On February 21, 1966, Osagefyo Kwame Nkrumah left Accra, Ghana, on his way to Hanoi Vietnam at the invitation of President Ho Chi Minh, with proposals for ending the “cruel war against Vietnam.” This assignment had been given to him at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference, which was held in London on June 17, 1965. On February 23, 1966, just before Nkrumah arrived in Peking China the Ghanaian army and police overthrew his government and banned the Convention Peoples Party and its mass organizations. This coup was organized and financed by the governments of the United States, Britain, West Germany and Israel.
Nkrumah knew that he had to return to Ghana, or a neighboring country in Africa, as quickly as possible, and that he could not continue his journey to Hanoi. This was the second time that President Ho Chi Minh had invited him, the only head of state or government to have received an invitation to visit Hanoi since the escalation of the United States war against Vietnam. When Nkrumah informed Uncle Ho, as he is affectionately known by the masses of People worldwide, he had to return to Ghana immediately, Ho Chi Minh told Nkrumah that he would be welcomed in Hanoi at any time.
Messages of encouragement and support were sent to Osagefyo from heads of state and governments all over the world offering immediate hospitality and pledging to help restore him to power. Among them were President Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, President Modibo Keita of Mali, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. Sekou Toure’s message was by far the clearest and most determined:
“The Political Bureau of the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG)] and the Government after a thorough analysis of the African situation following the seizure of power by the instruments of imperialism have decided:
- To organize a national day of solidarity with the Ghanaian People next Sunday, [on March 3rd]. Throughout the length and breath of the country there will take place popular demonstrations on the theme of anti-imperialism.
- To call on all progressive African countries to hold a special conference and take all adequate measures.
We think that the time factor is vital here, since it is important to make a riposte without further delay, by every means. Your immediate presence would be very opportune, it seems to us, and we are impatiently waiting for you.”
Nkrumah arrived in Guinea on March 2, 1966. The following day, at a massive rally in a packed stadium in Conakry, President Sekou Toure announced, to the cheers and standing ovation of the Guinean masses that Osagefyo had been made Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Guinea and Head of State of Guinea. This gesture of political solidarity and of the African Personality, as Nkrumah has correctly said, “must surely be without historical precedent …a great landmark in the practical expression of Pan-Africanism.”
From February 23, 1966, the day of the coup, the mountain of lies that have been told notwithstanding, the Ghanaian People and loyal members of the Convention Peoples Party, army and police; progressive and revolutionary forces throughout Africa, the African Diaspora and the World; Sekou Toure, the Democratic Party of Guinea and the government of the People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea; and Nkrumah and the 70-member delegation that accompanied him to Guinea, began to make plans to Take Nkrumah Back to Ghana! Over the next four years, hardly a week or month went by without strikes, demonstrations, bombings and other actions in some part of Ghana, or expressions of solidarity and support throughout Africa, the African Diaspora and the World.
[Note: The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC) will publish a timeline and offer our analysis of some of these actions on this Blog soon. We welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms. Use the comment form below.]
Sekou Toure and Modibo Keita wanted to use the Guinean and Malian armies to put Nkrumah back in power. Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), and other People around the world, wanted to recruit soldiers, raise money and organize demonstrations of support in every corner of the world. Unfortunately, Nkrumah vetoed all of these proposals. Kwame Ture offered that Nkrumah wanted to minimize the Ghanaian People’s suffering and bloodshed, and did not want to galvanize the opposition from neo-colonial countries in Africa and the imperialist countries of the world. None-the-less, the A-APRP (GC) believes that Nkrumah’s decision was an error that the People of Ghana, Africa and the African Diaspora, the Pan-African Movement, and progressive and revolutionary forces worldwide continue to pay for today.
In a letter dated August 24, 1966, Nkrumah wrote that “someone has said that either Kwame Nkrumah or Consciencism will return to Ghana.” He believed to his death in Bucharest on April 27, 1972, that the People of Ghana would rise up spontaneously and bring him back. Unfortunately, many professed Nkrumahists are still waiting, calling and praying for this spontaneous uprising, forty-three years later. They are not prepared to struggle, sacrifice and suffer to rebuild the Convention Peoples Party into a mass, revolutionary Party that is capable of seizing and holding power, and transforming Ghana into the “fountainhead of Pan-Africanism” that Malcolm X called it in 1964, and the “oasis of socialism” that Nkrumah struggled to build. They are even less willing to help rebuild the Democratic Party of Guinea, which Nkrumah served as Secretary-General for six years, and build the A-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP), as Nkrumah asked them to do. Hopefully, this contradiction will be resolved, soon!
