Pancasila and Vision of Pan-Africanism (African Nationalism): From Liberation to Re-New Old Cultural Contact

Linda Novi Trianita, Haryo Kunto Wibisono, Bonifasius Santiko Parikesit
SAAS (Society of Asian-African Studies) Indonesia, 2012*


"...Panca Sila" or the Five Principles of our country. Five Principles are not directly stem from the Communist Manifesto or the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, the ideas and ideals, there could have been for centuries has been embodied in our nation. And it is not surprising that the ideologies of power and virility that has arisen in our nation for two thousand years of our civilization and for centuries the nation's glory, before we drown imperialism at a time of national weakness .. But I truly believe that Panca Sila contains more than national significance only. Panca Sila has universal meaning and can be used internationally. " (Ir.Soekarno‘s speech in General Assembly, United Nations, To Build World A New , at 1960)


Perhaps that speech has only a part of many discourse about Pancasila (also known as Five Principle) in international affairs, specially relationship between Asia-Africa. As same with relation civilization series between Asia and Africa who has been interlaced, in ancient Imperium by Zimbabwe Kingdom and many kingdoms in Africa Western Coast (Ashanti/Gold Coast) with Sriwijaya and Majapahit in Indonesia, throughout trade contact between two civilization, so could be found archaeological relic in Africa, like gold mining technique in Gold Coast, copra plant in Zanzibar, and many artefact that symbolized similarities of mythology/belief like Ife, Yoruba, and mythe of Fertility Goddess/Dewi Sri. So, we can pre-conclude that contact between those continent as another power to build world a new.

Similarities and Solidarities

In National Geographic, (2011;14) said that arrival of many food plants and culture-mythology influental through opening trade-route with Asia region, for example, banana plants that entered after merchant in East Africa coast had opened relation with Southeast Asia, through Hindia ocean. Based this theory, banana came from Papua New Guinea and spreading to Asia, after Asian people stayed in Madagascar, they brought banana to Africa. Even 2000’s, has been discover in Cameroon that showed what the time of bananas arrival in Africa, around about 500 BC. Moreover, maritime nations term or maritime culture became popular and dominat when addressing relation between human and sea, and relationship between Asia and Africa. As said by Stoddard, (1926;275) that Indonesia was geographical archipelago, aside from Melanesia, included gigantic-Irian island. So that, in definition modern geopolitically, but if Indonesia wants language and semi, so outside those region could be simple, until Madagascar island (Malagasi), Malaya peninsula, and Paas island in Pacifique ocean.

Therefore, authors assume that historical similarities (and contact) civilization between Asia-Africa continent, so fate similarities cause of European colonialism-imperialism, could be hypotheses that ideology similarities/world-view to beholding modern nation-state condition, moreover to posturing nationalism problem and development between Asian-African through decolonization perspective and socialism based personality themself, like African Socialism and Indonesian Socialism. As example, authors take a sample Pancasila and Pan-Africanism, with assumtion both of ideology and world-view has been become reference to Asia-Africa unification. Historically, Pancasila ideology was birth at BPUPKI trial, June, 1, 1945 which has been said as philosophische groundslag or basic philosophy, with give priority to nationality idea that located in first point.

As same with, Ruslan Abdulgani (1957), in 1970;158, about nationality as necessity to unity reflected in desired and will to “one-life”, as “huge-solidarity” who born as historic fate to together, historic-sufferings together, historic-glorious together. This case has similarities with nationalism idea, specially “fate-similarities” as nation-state and state used to “guard” until socialist society created, or “syncretism” between Economic Democracy and Politic Democracy to resulting Social Democracy/Social Republic. Through, the birth of Pancasila, June 1, 1945, would be know that five princple in Pancasila, reflected Indonesian nationalism, based on consensus among principles, such as”

- Nationality
- Internationalism or humanitarian
- Consensus or Democracy
- Social Justice
- Belief in God1

