Today, if we are serious about uniting African people and Africa, we must accept the mission of the African working class, which is the eradication of imperialism in its present neocolonialist form, the establishment of an African workers’ State and the consolidation of the African nation. This black power State must be born as a revolutionary State, which will only happen at the expense of the African petty bourgeoisie and white imperialist ruling classes. Such an arduous task requires us to be equipped with the most advanced revolutionary scientific theory to guide the worldwide African revolution. It is our view and conviction that African Internationalism is such a theory and the African Socialist International (ASI) is the single organization that is needed to guide such a revolution.
African Internationalism is a theory of the African working class in pursuit of power for itself at the exclusion of any other social force, and for the purpose of building and consolidating the African nation.
The African Socialist International is the united effort of all African revolutionaries inside a single organization, dedicated to complete the Black Revolution and anti-colonial struggles of the last 50 years, which promised a bright future to our people, before they were attacked by imperialism and betrayed by the African petty bourgeoisie.
The temporary victory of the African petty bourgeoisie has never been so shaky. It is a rule that is hated in every African country. The masses often say that direct white rule was better. The African petty bourgeoisie is an embarrassment hanging over our heads, which we need to get rid of without delay.
The absence of revolutionaries has been one of the main reasons for the continuing existence of neocolonialism.
We recognize that the existence of Pan-Africanism constitutes a basis of opportunism in the black world. Many of our people still think that Pan-Africanism means the unity of Africa and African people. The reality shows that Pan-Africanism in the real world exists in the form of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which now hides as the African Union (AU). Their Pan-Africanism is in the form of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). It is what serves the interests of the African petty bourgeois compradors and bureaucrats. It has nothing to do with the liberation, development and unification of Africa. Mbeki, Gbagbo, Mugabe and the others have never challenged the borders, nationalities and economies inherited from colonialism. They never will.
ASI Chairman Omali Yeshitela summed up that Pan-Africanism was born as an attack on Marcus Garvey’s movement. It only rose to preeminence because Garvey’s magnificent movement was destroyed by the U.S. government. Chairman Yeshitela also summed up in the same way that U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama was able to run as a presidential candidate and become president of the U.S. because Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers were assassinated by the U.S. government.
Dear comrades, we must help the people understand that the unity of Africa and African people is a revolutionary question. It is a struggle to unify the entire black masses of the “have nots” who are catching hell everywhere on the planet against “the haves” of the African petty bourgeoisie who are doing all they can to maintain the status quo. Unity that does not end the exploitation and oppression of the one billion African workers and peasants is worthless. Unity that does not destroy the African borders does nothing but continue the micro-economies that only benefit imperialism. Imperialism imposed these borders on us in the first place in order to secure the looting of Africa.
It has become clearer to the people of the world that U.S. imperialism and its European allies have been unable to win the wars to re-impose imperialist peace in the form of direct white power in the Middle East. They are challenged in South America by Chavez, Morales and others. Imperialism’s hegemony in Asia is under threat by the economic rise of China. The ongoing crisis of imperialism is threatening the very existence of African people, as all new and old imperialists are attempting to transfer the cost of the crisis onto the back of Africa and African people everywhere on the planet.
African people are the only people who are not organized in motion against imperialism. We cannot afford to have this crisis resolved at the expense of our people’s future. Building the ASI and making the revolution has never been so urgent as it is at the present time. As never before, black workers and peasants must re-enter international political struggle as an independent force. We can no longer be an appendage of the African petty bourgeoisie, no matter how radical it may sound. The time of the African Socialist International has come.
The disputes between Garvey’s UNIA and Du Bois’ Pan-African Congress were the result of two opposing world views and different material interests
In any society sharply split into classes, different social forces have different and opposing material interests. These differences are expressed and projected in their philosophies, which are nothing but a class world view. Today’s imperialist world, built on colonial slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism, is irreconcilably split between oppressor nations and oppressed nations.
In such a world, the forces of freedom and slavery are antagonistically opposed at any time of the day, week, month or year. In times of peace or war, imperialist order is always opposed to the interests and aspirations of colonially enslaved and oppressed nations. Under such conditions, it is not just our labor, our land and its resources that are daily stolen, but our freedom, our history, our sciences, our culture and our world views. Even our brains are colonized by the oppressor nations’ States.
Since imperialist order is primarily based on national oppression of the non-white peoples of the world, we can easily see how and why the national liberation struggles of non-white peoples are the most serious threat to the existence of imperialism.
Marcus Garvey created the first modern international African liberation movement with one philosophy, one central leadership and one organization without borders across the African world—the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). It was based amongst the poor African workers and poor peasants across the world, conscious of its own existence as an organization for the national liberation of black people. Garvey’s movement was part of the worldwide national liberation of oppressed nations of his time. That is why Garvey sent solidarity messages to the Russian Revolution in 1917, and to the Irish Liberation Movement.
