© Chinweizu, 2010
Paper submitted to the CBAAC conference on Pan-Africanism, Abuja, September 21-24, 2010.
Neo-Garveyism is a movement of the Black race, by members of the black race, for the welfare and enhanced status of the black race. Its paramount project is to build what Garvey described as “a strong and powerful Negro nation in Africa,” which is to say a Negro nation in Africa that is “strong enough to lend protection to the members of the race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect of the nations and races of the earth.”
Neo-Garveyism or Black Power Pan-Africanism is, in essence, Nyerere’s Sub-Sahara Pan-Africanism plus Garvey’s Black superpower project as its paramount project.
The seminal question that history poses to Black Africans today is this: What must we do to finally win the centuries-old Black-White race war and then accomplish a renaissance of genuine African civilization? Only black power can win the race war for us; only black power can give us the secure space on which to build any kind of society we find to our liking and in our interest.
If poverty is to be abolished in Black Africa, and if racist contempt for Blacks is to be ended on earth, Black Africa needs, by 2100, to rebuild itself with two paramount objectives:
 To have a Black superpower that could deter or defeat any enemies that attempt to take its land or to subjugate its population or subordinate its culture or, in any other way, challenge its vital interests.
 To create societies where the good things of life are produced and made available to one and all.
Prime benefits of having a Black superpower:
1: Gain self-respect as a member of a powerful race; lose the inferiority complexes and insecurities that undermine the confidence and life performance of black people.
2: Experience the quiet confidence that comes with knowing you can defend yourself and your loved ones against all comers. Others sense this confidence without any immediate proof. If they know there are people in your race with that capacity, they automatically wonder if you are one of them, and give you the benefit of the doubt. Their caution is warranted, for your weakness can then not be taken for granted, as it presently is, and will continue to be for as long as your black skin is indisputably a badge of chronic powerlessness.
3: Satisfaction of knowing that whatever your country does or doesn’t have in terms of ‘development’, it is primarily a result of your own choices, and not that others forced the choices upon you.
4: For men, the satisfaction of knowing that other men cannot come into your country and have their way with your women (wives and daughters, and increasingly, sons) because of the stark differential in power - yours vs. theirs. Women tend to gravitate to those with the power.
5: Satisfaction of knowing that anyone you train in your country will probably use that training in and for your country; and that if they do go abroad, there is a good chance they will bring back what they learn to enhance the country.
6: Dramatic reduction in mutual distrust that results from every person feeling that any opportunity may be his only one; therefore he must use all possible means -- illegal, unethical, etc. -- to take advantage of the situation, at the expense of others. A country with opportunities that frequently present themselves, reduces the desperation that forces people to screw each other at every turn.
7: Better, sound sleep for the citizens -- the number of churches ‘disturbing the peace’ should also see a drastic reduction, since the primary source of the all- night raucousness is desperation in the face of African realities. Note that lack of sleep causes delirium/craziness. And we surely show signs of that.
Pan-Africanism’s evolving agenda:
Since Pan-Africanism first emerged as a formal movement, its agenda has evolved with changing circumstances and challenges. In 1897, as the heavy blanket of white power settled on the whole Black race, the first ever Pan-African Association said that its constitutional mandate was to enable Africans and their global descendants, to achieve
"their true civil and political rights, to ameliorate the condition of our oppressed brethren in the continents of Africa, America, and other parts of the world, by promoting efforts to secure effective legislation, to encourage our people in educational, industrial and commercial enterprises, to foster friendly relations between the Caucasian and African races, to organize a bureau, a depository, for collections of authorized writings and statistics relating to our people everywhere, and to raise a fund to be used solely for forwarding these purposes."
--quoted in Prah, The African Nation, (Cape Town: CASAS, 2006), p.10
In 1919, there appeared the DuBois Integrationist Pan-Africanism, which held four Congresses between 1919 and1929. Its agenda was to integrate elite black individuals--the “talented tenth”-- into the higher levels of the structures of white power and white society in the world. This objective may be said to have been finally attained, at least symbolically, with the successes of the US Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and with the rise of blacks to such positions as
justices of the US Supreme Court, the US Secretary of State, the Secretary General of the British Commonwealth, the Secretary General of the UN, and to cap it all, with Barak Obama’s election as president of the USA.
Between 1914 and 1925, two other tasks were discerned and added to the agenda by Marcus Garvey.
1] To help create black governments, presidents, ambassadors, armies, navies, etc. and
2] To build a black superpower in Africa.
These two tasks made a great leap forward in Pan-Africanism’s aspirations. Why did Garvey add these two projects to the agenda? Between 1910 and 1914, Garvey traveled to investigate, at first hand, the condition of Blacks in the Caribbean and Central American countries, as well as in Europe. In his own words, while in London in 1914, after he had traveled through almost half of Europe, Garvey asked:
“Where is the black man’s Government?” “Where is his King and his kingdom?” “Where is his President, his country, and his ambassador, his army, his navy, his men of big affairs?” I could not find them, and then I declared, “I will help to make them.” [Philosophy & Opinions, II:126]
And he set out to help to make them by dramatizing the possibility of Black power in a world dominated everywhere by white power. His vehicle for doing so was the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) which he founded in 1914, in Jamaica.
