Du Bois, Garvey and Pan Africanism

  February 22, 2013

Du Bois, Garvey and Pan Africanism

On the 145th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois's birth, Anthony Monteiro discusses the opposing views on Pan Africanism of Du Bois and Marcus Garvey
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

I support The Real News Network because it cured my vertigo from all the spinning by Fox and MSNBC. - David Pear
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Anthony Monteiro is a professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.


Du Bois, Garvey and Pan AfricanismPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

We're continuing our discussion about the life of W. E. B. Du Bois, whose 145th anniversary of his birth will be on February 23.

Now joining us again to talk about all of this is Anthony Monteiro, who's a professor of African-American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Thanks for joining us again, Anthony.


JAY: So Du Bois has been known as the father of the pan-Africanist movement. What's that history, and what's the significance of that today?

MONTEIRO: Well, you know, he wasn't the first pan-Africanist—and he's called the father of modern pan-Africanism by the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and he eulogized Du Bois in that way. But Du Bois makes a tremendous contribution to the struggle for African independence in the early 1920s with his pan-African congresses.

And what he says in effect is that a part of securing world peace is the dismantling of the colonial system in Africa and Asia. He said that World War I was a war over Africa's colonies. If you want peace, you have to dismantle the system of colonialism. Well, that is not to be, but he fought for it. He fought for it throughout the 1920s.

However, by 1945, after the end of World War II, there is a Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England. That was the Fifth Pan-African Congress. And he was invited by all these young African leaders—Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, to name two of the very famous ones—and they make him the chairman of this congress.

But now you have representatives of African labor and of the European labor movement. So the pan-African movement is now poised to become an actual movement in different African countries—Ghana, Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Zambia, and on and on and on. These young people who come to Manchester are prepared to go back and fight for independence. Well, of course, at the same time, the colonial powers had been severely weakened by these two wars. Britain cannot afford its colonies, France can't afford its, Belgium, and so on and so forth. So you have this convergence of possibilities.

But for Du Bois, after World War II, pan-Africanism intersects with the struggle against the rising American empire and the Cold War. And so for him the pan-African movement must become a part of the overall global anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and peace movement. This gets him in trouble—not the fact that he's fighting only for civil rights, which he continues to do, but that he internationalizes or globalizes the struggle through the pan-African and anti-imperialist and peace movements.

JAY: Now, when I hear him talked about in Baltimore and other places I've been, often you hear people describe themselves as pan-Africanists—for example, in Baltimore—and they almost equate that with Garveyism (Marcus Garvey), which is a sort of a kind of back-to-Africa movement, black sovereignty, back to Africa. But he actually had quite a division with Garvey.

MONTEIRO: Yeah, no question. They were distinct forms of pan-Africanism.

Now, of course, Garvey makes a great contribution in raising the consciousness and awareness of African-Americans and Africans of the mutuality of our struggles. However, I think Du Bois's pan-Africanism in the beginning is more practical, because Garvey's did not have a direct anti-colonial program connected to it. Du Bois's did. He was calling for a transformation of international law and the practices of the major colonial powers, which in their own interests would lead them to accept a decolonization process for Africa. Garvey never had that program. However, after World War II, the Garveyist form of pan-Africanism did not rise to the level of anti-imperialism and the global struggle against colonialism and for peace that we find in Du Bois's.

JAY: And the two men were quite harsh critics of each other.

MONTEIRO: They were, yes, they were. But when Garvey dies, Du Bois eulogizes him in a very favorable way. You know, he doesn't hold on to, you know, the anger that fired their differences in the early 1920s, and he says that—you know, he speaks of this contribution of Garvey to an awakening of Africa's consciousness of itself and of Africa-America's consciousness of its links to Africa and the struggles of the African peoples.

JAY: Okay. Thanks very much.

Please join us for the continuation of our discussion with Anthony Monteiro about the life of Du Bois on The Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Elites Outraged At Trump's Refusal to Accept Election Result
Two More Land Rights Activists Assassinated in Honduras
Final Presidential Debate Accentuates Candidates' Divide on Abortion Rights
Clinton Reaffirms Commitment to No-Fly Zone in Syria
A Bloodier Battle for Mosul Might Begin After the Ouster of ISIS
Covering the Epidemic of Violence in Baltimore - TRNN Grand Opening
Justice Department Sues Pocomoke For Violating Rights of Fired Black Police Chief
Officers Withdrawn from North Dakota Following Arrest of Madison Elected Official
Fair Elections Under Attack, Just Not in the Way Donald Trump Wants You to Believe
TiSA Agreement Leaks Show Corporations Pushing Privatization of Public Services
Exxon Fighting to Shut Down Investigations Into Company's Foreknowledge of Climate Change
Opposition Calls for a General Strike As Congolese President Wins Election Delay
The Path to Actual Police Reform Starts with Real Civilian Oversight
HFC Reduction Agreement Is Historic, But No Silver Bullet for Climate Change
What the NYT Left Out About Obama's 'Secret War' in Somalia
After Mosul, Whither ISIS?
US-Russia Tensions Escalating Over Fate of Assad
Seattle Teachers in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
'Rioting' Charges Dismissed against Journalist for Exposing State Repression Of Standing Rock Sioux
For Indigenous Lenca People in Honduras, Rebellion Is a Centuries-Old Story
Tax Breaks for Wealthy Developers Reinforce Segregation in Baltimore
Eddie Conway Interviews Brazilian Youth Militants
Journalist Amy Goodman to Turn Herself in to Defend Freedom of the Press
Who are the 'Superpolluters'?
Clinton Emails Admit Counterrevolutionary Role of Saudi Arabia in Middle East
We're Not in a New Cold War - It's Far Worse
Brazil's Social Movements Planning General Strike for November
Mock Tribunal Held Against Monsanto in the Hague
Haitian Activist Speaks Out Against Killing of Fellow Activist
US Escalates Involvement in Yemen

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting