A Moral Imperative For Organizing

Mon, 24 Feb 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis


“We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again (Chinua Achebe).”

The concept of “organization,” properly and ideologically constituted and framed, may represent an important tool for progress. It may be so at a personal, community, national, or continental level. And like any other human institution, organizational formatting may be fraught with emotional carpeting of ideological, even instrumental, intellectual, strategic, or operational handicaps. But there is always room for corrective circumvention as well as for intellectual, strategic retouch, where organizational lapses threaten to retard progress. In fact, critical thinking, Afrocentric education, rigorous pursuit of progressively-defined goals and mission, honesty, creative collaboration, cultural fluidity, inventive foolhardiness, political neutrality, radical curtailment of corruption and ethnocentrism, and intellectual elasticity are creative ingredients for driving the ideational vehicularity of organizational conditionalities in the proper direction.

Arguably, organization is everything. It’s the foundation of anatomy and physiology, architecture, management science and operations research, nature, statecraft, homeostasis, politics, religion, family, commerce, artificial intelligence, language, mathematics, stock exchange, science, neural network, etc. Correspondingly, solving for three variable unknowns, for instance, requires skilled, focused, and organizational manipulation of three well-defined equations. An organizational misstep along the way may necessarily lead to procedural confusion or misconstrued calculus. Moreover, a system of four equations may be organizationally redundant for a three-variable unknown, so will a system of two equations be organizationally inadequate.

Hence, equational organization demands stilted conformity to procedural guidelines. Also, gross distortions in human anatomy physically result in organizational misalignment which in turn resolves into organizational warpage in human aesthetics. The notion of “organization” is therefore important. What is “organization”? In simple language, we shall define it generally as an institutional or situational process where human beings or non-human elements, or a combination of both, work towards the attainment of a goal(s) following a set of written and/non-written guidelines agreed upon by the relevant parties involved in a defined process. Of course, “organization,” like science, technology, or religion, is not an end in itself; it’s merely a means. Theoretically, acknowledging “organization” as an institutional means allows for textured improvement along analytic paths of creativity.

For instance, the evident failure of the Organization of African Unity to underwrite Africa’s forwardism since its founding is partly due to its internally-conflicted, ideologically loose complexions, a complicated situation arising from members’ forked allegiances to the Commonwealth of Nations, Pan-Arabism/Arab Nationalism, Christianity, democracy, Islamism, socialism/communism, ethnicities, fascism, foreign intelligence agencies, Pan-Africanism, FrançaAfrique, capitalism, and what have you. Admittedly, any neonatal nation-state, like those of post-colonial Africa, without a system of ideological rootedness is bound to have serious internal problems. This is not typical of post-colonial Africa, however. Pan-Africanism was and is still not enough.

What is the alternative then? We suggest Afrocentric Pan-Africanism, a more rigorously unifying ideological umbrella, is the obvious answer, though, impliedly, it should not necessarily be assumed as a panacea for the African world’s problems. Then again, what do we exactly mean by Afrocentric Pan-Africanism? “There can be no effective Pan-Africanism without an Afrocentric underpinning where we do what is in the best interest of Africa all the time,” Asante writes, defining the concept for us. Indeed, Afrocentric Pan-Africanism should take the center stage of revolutionary remediation within the contextual contours of African problems.

Emphatically, structural and ideological metamorphosis of the Organization of African Unity into the African Union is not just enough without conceptually grounding it in the ideological silt of Afrocentric Pan-Africanism. Still, the African Union, like the Organization of African Unity, is not dependent when the European Union is responsible for 30% of its annual budget. Objectively, most of our institutions do not enjoy the full benefits of “independence,” as Nkrumah, Biko, and Garvey had envisaged them to be. But then again, as we have noted elsewhere, our institutions still rely heavily on the financial and ideological patronage of the West for regulatory survival. This does not augur well for African development economics because allocation of 30% of the pie chart of Africa’s conscience goes directly to the West. Did we actually say 30%?

That is not even true. 99% of the Ivorian economy is trapped by the prehensile tail of France alone. However, the problem cuts across the former French colonial world of Africa, even across the whole of Africa. That is, the West practically owns everything Africa owns. In effect, this leaves Africa with nothing. This, therefore, contradicts the political economy of Nkrumah’s “consciencism,” one of the powerful ideological pillars of Nkrumahism, because chronic dependence stifles Africa’s development, a relational contention Prof. Dambisa Moyo, an international economist, has variously belabored. Nkrumah’s “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” speaks directly to this contradiction. Besides, it is not as if Africa is not rich enough to underwrite her own operational or institutional projects.