Then, in the early 1920s, after diagnosing the global prospect of the Blacks, Garvey prescribed the fundamental remedy for their problems when he said:
[T]he Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon the object of building up for themselves a great nation in Africa, . . . [of] creating for ourselves [there] a political superstate . . . a government, a nation of our own, strong enough to lend protection to the members of our race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect of the nations and races of the earth. . . . [Philosophy & Opinions, I:68; II:16; I:52]
In 1945, the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester defined its task as achieving self-government for the colonized countries of the Black World. They demanded the immediate right to self-determination. They even issued a “Challenge to the colonial powers,” saying “we are determined to be free” and demanding “for Black Africa autonomy and independence.” This task, the equivalent of the first of Garvey’s two tasks, was to preoccupy Pan-Africanism until it was accomplished in 1994.
Then in 1958, at the Accra Conference of Independent African States, Nkrumah and Padmore added yet another task: African unity—the political integration of the ex-colonial countries of the African continent into what Padmore called the African Union or a United States of Africa. In Padmore’s own words:
“[Pan-Africanism’s] vision stretches beyond the limited frontiers of the nation-state. Its perceptive (sic) embraces the federation of regional self-governing countries and their ultimate amalgamation into a United States of Africa. In such a Commonwealth, all men, regardless of tribe, race, colour or creed, shall be free and equal. And all the national units comprising the regional federations shall be autonomous in all matters regional, yet united in all matters of common interest to the African Union. This is our vision of the Africa of tomorrow — the goal of Pan-Africanism."
--quoted in Kwesi Prah, The African Nation, ( Cape Town: CASAS, 2006), p.20.
Looking back, we can see that whereas the Garvey and 5th PAC project of creating Black governments was achieved world wide in the second half of the 20th century, beginning with Nkrumah’s Ghana in 1957 and concluding with Mandela’s South Africa in 1994, the second Garvey project has not even been attempted till this day. As for the Nkrumah-Padmore project of a US of Africa, half a century on, it has not been achieved and is unlikely ever to be achieved. And even Nkrumah himself gave up on it by 1968 when he wrote:
“As it is now constituted, the OAU is not likely to be able to achieve the political unification of Africa.”
–Nkrumah, Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare, (1968),[Revolutionary Path: 475]
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we need to take stock of our situation and discern the tasks for this new century, for as Fanon famously taught us: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” So, let us oldsters help the generation born in this century to discover their appropriate mission.
Pan-Africanism began as a movement to liberate the Black race from slavery, colonialism and racism. Today, despite a century of important successes, colonialism is still with us, though in disguised forms, and racism is still with us, and Blacks are still enslaved in the Arab dominated parts of Black Africa. And any non-Africans can still take our land and carry off our people to work for them. But Pan-Africanism lies exhausted and confused. So, what is to be done? First of all, we need to do a serious and honest stock taking.
A hundred and ten years after the first Pan-African Conference, and fifty years from 1960, the landmark year in which 17 Black African countries attained self-government, is a good time to assess how far we have come. How far have we advanced on the road to total liberation? How much of our hopes and aspirations have been realized, and how much disappointed? How much more do we need to do to achieve our total liberation?
Stock taking and reality check:
"It is impossible to struggle effectively for the independence of a people . . . unless we really know our reality and unless we start out from that reality to wage our struggle."
--Amilcar Cabral, Unity & Struggle, p. 44
Unfortunately, our perception of our reality is clouded by many illusions. Some of the popular illusions that need to be dispelled for us to see our reality are:
1. that self-government is independence;
2. that colonialism is over;
3. that African unity is the solution to our problems;
4. that we are developing nations;
5. that development is Europeanization;
6. that the reparation we need is in the form of money;
7. that we are not in a race war; that race war is only a future possibility which Blacks must avoid by any means necessary; and indeed that we, as Black Africans, have no enemies in the world;
8. that African countries are debt ridden and economic basket cases.
A little reality check should dispel these great illusions.
1] Self-government: Contrary to the orthodox illusion, self-government is not independence. Our self-government was introduced within the unchanged administrative, political, economic and cultural structures that colonialism had implanted in our territory, and with no fundamental changes in how we are incorporated into the enveloping imperialist structures. Our so-called independence achieved simply a takeover by local blacks of colonial administrations within the structures of imperialism, but that is not independence from imperialism.
We must realize that a nominally independent, self-governing black-majority territory embedded in the structures of white power and controlled by white power is simply a Bantustan. Every so-called independent Black country on earth today is simply a Bantustan. If we are honest with ourselves we must admit that all our
‘independent’ countries are simply Bantustans of imperialism, of the G-8; just like Kwazulu, Ciskei, etc. were Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa.
