This is actually a worldwide phenomenon, not just something that occurs in the U.S. While spending time in Ghana in December,I saw U.S. and Israeli flags everywhere. In fact, anything associated with a winner, you see everywhere in Ghana. The Jamaican flag is just as common as the U.S. and Israeli flags and the local people said this was because of people's admiration for Usain Bolt, the successful Jamaican sprinter. Even the confederate flag was seen being worn by Africans in Ghana and upon questioning them why, their response indicated they had no historical understanding of what the flag symbol actually meant. It was just something American. Of course, from my viewpoint the American, Israeli, and confederate flag all mean the same thing to us. The point is a dispossessed people will seek out a winning atmosphere because we want more for ourselves, our children, our society.
This is exactly the reason why Pan-Africanism is so important for African people. And, I have never met the person, regardless of their nationality, that fails to understand the merits and necessity for Pan-Africanism in the lives of African people (and humanity) once they properly understand what it is. The issue is most people have a very distorted and inappropriate understanding of what Pan-Africanism is and those people are talking and spreading that misinformation. This is our challenge as getting the truth out is so difficult under these circumstances, but we will continue to use all mediums as our disposal, including this one, to present our arguments.
Pan-Africanism is not a back to Africa movement. I can't tell you how many times I've had to refute that one lately. Don't misunderstand. We love Africa. Many of us want to live there, including me, but our objective isn't simply about moving to Africa. Doing that, without confronting the systematic oppression that keeps us downtrodden, does nothing to improve our collective conditions. So, please don't reduce our magnificent work to simply suggesting a geographical move of African people is all that is needed. Pan-Africanism is also not an anti-white movement. There are various degrees of so-called Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism is certainly one element of that storied tradition, but Pan-Africanism is scientific and revolutionary also. It recognizes the history and role of class struggle in our fight for justice so revolutionary Pan-Africanists could never accept the unscientific version of history that African people lived in complete harmony before the arrival of the Europeans. We know that class struggle opened the door for relationships between exploitative Europeans and Africans to establish colonialism and the slave trade. We know that those same class contradictions paved the way for neo-colonialism today. We know that the real struggle is one of the haves and the have nots, but we can also never forget that the majority of the have nots look like us and there are specific reasons why that's so. Pan-Africansim is about understanding that Africa is exploited because of its material worth and the dehumanization of its people makes the exploitation of human population possible also. This has been the case for over 500 years. And, the capitalist system today continues to rely on exploiting Africa to maintain its profits. We know that in order for this system of exploitation to continue, it's essential to have Africans continue to look towards America and Europe for salvation because doing so keeps us from understanding that everything we need we already have right in Africa. So, this is where being black comes in because the imperialists want us to relate to our skin color instead of our homeland because doing so prevents us from connecting with Africa and questioning why they are stealing all of its riches and we are left with nothing except black pride.
Pan-Africanism is the highest stage of black pride. Malcolm X, while visiting Guinea-Conakry and having dinner with President Sekou Ture, received a valuable lesson about this. When he asked Ture to explain his decision to have a meeting with him, a visiting dissident in the powerful U.S., as well as Ture's nationalistic policies in Guinea, the Pan-African revolutionary responded that "our people need dignity more than money." At first, Malcolm didn't fully understand Ture's response. In Malcolm's eyes at the time, just like most of us today, if a country like Guinea has massive material wealth like the multitude of bauxite reserves that continue to exist there, why wouldn't Ture use it to enrich the country? But, Malcolm was a fast learner and soon he understood Ture's message. African people, wherever we are, must develop an understanding of who we are and we must use that knowledge to gain control of our lives. When we do that, we will have much of what we are lacking today. That was Ture's point. That progress doesn't come from money and technology. It comes from organization. Sekou Ture understood that Africa's unification is the key to our salvation and that cannot be obtained by selling off our natural resources to the highest bidder. Our dignity can only come from one place. It must come from us understanding who we are and that our interests are directly related to the future of one place - Africa. Once we understand this simple fact, the rest will come together for us. Imagine a free, strong, and liberated Africa. Just imagine it. No images of starvation and helplessness. Instead, a picture of a place that controls it's own destiny. A place where people have to deal with Africa to have cell phones and computers. Cars and gasoline. Food and other essential products and services. In this world, do you believe we would be shot down like dogs on the street when the system's very existence would depend upon its capability to interact effectively with us? If you still don't get it, imagine the current reality where Chinese people throughout Africa enjoy preferential treatment everywhere they exist because of the power and influence their country represents. Our problem is we do not have that and although we want to achieve it differently than the Chinese have, that respect is something that we need. For us as well as everyone else who interacts with us.
So, this is what Pan-Africanism will do for African people everywhere. Regardless of whether you are in L.A. or Ethiopia. Pretoria or Portland. Puerto Rico, Paris, or Philadelphia. If you are African, you will be viewed and treated with respect. If you think about it, there is absolutely no way this can be accomplished without a liberated and unified Africa. Clearly, just creating pockets of wealthy Africans won't do it. Ask any entertainer. African actors are forced to boycott the worthless Academy Awards because of the lack of respect demonstrated against us. If we had Pan-Africanism we wouldn't even need their recognition and because we wouldn't need it, that's why we would get it, often. Even the most basic dating rules illustrate this. Your mother hopefully taught you that if you are so easily available, to suggest no one desires you, then you will not be considered attractive. A united and liberated Africa makes us attractive, most importantly to ourselves. No more seeing ourselves as worthless and in the way of forward progress. Then, we begin to see ourselves as being the motive force behind forward progress. This changes everything. Now our children not only want to learn about us, but it becomes the in thing to do because everyone wants to be us, not for the often dysfunctional reasons that we see today, but because we primarily project images of power and dignity.
So, even if you don't understand anything about Africa. Even if you think you don't want to know. Even if you are born in Africa and you therefore believe you already know what you need to know. Stop talking against Pan-Africanism. Stop saying it cannot happen and start talking about the reasons why having it happen would be so important for us. Even if you don't get it, you have to see how it will help us so stop working against us because when we win, you will benefit just like everyone else! And, if you are not African, you will benefit because a free, unified, and liberated Africa, along with the same thing for Palestinians in Palestine, Native peoples in the Americas, etc., will be the only thing that will completely weaken and eliminate white suprmacy. If you deisre this to happen, you must support this work as well because you must understand that until we have this, the world will be as Malcolm described it when he talked about the diner. He talked about someone sitting at a table with no food isn't a diner. Pan-Africanism gives us the power to order whatever we want!