The Ghana revolutionaries, including Nkrumah himself, take a great and
natu ral pride in recalling that the national movement for in de pen dence was
not born with Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party, but has a long
and honourable ancestry, beginning with the Fanti Confederation in 1871.
That is undoubtedly true. Writers in the West, on the other hand, are apt to
stress Nkrumah’s experiences in the revolutionary and socialist movements
in Britain, where he is supposed to have learnt the princi ples of what they call
“party organisation.” But both these views are superficial and do not touch
the heart of the question.
The first and ever-to-be-remembered name in the history of the body of
po liti cal ideas which went to the making of Nkrumah is that of George Pad-
more, an extraordinary man and a Trinidadian known to me from my youth
up. He was a journalist in the West Indies and in the twenties went to the
United States. As usual with the young West Indians of that day, he had ideas
of qualifying for a profession, but he was drawn to the ideas of communism
and, while at Howard University, threw a bunch of revolutionary leaflets into
the face of Sir Esme Howard, the British Ambassador, at some university func-
tion, and nally joined the Communist Party. He worked with the Communist
Party in the United States and ultimately became head of the Negro Depart-
ment of the Profintern, the Communist Trade Union International, with an of-
fice in the Kremlin. In the course of this work he was constantly in contact with
African nationalist revolutionaries all over the world and himself visited and
helped to organise revolutionary activities in vari ous parts of Africa, acquiring
an im mense practical and theoretical experience. In his relations with Stalin,
Manuilsky and the other leading figures in the Comintern, he devoted himself
to African and Negro prob lems and studiously avoided being involved in the
great conflicts of Rus sian politics.
The Revolution in Theory
c. l. r. james
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