Terms of reference of the First Pan African Federalist Congress
Flashback into history
The first African state in history was the result of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt along the Valley of the NileRiver. It is in modern times that the Great African Empires (Ghana, Zimbabwe, Mali, and Songhai etc.) progressively lost their sovereignty due to the combined Portuguese and Almoravid attacks. Drastically weakened by the very long slave trade across the Atlantic as well as the Sahara desert and the Indian Ocean, African people were unable to resist efficiently against the European conquest and occupation during the 19th century. This is the reason why the “imperialist consensus” at the 1884/1885 Berlin Conference was able to trigger a dismemberment and division of our continent among foreign powers that are to this day prevalent.
However, since oppression breeds resistance, the valiant and patient struggles of the African people against various forms of foreign dominations (slave trade, colonialism, racial segregation, apartheid etc.) crystallized and gave birth at the dawn of the 20th century to a coherent and well organized movement: Pan Africanism.
From its 1900 constitutive congress held in London to its 6th, which took place in Dar es Salam 1974, notably between the two World wars and more precisely at its fifth congress in Manchester, England (1945) the Pan African Movement will accomplish two major historical tasks:
1) Fully consciousness of their common destiny the congresses defined the political orientation, the objectives and the means of the anti-imperialist and anti-segregationist battles to be waged in Africa as well as in the Diaspora
2) They also created an organic link between the African, Caribbean, and American leaders of the various struggles African people were waging around the globe.
It is not fortuitous that Kwame Nkrumah, the founding father of the republic of Ghana (1957) was also one of the Secretaries of the Manchester Congress!
It is worth noting that after World War II, despite ferocious suppression, an avalanche national liberation struggles and the civil rights movement will force the colonial powers to engage in the formal decolonization process. This will lead, particularly after the resounding «NO» of the Guinean people to the 1958 Gaullist referendum, to a cascade of independence proclamations which started in 1960. By the mid 1990s the fall of the last bastions of Apartheid in Namibia and South Africa will mark the end of an era, the total domination of the continent by foreign powers- save Liberia and Ethiopia which begun in the dawn of the 20th century.
The unfinished nature of the African independence movements’ victory, led in most cases by African National Congresses (ANC) in the British empire and National Democratic Assemblies (NDA) on the French side (with armed insurrections in the Portuguese colonies, Algeria, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe to only name a few), will soon be obvious. In fact throughout what is called the post-colonial era, the battle between the proponents of the need to take to the finish line the emancipation process of their people which begun with the nominal independences, and those who are comfortable with delegating the management of significant portions of their sovereignty, such as the economy, their defense and their diplomacy, to their former colonizers or new foreign powers, has been raging. It will not be an overstatement to say that the longevity of many of the Post-independence African leaders in power has been in direct correlation with the level of their allegiance to the masters of the “free world” during these times of a permanent so called Cold War that was a series of “Hot Wars” for African people.
In 1963, the Constitutive Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) revealed to the World this latent antagonism during the epic battles between the Casablanca and the Monrovia groups, respectively referred to as the “radicals” and the “moderates” on the issue of the ContinentalFederalState. The compromise that resulted from this clash was without a doubt disadvantageous to the African Federalist since the option which won the majority of the votes was the use of hypothetical “concentric circles” as the mean to achieve African Unity. This was also a second defeat for the African federalists. The first one was when they lost the battle against granting separate independences to the non viable entities that were carved by the colonialists.
The OAU’s impotence and/or inadequacy will however soon be revealed by its blatant incapacity to convince or coerce its members to abide by its founding principle, the sacrosanct respect of the borders legated by the colonizers. Eritrea’s secession and Sudan’s partition are two undeniable proofs of OUA’s failure in this respect. However, its Liberation Committee had the merit of being very efficient in the support it provided to armed resistances across the continent, notably the ones against Portuguese colonialism, which were not only successful in securing independence in their respective countries but also caused the fall of the dictatorship in Lisbon while uprooting the racist minority regimes in Southern Africa. Save some island enclaves (Canaries, Ceuta, Mayotte etc.) the OAU has been able to successfully lead the struggle for the total decolonization of the continent.
On the other hand in the economic sphere, despite the adoption by the 1980 Heads of States Summit of the Lagos Action Plan, which was suggestive of the fact hat the two decades lessons of mal-development had been learned, it was the exact opposite of this plan that got implemented: the Structural adjustment programs of the Bretton Woods institutions (BWI). The colonial consensus of Berlin was therefore replaced with the “Washington consensus”. Even though it carried various names this consensus is still in effect despite its resounding repeated failures.