The Negro World, the UNIA newspaper in Spanish and English was used by the Sandinistas to communicate across Nicaragua. The Negro World was published weekly by 1919, and in the “early ‘20s it reached a weekly circulation of nearly 200,000 copies.” [Page 132, Black Power and the Garvey Movement, by Ted Vincent]
Marcus Garvey, more than anyone else during his time, worked overtime to equip African people with a philosophy to guide our own struggle for the repossession of our Africa for ourselves at the expense of white imperialism. Garvey’s UNIA was the leading internationalist organization of its time. It had an organized membership of over six million people on four continents in over 50 countries, despite the fact that it was banned in many places in Africa and the Caribbean. Garvey said, “We are out to get what has belonged to us politically, socially, economically and in every way [Applause]; and what 15 million of us (in the United States) cannot get, we will call in the four hundred millions to help us get. [Applause] Hence the Universal Negro Improvement Association comes before you tonight, not representative of any one section of Negroes in the world, but of all the sections…We have branches of our association in 25 states of the Union. We have branches of our association in every West Indian island [laughter] and Central America, and more than all, we stand doubly strong on the west coast of Africa. [Applause]” [Page 13, Black Power and the Garvey Movement, by Ted Vincent]
Nkrumah in his autobiography said that “Of all literature I studied, the book that did more than any other to fire my enthusiasm was Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey.”
The UNIA left us with the concept of a united single government for the whole African nation, which they attempted to construct by bringing the whole African people into one single trajectory for African self-determination. The UNIA produced the “Bill of Rights for the Negro Race,” an historical monument which is a “must study document” for anyone working to produce a Revolutionary National Democratic Program for African people anywhere in the world today. The UNIA owned buildings for offices, meetings and a social life. It owned factories, groceries stores, a chain of restaurants, laundries, record companies, theater troupes, hotels, steamships and of course the Negro World newspaper, which was published in three different languages: Spanish, French and English.
Garvey was engaged in solving the fundamental questions of freeing Africa and African people and building an independent African nation, as a single “big black republic.” He put his faith in the hands of the masses of African people.
On the contrary, Du Bois, who had no base among the African working class and poor peasants in the U.S. or across the world, who had no economic program for black people anywhere, was tied to the liberal bourgeoisie who funded his organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a U.S.-only based organization. Du Bois called on the good will of imperialism to grant us some rights. Du Bois, despite his intellectual brilliance in producing several books, promoted a philosophy of compromise with imperialism. He promoted “Talented Tenthism,” which speaks only to the material interests of a tiny minority of the African petty bourgeoisie.
From the beginning, Garvey and Du Bois represented opposing class philosophies and national interests. Their public disputes were early expressions of class struggle inside the African community, which had not matured and exploded beyond reconciliation, because direct white domination was still dominating the entire black nation, including the African petty bourgeoisie. Du Bois put his faith in the hands of white imperialism.
Both Du Bois and Garvey recognized that their respective movements had nothing to do with each other
In a letter to Charles Hughes, the U.S. secretary of state, Du Bois wrote that “the Pan-African Congress is for conference, acquaintanceship, and general mobilization. It has nothing to do with the so-called Garvey Movement and contemplates neither force nor revolution in its program.” He continued, “We have the cordial cooperation of the French, Belgian and Portuguese governments and we hope to get the attention and sympathy of all colonial powers.” Du Bois wrote a similar letter to the British ambassador in Washington. The purpose of these letters was to obtain governmental support for the 1921 Pan-African Congress in London. [Page 290, Race First, by Tony Martin]
Garvey himself summed up Du Bois in 1935 when he wrote, “When Du Bois dies he will go down in his grave to be remembered as the man who sabotaged the Liberian colonization scheme of the Negro, the man who opposed the American Negro launching steamships to the seas, the man who did everything to handicap the commercial propositions of the American Negro, the man who tried to wreck the industrial education system of Tuskegee, the man who never had a good word to say for any other Negro leader, but tried to down every one of them.” [Page 311, Race First, by Tony Martin]
Despite the fact that the UNIA put more intellectuals in the service of the African liberation struggle than any other anti-colonial formation in modern African history, the African petty bourgeoisie, when they are not making efforts to keep Garvey out of history, put Garvey and Du Bois in the same camp and on the same level, to maintain the status quo and confusion within the anti-colonial camp. Class peace in the era of neocolonialism is preventing African workers from learning and growing from the enormous practical implications of Garveyism, from growing the power to flex the powerful black workers’ brain and biceps against opportunism from within. It is only through active class struggle that the best of Garvey’s legacy can be used to advance the liberation struggle.
Although Garvey and the UNIA never came to define themselves as a working class organization, the vast majority of businessmen, church leaders and scholars in the black community in the U.S. kept their distance from the UNIA for the simple reason that in their eyes Garvey represented the African workers, not the African petty bourgeoisie.
