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Implementing 21st-century Pan Africanism


The African Union invited the African Diaspora to join it in determining the future of the African continent. That future will include becoming the Union of African States or the United States of Africa. That is, the current 55 African countries being organized as one nation of 55 federated states.

That invitation was given in 2003, almost eight years ago. To date, no single organization, or organizations in combination, has been able to accept that definition. Part of the reason for that–in fact, a very big part of why that invitation is still unheeded–is the habitual tradition of Black organizations not sticking together and not collectivizing.

With approximately 15,000 African-oriented organizations and groups within the broad range of the African Diaspora–approximately 300 million people scattered over 90 different countries–the AU has been reluctant to bring any of them in, since those left out would surely complain vociferously.

There were many, many meetings, and just as many resolutions and promises to get something done. They all came to naught, and the invitation just hung there, waiting.

Then, in December 2011, Ambassador Amina S. Ali, the principal AU representative in the USA, called together a Unity Symposium in Washington, D.C. The discussions there got very serious, but no real decisions were made. Thus, elements of the USA African Diaspora contingent decided to follow through with that gathering by calling forth a definitive group of diverse organizations to form and establish a North American African Diaspora Unity Council to directly address the AU on behalf of the African descendants in this region, and to provide a roadmap for others on Central America, South America, parts of the Caribbean, Europe, and other parts of the Diaspora to follow suit.

A call was put out publicly, through the Internet, phone, Facebook, etc., for those interested in the AU-African Diaspora engagement to attend a large, decision-making gathering on Jan. 28, 2012, at Howard University. Over 50 representatives speaking for 75 organizations attended the meeting. The call stated: At the gathering, the participants–using African consensus to discuss, vote and move forward–agreed to:

I. Go on record in accepting the operational definition by the African Union of the African Diaspora, to wit: “The African Diaspora consists of all peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality, and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.” Secondly, for purposes of recruitment, clarification and education in North America, and other regions, we agree to recognize Africa as the motherland, and we understand the current AU operational definition to include both the historical Diaspora and the modern Diaspora. At some point in the near future, the AU will move to have these two additional components annexed to the official AU definition of the African Diaspora.

II.  Abide by the following Common Denominator Principles/Practices for Pan African collective work:
1. Principle of Mutual Respect: That mutual respect for colleagues and fellow warriors and reverence and respect for African traditions and heritage will guide our deliberations and work;
2. Principle of Inclusiveness: That the talent, skills, intelligence and creativity needed to increase African capacity and achieve Pan African unification is not and will not be determined by one’s political affiliation/ideology, gender, religion, language or class;
3. Principle of Unity Without Uniformity: That African descendants can be unified without uniformity and that forming Pan African partnerships for economic and political networking is necessary for moving forward;
4. Principle of Consistency: That Diasporans should work consistently and relentlessly to join and fully participate in the African Union as voting members, bringing all available resources, experience, diplomacy and skills to that effort;
5. Principle of African Democracy: That as members of the African Diaspora, we must work to develop inclusive democratic institutions for implementing the principles and goals of achieving the United States of Africa/Union of African States.
6. Principle of Equivalent Capacity Building: That the African Diaspora Sixth Region must be developed to a level equivalent to a viable African Regional Economic Community.

III. Gain approval for and to implement, in compliance with the Statues of ECOSOCC’s mandate that representatives should be elected, the Town Hall/Community Council of Elders model that has been developed and utilized in North America and elsewhere within the last five years to elect African Diaspora delegates/representatives for the African Union. This method advocates the election of four members for ECOSOCC from the USA and one member from Canada.

This body also recommends, using the same or a very similar democratic method, that three representatives are elected from Central America, three from the Caribbean, four from South America/Brazil, four from Europe and one from the Middle East/Asia, totaling 20 in all. That total of 20 is currently designated by the AU and can only be changed once we are inside the AU as voting members.

IV. Immediately form and establish the North American African Diaspora Unity Council (NAADUC), whose membership will be based on organizations agreeing with the three stipulations noted above in the introduction. Each member organization will have one vote on all issues, there will be a rotating chairperson for one year elected by the body, with the chair for each succeeding year being the vice chair-designate elected at the annual meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C., unless changed by majority vote.

There will also be at least bimonthly digital meetings, and the secretariat members for coordination and record-keeping will be the AU ambassador’s designated staff working with the staff of the current year’s chair. Other operational items will be voted upon as needed.
Now that’s 21st-century Pan Africanism on the real side. Stay tuned.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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