Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 06:12:00 -0700
Sender: The African Global Experience <>
From: Ayize Atiba <>

The Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation and Internal Democracy

By Ayize Atiba <>
10 January, 1995

In this section I would like to address some of Ideological, Methodological, Organizational, Strategic and Policy matters.

- Turwanire Kimathi Mandla -

The Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation and Internal Democracy

On this question of "internal democracy" inside our Party Organizing Formation we must proceed not from emotion, sentimentality, unrecognized addiction to European conceptions, or political naivet. We must proceed from Nkrumahism-Toureism and end-up at Nkrumahism-Toureism. President Sekou Toure in his book ,"Strategey And Tactics Of The Revolution", points out that democracy is not a goal but a means at the service of humanity to advance its forward march. In the AAPRP democracy was seen as a goal, and could therefore be clandestinely used as a means by right-wing forces. Why does President Toure say democracy is a means? I believe, because it is only through means of democracy that man and woman can make their most important socio-political contribution to the revolution. It is only through democracy that the full expression of all the people who make-up society is encouraged and manifested. Thus, it is only through democracy as a means that the goals of humanity, the revolution, is finally realized. So anyone against democracy is in the end against the people and their revolution.

However, democracy like all social phenomena and "means" is subject to the laws of the dialectic. That is to say democracy too is a "plenum of forces in motion and tension". The revolutionaries are responsible, indeed obligated, to sort-out which forces are in motion and tension, at any given time and space. In it's simplest form, which is by no means it's true essence, "democracy" must also be a process with progressive stages or qualities of application. Democracy as subject to the laws of social science, the dialectic, is not a mechanical thing to be applied like the mechanisms for fixing a car or smelting steel. A multi-aspect social means such a democracy requires the applicant to know when, how and under which objective conditions to apply the progressive stages of "democracy". The revolutionary party must recognize these realities and apply "democracy" in as full a recognition of its dialectic existence in society, as is possible given that organization's scientific consciousness. The organization's consciousness itself is derived from the study of the theory of dialectics; from the application of dialectics to democracy as a "means"; and from the use of historical materialism to examine revolutionary history in general and the organization's experience in particular.

Our experience in the AAPRP is the experience of the African nationalist and left movements in the USA; it is our own movement's (Nkrumahist-Toureist) experience. That experience must serve to teach us and enrich our "theory of practice". In the AAPRP we were witnesses and victims of an insidious and negative use of the "organizational principles" of democracy and democratic centralism. So-called democracy was used to "empower" brand new and inexperienced militants with the vote to decided on who would be the "leadership" of the Party. One needed to be only loosely associated with the Party work-study circle for 6 months, before voting on leadership and local direction. It must in all correctness be said that these new forces were never allowed to vote on policy or ideological/political-line matters at the Central level of the Party. The result of this liberal application of so-called democracy was always the unseating of the real or most revolutionary forces and local area organizers. This result was a consequence of the fact that new and inexperienced militants come to the revolutionary Party generally armed with a hodgepodge of liberal bourgeois political ideas, prevalent in the American social arena. Central among them is individual advancement and competition, in a word "careerist opportunism", which is the cornerstone of the American education system, the intended product! People come believing they have a right to their opinion , and that their opinion is just as legitimate as anyone else's, regardless of however un-informed it maybe. Inside the Party they confronted revolutionaries whose study and experiences have shaped and hardened them to the requirements of revolutionary struggle. These hard-line political ideas, the struggle they engender and the personalities they shape, stand in sharp startling contrast to the liberal "middle class" individualistic ideas of the dominant society. So, consistent with their ideological orientation these new forces are inclined against the real revolutionaries, and are easy prey to "experienced opportunist" and enemy agents who mobilize them too vote the revolutionaries out of "power."

Now while they had no ability to directly vote out Nkrumahism-Toureism, as local leaders now, along with the opportunists and the confused, they are in the perfect position to begin the "revision" of Nkrumahism-Toureism, stripping it of it's essentially revolutionary character, leaving only a comfortable shell of it's previous nature.

Once in power these rightist and inexperienced ideologically confused forces used "democratic centralism" as a weapon, not to foster inter-organizational cohesion and simplicity, but as a weapon against those who would do and were doing the organization of the Party. In Ohio, California, Texas, England and France this was the case. Democratic centralism and ultra-democracy was used to limit the organizers and strengthen the reactionaries and non-revolutionaries. This happened in each of these areas at precisely and only at precisely the moment/juncture when the Party in these areas had reached "critical mass" and was about to jump-off and become a real political force/player.

For sometime now some of us have thought this phenomena to possibly be a deliberate act to keep the revolutionary Party, small and isolated. Only a sufficient quantity of people properly organized could generate a new quality of revolutionary action and capability! Two questions therefore emerged:

  1. Did the powers that be in the AAPRP really want to build a Party or a "celebrity support group".
  2. Could it have been that the enemy was at work deliberately maneuvering to abort the rise of a real revolutionary African nationalist party in the USA and elsewhere? We have the example of the Soviet Union, where inter-party democracy allowed western agent Mikhail Gorbachev to rise to power and dismember the Soviet State. Is it possible the AAPRP underwent a similar hit?

Historical reality in this instance, as well as in other instances, certainly shows us that "democracy" and democratic centralism have at least dual character. It can be used as a "means" to consolidate a cohesive organization, foster people's involvement through the greatest self-expression, and engender an atmosphere of creativity due to collective ownership. And yet this same "means", if improperly applied, can have the exact opposite effect. Now, those with simplistic thinking will ask: Is he against democracy and/or democratic centralism? The inexperienced will declare quite confidently that "you just have to fully apply democracy, to solve all problems". Those addicted to simplistic thinking will declare, "we're better people and won't make such an evil mistake"! To these, I must say it is precisely this "simplistic thinking", which not only allowed the emergence of these problems in the AAPRP, but also unwittingly became an ally of the reactionaries by standing in the way of our doing battle with this phenomenon.

History may have generously given us another opportunity in this New Party Organizing Formation. We cannot afford for naivet, failure to learn from historical experience, romanticism, and simplistic thinking to cause us to blow it again this time around. History is seldom repeatedly generous!!!!!

As I said at the beginning of this paper, as democracy is a "means", it suggest a process with stages and increasing qualities of application. It is not a "mechanical phenomenon" or an "event". Something to do once and for always by a single act or pronouncement. Democracy as a "means" must serve the organization, not the organization serve the "means"- democracy! Therefore we must find the correct application or formula for applying the "means", which is democracy, to facilitate the following:

  1. Ensure that Nkrumahism-Toureism alone dominates this New Party Organizing Formation, and the actual party we eventually build.
  2. Develop, establish and institutionalize organizational cohesion.
  3. Establish and ensure maximum achievable participation through an atmosphere of open and above board "democratic discussion".
  4. Protect the Party; its line; its ideology and its militants from bourgeois contamination emanating from within the organization.
  5. The recruitment and revolutionary training of thousands of militants and their transformation into revolutionary cadres.

To achieve these goals I do not believe we can matter-of-factly or willy nilly accept without even thinking, the supposed superiority of the Western (European) model of democracy. We must look to our people and their "practice" and "theory of practice", their traditional manifestation of democracy and "democratic centralism", for our model. I suspect that if we adopt this "African democratic practice", it will be more familiar and comfortable for our people and fit "hand in glove"!