Again, this scenario is not unique to the African world. Clearly, we see how technological mediocrity and ballooning trade deficit have replaced America’s dependence on China and nearly usurped America’s prominence in global affairs. The relationship between Africa’s “lazy” dependence on her unscrupulous patrons and her relative underdevelopment is a question Ama Mazama, Cheikh Anta Diop, Walter Rodney, Molefi Kete Asante, Marcus Garvey, Dambisa Moyo, and several of our creative thinkers have analytically deplored. Perhaps except the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies (MKA Institute), Afrocentricity International, and Marcus Garvey’s UNIA, the rest, including WEB Du Bois’ NAACP, Franklin Cudjoe’s IMANI, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, to name a few, are not “independent,” intellectually, financially, and ideologically.

Furthermore, the dependence of these institutions on others means that decisions made vis-à-vis the humanity of our people, culture, and scholarship on the African world could be seriously compromised, thus turning over our birthright to those who do not have the African world in their best interest. Yet again, exactly what do we exactly? Jews essentially fund their institutions and make sure the institutional constitution of their editorial boards, for instance, is mostly Jewish. This is why Jewish organizations are so powerful and independent. They decide what exactly to tell America and to the rest of the world. The fact is that when you control powerful media outlets, your own affairs, namely, you virtually control the soul, psychological, visual, and aural instruments of a people outside your immediate sociopolitical circle, while simultaneously shielding prying eyes from gaining internal intimacies of potentially damaging secrets. Surely, once again, economic, biological, and political survival of a people is guaranteed where there is an uncompromising degree of independence.

Technically, power is not a contextual functionality of unconstructive dependence. In other words, power and constructive independence are philosophically, if not sociologically, synonymous, though, our leaders, our Eurocentric Africa leaders, particularly, from one end of the poisoned stick of neocolonial independence to the other, have consistently failed to see the wisdom in this moral equation. Unfortunately, our so-called research organizations are merely exploitative extensions of the tailed prehensility of Western, and now of Asian, economic interests. Let’s also point out that the leadership of post-colonial Africa, a group we necessarily view as greedy “middleman,” with possible exceptions of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandala, Amilcar Cabral, and a few others, is itself part of the well-oiled machinery of destructive exploitation.

That is, Eurocentric African leadership is one of the major—if not the major—problems of the African world. It is one area the African world needs to seriously look at, infusing it with heavy spiritual and moral investment. An Afrocentric organization of the kind we are proposing in this essay has a moral responsibility to breed that kind of independent-minded leadership required to improve living conditions in the African world. Once again this is why an innovative system of “organization” based on Afrocentric Pan-Africanism is such a noble idea and institutionally long overdue. Garveyite wisdom presaged this some decades ago: “Africans should be more determined today than they have ever been, because the mighty forces of the world are operating against the non-organized groups of people, who are not ambitious enough to protect their own interests.” Nkrumah, Biko, Tosh, Cabral, Marley, and Lumumba eloquently reiterated same.

This Garveyite admonition is philosophically timely, spiritually uplifting, and ideologically relevant, more so because we could also extend the political signification of “mighty forces” to other sociological variables, thus rendering it a phraseological symptomatology inclusive of equational variables defined by public apathy, cultural decentralization, neocolonialism, spiritual discombobulation, intellectual cluelessness, racial inferiority complex, Eurocentrism, misplaced allegiances, and moral laziness. Yet we do not see institutional or organizational independence necessarily as sharing a sweltering bowl of conceptual synonymity with isolationism or exceptionalism, both being exclusive philosophical characterologies of Eurocentrism.

What do we mean? By “institutional independence” we simply mean rigorous, uncompromising pursuit of ideational cosmopolitanization along constructive pathways of creative freedom where, to give the concept a more technicalized explanatory facelift, prioritized interests of the African world succeed in vaulting over exploitative divisiveness of foreign strategic interests. Morally, this position is not Marxist, Orwellian, Mosaic, Hegelian, or Weberian; it’s simply Diopian, Asantean, Mazamian, or Afrocentric wisdom. But are there hopeful clues to help the African world hurdle difficult challenges? Yes, we believe there are. Many, of course.

Let’s try to define some of these difficult challenges. Handling difficult questions related to security, Africa’s artificial political boundaries, transnational drug trafficking, gender inequality, tariffs, terrorism, child slavery, ethnocentrism and racism, poor sanitation and lack of adherence to waste management protocols, desertification, deforestation, Western toxification of Africa, resource depletion, soil degradation, epidemiological explosion of new diseases in Africa (mostly deriving from unhealthy Western lifestyles), teenage pregnancy, political corruption, lack of relevant technologies, the spread of HIV-AIDS, sectarian politics, drought and ozone depletion should be tied to Afrocentric questions of organizing.”

