Monday 1 July 2024

Frank Gerits's ignorant Pan-Africanism

European empires disappeared because they could not pay for themselves. Some successor states couldn't either and were absorbed by more viable entities or were abandoned as a sort of terra nullis.

The Cold War did mean some money was available for a regime to pretend to be in one camp or another. Also, Cold War leaders were sometimes willing to pour certain quantities of blood and treasure into shithole countries before giving up and going home. 

Writing for Aeon, Frank Gerits takes a more foolish view. Apparently, various shitty African or Asian leaders created some new type of consciousness or political identity or whatever. I'm not saying something of the sort may not have happened. There must have been some reason why so many of us ran the fuck away from such leaders or ideologies.

The plain fact is, the leader of a newly formed state will have to fabricate a new 'national' identity to replace tribal or other sub-national identities. Provided this new identity is associated with rising up through thrift, enterprise and sound business or professional ethics, the thing can take off provided preference and endowment diversity isn't too great. That is an ideographic, not a nomothetic or ideological, matter.  To pretend otherwise, because we are speaking of black, not white, people is Racism pure and simple. 

Postcolonial leaders did not simply undergo moves made by two players on a chessboard who provided development aid to pull them into a capitalist or a communist sphere of influence. Rather,

they proactively fucked up their countries by doing stupid shit- unless they didn't bother because they were too lazy or stupid and their countries either prospered or didn't on the basis of purely economic considerations.  

politicians in Africa and Asia were engaged in a struggle with much higher stakes.

How to bankrupt their country more quickly. 

They wanted to correct European modernity

which only existed in the modern bits of Europe 

by destroying the civilising mission,

there was a mission to make a little money out of administering a particular territory. Nobody was trying to get darkies to try to be a little less dark.  

the colonial idea that nonwhites were incapable of self-government,

like Hitler's idea that Germany's neighbor's were incapable of defeating his army 

and by embracing precolonial tradition.

Of selling slaves to Europeans and Arabs?  

One such leader, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana,

whose own people got rid of him after he tanked the economy 

spread pan-African modernity,

Nkrumah spread two ideas

1) create a one-party state

2) don't go abroad unless sadistic butchers from your own clan can kill any fucking possible backers of a coup d'etat.  

Actually, even if you did both (1) and (2) what really mattered was salting away millions in Swiss bank accounts. 

propagating an ‘African personality’

preferably one with lots of money in Swiss bank accounts 

while seeking to unite the continent.

by robbing it blind.  

This African personality was coined by the Americo-Liberian educator Edward Wilmot Blyden in 1893

The Americo-Liberians didn't allow African Liberians to vote or hold office.  It seems Black American colonizers of African territory were as bad as Europeans. In 1927, the League of Nations investigated reports of slavery in Liberia involving the Firestone Corp. 

and promoted to make the case that African precolonial traditions were not inferior but had provided the basis for the modern world.

Also, ancient Africans had gone to the moon.  

Propaganda highlighted how Africans had engaged in science and technological innovations before the arrival of Europeans. Even the Gold Coast’s name, Ghana, derived from the Ghana Empire, which had been an economic powerhouse from the 6th to the 13th century.

Funny how every shithole country was supposed to have once been an 'economic powerhouse'.

Unlike communist, capitalist and imperial modernisation strategies, anticolonial modernity prioritised psychological liberation,

from customary morality-i.e. stealing everything in sight- and economic sanity- i.e. borrowing money and pissing it against the wall on white elephant projects

responding to a pervasive sense that underdevelopment and imperialism were deeply psychological and cultural challenges.

Because previous types of psychology and culture condemned stealing or pissing money against a wall.  

As anticolonial intellectuals like the psychiatrist Frantz Fanon,

whose country, Martinique, had the sense to forego independence. His wife, who was white, remained in Algeria after he died. She killed herself by jumping out of a window.  

a key theorist of the Algerian War, argued in 1961: the ‘white man’ had robbed nonwhites

most Algerians are white enough.  

of their self-worth and instilled psychological disease.

