“The bourgeoisie is the same everywhere and the proletariat is the same everywhere,” said Kwesi Pratt Junior, the editor of the Ghanaian socialist publication The Insight. Emancipation of the working class is the essence of socialism whether in Ghana, Canada or anywhere else in the world.
Neo-liberalism, colonialism and imperialism
The system in Ghana is democratic, but this does mean that socialists do not face challenges. The main challenge, according to Pratt, is the system. Although the situation might be different, socialists in Canada seem to be facing the same challenge: neo-liberalism.
“The existence of the status-quo and the neo-liberal colonialism has affected the educational, religious and many other institutions,” said Pratt. Although people form united fronts around several shared struggles, socialists swim against the stream. The people are not to be blamed for that, but the system that shackles the minds is the problem. It is a history of struggles, imperialism and colonialism that has destructively affected Ghana and several other nations in the region."
Resting on a chair facing a portrait of Che Guevara, Pratt said: “Socialism isn’t mainstream in Ghana. You are going against the establishment.” It is not mainstream because it was fought by outside forces that followed colonialism.
Imperialism was and remains the problem. Decades ago, Kwame Nkrumah wrote in his book Africa Must Unite: “It (imperialism) controls our economies. It operates on a world-wide scale in combinations of many different kinds: economic, political, cultural, educational, military; and through intelligence and information services.” He was right. Decades later, his words resonate in many of today’s struggles. Following Ghana’s independence from British colonialism, Nkrumah was the first president and prime minister. He was a revolutionary pan-Africanist leader. He recognized the class struggle in Africa and the need for a real change.
Obviously, Nkrumah was not the imperialists’ man in office. He was overthrown in 1966 by a Western backed coup. “Nkrumah was overthrown by CIA and other Western intelligence,” said Pratt. After overthrowing Nkrumah’s government, the imperialists targetted progressive thought and action. Nkrumah’s books on pan-African socialism were burnt in a public bonfire. Pratt mentioned that the CIA and Western intelligence wanted to uproot anything that’s socialist or progressive. “After the 1960s, we needed to regroup and reorganize. We reorganized, but there are hurdles that we need to overcome,” added Pratt.
The revolutionary paper and organization
The newspaper or the publication is the heart of every revolutionary socialist organization. The Insight is one of the media outlets that play a great role in getting people involved in political dialogue and spreading progressive leftist ideas. Socialists should not dismiss how vital the role of the revolutionary paper is. According to Pratt, the spread of socialist ideas will be limited if the publication doesn’t exist. “It filled the vacuum that can’t be filled by any existing newspaper,” said Pratt. The Insight is a daily that not only publishes reports, news and articles, but advertises and informs the readers about socialist events. It acts as an organizer too.
When asked to give advice on where to sell a revolutionary newspaper, he answered: “The paper is to be sold everywhere: at the church, at the mosque, at university, at work.”
Weekly meetings and reaching to the people is also a major part of organizing socialists. Weekly meetings are held and events often take place in the same space where journalists and reporters write for The Insight.
“The struggles in Ghana and Canada are the same,” said Pratt. He urged Canadian comrades to fight for the rights of the working class in Canada, which is for him, the same as fighting for the rights of the working class in Ghana. “The same multinational companies that steal our resources in Ghana, sponsor politicians in North America,” mentioned Pratt.
Pratt’s final message was: “It is important to understand the global context whether we are in Nigeria, Ghana, Canada. Those struggles are linked together. You can’t talk about one without mentioning the other.” Being in solidarity with people in Ghana could be by fighting against colonialism, imperialism, oppression and the class system. Since the struggles are linked, gains for the working class in any part of the world will benefit members of the working class in other places.