The ‘Independence Day’ we celebrate is really Bantustan Day. Like the Bantustans of Apartheid South Africa, we are not economically independent: the ‘world market’ of the imperialists dictates what we sell and what we buy and at what price; their IMF (Imperialist Ministry of Finance) and World Bank/IBRD (Imperialist Bank for Robbery and Depredation) and their economic ‘advisers’ dictate our economic and social policies; their corporations dominate our production and commerce, and subordinate our economic activities to serve the imperialists.
We are not politically independent: we belong to their “Commonwealths,” their “Communities,” and especially to their UN which was set up, and still operates, as a syndicate of imperialisms led by the USA. Our national budgets are heavily subsidized by western donors, thus giving them the controls to dictate our policies. Our NGOs and CSOs are also funded by the donors, thus compromising their autonomy.
We are not socially independent: their NGOs have unfettered and unsupervised access to even the remotest villages in our rural areas.
We are not culturally or mentally independent: we are ruled by their ideologies and religions; their music, ideas and images dominate our airwaves and our minds.
Their cultural missionaries, and the evangelists of their religions are everywhere--on TV, on radio, in schools, in village meetings--instilling in every mind the subversive and anti-African idea that anything African is inherently inferior, degraded and evil. Their books, their movies, their newspapers and media shape our values and desires; our parrots echo their fads and denounce patriarchy, homophobia, circumcision, etc. and insist on making them Pan-Africanist issues even though these are not issues relevant to the Pan-Africanist project; our languages, our architecture, our literature, are becoming more and more Europeanized, our governance institutions and norms imitate the European models; our discourse is saturated with Neo-Liberal concepts, prescriptions and jargon like transparency, public private partnership, global best practices, training in entrepreneurship, NGO, CSO, Freedom of Information, stakeholders, human rights defenders (i.e. missionaries), HIPCs, MDGs, and poverty alleviation; yet we lie to ourselves and say we have become free from Europe. But are you free from the person who thinks for you and controls your mind and aspirations? Like Dessalines mockingly pointed out to the Haitians in 1804: “our laws, our customs, our cities, everything bears the characteristics of the French –and you believe yourselves free and independent of that Republic!”
2] Colonialism: Is colonialism truly over? Not at all. It simply transformed and disguised itself as neo-colonialism. We simply went from being exploited under White expatriate colonialists to being exploited under Black comprador colonialists; and exploited for the benefit of the same European imperialism.
Ghana’s economy is still disadvantageously integrated into, and tributary to the British economy; the economies of Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal are likewise still disadvantageously integrated into and tributary to the economy of France. Mugabe’s attempt to pry Zimbabwe’s economy out of British control has led to a still on-going campaign, by Britain, the USA and the EU, to destabilize his regime.
Here are some other indicators that colonialism is not over:
Through obligations imposed by debt and aid, the budget details of African countries are vetted each year by the donors and their UN agencies. Our armies, through being equipped, trained and indoctrinated by the USA and the neo-colonial masters, are still no better than auxiliaries of the armed forces of the imperialist countries, just as they had been before “flag-and-anthem independence.” Our official languages and legal systems are still those of the European and Arab masters. So little has changed in our relationship to the colonizers. Colonialism is alive and well, and we deceive ourselves if we hold otherwise.
3] African unity: is that the solution to our problems? Far from it. A unity in weakness, such as under the OAU and AU, is no solution to our chronic powerlessness. You can have unity in your weakness, as Cabral warned: “we must realize that union does not always make for strength, there are certain kinds of union which make for weakness.” [Unity & Struggle: 30] You can all be chained together in a slave dungeon: that is unity-- OAU/AU style.
4] Development: Are we developing nations? Not at all! Our countries are neither nations nor developing. Development is only a by-product of industrialization, hence, without industrialization any so-called development is bogus. As we are not industrializing our economies, we are not developing. Development of consumption alone, which is what we are doing, is fake development.
Worse still, we have totally lost sight of what development is about. We allowed the imperialists to control our minds and do our thinking for us, and they made sure to guide us down the path that serves their interest. The IMF, the World Bank, their schools of “development studies”, their gurus of development have fostered a climate of misleading ideas and led us astray. They lured us to accept doctrines of ‘free market’, international division of labor, comparative advantage, ‘free trade’, basic needs, trickle down, ‘appropriate’ technology, etc.
We have not noticed what Noam Chomsky points out:
“The fact that there is not a single case on record in history of any country that has developed successfully through adherence to ‘free market’ principles: none. Certainly not the United States. I mean, the United States has always had extensive state intervention in the economy, right from the earliest days—we would be exporting fur right now if we were following the principles of comparative advantage.” [Understanding Power: 255]
The imperialists sponsor every kind of idea for development (economic empowerment, sustainable growth, infrastructure building, transparency, public private partnership, Freedom of Information, global best practices, human rights, NEPAD, MDGs etc.) except the key idea of state-organized industrialization— which they want us to avoid like the plague—lest it reduce the market for their own industries. Their foundations come to our universities and sponsor seminars on such decoy topics as “Ethnicity and the crisis of development in Nigeria”—as if ethnicity, rather than IMF/World Bank tutelage and the debt trap, is the cause of Nigeria’s lack of development. They get us obsessed on corruption, as if it was the root cause of our lack of development. They blind us to the fact that corruption is just one of their devious tools for controlling our leaders. Why, we fail to ask, has chronic and ineradicable corruption in countries like South Korea not prevented their development? Their intellectual agents are everywhere converting us to their Neo-liberal ideology that insists on just those “free trade”, minimalist government policies that will block our industrialization and development.