We also ask: What form should a typical African organization take? Remember, we are not appealing to epistemological queries related to the moral exigencies of theoretical organizationalism where government assumes sole responsibility of perfecting humanity and society, a formidable task beyond the immediate reach of human spiritual, material, and psychological finiteness, probably so because organizationalism overlooks the morality of exploitation. On the other hand, Jason McQuinn, editor and founder of “Alternative Press Review,” notes: “Organizationalism encourages and produces authoritarian, hierarchical, and alienating practices because it is based on the idea that people should be organized by politically-conscious militants rather than the anarchist idea that people must organize themselves for their own liberation (See “Against Organizationalism: Anarchism as both Theory and Critique of Organization”). In this context, we need to circumvent the conceptual strictures of organizationalism and gravitate toward the organizational theories Nkrumah advanced in “Africa Must Unite” (See also Milton Allimadi’s “The Choice is Clear: Africa Must Embrace Nkrumah’s Vision and Unite”).

Yet, as noted elsewhere, an Afrocentric organization has to be hierarchical though we argue its constitution must be hierarchically horizontal, not vertical, given that authoritarian hierarchism is likely to breed juniority complexes and hence low performance. The African world has had enough poisonous barrels of empty rhetoric shoved down her throat, both by her indigenized Eurocentric oligarchy and by a system of externalized companionate leadership, represented by the Eurocentric West, without proper foundational carpeting of moral substantiation as well as of national, even continental, soul-searching. These are not what we want. Nevertheless, we must also equally do well to separate rhetoric or theory from practice, which, in turn, means we should move beyond the theoretical limitations of organizationalism, as previously noted. Accordingly, it means moving towards a more progressive and expansive definition of “organization,” a definitional calisthenics strictly carried out from an African perspective.

The focus should be on prioritizing African strategic interests over or secreting them out of the emotional stenosis of Western and Asian exploitative proclivities. On the other hand, the success of an Afrocentric organization, at least, in theory, is possible only within a framework of certain conditionalities, including, but not limited to, radical transformation of Africa’s educational system to meet modernity challenges and to serve Africa’s primary needs, technological retooling of her intelligence agencies, striving for economic and cultural independence, building stronger political and judicial systems and national economies, improving intelligence gathering capabilities (espionage), curbing religious terrorism and child soldiery, reducing cost of living, institutionalizing political stability, erecting competent bureaucracies, rallying around a unifying ideology, Afrocentric Pan-Africanism, say, across the continent, combating ethnic, religious, and political conflicts, and securing our lands, seas, and air.

Having said that, what form should a typical African organization take, we ask again? However, we may want to use the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies as a prototypical model, since, in our opinion, it represents the most independent of African research institutions. Thus, a typical African research organization should primarily focus on three basic goals: 1). Combating all forms of oppression, 2). Establishing the basis for an African Renaissance on the African continent, and 3). Promoting efforts for national and international peace and harmony. The first point embodies racism, ethnocentrism, political dictatorship, religious intolerance, gender inequality (Witch Camps, trokosi, female genital mutilation, breast ironing, etc), religious and political terrorism, lack of institutional transparency and accountability, lack of institutional democracy, irresponsible journalism, and the like. (Note: We have adequately explored the question of African Renaissance in “Ama Mazama: An Intellectual Portrait (ll)” and therefore shall not carry out an elaborate elucidation of it here).

Possibly, the third item is enormously important because it constitutes one of the major sociopolitical currencies whose absence on the socializing stock exchange of the African world operationally distorts national and continental development. It also appears the first and third items are somehow related philosophically and morally, questions requiring standards of evaluation well beyond the Eurocentric pale of analytic facileness or cosmetic massage. In other words, anarchy, political instability, ethnocentrism, organized crime, and democratic divisiveness, social and political traits associated with any given polity, African and non-African, are not progressive ingredients for development and growth.

How? Simple. America benefits enormously from fomenting conflicts beyond the immediate confines of her national border via her military-industrial complex (See Chomsky’s “Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy,” “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” “Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order,” “The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism”; see also Qureshi’s “Nixon, Kissinger, and Allande: US Involvement in the 1973 Coup in Chile,” Schmitz’s “Thank God They’re on Our Side: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorship,” Robinson’s “Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony”).

These wars offer her the opportunity to build new weapons, to test the efficacy of new ones, and to make tons of money. Imagine these wars taking place within the belly of America itself? Still, we should equally pay serious attention to the Argentine-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel and his measured critique of the universalist claims of the gospel according to Saint Eurocentrism. Indeed, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Cheikh Anta Diop, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Samir Amin, and many others have attacked, quite cogently, the epistemological edifice of Eurocentrism, thereby paving the way for our indigenized institutions to breathe in fresh air, ideational aeration made of the element of ideological and financial independence. Actually, Eurocentrism is the cause of many of the problems the world faces today. The war-mongering nature of the West is a primary good example. Chomsky has said: “Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: Stop participating in it.” Chomsky has the West, especially America, in mind.

“If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing,” says Zimbabwean proverb.

We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis