For Popular Councils And An Indefinite General Strike To Deepen Struggle! Form Popular Militias To Stop the Military Crackdown!
Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), the Nigerian Section of the RCIT, 22nd October, 2022. https://communism4africa.wordpress.com
As Nigerians commemorate the dastardly massacre of EndSARS protesters throughout the country on October 20, 2020, the Deby junta was slaughtering scores of demonstrators in what is the most unprecedented protest in the last 30 years of Chadian history.
Baby Deby (Mahamat Idriss Deby), who was installed as military president after 30 years of his father Papa Deby’s (Idriss Deby) reign as military head of state which ended last year when he visited troops on the frontline. Deby has since strung the Chadian masses along with promises of “elections”, “transition” but “as the deadline neared, a nationwide forum staged by Deby reset the clock. On October 1, it approved a new “maximum” 24-month timeframe for holding elections. It also named Deby “transitional president” and declared he could be a candidate in the poll. Deby was sworn in on October 10 and later appointed a so-called government of national union headed by Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo.” ¹
Thus, the people marched on to the streets calling for an end to the Deby military succession on October 20, the termination date for the initial transition period. The Deby dictatorship responded with a brutal massacre, killing over 60 protesters in the capital N’Djamena and Moundou, Chad’s second largest city with scores more injured. The arrested in this brazen display of state terrorism number in the hundreds. ²
The standard of living in Chad is one of the lowest in Africa, a direct consequence of being under the stranglehold of French clientelism. This is, of course, possible due to the unholy alliance which the former colonial master of Chad forged with the local ruling elite by leaving out the crumbs of super-exploitation of the country for them. France has been called out repeatedly for its foreign policy in its former West African colonies. Apart from the super-exploitation of Francophone West Africa by carting away thousands of tonnes of solid minerals from these countries annually. French imperialism is known for its notorious Colonial Pact which mandates all French colonies seeking independence to pay for all infrastructure built during the colonial era and includes what is called the “colonial tax” — a system where the neo-colonies have at least 50% of their foreign reserves (based on the imposed CFA Franc) in French banks. ³
Add to this list of malfeasance the expansion of Salafist Groups such as Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and ISWAP in Chad, all of which have ties with the neo-colonial status of the country.
We stand in solidarity with the masses fighting for democracy on the streets and demand justice for the slain. Even as these lines are being drafted, fresh reports of door to door searches of participants in Thursday’s demonstrations and vandalisation of their property pop up throughout the capital. For justice to be served, the immediate line of action is to stop the crackdown by forming popular militias that will also guard political actions to bring down the Deby regime. Popular councils must also be formed in communities, neighbourhoods and workplaces to expand the anti-government protests into an anti-establishment movement which opposes all forms of oppression in every sphere of living in Chad. Such popular councils must coordinate on a national level to replace the moribund neo-colonial capitalist political elite as new organs of power in a workers and poor peasant government.
It is equally important that workers pressurise the trade union structures to join the struggle and declare an indefinite general strike to completely cripple the regime economically and financially. In a civil war between demonstrators, opposition parties, in short the popular masses on the one hand and the Deby dictatorship on the other, revolutionaries stand for the defeat of the Deby regime and the defence of the pro-democracy campaigners.
We reiterate that as long as West Africa is ruled by local stooges of imperialist powers, the region will never be free. Thus, French or Western imperialism must not be replaced by Russian as is now being done in Mali, or Chinese imperialism. None of these powers can truly eradicate Salafist Islamism because it is a consequence of Great Power jingoism which will persist as long as capitalism survives.
Revolutionaries must link the fight against Deby and his jackboots with the struggle against the military regime in Guinea, Sudan. We must unite the struggle into one international bulwark against capitalism and neo-colonialism and for democracy.
Ending dictatorship or bonapartism in Chad goes beyond merely transitioning to civilian rule since civilian rulers can also withhold power for decades and even kill their citizens in cold blood. For example, the Biya regime in Cameroon and the Buhari regime in Nigeria respectively. It means ending capitalism’s neo-colonial imprint on the country. That is, expropriating the bourgeois class at home; nationalising the multinational enterprises; defeating the imperialist proxy governments and kicking out their troops from the region. So that a government composed of workers and other sections of the oppressed can redistribute wealth and resources evenly. Only then will Chad be free!
1. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/20/clashes-chad-protesters-demand-transition-civilian-rule, https://apnews.com/article/idriss-deby-ndjamena-chad-central-africa-475405fd7202ef79bc71dd30e9e1c95e