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SOCIALIST MOVEMENT OF GHANA
A NEW PLATFORM FOR SOCIALIST TRANSFORMATION
Comrades of the media,
On behalf of all my comrades in the Socialist Forum of Ghana, I welcome you to this press conference. We have invited you here to brief you about an important upcoming transition. As the title I just read suggests, we are launching a new platform in the historic struggle for socialism in Ghana. The first Congress of the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG) will take place from Friday, July 30 to Sunday August 2, 2021, in the historic town of Winneba, in the Central Region.
Comrades, in the early 1990s, four socialists met in Accra and committed to establishing a Socialist Forum which could contribute to the national development discourse; organize “like-interested” and like-minded social groupings in struggles to put the popular masses back at the centre of national decision-making, and to offer organised solidarity to. other oppressed people of the world. These 4 comrades were responding to the obvious failure of capitalism to develop our society holistically or even to improve our People’s access to basic social services like healthcare, education, decent housing, water, and electricity.
Our founding comrades wanted to realise (and not just talk about) the principle of equality of citizens – equal contributions to social development and equally shared benefits from social development. They wanted to eliminate poverty, hunger, ignorance, and the humiliation suffered by the many who toil daily only to enrich a tiny global elite and its local henchmen (who run the Ghana neo-colony on behalf of the global elite). They wanted to release the resources currently accumulated by this bloated elite for the solution of the problems of women, children, and all the other marginalised groups.
Inspired by the vision of Kwame Nkrumah, and other heroes of the African revolution they committed to fight for a united socialist Africa which could take its rightful place in the global struggle against exploitation and oppression.
Comrades of the Media, these comrades did not just dream. They worked steadily, tirelessly, and patiently. Other committed socialists and younger people looking for a more strategic approach to social transformation rallied around their banner. For many years we kept our numbers small. We sought to ensure coherence and commitment – commitment to struggle and commitment to study. We wanted to ensure that we had a correct shared analysis of the economic, social, and cultural challenges society faces. We wanted to grow our numbers carefully without losing our values and focus.
Comrades, the Freedom Centre, where we are today, is a flagship project. It our national secretariat and much more. It is a cultural centre where people read poetry, perform music, and watch film shows. It houses a community reading room. We have run free medical clinics here. It is a resource for activists to debate important national issues and plan campaigns for change. It is also a centre for organised solidarity with the struggles of peoples suffering imperialist aggression – Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine, Iran, Saharawi, Papua and many more. We were extremely proud in 2018 to co-host the 3rd “Pan Africanism Today” conference which brought together hundreds of socialist organizations from Africa and beyond to deliberate on the African Unity project.
Comrades, over the period SFG has published booklets on philosophy, history, and socio-political problems – natural resource theft, ethnic conflict, democratic rights suppression, surrender of sovereignty to foreign military agendas and many other issues.
Comrades, SFG further established the Freedom Bookshop in Adabraka to make this literature more publicly available. Freedom Bookshop stocks books by Nkrumah and other leaders of Africa’s liberation and unification struggle. Over the last five years Freedom Bookshop has worked to stock public and institutional libraries (e.g. Parliament, the Military Academy, Universities, and interested political parties) with all thirteen of Nkrumah’s books.
Comrades, SFG has also developed a Popular Education Institute which provides philosophical, political, organizational, and leadership training to activists from trade unions, mass democratic organizations across West Africa, and our own cadre. At least 600 students have passed through our “Amilcar Cabral School” and returned to strengthen their organizations.
Comrades, as some of you will know, SFG has also been active in the media. In addition to contributing content to the Insight Newspaper SFG has collaborated with Pan African Television to produce documentaries on Ghana’s independence struggle and African liberation. We have planned several other collaborations including series on the gender struggle across Africa and the political economy of pandemics in Africa.
Comrades, ours has been a long and difficult road and we know that there are many more miles ahead of us. In 2019, we decided that we were ready to move to a new platform for socialist transformation – a larger, more diverse, and more “pro-activist” organisation – a movement. We have pursued this deliberately and painstakingly. We were set back by the pandemic. Today however, we can report achievement of some clear milestones. SFG membership has grown to nearly 3000 people working in 25 collectives in 12 of Ghana’s 16 regions and is on course for a functional presence in all 16 regions by year end.
Our upcoming congress will enable members to critically review our work to date and to adopt a new formal and operating structures. We expect that the Congress will approve a transition from a “forum” to a “movement” and a programme to mobilise working Ghanaians to transform society.
Comrades, congress attendees will include delegates from all SFG Collectives; observers from other socialist, democratic, and mass organizations in Ghana; and representatives of political parties. We also expect 28 international delegations. We have sought professional medical advice and limited participation because of the COVID pandemic . We will strictly observe all pandemic protocols including social distancing, frequent hand-sanitization, compulsory face-mask wearing, and participants’ rigorous collective monitoring of each other.
The congress will work in six commissions focused respectively on National Affairs, International Affairs, the new SMG constitution, gender affairs, and Youth affairs. Congress will also elect national officers for the next four years. The consensus positions that emerge from our deliberations will be captured in a Congress Resolution which we will of course share with you.
Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you very much joining us today. We are happy to take questions.
Socialist Forum of Ghana