History of the Pan-African Congress, George Padmore (editor) 1947
(a) That since the advent of British, French, Belgian and other European nations in West Africa, there has been regression instead of progress as a result of systematic exploitation by these alien imperialist Powers. The claims of “partnership,” “trusteeship,” “guardianship,” and the “mandate system,” do not serve the political wishes of the people of West Africa.
(b) That the democratic nature of the indigenous institutions of the peoples of West Africa has been crushed by obnoxious and oppressive laws and regulations, and replaced by autocratic systems of Government which are inimical to the political wishes of the peoples of West Africa.
(c) That the introduction of pretentious constitutional reforms into the West African Territories are nothing but spurious attempts on the part of alien imperialist Powers to continue the political enslavement of the peoples.
(d) That the introduction of Indirect Rule is not only an instrument of oppression but also an encroachment oil the rights of the West African natural rulers.
(e) That the artificial divisions and territorial boundaries created by the Imperialist Powers are deliberate steps to obstruct the political unity of the West African peoples.
(a) That there has been a systematic exploitation of the economic resources of the West African territories by imperialist Towers to the detriment of the inhabitants.
(b) That the industrialisation of West Africa by the indigines has been discouraged and obstructed by the imperialist rulers, with the result that the standard of living has fallen below subsistence level.
(c) That the land, the rightful property of West Africans is gradually passing into the hands of foreign governments and other agencies through various devices and ordinances.
(d) That the workers and farmers of West Africa have not been allowed independent trades unions and cooperative movements without official interference.
(e) That the mining industries are in the hands of foreign monopolies of finance capital, with the result that wherever a mining industry has developed there has been a tendency to deprive the people of their land holding (e.g. mineral rights in Nigeria and Sierra Leone are now the property, of the British Government).
(f) That the British Government in West Africa is virtually controlled by a merchants’ united front, whose main objective is the exploitation of the people, thus rendering the indigenous population economically helpless.
(g) That when a country is compelled to rely on one crop (e.g. cocoa) for a single monopolistic market, and is obliged to cultivate only for export while at the same time its farmers and workers find themselves in the grip of finance capital, then it is evident that the government of that country is incompetent to assume economic responsibility for it.
(a) That the democratic organisations and institutions of the West African peoples have been interfered with; that alien rule has not improved education, health or the nutrition of the West African peoples but on the contrary tolerates mass illiteracy, ill-health, malnutrition, prostitution, and many other social evils.
(b) That organised Christianity in West Africa is identified with the political and economic exploitation of the West African peoples by alien Powers.
In view of these conditions, the Congress unanimously supports the members of the West African delegation in declaring:
That complete and absolute Independence for the Peoples of West Africa is the only to solution to the existing problems.
1. This Congress views with great concern the deplorable conditions imposed upon the Africans by French and Belgian Imperialisms in the Congo and Equatorial Africa, and demands that immediate steps be taken to remedy conditions in these territories.
2. That the demand of Egypt for the removal of British armed forces be conceded without delay, and that the Condominium over Sudan be abolished and the Sudanese granted complete independence from British and Egyptian rule.
3. That the demands of the indigenous peoples of Tunis, Algeria, Morocco and Libya for democratic rights and independence from French and Italian rule be recognised.
That this Congress of African peoples demands democratic rights and self-government for the people of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Nyasaland, Somaliland and Zanzibar.
That this Congress calls upon the Secretary of State for the Colonies to implement the following immediate demands of the people of East African territories.
This Fifth Pan-African Congress, representing millions of Africans and peoples of African descent throughout the world, condemns with all its, power the policy towards Africans and other non-Europeans carried out by the Union of South Africa which, although representing itself abroad as a democracy with a system of parliamentary government, manifests essentially the same characteristics as Fascism:
(a) the Herrenvolk ideology which has transformed itself into a mania;
(b) the ruthless trampling underfoot of all human rights;
(c) the erection of one system of law and of morality for the “Aryans” and a different system of law and of morality for the non-white “non-Aryans.”