Garvey knew what the African petty bourgeoisie was about: “The capitalist class of Negroes, whose only concern is to rob and exploit the unfortunate of their own race. The Negro people are suffering under a privileged class of Negro businessmen and professional men who have no more consideration for their own unfortunate people than the white exploiter. Their selfishness is their only motive, their contempt for the masses of their people is great, and their only mission is to rob and exploit the unfortunate brothers of their own race. The Negro real estate man in New York is the greatest devil we have to combat.” [Page 40, Black Power and the Garvey Movement, by Ted Vincent]
Until 1945 5th PAC Congress, Pan-Africanists sought for Imperialism’s governments help and approval
Du Bois who is credited for giving Pan-Africanism its practical significance, in his address at the opening of the 5th PAC in Manchester, paid tribute to Sylvester Williams, a barrister who organized the 1900 Pan-African meeting: “The conference was welcomed by the Lord Bishop of London, and a promise was obtained from Queen Victoria, through Joseph Chamberlain (a British colonial secretary), not to overlook the interests and welfare of the native races.” Du Bois went on to say that “this meeting had no deep roots in Africa, and the movement and the idea died for a generation. Then came the First World War, and at its close there was determined agitation among American Negroes for the rights of Negroes throughout the world, particularly in Africa. Meetings were held, a petition was sent to President Wilson, and finally, by indirection, I secured passage on the creel press boat, the Orizaba, and landed in France in December 1918.
“I went with the idea of calling a ‘Pan-African Congress’ and trying to impress upon the members of the Peace Congress sitting at Versailles the importance of Africa in the future world. I was without credentials or influence, but the idea took on. I tried to get a conference with President Wilson, but only got as far as Colonel House, who was sympathetic but non-committal.”
The Chicago Tribune said, January 19, 1919, “In a dispatch from Paris dated December 30, 1918; ‘An Ethiopian Utopia, to be fashioned out of the German colonies, is the latest dream of leaders of the Negro race who are here at the invitation of the United States government as part of the extensive entourage of the American peace delegation. Robert R. Morton, successor of the late Booker Washington as head of Tuskegee Institute, and Dr. William E.B. Du Bois, Editor of The Crisis, are promoting a Pan-African Conference to be held here during the winter while the Peace Conference is on full blast. It is to embrace Negro leaders from America, Abyssinia, Liberia, Haiti, and the French and British colonies and other parts of the black world. Its object is to get out of the Peace Conference an effort to modernize the Dark Continent and in the world reconstruction to provide international machinery looking toward the civilization of the African natives.”
Du Bois traveled to Africa as a representative of the United States government and organized Pan-African Congress with the generosity of white leaders
The article continues, “Dr. Du Bois sets forth that while the principle of self-determination cannot be applied to uncivilized peoples, yet the educated blacks should have some voice in the disposition of the German colonies. He maintains that in settling what is to be done with the German colonies, the Peace Conference might consider wishes of the intelligent Negroes in the colonies themselves, the Negroes of the United States and of South America and the West Indies, the Negro Governments of Abyssinia, Liberia and Haiti, the educated Negroes in French West Africa and Equatorial Africa, and in British Uganda, Nigeria, Basutoland, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, Gambia and Bechuanaland and in the Union of South Africa.”
The first Pan-African Congress on February 19, 1919 was organized with the assistance of Blaise Diagne, who was a black deputy from Senegal and Commissary General in charge of recruiting native Africans troops for French imperialism. Blaise Diagne used his connection to the French president, Georges Clemenceau, to secure the venue.
The second PAC was organized in London on August 28 and 29, 1921 and in Brussels, Belgium on August 31 and September 1, 1921. Paul Otlet, once called “father of the League of Nations,” wrote Du Bois in April 1921, “I am very happy to learn your decision. We can put at your disposal the Palais Mondial for your Pan-African Conference; August 31 and September 1 and 2.” According to Du Bois, “Otlet and La Fontaine, the Belgium leaders of internationalism, welcomed the meeting warmly in Belgium, but strong opposition arose. The movement was immediately confounded by the press and others as a part of, it not the real, ‘Garvey Movement.’”
The third one met in London and Lisbon in 1923.Du Bois wrote of it, “The London session was small and was addressed by Harold Laski and Lord Olivier and attended by H.G. Wells. Ramsay McDonald was kept from attending only by pending elections, (from which he became the first labor prime minister) but wrote: ‘Anything I can do to advance the course of your people on your recommendation, I shall always do gladly’…From that Lisbon meeting I went to Africa for the first time, to see the land whose history and development I had so long been studying. I held from President Coolidge of the United States status as Special Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to represent him at the second inaugural of President King of Liberia.”
The 4th PAC took part in New York in 1927 and the 5th PAC happened at the back of the International World Trades Union Conference in London, where delegates from the Caribbean and Africa traveling to the London World Union Conference could also be mobilized to attend the 5th PAC.
5th Pan-African Congress consolidated a program to reform colonialism; Kwame Nkrumah later called it “neocolonialism”
The leaders of the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester, 1945 broke with the servile approach of begging white rulers to concede some minor rights to the tiny African petty bourgeois class within direct colonialism. They directly spoke to the people and built a dynamic and militant national liberation movement which put us on the same path as the rest of the international liberation movement to end direct white colonialism. “For the first time it wasn’t just the intellectual petty bourgeoisie. There were representatives from labor organizations and greater participation of the masses. Kwame Nkrumah attended this congress. It was a larger congress and they put out some rather progressive documents. …Padmore and Du Bois put together pacifist, non-violent solutions. Padmore influenced Nkrumah. He worked with Nkrumah right here in London and in other places in England. They came up with a parliamentary strategy for liberation. It was a non-violent, non-communist, pacifist and parliamentary strategy…Nkrumah influenced Lumumba and Sobukwe who built the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania.” [One Africa! One Nation!, edited by Omali Yeshitela]
Nkrumah was the only participant from this 5th Pan-African Congress who became a head of state in Africa. He immediately attempted to unify Africa and African people by trying to win the heads of the neocolonial states to unite. This miseffort produced the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which is today known as the African Union (AU). The vast majority of African people have accepted that it is a failure. The AU is a talk fest where every head of state conserves his power, his borders and the oppressive and exploitative relationship with imperialism, making the concept of an African Union a mere mockery.
