'As we look forward to celebrating the 54th anniversary of Africa Liberation Day, we look back to its founding principles to assess and plan the onward progress of the African revolution.'
The struggle to free Africa from foreign domination has a long and glorious history. From the very inception of European incursion into Africa in the 15th century to current times, Africans from the four corners of Africa and all points in between resisted the slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. This struggle was by no means confined to Africa, but occurred wherever African people were to be found. These struggles have created many heroic individuals and events, but none more important than African Liberation Day (ALD).
On April 15, 1958, the First Congress of Independent African States (at that time only Ghana, Sudan, Morocco, Ethiopia, Liberia, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were independent) was convened in Accra, Ghana by Kwame Nkrumah, first president of Ghana. Thousands of representatives from revolutionary organizations throughout Africa attended this conference, which was organized “to mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement in Africa and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.” This conference was also the first Pan-African conference ever held on African soil since the birth of the Pan-African Movement in 1900. It was at this conference that the first “African Freedom Day” was celebrated. It was a day of unity and solidarity punctuated with political education and cultural entertainment.
On May 25, 1963, thirty African Heads of State met to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and at this summit African Freedom Day became African Liberation Day. Since its inception, ALD has not only been celebrated in Africa, but also in Europe, the Caribbean, Cuba, the U.S. and even in the ex-Soviet Union. In its growth and development, ALD has evolved to recognize the courageous struggles of non-African people such as the Indigenous People of the Western Hemisphere, the Palestinians and the Irish just to name a few. Consequently, you will see representatives from these various groups at ALD sharing the similarities in the struggles of all oppressed people. This unity and solidarity among oppressed people is crucial to the overthrow of imperialism because we are fighting a common enemy.
As we look forward to celebrating the 54th anniversary of ALD, we look back to its founding principles to assess and plan the onward progress of the African revolution. Our assessment reveals that Africa and African people are still not free. Worldwide, we suffer from the same conditions: racism, oppression, poverty, unemployment, lack of proper housing and medical care. In Africa, more specifically, we continue to suffer under the crushing weight of imperialist oppression and exploitation whether it is in the form of Shell Oil in Nigeria or NATO terrorism against Libya or diamond wars in Sierra Leone which have left the masses devastated. It’s an ironic contradiction that we live on the riches continent (in terms of natural resources) on the earth, but we are among the poorest people on the earth. Our assessment also reveals the continuing need for organization and political education to achieve Pan-Africanism: the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. As the late Kwame Nkrumah stated, “organization decides everything.”
Through political education in general, we will arm the masses with the knowledge and understanding of the transformation process. More specifically, we seek to transform our capitalist mentality into a “revolutionary African personality” which is characterized by our traditional African beliefs of humanism (every individual has an innate integrity to them); egalitarianism (everyone has a right and responsibility to make a contribution to society); and collectivism (work is done collectively and the individual is responsible to the group and the group to the individual). Without this transformation, our conscience will continue to be warped by the various ideological trends running through our historical experiences.
ALD is not just an event, but a day to honor our ancestors and celebrate our victories. It is also a day of commitment and re-commitment in the struggle to create a world based on peace and justice. As always, we continue to call for the masses of our people to take responsibility for our liberation and join an organization working for the liberation of humanity in general and African people in particular. Please join us in celebrating ALD 2012. To find an ALD in your area, click on the following link: African Liberation Day.
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