5] Is Europeanization development?:
Development is not synonymous with Europeanization. But ask the average Black African to identify signs of development and he will point to tin-roofed, concrete block, European-style houses—which have replaced the African style houses; he will point to churches and buildings for European schools. He will rarely point to factories turning out manufactured goods. Some extreme cases will even point to a black woman’s straightened hair blowing in the wind, or to what some billboards in Lagos advertise as ‘upgraded skin’, that is to say, black skin bleached as near-white as possible. Nkrumah said:
“The desire of people is to have enough to eat without spending too great a part of their income upon food. They want a reasonably comfortable place to sleep; they want light, a ready supply of water, education for their growing children and future generation, adequate medical care and welfare services.”
--[Nkrumah, Revolutionary Path: 201]
Unlike Nkrumah in the above exemplary passage, the average Africans do not see development in functional, culturally neutral terms. None conceive of development in African cultural terms: they will name their desires in terms that are specific to European culture, rather than in culturally neutral functional terms, let alone in terms that are culturally African.
6] Reparation: Contrary to the widespread demand for trillions of dollars of reparations money, the only reparation that matters is our self-repair of our powerlessness, the chronic powerlessness that invited the Europeans and Arabs to enslave, conquer, colonize and exploit Black Africa for the past two millennia.
The fundamental reparation is to repair the chronic powerlessness that made possible the Maafa with its centuries of black enslavement, colonialism and racism.
The fundamental task is to self-repair the social, cultural and psychological damage done by enslavement and colonialism and racism. This repair will produce a people determined to gain real power; such people will easily find ways to become self-financing, starting with control of their own resources. Additionally, the idea that powerful people will knowingly finance the increase in power of their victims or adversaries is absurd. Our ridding ourselves of this foolishness is a key part of self-reparation.
7] Race War: Is there a race war going on? Do we, as Black Africans, have any enemies in the world? All too many of us are oblivious to the fact that we have dangerous enemies in the world—enemies determined to enslave, exploit and even exterminate us, so as to take over our land and natural resources. This is despite the history of the last 2,000 years and despite all that the Europeans have done to us in the last six centuries. We naively think the whole world is our friend. We now even hug the Europeans as our “development partners” despite the fact that it was their centuries of enslaving and colonizing us that gave rise to Pan-Africanism. We now hug the Arabs as our African ‘brothers’ despite their racism/Negrophobia and the fact that they have been enslaving us for 15 centuries, and still do so in Mauritania and Sudan.
Our pathetic obliviousness of our enemies results from the fact that we are not taught our Afrocentric history; some of us are not taught any history at all; or, worst of all, are taught history from the standpoint of our enemies. Our education systems have not taken heed of Garvey’s profound point that “To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of man.”— [Philosophy & Opinions I: 17]
As Chancellor Williams concluded after he documented the facts,“ ‘the whites are the implacable foe, the traditional and everlasting enemy of the Blacks’. . . The necessary re-education of Blacks and a possible solution of racial crises can begin, strangely enough, only when Blacks fully realize this central fact in their lives: The white man is their Bitter Enemy. For this is not the ranting of wild-eyed militancy, but the calm and unmistakable verdict of several thousand years of documented history.”
--Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization, p.310
8] Are African countries debt ridden and economic basket cases? This is not true, despite the general propaganda that it is the true situation. African governments may be indebted, but even the poorest African HIPCs are actually net exporters of capital, just as during white expatriate colonialism.
Through the open veins of its still-colonial economies, Africa is being robbed of billions every year by the multinationals. According to the Washington- based investigators Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Multinational Companies removed more than $854 Billion from Africa by Illicit Financial Flows from
1970 to 2008. GFI estimates that the loss could be as high as $1.8 trillion. This loss is a principal reason why Africa has remained poor. "The amount of money that has been drained out of Africa—hundreds of billions decade after decade—is far in excess of the official development assistance going into African countries," said GFI director Raymond Baker and he added: "Staunching this devastating outflow of much-needed capital is essential to achieving economic development and poverty alleviation goals in these countries."
GFI director Raymond Baker further added that "As long as these countries are losing massive amounts of money to illicit financial outflows, economic development and prosperity will remain elusive." Despite all the noise about the foreign aid and investment flowing into poor Africa, Africa has consistently been a net exporter of capital!
