In any given society, intellectuals are the result of the level of development of the society. Intellectuals are specialized in solving problems that confront society in the process of producing and reproducing real life. People develop skills and organizations to overcome contradictions presented to them by nature. To fulfill the needs of the people in the society, most people get involved in manual labor, as fishermen, peasants, house builders and net makers, as metalworkers making knives, hoes, axes and spears, as clothes makers, etc. Another set of skilled people like mathematicians, philosophers, artists, priests and healers, who are not directly involved in the process of production of material life, emerge later as a result of the development of material production in society.
The latter type of people depends on the former type of people.
Intellectual activities arise in the process of producing life, in the process of solving problems that oppose the development of forces of production. Gradually, a small number of people may be asked to observe, study and analyze further a particular phenomenon in order to advance the material production in society.
For example, a society that does not produce yams cannot directly acquire yam planting knowledge; a society that does not directly make stone pyramids cannot directly acquire the art and science of building pyramids. Ancient Egyptians invented and developed geometry because they were involved in work to control the flooding of the Nile River. This was necessary to guarantee agricultural production and land delimitation upon which the whole country depended.
Production under imperialism has given rise to nations, institutions and relationships necessary to maintain and reproduce imperialist order: primarily the oppression and exploitation of oppressed nations by oppressor nations; secondarily the reproduction of the African petty bourgeoisie in Africa, as the enforcer of the imperialist order that keeps us, the oppressed people, chained to the oppressors from Europe and North America.
The institutions of learning in capitalist society are created to train and form cadres who will manage and secure the reproduction of that capitalist society. That is to say that in a world that is split between the oppressor nations and oppressed nations, the education must serve to maintain the status quo.
African students are part of the oppressed nation, which under imperialism produces essentially for the oppressor nations. Since students are not a social class by themselves, engaged in material production, many consider their studies in universities and other institutions of higher learning to be a pathway to the petty bourgeois class and the lifestyle associated with it. In fact, it is in these institutions that their role as a conscious agent of imperialist interests and values will be enhanced and consolidated. They learn to see their education, grants and, later on, their jobs and careers as an entitlement, with no regard to the causes and plight of the African workers and peasants whose labor and resistance to imperialism made it possible for them to acquire education and professional status in society.
It is our view that African students must first serve the people. Their education must be used to develop the organizational and fighting abilities of the people against neocolonialism. They cannot be apolitical, because the universities they are in are not apolitical. There is no such thing as an apolitical institution under slavery. You are either for or against. You either support it or fight it. In order to ensure that their qualification is not just a passport to the bourgeoisie, students must join the African resistance against imperialism. We do not mean the talk fest and other conferences African opportunists organize on campuses solely to consume information. We want students to join the struggle for African liberation under the leadership of African Internationalism. It is only in the process of fighting imperialism and the African petty bourgeoisie under the leadership of African internationalism that African students can really gain knowledge of the art and science of African liberation.
It is only then that they can begin to resolve the contradictions of being educated but not alienated from the people, educated but not opportunistic, and firmly united with the workers and peasants for a common future.
Labor is the foundation of every society. It is around labor that human beings have to produce in order to survive. It is African labor that created the space necessary for Europeans to specialize in mental work in universities and other spheres of activities to advance the industrialization of Europe and North America.
African labor in the last 500 years has not been used for our own benefit. It has not been used for the development of Africa. From the slave colonies in the Americas to the enslaved African continent itself, our labor has been used first to build better lives for Europe and white people in general. Our stolen labor and resources are the most critical missing factors in understanding the general level of poverty of black people everywhere and the underdevelopment of Africa today.
Every aspect of intellectual life under imperialism rests on African labor and resources, which financed the building of universities and other institutions of learning in the first place. It is our stolen labor and resources that built all these technologically advanced industries that require the advanced studies offered today to all students.
Today, in bourgeois societies African manual workers are despised, considered sub-human, when in reality, it is these men and women, working in the most unimaginably cruel conditions, who generate the high quality of life enjoyed by oppressor nations and their allies of the African petty bourgeoisie in Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere.
African intellectual activities must serve to advance the material conditions of African people. Since most African intellectuals are directly or indirectly trained by imperialist created or funded institutions, it implies that rulers of the oppressor nations must create institutions that will allow them to produce cadres who will defend and fight for oppressive and exploitative capitalist societies. Universities in colonial slave societies must serve and justify slavery, inequality and exploitation in society: the enrichment of a tiny minority and poverty of the vast majority. Universities in oppressor nations are spheres that generate ideas and philosophies to promote and justify imperialist economic order:
No one in their right mind can deny the existence of two sets of nations in the world: oppressor nations and oppressed nations. You have people who have achieved freedom and development and those who have lost freedom and development. One came at the expense of the other. We have two entities not in partnership and cooperation with friendly relations, but in a bloody and genocidal relationship.