The 5th Pan-African Congress did not mobilize Africans to fight the United States, which emerged out of the second imperialist world war as the new imperialist world leader. The main target of this PAC was the colonial powers from Europe like France, Germany, Portugal and others. The Pan-Africanist pacifist approach left Lumumba vulnerable in the face of his enemies from within his own organization. Since the Pan-Africanists in Manchester were never concerned with class interest inside the African community, their non-violent method meant that they did not anticipate that they would have to fight the colonial state to get to power. This meant that our best leaders, like Lumumba, Sobukwe and others, were vulnerable at the hands of our class and national enemies who had control of the State and were prepared to strike at our leaders at any time. Nkrumah himself, who failed to grasp the class question, was overthrown by the same social forces that murdered Lumumba five years earlier.
Lessons of the 6th PAC by Walter Rodney: We cannot romanticize the situation in Africa
In his interview with The Black Scholar magazine, in November 1974, Walter Rodney gave his view on the 6th PAC. “I will talk about two facets, which concern us directly: First the exclusion of Caribbean delegations, with the exception of official government delegations and, second, the overall significance of the conference. Throughout the Caribbean region, the groups who first addressed themselves to mobilizing people to attend the Pan-African Congress were precisely those groups who were admitted into the Congress. The way in which this decision was taken is still unclear...But what is certain is that the governments of Africa, including the Government of Tanzania, and those members of the OAU who formed part of the Party committee after the last OAU meeting in Mogadishu (which preceded the sixth Pan-African Congress) responded to a request apparently to a demand (though again one is not certain) from given Caribbean governments spearheaded by the government of Guyana. The demands being that these groups should not be represented; groups which the Caribbean people know as [African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa] ASCRIA in Guyana, the New Jewel Movement in Grenada and various groups like MJAC in Trinidad which sprung out of the ‘71 situation in Trinidad. These groups were excluded at the request or demand of the government of Guyana, possibly the government of Jamaica (one is not certain). Clearly to them it was a disillusioning experience but, perhaps, a necessary disillusionment because throughout the New World we have shared a large number of romantic visions about the African continent. We have allowed illusions to take place of serious analysis of what actual struggles are taking place in the African continent; what social forces are represented in the government and what is the actual shape of society. We made the same mistake about Kwame Nkrumah and we were very surprised when he was overthrown because we thought that everything was fine in Ghana and that the CPP and Nkrumah had things perfectly under control. And we woke up subsequent to this overthrow to a realization that there was a struggle developing in Ghana and it was a natural consequence of that struggle that this particular stratum emerging as a petty bourgeois class around the Ghanaian state should act against an option which seemed to threaten them—with or without the direct intervention of imperialism. That the African states, however progressive, are at the present time far more likely to strike up an alliance with the Caribbean states as such is an abject lesson here. It indicates that the class which governs Africa is prepared to ally with the class which governs the Caribbean. From there we may inquire further to recognize the same class is operating in both societies…That is the most important lesson for us Caribbean people—that we cannot romanticize the situation in Africa. We must draw distinctions. Who is who in Africa? What are the state structures? What are the classes?”
The 6th Pan-African Congress was a neocolonial conference hosted and led by the African petty bourgeoisie. They were prepared to support the struggle to eradicate direct white power in Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, but not indirect white power or “white power in black face” in Congo, in Trinidad or elsewhere. Those who could do so were simply barred from attending the conference.
For a while, throughout the ’70s and ‘80s, Pan-Africanists particularly during African Liberation Day (ALD) activities, have reduced the African liberation struggles to solidarity against the remnants of colonialism in Africa, particularly Angola and Mozambique, then since 1975 to Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa only, when the reality in the form of the assassination of Lumumba in 1961 or in the overthrow of Nkrumah’s government in 1966, clearly showed that neocolonialism has been for a while, the main contradiction that must be overturned in order to move forward as a people.
ALD became a place where everything is talked about except the immediate political, theoretical and organizational tasks of revolution. In fact, ALD has been a cover for opportunism. For several decades, people come to eat well and feel good or have a nice vibe, but social revolution for a united black workers’ state has not been the center of these events.
Walter Rodney was the lone voice to expose the opportunist character of the 1974 PAC. The African People’s Socialist Party united then and today with Rodney because the essence of opportunism is to sacrifice the long term interests of African revolution and the African nation. It is our responsibility to expose the reformist petty bourgeois character of Pan-Africanism, even as Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, Siad Barre in Somalia, and others barred revolutionaries from the Caribbean from attending the 6th Pan-African Congress conference. They tried at the same time to concoct new brands of socialism, which never meant power in the hands of African workers, abolition of borders and the establishment of a black workers state power. Any reduction, disregard or ignorance of the tasks of the African revolution is opportunism, which in the real world means peace and unity with imperialism.