During the Conakry period of his life, Nkrumah published five books and five pamphlets. The books were Dark Days in Ghana; Axioms (Freedom Fighters’ Edition); Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare; Class Struggle in Africa and Revolutionary Path; and the pamphlets were The Spectre of Black Power; The Struggle Continues; Ghana, The Way Out; The Big Lie and Two Myths. In addition, he revised Consciencism and made regular broadcasts between March and December 1966 on Radio Guinea’s Voice of the Revolution. These broadcasts were subsequently published under the title Voice from Conakry. He rewrote the preface to Challenge of the Congo, which had been completed before he left for Hanoi. Revolutionary Path and Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years were published posthumously.
The Manual on Revolutionary Warfare, as the Handbook was originally titled, was written in Ghana before the coup, and Nkrumah gave it to Major-General Barwah before he left for Hanoi. Barwah was murdered, and the manuscript fell into CIA, MI5 and MOSAD’s hands. Between May and September 1966, Nkrumah wrote the first draft of a new version of the Manual, which he considered “an improvement.”
“I could have done more on the role of women in the African People’s revolutionary struggle with particular referenced to the AAPRA—the All-African People’s Revolutionary Army. … The part dealing with Party unit could be expanded. What we need to complement the AAPRA is an all Pan-African unifying Party. This could be called the Pan-African People’s Socialist Party and must be planned on a Pan-African basis with the AAPRA as its military arm, one supplementing the other. The AAPRA and the PAPSP should supersede the OAU [Organization of African Unity, which has been renamed the African Union] and make it redundant.”
In October 1966, the illegal, immoral, and neo-colonial government in Accra circulated, with CIA, MI5 and MOSAD’s help, alleged photostats of the Manual. Nkrumah wrote in one of his letters that,
“I have always been above board with my brothers of the Independent African States. …I would be happy to see them publish it. It will show the world how determined I am with African unity. I did that work for the African freedom fighters fighting for the freedom of their countries from colonialism. Indeed it was to be used as a textbook for the freedom fighters who were being trained [in Ghana], and was the basis for lectures to them at various stages of their study. I wish the Manual we are now working on could come out soon, then they will know that I have been as consistent as ever.”
In November 1966, the illegal, immoral, and neo-colonial government in Accra published a pamphlet titled Nkrumah’s Subversion in Africa. The United States Congress held hearings to investigate and substantiate this charge. Nkrumah made the following response:
“With the Manual they (the imperialists and neo-colonialists) will know what subversion is, and who I am subverting. They will see that it is not Africa I am ‘subverting’ but the whole damn system of imperialism and neo-colonialism in Africa. The preface to the Manual will clarify this point.”
The new Manual was finished by March 1967. Its title was changed to Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare: A Guide to the Armed Phase of the African Revolution. Nkrumah wanted it to be released after his return to Ghana. He called for the organization of an All-African People’s Revolutionary Army (A-APRA), through the merger and coordination of guerrilla groups and the armies of progressive and revolutionary regimes throughout Africa. In addition, he called for the creation of an All-African People’s Committee for Political Coordination (A-ACPC). Nkrumah changed the name of the Party he called the Pan-African Socialist Party to the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).
Nkrumah continued to make other changes until the last minute before its publication. Nkrumah showed copies of the manuscript to several People, including Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) while Kwame was in Conakry in August 1967, attending the 8th Congress of the Democratic Party of Guinea.
Nineteen months earlier, in January 1966, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) became the first “civil rights” organization in the United States to officially oppose the United State’s government’s unjust, illegal, and immoral war against Vietnam. On June 17, 1966, Kwame Ture re-echoed African People’s centuries-long demand for “Black Power”, and was catapulted onto the world’s political stage. Kwame was not the first to call for Black Power, but his timing was impeccable as Black Power, in this instance, was called for at a time that most eloquently reflected Nkrumah’s axiom, “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” The mass response to this demand was overwhelming. It shook the foundations of capitalist and neo-colonial governments in every corner of Africa, the African Diaspora and the world. In May, Kwame was elected chairperson of SNCC. From June to December 1967, he traveled the world, from London to Havana to Peking to Hanoi to Algiers to Conakry to Tanzania, thanks to the assistance of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.
