All-African Peoples Conferences
All-African Peoples’ Conferences
First conference. Held on Dec. 8–13, 1958, in Accra, Ghana, the First All-African Peoples’ Conference was attended by leaders of 62 political parties and trade unions from 27 African countries. Delegations from several non-African countries, including the USSR, attended the conference as observers.
The 1958 conference was dominated by the slogan of the struggle of all the peoples of Africa to win political independence. The resolution on imperialism and colonialism demanded the immediate cessation of the political and economic exploitation of Africans by the European imperialist powers and came out in support of violent as well as nonviolent methods of winning national independence and freedom. In its resolution on racism, discriminatory laws, and the practice of discrimination, the First All-African Peoples’ Conference insisted that independence be granted immediately to all African territories and called on the independent states of Africa to create an African volunteer legion for the defense of the freedom of the African peoples.
A resolution on frontiers and federations announced that the ultimate goal of the conference was the creation of a Union of Free African States. As first steps toward this goal, the conference recognized the need for the voluntary unification of the continent’s independent countries into regional groups and federations and the necessity for the quickest possible elimination or revision of the artificial frontiers created by the imperialists during the partition of Africa.
The conference also adopted resolutions on the struggle against the clan system and religious separatism, on traditional institutions that are incompatible with the goals of national liberation, and on the independence of the African territories of the French Community. Having decided to turn the conference into a pan-African organization, the delegates adopted bylaws, elected a directing committee, and set up a permanent secretariat in Accra. The directing committee held several sessions between conferences.
Second conference. Held in Tunis during the Year of Africa on Jan. 25–31, 1960, the Second All-African Peoples’ Conference was attended by representatives of more than 70 political, trade-union, and public organizations from 30 African countries. Delegations from several non-African countries, including the USSR, attended as observers. In the resolution on general questions the conference demanded that independence be granted immediately and unconditionally to all African peoples. The resolution on economic questions called for broadening the struggle of the African countries to free their economies from colonial dependence and recommended the establishment of an African bank. With regard to Algeria, the conference passed a resolution proposing that the African states recognize the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic and form an African volunteer corps to participate in the war for Algerian independence.
A resolution on trade unions noted the special and decisive role of the working class in the African people’s struggle for complete liberation and for the unity of Africa and supported the idea of forming a pan-African trade-union federation. In the resolution on the unity of Africa the Second All-African Peoples’ Conference suggested concrete measures for expanding economic, educational, and other forms of cooperation between the African states.
Third conference. Held on Mar. 25–31, 1961, in Cairo, Egypt, the Third All-African Peoples’ Conference was attended by representatives of 67 political, trade-union, and public organizations from 32 African countries. Delegations from several non-African countries, including the USSR, attended as observers. The conference focused on the struggle against neocolonialism, adopting resolutions on a number of matters, including neocolonialism, problems of economic and social development in Africa, questions of the unification and solidarity of the African countries, the liberation of dependent territories, the elimination of the consequences of colonialism in the state system, and the situation in Algeria and the Congo (Leopoldville). In these decisions the conference recognized neocolonialism as the greatest threat to the African states, offered definitions of various forms of neocolonialism, and proposed methods of fighting it. Pointing to the need for solidarity between the African liberation movement and all the world forces fighting for freedom, the conference decided to hold permanent consultations with the agencies of the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization.
Addressing itself to the governments of the independent African countries, the conference recommended complete decolonialization of their state systems and economies, implementation of agrarian reforms, and reorganization of their educational systems. Furthermore, the conference suggested that the independent states establish a joint consultative assembly with a permanent secretariat, a council of African states, and other pan-African bodies. The independent African states were advised to demand a revision of the UN Charter, with a view to giving Africa the representation it deserved on the Security Council and other UN bodies.
The conferences, which were attended by free African states as well as by dependent colonial countries, played an important role in the development of the national liberation movement. They were a historic stage on the way to unity of action of the anti-imperialist and anticolonialist forces of Africa.
IU. I. ALIMOV