International Anti-Imperialist Conference at Dakar
As a result of the appeal issued at Dakar in August, 1996 by the RTA-S [Union of African Workers - Senegal], the Union of the People of the Cape Verde Islands in reconstruction UPICV(R) and SANFIN (The Multitude) of Mali, (see Annex, last pages), there was held at Dakar on August 3 and 4, 1997, an international anti-imperialist conference around the theme: "Which roads for African liberation?"
This conference, which brought together the UPICV(R) (Cape Verde), SANFIN (Mali), Congress of Progressives for Liberation (D.R. Congo, ex-Zaire), Working People's News (USA) and the RTA-S (Senegal), took place several days after that of the African Committee of the Socialist International and thus constituted a reply of great political significance.
The conference adopted several resolutions dealing with political and ideological questions relating to the liberation of the peoples of Africa, the Black nations and race. We are publishing these resolutions in this brochure. We would also like to place at the disposal of internationalist anti-imperialist organizations and militants the texts reflecting the elements of unity among the participants at the conference on the crucial question of the liberation of the Black nations and race from their age-old oppression. We would like other organizations who support this cause to take part in the current discussion and to contact us (see the list of addresses at the end).
1 The genocide in Rwanda against the anti-fascist Tutsis and Hutus.
The process of recolonization of Africa with the Structural Adjustment Plans imposed by the imperialist financial institutions (IMF and World Bank), the OPA on the profitable and strategic sectors of the African national economies by means of privatizations;
The slow killing by illnesses, the endemic unemployment, the high cost of living and the inaccessibility of the products of prime necessity for an increasing mass of working people and their families;
- the increasing discrimination against women (especially in relation to jobs) while they are more and more supporting the weight of dependents;
- the crisis in education, the massive unemployment of the youth racked by anxiety and despair;
- the withdrawal of governments from social services (health, education, transportation, etc...):
they are the principal manifestations of the catastrophe in Africa caused by the temporary defeat of socialism and the aggravation of the crisis of imperialism.
In the most general manner, it is all the Black nations, the Black race and the Black national minorities around the world who are suffering the tragic consequences of the defeat of socialism and the aggravation of the crisis of imperialism. It is thus that, in the United States of America, imperialist reaction is attacking the rights and social gains of the Black nation in the Black Belt and the Black national minorities in the whole country.
2. In the formerly socialist countries, the restoration of capitalism has led to the loss of national sovereignty, unemployment, the drop in birth rate, the increase in infant mortality, the liquidation of the social, economic and cultural achievements of socialism.3. In the industrialized countries of Europe, Asia and America, the crisis of capitalism has led to an attack on the social and democratic gains of the working people of the post-war period and a growing pauperization. The immigrants are more and more the victims of racism and xenophobia, and the fascist forces such as the National Front in France are gaining ground every day.
The Europe of Maastricht means the formation of an imperialist pole in competition with the American and Japanese pole. It has already caused the liquidation of public services, increasing unemployment, the fall in the purchasing power of the working people.
The formation of this imperialist pole has a direct repercussion on the purchasing power of the workers in Africa, particularly in the countries of the French Colonial Empire.
Faced with the imperialist offensive, the workers and the peoples are developing their resistance and progressively retaking the initiative.
- the victory of the armed popular insurrections in Rwanda and in the Congo is the herald of a second phase of decolonization of the African continent;
- the rise and the tendency to generalization of the strike movements in various countries of Africa;
- the active boycott of the elections in Mali, which is a challenge to the bourgeois forces who have monopolized power following the popular insurrection of February-March, 1991;
- the fierce resistance of the Algerian people to the religious fundamentalist fascists and the military power obedient to the diktat of the Bretton Woods institutions;
- the formidable resumption of the class struggle of the proletariat in November-December, 1995, in France;
- the exemplary struggle of the "undocumented";
- the resistance, despite the gravest difficulties, of Cuba and North Korea;
- the armed uprising in Albania against the fascist dictatorship of Berisha;
- the electoral victories of the parties that came out of the old communist parties in the formerly socialist countries, electoral victories which reflect the strong disillusionment of the workers regarding the promises of a capitalist "paradise";
these are strong blows to the myth of the "invincibility of imperialism" and the "establishment of a new international order of 1,000 years."
