Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian nationalist leader who led Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, to independence from Britain. This post explores Kwame Nkrumah quotes I pulled from one of sixteen books, Class Struggle in Africa, he wrote.
You can skip the pursuing paragraphs which place Nkrumah in context to access the quotes below.
Nkrumah first became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast in 1951; he led it to independence in 1957 when he also became the first Prime Minister of an independent Ghana. In 1960, the country became a republic and he became the president.
On a state visit to Hanoi in February 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by a coup led by the reactionary forces within Ghana. They were assisted by their imperialist and neo-colonialist masters pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Nkrumah was later to write in Class Struggle in Africa, “Imperialist aggression has expressed itself not only in coups d’état, but in the assassination of revolutionary leaders, and the setting up of new intelligence organisations”.
His experience taught him a lot of things that ordinary people were unaware of. His experience permeates the texts he writes and this is what makes his testimonies so powerful.
Patrice Lumumba from the Democratic Republic of Congo was long gone by then, killed like the latter two for his anti-imperialist views, and will to uphold the will of his countrymen while refusing to be a puppet of the agents of imperialism.
Fleet Street and the western media and other media outlets demonised Nkrumah, creating fictions that he was a dictator and his rule was becoming authoritarian to justify the coup in support of his political enemies, the reactionaries, who were nothing more than mere puppets in the whole charade.
Nkrumah was a threat to their interests and cut a lonely figure, a voice crying in the wilderness, denouncing neocolonialism and imperialism and calling for the expulsion of the European powers from Africa, and the Unification of Africa into a single state under a socialist government as he spells out in the video clip below.
He was a threat to the neo-colonialist and imperialist ambitions and interests of the west; especially, as he was turning more and more towards the east, China, Russia and other socialist countries.
The western powers couldn’t afford to lose their lucrative share of Ghana’s diamonds, gold and cocoa. They couldn’t let Nkrumah influence other African countries to follow his lead.
The European powers were at war trying to maintain their stranglehold on Africa’s resources. America was using the United Nations to force the European powers to release their stranglehold on Africa so it could get a slice of the cake.
Therefore, he was a threat to their colonial, neocolonial and imperialist ambitions and interests. Nkrumah was a dangerous man. His ideas were dangerous.
The Americans were not happy with him for trying to create a government that was against their interests. They were even more afraid of other African governments which might have been encouraged to follow Nkrumah’s lead.
In addition, Nkrumah’s material and financial support for liberation movements fighting the white minority and colonial regimes in Africa made him a figure who had to go.
Therefore, they used the reactionary forces to get him out of power and continue their monopoly of Ghana’s valuable resources.
He also spent time writing books such as Class Struggle in Africa published in 1970 and others.
During that time, he also founded PANAF BOOKS. It came about after the two publishers who had previously published his work refused to publish his books after his fall from grace.
The political motivation was evident: Nkrumah understood better that this was an attempt to silence him and his ideology. He was also able to buy the previous books before they were turned into pulp and all his ideas killed.
Fortunately for us, these books and Panaf Books are still around continuing where he left off.
Nkrumah published about 16 books during his life. Only two of these: Revolutionary Path and Rhodesia File were published posthumously in 1972 by the company he set up. All sixteen books are available through Panaf Books.
I am sure there are numerous other books out there, volumes about Nkrumah’s speeches, and many others inspired by the great man.
Nkrumah died in exile and he never set foot in his Ghana again. There are many around, those close to him, who maintain that Nkrumah was murdered: his death was unnatural as the speech below, Cancer of Betrayal, by Amilcar Cabral spells out.
However, time has been kind to him. Time has absolved him of all the accusations made by his detractors.
Time has restored him as the great man he was. He is remembered as the firebrand of African liberation. Today, those people who overthrew him hail him as the greatest man in Ghana.
They in turn have since sunk into oblivion. Across Africa he is revered as an international symbol for freedom. His ideology for a United Africa lives in the hearts and minds of true African Revolutionaries.
Nkrumah was central to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity and his support for the liberation movements striving to free themselves from the colonial powers during the decolonisation of the continent made him a hero right across Africa and the Black Diaspora.
Nkrumah’s ideology continues to live in young and old across Africa and the Black Diaspora.
His words remain relevant to an awakening generation of revolutionaries. This is why I have taken the time to share 30 of his quotes below from Class Struggle in Africa. Enjoy.
- Workers are workers, and nationality, race, tribe and religion are irrelevancies in the struggle to achieve socialism.
