Friday, June 01, 2007

ALD in Canada Inspires Social Activism and Political Action

African Liberation Day in Canada inspires social activism and political action

by Farid Omar
The Canadian

At the first Conference of Independent African states held on April 15, 1958 in Accra Ghana, leaders of the then independent African states of Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Republic (the former federation of Egypt and Syria), called for the formation of the African Freedom Day to mark the “onward progress of the liberation movement and symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation”.

This milestone Conference was convened by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Independent Ghana and one of the foremost Pan-African revolutionaries of the Global Pan-African struggle. The conference highlighted the early achievements of the African liberation movement that fought against colonialism, apartheid and imperialism throughout Africa.

Further, the Accra conference reiterated the long standing calls in the Global Pan-African liberation that identified Pan-Africanism and total unification of Africa under the banner of scientific socialism as the foundation and instrument through which Africa can effectively break away from colonial and neo-colonial bondage on the path to freedom from exploitation and oppression.

The Conference as well, laid the foundation and the strategy for the further intensification and coordination of the next stage of the African Revolution, for the liberation of the rest of Africa, and eventual and complete unification of the African continent.

Five years later, at the inaugural summit of the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U), held in May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and attended by thirty two African states, African leaders declared African Freedom Day as African Liberation Day and changed the date of this historic event from April 15, to May 25.

By May 1963, two-thirds of Africa had already attained independence and the African Liberation Day gained momentum as the political forum that would unite Africa and the African Diaspora under the banner of Pan-Africanism to defeat colonialism and all forms of imperialism.

African Liberation Day as an institution within the Pan-African movement reflects the growth and development of Pan-Africanism. More importantly, African Liberation Day has become a political force in both Africa and the African Diaspora that raises political consciousness among African peoples and exposes U.S. led imperialism, Zionism and colonialism as enemies of Africa.

Today, the African Liberation Day is celebrated throughout the African world and it forms the basis of collective organization in the struggle against imperialism spear headed by Afro-Centric organizations working in the ongoing Pan-African revolution. The ALD has also become an important occasion to advance the struggle for the second liberation in the 21st century.

This is because Pan-Africanists acknowledge the fact that most African nations have only obtained “flag” independence and hence African peoples must continue with the struggle to free the continent from all forms of neo-colonialism and especially in an era dominated by a neo-liberal economic order that continues to oppress and exploit African peoples.

In most African states, the colonial structure has been passed on intact as comprador elites working in collusion with western imperialism have implanted an economic system that serves the interests of western nations at the expense of Africa. Foreign multi-national corporations continue to ravage Africa’s resources while the U.S. and other imperialist nations have fuelled conflicts in various African countries to weaken and divide African peoples while at the same time, secure access to vital resources such as oil, gold, diamonds and other precious metals.

In light of the above, the African Liberation Day will continue serve as a rallying point to mobilize African peoples through popular education and political action to stem back the negative effects of neo-liberal globalization and western imperialism in general. The ALD is also on the forefront of the struggle for Africa Reparations, to redress and demand compensation for the crimes of slavery, colonialism and apartheid.

During ALD festivities, African peoples not only reflect on the accomplishments of the Pan-African liberation and ways to move the African revolution forward but also recognize the contributions of other oppressed peoples working in solidarity with the Pan-African struggle. For example, Cuba takes an important and special place in ALD activities due to its unconditional support for the Pan-African liberation. During the 60s, 70s and 80s Cuba, provided military and economic aid to Pan-African liberation movements fighting against western colonialism and apartheid.

By deploying troops in places like Angola, Cuba directly participated in the African liberation to defeat the South African Defence Forces (SDF) of the former Apartheid regime that threatened Angolan independence. In late 1988, a joint force of Cuban troops and the Movement of Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA) defeated the SDF and the so-called reactionary forces of Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the CIA, in the famous battle of Cuito Carnavale.

This important victory was also a turning point in the defeat of apartheid in Namibia in 1989 and later South Africa in 1994. Cuba also supported Pan-African patriots in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Guinea etc to name a few. Today, Cuba continues to send doctors, engineers, teachers and social workers to support African governments and communities.

In Canada, the ALD has been held since 1971 by community activists dedicated to the Pan-African liberation. In this year’s event (ALD 2007), community activists and organizers as well as community members from across Ontario came together to commemorate the ALD at the Thomas Lounge at Oakham House, located at Ryerson University on Saturday, May 26, 2007.

The event featured panel speakers who delivered speeches on the themes of Women and Pan-African Revolution, 20th Commemoration since the Assassination of Thomas Sankara, Pan-African revolutionary and former President of Burkina Faso as well as Pan-Africanism and the struggle for Africa Reparations. The event also featured a panel discussion by the visiting female delegates from Haiti who spoke on Women’s Rights, Trade Unionism and the Political Crisis in Haiti.

More importantly, participants paid a glowing tribute to comrade Banturaki Bakunda Barungi a.ka. Bantu, a committed Pan-Africanist who passed away in Toronto on March 18, 2007.

Additionally, the event featured performances by local Pan-African artists and poets as well as a Sounds of Africa Live to Air broadcast that relayed event proceedings to the homes of many across southern Ontario and elsewhere through the web.

The highly festive and successful event was put together by a coalition of Pan-African organizers including the Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa (GRILA), the Pan-African Collective and the CKLN African Caucus in conjunction with the Ryerson, Angolan and Somali students and supported by the CKLN FM. 88.1 Toronto.``

The African Liberation Day lives forever. Long Live the ALD! Long Live the Pan-African Revolution! Aluta Continua! The Struggle Continues and AMANDLA

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