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By Kwame Nkrumah

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Additional info for Consciencism: Philosophy and the Ideology for Decolonization

Sample text

I have in illustration tried to show how the principles which inform capitalism are in conflict with the socialist egalitarianism of the traditional African society. What is to be done then? I have stressed that the two other' segments, in order to be rightly seen, must be accommodated only as experiences ofthe traditional African society. Ifwe fail to do this our society will be racked by the most malignant schizophrenia. Our attitude to the Western and the Islamic experience must be purposeful.

In that proposal, philosophy would be an instrument of the ideology belonging to the social order proposed by Plato. Philosophy performs this function in two ways. It performs it as a general theoretical statement to which a specific social-political theory is parallel. I have illustrated this in the discussion of some early Greek philosophers in the second chapter. Philosophy also performs this ideological function when it takes shape as political philosophy or as ethics. Through political philosophy, it lays down certain ideals for our pursuit and fortification, and it becomes an instrument of unity by laying down the same ideals for all the members ofa given society.

Capitalism is a development by refmement from feudalism, just as feudalism is a development by refmement from slavery. The essence of reform is to combine a continuity of fundamental principle, with a tactical change in the manner ofexpression ofthe fundamental principle. Reform is not a change in the thought, but one in its manner ofexpression, not a change in what is said but one in idiom. In capitalism, feudalism suffers, or rather enjoys reform, and the ftmdamental principle of feudalism merely strikes new levels of subtlety.

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