- In Africa there should be no African “alien”. All are Africans. The enemy-wall to be brought down and crushed is not the African “alien” worker but Balkanisation and the artificial territorial boundaries created by imperialism.
- It is the task of the African urban proletariat to win the peasantry to revolution by taking the revolution to the countryside.
- It is the indigenous bourgeoisie who provide the main means by which international monopoly finance continues to plunder and to frustrate the purposes of the African Revolution.
- The exposure and the defeat of the African bourgeoisie, therefore, provides the key to the successful accomplishment of the worker-peasant struggle to achieve total liberation and socialism, and to advance the cause of the entire world socialist revolution.
- Colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism are expressions of capitalism and of bourgeois economic and political aspirations.
- There is not one country in Africa today where the political consciousness of the worker-peasant class has resulted in the establishment of of a socialist state.
- The worker-peasant class even though it has assisted in the winning of independence, has not yet assumed leadership in Africa as a conscious class.
- Imperialist aggression has expressed itself not only in coups d’état, but in the assassination of revolutionary leaders, and the setting up of new intelligence organisations.
- As long as African States continue to be dependent in any degree for training, and for arms and supplies on capitalist sources, the African Revolution is in jeopardy.
- Historically, professional armies of the capitalist world have a tradition of suppression of socialist and revolutionary movements. They are the instruments of the ruling class or classes for maintaining bourgeois power.
- There is little justification for the enormous sums of money spent on the armies of Africa. Africa is not threatened territorially by any outside power. The border disputes which exist between certain African States, most of them legacies from the colonial period, are all capable of peaceful resolution.
- Inequality can only be ended by the abolition of classes.
- Ideologies reflect class interests and class consciousness. Liberalism, individualism, elitism, and bourgeois “democracy” – which is an illusion – are examples of bourgeois ideology. Fascism, imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism are also expressions of bourgeois thinking and of bourgeois political and economic aspirations.
- Those who for political reasons pay lip service to socialism, while aiding and abetting imperialism and neocolonialism, serve bourgeois interests. Workers and peasants may be misled for a time, but as class consciousness develops the bogus socialists are exposed, and genuine socialist revolution is made possible.
- The principles of scientific socialism are universal and abiding, and involve the genuine socialisation of productive and distributive processes.
- For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation, in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other.
- A non-racial society can only be achieved by socialist revolutionary action of the masses. It will never come as a gift of the minority ruling class.
- Elitism is an ideology tailor-made to fit capitalism and bourgeois de facto domination in the capitalist society. Furthermore, it intensifies racism, since it can be used to subscribe to the myth of racial superiority and inferiority.
- In general, intellectuals with working class origins tend to be more radical than those from the privileged sectors of society.
- Intelligentsia and intellectuals, if they are to play a part in the African Revolution, must become conscious of the class struggle in Africa, and align themselves with the oppressed masses. This involves the difficult, but not impossible, task of cutting themselves free from bourgeois attitudes and ideologies imbibed as a result of colonialist education and propaganda.
- Socialist revolutionary struggle, whether in the form of political, economic or military action, can be ultimately effective if it is organised, and it has its roots in the class struggle of workers and peasants.
- The total liberation and the unification of Africa under an All-African socialist government must be the objective of all Black revolutionaries throughout the world.
- The core of the Black Revolution is in Africa, and until Africa is united under a socialist government, the Black man throughout the world lacks a national home.
- It is around the African peoples’ struggles for liberation and unification that African or Black culture will take shape and substance.
- The African Revolution is not an isolated one. It not only forms part of the world socialist revolution, but must be seen in the context of the Black Revolution as a whole.
- Socialism can only be achieved through class struggle.
- In Africa, the internal enemy – the reactionary bourgeoisie – must be exposed as exploiters and parasites, and as collaborators with imperialists and neo-colonialists on whom they largely depend for the maintenance of their positions of power and privilege.
- The rural proletariat are workers in the Marxist sense of the word. They are part of the working class and the most revolutionary of the African rural strata.
- The basis of a revolution is created when the organic structure and conditions within a given society have aroused mass consent and mass desire for positive action to change or transform that society.
I hope you enjoyed those quotes and found them not only interesting but enlightening and they inspire you to know more about Kwame Nkrumah. Keep your eyes open for my book review of Class Struggle in Africa by Kwame Nkrumah coming soon.
If you want your copy of the books or others by him, you can order from Panaf Books. Follow the link.