Central African Republic: Workers and peasants from all communities: Unite to expel French imperialism

Bring down the dictatorship of multi-national corporations and army command! Build a workers’ and peasants’ government!

Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 23.12.2013, www.thecommunists.net

 

1.            The “socialist” Hollande government of imperialist France plans to send up to 6,000 French troops into the Central African Republic (CAR) – its former colony. It is using the current civil war as a pretext for its latest colonial intervention. In reality, Paris aims secure its control over the country, so rich in natural resources,raise its role amongst the Great Powers, and divert potential unrest at home in the context of the ongoing social crisis in France. The RCIT calls for the defeat of French imperialism and condemns the French and European left reformists (FdG, PCF/ELP) who either openly or discreetly support this colonial adventure. Workers and peasants in CAR must unite to expel the French imperialists and to defeat the reactionary forces which are instigating communal divisions. The workers’ movement in France must break with the social-imperialist leadership and agitate for the defeat of the French army.

2.            While the Central African Republic is rich in natural resources, its population is one of the poorest in the world. Its main export commodity – accounting for 40-55% of export revenues – are diamonds whose quality rank fifth in the world. In addition, the World Bank estimates that at least 30% of the diamonds produced each year leave the country clandestinely yielding extra profits for the owners. It is also estimated that this mostly impoverished country possesses the fifth largest gold deposits in the world. In addition, the CAR has large uranium fields essential for the French nuclear industry. All these natural resources place the Central African Republic in the focus of imperialist power interests.

3.            Africa’s colonial legacy and its continued super-exploitation by imperialist monopoly capital – in collaboration with the local capitalist elite – and its dependency of the Great Powers have made it impossible for the continent to rationally develop its productive forces and ensure that its population shares the benefits of the immense potential wealth in natural resources. CAR is a prime example for this. More than 70% of its 4.5 million people are engaged in subsistence farming. 62.8% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Less than half are literate. Life expectancy is only 51.3 years for women and 47.7 years for men. Unsurprisingly, CAR now ranks 180 out of 186 countries on the United Nations’ Human Development Index. 47% of the children between 5-14 years are forced to work in order to survive. CAR’s diamond industry depends on the super-exploitation of about 80,000-100,000 mostly unlicensed miners who dig with picks and shovels for daily rations.

4.            The Central African Republic’s economy is effectively controlled by large imperialist monopolies. The French corporation Areva has a large stake in the country’s uranium sector. The Canadian multinationals Energem Resources and Axmin are among the five leading companies in diamond mining and gold extraction respectively. The British corporation Pan African Resources and the US company Tamija Gold & Diamond Exploration are mining gold in the CAR. Recently, the Chinese corporation CNPC and others have also become key players in the country.

5.            An important factor in understanding the current civil war is the increasing rivalry between imperialist monopolies and their respective states, rivalry which has only accelerated in the past five years due to capitalism’s intensified decline since the start of the Great Recession in 2008. On this background, the Great Powers have increased their competition for profits and power. While France and its monopoly capital traditionally dominated its ex-colony, in recent years China has become the second biggest export destination of CAR. Accordingly, Chinese monopoly capital has also significantly increased its share of investments in the country.

6.            Since attaining formal independence from the French colonial empire in 1960, the CAR has been run by a series of brutal and corrupt dictators whose rule rests on their support by imperialist powers (first and foremost France) and by the domestic army command. The most prominent of these tyrants have been Jean-Bédel Bokassa (the CAR’s one-time “emperor”), Ange-Félix Patassé, and most recently François Bozizé who seized power in a military coup in 2003. Unfortunately for Bozizé, he fell out of favor with Paris when he started cultivating business deals with Chinese imperialism in addition to those with the French.. As a result, Paris became increasingly inclined to drop its support for President Bozizé, a development which undermined the tyrant’s suppression of the Séléka Coalition which finally toppled him in March 2013.

