Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pan-African Internationalism - 21st Century Pan-Africanism, Part 1

 Summing Up the African Liberation Movement in the 21st Century
Abasi Shomari Baruti
January 4, 2012
Just over a decade into the 21st century, things are critical for African people. Capitalist Imperialism has continued to experience the crises that have convulsed it since its initiation as a dominant global political economy. Each period of instability following on the heels of the previous crisis with shorter and shorter intervals. The march of capitalism in the form of rehashed variations of the ideologies of exploitation has continued and has completed its dominance of the globe. All of this has had a brutal impact on the masses of poor and working people in every section of the world with any semblance of industrial development, and now threatens even the most remote cultures that have yet to be overwhelmed by the avaricious passions of the profit machine. The propaganda of the bourgeoisie has proclaimed the ongoing supremacy of capitalism and western decadence and dared anyone to opposed what it would have us to believe is the finality of its existence. Central to the continuation of this culture of death, destruction, rape and robbery, stands the African. 

Long the recipient of the rawest end of bourgeois social organization, we have witnessed the continuation of the special predilection of the ruling classes for African blood, sweat, and tears. In the forty odd years since the military defeat of the African revolutionary struggles of the 1960s and ‘70s, the counterrevolution has refused to let up in its policy of containment and destabilization of the African working class. It has continued to spit on the legacy of our thrust for freedom, and kick in the teeth of the generations that have followed in the wake our Diaspora-wide resistance. The grand strategy of counterinsurgency seemingly perfected, the vicious ruling class throughout the white world has dug in and made industry out of the demoralized African masses, even finding a handsome profit in the process. As slick as first-rate con men, the sell-out class has produced two generations of neo-colonial stooges who have gladly helped to hold up the empire as the surrogate masters of their working class brothers and sisters. With little shame, the negro-colonialist have fine tuned the hustle of upward mobility and advanced the cause of assimilation and integration into an almost sublime art form of the most grotesque proportions. And on the periphery of the African world stands the remnants of the revolution, struggling to find its feet. Rudderless, torn into innumerable splinters, the ghost of the African liberation movement has been able to do little more than replenish its ranks with an insignificant number of forces. Even the vast majority of these forces have been little more than placeholders, forcing the truly sincere and committed to bear the brunt of the temporary failure of our struggle for freedom. In addition, even in the face of our most valiant efforts, the African liberation movement has has held back the threat of becoming irrelevant, we have avoided becoming merely a footnote in the historical development of the dispersed African nation.

Yet, forty years later, the surviving revolutionary soldiers of our parent’s generation languish, even transition into the next form of life, in the worst torture camps capitalism has ever dreamed of, adding further injury to injury. The African woman continues to be the subject of triple oppression with no relief in sight. The African child is now the object of a well-oiled from-the-cradle-to-the-penitentiary-to-the-grave machine. The vultures and bottom feeding parasites of bourgeois society continue their brazen, parasitic political exploitation of the African masses, while the lumpen petty-bourgeoisie grow fat and wealthy on the trap of economic extraction in the form of advanced merchant capitalism, usury, the illegal drug trade, and so on.

In the final analysis, the African nation and it’s revolution is in critical condition; after a nearly four decades of stagnation, it is short on vitality, long on decay, and rife with abject confusion – the leacy of vicious counterrevolution from outside and within. Nonetheless, the masses of our people look on, uncomprehending and uncaring, focused on how they can be the next to win the lottery of status upgrade and just maybe get an opportunity to at least pretend to live the high life. This is one side of the dialectic that characterizes, in part, our struggle for freedom this side of the glorious period of the 1960s. 