France had been occupied by the Nazis. The Americans liberated them. Whites can colonize Whites and make them feel shitty about themselves.  

Therefore, genuine progress required the restoration of self-confidence, the creation of a ‘new man’.

Who could steal everything in sight or borrow money and piss it away on white elephant projects.  

Nkrumah also called upon freedom-fighters not to ignore the ‘spiritual side of the human personality’, because Africans’ ‘material needs’ made them vulnerable to subjugation.

Also, the 'material needs' of Africans made them unhappy with their crazy dictators. Africans should become more spiritual and accept that the crazy dictator is actually God Almighty.  

In 1968, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania

who was a teacher. He had received a 'colonial education' 

wanted education to liberate body and mind because ‘colonial education’ had ‘induced attitudes of human inequality.’

Tanzania had been colonized by the Germans. Oddly, the schools they set up were better than what Britain, as the mandatory power was able to provide.  At Independence only about 400 Africans completed secondary school each year. 'Teacher' Nyerere greatly improved educational outcomes. Though his Socialist policies may have harmed economic development, human welfare indices improved under his benign reign. The spread of Swahili as a link language and the absence of conflicting tribal identities (e.g. Nilotic vs Bantu speakers in Kenya) has enabled Tanzania to develop peacefully. 

Whenever Soviet or US technical advisers arrived in a country they’d seen as embracing a precolonial tradition worthy of their aid, factories and dams got built while peasants were targeted because they represented tradition and supposedly slowed down the transformation of societies.

No. After Independence, the new leaders favored the urban centers and sought to lower procurement prices for primary products so as have cash available to service foreign debt used to construct prestige projects in the cities. Sadly, as the terms of trade moved against primary producers, little money was left over for anything save debt servicing and paying the salaries of a bloated bureaucracy. Foreign aid created a new class of NGO colonizers.  

In contrast, Nkrumah’s Ghana sent out special missions, like the one that left Accra on 11 November 1960 for Sudan, Kenya and Tanganyika to first study the ‘political consciousness’ and attitudes of different groups.

Kenya had a fairly large White settler population which is why its independence was slightly delayed compared to Uganda and Tanganyika (Zanzibar was an independent Sultanate till a Ugandan led a rebellion). Sudan wanted to maintain its independence from Egypt but also wanted to dominate the non-Muslim South as well as non-Arab Darfur. As I write this, conflict and famine is creating a humanitarian disaster there.  

No financial assistance should ever be given, mission delegates wrote, without first having conducted an on-the-spot analysis.

In other words, don't hand out money to guys who just show up at your hotel.  

Aloysius K Barden, the director of the Bureau of African Affairs in Ghana, and his team offered scholarships to Sudanese students

who, if Arabic speaking, looked down on Africans 

because they possessed ‘the fire kindled by the youth’,

i.e. they were young and smokin'.  

while women were useful because of their wish to ‘exercise their political rights’.

also they may want to have sex with you. See above.  

Africa could modernise on its own terms if a sense of African cultural uniqueness and pride was restored.

It could become Wakanda.  

The St Lucian economist Arthur Lewis

a brother of his had settled in Ghana some thirty years previously 

was therefore flown into Ghana to devise an economic development strategy in line with Africa’s precolonial culture and history.

Nkrumah soon sent him packing. Then his own people overthrew his dictatorship.  

Similarly at the All-African Peoples’ Conference of December 1958, Nkrumah urged delegates to ‘develop’ the ‘African personality’ and not be ‘slavish imitators’ of other ‘ways of life’.

Don't drink all my whiskey. Bring a gourd of your own palm-wine.  

The stress on psychology and culture in this conception of modernity meant foreign aid could be accepted from every quarter as long as it was complemented by ideological education in the service of psychological liberation: the freeing of Africans from their inferiority complex.

Not having money is what makes us feel inferior. If you can't give us money, at least you can say 'you have ginormous dongs. Other races are jealous.'  

As Tom Mboya claimed in 1961, Kenyans were ‘capable of gauging the ulterior motives’ of those who offered assistance.

