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HC RADIO — Sankara, Pan-African Organizing and Scientific Socialism

Transcript:

Peace, y’all. This ya boy Mack. I’m an editor at Hood Communist and I want to welcome you to another episode of Hood Communist Radio.

Throughout time, countless Africans have changed the game when it came to ridding themselves of colonialism and imperialism, and a name that is mentioned often but not realllyyy dug into enough is Thomas Sankara. That was a bad African, yall! Im talking about mass organization of the people,  taking on the UN, distributing vaccines, and prioritizing women as the key to liberation, in just 4 years. 

Sankara’s visionary leadership turned his country from a sleepy West African nation under the thumb of colonial rule to the “Land of Upright Man” known as Burkina Faso. 

Fully aware of the advancement of neocolonialism in post-independence movements in the African nations that surrounded him, Sankara sought to break away from accepting that as the norm for his people. He refused to accept that poverty in West Africa was inevitable, and organized the people to offer a new kind of freedom. 

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This is his voice. He’s saying: “ Colonizers are those who indebted Africa through their brothers and cousins who were the lenders. We had no connections with this debt. Therefore we can not pay for it.” 

We gotta engage our African revolutionaries yall and use their words as blueprints to our forward movement toward one united socialist Africa. 

In this episode, we sat down to discuss the life and legacy of Thomas Sankara, his impact, and his assassination (Fuck France) with Inem Richardson, an organizer with the All African People’s Revolutionary Party who lives and works in modern-day Burkina Faso.

With all that said, imma throw it to Erica!

Inem Thank you so much for having me on. It’s such an honor to be able to talk with you, Erica, and to be able to talk to the community that follows the work that Hood Communist does. And it’s really an honor. So my name is Inem, as you said. I am a member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, as well as an organization based out of L.A. called Chappe Support Committee. And I recently moved to Burkina Faso. I’ve been here now for about a month organizing here, and I can talk about that a little bit more later on. I don’t feel like this is a very complete bio, but I think it’s a good place to start. I’ve done some— I’ve lived in West Africa before, not for a very extended period of time like right now. But I’ve lived for a number of months on different occasions in Senegal and in Ghana, where I was studying neocolonialism and connecting with different Pan-African organizations, which is how I actually found that all African People’s Revolutionary Party. And before I was in Burkina Faso, I was living in the Bay Area in California. So that’s a little bit about myself. Occupied, lonely territory, Northern California. 

Erica Thank you for that. It’s quite a bio, though. I know you’re thinking it’s not sufficient, but I’m like “geesh, that’s a lot”. So, yes, I do want to talk about why you’re in Burkina Faso. 

So we may all be familiar with the name Thomas Sankara, especially now, since his assassination is a geopolitical news topic again, but most people’s engagement with Sankara is surface level. So I wanted to know if you can speak to who Sankara was beyond the memeable quotes and then also Mariam, because we really don’t hear a lot about her. 

Inem OK. So, Thomas Sankara was a military officer who became a revolutionary leader and the president of Burkina Faso between 1983 and 1987. He was born in Yako, which is a village to the northeast of where I’m currently living, and he was radicalized during his time in the military. This is a time when he, through the military, basically had an opportunity to go to France and to go to various different parts of former French colonies, including Madagascar, where he saw many protests happening and became radicalized to that. And then he also came across the writings of Marx and Lenin doing his time in the military and during his time in France, which was pretty brief, but it was very impactful. And this is also a time when a lot of people were radicalized in the military in Burkina Faso, studying the writings of people like Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, as well as other African revolutionaries. And so he himself became he became a revolutionary. He was in one of the previous president’s administrations, Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo, and the administration was politically divided. So there was a radical sector to the administration and then a more conservative one. But they didn’t have a shared ideology. But the people on the ground really pushed hard for Sankara to take the position of president. And that happened on August 4th in 1983, which began a revolutionary process in Burkina Faso. And a lot unfolded during that time. 

