BY DAVID MAFABI
AFRICA LIBERATION DAY
KAMPALA, 26TH MAY 2017
Esteemed Comrades, Esteemed Friends.
I congratulate you all, on today’s celebration of Africa Liberation Day. Please stand up for a minute, in salutation of the Heroes, Heroines, and Martyrs of the African peoples’ liberation struggle.
African liberation struggles are very much alive, and very much continually victorious. Contemporary Pan Africanism is the embodiment of those continuing and victorious struggles. This afternoon, we shall argue in this paper that not only is Pan Africanism relevant to Uganda and Africa today, but that it is a strategic imperative for Africa’s superior fundamental and qualitative advancement into the 21st Century and beyond. Along the way, we shall provide the background that informs the content and character of Pan Africanism today. We shall also recast Pan Africanism as “Contemporary Pan Africanism”, and locate the theory and practice of regional integration, at its heart.
Esteemed Comrades, Esteemed Friends. Permit me now to greet and salute you all in the name of our people – the great African people. We, the African people are here. We are Egypt. We are Sudan. We are Nubia. We are Kush. We are Ethiopia. There is no book of antiquity in which we are not mentioned. We are the pre-history, history and future of humankind. We are humankind. We are Africa.
Defining Background to Contemporary Pan Africanism:
Pan Africanist Patriots or lovers of Africa, derive their Pan Africanist inspiration, ideals and pride from diverse origins and take off points.
a). Africa gave life to the planet Earth.
Millions of years ago human life started in Africa. Australopithecus aphaeresis and Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus were all key rungs in the development of humanity. These fossils were found in East and South Africa (Azania). Some of the fossils may be as old as 5 million years. For example Australopithecus robustus fossils found in an East Turkana Kenya site, were at least 4 million years old.
It is generally accepted that the Homo habilis were the first full fledge tool making ancestor of humans. The earliest archaeological evidence of tool making comes from the Koobi Fora section of East Turkana. These Homo habilis are believed to be at least 2.5 million years old. The name Homo habilis comes from the Leakeys. They found what they believed to be conclusive fossil evidence of the first humans in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and gave these ancestors that name called Homo habilis.The Olduvai Gorge Homo habilis existed at least a million and quarter years ago.
The Nile Valley is considered the site of the emergence of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, in the Middle Paleolithic about 200,000 years ago. The earliest known modern human bones were found in Southwestern Ethiopia and are called the Omo remains. Additionally, skeletal remains of Homo sapiens idaltu were found at a site in the Middle Awash in Ethiopia. Dated to approximately 160,000 years ago, they may represent an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens, or the immediate ancestors of anatomically modern humans.
Molecular biology supports this position. Molecular biologists have studied the human family tree using mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA), which is inherited through the female line without being diluted with paternal DNA. This provides a unique tool for studying ancestral populations. They compared mtDNA from Africans, Asians, Europeans, and Southeast Asians and found that the differences between them were small. They formed two groups: one was the Africans, the other the remainder. The scientists concluded that all modern humans derive from a primordial African population, from which populations migrated to the rest of the Old World with little or no interbreeding with existing archaic human groups. By calculating the rate of mtDNA mutations, they argue that archaic Homo sapiens evolved from Homo erectus in Africa by about 200,000 years ago. Then Homo sapiens sapiens, anatomically modern humans, appeared shortly after.
Let us add this. Two pieces of the human genome are quite useful in deciphering human history: mitochondrial DNA (as indicated above) and the Y chromosome. These are the only two parts of the genome that are not shuffled about by the evolutionary mechanisms that generate diversity with each generation. Instead, these elements are passed down intact. According to this hypothesis, all people alive today have inherited the same mitochondria from a woman who lived in Africa about 160,000 years ago. She has been named Mitochondrial Eve. All men living today have inherited their Y chromosomes from a man who lived about 140,000 years ago, probably in Africa. He has been named Y-chromosomal Adam.
In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans, also called the “Out of Africa” theory (OOA), the “recent single-origin hypothesis” (RSOH), “replacement hypothesis”, or “recent African origin model” (RAO), is the most widely accepted model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans. The theory argues for the African origins of modern humans, who left Africa in a single wave of migration which populated the world, replacing older human species.
A first dispersal took place between 130,000 – 115,000 years ago via northern Africa. A second dispersal took place via the so-called Southern Route, which followed the southern coastline of Asia, and colonized Australia by around 50,000 years ago. Europe was populated by an early offshoot which settled the Near East.
b). Africa gave civilization to the planet Earth.
