Unity to strengthen resistance against imperialism and militarization forged
Dakar, Senegal – In the workshop organized by the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) and the Africaine de Recherche et de Coopération pour l’Appui au Développement Endogène (ARCADE), mass leaders from different sectors of Senegal have affirmed their resolve to reach out to the Senegalese people and other Western African countries in intensifying the struggle against imperialism and the rising militarization in Africa.
Demba Dembele of ARCADE facilitated the workshop and emphasized the importance of reaching out to the grassroots communities to make them aware that militarization in Africa has intensified lately in order to enforce the plunder the continent’s natural resources further by the imperialist countries like the French and the USA.
Such trend was attributed to the worsening global crisis as presented by Antonio Tujan, vice-chairperson for internal affairs of the ILPS. Mr. Tujan emphasized that the world economy is currently in a protracted depression which is fueling political conflicts in different parts of the world including Africa.
Participants also shared that despite the “Africa rising” hype, Africa remains mired in the deepest levels of poverty (close to 50%, basically unchanged since 1981), chronic hunger (30%), income inequalities, high unemployment. They also noted the vulnerabilities of states against foreign military presence especially that of France and the US.
AFRICOM or the Administrative headquarters responsible to the Secretary of Defense for U.S. military relations with 53 African countries, was extensively discussed. Mr. Dembele shared that 150,000 African military personnel has already been trained by AFRICOM and has developed what they called small military bases called ‘Lily pads’ spread across Africa.
Participants shared their apprehension of how corporate media is highlighting the war on terrorism while negating the fact that most of this groups were armed and trained by the U.S. Boko Haram, Ansar Dine, Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and the Islamic Movement for Azawad (IMA) were but a few groups mentioned in the workshop.
Representatives from the academe raised the importance of awareness raising on militarism since they observed that while full coverage is given to terrorist groups, mainstream media however rarely draw attention to US and French militarization in Africa.
Recent instances of foreign military intervention were discussed at the workshop such as the Operation Barkhane, the anti-insurgency operation in Africa’s Sahel region which commenced on August 2014 and consists of a 3,000-strong French force who will be permanently headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. Another instance of this is the helicopter bombings done by the French military in Côte d’Ivoire in 2011 which led to “regime change”. Participants say that foreign military intervention will likely intensify in the future given the presence of the AFRICOM.
The workshop concluded by agreeing to launch a campaign against militarism and discussed strategies on how to strengthen the resistance against imperialism in Africa. The participants are from the mass organizations of the labor sector, women, youth, NGOs, the academe among others. Out of 54 countries in Africa, 29 are considered in situations of conflict where about 214 militias-guerrillas, terrorist-separatist groups are involved.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation (see ILPS Charter). It promotes, supports and develops the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples of the world against imperialism and all reaction.