Monday, April 6, 2009

Economic crises brings political unrest to Africa

Mauritania hip hop. These dudes are rapping in French, a part of their heritage from the colonial days.

Workers, oppressed must advance own program

On the African continent political unrest has been fueled by the economic crisis. In Mauritania last August, the military staged a coup against the existing government. In West Africa these same developments occurred in Guinea-Conakry in December and Guinea-Bissau in early March. Most recently, there was a coup in Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

There have also been strikes and rebellions in Somalia, Kenya and South Africa over the last year. These actions are carried out in response to the rising cost of food and fuel and the decline in commodity prices and real wages.

All these states are heavily dependent on export earnings from raw materials sold to capitalist states in the West. However, the replacement of civilian governments with military ones will not solve the economic crises on the African continent. The advent of the military seizure of power in Africa during the immediate post-colonial period between the 1960s through the 1980s only worsened the crises of underdevelopment and imperialist domination.

At the same time, in the Western capitalist states, anger is brewing over the fallout from the economic crisis. In France, workers have engaged in one-day work stoppages and rebellions. In the U.S., workers and the oppressed formed a broad-based electoral alliance that brought the current Obama administration to power.

Yet the policies advocated by Obama in the U.S. and Sarkozy in France only reinforce capitalist production methods and regulatory measures. Any genuine reform or fundamental change must come from the self-organization of the workers and the oppressed within society. It is important at this juncture for workers and the oppressed to advance their own political and economic programs that are independent of the capitalist class and its political parties.

With the economic crisis becoming more pronounced in both the advanced capitalist states as well as the so-called developing countries, it provides greater opportunities for international solidarity and coordination of efforts.

Workers and oppressed communities in the U.S. must not only struggle to improve their own economic and social conditions, but they must also understand that the genuine liberation of the developing regions of the world is essential in creating the conditions for the real empowerment of the majority of the people in the industrialized countries.
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