This history confirms the real reason Africans, who could actually be biologically related, can meet on a street anywhere in the world today, but because one is born in Cuba, or Brazil, and the other is born in Canada, or the U.S., they don't even recognize each other. It's these systems that balkanized Africa and created the ethnic strife that inflicts the continent today. That's why we accept Kwame Nkrumah's definition of nationality which defines it as a people with the same history and culture.
Fortunately, African people are a people of spirit so the sad reality expressed above can never be the entire story. Right along with that painful narrative must be a truthful account of our people's continuous commitment to fighting back against oppression and continuing our evolution which was slowed by the European intrusion into Africa hundreds of years ago. One manifestation of that spirit of resistance is the objective of Pan-Africanism which seeks to address the problems of the political and economic instability of Africans by correcting the horrors of colonialism/slavery by uniting Africa under one unified, socialist government. For Pan-Africanists, this objective will bring an end to Africa being a cheap source of wealth for European/U.S. capitalism. Under Pan-Africanism, Africa's vast mineral resources will be used to advance Africa and her people. The immense pride and confidence this transformation will make within us will forever impact the negative vestiges of the last 500 years, wiping out any concept of Africa or Africans being inferior. It will also reconstruct how other people view us as the entire world will witness our assent to true independence and self determination.
The All African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) has certainly made and continues to make a concrete contribution towards achieving Pan-Africanism through its daily work all over the world today. The Pan-African Congresses represent one of the many vehicles Pan-Africanists have used to advance Pan-African concepts. In order to understand the impact of the Pan-African Congresses, it's important to first define the concept. For example, what is the difference between a congress and a conference? Well, a conference is a meeting where people get together to explore a theme or concept. Workshops are provided around the said topic. Speakers present. At the end of the conference, ideas about where the concept will go are presented, but at the end of that conference, participants leave and that is generally the end of it until the next conference comes around, but even then, the concepts are generally initiated from ground zero and the concepts presented all over again, usually to an entirely new audience. By comparison, a congress is a declaration of a commitment to insure the concepts expressed are worked on going forward so that the next congress can not just restate and redefine the concepts, but can carry them forward towards the achievement of the congress objective.
In the case of the Pan-African Congresses, they officially stated with a conference in England in 1900. This meeting was convened by people like Trinadadian Barrister Henry Syvester Williams, and U.S. civil rights activists Anna Julia Cooper and W.E.B. Du Bois. As this meeting evolved into a later congress, the first four congresses were carried out with meetings held in various locations in Europe. Much of the work done at these meetings was carried out by intellectuals like DuBois, who during the 20s and 30s, practically kept the congresses alive by himself although it must be noted that Marcus Garvey, and the Universal Negro Improvement Association's (UNIA) work during the 1920s, contributed as much to Pan-Africanism as anything else, despite the UNIA's non-involvement with the congresses themselves.
Garvey and the UNIA's presence cannot be overstated as their militancy clearly made a stamp on the future of Pan African work. In fact, Garvey himself was prophetic when he said "you never know what impact your work today will have on people tomorrow." His words grew life with the coming of the 5th Pan-African Congress (5th PAC) in Manchester, England in 1945. This meeting was very different from the previous four congresses. DuBois, now in his seventies, was still active and present at the 5th PAC, but what changed was the overwhelming mass character present at the Manchester meeting. Gone was the dominance of idealism and intellectualism, replaced by a mass of workers, students, and activists dedicated to direct action to bring independence to Africa. Future anti-colonial leaders like Sekou Ture and Patrice Lumumba were there. Amy Jacques Garvey, Marcus's widow, had a prominent role. Kwame Nkrumah, the young leader from Ghana, was selected as the convener of the session. The mood was uncompromising and this was demonstrated by the resulting resolution passed overwhelmingly that the thing Africa needed more than anything else was the establishment of one unified socialist Africa. The fact that this resolution could be agreed upon by Africans brought together from every corner on the planet in the anti-communist charged atmosphere of the cold war in full force at that time is phenomenal. Of course, the African independence movement sprang out of the 5th PAC and the U.S. and Caribbean civil rights movements did too. There was additional work that advanced Pan-Africanism, like the independence of Ghana in 1957, the independence of Guinea in 1958, and the development of the radical "Casablanca Group" Union of Ghana, Guinea, and Mali in the 60s, but imperialism doesn't rest. By the 1970s, the inspiration of Lumumba and the National Congelese Movement was snatched from us by a neo-colonialist CIA (criminals in action) effort to topple Lumumba's democratically elected government and assassinate him in the process. Nkrumah's government was overthrown in 66 and with Sekou Ture's death in 1984 and the subsequent neo-colonial takeover of Guinea, most of Africa was firmly back in the hands of the imperialists.
The 6th Pan-African Congress took place in 1974 in Tanzania, but inconsistent with the meaning of congress, it did not advance the concepts agreed to at the 5th PAC. In fact, those concepts backtracked. Instead of examining how to bring one unified socialist Africa into existence, 6th PAC entertained anti-white sentiment as a dominant theme while embracing capitalist concepts like capital investment. Sekou Ture's brilliant speech designed to take the congress back to 5th PAC was widely criticized by Western attendees as "letting the white man off the hook." This is absurd when considering that Ture's call for scientific socialism in Africa is the last thing the capitalist white man ever wants to see in Africa or anywhere else for that matter.
There was a 7th PAC in Uganda in 1994, but this meeting regressed farther back into capitalist solutions than the 1974 meeting. So, now we are looking at a call for an 8th PAC to be held during the first months of 2015 in Ghana. There is an international Planning Committee and the agenda for discussion is a progressive one with a focus on women's rights in the African world and solutions to the problems facing African people worldwide. The A-APRP is not endorsing 8th PAC in spite of the fact we have an active chapter in Ghana, where it will be held, and a genuine Pan-African presence around the world that many of the participants can only talk about having. Our reasons for not officially endorsing 8th PAC are not spiteful. We are always in agreement with Africans coming together to discuss our conditions, especially on an international scale. Our issue is that the congress process must be solely dedicated to advancing Africa and African people, not just bringing Africans from across the world together to discuss our problems. We have no reason to reinvent the wheel. Our fore-parents established a solution for us at the 5th PAC and Nkrumah further developed it with his "Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare" in 1968. This landmark book detailed the strategy to achieve revolutionary Pan-Africanism which the A-APRP is carrying out on the ground today. A congress, especially a Pan-African Congress in the tradition of 5th PAC, must move beyond general talk. It must begin to discuss how to bring the vision of one unified socialist Africa into being. It must involve serious revolutionaries who are ready to tackle that important question and it cannot be afraid to talk openly about the evils of capitalism in Africa and the importance of socialist revolution as our solution. Anything else, is treason for those who came before us. The manifesto of the 5th PAC is clear. If some Africans don't want to carry that mandate, than call their meeting an international meeting of Africans, or even a Pan-African conference. In order to advance beyond 5th PAC, 8th PAC would need to be a serious strategy session on how to build the All African Committee for Political Coordination and the All African People's Revolutionary Army as outlined in the Handbook. This is a principled and uncompromising position that we must hold in order to protect the integrity of those who sacrificed so much before us while unselfishly giving us light.
Today, we are looking at unprecedented attacks against African people. There are 100 U.S. military bases in Africa and the rush to re-colonize the continent is in full swing. African people are shot down by the agents of imperialism like dogs in the U.S. Europe, and Australia. Africa is being accused of every problem imaginable from AIDs to Ebola in the continuing effort to disrespect our homeland and people. It's time to move forward. Our people called for revolutionary Pan-Africanism in an internationally organized fashion 80 years ago. What are we waiting for?