Pan Africanism: Updated
By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
March 25, 2013
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:
C. Pan- African Conferences: History
- "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.
- George Padmore, Trinidadian: "the idea of Pan Africanism first arose as a manifestation of fraternal solidarity among Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent."
- Kwame Ture: "the total liberation and unification of Afrika under scientific socialism."
- Juluis K. Nyerere Tanzania: "the Pan African movement or struggle was born as a reaction to racialism."
- Peter Olisanwuche Esedeke: "Pan Afrikan movement is a political and cultural phenomenon which regards Afrika, Afrikans and their descendants abroad as a unit."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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)."
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."
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace")
- PAC: February 1919 – France.
"To handle complaints of racial discrimination against American – colored troops stationed in France."
- PAC: 1921 – Britain, Brussels, Norway.
More than one third delegates came from Afrika, forty-one from United States of America and seven from the Caribbean.
Resolution: "Declaration to the World" – "Recognition of racial equality without denying any differences in the level of development," demanded the sovereignty for Afrikans on the continent.
- PAC: November—December 1923 – Britain and Norway.
Eleven countries attended, including delegates from Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Resolution: "Afrikans should be allowed to have a voice in their own government."
- PAC: 1927 – United States of America.
Organized by Afrikan-American women; focused on the history of Afrika, education problems in Afrika, Afrikan arts and literature, Christian missions in Afrika.
- Geo-political significance of 5PAC Manchester, Britain 1945.
- Afrikans took over PAC and future PACs held in Africa, not in Europe.
- 5 PAC adopted a pro-active revolutionary, anti-colonial approach.
- Under the leadership of Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (Dr. W.E.B Du Bois), the PACs adopted a non-violent, reactionary, Euro-centric approach.
- Ninety delegates attended 5PAC: National Council of Nigeria, Labour Party of Grenada, and West Indian People's National Party.
- Major Participants: Kwame Nkrumah served as General Secretary of 5PAC, he later returned to Ghana and was elected president on 6 March 1957, he was overthrown on 24 February 1966.
George Padmore (aka Malcolm Nurse, Trinidad) returned to Ghana and (a) convened All–African Peoples conferences in Accra, in December 1958 (b) became Nkrumah's advisor on Afrikan affairs and (c) was instrumental in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963.
Geo-political impact of 5 PAC:
- Jomo Kenyatta returned to Kenya and led the revolutionary Mau Mau movement that gained political independence from Britain on 12 December 1963.
- C.L.R. James returned to Trinidad and eventually became editor of the PNM's weekly The Nation newspaper.
- T. R. Makonnen and Peter Abrahams returned and engaged in politics in Jamaica.
- Did not ask for favours, recognition and racial equality from European colonial powers.
- Demanded an end to Euro-colonialism in Afrika; precipitated the decolonization process in Afrika and Caribbean.
- Resolved that the masses must be organized through trade unions and political parties to gain independence.
- Resolutions passed:
- "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."
- "Declaration to the Colonial Workers, Framers and Intellectuals." – proletariat. Demanded: "The independence of Afrikans and their opposition to imperial exploitation. Afrikans should use strikes, boycotts to achieve political independence and freedom."
- "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.
- PAC: June 1974 – Tanzania
Five hundred delegates attended. Opposition leaders from Afrika and Caribbean were not invited - PAC not successful.
- Broadening the international Afrikan community's understanding of the problems of southern Afrika and methods to support liberation movements.
- Economic dependency and exploitation and how to end them.
- Fulfillment of the potential of political independence, unity among Afrikan and Caribbean states.
- PAC: August 1994 – Nigeria.
It represented "an assemblage of grass roots Blacks from all over the world tp formerly launch the global Pan-Afrikan Movement and the resolve to immediately take back control of the world."
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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