At last we must admit that at the end of the last century and millennium, the mutation of the OAU into the African Union (AU), which is a copy cat of the European model, has unequivocally shorthanded the people’s hope to see the organization they perceive to be the “syndicate of the heads of states” to be transformed into the embryo of a collective organization of the political, economic and military unity of the continent.
The present day context in the 21rst Century
Let us first make some preliminary observations:
Half a century into formal independence without real sovereignty, the failure of the Accra Summit (2007) on the issue of the United States of Africa, is an ample proof of the urgent need for Pan African federalists to change their approach and strategy;
In light of the proliferation of the armed conflicts throughout the continent, which are more often than not used as pretext for foreign interferences, with or without the mandate of the United Nations, the urgency to put issues related to domestic peace and security on the front burner of our priorities is no longer deniable;
The expansion and generalization of poverty and the worsening of the inequalities which are causing misery, violence, ignorance, diseases, and untimely high death rate, particularly among women and youth who make up the majority of those who are dying, are ample facts calling for the urgent need for a radical review of the international economic system that is gridlocked into a permanent structural crisis;
Finally the relevance of the old thesis; “whoever controls Africa controls the World” is being validate by the intensification of the continent’s human and natural resources pillage, from land grab and the control of the non renewable mineral riches to the bleeding of its financial resources through the debt payment and the fiscal evasions
In a nutshell, in light of the undeniable above mentioned facts, the popular masses of the continent and the Diaspora are justified in their protests and revolts against this man made chaos and all the forms of injustices directly linked to it. The cascade of popular unrests against the bad governance of the ruling minorities is a testimony to the non viability of the present system which is mainly geared towards catering to foreign interests while being deadly for the majority of Africans and people of African descent. Cheikh Anta Diop was without a doubt right when he stated in the 1980s; “calculated selfishness should induce us to a federalist compact” adding that; “because it is in the name of realism that Africa was cornered into its present state, isn’t overdue for us to become utopists?”
Terms of references of the Pan African Federalist Congress
Without a Pan African Federation there will be no salvation for Africans and people of African descent.
Our vision is the one of a new Africa unified, peaceful, free, democratic and prosperous occupying it righteous place in the community of peoples and nations
To create the optimal conditions for the nascence and development of a powerful Pan African federalist movement capable of mobilizing Africans on the continent and the Diaspora through their existing organizations (political parties, trade unions, civil society organizations, guild organizations etc…) and the independent but highly visible individuals who agree with the federalist project and are ready to contribute to the patriotic and democratic construction of the United African States (UAS).
The objective of this call is to hold the First Pan African Federalist Congress (FPAFC) within no more than two to three years.
The main goal of the Congress is to accelerate the birth process of the UAS by organizing in each of the African countries a referendum in which citizens will be call upon to vote for or against the federal union of the African States. It is therefore about launching a campaign for the creation of the UAS in less than a generation through a powerful bottom-up movement that will give to Africans and people of African descent, the real owners of the sovereignty of their states, the opportunity to clearly express their opinion on the form of union they want to see established between their African State and the other African States.
This gathering will also give to Pan Africanist Federalists on the continent and the Diaspora a chance to meet and get to know each other. This congress will facilitate the creation of a Pan African Federalist web in Africa and the Diaspora. The exchanges that will take place during this congress will enhance the chances for the Pan African Federalist to find the pertinent answers to the questions that many lukewarm and/or reluctant partisans of the federalist options are asking themselves, particularly in regard to the feasibility and viability of a federalist compact between the African States.
Finally this Congress will produce an Action Plan aimed in priority to organizations and highly visible individuals who are unwaveringly committed to the implementation of the federalist option. This guide for action will:
define the campaign strategy for the birth of the UAS within less than a generation,
identify the main obstacles to the political, economic and military unification of the AfricanStates and the means and ways to overcome them,
design the communication strategy that can best popularize the federalist cause and secure the rallying of the majority of the African masses on the continent and abroad to pan African federalism;
put together an efficient campaign directory
The FPAFC is a gathering of Pan Africanist political activists who are committed to the cause of Pan African federalism. Its success will be measure in terms of the viability and feasibility of its action plan for the birth of the United African States (UAS) within less than a generation. All the Pan Africanists who believe in the need to finalize the liberation of Africans from foreign yoke should make this congress their political priority and feel the duty to invest as much as possible of their time and effort for its success.
The International Provisional Committee (IPC), Dakar, Senegal, May 26, 2015