Africa Manifesto: II. The Wealth to Those Who Create It! Economic Freedom Now!

 

In Africa – as everywhere else in this global capitalist bloodsucking system – the workers and poor peasants have to work hard to make the bosses rich. According to the UN's International Labour Organization, more than ¾ of all labourers in sub-Saharan Africa have to work in insecure employment conditions. About 80% are so-called “working poor,” i.e., they are poor despite their having a job and must feed themselves and their families on an income of less than $ 2 a day! Often they suffer super-exploitation beyond imagination. For example, an estimated 40% of artisanal (small-scale, subsistence, “free-lance”) miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are children, who are forced to use their bare hands to extract materials, utilizing few tools and no machinery, with devastating consequences to their health! Likewise, many women and children have no choice but to work as street traders, domestic slave labourers (maids / servants/ cleaners / baby-sitters) for the upper exploiting classes. Inequality is continuing to increase. Today, for example, the richest 10% of Ghana's population account for one third of national consumption, while the poorest 10% consume only 1.7% of goods and services!

 

The central class leading the liberation struggle is the working class, currently constituting about 30% of the African labour force. Among them are more than 37 million women workers. This is the class which produces surplus value and, hence, the profits of the capitalist corporations. It is this class which can paralyze the capitalist economy. Miners in the DRC, for example, produce more than half of the world’s supply of cobalt, without which mobile phones could not operate. When the heroic miners of Marikana in South Africa went on strike and paralyzed the South Africa platinum industry for weeks, the entire capitalist world watched nervously. The same takes places when oil workers in Nigeria go out on strike. It is the working class which develops a collective consciousness, free of any desire to become small property owners. It is the working class which will lead the struggle for a socialist future, one without classes, exploitation and oppression!

 

The most important sectors of the African working class are those employed in the strategically crucial raw material industries (oil, gas, mines, etc.) as well as other central sectors like telecommunications, transport and the public sector.

 

Given their precarious living conditions, the struggle of the working class for higher wages, decent jobs, safety in the work place, and permanent contracts instead of unprotected, informal and temporary ones – all such immediate demands play a crucial role in the coming struggles of the African working class.

 

However, as long as the capitalists control the means of production – the big enterprises and the mines – we will continue to be little more than wage slaves on the receiving end of their despotism. Economic liberation is only possible if we take back what we have created and what must serve the interests of the people. This is why the working class must organize and fight against all exploiters – irrespective of whether they are foreign corporations, white, Chinese or Indian settlers, or black capitalists!

 

This is why the RCIT says that any consistent strategy in the interest of the working class must strive to nationalize all big corporations, mines and banks under control of the workers! Only if the workers control state enterprises will we be able to ensure that no corrupt state manager or bureaucrat will misuse the means of production for the benefit of non-working class interests.

 

The most important ally of the working class is the poor peasantry – particularly in Africa – where agriculture still constitutes the largest economic sector, employing 48% of all the labour force. As, under capitalism, land can only be distributed extremely unequally, Africa has 33 million farms of less than 2 hectares in area, accounting for 80% of all farms. Landless households or those owning less than 0.1 hectare (1,000 square meters) constitute 25% of all rural agricultural households. At the same, huge swaths of African land are owned by white settlers – in South Africa a small minority of an estimated 50,000 white farmers owns around 90% of all commercial farmland in that country! Such figures reveal the authentic, capitalist nature of the government of the ANC and the Stalinist "Communist" Party which has been in power since 1994; a government that has forged an alliance with the old white ruling class instead of undertaking any serious land reform!

 

Furthermore, imperialist corporations are buying huge tracts of African land for specialized export production. Over the last 10 years, large-scale investment contracts in Africa have allocated 20 million hectares, more arable land the cultivated areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe combined!

 

Finally, there is also a significant layer of black capitalist land owners. In Kenya, three powerful political families are estimated to own more than 1 million acres (404,000 hectares) of rural land, while at least 4 million rural Kenyan citizens are entirely landless and at least 11 million own less than 1 hectare.

 

The RCIT calls for the nationalization of all large estates so that popular committees of poor peasants can decide how best to redistribute and utilize such land! Furthermore, the state must provide the poor peasants with interest-free loans. In our opinion, the most effective way to increase agricultural productivity is through the voluntary association of peasants into cooperatives.

