[Marxism] Son of the Soil? Pan-Africanism & Third World Prospects in a Possible Obama Presidency

steve sharra sharrast at msu.edu
Wed Jul 30 15:58:34 MDT 2008


Son of the Soil? Pan-Africanism & Third World Prospects in a Possible 
Obama Presidency

The exclamatory commentary that has accompanied Barack Obama's 
ascendancy to the nomination of the Democratic Party's presidential 
candidate has excited, beneath it, the question of what the 
nomination itself, and a possible Obama presidency, might mean for 
the Pan-Africanist world as well as the Third World. While much of 
the commentary has been laudatory, there have also been cautionary 
tones, not to mention ambivalent ones. Beyond the excitement, caution 
and ambivalence of what a possible Obama presidency might entail for 
Pan-Africa and the Third World, what Obama himself has said in his 
writing, and has not said, might prove to be revelatory in attempting 
to explore the discussion that has exercised many minds around the 
world. We take this exploration by examining some of the issues that 
have been raised by editorialists and columnists, bloggers and other 
commentators in Africa and beyond. We also delve into what Obama 
himself has said in his two best-belling books, as we ponder how the 
significance of a possible Obama presidency may be realized more in 
the symbolic transformation of perceptions of race, racism and racial 
identity in the US and in the world, than in what the office of the 
US presidency itself is capable or incapable of achieving.

First, a word about my use of the terms "Pan-Africa" and 
"Pan-Africanism." The Pan-Africa I am referring to here is the one 
that builds on the ideological consciousness of the global historical 
experiences and identities of people of African descent, and others 
who share that ideology for political and solidarity purposes. It is 
a Pan-Africanist consciousness that draws from DuBois's hope, back in 
1897, that if Africans were to be a factor in the history of the 
world, it would have to be through a Pan-African movement. Thus when 
Ghana became independent from Britain in 1957, Du Bois, unable to 
attend the epochal occasion due to his passport being impounded by 
the US government, handed over the mantle of the Pan-Africanist 
movement to Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, through a letter 
that he wrote and had delivered to Nkrumah.


[Afrika Aphukira] http://mlauzi.blogspot.com/
[Mlauzi's Bloglines] http://www.bloglines.com/blog/mlauzi
[Global Voices Malawi] 
[Global Voices Author] http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/author/steve-sharra/ 

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