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The Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG), a new mass mobilization vehicle intended to spearhead rapid transformation of our society and country through socialist ideas and principles has been outdoored.
The grand outdooring of the transition from the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG) to the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG) took place at Winneba in the Central Region over the weekend.
The three-day founding congress which commenced on Friday July 31 and ended on Sunday August 1 2021 with a unanimous resolution to fight social injustice, inequality, marginalization, imperialism and exploitative capitalism, including vaccine apartheid and sanctions against friendly countries drew participants and delegates from the 29 Collectives of the SMG in Ghana, foreign diplomats and trade unions and the media both local and international.
The congress also witnessed the election of the convener, the general secretary and other officers who will steer affairs of the movement.
There were also solidarity messages from labour unions, communist parties and other socialist organizations and mass movements.
Briefing the delegates on the report of the Standing Committee, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., General Secretary of the SFG, now SMG lambasted the leadership failure in Ghana which has led to a decline in living standards and economic growth of the country after the overthrow of Ghana’s first president and founder, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
This is the full text of his report including the solidarity messages from other countries and organizations;
Report of the Standing Committee Presented by Comrade Kwesi Pratt Jnr, General Secretary
Sometime in 1993, shortly after the return to constitutionalism, after 12 years of PNDC rule, four comrades met in Accra to discuss the state of socialist organisation in Ghana and how best to respond to the challenges that faced working people and ordinary citizens in Ghana. The struggles of the working people, the adoption of the 1992 Fourth Republican constitution and, paradoxically, the triumph of interventionist neo-liberalism globally created a window for the resumption of open and socialist political activity in Ghana.
There was, of course, a limit to the space that the global situation and the return to constitutionalism offered for our cause. The meeting took place at a time when the Rawlings’ administration, prize pupil of the World Bank and IMF, had rolled out a massive programme of retrenchment in the public services, devaluation of the national currency by more than 20,000 per cent, reversal of the Nkrumaist socialisation of health, education, housing, and of other social protection programmes. The PNDC had accelerated the privatization of state enterprises, leading to the sale or destruction of more than 300 State enterprises that had been undermined by ideologically-driven State neglect and official corruption over many years. Organised Labour was under attack and many vocal Trade Union leaders had been hounded out of the country. Ghana was also emerging out of a debilitating ‘culture of silence’ under which the right to free speech had been severely muzzled.
These circumstances, coupled with the organisational weaknesses of a disrupted, battered, and balkanised socialist movement in Ghana, informed our initially modest aspirations. The pioneering comrades decided, as a first step, to build a Marxist study, to intervene in national policy discourse and challenge and expose neo-liberal ideological positions, and to participate in the worldwide anti-imperialist solidarity movement.
As expected, SFG was very quickly drawn into higher and higher levels of activism to support concrete struggles of working and marginalised Ghanaians. Organised groups responded positively to our radical class analysis of their struggles that affirmed their own basic sense of justice. They warmed to our conviction that justice is achievable based on class clarity, class unity, and committed struggle. People came to SFG seeking support for their campaigns and we responded, and in responding, we grew. Literally from Day One, therefore, SFG traversed its self-imposed operational vision. We found ourselves at the centre of political protest against neoliberal imperialism, fighting on many fronts, not only at the level of ideas but in the streets alongside working people, students, and marginalised
groups. Our work outgrew the institutional capacity of the Instrument we had designed to deliver it. Despite these limitations, SFG has managed to make an impact on struggles in Ghana over the last 29 years.
The SFG has set up the Freedom Centre in Accra as its headquarters and a venue for intellectual engagement, cultural manifestations, international solidarity campaigns, and domestic progressive struggle.
- International Solidarity
The Centre now hosts Ghana’s solidarity campaigns with West Papua, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and Palestine, which are struggling against brutal colonial rule. It also hosts solidarity campaigns with sovereign countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Bolivia and others, who are continuously targets of imperialist aggression.
