The July 2016 article I mentioned was written to promote the lame argument that Pan-Africanism is a petty bourgeois movement. A number of people have attempted this useless argument, but none of them have been able to provide a shred of evidence to support that claim besides their personal attacks against scholar/activist W.E.B. DuBois and his intellectual development. I say intellectual development because the thesis behind these attacks against DuBois are his very early promotion of the "talented tenth" theory that the leadership of the African masses would emerge from an elite petty bourgeois Western educated group of African people. The fact DuBois later clearly denounced this earlier position (just like you wouldn't subscribe to many of the positions you adopted in your early life), means nothing to these critics. They still continue to drone on with this nonsense. The second "pillar" to their argument is that DuBois had only bourgeois academic standing and no mass standing among the masses of African people. Although the latter is an extremely undeveloped and absurd position for anyone to take, it requires more analysis to dissect.
There is no question that W.E.B. DuBois, one of the early co-founders of the Niagara Movement, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was steeped in petty bourgeois ideology, as is everyone who journeys through the Western capitalist educational institutions. And, since the early Pan-African Conference (1900), and first four Pan-African Congresses were dominated by petty bourgeois intellectuals, led by DuBois, the inference is that his work was equally committed to petty bourgeois ideals. No one, including DuBois himself, has ever attempted to deny these assertions. The important question though is did he and his work develop beyond this backward point? And that, unfortunately, is where these so-called critics fall silent. This is unfortunate because there is ample evidence to conclude that DuBois and early organized Pan-Africanism, without question, evolved to the spectrum of revolutionary international struggle that our movement represents today.
We will forgive DuBois for his unprincipled attacks against Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association because DuBois certainly was not alone. Noted leaders like George Padmore, C.L.R. James, Harry Hayward, and Cyril Briggs all had their valid and unprincipled critiques of Garvey's organization, movement, and personality. This is just an unfortunate byproduct of oppressed people fighting for capacity with limited resources. Its also the same principle that has apparently motivated that other African organization to spend at least as much time (particularly up through the 1990s) on attacking the A-APRP as they apparently do on organizing the African masses. The important things to remember are that DuBois clearly learned and evolved and the Pan-African movement did too.
All these critics always ignore the historic 5th Pan-African Congress (5th PAC) when making their criticisms of DuBois and Pan-Africanism. This is interesting for several reasons. First, 5th PAC, unlike the previous five Pan-African sessions organized primarily by DuBois, took on that mass character the critics always accused DuBois of lacking. The key conveners for 5th PAC were Kwame Nkrumah, the young student from Ghana who went on to become the leader of revolutionary Pan-Africanism, George Padmore, and Amy Jacque Garvey, the widow of Marcus Garvey. DuBois was elevated by the 5th PAC delegates to be the honorary chairperson of 5th PAC. And, when we say delegates, we mean large delegations of trade union workers in Africa like the young Sekou Ture. Young militant students and organizers like Patrice Lumumba. The composition of this 5th PAC could never be called petty bourgeois. The agenda adopted during this session included the working definition of Pan-Africanism e.g. one, unified, socialist Africa. Clearly, the decision to have Mrs. Garvey and Dr. DuBois occupy such high level positions during this congress was a clear call by the primarily African born delegates, that these two historic figures were being honored for their separate and significant roles in helping foster and develop Pan-Africanism to the point that it evolved to occupy at this historic 1945 meeting.
5th PAC was not a meeting of intellectuals and its agenda was not a reformist agenda, but true revolutionary organizers know that creating revolutionary consciousness is much, much, more than just making proclamations and declarations. Any and all scientific understanding of human development recognizes that the work that came out of that 5th PAC is still taking place today. Still developing today, just as the work to move Pan-Africanism from its infant stage in 1900 to its expression at the 1945 5th PAC was a work in progress. No one with the slightest understanding of struggle would label Kwame Nkrumah as petty bourgeois. And with this year marking the 50th year of his authorship of the "Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare" and the A-APRP he called for in that text, its time to put the idiocy to sleep once and for all.
