The discussion we are talking about evolves out of the struggles of Paul Bogle, Martin Delaney, and Edward Blyden. It reverberates through the words and actions of Marcus and Amy/Amy Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. In 1924, Garvey stated that Africans anywhere will never be free until Africans everywhere unite. And within that statement was the call for those of us outside of Africa to return home to Africa. Of course, Garvey himself - after having made outstanding contributions to Africa's forward progress - never actually made it to Africa, but 92 years after he made those statements, its time to talk seriously about the principles behind his words.
To have the type of high level conversation we need and deserve, we must dispense of the mass confusion around this issue. Please don't confuse Pan-Africanism - the movement to liberate Africa from imperialism through creating a worldwide force of Africans and one unified socialist Africa - with repatriation, which is simply you deciding, by yourself, or with others, to physically move to Africa. Some Pan-Africanists believe in repatriation and some people who believe in repatriation also believe in Pan-Africanism, but it is entirely possible to believe and work for one and not necessarily be committed to the other. For example, as demonstrated by Garvey himself, you can be a Pan-Africanist and never see Africa. For Pan-Africanism, the focus is on Africa's liberation, not your physical journey there. By the same token, many people have repatriated and/or are working towards it, but have done no work towards the larger Pan-African objective. You can find people everywhere in Africa today who represent the latter category and that's great because even personal decisions reflect political conditions, but its the former category that we will bring special attention to. I choose to focus on repatriation as an outgrowth of the Pan-Africanist movement first because that's my personal path. And, more importantly, its this path that best refutes the anti-Africa arguments that so dominate the discussion today. In other words, every person who joins the All African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) today is immediately a part of an international organization of African people. Not the idea of one, but an organization with an actual presence all over the world. Consequently, unlike the overused example of the African from the diaspora who has an idealistic and romantic vision of life in Africa, we benefit from being able to provide people interested in Africa with an on the ground support network to experience Africa first hand from a grassroots perspective. For me this was essential because our political education process intellectually prepared me for Africa and the experiences of cadre I was working with who had been there gave me further preparation so that by the time I went for the first time, I had contacts on the ground waiting for me. In fact, every time I have gone to Africa I have had this so common issues of having guidance in where to go, where to stay, how to function, are non-existent for us because we have the luxury of belonging to this international organization. Plus, the repatriation model based on Pan-African organizing work has given us a template from which to prepare for life in Africa. I was provided with an understanding of colonialism and more importantly for today, neo-colonialism. As a result, I knew at age 22 that having a "Black" president was simply a case of capitalism/imperialism in black face. I had no expectations of some Black capitalist utopia in Africa. Plus, I knew that our people in Africa had been fed the same colonial education that we received in the diaspora so when I went to Africa, and someone said something incorrect, I had the tools to address it and the foundation to prevent the backwardness from shaping my perspective. So, the political education and the practical experiences of belonging to an international organization prepared me for life in Africa. And best of all, my preparation came to me within the African cultural dynamic known as the Revolutionary African Personality. So, there was never any dismay on my part about anything I experienced because my organization did a great job educating and preparing me in real life terms.
Another practical way in which the A-APRP has helped is the Pan-African examples I've observed people making for decades now. First, we start with Kwame Ture (formally Stokely Carmichael). Born in Trinadad, Kwame made his name in the civil rights and black power movements in the U.S., but he made his most important mark by spending the last 30 of his 57 years on earth living in Guinea, West Africa, as an organizer for the A-APRP and the Democratic Party of Guinea. Kwame's example influenced or was influenced by so many other organizers. I've seen A-APRP cadre move from California, Louisiana, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Missouri, and other places to various parts of Africa. While in Africa, I've worked with A-APRP cadre who were born in Haiti who moved to French speaking areas in Africa to organize. Just last year, one of my close comrades within the A-APRP took a job in Africa and made the decision to move from the East Coast, U.S., to West Africa. Less than a year ago, I lived within an A-APRP operated community center in Ghana that was housed by an A-APRP cadre and former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party cadre who has lived in Africa for decades. These are all people who I interact with who are great sources to confirm the benefits of repatriation, but these are sources you won't have if you are simply an individual dependent upon imperialism to provide you all the information you receive about Africa.
