A good example of history that helps explain why this struggle has become so difficult for us lies in evaluating the 6th Pan African Congress which was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1974. The history of these Pan-African Congress meetings is available for all who want to know about it, so it won't be repeated here (its repeated in many articles on this blog). What we will say is the disconnect between the historic 5th Pan African Congress, held in Manchester, England, in 1945, and the 6th Pan African Congress, held 29 years later in Tanzania, is critical to understand in order to develop a proper assessment of where phenomenon's like ADOS come from.
What we are presenting here is that class struggle is one of, if the the dominant, challenge that defines what characterized the differences between 5th Pan African Congress and 6th Pan African Congress (from here forward to be referred to as either 5th PAC or 6th PAC). This is not to say the 6th PAC had no historical value. Far from it. The 6th PAC was the first Pan African Congress held on African soil. That by itself, is historically significant. There was much struggle that was waged at that meeting that has continued to feed the international discussion and that is good. But, its that same class struggle that was expressed at the 6th PAC that reflects the same type of class struggle that has led to ADOS and similar currents. By class struggle, we are talking specifically about the question of who will own and control the means of production - the resources we depend upon to live on, grow with, sustain the planet and human and other life within it. Who will control those means? That question can only be answered two ways. Either some people will own it - capitalism, the current system, where a few people own and control the world's resources. Or, everyone will own it - meaning socialism, where the means of production are owned and controlled by the masses of people. We cannot determine any additional way to answer that question of who will own and control resources. And, we are convinced this question is the central question. Its central because the people who choose for all to own the wealth are the revolutionaries who are fighting to win the hearts and minds of the masses of people to carry out this relentless struggle to wrest control of these resources from the few capitalist elites who will do absolutely anything to maintain and sustain their control. Everyone else is working simply to find their place co-existing with the capitalist world order. These latter people wish to find compromise and common ground with capitalism. And, they will come up with any number of different looks to make capitalism seem more acceptable to the rest of us. In other words, for this latter group, continued oppression under capitalism is okay, as long as its not them receiving the brunt of that oppression. For revolutionaries, we desire for all our people, and all of humanity to not suffer oppression. We believe that ADOS - with its bourgeoisie position that Africans in America should break off from the rest of our worldwide African family to find some sort of financial settlement with capitalism - are clear examples of this class struggle. No where do these people in ADOS see our liberation as being inconsistent with capitalism. As a result, this struggle becomes a dominant struggle over whether we can be free under capitalism or not. We say we cannot. They say a few of us can. And, we say all of this fully aware of how this manipulative argument is carried out. Capitalism is so dominant and so systemic that those who support it don't even need to mention it. In fact, there is a strange reality at play here where some people never mention capitalism and therefore act as if by not mentioning it, they are somehow removed from it. As if they can operate with a neutral economy in place. The truth here is that no mention of capitalism automatically means support for capitalism because it is the dominant system in place in the world today. Its like when people don't mention white supremacy. By not mentioning it, they automatically contribute to its continued existence.
What we are saying here is these class contradictions didn't just start with ADOS, or the often class analysis lacking Afro-centricity movement before it, etc. This type of class struggle and antagonisms among African people, among all people on earth, have existed for thousands of years and ADOS is just simply the latest edition of African people anywhere who come up with a package deal that claims salvation under capitalism can be achieved by a few of us at the expense of the majority us. The age old divide and conquer technique used by ADOS explains why much of ADOS support comes from elements that possess extensive experience working to destabilize African and other movements for justice and forward progress (Progessive for Immigration Reform - the group Yvette Carnell - a main spokesperson for the ADOS movement, serves as a board director for that group, etc).
The 6th PAC is an effective example here of this class struggle because it occurred almost 45 years ago. Convened from June 3rd, to June 13th, 1974, in Dar es Salaam, 6th PAC served as the primary statement that the mass working class based foundation of the 5th PAC 29 years before was being replaced by this subtle compromise with capitalism that has come to define neo-colonialism.