That philosophy become Pancasila’s legitimacy in Indonesia geopolitic area as cross-civilization Asia and Pacifique ocean, to find “spirit” in state where manifestated in soveregnity area. But, according “re-definition” to nationalism as told by Ir. Soekarno,(1965;76) about humanitarian nationalism as nationalism that accepted lifely as divine, and far-reaching nationalism and give a love to another nations. He analyzed that our Nationalism (Indonesia/Asian-African) was Eastern nationalism nor Western nationalism, as quoted by C.R. Das as offensive nationalism, nationalism that reaching it own needs, commerce nationalism that counting profit-loss, our land were Asian people, and part of the world or world-community2. Discourse of nationalism give explicit description about border-area geopolitic-geohistoric and lebensraum (live-space) as identity of each countries.

“The nations of Indonesia not just one group of people living with "le desir d'ĂȘtre ensemble" over a small area such as the Minangkabau, or Madura, or Yogya, or Sundanese, or Bugis, but the Indonesian nation is all human beings which, according to geopolitical predetermined by Almight Allah, to live in his unit all the islands of Indonesia from the northern tip of Sumatra to Irian! Entirely!, Because among these 70 million people already have "le desir d'ĂȘtre ensemble", has occurred Charaktergemeinschaft "! Indonesie Natie, Indonesian nation, the people of Indonesia the number of people is 70 million, but the 70 million who have become one, one, again one! (A Birth of Pancasila. Ir Soekarno's speech during the BPUPKI trial, 1 July 1945)" 3

The idea is eventually proposed Ir. Soekarno as the New World Order that fit with context of the end of World War II, as well as started of Cold War between East Block and West Block, which were represented by interests of its ideology, namely communism and capitalism, at 60’s decade. Nevertheless, conflict of interests between two pole of dominant political ideology that will impact on other countries, especially South (Asia, Africa, Latin America) were intensively by Ir. Soekarno, was raised as a force NEFO's (New Emerging Forces). Meanwhile, the new position of Pancasila itself understood as a new force that is offered as an alternative to the ideology of the world, that was a evidence universality of ideology as a unifying value of interests among nation-states as well as world-view.Just like another ideologies in this world, as a product of knowledge that generating interest for interaction with other human beings, which operated by penetration violent/violence ways or penetration Pacifique/peace ways. Thus, ideology need space to run all the power in an operational or an actor who is active as a organizer.

Manifestation of Pancasila ideology in international context can be understanding as civilization of pre-Indonesian society, or called Nusantara through existence of two Imperium Sriwijaya and Majapahit as national-state representation. As told by Ir. Soekarno on Birth of Pancasila, that Indonesia only two times experiencing nationale-staat at Sriwijaya and Majapahit period. Later, vision of national-state was implemented by Ir. Soekarno as re-unification of Southern world (Asia-Africa), according to romantically, dynamically, dialectically of Nusantara civilization itself. Furthermore, historic perspective said throughout both of Imperium, origins of Pancasila as national-concensus has began established in tolerance domain, among difference/Unity in Diversity-Live and Let Live or Bhineka Tunggal Ika. Even, commerce contact with Africa continent has began, as example in Zimbabwe, as told by Read, (2005;140) can be found some sea-route from gold-mining area in Zombabwe. One of them, can be rached through land to Zamzi river valley, near of modern city Tete, where located about 300 mile from harbour, it community were composite from Hindu societies and Zunuj. Those city located at estuary where probably entered by cruiser ship, that predictly had came from Zunuj tribe which ancestral from Indonesia (Sriwijaya region)4

Thus, idea of Pan-Africanism based nationalism ideology and idea of unification whole Africa continent, as same with culture and African personality. Historically, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B Du Bois assumed as “milestones”: from Pan-Africanism movement. So that, could be analyzed which culture presence reflected in variety of tribe/race, and have built by ideological politic instrument, along with national-conciousness or Black Conciousness. Generally, discourse about Pan-Africanism tend to political movement, not systematization of ideology-philosophy, although compability with world-view. As described by Odimegwu, (p.98) there Pan-Africanism, as a political philosophy, succeeded tremendously in the promotion of African personality and African liberation and a philosophy, however, it lacks theoretical rigour and systematization. Certainly, this is understandable for it was more a philosophy of praxis than a philosophy of thought. And further in action, it was characterized by the originating context of struggle and revolt, Pan-Africanism was more a political movement than philosophy.

