The desire for unity of the African peoples is a powerful force. Nkrumah blended his “Pan-African socialism” concoction. Various “liberated” countries and “progressive” leaders described themselves as socialist. The truth is you can’t hide the old smell of exploitative capitalism. What is happening in Africa concerns every worker. The contradictions of capitalist production express themselves in a concentration of wealth at one end of society and of misery at the other. Every thinking worker knows the fact. But these contradictions also express themselves in the concentration of wealth in rich nations like America and Britain and the concentration of misery in poor ones like India and Africa. There are hundred of millions of Africans living in destitution. It is capitalism which is destroying them as it is destroying the world. It has now confessed that in Africa it is bankrupt. They must therefore rid themselves of capitalism – for the same reason that the worker in the western world must rid himself of capitalism, to use “capital” and not be used by it.
The record of British capitalism is written with the blood, not only of the British working class, but of millions of colonial toilers in India, Africa, and other countries. Governments have come and Governments have gone whether they call themselves Conservative, Liberal, or Labour and we don’t own one more foot of our land, or enjoy any greater political or social advantages than before. It has been the same policies with different labels. By false documents, by making chiefs drunk, by setting tribes against each other, by missionaries preaching religion, by every sort of dishonesty, and when that failed, by ruthless conquest,the British brought the natives under their control. The British worker may say, ‘I am sorry for these poor beggars, but I can’t take the troubles of the whole world on my shoulders.’ He would be wrong. Tyranny and oppression in Africa, and lies and hypocrisy at home, in order that the British worker may be acquiescent and peaceably assist in forging his own chains. For Marx, Africa’s problem was the problem of capitalist society and only socialism could solve it:
The emancipation of African workers is part and parcel of the struggles of the world working class, whether white, black or yellow, and has nothing to do with a “race” struggle of “black against white.” We, too, have our own black capitalists and lackeys to fight against. And truly, when the day of reckoning comes, we have a long and fearful score to pay off not against our white class brothers, but against the ruling class and their agents, white and black. We want to see world socialism on the basis of free collaboration of all peoples. Africans must win their own freedom. Nobody will win it for them. They need co-operation, but that co-operation must be with the socialist movements throughout the world. There is no other way out. Each movement will neglect the other at its peril, and there is not much time left. Socialism is the only hope of mankind! It must be fought by Africans and European, Asian and American workers alike in their common interests.
“Labour with a white skin cannot emancipate itself where labour with a black skin is branded.” Marx.