Addiction To Western Liberal Ideas

The African nationalist movement in the USA, while denouncing the "liberal" and "liberal - left" has borrowed all too many organizational principles, methods and assumptions from them. We are inclined to use the Western bourgeois liberal town-hall, open forum everybody vote model and assumptions about it, as the truly superior model of democracy! It is based on the assumption that if everybody votes and is allowed to so-called express his/her opinion, then that's good and democracy is realized. Yet do we really stop to consider this model is predicated on the assumption of the centrality of individualism and competing individual interests to society? We proudly proclaim Africa's communocratic and collectivist philosophical base. Yet do we really consider that in the real specific light of political institutions constructed by Africans worldwide? Do we examine this proud claim in light of concrete historical analysis of African's actual socio-political behavior? I would argue that to date we have not done so! I would propose that in light of the acrimonious contention we have been subjected to, we are obliged by historical necessity to conduct this study!!

We have accepted Western (European-American) practices and assumptions that since "individual interest" predominate in society, the only way to synchronize these conflicting interests (they believe) is to be constantly voting on or holding elections on this or that. Of course those with any degree of political consciousness and astuteness are aware that this constant voting is only an illusion of democratic power. The electorate is not encouraged or enabled to participate in the complex political analysis and discussion processes conducted by the "Power-Brokers" and their Intelligentsia. The majority are only given an opportunity to vote on the choices provided by the contending schools of thought within the capitalist class. The masses are not only ill-informed, they are ill-equipped in the social scientific methodology necessary to sort-out the complexities of society and it's governance. The capitalist class power brokers and their intelligentsia even point to this fact to show why only they can be the real choices, or provide the only choices. Comrades Nkrumah, Toure, Gramsci and Lukacs, all in one way or another tell us that true "Human Freedom" is only achieved when man and woman are armed with the scientific knowledge of society which enables them to make conscious decisions. The requirement of "scientific knowledge of society" in order to achieve true "human freedom" should and must be the goal of the Nkrumahist-Toureist Revolutionary Party.

Since the beginning of the Nkrumahist-Toureist Movement in the USA, we have realized that new recruits and militants coming to the Party require an extensive period of political education and revolutionary training. It is precisely in this vein that we early on established the "workstudy circle" process. While the degree or quality of such training can be critically examined, the process did create good revolutionary, as well as revisionist cadres. This workstudy circle process was able to give new participants the essential basics of Nkrumahist-Toureist ideology. Militants gained some understanding of Africa and her history, capitalism and it's many expressions, some understanding of the complexities of social analysis, and realized a minimum level of inter-organizational and small group organizing skills. Our experiences have shown that even to achieve this somewhat less than acceptable level of consciousness required a minimum of five years of consistent study and struggle. We were able to measure to some degree the attainment of "Pan African Consciousness", by militants from zero to five years. This was possible because up until that last year or so, most militants saw the world from the perspective of their local nation-state or ethnic group; and as such were usually unable to, or reluctant to let go of the specific manifestations of oppression in their experience, as the most overriding matter to be confronted. Many were also unable to see the vision of Pan Africanism; of Africa's primacy in setting the stage for the resolution of all our people's problems.

Now, those of us who worked in the AAPRP, and in the political education process specifically, came to realize that the political education process was inadequate in content and application; precisely because it failed to adequately prepare militants and cadres with sufficient scientific, methodological and historical knowledge to sort-out the complexities of social analysis and revolution. This led to an atmosphere of opportunism, deviation and rightist revisionism allowing conservative non-revolutionary forces to rise to dominance over the AAPRP. This occurred precisely because the "political education" process was undermined, neglected, mechanically conceived of, and thus devalued as the primary method of evolving revolutionaries.

The AAPRP failed to recognize that new recruits and militants coming into the Party came with a hodgepodge, or assortment of ideological tendencies, all of which had their roots in one or another "school" of bourgeois ideology. This is especially true of persons born or politically oriented in the European-American states; Africans from ruling or petite bourgeois classes in predominantly African States; political activist in general; and students in particular. In fact the all-pervasive "hegemonic dominance" of bourgeois ideology is such that all members of all the oppressed classes are imbued with a substantial amount of bourgeois ideology. As a consequence, the revolutionary party must set , as one of it's primary and principal objectives, the transformation of its new militants from a general state of "incoherent bourgeois ideological consciousness" into a state of revolutionary African consciousness. This is especially critical for African nationalist, because European-Americanism has worked ceaselessly, covertly and overtly to destroy or undermine our Africaneity (particularly for those outside of Africa).

Those who worship at the altar of "spontaneity" have since the 1960's opposed this organized notion of political education and training, as a prerequisite to achieving revolutionary consciousness. They've argued that the "periodic uprising" resulting from crises in society and the apparent emotional militancy displayed by certain sectors of the people, over specific issues at given times, was sufficient proof of the revolutionary nature of the "masses". This conception fails to recognize that while the masses as the historically determinant class are militant in their social demands, militancy alone is insufficient for them to achieve revolutionary consciousness. Revolutionary consciousness is achieved by giving this spontaneity, this social militancy, scientific knowledge and theory. On this matter Gramsci makes the following observation:

"At this point, a fundamental theoretical question is raised: can modern theory be in opposition to the "spontaneous" feelings of the masses? ("spontaneous" in the sense that they are not the result of any systematic educational activity on the part of an already conscious leading group, but have been formed through everyday experience illuminated by "common sense", i.e. by the traditional "instinct", although it too is in fact a primitive and elementary historical acquisition.) " (1)

Clearly it is important to recognize that there exist no antagonistic contradiction between "spontaneous feelings" among the masses and the requirement of scientific knowledge and theory in order to really have "revolutionary consciousness". In discussing the worker's movement in Italy called the "Turin Movement", Gramsci points to the unity of theory and spontaneity, he says:

"The Turin Movement was accused simultaneously of being 'spontaneist' and 'voluntarist' or Bergsonian. This contradictory accusation, if one analyzes it, only testifies to the fact that the leadership given to the movement was both creative and correct. This leadership was not 'abstract'; it neither consisted in mechanically repeating scientific or theoretical formulae; nor did it confuse politics, real action, with theoretical acquisition. It applied itself to real men, formed in specific historical relations, with specific feelings, outlooks, fragmentary conceptions of the world etc., which were the result of 'spontaneous' combinations of a given situation of material production with the 'fortuitous' agglomeration with in it of disparate social elements. This element of 'spontaneity' was not neglected and even less despised. It was educated, directed, purged of extraneous contamination; the aim was to bring it into line with modern theory-but in a living and historically effective manner. The leaders themselves spoke of the 'spontaneity' of the movement, and rightly so. This assertion was a stimulus, a tonic, an element of unification in depth; above all it denied that the movement was arbitrary, a cooked-up venture, and stressed its historical necessity. It gave the masses a 'theoretical' consciousness of being creators of historical and institutional values, of being founders of a state. This unity between 'spontaneity' and 'conscious leadership' or 'discipline' is precisely the real political action of the subaltern classes, insofar as this is mass politics and not merely a adventure by groups claiming to represent the masses."(2)

How does the experience of the Italian left in the Turin Movement effect or compare to our situation as Africans?

