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Pan-Africanism: Reality or Myth? by Playthell Benjamin


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Pan-Africanism: Reality or Myth? by Playthell Benjamin

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One of the things that interest me most is the persistence of certain ideas in Afro-American thought.  They are transmuted and refashioned to suit the particulars of the era, but some fundamental concepts persists none-the-less.   One of these ideas is Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, which has been called different things at different periods of our history.  One of the fundamental things that distinguish human beings from other animals over whom we rule is the gift of language, learning, and the ability to construct a narrative i.e. tell a story....Read the entire article

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Oh, my, you are connecting all sorts of dots today!!  Thanks for sharing this blog.  Was not aware of it. 


Very poignant article.


This line from the article "You will also discover that many Afro-American Nationalists who are concerned  about Africa’s problems today are more confused than the activists in the 19th century" is priceless and spot on.


It's amazing that this Pan-Africanism mumbo-jumbo has survived this long. 


Perhaps now that Gaddafi (major funder of Pan-Africanist causes for 40 years) is dead Pan-Africanism will rot on the vine. He squandered a lot of Libya's oil wealth on trying to become the "King of Africa."

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Well, is Pan Africanism real or a myth?  Or should I ask are the results of these movements successful or a failure?


I was nonplussed by what appeared at the end of this dissertation which turned out to be an endorsement of Obama and the Democrats!  Like this will reap results. Puleeze.  Further implications of this article involve the African disapora in this country concerning itself with lobbying for more trade with African countries in order to shore up Africa's economy and restore its stability.  Say what?  Charity begins at home!  How about the Obama administration doing smething to create jobs and opportunities for its needy black citizens.  Screw Pan Africanism.  Let's get our priorities in order and concentrate on American Africanism!

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Nicely done, "American Africanism," nice term.  I agree with all of your post.


Perhaps at the dawn of the black self-determination movement in America developing a concept like American Africanism would have been more helpful in the long run than so-called Black Nationalism. 

But to answer the provocative question posed by Troy: Pan-Africanism is beyond a myth – it's a sick joke played in defiance of the realities of histories. Why?


The Arab Islamic nations of North Africa have no interest in the causes of black Africans nations. Smartly, their interest is in their own nations and cultures.

However, Gaddafi had been the driving force in Pan-Africanism for over 40 years. Here is a starting point:


In the end though, frustrated with not being able to influence Arab nations (see his history with the Arab League), he gave up, went solo, and started financing many of the sectarian and tribal wars in African nations, like Ethiopia, Uganda, Central African Republic, and Chad (basically financing black Africans killing other black Africans).


Nations are bound by national interest, not continental issues.  For example, an Algerian is more concerned with issue that affect Algeria and would not give a flip for what is happening in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, etc.


For unlike the silly Pan-Africanists,rational people know that Africa is a continent, not a nation!!  


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  • 1 month later...

Perhaps the question of whether Pan-Africanism is reality or myth depends heavily upon the interpretation of Pan-Africanism. If you ask 100 people what Pan-Africanism is, you just might get a plethora of dramatically different answers. 


While I do believe that solidarity is central to a working Pan-Africanism, I do not believe that this solidarity is synonymous with the absence of conflict. However, conflict need not stand in the way of solidarity. I will say this. We are attempting to answer the question of whether Pan-Africanism is reality or myth while the question of Pan-Europeanism as myth or reality is not even an issue worth debate on a subconscious level, because we are so used to the latter reality. How many people of European descent consider their uniting beyond geographical/cultural boundaries to achieve common goals as nothing more than a silly concept? Pan-Europeanism has been a reality for many centuries. 


Interestingly, we scoff at the idea of "panAfricanism", all while coexisting with the realities of countless examples of Pan-Europeanism in practice. Maybe it's because we're used to Pan-Europeanism. Have we not been trained to uphold it and resist Pan-Africanism? 

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