Sadly, everybody was capable of gauging the ulterior motives of the new rulers. Smart people packed their bags and ran away.  

Moreover, Ghana did not shy away from projecting its brand of anticolonial modernity to other parts of Africa.

When Nkrumah made himself a dictator, he set a great example for other African leaders.  

While propping up the Ghanaian economy with British, US and Soviet funds, in September 1959 Nkrumah also set up a centre for psychological and cultural liberation from empire: Ghana’s Bureau of African Affairs.

 America had set up such a bureau in the previous year. The Soviets initially thought that it might be profitable to involve itself in the Dark Continent. It wasn't. The place was a money-pit. The Chinese were even more generous and, to their credit, did not arm crazy revolutionary groups. That's one reason China is respected in Africa. 

Besides relying on a printing press, library and linguistic secretariat to produce materials that conjured up a rich African past, the Bureau also produced movies that urged African countries to follow Ghana’s example by showing students and their lecturer in a building that was still under construction.

It would remain under construction till the money ran out.  

At the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, foreign students were trained in ‘positive action’,

rather than negative emotion?- cool.  

Anticolonial modernity

which was achieved when the 13 colonies successfully threw out the Redcoats of Mad King George 

was not a response to the bipolar world but was rooted in the Haitian Revolution.

Nope. Nobody gave a shit about that shithole.  

In 1791, a rebellion of the enslaved, eventually led by the charismatic Black general Toussaint Louverture, demanded the universal application of the French Revolutionary principles of liberty and equality. In so doing, Haitians wanted to not only gain their freedom, but also correct European modernity.

The new rulers were worse than the old. Incidentally, the African Americans who turned up to colonize Liberia treated the locals as little better than slaves. The League of Nations investigated such abuses carried out on behalf of the Firestone Corp in Liberia in the 1920s. African leaders knew that African or African-American or Arab despots could be more horrible than the Europeans.  

The Enlightenment, which had inspired French Revolutionaries, celebrated reason but was tainted by the racist belief that only whites possessed a capacity for it.

That was certainly true of some Enlightenment thinkers. However, earlier in the eighteenth century a Ghanaian philosopher was a Professor at Jena.  

African leaders came to draw on that ambition for inspiration to define the goal of their own ideological projects. They also attracted intellectuals from the Caribbean like Aimé Césaire,

whose country remains with France 

who was influential in Senegal,

which retains quite close ties with France.  

and George Padmore, who moved to Ghana at the end of his life in 1957.

So did WEB Dubois.  

In revolutionary centres in Accra, Cairo and Dar es Salaam, an idealised ‘authentic’ image of the past, found in Pan-Arabism, Pan-Africanism or ‘Ujamaa’, was held up by freedom-fighters as an important corrective to European, Soviet and US modernity, which was exclusionary and racist.

Actually, Blacks were treated better than Whites in the Soviet Union. The latter, after all, were mere serfs to the Commissars. The former had foreign passports and could quite legally exit from Commie shitholes.  

Anticolonial modernity sought to create an international system that looked very different from the bipolar Cold War system.

Just as anti-morality modernity sought to create an international system based on drug trafficking.  

In the worldview of anticolonial leaders, the independence of former colonies was constantly under threat.

In other words, some junior officers might launch a coup and overrun the Presidential palace. 

Attaining a modernity that embraced tradition and liberated people psychologically required the creation of an African Union. This was not an empire, but a federation of liberation where small and fragile independent states could seek protection.

That worked very well- thinks nobody at all.  

Third World nationalists built different types of federative and cooperative structures beyond their own postcolonial state to marshal the economic, cultural and political capacity required to attain modernity on the Global South’s terms.

 How did the first post-colonial society- viz. USA- attain modernity? It encouraged immigration and took land from indigenous people. African countries could have done the same. The problem was that immigrants- e.g. from India- were not popular. Why not rob them and expel them? That's what Idi Amin did and for a moment 'Africanism' appeared to have revived. Then Amin attacked Tanzania and Nyerere's troops defeated Amin who found sanctuary in Saudi Arabia. 