The 7th Pan-African Congress in Kampala, December 5-9, 1993 was hosted by murderous Museveni, who at the time was leading an effort to consolidate the overthrow of the pro-French government in Rwanda.
In the Pan-African News, the information bulletin of then Secretariat for the 7th Pan-African Congress, there is an invitation with the heading “Open invitation come one come all.” It said, “The congress, in keeping with the broad nature of all previous congresses (1900-1974) is open to all shades of opinion, groups and individuals in the whole Pan-African World. In addition, African governments in Africa and the Diaspora are being invited as participants, on equal footing, with other delegates…”
This conference happened in Kampala in 1993, under the patronage of the murderous Museveni, who at the time was involved in a proxy war in Rwanda to overthrow the pro-French government of Hibyarimana, whose assassination intensified the fratricidal war between the Tutsi and Hutu petty bourgeois colonial forces for control and state power. One million people were killed in what is known today as the “Rwanda genocide.” The outcome of the war in Rwanda, also set the conditions for the military overthrow of Mobutu from power in Congo, where over 5 million Africans have been killed since 1998.
According to Alfred Banya of the Uganda Progressive Union (UPU), in their newsletter the Migrants Appeal, printed in London, “Dictator Museveni’s current treatment of Ugandans and his military adventures into neighboring Rwanda are not much different to the acts of the slave traders, slave masters and colonialists. Lt. General Otafiire’s atrocities against Ugandans have been documented by Amnesty International on many occasions. Recently the notorious External Security Organization headed by General Kahinda Otafiire, (the chair of PAC7!) robbed, detained and tortured a Ugandan refuge, Mr. Yobu Ibrahim, when he was deported from Libya to Uganda. [The Monitor, March 23-26, 1993] General Otafiire’s organization is known to pursue the Ugandan regime’s opponents up to London and other foreign cities.
Garvey fought the opportunism of the Communist International
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela has pointed out “The same process that created the immensely wealthy capitalists, who became the ruling class, also created the white working class. The slave trade, plunder and genocide created a pedestal upon which all white people sit, workers and rulers alike.” This profound statement means that the European labor and socialist movement led by Karl Marx and others was also given birth by the enslavement of Africans and other colonized peoples around the world. This movement was characterized by what Chairman Omali calls “its ignorance of convenience.” The Chairman notes, “The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friederich Engels in 1847, is the famous proclamation that delineates the rights and aspirations of Europeans workers. Incredibly, the document does not even mention the massive enslavement of African people, which was at its height and was being widely debated at the time. It was the slave trade that provided the impetus for the transformation of these former European serfs into workers.”
The labor and socialist movement in Europe never raised any solidarity with oppressed Africans or natives of the Americas. It was a white movement only. When Garvey and his powerful UNIA met the socialist movement in the U.S., it still was a white workers’ rights movement. It was a movement of the oppressor‘s nation.
Garvey had a criticism of the socialist movement, to which he never received a reply. “If the communist or socialist in America or England receives $4.00 or 16s a day as his average wage, that $4.00 or 16s is the result of the supply of the cheap raw materials of the native countries by the native populations of Africa, India, and China. So to maintain the present wage scale in America and in England the native must be paid 2s a day and the coolies in India 3d a day. It means therefore, that a higher wage standard of the American or English white worker must result in a lower standard for the exploited natives in their country.”
Garvey understood clearly that African people must never fall under the leadership of any social class or organization of the oppressor nation. The democratic party and their white communist allies belong to the North American oppressor nation. This is also true in Europe, where social democrats and socialist organizations are always busy recruiting Africans into their organizations, therefore liquidating the colonial question, which up to this day remains the dividing line. It is the question that splits the world into the irreconcilable antagonism of oppressor nations and oppressed nations.
White left communist attacks against our movement are an attempt to subordinate the primary contradictions to the secondary one of the class struggle of white workers.
Chairman Omali often sums up that “prior to the rise of anti-colonial struggles as the main trend and driving force for progress in world history, the communist movement was purely a white movement, despite the fact that the only communism that ever existed is what whites saw in Africa, the Americas, the Pacific islands etc. white communist ideologues called it primitive communalism, because it did not come from white people. There is no single evidence to suggest that Europeans experienced what is termed as primitive communalism.”
Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1865 with no single mention of solidarity with the African peoples in the world enslaved by white imperialism
White communists always come to us in the name of class struggle, internationalism and the struggle against racism, but there is no history of white workers fighting in solidarity with the black power struggles of African people, which are the real class struggles and internationalism in the real world. Their internationalism is to subordinate the African struggle to the struggle for power in the hands of white workers. They subordinate the primary contradiction, which is the colonial question, to the contradiction between white workers and white bosses. Put simply, it is opportunism.
Chairman Omali has repeatedly summed up that “the struggle against racism is a struggle against the ideas in white people’s heads. We must fight for power in our own hands over our own lives, regardless if white people like us or not.”
The only way for white workers to be part of an international community of workers, is for them to be under the leadership of the African Revolution. That is why ASI Chairman Omali created the African People Solidarity Committee (APSC) in 1976. The APSC’s main work is to win white reparations for African people and material solidarity for the struggle for black power. The attacks by white communists on Garvey were attacks against the rise of black power over our own lives, land and resources.