On his way to Hanoi, during a stop over in Peking, Kwame Ture met Madame Shirley Graham Dubois who asked him if he “knew Kwame Nkrumah.” Have you met him? Would you like to?” When Kwame replied that he “would give his right arm” to meet Nkrumah, Madame Dubois said, “You shall. You need to. You should. I shall see that you do. You shall hear from me.” Upon arrival in Hanoi, fourteen months after Nkrumah’s aborted trip, Kwame had lunch with President Ho Chi Minh and Pham Van Dong, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister. Uncle Ho talked about the time he spent in Harlem in New York, the time he heard the Honorable Marcus Garvey speak, and made a modest financial contribution to the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which Garvey founded, organized and led. Ho Chi Minh then leaned forward and asked Kwame Ture, “When are you [Africans in America] going to repatriate to Africa?” Truthfully, Kwame had never thought about it, and offered a diplomatic reply. Within thirty days of this luncheon meeting, Madame Dubois had fulfilled her promise to introduce Kwame Ture to Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure.
At their third or fourth meeting in Conakry in August 1967, Osagefyo handed Kwame a copy of the draft manuscript of the Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare. Kwame stayed up all night long reading it and making notes. In their discussion the next day, Kwame Ture told Nkrumah that the Handbook “solve[d] the theoretical problems [he had] been wrestling with. … The Party. How and toward what objectives to organize a revolutionary Party in the United States.” “But,” Nkrumah replied, the Party is “for Africa, for Africans.” “We are Africans, sir,” Kwame responded. “How can you prohibit us from joining the Party?” After Kwame Ture reminded Nkrumah about the role that Africans in the Diaspora had played in the development of the Pan-African Movement, a role that he was intimately aware of and acknowledged, Nkrumah laughed, and said “all right. I’ll give you the permission to begin organizing the basis for the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party among our People in the Diaspora.” And that is what Kwame Ture did, for the last thirty-one years of his life.
In February of 1968, Nkrumah wrote that the Handbook “can come out anytime from now. I think the sooner the better. Events are moving very fast.” Julius Nyerere visited Nkrumah and offered Dar es Salaam as a base “in order to organize the freedom fighters and guerrillas into one formidable army of African liberation.” Nkrumah however believed that he “could only make Ghana such a base.”
The Handbook was published by Panaf Books, which Nkrumah founded, owned and controlled, in October 1968, but he put an embargo on its distribution. In a letter dated January 25, 1969, he said that he was “watching the political situation before I give orders for its distribution.” Nkrumah lifted this embargo in March. International Publishers released an edition for the United States market and Panaf Books released an edition for the English, European and African markets. Four of Nkrumah’s letters offer a glimpse of the worldwide demand for the Handbook, and his excitement at its distribution potential:
May 26, 1969 – “It must have been thrilling to have an order for 200 copies of the Handbook from Dar es Salaam. … And the order from Malawi! How are the orders for the Handbook from Ghana?”
June 10, 1969 – “I was flattered with the ‘Nkrumah Book Service’ being set up in Detroit. There must be some demand for the books. It is very encouraging that you are sending 3,000 Axioms to the big distributors in Philadelphia. You are right in instructing Max to print 10,000 instead of 4,000. I am sure the revised edition will sell even much better. The ‘little Black Book’ is not doing badly at all. If our distribution system is well planned and goes well, it will supplant Mao’s Red Book in the USA, Africa, the Caribbean and other areas of the world where there are Africans and People of African descent.”
June 12, 1969 – “I am so glad that orders continue to come in for both Dark Days and the Handbook. You must find new ways of diversifying the distribution list. We must get to every corner of Africa. Are you in contact with Sudan? We must cover all Africa — north, south, east, central and west. Are you in touch with Nigeria and Biafra? …[G]et on with the French translation of the Handbook.”
July 26, 1969 – “I am so glad the Handbook orders are coming in steadily. I am glad that publishers from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Italy are considering publication of the Handbook. I hope the USA edition is selling well.”
History records that Malcolm X introduced a generation of African youth, especially in the United States, to Pan-Africanism, Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah with the publication of his April 1964 “Letter from Accra, Ghana” in the Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Malcolm’s continuing contribution to the Nkrumahist Movement can be scientifically measured and assessed. A simple search for “Malcolm X” on the internet produced 3,010,000 hits, for the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” produced 152,000 hits and for “Kwame Nkrumah and Malcolm X” produced 21,800 hits. An internet search for “Kwame Nkrumah” produced 389,000 hits and 51,500 hits for his “Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare.”
Kwame Ture publicly announced the existence of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party at Howard University, in Washington, DC in October 1972. History records that between 1970 and 1998, Kwame Ture spoke to an estimated 500,000 students in North America and wherever in Africa and the African Diaspora that imperialism and neo-colonialism allowed him to travel. Kwame Ture reached millions of People, world-wide, through his media interviews. A very small number of People can make this claim, and none can back their claim up with the personal, organizational, governmental, and media archives that prove their claim. Kwame Nkrumah’s name and the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party were mentioned at each and every one of these events and in each and every one of these interviews.