Mariam Sankara was his wife. She’s unfortunately a much less well-known figure than he was. She had a lot of the same ideology that he had. She wasn’t somebody who, from what I have been told, was somebody who really liked the spotlight very much. She preferred to be like more …I don’t know. who she was?— Not everybody likes to have a super public role, sometimes I myself get nervous being in public just like to this with you. But she was very, very supportive of the positions that he took. And she gave a lot of direction to him. And I’m sure she had a very influential position in terms of a role in his position towards women’s emancipation, which was a huge part of the revolution in Burkina Faso. 

Erica Yeah, he—I know that Sankara comes up in a time when many revolutions and decolonizations happening across the continent, but what would you say about his work and leadership in Burkina Faso that made that particular movement distinct? 

Inem Well, I think one of the things that’s interesting about Sankara is that he is kind of coming at a later generation than a lot of other African revolutionaries because at this point, people like Kwame Nkrumah, unfortunately, are no longer around. Patrice Lumumba, it’s kind of a later era. It’s the 1980s and there’s a little bit more of a mentality that capitalism has like “won”. And that’s being pushed very heavily, more so during this period, then maybe 20 years earlier when there were a lot of revolutions unfolding. Which partially was one of the struggles in Burkina Faso because there was a lack of a continental wide unity during this era of the 1980s compared to earlier times, which I think really hurt the ability of the revolution to last a very long time. But the revolution was still nevertheless extremely significant and impactful, considering that in four years life essentially just changed completely. So I think it’s very fair to say that even though Thomas Sankara wasn’t the first president of Burkina Faso, he’s definitely like the father of the nation or like the person who has constructed a Burkinabe national identity here. Of course, Pan Africanism, so like the ultimate goal is to have a continental-wide identity, but he did a lot in shaping identity and unified various ethnic groups and brought Burkina Faso to the stage that it is at currently where it is like a cohesive nation that is multi-ethnic. 

So before Thomas Sankara’s revolution, the country was called Upper Volta. In French it’s Haute-Volta and it’s just a geographical name. Like, there’s a river called the Volta River that cuts through Ghana and Burkina Faso. And the colonizers just basically said, like, “you’re the north part of it, so you’re Upper Volta” and that’s the name. But Burkina Faso, as it exists today, is a product of this revolution. The name Burkina Faso was created during this time. And it’s meant to signify the various different ethnic groups that live here. So it means that “the land of upright man” or “the land of people of integrity”, kind of like ‘the people of integrity’ translation better. Burkina is like “the people of integrity”. And Fuso is — it means “land” or it can mean “republic”. So during the revolution, it was never like “the People’s Republic of Burkina Faso” or anything like that because the actual type of government that it is a Faso which comes from one ethnic group called the Juula. And then Burkina comes from another ethnic group called the Mossi in the language Moore. So he’s combining the different ethnic groups that are influential in the country so that both can influence the name and national identity. And then there was like a ton of different campaigns that happened. There was a literacy campaign during which 36,000 peasants learn to read and write. This was largely in local languages as well as in French. So he did emphasize speaking local languages. Many of the local languages had never been formally written before. So there was like research into how to write and start documenting things in people’s native languages. There was a vaccination campaign. Cuba helped out enormously during that campaign, and two million children were vaccinated against various diseases. One of the most significant things during the revolution that really sets it apart from previous administrations in Burkina Faso is that a lot of the emphasis was placed on the countryside where the rural villagers and the peasantry are living, which are the majority of the country. And that was the first time in the history of Burkina Faso that resources were distributed from the cities towards the majority of the country, which is the rural area. So for the first time, people had access to health clinics and midwives and various things in terms of like education, public health, farming, the amount of tractors doubled in one year. And so just like an increase in production there. It led to food self-sufficiency. So a lot of major, major changes happened. I would say, compared to other African revolutions, this one was one of the most short-lived. But considering that this occurred for four years, it’s like one of the most like, I don’t know, like impactful four years of the history of an African country, probably ever. It was very short-lived, but very, very impactful. 

