Table of Contents
Monopoly Capital and Pan-Africanism
by Roy Walker
What Exactly is Neo-colonialism?
The following text is taken from Kwame Nkrumah's Introduction to his book, Neo-colonialism,
The Last Stage of Imperialism. It provides sufficient grounding to continue
The neocolonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage. In the past it was possible to convert a country upon which a neocolonial regime had been imposed — Egypt in the nineteenth century is an example — into a colonial territory. Today this process is no longer feasible. Old-fashioned colonialism is by no means entirely abolished. It still constitutes an African problem, but it is everywhere on the retreat. Once a territory has become nominally independent it is no longer possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies may linger on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neocolonialism
The essence of neocolonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.
The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes. For example, in an extreme case the troops of the imperial power may garrison the territory of the neocolonial State and control the government of it. More often, however, neocolonialist control is exercised through economic or monetary means. The neocolonial State may be obliged to take the manufactured products of the imperialist power to the exclusion of competing products from elsewhere. Control over government policy in the neocolonial State may be secured by payments towards the cost of running the State, by the provision of civil servants in positions where they can dictate policy, and by monetary control over foreign exchange through the imposition of a banking system controlled by the imperial power.
Where neocolonialism exists the power exercising control is often the State which formerly ruled the territory in question, but this is not necessarily so. For example, in the case of South Vietnam the former imperial power was France, but neocolonial control of the State has now gone to the United States. It is possible that neocolonial control may be exercised by a consortium of financial interests which are not specifically identifiable with any particular State. The control of the Congo by great international financial concerns is a case in point.
The result of neocolonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neocolonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world.
The struggle against neocolonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.
Nonalignment, as practised by Ghana and many other countries, is based on co-operation with all States whether they be capitalist, socialist or have a mixed economy. Such a policy, therefore, involves foreign investment from capitalist countries, but it must be invested in accordance with a national plan drawn up by the government of the non-aligned State with its own interests in mind. The issue is not what return the foreign investor receives on his investments. He may, in fact, do better for himself if he invests in a nonaligned country than if he invests in a neocolonial one. The question is one of power. A State in the grip of neocolonialism is not master of its own destiny. It is this factor which makes neocolonialism such a serious threat to world peace. The growth of nuclear weapons has made out of date the old-fashioned balance of power which rested upon the ultimate sanction of a major war. Certainty of mutual mass destruction effectively prevents either of the great power blocs from threatening the other with the possibility of a world-wide war, and military conflict has thus become confined to 'limited wars'. For these neocolonialism is the breeding ground.
Such wars can, of course, take place in countries which are not neocolonialist controlled. Indeed their object may be to establish in a small but independent country a neocolonialist regime. The evil of neocolonialism is that it prevents the formation of those large units which would make impossible 'limited war'. To give one example: if Africa was united, no major power bloc would attempt to subdue it by limited war because from the very nature of limited war, what can be achieved by it is itself limited. It is, only where small States exist that it is possible, by landing a few thousand marines or by financing a mercenary force, to secure a decisive result.
The restriction of military action of 'limited wars' is, however, no guarantee of world peace and is likely to be the factor which will ultimately involve the great power blocs in a world war, however much both are determined to avoid it.
Limited war, once embarked upon, achieves a momentum of its own. Of this, the war in South Vietnam is only one example. It escalates despite the desire of the great power blocs to keep it limited. While this particular war may be prevented from leading to a world conflict, the multiplication of similar limited wars can only have one end — world war and the terrible consequences of nuclear conflict.
Neocolonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad. In the colony those who served the ruling imperial power could at least look to its protection against any violent move by their opponents. With neocolonialism neither is the case.
Above all, neocolonialism, like colonialism before it, postpones the facing of the social issues which will have to be faced by the fully developed sector of the world before the danger of world war can be eliminated or the problem of world poverty resolved.
Neocolonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. The temporary success of this policy can be seen in the ever widening gap between the richer and the poorer nations of the world. But the internal contradictions and conflicts of neocolonialism make it certain that it cannot endure as a permanent world policy. How it should be brought to an end is a problem that should be studied, above all, by the developed nations of the world, because it is they who will feel the full impact of the ultimate failure. The longer it continues the more certain it is that its inevitable collapse will destroy the social system of which they have made it a foundation.
The reason for its development in the post-war period can be briefly summarised. The problem which faced the wealthy nations of the world at the end of the Second World War was the impossibility of returning to the pre-war situation in which there was a great gulf between the few rich and the many poor. Irrespective of what particular political party was in power, the internal pressures in the rich countries of the world were such that no postwar capitalist country could survive unless it became a 'Welfare State'. There might be differences in degree in the extent of the social benefits given to the industrial and agricultural workers, but what was everywhere impossible was a return to the mass unemployment and to the low level of living of the prewar years.
From the end of the nineteenth century onwards, colonies had been regarded as a source of wealth which could be used to mitigate the class conflicts in the capitalist States and, as will be explained later, this policy had some success. But it failed in 'its ultimate object because the prewar capitalist States were so organised internally that the bulk of the profit made from colonial possessions found its way into the pockets of the capitalist class and not into those of the workers. Far from achieving the object intended, the working-class parties at times tended to identify their interests with those of the colonial peoples and the imperialist powers found themselves engaged upon a conflict on two fronts, at home with their own workers and abroad against the growing forces of colonial liberation.
The postwar period inaugurated a very different colonial policy. A deliberate attempt was made to divert colonial earnings from the wealthy class and use them instead generally to finance the 'Welfare State'. As will be seen from the examples given later, this was the method consciously adopted even by those working-class leaders who had before the war regarded the colonial peoples as their natural allies against their capitalist enemies at home.
At first it was presumed that this object could be achieved by maintaining the prewar colonial system. Experience soon proved that attempts to do so would be disastrous and would only provoke colonial wars, thus dissipating the anticipated gains from the continuance of the colonial regime. Britain, in particular, realised this at an early stage and the correctness of the British judgement at the time has subsequently been demonstrated by the defeat of French colonialism in the Far East and Algeria and the failure of the Dutch to retain any of their former colonial empire.
The system of neocolonialism was therefore instituted and in the short run it has served the developed powers admirably. It is in the long run that its consequences are likely to be catastrophic for them.
Neocolonialism is based upon the principle of breaking up former large united colonial territories into a number of small non-viable States which are incapable of independent development and must rely upon the former imperial power for defence and even internal security. Their economic and financial systems are linked, as in colonial days, with those of the former colonial ruler.
At first sight the scheme would appear to have many advantages for the developed countries of the world. All the profits of neo-colonialism can be secured if, in any given area, a reasonable proportion of the States have a neo-colonialist system. It is not necessary that they all should have one. Unless small States can combine they must be compelled to sell their primary products at prices dictated by the developed nations and buy their manufactured goods at the prices fixed by them. So long as neo-colonialism can prevent political and economic conditions for optimum development, the developing countries, whether they are under neo-colonialist control or not, will be unable to create a large enough market to support industrialisation. In the same way they will lack the financial strength to force the developed countries to accept their primary products at a fair price.
In the neo-colonialist territories, since the former colonial power has in theory relinquished political control, if the social conditions occasioned by neo-colonialism cause a revolt the local neo-colonialist government can be sacrificed and another equally subservient one substituted in its place. On the other hand, in any continent where neo-colonialism exists on a wide scale the same social pressures which can produce revolts in neo-colonial territories will also affect those States which have refused to accept the system and therefore neo-colonialist nations have a ready-made weapon with which they can threaten their opponents if they appear successfully to be challenging the system.
These advantages, which seem at first sight so obvious, are, however, on examination, illusory because they fail to take into consideration the facts of the world today.
The introduction of neo-colonialism increases the rivalry between the great powers which was provoked by the old-style colonialism. However little real power the government of a neo-colonialist State may possess, it must have, from the very fact of its nominal independence, a certain area of manoeuvre. It may not be able to exist without a neo-colonialist master but it may still have the ability to change masters.
The ideal neo-colonialist State would be one which was wholly subservient to neo-colonialist interests but the existence of the socialist nations makes it impossible to enforce the full rigour of the neo-colonialist system. The existence of an alternative system is itself a challenge to the neo-colonialist regime. Warnings about 'the dangers of Communist subversion are likely to be two-edged since they bring to the notice of those living under a neo-colonialist system the possibility of a change of regime. In fact neo-colonialism is the victim of its own contradictions. In order to make it attractive to those upon whom it is practised it must be shown as capable of raising their living standards, but the economic object of neo-colonialism is to keep those standards depressed in the interest of the developed countries. It is only when this contradiction is understood that the failure of innumerable 'aid' programmes, many of them well intentioned, can be explained.
