U.S. out of Africa: Voices from the Struggle

Is the West losing their grip on Africa? Africans around the world are rising against neocolonialism and asserting their right to sovereignty and self-determination. Across the Sahel, the African masses have taken to the streets, calling for French troops to leave their lands. BAP not only emphasizes the importance of the liberation of “Francophone Africa” but advocates for the U.S. and NATO to exit Africa.

From the highly militarized U.S. presence through AFRICOM and CIA bases in Niger and throughout other Sahelian states such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, etc, we cannot forget to include them as the hegemonic head of neocolonialism in Africa.

Through this International Month of Action Against AFRICOM, we aim to express our support for the aspirations of the people in the streets and call for the ejection of all Western forces, including AFRICOM and NATO, from the African Continent.

There is a great deal of both excitement and uncertainty about the anti-imperialist sentiment spreading in the Sahel region of Africa which includes mostly former French colonies of Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The anti-imperialist element is exciting for many of us while the direction of those military leaders is uncertain. Since 2008, 15 U.S.-trained officers have had a hand in 12 West African coups.


AFRICOM Watch Bulletin speaks with Rafiki Morris, an organizer and Central Committee Member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) about these issues. The A-APRP also recently helped to organize a rally outside of the French Embassy to protest the proposed military intervention in Niger.

AFRICOM Watch Bulletin: As the A-APRP noted, of 106 coup d’etats in Africa since 1950, 103 have been of a reactionary nature with only exceptions being Naser in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya and Sankara in Burkina Faso. Do you think this current wave will be closer to what has been the exception or the rule, and on what basis?

Rafiki Morris: First we would like to thank you for this opportunity to look more closely at what is happening to African People both at home and abroad. When we do this we get a chance to see the true dimension of imperialism and its assault upon African People and humanity in general.

We look into the happenings in West Africa in the context of the worldwide struggle being waged by African People to be free of capitalism and imperialism.  For us the movement must advance. Revolutionary coups in Africa advances the African Revolution. To have three, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in this short period of time would be a miracle with far reaching implications. But if even one of these coups turns out to be of the caliber of the revolution led by Nassar, Gaddafi or Sankara, we will mark it as a major victory of the masses of the people over imperialism and for Pan-Africanism.

In the case of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, their progressive contribution is cemented by their common commitment to get the French Out of Africa. This uncompromising stand taken by the People themselves ensures that these militaries move in a positive direction..

The Soldiers assumed power during a time when emerging Pan-African sentiments were sweeping around the globe. This wave of Pan-African consciousness has a dual nature. First it is the introduction of Pan-African Thought to a new generation of people. It is also an opportunity for potential misleaders to carve out a place for themselves in the fast approaching new dispensation. We must look upon this new pan-Africanist awareness with a critical eye. History teaches that wolves often dress as lambs, charlatans dress as saviors and monsters present as messiahs.

AWB: Can the role of ECOWAS, and even Kenya in Haiti, help advance the political education of the masses around neo-colonialism or as some say, “imperialism in Black Face”?

RM: Yes we can use these events as examples to explain neo-colonialism. However, our political education must go further.  We have to teach the truth. Every place on earth that has an African population and is not liberated is neo-colonialist. Neo-colonialism unites our external enemy with the internal enemy. In a particular way we define the enemy as a single entity with internal and external aspects. Capitalism and imperialism cannot survive without their junior partners with “Black Faces.” The reactionary Black puppets that rule us worldwide cannot survive without their capitalist imperialist senior partners.

One aspect which we should not overlook is the fact that these internal enemies have always been among the people. They are the unique creation of African culture and existed among us, causing mischief, long before the imperialist came to Africa’s shores. Failure to understand this reality leads to serious error of thinking the enemy is only the external invaders. During the struggle to end colonialism many Africans thought that all they had to do was get rid of the French, English, Portuguese or Belgians. After the Europeans were gone we found out that we had traded a white exploiter for black exploiter, who were in fact in league with the white we had thought to break away from. Understanding that the enemy sometimes looks just like you is a sign of political maturity.

But examples and explanations are only part of the process of political education. The other part, the most important part, is practice. Practice is the active involvement in the struggle against neo-colonialism. Without this action there is no real understanding. We were taught by our brother Kwame Ture that if you want to know something you have to get involved in it. Take swimming as an  example. You can have all the explanations and examples of swimming in the world, you can know the name of every stroke, every type of kick and all the techniques involved in floating. But you will never know how to swim if you do not get in the water. You will have a theory but no real knowledge. Real knowledge comes from applying the theory in practice. Fighting imperialism is an active resistance. Without this resistance you cannot really know neo-colonialism. Without practice you cannot defeat neo-colonialism.

AWB: How would you explain to Africans in Haiti or Southeast DC why they should care about the Sahel and how they can and should get involved?

RM: The struggle in Sahel, Haiti, the USA etc., are all frontlines of a worldwide conflict between African People and capitalist imperialism. The strategy is to fight the enemy wherever we find them. Everywhere they use their military/police to kill, incarcerate and destabilize African People and the movement we have built to pursue our liberation. The only solution to the ongoing assault is the unification of our fighting forces. We must develop coordinated political and military action. We tell our people that the struggle in Sahel, Haiti and the USA is one struggle against a common enemy. We must unite, not to live happily ever after or to fulfill some long held dream. We must unite to defeat our imperialist, neocolonialist, white supremacist, patriarchal enemy. We understand clearly, AFRICANS UNITED CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) seeks to recapture and redevelop the historic anti-war, anti-imperialist, and pro-peace positions of the radical black movement. Read other articles by Black Alliance for Peace, or visit Black Alliance for Peace's website.