Erica Can you talk about the role that the French played directly in his assassination and also the role that they’re playing now in taking ownership of it?

Inem So they used local agents and they work with local agents who had loyalties to France. One of them was a man named Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who is from the Ivory Coast and has been like a neocolonial puppet. Really loyal to France for like a really, really long time, so very, very like anticommunist, very pro-capitalist and pro-France. And Blaise Compaore, who is the man who usually gets the most direct blame for Thomas Sankara’s assassination, he was such a right-hand man in the administration. Somebody who had helped him come to power during the revolution and was there alongside him the entire time and really was treated like Sankara’s brother by his family. He ended up marrying somebody who was really close to Félix Houphouët-Boigny in the Ivory Coast, who was working with French agents.  Including a man named Jacques Foccart, who is a very, very important man in the history of French imperialism. I really think that it’s important to know the name Jacque Foccart because he is a Frenchman who was in charge of French covert operations and he played a direct role in assassinating so many African leaders, so many African revolutionaries. He was the one who, if you are familiar with how Ahmed Sekou Toure was — like how they, like, destroyed Guinea after Ahmed Sekou Toure told France to go, he was the one who orchestrated that campaign to destroy Guinea and undermine their currency, all of that. So he played a role in this assassination.

I don’t know to what extent France is really taking ownership of the role, a few years ago, Emanuel Macron, the president of France, said that he would declassify the information that France has about this assassination. Nothing significant has come out of that, even though he said he would do it. And I don’t — that’s not surprising to me. Even France taking ownership or — in my opinion, France apologizing, on one hand, at least it clarifies for maybe those who are doubtful that, yes, France played a role. But at the same time, it’s hypocritical because French foreign policy has changed so little since the 20th century, since their empire going into today. I mean, Burkina Faso is still —  you see French soldiers on the streets of the capital, we pass by them. So that’s a little bit of how France operated and how they tend to operate. I think it speaks so much to the need for Pan-Africanism, also because the tactic is always some form of divide and conquer, playing different governments against each other. 

Erica So I want to switch gears a bit because I want to talk about your piece that you submitted to Hood Communist called Africans Must Recognize The Difference Between Marxism and Scientific Socialism. So I remember that you were posting on your stories, like snippets of what became that article. And I just hopped right in your messages like, “so whenever you’re ready to submit this.”

So in the piece you say, “People, African and non-African alike, criticize some of our people for cultural nationalism while failing to recognize that it was European chauvinism that convinced our people that socialism is some sort of perspective that the West bestowed upon the world. In part, this is what happens when people use Marxism and scientific socialism as interchangeable terms and fail to recognize the application of scientific socialism within other ideologies such as Nkrumahism-Toureism and Cabralism and other ideologies guiding the objective of revolutionary Pan-Africanism. So I want to talk specifically about Nkrumah-Toureism. So what is it and how is it distinctly different from Marxism? 

Inem OK. thank you so much, first of all, for hopping in my dms and telling me to just admit that to Hood Communist because I don’t think I would have even had thought to do that. And I’m really glad that I ended up being able to share my analysis on this and to start having more of these conversations. So I really appreciate that. So I’m Nkrumahism-Toureism is— I’ve heard some people describe it as scientific socialism with African characteristics. I think that might be helpful way for many people to understand it because I’ve heard other ideologies kind of framed that way. But people know that— sometimes people know that there are like other ideologies that are grounded in scientific socialism that aren’t necessarily called Marxism or Marxism. Leninism, for example, in North Korea there’s Juche. In Venezuela they call their ideology Bolivarianism. So Nkrumarism-Toureism is a scientific socialist ideology. It adheres to the principles of dialectical and historical materialism. But it’s based on an understanding and historical analysis and contemporary analysis of Africa, the African continent, and the global African people. So you can be, for example, it implies Pan-Africanism. You have to be a Pan-Africanist to be Nkrumahist-Toureist versus like, for example, in Marxism- Leninism, you could be a Marxist and your goal could be to carry out a revolution in Kenya and establish a socialist process in Kenya. And then it’s not like your work is necessarily done. There’s still an internationalist wisdom that’s inherent to Marxism, but not necessarily the stage that Africa must unify entirely into one unified socialist Africa, whereas Nkrumah-Toureism, that’s an intrinsic part of the ideology. It also analyzes the historical stages of development in the modes of production historically that emerge in Africa.

