From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter: The African Union and the African-Americans in the United States

By Yeboah, Roland Mireku | The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), September 2018 | Go to article overview

From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter: The African Union and the African-Americans in the United States


Yeboah, Roland Mireku, The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)


It advances the argument that while the AU has done much better than its predecessor in engaging the African diaspora, the relationship between the two is relatively beneficial to the AU rather than mutually beneficial to both parties. It draws parallels between the desuetude of the CRM and the Black Lives Matter Movement while placing the AU at the center of this comparison. The paper places a historical development into a modern-day struggle of the Global African family.

Introduction

The African Union replaced the OAU in 2001 and unlike its predecessor, the AU for the first time called the African Diaspora to the negotiation table to begin an inclusive process. The importance of this agenda was clearly captured in the swiftness with which the AU moved to include Article 3(q) in its Constitutive Act in 2003, just two years after the Union's establishment (Ngulube 2013). This was a special provision for the African Diaspora as a whole. Later in Addis Ababa in March 2005, ECOSOCC (Economic, Social and Cultural Council) with several members of the Diaspora who were present as non-voting members met to discuss how the African Diaspora could be incorporated into the AU (Horne, wordpress.com). The AU as such, for the first time in history, established a policy through the ECOSOCC to rigorously engage the African diaspora 1(Ikome 2009). From the viewpoint of the author, the swiftness with which the AU moved to formally engage the African diaspora (in 2003) speaks volumes of how important the AU considered the Global African family. Clearly, the AU was, and is, much readier for the African diaspora than its predecessor. What waits to be revealed is the manner in which the AU finds the African diaspora relevant.

The AU is a continental institution that represents the African peoples. Its historical foundations lie in the ethos of pan-Africanism, a concept that is concerned not only with continental Africa, but the global African family. It was therefore only proper that the new continental institution found the need and means to engage the African diaspora. Indeed, the AU as an institution falls within the theoretical framework of neo-institutionalism, which among other features assumes the position that by their very establishment, institutions are to satisfy the mutual interest of all its members and avoid partial tendencies likely to generate apprehensions. For what it is worth, the relationship between the Union and its African diaspora must be mutually beneficial, one that satisfies the interests of both parties and which this paper strongly supports. The AU subsequently established the Sixth Region as a constituent part of the Union, solely designated to the Global African family (Edozie 2012).

This paper examines the relationship between the AU and the African Diaspora with special reference to the African-American Diaspora. It advances the argument that while the AU has done much better than its predecessor in engaging the African diaspora, the relationship between the two is relatively beneficial to the AU rather than mutually beneficial to both parties.

It draws parallels between the desuetude of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) and the Black Lives Matter while placing the AU at the center of this comparison. To this end, the article is in three sections. The first part examines the political and economic relevance of the African-American Diaspora (AAD) to mother Africa and the AU in particular. The second part examines the Black struggle in the US. A clearer picture, however, of the second task would not be achieved without situating it within the historical context of the OAU, as the latter's formation coincided with the peak of the CRM. Doing so, by extension, paves the way for a proper analysis of the relationship between the two parties and the extent to which the AU has been receptive to America's Black struggles which is what constitutes the third section. It should be mentioned that the paper examines policies of engagement of the AU (as an institution) with its Sixth Region and not that of individual arrangements of member states in engaging the Global African Family. …

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