The 5th PAC united Africans from all over the world under the primary resolution that Pan-Africanism must be defined as one unified socialist Africa. This definition solidified Pan-Africanism as an objective that sought to contribute to the worldwide socialist movement. The militant delegates at 5th PAC resolved to use mass parties to bring immediate independence to Africa and it was 5th PAC that ushered in the African independence movement. And, it was that African independence movement that heavily influenced the launching of African civil and human rights movements around the world, including the U.S. civil rights movement. And, don't take our word for that part. Study the words spoken about it from every major figure in the U.S. civil rights movement from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer, to Ella Baker. The 5th PAC made a specific call for liberation movements in Africa to form and for those liberation movements to build mass political parties that would serve to organize African people not just for nominal independence, but for the continued push for this one unified socialist Africa. In other words, 5th PAC was the line drawn in the sand. You were either for the masses of Africans and humanity, or you were with the enemies of humanity. There was no middle ground. What 6th PAC did was seriously muddy that line in the sand. The 1960s was the decade of class struggle in Africa and within the worldwide African liberation movement. As that decade came to a close the results were the overthrow of the National Congolese Movement and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. The overthrow of the Convention People's Party and Kwame Nkrumah's government in Ghana and Mobido Keita's government in Mali. Meanwhile, the militancy of the Black power movement in the U.S. was being devastated by the illegal counterintelligence program as well as the compromising of the aims of Black power from Malcolm X's call for our liberation "by any means necessary" to dominant efforts to compromise by limiting our approach to absolutely nothing outside of the capitalist electoral system. The 1970s was the decade of neo-colonialism where European capitalist interests became firmly institutionalized throughout Africa. What this means is the Europeans may have physically left Africa, but the Africans who replaced them were 100% trained by them, loyal to their interests, and willing to do their exploitative bidding for the right price. So the operation of colonialism stayed in tact throughout Africa where African leaders became people who were most committed to maintaining Western capitalist interests in order to ensure their continued privilege. In the U.S., on a smaller scale, this was African mayors and other elected officials as the response to mass uprisings in the late 1960s. Eventually, this would even mean Africans occupying other more prominent positions within U.S. capitalism, like president in the person of Barack Obama from 2008 through 2016. Capitalism fully in force, undeterred, everywhere in the world from the U.S. throughout every state in Africa, but now in blackface.
The blueprint for this reality was revealed in the 6th PAC where the militancy of the 5th PAC was effectively disintegrated. C.L.R. James, the respected Pan-Africanist from Trinidad, was one of the original persons who called for the 6th PAC and because of his status in our movements, he was asked to be the Secretary General for the 6th PAC, but he resigned when the 6th PAC Secretariat prevented revolutionary elements to attend the 6th PAC. Much of the leadership for the 6th PAC was dominated by former militant activists within the U.S. civil rights movement. In fact, the tone of the 6th PAC was in many ways dominated by Western race/Black nationalist dialogue. Democratic Party of Guinea Secretary General and President of Guinea - Sekou Ture - was invited to give one of the main addresses during the 6th PAC and that he did. Still, one can easily research reactions to Ture's speech to find out that many of the delegates, dominated by Africans from the U.S., had a very hard time accepting Ture's call for class based revolutionary struggle where solidarity with non-African revolutionaries like the (then) Palestine Liberation Organization and Irish Republican Socialist Movements was lifted up above simple classless unity based on being "black." This reality is clearly born out by looking at the resolutions and their results at the 6th PAC. All of the militant pro-working class positions advanced from the 5th PAC were introduced at the 6th PAC for reaffirmation, but all of these revolutionary positions were voted down by the hundreds of primarily Western delegates in attendance in Dar es Salaam. The resolutions on making the destruction of capitalism, destroying neo-colonialism, liquidating foreign military bases in Africa, and eliminating patriarchy in our movement were all effectively voted down. Meanwhile, resolutions that highlighted "economic development" with no clear definition of what that meant, were approved which opened the way for imperialist dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank re-colonizing of Africa to take place.
In summary the 6th PAC signaled the suppression of the revolutionary spirit of the 5th PAC and the lack of militancy and the cozy lying in bed with capitalism that ADOS and others proudly proclaim. The result of this class struggle is between 1945 and 1974 the forces of neo-colonialism effectively extinguished the revolutionary character of Pan-Africanism's most visible launching posts, the Pan-African Congresses. This current state should be viewed in the context of the massive amounts of resources imperialism is pouring into these neo-colonial efforts to ensure their success. ADOS supporters often say Pan-Africanism isn't relevant, but they cannot even attempt to address why something so ill relevant has sustained such horrific terror aimed against it from the assassination of Pan-Africanist leaders, the destabilization of the Pan-Africanist parties in power, the strangling of Pan-African societies, the sabotage of Ghana, Guinea, Libya, and other legitimate Pan-Africanist governments, etc. In other words, why was so much effort placed into suppressing militancy and international anti-imperialism at the 6th PAC to the extent that the 7th PAC in 1994 in Uganda, and the 8th PAC in Ghana in 2008 continued much more so in the compromised vein of the 6th PAC, further distancing themselves from the anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and pro-socialism and revolutionary Pan-Africanism of the 5th PAC?
The answer here is probably contained in the sad yet true lyrics of Publc Enemy's classic jam "Welcome to the Terrordome" where Chuck D raps that "every brother ain't a brother..." The analysis is still the same in 2019 and beyond. Some of us want liberation for all our people and all of humanity. Some of us just want to secure a place for privileged segments of our population. The proof is in the analysis. The folks wanting complete liberation have a plan for how everyone can become free. That plan can be partially understood by reading Nkrumah's "Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare." That plan is being worked on and built by revolutionary Pan-African forces today. Meanwhile, the folks wanting class privilege cannot even speak to mass liberation coherently. They cannot point you to any clear plan about liberation and certainly no practical work taking place for liberation. Many of these latter people want to continue to carry out this charade that there is a middle ground. We don't have to be revolutionary. We can compromise with imperialism and win. Its time for us to go back to the spirit coming out of the 5th PAC. No middle ground. The question for all of us needs to be simply, what side will you be on?