In the first place, the rulers of neo-colonial States derive their authority to govern, not from the will of the people, but from the support which they obtain from their neo-colonialist masters. They have therefore little interest in developing education, strengthening the bargaining power of their workers employed by expatriate firms, or indeed of taking any step which would challenge the colonial pattern of commerce and industry, which it is the object of neo-colonialism to preserve. 'Aid', therefore, to a neo-colonial State is merely a revolving credit, paid by the neo-colonial master, passing through the neo-colonial State and returning to the neo-colonial master in the form of increased profits.
Secondly, it is in the field of 'aid' that the rivalry of individual developed States first manifests itself. So long as neo-colonialism persists so long will spheres of interest persist, and this makes multilateral aid — which is in fact the only effective form of aid — impossible.
Once multilateral aid begins the neo-colonialist masters are faced by the hostility of the vested interests in their own country. Their manufacturers naturally object to any attempt to raise the price of the raw materials which they obtain from the neo-colonialist territory in question, or to the establishment there of manufacturing industries which might compete directly or indirectly with their own exports to the territory. Even education is suspect as likely to produce a student movement and it is, of course, true that in many less developed countries the students have been in the vanguard of the fight against neo-colonialism.
In the end the situation arises that the only type of aid which the neo-colonialist masters consider as safe is 'military aid'.
Once a neo-colonialist territory is brought to such a state of economic chaos and misery that revolt actually breaks out then, and only then, is there no limit to the generosity of the neo-colonial overlord, provided, of course, that the funds supplied are utilised exclusively for military purposes.
Military aid in fact marks the last stage of neo-colonialism and its effect is self-destructive. Sooner or later the weapons supplied pass into the hands of the opponents of the neo-colonialist regime and the war itself increases the social misery which originally provoked it.
Neo-colonialism is a mill-stone around the necks of the developed countries which practise it. Unless they can rid themselves of it, it will drown them. Previously the developed powers could escape from the contradictions of neo-colonialism by substituting for it direct colonialism. Such a solution is no longer possible and the reasons for it have been well explained by Mr. Owen Lattimore, the United States Far Eastern expert and adviser to Chiang Kai-shek in the immediate post-war period. He wrote:
'Asia, which was so easily and swiftly subjugated by conquerors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, displayed an amazing ability stubbornly to resist modern armies equipped with aeroplanes, tanks, motor vehicles and mobile artillery.
'Formerly big territories were conquered in Asia with small forces. Income, first of all from plunder, then from direct taxes and lastly from trade, capital investments and long-term exploitation, covered with incredible speed the expenditure for military operations. This arithmetic represented a great temptation to strong countries. Now they have run up against another arithmetic, and it discourages them.'
The same arithmetic is likely to apply throughout the less developed world.
This book is therefore an attempt to examine neo-colonialism not only in its African context and its relation to African unity, but in world perspective. Neo-colonialism is by no means exclusively an African question. Long before it was practised on any large scale in Africa it was an established system in other parts of the world. Nowhere has it proved successful, either in raising living standards or in ultimately benefiting countries which have indulged in it.
Marx predicted that the growing gap between the wealth of the possessing classes and the workers it employs would ultimately produce a conflict fatal to capitalism in each individual capitalist State.
This conflict between the rich and the poor has now been transferred on to the international scene, but for proof of what is acknowledged to be happening it is no longer necessary to consult the classical Marxist writers. The situation is set out with the utmost clarity in the leading organs of capitalist opinion. Take for example the following extracts from The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper which perhaps best reflects United States capitalist thinking.
In its issue of 12 May 1965, under the headline of 'Poor Nations' Plight', the paper first analyses 'which countries are considered industrial and which backward'. There is, it explains, 'no rigid method of classification'. Nevertheless, it points out:
'A generally used breakdown, however, has recently been maintained by the International Monetary Fund because, in the words of an IMF official, "the economic demarcation in the world is getting increasingly apparent."' The break-down, the official says, "is based on simple common sense."'
In the IMF's view, the industrial countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, most West European nations, Canada and Japan. A special category called"other developed areas" includes such other European lands as Finland, Greece and Ireland, plus Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The IMF's "less developed" category embraces all of Latin America and nearly all of the Middle East, non-Communist Asia and Africa.'
In other words the 'backward' countries are those situated in the neo-colonial areas.
After quoting figures to support its argument, The Wall Street Journal comments on this situation:
'The industrial nations have added nearly $2 billion to their reserves, which now approximate $52 billion. At the same time, the reserves of the less-developed group not only have stopped rising, but have declined some $200 million. To analysts such as Britain's Miss Ward, the significance of such statistics is clear: the economic gap is rapidly widening "between a white, complacent, highly bourgeois, very wealthy, very small North Atlantic elite and everybody else, and this is not a very comfortable heritage to leave to one's children.'
'Everybody else' includes approximately two-thirds of the population of the earth, spread through about 100 nations.'
This is no new problem. In the opening paragraph of his book, The War on World Poverty, written in 1953, the present British Labour leader, Mr. Harold Wilson, summarised the major problem of the world as he then saw it:
'For the vast majority of mankind the most urgent problem is not war, or Communism, or the cost of living, or taxation. It is hunger. Over 1,500,000,000 people, some-thing like two-thirds of the world's population, are living in conditions of acute hunger, defined in terms of identifiable nutritional disease. This hunger is at the same time the effect and the cause of the poverty, squalor and misery in which they live.'
Its consequences are likewise understood. The correspondent of The Wall Street Journal previously quoted, underlines them:
'... many diplomats and economists view the implications as overwhelmingly - and dangerously - political.. Unless the present decline can be reversed, these analysts fear, the United States and other wealthy industrial powers of the West face the distinct possibility, in the words of British economist Barbara Ward, 'of a sort of international class war'.'
What is lacking are any positive proposals for dealing with the situation. All that The Wall Street Journal's correspondent can do is to point out that the traditional methods recommended for curing the evils are only likely to make the situation worse.
It has been argued that the developed nations should effectively assist the poorer parts of the world, and that the whole world should be turned into a Welfare State. However, there seems little prospect that anything of this sort could be achieved. The so-called 'aid' programmes to help backward economies represent, according to a rough U.N. estimate, only one half of one per cent of the total income of industrial countries. But when it comes to the prospect of increasing such aid the mood is one of pessimism:
'A large school of thought holds that expanded share-the-wealth schemes are idealistic and impractical. This school contends climate, undeveloped human skills, lack of natural resources and other factors - not just lack of money - retard economic progress in many of these lands, and that the countries lack personnel with the training or will to use vastly expanded aid effectively. Share-the-wealth schemes, according to this view, would be like pouring money down a bottomless well, weakening the donor nations without effectively curing the ills of the recipients..'
The absurdity of this argument is demonstrated by the fact that every one of the reasons quoted to prove why the less developed parts of the world cannot be developed applied equally strongly to the present developed countries in the period prior to their development. The argument is only true in this sense. The less developed world will not become developed through the goodwill or generosity of the developed powers. It can only become developed through a struggle against the external forces which have a vested interest in keeping it undeveloped.
Of these forces, neo-colonialism is, at this stage of history, the principal.
Nkrumah, pp ix - xx, "Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, Introduction"
Historical Background of the Resistance
Nkrumah at the Conference of Independent African States, said:
We have learnt much about the old forms of colonialism. Some of them still exist, but I am confident that they will disappear from the face of our continent. It is not only the old forms of colonialism that we are determined to see abolished, but we are equally determined that the new forms of colonialism which are now appearing in the world, with their potential threat to our precious independence, will not succeed.
If I have spoken of racialism and colonialism it is not, as I have said, because I want to indulge in recrimination with any country by listing a catalogue of wrongs which have been perpetrated upon our continent in the past.. My only purpose is doing so is to illustrate the different forms which colonialism and imperialism old and new can take, so that we can be on our guard in adopting measures The imperialists of today endeavour to achieve their ends not merely by military means, but by economic penetration, cultural assimilation, ideological domination, psychological infiltration, and subversive activities even to the point of inspiring and promoting assassination and civil strife. Very often then methods are adopted in order to influence the foreign policies of small and uncommitted countries in a particular fashion. Therefore we, the leaders of resurgent Africa, must be alert and vigilant.
