Pan Africanism

Image Description: {In the upper right hand corner of the image in white letters reads “Anarkata Freedom School”. Underneath the in blue letters on a yellow background says “Black August” and under that in white letters is “Kritical Kickback Series”. At the bottom of the image in transparent letters with yellow outline reads “Pan Africanism”. Next to it in yellow letters on an army green circle reads “August 21st at 7 p.m. Pacific time”. Text is set on a background featuring a black person in a rocky foreground holding a pan African flag with an outline of the African continent on it. They are illuminated by a rising full moon in the background which hangs among nebulas and stars.}

Why Pan Africanism is as Important as Materialism 

Slides from the presentation can be found here

Friday, August 21st is a historic day of rebellion and revolution, from Haiti, to George Jackson  to Nat Turner’s rebellion, these were brought up at the start of the presentation, it is their tradition that we present 

Why Pan Africanism is as important as Materialism

Quote from Handbook For Revolutionary Warfare

  • “The new phase of the armed revolutionary struggle in Africa embraces the entire continent. It is essential that we know what we fight, and why we fight. Imperialism and neocolonialism must be broken down into their component parts so that we can clearly see them. We must know their world strategy.”
  • Most of us on the left, whether they know it or not, are materialists, we look at what is happening to our people, we look at the material conditions our people are in, and that more than anything else prompts us to be radical, to fight the system in some way. How were you radicalized? Most of us were radicalized because we are Africans surviving under imperialism a system that wants us to suffer and die 
  • So we will go out against that system and fight it but… 
  • If we do not carefully study what’s happening in the world, we can prescribe the wrong solution, take the wrong actions to stop the system from killing us
  • Seeking reform instead of revolution is a mistake that happens when we fail to study, failing to combat patriarchy and transphobia is a mistake we make when we do not study, or study the wrong thing.
  • Imperialism’s power is not just in the gun but also in the pen, and they’ve been feeding us lies about how the world works so we have already studied the wrong things
  • Thankfully, there is a way to combat this, a scientific method to look at class struggle, the fight between those who own farms, land and factories and those forced to work on farms, work land and work in factories
  • That method is dialectical materialism. 
  • Quotes from Thomas Sankara
  • “…The importance of dialectical materialism lies in going beyond the inherent limits of biology, rejecting simplistic theories about our being slaves to the nature of our species, and, instead, placing facts in their social and economic context.”
  • Dialectical Materialism is one of the most powerful revolutionary frameworks that allows us to carefully study the world around us, how conflict happens in our world. Going back to Nkrumah’s quote briefly, Dialectical materialism allows us to know what we fight, and knowing what we fight is how we can learn how to fight. 
  • Have you ever looked at a boxer’s stance? A boxer will stand facing their opponent in a way that is perfect to punch and hopefully to avoid being punched, but if a kickboxer, someone skilled in Muay Thai was the opponent of that boxer, the boxer’s stance, once suited perfectly for the game, would become a vulnerability, and that boxer would then find that his legs were set up perfectly to be kicked, and faster than the blink of an eye, that boxer would be on the ground… a costly, bruising lesson. 
  • Revolutionary theory and praxis is the same thing. Previous generations boxed, and it got us so far. If you don’t believe so, look at how scared white slave owners were of slave rebellions, we saved ourselves, not some president who got shot in a dark theatre. 
  • We saved ourselves because we outboxed them and just as they were losing the boxing match, prison was created as a great white hope. They changed the arena, they changed the rules of the fight.  We can’t just box anymore.
  • Not because boxing is useless. Boxing is an art, the sweet science, and it works really well inside a boxing ring and we are going to occasionally find ourselves in boxing rings, so you should study boxing, and practice boxing.
  •  But the terrain is changing so fast, our opponent in the state, in capitalism and in imperialism is using Jiu Jitsu, they are taking us to the ground. Boxing doesn’t have an answer for the ground. So we need to combat Jiu Jitsu with high level wrestling, with Russian Sambo. 
  • Our theory and our praxis should change too, if the state is boxing we need to learn to kick box, if capitalism is kicking our legs, we need to check those kicks and break capitalism’s legs. A good fighter is one that can switch stances, change levels, look at their opponent as the game is going and adjust to the new tactics of the game. A good revolutionary must do the same, if we know how to fight, how to use what fight to combat what tactic our opponent is using, we can come out winning this whole thing. 
  • The only way someone is going to know which stance to go to in a fight is if they study the fight and come up with a plan, Dialectical materialism allows us to study and revolutionary Pan Africanism is the plan! That’s how we attack.
  • Currently the United States and the World are looting Africa, the news will tell you that Africans are looting their own towns, county, but it is actually the imperialist powers that are looting Africa.
  • Pan Africanism is more than just fighting colonialism, it is the method and strategy to stop the looting forever. When Africa is united, the military will no longer be able to take precious minerals out of Africa to turn it into weapons of war.
  • Currently, drone warfare relies on extracting precious minerals from Africa, these minerals are used to create computer chips that run the drone technology. 
  • Previously African labor was exploited by imperialists to make the nuclear bombs that would devastate Japan during the second imperialism World War. 
  • African unity was interrupted by European colonization, the process of class struggle was already underway before the Europeans arrived. This means that the only way forward for us is a revolutionary movement and the character of that revolution must be anti capitalist because it was capitalism that interrupted our class struggle. 
  • Pan Africanism seeks to unite Africa, you cannot stop us if we are united. It cannot be said enough that Pan Africanism is POWER. Real Power. 

    Pan Africanism will not just liberate Africa but it will liberate the world, and the imperialist will not only starve by not being able to hoard the resources of Africa, by not being able to exploit African people, but because Africans will have the ability to crush them once and for all 
  • Pan Africanism is the way we achieve the end of capitalism!
  • “Pan Africanism is historically determined and we have no alternative but to use history for the benefit of our people”
  • Until Africa is free, no African anywhere in the world will be free
  • “…The importance of dialectical materialism lies in going beyond the inherent limits of biology, rejecting simplistic theories about our being slaves to the nature of our species, and, instead, placing facts in their social and economic context.”


  • Does Pan Africanism address the Diaspora? 
  • Yes, the diaspora was the birthplace of Pan Africanism, because Africans on the continent at the time were so heavily exploited that organizing was difficult. Africa was the center of the discussion and the focus of the Pan African movement and at the same times, people in the United Snakes, Haiti, etc, were also part of the discussion because they were not English, or American but were Africans too. 
    “I’m not an Afrian because I was born in Africa, I’m an African because Africa was born in me” 
  • Music also tells great Pan African stories, Gil Scott Heron provides the musical equivalent of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The World & Africa in his track Africa & Black History & the World. 
  • The Pan African Character. Pan Africanism character can be found in the cultural similarities found in the communities of Africans coming together, One person mentioned seeing Africa in themselves by being involved with the Rastafarianism communities 
  • Pan Africanism and Security culture
  • We are not just fighting against imperialism but also imperialism within us, expressed through sexist, racist, transphobic, misogynistic attitudes, the dialectical method shows that we are a product of imperialism and a fight against it, so we must be ever vigilant of the world at large, study it’s systems its history and ourselves otherwise we can fall into bad traps that put us into problematic and dangerous situations. 
  • You cannot be Pan African and be transphobic, because Trans Africans are still Africans, you cannot be misogynistic and be Pan African because women hold up half the African sky.  
  • If we do not critically assess ourselves, our politics and our work inside and outside of organizing, we fail. 

Recommended Books 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s