Article online: http://www.asiuhuru.org/guinea/ - please post and forward widely! Touch One! Touch All! ASI makes urgent call for support for the struggle for freedom in Guinea-Conakry! The following statement comes from Omali Ye****ela, Chairman of the Interim Committee of the African Socialist International (ASI). The African Socialist International is an international party of African revolutionaries. The ASI has as its historical mission the unification and liberation of Africa under an all-African socialist government under the leadership of the African working class and poor peasantry. The ASI calls on all who receive this document to forward it to as many contacts as possible and distribute it around the world in order to lend support to the just struggles on the ground in Guinea-Conakry, West Africa. For more information, contact the African Socialist International: Omali Ye****ela, ASI Chairman 1245 18th Avenue South St. Petersburg, Florida 33705 USA Luwezi Kinshasa, ASI Secretary-General BILT Mansions 4-16 Deptford Bridge London SE8 4HH United Kingdom 20 8265 1731 (land) / 077 8412 1709 (cell) [email protected] www.asiuhuru.org Look for regular updates on the situation in Guinea-Conakry on http://www.**************. ----------------------------------------------------------- February 14, 2007 Uhuru! A’mAfrika; A critical test is upon us. We have the opportunity to directly involve ourselves in the struggle to defend the interests of Africa and forward the international African Revolution for the liberation and unification of Africa and our people worldwide. Our test is to determine whether we will continue on the road of near-meaningless conferences and empty talk fests concerning African unity or whether we will become genuinely involved in determining the future for Our Africa and Our People. The test is in Guinea-Conakry, where a rotting, repressive, inept and avaricious neocolonial regime is tottering on the brink of extinction in the face of unrelenting protests from the masses of our people. Already government buildings, official centers and institutions have been assaulted and sacked in different sections of the country, including Conakry, the capital. This follows a several-weeks-long general strike, first called by the trade unions, whose opportunist leadership has vacillated, first one way then the other, after negotiated deals with the Lansana Conte regime proved more or less advantageous for the leadership. However, neither the vacillation of the union leadership nor its subsequent attempts to halt the strikes have been able to stop the motion of the masses whose suffering and growing emiseration have continued to push them forward to the current state of open insurrection. Guinea is a West African territory of approximately 8 to10 million people that was a formal French colony until independence in 1958. Like most of Africa, it is rich in minerals even as its population subsists on approximately one US dollar a day. The natural resources of the territory include bauxite, gold, iron ore, uranium, diamonds, coffee, fish, hydropower and agricultural products. In fact, Guinea produces about half of the world’s bauxite, the mineral necessary for the production of aluminum. Like most of Africa, Guinea’s vast material and human resources benefit American, European and other imperialist corporations to further the interests and advance the development of their countries and societies at the expense of Africa and African people. Infamous corporations like De Beers, the cartel notorious for its exploitation of African diamonds, and Alcoa Aluminum and its subsidiary, Reynolds of the U.S., and Alcan of Canada, are major beneficiaries of Guinean assets at the expense of the impoverished masses of our people there and elsewhere. However, the imperialist exploitation of Guinea is not limited to De Beers and U.S. and Canadian corporations. French, German and Australian corporations are also serious exploiters of Guinean mining interests. Because of their expropriation of so much value from these resources, the corporations and the imperialist governments that work for them have huge stakes in the outcome of any struggles that occur in Guinea, the West African region and Africa as a whole. Indeed, generally speaking, they are intent on preventing any meaningful changes that would forward the capture of Africa’s resources for our own benefit. It is in their interests to keep the situation in Guinea just as it is in terms of power relations, regardless of what individual comes to power. In fact, there are some indications that some imperialist forces are disgusted with the Conte regime because of its inefficiency in protecting their interests and the openly corrupt practices that serve to mobilize the masses in opposition to the regime. This leads to what the neocolonialists and imperialists like to refer to as “investment insecurity.” The concern of imperialist white nationalist forces about the growing “investment insecurity” of Africa (which can be translated to mean the growing militant consciousness of our people, especially the workers and poor peasantry) is revealed by the number of military bases they have established all over Africa. Some of these bases have long-standing histories. For example, the French have military bases going back to the colonial era throughout “Francophone” Africa. And, the British influence is of fundamental concern for development in the West African region. In fact, there are several thousand British troops in neighboring Sierra Leone, a British neo-colony, as well as UN “peace keepers,” and a US FBI station. Along with the neocolonial regimes in the area, all these imperialist forces have interests in determining the outcome of the struggle in Guinea, lest it spread to other territories, especially Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau, all border territories with the same basic neocolonial crisis-laden contradictions. All of these forces – the imperialist states outright, in the form of their military forces and intelligence agencies in the region; the imperialist corporations in whose interests these states function; and the neocolonial regimes in Guinea-Conakry and the region – are moving full speed ahead, sometimes in contradictory fashion, to crush or otherwise undermine the struggles of the masses. They are struggling to protect neocolonialism and to deny the ability of Africans to achieve control of our own resources and our own Mother Country, Africa. In the last several decades Africa has been characterized by our enemies as a hopeless continent, where violence, poverty and ignorance are but natural conditions of existence and where the only meaningful solutions are white-sponsored Sing-Alongs or other forms of charity. Therefore it must be understood that the struggle we are witnessing in Guinea represents