 So a Nkrumahist-Toureis, I want to preface this by saying,  should be reading Marx and should be reading Lenin. Like, absolutely. I really think that in general people should just read anything like even things we disagree with we need to be reading them. But Marx and Lenin, we need to be reading and also studying and understanding and taking what applies to us. So that’s still a part of it. But it’s also understanding that there’s limitations there when we stop there or when we overconcentrate on that, because Marx wasn’t studying the historical processes or stages of development as it applied to Africa. That wasn’t his focus. So things did develop in Africa that were different from how things developed in Europe or elsewhere. So, for example, if you read certain materialist historians of Africa like Walter Rodney or Basil Davidson, they talk about how, for example, slavery, while it existed in Africa, was never a mode of production that was dominant in African society, which is very different from in Europe, where slavery was a dominant mode of production in Europe and then in European settler colonies in the Americas and elsewhere. Africa, while there was forms of servitude and slavery, never had that as a dominant mode of production. It never developed that way. Feudalism in Africa also looked very different from how it looked in Europe or elsewhere because most of the time very rarely would you find that feudalism had like private land ownership. That wasn’t something that was intrinsic to feudal societies in Africa. So it studies Africa very, very closely and recognizes that it’s not like the way things develop in one part of the world, specifically Europe, are fully identical to how things developed in Africa. And then it looks also to contemporary African situations to come up with a Pan-Africanist Solution. Yeah, and it looks at things like spirituality, religion, while those things have been happening very often negative forces in Europe, that isn’t so much the case in African history. So it’s more spiritually affirming. So it’s named after Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sekou Toure, the ideology and both of those men were religious people coming. Kwame Nkrumah was a Christian. Ahmed Sekou Toure was Muslim. Toure, in particular would write a lot about Islam, and it in his theoretical writings as well. So it’s very that aspect of it is also very different from what you might find in some or most common interpretations, I would say, of Marxism, Leninism. 

Erica  But I do find it because I identify as a Marxist-Leninist. But I do find that those of us who also identify as Pan Africanist have the same sort of understanding, like religion is still very much present because we’re connected to Pan-Africanism. There seems to be a trajectory of progression of African Marxist-Leninists who then become the perpetrators, and it seems sort of like seemless because I don’t think there is so much distinction in the two that there’s no points of unity. But I do see the value in the specific distinctions. 

Talk about your party, because I know that that is why you are in Burkina Faso right now. So if you want to talk about the work that you do and all African People’s Revolutionary Party and then talk about the library, that I’m very so proud to see on Instagram growing. 

Inem Thank you so much. Thank you. Yes, so I am I’m in the African People’s Revolutionary Party, and it is like — joining the party has just been an amazing decision that I made. I’ve been in the party maybe I don’t know if it’s been like a year and a half, like I would maybe a year between a year, year and a half. And I became just like very, very active in the party before I moved to Burkina Faso. And I had had the plan of going to Burkina Faso before I joined the party. I think that I think the ancestors were like “hold up, like you need to get some really solid or organizational grounding and political education and everything before you make this move.” I think it was very —- Like I feel like it was very necessary for me. And I’m really glad that it worked out the way that it did, that before I came to be here in Burkina Faso, that I had a really consistent political education process and that I was very active in an organization and could come here with that. 

