Dr. Kwame Nantambu


Pan Africanism

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
September 21, 2008

A. In July 1900, Trinidad lawyer Henry Sylvester Williams had the conviction that the, "...problems of Black folk in England were largely based on racism," He coined the word "Pan-Afrikan." Pan = ALL

B. Definitions of Pan Africanism:
  1. "an aid to the promotion of national self-determination among Africans under Afrikan leadership for the benefit of the Afrikans themselves," Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.
  2. George Padmore Trinidadian: "the idea of Pan Africanism first arose as a manifestation of fraternal solidarity among Afrikans and people of Afrikan decent."
  3. Kwame Ture: "the total liberation and unification of Afrika under scientific socialism."
  4. Juluis K. Nyerere Tanzania: "the pan African movement or struggle was born as a reaction to racialism."
  5. Peter Olisanwuche Esedeke: "Pan Afrikan is a political and cultural phenomenon which regards Afrika, Afrikans and their descendants abroad as a unit."
  6. Robert Chrisman: "The Pan Afrikan vision has as its basic premise that we the people of Afrikan decent throughout the globe constitute a common racial, social and economic oppression."
  7. Deceased Dr. John Henrik Clarke: "Pan Africanism is about the restoration of Afrikan people to their proper place in world history ... to facilitate and bring about the ingathering of Afrikan people throughout the world and to restore what slavery and colonialism took away."
  8. Deceased Dr. Walter Rodney: "Pan Africanism is something we must define in struggle. As a continuing trend, (Pan Africanism) has validity in struggle and it has validity in struggle against capitalist exploitation (Europeanism)."
C. Pan- African Conferences:

Racial protest in London July 1900 called by Henry Sylvester Williams: 60 delegates attended from USA, Canada, Ethiopia, Haiti, Liberia, Siena Leone, Ghana, and Caribbean:

"to bring into closer touch with one another the peoples of Afrikan descent throughout the world."
"To inaugurate plans to bring about a more friendly relationship between the Caucasian and Afrikan races."
"To start a movement looking forward to the securing to all Afrikan races living in civilized countries their full rights and to promote their business interest."

1. PAC 2/1919- France
2. PAC 1921- Britain, Brussels, Norway
3. PAC 7-9 November 1923- Britain, Norway
4. PAC 1927- U.S.A.
5. PAC 13-15/10/1945 - England
6. PAC 6/1974 - Tanzania
7. PAC 8/1994 - Nigeria

1. PAC 19-21 February 1919
Attended by 57 delegates from different sections of the Afrikan world. Fifteen colonies were represented including Abyssinia, Liberia, Haiti, (Dominique Republic) San Domingo, French Caribbean, Egypt, Belgian Congo. Euro-France, Euro-United States and Euro- Portugal delegates attended.
Purpose: "to handle complaints of racial discrimination against American colored troops stationed in France."
Resolutions: The Great Powers were asked to issue an international code of labor for the protection of Afrikan workers. A permanent bureau should be set up by the League of Nations to ensure enforcement of the code.
The inhabitants of Afrika and the peoples of Afrikan decent must be governed according to the following principles: abolition of forced labor, the right of Afrikans "to participate in the government as fast as their development permits, in conformity with the principle that the government exits for the (people) and not the (people) for the government.
The right of every child to learn to read and write in his (own) language; the regulation of capital investment and concessions to prevent exploitation of the Afrikan people; and the holding of land with its mineral resources in trust for the community who at all times should have effective ownership of as much land as they could profitably develop." "These moderate demands focused on self-determination, self-reliance and autonomy.

2. PAC 27-29 August 1921
More than one-third delegates came from Afrikan, 41 from United States and 7 from Caribbean.
Purposes: "to discuss segregation, racial problems in America and South Afrika, land question in Afrika and methods of co-operation among peoples of the Afrikan world".
Resolutions: General criticism of the colonial system and relations between the "colored "and "white" races; and imperialism. Respect for the sovereignty of Abyssinia, Haiti and Liberia. Challenge to the rest of the world in terms of a fair distribution of world income between the exploiting and the exploited peoples.
The continued occupation of Haiti by the United States was condemned.

3. PAC November 1923
Eleven countries attended.
Resolutions: Afrikans and their descendants must have a voice in their own government; access to land and its resources; trial by jury; free elementary education for all, broad training in modern industrial techniques and higher training of selected talent;
development of Afrika for the benefit of Afrikans and not merely for the profit of Europeans; abolition of the slave trade and the traffic in liquor; world disarmament; organization of commence and industry so as to make the main objects of capital and labor, the welfare of the many rather than the enrichment of the few.
Delegates pushed a socialist economic policy and demanded home rule and economic independence and eventual participation in their government by the colonial subjects.

4. PAC 1927: USA
Organized by Afrikan-American women. Focused on the history of Afrika, education problems in Afrika, Afrikan arts and literature and Christian missions in Afrika.

5. Geo-political significance of 5 PAC:1945
I. Afrikans took over PAC and future PAC's held in Afrika not Europe before.
II. Kwame Nkrumah and George Padmore adopted pro-active, revolutionary anti-colonial approach. Du Bois adapted a non-violent, reactionary approach.
III. Geo-politicization of the movement.
IV. 90 delegates attended; National Council of Nigeria, Labour Party of Grenada, W.I. People's National Party plus T.R. Makonnen, Peter Abrahams. C.L.R. James and Jomo Kenyatta.
a. Did not ask for favours, recognition and racial equality from European colonial powers.
b. Demanded an end to Euro-colonialism in Africa; precipitate the de-colonialization process.
c. Resolved that the masses must be organized through trade unions and political parties
d. Resolutions passed:
i. "The Challenge to the Colonial Powers " "If the Western world is still determined to rule by force, then, Afrikans as a last resort may have to appeal to force in an effort to achieve freedom even if force destroys us and the world."
ii. "Declaration to the Colonial Workers, Farmers and Intellectuals."
Demanded "The independence of Afrikans and their opposition to imperial exploitation. Afrikans should use strikes, boycotts to achieve political independence and freedom."
iii. " Declaration to the Colonial People" emphasized the right of all colonial people to control their own destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control. The Resolution also expressed solidarity with other oppressed peoples fighting against European imperialism i.e Vietnamese, Indonesians and Indians. Supported the struggle of Blacks in America and affirmed the link between those struggles and the liberation of Afrika.
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecture at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

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