Africa, imperialism & the global class struggle
Published Dec 2, 2008 6:49 PM
WW photo: G. Dunkel
Most researchers and writers on African affairs, both bourgeois and historical
materialist, have recognized the African origins of human society. The
contributions of successive African civilizations and cultures have been well
documented in various publications.
These efforts to re-correct the distortions in the way African history has been
narrated and interpreted are important in understanding the significance and
character of political events that are occurring on the continent today. In
order for Africa to overcome the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade,
colonialism and neo-colonialism, there must be a struggle to transform the
exploitative and oppressive conditions which have been imposed by world
imperialism, with a leading role played by the ruling class in the United
This African struggle is taking place with greater intensity in the first
decade of the 21st century. What is taking place on the continent is a direct
result of the continuing efforts by the imperialist countries to dominate the
resources, labor and political institutions in all of the African states.
Progressive and revolutionary thinkers and tacticians have stressed the
dialectical relationship between the economic development of Western Europe and
the United States and the consequent underdevelopment of Africa. Activists and
chroniclers of African and African-American history have maintained that the
profits accrued from the exploitation of Black labor, land and resources played
a central role in the rise of world capitalism.
This historical materialist approach to analyzing the past as a guide to
understanding the present and preparing for the future was discussed by the
Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin.
Beginning a historical analysis from this perspective leads us into
understanding that the underlying social forces that fuel the conflicts that
transform society are rooted in the struggle between dominant and subjugated
The class struggle in Africa & the African-American national
The class struggle is not limited to the so-called advanced Western capitalist
countries. With the expansion of colonialism throughout Africa, Asia, Latin
America, the Caribbean, South Pacific, Indian Ocean region and within North
America itself, class and national divisions were institutionalized by the
imperialists to ensure the domination of finance capital.
Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of Ghana’s independence movement after World
War II, who later became the chief strategist of the African revolutionary
struggle that emerged during the 1950s and 1960s, applied the theory of class
struggle advanced by Marx, Engels and Lenin to developments on the African
Nkrumah emphatically stated that “A fierce class struggle has been raging
in Africa. The evidence is all around us. In essence it is, as in the rest of
the world, a struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed.
“The African Revolution is an integral part of the world socialist
revolution, and just as the class struggle is basic to world revolutionary
processes, so also is it fundamental to the struggle of the workers and
peasants of Africa.” (Nkrumah, “Revolutionary Path,”
The contributions of Workers World to the understanding of the central role of
Africa and the other former colonial and semi-colonial nations in the global
class struggle has been reviewed over the last year through various articles
that are reprinted on a weekly basis. In studying and analyzing developments
that emerged during the post-World War II period, Sam Marcy and other
co-founders of the party clearly recognized the political significance of the
revolutions in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and on the African continent.
Today, Workers World covers the struggle against U.S. intervention in various
parts of Africa, including, but not limited to, the efforts to destabilize
Sudan in order to seize its oil; to isolate Zimbabwe over the land question; to
dominate Somalia because of the people’s refusal to submit to a foreign,
imperialist-financed and-coordinated occupation.
The impact of the multinational oil and other extractive industries is noted in
the ongoing struggles taking place in Nigeria, Mauritania, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Kenya and South Africa, to name a few.
As anti-imperialists and proletarian internationalists, we will continue to
work in solidarity with all genuine mass movements as well as progressive and
revolutionary organizations in Africa. The role of the Africa Command (AFRICOM)
and other militarist schemes to subjugate the continent will be defeated by the
organizational weight of the African workers and farmers in conjunction with a
class-conscious proletariat in the Western countries.
Finally, the understanding and appreciation of the role of the African
continent in the global class struggle also relates to the pivotal importance
of resolving the problem of racism in the United States—what Marxists
call the national question. The more than 40 million people of African descent
in the U.S. have always maintained recognition of the continent as their
historical homeland. Consequently, the history and contemporary affairs of
Africa are of major concern to the African-American people.
The most progressive and revolutionary elements in the African community in the
United States have always taken great consideration of the struggle for
liberation by the peoples of the continent as an important objective in their
own efforts aimed at achieving total freedom in this country.
Workers World has always understood the Leninist principle upholding the right
to self-determination of oppressed nations under capitalism and imperialism.
The party has never wavered in supporting and defending the inherent right of
African Americans to determine the form and method of their struggle for
Workers World analyzed the significance of the social forces that propelled
President-elect Barack Obama into an electoral victory where he will become the
first African-American president of the United States. At the same time, the
newspaper defended him and Michelle Obama against every racist attack by the
right-wing and exposed the threats posed by the character of the McCain-Palin
Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of Pan-African News Wire. Go to panafricannews.blogspot.com
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