- Domestic Struggle
In terms of domestic campaigns, the Centre actively hosts campaigns for Labour rights, Student rights, Community resource and democratic rights, citizen and media rights to free expression and association, and gender campaigns.
- Cultural Activities
Until the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre hosted weekly cultural events, including a Monday Groove, which is a freestyle cultural event at which members of the public are encouraged to read poems, sing songs, tell stories, and generally express themselves creatively. It also included a weekly film show, which aired and discussed a wide range of films from different genres.
A 12-piece band – the “Freedom Band” – based at the Freedom Centre, emerged around the Monday Groove. This band now plays at almost all our public events. It has even performed to enthusiastic audience at a concert in Caracas, Venezuela, and has produced a reggae version of “The Internationale”. We plan to fully commercialize the Freedom Band to raise resources for our work.
- Intellectual Activity
The Freedom Centre offers a reading room which makes Marxist and progressive literature available to our members and interested members of the Public. The
Marxist Study Group of the Accra Collective of the SFG is also hosted at the Freedom Centre.
The SFG has established a ‘Freedom Bookshop’ whose objective is to make available to the Ghanaian public progressive books, especially books authored by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, which have been in scarce supply in the country since the 1966 coup. The Bookshop has operated for the past 10 years and is increasingly the go-to place for readers interested in progressive literature.
The Legacy Project
This is a project whose sole objective is to provide all the 13 titles authored by Nkrumah to all tertiary institutions, public libraries, and the libraries of institutions like Parliament, the Armed Forces Training College, the Judiciary, etc. So far, donations of the books have been made to all public Universities, Regional Libraries, Parliament House, Armed Forces Training Centre and the Judicial Service.
The SFG has published several books and booklets, authored by its own cadre, to aid in its educational and other campaigns. These publications have included:
- The Great Deception: How the CIA overthrew Nkrumah
- Fight Back: A Response to Anti-Nkrumah Provocations
- Manual for the Study of Marxism
- Nkrumah for Young Readers
- A Booklet on Ethnicity
- A Booklet on the Oil Industry in Ghana.
In addition to these, the SFG has begun to publish materials developed by other socialist and progressive formations with whom we have relations. To this end, we have published booklets authored by Tricontinental Institute for Social Research.
SFG manages a Printing Press in Accra, which prints all its materials and The Insight Newspaper. There are plans to fully commercialize this facility.
The SFG has set up an institution to promote popular education. Its focus is on providing relevant tools for the Marxist analysis of society, to spread the ideals of Pan Africanism and to facilitate meaningful interactions of progressive activists across Africa and beyond. Over the last three years, the Amilcar Cabral School, which has been set up for this purpose, has trained about 500 cadres from all over the world.
The SFG has set up a Research Group which will provide data and analysis for SFG work and the work of other progressive organisations. There are plans to fully incorporate the Research Centre.
The SFG is actively involved in media work in Ghana. It is currently providing technical, editorial and managerial assistance to Militant Publications (publishers of The Insight Newspaper) and to Pan African Broadcasting Company Ltd., which operates PATV, which has a fast-growing footprint across Africa, Europe and South America.
Comrades, after 29 years of work and study and the modest achievements described, the Socialist Forum of Ghana is ready now to move to the next phase of struggle – its transformation into the Socialist Movement of Ghana, which this Congress will formalise.
The primary units of the SFG are the Collectives which are being established in cities and towns as well as in educational institutions. So far, 25 Collectives have been established in the following places: Accra, Winneba, Akropong, Koforidua, Nkwanta, Ho, Tamale, Bolgatanga, Wa, Tarkwa, Obuasi, Takoradi, Bibiani, Cape Coast, Ghana Institute of Journalism, the Islamic University, the Accra Technical
University, the Kumasi Technical University, the University of Education, Winneba, Gaoso, Kpandu and Kenyase. The membership of these Collectives ranges from 30 to 200. It is estimated that the total membership of the SFG is now about 3000. The Standing Committee is pursuing the establishment of more Collectives in all the major cities and towns in all the Regions of Ghana. Special attention is also being paid to the recruitment of people in the arts industry, artisans, and rural agricultural workers.