Since the mid 1950's the African world in general has been in a state of political upsurge, this general condition has generated both organized and spontaneous actions and currents. Since the late 1960's the African nationalist - the Pan Africanist - current has been the most dynamic of the various cultural trends. At the same time, it is the least organized of the trends prevalent through-out the African world, as a consequence; the degree or level of "spontaneity" is especially high. There exist through-out the global African experience a plethora of Africanist, Pan Africanist and various shades African nationalist parties and organizations. These parties and organizations represent widely disparate social as well as class groupings; they span the gamut of ethnic and religious identifications, and they adhere to a "hodgepodge" of fragmented ideologies from right-wing Neo-Negritude (Noirism) to abstract Marxisms. It is in this climate of spontaneous response to European-American capitalist domination that the Nkrumahist-Toureist Ideological Movement arises and must operate. This Nkrumahist-Toureist Ideological Movement is itself a product of this climate, but arises specifically as a coherent ideological current within it. It is a product of this political and historical environment, precisely because history demands coherency on the part of the African revolution. As a concrete hegemonic oriented ideology it too must, "apply itself to real men and women, formed in specific historical relations, with specific feelings, outlooks, fragmentary conceptions of the world, etc. which are the result of "spontaneous" combinations of a given situation of material production..." (3)

This problem of application has several aspects:

  1. To the problem of recruitment to the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation from the various ethnic; religious; class; gender; age; geographical; and social groups.
  2. For the organization of the multi-level political education and cadre training processes required to transform "hodgepodge ideas" into coherent ideology, to transform fragmentary conceptions of the world into "scientific knowledge and theory", to establish an intellectual construct based on historical and dialectical materialism for militants to achieve an ever progressing analytical capability.
  3. In the organizational area of internal organizational democracy, our democratic processes must be multi-leveled internally, i.e. democratic centralism, or what may be an African application of principals of democracy.

Many of our people will come with fragmentary ideologies which are drawn from one trend or another in general bourgeois ideological tradition. This, whether of an essentially rightist, centrist or leftist current will be the dominant category of the fragmentary ideological currents coming our way. Why do I suggest this will be the case? Precisely because whether the militant is born in Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Europe or Oceania they will primarily be from those classes and social groups most impacted on ideologically by Western education and ideas; this will also include those who come with a "apparent" Marxist based ideological orientation, and because of the hegemonic predominance of Western or European Ideologies in the world today. Additionally, this will be the case because the African World has yet to develop a coherent predominant worldview, which is precisely the intent of Nkrumahism-Toureism!

It must be said that a small number of militants from Africa and the more isolated communities of the Western Hemisphere and the South Pacific will come with patriarchal, semi-feudal ideological persuasions; and many from Africa with essentially bourgeois based ideologies will (or may) have appreciable vestiges of feudal and semi-feudal conceptions, especially in the area of "social relations." However, in the main, our ideological struggle inside our Party Organizing Formation will be on the plain of bourgeois ideologies. Those with feudal/semi-feudal conceptions will be impacted upon by both bourgeois and revolutionary ideas, and the struggle between the two.

Since in order to deal with real people and real feelings we must be "creative and correct". We must concretely examine the prevailing fragmentary ideological trends coming or likely to come to us at our various stages of evolution. This will require we tailor our recruitment, educational, and programmatic materials, and techniques to correspond to the real life, real people, real politics. We do so not to accommodate these fragmentary world conceptions and ideologies, but to ensure we are dealing from a materialist point-of-view; which is necessary to ensure their transformation into Nkrumahist-Toureist. Such a "correspondent tailoring" must recognize the contradictions these various tendencies will bring, and must be constructed in the realization that these contradictions are not quickly or easily rooted-out. These bourgeois based contradictions will express themselves in multi-faceted ways, and must therefore be met, challenged and resolved; creatively, correctly and multi-facetly.

However, there is a common thread which runs through all of these various tendencies, what Mao Tse Tung identifies as the "Primary Contradiction". The primary contradiction being that none of these ideologies is Nkrumahism-Toureism; and only a precious few will have Nkrumahism, Toureism or Nkrumahism-Toureism as central components of their fragmentary conceptions and ideologies. Revolutionary theory and practice has experientially shown us that the "primary contradiction" determines and influences all other contradictions. The absence, lack of, or the substantial underdevelopment of a fully-blown Nkrumahist-Toureist conception of the world in these new militants will mean despite their appearance of militancy and dedication to the goal of Pan Africanism, they will fall significantly short of an actual African nationalist revolutionary point-of-view.

In the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation the People's interest must be primary and Nkrumahism-Toureism must dominate. Since Nkrumahism-Toureism is the only ideology drawn from the African experience, which can ensure the ever forward advancement of the People's sovereign interests. If we fail to recognize the contradiction, which exist today between Nkrumahism-Toureism and lack of Nkrumahism-Toureism on the part of our rank and file; we will surely find ourselves victims of a revisionist, non-revolutionary or outright bourgeois elements. Again, we will, out of our natural desire to "include", find ourselves having allowed Non-Nkrumahist-Toureist ideology to realize a substantial foothold on our "Party Organizing Formation". Our experience in the AAPRP should have made us sufficiently vigilant as to avoid the pitfalls of this normal, but dangerous contradiction.

These new recruits must be seen as the "work of the cadre", of the body politique, in establishing the hegemony of our ideology through political education. It is through political education and revolutionary training of new recruits, the workstudy participants, that the democratic base of the party in African society is assured. At this stage these new recruits will in the main come from the "organic intelligentsia", which will form the vanguard of the revolution during this, its vanguard stage. With a substantial base among the workers, peasant and revolutionary "organic intelligentsia", we will have the means to spread Nkrumahism-Toureism as a hegemonically dominant ideology among the vast masses; thus, creating a condition of true democracy in African society, true "freedom". Why ? Because scientific knowledge and revolutionary theory will course through our people like a "flash flood". We will have achieved the fulfillment of the Democratic Stage of The African Revolution.

Role of Political Education

It is through our organized Political Education And Cadre Training Process that new recruits will get the ideological, theoretical and intellectual base. It is through the work to recruit others, operate an organization and politically educate others that they gain practical revolutionary experience. It is only through this process that new militants are transformed into cadre of the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party and able to democratically participate most fully in the decision making processes of the Party. These Cadres will have opinions and positions truly informed by the rigors of revolutionary theory and practice.

The real democratic base of the party will expand in direct correspondence to our recruitment, political education and practical work activities. As this base of cadres, fully integrated into all aspects of the Party organization expands, the Party's integration with the mass classes also increases correspondingly. The political differentiation between the Party, the mass classes and social groups we effect, becomes blurred to indistinction. This is the true achievement of People's Democracy - the fulfillment of the Democratic Stage of The African Revolution.

. . .so the party becomes the great school of life, educating all the people and always giving knowledge and experience to all its members, to the greater good of individuals and society. So the basis of "National Democracy" is the conscious popular unity of the organized masses.

But the necessity for political unity, inherent in our particular case brings with it its own other imperatives. The chief one is the following: the political aspects, the basis of our unity must come before all aspects of national life without exception, before even the machinery of state.

So "national democracy" is impracticable unless there exists a mass party, which is well organized and capable of promoting at all times the political wishes of the people.

