World – LEFTIST movements from 38 countries spread across five of the world’s continents meeting in the Tunisian capital, Tunis for the second annual conference on Pan-Africanism Today in July have resolved to undo the deep scars inflicted by capitalism’s 500-year subjugation of the working class.
Closing the three-day conference, Zambia’s Dr Cosmas Musumali said the convocation was about forging a revolutionary relationship.
“There is no continent that has suffered so much from imperialist domination, subjugation like Africa. The 500 years of domination has left scars, deep scars on the psychic, or on how Africans think and behave,” Dr Musumali said. “There was hope at one time that the African people would overcome that subjugation through decolonisation but between the 1970s and 1980s that waned.”
This, he said, was because today the slave-masters of the Africans had become the neo-colonial masters and that as such the gains made in the 70s and 80s had been lost.
“This conference was an issue of human dignity, that finally a seed of liberation and emancipation has been planted. That seed starts with the progressive forces on the continent that have to take the future into their hands,” Dr Musumali said. “We have to start creating that future that we need which has eluded generations before us and that answer is socialism. Capitalism has no answers to the problems confronting the African people.”
He said change was therefore not just possible but inevitable.
“The war that is being fought can be approached through different methods but the underlying theme is that it is vicious. A conference such as this one serves to remind people about the huge tasks that lie ahead of them,” he said. “We appreciate the unwavering support that is being received from the Diaspora, starting with Brazil’s MST, which has been very committed to the African cause despite the great work they are carrying out back home.”
He also acknowledged the delegates from Argentina.
“The struggles of that country are Africa’s struggles too,” Dr Musumali said.
On the delegation from Colombia, Dr Musumali said the peace talks going in that country arising from the cessation of fighting between the government and the FARC rebels, difficult they might be, were of interest to the African progressives.
As for the delegation from Haiti, of which only one made it for the conference, he said Haiti plays an inspirational role in the revolutionary process, being the first independent black Republic.
“We also acknowledge the solidarity of the Brazilian comrades beyond MST and the bonds of friendship that we have been built with them over the years,” he continued.
About the delegation from Venezuela, Dr Musumali said the Bolivarian revolution was under attack in that country because Venezuela was regarded as the worst enemy of the imperialist order.
“This is because Venezuela seems to be sending wrong signals by its demonstration that actually people can emancipate themselves and be liberated. For this, Venezuela has to disappear. If Venezuela goes under, progressives will become much poorer,” he said as the conference room erupted into prolonged applause. “Comrades, we are together.”
Dr Musumali said Cuba was not represented at the conference due to logistical reasons.
“Nonetheless, Cuba remains close to the hearts of progressive forces on the Africa continent. Of course, there is this huge personality of Fidel Castro. Fidel is the greatest Pan-Africanist ever produced,” he said.
He also made mention of Ernesto Che Guevara and other leaders of the Cuban revolution that were involved in the African struggles.
“What people forget is that there were thousands of Cubans who actually fought in the trenches with the Africans in Guinea Bissau, Algeria and others for example,” he said. “Cuban doctors are helping in the provision of health services on the continent while the teachers are helping in mass literacy campaigns despite the little that the Caribbean island nation has.”
Dr Musumali described the delegation from the United States of America as those from the heart of the beast.
“These comrades are so dear because the US currently has hegemonic power but the African struggles would not have been complete without the contributions of the American people. The imperialist forces are trying very hard to separate the US comrades from fighting with their brothers and sisters fighting on the African continent,” he charged.
Over the delegation from Philippines, Dr Musumali said this East-Asian country had suffered under Spanish colonisation and remains the only colony of the United States of America currently.
“The fight in the Philippines is vicious and for the comrades from that country to have been part of this PAT Conference is comforting,” he said.
He said there were other representatives from Nepal, Basque [who vehemently refused to be categorised as being from Spain] and Palestine.
“For the Palestine comrades, if I was egoist I would have said Palestine is part of Africa because it is so close to the hearts of the African people. We can’t fight about socialism without being direct about fighting Zionism,” Dr Musumali said. “Those who know about apartheid in South Africa would know what the brothers and sisters in Palestine are going through on a daily basis. However, the Palestinian people are resilient and they keep fighting. Your struggle is our struggle.”
Coming back to the African continent, Dr Musumali said it was just this land mass called Africa.
“Comrades, this is your conference, this is your struggle, and your being here has hopefully ignited a little bit of that fighting spirit in you but the fighting spirit is not sufficient if it is not followed by concrete action. Africans are so attached to their nationalistic feelings and this can be a barrier to the work that lies ahead,” said Dr Musumali. “You can’t have a socialist revolution that is sustainable if it is only tied to a single country.”