Thousands of People signed up to be supporters of the A-APRP, hundreds signed up to become members, worldwide; and we have preserved many of those sign-up sheets. Unfortunately, many of them were carelessly thrown away, or stolen by and given to the police! It will not be too hard a task to locate these former and current members and supporters, find out what they are doing today, and ask them to continue or renew their membership and support. Kwame Ture never tired of saying, to his death in Conakry in November 1998 that “power begins with conception.” Kwame Nkrumah repeatedly said that “nothing can stop an idea, when the masses seize hold of it.” When the true history of the A-APRP is written, it will properly record that Kwame Nkrumah conceived and founded it. But it will also truthfully record that Kwame Ture, and a handful of co-workers in People’s Revolutionary Republic of Guinea and the United States, seized hold of the idea, mid-wifed the A-APRP’s birth and nurtured its growth and development, and organized chapters in strategic corners of the world, even though not exactly as they had hoped or planned.
Kwame Ture’s enemies and competitors, have whited him out of the history of the Pan-African Movement, but we, his comrades, sisters and brothers, and friends will black him back in. His contribution to the Nkrumahist and Nkrumahist-Toureist Movements world-wide and his efforts to materialize the A-APRP are preserved for history, and his continuing contributions can also be scientifically measured. An internet search for “Black Power” produced 1,740,000 hits, for “Stokely Carmichael” produced 151,000 hits, for “Kwame Ture” produced 146,000 hits, for “Kwame Toure” produced 46,000 hits, for “Nkrumah AND Stokely” produced 57,900 hits, for the “All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party” produced 96,500 hits, for “Ready for Revolution: the Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael” produced 57,900 hits and for “Stokely Speaks” produced 10,100 hits. We are determined to download and save every one of these web pages, or as many as we can.
[Note: The A-APRP (GC) will publish a chronology of Kwame Ture’s speaking engagements and interviews on this site soon. We will also edit and publish, with his family’s permission, additional volumes of Kwame Speaks: From Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism, a selection of his writings, speeches and interviews. Your assistance in these much needed efforts will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged. We welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms. Please use the comment form below.]
During its thirty-seven years of existence, the A-APRP has suffered at least four planned and unplanned purges, referendums and splits: the purge of 1976-77; the Referendum of 1983-84; the Party-wide split in 2002-03; and the emergence of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party(GC)) in 2006. There is nothing abnormal or earth-shattering about this development. Almost all political parties and movements in Africa, the African Diaspora and the World, revolutionary, reformist or reactionary, have suffered purges and splits. Fortunately or unfortunately, few of them survived, and even fewer overcame them, and continued to grow and develop.
Two factions claim the name A-APRP. Several other “factions” have chosen different names. In 2006, we chose to call ourselves the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party(GC), in order to distinguish ourselves from the other formations, and in order to retain and continue what our thirty-seven years of work and study, of service and sacrifice, of struggle and suffering helped produce. None of the Cadre in any of the other “factions” can claim to have served longer, worked or studied harder, struggled, sacrificed or suffered more to build the A-APRP than we have. Other “factions,” the honest “factions”, may claim to be larger and more diverse, a quantitative claim, a temporary claim, at best; but they can not truthfully claim to be qualitatively, ideologically or organizationally better. We helped recruit most of them to the A-APRP, and helped lay the theoretical and practical foundation for the recruitment of the rest. They did not recruit us! Our revolutionary, Pan-African, Socialist and International work, study and struggle, from now, will distinguish us from all other factions of the A-APRP, and all other parties, theoretically and practically, qualitatively and quantitatively!
To the credit of all Cadre and all “factions” of the A-APRP, we have not engaged in public name calling, mud-slinging, or character assassination, or sectarianism. Our ideological development, our organizational experience, and our history as victims of COINTELPRO, has taught us, individually and collectively, how futile, counter-productive and destructive such infantile behavior becomes. It would truly be a tragic comedy! The A-APRP(GC) will continue to take this high road, this principled road, in the days, months and years ahead.
Kwame Nkrumah conceived and founded the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, but he did not live long enough to witness its birth, or guide its growth and development. Kwame Ture worked tirelessly and endless to bring Nkrumah’s idea into reality, but he did not work alone. For four decades, members of our Party struggled, sacrificed and suffered to build the A-APRP. We continue to struggle, to sacrifice and suffer to build the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party(GC). We ask you to join us, to support us, to align your progressive or revolutionary organization with ours.
Like Kwame Ture, we promise you nothing but long hard work and study, long hard sacrifice and suffering, but victory for the masses of African People, and for the African Nation that is struggling to be born, thought not necessarily in your or our lifetime!
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