It gave humanity the use of fire a million and half to two million years ago. It is the home of the first tools, astronomy, jewelry, fishing, mathematics, crops, art, use of pigments, cutting and other pointed instruments and animal domestication.
Ancient Egyptian civilization is one of six civilizations globally which arose independently. Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3150 BC, with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, namely: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, during the Ramesside period, where it rivalled the Hittite Empire, Assyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire. The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.
The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites. Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries.
c). Imperialism, Neo-Colonialism and Contemporary Globalization.
Our purpose here, is to underline that there is a thread of continuity which runs through the history of the last 600 years, which reflects the consistent marginalization and impoverishment of African people. That thread is the unequal world division of work and market, weighted against African people and their vital interests, and records the story of Imperialism, Neo-Colonialism and Contemporary Globalization.
That thread, i.e. the unequal world division of work and market, is the story of the enslavement of African people during the era of slave trade and slavery, the story of Africa becoming a source of raw materials and a market for manufactures, the story of the colonial conquest and subjugation of Africa, the story of Africa becoming a source of cheap labour. It is the story of the production and reproduction of a debilitating poverty, of cyclical conflict and crisis.
We argue here, that genuine and true leaders of the African people must work of necessity, to lead their people in the struggle to dismantle that disequilibrium in favour of the vital interests of the African people – starting with building a critical awareness of the problem and of its sheer enormity.
i). Mercantilist Capital to Imperialism:
By the 16th Century, a merchant class had emerged in Britain, and began to loosen the markets from the restrictions of royal and feudal government. Competitive enterprise was released, and economies leapt forward, generating more productive forces in the next three Centuries, than had been created in all previous millennia.
About 1600, all the peoples of the world were at virtually the same level of development of productive forces. That year, however, signaled a massive irruption of European armies into Africa, America and Asia – which irruption brought into its wake genocide of indigenous peoples, the slave trade, colonial conquest and occupation.
The irruption also heralded the displacement of handcraft production by factory goods, relegating what we now call the third world to the production of primary products. This division of labour remains the case today.
In 1551, the first consignment of black slaves was sold in the West Indies. By 1600, shipments of slaves from the West African Coast to the Americas, had built up to about 6,000 a year. At the peak of the slave trade in 1750, 65,000 slaves were being transported annually. By 1700, 1.3 million slaves had been transported, while by 1800, another 6 million had crossed.
The point in all this is that trade in African slaves was the basis for the so-called triangular trade, which was the foundation for Britain’s industrialization.
On the first leg of the triangular trade, manufactured goods were exported to the West Coast, i.e. guns, pots and pans, knives tools and trinkets. These were sold to African chiefs in exchange for slaves.
On the second leg was the voyage of slave carrying ships across the Atlantic to the Caribbean colonies of Britain, Spain, France and Holland, to Brazil and to the Southern states of America.
The final leg saw sugar, tobacco, cotton and other slave plantation ships being ferried across the ocean to Europe. Mainly British ship owners made massive profits on each leg. By the Treaty of Utrecht in `1714, Britain had a monopoly of supplying Spanish colonies with slaves.
As Britain established her industrial superiority, British traders struggling to provide markets for her manufactures and to be a source of raw materials for her industry, opened up the whole world.
Britain’s imperial expansion was dictated by this division of labour, and ensured by the British navy’s mastery of the high seas. The British Empire was but the instrument of merchant capital – with merchants buying cheap and selling dear. Soon, however, it involved truly productive capital, with local people being set to work to produce for the European and North American markets.
European feudalism had proved to be more fertile for generating capitalism than the great hydraulic civilizations of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indies and the Ganges, the Yellow River and Mekong, or the water tank systems of Peru and Sri-Lanka.
A new class of industrial capitalists had emerged to challenge the old merchant capitalists for supremacy even in Britain, the first capitalist nation.
Britain then, was an industrializing, capitalist nation, and a dominant and leading power. General political thought, then, reflected the essence of booming capitalist enterprise.
As Britain established her industrial superiority, British traders struggling to provide markets for her manufactures and to be a source of raw materials for her industry, opened up the whole world.
ii). From the era of merchant capital and empire building, the age of classical Imperialism had dawned.
