George Padmore: Engaged Pan-African Activist and Theorist

The Relevance of his Political Praxis and Theorization on Pan-Africanism

  • Rodney Worrell University of the West Indies
Keywords: : Pan-Africanism, Black International, Colonialism, Neo-liberalism, Vanguard, Communist, Socialism, Capitalism, Democracy, Conferences.


This writer is well aware that ideas and tactics have but a brief shelf-life and what would have been relevant for a particular historical period might not be pertinent for the present moment. Notwithstanding this caveat, this paper seeks to examine whether aspects of George Padmore’s political praxis and his theorization on Pan-Africanism are still relevant. The reader is provided with a brief overview of Padmore’s activities and his achievements, in order to provide the justification for selecting him above other outstanding Pan-Africanists as a role model for young Pan-Africanists. The article assesses the extent to which his political organizational methods still have validity, lessons to be learnt and pitfalls to evade. The essay would not have been complete without some discussion on the unification of the African continent, under a system of Pan-African socialism. Padmore wrote about the need for African unification in his work on Pan-Africanism or Communism and he spent countless hours speaking about and working on realising the unification of the African continent. In a similar vein, he expended a lot of energy expounding on the virtues of Pan-African Socialism as the handmaiden for the United States of Africa. Today, African unification and socialism are still being widely discussed across the continent and in Pan-African circles outside of Africa, therefore Padmore’s thoughts on these matters merits some interrogation.