It is not a question of creating a strong party, which can impose its will on the people, but of forming a party and training a highly conscious people for the responsibilities, which will enable it to direct its own destiny along the path of human progress. (4)

Democratic Structures In Our Organizing Formation

Democracy ought not to be defined by its component parts and still less by one single part, but by its underlying and essential reason, the extent to which it allows men/women as separate entities, to surpass themselves, to become part of a higher reality, where the rights and legitimate interests of it's members cannot be violated. (5)

In Western traditional thinking "democracy" is fully defined by its "single or component parts", and its essential reason is non-existent or obscured. The number of elections held, the active existence of antagonistic opposition, the freedom to lobby for social issues clearly in opposition to the people's interest, the degree of the personalization of the political line, and the percentage of active "voters" are all viewed as of central importance! In Western bourgeois democracy, all of these "component parts" may be present, and yet the interests of the people are constantly trampled upon. In every capitalist state, poor oppressed classes and national minorities actively participate in these state's various assortment of "Parties". In the USA ; Africans, Latinos, left-wing whites and labor unions are the most loyal and active participants in the American Democratic Party. Every several years, a complicated set of conventions are held a various levels, using a complex electoral process to "ensure democratic participation" by these forces. At these "charades", the appearance of democracy is Oscar winning; and yet, who with any degree of seriousness can suggest that these Parties actualize democracy or represent the people's interest? In every American polity (state, county, city ) elections are constantly offering the people a vote on a dizzying array of issues, propositions and candidates for "office". Again, we would find an ill-informed electoral population. Most would be unable to explain the social importance or impact of the issues and propositions, with most people not voting on most of them. An even smaller number of persons, hovering around the inconsequential, would have accurate knowledge of the process by which the so-called candidates for "office" were chosen. Of one thing most can be assured, and that is that these men and women represent the moneyed interests directly or indirectly ! But it is precisely this abstraction of democracy, this charade that is paraded before all humanity as man/woman's highest social attainment. Each component part is held-up and carefully examined; touted as free and fair; and finally declared true democracy. President Sekou Toure characterizes these Western "democracies":

In countries where the parliamentary system is almighty the elect would totally substitute themselves for the people for the whole span of their political office; the people recover their sovereignty on election day, where after they return for three, four or five years to the condition of slaves of their elect, victims of their maneuvers, of their lack of conscience, even of their treachery. (6)

This essential set of relations between the masses and the so-called elected leadership most characterizes the Western bourgeois system of "democracy", which we must categorically reject !! The relationship between the Party leadership and the rank and file cadre on one level; and between the leadership, the cadre on the one-hand and the workstudy militants on the other hand; must be an essentially democratic one. This relationship must be able to be discerned not merely by its single or component parts, but rather by achieving material conditions in which the party's militants, cadres and leaders; its means, become at the same time its end. To fulfill our appointed tasks of making Nkrumahism-Toureism hegemonically dominant, the Party's participants must obtain the highest possible levels of social and political consciousness. This can only be achieved by stimulating cadres, militants and leaders "to give the fullest expression of their initiative", in order that party participants can "surpass themselves to become part of a higher reality"---in a word, democracy!!!!

How are these "ideal" circumstances practically achieved in our Party Organizing Formation? How in fact can we achieve an "ideal" state of revolutionary inner-party democracy while living in Europe-American or semi-facist states as we are in the African world ? Do we not face a constant possibility of ideological contamination ? Do we not have a revolutionary responsibility

"to care for the safeguard and development of the People's (read also Party's) achievements (7) ?

The quick answers are sequential:

  1. Through the "correct and creative" historical materialist based application of democracy drawn from Africa's experience and that of other revolutionaries.
  2. By struggle , vigilance and the items in #1
  3. To question 3. Yes, this is a contradiction
  4. Yes, this is the challenge presented by this contradiction

Now having quickly said all that let me proceed to show the form our inner-party democracy should take in my estimation:

Africa and Democracy

If we look today at Africa and the Caribbean, we will find the presence historically of the "one-party states" and/or highly centralized governments. In most instances these governing elements are repressive, and can be characterized as classic fascist states, of the European fascist-type. It can be said emphatically, without the slightest hesitation, that none of these governments represent or uphold the interests of the mass classes in those states. Similarly, in the USA, so-called African leaders, elected government officials and non-governmental prominents enjoy long, and usually un-seriously challenged, tenures of office. And just like their counterparts in Africa or the West Indies, their interest are not those of the mass classes, but that of the "ruling elites". One would consequently presume political apathy characterizes Africans in these area. But in fact the opposite is true. No one can characterize Africans as politically docile peoples. Despite repression, political abstractiveness by leaders and secret police, Africans everywhere are engaging in active debate and discussion. We are engaged in a great democratic process concerning daily affairs and the methods of solution. What must be done?

Why and how can repression and democratic activity co-exist in the same time and space? Is it possible that repressive and unresponsive regimes have found a "niche" in African's historical conceptions of governance, which allows them to take "negative" advantage of us? Dialectics tells us that all matter is a "plenum of forces in tension". A series of phenomenon inter-related with always changing relations, in constant dis-equilibrium (imbalance). Could it be that African society, which we know to have used democracy earlier than Europe, was "democratic centralist" in essential content? Could this explain why in most instances Africans demand change of leadership, more democratic participation and yet fail to implement a Western style system of democracy? In most organizational experiences I'm familiar with, of an especially African nature, strong centralized leadership, accessible to the masses, is the system of governance. As I said earlier in this paper, we've done pitifully little historical analysis of our own experience in order to discern the dialectics of African political behavior.

We in the the Nkrumahist-Toureist Movement and the broader "Africanist Movement" have for some time been discussing and calling for an authentic study of African political institutions and behaviors. Unfortunately to date, little real historical materialist oriented work is readily available in this subject area. All too often "idealism" is used as the method of analysis, resulting in African political institutions being so romanticized as to distort their practical use-value. Thus, most of these works have little real use to the revolutionary. President Toure in discussing Africa's Future makes a similar point:

"An attempt to solve specific African problems out of context, according to half-understood universal concepts, neglects the especially important social factors. (8)........To understand both the language of Africa and its true contents we must seek to find in its words, expressions, formulations, not the abstract character of a dialectic, but the substance and reality of the life they express. This life is made up of human imperatives, social demands and vital material needs; and these become increasingly explicit and urgent as the awareness of the African peoples develope and is able to measure the social injustice that characterizes their human condition. "(9)

In any event it seems possible to say that Africans want, indeed demand a strong, loyal, confident and capable centralized leadership. A centralized leadership who draw their strategies, tactics, policies and activities from the needs and desires of the African people themselves; and who do so by constant uninterrupted contact and consultation with the people! A leadership who is simultaneously able to ignite and inspire the people's confidence, while able on an equal intellectual and cultural footing with the enemy, combat this anti-people force. This "centralized leadership" must be of the "Cultural Spirit Of African People", and at the same time have the necessary technical capacity to lead. Put in another way, African leadership must be ahead, among and behind the People. If this type of approach to leadership is a part of our historical political behavior, is it not also the essential character of "Democratic Centralism"? Perhaps the assumption that "democratic centralism" was an evolution of Comrade Lenin and the Bolshevik Party is inaccurate? Perhaps, the peculiarities of Russian authoritarianism taught them the use-value of centralism, but little in their history suggest "people based democracy". In fact the Russian mass classes appear, historically, as especially docile and apathetic, in comparison to the social activism characteristic of Africa's mass classes, historically.

Well enough said on this somewhat speculative matter for the time-being. For our purpose, the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation, I would call for the adoption of an authentic revolutionary democratic centralism as one of our "three pillars", in the establishment of inner-party democracy.