7.            The massive military intervention of the “socialist” Hollande government – the second French military intervention in Africa after its incursion in Mali in January 2013 – clearly demonstrates that French imperialism is determined to secure hegemony in Africa. The “humanitarian concerns” ostensibly behind France’s intervention are simply propaganda intended to justify its colonial adventure before world public opinion. At least symbolically, these concerns are belied by the unabashed wearing of Nazi slogans on the uniforms of some French. The three authentic reasons for France’s military involvement in the country are, first, to save the CAR for French monopolies; second, to push out imperialist rivals; and, third, to raise France’s profile as a Great Power both inside the European Union and worldwide.

8.            On the background of utter misery, corrupt and tyrannical regimes, and inter-imperialist rivalry, the country has been marked for more than 50 years by repeated rebellions, coup d’états, and civil wars. The latest rebellion of the Séléka Coalition began with the country’s Muslim minority – about 15% of the overall population, according to the 2003 census. (Christians make up about half of the population.) Many Muslims reside in particularly poor areas of the CAR, in the sparsely-populated northeast portion of the country. This region has traditionally been neglected by the central government and its population suffered repeated abuses during the years of Bozize's dictatorship. Reactionary forces in the country have continually tried to transform the current conflict as a religious-communal civil war; Western imperialism is using this as a pretext for intervention.

9.            The RCIT calls the workers’ movement and all authentic socialists and anti-imperialists in France and worldwide to agitate and mobilize against French imperialism’s new colonial war. The task is to organize demonstrations, strikes, and direct action in order to defeat the French army. We call for support of the resistance by those forces in the CAR who have taken up the struggle against the imperialist invaders. At the same time, we warn the workers and peasants in the CAR not to give any political support for petty-bourgeois and bourgeois forces pretending to be anti-imperialist.

10.          The workers and peasants in the CAR must unite in order to overcome any attempts by reactionary forces on all sides to instigate communal hatred. Indeed there have been various reports of spontaneous solidarity between Muslims and Christians and about the formation of joint militias against reactionary sectarian forces. This spontaneous solidarity must be transformed into the conscious and nationwide building of anti-sectarian and multi-ethnic workers’ and peasants’ militias to defeat reactionary communalist forces.

11.          The only solution lies in a program which aims for the expulsion of the imperialist troops as well as the multi-national corporations. The key industries must be expropriated and nationalized by the workers and peasants. The regime, as well as the reactionary militia leaders, must be defeated and replaced by a workers’ and peasants’ government based on popular councils and militias.

12.          It is not surprising that the French “socialists” act as loyal stooges for their imperialist masters. Such so-called “socialists” have always been social-imperialists and have only become more so recently. The RCIT also unequivocally condemns the French and European left reformists of the Front de Gauche (FdG) and the French Communist Party (PCF) whose leader, Pierre Laurent, is also president of the ex-Stalinist Party of the European Left. These left reformists supported France’s colonial adventures, first in Mali and now in the CAR. Their only criticism of the French incursion is limited to advising that such interventions should be undertaken under the command of the United Nations – the robbers' cave of the imperialist Great Powers. Characteristically, they have backed the Hollande government in parliament and the PCF has now decided to form an electoral alliance with the Socialist party in the first round of the upcoming municipal elections in Paris. These ex-Stalinists and new-born social democrats are also social-imperialists who in reality betray the working class.

13.          More than ever, it is urgent to build a revolutionary workers’ party in France, the CAR, and worldwide to fight against imperialism and reactionary dictatorships, and to lead the popular masses towards liberation. Such a party must combine the struggle for national liberation and against social cuts with the call for a workers’ government and a socialist revolution nationally and internationally. This can be only be achieved by an organized struggle of the working class, led by a revolutionary party in the tradition of Lenin and Trotsky. From the very start, creating such a revolutionary workers party must be done in conjunction with the efforts to establish a new World Party of Socialist Revolution. In our opinion, such a new party will be the Fifth Workers’ International. The RCIT calls revolutionaries to unite in a Bolshevik organization based on an internationalist and communist program.

 

International Secretariat of the RCIT