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Pan-Africanism Movement in African-American Studies



Pan Africanism, the idea of the unification of the countries of the African continent and people of the African origin in other countries, developed after cessation of the era of colonialism and European domination. Pan Africanism is a global movement that is viewed as an opportunity to reinforce solidarity between African people, improve the economic situation and oppose globalization and capitalism. Kwame Toure, one of the founders and activists of the Pan African movement, together with Delany, Crummel, and W.E.B. Du Bois, argues that PAN Africanism would release oppression of the continent and resolve many of the global cultural, social and spiritual issues.

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Unification - the Grounding Principle of Pan Africanism

The grounding principle of Pan Africanism is the unification of all people of the African origin, therefore, African ethnos is a base of the movement. Pan Africanism aims to embrace not only all countries of the African continent, but all ethnic Africans from the Caribbean region, the US, Europe, and Australia. This unification of the ethnic Africans from all parts of the world with the residents of the continent is considered to be the only path of restoration of historical injustice, with the suppression of Africans, the establishment of the slave trade, exploitation, colonialism, and intolerance in different countries.

Pan Africanism is suggested to be the way of ensuring the Renaissance of African ethnos and the African continent. In addition, ground for the Pan Africanism is ethnical Africans, which are supposed to be carriers of culture, tradition, and spirit. Pan Africanism is an embodiment of the African spiritual desire to preserve their ethnicity, with culture, language, and social principle, and to alleviate economic and political improvement.

The Global Idea “Oneness of the Views”

The first grounding principle of Pan Africanism is “oneness of the views”, the global idea that representatives of African ethnos should have single views, aspirations, and desires. This idea emerges from the idea of holism. Holism in the frameworks of Pan Africanism suggests of the interconnection of all African states and the theory that if all African states are united, they would have more economic opportunities, political strength, and cultural progress. In addition, in the principle “oneness of views,” an important role plays collectivism, which allows hoping that in the united African individuals would have both responsibilities and provides with chances for personal development. Pan African collectivism hopes on equal opportunities for personal development in the society that works for its own good.

Finally, Pan Africanism is intrinsically related to the spiritualism of the African continent, with its specific beliefs, traditions, and religion. However, in the “oneness of the views” principle, there is no focus on the religion, as in after era of slavery and colonialism African ethnicities were imposed with the religions, including Christianity and Islam, and these religions became part of African culture. In the context of “oneness of views”, spirituality is estimated rather a mental desire of the prosperity of the African continent. The main basic principle of Pan Africanism is the unity of views on the future of the African continent, which incorporates holism as the idea of the interconnection of all Africans, their ability to collectivist work, and common spirituality.

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In the lectures and writings, Kwame Toure discussed the idea of Pan Africanism in the context of the political situation and with regards to historic background. He enriched Pan Africanism with the theories of socialism and communism and discussed the possibility of their implementation on the Black Continent in case of unification. He was one of the pioneers of the antiglobalism, and viewed Pan Africanism as the only viable form of oppression to globalization, with all its drawbacks and disadvantages for the third-world countries. Kwame Toure also argues that oneness of views principle may allow resisting American and European intolerance and exploitation of the Blacks, as all people of the African origin would find shelter, protection, and prosperity on the strong united African continent.

The Principle of Self-Determination

The second principle of Pan Africanism is the principle of self-determination. This principle developed as a response to the exploitation of the African continent, its natural resources and forced removal of people, in the 18th-20th century. Principle of self-determination is related to the concept of collectivism and results in the idea that all residents on the African continent, in case of unification of countries, would participate in political life, make decisions on the economic and political course, as well as receive field for self-determination in terms of employment, education, and place of residence.

Self-determination also related to African spirituality, as an intention to develop and practice own religion, have values and believes. African spirituality is the most successful in self-determination, as after the imposition of religion during the times of colonialism African people incorporated in the religious practices local traditions and believes, which results in the emergence of a variety of original, different from European spiritual concepts. Self-determination as a Pan Africanism idea reflects centuries-lasting desire for independence in all spheres of life.

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The Third Principle of Pan Africanism

The third principle of Pan Africanism is the unification of African ethnicities, making African shelter solely Africans. This principle is tightly linked with holism, as the concentration of solely Africans and their common efforts in developing economic and political prosperity would be beneficial for all African countries. This principle relates to the roots and common background.

Summary of the Concept

Overall, Pan Africanism is a movement for returning Africans of different origins on the continent and uniting all African countries. This concept is simultaneous is historically, politically and economically grounded and promoted by the Pan African activists s Kwame Ture. The main principles of Pan Africanism are uniformity of views, self-determination, and concept of the African for Africans. Their principles are explained with collectivism, holism, and spiritualism of the African ethnos.

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