This is why Nkrumah believed independence was ‘meaningless’ unless it was ‘linked up totally’ with that of the ‘continent’.

Africans understood that they needed to form an Economic Union so that cross-border trade could increase exponentially. The problem was that cash-starved States were dependent on excise duties on imports as well as levies on commodity exports. From about the Eighties onward, regional trade blocs have emerged. Moreover there is rapid development, crossing borders, on the West African littoral. Africa, the sleeping giant, seems poised to wake up. It may become the fastest growing economic region in the second half of this century. But this has nothing to do with Nkrumah or Nyerere.  

His finance minister Komla Agbeli Gbedemah agreed, declaring during his visit to India in September 1957 that freedom was ‘indivisible’. In the words of the All-African Peoples’ Conference steering-committee: ‘stable peace’ was ‘impossible in a world that’ was ‘politically half independent and half dependent’. If Ghana’s anticolonialism stopped at its borders, the country would not be able to remain independent.

Nobody wanted to colonize Ghana. Its problem was that Nkrumah would make himself a dictator.  

Pan-African modernity had a continental focus, but aspired to remake the colonising world as a whole. In the words of the Trinidadian journalist and pan-African activist Cyril Lionel Robert James, ‘the modernisation necessary in the modern world’ could be attained only ‘in an African way’.

CLR James was a very brilliant man. He understood that modernization is necessary in a modern world. Ancientness would be necessary in an ancient world. Also whatever Africans did would be done in an African way. Since Africans are not Eskimos, they can't do things in the Eskimo way. There's a reason the African kids in my school in Nairobi treated Pan-Africanism with derision. It was only the handful who gained tenure in non-STEM subjects on foreign campuses who rediscovered that brand of stupidity. If you don't have a White audience what is the point of playing up your Blackness?  

The Federation of Liberation became a panacea for the colonial disease wherever it occurred.

It was useless. Ghanaians wanted to be liberated from the windbag Nkrumah.  

In 1962, in a letter to all the leaders of the disintegrating West Indian Federation, Nkrumah argued that ‘a united West Indies’ was the only way to deal with ‘problems created by colonialists’.

Nkrumah, who had umpteen foreign degrees, was a problem created by colonialists. True, the Ghanaian middle class had initially supported him because they thought he was smart. But, once he started pissing money away, they turned against him.  

Instead of a superpower competition for the allegiance of newly independent states, which split the world in two, international relations in the 1950s and ’60s were in fact defined by old and new empires competing with many different federations of liberation.

Only in the sense that the Vampires were seeking to re-establishment the Empire of Dracula, but werewolves kept biting them which they resented deeply.  

Pan-Africanism was only one of many pan-isms that sought the modernisation of member states, emerged in the 19th century, acquired political meaning after the First World War, and was revived in some way after the Second World War. Besides smaller federations, such as the United Arab Republic,

which broke up very quickly 

the Ghana-Guinea Union,


the Fédération du Mali,

which lasted two whole months 

the Zanzibar-Tanganyika Union

A crazy Christian from Uganda had overthrown the Sultan. His people were busy butchering Arabs and raping Muslim women. That's why Zanzibar wanted to unite with Tanganyika. Also, Nyerere was a decent bloke.  

and the Arab-Maghreb Union,

which is dormant. I suppose the problem is the Western Sahara.  

larger visions had a global impact. Pan-Arabists wanted unification to reclaim the grandeur lost during Ottoman and Western occupations.

Which is why ISIS might revive.  

Pan-Asian enthusiasts sought to build a federation of liberation to guard against Chinese or Japanese aggression.

Not to my knowledge. There was 'Panchsheel' but then China invaded India. Later, Suharto supported Pakistan during the 1965 War. This had to do with his desire to conquer Malaya.  

Pan-Americanism led to the Pan-American Union in 1890, which aspired to increase cooperation between the US and Latin America, but was adopted by el libertador Simón Bolívar who conceived of it as an anti-US line of defence.