a critically-developing component of the general crisis of imperial white power. It is a white power that is losing its grip on the world, obviously in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Venezuela and other locations. However, the manufactured picture of Africa as a place of senseless violence and anarchy has prevented the peoples of the world, especially the international African community, from recognizing the critical role of Africa in the contest of the world’s oppressed to end imperialist domination over our lives. Nearly every imperialist force in the world has the exploitation of Africa as the foundation for its plans for survival and development. The U.S. and France are in a most serious, sometimes bloody contest for control of what has in the past been considered France’s sphere of influence in Africa. Moreover, Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of George Bush’s foreign policy and the current head of the World Bank, has declared that his priority as World Bank president is going to be activity in Africa. This is a follow up on former US President William Jefferson Clinton’s plan that also targeted Africa for greater exploitation. China has an Africa Plan and is becoming the most dynamic actor in African economic affairs. France and England have their Africa Plans as well. The crisis of imperialism is deepening as a result of greater losses to its ability to exploit the resources of the world’s peoples with impunity. This is why Africa is becoming increasingly important for the survival of a foul social system founded on the enslavement and dispersal of our people and the theft and division of our land and its separation from us and our separation from one another. We must act! The situation in Guinea-Conakry gives us the perfect opportunity to step forward, especially those of us who consider ourselves African Internationalists, revolutionaries who recognize that key to the progress of the dispersed African nation is the total liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class aligned with the poor peasantry. We must act! Especially those of us who recognize that the liberation and unification of Africa and our people can not be accomplished short of revolution that will allow for the destruction of neocolonialism, correctly defined by Kwame Nkrumah as the last stage of imperialism. We must act! Especially those of us who recognize that African liberation and unification cannot happen without destruction of the economic structures that have tied Africa to imperialism for at least as long as the capture of our continent and enslavement of our people in the process that gave rise to capitalism/imperialism as a world economy. We must act! Especially those of us who recognize that the liberation of Africa is meaningless without socialist transformation that results in Africa being in total possession of its own resources, directed toward our own self-defined interests under the leadership of the producing class, the workers, aligned with the poor peasantry. We must act! Especially those of us who understand that every struggle in the African world, including this struggle in Guinea-Conakry, is but one front of the struggle for the total emancipation of Africa and African people and that each struggle must become a conscious, organized thrust toward the final objective of the liberation and unification of Our Africa and Our People. Guinea gives us the best opportunity for united action that we have had in many years. This is because of the fact that among all the forces involved in the struggle in Guinea, one of them is committed to the liberation and unification of Africa and African people and has, even before now, made known its unity with an all-African solution to the problems of Africans worldwide. The leading revolutionary force on the ground in Guinea is the Africanist Movement. It is an organization that is organized in several of the West African post-colonial territories, including Sierra Leone, Guinea-Conakry, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana and Senegal. The Africanist Movement is led by Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, a young man in his twenties, who was a child soldier, later forced into exile as a teenager, jailed in Guinea-Conakry because of his exposure of the regime as a journalist. He has organized a massive movement throughout West Africa. The Africanist Movement is our movement. In October of 2005, Chernoh Bah, the organization’s director organized a regional leadership conference in Sierra Leone that resulted in representatives of the movement from throughout the region formally signing on to make the Africanist Movement a component of the African Socialist International representing the West African region. Less than a year later Chernoh Alpha M. Bah attended a key meeting in London to become the official representative of the International Tribunal on Reparations for African People (ITRAP). ITRAP is holding a reparations tribunal in Berlin, Germany in June of this year to indict western and U.S. imperialism and put them on trial for the years on forced labor or slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism and the consequences that are still being experienced by our people worldwide. Subsequent to this London meeting, the Africanist Movement organized a meeting in Sierra Leone to create the ITRAP West African regional committee. The Africanist Movement is also a critical component of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP). Organizing grassroots projects to win Africans from throughout the world to build sustainable water purification, electrification and other programs throughout the African world, AAPDEP will contribute to anti-imperialist self-reliance and revolutionary consciousness among the African masses. It is clear that the Africanist Movement is not just another run of the mill organization, intoxicated by visions of personal power. It is an organization that understands that the struggle for Guinea-Conakry is part and parcel of the struggle for the liberation and unification of Africa and African people everywhere. The Africanist Movement has no illusions that there can be an independent and free Guinea as long as Africa and African people continue to be kept in bondage and Africa’s resources continue to be controlled by international imperial white power. The Africanist Movement is fighting for us! It is fighting our battle! This is one of the reasons the Africanist Movement is being targeted by reactionary forces in Guinea: it continues to move forward with the masses of African workers even as the trade union leadership and other opportunists vacillate or even openly oppose the struggle of the people. In attempts to defend itself from destruction the neocolonial Conte regime in Guinea has brought in troops from