one breath. In that breath, Prof. Prah says that the minorities ‘cannot live among Africans, maintain social distance, practice exogamous and caste-like relations with Africans and become Africans at the same time’. He regrets that ‘After more than a century among Africans you could possibly count on two hands the number of inter-community marriages’. Clearly, becoming African involves physical and cultural absorption.
In the other breath, Prof. Prah suggests to Prof. Shivji not to ‘undermine the right of the minorities to their cultures, and the celebration of their cultures in equality and diversity’. He says that ‘cultural and universal rights must come equally to all of us; minorities in Africa should be free to choose how they socially evolve so long as the universal rights of others are not violated. They do not have to become Africans. To argue otherwise would be assimilationist, undemocratic and unhelpful.’ Italics are supplied. If so, why this concern with ‘diffusion’, ‘interpenetration’, ‘mixing’, ‘embrace Africans’, ‘inter-community marriage’ and ‘permeable cultural and social borders’? This is because, according to him, ‘cultures are not stagnant or fixed entities. Cultural change is a permanent feature of all societies. No human group has from time immemorial been hermetically sealed, culturally or otherwise.’ Do we experience some tension here? Let us address it at once.
Prof. Prah explains that minorities have the right to choose how they evolve. They can choose to develop in the direction of becoming Africans. They can also choose to develop in the direction of not becoming Africans. In the first case, they achieve all the rights of being African, including the rights of citizenship and ‘telling Africans who they are and who they are not’. In the second case, they achieve only the rights of citizenship, in which case they understand that not all citizens in Africa are Africans. On the face of it this appears to be a fine statement of principle. Upon a more careful consideration of the issue, however, we will observe that the Indian and Boer minorities on the table are people who have not only lived in Africa for over a century and also been born there but more importantly have developed variants of their ancestral cultures which now mark them out in Indian and Dutch populations as African-Indians and Afrikaners, respectively. They have not needed Black African culture to make them African. Africa has its cultural variants. Geography has also had a role to play.
Returning to the question of social democracy and the working people, Prof. Prah defines social democracy in terms of universal ideals but not as a class concept – which latter is what Prof. Shivji does. Tracing the Pan-African movement within the context of the process of capitalist accumulation, Prof. Shivji has defined the working people as the social class agency-in-itself to be transformed into the agency-for-itself to effect the anti-imperialist emancipation of society. Prof. Prah understands and endorses a non-class based definition of what he prefers to call ‘democratic socialism’. According to him, social democracy, defined as democratic socialism, sets out these universal ideals: acknowledgement of individual rights, transparent constitutionalism, the rejection of the Marxist-Leninist notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat, support for universal adult suffrage, the inclusion of social and economic equality and rights to education, medical care, pensions, employment and some measure of social security support for the unemployed and underprivileged. Many of these have been won by the socialist movement but within the capitalist and imperialist process of accumulation by both appropriation and capitalization which only grudgingly concedes them. This is not the fundamental change that Prof. Shivji calls for when he cries out:
‘Humanity stands at cross-roads. It is crying for fundamental change. We need an alternative utopia to live by and fight for if we are not to be consumed by the death and destruction wrought by the barbaric system of the last five centuries. The worst of that barbarism has been felt and continues to be endured in Africa.’
This is not a call to remain within the clutches of capitalism and imperialism. It is the painful cry for emancipation from the roots of our woes – capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. Pan-Africanism has long passed the stage of hobnobbing with capitalism and its imperialist and neo-colonialist tentacles. It has long been engaged in a revolutionary war to liberate the continent from capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism under the direction of scientific socialism, a.k.a. social democracy, a.k.a. popular democracy, which offers a fundamental alternative to accommodationist democratic socialism, a.k.a. bourgeois democracy-repackaged. Prof. Shivji is not talking about bourgeois democracy, so-called democratic socialism which Prof. Prah seeks to innocuously plant into his mouth. Sure, ‘In a reconstructed Pan-Africanism, Africa is calling all “at the rendezvous of victory …”’.
This is where the place of Marxism within the Pan-African Movement comes in handy. And for the first time from the platform of Pan-Africanism, the 5th Pan-African Congress, the issue is spelt out thus: ‘We are unwilling to starve any longer while doing the world’s drudgery, in order to support, by our poverty and ignorance, a false aristocracy and a discredited imperialism. We condemn the monopoly of capital and the rule of private wealth and industry for private profit alone … We shall complain, appeal and arraign. We will make the world listen to the facts of our condition. We will fight in every way we can for freedom, democracy and social betterment.’ This is quoted from the main resolution of the Congress in a BBC World Service article captioned ‘The Story of Africa Between World Wars 1914-45’.
In his Revolutionary Path, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who wrote the approved and adopted Declaration to the Colonial Peoples of the World issued by the 5th Pan-African Congress, states that ‘There had been four previous Pan-African Congresses. These were attended mainly by intellectual and other bourgeois elements of African descent living either in the USA or the Caribbean … The Fifth Pan-African Congress was different. For the first time, there was strong worker and student participation, and most of over two hundred delegates who attended came from Africa. They represented the re-awakening of African political consciousness; and it was no surprise when the Congress adopted socialism as its political philosophy.’ In the Declaration itself he had written, ‘We believe in the rights of all peoples to govern themselves. We affirm the right of all colonial peoples to control their own destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether political or economic… The Fifth Pan-African Congress, therefore, calls on the workers and farmers of the colonies to organize effectively. Colonial workers must be in the front lines of the battle against imperialism’. All these acts and documents transformed Pan-Africanism in 1945 from a movement seeking improvements within the imperialist system to one for its overthrow and socialism.
After the Congress, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah tells us, a working committee was set up to organize the implementation of the programme agreed on. Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois was its Chairman and Dr. Nkrumah was its General Secretary. Hence, the Declarations and resolutions were followed with practical measures to realize them. In this regard, a West African National Secretariat was formed to organize and direct the programme for independence in West Africa; for, the Congress ‘discussions and speeches of African delegates representing working class interests in Africa’ showed a new militancy and impatience for the practical prosecution of the national liberation struggle. Dr. Nkrumah became Secretary of the National Secretariat which ‘became the centre of African and West Indian anti-imperialist activity’. In that capacity, Dr. Nkrumah travelled to France where he discussed the possibility of setting up a ‘Union of African Socialist Republics’ with some African members of the French National Assembly including Leopold Senghor and Houphouet-Boigny even though, according to him, by socialism they ‘meant something very different from the scientific socialism to which I was committed’.
Out of the regular meetings of the West African National Secretariat a vanguard political cadre group was formed ‘to train for revolutionary work in any part of the African continent’. It was called ‘The Circle’. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was its Chairman. It addressed the imperative need for unification and to organize a vanguard party that pursued scientific socialist principles and was based on workers and peasants. Unification of West Africa was regarded as the first step to continental unity. The use of armed force was considered but as a last resort. Hence, it aimed at maintaining itself as a revolutionary vanguard and the creation of the Union of African Socialist Republics. It saw West Africa as ‘a country’. See The Circle, 1945-47 in Revolutionary Path. Within that period, Dr. Nkrumah completed his booklet Towards Colonial Freedom. It dissects the colonial question within the Marxist theoretical framework and partly concludes that ‘under imperialism war cannot be averted and that a coalition between the proletarian movement in the capitalist countries and the colonial liberation movement, against the world front of imperialism becomes inevitable’. That was in October, 1947.
Thus, ten years and more before independence in Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had not only developed a Marxist orientation but was already applying Marxist principles in his analysis of social phenomenon as ‘a professional revolutionary’ of The Circle. Those were the days when, as intellectuals like Prof. Shivji agree in statements like ‘In absence of a local bourgeois class worth the name, the agency to build the nation and bring about development would be the state.’, social or class differentiation in Africa was less pronounced. A Marxist worth his salt would not, under such circumstances, promote the intensification of class differentiation but its amelioration and eventual elimination (See the Arusha Declaration of Dr. Nyerere and Dr. Nkrumah’s Dawn Broadcast in the Revolutionary Path p. 151).
It is instructive to note that on the occasion of the launching of his book, Consciencism – Philosophy and Ideology for De-colonisation, in 1964 this issue was addressed by some speakers. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah observed an African society with a negligible and severely weak indigenous capitalist class. As a scientific socialist and one who assumed the reigns of power on the crest of worker-peasant agitation against foreign capital, it was not his bent to create a powerful indigenous capitalist class in replacement of foreign capitalists for the same purpose of exploitation that set the worker-peasant agitation on wheels. This is how he puts it in Africa Must Unite (1963) at p.119:
‘I have already made it clear that colonial rule precluded that accumulation of capital among our citizens which would have assisted thorough-going private investment in industrial construction. It has, therefore, been left to government, as the holder of the means, to play the role of main entrepreneur in laying the basis of the national economic and social environment. If we turned over to private interests the going concerns capitalized out of national funds and national effort, as some of our critics would like to see us do, we should be betraying the trust of the great masses of our people for the greedy interests of a small coterie of individuals, probably in alliance with foreign capitalists. Production for private profit deprives a large section of the people of the goods and services produced. If, therefore, we are to fulfil our pledge to the people and achieve the programme set out above, socialism is our only alternative. For socialism assumes the public ownership of the means of production, the land and its resources, and the use of those means in fulfilment of the people’s needs.’ (Italics are supplied.)
With the process that he set in motion aborted in the 1966 coup d’état and with class differentiation intensified, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah revises notes and intensifies the class struggle in a more direct confrontation. He immortalizes this confrontation with the publications of Class Struggle in Africa and Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare as fighting manuals. In a letter to Reba Lewis on December 23, 1969, he does not only announce the completion of the manuscript of Class Struggle in Africa but also pointedly targets it at the African bourgeoisie in these deserved terms: ‘It exposes this bastard African bourgeoisie.’, he writes as quoted in The Conakry Years: His Life and Letters p. 349. Rather than study these as part of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Marxist revolutionary theory and practice, some of us, who have not taken the trouble to study his works out of neglect or laziness, have ruled him out as a latter-day Marxist. This is what we see in Prof. Kwesi Prah’s unfortunate passing reference to ‘Marxists (including Nkrumah in his final years)’. Who told him that Nkrumah became a Marxist only in his final years?
Less than two months after Kwame Nkrumah’s overthrow he writes African Socialism Revisited because, as he puts it, the managers of African Forum ‘were printing silly articles on “African socialism”, and giving it an unMarxist interpretation…’ Also, when it came to his attention that he had been accused of juju while in power, his response was ‘Me, a Marxist!’ That report was in June, 1966. Refer to The Conakry Years pp. 41, 45. At least, he sees himself as a Marxist even before his so-called final years – that is, not to talk about the documentary evidence dating from 1945 to 1965. Nobody who knows what is involved in Marxism will ever dream that it is possible to study it, master it and defend it within a matter of less than two months – especially in its application.
Finally, true Pan-Africanism (Revolutionary Pan-Africanism) has since 1945 been Marxist-oriented. Dr. Julius Nyerere, who describes Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as ‘the greatest crusader for African Unity’, admits that once Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Marxist light, ‘was removed from the African political scene nobody took up the challenge again.’ This tells us that Prof. Prah’s idea that ‘the universe of discourse on Pan-Africanism is marked by a wide spectrum of political hues’ betrays a failure on his part to mark out the authentic trend from the fifth column mass of Trojan horses that ensured the failure of the Pan-African Project in the 1960s. The authentic trend is Revolutionary Pan-Africanism with the Marxist orientation. It has never been a ‘politically-neutral philosophy’ as Prof. Prah spells out in these terms:
‘Some pan-Africanists are doubtlessly social democrats, but not all social democrats are pan-Africanists. Some pan-Africanists are right-wing conservatives while others are to the left of social democracy, indeed many have been, or are, Marxists (including Nkrumah in his final years). Indeed, pan-Africanists can be found within the whole spectrum of political colouring.’
This is false. Else the removal of a Marxist would not have crippled the drive.
TOWARDS THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLICAN STATE OF AFRICA
Which way then, Pan-Africanism? Prof. Shivji tells us that ‘In the view of many African scholars, intellectuals and activists, we need to revisit and re-construct the Pan-African project to address the unfinished task of national liberation from imperialism and take us beyond to the emancipation of the working people of Africa from the hegemony of capitalism.’ In his lamentations on this unfinished task, Dr. Ikaweba Bunting, In Search of a New Africa, wails:
‘In Africa today only the symbols of sovereignty exist. There are flags, seats on the UN General Assembly, heads of state (sometimes more than one), armies, national currencies, ambassadors and Mercedes Benzes.
My belief and hope that the post-colonial African nation could become a liberating institution for African people has been sobered by the reality of dependency. Today, finance and economic policy are controlled and managed directly by the World Bank and the IMF. Political parties, governments and leaders in Africa solicit Western support in order to secure a power-base.
The international creditors control all the assets. The workers and peasants toil and sweat to service debts owed to the international bankers and multilateral agencies. So-called national budgets in many countries are more than 50-per-cent dependent on external financing. Development budgets are at least 90-per-cent dependent on donor funding. In other words, the African state is in receivership and cannot operate unless it gets money to do so from Western donors and financiers (imperialists)…
After 30 years I think African leaders, politicians, and business people, together with the international community, have a moral obligation to come to terms with the fundamental mistake that was made. Millions of men, women and children have withstood repression, torture, deprivation, suffering and death in uprisings, civil wars, border disputes and coups all in the name of nation-building and developing African states in the image and likeness of the industrialized Northern nations. It is too high a price to pay.’
In his last interview, Dr. Julius Kambarage Nyerere tells us: ‘Let us create a new liberation movement to free us from immoral debt and neo-colonialism. This is one way forward. The other way is through Pan-African unity’. When he was asked why his attempt to find a new way foundered on rocks, he tells this story about the World Bank:
‘I was in Washington last year. At the World Bank the first question they asked me was `how did you fail?’ I responded that we took over a country with 85 per cent of its adult population illiterate. The British ruled us for 43 years. When they left, there were 2 trained engineers and 12 doctors. This is the country we inherited.
When I stepped down there was 91-per-cent literacy and nearly every child was in school. We trained thousands of engineers and doctors and teachers.
In 1988 Tanzania’s per-capita income was $280. Now, in 1998, it is $140. So I asked the World Bank people what went wrong. Because for the last ten years Tanzania has been signing on the dotted line and doing everything the IMF and the World Bank wanted. Enrolment in school has plummeted to 63 per cent and conditions in health and other social services have deteriorated. I asked them again: `what went wrong?’ These people just sat there looking at me. Then they asked what could they do? I told them have some humility. Humility – they are so arrogant!’
That was adding salt to injury. It shows the depths to which Africa has sunk since the first generation of Pan-Africanists left the scene in one way or the other. Dr. Nyerere believes that our current independence type makes our exploitation cheaper than during the colonial times. He says that the ‘independence of the former colonies has suited the interests of the industrial world for bigger profits at less cost. Independence made it cheaper for them to exploit us. We became neo-colonies. Some African leaders did not realize it. In fact many argued against Kwame (Nkrumah)’s idea of neo-colonialism.’ They now exercise economic power without political responsibility. Neo-colonialism is the name Dr. Kwame Nkrumah gives to this African catastrophe and describes it as the last stage of imperialism. Its destruction constitutes the unfinished task of Pan-Africanism.
For the execution of this task, the nation-state ceases to be the space for the struggle. The entire continental space is the new terrain. For the Revolutionary Pan-Africanist, the dilemma of the nation-state versus the African Nation disappears. Their activity assumes Africa as the country. Yes, Africa and its islands. Movement within Africa becomes unrestricted. The so-called nation-states’ territories are re-demarcated to redress the division of ethnic entities across borders to enhance socio-cultural interaction and development. The regrouping of the ethnic entities is then followed with their grouping in regions – each region being made up of two or more ethnicities. The agency for the task ceases to be a nebulous referent simply called the people; it is the working people.
Working simultaneously in each region is the mass movement under a central continental (country) leadership for co-ordinated action to replace every vestige of a neo-colonial power structure anywhere in Africa. The new state rises from popular organs to representative ones. Its arms are the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Party, the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Army and the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Government. ‘And avoiding beating about the bush, we would call it the Union of African Socialist Republics’, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah says. But no, the nation-states cannot continue to be republics. With the trans-border re-demarcations of their territories to merge with other such territories their raison d’être or basis for existence vanishes with them. As re-demarcated territories they cannot be republics.
Rather we would call the new state the People’s Republican State of Africa (PRSA). It is the people who now build it, not heads of state. In this respect, we hasten to acknowledge Prof. Prah’s suspicions of the heads of state in his ‘Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball (2)’ in these set terms:
‘I agree that state-led Pan-Africanism is a road to nowhere. This has been the experience of the last 50 years. Too quickly and too easily the leadership of African states subvert the real purposes and agenda of Pan-Africanism to suit their own petty and narrow flag and anthem purposes. Some of us have argued that these states, as we have them today, are more part of the problem than the solution.’
And the evolutionary formation of these organs of People’s Power is a simultaneous process as set forth in Marxist-Nkrumaist thought. Its genesis is in the educational institution – the cradle of the conscious working people, the class-for-itself. This evolution takes place alongside and against the neo-colonial state which is to be torn asunder.
The only obstacle to this Pan-African Project is petty-bourgeois fear of the paper tiger – a funny spectacle. The working people in the metropolitan centres of capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism have started to shake themselves up. It is only the start of the long beginning. The United Nations and NATO have exposed themselves in Libya. Their terror finds its antidote in the people’s guerrilla movement on a continental scale. The armed struggle is just about to begin. Its manual remains Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare and allied bibliography.
Better a relatively small and compact ideologically homogeneous mass movement positioned in every region and poised for action to take us out of capitalism, imperialism and neo-colonialism forever than an ideologically heterogeneous sprawling movement with the set potential to take freedom with the right hand and return it with the left. Dr. Nyerere could say something like this in his last interview:
‘Anti-colonialism was a nationalist movement. For me liberation and unity were the most important things. I have always said that I was African first and socialist second. I would rather see a free and united Africa before a fragmented socialist Africa. I did not preach socialism. I made this distinction deliberately so as not to divide the country. The majority in the anti-colonial struggle were nationalist.’
On his part, in 1966 Dr. Kwame Nkrumah could say in The Conakry Years, p.45: ‘Sometimes I sit here and indulge in self-criticism. I think I made two mistakes. I was not tough enough, and I did not pursue socialism fast enough. When I go back it will be different.’
The lesson has been learnt – that is, the simultaneous pursuit of political unity and socialism for national liberation from elitist rule. Neo-colonialism is not colonialism. In neo-colonialism we are fighting an internal enemy as well. We cannot afford the luxury of the anti-colonial unity type. Those thinking in the reversed gear must be gently excused. When Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah says in ‘Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball (2)’ that ‘I think what is important at this stage for us to get off the ground and going is a cultural movement, a cultural movement which will provide in effect confidence and affirmation for our people with regard to our historical heritage and cultural patrimony’ and that ‘This is what we have, together with many other people thought of as a Sankofa Movement; in other words, the reclamation of values, tenets and institutions of our African heritage’ he adds himself to those to be gently excused.
In case you could not see the reversed thought process involved there, he puts it better in these terms: ‘Development is ultimately a cultural construction. Once this message and its import win the hearts and minds of our people the political implications and requirements will become easily perceptible and a natural evolution towards a political movement will be within our grasp. I am saying that the road to a political movement for unity and African advancement must start in our times with an Africanist cultural and intellectual movement’.
In this way, the dialectical development of African Renaissance with and in the flow of the political struggles and in support of them is made a separate affair that mechanically precedes the political struggles. In that club of the Sankofa Movement are Prof. Chinweizu Ibekwe Chinweizu and Bankie Foster Bankie . It is the club of the so-called anti-continentalists. The so-called continentalists – an aspersion cast against Revolutionary Pan-Africanists by the Sankofa breed – are the inheritors of the Marxist-Nkrumaist Pan-African tendency and who, in accordance with Consciencism, rather see development as being ultimately an economic but not a cultural construction. Culture is only an element in the superstructure for servicing the economy. Therein resides the philosophical divergence.
OBITUARY: The ink on the last word of this paper had scarcely dried up yesterday when Sister Ama Adumea Ohene called for the second time; this time to confirm that Brother Muammar Gaddafi had been killed. She was choked with tears away from Libya several thousands of kilometres South of the Sahara. This morning a resident in Tripoli told the ETV in Ghana in a live interview that people were jubilating in Tripoli because they were afraid not to do so. It reminded us of 1966 in Ghana. An overwhelming majority of Metro TV viewers mourned the fallen African as some predicted that, like Ghanaians after 1966, Libyans might come to regret this event. Meanwhile, commentators have seen the event as the last nail in the coffin of state-led Pan-Africanism. May Brother Gaddafi rest in peace. He died fighting. That is the spirit! (October 21, 2011)
Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism
Sustaining the Wave of Resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism
(An Analytical Critical Review of the Book Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism)
Those two reviews are distinguished by their common brevity and sticking to informing us on the structural outline of the book without telling us about the substance therein.
They are also at one in observing the diversity of opinion expressed in the various papers at the Workshop held from December 6 to 9, 2010 at the University of Namibia under the theme Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism. They, however, miss the point that despite that diversity those opinions exhibit and share a common thread in their general opposition to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism and in their implicit and explicit commitment to the retention of the neo-colonial African states in their balkanized or pigeon-hole existence.
Peter Mietzner, described as a businessperson with various experiences in the media, correctly makes the observation that former President Dr. Sam Nujoma’s keynote address at the opening of the Workshop sets the tone of the proceedings. Reading the said address one is immediately struck by the former President’s declaration as Mietzner quotes thus:
‘Now that the continent of Africa is independent, we need to embark on the 2nd phase of the struggle: the genuine economic independence to eradicate socio-economic evils that still linger in order to ensure economic development for the benefit of the African people on the continent and those in the Diaspora.’
In fact, the reader cannot find these words in exactly this order in the book. Mietzner appears to be quoting from some other script. The actual order of words is found at page 15 of the book where President Nujoma says that
‘Now that the continent of Africa is politically independent, what we need is to embark upon the second phase of the struggle for genuine economic independence to eradicate ignorance, hunger and poverty as the enemies of the African continent… [I]t is of great importance for our countries to spend more resources in the training of our youth, to enable Africa to produce our own doctors, mining engineers… to accelerate economic development for the benefit of the African people on the continent and those in the Diaspora.’