Nonsense! Bolivar died in 1830. He fought the Spanish, not the Americans. He had organized a conference in 1826 and did hope for a Latin American Federation. But, at that point Britain and Holland (which occupied territory on the continent) were the immediate danger. Also there was the possibility that France might take over Spanish claims perhaps through a royal marriage. Thus, Bolivar's  people welcomed the Monroe doctrine in 1823  because it implied American support against any European attempt to reverse the outcome of the Latin American liberation wars. As a matter of fact, France did try to prop up an Emperor in Mexico while the US was distracted by Civil War.  

The Pan-American Conference and, subsequent, Union, was an American initiative. It gained importance because of British Venezuelan territorial dispute. The UK yielded to the Monroe doctrine though under American mediation they secured a favorable judgment. 

As Dane Kennedy writes, decolonisation was not ‘the collapse of colonial empires and the creation of new nation-states’.

Dane Kennedy is as stupid as shit. He does not understand that India could have become independent in 1924, if that is what it really wanted. It could have created a Federal Government in 1937 and become a de facto Dominion. It just chose not to.  

Rather, the post-1945 wave of independence created a world of federations that sought to bring other countries into their sphere of influence.

 No. The Brits wanted India to be a loose federation. First the Buddhist Burmese, then the Muslims refused to have anything to do with such a federation. In Nigeria, however, the Brits did succeed in imposing a Federation though, later, there was the Biafra war and famine. 

In short, in a decolonising world, people had more than communism and capitalism to choose from.

They could be theocracies or monarchies or follow an indigenous ideology like India's 'Gandhian' philosophy or Burma's 'Buddhist Socialism' or Iraq and Syria's 'Ba'athism' or whatever.  

Africa did not become the place where the Soviet and the US models competed for supremacy, but a destination for a ‘crowded safari’ as the British journalist Edward Crankshaw quipped in January 1960.

That safari became less crowded. By about 1970, which is when I arrived in Nairobi, there was waning interest in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of my African, and almost all of my 'Asian', classmates emigrated to the West. I recall my shock when I stumbled upon the Ubuntu OS. As far as my generation was concerned, this was a joke word only used by the 'wa-Benzi'- i.e. politicians who stole all the money and were driven around in Mercedes limousines. Why eat only what you can yourself procure by honest labor? Men can't exist without each other. Thus it is right and proper for the Beloved Leader to eat everything and then lecture the starving on Ubuntu.  

The Observer even had to publish a guide to all of the African ‘isms’ to paint a clearer picture of the ‘ferment of ideas’.

The Guardian and Observer supported Biafra. Fuck those racist clowns.  

Anticolonial movements did not define themselves in opposition to or in alignment with US or Soviet ideology, but rather wanted to chart a truly different, inclusive route to progress. They took as a model the future promised by the Haitian Revolution.

No. This is because they knew Haiti was a fucking shithole.  

The 20th century’s anticolonial revolutionaries resembled other radicals who had also vested their principles within the state institutions their revolutions produced.

Those principles were

1) do stupid shit. In particular, if any money becomes available, either steal or piss it away immediately.  

2) talk incessant bollocks. If you don't talk bollocks, the Imperialists will return as will the Spanish Inquisition. 

Marxists in the Soviet Union wanted to achieve the aims of the Bolshevik Revolution,

kill off class enemies so as to be better able to fuck up the proles and the peasants 

capitalists in the US were eager to export the ideas of the American Revolution,

No. They were keen to export stuff for which they'd get paid with cheap oil or rubber or cocoa or whatever.  

and imperialists within European nation-states sought to spread the benefits of the Industrial Revolution.

No. Industrialized European imperial powers did not want to industrialize the colonies. They wanted them to export raw materials and import manufactured products. Gerits is as stupid as shit.  

In ideological terms, therefore, the post-Second World War international order was one in which not only the USSR and the US had a sphere of influence.

