Special Documents

Special Documents


From Pan-Afrikanism to Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism

By Chen Chimutengwende


Some people think that Pan- Afrikanism is dead or was just a cause and a guide for black people all over the world during the pre-colonial and pre-civil rights era. Such people are mistaken or simply hostile to the worldwide black liberation journey, which in fact has a great future. In order to genuinely understand and appreciate the nature, past, present and future of Pan Afrikanism, one must find out the answers to the following ten questions:

1.       What caused Pan-Afrikanism to come into existence and does that still exist?
2.       What were its objectives in the various stages of its history?
3.       What did the struggle guided by Pan-Afrikanism achieve?
4.       What remains to be achieved?
5.      Why and how should and can Pan-Afrikanism now in the form of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism based on ecosocialism wipe out slave and colonial mentality among black people worldwide?
6.       What are the differences in objectives between the two schools of thought, that is, Pan-Afrikanism and revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism?
7.       What is the nature and potential of the liberation forces promoting the struggle?
8.       What is the nature and future of the enemy system that has to be faced?
9.     What are the strategies and methods of the enemy system against the liberationist interests of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism and ecosocialism?
10.   What should be the appropriate strategies and methods of struggle by revolutionary Pan-Afrikanist and ecosocialist forces?

If one genuinely and seriously delves into these questions, one will come to the conclusion that revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism and ecosocialism are essential in the continuation of the liberation process of Afrika and the Black World in this post-colonial and post-civil rights era. The point is that black people will not go far in their liberation, socio-economic empowerment and development without unity based on revolutionary Pan-Afrikanist principles and without being an integral part of the worldwide struggle for the total destruction of world capitalism and its complete replacement by global revolutionary ecosocialism. It is also clear that without this, black people will forever remain as the underdog of the human race and their voice on the international stage will not be a force to reckon with. The resources of their countries will continue to be plundered by the imperialists in alliance with the local capitalistic and quisling leadership in most of the former colonies.    

During the pre-independence and pre-civil rights era, Pan-Afrikanism was a higher form of nationalism and was aimed at uniting all black people worldwide into one international force for black liberation from slavery, racism, colonialism, oppression, exploitation, and for national independence and civil rights. Pan-Afrikanism at the international level was not only a highly powerful basis and guide, but also an energizer, co-ordinator, and the uniting and driving force for the First Liberation Struggle. Pan-Afrikanism successfully gave back to many black people all over the world their identity, self-respect, dignity, motivation, self-confidence, pride, hope and inspiration which had been taken away from them by slavery, colonialism and racism. The success in implementing this task of mental and cultural de-colonization, even if this was limited, was one of the most essential factors in the achievement of the great victories of the First Liberation Struggle.

Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism and ecosocialism serves as the ideological basis and guide, energizer, co-ordinator, and the uniting and driving force for the Second Liberation Struggle. It will continue with the process of giving back to more and more black people all over the world their identity, self-respect, dignity, motivation, self-confidence, pride, hope, inspiration and leading to revolutionary consciousness. This has to be done as a continuous process. The successful implementation of this task will also be one of the most essential factors in the achievement of the objectives of the Second Liberation Struggle.

The difference between mere Pan-Afrikanism and revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism is mainly in their objectives, levels of struggle, how they deal with the nature of the ever-changing strategies and tactics of the enemy system, and the eras concerned. While there is a wide difference between mere Pan-Afrikanism and revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism, these should be taken as two different schools of thought both necessary and unavoidable for two different levels or stages of the same international black liberation process. The Second Liberation Struggle benefits from and builds on the experience of the First Liberation Struggle. The First Liberation Struggle itself was a product of black nationalist and Pan-Afrikanist ideas and experiences. The Second Liberation Struggle is a product of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanist and socialist/ecosocialist ideas and experiences.

It is always important to make a distinction between Pan-Afrikanists who consciously or unconsciously support capitalism and the revolutionary Pan-Afrikanists who oppose capitalism and are for its replacement by ecosocialism. This means the Pan-Afrikanists who support capitalism are opposed to the Second Liberation Struggle. Their struggle is about how to make money personally as quickly as possible and by any means possible especially through corruption and the abuse and manipulation of the state machinery, which is easier and quicker than any other methods. They are part of the black capitalistic ruling “elites” whose fate and together with that of their capitalist system can only be determined by class struggle.