1. In the present context of the rise of the Popular Democratic National Revolution, our principal tactic continues to be to work to insure the leading role of the proletariat. The working class in the African countries, in the Black nations, allied with the peasantry, is the only one able to insure the pursuit of the process of liberation up to its socialist stage. The construction by the working class of a revolutionary vanguard party constitutes the condition sine qua non.
2. Therefore, it is necessary to combat the pan-Africanism of the right which politically and ideologically subjects the worker and peasant masses to the leadership of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, as was the case during the first phase of the decolonization of the continent. The pan-Africanism of the right advocates, meanwhile, "the unity of the African peoples" in their submission to the imperialist yoke. We must oppose to this "the free union of the peoples of Africa," the free union of Black nations freed from imperialism.
The pan-Africanism of the right also supports the political and economic institutions, intermediaries of imperialist domination such as the UEMOA, the denial of the national State, of the right to self-determination of the oppressed peoples and nations, under the pretext of forming viable economic entities.
The victory of the anti-fascist popular insurrection in Rwanda and the Congo, examples to exalt and popularize, has benefited from the militant solidarity of the peoples of the sub-region against colonialism and apartheid; revolutionary pan-Africanism today must precisely take on this meaning of concrete support to the popular uprisings directed against imperialism. And each liberated African country and people has the duty to form itself into a rear base area of struggle for the liberation of other African peoples, of other Black nations.
3. To struggle for the leading role of the proletariat in the Popular Democratic National Revolution, also means to struggle today against three types of deviations:
a) electoral illusions made potable by the imperialists relayed by the liberals and the reformist organizations of petty-bourgeois democracy. The Socialist International, whose member parties are in power in the majority of the imperialist countries of Europe, is the principal instigator and support of the electoral constitutional roads.
It is the duty of the workers and their vanguard organizations to make use of all the favorable moments of political life to put forth widely their demands and alternative program, to denounce the imperialist yoke, to reinforce their ranks by rallying new contingents of combatants; it is necessary now as in the past to openly challenge electoral illusions. Experience has eloquently proved that, far from resolving the demands for bread, land and freedom, the National Conferences have been a "circus of fools inspired and supported by the imperialists (...) to suffocate the popular insurrection growing throughout Africa." (See the Appeal from Dakar "For the unity of the revolutionary anti-imperialist organizations of Africa.") And the elections are characterized by massive frauds organized by the pro-imperialist regimes in power.
b) Besides the danger of the propagation of the electoral illusions, there is, as a counter-part and punishment for this sin of the right, the danger of "theoretism." This left deviation threatens to concretely suffocate the class struggle. The vanguard is not a genuine one unless it carries out what it is capable of, taking hold of the vital demands of the masses, bringing light to the struggles of the workers and popular masses, making them converge towards the same goals: liberation from imperialism.
c) The absence of the proletarian revolutionaries from the daily struggles of the masses inevitably leads to the seizure by the petty-bourgeois reformists and the labor aristocracy of the workers' and popular organizations. And, in connection with the desertion of the field of the daily struggles by the liberals and the reformists, this contributes to the development of anarcho-syndicalism. The anarcho-syndicalists constitute a brake on the possibility of the working class forming itself into the vanguard of the democratic and popular national revolution. It is necessary to combat it as such.
The anti-imperialist conference at Dakar appeals to the anti-imperialist organizations in Africa and in the oppressed Black nations to unite their forces in the struggle for the liberation of the Black nations, of the Black race from its age-old oppression.
