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The Road to the 8th Pan African Congress

The Road to the 8th Pan African Congress

The Resolutions and planning from the 7th Pan African Congress reinforced the stand for the full unification of Africa and the end of colonial rule. Apart from the emergence of PAWLO, the other major advance of the 7th Pan African Congress was to place the question of Reparations at the Center of the Pan African Congress Movement. The movement for Reparative justice has been a central component of the Pan African liberation movement and in every period of Pan Africanism the call for reparative justice rang out.

After the massive global struggles against apartheid the same forces that spearheaded the Free South Africa campaign spearheaded the Reparations Movement. This global struggle resulted in the establishment of the Eminent Persons Group on Reparations of the OAU chaired by Chief Moshod Abiola. It was this global pressure for reparative justice that pushed the South African leadership to host the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in Durban in 2001.

Imperialism became alert to the progressive character of the Pan African movement that was informed by Pan Africanism of the people. Using pliant citizens of African descent within the imperial centers, such as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, the USA worked hard to oppose the world conference against racism and to ensure that the program of action could not be supported among governments. It was in Latin America where the reparations forces among the Africa descendants caucus became a new force within the politics of Latin America. There were many efforts of the opponents of Pan Africanism in Africa but by far the most far reaching was to coopt the young and articulate in the NGO fad that became the weapon of neo-liberalism in Africa. Neo-liberalism opposed governments of all kinds and this anti-government positon served those who wanted to end state expenditures on social services.

Within the Pan African Movement the question of how to organize against oppressive governments gave way to the call for the end of big Congresses and instead to support the peoples movements in the streets, the villages and townships all over the Pan African world. By the end of the twentieth century the progressive wing of the Pan African movement had merged with the reparations movement, progressive workers movements, the anti-dictatorship movement, the peace movement, the anti-globalization movement, progressive women’s forum and the environmental justice movements.

The HIV AIDS pandemic dictated that there would be a strong movement for health care in the Pan African world and organizations such as the Treatment Action Campaign developed new techniques of mobilization and organization to oppose the western pharmaceutical companies that wanted the HIV AIDS virus to be a death sentence for Africans. Pan Africanists such as Wangari Mathai of the Green belt Movement embodied the maturation of such forces, and one new Pan African front that emerged in the 21st century was the Pan African Climate Justice Movement. In Latin America in societies such as Bolivia, Colombia and Brazil, the anti-racist and climate justice forces were making an impact on the progressive movements internationally.

The Libyan question, the unification of Africa and the Pan African MovementNelson Mandela worked hard after 1994 to oppose genocidal violence and genocidal politics in Africa. As a leader, who had been designated as a ’terrorist,’ Mandela mediated to end the sanctions against Libya. In appreciation, the President of Libya called the extraordinary meeting of the OAU at Sirte in 1999 and decided to set in motion the number one resolution of the 7th Pan African Congress, that there should be an African Union. Within two years the Constitutive Act of the African Union was written, ratified and the AU came into being in 2002. The major difference between the AU and the OAU was the right of the AU to intervene in cases of genocide, gross violation of human rights and crimes against humanity. By 2004 there was the establishment of the Pan African Parliament but the main political leaders of Africa were afraid of this Parliament becoming a representative body.