A Comprehensive Analytical Essay on the Slave Situation in Libya: its causes, the forces operating behind it, and those profiting from it
By Mainda Simataa, ELA General Secretary, 06.Dec. 2017, Lusaka, Zambia, www.elazambia.org
Africa and Europe – Still a Servant-Master Colonial Relationship!
It is no exaggeration to say that in many African countries, the poor live and die in conditions akin to, or worse than those that existed in Hitlers German concentration camps, or Stalin’s desolate labour camps (gulags) in Siberia! So, is it any wonder then, that millions of poverty stricken Africans are mounting daring self-sponsored expeditions to escape Africa? Why are they risking life and limb to abandon their native ‘independent’ homelands to cross over to Europe, America, or Australia, and anywhere else except Africa? The answer is something we all know – African freedom or independence – whatever one may call the act of the whites ‘leaving’, is a big fat lie!!! Washington, London, Paris, and now Beijing, are still pulling the political and economic strings in Africa! They are still looting and plundering us!
Africans are not free at all, they never were so – not even in their own so called independent countries! Africans are slaves at home and abroad; but there is no denying the fact that the African slave abroad enjoys a far much better life than his counterpart at home! And so, it’s only natural for Africans at home to desire to leave for greener pastures! Africa is not free! Africans are to a great degree still haunted by the vestiges of European imperialism and colonialism; forces which have now consolidated and advanced into neo-colonialism and global capitalism. Africans are paradoxically more oppressed today than they ever were before – Africans are still haunted and hounded by the dog-effects of colonialism and capitalism – poverty, wars for resources and power, hunger, unemployment, and the oppressive tyranny of failed black puppets of global capitalism! Poor Africans are now fleeing these very hard conditions. Millions are moving out and moving house to seek economic refuge in Europe – the one place responsible for their historical and present suffering. But in typical imperial fashion, Europe via the European Union has united to slam the door shut in the face of thousands of African migrants, and they are marooned in Libyan – and they call it a Libyan problem!
All Africans must bear it in mind, and never forget: that Europe, America and the entire capitalist world have been built on three things – the tears, sweat and blood of Africans! Put another way, the continued development of the west, and now the east – China, India and others; still depends on three critical things – Africa’s natural resources, Africa’s slave labour, and Africa’s markets for the resale and consumption of their manufactured products, and also, a dumping ground for the excess products and junk! Production in the West is impossible without African resources … and more importantly, cheap labour!
The issue in Libya is therefore nothing more or less than the West quietly capitalizing on a humanitarian crisis that it caused itself, through the many years of proper plundering, pillaging, slavery and colonization in Africa! Libya – and its failed government, in this scenario, is nothing more than a victim and tool of the west – an unwitting slave corridor, and unwilling collaborator in this ‘slave’ saga in African human cargo destined for Europe and the entire capitalist west! But now, the ‘merchandise’ is marooned in Libya (not excluding Morocco and other northerners); precisely because Europe has rejected the slaves – there have too many! And why has the slave problem surfaced in Libya of all places? Precisely because it is easier for the African immigrant seeking for greener pastures in the diaspora to slip through Libya unchecked – Libya being now a failed state at war with itself, and ever since the fall of Gaddaffi!
Western Media Reports Ignoring the Role of the Capitalist US, EU, UK by Blaming Libya!
The international western capitalist controlled media – CNN, BBC, SKY, France 24, Al Jazeera, Fox, Reuters, SABC, ENCA et al, have so far done a remarkable job in trying to shift the burden of blame and responsibility for the current human catastrophe prevailing in Libya, away from themselves, by portraying the peoples/ failed government of Libya, and the entire Arab world in general, as the authors, architects, purveyors and profiteers, of what is currently being reported to the world as ‘slavery in Libya, by Libyans and for the profit of Libyan Arab slave traders! This is a cheap racist attack by the all-time racist champions themselves – white capitalist Europe and US!
Of course, such a skewed narrative of events in Libya serves a two-pronged purpose – divert black Africa’s attention/anger, and the global communities indignation at the so called slave traders; and also, cover the historical traces and tracks of the dire effects and results of centuries of western economic plunder of African countries’ resources. And now? These neo-colonial countries can barely manage to feed themselves, cloth and employ their people because the west has sucked and bled them dry! The western capitalist countries in Europe and America are in fact the topmost beneficiaries of slave labour! Today, owing to the claimed high cost of labour in Europe and America, the west is interested yet again, in exploiting cheap black labour, as they do in Latin America, Asia, and worse of all, in Africa – the bedroom of Exploitation!
African Exodus to Europe: Escaping Poverty, Unemployment, war and hunger at all Costs!
Slavery never really ended, not for colonial Africa then, and not even for semi-colonial Africa now. Poverty, unemployment, disease and hunger, war and strife, have come to characterize the larger portion of the African continent, and it has come to be as one of the most brutal places to live – not conducive for life, an inhabitable and hostile environment for life – an open air prison. Such harsh conditions prevailing in Africa did not just come out of themselves, no. They are the direct result of the ruthless and centuries-long exploitation of Africa by the capitalist world, and Europe to be specific; as it is the home of many of the countries that carved-up Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884, carving us up into numerous disjointed territories for their own gold, gain, and glory!