This Congress demands for the non-European citizens of South Africa the immediate practical application of the following ten fundamental democratic rights.
This Congress pledges itself to work unceasingly with and on behalf of its nun-European brothers in South Africa until they achieve the status of freedom and human dignity. This Congress regards the struggle of our brothers in South Africa as an integral part of the common struggle for national liberation throughout Africa.
MAYI BUYE I AFRICA!
We, the accredited and recognised representatives of the people of the British West Indies and British Guiana in attendance at this Fifth Paul-African Congress, do hereby demand for our people:
And we further declare that owing to the lack of travel facilities and the fact that West Indian Islands are over-populated, that West Indians domiciled in Europe and U.S.A. consider the formation of a West Indian Development and Welfare programme and the creation of a West Indian Development Fund for purposes of the education and industrialisation of the West Indies and to assist the progressive movements in the respective West Indian Territories is necessary.
Special Supplementary Resolutions presented by the delegation representing the Universal Negro Improvement Association of Jamaica.
1. Whereas racial discrimination has been meted out to the Negro race in every walk of life throughout the world, i.e., in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, Universities and Colleges, hotel accommodation, employment, and in other economic and social respects:
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association of Jamaica, respectfully ask this Congress to place before the Authorities concerned, our resentment at such discrimination against the Negro race and our desire for its elimination as unjust and uncivilised.
2. Whereas there are outstanding barriers connected with transportation, especially where African descendants are concerned; and whereas there are other signal impediments and restrictions to entering our Motherland, the Continent of Africa; and whereas it is the desire of African descendants, especially in the West Indies, to enter and domicile in Africa;
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the U.N.I.A. of Jamaica, respectfully ask this Congress to place before the Authorities concerned our demand for immediate removal of ail such barriers and restrictions.
3. Whereas it is the desire of the Colonial Office and the inhabitants of the British West Indies that there should be a Federation of the British West Indies; and whereas there are overpopulated areas in some colonies while there are uninhabited areas in others; and whereas the development of intercommunication among the islands would create better understanding and relationship; and whereas there are many economic-benefits to be derived therefrom:
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the U.N.I.A., request the Fifth Pan-African Congress to impress upon the Colonial Office the urgent necessity of bringing- into operation the proposed federation.
4. Whereas World War No. 2 was fought, as expressed in the Atlantic Charter, for the freedom of all peoples:
BE IT RESOLVED that this Congress impress upon the Governments concerned that independence to African peoples throughout the world be given great and urgent consideration at the Peace Conference.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these Resolutions be placed before the proper Authorities for immediate consideration and action.
This Fifth Pan-African Congress sends fraternal greetings to the Governments and peoples of Ethiopia, Liberia and Haiti, and pledges its support in mobilising world public opinion among Africans and peoples of Africa descent in defence of their Sovereign independence. We assure the Governments and peoples of these States that we shall ever be vigilant against any manifestation of Imperial encroachment which may threaten their independence.
We take this opportunity to inform the Imperial powers that we look with jealous pride upon these nations and regard them as symbols of the realisation of the political hopes and aspirations of African peoples still under Imperialist domination.
This Fifth Pan-African Congress sends its warmest greetings to the Emperor and peoples of Ethiopia, one of the three free states in the world that are controlled by African people. It pledges itself to guard with jealousy the interests of Ethiopia.
This Fifth Pan-African Congress views with horror the treatment of disabled ex-Seamen, both African and of African descent, and particularly the case of B Johnson of Manchester and others in Great Britain, and that a Committee be set up by the Colonial Office with the least possible delay, with a view to their repatriation to the homeland.
To secure equal opportunities for all Colonial and Coloured people in Great Britain, this Congress demand that discrimination on account of race, creed or colour be made a criminal offence by law.