“ The top five countries with the highest outflow measured were: Nigeria ($89.5 billion) Egypt ($70.5 billion), Algeria ($25.7 billion), Morocco ($25 billion), and South Africa ($24.9 billion)”
[From the GFI figures, a little calculation shows that the outflow from the six Arab countries in North Africa–Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, W. Sahara, -- was at most, $195.9bn; and that from sub-Sahara Africa was at least $658.1bn, an average of approx. $17.3bn per year. If the outflow was $1.8tr, then the sub-Sahara outflow would be approx. $34.6bn per year. ]
An earlier report, published in 2001 in the Journal of Development Studies by James K. Boyce and Leonce Ndijumana, estimated that capital flight from 25 low-income sub-Saharan African countries in the period 1970 to 1996 totaled more than $193 billion (in 1996 dollars); with imputed interest earnings, the accumulated stock of flight capital amounts to $285 billion. The combined external debt of these countries stood at $178 billion in 1996. Thus, even the 25 poorest African ‘debtor’ countries were net creditors/net exporters of capital, to the tune of more than $100bn.
The vital question is why do African governments allow this plunder? To understand that, we have to understand neo-colonialism and its Black compradors.
Neo-colonialism and the Black comprador colonialists:
To understand the workings of neo-colonialism and the role of African governments in it, let us turn to Nkrumah, Black Africa’s pioneer researcher and expert on Neo-colonialism. Writing in the 1960s, Nkrumah said:
“In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism. The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside. The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes. . . . The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo- colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world.”—Revolutionary Path: 314, 315
“A State in the grip of neo-colonialism is not master of its own destiny.”
– Revolutionary Path: 315
“The rulers of neo-colonial States derive their authority to govern, not from the will of the people, but from the support which they obtain from their neo-colonial masters. They have therefore little interest in developing education, strengthening the bargaining power of their workers employed by expatriate firms, or indeed in taking any step which would challenge the colonial pattern of commerce and industry, which it is the object of neo- colonialism to preserve.”
– Revolutionary Path:319
“The methods of neo-colonialists are subtle and varied. They operate not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres. . . . It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’,
which has come to be known as neo-colonialism.” – Revolutionary Path:324
What is it for a country to be totally liberated?
A country is totally liberated only when it has enough power to deter every other country from messing about with it. So, for Black Africa to become totally liberated, it must build enough black power to prevent others from meddling in its affairs.
A long-forgotten theme of Pan-Africanism is Garvey’s Black Superstate.
Yet it is the most important theme and needs to be quickly revived.
After fifty years of black comprador colonialism masquerading as independence, what is the condition of Pan-Africanism and of Black Africa today?
The state of Pan-Africanism today:
Pan-Africanism, which was militant and anti-imperialist in the 1950s, has degenerated into an AU Pan-Africanism that is a neo-colonial Pan Africanism; it is a sellout to the Arabs as well as to the Imperialists.
People’s Pan-Africanism is dead.
The official Pan-African Movement is confused and in the pockets of the Arab-dominated AU and the imperialist UN. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, the late General Secretary (1994-2009) of the Pan-African Movement, was even in the employ of the UN and was a campaigner for the imperialist UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
A lost half century:
In 1958, Pan-Africanism went astray. And in the late 1960s, Nkrumah himself declared: “the main purpose of our struggle [is] the total liberation of the African continent, an All-African Union Government and socialism.” [Revolutionary Path: 422] As a result, for 50 years Pan-Africanism has been confused about both its constituency and its project. Instead of struggling for the total liberation of Black Africa from all forms of imperialism and racism, its ultimate goal got misdefined as Afro-Arab unity and socialism. It is still mindlessly obsessed with the failed and Arab hegemonist project of a Continental Union Government. As a result, it has been co-opted by imperialism, and hijacked by the Arabs.
The state of Black Africa today:
When we dispel the cloud of illusions what reality do we see? Main features:
Just as Nkrumah noted back in the 1960s,
1] “All over Africa the essential economic pattern developed under colonialism remains. Not one of us, despite our political independence, has yet
succeeded in breaking, in any substantial measure, our economic subservience to economic systems external to Africa.” –[Revolutionary Path:286-287]
And, within the last decade, only Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has made a serious effort to disrupt the economic pattern it inherited from colonialism, and it has been punished severely for this attempt, with little sympathy from the Black African comprador intelligentsia.
2] “Most of Africa has now achieved political independence. But imperialism has not been vanquished. International finance capital appearing now in the guise of neo-colonialism seeks to maintain and extend its stranglehold over the economic life of our continent.” [Revolutionary Path: 422]
3] “For centuries Africa has been the milchcow of the Western world. . .
.Our capital flows out in streams to irrigate the whole system of Western economy.” [Revolutionary Path: 237]
As the GFI figures make plain, this is still the case despite 50 years of self- government or flag-and-anthem “independence”.
4] Black Africa is chronically weak—in the economic, military, and cultural spheres--and it is politically inconsequential in the global scheme of things. We have no great power among us to command the respect of the world—no power with a mighty army and nuclear weapons, no great economic power. We have
no great power to advance and defend our racial interests in the world. The white race has the USA, the EU, and Russia. The yellow race has China and Japan. The black race has nobody. We don’t even have one country powerful enough to be a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council.