Alas! The ‘pigeons’ bred by the oppressive colonial system are flocking back to Europe – the source as it were. And this year alone, 2017, over 3,000 African migrants have died in the Mediterranean sea, trying to get to Europe at all costs! Over 600,000 are stranded in Libya. Indeed, the modern day African slave is not an African bound in chains and driven by the gun, no! The modern African slave is driven by hunger, and is in search of the chains of wage slavery! And to get to wherever the slave jobs may be, the modern day African slave even saves money to pay for his own passage to Europe, inspired by other slaves who have managed to break through into Europe and beyond, and also, he is encouraged and emboldened by the belief that no matter how worse things may be in Europe, or indeed as they are now in a Libyan cell; things cannot be worse than where he is coming from – war, poverty, famine and utter hopelessness!
Europe’s new Policy of Rejection of the African Migrant (Job/Asylum seeker)
The number of Africans, or so called illegal migrants that have crossed into Europe over the past few three years has created benefits for the capitalist classes of Europe who utilize cheap African labour for domestic and industrial purposes – they literally own slaves on the cheap, and where most of these immigrants are illegal or undocumented, they can be brutally exploited because they have no recourse to the law enforcement authorities. Exposure would mean deportation back to Africa’s poverty, wars, diseases and unemployment!
But the African’s mass exodus into European job markets, while it benefits the capitalists, harms the indigenous European people who are accustomed to high wages and a high standard of living – a standard which is now being degraded and eroded by the African immigrant slaves who will take up the same jobs, or any job, for far much less. The result? Xenophobia and hate against all African immigrants because, and justifiably so, the Africans are pushing job opportunities and wages down the drain as the indigenous Europeans see it! And how does the common place European politicians respond? He goes with the wind – leave the capitalists alone, but stiffer anti-immigration laws! And those anti-African immigrant laws are what have led to the build-up of the largest open-air immigrant prison in Libya, with several concentration-type facilities strewn all over Libya, holding Africans who have been forcibly returned to Africa, or caught trying to breakthrough high-razor wire perimeter fences, or trying to paddle their way across the Mediterranean Sea.
The Libyan ‘Slave’ Transporter – Business as usual!
Slave transporting is an old lucrative business, not just Libya, but all the northern African states used as entry points into Europe. All African migrants know that they cannot cross the Sahara on foot, or swim across the Mediterranean – you need specialized and experienced transport – and this of itself, has created an industry of closely knit network of slave carriers from Bamako in Senegal to the coastal town of Tangea on the Mediterranean. Very few, if any, are the Africans who are ever captured and sold as slaves to Europe. These so called slaves in fact, actively seek out transporters, and pay them a fortune! Of course the transporters exploit this desperation in many ways, among them, sleeping with vulnerable women as payment in kind for safe passage. For the men, it could mean doing donkey work without pay!
Imperialist European Union Closing its Gates to African Migrants!
The European Union, however, and without shame or remorse, is doing its evil best to block the passage of these seekers of greener pastures in Europe from Africa. In particular, they are collaborating with, and funding several governments in the northern Arab states to quash and stop any more crossings. They have funded, and even armed, the Libyan government and others to take all necessary measures stop the tide of Africans pouring into Europe, and so far, the scheme has been successful, but at the cost and detriment of the African migrant. Once the Africans are caught and sent back, if they are lucky enough not to be shot in the back or drowned at sea, they find themselves marooned in the prison-like facilities which are all over Libya.
In these ‘slave-holding’ cells, there is no law, no order, and no justice – only man’s inhumanity towards man, just as there is no rule of law in Libya itself. Militia, and all sorts of factions and under-hand dealers run the streets. These are the same cartels which are taking advantage of the stranded Africans in these cells, to promise them not only escape and freedom from detention, but even a second-attempt at crossing into Europe, but of course at a price. These slave dealers also act as employment agents, they look for people in need of workers – cheap labour (inside and outside Libya) – maids, cleaners, general workers; and then they go back to the detention facilities and pick out the lucky few, and send them on their way to freedom in slavery, Europe, Middle-east, or Dubai…anywhere, but Africa! That is the motto of the African migrant!
Such are the dynamics and intricacies of the so called Libyan slave trade! But Libya and Libyans themselves, are very far away from purposely engaging in what has become an industry of trading detainees for money to seekers of cheap labour – labour which the detained Africans are desperate for, an in active pursuit of, no matter how risky or unrewarding the end may be!
Final Revolutionary Position of the ELA on the Matter
Therefore, the Economic Liberation Association, ELA Zambia; first and foremost wishes to denounce the historical and present role European and American forces of capitalism in destroying Africa and sponsoring wars, injustice and poverty! We revile and reject the attempts of the capitalist sponsored media in trying to paint our Libyan brothers and allies in the struggle as racists and haters of black people! Libyans want what all Africans want, freedom from western capitalist interference in our economic and political affairs.
Secondly, we denounce all the unsavory elements of those profiteering elements involved in the heinous dehumanization and abuse of black African people being held in Libya. We demand for their immediate and unconditional release, compensation, and safe passage back home.
Thirdly, we call on all Pan-Africanists, Socialists and revolutionaries, to rise against capitalist-sponsored African regimes which are causing the poverty in our countries by collaborating with the foreign exploiters to defraud our rich continent and dehumanize our people!
We hold the view that Africans do not have to go to Europe or America to succeed and prosper. We have all what it takes to prosper here at home in Africa; but first, we must drive out all the capitalist exploiters and their black puppet political stooges!
Freedom now for all Africans detained in Libya!
Freedom now for all oppressed Africans abroad!
Long live the Struggle for African Freedom and Unity!
Forward with Socialism and the masses’ revolution!