Wherever Mietzner quotes from, the essence is the same. What he omits to mention is that the decision to hold the Workshop does not emanate from the youth who are its target audience. It is a decision taken when the former President sits at a dinner with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia and apparently General Williams of PANAFSTRAG. The following brief narrative in the book by the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia at page 2 shows that it is, as usual, a decision taken from the top and that the youth is only dragged into it. We quote thus:
‘Tonight I need to pay great tribute to one of the living icons of the liberation struggle of Africa, His Excellency Dr. Sam Shafishuna Nujoma, who, I should say, is the kick-starter of this workshop… The workshop arose out of the dinner hosted by His Excellency, the Founding President of Namibia on August 02 2010. General Williams of PANAFSTRAG had come to Namibia in search of connecting the Pan-African Parliament with Diasporian parliamentarians. An idea emerged from that dinner to convene a workshop in Namibia to look at the outcomes of the various African Conferences/Congresses and to look at PACON as a suitable role model for adoption in other parts of the African constituency – that is in Africa and also in the Diaspora. Thereafter, I held a working dinner for General Williams, to which I invited Namibian Pan-Africanists to attend. I encouraged General Williams to return to Namibia, which he did on October 18, 2010 to interact with Namibians and to make some presentations. This resulted in General Williams travelling to Swakopmund to interact with the Namibian youth. He also made a presentation on Pan-Africanism at the University of Namibia (UNAM).’
Clearly then, what is to follow at the Workshop is conditioned not only by the fact of it being initiated by important personalities who believe that political liberation and independence have been achieved but more importantly by their stake in the survival of the current pigeon-hole neo-colonial state structures. No doubt then that the various papers, if even not all of them, assume the continued and perpetual existence of the inherited neo-colonial state systems as that which must not be questioned and do not therefore question that existence.
This explains the concerted direct and tangential attacks on what is stated as Continentalism and attributing it in the main to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leading proponent of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. To launch such attacks successfully, Continentalism is briefly presented as a commitment to Africa’s geographical space to the neglect of the African person as the centre of the liberation and unification process. In this way, attention is diverted from the basic proposition of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism that the neo-colonial states must be replaced.
Replacement of these states is not presented as one that replicates the balkanization of Africa in a new form but rather one that presents the continent with a single state upon the abolition of the neo-colonial states. Revolutionary Pan-Africanism projects this liberation and unification of Africans on continental Africa as the condition for the liberation and unification of Africans everywhere. The statement to this effect is found in Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s book The Spectre of Black Power.
As part of the definition of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, African Personality is pursued in an African Renaissance through the simultaneous recovery of the African cultural heritage. In fact, in Consciencism (page 4) Dr. Nkrumah explains that cultural acquisition becomes valuable only when it is appreciated by free men. The political emancipation of the African cannot, therefore, await but precede African cultural acquisition, even if not pursued simultaneously. His personal efforts in this respect are today represented by his establishment of the Institute of African Studies3 at the University of Ghana.
Hence, so-called Continentalism is an invention by those who assert pre-occupation with the cultural movement as the pre-requisite for the political liberation and unification of Africa and therefore do not only put the cart before the horse but more significantly freeze the pursuit of African emancipation and unification. And without doubt, they are actuated by nothing more or less than either their closeness to those in control of neo-colonial state power or are, in fact, directly exercising that power. This explains why not a single paper is presented at the Workshop for a full representation of the point of view of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
The youth of Namibia take notice of this political manipulation at the Workshop and as such issue a thinly veiled protest ‘That elders give due support and advice to the youth without seeking to impose themselves, their viewpoints and/or partisan political agenda’. They reveal their dissatisfaction with their alienation from the processes leading to the organization of the Workshop in these set terms: ‘That there should always be openness, transparency and integration of ideas in program creation and formulation’. And most importantly, echoing the mass-based approaches of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, they also insist ‘That for there to be effective and properly representative results of such fora there should be broad based approaches which are rooted in the masses’. The Communiqué that carries such weighty information for those who do not have the opportunity to attend the Workshop can be found at the last pages of the book and on the internet4.
So that what takes place at the University of Namibia in December 6-9, 2010 is not an event sustaining any new wave of Pan-Africanism. It is the resurrection of the decades-old resistance of cultural movements to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, which finally re-crystallized as mass-based Pan-Africanism. What is new about it is its change of name – from Negritude to Sankofa. Without their calling it by its only name ‘Revolutionary Pan-Africanism’, the Sankofa movement invents a new name for it ‘Continentalism’ which it then defines to disadvantage and in distortion. And as can be seen the awakened Namibian youth see through the subterfuge. No, what we are seeing is not ‘Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism’ but ‘Sustaining the Resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism’.
In what follows, we explore the theme of this resistance in as many of the presented papers as possible to portray the tension between their Pan-African prescriptions and their adherence to the pieces of the African continent and people – the unviable neo-colonial states – in their unmindful service to imperialism. This is what Prof. Chinweizu Ibekwe Chinweizu does not want to hear and that is what we intend to portray from his own paper. We come to the height of this illogicality when the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia, His Excellency (Prince) Adegboyega Christopher Ariyo, bases his entire Pan-African industrial edifice on an assumption that the states will resolve to trade among themselves – voluntarily! The comprador bourgeois survives only with neo-colonialism intact. Voluntarily? The force of reason is only one of two means of getting them to see reason. The force of brawn is the other.
This book Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism is a must-read for anybody who seeks to know the state of mind of the current leadership in Africa. We explore that mind thematically. It is definitely a reactionary mind-set that requires our study to enable the masses of our people put paid to their compradorial neo-colonial existence. They need be liberated to rejoin their people. Otherwise, they must sink with imperialism, neo-colonialism and above all capitalism.
WHAT IS THE AFRICAN NATION?
In paper No.18 ‘Pan-Africanism – Rethinking Key Issues’, Prof. Chinweizu Ibekwe Chinweizu says that there is nothing called the ‘African Nation’: what can be called a nation in Africa is the tribe. This is exactly how he puts it: ‘Is there an African nation? Where is it? Are there African nations? If so, where are they? I submit that the African nation does not exist and has never existed. There is the African race, but it is not a nation. There are many African nations, but these are what we have learned to defame by calling them tribes. These so-called tribes were the true nations in pre-colonial Africa. What nowadays are called African nations, are not nations at all; each is just a country under the jurisdiction of a state. It is fashionable to call them nation-states, but that is at best a courtesy’.
According to Prof. Chinweizu, a nation is determined by the criteria set out in cultural anthropology, historiography and biology. Collectively, he says, these criteria show us that ‘a nation is made by shared language, historical memories of struggles carried out together, and a shared body of myths, legends, epics, songs, etc., and it demonstrates its nationhood by outward antagonism and the defence of its common territory’. From the angle of this perspective, he considers that the African Nation ‘remains only an aspiration’ since ‘languages are diverse; there is no shared body of myths, legends, epics, songs, etc., and the historical consciousness has never been fostered’. The central concepts of this perspective are therefore common ‘language’, ‘territory’, ‘historical memory’, ‘myths etc’ and ‘antagonism’. These are overwhelmingly cultural components: ‘linguistic, historical and psychic’.
By these criteria, Prof. Chinweizu concludes that only what we have come to know as the ‘tribe’ qualifies as a nation. But he is quick enough to suggest the possibility of aspiring to be a nation and by logical extension the possibility of such aspirants successfully achieving nationhood. What finally qualifies the aspirants to be a nation is their measuring up to the stated determinants of a nation in terms of the cultural and territorial factors. The concept of aspiration has no suggestion to an instant achievement but involves the strong suggestion of an evolutionary process. So that the fact of the reality of the African Nation being an aspiration is strong with the suggestion that the African Nation is at a certain point of emergence in the evolutionary process. For this reason that a baby does not require being fully grown to be considered human, so also an infant African Nation remains a nation, we assert.
Without questioning Prof. Chinweizu’s nation construct, it is possible to demonstrate that by the demands of that construct the African Nation does not represent a figment of anybody’s imagination but a reality. At the linguistic level, unless dialects of a language are considered a reflection of the existence of different Chinweizuan nations, we find no contradiction in asserting that the use of two languages by the same people does not disqualify them from being such a nation. For, dialects of a language may be so strong in their differences that they may not be mutually easily understood. The fact still remains that in spite of the difficulty communication is not impaired. The urban and rural variants of an African language are an example in this respect. Moving from one part of an African country to the next exposes one to how one language tapers smoothly into the next.
This phenomenon presents us with scenes of a linguistic mat whereby two or more languages weave into each other. The result is the grouping of African languages, in spite of their so-called diversity, in general categories that are themselves related. This linguistic mat reflects the similarity of African cultures in such a way that it becomes possible to talk of a cultural mat. Expressions like ‘African tradition’ capture that reflection. Reference to ‘African culture’ or ‘African tradition’ conjures up in an African’s mind notions and practices that are pervasive on the African continent and in the Diaspora. We are therefore left in no doubt that despite the ravages of capitalism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism there is this African cultural pervasiveness that exudes an African Spirit which compels other nations to see an African at first glance as an African but not as a Nigerian, Namibian or Sudanese.
If the Chinweizuan notion of a nation accommodates the reality of the same people speaking at least two dialects that may pass as different languages then it stands to reason to admit that a nation is not necessarily limited to a single language. The Swiss nation is a multilingual entity. The following extract shows the language situation there and indicates that the current urge to promote Swahili as the foremost official African language and Africa’s lingua franca is evidence of Africa’s recovering back unto the trajectory of its historical determination in common language expression. The Swiss extract says that
‘The official languages of Switzerland are German (spoken by 64 percent of the population), French (19 percent), and Italian (8 percent). The fourth national language, Romansch, is spoken by less than 1 percent of the people. Other languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish, are spoken by the remaining population.
Most Swiss are multilingual. In a majority of the cantons the most commonly spoken language is Schweizerdeutsch (Swiss German), an Alamannic dialect of German differing vastly from other German dialects. Newspapers and magazines are written in standard German, however, and German is the language of many theatre, motion picture, and television productions. French is the most commonly spoken language in the cantons of Fribourg, Jura, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, and Geneva, and Italian is the predominant language in Ticino. Romansch, a Romance language, is spoken chiefly in the canton of Graubünden.’ (Encarta Encyclopaedia Standard Edition 2004.)
Hence, the language/culture or the linguistic mat/cultural mat scenario in Africa rather than nullifying the notion of the African Nation attests to the fact of its existence.
Territorially, the reality of borders that constrict Africans in Bantustan pigeon-holes called ‘countries’ does not nullify the conscious African’s awareness of the commonality of African space, be it outer space, marine space or terrestrial space. Dr. Ikaweba Bunting, in his article In Search of a New Africa, narrates how he once drives from Tanzania into Kenya without knowing that he has actually made the ‘crossover’. The Fulani herdsman respects no boundaries because he does not know or see any. The reality of ‘different territories’ in Africa exists in the mind of Ivory Tower academicians and those intellectuals employed to sustain that fiction for their neo-colonial advantage and fulfilment. These are the people who mysteriously see ‘borderlands’ and consider geographical existences like the Sahara Desert as social barriers. They seize every opportunity to sustain a Bantustan Africa.
Considering the facts of history, Africans share a common history of antagonism in the liberation struggles against colonialism, if we have to cite a recent phenomenon. Dr. Sam Nujoma, at the University of Ghana in December 2010 just at the time of the Workshop, shares his own experiences of the liberation struggles. The concerted African involvement in the liberation of Namibia and other areas in Southern Africa is well captured in that public lecture, captioned The Importance of Pan-Africanism in the Contemporary African Political Scene. The lecture is not different from his keynote address at the Workshop. The two machine guns and two pistols that were used to ignite the armed struggle in Namibia were supplied to Dr. Sam Nujoma by the Algerian government and were carried through Egypt to Tanzania. The Arab African and Black African involvement is without question.
Before we consider another dimension of Dr. Nujoma’s lecture in Ghana it is worth taking note of this other aspect of the Chinweizuan conception of a nation: commitment. Prof. Chinweizu talks about the futility of an African Nation when half of its army is Islamic and committed to primary allegiance to the Arab (not Arab African). See page 83. Another way of saying it is that it is futile to talk of an African Nation when its army is half Christian and committed to primary allegiance to the Israeli. Commitment must be to the African Nation. It is in this regard that he considers Sudanese Arab Africans not a part of Africans; and for two reasons. He says, firstly, that these Sudanese, the products of inter Black African and Arab marriages, see themselves as Arabs and belong to Arab organizations though Arabs see them as second rate Arabs. Secondly, they are explicitly Islamic. But, they also belong to the African Union.
We are here faced with an American situation. African Americans are not only a great mix of Christians and Moslems who consider themselves American but also express commitment to the African. Take note that some of these African Americans are the products of Black African and White American marriages. Immediately, think of Mr. Barak Hussein Obama, the American President. The question is whether their situation in the United States of America disqualifies the United States from being a nation. Does the African Diaspora in the USA disqualify the USA from being an American Nation? If the answer is ‘No’, does the Arab African in Africa (the Sudan and North Africa) nullify the existence of an African Nation – bearing in mind that the jurisdiction under which a nation lives is not and has never necessarily been a single state? The same question arises even when we cite the Indian American situation for illustration.
Prof. Chinweizu creates grounds for suspicion concerning his best intentions for Africans. He suggests in his paper under consideration that although some non-Black Africans living on the African continent see themselves as Africans they must be discouraged from the practice in order to dissociate them from African processes because of their commitments elsewhere. To this end, he suggests that instead of ‘African’ we should use ‘Negro’ for the simple reason of his belief that ‘Negro’ is a less attractive name for non-Black Africans. This is how he puts it at page 92:
‘Maybe we should seriously consider finding and adopting a name for ourselves from an indigenous African language; particularly a name whose meaning would be repulsive to Arab and European settlers in Africa. While we search for such a name, we have no option, I think, but to revert to the name Negroes, which our European enemies bestowed on us. It has the supreme merit of having been applied to Black Africans, and Black Africans only, both on the continent and in the Diaspora; it never included Arabs, Europeans, Indians, etc., who have settled in Africa; and most importantly, none of them would welcome being called Negroes. So, this name is the only one that guarantees that they will voluntarily stay away from our organizations. So, in my view, until we come up with an isolating name from a Black African language – a name they will loathe to apply to themselves – Negroes it is.’ (See the APPENDIX by Carter Godwin Woodson in his book The Mis-Education of the Negro for his findings that other races find the word ‘Negro’ rather romantic but it is the Negro who feels uncomfortable with it.)
The important observation one makes of this is that mixed blood Africans who are said to have been Arabized are considered to be non-Africans. No such ostracism, however, is applied to Westernized Black Africans living south of the Sahara. Our wonder is whether Prof. Chinweizu would like the same standard to be applied to Africans in the Diaspora. This innocent justification of racist hatred for African Americans in the USA logically ostracizes the African Diaspora from processes on the African continent; in fact, ostracizes them from any notion of the African Nation.
Although, territorially, Arab Africans (whether of biological or historical origin and calling themselves Africans) live on African soil with cultures distinguishable from Arab culture and exclusive to Arab Africans in Africa in spite of some of them sharing a religion with Arabia Prof. Chinweizu says they must not be considered African. In fact, he contends that the Boer (European African) as well as the Indian African, who have similarly evolved cultures different from those of their countries of origin and unique to Africa, does not qualify or deserve to be called an African; and therefore of the African Nation. So that, in the final analysis, the African Nation can only be a Black African Nation.
Hence, he focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa for the construction of his Pan-Africanism. The rest of the African landmass above the Sahara is a zone for future contestation to recover it for Black Africans. And, once recovered, it becomes unnecessary to retain the reference ‘Black Africa’ because that would be co-extensive to ‘Africa’. In straight language, the kind of Pan-Africanism being projected here is aimed at purifying the African continent to its wrongfully alleged former state of a land of Blacks. This is how he renders it at pages 89-90:
‘For avoidance of doubt and deadly confusions, it is necessary for each Pan-Africanist to specify which Africans, and which Africa, is the constituency of concern. This is very important because the African continent is no longer racially homogeneous…
Some Pan-Africanists object to the use of the term Black Africa. Some do so claiming that imperialists have imposed terms like “Black Africa” and “sub-Saharan Africa” to drive a wedge between Black Africans to the South and their Arab African “brothers” to the north.
Of course that is just nonsense. There are no Arab Africans, only Arab invaders of Africa. The deep racial and cultural and political divide between the Arab settler colonizers now in North Africa and the indigenous Black Africans is no fiction, no invention of the imperialists. It is a deluded continentalist doctrine that prevents some from recognizing that long-standing fact of life. It is our duty to ourselves to recognise it. We gloss over it to our own peril, like the fool who insists that a python has become his brother by taking over part of his family compound.
Some others object to the terms “Black Africa” and “sub-Saharan Africa” on the grounds that, by so restricting our designation, we concede to the Arab invaders the northern part of our continent. They say the entire continent is ours and we must keep the designation to remind us of our duty to recover the enemy-expropriated lands.
That is a fine sentiment, but premature, since we are still losing land to the Arabs. The job we should undertake now is to stop any further Arab expropriation of our lands. When we stop losing more land to the Arab expansionists, and have recovered our entire continent, that would be time enough to drop the term Black Africa. For, by then, all of Africa would once again be co-extensive with Black Africa, making the qualifier superfluous. Until then, let the qualifier keep reminding us that we have a duty to recover the parts of our land seized by Arab and European invaders.’ (All italics are added).
Having asserted that the ‘tribe’ is the only entity that qualifies for the ‘nation’ designation, Prof. Chinweizu finds no common referent on which to hang his Pan-Africanism other than the colour of the Black African skin – raciality. He employs a concept of ‘racial privacy’ which he likens to the practice of excluding even best friends from family meetings. This principle enables him to restrict his Pan-Africanism to the ‘United States of Black Africa’ rather than the ‘United States of Africa’. According to him the latter also includes Arabs – an anathema! The interesting thing is that while he rejects the existence of Arab Africans and asserts that of Black Africans he does not name the other Africans. And yet he states that the ‘African continent is no longer racially homogeneous’. It is now like the USA, so to say.
Prof. Chinweizu sees only Arab and European invaders (temporary residents) living together with Black Africans, though separately, on the African continent. So that by his refusal to acknowledge Arabs in Africa as Arab Africans and Europeans and Indians as Boers or Afrikaners (Dutch Africans) and Indian Africans respectively, he actually sees no racial heterogeneity. He therefore renders the black in ‘Black Africans’ superfluous. And this yet, this is not his intention. The assertion of racial heterogeneity and racial exclusivity becomes a contradiction in terms. If we are to take him to be serious then European invaders of America cannot be considered as Americans. Certainly, his criterion for the designation of an African is too crises-ridden to be of utility for Pan-Africanism. It even leaves out the Berber, Arabized or not, who has lived in North Africa for millennia and mentioned in historical records dating to 3000 B.C.
But this nebulous conception of the ‘African’ forms the basis of the Sankofa movement and its resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. The Chief Priest of the Sankofa movement, Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah, is similarly afflicted by this nebulousness. So also is the lesser Sankofa spirit, Mr. Bankie Foster Bankie, who is a co-editor of the book under review. The result of this futile Sankofa conceptual acrobatics is an apolitical pre-occupation with the African cultural past outside the context of the anti-neo-colonial struggle, the immediate concern of current Pan-Africanism. This pre-occupation with the cultural movement assumes that the political process of the liberation struggle is really over. Anti-neo-colonialism does not feature in Sankofa discourse except in its cultural discussion or in forced salutations to it.
This is where we get back to Dr. Sam Nujoma’s lecture in Ghana. In both that lecture and his keynote address at the Workshop there is not a single reference to neo-colonialism. He is given to think that African political emancipation ends with the successful anti-colonial struggle. Thenceforth, every African country pursues Pan-Africanism as a security measure to safeguard its own newly-won ‘independence’. This is what he sees Dr. Kwame Nkrumah doing. Recognizing the revolutionary nature of Dr. Nkrumah’s brand of Pan-Africanism he states that ‘For Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the ideology of Pan-Africanism became a revolutionary movement for the unification and total liberation of the African continent’.
Strangely, however, he goes on to suggest that when Dr. Nkrumah links the independence of Ghana to the total liberation of the African continent his objective is to secure Ghana’s independence in an ocean of colonized countries. This strange imputation of selfish motives to Dr. Nkrumah’s Pan-African agenda that predates Ghana’s independence is worth being quoted thus:
‘When Ghana gained independence in 1957, we recall Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s famous statement, when he proclaimed at the time of Ghana’s independence that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”.
In a sense, Ghana felt that its independence was not assured if it was an island surrounded by colonized and occupied territories.’
This reading of Dr. Sam Nujoma’s pigeon-hole type Pan-Africanism into Dr. Nkrumah’s Revolutionary Pan-Africanism is based on a fragmented conception of the African people and it is that which reinforces the resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. That resistance, as we indicate above, assumes the end of the liberation process and considers the unification project in culturalistic and economistic terms. The ‘African Nation’ is forced out of existence in such calculations which ensure that African countries freeze in pigeon-holes. But this is exactly what Dr. Nkrumah stands against when he states emphatically in Africa Must Unite that
‘If we are to remain free, if we are to enjoy the full benefits of Africa’s rich resources, we must unite to plan for our total defence and the full exploitation of our material and human means, in the full interests of all our peoples. ‘To go it alone’ will limit our horizons, curtail our expectations, and threaten our liberty.’
The politics of defining or determining the existence or otherwise of the ‘African Nation’ is generated just by this parochial anti-people desire for perpetual neo-colonial existence. Prof. Mburumba Kerina renders Dr. Nkrumah’s famous declaration better and correctly when he says that ‘On the independence day of Ghana, President Nkrumah declared that: “The destiny of Ghana is bound up with the destiny of Africa”.’See page 27.
When Dr. Nujoma announces Africa to be now politically independent and declares a second phase of the struggle as one for genuine economic independence in his keynote address he also commits himself to culturalism in his lecture in Ghana where he makes it clear that
‘In my humble ways, I always encourage and promote African cultures and ways of living thus ensuring the empowerment of the youth of Africa to spearhead the ideology of Pan-Africanism from where the Founding Pan-African leaders left. Armed with the knowledge of our past, we can with confidence charter a course for our future.’