The aims and objectives of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism in this post-colonial and post-civil rights era must remain relevant and effective in promoting the liberationist aspirations, interests and needs of the overwhelming majority of black people worldwide. In order to successfully remain focused on this, its aims and objectives need to be re-stated as follows:-

1.       to expose, fight and wipe out colonial and slave mentality (colonized and enslaved mind-set), and imperialist cultural domination among black people worldwide, especially among the “educated” where one finds the worst victims and ideologically most dangerous, conscious and direct instruments of imperialism;

2.       to continuously expose and fight against international anti-black racism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, capitalism and the destruction of the environment, and all this should be carried out under the banner of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism and global revolutionary ecosocialism;

3.       to speed-up the struggle for economic independence in the former colonies and the democratization of the socio-economic system with the aim of empowering and transforming the socio-economic conditions of life for the overwhelming majority of the black people worldwide;

4.       to uncompromisingly promote national and democratic ownership of the natural resources so as not to remain exploited by neo-colonialism and imperialism as mere exporters of raw materials, and without full value addition and beneficiation at the source;

5.       to eliminate corruption, black-on-black oppression and exploitation, gender inequality, and ethnic or regional chauvinism and conflicts through class struggle;

6.      to speed-up the eradication of poverty and suffering in society through the immediate granting to the populace of all the basic and comprehensive socio-economic human rights like food security, decent and affordable housing, free, clean and safe water, free healthcare, compulsory and free basic education, affordable public transport, and full employment;

7.       to effectively promote the establishment and/or development of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanist and ecosocialist mass communications systems at the local, national, continental and the global levels, and this includes research and information centres and groups;

8.       to effectively promote the re-organization and re-intensification of the Second Liberation Struggle so that it may be better able to give strong and active support to other anti-racist, anti-neo-colonialist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and ecosocialist/socialist forces all over the world, and also to seek effective and maximum solidarity from the same forces;

9.    to tirelessly work for the unity of the people of Afrika both on the continent and in the Diaspora, and for the speedy replacement of the African Union with what is usually referred to as the “United States of Africa (USA)”, but which ideally should be known as: “Ecosocialist People’s Republic of Afrika (EPRA)”; and,

10.     to effectively support the speedy re-structuring and democratization of the current and unjust international relations system and its neo-colonialist trade regime.

These aims and objectives of revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism are being debated, propagated, written about and implemented in different countries and communities, at different levels, in different forms, and at different paces and intensities. They are the issues that concern the overwhelming majority of the poor black people all over the world. In trying to promote and implement these aims and objectives, there is massive opposition from the imperialists and also from the black capitalistic “elites”. There are both hidden and public battles in the domain of global information and ideas. The enemy system comes into the arena with powerful distortions, capitalist and racist stereotypes and myths, confusion and other forms of misinformation and propagandistic manipulation.

Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanists, who are here defined as black ecosocialists, are for the total elimination of all forms of oppression and exploitation whether by whites against blacks or by blacks against other blacks or by an alliance of blacks and whites against blacks or whites against other whites or any other people oppressing and exploiting any other people in any part of the world. In other words, revolutionary Pan-Afrikanists are for the elimination of the oppression and exploitation of one race or one nation or one ethnic group or one class or one sex or one person by another in any part of the world. Such an objective can only be realized in a classless society which also can only be fully achieved through the victory of ecosocialism. This is in line with what Marx and Engels described as scientific socialism in the Communist Mainifesto, and is a transitional stage to world communism. As a result, this is why at its advanced stage, the international black liberation struggle should be based on class struggle if the liberation of the overwhelming majority of Afrika’s people both at home and abroad is to be fully achieved. This is also why Kwame Nkrumah who was one of the greatest contributors to the First Liberation Struggle in terms of theory, practice and as a writer, strongly supported scientific socialism. 

Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism will and must continue to exist far into the ecosocialist era. This is because when capitalism is defeated and ecosocialist forces take over state power, it will not automatically mean the immediate end of all problems which were caused or supported or tolerated by capitalism. Classes, oppression, exploitation, racial and ethnic discrimination, gender inequality, and other capitalist practices, consequences, values and ways of thinking among many people will always continue to exist for some time in the early stages of the ecosocialist era. Such problems have to be fought and defeated, which is an important aspect of the protracted struggle of the ecosocialist era. The defeat of the capitalist ruling class really means such capitalist problems will no longer be protected and promoted by the state machinery. The process of eliminating such problems can only decisively begin to yield concrete and lasting results during the new struggle for building revolutionary ecosocialism in every country and at the global level.



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Issued on May 15, 2014