So I came here about a month ago. As I mentioned, one of the first things I was able to do while I got here was to plan an event for African Liberation Day. So this is a major I know it Hood Communist has done— Hood Communist radio has talked about, African Liberation Day on this platform before. Some listeners might be familiar with it, but it’s a major thing that we focus on in the AAPRP. We want to see African Liberation Day celebrated everywhere where there are Africans living. So I helped to bring that to Burkina Faso and it was really exciting. And everybody that talked to had said that that was like their first time ever hearing about African Liberation Day. I’m not sure maybe at some point earlier in history of previous generations, maybe closer to like Nkrumah’s time, if many people here had celebrated it. But it seems like it had been something that if that were ever the case had kind of died out. So it was really exciting to put that on. And so we got to like I’d like to introduce people to the AAPRP here, meet with people. Some of them are in organizations, some of them are not in organizations. And a lot of them were interested in the AAPRP. So now I get to work on this library project that you mentioned, which is going to be a space that our people can come together to meet, to organize, to read collectively, to watch films together, a lot of the programming that we do in the AAPRP— to have a space to also do that here and to do that on the continent. And so that’s a major goal of the library. Other organizations also are invited to use the space and then people who just want to come and check it out and read and come to our events like it’s just something that’s open to the community or will be open to the community. Yeah. So it was something that I, I talked to.

This is not my first time in Burkina Faso, by the way. So I had come here in the past and I had some contacts here, political contacts, comrades and from them as well as from my own observations, last time I was here, I saw that a lot of books on Pan-Africanism, on African history, African diaspora, history like scientific socialism, anti-colonial struggles around the world, like a lot of those aren’t available here. There’s some. But just kind of small selection of specific things that are available here, so I am working to get books that are normally hard to find to bring them here and so that people can have access to them. So like Kwame Nkrumah, for example, it’s very, very hard to find books by Kwame Nkrumah in Burkina Faso, but they do have French translations of his work available that I can order from elsewhere and have them brought here. So we’re trying to just like make sure that people have access to these revolutionary texts and have a space to meet together. 

Because you brought up the Instagram, so we have BurkinaBooks is the name of the Instagram, if you’re interested in following updates on this project and we have a gofundme and a cashapp. So I really would appreciate any support that you or any listener might have or if you share it with somebody it would really go a long way. So I have a little bit of limited funds to get a project started for a few months. But it would be really helpful to get some support. So if you are able to share the gofundme or contribute, that would be much appreciated to anyone listening. 

Erica Yes, of course they should. They should definitely do that. Definitely follow the page and watch the progression because things are moving. I seen that you all went furniture shopping just to get some basics. So so things are happening. So be sure to support. 

But I know in talking about the library, you talked about allowing space for not just the AAPRP, but other organizations to come and collectively read together, which is a form of political education. And I just wanted to talk to you about why you felt that was so necessary in Burkina Faso right now in this moment. What is the importance of political education? 

Inem I mean, political education is important for everyone. It’s important for African people, for colonized people, working people, oppressed people, all people. But yeah, in Burkina Faso, I think this is also a really crucial time. So this is after Burkina Faso, of course, has a revolutionary history that was followed by twenty-seven years of harsh repression and counter-revolution under Blaise Compaore and then an insurrection that brought an end to Compaore’s administration. So in 2014, the people rose up, took to the streets, and were able to put an end to the administration of the man who played such a direct role in Sankara’s assassination. So it’s a time when we can see that the influence of the revolution is still everywhere. The people they turn toward center, they admire him like he’s everywhere. You see, like it’s so interesting to live in Burkina Faso and to come from the belly of the beast because it’s like the streets are decorated with revolutionaries. You see Thomas Sankara, you see Che, you see the Lumumba, you see Samora Machel, Kwame Nkrumah. But it’s also hard, like I mentioned, to find these books here. So on the one hand, we see the the faces and the images, but it’s really, really hard to find like some of these texts here. So I really wanted to create a space where people could get political education because how are we going to— my argument, it’s always like, do we really believe that all of our ancestors who fought for liberation for hundreds and hundreds of years and then we can just, like, not pay attention to the records they left behind for us? Like, are we going to be able to achieve Pan- Africanism and meanwhile, we’re not even going to pay attention to what they were saying to us when they talked about I mean, our ancestors left for us with records of what they did in the past and what worked and what didn’t work and what might work in the future and why what worked, worked and what didn’t work, didn’t work. And like all of these details, they, like, gave this to us for us to have so we could organize and use this to advance and to carry on the struggle for liberation. 

