Tag Archives: Africa

Battle for Resources Behind Endless Wars in Africa

The bosses’ mass media reports about Africa only when Madonna or Angelina Jolie adopts another baby or when another massacre or tragedy occurs. But they rarely explain what’s really happening there. This series will present a communist analysis of events on that continent.

Kenya is the latest victim of a combination of imperialist super-exploitation of Africa’s workers and its resources and how crooked capitalist politicians use tribal politics to pursue their own interests. For many years, there was little tribal conflict in modern Kenya; people basically got along. U.S. and British imperialists used Kenya as a base to invest, super-exploit and wage their “war on terror” in the region. But amid growing inter-imperialist rivalry and capitalist economic turmoil, the imperialist-created “stability” of Kenya was bound to fail.

The power struggle between President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga sparked an explosion. Kibaki stole the December election and now refuses to give Odinga a piece of the action despite calls by Koffin Annan, Barack Obama (whose father is Kenyan), Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) and Condi Rice. Hundreds have died in clashes between supporters of both politicians, and 500,000 now need immediate relief because of this politicians’ dogfight.

4 Million Killed in Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has again erupted into a bloody civil war, particularly in its Eastern region. It’s being labeled a re-play of the fight between Tutsis and Hutus that led to the murder of hundreds of thousands in Rwanda and Burundi over a decade ago.

A front-page NY Times article (1/10) reported: “The recent clashes in eastern Congo…have exacted a grievous toll on a region ravaged by a decade of war. Around 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, thousands of women have been raped and hundreds of children have been press-ganged into militias, the United Nations says….But the fighting is also rekindling the kind of ethnic hatred that previously dragged this region into the most deadly conflict since World War II.”
The rebels fighting the Congo army are Tutsis, who many see representing the Rwandan rulers who aim to control this part of the Congo. But while this conflict is defined as involving ethnic and tribal politics, economic and political factors are really behind this endless war in that country. (Since the 1990s, this war has killed over four million people, beginning with the fall of long-time strongman Mobutu, a rabid anti-communist first installed by the CIA and then propped up in his last few years by French imperialism).

The real fight is over the region’s mineral wealth — gold, diamonds and coltan (used in ballistic missiles and cell phones) are among the many lucrative minerals mined there. Usually, local bosses and generals work as subcontractors for multi-national corporations from Europe, the U.S. and South Africa which buy and trade these minerals.

(Future articles will explore the role of inter-imperialist rivalry in the misery of Africa; Chinese and Russian energy giants’ involvement in the imperialist power game, from Darfur to Nigeria; Pentagon creation of a new command to protect U.S. imperialist interests in the region; and how the powerful working class of South Africa and Nigeria can play an important role — if given red leadership — in helping liberate all of Africa from imperialism and their local capitalist lackeys.)

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KENYA: Imperialist-Sponsored ‘Democracy’ Blows Up

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 2 — Kenya was considered the most stable capitalist democracy in this part of Africa and a gold mine for imperialist exploitation, but the violence following the rigged presidential election last week has blown all that. Kenya is too important for world imperialism not to try to squash a power struggle between two politicians that could turn into another Rwanda. The two candidates are using tribal politics in their fight but in reality their thirst for a bigger piece of the capitalist pie is behind this conflict. The two men became enemies after Kibaki (the current ruler) reneged on a 2002 deal that would have given Odinga (the opposition candidate claiming fraud) the premiership in return for his support in the election.

Kenya’s importance to the imperialists is as a regional base for multi-national corporations like Barclays Bank, British American Tobacco and Unilever, among others who viciously exploit African workers. Its port of Mombassa is crucial to transport manufactured goods, fuel and military equipment for Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southern Sudan. Financial Times columnist Michael Holman, wrote (1/1/08)): “For the outside world, Kenya has been the acceptable face of Africa: a safe destination for a million tourists a year from Europe, Asia and North America to the country of surf and safari; a reliable base, in a tough neighbourhood, for a burgeoning aid industry; regional headquarters for the United Nations; and — less well-known — a country whose military pacts with the U.S. and Britain have made it a crucial ally in the ‘war against terror.’ Kenyan politics, however, has never been healthy. It has been dominated by ethnic allegiances, stained by assassination, distorted by one-party rule until 1991 and, above all, oiled by endemic corruption.” These are central features of worldwide capitalism.

The U.S. government wanted the situation to remain stable enough to have congratulated Kibaki for his “victory,” even though it’s common knowledge it was fraudulent. Then, on Dec. 31, Washington effectively retracted that initial position with a fresh statement expressing concern about “serious problems experienced during the vote-counting process.”

The instability of world capitalism, with its imperialist wars, economic crises, corruption and fascist terror, is deadly for workers and their allies in Kenya, Pakistan, Iraq and more “hot spots” that will surely arise in the future. This instability sharpens the divisions among workers and their allies along tribal, religious and national lines. These contradictions cannot be solved under capitalism. The world’s workers are in dire need of rebuilding an international revolutionary communist movement that unites our class and allies based on our common interests to fight our common enemy: capitalism, imperialism and their crooked politicians.

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