neighboring Guinea-Bissau to protect Conte from his own army that is growing ever restless in the face of the people’s struggle. Army posts in some cities are actually arming people in the area to create their own independent spheres of control. Conte is struggling to control the Guinean army that has killed scores of people since the beginning of the insurrection by providing foodstuffs and economic privileges in an attempt to win and maintain the army’s loyalty There are even rumors that Conte has hired African mercenaries formerly associated with Ulima, a Liberian force that he funded to oppose the former regime of the deposed Liberian president Charles Taylor. Militants in Guinea are being targeted for arrest and/or assassination as the regime desperately attempts to hold onto power. In addition, Conte has resorted to ethnic baiting in an attempt to further divide the resistance. Conte claims that the opposition to his regime is based on ethnic rivalry. He states that the two other main ethnic groups in Guinea oppose him based on Conte having power because of his ethnicity. This is a typical ploy that has too often succeeded in dividing opposition to neocolonial rule and, in some cases has led to internecine slaughter of ethnic groups by one another. In the meantime the Africanist Movement is attempting to fuse a revolutionary consciousness onto the mass movement. While the basic mass demand has been the removal of Conte from power, the Africanist Movement realizes that the removal of one or several men at the seat of power will not resolve the fundamental contradiction faced by our people in Guinea and the region: neocolonial domination that upholds imperialist white power. Because of this the Africanists are raising democratic national revolutionary demands that include, but are not limited to: All power to the workers and peasants; establishment of a democratic national revolutionary government of workers and peasants. Freedom of press, speech, assembly and political association. Nationalization of the strategic components of the economy, especially the extractive, mining sector. This will allow the people to begin using the natural resources of Guinea for economic development for the people—for food, clothing, housing, education and development of the economic infrastructure. Dismantle and restructure the army under the leadership of a democratic national revolutionary committee of patriotic officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers. Living wages for all workers. Establish worker-peasant committees to begin a process of repatriation of all the wealth and resources stolen by members and supporters of the current neocolonial regime and deposited in imperialist banks. Immediate investment in water collection, purification and delivery. Freedom for all political prisoners and those militants arrested during the insurrection. Removal of the borders separating Guinea-Conakry from its neighbors and thereby expanding the economy of the region and allowing for greater economic planning to the benefit of all the people in the region. Removal of all military checkpoints requiring identification papers that specify ethnicity. Immediate withdrawal of all imperialist troops from the region and their intelligence agencies, including those of the UK, U.S., UN, and EU. Immediate withdrawal of all troops brought in from Guinea-Bissau and other mercenaries being used to defend the neocolonial regime. Reparations for all the wealth taken from Guinea and the region by imperialist corporations in collusion with the neocolonial regimes. Price support for peasant and domestic agricultural production. Government support for modernization of domestic agricultural production, including modernization of equipment, supply of fertilizer and seeds, and protection of domestic and regional producers and markets from imperialist corporations that undermine our local economies. Clinics and healthcare for the rural and agricultural communities. Assistance for the seafood producers, including modernization of the fishing fleet and protection of the fishing coast from imperialist intervention and over fishing. Solidarity with African people in Africa and throughout the world who are struggling against imperialism in any form, including neocolonialism. Recognition of the right of return for all African people displaced and dispersed from Guinea and Africa by slavery, colonialism and other attacks on Guinea and Africa as a whole by imperialism. While there are other demands being forwarded by the Africanist Movement, these demands are demonstrative of the character of the movement and its intentions. We must act! Those of us in neighboring West African post-colonial “countries” must mobilize solidarity demonstrations in support of the workers and toiling masses in Guinea-Conakry, putting forth their demands as our own and demanding that the regional neo-colonial regimes keep their hands off Guinea. Those of us throughout Africa, we must act! We must hold demonstrations at the embassies of Guinea-Conakry and Guinea-Bissau, in places where they exist, putting forth the demands of the people, condemning the Conte regime and neocolonialism in general and demanding the withdrawal of troops from Guinea-Bissau. We must also hold actions at the embassies of the U.S., UK and France, demanding withdrawal of their military forces from the region and hands off Guinea-Conakry. Throughout the world Africans must take similar actions. Within the U.S. and other imperialist countries we must hold demonstrations at key embassies and initiate appropriate actions against the corporations involved in the exploitation of Guinea’s resources and in whose interests the neocolonial regimes function. One fundamental task before us is to publicize to the world what is happening in Guinea-Conakry and the demands of the Africanist Movement. This document must be widely distributed. Available media resources such as **************, Burning Spear News and other patriotic news and information distribution centers must assume our responsibility to inform the world, especially the African world, of what is happening in Guinea-Conakry and what the stakes are for Our Africa and Our People. The stakes are high. The struggle in Guinea-Conakry represents our opportunity to join in active participation for the future of Africa, indeed, for the future of our people. We must not hesitate. We must not fail this test presented to us, and we must not abandon those brave African men and women of the West African Front of our struggle for a liberated and united Africa. The Africanist Movement is our movement; it is an active part of the African Socialist International and, at this moment, it carries on its shoulders the hopes and aspirations of Africans worldwide. Izwe Lethu I Afrika! One Africa! One Nation! No Compromise! No Surrender!