No. In military terms, the US controlled some countries while the Soviets controlled other countries. Atlee's Britain was Socialist. But it was firmly under American hegemony. Some people high up in the Kremlin saw the economic benefit of allowing Capitalism in territory they had conquered. Whether of not Kruschev was of this mind is difficult to determine. My own impression is that he was as daft as a brush. 

As French military staff acknowledged in April 1960, Ghana and Egypt had zones of influence on the continent, which Paris needed to take into account when planning operations.

France's Suez adventure had not ended well. Egypt was rising militarily. But Ghana did not become a threat to French economic dominance in Francophone Africa.  

While pan-African modernity might have faded in the background of common historical understanding, mid-20th-century contemporaries identified it as an alternative development model.

No. They thought peasant agriculture could develop further and faster while there would be increased light industry in the towns. The Government could provide infrastructure and help create a technological cadre within the bureaucracy. Sadly, politicians wanted to create islands of urban prosperity and a pampered bureaucracy by 'transferring surpluses' from the primary sector. The trouble was that the Army might get jealous and rebel. Mrs Gandhi advised Mujib not to make himself President. This is because every General thinks he can be President. But a Prime Minister is a different kettle of fish. What exactly does he do in his cabinet? Is it sodomy? Probably. That's what civilians get up to- right? It's no job for a soldier. 

‘Africans’ regarded ‘Cold War issues as problems’ from which they remained ‘aloof and unaffected’;

unless they lived in Katanga or Biafra etc.  

‘[e]ven when the Cold War appears in their midst, they are reluctant to identify it as such,’ according to a US study of African attitudes in 1965. Already in 1960, the US State Department acknowledged that Africa was not primarily a Cold War problem,

the Americans were constantly being pestered by Colonial powers demanding help putting down supposedly 'Communist' insurrections. True, in South East Asia, such things did exist. But Africans were more sensible.  

while the president Dwight D Eisenhower believed ‘nationalism was the most powerful force in the world today, and that the pull of independence was stronger than that of communism’.

This was true enough. Vice President Nixon had been greatly taken with Tom Mboya. The Brits kept telling him Kenyatta was a Commie who had visited Moscow. But, it was precisely because Kenyatta had visited Moscow, that he didn't want that shite in his own country. On the other hand, he was a great advocate of female circumcision. An uncut girl is likely to fuck anything in trousers.  

Communist activities were seen as ancillary, at best, to the real problem, which was the ‘revolution of rising expectations’, the idea that unfulfilled, increased expectations create unstable political situations.

Expectations rise when things improve- as they had done in post-war market economies.  

Communism was a disease that could thrive in the development process. The US secretary of state John Foster Dulles therefore wanted to ‘pre-empt’ Africa ‘for the Bloc’.

Like his brother, he was an Evangelical Christian who got a hard-on thinking about billions of darkies getting baptized. Shame they'd remain black. Still.  

In 1968, Walt Rostow, US national security adviser to the president Lyndon B Johnson, recognised the appeal of pan-Africanism, pan-Asianism or pan-Americanism, and sought to control them. Many of the ‘postwar troubles’, he believed, ‘centred around men who were radical, ambitious revolutionaries, who carried maps in their heads of how they would like the world to look’. In Nkrumah’s map, he became ‘the Emperor Jones of Black Africa’.

Nkrumah had been chucked out of Ghana. Apparently he was the co-President of Guinea- but that was not exactly something to boast of.  

In 1968, the incoming national security adviser Henry Kissinger wrote three essays on US foreign policy. He concluded that ‘the age of the superpowers’ was ‘drawing to an end’.

The Seventies would see a substantial increase in Soviet influence- or so it appeared at that time.  

‘Military bipolarity’ had ‘actually encouraged political multipolarity’ because ‘weaker allies’ felt ‘protected by the rivalry of the superpowers’. ‘The new nations weigh little in the physical balance of power,’ he admitted. ‘But the forces unleashed in the emergence of so many new states may well affect the moral balance of the world – the convictions which form the structure for the world of tomorrow,’ which added ‘a new dimension to the problem of multipolarity.’

