The African continent, object of greed and centre of inter-imperialist rivalries in the context of the deepening crisis of the imperialist system and the struggle for the redivision of geostrategic spheres and spheres of influence, is mired in a great political storm characterized by the following facts:
In many parts of the continent (West, Central, East, Southern Africa, etc.) its states are shaken by the crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system, are very fragile and unable to meet the aspirations and demands of the peoples. They are in abject poverty and misery. The despotic and autocratic regimes imposed by military coups, by electoral fraud or reactionary civil wars impose on the people a social order marked by the absence of the most basic democratic freedoms.
The reactionary armed conflict and violence increases everywhere, in different countries and regions in Africa (Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.).
The struggle among the imperialist powers (U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, etc.) and between these imperialist powers and new ones such as China, India, Brazil and Turkey that seek to control of areas of influence in the framework of the struggle for the redivision of the world.
These rivalries are also part of the struggle for the conquest of markets and looting of the enormous mineral and agricultural resources of Africa (oil, uranium, copper, coltan,1 coffee, cocoa, etc.). The development and the struggle for the political and social emancipation of the African peoples, particularly the youth, by social revolts and mass popular movements, strongly express their demands for democratic and social rights. These struggles, although certainly uneven depending on the country, are primarily directed against:
The Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) imposed by the imperialist powers and international financial institutions, the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO).
The neo-colonial, bureaucratic, reactionary and autocratic regimes (both civil and military) and their instruments of oppression, the fascistic Parties of Defence and Security, the State without rights, etc.
This movement deserves our particular attention to draw conclusions on the basis of our Marxist-Leninist principles and promote the struggles of the African proletariat and peoples with the perspective of national and social liberation.
I) The development and fundamental characteristics of the movement for political, economic and social emancipation of the African peoples
a) The political, economic and social demands of the African peoples aim at the following points: Political freedom and a truly democratic state that can open the way for the full achievement of individual and collective freedoms and social progress. Freedom of expression, movement, association, including the freedom to create political parties in a full multiparty system.
Right of self-determination, to freely choose the political and economic system, rejection of imperialist military aggressions and interventions, rejection of the buying up of the patrimony and public assets as a result of privatization imposed by the IMF and the World Bank.
Jobs for all, access to health facilities, decent housing for all, access to education and eradication of illiteracy, food self-sufficiency.
b) The movement for political and social emancipation has a massive character: millions of men, women and youth are awakening to political life and are actively taking up the struggle with determination to achieve their legitimate demands. In many countries there have been large popular demonstrations against the high cost of living, corruption, fraud and impunity for political and economic crimes (marketplace gatherings and rallies that have become bloody clashes with the military), economic strikes and political strikes of the masses.
Some of these movements have taken the character of an insurrection (Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, South Africa, etc.).
c) The current movement of political and social emancipation of the African peoples goes up against the neo-colonial system in which the corrupt bourgeoisie in power wades between uncertainty and incompetence. Today the democratic anti-imperialist, anti-reactionary and anti-bureaucratic revolution, as an alternative to the current situation, is on the agenda for the future and to achieve a social order based on the full realization of people in the material field as well as in the intellectual, cultural, moral and spiritual fields.
d) What characterizes this movement is the lack of the subjective factor of the revolution. From this come its limitations, its political and organizational weaknesses so that often, even in revolutionary situations, the peoples are unable to convert the movement into a real revolution. This political, ideological and organizational weakness leaves room for manoeuvre to the imperialist powers and their African allies that allows them to recuperate or liquidate these movements that are the bearers of hope for the proletariat and peoples.
e) The struggle for the emancipation of African peoples broadly confirm the fundamental theses of Marxism-Leninism and highlight the following points: The bourgeois reactionary theses, the reformist theses of all kinds on the impossibility of the revolution, are being defeated by the concrete struggle of the popular masses who are demanding a new, progressive social order that would replace the neo-colonial capitalist order superseded by time.
Also defeated are the capitulationist theories on the “almighty power of imperialism, which is invincible and to which the people must bow down.” In the concrete struggle the African peoples are giving evidence of determination and heroism against the neo-colonial regimes (as in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal, Nigeria, etc.), which are leading the imperialists and their allies to disorder and confusion. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt that have overthrown the dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak are good examples of the spirit of resistance and struggle of the peoples.
All this testifies to the fact that the possibilities of imperialism are diminishing and that they find themselves in decline. On the other hand, the possibilities of the proletariat and peoples are progressively increasing. The attempts that imperialism and its African allies are carrying out to recover their strength or liquidate the movement for emancipation of the peoples are clearly showing that:
The anti-imperialist struggle, in order to be consistent, must also be a struggle against the classes and strata that are allied with imperialism. That is, at the same time it is a class struggle. The democratic, anti-reactionary and anti-bureaucratic revolution that is highly relevant in Africa should have the perspective of transition from capitalism to socialism, which is the fundamental problem of our era (the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions).
Faced with the development of the popular struggles, imperialism and its African allies are launching atrocious reactionary violence (political assassinations, attacks on peaceful demonstrations, arrests and barbaric torture on freedom fighters, brutal interventions of foreign military forces to restore the colonial order, etc.) against the peoples. Drawing lessons from the behaviour of imperialism and its allies, the masses perceive ever more fully the necessity of revolutionary violence, and in a singular manner they are increasingly practicing insurrectionary forms of struggle.