Towards of New Order

Shivji, (2003;6) said that three elements of nationalism, which may be summed up as Unity, Independence, and Equality, are interrelated and inseparable. Together, they constitute and express African nationalism. In the hands of Kwame Nkrumah, who studied in the U.S. and was heavily influenced by such African-American theory giants as George Padmore and C.L.R. James, Pan-Africanism expressed the identity or the Africanness of the peoples both on the continent and in the Diaspora. To someone like Nyerere, as he himself later admitted, Pan-Africanism essentially meant African unity. Therefore, interpretation of this movement, at 1960’s become more varieties, since independence of Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Senegal with their characteristic of nationalism and personality, as example Ujamaa in Tanzania or African Socialism in Nkrumahism5.Then, composition of those struggle supported by organization as implementation of ideology, as said by Jitendra Mohan in Varietes of African Socialism, (p.223). This was especially true of those African countries whose leaders, during the protracted struggle for national independence, were able to organize mass political parties like the Convention People's Party (CPP) in the Gold Coast, the Parti De'mocratique de Guinbe (P.D.G.) in Guinea, or the Tanganyika African National Union (T.A.N.U.) in Tanganyika.

Vision of pan-Africanism most influentally by Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) about Africa unification as “urgent agenda” to make Africa as independent region, economy, politic, and culture in world civilization. As analyzed by Olaosebikan, (2011;221) at the first conference of Independent African States held in Accra, Ghana in 1958, Nkrumah submitted that the time had come when Africa should speak through the voice of her sons and daughters. He reaffirmed the same desire of projecting the African personality under a Common Government when in 1961 he wrote that

“A union of African States will project more effectively the African personality. It will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence. I believe strongly and sincerely that the African race, united under one federal government will emerge as a great power whose greatness is indestructible.6




















Fig.1, Asia-Africa Political Map after Bandung Declaration. Source: Casahistoria.net

Black skin diaspora who spreading all hemisphere, assumed by Pan-Africanism as “duty” to bring politic-consciousness to “black people”, then would be react with colonialism-imperialism-racialism. Kwame Nkrumah had a notion that achieving of African unification in Pan-Africanism vision will be effect with world condition. Thus, issues of race equality and white domination in Africa, so ideas of African personality believed as nation-state building method, because impact of European economy-politic exploitation was inferiority cultural/mentality and so skin-color. And also, justified by Africa Quarterly, Indian Journal of African Affairs, August-October (2007;22).

It was also quite explicit on the question of African unity and stressed that the artificial divisions and territorial boundaries created by the colonial powers were deliberate steps to obstruct the political unity of the African peoples. Here the link between Africa’s independence and its unity was made abundantly clear. This was in fact, the first organised attempt to assert called the ‘African Personality’. So, author conclude existence of Pancasila ideology and Pan-Africanism vision not only political instrument/governmental, but tend to cultural historic and civilization series that interlaced from period to period, along with it context. Moerover, when analyze Asian-African civilization contact, surely historical dialectic and matter-object become variabel to re-formulate those contact. Therefore, decolonization terms used as nationalism interpretation in Asia-Africa, and type of solidarity to re-build ancient cultural contact
“...I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind...” 7

Reunification or re-new old cultural contact?

