15 March 2012

Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah

African Revolutionary Writers, Part 10

Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is one of the very greatest of the African Revolutionary writers, as well as being the independence leader and the first democratic president of his country, Ghana.

Of the two Nkrumah downloads (see below), the first covers major parts of his 1965 work “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism”.

At the end of this book Nkrumah wrote:

“I have set out the argument for African unity and have explained how this unity would destroy neo-colonialism in Africa. In later chapters I have explained how strong is the world position of those who profit from neo-colonialism. Nevertheless, African unity is something which is within the grasp of the African people. The foreign firms who exploit our resources long ago saw the strength to be gained from acting on a Pan-African scale. By means of interlocking directorships, cross-shareholdings and other devices, groups of apparently different companies have formed, in fact, one enormous capitalist monopoly. The only effective way to challenge this economic empire and to recover possession of our heritage, is for us also to act on a Pan­-African basis, through a Union Government.”

In the year following the publication of this revolutionary book, and while he was on a visit to China and Vietnam, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown as President in a military coup d’├ętat organised by the US Central Intelligence Agency. This was in 1966.

In 1967 Nkrumah spoke at a seminar in Cairo, Egypt, in strong opposition to the “Negritude” philosophy of Leopold Senghor, and against the generally phony false-flag product called “African Socialism”. The second attached document is a transcript of this input.

From the time of Eduard Bernstein with his 1899 book “Evolutionary Socialism”, and of Rosa Luxemburg’s classic 1900 response to Bernstein, “Reform or Revolution?”, the same question has often been repeated.

In the history of the struggle for liberation from colonialism in Africa, the question “Reform or Revolution?” was once again inevitably put.

The neo-colonialists wanted to sound better and to deceive the people more easily. So a false kind of reformist “Socialism”, not very different from Bernstein’s kind, but now calling itself “African Socialism” was widely deployed as a smokescreen for neo-colonialism, from soon after the dawn of African Independence in the 1950s and 1960s.

Some of the appeals for “African Socialism” were more honest than others. The late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is still respected, and we will look at some of Nyerere’s writing next. After Nyerere, we will look at the self-referential and self-isolating case of Thomas Sankara. Finally we will look at Walter Rodney, who commented upon Nyerere’s “Ujamaa” concept of socialism, as well as on underdevelopment as a deliberate act of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Hence we will end our series with the following two questions still open:

1. What is Socialism and why do we need it?
2. How do we achieve African unity and thereby defeat Imperialism?

Kwame Nkrumah was the greatest of the advocates of revolutionary Pan-African unity against Imperialism. His clear intention was to destroy neo-colonialism. For this reason it is fitting that Osagyefo’s writing takes the position of main text in this, the final part of our African Revolutionary Writers’ Series, of which the point is to change the world in the particular way that Nkrumah advocated, i.e. to do away with neo-colonialism.