- Trade Unions
The SFG wishes to improve its relations with the Trade Unions to enhance its participation in the struggles of workers for improved living and working conditions. In this connection, it has held especially useful consultations with the leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana and the Ghana Federation of Labour. The General Agricultural Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress has become a key ally in this endeavour. The SFG has offered spaces at the Amilcar Cabral School for the training of cadres of the Trade Union Movement.
- Progressive Organisations
The SFG is actively collaborating with progressive organisations in mobilizing solidarity for countries under imperialist attack and exposing the dangers of the pursuit of the neo-liberal agenda in Ghana and Africa. Key amongst these progressive organisations are the African Youth Improvement Foundation (AYIF), the All Africa People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), International Socialist Organisation, and the Rastafarian Council.
- International Relations
The SFG has established an International Relations Department headed by one of its most experienced comrades. This department handles all issues related to international solidarity and anti-capitalism.
The SFG is a member of the Pan Africanism Today (PAT) project based in South Africa and is represented at the leadership level by two comrades. It has also joined the International Peoples Assembly (IPA) and it is represented at the leadership level by one comrade.
The SFG is continuing to forge close ties with countries such as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Palestine, Algeria, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and West Papua. It has special relations with socialist and revolutionary organisations throughout the world, especially the Socialist Party of Zambia, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party of South Africa, the Communist Party of Benin, the Communist Party of La Cote d’Ivoire, the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Metal Workers Union of South Africa.
The national situation
The worsening economic situation in Ghana is a result of the intensified exploitation of the working people by transnational capital and its local elite supporter. Currently, Ghana’s Government is spending more than 90 per cent of its total revenue plus grants on debt-servicing, debt repayment and public sector emoluments. Last year, the Gross Domestic Product grew at an average of 4.6 per cent in the first quarter, contracted to -3.2 per cent in the second quarter and shrunk to -1.1 per cent in the third quarter. This represents an average out-turn of 0.2 per cent for the three quarters. The total national debt has now skyrocketed to GHc291.6 billion, representing 76.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. The country is also experiencing serious disruptions of electricity supply, affecting the production levels and productivity of industry. The budget deficit is also growing at an alarming rate. The effect of these is the draconian measures that the Akufo-Addo administration has taken with devastating consequences for the working people.
Since January this year, the price of petroleum products has been increased four times. The VAT rate has been increased and government has imposed a sanitation tax and a banking sector reform tax.
The people of Ghana continue to suffer elevated levels of unemployment, lack of access to housing, poor infrastructure, worsening health conditions in the face of COVID-19 and significant reductions in industrial output, despite sloganeering, like “One-District-One-Factory”.
On the international front, the Akufo-Addo government has provided national resources and the legal framework for the establishment of a US military base in Ghana. Early this year, the US military carried out military exercises in Ghana and thereby jeopardized the security situation in the country.
We are confident that this historic first Congress of the SMG will unanimously approve our transition from a Forum to a Movement, a new phase in the struggles of the Ghanaian people to build a new society on the foundations of Socialism, a commitment to pan Africanism and broad anti-imperialism. The Socialist Movement of Ghana is being born here in the historic town of Winneba, where the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute was established to become the ideological and intellectual centre for the battle against under-development, oppression, and exploitation. We vow to continue in the tradition of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, George Padmore, Field Marshal Mutumbe, and Marx. We will not rest, until this world is fully rid of the tentacles of capitalist exploitation.
The working people of the world will be victorious, and they will build a world without a bomb, a world in which hunger will be banished, an entirely new world of equal people exploiting the world’s resources in a responsible manner to ensure that all the peoples of the world can realise their full human potential.
Viva International Solidarity.