As a result, Black Africa is unable to intervene and stop the torture of Haiti by the USA and France; and it is unable to stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Black Africans of Darfur by the Arab expansionists. Black Africans look on
or look away in impotence, and we are not even seething with rage at these attacks and humiliations. Black Africa hasn’t the power or the will to exclude whites or their agents from its territory or its affairs.
And everywhere in the world Black people, in shameless self-contempt, are trying desperately to physically look like whites by bleaching their skins, straightening their wooly hair, or wearing wigs made of white people’s hair. The black skin is still a badge that triggers the contempt of the world, and we are still despised by the world, though not as blatantly as in 1900 when Pan-Africanism was launched.
5] The Black race has no collective security organ where we gather, entirely by ourselves, to deliberate on how to advance or defend our own interests. The Arabs have their Arab League, the Europeans have their NATO. Where is our Black World League?
6] Africans are being systematically plundered into poverty by the multinationals, with the assistance of Black comprador governments. The GFI figures discussed above speak for themselves.
7] Colonialism, far from being over, is alive and well under a system of UN institutions, chiefly the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. In fact, as the GFI figures show, neo-colonialism is now even better at plundering Africa than the old colonialism was before the era of self-government began in 1957. Whites still control African economies, just like they did before self-government.
8] Black comprador misrulers are everywhere, and their job is to supervise and facilitate the imperialist plunder of the land and resources and people of Black Africa.
9] Black Africa’s industrialization has been stopped by four decades of IMF and World Bank diktats.
10] Black Africa’s agriculture and food security has been destroyed by the diktats of the same imperialist outfits.
11] Black colonialist leadership is everywhere: Political compradors, economic compradors, cultural compradors, intellectual compradors are entrenched everywhere.
We ought to ask: Why don’t we in Black Africa produce leaders who just want the best things in the world for their people, all their people; leaders like Dubai’s emir, Sheikh Maktum bin Rashid Al Maktum, who, it is reported, declared: “I want my people to live better lives now, to go to the highest school now, to get good healthcare now, not after twenty years,” and rhetorically asked CBS’s Steve Kroft why Dubai should not aspire to have the best things in the world if European countries could have such dreams.
Why have we been afflicted with vampires-in-power? The Mobutus, the Bokassas, the Obasanjos, the Omar Bongos, for whom the proper use of power is to plunder and rape their own society! In all of 50 years, why
hasn’t a Castro or a Lee Kuan Yew or a Sheik Mohammad Maktum emerged in Black Africa? What in our bastardized neo-colonial culture gets in their way?
12] The resurgence of Arab expansionism across Africa’s Sahel belt goes unchecked and is not even verbally opposed.
13] The AIDS scourge is depopulating black Africa even though there is a cure and also a vaccine for it, patented remedies through which AIDS could have been eradicated from Africa by now, and can be eradicated from Africa in a few years.
14] A scramble for Africa’s farmlands is going on today:
“Examples are Kenya’s deal to lease nearly 100,000 acres to the Qatari government in return for financing a new port; South Korea’s agreement to develop almost 400 square miles in Tanzania; the Ethiopian government had approved deals totaling around 1.5 million acres, while the country’s investment
agency reports that it has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007, nearly doubling the number registered in the entire previous decade. But that’s far from a complete picture. While the details of a few arrangements have leaked out, like one Saudi consortium’s plans to spend $100 million to grow wheat, barley and rice, many others remain undisclosed, and Addis Ababa has been awash in rumors of Arab moneymen who supposedly rent planes, pick out fertile tracts and cut deals.”
If nothing is done now to stop these sellout governments from selling off Africa’s farmlands; if they are allowed to help the IMF & WTO to destroy African agriculture, you will wake up thirty years from now with no land on which to grow food to feed yourselves. Then what will you do? If you try to rebel at that time it will be too late. This makes it an urgent matter to pressure the governments to stop and reverse these policies. [They will sell off your land and pocket the money and export it to their bank accounts in Europe, Arabia and America, and leave you with nothing.]
15] Everywhere we look we see black societies shattered by centuries of slavery and colonialism and needing to be reconstituted into viable societies.
16] White privilege reigns everywhere: deference to all things and all persons white is the norm. In Black Africa, every white skinned person is
presumed to be a somebody and deserving of automatic respect and deference. The colorarchy is intact, with the black-skinned at the bottom of the scale and brown (Indians), and yellow (Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, etc.) above the blacks, and white (Arabs and Europeans) at the top, all commanding automatic respect and deference.
Examples? Any European tourist/‘investor’ has quicker access to the Black colonialist state managers than any Black person. So too do Lebanese, Indians, etc. Racial stratification of privilege and opportunity still exists in Black Africa.
17] No black country is powerful enough to be sovereign, i.e. able to freely decide on its values or types of political and social institutions without interference or intimidation by white powers--such as the USA and EU--who insist that no country should be allowed to deviate from the norms they themselves proclaim.
The Yellow race has a sovereign China whose political and social systems are its own, and under whose protection Singapore could enforce its laws against an American tourist who violated them while on Singapore’s territory. Under China’s protection as well, North Korea has defied attempts by the white powers, led by the USA, to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The white race has such truly powerful and sovereign countries as the USA and the EU who can do whatever they like both at home and abroad. For much of the 20th century the USSR was another sovereign white country, but with its collapse in 1991, its successor states have come under the wings of the USA and the EU.