Nkrumah, Extracts From Speech of Welcome to Representatives of Independent African States, Accra, April 15, 1958 pp128-9 "Revolutionary Path"
In Nkrumah's book Revolutionary Path he emphasizes
the recognition of the threat of neocolonialism:
By the end of 1958 there were clear indications that foreign powers, far from withdrawing from Africa, were in fact increasing their exploitation of the continent. In many of the so-called independent states, neocolonialism replaced the old-style colonialism; while in the States still under colonial rule, or suffering government by racist minorities, imperialist aggression took the form of increased repression. The process could not be seriously challenged until collective imperialism was confronted with unified African effort in political, economic and military spheres.
While in 1958 some progressive leaders of Africa still hoped to achieve their aims by non-violent methods, it has since become generally accepted that all methods of struggle, including armed struggle, must be employed in the face of the increasingly violent and aggressive onslaught of imperials and neocolonialist forces and their indigenous agents.
Further All-African People's Conferences were held in Tunis in 1960, and in Cairo in 1961. About two hundred delegates attended the latter, and it was at that this Conference that the dangers of neocolonialism were thoroughly examined. Among the resolutions passed were ones calling for the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations Organization, and the dissolution of the Central African Federation..
Nkrumah, pp 130, Revolutionary Path
In the Aims and Objects of the Provisional Agenda of that first All African People's Conference, you will find the following:
The main purpose of the All-African People's Conference to be held in Accra, Ghana, in December, 1958 will be to formulate concrete plans and work out the Gandhian tactics and strategy of the African Nonviolent Revolution in relation to; Colonialism and Imperialism
Nkrumah, p 132 Revolutionary Path
Other contemporary observers documented this growing anti neo-colonial consciousness, such as Jack Woddis:
In March 1961, the Third All-African People's Conference met in Cairo. Speaker after speaker went to the rostrum to denounce neocolonialism, and at the end of the conference a special resolution on the subject was adopted. It was clear that for these spokesmen of Africa neocolonialism certainly had a meaning; for them it was a precise term which related to the specific problems they were facing. From December 1965 to January 1966 I was in Havana, attending the first Tri-Continental Conference of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Here, too, as I heard for myself, speaker artier speaker describe the most detailed terms the activities and manifestations of neocolonialism in his country. And here, too, as in Cairo, at the end of the conference the delegates endorsed a comprehensive resolution setting the characters of neocolonialism and the necessary to struggle against it.
Jack Woddis, p 10, Introduction to neocolonialism: The New Imperialism & Latin America
The early All-African People's Conference period represents the last time Nkrumah seriously advanced the idea of
the Nonviolent Revolution. The empire had no intention of a peaceful solution.
And logic necessitated the call for armed struggle.
Many others were commenting on neo-colonialism too. The great Omowale Malcolm
After 1959 the spirit of African nationalism was fanned to a high flame, and we then began to witness the complete collapse of colonialism. France began to get out of French West Africa; Belgium began to make moves to get out of the Congo; Britain began to make moves to get out of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Nigeria, and some of these other places. And although it looked like they were getting out, they pulled a trick that was colossal.
In that -- when you're playing basketball and they get you trapped, you don't throw the ball away, you throw it to one of your teammates who's in the clear. And this is what the European powers did. They were trapped on the African continent, they couldn't stay there; they were looked upon as colonial, imperialist. So they had to pass the ball to someone whose image was different, and they passed the ball to Uncle Sam. And he picked it up and has been running it for a touchdown ever since. He was in the clear, he was not looked upon as one who had colonized the African continent. But at that time, the Africans couldn't see that though the United States hadn't colonized the African continent, he had colonized twenty-two million Blacks here on this continent. Because we are just as thoroughly colonized as anybody else.
When the ball was passed to the United States, it was passed at the time when John Kennedy came into power. He picked it up and helped to run it. He was one of the shrewdest backfield runners that history has ever recorded. He surrounded himself with intellectuals -- highly educated, learned, and well-informed people. And their analysis told him that the government of America was confronted with a new problem... And this new problem stemmed from the fact that Africans were now awakened, they were enlightened, and they were fearless, they would fight.. So this meant that the Western powers couldn't stay there by force. And since their own economies, the European economy and the American economy, was based upon their continued influence over the African continent, they had to find some means of staying there. So they used the "friendly" approach. They switched from the old, open colonial, imperialistic approach to the benevolent approach. They came up with some benevolent colonialism, philanthropic colonialism, humanitarianism, or dollarism. Immediately everything was Peace Corps, Crossroads, "We've got to help our African brothers." Pick up on that. Can't help us in Mississippi. Can't help us in Alabama, or Detroit, out here in Dearborn where some real Ku Klux Klan live.
They're going to send all the way to Africa to help. I know Dearborn; you know, I'm from Detroit, I used to live out here in Inkster. And you had to go through Dearborn to get to Inkster. Just like driving through Mississippi when you go to Dearborn. Is it still that way? Well, you should straighten it out.
"So, realizing that it was necessary to come up with these new approaches, Kennedy did it. He won -- he created an image of him self that was skillfully designed to make the people on the African continent think that he was Jesus, the great white father, come to make things right. I'm telling you, some of these Negroes cried harder when he died than they cried for Jesus when he was crucified.
Omowale Malcolm X, "After the Bombing Speech at Ford Auditorium", February 14, 1965
In an article, entitled Zionist Logic, Malcolm wrote, which was published in the Egyptian Gazette in September of 1964, he clearly warned of what he called "a new colonialism" based on the deceptive, deliberate misrepresentation and use of zionism and Israel and most of all the wealth of the US, which he called "dollarism", just as he had in the After the Bombing speech and he repeated the same warning in the historic memorandum from the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), which he presented to the Organization of African Unity (OAU), when he wrote these words:
We pray that our African brothers have not freed themselves of European colonialism only to be overcome and held in check now by American dollarism... Don't let American racism be "legalized" by American dollarism.
We could cite numerous other documented examples of the peoples' leadership awareness of the neo-colonial onslaught. But it is important to remember that the peoples of the world did more than merely make declarations against neocolonialism.
Historical Setbacks that have weakened neo-colonialism for all times.....
The Cuban victory against US neocolonialism coupled with that of the Indochinese
struggle, led by the Vietnamese peoples, leading to the defeat of both the US-backed
French imperialists and ultimately the US itself, along with its puppets in
Saigon and a collection of allies from other neo-colonized and imperialist countries,
demonstrated conclusively that neocolonialism could be defeated.
A critical contribution to the struggle against imperialism was the emergence and successes of the armed phase of the African Liberation movement. For example:
The Pan-African victories in Guinea in 22 November 1970, which preserved the Pan-African base that succeeded revolutionary Ghana. As the loss of this base would have been not only a blow to the people and party-state of Guinea Conakry, but also for one of Africa's most competent liberation movements, the African Independence Party of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), whose main base was in Guinea-Conakry. It was first and foremost aimed at ending the continuation of the Pan-Africanist work of Dr. Nkrumah, who was the Co-President of Guinea Conakry, President Ture, and their collaborating cadres from around the African world such as Shirley Graham Du Bois and Kwame Ture.
Nkrumah took up residence in Guinea Conakry after his overthrow in Ghana, while on his way to Vietnam in an effort to end that tragic war being waged by the US against the people of Vietnam and the rest of Indochina. The Ghana coup had led to the destruction of all the training bases established there by the Nkrumah-led Convention Peoples Party (CPP) government. But Africa is resilient and could not be thwarted that easily, as the courageous people of Guinea-Conakry proved when they repulsed the NATO-directed invasion intended to destroy the armed base of the African Revolution on that historic November date. This was a great victory that can never be taken from the people of Africa and the world. This gallant victory proved beyond doubt that the PDG led state was a fitting custodian of Pan-Africanism and successor to the CPP government in Ghana.
We must not forget the unconditional support the imperialist neo-colonialist forces gave to the racists settlers in southern Africa, including nuclear arms via the racist settler Israelis state, but even here Pan-Africanism had it great victory (one which the African National Congress (ANC) the ruling party in the former apartheid state cannot find the courage to emulate however. Instead they have opted to be the front men for the Europeans in the neo-colonial state now in place in Azania/South Africa)
In the early spring of 1988 Angola was the locus of a great defeat for imperialism at the hands of the FAPLA forces of Angola and Cuban military elements. This was a historic act on the part of the courageous island state of Cuba, and it was a very critical step for the Pan-Africanism as the advanced element of the global African diaspora were able to go home and strike a blow for the whole African world. .