So I believe it’s like an obligation for us to turn to them and to hear what they have to say, to study them, to study, to study history, to understand why things are the way they are in the world. So I believe strongly in political education and I believe that people should have access to political education, access to these revolutionary works. So that was what motivated me to do a political education project. I think it’s like, you know, it really comes down to political education and organization in terms of how we can advance. 

Erica Yeah, no, I totally agree. And I always say that we have blueprints, literal blueprints that we’re not going taking advantage of. 

What would you say the difference is, because I’ve only organized in the US, but what would you say the difference is organizing on the continent versus organizing in the West? 

Inem OK, that’s a really good question, and I want to preface this by saying that, like, I have organized a in the past, I’ve never lived here like consistently like very long term all at once. And then I’ve only been in Burkina Faso a month. So I also want people to know that a year from now I’ll have probably more to say and then in the future. But from what I’ve seen now, especially in Burkina Faso, for one, the word “revolution” is not nearly as scary of a word here like it is in the US. Because people, I mean, the 1980s for me? That’s like my parents’ generation like when they were my age. It’s really not long ago. So many people here lived and experienced the revolution in Burkina Faso and then the people who are like closer to my age— I mean that’s, that’s their parents that tells them about how the revolution was and what it was like. So words like “revolution”, like “socialism”, these things aren’t nearly as scary here. Or like there’s not nearly —definitely during the 27 years that Compaore was in power, there was efforts to confuse the people. I would say, instead of demonizing the concept of revolution, a lot of what he did was try to pretend like he was continuing it in some ways. But people have very much see through that. The masses of people support Thomas Sankara and admire Thomas Sankara. And that’s very clear. So it’s a very different context in the United States where we’re just fed like anti-communist propaganda all day. I sometimes joke that like in school, I feel like a lesson in history would be something like, oh, yeah, like Fidel Castro, like wakes up in the morning and eats a Cuban baby for breakfast or something. And I feel like that’s like the stuff that we’re taught. It’s just absurd. But here it’s like, you know, people admire the revolution that occurred across Africa and also across the world, in Cuba, in other parts of Latin America, in Asia. So, yeah, that doesn’t mean, like, you know, everybody’s organized or like everybody has like a political education per say. But there is a different sort of like reaction people have to these concepts, which is, I think, very powerful and makes it a very much like a there’s a lot of, I guess, hope in organizing here because of that. 

And then another thing I would say, one thing I would say is that I think it’s interesting that one of the reasons why I felt so strongly about moving to Africa was I really believe that to achieve Pan- Africanism, Africans in the diaspora and Africans on the continent need to be having direct exchanges with each other however way we can. I know not everybody can come here, but I think we need to start finding ways that have strong networks where we’re able to reach people on the continent so that they can tell us what’s going on and we can tell them what’s going on and we can share our analysis of things. So, for example, not a lot of people in the US maybe know about what French imperialism looks like right now. So there’s like Operation Bokan in Mali, where France has been fighting for like several years. There’s a group of states called the G5 Sahel, which includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Mauritania that have like a military agreement with France. And then all of these countries— So there’s 14 countries in total that use a French-controlled currency called the CFA franc that just enriches France and lines France’s pockets and lets them have access just by letting them have access to cheap raw materials and resources. And so they just like economically sort of, they can dominate the monetary policy of the region. These sorts of things aren’t so known in the US, whereas on the other hand, in the US there’s a lot of organizing against AFRICOM isspecifically among revolutionary Pan Africanists. I know it’s still not like everybody knows and is involved, but like there’s a lot of attention in the past few years that’s been given to like AFRICOM and the US military and extremely rapid expansion of AFRICOM. And here that’s actually very not like well known, like even sometimes I don’t want to, like, misspeak because I’m still new here. So I don’t want to mischaracterize anything. Like, it’s just from what I’ve seen so far and maybe there are some organizations that are following this more closely. But it seems like most organizations, as well as most people who are not in organizations, don’t know actually about AFRICOM very much. They might know that there is some U.S. military doing something somewhere, but not really. They don’t tend to be not so well known like how extensive it is on the continent right now and how quickly it spread. So I just kind of imagine, like if both sides had a way to sort of communicate more closely with each other, we would have such a much broader and more robust understanding of what we’re up against and who’s imperialist are and how they’re operating, how they’re connected to each other. So that’s one of the things they also think about in terms of the different focuses that are that I see and how those focuses could come together and shape of much broader analysis on both sides. if that makes sense? 

