May 25, Africa Liberation Day, is celebrated, as it has been since its inception in 1958, by the peoples of Africa, the African diaspora and all progressive people to mark the victories achieved in, as well as the continuing struggles for, the complete liberation and independence of the African continent. The African continent and its peoples have made many advances in the past half a century and recent years have seen the mighty struggles of the people of Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Nigeria and elsewhere for their empowerment. But the imperialist system of states, headed by the governments of Britain and the other big powers, continue to thwart the aspirations of the peoples of Africa for total liberation.
This year Africa Liberation Day is being held in the wake of the abduction of over 200 young women in northern Nigeria, as well as the recent indiscriminate bombings in that country in which hundreds have lost their lives. These criminal acts have led to an international campaign demanding that action should be taken to free those abducted. However, this has been used by the big powers to justify their intervention in Nigeria and the deployment of special forces and other militarypersonnel from the US, Britain, France and even Zionist Israel. Indeed security and “anti-terrorism” measures against Boko Haram, the organisation which has claimed responsibility for the abductions and recent bombings in Nigeria, have been co-ordinated by the government of France, which recently convened the “Paris Summit for Security in Nigeria”. This summit, attended by the heads of state of Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Cameroon and Chad, as well as representatives from the governments of Britain, the US and the EU, has created the conditions for further external intervention throughout West Africa in the future.
The government of France still has its army deployed in Mali, where it intervened in 2013, supported by Britain and the US, allegedly to combat the threat of terrorism and instability in an area in which the US army had formerly based its “anti-terrorism” operations. The French forces have done nothing to resolve the deep-seated problems in Mali, many of which stem from the period of colonial rule by France. Moreover, the government of France recently announced that itwould not only increase the numbers of troops in Mali but also deploy hundreds more in the neighbouring countries of Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad. The threat of “terrorism” has increased throughout the region, a spokesperson stressed, as a result of instability created by the NATO bombing of Libya and regime change in that country organised by the governments of France, Britain and the US. It may well be the case that those who were trained and financed by NATO to effect regime change in Libya are closely connected with those who have subsequently created instability in Mali and those responsible for recent crimes in Nigeria.
By these and other means, the big powers have created the militarisation of large parts of the African continent. The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) continues to play a major role in this. Established in 2007, allegedly as part of the “war against terror” and to bring “peace and security” to Africa, AFRICOM is widely recognised as the means to safeguard US economic interests in Africa, to place the armies of African countries under US control and as a weapon to be used against the growing power of China in Africa. It was AFRICOM that co-ordinated military intervention in Libya and that only last month staged its fourth annual naval exercises off the coast of Nigeria with the participation of over twenty of its allies from Europe, South America and Africa.
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It is not coincidental that at the same time as the militarisation of the African continent and increasing instability caused by the activities of the big powers, there are reports that Africa is on the brink of an economic take-off. It is the continent with most of the world’s fastest growing economies, and is becoming an increasingly important market and area of investment, as well as a supplier of raw materials such as oil, gas and uranium. It is therefore an area where contention between the big powers and especially between the NATO powers and the BRICS is intense. China is now the dominant economic power in Africa, in terms of both trade and investment and a major rival to the US, Britain and their allies. In Nigeria, which is now Africa’s largest economy, China is not only taking the lead in inland oil exploration throughout the north of the country but is also providing oil refineries and is becoming a key player in many sectors of Nigeria’s economy.
There is therefore evidence that a new scramble for Africa is taking place, both for economic and geo-political advantage, in which all the big powers are engaged. The contention between the big powers and their increasing intervention in the continent is justified under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” or “responsibility to protect” or “anti-terrorism”. Nevertheless, the problems the big powers claim they are intervening to solve they have themselves created. At the same time, they wish to ensure that the impoverished peoples of Africa are not able to empower themselves and take full control of their own destinies.
Recent events in Nigeria, Mali, Kenya and other parts of Africa have created the conditions for further interference and military intervention by the governments of the US, France, Britain and their allies. A situation of instability and insecurity has been created in such a way as to present African governments as incapable of managing their own internal affairs and safeguarding their citizens. Such criminal activities cannot be permitted to continue.
As we mark African Liberation Day 2014, it is with the certainty that the peoples of the African continent will indeed find the means to become their own liberators. At the same time, there is an urgent need for all progressive people to step up their struggles to prevent the continued interference in the African continent by Britain and the other big powers
Workers’ Weekly Internet Edition, Volume 44 Number 14, May 24, 2014