As one observer wrote about the Cuban willingness to spill its blood on behalf of Africa:
Cubans died to liberate non-Cuban people of color. The battle fought in Cuito Cuanavale, an Angolan town, best exemplifies this. In 1988 Cuban and Angolan soldiers stopped apartheid South Africas war machine which had invaded Angola and was bent on capturing Cuito Cuanavale, and then all Angola. The purpose? To impose the murderous Jonas Savimbi as an apartheid-defending puppet president of Angola. Defeating apartheid South Africa at Cuito Cuanavale was highly significant. It marked the beginning of the end both in the liberation of Namibia and of South Africa, and in ending Angolas nightmarish civil war.
"Fidel Castro's Health: Why the African Diaspora should support revolutionary Cuba"
by James Early
The inability of the western powers, under the guise of the UN, to defeat the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Peoples Republic of China in the "police conflict" in Korea, imperialism's failed efforts to turn back the gains of the USSR, and their fear of the Soviet state's nuclear arsenal, demonstrated the way forward for the peoples of the world: namely: armed resistance. Added to this, the problem of the imperialists and neo-colonialists were further compounded by the development of a nuclear weapon by the PRC in 1964.
Factors that have strengthened neo-colonialism
Of course there were many setbacks also. The assassination of Lumumba and the war against the peoples of the Congo. The overthrow of the Nkrumah-led CPP government and the imperialists' destruction of the continent's liberation movements' military training base in Nkrumah'sGhana. Add to this the assassination and or unjust incarceration of many other African leaders, both at home and in the diaspora, and the general aggression against Africa and Africans, we have a complete picture of the nature of the cruel military offensive launched against us.
All this contributed directly to the ease with which the imperialists manipulated the OAU and using it against Pan-Africanism. With the many stooges in imperialism's employ from among the African leadership and the assault on the true leadership of Africa, the odds were stacked against us.
This resulted in the temporary defeat of the drive to build Pan-Africanism. This defeat, which combined with a host of similar defeats suffered by the peoples of the world, set back humankind significantly.
Here are a few examples of the crimes of imperialism in the non-African theaters of struggle:
1 There was the brutal assassination of Che Guevara while fighting with the Bolivian revolutionary forces, graphically detailed in this excerpt.
....The CIA planned it, Barrientos commanded it, Félix Rodriguez supervised it and Mario Terán executed it. Quick, easy and effective: the Revolution, in one fell swoop, had lost a fighter and gained a martyr.
La Higuera, October 9th, 1967, 1:10 pm: Mario Terán Salazar, Bolivian Army sergeant, followed the instructions of Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutía, anti-Castroist and former CIA officer, who had been ordered by René Barrientos, Bolivia's president at the time, and, with two blasts from a machinegun, put an end to the life of guerrilla leader Ernesto Guevara, "Che", who had been wounded and captured the day before, following a combat in the Quebrada del Yuro ravine, at the side of his guerrilla.
The living myth had become a martyr of the Revolution that he loved, had dedicated his entire life to and died for.
Che's body was taken to Vallegrande where it was exposed to the crowds and journalists. At that time, Richard Gott, a journalist for The Guardian, before Guevara's mutilated body, prophetically remarked: "Ernesto Che Guevara will forever remain in History as the greatest continental figure since Bolivar. He was, perhaps, the only person able to lead radical forces all over the world in a campaign against the United States. Now he's dead, but it's hard to imagine that his ideas will die with him"
In 1997 his remains were found in a mass grave, in Vallegrande, about 50 km away from the place where he was executed. His hands had been removed to act as a trophy, right after his death. His remains were finally transfered to Cuba where, on October 17th of the same year, they were burried with full state honours. This would be the end of the existence of this doctor by training, orthodox Marxist and revolutionary by conviction, guerrilla and internationalist by option, who left his mark on the revolutionary history of the 20th century.
"The man who killed Ernesto Guevara"
Once again we see the beast like nature of the imperialists, just as they beat Steve Biko to death, just as they took Lumumba's gold fillings from his mouth as a souvenir, after destroying his body in acid, just as the sawed the great Dakota chief Crazy Horse's body in two, they could not resist the ghoulish thrill of mutilating Che's body.
2. The encouragement and manipulation of the Sino-Soviet ideological and programmatic disagreements, here are three example excerpts from the Foreign Affairs political affairs journal celebrating the break between the two socialist giants. Starting with this excerpt:
Since the dramatic developments at the Twenty-second Soviet Party Congress last year, no one can seriously doubt the existence of a profound dispute between Russia and China. But opinions vary widely as to its causes, its likely future development, its consequences and its significance, if any, for Western policy. My purpose is to provide a framework for exploring the implications of the Sino-Soviet dispute for the West.
It should be emphasized immediately that Western policy toward the Communist world cannot be based solely, or even principally, on the Sino- Soviet conflict. Many other considerations must be weighed. Moreover, as a result of the dispute, dangers as well as opportunities are open to the West, and such opportunities as are offered are limited. In some respects the dispute has complicated and intensified our problems. We can no longer assume, for instance, that basic Communist policy in Southeast Asia originates entirely in Moscow. We shall be faced increasingly with the need to evaluate not only Soviet policy and intentions, but also those of Peking and even of such key third parties in the Communist movement as the North Vietnamese, who exercise considerable influence on Communist policy both in Laos and in South Viet Nam. Our dangers may increase if Peking's charges that Moscow is soft toward the West goad the Russians into adopting a harder attitude. Not only, then, do the problems we confront persist; our ability to exercise leverage on either Russia or China, and thereby to influence relations between them, remains extremely limited. Even assuming that the few instrumentalities in our possession are used as well as possible, the United States, as the leader of the "imperialist" camp, will remain the major enemy of both Russia and China and its ability to exploit the rift will be greatly limited.
In the final analysis, a secularization of Communism's messianic and universalist ideology can be brought about not by manipulating developments within the Communist world but only by strengthening the unity and vitality of the non-Communist world. The Communists can ultimately be persuaded to reconsider their aims only if over a sustained period they are confronted by superior military power as well as by dynamic, purposeful leadership, alive to the demands of many areas of the world for social and economic reforms.
The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the West
Donald S. Zagoria October 1962
Note the author's emphasis on unity; unity is indeed the key. Just as he knows that the imperialist must have sufficient unity amongst themselves -- even as they -- battle for ultimate control of their criminal empire, we must have sufficient unity among ourselves, and with other peoples facing the same enemy system, if we are to be free. With proper organization we can achieve whatever we wish in the world.
The long-heralded and twice-postponed conference between the Chinese and Soviet Communist spokesmen, held at Moscow in July, was overshadowed, at least for the outside world, by the dramatic publication of the exchange of letters between the two Central Committees. The breakup of the conference was hardly softened by halfhearted assertions of a mutual intention to continue the discussions. It is hard to discern any useful topics for new negotiations until one or another or both parties to the quarrel have made some rather drastic changes in their ideological claims or their practical policy aims. The two facets are inseparable, of course.. Quarrels among Communists have been a recurring feature of a movement that claims political omniscience and a monopoly of messianic foresight, and are normally clothed in recondite scholastic terms. But their ideological disputes are always waged over real questions of power and policy.
From this latest phase of the Moscow-Peking conflict, what new can we learn of the nature of the rift? And, more dimly glimpsed, what does this clash portend for the future?
The exchange of charges has clarified in some respects, though obscured in others, the chronology of the conflict. Western analysts of the dispute have generally traced its devious course from the June 1960 congress of the Rumanian Party, or rather from the behind-the-scenes meetings held at that time in Bucharest, among representatives of some 50 Communist Parties, to discuss the clash of views that had arisen over the proper strategy of the international movement. The Soviet letter of July 14 assigns a somewhat earlier date. According to its account, the direct conflict began with the publication by the Chinese Party, in April 1960, of a collection called "Long Live Leninism!" This was, Moscow claims, a direct attack on several main points of the Moscow Declaration of 1957. In it Peking lashed out against the policy of coexistence, against the possibility of averting a world war, against the use of both peaceful and non-peaceful paths to the Communist achievement of power. Similarly, in June 1960, during the sessions at Peking of the General Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions, the Chinese leaders held a number of separate meetings with representatives of various parties to attack Moscow's policies.