With the temporary defeat of socialism internationally and the consequent ebb in the world revolutionary movement, the reactionary bourgeoisie, the opportunists and reformists of every kind and colour were quick to proclaim the end of communism and of related ideologies : the “class struggle,” “the need for national reconciliation,” “tolerance and forgiveness,” etc.
The present situation puts the lie to these rants; life is increasingly clearly demonstrating that these sermons come from a current of crushing pressures of imperialism and the bourgeoisie who are futilely taking refuge in reforms of the capitalist system, whose wrongdoings and ugliness are repugnant. In the current situation in Africa, reformism is trying to defend colonialism and avoid a revolutionary solution to the crisis sweeping the continent
II) What is the solution to the deep crisis sweeping the African continent?
Faced with the crisis, the imperialists and their African allies are on the defensive, seeking a bourgeois solution that allows them to save and reinforce the bases of capitalist and neocolonial exploitation and oppression in the different countries. To do this, they carry out political, economic and social reforms, specifically the implementation of Structural Adjustment Plans through the IMF and World Bank.
These are liberal political and economic reforms, to stimulate a certain development of capitalism in the African countries, through integration into the world capitalist system; replacing the colonial economic base in these countries with a neo-colonial economic base. This would permit concretely the following:
Strengthening the social and political basis of neo-colonialism to renew the development of the local bourgeoisie. With this the bourgeoisie can be more conscious of its role as defender of the capitalist system, and be more effective in the management of neo-colonial interests. That is the real purpose of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) and all the measures of economic, financial and political restructuring. However, the implementation of these programs has not been achieved calmly or without problems.
On the contrary: They are sharpening the inter-imperialist contradictions that acquire a particular character since they coincide with the struggle for the redivision of the world and of Africa, taking into account the subsequent changes and rivalries within the imperialist system for its orientation. The class struggles in the different countries are becoming sharper and more complex, which sometimes confuses the proletariat and the peoples who are not sufficiently organized and are not fully conscious of what is at stake.
They put forward the need for imperialism and its African allies for open repression against the proletariat and the peoples, policies and they also implement defensive tactical policies to divert people’s movements into reformist paths. This shows the inability of imperialism and its local allies to find solutions that meet the basic demands of the African peoples; this also shows that the defenders of the neo-colonial order have a certain room for manoeuvre to delay the victory of the revolution by diverting and repressing the revolutionary movement in this or that country given the current state of affairs.
For all this, the birth or strengthening of Marxist-Leninist parties in Africa is imperative. These parties must raise the flag of the revolution for national and social liberation. This is a crucial task in the present period of acute crisis of capitalism and imperialism, for without a real Communist Party the proletariat is like army without a general staff, and cannot dream of overthrowing imperialism and seizing power. This is one of Lenin’s teachings:
“…we have now come to the question of the revolutionary crisis as the basis of our revolutionary action. […] There is no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation. The bourgeoisie are behaving like barefaced plunderers who have lost their heads; they are committing folly after folly, thus aggravating the situation and hastening their doom.
All that is true. But nobody can ‘prove’ that it is absolutely impossible for them to pacify a minority of the exploited with some petty concessions, and suppress some movement or uprising of some section of the oppressed and exploited. To try to ‘prove ‘ in advance that there is ‘absolutely ‘ no way out of the situation would be sheer pedantry, or playing with concepts and catchwords. Practice alone can serve as real ‘proof’ in this and similar questions.
All over the world, the bourgeois system is experiencing a tremendous revolutionary crisis. The revolutionary parties must now “prove” in practice that they have sufficient understanding and organization, contact with the exploited masses, and determination and skill to utilize this crisis for a successful, a victorious revolution.”2
The revolutionary struggle in Africa, as in the whole world, is based on a correct understanding and consistent practice of proletarian internationalism. Proletarian internationalism is the unity of thought and action of the proletariat of each country and of the world proletariat as a whole, in its struggle to overthrow the capitalist order by revolutionary violence; to destroy bourgeois power to its foundations, to seize the means of production, to build the World Republic of Soviets.
Proletarian internationalism is thus one of the most powerful weapons of the revolution and of the building of communism, and it is an indispensable condition to achieve it. The world and multifaceted support for the struggles of the proletariat and the peoples of Africa, of France and of the world, is now more than ever on the order of the day. We have to contribute to the development of the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations on the African continent.
We must help to strengthen the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations that is today a pole of reference and a very useful tool for the unity of the international Marxist-Leninist Movement, for the revolutionary struggle of the peoples of Africa and of the world for national and social liberation.
Long Live the Struggle of the Peoples of Africa for Their National and Social Liberation!
Long Live Proletarian Internationalism!
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta
1 Coltan is a mineral that is strategic for high technology. The Democratic Republic of the Congo holds 80% of this mineral, which is considered a non-renewable resource, for the possession of which this republic has been at war since 1998.
2 Second Congress of the Communist International: “Report on the International Situation and the Fundamental Tasks of the Communist International,” July 19, 1920.