Democratic Centralism

In furthering the discussion raised by President Toure regarding the essential nature of democracy as the "extent to which it allows men/women as separate entities, to surpass themselves, to become part of a higher reality..." Comrade Mao Tse Tung in his work Concerning Methods of Leadership, discusses the "process" of democracy in a manner consistent with President Toure:

In all practical work of our Party, all correct leadership is necessarily 'from the masses, to the masses.' This means to take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrate and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action. Then once again concentrate ideas from the masses and once again go to the masses so that the ideas are preserved in and carried through. And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time, such is the Marxist theory of knowledge. (10)

How does this "process" or how should this "process" work in the revolutionary Nkrumahist-Toureist Party? The Central Committee and the cadre leaders formulate plans, strategies, tactics, activities and programs. At the periodic meetings of various geographical units, operational structures, work-study groups and higher/lower bodies, these programs are explained and discussed extensively. These meetings should be prepared for in advance by distributing written documents on these various matters. In these multi-form meetings all militants, at whichever level, are encouraged to participate to the fullest extent of their capabilities and understanding; with the exception of matters of an organizationally sensitive or security nature, all aspects of these strategies, tactics, plans, programs, activities are to be discussed in as great a detail as possible.

The ideas, strategies, tactics, programs, plans are taken from the general masses and the Party rank and file by way of direct discussion and by virtue of historical materialist analysis of the objective requirements of the revolutionary struggle. The latter method exist for two reasons:

  1. the leadership has an objective responsibility to lead by proposing direction and it's accompanying political-line
  2. and the movement did not start at the time anyone of us joined and as a consequence, progressive developments are already in motion. Our movements' leaders have decades of constant revolutionary experience upon which they necessarily draw, in proposing the course for the revolutionary party

The concept of a correct relationship between the leading group and the masses in an organization or in a struggle, the concept that correct ideas on the part of the leadership can only be 'from the masses to the masses', and the concept that the general call must be combined with particular guidance when the leadership's ideas are being put into practice-these concepts must be propagated everywhere. . .. (11)

The Party's internal structure must be designed in such a way as to foster active practice of these revolutionary concepts, while simultaneously preserving the "centralist" integrity of the various levels of leadership. The process of multi-form discussion with all party militants concerning matters of strategy, tactics, plans, programs, activities is the process both of "from the masses", "concentrate ideas", then "to the masses". It is in the stages of this process that Party democracy is most realized by all party militants.

However, it is here that "centralism" also plays a vital role, in the arena of "concentrating the ideas". Note must be taken that in describing the process Mao makes it a point to say:"....take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study, turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas)." Why does Mao call the mass' ideas unsystematic? As I've said earlier, I believe it rest in the fact that the masses in general, and speaking of the Party, it's new militants specifically lack (as yet) a coherent scientific ideology. An ideology from which they can view and concentrate these ideas. They can be characterized as "unsystematic" because in the main these ideas are spontaneous responses to one form or another of bourgeois oppression. These ideas because they lack a firm revolutionary ideological base from which they spring are themselves one form or another of bourgeois or semi-bourgeois ideology. Only those with a coherent, fully-developed revolutionary ideological base can propose a systematic concentrated set of revolutionary ideas. This therefore is precisely why the "leadership" must study these scattered ideas, concentrate them into a coherent strategy, set of tactics, plans, programs or schedules of activity.

Because of the "unsystematic and scattered" form ideas come from the masses, "centralism" is as absolute necessity for two reasons:

  1. in order to concentrate
  2. to avoid decision-making occurring at the level of "unsystematic and scattered" thinking

How are ideas concentrated? Who concentrates them? What constitutes the concentration of ideas? Every revolutionary movement is or can be characterized by it's "general call", its general line of action. In the Nkrumahist-Toureist, and most all real revolutionary movements, our position on Smashing Capitalism and Imperialism, Establishing Scientific Socialism and the Equality of Humanity can be said to be our general call - our general line of action; specific to the African revolution and the Nkrumahist-Toureist segment, Pan Africanism and The Renaissance of African Civilization may well be said to be our general call or general line of action.

But these general calls or general lines of action are the ideal which we aspire to realize. They are not themselves a General Program Of Revolution, nor are they specific particulars for achieving revolution. Once a general call or line of action is given, it sets the general parameters in which the revolutionary party must carry on it's work. Thereafter a General Program of Revolution is required. This General Program of Revolution is the concentration of the ideas of the masses. It is a concentration of many unsystematic, scattered ideas into a coherent document(s) which is a studied systemization of the general line of action. It details out an organizational strategy, set of policies, political-line, specific plan, and implies some tactical ranges and accompanying activities. In the latter two of these items the use of the word implied is very precise; tactics, activities and schedules cannot and should not be detailed out in too great a specificity. Tactics, activities and schedules must remain the areas of the greatest flexibility as they must adjust to the actual terrain of operation, which is particular to various areas. We must conceptually avoid the "Soviets" inclination to micro-manage, a pitfall which removes "flexibility" from our arsenal. And seems to be predicated on a certain level of distrust and lack of faith in the leadership of lower bodies, who are at the "point-of-production".

Speaking of the relationship between the general call or general line of action and the development of particulars, Comrade Mao Tse Tung in his article Concerning Methods of Leadership points out:

. . .if persons in leading positions confine themselves to a general call-if they do not personally, in some of the organizations, go deeply and concretely into the work called for, make a break-through at some single point, gain experience and use this for guiding other units- then they will have no way of testing the correctness or of enhancing the content of their general call, and there is the danger that nothing may come of it.

The leadership of our party organizing formation has in the past, and will permanently perfect this process of working personally in some of the organizations. While Comrade Mao is discussing the relationship between the Party and the Masses. It is relevant for us in discussing the relationship between the higher and lower bodies of the varied aspects of our evolving organization. The higher bodies of our organization, up to and including the Central Organizing Committee, will function according to specialty, to concentrate ideas into a studied coherent set of documents. Documents which will eventuate in our organization's General Programme of Revolution.

The higher cadre and C.O.C. member led organs of our party will, according to assigned function, each work-out the detailed contribution their specific organ will make to the General Program of Revolution. This intensive work will involve all our existing Cadre and near Cadre militants; it will also to varying degrees involve all new militants, in the preparation and development process. After these higher party organs complete their tasks of "studied concentration of the ideas", the prepared documents will be submitted to the Central Organizing Committee, the highest sitting organ of the party. The Central Organizing Committee will then review these submissions; discuss their content with the respective party organs; evaluate them for consistency and compatibility with our overall strategy, political-line, and ideology; integrate these various submissions, plans and more into a coherent comprehensive General Program of Revolution. And finally affirm it for submission to the "Party Body Politique".

The submission of the General Programme of Revolution to the "Party Body Politique" is a solid act of democracy and consistent with the dictum "from the masses to the masses". At every level and within every organ, from the most basic work-study circle to the leading organs, extensive detailed discussion will be organized. The completed document(s) will be distributed with sufficient lead-time to allow all serious cadres and militants to read and digest it prior to these multi-leveled meetings. At the various organ meetings, an extensive explanation, review and discussion will be organized; after which each organ regardless of level will be asked to submit written collective feedback. This feedback will then be reviewed and discussed by the leading organs, cadre and C.O.C., and a final submission to the "Body Politique" made. This final submission will seek the Consensus of the "Body Politique". Consensus politics is a general agreement by the sitting body (bodies) after normally exhaustive persuasion and discussion has been conducted. It seldom requires a vote, and is viewed as having been achieved , not by small majority margins (unlike bourgeois democracy), but by a substantial plurality (70%-85% or more) of the considerees. Once consensus is achieved the Central Organizing Committee affirms by vote this decision of the masses and we have a General Program of Revolution as the Party Organizing Formation's operational document.

