Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Amiri Baraka

African Americans and The African Revolution

First Published: Unity, Vol. 10, No. 11, June 22, 1987.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The ALSC (African Liberation Support Committee) was one of the most powerful anti-imperialist mass organizations, particularly among African Americans. It was so important because like the logos of our ALSC literature, ALSC brought large numbers of African people in struggle against the most deadly imperialist forces in the world, who are also the chief benefactors of African slavery and colonialism.

The Pan Africanist approach of ALSC, i.e., seeing the principle task of the most advanced black activists as uniting African people internationally against the forces of white supremacy (Imperialism, colonialism, national oppression, apartheid &c.) was not just the line of a few militants, but a genuine mass line that, quiet as it’s kept, did not drop into the black community in the 70’s. For instance both WEB Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, two maximum forces in the Black Liberation Movement, are rightly named as creators or forwarders of the Pan Africanist imperative.

Sekou Toure defined Pan Africanism at the 1974 6PAC in Dar es Salaam as “Africa and Africans all over the world united against imperialism.” And although this definition strikes me as essentially correct, it was embraced by the “left” (at 6PAC) and ignored by the “right.”

Figures like Delaney and Blyden are also linked by some people to a correct understanding of Pan Africanism by people calling themselves Pan Africanists or Afro centric militants of one kind or another. While Nkrumah defined still another sector of our movement’s understanding of Pan Africanism.

This is relevant because in one sense it was these varied characterizations of the relationship of continental and diasporic Africans in smashing their common oppression, that brought ALSC together, but also created the problems which made it less effective as a mass organization than it obviously could have been.

The exchange that ALSC permitted helped create an exchange and interplay between a broad sector of Pan Africanists of varying clarity and cultural nationalists of equally divergent tendencies.

What ALSC raised to a higher level and focused toward more advanced ideological and political development was the influence of actual Revolution in Africa plus the impact of Marxism-Leninism carried by Black communists upon advanced sectors of the BLM. By the time I became chairman of the Congress of Afrikan Peoples (CAP) in 1972, it had already broken with anti-communist sectors of cultural nationalism and had begun to call for Nationalism, Pan Africanism and Ujamaa (African Scientific Socialism). We were not doing that to court Marxism but because we were being thrust to the left by our experience, perception and partially correct rationales. The Africa ALSC made us focus on and try to understand (and which we were already committed to liberate!) was the real Africa of colonialism, neo colonialism, and revolution. These realities and their publicists like Toure, Nyerere, Cabral, Nkrumah, Mondlane, MPLA, FRELIMO, SWAPO, PAC, ANC, ZANU, ZAPU &c helped educate many of us that imperialism was the enemy and that anti-imperialist resistance was not synonymous with being “anti-white” and that there was a revolutionary consciousness among African patriots that included class analysis and even opposition to atavism and feudalism and male chauvinism. We found out there was a black revolutionary stance that was opposed to nationalism and that was valid and fighting.

Communists such as the black comrades in BWC brought us face to face with the fact that Marxist analysis was not the white liberal chauvinism we associated with the American left in its arrogant and ignorant opposition to Malcolm X and paternalistic belittlement of the BLM.

Out of our largely Pan Africanist trend stretching as it did into frankly class analysis oriented anti-imperialism, the impact of real African Liberation and the emergence of a legitimately patriotic Marxist sector in the BLM, there developed also various organizational reflections of these ideological and political influences. The sharp ideological and political confrontations that characterized ALSC were the combustible class struggles that finally drove the whole level of ideological and political development within the BLM to a much higher level.

The fundamental errors we made – sectarianism, right and left opportunism, and even the careerism of the ideologically unmovable keepers of institutionalized organizational ideology were held in more extreme confusion and then seemingly unresolvable conflict by the state and our own rude infantilism.

What many of us did not understand – whether we were shot out left or right, toward scientific socialism or even further into bourgeois nationalism was the nature of a United Front. Because it was the power of our objective formation as a black anti-imperialist United Front collectively that had brought about the fearsome impact of our movement – not the distinct leadership of any narrow sector of that overall formation.