Fate similarities among exploited nations in Southern region, had brought to an activities form like conference which held at Bandung, April 18-24 1955. For first time, all leaders of “colored nations” launched inter-continental conference to built political power in historical world civilization. Those event, held while international condition separated by world partition based two ideological-polar were capitalist-communist, and uniquely those partition symbolized “semantic-code” region/Western Block represented by USA and Eastern Block by Societ Union. Furthermore, polar-division always related with “mystification” World War II winner, with division of German as “defeated country in battle” through building wall where East German and West German separated each other, then “world-ruler contestation” has begun with science-technology competition, nuclear development, military intervention in Korea peninsula and Vietnam, cultural expansion and knowledge, “psywar/cold war” in Asian-African countries who already achieved their independence day.

Surely, those external factor became variable to Asian-African Conference, April 18-24, 1955. Until, those event could be performe in Bandung city. In condition economy-politic unstability, Indonesia capability to hold international-scale meeting doubtfully, and international context has been shocked by “clash-power” between Soviet Union and United States of America in Korea peninsula, attendance of 29 countries at this moment, signed a consolidation of political Lebensraum (Life-Space) of colored-skin nations. Asian-African Conference not only forming “new-block/new forces”, but as decolonize nations to build international politic, economy, culture, or make an identity ideology outside Eastern or Western. The conference purpose to build power and pushover world-peace. As told by Ir. Soekarno at Opening Speech, Asian-African conference, April 18 1955.

“...What can we do? We can do much! We can inject the voice of reason into world affairs. We can mobilise all the spiritual, all the moral, all the political strength of Asia and Africa on the side of peace. Yes, we! We, the peoples of Asia and Africa, 1,400,000,000 strong, far more than half the human population of the world, we can mobilise what I have called the Moral Violence of Nations in favour of peace. We can demonstrate to the minority of the world which lives on the other continents that we, the majority, are for peace, not for war, and that whatever strength we have will always be thrown on to the side of peace”8

Through agreement Colombo Plan, at early 1954’s, Ceylon Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawala had invited Burme Prime Minister (U Nu), India (Jawaharlal Nehru), Indonesia (Ali Sastroamidjojo), and Pakistan (Mohammed Ali) to held an informal meeting, in Ceylon. Those meeting which named Colombo Conference held at April, 28 until May, 2 1954. Later days, meeting output to Panca Negara Conference, in Bogor, at December 28-29, 1954, which “embryo” of Asian-African Conference. Those event, initiated by Ali Sastroamidjojo’s statement:

“...Cooperation among Asian-Arabian (African) countries, were importatnt, because we believe that good cooperation amongst those countries, surely would be gained effort to reach world peace. Cooperation amongst Asia-Africa countries were truthful with United Nations regulation, who think much of regional arrangements. Moreover, those countries have been like minded in some international affairs, and common ground to make special groups. Therefore, those copperation, we will be continued and tightly..38

In his notes, Umar Said 2001, result of Colombo Conference was continued with Panca Negara Conference in Bogor (December, 1954) to decide Asian-African Conference event in Bandung (held, five months later) and formulate purpose and invited countries. Participant countries were, from Asia: Afghanistan, Burme, Japan, Philipine, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Thailand, Nepal, Pakisatan, People’s Reupblic of China, Syria, Ceylon, Turkey, Yemen, Jordania. From Africa: Ethiopia, Goald Coast, Liberia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan. There were so many had a notion that Bandung Ten Principles could be output a resolution in 15th United Nations’s trial, 1960 was Declaration of Independece Justification resolution to all countries and exploited nations, or well-known as Decolonization Declaration or Bandung Declaration, include Final Communique in economic, politic, and culture. In that meeting, Bandung Ten Principle was born, such as follows

1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small.
4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
6. (a) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defence to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers.
(b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.
7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
9. Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
10. Respect for justice and international obligations.9