18] The African population has been intimidated and politically neutered and demobilized.
In May 1963, as the OAU was being formed, Nkrumah warned his OAU peers that “[if we] leave our peasantry to the mercy of foreign cash crop markets, [we shall] face the same unrest which overthrew the colonialists.” -[ Revolutionary Path:239] Despite the devastation of African agriculture by the imperialist market and policy forces, [low prices for farm products, low pay for farm workers, alienated land, dumping of highly subsidized European farm products] this unrest has not materialized.
Africa’s now passive and thoroughly depoliticized population has lost the gumption to even protest against its miseries, let alone overthrow its misrulers. How did we lose that gumption? Media indoctrination? Religious indoctrination? Or is it simply the predictable cumulative effect of being powerless for too long? We must study and understand this if we are to reverse the process and regain the gumption to challenge our misrulers.
As Prof. Prah pointed out in 2006: “Today, one in three Africans is malnourished, and about half of its nearly 700 million people live on less than $1 a day; most (80%) live on less than $2 a day.” The gap between the standard of
living of the Black colonialist comprador millionaires and that of the shanty dwellers and the rural population is today even greater than the gap, in the 1930s, between the white expatriate colonialists and the African masses. Yet the masses have relapsed into the spineless stupor to which they were reduced by the harrowing terrorism of the European conquerors at the end of the 19th century, a spineless stupor from which they were first aroused by the experiences of WWII and the anti-colonial agitators after WWII. The African masses are once again manifesting that “fatalistic patience”, especially under misrule, which led the South African General Jan Smuts to say in 1930 “that the black man’s patience was one of the world’s marvels, second only to the ass’s”.
19] Unemployment crisis: Everywhere we find multitudes of school leavers at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) for whom there are no jobs, largely because of a colonial economy which has been assigned a role in the international
system that excludes the industrialization that creates jobs. How will all this be changed? What do we need to do? What must be done to upset the plans and structures of neo-colonialism? To find our way out of our humiliating situation, let us turn to the Great Marcus Garvey for guidance. According to Garvey, “The only protection against injustice in man is power—physical, financial and scientific.” [Philosophy & Opinions I: 5] He also taught that “The world does not count races and nations that have nothing. Point me a weak nation and I will show you a
people oppressed, abused, taken advantage of by others. Show me a weak race and
I will show you a people reduced to serfdom, peonage and slavery. Show me a well organized nation, and I will show you a people and a nation respected by the world.” [Philosophy & Opinions I: 13-14]
Garvey summed it all up when he said: “A race without authority and power, is a race without respect.” [Philosophy & Opinions I: 2]
Do we as black Africans want to be respected on earth? Then let us go forth and build ourselves the Black African power we presently lack and have lacked for centuries. Let us make the building of this Black African power the paramount objective of our Pan-Africanism. Let us therefore follow Garvey and go forth and promote Black Power Pan-Africanism. And to make ourselves a powerful people what must we do? What must become our agenda?
The Key Tasks:
1. Win the Black-White Race War and accomplish a renaissance of African civilization.
2. Build a welfare system in each Pan-African country.
3. Create a Black-African League of states.
4. Build a Black superpower in Africa.
5. Eradicate AIDS from Africa.
6. Revive African agriculture and ensure food security.
7. Industrialize our economies.
8. Defeat the Arab expansionists.
9. Liberate ourselves from the UN Imperialism of the World Bank, IMF, WTO.
10. Reconstitute Pan-Africanism by redefining its constituency as Sub- Sahara/Black Africa and its Diaspora; by redefining its paramount task as the building of a Black superpower in Africa; and by agreeing on sound criteria for who is an African.
11. Teach Pan-Africanism to the young and expose for them the structures of neo-colonialism.
12. Achieve cultural re-Africanization.
13. Accomplish social reparation—Build viable societies to replace those shattered by the centuries of slavery and colonialism.
14. End the scramble for Africa’s farmlands.
15. Groom Pan-Africanist entrepreneurs to build the economy of each country/community by organizing and industrializing it.
16. Groom a generation that is loyal to the race, feels responsible for ending the humiliations of the race, is psychologically motivated to take full control of our societies and our destiny, and can independently define Black Africa’s interests and go forth, boldly and skillfully, to defend and advance them.
Some immediate business:
Here are a few matters we must begin with right away: Correctly define who is an African; and who is a Pan-Africanist; abandon the mirage of continental
union government in all its versions.
Who is an African?
I suggest that discernible black African ancestry and adherence to African culture are what make one an African. This ancestry, however remote or slight, is visually manifested in black skin or wooly hair or both. Those of visible
African ancestry who repudiate their Africanness by adhering to Arabia and calling themselves Arabs, and who serve the anti-African interests of the Arabs, thereby cease to be Africans.
Who is a Pan-Africanist?