The result of this later process, including the reaching of consensus, after exhaustive persuasive discussion is that the Party's democracy is further "qualified". How? Why? With consensus achieved, the party's militants will "embrace them (the program contents) as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action." Thus, through concrete action, democracy is carried to it's most important and permanent manifestation, the advancement of the revolution, which in the final analysis is itself merely a means, President Sekou Toure says: "for revolution is expressed through the desire to improve everything, to improve man/woman, the society and everything regarding woman/man and the People's life, all that determines human happiness at all times". The most democratic test of the "democracy and centralism" will be the degree to which the General Program of the Revolution achieves the People's advancement, by better positioning our people to recover their real sovereignty, to recover the full free exercise of control over their own historical destiny, and to conquer nature to establish the material base for this ever forward progress.

Some Particulars of the Organizational Principles of Democratic Centralism

The following material or concepts were taken from two books on or by the Chinese Communist: (1) Three Essays on Party Building, by Liu Shaoqui; (2) Fundamentals of the Chinese Communist Party 1973 Constitution, by Pierre M. Perrolle.

  1. Our Party is not simply the aggregate of it's membership. It is a unified organic body established according to a definite principle. It is a combination of leaders and rank and file.
  2. It is an integration of the party headquarters (central committee), the party organizations at all levels, and the broad membership constituted according to definite principle of inner-party democratic centralism.
  3. . . .democratic centralism means centralism on the basis of democracy and democracy under centralized leadership. It is both democratic and centralized. It reflects the relationship between the leadership and followers, between higher and lower Party organizations, between individual Party members and the Party as a whole, and between the Party's Central Committee and Party organizations at all levels on the one hand and the rank and file Party members on the other.
  4. It means that the leading bodies of the Party are elected by the membership, on a democratic basis and enjoy their confidence.
  5. It means that the rank and file or it's representatives, decide on the resolutions and policies of the Party, which are centralized from the rank and file on a democratic basis, and are then persistently maintained and carried out by the leadership in conjunction with the rank and file.
  6. The authority of a leading body of the party is given by the Party membership. Therefore, the leading body is empowered, on behalf of the membership, to give centralized in the management of all Party affairs and to command obedience from the lower organizations and the party membership.
  7. Order within the Party is built on the principle of the subordination of the individual to the organization, the subordination of the minority to the majority, the subordination of lower organizations to higher organizations, and the subordination of all the constituent Party organizations to the Central Committee.
  8. . . .every Party meeting must be convened by a leading body and carried through under proper leadership.
  9. . . .every resolution or ruling is preceded by thorough preparation and careful deliberation.
  10. . . .every election has a carefully prepared list of nominees
  11. The party as a whole has a unified Party Constitution and unified discipline which all party members must observe, and a unified leading body which must be obeyed by the entire membership. This means that inner party democracy is neither democracy without leadership, ultra democracy, nor anarchy within the party.
  12. When diverging opinions exist, decisions should be made only after every idea has been laid on the table. With some problems for which the situation is not clear or truth cannot be readily verified, we must not make decisions in haste, but instead undertake further investigation and research and then make decisions on the basis of the clarified situation and unified thought.
  13. Collective leadership however, must be combined with individual responsibility. While insisting on collective leadership, we do not deny the individuals function. On the contrary, we most full develop the role of the individual under collective leadership.
  14. If we fully develop democracy in the Party, allowing the party membership to frequently discuss the situation as it relates to the thorough execution of the Party's line, express all kinds of opinions, and submit all kinds of suggestions, making every person say what he wants to say, then we can strengthen the Party member's sense of responsibility, make them be concerned about the Party line, fully develop their own activism and creativity, and cause them to manifest their exemplary leadership function through concrete action.
  15. In order to carry out the system of combining collective leadership with individual responsibility, we must improve the Party Committee system. As chairman Mao has said; "The Party Committee System is an important institution for ensuring collective leadership and preventing any individual from monopolizing the conduct of affairs."
  16. Every Party Committee member, whether an old Cadre or a new Cadre, must work hard to turn the party committee into a strong fighting collective, be concerned with the overall situation and work, actively participate in collective leadership, and join the party committee in properly using its great power. She/he must avoid thoughts of dependence such as 'the secretary(coordinator) makes decisions and the committee members carry them out accordingly' and the phenomena of not daring to boldly shoulder the responsibility for the work assigned to her/him; at the same time, he/she must overcome the wrong attitudes of caring only about the work under his/her own charge, and in discussing work assigned to others, feeling that is 'none of my business'.
  17. To properly implement the system of combining collective leadership with individual responsibility, we must also pay particular attention to the handling of relations between new and old cadres, and between committee members involved in production and committee members not involved in production. In short cadres, whether new or old, and committee members involved in production or not involved in production, all must be modest and prudent, learn from one another, join together to become like a single rope, and with one mind. . . .
  18. The Secretary (read coordinator) is a 'squad leader' as well; she/he should command his/her 'squad members' in battle, acting as the nucleus in preparing, convening and supervising meetings and in encouraging everyone to discuss problems democratically and collecting everyone's opinions to arrive at a conclusion. To this end, he/she must "let all people have their say". Not "let one person alone have a say".
  19. Not daring to uphold the correct opinion and not daring to oppose mistaken opinions is an expression of irresponsibility towards the party and is not compatible with the Party spirit of Communist Party members.
  20. If democratic centralism is carried out correctly, we must uphold the Party's centralized unity. As Chairman Mao has taught us, "A communist wants not only democracy but especially centralization". Our Party is the vanguard organization which leads the proletariat and the revolutionary masses in undertaking the battle against class enemies; without centralized unity, we can never defeat our enemies. We need democracy, but it is the means, not the end. Democracy serves to strengthen centralism, to guarantee the centralized leadership of the party, and to consolidate the proletarian dictatorship; it does not weaken them. When talking about centralization, we should first centralize opinions.

The Following is from the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), from the works of President Ahmed Sekou Toure, "African on the Move", Consolidation of the Democratic Foundations.:

  1. We should understand that democracy, while it places citizens (read also party cadre) on a footing of true equality, does not mix up dishonest, reactionary intentions and doings with progressive aspirations and actions.

    National democracy (read also party democracy) chooses truth versus lies; it resolutely supports the legitimate claims of the working class (laborers, farmers, craftsmen) against the maneuvers of traffickers to exploit the masses; it upholds the cause of social justice and popular progress against the illegitimate privileges and interests of those who would use the Nation's (read party's) freedom and progress for their own benefit.

  2. The continuos strengthening of the democratic foundations of our state, of our Party, of all our economic and social structures, demands a clear definition of our goals, a hierarchy of the legitimate claims that should be satisfied, an ever more powerful mobilization of the masses to achieve the Party's program, and extensive, widespread education to raise the People's degree of awareness to the level of their historic responsibilities.
  3. To satisfy aspirations of the masses for democratic progress, the party must be extremely firm and vigilant in seeing to the correct implementation of it's human, progressive principles in all fields of the Nation's social life.
  4. Democracy is a principle, a way of living, a certain quality of the relationship between various components of a group; it further relates to the conditions under which the respective economic or social groups are placed, and work. But democracy is essentially a means: its contents may vary as widely as human thoughts and concepts.
  5. Progress implies transformations both in quantity and quality and demands the conscious, consistent contribution of all those who are directly or indirectly affected by the transformation in their habits, activities, beliefs and interests, in their moral and material conditions of living.
  6. Far from underrating our People's capacities of understanding, every one of us, as a militant, should make a positive contribution to the strengthening and the enrichment of collective consciousness.
  7. Moreover, a revolution was never carried out by one single man. A revolution which is to transform radically the objective and the subjective conditions of a society necessitates collective effort. Democracy does not consist in thinking for the people and letting them do or passively accept what others have thought out for them; democracy is founded upon collective action by the people to attain happiness through progress, equality and social justice.
  8. The democracy practiced by our Party and our State is not a formal democracy; it refuses to such; it is a fundamental , total direct democracy. Neither is it the privilege of an elite; it is the common good of the People.