V.I. Lenin, in his seminal work “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” published in 1917, described the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperial colonialism, as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits. The essay is a synthesis of Lenin’s modifications and developments of economic theories that Karl Marx formulated in “Das Kapital” (1867).
Lenin’s socio-political analysis of empire as the ultimate stage of capitalism derived from “Imperialism: A Study” (1902), by John A. Hobson, an English economist, and “Finance Capital” (Das Finanz Kapital, 1910), by Rudolf Hilferding, an Austrian Marxist, which synthesis he applied to the new geopolitical circumstances of the First World War (1914 – 1918), wherein capitalist imperial competition had provoked global war among the German Empire, the British Empire, the French Empire, the Tsarist Russian Empire, and their respective allies.
In the Preface to the post-war French and German editions of “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” (1920), Lenin states that the First World War (1914 – 1918) occurred as an “an annexationist, predatory, plunderous” war among monarchic empires, whose historical and economic background had be perceived.
In order for capitalism to generate greater profits than the home market can yield, the merging of banks and industrial cartels produces finance capitalism – the exportation and investment of capital to countries with under-developed economies.
In turn, such financial behaviour leads to the division of the world among monopolist business companies and the great powers. Moreover, in the course of colonizing undeveloped countries, Business and Government eventually will engage in geopolitical conflict over the economic exploitation of large portions of the geographic world and its populaces.
Neocolonialism is the practice of using capitalism, globalization, and cultural forces to control a country (usually former European colonies in Africa or Asia) in lieu of direct military or political control.
The term “neocolonialism” was first coined by Kwame Nkrumah, the first post-independence president of Ghana, and has been discussed by a number of twentieth century scholars and philosophers, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Noam Chomsky.
“Neocolonialism” is a term used by post-colonial critics of developed countries‘ involvement in the developing world. Writings within the theoretical framework of neocolonialism argue that existing or past international economic arrangements created by former colonial powers were or are used to maintain control of their former colonies and dependencies after the colonial independence movements of the post World War II period. The term neocolonialism can combine a critique of current actual colonialism (where some states continue administrating foreign territories and their populations in violation of United Nations resolutions) and a critique of the involvement of modern capitalist businesses in nations which were former colonies.
Critics contend that multinational corporations continue to exploit the resources of post-colonial states, and that this economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the 16th to the 20th centuries. In broader usage, neocolonialism may simply refer to the involvement of powerful countries in the affairs of less powerful countries; this is especially relevant in modern Latin America. In this sense, neocolonialism implies a form of contemporary “economic imperialism”, i.e that powerful nations behave like colonial powers of imperialism, and that this behavior is likened to colonialism in a post-colonial world.
Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of independent Ghana, was one of the most notable figures to use the term. A classical definition of neocolonialism is given in his “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” (1965). The work is self-defined as an extension of Vladimir Lenin‘s “Imperialism, the Last Stage of Capitalism” (1916), in which Lenin argues that 19th century imperialism is predicated upon the needs of the capitalist system. Nkrumah argues that “In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism.
Nkrumah continues: “The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.”
Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a revolutionary and internationalist declared, also in 1965: “As long as imperialism exists it will, by definition, exert its domination over other countries. Today that domination is called neocolonialism.”
Initially the term was popularized largely through the activities of scholars and leaders from the newly independent states of Africa and the Pan-Africanist movement. Many of these leaders came together with those of other post colonial states at the Bandung Conference of 1955, leading to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Denunciations of neocolonialism also became popular with some national independence movements while they were still waging anti-colonial armed struggle. During the 1970s, in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola for example, the movements FRELIMO and MPLA, which were to eventually assume power there, denounced neocolonialism as well as colonialism.
- Globalization and the Crisis of the Post Colonial African State:
According to its supporters and proponents, Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import quotas. Globalization accompanied and allegedly contributed to economic growth in developed and developing countries through increased specialization and the principle of comparative advantage. The world, this point of view contended, had become a “global village”.
From this point of view, the term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, and popular culture.
The term was first employed in a publication entitled Towards New Education in 1930, to denote a holistic view of human experience in education. In the 1960s the term began to be used by economists and other social scientists. The term reached the mainstream press in the later half of the 1980s. Since its inception, the concept of globalization has inspired competing definitions and interpretations, with antecedents dating back to the great movements of trade and empire across Asia and the Indian Ocean from the 15th century onwards.