I suggest that a Pan-Africanist is an African who accepts that the global Africans, i.e. the Black Africans and their global diaspora, are one people with a common destiny, and who accepts that the paramount duty of Black Africans is to liberate all Black Africans from imperialism, colonialism and racism.
AU, US of Africa, Continental Government?
We need to drop the project of Continental government, in all its versions, from our 21st century agenda. I have elsewhere presented in detail five arguments for abandoning that futile and dangerous project on which so many are fixated. [See Is African Unity necessary for the total liberation of Black Africa? ]
Here is a summary of the arguments:
1. Contrary to claims made in the early 1960s, African Unity is not necessary for Africa’s industrialization and liberation from neo- colonialism.
2. We do not need to unite these ex-colonial territories; we need,
instead, to develop our technological and industrial power within each of them and organize the many kinds of cooperation that would actually build our collective power.
3. Continental Union Government will, almost assuredly, lead Black
Africa into the dungeons of Arab colonialism and enslavement.
4. Nyerere’s point: In the global power disposition in the 21st century, Sub-Sahara Africa is entirely on its own and should become self- reliant and not tie its fortunes to any other groups, as none have it in their self-interest to help develop or liberate Black Africa.
5. Nkrumah’s point: African unity is never going to come about through the OAU/AU route.
Like a wise man said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” So after 47 years of seeking unity through the OAU/AU route, isn’t it time we buried and forgot that futile project? It’s a mirage. Let’s stop chasing this mirage. Let’s disband the AU and throw away the idea of a US of Africa; and let’s seek other paths out of our poverty and powerlessness. Let’s see what we can learn from the examples of Castro’s Cuba, Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, Sheikh Mohammed Maktum’s Dubai, Park Chung-Hee’s South Korea and Emir Khalifa’s Qatar as we embark on a competition to raise the ranking of each Black African country in the HDI tables.
Our stalled liberation project:
The withdrawal of the white expatriate colonialists from the apparatus of colonial domination was essential for the possible emergence of new alternatives to colonial political structures, social structures and economic arrangements. But, having taken that “first step” towards liberation, Black Africans have seemingly
lost the will and the drive to take the many remaining steps on their road to liberation.
If we claim that we are liberated—i.e. powerful enough to be independent— then where are our mighty armies equipped with atom bombs, ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines? Where are our heavy industries, turning out iron and steel,
petrochemical products, ships, aircraft, articulated trucks, trains, tanks, artillery? Can you find them? If not, will you help make them?
Final remark on cardinal goals:
We must note and always bear in mind that
“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” : Samuel P. Huntington [Google, Samuel P. Huntington quotes. Accessed September 2010]. To be perfectly correct, Huntington should have said: “some non-Westerners never do.”
The Black African ‘non-Westerners’ seem to be almost alone in our collective misunderstanding of the cause of our defeat. We now refer to those who organized that violence against us as “development partners” and fellow “stakeholders” in our societies and economies. We can almost hear the whites roar with laughter at our mindless use of these terms. We have been either hypnotized
or bludgeoned into believing that it was the ‘superiority of [their] ideas or values or religion’ that did us in. Therefore we continue to spawn cheap, superficial caricatures of their ideas, values and religion--caricatures that can only continue to serve them and increase their lead and power over us.
Pan-Africanist ambitions: True, we want to liberate ourselves from racism, imperialism etc. And to liberate ourselves from domination by the West, we must become as good at organized violence as the West. We must get on with the project of building a black superpower in Africa.
But beyond that, what do we want to do? What do we want to achieve in the world? What do we want to build for ourselves?
Beyond anti-racism, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, what is Black Africa’s project in the world? A project self-defined and entirely in our interest? What do we want Black Africa to become in 200 years, in 500 years?
Let me suggest some cardinal goals.
Three Cardinal Goals for 21st century Pan-Africanism
1. Raise the quality of life/standard of living of Blacks in the mass;
2. Win the respect of the world for the Black race;
3. Achieve a Renaissance of Black African Civilization.
To pursue these goals what we most desperately need is Black African power. We must get on with the project of building a black superpower in Africa.
How will we know when we have built that Black superpower? When we have at least one big country in Black Africa, preferably of sub- continental size (e.g. ECOWAS or SADC), that has mighty armies equipped with atom bombs, ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines. When we have Black African economies with heavy industries, turning out iron and steel, petrochemical products, ships, aircraft, articulated trucks, trains, tanks, artillery, microchips etc. Then we would have arrived.
Cabral, Amilcar Unity & Struggle, London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1980
Chomsky, Noam Understanding Power, New York: The New Press, 2002
Fanon, Frantz The Wretched of the Earth, New York: Grove Press, 1968
Garvey, Amy Jacques, ed. Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey, Introduction by
Robert A. Hill, New York: Atheneum, 1992
Nkrumah, Kwame Revolutionary Path, London: Panaf Books, 1973
Prah, Kwesi The African Nation, Cape Town: CASAS, 2006
Williams, Chancellor The Destruction of Black Civilization, Chicago: Third World Press,1987