N° 33 mars 2023 The summit of the Organization of African Unity. Israel has been asked to take the door to the summit!
The summit of the Organization of African Unity.
The free trade zone
The African Union (AU) Summit was held on February 18 and 19 in Addis Ababa. African leaders were called upon, on the occasion of this summit, to discuss mainly the acceleration of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAf). The idea is that the countries of the AU “combined their efforts to materialize this old dream of the economic integration of the continent”.
African leaders regret that the volume of intra-African trade does not exceed 15% of the continent's overall trade and want to tackle this problem. But, to do this, they establish a free trade area, a common market as at the beginning of the European Union. It is therefore a question of creating an area dedicated to the promotion of economic integration in its aspects related to the free movement of people and goods.
This state of affairs, which it is understandable to want to remedy, is explained by historical, political and economic factors, the inequality in the level of development of African countries, the covetousness of which the continent, the scene of rivalries between the great imperialist powers, is the object, the absence of political will on the part of certain leaders and comprador bourgeoisies to emancipate themselves from external influences, therefore, in summary by the place of attic for raw materials and cheap labor that Africa occupies in the current organization of world capitalism at the imperialist stage.
Today, a number of African leaders have stopped thinking that the salvation of the continent could only come from other horizons. And this, independently of the conception they may have of this salvation (that of their capitalists or that of their people). This explains both the desire for peace, to which we will return, and the establishment of a free trade zone.
It is certain that Africa is a continent full of potential, both human, with a predominantly young and increasingly educated population, and natural wealth.
However, the goal would only be for Africa to become: “an economic power, a diplomatic voice that counts in international relations” .
Can a Free Trade Area solve the economic and social difficulties in which many Africans live? It is the Bourgeoisies of the countries most involved in the capitalist process that will draw the chestnuts from the fire of the “free circulation of men and goods” , at the expense of the workers, especially of the poorest and least industrialized countries.
The Free Trade Zone is also a means of above all not asking the question of leaving capitalism. What would the Lumumba, N'Krumah, Cabral, Sankara, Nasser or Boumediene and others have thought of it? Certainly not good. Take the case of Niger, one of the poorest countries in Africa, although its soil is rich in minerals and in particular uranium. What would improve the lot of the workers and people of Niger? Nationalize this soil, as Boumediene and the Algerian leaders did in 1971 with hydrocarbons? Or a Free Trade Zone allowing these same poor workers to earn a living in better-off countries?
To promote this false hope, African leaders are trying to ride on a significant increase in pan-African ideology among young and old in some countries. But, if we look at what those of Mali or Burkina Faso say, obviously, it is not a free trade zone that they dream of.
All the States of the African Union have signed for this ZLECAf, except Eritrea; but countries like Mali or Burkina, or even Guinea, have overthrown the power in place, not sure that they are still on board.
Towards Peace in Africa? What peace?
The second project of this summit is to move towards peace, to resolve inter-African conflicts and to"silence the guns"by 2030. The majority idea among African leaders is that Africa must do its examination of conscience, to make peace, for itself, between the children of the same people involved in civil, ethnic or religious wars of another age, fueled from outside, or between neighboring countries, with their processions of victims, destruction and displacement of populations. However, despite the declarations, it is not certain that a majority of African leaders want to move towards a break with the neocolonial imperialist powers.
It is first in Libya that the capacity of the AU to settle conflicts will be observed. A commission, chaired by Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, who was a socialist during the time of the USSR and later pro-French, brought together the various parties in Tripoli and is working with them on the date and the venue for a national conference on Libya, in order to bring the country out of the doldrums.
Before the intervention in Libya by the imperialist powers (France, United Kingdom and USA) in 2011, which completely discredited the UN, and the overthrow of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, this country was one of the most developed in Africa. : no unemployment, reception of workers from black African countries who found a good well-paid job, condition of women probably the best in all of Africa. Since then, all this has been swept away, multinationals have regained control of oil, sub-Saharan African workers have been massacred or sold as slaves, women brought to heel and militias, mercenaries, several warlords share the countries and go to war. There are two governments, one in Tripoli, recognized by the UN, which controls the west of the country, another in Sirte,"Marshal" Haftar, controls part of the south and all of the east of the country. All these people are beholden to the interests of the imperialist powers.
However, reconciling enemies whose only goal is to carve out a bigger slice of the pie, to the delight of the multinationals, will prove to be complicated. A presidential and legislative double ballot, initially scheduled for December 2021 to stabilize the country, has been postponed indefinitely, due to differences between the warlords and to prevent candidacies from supporters of Colonel Gaddafi.