In 2000 the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalization:
- Trade and transactions: Developing countries increased their share of world trade, from 19 percent in 1971 to 29 percent in 1999. But there is great variation among the major regions. For instance, the newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia prospered, while African countries as a whole performed poorly. The make-up of a country’s exports are an important indicator for success. Manufactured goods exports soared, dominated by developed countries and NIEs. Commodity exports, such as food and raw materials were often produced by developing countries: commodities’ share of total exports declined over the period.
- Capital and investment movements: Private capital flows to developing countries soared during the 1990s, replacing “aid” or development assistance which fell significantly after the early 1980s. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) became the most important category. Both portfolio investment and bank credit rose but they have been more volatile, falling sharply in the wake of the financial crisis of the late 1990s
Migration and movement of people: In the period between 1965-90, the proportion of the labor forces migrating approximately doubled. Most migration occurred between developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The flow of migrants to advanced economic countries was claimed to provide a means through which global wages converge. They noted the potential for skills to be transferred back to developing countries as wages in those countries rise.
- Dissemination of knowledge (and technology): Information and technology exchange is an integral aspect of globalization. Technological innovations (or technological transfer) benefit most the developing and Least Developing countries (LDCs), as for example the advent of mobile phones.
Africa therefore has to contend with the phenomenon of “globalization”, which phenomenon must be correctly appreciated, and accurately understood. For, globalization is not some “neutral” or “evenhanded” process of “increasing interdependence” or “integration” of world economies.
Contemporary globalization can specifically be traced to the onset of the global economic crisis in the early 1970s, subsequent to which a particular model of capitalist development – Anglo-American and neo-liberalist – has tended to prevail on a world scale. This has been more so since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism.
Globalization from the point of view of revolutionary political economy, has had in its essence:
- The information technology revolution of the last decade or so.
- Neo-liberal discourse and triumphalism promoting a Social Darwinist (survival of the fittest) reconfiguration of priorities, policies and outcomes.
- The promotion, (via the World Trade Organization), etc of “Free Trade – meaning the removal of all barriers to trade and investment. This is given the lie by a fundamental protectionism and unfair trading practices on the part of the United States, the European Union, Japan, etc.
This latter reality shall continue undermining AGOA, the Cotonou Agreement and any other openings given to the poor countries by the rich countries.
- Intensification of cutthroat international competition, not only between firms, but states as well in their ability to attract and retain flows of mobile capital and investment.
The attempts to address the resultant conflicts have been dominated by corporate interests, mainly from the G-8 countries. The major thrust of negotiations here, has been the reinforcement of the property rights and entry/exit options of transnational corporations.
- The agricultural negotiations, similarly, have been conducted in ways, which are designed to protect wealthy agro-business in the rich countries.
- The conditionalities of the Structural Adjustment Programs, which include deregulation of currency markets, privatization of public enterprises, retrenchment of public employees, cuts in welfare programs, etc.
- Cultural domination of the world by Western values, including the emergence of the English language as the world’s lingua franca.
This then, clearly means that any strategy aimed at dealing with Africa’s debilitating reality, must take into account the phenomenon of globalization, and in all its ramifications.
v). Moreover, globalization stultifies and locks in place motley economic structures that must produce and reproduce what this writer has called elsewhere, the crisis of the postcolonial state.
We identify two defining elements of this crisis.
First, our states are more or less arbitrary creations of the colonial order. They econcompass a contradiction. World-be modern states that do not encompass a classical nation state, or stable multinational commonalities, for that matter.
Thrown together by colonialism the constituent peoples and nationalities of these states, have yet to evolve a national ethos or psyche. It would be natural for constituent peoples and nationalities to seek to assert themselves, which permanently spurns centrifugal forces that negatively impact on peace, security and stability in the states created by colonialism.
Second, our states are simply creatures of the world market. Slave trade and colonialism were the processes though which we were brutally and forcibly inducted into the world market. As producers of essentially unprocessed products, a source of free or cheap raw materials, slave or cheap labour and as market for manufacturers. Our products are subject to permanently plummeting prices on the world market.
Worse, and most important for this presentation, this continuing vertical integration into the world economy via the export of primary products has had the effect of locking up the African population in the country side, in rural peasant enclaves around the production of commodities like coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, etc, for the world market.
The point here is not simply the production and reproduction of poverty. It is also the maintenance of a mother bed for the production and reproduction of localism, provincialism, parochialism and sectarianism of the worst kind.
