African Liberation Day will be celebrated in Africa and around the world on Sunday, 25 May, 2014. Its objective is to advance the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism.
African Liberation Day (ALD) is one beacon of unity for the African struggle worldwide. It is a permanent mass institution in the worldwide Pan African Movement and is celebrated in some African Countries as a national holiday. It is clear that the masses are unified in our common suffering but disunified and disorganized in our struggle against it. The purpose of ALD is to politically educate and organize African People worldwide for Pan-Africanism: the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism. ALD is also an activity for us to learn more about the struggle of other people and our role in the world socialist revolution.
African Liberation Day was founded in April 1958 by Kwame Nkrumah on the occasion of the First Conference of Independent African States, held in Accra, Ghana and attended by eight independent African States. The 15th of April was declared African Freedom Day “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”. ALD was born as a Pan-African and anti-imperialist instrument.
On the 25th of May 1963, thirty-one African Heads of State convened a summit meeting to found the Organization of African Unity, the OAU. At this summit, African Freedom Day was renamed African Liberation Day and its date changed to May 25th. As the OAU was established to build a framework for the unity to all African States, ALD was again confirmed as a part of the revolutionary Pan-African Movement.
Today, ALD is a permanent, mass institution that is stronger because the masses of African People are stronger. In the arena of political education, struggle and organization, ALD demonstrates we have not obtained our liberation, we are still disunited and we are still victims of nation-class and gender oppression. We will never overcome these obstacles unless we achieve Pan-Africanism.
ALD AGENDA FOR THE 2010’S
As we look forward to celebrating the 55th 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. Support of Western puppets in elections throughout Africa and South America causing election chaos. It’s an ironic contradiction that we live on the richest 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.
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.
Today we have 54 odd and ugly countries with arbitrary borders that should course nightmare to any sensible Cartographer. Some of the borders are straight lines drawn up by drunken colonialists and their cohorts marooned together in a do-or-die conference in Berlin with different wines competing with the odd assembly of maps, rulers and compasses. Where straight lines won't do they compromised around principles like natural boundaries (i.e. rivers, mountains and lakes!). There are many anecdotes about the whimsical ways in which European globalizing colonialists decided the borders and therefore subsequent history, culture and politics, of the colonial peoples. Take for instance the Kilimanjaro Mountain (the highest mountain in Africa) and about one million people who live around it. It used to be part of colonial Kenya until a British Monarch who was stuck about what gift to give to a German Kaiser for a birthday celebration decided on a 'cute little mountain in Africa'. And with that the fate of the people was determined. A decision that has a permanent socio-economic and political consequence for them. For instance, education which had till then been in English had to change to German who were then the Colonial powers in Tanganyika (since 1965 called Tanzania). Thus you cannot talk about the problems of nation building in Africa today without understanding or focusing on the way in which these borders were created for the convenience, greed and vanity of Europe's rulers. Late Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem
* This concept document was authored by the African Liberation Day organizing committee in Kenya.