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Writers in a common cause

Across the continent of Africa, a web of laws silenced African speech. On the eve of World War II, a small, impoverished group of Africans and West Indians in London dared to imagine the end of British rule in Africa. Printing gave oppositions a voice, initially through broadsheets, tracts, pamphlets, later through books and articles. The group launched an anti-colonial campaign that used publishing as a pathway to liberation. These writers included West Indians George Padmore, C. L. R. James, and Ras Makonnen, Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta and Sierra Leone's I. T. A. Wallace Johnson. They formed a part of International African Service Bureau (IASB), and the communists saw them as "generals without an army, they have no base and must depend on their pens". Padmore saw 'trusteeship' as a concept invoked as far back as the late nineteenth-century conferences that divided up Africa. Pan-Africa, a monthly periodical T. Ras Makonnen put out, reported that Richard Wright urged his listeners to form an international network of 'cultured progressives'. Labour-powered nationalism was to Padmore more than a drive for self-government. With the Gold Coast political ground so unsettled, neither Nkrumah nor the Convention People's Party (CPP) made Wright privy to their operations. Inspired by the movement for self-government in British West African colonies, French radicals like Leopold Senghor were rebelling against French political control. In 1969, when a small American publisher reissued A History of Pan-African Revolt , James added to it an epilogue explaining the 'rapid decline of African nationalism'.

Carol Polsgrove

’s writing that she would share billing with him as an author on a later book. 40 In addition, Padmore found financial support for the cause in Ras Makonnen, who turned out to be a resourceful businessman committed to launching publishing enterprises of their own. The vehicle for these ventures was a new organisation, the International African Service Bureau. Although James gave Padmore credit

in Ending British rule in Africa
Tennyson S.D. Joseph

, it is impossible to discount James’s Pan-Africanism since his intellectual and political activity was closely connected to the struggles of blacks globally. The association of James in the International African Friends of Ethiopia and the International African Service Bureau, as well as his earliest public speeches in Britain in defence of liberation movements in Africa, so well documented by Høgsbjerg, 27 provide ample proof of his appreciation of black racial struggle as linked to proletarian liberation

in Revolutionary lives of the Red and Black Atlantic since 1917
Abstract only
Global Pan-African Feminist
Rhoda Reddock

-descended population, 40 and in South Africa, where dock workers refused to service Italian ships. 41 In a move to broaden the group’s focus to the entire African continent, and under the leadership of George Padmore (see Duggan in this volume), the International African Service Bureau (IASB) was established in 1937 as a successor body to the IAFE. This new group, which included Ashwood, James and other future African leaders, such as Sierra Leonean I.T.A Wallace-Johnson and Nigerian L.N. Mbanefo, decided to adopt a “socialist programme and publish a

in The Pan-African Pantheon
Abstract only
With Africa on His Mind
Selwyn R. Cudjoe

Friends of Ethiopia (IAFE) (see Reddock in this volume). This organisation later became the International African Service Bureau. James noted that he had started the black movement in England, and Padmore later joined. Padmore informed James that he was a Marxist. James asked him about the colonial question and African liberation. Thereafter, as James explained, “the movement became an African movement, a Marxist movement. Padmore did that. He educated me and I carried it on. After he died, people began to think that I had brought Marxism to the African movement. It

in The Pan-African Pantheon
Distance, perspective and an ‘inclusive nationhood’
Mary Chamberlain

Association, the Seaman’s Minority Movement, the League Against Imperialism, the International African Services Bureau ‘for the Defence of Africans and Peoples of African Descent’ (and its publications, Africa and the World, International African Opinion) , meeting in the Taj Mahal Restaurant in the Charing Cross Road, the International African Information Bureau, meeting in 42 Alderney Street, with

in Empire and nation-building in the Caribbean
Marika Sherwood

and imperialism in Africa – and it adopted Marxist socialism as its philosophy.’ 36 In the official report on the Congress, Nkrumah is listed as representing the International African Service Bureau and that he was appointed as the secretary of the new Publicity Committee. While in Manchester Nkrumah stayed with Wilf Charles, a colleague of Len Johnson at the Moss Side CP. 37 The Congress’ Declaration ended with the words ‘Colonial and Subject People of the world, Unite’. The ‘Congress unanimously supports

in The Red and the Black
Carol Polsgrove

the colonies. 7 Important as the congress was for those present, it stirred little public attention in Britain. Years later, in a letter to the Manchester Guardian , the Labour Party’s Arthur Creech Jones, a former patron of the International African Service Bureau and a high-ranking official in the Colonial Office at the time of the conference, downplayed its significance as a turning point. ‘We

in Ending British rule in Africa
Open Access (free)
Bill Schwarz

. Padmore’s authority on these matters quickly made itself felt to the others and when, in May 1937, the body broadened its ambit by renaming itself the International African Service Bureau (IASB), Padmore was the natural choice to chair it. Prominent Britons of left sympathies were invited to act as patrons: Sylvia Pankhurst, Nancy Cunard, Arthur Creech-Jones, D. N. Pritt and Victor Gollancz. Makonnen

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain
Abstract only
Joseph M. Hodge
Gerald Hödl

international community outside Britain, France, and the other colonial powers. Disapproval was heard both from moderate groups, such as the Aborigines Protection Society and other philanthropic non-governmental organisations, as well as multilateral organisations such as the International Labour Office, and from more radical forums like the International African Service Bureau and the Pan-African Congresses

in Developing Africa