What he was saying was 'don't say nasty things about niggers. They don't like it, you know. Also, my colleagues at Harvard will think you are iggnirint.  

Kissinger was pessimistic about the ideological alternatives anticolonialism had created: ‘The greatest need of the contemporary international system is an agreed concept of order.’ Instead, ‘power is unrestrained by any consensus as to legitimacy; ideology and nationalism, in their different ways, deepen international schisms.’

Kissinger was under the impression that Metternich had achieved something marvelous. He hadn't. True, so long as Tzar Nicky had a human 'steam-roller', crowned heads were safe enough. Then, quite suddenly, there was a third Napoleon and then a Crimean War after which the shit really began hitting the fan. But it was the US civil war which set the pattern for the entrenchments of the Great War.  

The multipolar system that decolonisation had created also affected how international relations theory professors saw the world.

They were stupid and thus saw the world in a stupid way.  

In 1953, the influential international relations scholar Hans J Morgenthau,

he was a lawyer and professor of jurisprudence. His dissertation adviser was Hans Kelsen. Carl Schmitt was his enemy. My point is that the dude wasn't stupid because he wasn't really an 'I.R scholar'.  

an arch realist and Jewish refugee to the US, warned against thinking in rigid Cold War terms when it came to African anticolonial struggles.

 He warned against rigid thinking. He was prescient in seeing that the Kremlin saw the Cold War as one of maneuver, not position. 

Rather than choosing between ‘communist and non-communist revolution’, the US had to go beyond the bipolar logic and assess if the revolution it observed was in its ‘interests’ or not.

After which it was welcome to be as bipolar as fuck.  

Morgenthau maintained that Africa had little real power,

nobody thought otherwise. 

but he also understood that not only superpowers mattered.

America didn't want to rule over countries where it had overseas bases. It is obvious that it would need to take into account the interests of countries like Turkey, Pakistan, etc.  

In 1965, the liberal international relations theorist Joseph Nye wrote about the appeal of pan-Africanism, which he described as a ‘modernising’ ideology ‘of its own’, allowing African countries to ‘take moralistic and critical positions on a wide number of world issues’.

The way Nehru used to till the Chinese took his pants down and made fun of his puny genitals. But even African leaders- observing Nkrumah's fate- back-pedaled from 'moralistic and critical positions'. Kenyatta had needed the Brits to subdue the North East. Also, if all the Europeans and Asians fucked the fuck off, the economy would collapse. There would be nothing to steal.  

Nye understood that nonalignment was not only about not aligning yourself with one of the Cold War blocs, but

doing any stupid shit you liked 

more importantly allowed ‘pan-Africanists to be unabashedly eclectic in using outside ideas and institutions without suffering from a feeling of loss of independence in the process.’

When you run out of money, you find you have to do what lenders tell you to do. Sad.  

Marxist theorists also questioned bipolar rigidity.

as opposed to just killing anybody who looked bougie or 'kulak' or Jewy or whatever.  

Immanuel Wallerstein wrote in 1961 that the ‘strength of the pan-African drive’ had to be ‘attributed precisely to the fact that it is a weapon of the modernisers’.

In other words, you say to the tribe which currently eats missionaries and inserts a bone through its nose that there are other African tribes who don't do either of these things. Get with the program! Stop saying 'ooga, booga'. Say 'Ubuntu' instead.  

If the pan-African project failed, modernisation would also be set back.

Very true. Nixon would go live in a wigwam. The Kennedy family would confine themselves to cultivating potatoes and dying periodically of famine.  

In short, theorists, policymakers and commentators in the Global North in the 1950s and ’60s came to realise that – in ideological terms – they were living in a multipolar world.

Something non-theorists had always known.  

Voices in the Global South might have become more visible

Voices are audible, not visible 

today as information media have become more accessible and economies have grown but, from inception, from the invention of modernity in the Enlightenment, decolonised territories have been part of an international conversation about the meaning of international systems.