Clearly, his political horizons are limited to the unviable neo-colonial state. This reflects in and underscores the overwhelming majority of the papers at the Workshop which he kick-starts in Windhoek in the neo-colonial enclave of Namibia and which suppresses the expression of unrelenting Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. The youth’s communiqué protests against this suppression; while in paper 14 ‘The African Condition as I See It’ which is replete with references to the Africa Nation, Job Shipululo Kanandjembo Amupanda humbly submits that
‘I am afraid that Africa’s history of exploitation is the history of today, dear friends. We are yet to emancipate ourselves… The liberating generation, of the 1960s … led people-driven economies and delivered free education and many other basic amenities. They had no idea that they would be either toppled by their own people who were intoxicated by the enemy (Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, et al) or that those succeeding them would put Africa on auction to the very same people against whom many had died fighting.’
This is the Spirit of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism exploding. It finds its way in expression in a sea of counter-spirits of reaction. If nothing that is said here encourages you to lay hands on the book under review, Shipululo’s ‘The African Condition as I See It’ cannot be part of it. Get hold of the book.
FALSIFYING THE HISTORY OF PAN-AFRICANISM
Falsifying the history of Pan-Africanism begins with the page 221 assertion that among the colonial powers that granted independence to Africa was Arabia. Mr. Bankie Forster Bankie, in paper No. 33 ‘Early Formations of the Pan-African Movement’, talks of ‘the colonial powers – Britain, France, Portugal and Arabia’ granting independence to Africa. This strange appearance of Arabia and the disappearance of Belgium in the list of colonial powers from which independence was won are instructive. Nowhere in African history is it ever said that Holland, whence the Afrikaner originate, is one of the colonial powers granting independence to Africa. Which African countries had their independence from Arabia? All North African countries gained their independence either from Britain, Italy or France.
This false presentation of Arabia in the mould of European imperialist powers among whom Africa was partitioned in 1884/5 is directed at the same exclusion of Arab Africans from the Pan-African Project as we find in the attempts to define the African to the exclusion of Arab Africans, Afrikaners and Indian Africans. It is one of the weapons of the Sankofa culturalists in their resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism which they falsify as Continentalism – an idea that is falsely attributed to and restricts Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanism to the liberation of Africa’s geographical space only and thus neglects the African wherever they might be as the central concern of Pan-Africanism.
In this section, we address this falsification of the history of Pan-Africanism from its genesis as an inheritance of the Black slave revolts and demands for the establishment of a Black Republic on American soil to the evolution of struggles for Black citizenship in the USA into the Back to Africa movement and consequent anti-colonial liberation movements in Africa ending in the anti-neo-colonial struggles of today. We are talking about a history in which the entire Black race is reduced to the working class for capitalist accumulation processes and its resistance to those processes; a history in which a few Blacks are developed into collaborators of international capitalism and imperialism; a history that has to contend with racial variation in its demographic content; yes, a history that calls into application the principle of proletarian internationalism.
These anti-capitalist political struggles resonate in cultural expressions like Negro Spirituals, Soul Music, studies in African past civilizations, etc. It is not the cultural expressions that resonate in the political struggles. It is the other way round. Expressions of ‘I am Black and Proud’ never set the political movement in motion but rather emerge from that movement which is itself consequent upon the economic exploitation of Blacks and forms the immediate arena for the resolution of conflicts in production relations. The history of Pan-Africanism is part of the world’s history of resistance to capitalism and its off-shoots of imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Any consideration of this history outside these parameters of capitalist production and exploitation as well as the resistance to them fails from the word ‘go’ to give a proper and true account of the past and present.
It is in this light that Mr. Bankie Forster Bankie is seen to be falsifying the history of Pan-Africanism when he sees it as a racial movement then and now. The consideration of the Pan-African movement as essentially a racial phenomenon ignores the fundamental fact that a whole race is reduced to a working class without citizenship status. Not only is the emerging class differentiation in African society, which manifests in kings and feudal states like the Kingdoms of Buganda and Ashanti, suppressed among Africans transported to work on plantations in the West but also the ethnic origins of these Africans are obliterated through cultural repression. This process of proletarianization, working-classization, reduces enslaved kings, queens and commoners to the same denominator of a working class in Western society where their personal names, languages and practices are replaced with Western alternatives.
What survives of the African is their spirit of egalitarian humanism and resistance against infractions and negations of that spirit. The process of class differentiation in African society prior to enslavement in the West finds this spirit abiding and therefore accommodates it in its development. It is that spirit that finds expression in the slave revolts. Slavery as the means of capitalist proletarianization becomes obsolete in its expensiveness and therefore transits into full working-classization in the industrial period. The persistence of denial of citizenship rights to Blacks then foments a spirit of nationalism directed at the creation of a Black Republic on American soil. The abolition of slavery to free labour for its cheaper exploitation also opens up a process of class differentiation among Blacks. The Black resistance develops, consequently, diverse class orientations that fuel different approaches to Pan-Africanism.
The centrality of class in Black resistance to capitalism is a constant. It is clearly not an issue bordering on the periphery. It is not a recent development. It is the history of the class struggle in Black resistance to capitalism that defines the development of Pan-Africanism into the 21st century. Raciality is an absolute inferior standard for tracing the trajectory of Pan-Africanism. The victorious march of conscientious resistance to racial discrimination and denial of Black citizenship – leading to the national celebration of Blacks like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jnr., and Mr. Barrack Obama’s presidency of the United States – and the persistence of class struggle therein emphasize the secondary nature of the racial phenomenon and the fundamentality of class determinants in the processes of Pan-Africanism. Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, expressing itself in class terms, emerges as the clearest statement and inheritor of this history.
On Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 statement in The Forethought to his book The Souls of Black Folk to the effect that ‘The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of colour’5 Mr. Bankie comments that ‘This was the analysis which announced the arrival of Pan-Africanism on the world stage at the threshold of the 20th century. At the beginning of the 21st century, the words a hundred years later ring true. Some would add to the colour line the preoccupation with the issues of class, others the issue of gender.’ (Italics added). This comment oversimplifies Dr. Du Bois’ complex analysis of class and race relations in American society at the beginning of the 20th century. What we find in the book at Chapter IX gives us an insight into how Dr. Du Bois transits later from trying to resolve the question of racial discrimination through racial co-operation within the capitalist system to supporting the class-based projects of the 1945 Fifth Pan-African Congress that opens the floodgates of the anti-imperialist anti-colonialist movement.6
The reluctance to appreciate Dr. Du Bois’ transition, which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah talks about in The Conakry Years, and the dominance of scientific socialism at the 1945 Manchester deliberations that he chairs leads to a distortion of the history of Pan-Africanism. So that by the closing years of the first half of the 20th century the racial referent ceases to be the focus of mainstream Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism ceases to be a racial reaction accommodating itself within capitalism and imperialism and becomes truly revolutionary seeking the end of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism and, now, neo-colonialism. So that, again, it is incorrect to say that the racial orientation persists over these hundred years. It does not last for even fifty years. That it is said to have lasted to date only reflects a Sankofa desire to justify its hysterical hatred for the Arab African as well as its fears of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. But do we need to be held down in our studies by our desires and fears? Dr. Du Bois has a word of advice to the Sankofa fraternity thus:
‘To bring … hope to fruition, we are compelled daily to turn more and more to a conscientious study of the phenomena of race-contact — to a study frank and fair, and not falsified and coloured by our wishes or our fears.’7 (Italics added).
In this respect, we need to have our concepts in an unambiguous order. Mr. Bankie does not appear to be sure of the difference between Pan-Africanism and African Nationalism. For, at page 220 he talks about ‘Pan-Africanism, or African nationalism if you will’; while at page 221 he talks of ‘Pan-Africanism never dies, like African nationalism’. He needs to be exact: does he find the two to be equivalents or different concepts? For, cautious usage places them apart and views them in their logical contradiction to each other and also in their dialectical contradiction. In their logical contradiction, whereas African Nationalism represents the efforts to seek the interests of an African country, Pan-Africanism seeks the interests of Africa as a single Nation. As a dialectical contradiction, the two are related in such a way that Pan-Africanism aids an African country against foreign domination with the ultimate aim of liberating the African people for their unification under a single state. African Nationalism preserves the inherited colonial borders. Pan-Africanism seeks to abolish them.
Revolutionary Pan-Africanism does not see that ‘Pan-Africanism never dies’. It views Pan-Africanism as a programme but not as an ideology. As a programme, Pan-Africanism, by Dr. Nkrumah’s terms in The Conakry Years, has a life span which terminates with the achievement of the total liberation and unification of the African continent and its people wherever they might be under a socialist People’s Republican State of Africa. And as a programme it is a movement with a doctrine based on Marxism-Nkrumaism. It is not an ideology by itself but a programme of an ideology. That ideology is scientific socialism or more specifically Marxism-Nkrumaism. Dr. Sam Nujoma’s reference to ‘the ideology of Pan-Africanism’ in his two presentations in this respect becomes problematic. It does not only create problems for a consistent conceptualization of the processes of the history of Pan-Africanism. It as well contradicts the world view of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
In the construction of the history of Pan-Africanism we are minded to trace its trajectory as a resistance to capitalism from the moment the first African is captured and transformed into a slave. This resistance begins from the point of entry into the slave ship through the journey over the Atlantic to the plantations of the West. It then finds expression in rebellions on the plantations through efforts to create a Black Republic on foreign soil alongside seeking the rights of citizenship to the establishment of the socialist liberation and unification of Africa as the prime condition for the freedom and restoration of the dignity of the African wheresoever they might be. The contradictions internal to this resistance throw up different currents inspired by the class differentiation within the Black community.
Such differentiation finds expression in racialist and cross-racialist concepts of strategy with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah emerging as the foremost theoretician and practitioner of the latter current. Emerging as Revolutionary Pan-Africanism that current fundamentally expresses itself in class terms as against the theoretical practice of the other currents. Through thick and thin it seeks the institutional replacement of capitalism and its imperialist, colonialist and neo-colonialist ancillaries through ultimate confrontation by way of revolutionary guerrilla warfare. In this respect, the other currents, expressing themselves in culturalistic and economistic terms, stand opposed to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. This trajectory of the history of Pan-Africanism reflects the objective process of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and anti-neo-colonialist resistance to capitalism and its ancillaries for the freedom of the African.
That conception of Pan-African history gives the compradorial bourgeoisie in Africa no rest. It embarrasses them. To combat it they organize workshops like the one at hand to distort reality with the African youth as their target. In spite of this and to their chagrin, that history recognizes the pre-eminence of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the Pan-African struggle and erects his statue in the forecourt of the headquarters of the African Union – a statue that while it towers over the landscape of Ethiopia from Addis Ababa and overlooks the large expanse of the African continent with hope and confidence also symbolizes the triumph of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s policy of non-racial internationalism, an important cornerstone of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
PAN-AFRICAN ORIENTATION AND PRESERVATION OF THE NEO-COLONIAL STATE – THE TENSION
Preservation of the neo-colonial state in Africa and the pursuit of the goals of Pan-Africanism occasion a contradiction. As with all such contradictions, this contradiction is in tension. It is a dialectical contradiction. The resolution of that contradiction resides solely in dissolution of the neo-colonial state. Consequent upon this dissolution, an ethnographical re-demarcation of the state’s territory is occasioned to redress the adverse effects of the artificially-created borders which dismember ethnic groups and place them under different state authorities to aid the divide and rule policy of the colonial powers. The African comprador bourgeoisie makes of the inherited colonial state its immediate economic base and therefore resists the necessary dissolution that this state must suffer. But it is an unviable state the solutions to whose problems are conceived in Pan-African terms.
The African neo-colonial state understands, so to say, that it cannot solve its problems without operating in concert with the other African states. Objectively speaking, however, it knows that such an operation in concert requires a certain devolution of its power to a central body. It cannot countenance that inevitability. At the same time, it sees itself losing a part of its economic base in the state and also control over its territory. This dilemma of the comprador bourgeoisie makes it inclined to devising such forms of co-operation as will safeguard its power in its integrity. Unfortunately, this yields nothing. To protect itself against mass uprising it falls on aid from the former colonial powers that provide it with strings attached such that it looks rather outward instead of inward Africa. The situation worsens and to retain power and therefore its state economic base it either militarizes the state or invites the neo-colonial power to establish a military base in fear of its people.
This situation strategically restricts co-operation between and among the African neo-colonial states in favour of co-operation with the imperialist and neo-colonialist powers. In this atmosphere, to draw up Pan-African projects that require the co-operation of these states and assume the co-operation as a given is to be involved in an exercise of self-deceit. This is what the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia, H.E. Prince Adegboyega C. Ariyo, does when his paper draws up a Pan-African industrial plan and predicates it upon the assumption ‘that we have resolved that we should trade amongst ourselves so that we can create and sustain jobs for our teeming population’. In what follows, we illustrate that in his choice of China to show what Africa must do he neglects to observe that China and its population live under one government unlike Africa. His implicit insistence on the existence of the neo-colonial states of Africa and predicating the industrialization of Africa on their voluntary co-operation is an exhibition of lack of understanding of the mechanism of neo-colonialism.
In paper No. 30 ‘Industrialization the Way Forward to Make Africa Relevant in the World Economic Architecture in the 21st Century’, H.E. Prince Adegboyega C. Ariyo says Africa needs to devise her own road map for her development. At page 201 he says that unless this is done the current situation whereby Africa’s chances of prosperity are determined by the North could be perpetuated. He holds that the ‘current globalising architecture that made many bankers and a few capitalists richer than the rest of us is not the way we should continue’. He observes that the exchanges between protagonists of capitalism and socialism, as respectively represented by Adam Smith and Karl Marx, do not inure to Africa’s benefit. He celebrates Cheikh Anta Diop’s investigation into ‘matters relating to the laws governing evolution and social change in African societies, the characteristics of African states and social structures and a peculiarly African mode of production.’(See page 200. Italics added)
His Excellency then declares that mode of production to be communalism when at page 201 he indicates that ‘We all grew from a communal background, where everybody was her/his brother’s keeper.’ That mode of production exhibits ‘our humane advancement as a people in all spheres of life’. He then urges us to return to it. ‘We must return to this.’ he declares. He laments that ‘The colonisation, exploitation, and despoliation of Africa derailed’ this humane development. It is in this spirit that he prescribes that ‘Africa needs a completely domesticated policy and measures to improve her living standards. We must own our developmental programmes and execute them. Africa must deploy participatory and supportive relationships in all its activities …’ To this end he makes this claim in behalf of African governments. We quote it from page 201 thus:
‘It is my belief that the desire and in fact the programme of all our Governments has been and is still essentially to raise the dignity of Africans to the exalted level they were before the adventure of the colonising forces, who destroyed our political, economic, social and cultural developmental processes and imposed their own developmental processes on us.’
Clearly, His Excellency stands on the grounds of African socialism – that theoretically and historically discredited comprador bourgeois ideological construct. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in his African Socialism Revisited and obliquely in Consciencism, distances Revolutionary Pan-Africanism from that construct; and places Pan-Africanism on the ideological premise of scientific socialism. Our immediate concern here, however, has to do with the absolutization of the co-operation, over the entire space of history, which the African communal system naturally breeds. In the neo-colonial situation, we have stated, co-operation flows as a matter of course more in the direction of foreign agencies rather than among Africans. And the resolution of this institutionally-structured dispositional anomaly resides not in pious proclamations about the African past but rather in confronting the reality of neo-colonialism instead of dodging the issue.
Nobody can sanely disagree with His Excellency when he defines ‘the industrialisation of Africa as a process for the movement of African resources to develop industries across Africa on a massive and integrated scale to support the living of Africans and support enhanced African dignity perpetually.’ See page 202. The problem is that he does not seem to appreciate the enormity of the African situation whereby ‘development strategies approved by our leaders with the consent of extra-Africa powers, who have turned round to frustrate the actualisation of their laudable objectives’ (page 204) under-perform as ‘African development blueprints’. This is because he does not see an ‘African economy’; he rather sees ‘African economies’. See page 207. That is why at page 205 he sees things being done ‘Between the 54 Governments in Africa’.
The import of this lapse in his consideration of the African reality is that it blinds him to the long established fact that the ‘extra-Africa powers’, whom he is afraid to call by their real names of capitalists, imperialists and neo-colonialists, operate on a continental basis whereas Africans deal with them in their pigeon-hole individual weak capacities. He then projects this into the sustenance of industrial undertakings ‘based on the economies and political decisions of the African Heads of States (sic)’. See page 205. For all this to be in place, he tells us at the bottom of that page that ‘It is assumed that we have resolved that we should trade amongst ourselves so that we can create and sustain jobs for our teaming (sic) population’. These knee-jerk reactions to the neo-colonial problem is occasioned by the fear of the ‘increasing dimension of the socio-economic and political convulsion that Africa may face if there is no remarkable paradigm shift towards meeting the social expectations of Africans as well as the requirements for improving their standard of living.’
The primary concern with the preservation of the African neo-colonial state is betrayed in the fact that after the elaboration of his Pan-African industrial strategy he calls not for a corresponding Pan-African industrialization ministry but for the ‘Establishment of a ministry in charge of industrialisation in all African countries’ together with the ‘Establishment of an overarching African department that will be responsible to AU Summit for the implementation of the African industrialisation strategy that this body may wish to recommend.’ This subordination of the ‘overarching African department’ to ministries in the 54 African countries amounts to an explicit reluctance to subordinate these ministries to a true continental ministerial organ whose directives the ministries must carry out as a matter of course. In a truly integrated Africa such ministries are only departments of the continental ministry for industrialization. They do not receive recommendations but directives that they have been part of the decision-making processes leading to their formulation.
We are talking about the People’s Republican State of Africa as projected in the orientation of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
The problem of the Sudan finds expression within the context of the Land Question in Africa. It is better appreciated within the context of historical movements across the entire length and breath of Africa. Among the Ga in Ghana it finds expression in spirited declarations like ‘Ga lands belong to the Ga’. That is in reaction to what is considered to be the persistence of Ashanti feudal ambitions to takeover Ga lands through means other than wars of conquest. The subtle neglect and abandonment of the teaching of Ga in schools in Accra in favour of Asante Twi sets in motion the formation of ethnic-based associations to redress the situation. In Zaya Yeebo’s short novel The Prince we find businessmen from the Ashanti Region being resisted through the initiative of the peasantry in Northern Ghana whose struggle ends in a local Prince assuming its leadership. The Prince gives us an illustration of the play of class and ethnicity in the Land Question in Africa. The problem is widespread.
In addressing ourselves to the Land Question in North Africa, we are inclined to observe the Berber to have been indigenes therein for as long as recorded history can tell. Being marked by the variety of their skin colour, ranging from black through brown to white, the Berber have been systematically displaced to the West of North Africa. Their numbers diminish increasingly as one moves from the West to the East. Not only have they lost land to a wave of Arab arrivals from the East but also their languages and dialects play a secondary role in favour of Arabic just as their religions succumb to Islam. In their history one observes trends similar to the Guan8 in Ghana and the Khoisan9 in South Africa. These latter respectively have lived where they live today before the arrival of those whose languages they speak and whose cultures they have incorporated to the disadvantage of their own languages and cultures. The question of displacements has been a perennial phenomenon in Africa.
The papers in the book on Black Africans’ interactions with Arab Africans exhibit the same trajectory of indigenes losing lands to the newly arrived and being culturally and linguistically absorbed. What appears to be an Arab African conspiracy to continually displace Black Africans from their lands and acculturating them is in fact found among Black Africans themselves. The Asante movement to the south of Ghana, their non-statutory insistence that other Ghanaians speak not just Twi but Asante Twi in particular, their disdain for and reluctance to learn to speak other languages, their metaphoric threats to seize the sea from the Ga and wearing of certain airs of superiority and arrogance in their references to and relationship with other ethnic groups are realities that must be continentally confronted through deliberate policy. To single out Arab Africans for that despicable disposition and call for their ostracism from the continent are just the traits of the ostrich.
And can Africa, in its balkanized state, resolve such secondary contradictions vis-á-vis the fundamental exploitation of the land and resources of Africa by powers that do not even need to establish their physical presence on the continent? Just as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah addresses the Ashanti/Brong Ahafo problem and establishes the peace in Ghana to date so also can similar problems be resolved over the entire stretch of the African continent under a single state authority. The desideratum is the will to emerge from the pigeon-hole of the petty African neo-colonial states through their dismemberment and dissolution into the socialist People’s Republican State of Africa.
Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism sustains nothing new. That book is a showcase of the well-known and well-trodden path of opposition to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Revolutionary Pan-African idea of placing priority on the political liberation and unification of Africa as the condition for the economic, social and cultural emancipation of the African and not the other way round. It is not a homogeneous platform. All the same it is united in its choice of non-political means of initiating the liberation and unification of Africa for the emancipation of the African wherever they might be. It is the platform of the African comprador bourgeoisie who make of the neo-colonial states their immediate economic base of survival and are therefore not willing to see them dissolved into that single continental State which alone constitutes Africa’s prime guarantee for the restoration of her dignity in the comity of the world’s peoples.
Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism is better expressed as Sustaining the Wave of Resistance to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. That platform singles out Dr. Kwame Nkrumah from the host of founders of the OAU as the most adamant in the quest for African Unity. In the pages of the book, Dr. Sam Nujoma gives a list of African leaders who ‘kept the spirit of Pan-Africanism alive on the African continent’. He goes on, however, to state emphatically that ‘Among these prominent Pan-Africanists, we should single out Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who was a true Pan-Africanist and had a deeply rooted commitment to the unity of Africa. Dr. Nkrumah truly believed in the total liberation of the African continent.’ Prof. Mburumba Kerina states at page 27 that ‘Dr. Nkrumah planted the Pan-African tree on the African Continent’.
At page 34, Dr. Zed Ngavirue states that ‘… it is fair to argue that the independence of Ghana and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in convening the first All-African People’s Conference in 1958 turned Pan-Africanism into a practical instrument for both the liberation of Africa and plans towards unification’. Paul Helmuth acknowledges at page 36 that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah ‘was the most active’. We also hear even the Sankofa quantity, Bankie F. Bankie, concede that ‘The name Nkrumah is synonymous with the statement “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent”’ at page 226. In spite of all these acknowledgements and affirmations, the Workshop and its book do not have a single paper that tells us what Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Revolutionary Pan-Africanism stand for.
They simply ignore him and his stance – possibly in their frantic efforts to write his ideas out of history. The classic example of this exercise in historical and political ostracism is paper No. 28 presented by Paul Tuhafeni Shipale and captioned ‘Reclaiming the Values and Institutions of Africa’s Heritage’. It spots not a single reference to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in its array of Pan-Africanists among whom Shipale includes the Chief Priest of Sankofa, Prof. Kwesi Prah, whom he describes as ‘one of my favourites’.
