In the middle of July, 2013 (specifically July 19-21), the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus will hold its annual conference in Los Angeles. This will be the first time it has returned to its origins since 2006.
The SRDC is one of the leading Diaspora civil society groups (nonprofit organizations) working on establishing 21st-century Pan Africanism, including the Diasporan relationship to the African Union.
What exactly is 21st-century Pan Africanism?
Early in the 19th century, Pan Africanism, particularly as emigrationism, began as a clarion call from dispersed Africans and African descendants to re-establish African identities for the offspring of former involuntary migrants from the African continent. Names like David Walker, Henry Highland Garnett, Samuel Cornish and David Russwurm, as lecturers, journalists authors and activists, crowded the field of those spreading a distinctive gospel of African remembrance, African heritage and the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.
After the 1884-85 Berlin Conference, which balkanized Africa, the Pan Africanism that was created in response originally focused on anti-slave trade and anti-displacement resolutions and pronouncements, but it quickly evolved into a consistent call to end all European colonization and exploitation of the continent. From its inception through the era of African independence, then, Pan Africanism has essentially been recognized as a political ideology associated with intellectual, public mass, and later self-autonomy appeals for change. That initial status as a political ideology became a static, stone-engraved identifier for the concept, and the vast majority of even modern authors have continued to view Pan Africanism only within the range and scope of that narrow political perspective.
However, based on a summary interpretation of Blyden, Williams, Turner, Garvey, DuBois, Kenyatta, Nkrumah, Toure, Nyerere, and Cabal on the operational concept, in its various permutations, 21st-century Pan Africanism now involves the following principles that will be utilized for consistent movement forward:
1. Africa must be self-sufficient, autonomous, and free of neo-colonial and capitalist exploitation.
2. Africa must be united, politically, economically and spiritually–a United States of Africa, or a Union of African States.
3. The African way of life must be redeemed, restored and used to help Africa reclaim its rightful place in world history, world politics and world development. The global Reparations Movement is a distinctive part of modern Pan Africanism, as is radical curricula development through Pan African Education.
4. African land and resources plus the authority to utilize them both must be reunited with African people, not just with designated African leadership.
5. Repatriation to the African continent and/or dual citizenship opportunities must be consistently and seriously explored and resolved.
6. Since international and interregional communication between Pan Africanists is crucial, there must be a consistent and reliable network of African-centered and Pan African nationalist organizations established and maintained. The use of any African-centered conference, meeting or gathering to establish and build such lists is legitimate.
7. Pan Africanism–in large and small scale–will be achieved by a combination of government action, NGO (non-governmental organization) forward thinking, and consistent, principled pressure and activism from community-based organizations and individuals. The task is too enormous and the stakes are too high not to recognize that relying on only one sector will be disastrous.
8. Government leaders will have to choose “short-term interest suicide” (i.e., voting against their short-term interests for immediate gain in favor of Africa’s long-term interests, redemption and security) several times during the journey toward the achievement of Pan Africanism, and discernible, situational self-sacrifice will be required of all NGOs and community activists to get this job done. An addiction to business-as-usual tactics will not bring Pan Africanism to fruition.
9. One’s Pan African commitment must be measured by one’s Pan African work. At the end of every day, a Pan Africanist must ask and answer, ‘Did I help or hinder the P.A. movement today?’
10. It must be accepted and acknowledged that Pan Africanism is a viable, winnable movement with a common set of objectives and a common vision.
If you are an artist, musician or craftsman, you should include in your daily work some stringent efforts to promote, advocate and/or organize Pan African cultural integration events and combined country exhibits, concerts and the like. Pan African cultural arts is an extremely valuable part of the equation and should not be lightly regarded. Pan Africanism is not all politics and economics. If you are students, demand that your instructors include Pan African courses in your curriculum and ensure there are Pan African books and research materials in your school’s library. Initiate Pan African Clubs whenever and wherever you can. Hold African multicultural parties, panel discussions, etc. Confront and challenge any attempts to denigrate Africa and its people. In other words, there is no limit to the Pan African activities and creative projects in which one can get involved.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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