Revolutionary Pan-Africanism Against Racial Capitalism: Lessons for Our Present Moment

Revolutionary Pan-Africanism Against Racial Capitalism: Lessons for Our Present Moment
Charisse Burden-Stelly, PhD
Layla Brown, PhD 

Saturday, November 20, 10 AM EDT
(See time zone converter if you’re in a different location to make sure you get the time right.)

Kwame Ture, Kwame Nkrumah, Shirley Graham-Du Bois

During World War I, the Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg proclaimed that humanity had two  choices: socialism or barbarism. Her provocation might be restated for the Black/African World and  for our current conditions as: revolutionary Pan-Africanism or racial capitalism. As leaders like  Kwame Nkrumah, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Abdias do Nascimento, Argelia Laya, and Walter  Rodney understood, the intersection of African liberation and socialism—in other words,  revolutionary Pan-Africanism—offers the most viable defense against coloniality, Western  imperialism, capitalist exploitation, and the subjection of peoples on the darker side of the color-line.  The linking up of African struggles, movements, and resources wherever they manifest is a  centuries-old political project that has deep resonances for the manifold crises we face today, from  climate change to economic suffering to perpetual war.  

Our seminar will define, examine, and think with revolutionary Pan-Africanism through a set of  questions including: What are the benefits and difficulties of Pan-African organizing in a world that  is simultaneously fragmented and deeply integrated? How do we understand the relationships  between race and class, or racism and capitalism, and their articulations with gender, to reach a  better understanding of our current moment? What thinkers, activists, organizers, scholars, and  institution builders have offered up models for robust approaches to revolutionary Pan-Africanism?  And, what texts can guide us in understanding the theoretical, ideological, material, and  organizational dimensions of revolutionary Pan-Africanism? 

We will explore a range of sources, from historical speeches and writings by key thinkers including  Kwame Ture and Amilcar Cabral, to more contemporary histories of Pan-Africanism and racial  capitalism by Hakim Adi, Layla Brown, and Charisse Burden-Stelly.  

Facilitators: Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly is the 2021-2022 Visiting Scholar in the Race and Capitalism Project at the University of Chicago and an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political  Science at Carleton College. She is the co-author, with Gerald Horne, of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Life in  American History and the co-host with Dr. Layla Brown, of The Last Dope Intellectual podcast. 

Dr. Layla Brown is a 2021 – 2022 Senior Research Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Center  for Global Cooperation Research and an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology & Africana  Studies at Northeastern University. Her most recent publication “The Pandemic of Racial  Capitalism: Another World is Possible” can be found in From the European South: A Transdisciplinary  Journal of Postcolonial Humanities. She is also the co-host of The Last Dope Intellectual podcast with  Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly.

The seminar will be approximately 3.5 hours long with the following format: 

● Introduction + Seminar Overview (30min) 
● Video Clip + Discussion (30min) 
● Define Revolutionary Pan-Africanism (20min) 
● Break (10min) 
● Breakouts w/small group discussion + generate report back (45min) 
● Revolutionary Pan-Africanism Today (15min) 
● Break (10min) 
● Large Group Discussion (30min) 
● Wrap-Up (15-20min) 

Reading and media (available at Eventbrite on registration): 

● Burden-Stelly, “Modern US Racial Capitalism: Some Theoretical Insights”
● Brown-Vincent, “The Pandemic of Racial Capitalism: Another World is Possible”
● Adi, Hakim, Pan-Africanism: A History, Introduction, ch. 4 and excerpt from ch. 7
● Cabral, Amilcar, “The Weapon of Theory” 
● Touré, Sekou, “Sekou Touré’s Speech to the Congress” 
● Kwame Nkrumah, Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah, “African Unity” and “Socialism”
● Chatoyer, Onyesonwu, “What is Revolutionary Pan-Africanism,”  

Seminar Cost:

  • $30 – Member Ticket for Incite Seminars Patreon Supporters at any level
  • $45 – Non-Member (True Cost) Ticket
  • $90 – Generous Supporter Ticket
  • $15 – Student/Contingent Scholar/Activist Ticket
  • Solidarity pay-what-you-can tickets are also available for those who cannot afford any of the above tiers. Please email us.


Please register by buying a ticket at our Eventbrite page. We are committed to making all our offerings accessible to those who are eager to learn, regardless of financial means. If you have any questions or concerns, please email

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