Outside the premises of the book, Dr. Julius K. Nyerere says that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah ‘was impatient because he saw the stupidity of the others’10; that is, the other Heads of State. In fact, that stupidity is now overwhelming. It is only important that the youth of Africa, as the target of the Workshop and the book, see it for what it is. Yes, only then will the resistance be crushed or ignored as Africa forges on in the Spirit of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
But one needs to understand a thing before one decides to deal with it. That is why every African needs to have a copy of the book under review to know the dimensions of the stupidity that Mwalimu Dr. Julius Nyerere reports Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to have seen in African leaders of his generation; and even the current ones, reluctantly retired or still at post11. Else they might themselves be grabbed by that spirit of stupidity to Africa’s distaste.
3. “In what way can Ghana make its own specific contribution to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and culture of Africa through past history and contemporary problems? … Your work must also include a study of the origins and cultures of peoples of African descent in the Americas and the Caribbean, and you should seek to maintain close relations with their scholars so that there may be cross fertilisation between Africa and those who have their roots in Africa’s past.” Kwame Nkrumah; October 25, 1962 on the occasion of the Opening of the Institute of African Studies http://ias.ug.edu.gh/
5. Find the full text at http://www.bartleby.com/114/100.html.
6. http://www.bartleby.com/114/9.html ‘… we must never forget that the economic system of the South to-day which has succeeded the old régime is not the same system as that of the old industrial North, of England, or of France, with their trades-unions, their restrictive laws, their written and unwritten commercial customs, and their long experience. It is, rather, a copy of that England of the early nineteenth century, before the factory acts,—the England that wrung pity from thinkers and fired the wrath of Carlyle. The rod of empire that passed from the hands of Southern gentlemen in 1865, partly by force, partly by their own petulance, has never returned to them. Rather it has passed to those men who have come to take charge of the industrial exploitation of the New South,—the sons of poor whites fired with a new thirst for wealth and power, thrifty and avaricious Yankees, shrewd and unscrupulous Jews. Into the hands of these men the Southern labourers, white and black, have fallen; and this to their sorrow. For the labourers as such there is in these new captains of industry neither love nor hate, neither sympathy nor romance; it is a cold question of dollars and dividends. Under such a system all labour is bound to suffer. Even the white labourers are not yet intelligent, thrifty, and well trained enough to maintain themselves against the powerful inroads of organized capital. The results among them, even, are long hours of toil, low wages, child labour, and lack of protection against usury and cheating. But among the black labourers all this is aggravated, first, by a race prejudice which varies from a doubt and distrust among the best element of whites to a frenzied hatred among the worst; and, secondly, it is aggravated, as I have said before, by the wretched economic heritage of the freedmen from slavery. With this training it is difficult for the freedman to learn to grasp the opportunities already opened to him, and the new opportunities are seldom given him, but go by favour to the whites.’ W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, chapter ix.
8. The Guan are believed to have begun to migrate from the Mossi region of modern Burkina around A.D. 1000. Moving gradually through the Volta valley in a southerly direction, they created settlements along the Black Volta, throughout the Afram Plains, in the Volta Gorge, and in the Akwapim Hills before moving farther south onto the coastal plains. Some scholars postulate that the wide distribution of the Guan suggests that they were the Neolithic population of the region. Later migrations by other groups such as the Akan, Ewe, and Ga-Adangbe into Guan-settled areas would then have led to the development of Guan-speaking enclaves along the Volta and within the coastal plains. The Guan have been heavily influenced by their neighbours. The Efutu, a subgroup of the Guan, for example, continue to speak Guan dialects, but have adopted (with modifications) the Fante version of some Akan institutions and the use of some Fante words in their rituals. As far as the other Guan subgroups are concerned, the Anum-Boso speak a local Ewe dialect, whereas the Larteh and Kyerepong have customs similar to Akwapim groups. Constituting about a quarter of the Guan, the Gonja to the north have also been influenced by other groups. The Gonja are ruled by members of a dynasty, probably Mande in origin. The area is peopled by a variety of groups, some of which do not speak Guan. The ruling dynasty, however, does speak Guan, as do substantial numbers of commoners. Although neither the rulers nor most of the commoners are Muslims, a group of Muslims accompanied the Mande invaders and have since occupied a special position as scribes and traders. The Gonja founded one of several northern kingdoms. In the eighteenth century, they, like their neighbours, were defeated by the expanding Asante Empire. Gonja became part of the British Northern Territories after the fall of Asante. Even though long-distance commerce led to the development of major markets, the Gonja continued to be subsistence farmers and migrant workers.
9. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were already present south of the Limpopo River (now the northern border with Botswana and Zimbabwe) by the fourth or fifth century CE. (See Bantu expansion.) They displaced, conquered and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoisan and San peoples. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa#Prehistoric.
10. In an interview with Bill Sutherland in Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer (eds.) Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan-African Insight on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation in Africa.
11. In his article ‘Reclaiming Africa’s Wind of Change’ in Pambazuka 2009-04-09, Issue 427, Chambi Chachage writes that:
‘As ‘the greatest crusader for African Unity’, generously notes Nyerere, Nkrumah ‘wanted the Accra summit of 1965 to establish a Union Government for the whole independent Africa’. But, he admits, they failed. ‘The one main reason’, Nyerere further notes, ‘is that Kwame, like all great believers, underestimated the degree of suspicion and animosity which his crusading passion had created among a substantial number of his fellow heads of states.’
The major reason, however, confesses Nyerere, is that already too many of them ‘had a vested interest in keeping Africa divided.’ He then echoes his 1960s prophetic warning on the necessity of establishing an ‘East African Federation’ prior to independence by reiterating why Nkrumah encountered such resistance.
Such opposition, affirms Nyerere, naturally happens because once ‘you multiply national anthems, national flags and national passports, seats at the United Nations, and individuals entitled to 21 guns salute, not to speak of a host of ministers, prime ministers, and envoys, you would have a whole army of powerful people with vested interests in keeping Africa balkanised.’
Appendix: Much Ado about a Name
A participant who recently attended an historical meeting desired to take up the question as to what the race should be called. Africans, Negroes, colored people, or what? This is a matter of much concern to him because he hopes thereby to solve the race problem. If others will agree to call Negroes Nordics, he thinks, he will reach the desired end by taking a short cut.
This may sound all but insane, but there are a good many “highly educated” Negroes who believe that such can be accomplished by this shift in terminology; and they have spent time and energy in trying to effect a change. Many of this class suffer mentally because of the frequent use of “offensive expressions” in addressing Negroes. When dealing with them, then, one has to be very careful. For this reason our friends in other races have to seek guidance in approaching us. For example, Lady Simon, the wife of Sir John Simon of the British Cabinet, has recently asked an American Negro what his people prefer to be called, and later in England she took up the same matter with another member of this race. Being an advocate of freedom, she has written considerably to advance its cause. She would not like to use in her works, then, an expression which may hurt some one’s feelings.
Although a student of social problems, this learned woman cannot fathom this peculiar psychology. Americans, too, must confess the difficulty of understanding it, unless it is that the “highly educated Negro mind” tends to concern itself with trifles rather than with the great problems of life. We have known Negroes to ask for a separate YMCA or YWCA., a separate church or a separate school, and then object to calling the institution colored or Negro. These segregationists have compromised on principle, but they are unwilling to acknowledge their crime against justice. The name, they believe, will save them from the disgrace.
It does not matter so much what the thing is called as what the thing is. The Negro would not cease to be what he is by calling him something else; but, if he will struggle and make something of himself and contribute to modern culture, the world will learn to look upon him as an American rather than as one of an undeveloped element of the population.
The word Negro or Black is used in referring to this particular element because most persons of native African descent approach this color. The term does not imply that every Negro is black; and the word white does not mean that every white man is actually white. Negroes may be colored, but many Caucasians are scientifically classified as colored. We are not all Africans, moreover, because many of us were not born in Africa; and we are not all Afro-Americans, because few of us are natives of Africa transplanted to America.
There is nothing to be gained by running away from the name. The names of practically all races and nations at times have connoted insignificance and low social status. Angles and Saxons, once the slaves of Romans, experienced this; and even the name of the Greek for a while meant no more than this to these conquerors of the world. The people who bore these names, however, have made them grand and illustrious. The Negro must learn to do the same.
It is strange, too, that while the Negro feels ashamed of his name, persons abroad do not usually think of it in this sense. One does find in Europe a number of West Indian and American Negroes of some Caucasian blood, who do not want to be known as Negroes. As a rule, however, a European of African Negro blood feels proud of this racial heritage and delights to be referred to as such. The writer saw a striking case of this in London in the granddaughter of a Zulu chief. She is so far removed from the African type that one could easily mistake her for a Spaniard; and yet she thinks only for her African connection and gets her inspiration mainly from the story of her people beyond the Pillars of Hercules.
The writer was agreeably surprised a few days later, too, when he met a prominent Parisian with the same attitude. He has produced several volumes in which he champions the cause of the Negro because he has in his veins the same blood. A well-to-do European woman, the daughter of a Dutchman and an African mother, is similarly enthusiastic over her Negro blood. The first thing she mentioned in conversing with the writer was that Black mother. This young woman expressed the regret that she did not have more of that color that she, too, might say, as do members of certain groups of Africa: “I am Black and comely. I am Black and beautiful. I am beautifully Black.”
These people surprise you when you think of the attitude of many American Negroes on this question. These race-conscious people can think, but it is seldom that the American Negro indulges in such an exercise. He has permitted other people to determine for him the attitude that he has toward his own people. This means the enslavement of his mind and eventually the enslavement of his body.
Some Europeans rather regard the word Negro as romantic. Going now along the streets of Paris, one will see advertised such places as “l’Elan Noir,” and the “Café au Nègre de Toulouse.” In one of these cases the writer was especially attracted by the “Choppe du Nègre” end took dinner there one day. The cuisine was excellent, the music rendered by the orchestra was charming, and a jolly crowd came to enjoy themselves. However, he was the only “Nègre” there.
Walking along a street in Geneva not long ago, the writer’s attention was attracted to something of the sort, which is still more significant. It was a wholesale coffee house called “A La Case de l’Oncle Tom.” He entered and asked: “Why did you give this store such a name?” The proprietress laughed and explained that her grandfather, François Prudhom, who had read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and had been deeply impressed thereby, selected this name for the store when he established it in 1866.
Extracted from Carter Godwin Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro, 1933 p. 90 – 92.
Book Title: Sustaining the New Wave of Pan-Africanism
Published 2011 by the National Youth Council of Namibia and the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek
P O Box 60 956
Edited by Bankie F. Bankie and Viola C. Zimunya
Printed by the Polytechnic Press at the Polytechnic of Namibia
Reviewed by: Lang T.K.A. Nubuor
On Hon. Samia Nkrumah and the African Revolution
RESPONDING TO ABDURRAHMAN NELSON ON THE CONCEPTS AND CURRENT NATURE OF PAN-AFRICANISM
… the Guinean Revolution, as an expression of scientific truth, adheres without reservations to historical and dialectical materialism, which is the social science the content of which has benefited from the contribution of all Peoples struggling for freedom, dignity and historical progress. This social science will continue to be enriched by the fruits of the People’s struggles and to constantly develop the impersonal values founding it in the reality of the struggle as well between the antagonistic classes, as between good and evil in the religious field.
As for philosophical materialism, the Guinean Revolution has not adopted it, and it is not bound to do so, for the philosophy of Islam to which the Guinean People have profoundly adhered asserts the existence of God.
Sékou Touré, Revolution and Religion, Enhancing the People’s Power
On the occasion of the 16th Annual Conference of the International Society for African Philosophy, held at the University of Ghana, Legon, under the theme On Culture and Justice in the Contemporary World, Hon. Samia Nkrumah presents a perspective on ‘Culture and Social Development’ on March 17, 2010. Explaining as one of her grounds for accepting the invitation to address the Conference she refers to ‘the respect I have for your profession and my deep belief that every society must place great value on critical reflection and constant engagement with the search for meaning and the validation of existence’. She humbly submits that she is ‘neither a philosopher nor an academic’ and then states her understanding of philosophy as that which ‘allows us to pose abstract questions the answers to which we hope will help us clarify our reality’.
As a politician but a non-philosopher, she impresses with the great value she says that she places on ‘critical reflection and constant engagement with the search for meaning and the validation of existence’. It was in the spirit of such critical reflection and constant engagement that we paid a visit to her website www.samiankrumah.org and downloaded speeches she had delivered in countries like Ethiopia, the United Kingdom and Italy. Her audiences appear always to be those interested in issues of intellectual import. Her speeches are quite replete with definitions and near-definitions; not the kind of speeches that could normally be directed at a non-intellectual audience. In other words, the speeches at her website are not directed at non-intellectual audiences. That is why her stated placement of great value on reflection and engagement is not accidental.
It is, however, instructive to observe that she insists that whatever is expressed at such high levels of intellectuality should be expressed to the understanding of even children. She celebrates this with a poem manufactured in the crucible of the Mozambican anti-imperialist struggles, though she is cautious to alert us on the differences between the current environment and that environment from which Jorge Rebelo’s poem flows thus:
Forge simple words
which even the children can understand
words which will enter every house
like the wind
and fall like red hot embers
on our people’s souls.
In contrast with Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s attitude towards critical reflections and constant engagements the self-proclaimed creator of Nkrumahism-Toureism, Sheik the Originator Abdurrahman Nelson, tells us that ‘the last thing we need is side issues of abstract philosophy not really all that relevant to Pan-Africanism and definitely not relevant to Nkrumahism. Too much debate sooner or later becomes nothing but a distraction and a diversion from Pan-Africanism’. He says, nevertheless, that although some people who know him have been trying for decades to get him into such debates and he has implicitly not engaged them he is grateful for the opportunity provided by the Shivji-Prah Debate to deal with the issues to hopefully put it all to rest – or to quote from him directly, ‘to set all of this aside forever, I hope’.
We welcome Sheik the Originator to the Debate and assure him that in the spirit of critical reflection and constant engagement with what he describes as the ‘theory’ and ‘ideology’ of Nkrumahism-Toureism we are grateful to him for connecting us with the link to Sékou Touré’s Revolution and Religion. His information that he is ‘the originator of Nkrumahism-Toureism’ and that he ‘created that theory after many years of hard work and study’ as well as that ‘one of the main documents (he) used is the one called Revolution and Religion by Sékou Touré’ is well received. The latter and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Consciencism form the basis of our engagement with his theory. In our critical reflection on that theory our simple mission is to explore the affinity of his theoretical claims with the positions of that ‘document’, which he claims to be one of the main sources of the theory, as well as with those of Consciencism.
While thus engaged, we endeavour to show that the essence of his theoretical and organizational projections for Pan-Africanism is not in conflict with Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s projections but that both sets of projections are outdated as tools for the prosecution of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s evergreen theoretical and organizational programme for a liberated, united and socialist Africa. In fact, they stand in a grand contradiction of that programme. In this respect, we intend to show that the anti-Marxist manifestations of Sheik the Originator’s theory of Nkrumahism-Toureism contradict the essential Marxist basis of the thought of both Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré. We shall then point out that Samian political practice, which has no potential for African Revolution and contradicts Nkrumaism, rather than projecting her as the Leader of the African Revolution creates great obstacles in her way of so being and sets her up as the next great obstacle and negation of that Revolution.
Hence, this endeavour, to borrow from Hon. Samia Nkrumah, is intended to ‘help us clarify our reality’ with respect to Pan-Africanism in our days and is, therefore, not ‘abstract philosophy (that is) not really all that relevant to Pan-Africanism and definitely not relevant to Nkrumahism’, as Sheik the Originator puts it. And, in spite of its deem outlook on Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s current ideological and organizational bent as well as financial connections, it projects the possibility of her advance to essential Nkrumaism if she could study Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s works more seriously rather than just telling us how she ‘recently skimmed through the autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah that ends in 1957 with Ghana’s independence thinking of what can we learn from that period in our history’. To skim through something is ‘to move quickly over the surface’ of it. Certainly, Dr. Nkrumah’s books deserve a more serious treatment. Why the hurry? As we shall see presently that skimming proves disastrous.
The analysis here is based on contributions by Sheik the Originator which we attach here as Appendix I and Appendix II. We also rely on materials from the website of Hon. Samia Nkrumah, www.samiankrumah.org, and reports as well as articles on her in the pages of Ghanaweb.com. As already indicated, we also use Sékou Touré’s Revolution and Religion and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Consciencism as source materials. Other materials include letters by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as compiled by June Milne in Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years. A reference or so is also made to Dr. Nkrumah’s book, Africa Must Unite. Michael Moore’s Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? – A Proposal is reproduced as Appendix III. It could be observed that we focus on primary sources in the main for our endeavour. Have a good read in the spirit of working for the materialization of the vision and dreams of our Revolutionary Pan-African fathers – a liberated, united and socialist Africa where words ‘fall like red hot embers on our people’s souls’. Amandla! Ngawethu!
ABDURRAHMAN’S THEORY OF NKRUMAHISM-TOUREISM
According to Sheik Abdul Rahman T.L. Nelson, a.k.a. Abdurrahman Nelson, affectionately christened in this paper as Sheik the Originator of Nkrumahism-Toureism on the basis of his own claims, ‘everything of much value to Nkrumahists is clarified and resolved in Nkrumahism’. This is why he urges the ‘need to learn to READ Nkrumah and not so much of everything, except Nkrumah’. In spite of this urge on us for a virtual exclusive reading of Nkrumah, he says that ‘we also need to READ Sékou Touré’. In fact, he urges that with the help of Google Translate we also need to read so much of Sékou Touré as his ‘work needs to be translated into Arabic, English, and Portuguese, all of the languages of the African Union’. Ostensibly, therefore, the works of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré are the basis of Nkrumahism-Toureism. See Appendix I.
A close reading of Sheik the Originator, however, uncovers an Islamic basis as well. He explains some of his positions ‘as a Muslim’ – for example, his positions on mankind’s relationship with God, slavery and the concept of a mass party are made on the authority of the Koran. He also asserts that both Dr. Nkrumah and Sékou Touré share in those perspectives. It is in Appendix II that he goes explicit on this issue as he calls our attention to his reference ‘repeatedly to the Islamic principles and values inherent in Nkrumahism-Toureism’. That Christianity does not feature in his theory is made explicitly clear in his potential axiom that ‘I respect Christianity and non-Believers although I do not agree with them’. He is nonetheless sure of the unacceptability of this additional dimension of the basis of his theory or ideology regarding his Islamic interpretation of certain issues as he says in Appendix I that ‘I know most of us here will stubbornly refuse to accept this reality’.
With this establishment of the basis of Nkrumahism-Toureism, Sheik the Originator goes on to distance it from Marxism-Leninism or Marxism which he uses interchangeably. In Appendix II, he excludes Marxists as ‘those bran dead from Marxist dogmatism’ from those who ‘must respect Africans from all beliefs (sic) systems’. By way of the concept of “vanguard of the revolution”, which he equates with ‘elitism’, he also distances Marxism from the concept of a “mass movement” or “mass party”. He again distances the “concept of the class struggle”, as it manifests during the 5th Pan-African Congress, from any Marxist rendition of it. Thus, when he refers to ‘class issues’ he intends no Marxist conception of it. He does not confuse ‘socialism’ with ‘Marxism-Leninism’ as he would have nothing of the latter. And, most of all he equates Marxism with atheism. You see, this time he talks of those who ‘are atheists brain-dead from Marxist dogmatism’. From bran dead to the brain-dead.
Having identified the content of Sheik the Originator’s Nkrumahism-Toureism, let us see how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré themselves conceive ‘class struggle’, ‘class’, ‘vanguard of the revolution’, ‘mass movement’, ‘mass party’, ‘revolution’ and ‘religion’ in relation to Marxist philosophy. Beginning with Marxist philosophy, the quotation that heads this paper from Sékou Touré states the adherence of ‘the Guinean Revolution … without reservations to historical and dialectical materialism’ and describes the latter as having benefitted ‘from the contribution of all Peoples struggling for freedom, dignity and historical progress’. Historical and dialectical materialism is actually the philosophical bedrock of Marxism rendered therein as historical materialism and dialectical materialism. It forms the basis from which Sékou Touré derives all other concepts. Let us consider his conception of dialectical materialism.
He holds that dialectical materialism perceives a single universe in which all things are related to each other in a connexion governed by laws. Each object (thing) is in a motion prompted by its contradictory constitution whereby opposites co-exist within it. The interactions of these opposites generate the motion. This motion is in the form of changes that lead to the development of the object. Such a development ensures that the object does not remain what it is forever. In Sékou Touré’s own words in Revolution and Religion he outlines dialectical materialism thus:
- Dialectical materialism invites man to have a global and unitary perception of the universe and all that lives therein, to understand the relations between all things; it holds that nothing is isolated, all things are interrelated. It explains the laws of reciprocal action and of universal connexion.
- Materialist dialectics asserts that in the universe, everything changes as a result of universal change and incessant development, that all that is real is in motion, and that nothing in itself and for itself, has come to stay once and for all.
- It explains the relation existing between the quantitative and qualitative changes enabling man to understand how the quality and properties of things change.
- It asserts that in every organic unit, there is contradiction and that within every being, a thing and its opposite co-exist.
In terms of a human society this means, according to Sékou Touré, that society is made up of classes that represent antagonistic interests involved in a permanent struggle – class struggle. This opposition of interests, he says, occurs ‘in the process of production, distribution and utilisation of the goods created by men’. For anybody who has not restricted himself to an exclusivist study of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Sékou Touré and the Koran it is not difficult to see that these are the elements elaborated by Marx and Engels, the founders of Marxism, in their historical materialism. If you exercise self-imposed ignorance of others’ knowledge you can miss this point. Unfortunately, it is exactly this disease that afflicts Sheik the Originator.
And his position becomes worse when we consider Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in this philosophical equation. In the Introduction to Consciencism, Dr. Nkrumah does not only place a quotation from Friedrich Engels’ letter on historical materialism on the very head of that Introduction but tells us as well at chapter one that for him as a ‘colonial student (in America) it was especially impossible to read the works of Marx and Engels as desiccated abstract philosophies having no bearing on our colonial situation’ – just the very opposite of what our darling Sheik the Originator urges us to do. To put the nail on the former’s self-inflicted ignorance, Dr. Nkrumah adds that ‘During my stay in America the conviction was firmly created in me that a great deal in their thought could assist us in the fight against colonialism’. And, no doubt, their thought influenced him a great deal.