It is out of this recession in the African revolution that the living tendency, long held hostage by its own desire to honor the past, is beginning to emerge. Opposite the dying tendency is the living tendency. In spite of the contradictions, we have been able get into the arena and help win victories that have sustained the relevance of the African liberation struggle. We have been able to feed and protect the ideals of the past and, in some cases, even develop them into ideological tools better shaped to guide our action today. In many places, the emerging, but unconsolidated, vanguard of this period of our fight has been able to push the decrepit elements of the struggle to return to form, even if briefly. We have lit a fire under the complacent and have openly derided the embarrassing and clownish personality cults parading as true leadership. This new tendency has taken up the old guard’s vigilance against the negro-colonialist’s attempts to leverage our struggle and exploit the misery of our people for their own personal benefit. We have stood face to face and billy club to bullhorn with the armed wing of the state, showing no fear and defying the will of the bourgeoisie; reflecting the best spirit of our elder warriors. The emerging heart of the African freedom fight has resolved social contradictions that remained to us to figure out. In spite of the growing reaction within our own movement, from Oakland, California to Soweto, Azania, in the face of the backsliding, formerly honored leadership of yesteryear, this courageous new tendency has demanded life and fought to get a foothold in a struggle that has listed and lulled for half most of our lifetimes.

We have refused to let the failures demoralize us; we have been continually encouraged and emboldened by the victories that have defined the struggle in the late 20th and early 21st century. We have refused to allow the sectarian political tribalism to determine the depth and breadth of our political lives. Objective conditions have continued to set the stage for a resurgence of the African revolution, and it is the living tendency, the other end of the dialectic of African liberation, which is positioning itself to achieve the goal of “Freedom Now!”

Within this new, living, vibrant current is where a contingency of forces have begun to nail down the blueprint for African revolution in the 21st century. From the iron clad commitment to advance the struggle combined with the first steps of a new tendency, a spark promises to ignite the African liberation movement and return it to the raging fire of revolutionary struggle. Pan-African Internationalism, 21st Century Pan-Africanism, stands on the foundations of our ancestors who carried the work of developing revolutionary theory, strategy, and tactics before they were cut down by the counterinsurgency or transitioned into the next life. It has finally arrived at the point where it can say to the past, “we have learned from you and now we are ready to add to you.” Pan-African Internationalism stares the future straight in the face and gives full expression of the real interests and articulations of the struggling masses of African people. It is a clarification of the contradictions and missteps of the past and attempts to better illuminate those spaces where the pace and intensity of daily struggle kept our forbears from giving their full attention. It is a testament to and distillation of the best ideas and practices of the previous periods and a synthesis of praxis with a clear understanding of the needs of the struggle in the present and in the future. It is a critique of the logic of African liberation theory thus far, and a specific renovation of Pan-Africanist thought and practice. In the end, Pan-African Internationalism claims to be the highest expression of African revolutionary theory and the best refinement of the strategy and tactics of African liberation, in short, the best way forward.

As the guiding ideology of a small section of the emergent tendency of the African liberation movement, Pan-African Internationalism sets as its task the establishment of an effective vanguard formation capable of leading the struggle for independence in an effective and sustainable way. We commit to the work to resurrect the fighting spirit of the masses of African working people and develop it past the high water mark of the previous periods. Pan-African Internationalism takes on the critical tasks of organizing the Diaspora into a tight-knit, global revolutionary movement, liberating Africa, and realizing the objective of revolutionary nationalism as a basis for the effective development of proletarian internationalism. We expose our strategy for establishing dual and contending power, a sorely missing element in our historical struggle and the infrastructure necessary to advance the movement in quantity and quality. And finally, Pan-African Internationalism lays out what we understand to be the best methodology for direct and decisive engagement with the exploiting classes within and outside of the African nation, with an aim of achieving final victory. If we are correct in our analysis, Pan-African Internationalism is not only highest expression of African liberation theory and the aspirations of the masses of oppressed, exploited African workers; it is a blueprint for the building of the final phase of our struggle. We take the position that Pan-African Internationalism is the razors edge of the sickle that will finally reap freedom in the hands of a conscious, mobilized African working class: a hammer in worldwide anti-capitalist revolutionary struggle.

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