That all employments and occupations shall be opened to all qualified Africans, and that to bar such applicants because of race, creed or colour shall be deemed an offence against the law.
That the Negro Welfare Centres, the League of Coloured Peoples, African Churches’ Mission of Liverpool and other African organisations (social and religious) which have been doing legitimate welfare work among coloured children, students, seamen and others, shall be given every encouragement and assistance by the responsible Authorities to continue the vital social work in which they are engaged.
In order to register their protest against South Africa’s demand for the abolition of the Mandate over South West Africa and the incorporation of the territory into the Union, the League of Coloured Peoples, the Pan-African Federation, the West African National Secretariat, and other coloured organisations in Britain, sent the following Resolution to the Trusteeship Committee of the United Nations:
(a) To reject categorically the claim of the Government of the Union of South Africa to incorporate the mandated territory of South-West Africa, (b) To request the surrender of the mandate of the territory of South-West Africa to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations Organisation by the European peoples of the Union of South Africa, (c) To investigate the conditions of life and work, the political rights and civil liberties of the non-European peoples of the Union of South Africa, and (d) to require of the Union of South Africa an undertaking to respect and abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter in the treatment of all peoples within the jurisdiction on pain of expulsion from membership of the United Nations Organisation.
As is generally known, the policy pursued by the Government of South Africa towards its subjects of non-European race is a direct negation of the principles of racial tolerance, justice and freedom. Since the year 1920 when the mandated territory of South-West Africa was placed under the Trusteeship of the Union of South Africa the Native Policy of the Union Government has steadily deteriorated. As the native in South Africa has become, in spite of Legislative and Administrative restrictions, more efficient in the field of industrial labour and more advanced in knowledge, so have the repressive measures directed against him been extended and intensified. The whole purpose of these measures is to make of the African nothing more than an “indentured labourer,” a being in perpetual enslavement to the Mining and Agricultural enterprises of the country.
In 1936 the passing of the Native Franchise Act, the Native Land Act and the Urban Areas Act deprived the natives of the Cape Province of the right to buy, hire or occupy land wherever they chose and confined them to restricted areas; the right to be on the Common Voters Roll, their representation being limited to three appointed European members in a House of Assembly consisting of one hundred and fifty-three members; their right to sell their labour where they chose by restricting their movements. The Industrial Conciliation Act No. 36 of 1937 excludes from the definition of “Employee” over ninety per cent of the African workers merely because they are natives. The result of this Act is that the Minister of Labour refuses to recognize African Trade Unions or to implement any agreement negotiated between White employer and black employee under the terms of the Act. Under the covenant of the League of Nations the Mandatory Power was entitled to apply to the mandated territory the same law, as those in force in its own territory. Thus by means of proclamations some of the restrictive laws of the Union have been extended to South-West Africa. For instance, The Native Administration Proclamation No. 11 of 1924 and The Urban Areas Proclamation No. 34 of 1924 followed closely the lines of Urban Legislation and enforced segregation of the African peoples. In 1927 Proclamation No. 11 placed a restriction on the number of native squatters on farm and by the introduction of a system of “passes” restricted all movement including travel by rail.
There is little doubt that in its attitude to the territory of South-West Africa the Union Government has assumed a position which is not in keeping with that of a trustee but, on the contrary, in accord with that of a conqueror bent upon territorial aggrandisment and the spoliation and humiliation of the vanquished. The question arises whether the Union Government is one that should reasonably be entrusted with the care (if subject and helpless peoples. The racial policy of this Government is a direct affront to the express determination the United Nations “to re-affirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women of nations large and small.”
Africans are not the only victims of this racialism, for the Indians, who number a bare quarter of a million, suffer discrimination in a similar manner. Incidentally, the latest manifestation of anti-Indian Legislation, the Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation Act forms the subject of a complaint to the United Nations Organisation by the Government of India.
We demand justice and social equality for the Indian community in South Africa.