In that conference,has looked that Asian-African countries concerned with tension between China and United States of America, and against colonialism in North Africa. Momentum of Asian-African Conference or Bandung Conference, coincide with ‘colored nations” whose had already achieve their independence, like Indonesia (1945) from Dutch colonise, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, 1947, later 1950 Laos and Kampuchea. Eventhough, at 1955, many of African countries under Frrance, British, Portuguese colonisation. Thus, post-Bandung Conference, many of African countries achieve their independence, and after that, made relationship between Asian-African more strongly, through conjuction meeting. As told by Grimal, (1965; 288):

“...The discussions at Bandung were imbued with anti-Western and anti-Soviet propaganda: speakers upbraided 'the American tendency always to speak about freedom and rights but to support European policies to stigmatize the African and Asian nationalist movements as Communist'; others condemned Russian 'neo-colonialis”11

1.              Feith, Herbert & Lance Castells.(Eds). Indonesian Political Thinking 1945-1965. 1st published 1970, Copyright © Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London. p.179-184
2.              Op.Cit Indonesianism And Pan-Asiatism, Ir. Sukarno, Under the Banner of Revolution, 1963. Jakarta: Publisher Committe of Under the Banner of Revolution.
3.              Op.Cit.Herbert Feith, p. 179-184
4.              Robert Dick Read. The Phantom Voyagers: Evidence of Indonesian Settlements in Africa in Ancient Times. Thurlton Publishing, Inggris, 2005. See, Anthony Christie in Read, Dick Robert. 2005. P.114-115. He had assumed that Zanj word might be come from further part of Hindia Ocean. Zang or Zenj in Arabic, used to called Negro, a form in Chinese Language that appear at 607 BC, undoubtfully that Seng-Ch’i is Southeast Asia verb. Probability this words had came from Southeast Asia (PS: in that context, Sriwjaya Kingdom had been related among island by maritime power...
5.              Nkrumah, Kwame. 1966. African Sosialism Revisited. London:African Forum. "We know that the traditional African society was founded on principles of egalitarianism. In its actual workings, however, it had various shortcomings”. Also see, Nyerere, Julius K. 1962. Ujamma – The Basis of African Socialism. The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.1, no.1, 1987,p.7, “In our traditional African society we were individuals within a community. We took care of the community, and the community took care of us. We neither needed nor wished to exploit our fellow men
6.              Nkrumah, K .1963. Africa Must Unite. London: Heinemann. p.18 “...We all want a united Africa, united not only in our concept of what unity connotes, but united in our common desire to move forward together in dealing with all the problems that can best be solved only on a continental basis..”
7.              Nkrumah ,Speak of Freedom, 1961.I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1961), pp. 11-14
8.              The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia. Asia-Africa speak from Bandung. Djakarta: 1955, p. 24
9.              Wibisono, Kunto Haryo. 2011. Nusantara Geopolitic and Rising Tide of Colors (Indonesia Cultural Strategy at Asian-African Conference, 18-24 April 1955).The 3rd International Conference and Summer School on Indonesian Studies (ICSSIS), July, 11-19, 2011 at Faculty of Humanities, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia.p.20
10.           The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia (Ed.).Asia-Africa speak from Bandung. Djakarta: 1955, pp. 161-169.
11.           Grimal, Henry.1965. Decolonization the British, French, Dutch and Belgian Empires 1919-1963., Translated by Stephan De Vos Westview. Press Boulder, Colorado.p.288

*Haryo Kunto Wibisono (kuntoharyo@yahoo.com/wibisono_kunto@rocketmail.com),master degree student from Faculty of Administrative Science, Magister of Public Administration, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia. Linda Novi Trianita (lindatrianita@yahoo.com), bachelor degree student from Faculty of Administrative Science, Public Administration, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia. Bonifasius Santiko Parikesit (bonnie.parikesit@gmail.com), bachelor degree srudent from Faculty of Economic and Business, Accountancy, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia. All authors are researcher from SAAS (Society of Asian-African Studies) Indonesia.

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