The other and most popular anti-Africa argument that Pan-African activism rips to shreds is the notion that leaving the diaspora, especially the U.S. or Britain, is somehow "running away from the real struggle." This argument is advanced by people who have absolutely no understanding of the forces that shape the world. Imperialism is a worldwide system. There is no place on earth you can go to escape it. The capitalist countries control and set prices for every product on the planet so by living outside of those imperialist countries, you actually increase the burden on your life due to you now becoming inaccessible to the sources of power and privilege. The flip side of that coin is because you are outside the sphere of privilege, the people in Africa are not confused by the bourgeois propaganda in the U.S. that can convince a house-less and working class person that their interests and that of millionaire and billionaire political candidates are one and the same. Therefore, the harshness of the struggle in Africa is stark so there is absolutely no running away. In fact, the struggle in Africa is where the real struggle is being waged. This is especially true since capitalism was founded and is maintained based on Africa's exploitation and subjugation. So, by fighting for Africa, you are striking the most potent and lethal weapon for humanity. Or, as Sekou Ture correctly put it "imperialism will find it's grave in Africa."
So repatriation to Africa is a good thing in any form, but within the context of the fight for Pan-Africanism, it becomes the natural progression for any African living within the diaspora. Repatriation is definitely the path I plan to follow. I've quietly and consistently spent the last five years preparing for my time to go home. For context, I worked from 1985 until 2010 in the private sector. I lived a double life. Executive by day, Pan-African revolutionary by night. It worked because for most of that period there was no social media so you could live separate lives with relative ease. I was able to finance a lot of A-APRP work through this process over that span of years. With the banking burst in 2010, I found myself unemployed and with social media, background checks, and a high internet activist presence, there was no way I was going to get hired again within the right-wing dominated finance industry. The subsequent time I spent unemployed forced me to sell practically everything I owned. At first, this was a source of depression until I realized I didn't miss any of that stuff. In fact, selling it freed me up from it. Once I found stable employment again, I pledged to maintain the style of life I had adopted which eliminated most of my material possessions. I've maintained a debt free life. If I can't pay for it outright, I don't need it. I don't ever plan to be forced to do anything again because I have bills to pay. I'm saving a lot in my retirement fund for that day when I can leave the U.S. My mind is ready to go and has been for some time. I know this will sound so strange to those of you who see the U.S. as the beginning, middle, and end, of the entire planet, but what I see is a place that has stolen everything our people need to be self sufficient from them. What I see is a place that must maintain its hold on Africa, thus requiring it to maintain its repression of African people. And, most importantly, what I see is a place that doesn't belong to the people who claim it as their property. I see a nation that will one day soon be recovered by the Indigenous people it was stolen from and we intend to do everything in our power to unite with them and stand with them in reclaiming their homeland. In the meantime, I'm going home. I long for a place where the person I am is respected at face value e.g. someone who represents sincerity, honesty, and a passion for justice. I very much look forward to being able to live in an environment isn't trying to kill me emotionally, physically, even through the food that I consume everyday. No, Africa isn't perfect, but its a much better fit for me and once my time comes in six short years, if I'm still breathing, you better believe I'm there. I actually believe that once I make that transition, I'll be so much better equipped to wage the fight for much longer than I would if I were to stay here. My spirit is dying out in this place and I think that's true for anyone who truly lives life and isn't experiencing it through a series of artificially induced highs and distractions.
So, there is no disrespect shown to me by suggesting I should go back to Africa. I'm happy to see that day come. Just keep in mind that when we all leave, we totally plan to take all our riches that were stolen with us. Some of you are so mixed up in the head that you still fail to decipher how when that day comes, your life here will be changing drastically. And when the time comes I may be still trying to get away from here. I may be comfortably at home in Africa. Or, I most likely will be nothing more than a memory. One that I hope inspires as many people as people to pour all the oil on the fire that it can possibly take.