In their universities, they train our young men and women to unite with imperialism, to accept and spread ideologies and philosophies that do not serve our own interests and societies. In their universities our children are indoctrinated to obey and respect U.S. and European Union imperialist rule over our lives and land. It is on those campuses that we learn to accept the falsification of world history and the disfiguration and slander of African people’s history, personality and culture. They spread wrong concepts such as the concept of developed countries versus developing countries, and good governance versus corrupted countries. They use terms like “abandoned” and “forgotten” when referring to Africa. It is in those universities that you are invited to join or support the illegitimate rulers in Africa.
The role of white bourgeois intellectuals is to develop ways and means for the EU and U.S. powers to keep Africa and African people oppressed, exploited and divided forever. They specialize in the development and implementation of laws, policies and projects to oppress and exploit Africa and Africans everywhere.
In the sphere of ideas and philosophies, there is a constant assault on African brains to adopt and internalize the worldview of the white bourgeoisie as our own. When you go to any university and talk to African students, you will likely meet people who have been indoctrinated by one or more brands of thoughts of the Euro-North American ruling class: African intellectuals are today evangelists of all denominations. They may be Blairites or Clintonians, etc.
While European/North American/Japanese and other imperialist intellectuals are busy developing all kinds of weapons of mass destruction at the expense of Africans—like AIDS, Ebola and others—African scientists are ready to leave Africa and seek employment and scientific careers from imperialists industries.
Europe was born as a bourgeois nation, which means it was born as an oppressive nation or an enslaving nation. Europe has acquired freedom and development for itself as an enslaver nation. The rise of Europe and of world economy came into being at the expense of Africa’s freedom and happiness. They are maintained at the expense of Africa’s future.
These are forces that are already conscious of what it means to be petty bourgeois in Africa or in an African community in Europe or North America, and refuse to be part of it. They think of themselves as part of the African people. They hate the humiliation and oppression of Africa. They despise imperialism and their parasitic lifestyle. They use every opportunity to open up their campuses’ material resources to African resistance and the revolution. We must find and meet these students. If you know one or you think of yourself as a progressive student, you should urgently contact us. They never desert the African freedom struggle when they graduate because of a newly found loyalty to imperialism.
Our Africa has been defined by our oppressors today as a charity case. Newspapers, movies, music, sports, movie stars and various personalities in imperialist countries are involved in charity activities all over Africa. Geldof and Bono tour the world to raise money for Africa. For years, the criminal duo of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair shamelessly promoted themselves as leaders trying to help out Africa. Wherever you go, there are images that appeal for donations to help out Africa and African people. They advertise Oxfam, USAID, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Red Cross, etc. Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and now China have all developed aid programs as part of their foreign policies towards Africa.
This concept of charity undermines African people’s consciousness to the reality that Europe and America are living off African resources. It covers up for all the looting and brutality inflicted on the people in the process of stealing our resources.
Untold massive amounts of gold, oil, coltan, cobalt, platinum, uranium, diamond, cocoa, and other resources that leave the land of Africa every year, hundreds of billions paid to IMF and the World Bank disguised as debt are not signs of poverty. Our mines generally are owned by imperialist powers who also fix the prices of what comes from our own soil and labor. Most of the stuff we produce ends up in factories, supermarkets, homes, mansions and museums in Europe and North America.
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela often says, “Africa is not poor, Africa is being looted!”
Africa does not have its own economy. It has an imperialist economy. Ghana and Ivory Coast are large producers of cocoa, which is processed and consumed in Europe and North America. Nigeria, Chad and Angola produce oil, which is mostly consumed in North America, China, Europe and Japan, while our people continue to queue up for oil at unaffordable costs. It does not matter how many years we have produced cocoa or oil, our people are still poor. In North America and other oppressor countries, African labor is not paid its real value.
We all know by now that under direct or indirect colonial slavery, African workers and peasants are never paid the real value of our labor and natural resources, which are defined by imperialism, which has its origin in the capture and enslavement of Africa and African people in the 15th century.
This article calls on all African students to unite with the theory of African Internationalism, as laid out by Omali Yeshitela, the Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). This theory is the tool that we need to overthrow “charity-ism” and any other false worldview imposed on us by our oppressors to confuse and mystify us. The Chairman repeatedly sums up to us that “It is our labor that provided the primitive accumulation that kick started and maintains capitalism as a world system. Value is always created by labor; banks do not create value, churches do not create value, lawyers and teachers, etc. do not create value. It is the worker that extracts and transforms natural resources to produce what we need to use.” Charities do not create value in Africa. The redemption of Africa is not a charitable matter.