Scientific Knowledge, Revolutionary Theory, Freedom and Inner-Party Democracy

In bourgeois academic circles, one consistently hears the clever sounding statement: "ignorance is bliss, and bliss is happiness". This sort of philosophical-ethical statement is a reflection of the anti-human, un-democratic nature of bourgeois society. For it is an admission of the underlining intent of the social instruments, such as the educational institutions, to keep the people in some state of mindless ignorant "bliss". "What happens in capitalist countries? The working class does not always have the revolutionary conscience which should be relevant to its life; on the contrary, thanks to propaganda, to the promotion of the consumption of alcohol, and intoxicating cultural products...." (13) Look at the ghettos, barrios and working-class tracts anywhere in the "industrial-world". Drugs, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, pornography, mindless cinema violence are served up in increasing amounts for daily consumption. In many of these areas all too many people will proudly declare their ignorance of this or that social or political issue. Loudly proclaim their individualistic servitude to one or another form of hedonistic fatalism i.e. "you only go around once, so I'm going to get mine"! And yet with orchestrated, prevailing ignorance both the oppressed and the oppressor will declare "America" as the world's greatest democracy! Why?

Because while ignorance may not be bliss it does breed confusion, and confusion is the enemy of social responsibility. And it is upon the foundation of "social responsibility" as a moral and ethical principal that true "organic democracy" must be built. Periodically, the absence of social responsibility is decried by the right-wing bourgeois circles in capitalist countries, as an abandonment by the people of national patriotism. Of course, this always occurs when they require social mobilization for one purpose or another. This simply illustrates the dialectics of self-destruction required to maintain an anarchical exploitative political-economy.

In the revolutionary socialist Nkrumahist-Toureist dominated society, as we've said, we seek to bring forward into modernity Africa's essentially humanistic, egalitarian, communocratic past. Thus, social responsibility is a vital component of this rehabilitation. "This idea of the original value of man imposes duties of a socialist kind upon us. Herein lies the theoretical basis of African Communalism. This theoretical basis expressed itself on the social level in terms of institutions such as the clan, underlining the initial equality of all and the responsibility of many for one...(Osaygefo Nkrumah) (14) By this, I believe Osaygefo Nkrumah clearly identifies "social responsibility" as cornerstone of African social consciousness, and thereby for any revolutionary African ideology. It becomes in the same sense a"goal" of that African party, which seeks to rehabilitate and advance African Civilization. The Nkrumahist Toureist Party must be a vanguard institution in fostering "social responsibility" internal to itself, and in African society in general.

Social Responsibility is an animation intimately related to "democracy" by way of "social knowledge". In Dr. Nkrumah's relating of the "clan" to social responsibility, there is implicit recognition of this form of human organization as both hierarchical and democratic. In the"'clan", there exist the Headman or Chief, a Counsel of Elders, and a Griot. In normal daily activities these three entities manage the affairs of the "clan". However, from time to time larger assemblages occur in which the details of a particular circumstance or circumstances are outlined. This is done because of the importance of the matter(s) at hand to the families which constitute the "clan". In this there is an obvious interplay between "knowledge and information" on the one-hand, and "democracy and organization" on the other-hand. Those in "leadership" are assumed, according to "social responsibility" to have gathered the requisite information and have the quality of knowledge to impart this to the "clan" members enabling them to make a "free" decision. Here "social responsibility" for the leadership requires they both manage in the executive sense, and at the same time raise the knowledge base of the entire social organization - the clan.

Social responsibility as defined in this manner of African socio-political behavior must manifest itself in a generally similar manner. True democracy, which is another way of saying decision-making, must be accompanied by or in fact qualified by, "scientific knowledge". Lacking in this liberating form of knowledge, people's decisions can be made due to demagoguery, personality-ism, prejudices, individual desires , and superstition. In Haiti the anti-religious aspects of African Religion, the Magic and Fetish arts, was used as "knowledge" . This allowed a situation to develop in which people worked against their own personal interest and that of the masses of the people. This is a phenomenon, while not peculiar to African society, is a negative which is coursing through the veins of African political behavior worldwide.

The revolutionary Nkrumahist-Toureist Party must impart to it's membership and through them to the masses. Revolutionary information, scientific knowledge which is required to "free" man and woman from the shackles of ignorance, backwardness and personality. Scientific knowledge has two aspects:

  1. Theoretical Knowledge. . .the result of reflection, the outcome of pure intellectual effort. Considered as one of the resources of thought, theory has a constant abstract nature. It is used first to augment the sum total of concrete knowledge which serves as its intellectual foundation, and second, to go beyond this concrete knowledge in order to achieve greater human power.

    For this reason, theory is considered the intellectual element of human progress. It is the dynamic force of human evolution. It orients research, guides the process of construction, directs execution, awakens initiative etc. It is the manifestation of active thought, which confines itself to the area of acquired knowledge.

  2. Practical Knowledge. . .is the result of experience, the evaluation of facts, the end product of acquired human resources. Considered part of human experience, it has a constant, concrete nature. Its usefulness is that it harmonizes human capacities; it therefore promotes the equality of intellectual resources among men/women, among groups of women/men, among societies. While theory is considered the dynamic force of human evolution, practical knowledge provides the motive. (15)

As theoretical knowledge gives man/woman, society, its forward dynamic; its guide into the "unknown" and practical knowledge is the common experience gained through this forward motion. We in the revolutionary party must in order to assure democracy (a tool in society's forward evolution) make Practical and Theoretical Knowledge-i.e. Scientific Knowledge our major cornerstone. This process we call Political Education, Ideological, Political and Methodological Development and Training. President Toure calls this "Revolutionary Information": Information is the vehicle par excellence of intelligence. By its various media it conveys and spreads the fruit of human thought, makes known human activities and their results. In this respect it creates bonds of understanding among men, among groups of woman/men, and societies, so that it facilitates an exchange of knowledge.

Knowledge always precedes understanding and it is not unusual to observe that , if a fact, a phenomenon, an action or a thought is to be well understood, it must first be well known. . ..

. . .The function of information is to add to knowledge and to improve human undestanding. The object of information is to add to knowledge and improve human understanding in such a way as to encourage the development and evolution of human activities. (16)

It is clear from these passages, if we understand them to be correct, that for human activity to become even more progressive "revolutionary information", training and knowledge is necessary. The greatest endeavor of African society is its quest for revolution, for the renaissance of our civilization. Thus for this action to be "well taken" and understood, it must also be "well known". For inner-party democracy to be a phenomenon, revolutionary information must exist in abundance. Men and women must be armed with all manner of theoretical and practical knowledge.