We have always been in solidarity with the struggles of other oppressed colonized peoples as demonstrated by Garvey’s UNIA and the Panthers going to Viet Nam and China calling for victory to the Vietnamese people and U.S. imperialist hands off China. “Numerous Irish radicals attended Garveyite functions as did diplomatic figures from Japan and Persia (Iran). Tony Martin notes that it was Ho Chi Minh, who later led Viet Nam’s successful liberation struggles against the French and the Americans, who was the Third World leader who had the closest connection to the UNIA…‘Uncle Ho,’ as he was called by his beloved Vietnamese people, was certainly one of the type of radicals that the police spy on the Garveyites had in mind when he reported in August of 1919 that Garvey’s office on 135th street is sort of a clearing house for all international radical agitators, including Mexicans, South Americans, Spaniards, in fact blacks and yellows from all parts of the world who radiate around Garvey, leave for their destinations, agitate for a time, and eventually return to Garvey’s headquarters.” [Page 7, Black Power and the Garvey Movement, by Ted Vincent]
The emancipation of African workers begins with unity of African Internationalism, and building the ASI to eradicate opportunism within the African liberation movement
The launch of the African Socialist International in Sierra Leone means a new dawn for the people’s struggles for economic development. African self-determination and state power in the hands of the workers is upon us. This is not an event financed or hosted by the neocolonial state like the 6th and 7th PAC. It is not financed by the African petty bourgeoisie or with imperialist handouts like all of Du Bois’ Pan-African Congresses. This is not an event open to all shades of opinion. This is an event against the enemy of African people. This is an African worker effort to emancipate ourselves from imperialism and from neocolonial strangulation. This is a contest for control of democratic space at the expense of the African petty bourgeois state and class.
We are expecting difficulties and struggles along the way, but we know that moribund neocolonialism cannot win against the mobilized worldwide African population united under the leadership of the ASI. The event in Sierra Leone, which will officially launch the African People’s Socialist Party there, is the beginning of the long march that will take the black workers to the top of Africa’s highest hills, factories, mines and all buildings in Africa to plant the flag of Marcus Garvey, the flag of One Africa! One Nation!
This event represents the drawing of a sharp fluorescent demarcation in the sand between opportunism and revolution, between African Internationalism and the petty bourgeois forces that hide behind Pan-Africanism and white communism to oppose African workers leading our own struggles.
We are going to Sierra Leone, fully aware that we are engaged in the struggle to hold up and advance the legacy of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA, to overturn the betrayal of the African revolution, characterized by the overthrow and assassination of Lumumba, Nkrumah, Sobukwe, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Sankara and others. It is the final stage of 500 years of the African national liberation struggle, which will complete the great Black Revolution of the Sixties.
The consolidation of the ASI and African Internationalism is like equipping African workers with binocular glasses so they can identify, target and take aim at opportunism from a distance and a powerful magnifier to identify the opportunism hiding from within.
The various brands of the white-led communist movement, which pose as internationalists when dealing with Africans, are in reality petty bourgeois forces that thrive on the defeat of African revolution and the assassination of its leaders. The Belgian communists were nowhere to be seen in the 1960s when the Black Revolution in the Congo came under assault by Belgium imperialism. We saw Cuban revolutionaries in the form of Che Guevara and others in the Congo, but we did not see the Belgian communists. The only time we heard from Belgian communists is when they were busy writing and selling to us the history of the black revolutionary struggles led by Lumumba and Mulele. They did not write these books as a fundraiser in solidarity with the revolution in the Congo, but as a fundraiser for the Belgian communist movement.
Garvey sent congratulatory messages to Lenin and Trotsky. He sent solidarity messages to Irish nationalists. He sent solidarity messages to Ghandi. Garvey’s newspaper carried messages between the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. Garvey’s meeting was attended by Ho Chi Minh and other revolutionaries of the time. Where were the communists of the oppressor nations? Where were the French communists in Viet Nam? Where were the French communists in Algeria? Where were the British socialists when British imperialists were committing war crimes against the legitimate resistance of the Kenya Land Freedom Army of the Mau-Mau? Where are the white communists today in the face of the imperialist assault on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa in the form of proxy wars?
I have not seen a single protest organized by white communists in Europe and North America against U.S., British and French backed proxy wars in Africa. I have not seen an event for white reparations to African people for the centuries of exploitation and genocide by white imperialism except in the form of the African Peoples Solidarity Committee, which works under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party!
ASI to end isolation between fronts of worldwide African revolution
We must end our isolation from each other. We must end the isolation between fronts of the African revolution, as it happened in the ‘50s and continues up to this present day. The Mau-Mau were defeated in the late ’50s. There was never an international movement to consolidate the Kenya front of the African Revolution, which was instrumental in forcing British colonialism to grant flag independence to the rest of the African countries in order to avoid the opening of a second military front, which undoubtedly would have made it possible to break the back of British power in Africa. The British brought white settler soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as African soldiers from their African colonies, while the Mau-Mau fought alone.