 

An essential part of our program is the struggle for full equality for women. Today African women earn 30% less than men. They are exploited as cheap rural wage slaves in the agricultural sector. There are only few opportunities for public childcare (nurseries, kindergartens, etc). Furthermore, women suffer from violence and sexual oppression (rape, female genital mutilation, etc.). We say that, as women constitute half of our class, there can be no serious struggle for liberation without fighting for full equality for women. The RCIT therefore calls for the creation of a revolutionary women's movement!

 

Africa is the world's youngest continent: 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's population is under 25 years of age! Like women, the young constitute a super-exploited sector of our class. 70% of working youth are statistically poor despite having a job. In South Africa, half of all youth are unemployed and 40% of those employed are informal workers. Access to education is pathetic, with the result that 29.6% of all sub-Saharan Africa young people are illiterate (2011). But, in countless struggles over the past years, the youth have proven that they are determined to take their futures into their own hands! There can be no doubt that the youth will play a vanguard role in the liberation struggle! For a revolutionary youth movement!

 

As a result of the ravishments of imperialism, Africa's health system is in a disastrous state. In sub-Saharan Africa, infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS cause 69% of all deaths. While Africa bears one quarter of the world’s disease, it has only 2% of the world’s doctors. In Zambia, the doctor to patient ratio is 1:100,000! We call for a massive expansion of the health system financed by the raising of taxes on the rich.

 

Environmental pollution is a big threat to our health and our future. It caused the death of more than 9 million people worldwide in 2015, most of them living in the semi-colonial countries. In Black Africa even more people (approximately one million) die from air pollution than from malnutrition. Multinational corporations are the biggest polluters as 12.5% of worldwide industrial carbon pollution since the year 1854 is caused by Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil and Shell alone. In addition climate change is also hitting the African continent and will have the worst consequences for our people in near future. While the imperialist countries will protect themselves from droughts, storms and other natural disasters, they will force us to die in humanitarian catastrophes like they did since now. The economic liberation of Black Africa is highly urgent in order to protect nature from the imperialist beast and to establish a sustainable and environmentally friendly production. We demand the closure of all polluting companies without reparation for the capitalists! However, the closed companies must be replaced by environmentally friendly companies to keep the jobs safe for all workers! Industry and agriculture must be based on renewable resources including renewable energy! Abolish the emissions trading system! It only serves the multinational corporations, but damages the national economies in Black Africa not to speak about the catastrophic consequences for the health of the people and the planet as such. Replace it with a 100% clear energy regulation for all!

 

Pathetic conditions of housing for most urban Africans is yet another expression of the poverty enforced on us by the imperialist predators. Half of the urban citizens in Nigeria live in slums; in Ethiopia and Congo the figure is three quarters! All in all, today 60-70% of urban African households reside in slums.

 

Africa's infrastructure also suffers from backwardness imposed by imperialism. Power production is pathetic: the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa (with a combined population of 800 million) generate roughly the same amount of power as Spain (with a population of 45 million)! Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and most populous country with more than 160 million people, produces only 4,000 megawatts of power (less than half of its total demand), a fact which costs the country approximately 4% in lost GDP annually. The people of Lusaka, Zambia's capital, experience water stoppages that last days at a time.

 

Similarly, the roads and the public transport systems are, in general, in a deplorable state: Only one third of Africans residing in rural areas live within 2 km of a paved road. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that a mere 11% of all African trade takes place within sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that it would cost more to ship a ton of wheat from Mombasa (in Kenya) to Kampala (in Uganda) than to ship the same consignment to Chicago! We must enforce a public employment program to vastly expand the infrastructure and housing in sub-Saharan Africa!

 

Both in Africa, as well as internationally, the RCIT calls for:

 

* Jobs for all and higher wages! For safe and secure job! For a public employment programs to expand infrastructure, housing, health care, etc., financed by massive taxing of the rich!

 

* Nationalization of all big corporations, mines and banks under control of the workers!

 

* Nationalization of large estates so that the poor peasants can decide how to best utilize the land!

 

* Raising women’s wages to the level of their class brothers! For a popular campaign to stop violence against women!

 

* Jobs and education for all youth! Equal wages! Abolish child labour!

 

* Free health system for all, financed by a massive taxing of the rich!

 

* The right to decent food, housing and social protection for all!