My political commitment to Pan-Africanism stems from my conviction that Africa and the Diaspora constitute a historic unit of resistance which is central to global emancipation struggles and international solidarity.
Pan-Africanism is the only movement capable of meeting the aspirations of the African populations of the continent and of the diaspora and of significantly improving their living conditions, of pooling their efforts and of preserving their political, economic, military and cultural security. This political objective can be achieved through a supranational construction such as a federal state or the “United States of Africa” proposed by the champion of Pan-Africanism, Kwame Nkrumah:
“This union, we must achieve it, without necessarily sacrificing our various sovereignties, large or small, we have, as of now and here even forged a political union founded on a common defense, foreign affairs and a common diplomacy, a common nationality, an African currency, an African monetary zone and an African Central Bank. “
However, Pan-Africanism is not just about its goal. It is even more the method used to achieve the goal that defines Pan-Africanism as a process and a political system. If my site is nourished by numerous interventions on Pan-Africanism, some elements of reference are indicated below regarding the need and the modalities of political commitment.
A pan-Africanism of solidarity: internationalism and anti-imperialism
The first form of solidarity must be between people of African origin, who must relearn how to know each other, to appreciate each other, to criticize each other, to learn while retaining an element of non-conformism.
Pan-Africanism was born among people deported and enslaved because of their black skin color. Therefore, solidarity between black people is obviously the glue of Pan-Africanism in that it is a tool in the fight against racism. A solidarity that cannot be cashed in to reinforce mechanisms of domination or forms of condescension or paternalism.
Pan-Africanism is not about creating a new man or establishing a totalitarian vision. Its objective is to decompartmentalize Africa, to connect it to itself, to connect it to what makes sense in the rest of the world and to bring back to it what has been unfairly and brutally taken from it: its humanity, its history, his dignity.
In this, the social and cultural dimension of Pan-Africanism is essential but its engine remains political and economic. My political vision of Pan-Africanism is inseparable from that of a black internationalism to bring the peoples of all Africa to contribute, wherever they may be, to transforming their human and socio-economic conditions.
This black internationalism is inclusive in the sense that it is crossed by specific social conditions which make that a black person with a Western nationality, born in a Western country, is not African in the same way as a refugee of nationality. African landed on European beaches or at an American airport. However, the perception of their condition in public space is inseparable from their skin color, more or less dark, from their body, which marks a presence and a story.
Historian Walter Rodney has precisely defined the link between Pan-Africanism and internationalism by providing a methodology to be scrupulously followed:
“I have had the rare privilege of traveling, living and working with black people in many contexts. It made me aware of how we have to understand the peculiarity of different situations. On the subject of Pan-Africanism, on the subject of international solidarity in the black world, whatever part of the black world we live in, we have a series of responsibilities.
One of the most important is to define our own situation. A second responsibility is to present this definition to other parts of the black world, in fact to everyone progressive. A third responsibility, and I think in order of priority, is to help other people in a different part of the black world to reflect on their own particular experience.
The priority is to speak to our people – that’s how we analyze where we are. Then we can tell the other participants in the Third World struggle, here is the analysis, in our eyes, of what is happening. These people will take it and do whatever they want with it. But if they have a sense of internationalism, they will take it very seriously.
And only then will I be in a position to say, that from our particular point of view, the struggle is moving in that direction, or this is how your analysis seems to me to be able to work, or in the light of our experience here or there, we would like to question such or such aspect. “
A Pan-Africanism of struggles and debates: unity and struggles
Defining something is knowledge that can give the right to exclude or to validate, on the political level, positions. I include in my political work around Pan-Africanism the two lines, generalist and specialist, by seeking to make the second the reference line. This is why my work as a historian is inseparable from political work.
The first line is that any person who recognizes himself beyond an African national identity and who conceives in theory that unity (or the march towards unity) will be made by himself, can be “pan-African”, from a general alignment of consciousnesses. This alignment can be a convergence around the lowest common denominator of an “Africa” as an enlargement to all “Africa”.
The second line is that anyone who realizes in practice that unity only exists in struggle can be a “pan-Africanist” because resistance can unite us or disunite us depending on whether it integrates elements of domination and disunity. . Domination can accommodate Pan-Africanism and can even build a unity of a hegemonic nature, a pseudo-Pan-Africanism of convenience.
Pan-Africanism is therefore not a goal but a means, a movement, to combine unity and struggle. The political architecture of Pan-Africanism must be read in the articulations of the different organs of culture, economy, social, geopolitical and spiritual. My political commitment therefore takes up the analyzes of Amilcar Cabral expressed below:
“Unity and Struggle mean that in order to struggle, we need unity, but that in order to achieve unity, we must also struggle. And that means that even among ourselves, we struggle.
The meaning of our struggle is not to be considered only in relation to colonialism, but also in relation to ourselves. Unity and Struggle: unity to fight against colonialism and the fight to achieve our unity, to build our country as it should be.
Unity is a means of struggle, and like all means, a certain amount is enough. it is not necessary, in order to fight in a country, to unite everyone. It is enough to achieve a certain degree of unity. “
My political experience of Pan-Africanism raises the question of the end and the means in terms of law, strategy and direction, both individually and collectively. How to organize and always achieve more unity? What strengths can we build on and what projects should we support? What goals to achieve and how to recover from setbacks? How not to give up in the face of the many intra-African dysfunctions that would make pan-Africanism utopian? The commitment, the first answer to all these questions, is a political act to advance the cause of Pan-Africanism.
Pan-African League - Umoja (L.P-U)
The Pan-African League-Umoja, a pan-Africanist political organization organized in territorial sections in Africa and in the diaspora around the world, works to put in place the conditions necessary for the advent of Pan-Africanism to power. Member since 2012, I have been Federal Secretary General of the LP-U since 2016.