In that influence, he emerges as a dialectical and historical materialist who becomes the first philosophical materialist in the history of world materialist philosophy to give a materialist explanation for the existence of God and to prove all idealist explanations of the same phenomenon as severely flawed. This is dilated on in this author’s The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism. And, like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Sékou Touré advocates the demystification of religion. In particular, the latter says in Revolution and Religion that the Revolution or the State ‘denounces … the practices of mystification inherent in men of all races, all religions or those without religion’. And he does not subordinate the Revolution to Religion but vice versa and thus does not choose any particular religion as a theoretical or an ideological basis but rather equally includes all religions in the process of social change. Hence, he says that:
‘The Muslim and the Christian both have room inside the Guinean Revolution, and they will be judged by that Revolution only on the basis of their faithfulness or unfaithfulness to the options of the People and the objectives democratically assigned by the revolutionary movement.’
The objective implication here is that it is not religion that judges the Revolution or regulates the State but rather the Revolution or the State that regulates religion. Similarly, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserts the secular rather than the religious nature of the State when he says in Consciencism that ‘It is essential to emphasize in the historical condition of Africa that the state must be secular’. To make a particular religion the basis or part of the basis for the definition or statement of a theory or an ideology is not only alien to the thought system of Dr Nkrumah and Sékou Touré but also a betrayal of a fundamentalist cast of mind. Not even an affected liberal fundamentalism, as displayed in the full reproduction of a Papal statement, is admitted by these founding fathers into their theoretical and ideological systems. Nkrumahism-Toureism, as being propagated by the Sheik, is a backward and fifth columnist incursion into the philosophical basis of Pan-Africanism.
It is instructive to note that every concept employed in Marxist lexicon is similarly employed in the thought systems of both Dr. Nkrumah and Sékou Touré: class, classes, class struggle, production relations, productive forces, mode of production, bourgeois, bourgeoisie, proletariat, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, etc. Similarly, ‘revolution’, ‘mass movement’ and ‘mass party’ feature in their thought systems without disparity in their conceptuality. What disparity could be found is to be uncovered between Dr. Nkrumah’s and Marxism’s specialized differentiation between ‘mass movement’ and ‘mass party’ and Sheik the Originator’s indiscriminate and interchangeable use of those concepts. So that, with Sheik, a mass movement can exist as a political party. Likewise, the technical definition that Dr. Nkrumah and Marxism place on “revolution” is lost in the pedestrian and fluid use that the Originator puts the term to.
First, let us look at “revolution”. The Marxist concept of revolution involves a fundamental change in the mode of production. This means that the forces of production, like the means of production and technology, have advanced at a particular stage in a particular society to such a level that a change in how men relate to each other (production relations) has become inevitable and is effected. This Marxist concept classifies these changes in the production relations into non-class and class societies and categories of class societies, depending, in the latter instance, on the nature of the dominant class. Thus, with the Marxist concept, the change in the position of the dominant class upon the ascendancy of a new dominant class is used as the criterion in determining the occurrence of a revolution; although the change from a non-class to a class society is also considered a revolution. For this concept, a reform is a change within a particular society without a change in the position of the dominant class.
Taking the Marxist concept with its bifurcated criterion for determining the occurrence of revolution as his starting point in Consciencism, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah develops a concept of revolution that considers a change to be a revolution only when a non-class society transforms into a class society and when a class society transforms into a non-class society. Where a class society transforms into another class society he sees a reform only; just as when a non-class society transforms into another non-class society he sees reform only. Thus, for him, it is not the change in the position of a dominant class in favour of a new one that determines a revolutionary occurrence; it is rather determined by the fundamental principles animating the change – whether the new dominant fundamental principles uphold the exploitation of man by man or humanist egalitarianism whereby the exploitation of man by man is abolished as a social anathema. This is how he puts it at pp 71-74:
‘This is the cardinal factor in exploitation that the section of a society whose labours transform nature is not the same as the section which is better fulfilled as a result of transformation.
In every non-socialist society, there can be found two strata which correspond to that of the oppressor and the oppressed, exploiter and the exploited. In all such societies, the essential relation between the two strata is the same as that between masters and slaves, lords and serfs. In capitalism, which is only a social-political theory in which the important aspects of slavery and feudalism are refined, a stratified society is required for its proper functioning, a society is required in which the working class is oppressed by the ruling class; for, under capitalism, that portion of society whose labours transform nature and produce goods is not the portion of society which enjoys the fruits of this transformation and productivity. Nor is it the whole of society which is so enhanced.
This might indeed be termed a contradiction. It is a social contradiction in so far as it is contrary to genuine principles of social equity and social justice. It is also an economic contradiction in so far as it is contrary to a harmonious and unlimited economic development.
Capitalism is a development by refinement from feudalism, just as feudalism is a development by refinement from slavery. The essence of reform is to combine a continuity of fundamental principle, with a tactical change in the manner of expression of the fundamental principle. Reform is not a change in the thought, but one in its manner of expression, not a change in what is said but one in idiom. In capitalism, feudalism suffers, or rather enjoys reform, and the fundamental principle of feudalism merely strikes new levels of subtlety. In slavery, it is thought that exploitation, the alienation of the fruits of the labour of others, requires a certain degree of political and forcible subjection. In feudalism, it is thought that a lesser degree of the same kind of subjection is adequate to the same purpose. In capitalism, it is thought that a still lesser degree is adequate. In this way, psychological irritants to revolution are appeased, and exploitation finds a new lease of life, until the people should discover the opposition between reform and revolution.
… Whereas capitalism is a development by refinement from slavery and feudalism, socialism does not contain the fundamental ingredient of capitalism, the principle of exploitation. Socialism stands for the negation of that very principle wherein capitalism has its being, lives and thrives, that principle which links capitalism with slavery and feudalism.
… These considerations throw great light on the bearing of revolution and reform on socialism. The passage from the ancestral line of slavery via feudalism and capitalism to socialism can only lie through revolution: it cannot lie through reform. For in reform, fundamental principles are held constant and the details of their expression modified. In the words of Marx, it leaves the pillars of the building intact. Indeed, sometimes, reform itself may be initiated by the necessities of preserving identical fundamental principles. Reform is a tactic of self-preservation.
Revolution is thus an indispensable avenue to socialism, where the antecedent social-political structure is animated by principles which are a negation of those of socialism, as in a capitalist structure (and therefore also in a colonialist structure, for a colonial structure is essentially ancillary to capitalism).
But because the spirit of communalism still exists to some extent in societies with a communalist past, socialism and communism are not in the strict sense of the word “revolutionary” creeds. They may be described as restatements in contemporary idiom of the principles underlying communalism. On the other hand, in societies with no history of communalism, the creeds of socialism and communism are fully revolutionary, and the passage to socialism must be guided by the principles of scientific socialism.’
Marxism and Consciencism are agreed on the exploitative nature of class society. The criterion for the determination of a revolution in Marxism finds fulfilment or, if you like, refinement in Consciencism. This is why it goes without contradiction for Consciencism to state the Marxist principles of scientific socialism as the guiding principles of the passage to socialism; thus, marking the socialism pursued throughout the life of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, even at the 5th Pan-African Congress, as scientific socialism. Hence, within the context of Marxist-Nkrumaist ideology the African Revolution is a sham until and unless it is guided by the principles of scientific socialism to propel us into a non-exploitative society. Sheik the Originator’s Nkrumahist-Toureist theory, which he also calls an ideology, is bereft of these elements and opposed to them. It is on the basis of this understanding that we evaluate his Nkrumahist-Toureist assertion that the CPP’s ‘new leadership is definitely a Revolutionary one’. Before then let us consider the issue of ‘mass movement’ and ‘mass party’.
At p. 74 of Consciencism, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah contends that
‘The basis of a socialist revolution is created when the class struggle within a given society has resulted in mass consent and mass desire for positive action to change or transform that society. It is then that the foundation is laid for the highest form of political action – when a revolution attains its excellence, and workers and peasants succeed in overthrowing all other classes.’
Mass consent and mass desire are seen here as the foundation for a revolution. It is upon this foundation that a mass movement is set in motion by way of spontaneous mass action. This mass movement represents the second level of action and also represents the first block on the foundation. At this stage, its leadership is uncertain so far as ideological orientation is concerned. That is the moment when it can be hijacked by a conservative force to lead it into a reform movement or led by a radical force into a revolutionary movement. The force that leads it is called a mass party. A mass movement is therefore not the mass party.
The history of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), led then by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, illustrates these differences. Before his return to Africa, a mass consent and desire against colonial oppression had emerged in the then Gold Coast (Ghana). Various sections of the people urged their immediate or local leaders to enlist the support of the local intelligentsia in the expression of their grievances. The said intelligentsia connected with other intelligentsia to form a political party for the purpose. That party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), however, failed to connect with the mass of the people and remained an elite party. Meanwhile, spontaneous mass actions in various parts of the country were being taken by the people against colonial exploitation. The pressures on the UGCC were mounted. The leaders then invited Dr. Nkrumah to help connect with the masses. Upon his arrival he transformed the spontaneous movement into an organized movement under the leadership of the UGCC. The procrastinations of the leadership impelled mass pressures on Dr. Nkrumah to resign from the UGCC to form the CPP. It was not all who supported the CPP who were its members though it was open to everybody. In other words, the CPP became a mass party.
In this respect, when Sheik the Originator talks of what the imperialist media calls the Arab Spring (Kwesi Pratt jokingly calls it the Arab Winter) and calls it a mass movement he stands in accord with the Nkrumaist understanding of the concept. But when he says that ‘the mass movement until has been limited to Africa in the form of such parties as the Pan-Africanist Youth Congress’, he erroneously conflates the mass movement with the mass party. This is why when he asks, ‘what is meant by a mass movement or a mass political party?’ and says that the ‘CPPNA is the only mass organization in America’ even without the identification of a mass movement we understand that he equates a mass movement with a mass party or organization. The practical difficulties that such a conflation and misconceptualization creates for organizational work are symbolized in his statement that ‘Only yesterday, we had to engage in some rather nasty in-fighting to make this point clear in CPP’. The Nkrumahist-Toureist point there is not only ‘unnkrumaist’ but also quite retrogressive. It has nothing to do with Dr. Nkrumah’s thought and historical practice. And it becomes all the more serious when he seriously believes in creating a mass party on the internet website http://www.cppna.org!
It is timely at this stage to also look at the Occupy the Wall Street phenomenon which has gone beyond the mere expression of mass consent and mass desire by millions of the American people for a change in the social equation where only one percent (1%) of the population owns the greatest proportion of collectively-created wealth. Guy Mmoasem’s circulation, that is, Michael Moore’s Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? – A Proposal, clearly illustrates the stages that Occupy Wall Street is going through. It is clear that Occupy Wall Street is at the stage of a spontaneous movement. Michael Moore and a few others, just over 40 activists out of the millions, are now making efforts at meetings to give the spontaneous movement an organized direction. If successful, the meeting activists will develop into a political party with the support of the movement. That party will then be a mass party whose word the support base will trust. Michael Moore’s beautiful proposals are attached here, as said, as Appendix III. A study of it confirms the difference between a mass movement and a mass party.
When Sheik the Originator says that ‘It is clear that some of us have no idea whatsoever what is meant by the masses of Africans everywhere’ he is possibly including himself. Let us wish him well. We can here only offer this little advice to him: to develop Nkrumahism-Toureism to the standards of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré he needs to spend quality time in a critical study of their works and others’ works and the mass movements developing under his nose and that developed in years past; he needs a little bit of intellectual patience.
ABDURRAHMAN NELSON DECLARES HON. SAMIA NKRUMAH THE LEADER OF THE AFRICAN REVOLUTION
Sources close to the CPP leadership confirm this striking feature found in the worldwide speeches of Honourable Christina Samia Yaba Nkrumah– the avoidance of central concepts in the thought and practice of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Foremost among those concepts are ‘revolution’, ‘socialism’, ‘scientific socialism’, ‘class’, ‘class struggle’, ‘capitalism’, ‘bourgeois’, ‘bourgeoisie’, ‘proletarian’, ‘proletariat’, ‘working class’, ‘peasants’, ‘peasantry’ and ‘reactionary’. The nearest she comes to ‘socialism’ is when she says at Legon on March 17, 2010 that ‘In Kwame Nkrumah’s Consciencism, he refers to our communalistic values and how that inspired him to gravitate towards socialist-oriented policies in the African context’. The reader is assured that as at the time of her latest speech during the launching of the Italian version of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s book, Africa Must Unite, her favourite, Hon. Samia Nkrumah has still not used any of these concepts in any speech, including her latest. One observes this tendency, to some extent, in Sheik the Originator.
But how does this matter since Sékou Touré has explained that ‘That the expression: class struggle and struggle between good and evil had not been formulated in the same terms, with the same concepts, does not change in any way their basic significance, the truths they involve and which men will have to defend in the search for collective and individual happiness’? This means to us that it is not the use of particular words or expressions that is crucial in the pursuit of happiness for all but the pursuit itself is what matters. This pursuit must be seen, however, as being made. In this respect, we must expect the use of alternative words and terms that reflect the pursuit. That is why it is instructive to observe that Hon. Samia Nkrumah frequently uses terms like ‘liberation’, ‘exploitation’, ‘unity’, ‘slavery’ and ‘Pan-Africanism’ which are reflective of the nationalist drive to liberate Africans from exploitation and slavery for a united Africa. In her extempore speeches and interviews, the preoccupation with this nationalist pursuit is crystal clear.
It is this nationalist spirit that informs her reading and choice of books. That is why when she chooses to read Ghana: Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, she focuses on the strategies and tactics used during the nationalist struggles. It is on the basis of the lessons of that period that she develops her organizational strategy. Listen to her as she says in a speech in Italy in 2007:
‘I recently skimmed through the autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah that ends in 1957 with Ghana’s independence thinking of what can we learn from that period in our history. And a few things struck me. One, the freedom struggle was broadened and internationalized. Second, constitutional means and elections were used. Third, freedom was only the first step towards socio-economic and cultural emancipation.’
Talking about the ‘second’, she is treading the path of constitutional means and elections used in the colonial struggles of the 1950s and she has actually won an election that makes her the current Member of Parliament for the Jomoro Constituency in Ghana.
In that same speech, she explains her choice of strategy. Ghana’s attainment of independence, she says, was ‘negotiated through constitutional means’ consequent upon non-violent protests. Today, she sees a ‘democratic space in Africa’ developing in favour of effecting change through elections. But, however, she envisages genuine or real democracy that goes beyond elections as ‘the objective’. She then tells us what she means by ‘real democracy’ by way of enumerating its components as ‘civil rights, gender equality, the right to organize, press freedom, education’. As an example of a concrete realization or the nature of such rights she celebrates the appointment of a female Chief Justice for the inherited colonial judicial system in these terms: ‘Only this month, Ghana’s first female Chief Justice was appointed and the Domestic Violence law was passed’. Three years after this, as a Parliamentarian, she states firmly during her speech at Legon that some people like her ‘believe that in this phase of our struggle our efforts should go into achieving economic and cultural emancipation.’
This latter appears to be pregnant with the suggestion that the idea of freedom being ‘only the first step towards socio-economic and cultural emancipation’ has been achieved and now the focus is on economic and cultural emancipation. (Remember Dr. Sam Nujoma’s similar assertion in our book review?) Such an interpretation stands a good chance of being successfully contested when confronted with another statement. In that statement from the same Legon speech she says that:
‘In Kwame Nkrumah’s Consciencism, he refers to our communalistic values and how that (sic) inspired him to gravitate towards socialist-oriented policies in the African context. Without going into details of his political thought, it is significant that one of the greatest leaders of independence and decolonisation in Africa freely admitted that he was drawing on his Africanness to inspire him and point out his political direction to realize our socio-economic and cultural emancipation.’
The exact statement in Consciencism says at page 69 that ‘This idea of the original value of man imposes duties of a socialist kind upon us. Herein lays the theoretical basis of African communalism’. The interpretation rendered of this statement and the immediately preceding paragraph in the book draws inspiration from and expresses the spirit of the Sankofa movement in African philosophical thought.
As portrayed in Prof. Kwesi Prah’s reaction to Prof. Issa Shivji’s paper under debate, the Sankofa movement does not reject political action but rather seeks to precede it with a cultural preparation directed ostensibly at boosting the African confidence to facilitate involvement in political action-taking. Another way of expressing this is the recovery of the African’s Africanness to motivate him. Hence, Dr. Nkrumah, by the terms of this philosophy, is understood to have been motivated not by the immediate reality of capitalist exploitation of Africans everywhere but by his realization of who he is – an African with a history of fidelity to the idea of the original value of man as opposed to ‘the Christian idea of the original sin and degradation of man’ (Consciencism p. 68) – the realization of his Africanness. So that it is not material oppression that prods him to the socialist idea but another idea. The materiality of his motivation is thus subverted in a process of inversion in favour of an idyllic motivation which is rather the determinate – that which is determined – of that materiality. This is what is called philosophical idealism – a philosophy that Dr. Nkrumah militantly opposes in favour of philosophical materialism, specifically dialectical materialism.
Philosophical Sankofa is a negation of Consciencism, the philosophical bedrock of Marxism-Nkrumaism. It negates the principle of ‘Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto you’. It negates the essential case that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah makes in Africa Must Unite for the necessity of the political unification of Africa first against the proposal for economic unions to precede it. It negates his opposition to economic regional integration to precede political unification. It even negates his insistence on the revolutionary armed struggle as the only option left to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism in rejection of hobnobbing with imperialism in constitutional negotiations. This is why when Hon. Samia Nkrumah says in the Ghanaweb news, January 30, 2010, that ‘Our unification, like the Germans, would be a negotiated union of all countries in Africa. The days of fighting to resolve our differences are over.’ she pits camp with anti-Nkrumaist forces of yester decades and of today. There is nothing Marxist-Nkrumaist about that statement. It aborts in advance the Pan-African enterprise. Philosophical Sankofa betrays Marxism-Nkrumaism. It is an inversed philosophy.
And yet, it is the very foundation of Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s thought. Her fidelity to it is seen in the fact that at the upper right hand corner of the following speeches posted at her website she marks in handwriting the darling phrase ‘SANKOFA. Going back to pick it all up’. The speeches are: 1. Culture and Social Development: A perspective by the Honourable Samia Nkrumah, MP, Delivered on Accra 17th March 2010, At the 16th Annual Conference of the International Society for African Philosophy University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana, ON CULTURE AND JUSTICE IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD; 2. Speech given at an interactive conference organized by AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation) in Italy. The limits of decolonization: Fifty years after Ghana’s Independence; 3. An Untitled Speech in Addis Ababa in 1999; 4. Speech given at an event organized by Movimento degli Africani; 5. Vote of Thanks given in the presence of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to mark Anti-Slavery Day; 6. Speech given at GPA awards, Women and Leadership section.
It is in this respect that, to borrow from Kwesi Pratt, we should be worried. The declaration of Hon. Samia Nkrumah as the Leader of the African Revolution in the line of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is visibly and analytically mistaken, to say the least. In fact, we anticipate Hon. Samia Nkrumah trembling all over with this title that connects her to a Revolution with a capital ‘R’; not just with a small ‘r’. Possibility is that she might fall off her chair with cataclysm. We pray otherwise as we expect her to gently brush Sheik the Originator’s over-enthusiasm aside as the celebration of an ideological infant in spite of his long years on God’s earth. You see, Nkrumahism-Toureism creates possibilities for strange deductions. That Hon. Samia Nkrumah is the Leader of the African Revolution is only one such deduction. The strangest among them, so far, is the statement that China’s emergence is due to its copying (not even its application) of his theory of Nkrumahism-Toureism. These are his own words: ‘China has copied Nkrumahist-Toureist Economics’ (See Appendix I).
How does Sheik the Originator effect this Leader of the African Revolution deduction? According to him in Appendix II, when he looks around he sees that with the martyrdom of Brother Muamar Qaddafi, Nelson Mandela’s political activity being ‘severely limited due to advanced age and lack of youthful vigour’ and Robert Mugabe’s being ‘tied down with regional politics at the moment … there is actually no other person who can claim the title of Leader of the African Revolution, except Her Excellency the Honourable Dr. Samia Nkrumah’. This is especially due to his reductive reasoning in Appendix I that since the CPP has presence in at least five countries its leader or chairwoman is ‘the ONLY present leader of the African Revolution’. The significantly strategic organizational principle is then outlined thus: since a mass party is required to unite Africa and every elected head of state in Africa must be accountable to the leader of that party, given that the CPP is that mass party its leader, Hon. Samia Nkrumah, is the one to whom ‘president so and so must answer’. And her powers are such that ‘If she says “Unify” and “Develop” that president had better do exactly what she said’. She, therefore, exercises a personal dictatorship within the ruling class’ dictatorship.
This raises two significant issues of the ‘vanguard of the revolution’ and ‘state-led Pan-Africanism’. In this regard, we take a brief and swift look at Nkrumahist-Toureist antagonism to the Leninist concept of ‘vanguard of the revolution’. Sheik the Originator says that ‘Marxism-Leninism … hold (sic) a theory of “vanguard of the revolution”. He (sic) “vanguard of the revolution” is supposed to be some kind of an all-knowing, al-wise (sic), better than man or god leadership who can somehow make all of the important decisions external to GOD’s HELP’. He states what that concept is supposed to be. He also refers to that vanguard as ‘dictating atheism in Europe’. But in the cited statement that vanguard’s recognition of the existence of God, contrary to the atheistic position, is acknowledged; only that the vanguard regards itself as being wiser and more knowledgeable than God. You see, when you read only Dr. Nkrumah and Sékou Touré, even unintelligently, and refuse to read anybody else you can only rely on other sources and imagine what they supposedly say. The important point here is that what he denies to the said vanguard is exactly what he gratuitously confers on Hon. Samia Nkrumah as her right – an all-knowing person whose word is an Edict.
The more serious concern here is directed at the state-led Pan-Africanism option implicit in the pronouncements of Sheik the Originator. That is where he and Hon. Samia Nkrumah are most in agreement. It is an issue that potentially threatens schism in the Sankofa movement between Hon. Samia Nkrumah and Prof. Kwesi Kwaa Prah although that is not an immediate possibility but one that arises in the unforeseeable distant future when the cultural enterprise is completed and political action begins upon the acquisition of consciousness of Africanness. The Hon. Samia Nkrumah relies on the discredited strategy of heads of state sitting in round table conferences negotiating among themselves to unite Africa. Prof. Prah has derided this already. It is discredited because Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who initiated that strategy has long jettisoned it in favour of the new strategy of working out the unification process independently of any head of state via a People’s revolutionary movement led by the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Party with its All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Army waging a continental guerrilla warfare against the comprador bourgeoisie to dismantle neo-colonialism across borders. It is in the course and out of this People’s War across the borders that the continental government emerges. No negotiation.