Revolution is not some spontaneous event that explodes from a protest against police terrorism. It isn't some automatic action that comes about with no work building it. Revolution is a science. It only happens with consistent and mass political education work. The A-APRP understands this and that's why we don't look at revolution like its an action movie from Hollywood. That's why we don't look at our organizers as celebrities. Kwame Ture never acted like a celebrity. Its up to every serious student of history to understand these contradictions and not be fooled by them. When these critics attacked the A-APRP for organizing on college campuses (just in the U.S.) for several years, they dishonestly accused us of adopting the early theory of DuBois on elite leadership. We made it quite clear that our theory differed completely from what DuBois wrote about in the early 1900s. Despite the lies of these critics, you cannot find one videoed speech or one written piece from any A-APRP organizer anywhere that claims students as leaders of the Pan-African revolution. What you will find is our scientific analysis that people with academic skills should be organized to commit class suicide. They should be pushed into an ideological development process that challenges them to denounce the process that steers them towards the petty bourgeois lifestyle. Instead, they should use the skills they gained from the people's struggle to advance the progress of the masses of African people. This is what college educated Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) did. This is what Macheo Shabaka - the African who's funeral is tomorrow in Los Angeles - did with the skills he acquired from his HBCU education. And, this is what this writer has struggled humbly to do for the last several decades. And, anyone who honestly studies our organizing style cannot dispute this. We can never be accused of advancing ourselves individually which would have to be a primary action of anyone committed to petty bourgeois values. Instead, A-APRP cadre develop other cadre and those cadre work with the masses of African people to raise our collective consciousness to create ripe conditions for revolutionary Pan-Africanism. How else can you explain how one single work study group with Kwame Ture, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah, Lamin Jangha (rest in power), and others, in Guinea-Conakry, in 1968, evolved to A-APRP work study circles in several cities and countries in Africa. Cities and countries in Europe, Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, and South America. The A-APRP's objective of revolutionary Pan--Africanism, or one unified socialist Africa, is being organized around in dozens of languages worldwide. This is the day to day work and there is certainly nothing petty bourgeois about it. There is absolutely nothing elitist about it. And, the objective of Pan-Africanism is as mass an objective as we can achieve. As Nkrumah correctly stated in the Handbook, Pan-Africanism will result from organizing the workers, peasants, and revolutionary intelligentsia. And, our Pan-African governing structure will be the fusion of revolutionary Pan-African parties, which are mass parties, meaning every African is invited and encouraged to join and take leadership. This is our organizing model all over the world and no one can refute and/or deny it. For us, all of this serves one purpose. To make Africa one nation where her vast mineral resources are cultivated and organized to serve the interests of the African masses. Where those masses have a structure that organizes that wealth in a socialist development fashion leading to and contributing to world communism. I'll wait for anyone to demonstrate the petty bourgeois element of that vision.
I'm not going to claim that these so-called critics are working for our enemies. Instead, I think the issue is massive egoism and a strong lack of political education. A lack of understanding of the principled position the A-APRP operates under. We never attack anyone, although please believe me, we could do so very easily. Instead, we encourage people criticizing us to join and/or start some other organization working for justice. This line is about as anti petty bourgeois as a line can get. This is a mass line if there ever was one. We encourage you to study up and get a clear scientific understanding of Pan-Africanism. There are far too many organizations under our Pan-African banner who have lost many soldiers violently in struggle e.g. the Pan-African Congress of Azania-South Africa, the Democratic Party of Guinea, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau, the Azanian People's Organization, the Pan-African Union of Sierra Leone, etc., for us permit these critics to go unchallenged. Especially since the people leveling the critiques haven't risked anything close to what many of our soldiers have lost.
We have to learn to reject the scarcity model our enemies force upon us. Its very easy for us to embrace Pan-Africanism and whatever other fictional and/or real objective we think is best for African people. We don't need to think we have to choose between DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Between DuBois and Garvey. We don't need to choose between Malcolm and Martin. Between Amy and Amy. There is more than enough room for any and all ideologies and people who can make a contribution to African people to exist. This is actually the most healthy way. And, if the critics themselves are not elitist and petty bourgeois, then they will acknowledge the brain capacity of our people to figure out the best path for themselves without lying to them to get them to look in other directions. Anyone promoting otherwise, you need to check a little deeper. You need to recognize that the negativity really only serves our enemies and some of us should be experienced and mature enough by now to realize that.