"The Chinese-Soviet Rift: Origins and Portents "
Philip E. Mosely October 1963
The Chinese, right or wrong, have the right to raise their own position in forums that are supposed to compose the common view of the socialist world. The Union of Soviet Sociality Republics (USSR) left itself open by the approach taken by the Khrushchev regime moving closer to the US in the name of arranging trade relationship between the USSR and the capitalists. This was what the Soviet leadership referred to as the policy of peaceful coexistence. Another factor in the split was the acrid disagreement between the two as a result of the Khrushchev-led government's denunciation of Stalin.
Therefore, some of the reasons that so many agreed with the Chinese position that the USSR had become social imperialists, and thus an enemy to the struggle of the working class of the and the globe's national liberation forces are valid.
For while the USSR was talking peace and trade with the capitalists, these very same capitalists were surrounding the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in Asia, with the US relationship with Taiwan (ROC), a large American force in occupied (South) Korea, a large and growing force in Indochina, especially in occupied (South) Vietnam, the SEATO group, bases in Japan, the Philippine neo-colony and other areas. At the same general time the USSR had refused to help the PRC development of a nuclear weapon to counter the capitalist bomb. This is critical because US General MacArthur and others had lobbied for the use of the American nuclear force against the PRC. There were some who also said the USSR was not overly enthusiastic about the patriotic forces in Vietnam escalating the war against the US. By 1960 all Soviet technical advisors were withdrawn from the PRC.
The USSR on the other hand asserted that the PRC blocked aid from the USSR intended for the Vietnamese patriots as part of the feud related to the split and resisted all post-Khrushchev attempts to heal the breach between the two.
The struggle against neo-colonialism suffered a huge setback when the two major powers of the international socialist camp turned against each other. In reality, both the USSR and the PRC succumbed to the US capitalists siren song.
First the USSR, arguing that the development of the soviet state was the primary goal of the socialist world, and that this development could only be facilitated by altering the USSR's position on the role of US capitalism, attempted to impose a unscientific line on the whole scientific socialist movement.
In turn the PRC, denounced the USSR as "social imperialism" and labeled them as a greater threat to socialism and the national liberation struggles raging across the neo-colonized portions of the globe. The Chinese then proceeded to ally to the US. Thus the Soviet detente strategy was joined by the Chinese embracing a close cooperation with the US, a decision that was symbolized by actions such as ping pong diplomacy.
All of this strengthened the hand of neo-colonialists and significantly weakened the forces opposed to neo-colonialism. This is not to say that the two countries completely stopped assistance to the anti-neo-colonial liberation forces, this would be entirely inaccurate.
But in point of fact their policies of cozying up to the US neo-colonialists, combined with the open hostility between the two, including a brief PRC-USSR war, did create adverse conditions for scientific socialism and the liberation of the peoples held by the forces of monopoly financial capitalism, that is imperialism-neo-colonialism.
What was the worse part of this falling out was that since the PRC decided that the USSR was the number one enemy of socialism and the people of the world, it began to develop defacto military alliances with the US. As a consequence, China started opposing any national liberation movement associated with the USSR. These were not the actions of true internationalists. Indeed since the disagreement started over the USSR overtures to the US, it has to be said that the PRC approach to the US was at least as unprincipled.
The upshot of it all is that the two gave the US leverage, because it was then able to play one against the other, and did so as often as possible. This was a blow to socialism everywhere. It is unfortunate that such a split developed, while the PRC's initial reactions are understandable, as the Chinese were much more inclined to confront the west militarily at that time than the Soviets and they felt that the Soviets were betraying socialism and the world’s various national liberation movements. However, we must say that their actions likewise hurt socialism and the various national liberation movements. Indeed during this same period we see the Chinese in armed conflict with newly liberated Vietnam, uniting with the CIA and South Africa against the MPLA in Africa and the eventual ascendancy of the capitalist elements of the Chinese Communist Party to supreme leadership. This shows, as Lenin taught, that the party (and the world) does in fact move by dialectical materialist processes; one step forward, two steps back. This complex subject of the USSR-PRC relationship is certainly one that must be analyzed by all who struggle against imperialism. However it is beyond the scope of this book, so I have only touched on what I consider to be the bare essentials. If you wish to pursue a more thorough analysis, you would have to study in depth the relative national security positions of the two societies, the differences in class composition of their parties and revolutions, the differences in their two society's level of development and respective histories.
Specific struggles in other areas such as Yugoslavia and Albania would also have to be examined as the USSR-PRC split definitively impacted the policies of these two countries which consequently added to collateral damage to world socialism and the various national liberation struggles. One would also have to look carefully at pivotal processes such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution; and the technical and economic motivation driving the USSR's overall process of rapprochement with the US, and the Chinese decision to do likewise
The last of the three excerpts follows:
In ten short years since Joseph Stalin's death a once potent revolutionary force has disintegrated into two mutually hostile phalanxes linked only by ritualistic proclamations of unity: an orthodox international Communism headed by Mao Tse-tung, and a revisionist international Communism led by Nikita Khrushchev. There is no coöperation between the Soviet and the Chinese leaders; no collaboration in actual policies; no coördination of a general outlook. The alliance as an active political force is dead.
The failure of international Communism to prevent the schism appears to be rooted in certain generic peculiarities of Communism itself. First of all, the importance attached by Communists to ideology means that there must always be a "general line" guiding the tactics and the strategy of the movement. Setting the line was an easy matter when Stalin was alive. Today, it involves dealings among many parties and régimes, while the preoccupation of Communists with their alleged monoply on the only "true" and "scientific" understanding of reality results in the quick transformation of differences into matters of principle, with mutual accusations of "dogmatism" or "revisionism" inevitably following. In addition, commitment to the ideology resulted in a general delusion that, by definition, there could be no conflict among Communist states. Thus there was no predisposition to develop the tradition of agreeing to disagree or the institutions for collective decision-making.
Second, the common emphasis on the Marxist-Leninist ideology became a liability when the movement expanded to embrace some 40 percent of the world's population. A single doctrine simply could not encompass the complex, highly diverse and rapidly changing world-wide processes of change. This was especially so since that doctrine was derived from an early stage of industrial development and later adjusted to rural societies experiencing the first impact of industrialization and nationalism. Thus the ideology was particularly inadequate to cope with the problems both of the leading Communist state, the Soviet Union, and of the Communist parties of the more developed societies. Irresistible pressures toward doctrinal innovation (i.e. "revisionism") were created, and these in turn provoked a fundamentalist reaction from those parties whose conditions were still adequately served by orthodox Marxism-Leninism.
"Threat and Opportunity in the Communist Schism"
Zbigniew Brzezinski April 1963
From my own reading of Brzezinski's stuff on communism, this is pretty standard stuff for him, as for example in his piece on Soviet Ideology. Nevertheless, there is some truth in what he observes about the failing of the socialist states in Europe and Asia, and similar mistakes will not be avoided in the future if we do not seriously applied the discipline of constant criticism and more criticism to our actions and theories. Socialism is too valuable to the human race to be taken lightly as some states have done in the last half century plus. There can be no socialism where one party or a coalition of parties assume hegemonic control of the ideology of scientific socialism. Those who have pioneered socialism before us, Nkrumah, Seku Ture, Castro, Che, Ho, Malcolm, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Walter Rodney, Kwame Ture and yes Mao and Stalin, have all given us sufficient material to fashion a viable, durable, working socialist appropriate for the African Pesonality, our history and culture. We nor any other people do not bend our beliefs accordings to the ideological vagaries or whims of individual personalities, or groups of parties or states.
3. The CIA coup against the democratically elected government of Iran, led by Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh , who famously remarked, "I put my trust in the support of the Iranian people. That is all."
The contemporary history of Iran had been intertwined with oil, a highly sought after energy source by the west, since 1901 when a 60 year exclusive rights were given to William Knox D'Arcy, a British subject, for oil exploration and exploitation in Iran's southern provinces. In 1908, oil was struck and The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was established. Just before the start of World War I in 1914, the British government purchased 51% of the company's shares. The British thus created a beachhead and practically colonized the southern west corner of Iran, directly and indirectly interfering in the political affairs of the entire country. APOC cheated on the meager 16% payment to Iran and treated Iranian oil workers with contempt and racism in their own land. It all came to a head in July 1946 when about 6,000 Iranian oil workers went on a strike in Agajari. Their clash with the government troops resulted in more that 200 dead and wounded workers.
