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African Internationalism: A theory to explain the world
16th Century Europe – “Triumph of Death” depicts disease and war
African Internationalism is a theory that explains the world, as well as the place and future of Africans in it. African Internationalism recognizes that capitalism, born as a world economy, has its origin in the assault of Africa and in the global trade of African captives as well as the ensuing European onslaught on most of the world.
It was this savage aggression against Africa, Asia and the Americas that raised Europe from a disease-ridden habitat of warring tribes to a dominant force in the world. Europe is today inhabited by a people whose sense of sameness is both defined and challenged by the unifying parasitic capitalist economy that puts them in opposition to the rest of the world upon which their economic lifeline depends.
African Internationalism recognizes that the process of slavery and brigandage that consolidated the political economy, national identity and general well-being of what came to be known as Europe is the same process that results in the wretched, divided, impoverished and exploited lot of Africans and much of the world.
African Internationalism is a scientifically falsifiable theory as can be seen in this question: Would capitalism and the resultant European wealth and African impoverishment have occurred without the European attack on Africa, its division, African slavery and dispersal, colonialism and neocolonialism?
The answer is No! No! No! and a thousand times, No! Karl Marx said no, although its significance obviously escaped him. The answer to this question exposes the other shallow theories put forward to explain the advent of capitalism and the comparative conditions of existence separating Europe from the rest of the world.
Capitalism is inherently parasitic
As African Internationalists we understand that capitalism is inherently parasitic and that its emergence coincides with the beginning of a world economy based on the dialectic of oppressor and oppressed nations.
We understand that all white people, regardless of their class position and station of life, enjoy the parasitic advantages of the oppressor nation. While it is true that within the oppressor nation there are inherent contradictions particular to its internal dynamics, all whites occupy an oppressor nation status. This is true of white men and women, workers and bosses, and heterosexuals and homosexuals.
The world economy, built on a pedestal of the brutal exploitation of Africans and other oppressed nation subjects, adheres to a structure in which the locus of the real class struggle is not between the workers and bosses within the oppressor nation, but between the oppressor and peoples of oppressed nations.
On July 19, 1920, V.I. Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, made a presentation to the Second Congress of the Third Communist International that reflected the impact the Garvey movement and other struggles for national liberation had on the consciousness of Europeans who had previously disregarded their significance.
Faced with the growing clamor and actions of the world’s peoples to escape imperialist domination, Lenin was forced to conclude:
“World imperialism shall fall when the revolutionary onslaught of the exploited and oppressed workers in each country, overcoming resistance from petty bourgeois elements and the influence of the small upper crust of labor aristocrats, merges with the revolutionary onslaught of hundreds of millions of people who have hitherto stood beyond the pale of history, and have been regarded merely as the object of history.”
Lenin was wrong
The fact that Lenin was wrong in his estimation of the significance of the workers from the industrialized capitalist countries in the ultimate defeat of imperialism is not as important as the fact that he and others were forced by the growth and power of our movement to acknowledge that our re-entry into history is a precondition for the defeat of imperialism.
Thank you, Garvey.
The only legitimate leadership of the struggle against world capitalism is the workers and toiling masses of the oppressed nations. The only legitimate, scientifically sound leadership of the African Revolution is the African working class.
The struggle of the oppressed nation workers will be the deciding factor in the defeat of capitalism both from within the countries of the oppressor nation as well as from within the oppressed countries themselves.
African Internationalism is not a theory that simply assumes an ability to explain the conditions of existence of African people. It is a theory of the world and how it came to be the way it is, affecting Africans and everyone in particular ways. We are not the only ones to have come up with a historical materialist-based theory of the world.
What distinguishes our Party is the fact that we have moved the discussion to its proper place in the universe and changed its character from an abstract parlor discussion to a required explanation of how to change the world.
For much of the history of capitalism, born as white power, whites have been the subjects of history. The silenced, brutalized and enslaved majority of us have simply been objects of history, spoken of only if we were understood to be significant to whites (what came to be known as Europeans).
This has prevented even some of the most renowned thinkers and philosophers of the white world from being able to recognize our significance to the world. We have been the metaphorical “Invisible Man.”
Marx’s “primitive accumulation of wealth”
Karl Marx sought to explain capitalism and its advent in a seminal work entitled “Capital,” published in 1867. Though Marx’s “Capital” was undoubtedly one of the most influential works of the past century, it marginalized its most important points.
Found buried inside of Marx’s work are key observations that give scientific credibility to the assumptions held by Africans and others who have been the ultimate victims of capitalism and whose emancipation would determine the future of capitalism.
Establishing the origin of capitalism and its dynamics within the European world as having their basis in the forcible expropriation of massive amounts of value from Africans and others, Marx wrote in Part VIII of “Capital”:
“We have seen how money is changed into capital; how through capital surplus value is made, and from surplus value more capital. But the accumulation of capital presupposes surplus value; surplus value presupposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production presupposes the pre-existence of considerable masses of capital and labor power in the hands of producers of commodities. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which we can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation (previous accumulation of Adam Smith) preceding capitalistic accumulation; an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production but its starting point.
“This primitive accumulation plays in political economy about the same part as original sin in theology…”
In the same work, Marx defined more clearly what he meant about this capitalist “original sin” of primitive accumulation:
“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation.”
And finally, again in Part VIII of “Capital,” Marx elaborated on the question by stating that capitalist production rested on the enslavement of African people. Marx makes the point that even the white workers owe their predicament to the enslavement of African people. These are his words:
“Whilst the cotton industry introduced child slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world.” (Emphasis added)
In his earlier work “The Poverty of Philosophy,” Marx made the same point:
“Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that gave the colonies their value; it is the colonies that created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry. Thus slavery is an economic [sic] category of the greatest importance.
“Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe North America off the map of the world, and you will have anarchy—the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.”
African Internationalism is a theory that explains the world
Here then, is the historical materialist basis of African Internationalism, which is not simply an explanation of the conditions of existence for Africans, but an explanation of the world and the relations experienced by all of us in this world that has come to exist with the ascendancy of capitalism as a world economy.
We have to note here as well that Marx’s description of slavery as “an economic category,” and his concept of primitive accumulation provide outstanding examples of historic objectification of African people by Europeans.
The entire historical process that resulted in the total disruption of the political economy of Africa, the imposition of colonial borders and the capture and dispersal of millions of Africans whose forced labor was responsible for the development of Europe and European society is characterized as an “economic category!”
Marx reduced the process of European “pillage and plunder” throughout the world and the ensuing genocide and enslavement to “primitive accumulation” of capital, a footnote whose function in history is to explain the “development” of Europe.
In other works, Marx developed the concept of the “fetish of the commodity” to explain how commodity production, production for the market, obscures and mystifies the relationship between people, allowing it to be confused with a relationship between things.
A similar thing happened with the concept of “primitive accumulation.” Here the relationship between peoples and countries is also obscured and mystified. Marx attributes European “development” solely to the “genius” and productive forces inside of Europe. He is thereby covering over or liquidating the origin of such “development” in the parasitic impairment of the capacity of independent development in Africa and other places victimized by Europe.