by Luwezi Kinshasa, Chair of the African Socialist International Interim Committee
On October 6-9, Africans from all over the globe will be descending upon London, England to participate in a historic event that stands to change the way Africans are struggling in our various locations. This event is the Conference to Build the African Socialist International (ASI) and is exciting Africans everywhere who hear of it.
The African Socialist International will be an international party of African revolutionaries that will take on the task of uniting and liberating Africa and her dispersed people. The ASI is to be an organization of the African working class in alliance with the poor peasantry.
This process to build the ASI comes during a new and most critical phase in world history — the era of the complete defeat of imperialist white power. The ongoing crisis of imperialism, caused by the rise of resistance of the vast majority of the peoples of the world, is deepening. Even neocolonialism, the imperialist strategy of placing faces that look like us in power to administer our colonial oppression is failing.
This is not a new process, however. It was at the African People’s Socialist Party’s (APSP) 1981 Congress that it put forth the resolution to build this single worldwide party of African revolutionaries.
From that point on, APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela has worked tirelessly to organize Africans from around the world into this process. He immediately began traveling throughout Europe in an effort to win African organizations into the ASI project.
The history of the process to build the ASI
In 1999, the first Conference to Build the African Socialist International was held in London, England. At the first conference, it was clear that the ASI process was the only all-African solution to build a common future and a common identity. It was the only process that took on the task of developing one consciousness throughout the African liberation movement to give the entire movement the same explanation to our crisis and the same solutions to the same causes of our misery.
It is at this conference that the opportunism of the African petty bourgeoisie in the ‘90s was summed up from its rise to power in the form of the African National Congress in Occupied Azania (South Africa) to the genocide in Rwanda where France and the U.S. fought a proxy war using different sectors of the African petty bourgeoisie and leaving in its wake the massacre of one million Africans.
It was also in this period that the U.S. government initiated the fall of Mobutu using the armies of Uganda and Rwanda that resulted in the rise of Laurent Kabila to power. These armies would later on return to Congo in a proxy war of aggression that resulted in more than four million African people being massacred in less than six years. All of these were manifestations of opportunism of the African petty bourgeoisie.
This opportunism also manifested itself in England, where we saw elements of the African liberation movement joining the white liberal campaigns for debt cancellation in opposition to reparations. In reality, we must demand reparations for these so-called “debts” too.
Most of the organizations that participated in the 1999 ASI Conference chose to sit on the sidelines instead of actively building the ASI. So in 2000, we found ourselves with masses of Africans attending the meeting, but no organizations, despite the severity of the crisis of imperialism.
This ASI conference was dominated by the land crisis in Zimbabwe. We called for a demonstration outside Britain’s foreign office, under the slogan “British imperialism, hands off Zimbabwe! Power to the workers, land to the peasants!”
Out of this conference would be written and passed three resolutions: the Manifesto of African people, the resolution on trade and debt and the resolution on the question of white people.
The next ASI conference was held in July 2002. During the same weekend, some Pan Africanist forces organized a meeting for the youth in contention with the ASI at a short distance from where the ASI meeting was held. Notwithstanding this, the conference was successful.
“This process to build the ASI comes during a new and most critical phase in world history — the era of the complete defeat of imperialist white power. Even neocolonialism, the imperialist strategy of placing faces that look like us in power to administer our colonial oppression is failing.”
The conference was marked by the renewed contact with the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), the primary liberation organization that combated the apartheid regime in Occupied Azania (South Africa). The PAC was represented at the conference by its Secretary General, Thami ka Plaatjie.
Subsequently, APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela was invited to the PAC’s 8th Congress, where he was the keynote speaker. The influence and efforts of the African People’s Socialist Party to consolidate the Azanian front of the ASI is at critical juncture with the upcoming ASI conference in October.
From 2003 to 2005, we witnessed a most decisive articulation of the most critical question of our times: the class question inside the African liberation movement.
In 2003, some organizations that attended the conference, mainly from UK, who identified themselves as Pan Africanists openly refused to recognize the class question within the African nation.
Their denial of the class question in the conference was simply a defense of the African petty bourgeoisie class. As stated in the June-Sept 2003 issue of The Burning Spear Newspaper, “In the era of neocolonialism, where white power is generally indirect and comes in black face, we believe that our struggle must be led by a theory that recognizes that African unity and liberation must result in victory for the African working class aligned with the poor peasantry. We recognize this theory as African Internationalism.”
