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  • Selections from Declarations and Resolutions of the Fifth Pan-African CongressManchester, England, October 13–21, 1945

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Figure 1.

Delegates to the Fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945. Image courtesy of the Working Class Movement Library.

Declaration of the Fifth Pan-African Congress to Imperialist Powers of the World

The delegates of the Fifth Pan-African Congress believe in peace. How could it be otherwise when, for centuries, the African peoples have been the victims of violence and slavery? Yet if the Western world is still determined to rule mankind by force, then Africans, as a last resort, may have to appeal to force in the effort to achieve Freedom, even if force destroys them and the world.

We are determined to be Free. We want education, the right to earn a decent living, the right to express our thoughts and emotions, and to adopt and create forms of beauty. Without all this, we die to live.

We demand for Black Africa autonomy and independence, so far and no further than it is possible in this "One World" for groups and peoples to rule themselves subject to inevitable world unity and federation. [End Page 343]

We are not ashamed to have been an age-long patient people. We are willing even now to sacrifice and strive to correct our all too human faults. But we are unwilling to starve any longer while doing the world's drudgery, in order to support, by our poverty and ignorance, a false aristocracy and a discredited Imperialism.

We condemn the monopoly of capital and the rule of private wealth and industry for private profit alone. We welcome Economic Democracy as the only real democracy; wherefore we are going to complain, appeal, and arraign. We are going to make the world listen to the facts of our conditions. For their betterment, we are going to fight in all and every way we can.

Manifesto to the Colonial Workers, Farmers, and Intellectuals of Africa

We believe in the rights of all people to govern themselves. We affirm the right of all Colonial peoples to control their own destiny. All Colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether political or economic. The peoples of the Colonies must have the right to elect their own government, a government without restrictions from a foreign power. We say to the peoples of the colonies that they must fight for these ends by all means at their disposal.

The object of Imperialist Powers is to exploit. By granting the right to Colonial peoples to govern themselves, they are defeating that objective. Therefore, the struggle for political power by colonial and subject peoples is the first step towards, and the necessary prerequisite to, complete social, economic, and political emancipation.

The Fifth Pan-African Congress, therefore, calls on the workers and farmers of the Colonies to organize effectively. Colonial workers must be in the front of the battle against Imperialism. Your weapons—the Strike and the Boycott—are invincible.

This Fifth Pan-African Congress calls upon the intellectuals and professional classes of the Colonies to awaken to their responsibilities. The long, long night is over. By fighting for trade union rights, the right to form cooperatives, freedom of the press, assembly, demonstration, and strike; freedom to print and read the literature which is necessary for the education of the masses, you will be using the only means by which your liberties will be won and maintained. Today there is only one road to effective action—the organization of the masses.

Colonial and subject peoples of the world—Unite! [End Page 344]

Selected Resolutions

The following resolutions were unanimously adopted by the Fifth Pan-African Congress, held in Manchester, England, October 13–21, 1945.

We, the duly accredited delegates of the peoples of West Africa, united as one people, do hereby declare:

1. Political

  1. (a). That since the advent of British, French, Belgian, and other European nations in West Africa, there has been regression instead of progress as a result of systematic exploitation by these alien Imperialist Powers. The claims of "partnership", "trusteeship," "guardianship," and the "mandate system" do not serve the political wishes of the...