Intervenção by Chris Matlhako, membro no Bureau Político do Partido Comunista Sul Africano, responsável pelas Relações Internacionais, Seminário: «África – desafios do desenvolvimento, do progresso social e da soberania»

Statement of the South African Communist Party

The SACP would like to take this opportunity to express its appreciation for having been invited to be part of this important gathering organised by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) to reflect on and give impressions in respect on the upcoming 2nd EU-Africa Summit.

We are coming together immediate after successful celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the Great 1917 October Revolution in many parts of the world not least in South Africa. As part of the celebrations and asserting the validity of the ideals of the Great October Revolution, we made telling observations in respect of conjunctural challenges.

We have observed in the process, increasing intra-imperialist rivalries. These (intra-imperialist) are manifesting in a number of ways and have very serious consequences for the workers and poor of the world, and in particular for the African continent, if they would proceed unchallenged.

We among others, we have observed and concur with the observations of the international meeting of communist and workers parties of the world that;

“…neo-liberalism, militarism, war and the attack against the fundamental rights, liberties and guarantees are inseparable components of big capital and imperialism.

“The struggle is for domination of the planet’s energy resources, and control of distribution routes is an important factor in the geo-politics of imperialism as is obvious in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and other regions”

In February 2007 George W Bush announced his decision to create a Unified Command for Africa, known as AFRICOM. In elaborating on the tasks of AFRICOM in her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sub-committee of Africa Affairs on 1 August 2007, US deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Theresa Whelan, had this to say, amongst others;

“For many years our military relationships on the continent (African) have been implemented by three separate commands: US European Command, US Central Command and US Pacific Command. While these commands executed their missions well, AFRICOM presents an opportunity to eliminate the bureaucratic divisions and operational seams created by this organisational structure. We hope that AFRICOM will allow (the US) Department of Defense civilian and military leaders to take more holistic and operationally efficient approach to the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead as Africa’s multilateral institutions such as African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities, figure more prominently in African security affairs. Consolidation under one command has potential to better support the development of these important regional mechanisms and relationships …

“AFRICOM also is a manifestation of how the Department of Defense is innovating to transform its ability, institutionally, to meet the challenges of the new global security”

We believe the primary establishment of the AFRICOM is to give concrete expression to the objectives of the ‘National Security Strategy of the United States of America’ (NSS), released by the US state department in March 2006.

It clearly captures the current hegemonic intentions of the US and the challenges it poses for communist, socialists and other progressive forces.

Whereas, the EU has through the economic partnerships agreements (EPAs) attempted to impose so-called free trade agreements between very unequal partners. These EPAs, which are new free-trade agreements have been negotiated by the European Union (EU) and 75 former European colonies known as the African, Caribbean and Pacific group (ACP).

The EU is using the EPAs for force through its own unilateral agenda on poorer nations. These agreements, it has been observed will:

- stifle efforts to develop a modern industrial base in ACP countries;

- reduce exports of traditional crops;

- lead to internal conflicts and struggles over resources

These and many other endeavours of transnational capitalists and their surrogates in ACP group of countries are part of the broader attempt to achieve the goals set-out to subjugate the oppressed peoples and increase their exploitation for the attainment of super-profits.

It is against this background that, we also believe a critical appraisal of NEPAD is also very important. For the current top-bottom approach of NEPAD only serves to bolster the profitability of transnationals.

Indeed, we welcome the SA government’s efforts to contribute towards the attainment of peace on the African continent. But, we believe that such efforts should attempt to mobilize the broadest possible progressive forces in order to ensure lasting and sustainable peace is attained. These efforts must also not be and/or provide a basis for the transporting of apartheid-capitalism to other countries on the continent, as some critiques have demonstrated.

Conclusion

The African continent is the worst victim of what the SACP has characterised as simultaneous integration and marginalization of the African continent into the current imperialist global order. The more Africa is drawn into the orbit of neo-liberal economic policies, the more it becomes vulnerable to further exploitation. One manifestation of this despite the fact that Africa has highest returns for foreign investment, it is attracting the least of foreign direct investment.

The African continent has suffered immensely from structural adjustment programmes either imposed by the IMF or self-imposed from the 1970s into the current period. These structural adjustment programmes, coupled with the collapse of the Soviet Union, have severely rolled back many of the progressive gains made immediately after national independence in many countries, especially the cutting back on social services like health, education, including the privatization and looting of public resources by transnationals/multinationals, with sometimes, the full collaboration of domestic elites.

What Africa needs is the rebuilding of something along the lines of national liberation alliances and mass movements forged during the era of anti-colonial liberation struggles. As we have argued before, we need to take forward the vision of national liberation and independence struggles, especially that there can be no meaningful political liberation without economic emancipation, in all its national, class and gender dimensions.

Amandla!

Socialism of the future! Build it now! With and for the workers and poor!

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