Mossadegh envisioned an Iran that was independent, free and democratic. He believed no country could be politically independent and free unless it first achieved economic independence. As he put it, "The moral aspect of oil nationalization is more important than its economic aspect." He sought to renegotiate and reach an equitable and fair restitution of rights of Iran but was faced with intransigence by the company. To put an end to 150 years of British political interference, economic exploitation and plundering of Iran's national resources, Mossadegh engineered the nationalization of the oil industry.
Mossadegh first presented the idea of nationalization to the Majles mandated "Oil Commission" on March 8, 1951. The following day the National Front, a coalition of several parties, held a huge rally in Baharestan, a square in front of the Majles, in support of oil nationalization. On the eve of the Iranian New Year, on March 20, 1951 [ 29 Esfand, 1329] the National Front bill for oil nationalization received the final approval from the Senate, only a few days after unanimously being approved by the Majles deputies. A month later, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh was nominated for the position of Prime Minister, which he won by votes of nearly 90% of the representatives present.
The dispute between Iran and the disbanded Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) continued with no resolution in the horizon, increasing tension between Iran and Britain. The British government imposed economic sanctions on Iran and additionally threatened Iran with a military attack. In June 1951, the Iranian government discovered a British spy network that revealed subversive activities by a large number of Iranian politicians and journalists, including communists who were receiving bribes from the British government and the AIOC. In response, the Iranian government closed the British consulate. The British government reacted by calling their ambassador, Francis Shepherd, back to London. In October 1951, Premier Mohammad Mossadegh traveled to New York to personally defend Iran's right to nationalize its oil industry before the UN Security Council. The British government, looking for support, had taken their case to the United Nations for a hearing. Mossadegh gave a dramatic and successful presentation, demonstrating that Britain's oil profits in 1950 alone were more than what it paid to Iran during the previous half century.
Mossadegh with Ernest Gross Mossadegh then headed for Washington, DC where he met with President Harry S. Truman. His visit was covered widely in newspapers, magazines, television, and theatrical newsreels. On his return to Iran in November 1951, he stopped at Farouk airport in Cairo, Egypt and was greeted by thousands of admirers who chanted "LONG LIVE MOSSADEGH" and "LONG LIVE IRAN." During his three day visit, the Egyptian King, Premier, Cabinet and other dignitaries honored Mossadegh personally, and a gala dinner was given in his honor by the municipality of Cairo. By January 1952, Mossadegh was named Time magazine's Man of the Year, his second Time cover in a span of 7 months.
In June 1952, Mossadegh traveled to the Hague and presented nearly 200 documents to the International Court regarding the highly exploitative nature of the AIOC and the extent of its political intervention into the Iranian political system. "There is no political or moral yardstick by which the court can measure its judgment in the case of nationalization of the oil industry in Iran", he argued. "...and that under no condition we will accept the jurisdiction of the court on the subject. We cannot put ourselves in the dangerous situation which might arise out of the court's decision." The verdict was to be announced later, and Mossadegh returned to Tehran having won the respect of the judges.
Prime Minister Mossadegh found it difficult to deal with deteriorating economic and security conditions, worsened by increasing subsersive activities of foreign powers and their agents. In a July 1952 meeting with Mohammad Reza Shah, who headed the military, Mossadegh requested control of the armed forces but was refused. In response, Mossadegh immediately submitted his resignation as Prime Minister.
The following day, the Shah, at the behest of the British and American governments, appointed Ghavam Saltaneh as Prime Minister. Ghavam Saltaneh took a hard line, further angering the people who had come out to the streets in support of Mossadegh. In the largest street protest on July 20, 1952 (30 Tir, 1331) the security forces clashed with the demonstrators resulting in hundreds of casualties. The Shah, witnessing the depth of the people's support for Mossadegh, became highly alarmed and changed course. He appointed Mossadegh to the dual role of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, as permitted by the Constitution. Ironically, on the same day the International Court at the Hague voted in favor of Iran and against the British in their dispute, followed by the U.N. Security Council rejection of the British claim. Mossadegh was at the height of his power and popularity, hailed as a hero not only in Iran, but in the greater Middle East.
As leader of Iran, Mossadegh sponsored laws for a clean government and independent court systems, defended freedom of religion and political affiliations, and promoted free elections. He implemented many social reforms and fought for the rights of women, workers, and peasants. A fund was created to pay for rural development projects and give assistance to farmers. According to his policy of 'Negative equilibrium', an idea that helped the formation of the non-allied nations, Mossadegh also refused to grant an oil concession to the Soviet Union. Most importantly, Mossadegh helped to foster a national self-sufficiency that remains unduplicated in Iran since his tenure: balancing the budget, increasing non-oil productions and creating a trade balance. His policies were frequently opposed by the Shah, army generals, leading clerics, land owners, the Tudeh (Communist) party, and the governments of Britain and America. Nevertheless, Mossadegh could always rely upon the support of the people..
Meanwhile, the British continued to undermine Mossadegh's authority by inciting division in the country, tightening the worldwide embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil, freezing Iranian assets and threatening Iran with invasion by amassing a Naval force in the Persian Gulf. When all attempts failed, Britain concluded that "Mossadegh must go" by any means necessary. Working jointly with the American CIA, they plotted a coup to overthrow his democratically elected government.
On August 15, 1953, with participation of the Shah and their Iranian collaborators, a CIA drafted plan codenamed Operation Ajax, headed by Kermit Roosevelt, went into action, but it failed to dislodge Mossadegh from power. In the second attempt on August 19, 1953, [28 Mordad 1332] the violent overthrow of the government was accomplished. Mossadegh escaped capture, but his home was invaded, looted and burned to the ground. The following day Mossadegh surrendered to authorities and was imprisoned. During this bloody episode, many hundreds were killed or wounded. Followers of Mossadegh were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or even murdered. Mossadegh's Foreign Minister, Dr. Hossein Fatemi went into hiding but was captured a few months later. He was beaten, stabbed and, after a show trial, executed by a firing squad. The reign of terror had begun..
Tried as a traitor in a military court, on December 19, 1953, Mossadegh pronounced:
"Yes, my sin-- my greater sin... and even my greatest sin is that I nationalized Iran's oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world's greatest empire. ...This at the cost to myself, my family; and at the risk of losing my life, my honor and my property. ...With God's blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism.
....I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests."
"Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh Biography"
4. And last in the catalog of our expanded examples of non-African examples, the brutal coup in Chile and the murder of the democratically elected Head Of State, Allende.
When Salvador Allende, a committed Marxist, came within three percent of winning the Chilean presidency in 1958, the United States decided that the next election, in 1964, could not be left in the hands of providence, or democracy.
Washington took it all very gravely. At the outset of the Kennedy administration in 1961, an electoral committee was established, composed of top-level officials from the State Department, the CIA and the White House. In Santiago, a parallel committee of embassy and CIA people was set up.
U.S. government intervention in Chile in 1964 was blatant and almost obscene," said one intelligence officer strategically placed at the time. "We were shipping people off right and left, mainly State Dept. but also CIA, with all sorts of covers." All in all, as many as 100 American operatives were dedicated to the operation.
They began laying the groundwork for the election years ahead, a Senate investigating committee has disclosed, "by establishing operational relationships with key political parties and by creating propaganda and organizational mechanisms capable of influencing key sectors of the population." Projects were undertaken "to help train and organize 'anti-communists"' among peasants, slum dwellers, organized labor, students, the media, etc..
After channeling funds to several non-leftist parties, the electoral team eventually settled on a man of the center, Eduardo Frei, the candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, as the one most likely to block Allende's rise to power. The CIA underwrote more than half the party's total campaign costs, one of the reasons that the Agency's overall electoral operation reduced the U.S. Treasury by an estimated $20 million-much more per voter than that spent by the Johnson and Goldwater campaigns combined in the same year in the United States. The bulk of the expenditures went toward propaganda.
The operation worked. It worked beyond expectations. Frei received 56 percent of the vote to Allende's 39 percent. The CIA regarded "the anti-communist scare campaign as the most effective activity undertaken", noted the Senate committee. This was the tactic directed toward Chilean women in particular. As things turned out, Allende won the men's vote by 67,000 over Frei (in Chile men and women vote separately), but amongst the women Frei came out ahead by 469,000... testimony, once again, to the remarkable ease with which the minds of the masses of people can be manipulated, in any and all societies.