Long before his overthrow in 1966 by compradorial bourgeois forces in collaboration with imperialism, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah prepares some notes to write a manual for this guerrilla war – the greatest testimony to his abandonment of negotiations in so-called constitutional processes as the means for the unification of Africa. When he later writes the Handbook for Revolutionary Warfare he states in his first words in the Author’s Note that:
This book has been written during my stay in Conakry. Previous notes I made for a manual of guerrilla warfare for African freedom fighters were left behind in Ghana when I departed for Hanoi on 21st February 1966. The manuscript was handed over to imperialist and neo-colonialist intelligence organisations by the military and police traitors.
This HANDBOOK, presenting a completely new approach will, I hope, help to make possible the successful completion of the armed phase of the African revolutionary struggle for total emancipation and an All-African Union Government.
In a letter to June Milne, dated March 26, 1967, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is particularly forthright when he says that ‘In a revolutionary struggle constitutionalism and legality must be expunged. They are incompatible with any revolutionary struggle. And so here goes another Axiom, but borrowed from Tolstoy and Mao: “The masses worship power, and power grows out of the barrel of a gun” ’. In that same letter, he refers to a Portuguese ‘document we used in Ghana to train our freedom fighters from the Portuguese colonies’. In a previous letter to the same, dated March 24, 1967, he says of the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Army that ‘Let all those who are today pointing the finger of scorn at Africa revise their thinking. AAPRA will be realized. It is the only hope for Africa now’.
In contrast to Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s position that ‘we give our best when we do retain our “feminine” qualities of gentleness, patience, joy, humility, dignity, prudence and above all grace’, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, her father, is definite that
The so-called coup in Ghana has turned me into an ardent African nationalist socialist. (Don’t confuse this with the national socialism of Hitler). I am convinced now – a lesson it took me some time to grasp, the qualities in leadership which must be strengthened are bravery, ruthlessness and bitterness. In order for a revolutionary to succeed he must be brave, bitter and ruthless, and also capable of hating his enemies. In other words, love those who love you, and hate those who hate you. This is the reality. (See his letter to June Milne, dated April 1, 1967.)
(On her part, Hon. Samia Nkrumah says that ‘I don’t have time to hate people who hate me … Bcz I’m too buzy in loving people who love me’ – see her Facebook photos section). Having long abandoned all policies of negotiation and adopted this cast of orientation, he abandons all respect for a country’s sovereignty in Africa and projects the AAPRA marching across so-called borders thus:
‘Yes indeed, the African Revolution should recognize none of the old colonial frontiers between African territories or states. They are indeed artificial boundaries having no meaning in the context of African unity. And so there can be no question of revolutionary forces (e.g. AAPRA) violating a country’s sovereignty by entering it for the purpose of the political unification of the continent. The whole of Africa is one, and every part of it belongs to Africa as a whole.’ (See the April 9, 1967 letter to June Milne.)
This seals the lid on state-led Pan-Africanism and its policy of legality and constitutionality in processes of negotiations featuring tea and Champaign drinking to enhance the evening’s performance!
Rather than calling Hon. Samia Nkrumah’s attention to these contradictions between her Sankofa philosophy and Marxism-Nkrumaism and the resultant move away from Revolutionary Pan-Africanism persons who should know better, like Sheik the Originator Abdul Rahman T.L. Nelson, are flattering the poor lady with undeserved titles she can only shiver and tremble at. Parading her in the corridors of reactionary feudal spent-forces of chiefs to whom she has been doling gifts of many colours and advocating state support for the African comprador bourgeoisie in business, such people who should know better are misdirecting her to her own political doom. As her General Secretary, Ivor Greenstreet, quotes her in a communiqué issued on the eve of her recent departure to Italy she states that:
‘…Africa has many business people and well meaning individuals who can make important social and economic investments in ways that complement the efforts of government. These members of the community need to be helped by the state through the removal of obstacles that prevent such voluntary investments. It is important that we address such issues in an international context…’
The poor lady is advocating for the strengthening of the very forces that her father says must be trampled upon and crushed. Already, internal opposition to her within the CPP in defence of her father has started expressing its presence. From Kukurantumi at Abuakwa North, Samuel Boateng assures in a Ghanaweb feature article on November 21, 2011 that ‘we will not leave her to disgrace her father like that’. The dictatorial suggestions being injected into her blood stream has not only already been seen manifest in her acts of flouting the party’s Constitution and show of disrespect for party veterans but also provides grounds for persons like Samuel Boateng to begin to wonder ‘what is firing her dictatorial actions’. She is currently on a self-destruct adventure aided by even her own brother, Gamal Nkrumah, who tells the world on her Facebook Wall on November 14, 2011 that
‘Samia Yaba Nkrumah is Ghana’s best hope for a GREAT future … MAY GHANA BE BLESSED WITH A WONDERFUL WOMAN PRESIDENT SAMIA YABA NKRUMAH.’
Of course, her younger brother, Sékou Nkrumah, harbours no such illusions and organizationally distances himself from her.
The point is that she aspires to represent ‘the confirmation and re-affirmation and revival of Kwame Nkrumah’s vision’. In fact, in her untitled speech in Addis Ababa in 1999 she believes that she actually represents the confirmation, re-affirmation and revival of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s vision. But if the analysis of her speeches and concerns above is something to go by, as it is, then you know that she is yet to measure up to her claims. Currently in 2011, she definitely represents the disconfirmation, disaffirmation and sustenance of the negation of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s vision. Consequently, whatever she thinks she represents it is certainly not Marxist-Nkrumaist Revolutionary Pan-Africanism. We believe, all the same, that her current enthusiasm for the realization of Dr. Nkrumah’s vision could be an aid to her progression to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism if she could only stop listening to the flatterers and critically study his works in-depth. Any stubborn resistance to that direction could only be to her own undoing. At 51 she has time favouring her. Patience.
In this respect, her reported threats to resign from the CPP, if that is true, could only be meaningful if she intends to build a genuine mass party in the form of the All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Party with a continental base – across the borders – supported by an All-Africa People’s Revolutionary Army directed at crushing every neo-colonial armed force to create the People’s Republican State of Africa. On the other hand if her reported creation of alternative units in the CPP is aimed at transforming it in the same direction and not to just promote cronyism to her ultimate self-destruct then that resignation could still make sense. Otherwise, she better stays with the CPP to avoid being tagged as an opportunistic gold digger and be later crushed as a part of the comprador bourgeois forces working with imperialism for the perpetuation of neo-colonialism and capitalism in Africa. For the meantime, looking at the types of photos (almost six hundred of them) on her Facebook Wall, we see her as a common petty bourgeois enjoying herself all over the place with complete abandon. There is no essential difference between her and Papa Kwesi Nduom.
AN UNEDITED REPRODUCTION OF ABDURAHMAN NELSON’S FIRST MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SHIVJI-PRAH DEBATE ON PAN-AFRICANISM
From: Abdurrahman Nelson <email@example.com>
To: ”firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:42 PM
Subject: Re: [cppnorthamerica] Re: THE SHIVJI-PRAH DEBATE ON PAN-AFRICANISM
Let me make a few clarifications on the issues stated below. While we do not need to get al bogged down in any kind of endless debates, considering the exigency of Unifying Africa NOW!!! Right now, and not somewhere in the indefinite future. Pan-Africanism has been debated and avoided by some these very same elements for decades. So the last thing we need is side issues of abstract philosophy not really all that relevant to Pan-Africanism and definitely not relevant to Nkrumahism. Too much debate sooner or later becomes nothing but a distraction and a diversion from Pan-Africanism. Some of you know me and have been trying to debate some of these things with me for decades. So, I am grateful for an opportunity to deal with it, and to set all of this aside forever, I hope.
That being said, the issue resolved at the 5th Pan-African Congress was NOT, repeat NOT, Class Struggle in the Marxian sense of that word. That is a serious misconception that needs to be buried deeply into the lake of fire forever. I wonder about the motives of those who keep insisting on those kinds of misinformation when the historical record is so clear and wen the ideological issues have been resolved over and over again for so many years and decades.
George Padmore, and some other Marxists I assume, was at the 5th Pan-African Congress. Comrade George was indeed elected as one of the officers. I have never seriously studied much about Comrade George one of the reasons being is everything of much value to Nkrumahists is clarified and resolved in Nkrmahism, not Padmoreism or anything like that. So, you see why I am not enjoying this debate, yet again.
The important thing to understand about the 5th Pan-African Congress is the role of the masses of Africans everywhere. The class issues were centered mainly around Dubois. He failed to understand that Garveyism was a mass movement and tat political power comes from the masses, not from some high falluting pie in the sky. Although he claimed to be a socialist and probably was a sincere socialist he was confused to the extent of advocating elitism in the form of his theory of the alleged Talented Tenth. But elitism is no stranger to Marxism-Leninism.
Marxism-Leninism (and I emphasize here that we are NOT, repeat NOIT, to confuse socialism with Marxism-Leninism) hold a theory of “vanguard of the revolution”. He “vanguard of the revolution” is supposed to be some kind of an all-knowing, al-wise, better than man or god leadership who can somehow make all of the important decisions external to GOD’s HELP. This is what destroyed the Soviet Union. But, the Chinese obviously never bought that foolishness. Let me try to explain.
As soon as the Soviet Union fell, Islamic Masjids sprang up all across Europe overnight. This is what happened after about 70 years of the “van guard of the revolution” dictating atheism in Europe. It just never worked and will never work simply because GOD will not tolerate any “vanguard of the revolution” interfering between mankind and GOD. This is my view as a Muslim and I know most of us here will stubbornly refuse to accept this reality. But, it is crystal clear in many translations of the Quran:
96:9: Have you seen the one who forbids
96:10: A servant when he prays? (http://quran.com/96/9-10)
Surah al-Alaq goes on to Say that GOD will wage war against those who interfere. This is why slavery cannot co-exist with Islam because slave masters prevent slaves from READING and from Praying.
Now we are debating religion. But, I did not start it. However, I sure hope to end it.
The bottomline is that KIND OF ELITISM IS Europeanism, not Africanism. Osagyefo makes absolutely and perfectly clear that Nkrumahism is a theist philosophy, not an atheist one in Consciencism: Philosophy and ideology for Decolonization. Some of us need to learn to READ Nkrumah and not so much of everything, except Nkrumah.
Also, Comrade Bob has mentioned Toureism. I am the originator of Nkrumahism-Toureism. I created that theory after many years of hard work and study. And one of the main documents I used is the one called Revolution and Religion by Sekou Toure. You can find a copy here: http://www.panafricanperspective.com/ture2.htm. We also need to READ Sekou Toure. With Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/#) being available, all of that work needs to be translated into Arabic, English, and Portuguese, all of the languages of the African Union. This is what we ought tpo be doing rather engaging in endless debate.
But, since its revival, reactionary some elitists had tried to take control of it and subordinate the Obama/Clinton/Cameron/Sarkozy/israel conspiracy. Threy wnatede yto buy us out with crumbs from the white man’s table. True, some of us for that trick once again, although Comrade Kwame Ture warned us against those tricks way back in 1968 (http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/liberation-strategy/33870-pitfalls-liberalism-stokely-carmichael-kwame-ture.html) What the enemy does is train up his flunkies in the tradition of Cecil Rhodes (http://www.rhodesscholar.org/). Things got so bad here in Saint Louis that we actually had AAPRP cadres opposing Robert Mugabe because Mugabe had the audacity to cleanse the white man’s name from his country and name it Zimbabwe. LOL!!! Bill Clinton and Aunt Suzie Rice are both Rhodes scholars. And we wonder why the Obama regime has made consistent war in Africa these past three years…
But, it does not end there. I wish it did. All of our African scholars are being bran-washed along similar lines in all western colleges and universities. There are few exceptions, if any at all. So, they come out of scholar thinking we will elect them presidents of Ghana, South Africa, Liberia Sudan, Somalia, etc. t is our job and our duty to prevent these neo-colonial agents from taking over the CPP and thereby returning Africa to re-colonization as was seen in the war against Libya and Somalia and Sudan, Irag, etc.
To make a long story short, suffice it to say that Leader of the African Revolution, H.E.The Hon. Dr. Samia Nkrumah has just placed this CPP on the road to becoming a mass party as it was under Osagyefo. Also, Comrade r, Sekou Nkrumah is doing some remarkable work along this line. And, we all must help her and assist her in every way possible. End these endless debates. We need to fight to protect this party. Again, none of this is in the USA. The mass Movement until has been limited to Africa in the form of such parties as the pan-Africanist Youth Congress and the work that is being done in places like Swaziland and Zimbabwe and Eritrea and Sudan ( I mean North Sudan, not southern Sudan. Let’s get real and deal with it) Also, the Arab Spring is a mass movement. Yet, I have seen not one member if tis forum supporting any part of the Arab Spring, so far, except, me alone. This must change.
A mass movement what martin Luther King dis when he copied the Indian National Congress and CPP under Nkrumah to bring the Civil Rights Movement to America. And this is exactly what every organization has tried to avoid since Dr. King and Nkrumah and Gandhi and Garvey died. Garvey was a mass movement. The 1st-4th pan-African Congresses were not mass movements. And, the 6th.7th and 8th and just about everything since were not mass movements. Those things, especially since the above named martyrs died have been meant to confuse things, divert attention away from mass movement and keep us from making progress towards the Unification and Development of Africa. Thank GOD that Drs. Nkrumahs are helping us to overcome these shortcomings, after all of those lost years of frustration.
One thing that you will immediately notice about our revived CPP is we show utmost respect for religion. Her Excellency is not afraid to be seen in a church congregation. At the same time, she has shown sincere respect for our Muslim brothers and sisters just as Osagyefo did before our time. Africa gave the world Three Great Religions. Thus, Africa has always been the primary and main source of civilization to all the world. Therefore, to be called a mass movement, we must deart form Eurocentric Marxism-Leninism and whole heartedly embrace Nkrumahism (and Toureism for those who have advanced to that level)
To be called mass movement, mass party, we must create jobs for Africans everywhere. That means we must develop[p economic theories the likes of which Europe has never seen with its one economic crisis followed by another and another and another. Communist China is not in a depression. This is because China has copied Nkrumahist-Toureist Economics. We can do better than what we have done since Nkrumah died.
A mass party is a party that is totally, absolutely and always accountable to the African people EVERYWHERE, including in the Arabic speaking countries. Its leaders NEVER go beyond the will of the African people and always submit to the African people’s will. Again, like it or not, this is derived from Islamic principle. In Islam, a leader NEVER makes a major decision affecting the people without prior consultation with the people. This is mass politics: town-hall meetings, Friday Freedom Forums, etc.
In a mass party, the party is SUPREME. No one individual is superior to the mass party. NONE!!! Not one!!!. A mass party is the ONLY kind of party that can and will Unify and Develop Africa. Why? For one reason, a mass party goes beyond the narrow, parochial, sectarian limitations of micro community. The CPP is present in at least five countries already. Therefore, its leader, its present Chairwoman in the ONLY present leader of the African Revolution. If we elect a head of state in one country, that head of state must be accountable to the party as represented by the mass party’s leader. In our case that leader is the Leader of the African Revolution. So president so and so must answer to the CPP’s Chairwoman. Be clear about this. If she says ”Unify” and ”Develop” that president had better do exactly what she said.
In the Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare, Osagyefo said that “The guerilla is the masses in Arms”. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/60167295/Handbook-of-Revolutionary-Warfare-Kwame-Nkrumah) This is on the Motto Page at the very beginning of the book. What is clear in the Handbook is that the mass party is also the guerilla army. The came about because the enemy made war against an unarmed civilian political party, I think. The next time the enemy tries that against this revived CPP, we will be able to defend ourselves. This also means that those arrogant heads of state and so-called leaders will be held accountable to the mass party at the pain of severe punishment. We will enforce our supremacy through the barrel of a gun, if need be. Let us not bite our tongues on this issue. We are a part of the people. And the African people must be free and respected by everyone. No apologies.
As for those who find every excuse for corruption and for delaying Unification, they too must be held accountable at the pain of severe punishment. Dividing Africa and sewing divisions and schisms among Africans will become a serious crime that will not be tolerated. It is time to get serious.
UNEDITED REPRODUCTION OF ABDURRAHMAN NELSON’S SECOND MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SHIVJI-PRAH DEBATE ON PAN-AFRICANISM
FROM: Abdurrahman Nelson
Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:18 AM
Samia Yabah Christina is the Leader of the African Revolution
By Sheik Abdul Rahman T.L. Nelson
“We left here many years ago because we were forced to leave. And we left with nothing; with nothing; but the clothes on our bodies. But I am here today with you, because it is my choice to I have come back and stay; and, to connect with my people; and to honor your father, my father, our father, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. And begin realizing his vision for Ghana’s (Africa’s) Development”
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwP2egXSCyk)—Samia Yabah Nkrumah
At first, I was not able to respond in detail to the questioning of the H.E. The Honorable Dr. Samia Nkrumah, MP as the Leader of the African Revolution due to time constraints. This statement is meant to explain exactly what I mean when I say that Comrade Samia is the Leader of the African Revolution.
The question first came to my attention when certain hostile elements attempted to co-op the CPP by preventing, delaying and otherwise disrupting our Party Congress. It was clear to me that they were intent upon corrupting the democratic process in such a childish manner because they feared a revival of the Convention People’s Party under her Excellency’s leadership. They wanted to use the name Nkrumahism in order to pimp the masses of African people everywhere while sleeping in the warm embrace of imperialism and zionism every night while getting rich. It was the same old story: Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas prostituting themselves while selling the people downriver.
At that time, I issued the statement that Samia Nkrumahs is the de-facto leader of the Convention People’s Party. In other words, although they had prevented her election as Chairwoman of the CPP, there was nothing they could do to deny the objective fact that she was and is the legitimate and moral leader of the party. We the African people everywhere will follow her lead because she has earned the right to leadership through honesty, morality, integrity and above all, hard work and study. These are the qualifications that we all must meet to claim leadership in the Nkrumahist Movement and in the African Nation from now on. Those who cannot measure up must be dumped into the garbage heap of history and forgotten. Our patience as run out. Dead weight will no longer hold us back.
A few days after I issued that statement, the following appeared in the general news media:
“She was only 5 years old when she woke up one morning at the sound of gunshots coming from the garden. It was hard to overcome the fear but she and her brothers did, eventually. It was February 24, 1966, the military coup that changed the history of Ghana for ever. On that day her mother told her to pray and immediately after insisted that “if they fire at you, nothing will happen to you”.
“This is just one of the many incredible memories of Samia Nkrumah, the 48 year old daughter of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the Republic of Ghana, the man who in 1957 declared his country’s independence, founded the Organization of African Unity, the precursor of the African Union of now and today is venerated like a saint by many in Ghana.
“Samia is now back in her country and at the end of last year was elected to Parliament, in Ghana’s 5th multi-party elections since 1992. “It took many years and much experience of living and working in Ghana, Egypt, the United Kingdom and lastly in Italy, to come full circle and realize that the Pan-African project as articulated by my father, Kwame Nkrumah, offers the best response to our ongoing challenges”, says Samia with a deep smile. Nkrumah’s vision, as outlined in his books, are guidelines for Ghana and Africa and they remain as relevant today as they were in the 50s and 60s. “Achieving political and economic liberation, social justice and national and continental unity including the African Diaspora are yet to be realized” continues Samia. “It is our task today to continue from where Nkrumah left, while remaining flexible as we adapt to changing circumstances”.
“Till the moment she moved back to Ghana in early 2008, Samia lead a “normal” life. She lived in Italy for the last 10 years with her Italian husband and their 12 years old son Kwame, and she did not think about going back to her country of birth till the moment she met her father’s literary executrix (her name is June Milne; she is now 90 years old and living in England). This meeting opened up her heart. “This woman told me the most unbelievable stories about my father and she especially made me understand what an incredible spirit he had. He lived all his life for his cause and his people and while she was telling me these stories I felt that sooner or later, I would have to revisit his lifework”. Samia really believes this, as one can note traveling with her through Ghana. People recognize her in the streets when she stops to buy some bananas for the trip. “You will be our President, you are our Mother”, say some young people to her. And she always smiles while transmitting an incredible compassion. She has a deep capacity to relate to people. She came back to her country deeply convinced that only by respecting the rules and starting from the poorest part of her country, the Jomoro district — which is where her grandfather’s hometown is located and where she was elected — could she make a difference.
“In a few months she has become the hope of an entire nation and her popularity is as high as the newly elected President John Atta Mills. She made big news in Ghana’s last election by snatching the Jomoro Constituency for the CPP (Convention People’s Party, founded by her father) from a strong candidate of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Lee Ocran. This event was extremely important for the Ghanaian political scene and people really started to believe that “Kwame Nkrumah’s spirit has come back and is shining on Ghana.”
“Today the two major political parties fight to get her votes in Parliament and have both tried to reach an alliance with the CPP. “For now we will stay independent” affirms Samia, “We always keep in mind our principal goal which is meeting the social needs of our people. There is a lot to do in my country, and our objective, as our father’s, is to bring about a descent standard of living for our people. In the Jomoro district, many communities have no electricity, no running or portable water, and inadequate school facilities. If we want to improve our country, we must start from these issues. Especially we must start from education, because without a proper education there will be no development. Our father’s idea of Pan-africanism was not restricted to a political project but his vision also embraced the economic as well as the cultural aspects of our development.
“It envisioned a large cultural movement concerning all of Africa and Africans everywhere, as well as all who believe that unity, freedom and justice are the basis for real change. “For this reason I have decided to enter active politics in Ghana to promote the enduring vision of my father, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for Ghana and Africa’s socio-economic and cultural emancipation. I have come to understand that being Nkrumah’s daughter means being a daughter of Ghana and Africa and having a responsibility to Africans everywhere”. Her modesty comes through as she admits: “I was not always so sure of the way forward as I am today. The dangers of political life were brought home to me early on in life. However, Kwame Nkrumah’s presence in my life, as it is in that of many other Africans, has been constant, powerful and lasting. In fact, his ideas have resonance with many of us irrespective of our political persuasions and affiliations. So while I am affiliated with a particular political party, I am embracing all Ghanaians in my thoughts”.
