2016 THEME

With its theme Reinvigorating the Pan-African Intelligentsia: Developing Organizations and Institutions Committed to Serving African People the KNIC4 has as its first aim the amassing of intellectual, academic, and technological, reports and proposals addressing the challenges facing African people globally. Conference participants will debate the causes, effects, and dynamics of neo-colonialism’s nagging erosion of Pan-African unity. The conference will bring together leading scholars, researchers, and policy makers to discuss and share innovative and creative ideas, projects and solutions to generate the Pan-African intelligentsia that will serve Africans in both the African homeland and globally.

This announcement serves as a call for presentations for this conference. Before submissions are made we encourage potential presenters to consider the following text written by Kwame Nkrumah, Class Struggle in Africa:

The cohesiveness of the intelligentsia before independence disappears once independence is achieved. It divides roughly into three main groups. First, there are those who support the new privileged indigenous class—the bureaucratic, political and business bourgeoisie who are the open allies of imperialism and neocolonialism. These members of the intelligentsia produce the ideologists of anti-socialism and anti-communism and of capitalist political and economic values and concepts.

Secondly, there are those who advocate a “non-capitalist road” of economic development, a “mixed economy”, for the less industrialised areas of the world, as a phase in the progress towards socialism. This concept, if misunderstood and misapplied, can probably be more dangerous to the socialist revolutionary cause in Africa than the former open pro-capitalism, since it may seem to promote socialism, whereas in fact it may retard the process. History has proved, and is still proving, that a non-capitalist road, unless it is treated as a very temporary phase in the progress towards socialism, positively hinders its growth. By allowing capitalism and private enterprise to exist in a state committed to socialism, the seeds of a reactionary seizure of power may be sown. The private sector of the economy continually tries to expand beyond the limits within which it is confined, and works ceaselessly to curb and undermine the socialist policies of the socialist-oriented government. Eventually, more often than not, if all else fails, it succeeds, with the help of neocolonialists, in organizing a reactionary coup d’état to oust the socialist-oriented government.

The third section of the intelligentsia to emerge after independence consists of the revolutionary intellectuals—those who provide the impetus and leadership of the worker-peasant struggle for all-out socialism. It is from among this section that the genuine intellectuals of the African Revolution are to be found. Very often they are minority products of colonial educational establishments who reacted strongly against its brain-washing processes and who became genuine socialist and African nationalist revolutionaries. It is the task of this third section of the intelligentsia to enunciate and promulgate African revolutionary socialist objectives, and to expose and refute the deluge of capitalist propaganda and bogus concepts and theories poured out by the imperialist, neocolonialist and indigenous, reactionary mass communications media. . . .

Intelligentsia and intellectuals, if they are to play a part in the African Revolution, must become conscious of the class struggle in Africa, and align themselves with the oppressed masses. This involves the difficult, but not impossible, task of cutting themselves free from bourgeois attitudes and ideologies imbibed as a result of colonialist education and propaganda.

The ideology of the African Revolution links the class struggle of African workers and peasants with world socialist revolutionary movements and with international socialism. It emerged during the national liberation struggle, and it continues to mature in the fight to complete the liberation of the continent, to achieve political unification, and to effect a socialist transformation of African society. It is unique. It has developed within the concrete situation of the African Revolution, is a product of the African Personality, and at the same time is based on the principles of scientific socialism.

(pp. 39 – 40)

Nkrumah wrote the above more than four decades ago but the truth of those words are still evident in the challenges facing African descendants globally. In some cases, the situation is more devastating than in the period that Nkrumah reported about. The intelligentsia of a people is rooted in the interest of a class that it seeks to protect. The Pan-African intelligentsia, in order to be true to its name, puts the interest of the African masses first and foremost on its agenda of priorities. Pan-African institutions like the African Union require the regeneration and adaptation of the Pan-African intelligentsia to reframe the solutions needed for African Renaissance and the general increased valuation of African lives globally.