What was there about Salvador Allende that warranted all this feverish activity? What threat did he represent, this man against whom the great technical and economic resources of the world's most powerful nation were brought to bear? Allende was a man whose political program, as described by the Senate committee report, was to "redistribute income [two percent of the population received 46 percent of the income] and reshape the Chilean economy, beginning with the nationalization of major industries, especially the copper companies; greatly expanded agrarian reform; and expanded relations with socialist and communist countries."
A man committed to such a program could be expected by American policy makers to lead his country along a path independent of the priorities of US foreign policy and the multinationals. (As his later term as president confirmed, he was independent of any other country as well.)
"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." Thus spoke Henry Kissinger, principal adviser to the President of the United States on matters of national security. The date was 27 June 1970, a meeting of the National Security Council's 40 Committee, and the people Kissinger suspected of Imminent Irresponsibility were Chileans whom he feared might finally elect Salvador Allende as their president.
The United States did not stand by idly. At this meeting approval was given to a $300,000 increase in the anti-Allende "spoiling" operation which was already underway. The CIA trained its disinformation heavy artillery on the Chilean electorate, firing shells marked: "An Allende victory means violence and Stalinist repression." Black propaganda was employed to undermine Allende's coalition and support by sowing dissent between the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, the main members of the coalition, and between the Communist Party and the [communist dominated]CUTCh.
Nevertheless, on 4 September Allende won a plurality of the votes. On 24 October, the Chilean Congress would meet to choose between him and the runner-up, Jorge Alessandri of the Conservative National Party. By tradition, Allende was certain to become president.
The United States had seven weeks to prevent him from taking office. On 15 September, President Nixon met with Kissinger, CIA Director Richard Helms, and Attorney General John Mitchell. Helms' handwritten notes of the meeting have become famous: " One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile! ... not concerned with risks involved ... $10,000,000 available, more if necessary ... make the economy scream.
Funds were authorized by the 40 Committee to bribe Chilean congressmen to vote for Alessandri, but this was soon abandoned as infusible, and under intense pressure from Richard Nixon, American efforts were concentrated on inducing the Chilean military to stage a coup and then cancel the congressional vote altogether.' At the same time, Nixon and Kissinger made it clear to the CIA that an assassination of Allende would not be unwelcome. One White House options-paper discussed various ways this could be carried out.
Meanwhile, the Agency was in active consultation with several Chilean military officers who were receptive to the suggestion of a coup. (The difficulty in finding such officers was described by the CIA as a problem in overcoming "the apolitical, constitutional-oriented inertia of the Chilean military.) They were assured that the United States would give them full support short of direct military involvement. The immediate obstacle faced by the officers was the determined opposition of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Rene Schneider, who insisted that the constitutional process be followed. He would have to be "removed".
In the early morn of 22 October the CIA passed "sterilized" machine guns and ammunition to some of the conspirators. (Earlier they had passed tear gas.) That same day Schneider was mortally wounded in an attempted kidnap (or "kidnap") on his way to work. The CIA station in Santiago cabled its headquarters that the general had been shot with the same kind of weapons it had delivered to the military plotters, although the Agency later claimed to the Senate that the actual assassins were not the same ones it had passed the weapons to.
The assassination did not avail the conspirators' purpose. It only served to rally the army around the flag of constitutionalism; and time was running out. Two days later, Salvador Allende was confirmed by the Chilean Congress. On 3 November he took office as president.
The stage was set for a clash of two experiments. One was Allende's "socialist" experiment aimed at lifting Chile from the mire of underdevelopment and dependency and the poor from deprivation. The other was, as CIA Director William Colby later put it, a "prototype or laboratory experiment to test the techniques of heavy financial investment in an effort to discredit and bring down a government."
Although there were few individual features of this experiment which were unique for the CIA, in sum total it was perhaps the most multifarious intervention ever undertaken by the United States. In the process it brought a new word into the language: destabilizatlon.
"Not a nut or bolt [will] be allowed to reach Chile under Allende", warned American Ambassador Edward Korry before the confirmation. The Chilean economy, so extraordinarily dependent upon the United States, was the country's soft underbelly, easy to pound. Over the next three years, new US government assistance programs for Chile plummeted almost to the vanishing point, similarly with loans from the US Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, in which the United States held what amounted to a veto; and the World Bank made no new loans at all to Chile during 1971-73. US government financial assistance or guarantees to American private investment in Chile were cut back sharply and American businesses were given the word to tighten the economic noose.
What this boycott translated into were things like the many buses and taxis out of commission in Chile due to a lack of replacement parts; and similar difficulties in the copper, steel, electricity and petroleum industries. American suppliers refused to sell needed parts despite Chile's offer to pay cash in advance.
Multinational ITT, which didn't need to be told what to do, stated in a 1970 memorandum: "A more realistic hope among those who want to block Allende is that a swiftly deteriorating economy will touch off a wave of violence leading to a military coup."
In the midst of the near disappearance of economic aid, and contrary to its warning, the United States increased its military assistance to Chile during 1972 and 1973 as well as training Chilean military personnel in the United States and Panama. The Allende government, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, was reluctant to refuse this "assistance" for fear of antagonizing its military leaders.
Perhaps nothing produced more discontent in the population than the shortages, the little daily annoyances when one couldn't get a favorite food, or flour or cooking oil, or toilet paper, bed sheets or soap, or the one part needed to make the TV set or the car run; or, worst of all, when a nicotine addict couldn't get a cigarette. Some of the scarcity resulted from Chile being a society in transition: various changeovers to state ownership, experiments in workers' control, etc. But this was minor compared to the effect of the aid squeeze and the practices of the omnipresent American corporations. Equally telling were the extended strikes in Chile, which relied heavily on CIA financial support for their prolongation.
In October 1972, for example, an association of private truck owners instituted a work-stoppage aimed at disrupting the flow of food and other important commodities, including in their embargo even newspapers which supported the government (subtlety was not the order of the day in this ultra-polarized country). On the heels of this came store closures, countless petit-bourgeois doing their bit to turn the screws of public inconvenience- and when they were open, many held back on certain goods, like cigarettes, to sell them on the black market to those who could afford the higher prices. Then most private bus companies stopped running, on top of this, various professional and white-collar workers, largely unsympathetic to the government, walked out, with or without CIA help.
Much of this campaign was aimed at wearing down the patience of the public, convincing them that "socialism can't work in Chile". Yet there had been worse shortages for most of the people before the Allende government-shortages of food, housing, health care, and education, for example. At least half the population had suffered from malnutrition. Allende, who was a medical doctor, explained his free milk program by pointing out that "Today in Chile there are over 600,000 children mentally retarded because they were not adequately nourished during the first eight months of their lives, because they did not receive the necessary proteins."
Financial aid was not the CIA's only input into the strike scene. More than 100 members of Chllean professional associations and employers' guilds were graduates of the school run by the American Institute for Free Labor Development in Front Royal, Virginia-"The Little Anti-Red Schoolhouse". AIFLD, the ClA's principal Latin America labor organization, also assisted in the formation of a new professional association in May 1971: the Confederation of Chilean Professionals. The labor specialists of AIFLD had more than a decade's experience in the art of fomenting economic turmoil (or keeping workers quiescent when the occasion called for it).
CIA propaganda merchants had a field day with the disorder and the shortages, exacerbating both by instigating panic buying. All the techniques, the whole of the media saturation, the handy organizations created for each and every purpose, so efficiently employed in 1964 and 1970, were facilitated by the virtually unlimited license granted the press: headlines and stories which spread rumors about everything from nationalizations to bad meat and undrinkable water ... "Economic Chaos! Chile on Brink of Doom!" in the largest type one could ever expect to see in a newspaper ... raising the specter of civil war, when not actually calling for lt., literally ... alarmist stories which anywhere else in the world would have been branded seditious ... the worst of London's daily tabloids or the National Enquirer of the United States appear as staid as a journal of dentistry by comparison.
The government contingency plans were presumably obtained by the Agency through its infiltration of the various parties which made up Allende's Unidad Popular (UP) coalition. CIA agents in the upper echelons of Allende's own Socialist Party were "paid to make mistakes in their jobs".. In Washington, burglary was the Agency's tactic of choice for obtaining documents. Papers were taken from the homes of several employees of the Chilean Embassy; and the embassy itself, which had been bugged for some time, was burgled in May 1972 by some of the same men who the next month staged the Watergate break-in.
In March 1973, the UP won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their best and most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.
During the spring and summer the destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with an even longer one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: "While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout." A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on "a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas" where the money for it came from. "From the CIA," they answered laughing.