“She also thinks that being a women makes a difference: “We give our best when we do retain our “feminine” qualities of love, gentleness, patience, joy, humility, dignity, prudence and above all grace. These qualities are indeed as present in men as in women. So here I will refer to the feminine qualities in us all irrespective of our gender. As it happens, these qualities seem to be more obvious in women due to our upbringing and cultural education. So in a sense, when we say we want stronger female participation in politics or in any other sector, we mean we also want to see more of those feminine qualities visible in parliament, in politics, in community work, and at all levels of decision-making. We want politics with another flavour. We want to see the politics of humanity, of dignity, of dialogue, of wisdom, of grace. I have found many of these qualities are exemplified in the vision and political thought of Kwame Nkrumah”.
“Samia explains that Nkrumaism has at its centre three main guiding principles: liberation, justice and unity. At the heart of it is the objective of reversing the consequences of colonialism and slavery by realizing dignity, socio-political and economic emancipation. The main instrument in achieving this aim is unity. “We shall be proud of who we are” continues Samia, “of our food and the way we eat, of our languages, of our tradition, of our costume and so on. We shall move towards economic self-reliance by improving our manufacturing sector and investing heavily in human resources. We shall strive to achieve social justice, social equality, social security, and genuine democracy that includes education and equality between men and women, and human rights.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-kiss/the-new-mandela-is-a-woma_b_202760.html)
There you have it. For those of you who cannot accept any leadership that has not been endorsed by a white woman, the above is all the legitimacy and approval that you need.
H.E. Comrade Nelson Mandela inspires the entire African world and is a major Leader of the African Revolution. However, he is semi-retired. His political activity is severely limited due to advanced age and lack of youthful vigor. So, although he is still our moral leader, the time has come for younger people to join him in leadership and prepare to succeed him.
Also, Comrade Brother Muamar Qaddafi has recently been martyred. His is no longer here to And now that the CPP’s Congress has finally been completed she is assisted by the entire Executive Committee of the CPP. And, our new leadership is definitely a Revolutionary one. It first goal is to avoid endorsing any candidates for the presidency of the Republic of Ghana in 2012. If it decides to elect a flag-bearer at all, it will only be done AFTER, we have elected parliamentary candidates across the Republic of Ghana and other areas where we have an on the ground presence, possibly Sierra Leone. Being head of state is not what makes us the leaders. We must preferably complete re-writing the Party’s Constitution to meet the exigencies of Nkrumahism in an un-ambiguous language. It is the consensus of the masses of Africans everywhere that makes us leaders of the African Nation.
One little cult personality even had the audacity to suggest that Comrade Samia could be considered a vice presidential candidate for the Republic of Ghana in 2016. LOL!!! That one is funny. Imagine that. They thought they could buy us and pay for us with some little jive vice presidential job. LOL!! I cannot stop laughing. I know we have only one seat in Parliament right now, plus a couple of other seats that are in the process of mergering with us. But, if we want a job as soon kind of a president, why not the job of President of All-African Union Government led by the All-African Committee for Political Coordination as called for the Handbook of Revolutionary Wrafare?
If we can find time to read al that Marxist stuff all the time, surly we can the Handbook once and awhile. The Handbook is our bible. But, the CPP’s goal has never been to accept half way measures and compromise our principles in order to appease neocolonialism the way that the NDC and NPP governments and many others around the African world have done. We are not like the Obama drama who promises change we can live with until he gets elected. And then, all he does is flip flop immediately to make a corrupt deal with the crooks from the Clinton Administration. That is the kind of “you rub my back and I rub your back” politics that has prevented progress since the overthrow of our government in Ghana in 1966. We can rub our own damn backs, thank you.
And that is the main point. Comrade Samia has said that “we have come back to honor our father, Osagyefo Dr, Kwame Nkrumah”. Now that she is our Chairwoman, that is exactly what all parts of the CPP must and will do: honor Nkrumah. And it is the duty of all cadres of the Nkrumahist Movement to help her in any and every way that we can. Calling her “Leader” is just way small way to make it clear to all who have any doubt about it that she is our Leader.
Comrade Samia is one of the most beautiful women in the entire world in terms of physical appearance.
Because of her great beauty, I am sure that there are many scumbags who think they can take advantage of her and treat her like some little girl. It is therefore, mandatory that we as members of the Nkrumahist Movement, protect her in any and every way possible. She is our mother. She is our sister. She is our daughter. We are more than a mere movement. She calls us family. So, we are the Nkrumahist family. And we must and will protect and defend her as if she was a member of our own biological families. She is head of our ideological family.
In conclusion, I want revisit the issues of what a mass party and what is Nkrumahism-Toureism. In may last statement of these subjects, I referred repeatedly to the Islamic principles and values inherent in Nkrumahism-Toureism. I know some of us are atheists brain-dead from Marxist dogmatism. So, I did not mean to offend their sensibilities. I just wanted to make crystal clear that that is a theist philosophy, not an atheist one.
But,Yesterday, His Holiness the Pope issued a Statement of this very subject. The Catholic Church did not need the permission of ay heads of state to remind government leaders in Africa that it is the masses of Africans that we must love, respect and serve. Similarly, we the African people as represented by the People’s Party which is a mass party representing Africans everywhere, do not need Obama’s permission and certainly not Clinton’s permission to serve the African masses in America and throughout the African world. So, you can see that I respect Christianity and non-Believers although I do not agree with them. We are a political party. And, like all political parties, except those bran dead from Marxist dogmatism of course, must respect Africans from all beliefs systems. Below, I have reproduced the Full -text of that Statement:
“To Government and Religious Leaders in Africa”
His Holiness Pope Benedict
Distinguished civil, political and religious authorities, Distinguished heads of the diplomatic missions,
Dear Brother Bishops, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
[Solemn greeting in Fon] DOO NOUMI!
Mr President, you have given me the opportunity of this encounter with this distinguished gathering of personalities. I appreciate this privilege, and I offer you my heartfelt thanks for the kind words which you have just expressed to me in the name of all the people of Benin. I also thank the representative of the institutions present for his words of welcome. Allow me to express my best wishes for all of you who are among the foremost protagonists, in various ways, of Benin’s national life.
Speaking on other occasions, I have often joined the word hope to the word Africa. I did so in Luanda two years ago as well as in reference to the Synod. The word hope is also found several times in the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus which I am shortly going to sign. When I say that Africa is a continent of hope, I am not indulging in mere rhetoric, but simply expressing a personal conviction which is also that of the Church. Too often, our mind is blocked by prejudices or by images which give a negative impression of the realities of Africa, the fruit of a bleak analysis. It is tempting to point to what does not work; it is easy to assume the judgemental tone of the moralizer or of the expert who imposes his conclusions and proposes, at the end of the day, few useful solutions. It is also tempting to analyze the realities of Africa like a curious ethnologist or like someone who sees the vast resources only in terms of energy, minerals, agriculture and humanity easily exploited for often dubious ends. These are reductionist and disrespectful points of view which lead to the unhelpful “objectification” of Africa and her inhabitants.
I am aware that words do not always mean the same thing everywhere; but the meaning of hope differs little from culture to culture. A few years have now passed since I dedicated an encyclical letter to Christian hope. To talk of hope is to talk of the future and hence of God! The future has its roots in the past and in the present. The past we know well, regretting its failures and acknowledging its successes. The present we live as well as we can, I hope, for the best with God’s help! It is upon this mixture of many contradictory and complementary elements that we must build with the help of God.
Dear friends, in the light of this experience which ought to encourage us, I would like to mention two current African realities. The first relates in a general way to the socio-political and economic life of the continent, the second to interreligious dialogue. These realities concern all of us, because this century seems to be coming into being painfully and to struggle to make hope grow in these two particular domains.
During recent months, many peoples have manifested their desire for liberty, their need for material security, and their wish to live in harmony according to their different ethnic groups and religions. Indeed, a new state has been born on your continent. Many conflicts have originated in man’s blindness, in his will to power and in political and economic interests which mock the dignity of people and of nature. Human beings aspire to liberty; then to live in dignity; they want good schools and food for their children, dignified hospitals to take care of the sick; they want to be respected; they demand transparent governance which does not confuse private and public interests; and above all they desire peace and justice. At this time, there are too many scandals and injustices, too much corruption and greed, too many errors and lies, too much violence which leads to misery and to death. These ills certainly afflict your continent, but they also afflict the rest of the world. Every people wishes to understand the political and economic choices which are made in its name. They perceive manipulation and their revenge is sometimes violent. They wish to participate in good governance. We know that no political regime is ideal and that no economic choice is neutral. But these must always serve the common good. Hence we are faced with legitimate demands, present in all countries, for greater dignity and above all for greater humanity. Man demands that his humanity be respected and promoted. Political and economic leaders of countries find themselves placed before important decisions and choices which they can no longer avoid.
From this place, I launch an appeal to all political and economic leaders of African countries and the rest of the world. Do not deprive your peoples of hope! Do not cut them off from their future by mutilating their present! Adopt a courageous ethical approach to your responsibilities and, if you are believers, ask God to grant you wisdom! This wisdom will help you to understand that, as promoters of your peoples’ future, you must become true servants of hope. It is not easy to live the life of a servant, to remain consistent amid the currents of opinion and powerful interests. Power, such as it is, easily blinds, above all when private, family, ethnic or religious interests are at stake. God alone purifies hearts and intentions.
The Church does not propose any technical solution and does not impose any political solution. She repeats: do not be afraid! Humanity is not alone before the challenges of the world. God is present. There is a message of hope, hope which generates energy, which stimulates the intellect and gives the will all its dynamism. A former Archbishop of Toulouse, Cardinal Saliège, once said: “to hope is never to abandon; it is to redouble one’s activity”. The Church accompanies the State and its mission; she wishes to be like the soul of our body untiringly pointing to what is essential: God and man. She wishes to accomplish, openly and without fear, the immense task of one who educates and cares, but above all who prays without ceasing (cf. Lk 18:1), who points to God (cf. Mt 6:21) and to where the authentic man is to be found (cf. Mt 20:26, Jn 19:5). Despair is individualistic. Hope is communion. Is not this a wonderful path that is placed before us? I ask all political and economic leaders, as well those of the university and cultural realms to join it. May you also be sowers of hope!
I would now like to touch upon the second point, that of interreligious dialogue. I do not think it is necessary to recall the recent conflicts born in the name of God, or deaths brought about in the name of him who is life. Everyone of good sense understands that a serene and respectful dialogue about cultural and religious differences must be promoted. True interreligious dialogue rejects humanly self-centred truth, because the one and only truth is in God. God is Truth. Hence, no religion, and no culture may justify appeal or recourse to intolerance and violence. Aggression is an outmoded relational form which appeals to superficial and ignoble instincts. To use the revealed word, the Sacred Scriptures or the name of God to justify our interests, our easy and convenient policies or our violence, is a very grave fault.
I can only come to a knowledge of the other if I know myself. I cannot love unless I love myself (cf. Mt 22:39). Knowledge, deeper understanding and practice of one’s religion, are therefore essential to true interreligious dialogue. This can only begin by sincere personal prayer on the part of the one who desires to dialogue. Let him go in secret to his private room (cf. Mt 6:6) to ask God for the purification of reason and to seek his blessing upon the desired encounter. This prayer also asks God for the gift to see in the other a brother to be loved and, within his tradition, a reflection of the truth which illumines all people (Nostra Aetate, 2). Everyone ought therefore to place himself in truth before God and before the other. This truth does not exclude and it is not confusion. Interreligious dialogue when badly understood leads to muddled thinking or to syncretism. This is not the dialogue which is sought.
Despite the steps already taken, we know that sometimes interreligious dialogue is not easy or that it is impeded for various reasons. This does not necessarily indicate failure. There are many forms of interreligious dialogue. Cooperation in social or cultural areas can help people to understand each other better and to live together serenely. It is also useful to know that dialogue does not take place through weakness but because of belief in God. Dialogue is another way of loving God and our neighbour (cf. Mt 22:37) without abdicating what we are.
Having hope does not mean being ingenuous but making an act of faith in a better future. Thus the Catholic Church puts into action one of the intuitions of the Second Vatican Council, that of promoting friendly relations between herself and the members of non-Christian religions. For decades now, the Pontifical Council dedicated to this task has been creating links, holding meetings and publishing documents regularly in order to foster such a dialogue. In this way the Church strives to overcome the confusion of languages and the dispersal of hearts born of the sin of Babel (cf. Gen 11). I greet all religious leaders who have kindly come here to meet me. I would like to assure them, as well as those from other African countries, that the dialogue offered by the Catholic Church comes from the heart. I encourage them to promote, above all among the young people, a pedagogy of dialogue, so that they may discover that our conscience is a sanctuary to be respected and that our spiritual dimension builds fraternity. True faith leads invariably to love. It is in this spirit that I invite all of you to hope.
These general ideas may be applied especially to Africa. In your continent, there are many families whose members profess different beliefs, and yet these families remain united. This is not just a unity wished by culture, but it is a unity cemented by a fraternal affection. Sometimes, of course, there are failures, but there are also many successes. In this area, Africa can offer all of us food for thought and thus become a source of hope.
To finish, I would like to use the image of a hand. There are five fingers on it and each one is quite different. Each one is also essential and their unity makes a hand. A good understanding between cultures, consideration for each other which is not condescending, and the respect of the rights of each one are a vital duty. This must be taught to all the faithful of the various religions. Hatred is a failure, indifference is an impasse, and dialogue is an openness! Is this not good ground in which seeds of hope may be sown? To offer someone your hand means to hope, later, to love, and what could be more beautiful than a proffered hand? It was willed by God to offer and to receive. God did not want it to kill (cf. Gen 4:1ff) or to inflict suffering, but to care and to help live. Together with our heart and our intelligence, our hand too can become an instrument of dialogue. It can make hope flourish, above all when our intelligence stammers and our heart stumbles.
According to Sacred Scripture, three symbols describe the hope of Christians: the helmet, because it protects us from discouragement (cf. 1 Th 5:8), the anchor, sure and solid, which ties us to God (cf. Heb 6:19), and the lamp which permits us to await the dawn of a new day (cf. Lk 12:35-36). To be afraid, to doubt and to fear, to live in the present without God, or to have nothing to hope for, these are all attitudes which are foreign to the Christian faith (St John Chrysostom, Homily XIV on the Letter to the Romans, 6; PG 45, 941 C) and, I am convinced, to all other forms of belief in God. Faith lives in the present, but it awaits future goods. God is in our present, but he is also in the future, a place of hope. The expansion of our hearts is not only hope in God but also an opening to and care for physical and temporal realities in order to glorify God. Following Peter, of whom I am a successor, I hope that your faith and hope will be in God (cf. 1 Pet 1:21). This is my wish for the whole of Africa, which is so dear to me! Africa, be confident and rise up! The Lord is calling you. May God bless you! Thank you. (http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-to-government-and-religious-leaders-in-benin)
|UNEDITED REPRODUCTION OF MICHAEL MOORE’S OCCUPY WALL STREET PROPOSAL|
From: Michael Moore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? …a proposal from Michael Moore
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 3:45 PM
Where Does Occupy Wall Street Go From Here? …a proposal from Michael Moore
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
We Envision:  a truly free, democratic, and just society;  where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus;  where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making;  where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;  where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments;  where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;  where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings;  where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible;  where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.
The next step will be to develop a specific list of goals and demands. As one of the millions of people who are participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would like to respectfully offer my suggestions of what we can all get behind now to wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.
Here is what I will propose to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
10 Things We Want
A Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
Submitted by Michael Moore
1. Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street (where they currently pay 0%).
2. Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America. Our jobs are the most important national treasure and they cannot be removed from the country simply because someone wants to make more money.
3. Require that all Americans pay the same Social Security tax on all of their earnings (normally, the middle class pays about 6% of their income to Social Security; someone making $1 million a year pays about 0.6% (or 90% less than the average person). This law would simply make the rich pay what everyone else pays.
4. Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, placing serious regulations on how business is conducted by Wall Street and the banks.
5. Investigate the Crash of 2008, and bring to justice those who committed any crimes.
6. Reorder our nation’s spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.
7. Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.
8. Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.
9. Require corporations with more than 10,000 employees to restructure their board of directors so that 50% of its members are elected by the company’s workers. We can never have a real democracy as long as most people have no say in what happens at the place they spend most of their time: their job. (For any U.S. businesspeople freaking out at this idea because you think workers can’t run a successful company: Germany has a law like this and it has helped to make Germany the world’s leading manufacturing exporter.)
10. We, the people, must pass three constitutional amendments that will go a long way toward fixing the core problems we now have. These include:
a) A constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by 1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; 2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; 3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; 4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth; 5) banning computerized voting and requiring that all elections take place on paper ballots.
b) A constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens. This amendment should also state that the interests of the general public and society must always come before the interests of corporations.
c) A constitutional amendment that will act as a “second bill of rights” as proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.
Let me know what you think. Occupy Wall Street enjoys the support of millions. It is a movement that cannot be stopped. Become part of it by sharing your thoughts with me or online (at OccupyWallSt.org). Get involved in (or start!) your own local Occupy movement. Make some noise. You don’t have to pitch a tent in lower Manhattan to be an Occupier. You are one just by saying you are. This movement has no singular leader or spokesperson; every participant is a leader in their neighbourhood, their school, their place of work. Each of you is a spokesperson to those whom you encounter. There are no dues to pay, no permission to seek in order to create an action.
We are but ten weeks old, yet we have already changed the national conversation. This is our moment, the one we’ve been hoping for, waiting for. If it’s going to happen it has to happen now. Don’t sit this one out. This is the real deal. This is it.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Spirituality and Religion in Revolutionary Pan-Africanism
A Paper Dedicated to Comrades Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., and Alhaji Ali Anum-Yemoh
At the core of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism is the ideological system of Marxism-Nkrumaism. We have consciously referred to ‘Marxism-Nkrumaism’ and not just ‘Nkrumaism’. For, the use of ‘Nkrumaism’ lends the concept to a variety of ideological misinterpretations the majority of which seek to drain it of its essential Marxist foundations. As an ideological system founded on materialist philosophy, Marxism-Nkrumaism unusually projects within the school of materialism a spiritual dimension wherein the objective Spirit is seen as a material force; that is, it asserts Spirit as a material being. In this respect, we do not find it surprising that the least explored area of Marxism-Nkrumaism among philosophical materialists is its position on spirituality and religion. We address this position here in part one. This follows with a case study report on a church’s practice in spirituality rather than religion in part two to illustrate the position of Marxism-Nkrumaism within the context of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism.
In The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism we go to great lengths to explain how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah distinguishes in the philosophy of his ideological system, Consciencism, between ‘spirit’ and ‘Spirit’. The first ‘spirit’, spelt with a small ‘s’, we find, refers to ‘mind’ – be it the mind of man or the Mind of God – which is dependent on man or God as a possession, a predicate. The second, spelt with a capital ‘S’, we find, refers to operative forces that are independent of man and exampled in references to ‘God’, ‘Satan’, ‘Angels’, ‘demons’ and such like entities. Here, we go further to consider some brief but pointed statements he makes in June Milne’s Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years – His Life and Letters regarding ‘Spirit’, an independent being.
At page 197 of that book, June Milne, Dr. Nkrumah’s research assistant and publisher, tells us that he ‘[b]elieved in some “force” rather like electricity, which was motivated by “natural laws”.’ When Milne asks him whether he thinks that that ‘force’ is benevolent he also asks her ‘What do you mean “benevolent”?’ She then explains, ‘Well-disposed. Kind.’ Dr. Nkrumah then laughs and says, ‘No. It’s not benevolent. If you break the natural laws, then that’s the end of you.’ This exchange takes place within the period November 15-22, 1967. Later, on August 4, 1968, Dr. Nkrumah, according to Milne at page 250, states his belief ‘in some “motive power” (ether, electricity, or something), not planned exactly, but following its own natural laws’.
Hence, Dr. Nkrumah acknowledges that there is something, apart from the mind of man, in the nature of ‘force’ which he also describes as a ‘motive power’. The word ‘motive’ denotes among others ‘reason’, ‘purpose’, ‘cause’, ‘drive’, ‘aim’ and ‘intention’. Thus, the force alluded to is said to be a conscious one with power. As a conscious entity, this force is also said to be motivated, that is, moved by its own natural laws, that is, laws that originally, primordially form its being. In Consciencism, at pages 89-90, Dr. Nkrumah says that ‘Force itself is the way in which particles of matter exist; it is their mathematical or quantitative constitution. Force is not a description of a particle of matter; it is not something that they wear on their face. Rather it is internal to them.’ In other words, the force is material. It has its own internal drives, the laws.
In his thought, therefore, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserts the existence of a material force which he describes not only in terms of purposefulness but also in terms of ether. Ether denotes ‘the air’, ‘the upper air’ ‘the atmosphere’ and ‘the heavens’. He likewise likens it to electricity. In fact, he sees it as ‘something’. In all this difficulty at naming the phenomenon, he falls short of calling this material force ‘God’ whose natural laws we can only break to our destruction. But when at page 84 of Consciencism he says that ‘Philosophical consciencism, even though deeply rooted in materialism, is not necessarily atheistic’, we know that God is the name of the conscious and purposeful force that he talks about in the discourse. No other nomenclature approximates to that force in living consciousness. Thus, we can comfortably assert Dr. Nkrumah’s belief in God; whatever name he ascribes.
We are even more comfortable when in a letter to June Milne, dated December 11, 1966, at page 95 of The Conakry Years, he appreciates Cronin’s novel The Keys of the Kingdom thus:
‘I went to bed last night very late, reading Cronin’s novel The Keys of the Kingdom – a very fascinating story, but not my world. Have you read it? You know I am not interested in novels. I read very few of them. I only read the so-called famous ones and forget them. But there’s a cryptic statement in Cronin’s which I like: ‘We are like tiny ants in a bottomless abyss. Striving to see the sky. O God, dear God, give me humility, and give me faith.’ You see, June, humility elevates and faith conquers.’ (Our italics)
Here we are listening to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah asserting his appreciation of a statement of a prayer calling on God to give humility and faith. This endorsement of faith in man’s relationship with God does not only portray Dr. Nkrumah’s ‘force’ as a reference to ‘God’ but also spells out for us in clear terms the assertion of ‘faith’ as a prime requirement of being in harmony with the ‘natural laws’. In this respect, Dr. Nkrumah himself, according to June Milne at page 250 of The Conakry Years, ‘[f]eels [a] sense of identification with the “natural laws”.’ This is self-identification with the natural laws (of God, therefore) and cannot be but through the agency of faith.