The Political Education Cadre Training and Development Process plays this role in engendering this democracy. Cadres and Work-study militants are given as thorough a grounding in social science, as we are able to give, at this point. The education process includes African history; world history; African and revolutionary movement history; scientific social analytical theories, such as dialectical and historical materialism; political economy studies of capitalism, feudalism and socialism/communism; study of particular ideological currents in contemporary society, such as fascism, zionism, imperialism and neo-colonialism. The study of geography from a socio-historic standpoint; religious philosophy and theology; cultural arts; other people's cultures; organizing methodology; production technique; organizational principles and more. Armed with this depth of knowledge, those who evolve in this process have as great a knowledge of the "motive forces" of human history and contemporary society as do members of the "ruling class or elites".

On page 135 of Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, he makes the point that Machiavelli-ian political science had a historically illuminating value, as it made known how things actually operate in the political world of governance. This "historical illumination" might well be called "practical knowledge" as it made known for the common man and woman's use, heretofore unseen or unknown knowables. Machiavelli himself remarks that what he is writing about is in fact practiced, and has always been practiced, by the greatest men throughout history. So it does not seem that he was writing for those who are already in the know; nor is his style that of disinterested scientific activity; nor is it possible to think that he arrived at his theses in the field of political science by way of philosophical speculation- which would have been something of a miracle. . .. One may therefore suppose that Machiavelli had in mind "those who are not in the know", and that it was they whom he intend to educate politically. This was no negative political education-or tyrant haters. . .; but a positive education - of those who have to recognize certain means as necessary, even if they are the means of tyrants, because they desire certain ends. Anyone born into traditional governing stratum acquires almost automatically the characteristics of the political realist, as a result of the entire educational complex which he absorbs from his family milieu in which dynastic or patrimonial interests predominate. Who therefore is "not in the know" ? The revolutionary class of the time, the Italian "people" or "nation", the citizen democracy. . . (17)

Where in the world would modern "democratic movements" be without "Machiavelli's Treatise Expose"? Would we be as well equipped to confront oppressive ruling elites? Could we have made our direct confrontations with colonialist and neo-colonialist, had we little or no knowledge of the inner political behavior and decision-making constructs utilized by our enemies? Knowledge is symbiotically linked to democracy and "freedom".

In their desire to see the destruction of ruling elites , did not both Machiavelli and Gramsci not seek to politically educate "those not in the know"? Were not their efforts designed to enable human beings "to improve human understanding in such a way as to encourage the development and evolution of human activities"? In like manner this then is the role of the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party's Political Education and Cadre Training Process, in inner -party democracy. And by the process herein the spread of ever more democratic currents among our masses in particular, and humanity in general.

Knowledge is Freedom and Freedom Engenders Democracy! As a result of the operation of the laws of our own development, as a result of the necessities of our own nature, we gain knowledge of external things and of our nature and requirements, and then act on this basis of knowledge. In proportion as this takes place, what we do follows from our own requirements and how to realize them. And so we are free. (18)

But in the first place, the individual realizes freedom only through society. The means to freedom is knowledge, and this is social. The freedom of the individual depends on the acquirements of the society to which he/she belongs, on the education and assistance which society has afforded her/him, and also on the extent to which, in society, she/he can co-operate with others and get them to cooperate with him/her. . .. (19)

The struggle for freedom means in essence people's struggle to be able to satisfy their own requirements, material and cultural, for which is needed knowledge of those requirements and how to satisfy them, and the power to effect that satisfaction. (20)

I would posit that the mechanisms of our Party that are developed and permanently qualified to provide Scientific Knowledge to our cadres and militants, is perhaps the single most democratic aspect of our organization. This mechanism allows man and woman to obtain "Freedom", the point of all revolutionary action. Democracy as President Toure has pointed out is only a means enabling man and woman to surpass themselves individually to reach a higher evolution. So it can be said that while not every militant can in the beginning participate in the mechanistic components of the democratic process, the vote; he or she, from the very outset, participates in the most essential aspect of democracy - the attainment of scientific knowledge. This first process of political education allows man and woman a knowledge base upon which they can sort out and act on the world around them free of ignorance, lack of knowledge, prejudices and backwardness, as encumbrances. Armed with this knowledge, they become eventually capable of making revolutionary based "free" decisions, enabling them to positively contribute and participate in all the component parts of democracy.

In Conclusion:

The establishment of "Democracy" in the Nkrumahist-Toureist Party Organizing Formation is of vital and primary importance. It is one "means" by which all Party participants are able to make their specific individual contribution to the development of the Party, and the People's emancipation. By make-up, democracy has many component parts, but cannot be defined by these parts; but rather by its ability to "allow men/women as separate entities, to surpass themselves, to become part of a higher reality." The critical organization of men and women in a manner by which their voluntary participation allows the whole to become greater than the sum total of its parts.

This "critical organization" of man and woman, must preserve the organizational and ideological integrity of the "Party Organizing Formation", while simultaneously allowing for the fullest participation by the various levels of participants. This is achieved, unlike in bourgeois democracy, by the "Democratic Centralism" method of applying democracy. Input is received from all participants(militants and cadre) through-out the various levels of the Party. These ideas, suggestions, positions, lines are then concentrated into a coherent operational strategy or decision. Once concentrated it is returned to the cadres and militants, where exhaustive discussion is utilized to arrive at consensus. Consensus decision-making is more fundamental and African in political behavior because agreement is reached through rational ideological discussion; allowing for a greater degree of agreement, than is usually reached by the "voting majority rule process". Consensus also creates a persuasive atmosphere, whereby considerees can express a full range of thoughts. The result is that it is more likely the militants will adopt the program as their own!

Once a general consensus has been reached it is returned to the requisite Cadre (or C.O.C.) organ of the Party at higher level, where a final confirming decision is taken.

In addition to the formal "from the masses to the masses", democratic centralist process, the party provides its participants and members with political education a process which allows us to scientifically understand and consequently sort-out the world at a substantially qualified level. The basis of human freedom is woman and man's increased ability to conqueror nature, and determine the course and character of human society. This later being the "raison d'tre" of the revolution. Thus it must be said these institutions of the revolution are expressions of democracy of in essential character; inasmuch as they too "allow men/women as separate entities, to surpass themselves, to become part of a higher reality."


(1) Selections from The Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci by Quintin Moore pg. 198-199: "Spontaneity and Conscious Leadership"

(2) Ibid. pg. 198

(3) Africa on the Move by Sekou Toure " Democratic and Popular Dictatorship" pg. 52

(4) Ibid pg. 33 "National Democracy"

(5) Ibid pg. 31

(6) Ibid "Consolidation of the Democratic Foundations" pg. 176

(7) Strategy and Tactics of the Revolution by Sekou Toure pg 351: "Political Control"

(8) Africa on the Move by Sekou Toure pg. 126 "Africa's Future and the World"

(9) Ibid pg. 127

(10) Vol. III Selected Works of Mao Tse Tung "Concerning Methods of Leadership" pg 119

(11) Ibid pg. 119

(12) Ibid pg. 117

(13) Revolution and Religion by Sekou Toure pg. 183

(14) Consciencism by Kwame Nkrumah pg. 68

(15) Africa on the Move by Sekou Toure "Revolutionary Information" pg. 201-202

(16) Ibid pg. 203

(17) Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci "Machiavelli and Marx" pg. 135

(18) Theory of Knowledge by Maurice Cornforth

(19) Ibid pg. 196 "Freedom of the Individual and Freedom in Society"

(20) Ibid pg. 200 "From Lack of Freedom to Freedom"