It appeals to them, while continuing the discussions to consolidate political unity on the fundamental questions of the roads to the liberation of Africa, to act now to propagate consistent anti-imperialist conceptions, against the theories of capitulation based on "the invincibility of imperialism."
It appeals to them to provide concrete support to the peoples of Africa who, as in Rwanda and the Congo, are rising up against the imperialist yoke.
It appeals to the internationalist forces of Europe, America, Asia and Oceania, to support the cause of the liberation of the Black nations, of the Black race. It expresses its solidarity and its support:
to the peoples confronting the plots of the imperialists such as Cuba and North Korea;
to the peoples victimized by imperialist aggressions for having dared to reclaim control of their wealth such as the Iraqi people;
to the working class and all the working people in the developed capitalist countries who are suffering the consequences of liberal policies;
to the immigrants in these countries who are victims of the racist and xenophobic policies, particularly the "undocumented" who are struggling for the regularization of their administrative status.
Done in Dakar, August 4, 1997
In the world today, we must take note of the fact that imperialism today is still the principal enemy of the peoples.
The imperialists have divided the world among themselves and continue to vie with each other for a redivision of the world according to their own interests, to seek maximum profit.
In this framework, the Black peoples of Africa, the Black nation in the United States and the Black race in general are suffering from a particularly barbarous oppression on the part of imperialism.
Therefore the International Conference takes up the perspective of:
1. support for the national revolutionary struggle in Africa for a true anti-imperialist national independence and the struggle for the anti-imperialist liberation of the Black nation within the United States.
2. struggles against racist oppression as an integral part of the internationalist anti-imperialist struggle since it is the form of oppression from which the Black race is suffering internationally.
3. support for the struggle for the right to self-determination by the Black nation in the Black Belt South of the United States.
4. the realization that the revolution in the developed capitalist countries will take place in relation to the revolutionary national struggle in Africa.
Done in Dakar, August 4, 1997
Considering the age-old imperialist policy of "divide and conquer" and imperialist oppression suffered by the Black peoples, nations and race;
Considering that the fundamental masses who are the principal victims of imperialist exploitation and oppression are the Black workers and peasants;
The International Conference at Dakar maintains that:
* semi-colonial pan-Africanism still exists in the framework of the OAU [Organization of African Unity], the UEMOA or the CEDEAO etc... These institutions are in reality semi-colonial re-editions of the colonial entities -- AOF [French West Africa] and AEF [French Equatorial Africa]. These are the frameworks which serve the interests of the African bourgeoisies subservient to the imperialist powers.
* imperialist oppression and exploitation are creating the objective conditions for the legitimate aspiration of the Black peoples, nations and race to unite in the anti-imperialist struggle.
* the obstacle to the unity of the Black peoples, nations and race has always been and remains today imperialism which, since the 19th century, has created artificial borders in Africa that are maintained by the OAU. This is, for example, the case of the Congo (Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (ex-Zaire) which have related populations. Likewise, in Ghana and Togo, a single nationality, the Ewes, have been divided by an artificial border.
* Furthermore, it is necessary to do away with the manifestations of chauvinism towards Africans who were not born in the African countries in which they reside. Now, the leaders who have come to power in the African countries have not put into effect revolutionary pan-Africanism, because of their bourgeois and petty-bourgeois class nature.
* We take from pan-Africanism a class conception, that of the classes whose interests we defend, namely the working class and its principal ally, the peasantry. We link in an organic fashion pan-Africanism to the anti-imperialist struggle. On this basis, we are working for the "free union of the free peoples of Africa," according to the famous formula of Thiémokho Garang Kouyaté.
* And in the wake of the Appeal of Dakar, we affirm that this is "the sure road to African unity" and that this is nothing but the outcome of the principle of the right to self-determination of the peoples, up to and including separation, and of the democratic principle of the equality of rights for all the nationalities which comprise our multi-national States.
Done in Dakar, August 4, 1997
In 1994, the same ethno-fascist program led to the genocide of more than a million anti-fascist Tutsis and Hutus. The struggle in Rwanda is characterized, on the one hand, by genocide, and on the other, by the victory of the RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Forces] which put an end to the genocide.