We are here anxious to explain that the philosophical materialism of Marxism-Nkrumaism or Nkrumaism, for short, asserts the existence of a Spirit about which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah says in his letter to June Milne, dated August 7, 1967, at page 168 of The Conakry Years thus: ‘… I also believe that there is a source of all power in the universe. I liken that power to, say, electricity or atomic energy, millions of times more powerful. This is the sustenance of all that there is.’ This material Spirit, we emphasize, is different from spirit as mind, a human possession. It exists independently of man. It is endowed with laws that require man’s faith to live in harmony with them. Infractions on them invite self-destruction. Reference to those laws as ‘natural’ or ‘spiritual’ means same. That Spirit is God.
There is the tendency to attribute any reference to God to the existence of religion. But that is a mistaken view. The discussion above is in the realm of spirituality. Religion involves spirituality but goes beyond it. Religion organizationally formalizes spirituality and mystifies it through add-ons like ritual observances and symbols. Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, through its ideological system of Marxism-Nkrumaism, asserts Spirituality as we see in the discourse above. Through the agency of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, it renounces religion as an organized practice. Dr. Nkrumah never tires of denouncing ‘organized religion’. At page 200 of The Conakry Years, in a letter to June Milne, dated November 28, 1967, for example, he says that
‘You may remember when you were here I tried to discuss religion with you. I did not go further than to say that I did not believe in organized religion. Religion, qua religion, and as a social and cultural phenomenon, evolving as it were through man’s aspiration to a higher self, is not incompatible with scientific socialism (Marxism) or Communism. As I say, it is the organized form of religion e.g. organized Christianity or Churchianity which I loathe. I loathe it because it destroys the freedom of man and turns him into a spiritual slave.’
From June Milne’s Notebook at page 250, again, of The Conakry Years, she notes that Dr. Nkrumah ‘does not believe in any formal religion.’ On March 27, 1970, he writes to Milne, at page 370 of The Conakry Years, that
‘With regard to the Author’s Note I wanted to write for Allen, it refers principally to page 12 of my Autobiography. I quote: ‘Today I am a non-denominational Christian and a Marxist Socialist. And I have not found any contradiction between them.’ Since I wrote those lines, my ideas on religion have changed, but the idea of an impersonal source of all power. I am still a Marxist Socialist, and much more so. On second thoughts, to avoid unnecessary controversy I think I should not write any Author’s Note for Allen. Ask him to print the book as it is. If I ever have the time to write a second volume, I might mention my views on religion.’ (Our italics)
Before this, he states in a letter to June Milne, dated July 1, 1967, at page 161 of The Conakry Years, that ‘I have no belief in religions; the organised religions of the world have done so much to bring pain and misery to man; indeed they have been spokes in the wheels of man’s progress. I have my own views on these matters. I will write about them some day. So far, I have kept to myself. I have not discussed them in print or in public. In my Autobiography I called myself a Marxist Christian. I think that was wrong. I am now simply a Marxist, with historical materialism as my philosophy of life.’
This continually evolving rejection of religion and retention of fidelity to spirituality can be traced to December 6, 1966, when Dr. Nkrumah writes to Erica Powell, his secretary from 1958-64 and authoress of the book Private Secretary (Female) Gold Coast, and tells her that
‘You take too much on yourself: e.g. in attempting to give my views on the Commonwealth, Macmillan, Middle East and also on personal matters: e.g. religion, marriage, etc. e.g. ‘Nkrumah was basically a very religious man.’ This is not for you to say because you don’t actually know whether I am or not, for I have not as yet written on the subject.’
And when for at least three times he exclaims ‘Me, a Marxist!’ at the concocted story of he having kept a dead body in a fridge at the Flagstaff House for ritual or ‘juju’ purposes he distances himself from so-called traditional religion. See page 45 of The Conakry Years.
It is instructive to note that while Dr. Kwame Nkrumah disowns religion he is careful not to also disown the impersonal force he talks about. In the cited July 1, 1967 letter to Milne above, he makes haste to distinguish between this impersonal force (God) and historical men venerated in the religions of the world and amongst whom he mentions Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Mohammed. In this respect, what is striking is his distinction between Christ and Jesus. He sees Christ as the impersonal force and Jesus as a historical and personal man. This is how he puts it all:
To me there is a difference between Christ and Jesus. Christ is mystical and impersonal, and Jesus is historical and personal. The two are not the same thing. Christian theologians have messed up the world with this confusion. Jesus is the biological son of Joseph and Mary. He was, however, a wise man in many things1, like Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Mohammed etc.2
This dialectically profound distinction of the impersonal and personal in Jesus Christ and its extension to Buddha, Confucius and Mohammed enables Dr. Nkrumah to assert the spirituality3 of these men without ultimately committing himself to any single one of them in terms of the religions that have evolved around them. Some of us are yet to attain this universal spirituality as opposed to the parochialism of Christian Spirituality, Buddhist Spirituality, Confucian Spirituality and Islamic Spirituality. It is the organized religions that he stands against.
For as long as philosophical consciencism has lived, for that long and perhaps more has Dr. Kwame Nkrumah lived with the notion that religion is a problem that must be tackled. At page 13 of Consciencism, he finds it inappropriate to declare war on religion, nevertheless. He considers religion as a social reality that can be tackled only if it is understood. He holds that to declare such a war on religion is to overlook its social nature and to, therefore, misconceive it as an ideal phenomenon, a mere mental category, which can just be dismissed as we do to illogical statements. It ‘must be understood before it can be tackled’, he teaches therein. In this respect, it is instructive that in a citation above regarding Erica Powell he sees religion as one of ‘personal matters’.
And this offers no surprise to the alert. For, he makes it clear that the issue of spirituality is one of a relationship between the individual and their being in harmony with the spiritual laws which he calls natural laws. It is the individual’s infractions of those laws that result in their own destruction. When he says above that he ‘feels [a] sense of identification with the “natural laws”’, he also adds, according to June Milne, that ‘His whole life, the Ghana coup included, [is] in a sense inevitable since [it is] part of his existence and experience’. That, Milne continues, explains why upon being informed of that coup he experiences ‘no sense of shock’ and is not affected ‘at all’. It is all a ‘personal matter’!
This is pregnant with the suggestion that to deal with or tackle the problem of religion spirituality must be shone off its organized form in religion together with its formalism and mystifying symbols. How this is to be done, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has not had the time to tell us. If we are to observe developments in the religious movement across the African continent, however, what we see in the proliferation and differentiation of churches gives us a hint as to the way out. In this regard, we are called upon to set our gaze on the ground to track down the evolution of a new era of spirituality; for, it cannot be an instant occurrence. It emerges, like any phenomenon of any significant social import, in a process of change crowned with a revolutionary explosion.
In the Christian literature, Jesus Christ tells us that that Era of Spirituality, which he calls the Kingdom of God, is already in our midst. See our article ‘The Kingdom of God’ in the October 9, 2008 issue of the Ghanaian newspaper Daily Graphic. Below here is a report on an African Independent Church – The House of Power Ministry International where this author, on May 3 and 4, 2012, is respectively healed of his nine-year-old diabetes and chronic waist pains in a matter of seconds4 – to provide an empirical case study of the revolutionary process in spirituality that unfolds under our very eyes. It is perhaps one of many such spontaneous developments in the socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-neo-colonialist struggles of the masses of Africa.
As a development within African civil society it cannot be abated even by the combined forces of neo-colonialism and imperialism. For, being widespread it cannot be contained. It is a symbol of the nature of the incipient Pan-African Revolution that nurtures it – its microcosm. Africa’s all-round liberation and unification under the People’s Republican State of Africa, guided by Marxism-Nkrumaism through Revolutionary Pan-Africanism, is the inevitable that shall surely come to pass. Indeed, Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God!
The House of Power Ministry International is an example of what is called an ‘African independent church’ or ‘spiritual church’. It is a product of the decades of rebellions against orthodox churches like the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church or the Anglican Church in the 1950s during the anti-colonial struggles in Africa. Its leadership is not in a hierarchical order. Apart from its Apostles there is a semblance of a Council of Elders the membership of which changes every six months upon selection drawn from the congregation. During church services, the Council of Elders is conspicuous in its absence on the podium – being merged with the congregation in the front seats. Members of the congregation do not hold membership cards to record their tithe payments. These members are fluid as they come from other churches to which some of them return after their healing.
The House of Power Ministry International has no symbols like the Cross of Jesus hanging in the church. It does not also make the sign of the Cross during its prayers. It is a Bible-believing church that uses the Twi translation of the Holy Bible although there is no formal reading of the Bible during services. Twi is its lingua franca. Attempts are being made to get English translators for non-Twi speakers. It has strict dress codes whereby ostentatious and revealing dressing is frowned upon. While women must cover their hair and avoid wearing of trousers, men do not wear hats. Its leader, Prophet Francis Kwarteng, usually wears a simple and now a trademark Lacoste interlock. Suits are not forbidden, though, as he wears them at times.
A band of young men and women with heavy musical instruments provide loud gospel songs, mostly by African musical artistes. Hymns are an exception to the rule, if any. At the Crusade, called at the Nungua Traditional Authority grounds from April 30th – May 4, 2012 and which is the focus of this report, a large lighting system run by a heavy-duty electricity generator oversees the mass gathering. The entire equipment, which is at times purchased on credit from suppliers, is provided from contributions of the church’s congregation which grows into the thousands over the few years of the church’s existence. Diesel purchase for the generator’s use is also made from appeals for contributions.
We have here a simple mass gathering seated in plastic chairs in great expectation of the instant healing of their years-old ailments. Before the healing, however, the Crusade ground goes agog with earth-shaking gospel musical renditions of African origin. We are here upon the advice of our three sisters one of whom had been healed of her fresh diabetic condition a few days before within the week. Upon our arrival and approach to take a seat we get our first correction from an inconspicuous lady usher who politely beckons us to remove our hat. We do so and proceed to take our seat. After a while we remark to our two sisters present that the strength of the music alone might heal us.
A short while after that an ebony-complexioned young man moves to a position behind a simple wooden altar facing the congregation when the music stops. He stands there alone at a distance in front of the band group without Elders sitting in cushioned chairs behind him. He wears a black vest over a white shirt and a pair of trousers. He calls upon those standing behind the congregation to take their seats in the empty chairs in front. He then begins his sermon with a prior but solemn appeal to the entire congregation to help voluntarily in contributions towards the transportation of equipment to the next Crusade grounds at Akosombo the following week.
In the sermon proper, Apostle Ernest Boateng, a nephew of the founding Prophet, Francis Kwarteng, focuses attention on God’s distribution of blessings. He explains that one’s presence in the premises of a church does not necessarily guarantee one of God’s blessings. Blessing emanates from obedience to God’s laws. A thief, a swindler, a husband or wife snatcher, a murderer should not expect that their mere presence in church can secure for them the blessings of God. Thus in case one’s request for a healing fails to yield results one should look inward and not put the blame elsewhere. The failure to live in harmony with the spiritual laws of God is responsible for the condition. And, above all, to live in that harmony requires that it is lived within one’s faith5 in God to set the condition for healing.
It is within this meaning of the sermon that we observe an elderly lady and listen to her subsequent testimony with profound interest. Let us call her Former Nurse. During the healing session, she joins two other persons – another elderly lady and a young man – when those with spinal cord difficulties are called to the fore. We see her walk with great difficulty and slowly. She holds a walking stick. At her position, she leans on the stick in front of the congregation with her body tilted to her left hand side. She is given a seat beside the other lady who is in like pain. While the other lady is being attended to, she says later that she feels ‘something’ climb from her feet to her upper body. This is when the other lady jumps about and dances after her healing. Former Nurse, on her turn, tells the Apostle that she wants to stand up without the walking stick. He tells her to do so then. She does not only stand up instantly to walk but also starts dancing vigorously. The congregation joins her.
In her testimony as to how it all happens, Former Nurse says she was a nurse in London where she developed a problem with her spinal cord. She was to be operated on with iron rods fixed in her leg. She says that she refused and opted to return to Africa for healing. She has since then been to several places in Ghana to no avail. She says she had faith that if human beings could manufacture cars and provide spare parts for them God, the creator of man, had human spare parts to replace her faulty spinal cord. She had come to the Crusade two days previously without the spinal cord patients being called. On this, her third, day she had prayed to be called and has been called and has received her healing. What can be called her theory of divine spare parts goes down well with the congregation.
This exhibition of faith is shared by several others; including the young man with an abnormally twisted spinal cord. The Apostle expresses surprise at his rare condition but heals him as well. In this theory of divine spare parts we cannot but report the experiences of two other ladies with one each of their fallopian tubes excised. These latter ladies had been healed the previous day, May 2, 2012, and asked to check up their new condition at the same operating hospital for x-ray confirmation. The first of them reports that after taking the x-ray the doctor confirmed not only the restoration of the removed fallopian tube but also the probability of her being pregnant. She complains, however, that the point of excision still pains her. Apostle Ernest Boateng tells her to press that point to see if it still pains. She is asked to press harder. She then reports the pain to have disappeared completely. The congregation breaks out loose in ovation.
The second lady with an excised fallopian tube holds her test result slip in her hand but does not yet know her condition. She reports that she has been asked to see the doctor the following day for an interpretation of the result. Apostle Ernest Boateng asks if somebody around could read the result slip. A young man volunteers and reading the entire result to the congregation he announces that the test declares the removed fallopian tube to have been restored. All the fallopian tubes are intact! The lady cannot support her joy as she prostrates on the floor rolling her body from the left to the right and vice versa. The congregation again breaks loose in ovation with shouts of the church’s slogan ‘There is power in the Blood of Jesus!’
Before these happenings, an elderly gentleman is first called to face the congregation. He comes from the Volta Region of Ghana and has been specifically mentioned to Apostle Boateng. He speaks and understands no Twi. He explains his condition as one of a twelve-year old continual burning sensation in his abdomen. Every medical attention has so far failed after spending so much money. He is asked to check on the sensation and he reports it to have subsided. He is then asked again and again until he reports it to have disappeared entirely. If this does not appear to come easily, a police officer’s hernia takes even hours. He is initially suspended but recalled later when the hernia disappears as his wife, another police officer, confirms. On this healing, the Apostle refers to an initial faith lapse.
These events and others take place after the offertory that follows on the heels of the sermon. They end after only two persons own up as diabetic patients when the question is put and are asked to be at the next Crusade at Akosombo for their healing. The next session appeals for financial support to enable the continuation of the Crusade on its next leg at Akosombo in Ghana. Specific amounts are called out – from ¢50.00 to 50p. Nobody gives out the ¢50.00. At the call of ¢20.00 quite a number of us go to drop the currency notes in a plastic bowl. All such donors are asked to line up in front of the congregation. The Apostle goes behind them consulting his large Holy Bible. From that position he instantly asks this author, who is one of the referred diabetic patients, if he could tell when his diabetes is healed. The author answers affirmatively. Apostle Boateng then simply asks him to go and check on the state of his urine. He goes and tastes his urine. It has turned very bitter. No sugar presence. For almost two weeks after this event this author has not taken any of his diabetes drugs and yet remains rarely fit. The other diabetic patient is also called with the same result.
Events on the last day of the Nungua Crusade follow this same pattern with a sermon on Moulding Character in Accordance to the Character of Jesus. Conditions addressed include Hepatitis B, fibroid, ‘white’ and diabetes. Others include debt recovery and marriage consummation. Apart from the mass healing session, healing is conducted according to affliction groups; that is, a particular group of, say, spinal cord cases is treated before, say, the group of diabetic cases. A patient suffering from both diabetes and spinal cord afflictions does not, therefore, have both treated at the same time. Only one is healed at a time. The other awaits its turn. Even during mass healing only one affliction is treated in the same person at a time. Our Former Nurse is thus treated for her spinal cord and fibroid difficulties on the respective days of Thursday and Friday.
In all the healing episodes Apostle Ernest Boateng does not lay his hand or hands on anybody; he stands in the distance and talks with the afflicted. It is not at all times that a prayer is said to heal ‘in the name of Jesus’. We observe in particular that a prayer is offered and addressed to the congregation in general but not in respect of particular individuals. Mass healings are undertaken ‘in the name of Jesus’. In fact, that is the application during which this author gets his second healing – this time his chronic waist pains disappear. We do not also hear the usual screams of ‘Amen’ and ‘Halleluiah’ from the pulpit.
It must be of interest to note that Apostle Boateng expresses the reluctance of the church to extend its hand to residents in the Western countries on account of raw deals from some of them. He narrates for example how, at the early stages of his practice, time and money was once spent in prayers and fasting to free a resident with immigration problems from some adverse court proceedings in Europe. The court rather ordered his freedom and provision with documentation to regularize his stay. That man has since reneged on his promise to defray expenses made. Such experiences form the basis of the church’s attitude. It prefers to operate in Africa where the congregation commits and collaborates in the advancement of the church.
Perhaps connected with such betrayals is the expression of thinly-veiled, if not latent, anti-elitist sentiments in the speeches of Apostle Boateng. He tells the congregation that his education does not go beyond the Middle School Leaving Certificate. Once in a while he tries to express an idea in the English language couched in American accent but gets stuck to the entertaining amusement of the congregation. A young man who tries to deliver himself in English is promptly prevailed upon to speak Twi which is thus projected as the language of the masses as opposed to English – the language of the elite. In fact, he calls on people ‘to come and listen to Twi and not big English in air-conditioned churches.’
He says he was a farm hand and had led a previous life of drinking and smoking – all this only to earn the disrespect of the community. Today, he continues to say, moulding his character in accordance with the character of Christ Jesus even men of high learning necessarily salute him in their pursuit of his services, not to talk about the newly-found respect of his compatriots in the farming community of his origins. All these lend themselves to interpretation vis-á-vis the welling up of anti-imperialist and anti-neo-colonialist spontaneous socialist struggles of the masses of Africa.
Prophecies of the End Time in the Holy Bible and Koran see these days as the period of emerging false prophets who deceive the populace with signs of wonder including healings. For this reason, doubt prevails over the authenticity of such acts of healing as we report above. This author recalls the healing of a man with sight disabilities in Lomé, Togo, in the early 1990s by Crusader Bonke. The excited man could go without his lens glasses for a period after which he suffered a relapse. A similar occurrence of a woman who suffered a relapse after being healed recently of her hypertension in a matter of six days at the House of Power Ministries Int. has been reported to this author.
This raises the issue of the centrality of permanence in healing for the authenticity of the healer as a true Prophet or ‘Man of God’. In this respect, it is instructive to remember Apostle Ernest Boateng’s explanation that being in harmony with the spiritual laws of God within faith is the basis of healing. This suggests that one’s continuation of those acts that precipitated the diseased condition in the first instance makes the healed person liable to a relapse. In fact, the woman with the relapse of hypertension tells this author that this warning was actually issued. She was asked to avoid drinking.
According to her, she did not know that ‘just a bottle of beer’ could reverse her healed condition. And because those healed were specifically asked not to report back on relapse cases, as they would not be retreated, she continues to live with her hypertension. Our man in the Bonke episode was an occasional patron at the author’s former dancing bar and he told his story of healing without his pair of spectacles while sipping his chilled glass of beer at the time. Any wonder? Remember that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah explains that our infractions on natural laws (spiritual laws) lead to our destruction.
But cases of relapse do not always emerge from the healed patient’s side of the equation. Here comes in the question of syncretism whereby the healer employs diverse means, including magic, to effect healing. Such healings are repeated after relapses. The lack of permanence here appears as the sign of the dubious character of the self-acclaimed Man of God. Thus, in the search for the authentic Man of God we are called upon to check on the success rate of the claimant in permanent healing; and where there are instances of relapse the source of the relapse must be identified before passing our judgement on the authenticity of those who make claims to being Men of God.
So, how do we see the House of Power Ministry International in the light of its organization and practice?
Formalism is virtually absent in the practice of the House of Power Ministry International. Hierarchy is so negligible that it can be said to be non-existent. The ‘Council of Elders’ is not a privileged unit of organization that conspires and exploits the congregation. It is routinely dissolved and replaced at short intervals of six months each. It does not have a separate place in cushioned seats facing the congregation and flaunting ill-gotten wealth and ostentation but shares the same seats with the rest of that congregation – all looking in the same direction. Its members, needless to say, are drawn from the congregation and remain with them while serving. Transparency is the result.
Refreshingly, we are not talking about a group renowned for the academic attainments of its leadership and general membership. Its comportment reminds one of the simplicity of the first generation of Christians minded only with the spirituality of their existence which they do not burden with symbols and rituals as well as class differentiations. This spirituality can only be contrasted with the religions championed by the exploiting classes who are intent on conserving the darkness reigning in the mind of humanity. This group is the harbinger of that total revolutionary democratic reconstruction of African society wherein the development of the whole becomes once again the condition for the development of each.
That is in complete accord with the spirit of Revolutionary Pan-Africanism – Marxism-Nkrumaism.
- At page 168 of The Conakry Years, in a letter to June Milne, dated August 1, 1967, Dr. Nkrumah finds some biblical verses rather amusing. He writes to Milne: ‘I am laughing at you now. Yes, about the quotation from the Bible. You quoted rightly: “To him who hath the more shall be given; and to him who hath not even that which he hath shall be taken away from him.” And you commented: “What kind of religion is this?” I think all religions are eyewash and hypocritical. You quoted correctly. I think that is what is found in King James’s Version. The Douai version is a bit different. Why bother? They were all translated from the Greek Testament.’
- Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, not surprisingly, observes Christmas and Ramadan. In the case of the latter when it once coincides with his personal fasting schedule on Fridays. Talking about his painful finger in a letter to June Milne on December 13, 1966 at pages 95-6 of The Conakry Years, he says that ‘It could have been worse if I had not been fasting on Fridays and drinking plenty of water. By the way, the Ramadan fasting begins today. I am trying it out with them.’ He is able to do this because he relates to the impersonal force, the Christ, in them – thus, emphasizing his position within Universal Spirituality.
- Spirituality is not spiritism. Marxism-Nkrumaism makes fun of and condemns occultism which is one thing spiritism begets. See Consciencism, page 82.
- See below regarding issues concerning the permanence of such healing.
- See our article ‘The Christ Concept of Faith’ on our blog at www.consciencism.wordpress.com/spirituality. It can also be found in the Appendices of The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism.
May 11 – 17, 2012