BRIEF SOLIDARITY MESSAGES
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA, CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Havana, 29th July, 2021
To the founding Congress of the Ghana Socialist Movement
On the occasion of the celebration of the founding Congress of the Socialist Movement of Ghana, we send a fraternal greeting to all the participants in this important event, at the same time that we convey our gratitude for the solidarity and friendship towards the Cuban Revolution, especially in the fair fight against the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for more than six decades, which constitutes the main obstacle to the development of the country.
Humanity faces a complex scenario, derived from the worldwide application of neoliberal policies, aggravated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context, where warmongering tendencies sponsored by Imperialism take hold, the united struggle of political parties that embrace the conviction that a better world is possible and necessary is necessary, as bequeathed to us by our leaders, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.
The Cuban Party and people ratify their determination to defeat the campaigns orchestrated and financed by the United States government aimed at reversing the Cuban revolutionary process, in which they will fail.
We wish you success in this founding Congress, and in meeting the goals you set for the future.
TRADES UNION CONGRESS OF GHANA
The Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana, Dr. Yaw Baah, extended the solidarity of organised labour to the Congress and called for united action of all progressive forces to improve the working and living conditions of the working people of the world. He emphasised that the objectives of the labour movement and the socialist movement are identical. He declared the support of the TUC for the bold initiatives of the Socialist Movement of Ghana to deepen the consciousness of the working people and to promote the Pan African agenda initiated by the leaders of the national liberation movement in Africa.
Comrade Explo Nani-Kofi, leader of AFRICA MOVING, expressed the full solidarity of his movement to the SMG and emphasised the need for the unity of the progressive forces in Africa. He congratulated the SMG for its successful transition from a Forum to a Movement.
3. ALL AFRICAN PEOPLES REVOLUTIONARY PARTY (AAPRP)
The Party sent its solidarity to the SMG and called for the united of all progressive forces in the world in the face of the aggressive onslaught of imperialism. It insisted on socialism as the only workable alternative to capitalism, which is exploitative and oppressive.
SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT
The Movement congratulated the SMG on its successful transition from a Forum to a Movement and looked forward to meaningful collaboration between the two organisations.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF BENIN
The Communist Party of Benin praised the SMG for its unrelenting commitment to the unity of progressive forces in Africa and beyond. He stressed the urgent need to mobilise the working people across borders in West Africa to confront the neo-colonial forces responsible for under development, poverty and the general misery of the working class.
MOJA FROM LIBERIA
MOJA praised the SMG for its courageous efforts to unite the progressive forces in West Africa. It said no effort must be spared in the confrontation with imperialism.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF LA COTE D’IVOIRE
The Communist Party of La Cote d’Ivoire congratulated the SMG on its transition from a Forum to a Movement and looked forward to deepening its relations with the SMG in furtherance of the unity of progressive forces throughout the world.
SOCIALIST REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Party praised the commitment of the SMG to Pan Africanism and Socialism and noted that the collaboration between it and the SMG has contributed significantly to the growth of the broad anti-imperialist movement in Africa and the world.
Palestine liberation organisation (PLO)
In a zoom message from occupied Palestine, the PLO drew attention to the intensified aggression of the Israeli apartheid and colonial occupier against the Palestinian people in their struggle for national liberation.
METAL WORKERS UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Union expressed its solidarity with the SMG and pointed to the worsening living and working conditions of the working people of Africa and the world. It made an urgent appeal for the unification of the broad anti-imperialist struggle.
PAN AFRICANISM TODAY
The Secretariat of the Pan Africanism Today project, based in South Africa, expressed its solidarity with the SMG and noted the giant strides it has made in facilitating the unity of socialist and progressive forces in West Africa. It pledged to continue working with the SMG to promote Pan Africanism and Socialism.
simon bolivar institute, Venezuela
The Institute brief the Congress about the worsening social and economic situation in Venezuela as a direct result of the aggressive interventions of the United States of America. It expressed its solidarity with the SMG.
peoples’ national congress, ghana
The Peoples’ National Congress (PNC) praised the SMG for its consistent work to improve the social and economic conditions of the working people of Ghana and Africa. It called for close working relations with the SMG.