There was international trade. There were no 'international conversations' though, no doubt, there was gossip about what Tom Mboya did to Nixon in the back of the Vice-Presidential limousine.  I once met a Somali politician who had come to London to meet Bevin- who was offering a pan-Somalian nation if the Somalis chose Britain, not Italy, as the mandatory power. Then this Somali politician got in the back of a cab with Tom Driberg. Muslims don't approve of oral sex. That's one reason the Somalis chose Italy. Italians like to eat ice-cream, not dick. 

Postscript on sources

Recovering how pan-African modernity affects postwar international order

it doesn't.  

requires historians to take African archives, rather than repositories in the metropole, as a starting point.

Also, if you are writing about Africa, it might be a good idea to visit it once or twice. 

Caution, however, is required since documents in African archives are not rare gems waiting to be unearthed by adventurous historians.

they are boring shite. This is true of all archives which is why you look silly if you turn up at one dressed like Indiana Jones.  

Rather, the documents will make sense only when we think about how postcolonial archives can alter the findings that come from repositories in the metropole.

Some shithead 'in the metropole' wrote 'Mxubu is a Commie Lesbian Freemason. We should assassinate him. But archives in Mxubu's home country reveal she was a goat beloved of the Chieftain of the Nixon clan.  

Increased access to postcolonial archives has produced a rush for paper reminiscent of the opening up of Soviet archives in 1991 when historians often used new materials to confirm findings they had already drawn from US and European archives.

The Soviet archives were cool. It turned out your Aunty was actually in the pay of the KGB. You were under the impression she was a goat.  

This confirmation bias is strengthened by the nature of much of the postcolonial archive.

Very true. I was investigating the year 1977 in the GoI archives. It turned out that, in 1977, Indians believed they were living in the year 1977. Research in American archives may confirm that, in 1977, it was the year 1977 in the US as well. This sort of 'confirmation bias' should alert us to the need to move from being bipolar to having multiple personalities. Also we should eat our own shit. Don't be fooled by the propaganda of Big Food! 

In the first years after independence, record-keeping was chaotic. In 1965, the Office of the President in Kenya ordered ‘all cabinet minutes and memoranda’ to ‘be destroyed.’

I suppose this had something to do with Pio Pinto's assassination earlier that year. 

The National Archives in Nigeria purchased a dehumidifier in July 1960 which, based on the crumbled documents, is no longer in use today. Furthermore, the postwar archival infrastructure is highly national

Why is the National archive national? Should it not be extra-terrestrial?  

and reflects the fantasy that decolonisation’s impact could be confined to domestic politics.

Andromeda Galaxy has been seriously affected by the withdrawal of Britain from Nigeria.  

This makes the archives of decolonisation difficult to locate and colonial crimes easy to hide.

Colonial crimes would be found in colonial archives- though it might be easier just to make them up. It is scandalous that the British India Office archives contain no proof that successive Viceroy's inflicted fellatio and cunnilingus on trillions of poor Hindus.  

Critics have therefore questioned if it is at all possible to ignore the US preponderance in the post-1945 international system, particularly since easily accessible archives in the Global North remain overrepresented in many analyses of the Global South.

But those analyses are shite and don't represent anything save stupidity.  

The use of African sources, however, enables historians to actually test the extent of that power to shape the international system.

Talk to Africans by all means. They can tell you what rumors were floating about at what time. Was Pio Pinto killed because he was a Commie and had links to the resistance in Portuguese Africa? Probably not. After Nehru annexed Goa, Goans felt Pinto was a fucking Fifth Columnist. Nehru had given him some money to run a Pan-African paper. However, it was Pinto's getting into a shouting match with Kenyatta about the 'pro-capitalist' Sessional Paper number 10, which sealed his fate. Kenyans- Kikuyus in particular, wanted to own their own land and rise up by their own thrift and enterprise- unless they could get a government job and steal money- and thus had no time for crazy dukka-wallahs. 

I suppose Mamdani carries forward the legacy of Pinto but does it so ineffectually that nobody has taken the trouble to chop him to pieces with a panga.  


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