In the Congo, between 1960 and 1966, the revolutionary movement came under the assault of combined Belgian and UN armies, plus U.S. sponsored mercenaries, including anti-Castro mercenary pilots who bombed defenseless African villages and a whole bunch of white mercenaries from across Europe. There was strategic revolutionary organization to consolidate the Congolese front. The Mau-Mau generals’ experience of warfare was needed in the Congo, where we speak Swahili like in Kenya. It was the Cubans who came, in the form of Che Guevara and others.
Grenada’s revolution was crushed by the U.S. army under Ronald Wilson Reagan. There was no participation from the rest of the African world. Only Cubans who were down there to build the airport runaway fought the U.S. invaders.
African freedom fighters from the Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army still languish in jails. There is no international movement to demand their release.
There is ongoing organized genocide in the Congo right now, which requires an international mobilization. That can only be done by an international organization of African people that is uncompromisingly anti-imperialist.
Africans in places like Guadeloupe and New Caledonia are fighting almost by themselves, with no organizational strategic unity with the rest of the African Liberation Movement.
All these examples are given to show the extreme importance of building the African Socialist International, the organization to unite all fronts of the African liberation struggle into a single powerful socialist movement that will change the course of world history. Only an organization with a single leadership, committed to organizing for black power as an international reality can do it. Pan-Africanism, where everyone does their own thing cannot do it. That is precisely why we are in this situation of powerlessness.
African workers must respond to the class struggle attacks initiated by the African petty bourgeoisie
Garvey came under assault from the U.S. government, which eventually framed him on trumped up mail fraud charges and locked him up in 1923, before deporting him back to the Caribbean and banishing him from the U.S. in 1927. It was not just African petty bourgeois forces like Philip Randolph and its Messenger newspaper that attacked Garvey. “The assault was led by none other than W.E.B. Du Bois, who was with the NAACP. Du Bois actually went to the attorney general of the United States requesting a ship to use to enter into the Black Star Line as a means of destroying it. Du Bois went as an emissary to Liberia to persuade the Liberian government to destroy the project that Garvey’s movement was establishing there. Du Bois helped expose the fact that Garvey had intentions of taking over the government of Liberia because of the way that African government in Liberia treated the African workers…The Pan-African Congress was essentially a gathering of middle class and petty bourgeois intellectuals.” [One Africa! One Nation!, edited by Omali Yeshitela]
The attacks by Du Bois represented class struggle inside the oppressed African community, which were dependent on the U.S. government’s attack on the Garvey Movement. These were the attacks of the white oppressor nation against the oppressed black nation. What was our response to the betrayal of the African petty bourgeoisie against Garvey’s movement?
In the Sixties, as soon as independence was granted to Africans in the Congo, Lumumba was attacked by members of his own party, who were members of the African petty bourgeoisie who recognized that Lumumba was no longer articulating their interests but those of the workers and poor peasants. They recognized that Lumumba was uncompromisingly opposed to imperialism. Over 90 percent of the African petty bourgeoisie cadres that were part of Lumumba’s organization sided with imperialist white power. As a result Lumumba was killed by his former friends—Joseph Mobutu and Victor Nendaka. Nendaka was the head of the political police; he was also the vice president of Lumumba’s Mouvement National Congolais (MNC). He played a key role in killing Lumumba. Mobutu was appointed head of the army because he was one of the key MNC cadres; he used this position to stage a coup that proved to be fatal to Lumumba.
“The African petty bourgeois radicals who were in the camp of Lumumba called themselves Lumumbists, but refused to build the revolutionary party of African workers in alliance with poor peasants. They put forward many reasons for this. One reason was that they said that communism is foreign to Africans. Lumumba was not a communist. If they became communists that would be a betrayal of Lumumba’s ideals they said…” [One Africa! One Nation!, edited by Omali Yeshitela]
These same Lumumbists did not have a problem surrendering the revolution to Moise Tshombe when the latter was ready to do business with them in 1964, despite the fact that the Lumumbists insurgency movement controlled more land than Tshombe’s counterinsurgent government in Katanga province. The key lesson is that “the petty bourgeoisie did not step forward. It will never step forward.” Almost fifty years after Lumumba’s assassination they have not stepped forward to create the party of African workers. They continue to be Pan-Africanist, which is class peace with the African petty bourgeoisie.
The African petty bourgeoisie in Ghana overthrew Nkrumah because they recognized that Nkrumah was not a representative of white imperialism. The same African petty bourgeoisie social force refused to support the Black Revolution in the U.S. or provide safe asylum or safe havens to Huey Newton, Elridge Cleaver, Assata Shakur and others who have had to run to Cuba and Algeria for safety.
What about the radicals who called themselves Nkrumahists in Ghana? Have they solved the question of the revolutionary party of African workers in Ghana? No they have not! They continue to be Pan-Africanist. They have created the Socialist Forum. They have even resurrected the Convention People’s Party of Nkrumah. This is nothing but loyalty to the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 that imposed colonial borders in Africa. Nkrumah was right when he said that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless without the liberation of all Africa.” Every organization in Ghana should unite with the ASI because Ghana alone cannot carry the legacy of Nkrumah to liberate and unify Africa. We need an organization in Ghana that is part of a single leadership, discipline and philosophy, which mobilizes and organizes African people around the world in a common historical mission to build a single black power state. This is the ASI.