We condemn and reject the demagogic appeal for immediate elections in the Congo and we call upon the forces of liberation, the workers and the peasant masses in the Congo to struggle for the Democratic and Popular National Revolution as this is the immediate democratic task.
The anti-imperialist Conference at Dakar calls upon:
1. all the anti-imperialist democratic and revolutionary forces to demand the non-interference of Western imperialism in the Congo and Rwanda, to organize demonstrations in front of their embassies, to sign petitions, to write letters of condemnation to the local and international press and to take other forms of actions;
2. the forces of liberation in the Congo to wage a merciless struggle against the Mobutuist fascists supported by imperialist propaganda; this ethnic and racist propaganda is directed against the anti-fascist combatants of the Congo and Rwanda;
3. all the revolutionary democratic forces to give consistent political and material support to the Congolese peasants masses and workers to halt the catastrophe created by the Mobutuist regime and Western imperialism.
The International Conference at Dakar demands:
1. the complete publication of all the holdings in the form of money, property or precious stones, etc..., stolen by Mobutu and the Mobutuists and hidden in the capitalist banks throughout the world as well as the restitution without delay of all the wealth looted from the Congolese people;
2. recognition by the Belgian and French governments of the genocide of Belgian imperialism in the Congo committed during forced labor picking cotton and of the genocide against Tutsis and anti-fascist Hutus in 1994;
3. the prosecution and trial of the authors of the Rwandan genocide scattered around the world, particularly in certain African countries, in Belgium and in France;
4. the immediate cessation of the lying campaign of Western imperialism, particularly French imperialism, about the alleged massacre of Hutu refugees;
5. the bringing to justice of Mobutu for crimes against humanity for the systematic massacre perpetrated against the African people of the Congo;
6. the beginning of a trial of the French government for its role in the genocide in Rwanda of 1 to 2 million anti-fascist Tutsis and Hutus.
Dakar, August 4, 1997
This anti-imperialist conference brought together:
* the Union of the People of the Cape Verde Islands in reconstruction
* the Congress of Progressives for Liberation (CPL) of the Congo;
* Working People's News (WPN) of the United States,
* Sanfin/The Multitude of Mali,
* the Union of African Workers-Senegal (RTA-S).
It has put on record the communications of the Chadian Action for Unity and Socialism (ACTUS) and of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast (PCRCI).
The participants at this anti-imperialist conference undertake to continue the discussion for a national, democratic, anti-imperialist and popular alternative and have, towards this aim, put in place a Follow-Up Committee charged with preparing for the next conference.
The Follow-Up Committee is composed of the Working People's News, the Progressives for the Liberation of the Congo and the Union of African Workers - Senegal. They have charged the RTA-S with assuring the coordination of the work of the Committee.
Done in Dakar, August 4, 1997
For the Unity of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Organizations of Africa
On the occasion of the 5th Ndaje ("Meeting") of the workers' and people's journal of Senegal Xal Wi (The Embers), representatives of the Union of the People of the Cape Verde Islands (In Reconstruction) [U.P.I.C.V.(R.)], of Sanfin (The Multitude) of Mali and of the Union of African Workers - Senegal/Organizing Committee for the Party (RTA-S/COP) met to exchange [views] on the situation of the different countries and more generally on our continent.
The delegations of the three organizations agreed on the urgency of unity of the revolutionary anti-imperialist organizations of Africa to face this situation.
Therefore they have decided to issue this appeal, as a first step towards this unity.
The structural adjustment plans imposed everywhere by the IMF and the World Bank today have as a consequence massive lay-offs, the ruin of the systems of health and education, an extreme pauperization of the peasant masses, a generalized impoverishment of the middle layers of the towns. The devaluation of the CFA [French African Community] franc and the freeing of [=removal of subsidies from] the prices of articles of mass consumption imposed on the countries of the West of the continent have increased the daily difficulties of the population, faced with the high cost of living and a galloping inflation.