All this means our economic structures militate against the circulation of the population in the internal workings of the economy, which prevents them from building common cause and experience in their enforced localization. This militates against national integration.
This again is the basis for the production and reproduction of a flabby and fragmented political class and elite, with no sense of responsibility and allegiance to the states created by colonialism.
The economic structures in total, help produce and reproduce an extremely fractious environment in which it is extremely difficult to build and consolidate institutions of stable and enduring democratic governance.
To emphasize, these two defining elements of what we have described as the crisis of the postcolonial state are frozen into place by the global reality discussed above. Until fundamentally overcome, transcended and superseded, they shall continue to bring to naught any initiatives aimed at building democratic governance, peace, and prosperity in Africa.
- Contemporary Pan Africanism:
African patriots reacted in diverse ways to the reality discussed above. The sense across the ages was that an energetic and multifaceted response from the African people and its diaspora, was an objective necessity.
The fight for the abolition of slave trade and slavery, the “Back to Africa Movement” of the Garveyites, the Pan African Conferences series associated with Dr. W.E.B. du Bois, the later 6th and 7th Pan African Congresses – were all important nodal points in the epic journey and struggle. They all dovetailed into the thought of “Ubuntu”, the African Rennaisance and the Second Liberation of Africa …
Contemporary Pan Africanism has emerged out of the practical experience associated with this long march. It is a practical, hard headed and hardnosed Pan Africanism. It is a practical response to contemporary challenges, in the era of globalization. If it did not exist, we would have had to invent it! It’s greatest strength even for one who is not emotionally involved, even from the point of selfishness, is precisely because it helps resolve INTERNAL problems of African states – precisely again, because the problems are interrelated.
At the heart of contemporary Pan Africanism, lies the theory and practice of regional integration. This refers to a process of co-operation – usually amongst neighbouring countries – involving some degree of “border deregulation” and harmonization of macro-economic policies, programs and structures.
This would cover, very broadly, elements like abolition of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, establishment of a common external tarrif, the free movement of persons, goods and services, harmonization of monetary and fiscal policies, etc.
Regional integration has to be clearly differentiated from the broader concept of “regional co-operation”. Regional co-operation would, for instance, cover any economic agreement between two states for mutual economic benefit. It could cover even a single commodity treaty. It woukd not necessitate geographical proximity.
Regional integration in our circumstances, would serve three main purposes:
a). Promoting the development of the integrating states. The idea is that the pooling of the human and material resources, and oitrhger capacities – with the attendant economies of scale – of integrating states, would accelerate their development.
b). Building (and related to the immediately foregoing) the competitiveness of the integrating states in the global economy.
c). Building strategic research capabilities, as well as consolidating collective defense and security with formidable militaries, advanced weaponry and delivery systems.
d). Imposing good internal democratic behavior on member states. The Constitutive Act of the African Union, in this connection, imposes certain extra-national and Pan Africanist standards of behavior, with attendant sanctions.
Regional integration arrangements vary greatly in objectives, structures, memberships, etc. From the simplest to higher levels of integration, the following elements are present: Preferential Trafde Area) PTA; FREE Trade Area (FTA); Customs Union; Common Market; Economic Community; Confederation; Federation.
Let us get one thing clear. The African Union is about Pan Africanism – just like the East African Community, COMESA, IGAD, SADC, ECOWAS, etc. Professionals, academics, business people, , civil society, artistes, etc – are all converging, and that is as Pan Africanist as they come.
A number of important principles govern regional integration processes, and are particularly important for our discussion today. For example, in the Treaty Establishing the East African Community, a number of principles there-in, are instructive. We speak here, for example, of the “principle of variable geometry”, as contained in Chapter One, Article 1 of the Treaty dealing with interpretation.
The “principle of variable geometry” is defined as “the principle of flexibility which allows for progression in co-operation among a sub-group of members in a larger integration scheme in a variety of areas and at different speeds”.
Equally important is the “principle of asymmetry”, defined in the Treaty as meaning “the principle which addresses variances in the implementation of measures in an economic integration process for purposes of achieving a common objective”.
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of 6 Partner States: the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Somalia should join next.
The EAC is home to some 150 million citizens, of which 22% is urban population. With a land area of 1.82 million square kilometers and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 150 billion (EAC Statistics for 2015), its realization bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects for the renewed and reinvigorated EAC.
The Struggle Continues! Victory is Certain!