The dynamic fire-weight of the whole of the BLM linked in opposition to Imperialism’s exploitation of Mother Africa and her children world wide was the killing mechanism of our anti-imperialism not our individual enlightenments as various progressives and prophets of whatever degree of objective correctness.

Some of us wanted the organization more like Kawaida or Islam or Panther shaped – others as we went up further into new Marxism sought to cadrify the mass organization as the simple confirmation and petification (i.e. “making into a pet”) of ALSC as reflection of our rise into “total correctness.”

It is our real task to bring together a mighty anti-imperialist united front that will snap the chains from black bodies internationally, liberating Africa and overthrowing white supremacy by destroying its fundamental material base, imperialism.

Wherever the years have traced our individual and individual organizational analysis, what remains true is that it is only the collective expression of our overall resistance to imperialism and white supremacy which can kill it. And a political consciousness that does not yet recognize the primacy of such a mass black formation cannot be called advanced, no matter what their stunning label. A new ALSC must be a non-sectarian, anti-imperialist, international front whose statement of principles is shaped by an active revolutionary engagement in the destruction of imperialism.


All Africa and the Arab world must join together with states calling themselves socialist and the People’s Democracies inspired by China, the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Technological and military aid must be obligatory and states that can commit armed divisions.

The liberation movements, Communist, Socialist, Workers and Democratic National Liberation Movements – The PLO, The IRA, SWAPO, A ANC-PAC-Blk Consciousness Movement front and the European and third world parties and liberation movements. An Anti-Fascist movement in the U.S. and England. The West Indies, including Nicaragua and the South American democratic movements.

Social organizations and resource providing organizations, universities and unions – Cultural and Arts organizations and institutions. Local governments must be made to support such a front and we must demand such support from the next political candidates on any level!!

Fascism is animal not human. Racial fascism a dangerous world debasing fly trap.

In the US we must force the government through agitation before and after the next election that the next president must commit as much resources to the Anti-Fascist Front as the USSR!

An international meeting in one of the front line states, 1st of the OAU, then of the OAU and its allies, including representatives of supporting states and organizations and universities and the liberation movements.

It must be a highly organized and politically revolutionary unification convention. Its key participants including states must initiate conventions in the major cities of the world, to ratify the anti-fascist alliance.

The Anti-Fascist Front must create allied armies to move against South Africa from all directions at the same time! Including media support and national movements.

No nuclear weapons must be used or chemical or biological warfare. But the highest technology in the world, especially US, Japanese, Europe must be used. Airpower, A sea force and missiles are fundamental to victory.


Critical to such a Front and compulsory to its victory is international cultural revolution. International mobilization of cultural institutions, arts organizations and artists is absolutely necessary.

Individual artists and arts groups must approach local governments, and particularly schools, to include texts on South Africa and Apartheid. Black and progressive artists must struggle to get their books included in curricula, helping to transform them.

Artists must create positive relationships with local performance spaces, cabarets, bars, churches, for regular performances and presentations of progressive art, forums and anti-fascist programs.

Every empty space where an image or word can be placed must be appropriated and used. Social clubs, union halls, day care centers, civil rights and social organizations have such spaces at their disposal.

All efforts for new publishing of magazines, journals, books, newspapers at whatever economic level must be stepped up. A regular one sheet-both sides, mimeo news sheet will suffice if nothing else.

TV, Film, Cable, Theatrical initiatives, are very important. All efforts must be made to influence, gain access, appropriate and build sympathetic relationships in these media. The fascists are given sympathetic treatment by US owners. This must be resisted and the anti-fascist line be clearly understood.

The principal struggle in the world today is Fascism vs. Democracy. If Fascism wins, nuclear wars will destroy human societies, reduce them to near animal productive forces. It will be a long sleep for human science and development. Instead of forward evolution “ZZZZ”s will be the sound of this “death peace.”

* * *

At the conferences and conventions there must be advanced and progressive cultural programs and arts presentations. There must be a high level of aesthetic and cultural programs to keep the general spirit and intellectual level of the gatherings inspiring, and creative rooted in the socially positive and educational.

These and cultural and scientific exchanges will make these conferences landmarks of Human Development. Democracy Vs Fascism. Death To Fascism!