With the privatization of strategic sectors of the economy, sold off to imperialist finance capital, we are witnessing a pure and simple recolonization of the continent. The formal proclamation of the community of Portuguese-speaking countries (C.P.L.P.) inspired by the European imperialist Center (E.U. [European Union]) is an example of the Balkanization of Africa.
At the same time, in many countries of the continent, the activity of the fascist, fundamentalist and ethnic extremists is actively encouraged and supported by the imperialists as a counter-weight to the awakening of the popular struggles. This was the case in Rwanda, where the third genocide of this century was perpetrated; it is the case in Algeria, where the fundamentalists are terrorizing the working class and the working people opposed to their medieval objectives. The increase of the activity of the fundamentalists is a phenomenon which tends to become generalized to the rest of the continent.
In Somalia, in Liberia, imperialist interference is accentuating the confrontations between rival armed factions which are plunging into mourning the populations of these countries who are from now on without a State. And overall, epidemics such as AIDS, cholera, typhoid fever are decimating the working masses.
Thus, imperialist domination and oppression of the wounded peoples of Africa today takes on a character of veritable organized massacres.
This is exactly what is taking place: the populations of this continent are not the victims of some kind of so-called "curse," they are suffering from the chains of age-old imperialist oppression which is still rampant today. The cancer which is progressively gnawing at our continent has no other name than that of imperialist domination and oppression.
It is this monster which must be eliminated!
Therefore, it is necessary to face the ideological offensive which, with the victory of the counter-revolution in the USSR and the Eastern countries, the unleashing of unlimited imperialist reaction illustrated by the Gulf War, tends to give credit to the idea of the invincibility of the imperialist system.
It is necessary to explain that yes, socialism has lost a battle, but not the war. It is necessary to point to the monstrous aberrations of the imperialist system which, despite its appearance, is shaken by a persistent crisis and one of unprecedented depth; to explain tirelessly that it is imperialism which is responsible for reactionary wars of extermination as in former Yugoslavia, the frenzied attacks on the gains of the working people in the very citadels of capitalism, the rise in racial hatred and xenophobia toward immigrant minorities, the massive unemployment and the loss of social gains today in the USSR and the old countries of the East. It is necessary to systematically demolish the myth of the invincibility of imperialism, echoed on our continent and propagated by the liberals and the capitulatory petty bourgeoisie.
It is also necessary to think deeply over concrete examples (such as the struggle for national liberation led by the RPF in Rwanda), to exalt and propagate them. We must prove, by theory and facts, that the masses, once they are politically educated, organized and mobilized, can defeat imperialism and its allies, the private and State comprador bourgeoisie, and defend with arms in hand their independence and national sovereignty. This alternative, which only the revolutionaries can bring about, necessitates the total rupture with the circus of fools of the so-called National Conferences inspired and supported by the imperialists at the beginning of the 1990s to cut short the popular insurrection rising throughout Africa.
The meaning that we must give to the ideas of solidarity and unity of the anti-imperialist revolutionaries of Africa is: to support the experiences of revolutionary struggle on the continent, to help overcome their weaknesses, and to inspire us for the struggle in each of our countries.
To concretize this solidarity and unity, an adequate framework is necessary; a framework which will allow meetings, exchanges and discussions among organizations which join in a genuine revolutionary alternative of the left, breaking with imperialism to create the conditions for socialism.
This framework must permit each organization to know better the situation in the other countries, to support and popularize the struggles of the masses of these countries in their own country; it must permit each organization to be inspired by the experiences in political education and organization of the masses in the other countries.
The challenge is formidable: to prevent the pure and simple genocide of the peoples of our continent. But united, we can certainly stand up to the task. It is at any rate our historic responsibility, for us anti-imperialist revolutionaries of Africa.
Done in Dakar, August 6, 1996
Working People's News
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