Bono and Geldof and others are modern day missionaries. They are covering up for imperialism. If it were a matter of musicians sorting out Africa, since modern music is the creation of African people, we would not need second-class musicians to help out Africa.
The emancipation of the workers from neocolonialism is the cornerstone of any genuine movement for freedom in Africa. The role of African students is not to join these charities, which are nothing less than agents for the status quo. Students have to turn their back on NGOs and engage in the struggle of denouncing and dismantling modern day missionaries, and replacing them with our own All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and our other self-determination institutions. NGOs undermine the consciousness of the people to fight imperialism and the African petty bourgeoisie. Africa does not need charity; we need African Internationalism, the revolutionary theory and practice to end neocolonialism.
Our suffering is not a result of the absence of the generosity of white rulers or white imperialist society, but the consequence of parasitic relationships that exist between Africa and the Western world.
The African intellectual living in Europe and North America must familiarize themselves with the African proletariat, which is demonized every day by the imperialist media. They must join every African working class struggle that emerges. Where there is no noticeable resistance, they should spend time to help to organize the masses of African people against all various colonial conditions that our people experience on a daily basis. For example, we are all familiar with the massive failure of colonial education in the black community. Most of our children cannot get the five GCSE required, mainly in math, English and sciences. Students under the leadership of AAPDEP should organize our own schools inside black communities to solve this problem. In doing so, we will begin to win young African students to turn their backs to the British government and build or increase faith in our own capacity to take care of ourselves.
Young graduates and undergraduates in law should provide training and seminars to help young Africans and African workers to understand the bourgeois colonial laws and how to defend ourselves when we are attacked by imperialism. I call on all students and intellectuals who may have an opportunity to read this article, to get in touch with the Uhuru Movement. Let’s get organized.
The role of African intellectuals is to discover and understand the true history of the genesis of capitalism and all its manifestations that constitute a challenge to the existence of African people on this planet. The role of the honest intellectual is not to become another servant of EU, Japan and U.S. imperialist powers, and increasingly of Chinese interests. The commitment of African intellectuals is not to become a mental worker for imperialism. The duty of African intellectuals is to solve the problems of the people, which are imposed on us by a worldwide economic system of foreign domination, known as capitalism. African intellectuals must unite with the people and plan the struggle to defeat imperialism in Africa.
All governments in Africa today are ex-colonial governments with African faces to give us an illusion of independence. Africa is not free. Our struggle for independence has been left incomplete. The role of the current governments is to prevent our people from completing that struggle. Just look at the economy 45 years after independence. It has regressed in most places.
The African Socialist International (ASI) Main Document, by Omali Yeshitela states, “Today only seven percent of Africa’s formal trade takes place within Africa itself, meaning that 93 percent of African trade is simply continued expropriation of African resources by our historical oppressors and exploiters. Additionally, 83 percent of the Gross National Product of the combined African countries goes to pay debt which has been accumulated by the neocolonial rulers of Africa through the rigged European-created and dominated trade relations born of slavery and colonialism. This means that Africa has access to only 17 percent of its own resources after paying the manufactured debt. Once the neocolonial primitive petty bourgeoisie takes its cut from this, the African masses are lucky to achieve five percent of what they have produced.”
Today, African revolutionaries are African internationalists.
They are different from the rest of students, because they are equipped with the theory of African Internationalism, the theory of the African working class in struggle against neo-colonialism to free and unite Africa under a socialist government. African Internationalist theory is the ever developing practice and thought of Chairman Omali Yeshitela. This is the theory that unites the best achievements in Africa’s history of resistance and the world’s peoples struggles, from Garvey, Nkrumah, Lumumba, Malcolm X to Kimathi and others along with the experiences of the struggles of all other oppressed peoples to overthrow imperialism.
The struggle amongst the youths and students must be led by African Internationalist students under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, because it is only under a disciplined party steeled in the struggle against all forms of opportunism that Africans can be free of imperialist domination.
The strategic role of Africa in the struggle for the liberation of the world must be understood by all African intellectuals. Imperialism will never leave us alone of its own accord. Imperialism does not care if we have elections or not, if we are Anglophones or Francophones. What we need to do is build the African Socialist International, to mobilize the one billion working masses in the African world for African revolution. Students can have a future if only they join up with the African working class, which is the class that carries the future of all of Africa and African people on its shoulders. Students can join only as a revolutionary class. Oppressed workers and peasants do not need opportunist intellectuals, who are waiting in the wings for their turn to join the gravy train.
Workers need young people with revolutionary spirit and fervor, ready to formulate plans for the mobilization of one billion African people around the world. We need students who are ready to flex their thinking muscles to the maximum in the struggle to reclaim Africa for ourselves.