Erica Yes, it does. And I want to shout out Black Alliance For Peace’s U.S. Out of Africa Network, because that committee is actually attempting to do what you just said, get on the ground with all the organizations on the continent to talk about AFRICOM. And I know Comrade Nick was just out there. They were in Liberia actually breaking it down because it’s very true. A lot of people on the continent are not really aware of where AFRICOM is, what role they’re actually playing. And then, and then even here in the US, it’s a little more muddled because they’re telling you, “we’re not there, we’re not in that country.” And it’s like, yes, you are. But, you know, a lot of these things are covert. You know? But I do agree that that that sort of cross-organization needs to be happening, 

Inem Shoutout to BAP. They really have done such amazing work in terms of just putting out information about AFRICOM that the US has tried to really keep underground. BAP has done a lot to uncover a lot of this information and to spread it more publicly. So I have referenced BAP a lot while I’ve been on the continent, like I’ve referred people like to like some of the stuff that was put out, so. Yeah, that’s amazing.

Erica yeah. And I just wanna note, SOUTHCOM, we’re coming for you next. Because y’all are right there in the backyard, so we’re coming for you next. 

But I think what you and I just spoke about with what the AAPRP is doing with you being in Burkina Faso, and I know that there are countless members of that organization spread out throughout the continent doing great work and also what BAP is trying to do on the continent, as well as in Colombia and Haiti and Brazil and just basically the Americas just all signifies the importance of organization. I just wanted to perhaps maybe end this talking about why our people should be joining organizations. 

Inem I mean, we we have to work collectively, we have to work in a way that, you know, where we’re finding things out and we have a strategy and we’re coming together. Ahjamu Umi, who is one of the writers for Hood Communist, one of my comrades in the AAPR— I gotta shout them out and give them credit for this, because he’s the one who always says that. Like, if you can do it on your own as an individual, what’s stopping you? Go ahead and like, liberate the masses. But what, like what’s holding you back? But clearly, we know that can’t happen. If it was that easy, somebody would have done it. But it has always taken collective work. It’s always taken organization. Everything that we’ve ever like, anywhere we’ve ever advanced historically, any revolutions ever happened. It’s always been highly organized. In Burkina Faso, the masses of people were organized into committees for the defense of the revolution, and that was a crucial part of what the process was. So, yeah, it’s really the only way. No, no individual has ever freed the masses on their own. It’s never happened. No individual has ever achieved liberation single-handedly. So, yeah, it’s organization and political education. 

Erica Well, I want to thank you so much for this interview. I think it was great. It is so much to take in and I did learn a lot. So I really, really appreciate this so much. And yes, please. And support that library and get it help to get the books in there. That’s necessary for sure. 

Inem Please follow Burkinabe books. And the book for me is called Pan African Community Library. So I’m not sure it’s like you can search things that way, but my cash up for the project is working books, so please support if you are able to and share. Yes, it will go a long way here. 

Erica All right. 


More from this Writer

“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

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