The success of AU mediation is all the more improbable in that if the commission, and the summit with it, demands the departure of the mercenaries, it does not demand that of the multinationals, which are the real problem, any more than it does not speak about the reasons that have led Libya to this sad situation, nor does it condemn the imperialist powers. It can, at best, make the thieves get along, but that will not change anything for the Libyan population.
Beyond Libya alone, armed conflicts persist in Africa. At the institutional level, the African Union has established mechanisms for the prevention and peaceful settlement of internal or intra-African conflicts. Nevertheless, the language of arms persists. For the Algerian newspaper "EL Watan" : "The commitments solemnly made by the AU in the direction of the pacification of the continent plagued by fratricidal wars in certain countries, like Mali, Burkina Faso, Libya , of the Democratic Republic of Congo…, are struggling to make the belligerents face up to their responsibilities” . The Secretary General of the African Union, Moussa Faki, welcomed yesterday, during his speech before the African summit, the"progress in the process of implementing the Silencing the Guns 2030 roadmap" . An optimism far from being shared by the populations of countries in conflict, who still and always experience the horrors of war on a daily basis.
The question, again, is more complex than "El Watan" says.and the Algerian government, a strong supporter of this process. How are the wars in Mali and Burkina Faso fratricidal? They oppose Malians and Burkinabés to Islamist fascist militias with the help of the imperialist powers, France and also the USA which supports one of the militias in Mali. As for the war in the northeast of the DR Congo, it is fueled by the governments of Rwanda and probably Uganda, vehicles of US imperialism.
We will not make peace in Africa without releasing all the imperialist powers, starting with France and the USA.
This war on war is undermined, not only in Libya, by the cult of"democracy"as conceived by the capitalists. From now on, for almost all the leaders, the Euro-American model of North is the panacea, one votes and that is all, and one does not reverse an unjust power if it was elected.
Here again, "EL Watan" explains things well to us:"Regimes that have come to power by force, following a military putsch, although not recognized and condemned by the founding texts of the AU, always end, with time,. This means that the constitutional order is immutable and that any armed revolt is necessarily a military putsch. This reasoning is outside the logic of the class struggle. It is in the name of this same logic that the summit maintained the suspension of the AU from Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Sudan, which have experienced a seizure of power by arms.
This mixture is meaningless, between the situation in Sudan where there is internal struggle between property owners and the three other countries where the military took power with the support of the population, to put an end to corruption, drive out neocolonial power of guardianship and perhaps establish a regime freed at least in part from the mechanisms of capitalism.
While denouncing"this scourge which threatens the political stability of the continent" , the leaders of the AU put aside thirty years of history of decolonization, where powers settled following wars of national liberation (Algeria, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Mozambique, Zimbabwe) or armed revolts with military takeovers (Burkina Faso by Sankara, Ghana by N'Krumah then Rawlings, Libya by Gaddafi, Egypt by Nasser, Ethiopia by Menghistu, etc.). Whether these people were assassinated or overthrown, died too soon or changed course with the fall of the USSR, the fact remains that they contributed to building progressive States, to driving out the colonizers .
What to say after this African Union summit?
For the Revolutionary Communist Party, the problem is not in itself the armed struggle nor the participation of the military, it is the struggle for the emancipation of the peoples by all means, and the end of neocolonial oppressions; end which, in Africa, can hardly take other paths than the seizure of power to overthrow the compradores, as in Mali and Burkina Faso. The fight led by the peoples of these two countries to take their destiny into their own hands and definitively drive out French imperialist power has our full support.
The African Unity summit formalizes a certain normalization of many countries on the continent, a total forgetting of the anti-colonialist, progressive and even socialist past of many African countries, and hardly opens up prospects for emancipation. But it is the peoples who make history and not the heads of state or government, and in Africa, a wind of pursuit of decolonization and the desire to get rid of the powers installed for ages in the service of their own Bourgeoisie or multinationals rises.
Israel has been asked to take the door to the summit!
The colonial state of Israel attempted a coup at the start of the summit. The previous summit, in 2022, had discussed the possibility of granting observer status, but had given up on doing so, a majority of countries declaring themselves against.
However, the Israeli government has received an invitation and has delegated to the Addis Ababa summit a high-ranking diplomat, the deputy director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Africa. The latter, at the time of the opening ceremony, was accompanied towards the exit by the security services of the summit.
Israel unsurprisingly protested, calling the expulsion serious and stating:“It is sad to see that the AU has been held hostage by a small number of extremist countries like Algeria and South Africa, motivated by hatred and controlled by Iran. » . Indeed, the Algerian representatives strongly opposed this presence as well as the observer status that the Palestinian Authority asks the African Union not to grant.
Other African countries, very friendly to Israel, such as Morocco, are supporters of this status. However, none said anything to protest the expulsion.
For the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Israeli apartheid state must be boycotted everywhere, it had no place at the top of the AU.