African Internationalism is also an effort by our party to bring the science of revolution or revolutionary theory to the masses of African people, because without science, our people will be denied the understanding of the laws of the development of society and of class struggles.
We also raised at this ASI conference the necessity to fight against spontaneity inside our movement, where movement is everything but the long term strategic goals and interests of the African working class is neglected or liquidated. This only leads to opportunism within our movement, which serves the interests of a tiny sector of our community at the expense of African revolution.
At the 2004 Conference to Build the ASI, Chairman Omali Yeshitela introduced the main resolution document that was distributed to all participants. It was read and voted for almost unanimously by the conference attendees as the document to guide the work to build the African Socialist International.
Through the ASI process, the African People’s Socialist Party has also introduced the concept of international solidarity with black power. At the 2004 Conference, solidarity statements were made by Union del Barrio and Mexicans United in Defense of the People, two Mexican liberation organizations.
It was also in 2004 that the U.S. and French governments overthrew the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. That year’s ASI conference experienced the participation of a militant from Haiti, and the conference produced a resolution in support of Africans struggling in Haiti.
In 2005, the ASI Conference continued the process of resolving critical ideological questions in the African Liberation Movement with workshops covering the question of reparations, the definition of a nation in the context of the Africa and her dispersed people, the question of what is the State as an apparatus of oppression, and the ideology of African Internationalism versus the concept of Pan Africanism.
ASI 2006 Conference points way to Founding Congress
This October ASI conference may be the last one, as it will set the stage for the Founding Congress of the African Socialist International. The ASI Interim Committee is excited because we can see all signs of African people coming together.
“The growing recognition by the African world that African Internationalism and the building of the ASI are the necessary answer for the one billion African people on this planet adds to the excitement that makes us anticipate the battles to come with imperialism with the confidence that our victory is certain.”
We have been receiving many communications from Gambia, Ghana and Congo from Africans who want to attend the conference in October. We will have the participation of leading progressive and revolutionary organizations in Occupied Azania, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and more.
It must be said that the ASI in places like Sierra Leone and Guinea has become a concrete aspiration of thousands of African workers, who are now pushing forward for the urgent creation of the ASI as the only solution that guarantees a life of human dignity to African people everywhere.
Other Africans will come from France, Holland and Belgium. Africans in Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela, and Canada are also making plans to come to the conference.
More and more people are saying, “We have been looking for this type of all-African solution. Where have you been hiding?” All these signs indicate that we are going to have a significant representation of the African world that will allow us to call for the Founding Congress of the ASI.
The growing recognition by the African world that African Internationalism and the building of the ASI are the necessary answer for the one billion African people on this planet adds to the excitement that makes us anticipate the battles to come with imperialism with the confidence that our victory is certain. The days of a dying social system of imperialism are indeed numbered.
Borders between us soon to be a thing of the past
African Internationalism informs us that there is only one African people scattered around the world. No African community or country can win freedom against capitalism within the colonial borders imposed on us. None of our struggles are confrontations with a single imperialist nation.
In the real world, each of our struggles is a struggle against capitalism as a worldwide system. The borders only undermine our consciousness and exclude the majority of Africans from joining on any front of the African liberation movement fighting imperialist white power. It reduces most of us to simple supporters if not spectators, whilst imperialism and black neo-colonial puppets operate in unity to crush our struggle one by one, front by front.
Today, we can say the ASI is moving to make this a thing of the past. It is going to be one African liberation movement, one solution: the African Socialist International.
The ASI will pull all of our human and economic resources together to build the ASI and win in every front as conscious Africans fighting for a United Socialist States of Africa. The ASI process is a process of ending colonial borders as well as our colonial minds that see ourselves as different from each other just because some of us have lived against our will outside of Africa for centuries or simply because we speak different languages.
The ASI is the logical conclusion of the visions of Garvey, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Malcolm X and others who dedicated their lives to achieve African unity and self-determination. Their sacred dreams could only be concretized through African working class worldwide unity under the banner of the ASI.
At this October ASI Conference, participants will be equipped with the African Internationalist analysis of the critical questions of this period. This will include the question of national identity, Pan Africanism versus African Internationalism, what is the State, the Arab and African question, the question of African women in the struggle, the African Cultural Revolution and more.
Africans who want to register to participate in the 2006 Conference to Build the African Socialist International can do so online by going to www.asiuhuru.org or can contact the ASI Interim Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020.8265.1731. No African who loves Africa and African people can afford to miss the next and last ASI conference in October in London.
Build the ASI!
One Africa! One Nation!