Just like with Socialism, Pan Africanism has acquired so many conflicting definitions and practices. As we have different people calling themselves socialists and carrying out actions which are in conflict with one another there are aslo people calling themselves Pan Africanists and not agreeing on what to do together practically.
I am making this posting to spell out what Pan Africanism I subscribe to, to avoid any confusion in anybody's mind about my politics. I see Pan Africanism as the political struggle by people of African descent in unity to reshape the relationship between people of African descent / Africa and the rest of the world under guidance of social justice. This is, therefore, to dismantle the unfair and unjust relationship and associated assimilation imposed by enslavement and colonialism.It is to resist and fight against the attempts at forcing Africans to be assimilated into other cultures. It is to dismantle the political and economic architecture imposed on Africa and Africans which is being held together by proxy wars. My reference point on this are teachings of Kwame Nkrumah, other Pan African teachings (Cabral, Diop, Tabatha, M'buyinga etc) and the legacy of the All African People's Conferences.
Pan Africanism, to me, is not just a declaration or a set of essays. It is a living political movement. No other forum, apart from the Pan African movement, provides space for this. I don't know any section of the Left (European or Asian) which has developed a positive engagement with the Pan African movement as a movement and work with the Left globally remains a struggle as Walter Rodney, C.L.R. James and George Padmore observed. (At the Rendezvous of Victory by C.L.R. James). The Left,globally, is hostile to Pan Africanism and the European left as well as anarchists, without exception, are subversive of Pan Africanism.
This does not mean that the Right Wing is more accomodating to the Pan Africanist movement. The Right Wing represents the imperialist ruling class so the question doesn't arise where they stand. It is the politics to maintain the unfair and unjust world and therefore to fight against Pan Africanism. However, the Left is supposed to be anti-imperialist and that is why I'm highlighting this and also because there are all manner of people of African descent who initiate debates about which of the Left to choose from. I say NONE and the only relationship we should have with them is that they allow us a space where we spell out and organise our politics without any dictate from them. I doubt whether such space can be permanently provided but we don't have any alternative than to do exactly what I am talking about. the ideal is to have our own space.
Pan Africanism does not also mean just the grouping of black skins. Many organised groups of Africans, led by the petit-bourgeois, are anti-Pan Africanist. I saw a hostile response when ALISC Network put together Zimbabwe and Cameroon together for discussion hosted by ALISC's parliamentary supporter, Jeremy Corbyn. From that experience, we have even resolved never to organise a meeting on a single neo-colonial state. Our events should create a Pan African approach rather than institutionalisng Jan Smuts Pan Africanism. (Jan Smuts is the father of apartheid poltics in South Africa. Nkrumah used the term Jan Smuts Pan Africanism to refer to the declaration of Pan Africanism which in practice just goes along with the structures created by the Berlin Conference of 1884). Our approach will bring us in conflict with "Declaration Pan Africanism" which is not located in any movement but just in the minds of the declaration maker and his/her feelings.
In order for us to unite and for unity to be meaningful we must be clear of our lines of demarcation otherwise unity will be futile as advised by V.I. Lenin, the Russian revolutionary. I have spelt out the basis of the Pan Africanism, which the Pan African Electoral Challenge I am associated with, is attached in my presentation on Proxy Wars In Africa at Marxism 2008. I have an uncompromising commitment to the contents of that presentation. It, therefore, spells out my non-negotiable relationship with other political forces and also the basis of any unity and joint work. I'm going to transcribe and circulate the CD immediately it is ready for publication to put to rest what practical politics I am ready to be involved in and with which platform I am associated with as I return to Africa.
I am a writer and arts journalist now based in Lagos. This is a blog on arts and culture. The focus is on Nigeria's art scene, especially her 'Word's Body' - the writers. As and when, we'll also touch on wider African writing, as well as international literature. In short, a saturation of the arts.