What is the situation in South Africa?
The radical elements leading the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), with which we have worked for several decades to win them into ASI, should come to the same conclusion that the ASI is necessary to advance the struggle in Azania. We worked with its youth organization known as the Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania (PAYCO). Despite all the hopes put on them, they have not moved forward in creating the revolutionary party of African workers in alliance with poor peasants in Occupied Azania, as part of the ASI, with a single discipline, leadership and philosophy. They have held onto Pan-Africanism and a failed strategy of parliamentary elections as a means of seizing power, which in the final analysis is a form of opportunism that only serves the African petty bourgeoisie.
Everywhere in the African world, it is the same question which every organization or individual who claims to be a revolutionary must address! Are you with the revolution or with reformism? Are you with the ASI or with Pan-Africanism? As we struggle for black power and a socialist Africa, African Internationalism will reveal all opportunism, and the way forward as envisioned by Garvey and Nkrumah.
We are seeing Pan-Africanists in the U.S. embrace Barack Obama, the representative of the democratic party in the U.S. elections. We are seeing Pan-Africanists everywhere in Africa uphold electoral politics as the main form of political struggle in an era of neocolonialism. It is not a bad thing as it helps us to unmask opportunism in our ranks.
Chernoh Alpha M. Bah and the Africanist Movement are with ASI. They have rejected Pan-Africanism. In November 2009, they are launching the first party of the ASI on the African continent. This is surely the beginning of a new trend, which aims to elevate African workers to a status that will usher in a new era of world humanity where the system of bosses and slaves will be totally eradicated. They will go to the polls too, but they are clear, elections will never free us from imperialism. Elections are not a substitute for revolution.
The African petty bourgeois class is an historical embarrassment to Africa and African people. They accomplish the genocide of their own people, in order to advance their own material interests. They actively sacrifice the future of all African people, as they unite with all genocidal imperialist plans and goals against Africa and African people.
The African petty bourgeoisie, with or without possession of state power is organized around political parties, NGOs, churches, tribal associations, etc. to consciously pursue its own selfish agenda and material interests, making masses of workers simply objects of history to be used at will. We are putting on the ground in Sierra Leone the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) institutions, which expose the impotency and hypocrisy of NGOs, churches and other status quo organizations for neocolonialism.
The ASI is an overdue response; it is the only way to affirm the workers struggles for political power and human dignity. We are the party of the mobilization and organization of the African proletariat. The African petty bourgeoisie and imperialist forces better begin to learn how to sound the clarion of retreat. They are out of time; the final offensive of the one billion strong African people is underway.
The ASI is the workers’ drive against opportunism from within our own anti-colonial movement, which is made of different historical tendencies united in the fight against direct colonialism.
Why were all of our key and consequential leaders killed? Why did those who opposed black revolution and genuine independence achieve power? What needs to be done for our African revolution to be conducted to its full completion?
It is an historical fact that colonial slavery and colonialism were defeated. We are also certain of the temporary character of neocolonialism. The alliance of white imperialism and black petty bourgeois collaborators or “white power system in black face” is also doomed.
Today we have African Internationalism or Yeshitelism, the necessary weapon to confront and defeat opportunism that runs many miles deep within our own movement. African Internationalism equips the workers to identify all forms of opportunism that are active or dormant from within.
We have the ASI as the international political party of the African workers, guided by African Internationalism, armed with a Revolutionary National Democratic Program (RNDP) for each African country. We are once again at a time that African workers are in motion independently of the African petty bourgeoisie, with the purpose of seizing power to satisfy our own material interests as workers. This is the extension of the Garvey Movement that is advanced and guided by the most advanced scientific revolutionary theory in the world.
In today’s Black Liberation Movement we have forces who oppose imperialism but also hate socialism. We have those who love ALD but reject revolution. There are plenty of those who hold up Garvey, Malcolm X, Lumumba, Biko and our ancestors who fought against our enslavement but will not hold up African workers, the key makers of the past 500 years of African resistance and future struggles to come. We have people who say “race first,” but can’t say “all power to the workers and land to the peasants who are the majority of the black population!” There are those who say they are for African unity but oppose the ASI as the necessary single party for the single worldwide Black Revolution to build a single united socialist state of Africa.
The ASI is the only organization capable of uniting Africans who oppose imperialism to fight for self-determination, but who do not necessarily unite with the socialist goals of African Internationalism. The ASI can work with all radical and democratic forces in society as long as they are consistent with the RNDP.
The emancipation of African workers by seizing state power and building a united and socialist Africa are the greatest tasks left by history to all genuine freedom loving African people on earth. These are the tasks to be embraced with excitement and enthusiasm by honest followers of Garvey, Malcolm X, Nkrumah, Lumumba, and Queen Nzinga of today or of black nationalists in the era of neocolonialism.
The ASI is the African proletariat response to the overthrow of Lumumba, Nkrumah, Sankara and other patriots. It is the beginning of the historical process to reverse neocolonialism and drive it out of Africa and African peoples lives.
Get your copy of the ASI main resolution today!
One Africa, One revolution, One organization!
Forward to Sierra Leone!
Build the African Socialist International!