There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and Patria y Liberatad..
In September the military prevailed. "It is clear," said the Senate investigating committee, "the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973."
The American role on that fateful day was one of substance and shadow. The coup began in the Pacific coast port of Valparaiso with the dispatch of Chilean naval troops to Santiago, while US Navy ships were present offshore, ostensibly to participate in joint maneuvers with the Chilean Navy. The American ships stayed outside of Chilean waters but renamed on the alert. A US WB-575 plane-an airborne communications control system-piloted by US Air Force officers, cruised in the Chilean sky. At the same time, American observation and fighter planes were landing at the US air base in Mendoza, Argentina, not far from the Chilean border.
Washington knows no heresy in the Third World but independence. In the case of Salvador Allende independence came clothed in an especially provocative costume-a Marxist constitutionally elected who continued to honor the constitution. This would not do. It shook the very foundation stones upon which the anti-communist tower is built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that "communists" can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing an brainwashing the population. There could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power-an elected Marxist in power.
excerpt from the book, "Killing Hope"
by William Blum
The overthrow of the Allende government has some of the same attributes as
that which overthrew the Pan-Africanist government of Nkrumah in Ghana; the
same pattern of destabilization. Indeed it also resembles the assault on Mossadegh.
It appears to have combined many of the tactics used in both anti-people actions.
This is not surprising since the CIA was the common denominator and the moving
force in all three.
And there are numerous other examples in Africa, the diaspora, and also in Ireland, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Palestine, generally speaking where ever people are oppressed and are not organized sufficiently to throw off their tormentors, such things have occurred.
Nevertheless, these counterrevolutionary actions did not and could not halt
the peoples' will to be free, their determination to strive for a better life.
The historical momentum in the world is objective, because it is subject to
the laws of dialectics, and just as the revolutionary movements have had setbacks,
so has capitalism.
Here again from that citadel of capitalist political economic doctrine, Foreign Affairs, we get a glimpse of the monopoly capitalist sentiment, except this time, it is a very welcome somber prognostication:
The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.
A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.
This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism. Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding. Although the United States is fortunate that this crisis coincides with the promise inherent in the election of Barack Obama as president, historical forces -- and the crash of 2008 -- will carry the world away from a unipolar system regardless.
The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West
Roger C. Altman, Jan-Feb 2009
It is not too late to reclaim our former greatness and serenity as a leading element of global human culture. But we will have to be prepared for a fierce struggle to achieve our goals. The current global regime will not voluntarily give up its immense ill-gotten gains, simply because we have been robbed of it by them.
What we require is an economy of our own making. One that is a just, egalitarian, cooperative, human centered, social economy based on "the optimal zone for development" (Consciencism, Nkrumah) -- referring to the totality of the African continent. An economy that we will develop with the vast array of talents and skills of the African global demographic, plus all the rest of the world's people interested in mutual development support.
To accomplish this noble achievement will require the optimal unity of the people of Africa, at home and abroad. Nothing less than the overall unity of the peoples of Africa, at home and abroad, will surfice. This is the only way we can achieve our goal, the total liberation and unification of Africa under scientific socialism, in short, Africa under a socialist All-African Union Government. We must take Nkrumah seriously when he wrote:
The new phase of the armed revolutionary struggle in Africa embraces the entire continent. It is essential that we know what we fight, and why we fight. Imperialism and neocolonialism must be broken down into their component parts so that we can clearly see them. We must know their world strategy.
p. 1, Nkrumah "Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare"
And their world strategy can only be defeated by a world strategy of our own, led by an All-African Scientific Socialist Union Government. This is the only way to accommodate the world African population and help satisfy the just demands of the majority of human beings on our common planet.
Dr. Nkrumah clearly demonstrates the absolute antagonist links between neo-colonialism, that is the last stage of monopoly capitalist exploitation, imperialism and the global African nation. He also clearly demonstrates, once again that the only solution to our problem is Pan-Africanism, the total liberation and unification of Africa under a scientific socialist Union Government.
Thus as we look at the global capitalist crisis, which is dragging the whole world down with it, the need for African unity that would act in concert with all the other peoples of the world who also oppose imperialism and capitalism becomes clearer everyday. This is what we must focus on, the organized unity of the African world and the organized unity of the majority of the world who, just as we do, suffer from the very existence of monopoly capitalism (imperialism in its current and last form, neo-colonialism.)
Lenin wrote in the preface to his book Imperialism: The Last Stage of Capitalism, the following: "I trust that this pamphlet will help the reader to understand the fundamental economic question, viz., the question of the economic essence of imperialism, for unless this is studied, it will be impossible to understand and appraise modern war and modern politics."
Indeed, imperialism is the dominant force behind the global system of political crimes and rampant warfare. Lenin went on to prove that imperialism was the source of the first World War, which was foreshadowed by events such as the so-called Fashoda Incident (or Crisis), in which France and England engaged in a major armed skirmish in Sudan, which nearly came to all out blows; the so-called Boer War, where the British colonial imperialists in South Africa engaged in a war against the "Boer" Dutch imperialist colonialists over the gold in what these colonialists called the "Transvaal" area of Azania(South Africa). This war in particular had the makings of a major world confrontation, as it not only drew the Dutch, siding with their colonialists, but the Germans, who were engaged in a conflict with England for dominance in Europe and for the role of the leading force in what we will call the general concept of European World Dominance; and the French, who were also contending for dominance of the European continent and the world against the British. France also had colonialists in the area too, as many of them came there after the massacre of Huguenots in France. Generally speaking much of Europe, including large sectors of the Irish sided with the so-called Boers, in most cases because of their own struggles — as in the case of the Irish, or alternatively rivalries, as in the case of France, Germany and Holland (Dutch) against the British Empire. Of course, this did not mean that there was a complete cessation of other conflicts amongst the imperialist, for example it did not obliterate the contradictions and rivalry between France and Germany. But it did focus these forces on the British, so, to that extent it diminished conflicts within the pro-Boer bloc in Europe.
Politically, we see a similar "diplomatic" phenomena in the imperialist world, with the Berlin Conference of 1884, which was called by Bismarck's government to bring all the European powers and the European settler state of the US, together to carve up the Congo, specifically, and Africa generally. This was done for strategic reasons, as the Congo is at the heart of Africa, as Nkrumah observed, but also so that each of the other parties to the conference could take advantage of the relative weakness of the Belgian imperialist state which had been the sole looter and murderer entity preying on the Congo. As you know this is a weakness that the other colonialists exploited on a grand scale to ruthlessly plunder and loot the Congo's enormous wealth in natural resources. This is a battle that we are still fighting today as the imperialists, with the aid of neo-colonialist stooges in Africa, combined with imperialism's control of various multilateral organs, such as the UN Security Council; so-called aid groups, and various other agency forms, continue the rape and massacre of the Congo and her people.
Nkrumah clearly understood the importance of exposing the nature of neocolonialism. His exposition on the Congo tragedy accurately dissected the imperialist processes at work there. His book, Challenge of the Congo, emphasized the historical roots of the war against Lumumbaist administration of the Congo and Pan-Africanism. Here is an example of his historical recount of this ongoing war. (A war that is indeed of global and Pan-African importance):
This famous document known as the Regimento of 1512, can perhaps be described as the first essay in neocolonialism. It provided that the Portuguese should help the King of the Congo in organizing his kingdom:
In the year 1482, three small Portuguese ships set out from Elmina in Ghana. Their mission was to find a route round Africa which would outflank the Arab States which controlled North Africa. The Portuguese hoped to reach the legendary kingdom of that supposed great African Christian monarch, Prester John. This fleet, commanded by Diogo Cam, never rounded the tip of Africa but it did discover the ancient kingdom of the Congo, and the long history of European intervention in Central Africa had begun.
The Portuguese were already established in a number of forts along the African West Coast, of which the Fort of St. George at Elmina (1481), from which the expedition started, was the largest and best equipped. The African States of this coast and hinterland were well organized politically, militarily and economically. They controlled the produce of the interior and sold it on their own terms. They did not need to enter any military or economic alliance with the Portuguese, who were tolerated solely as traders.
In the Congo, however, it was different. The King of the Congo, the Mani Congo, was in reality only a feudal overlord and he was engaged, as had been the Portuguese monarchy eighty years before, in a life and death struggle with his nominal vassals. The Portuguese therefore were welcomed by the Mani Congo as potential allies. The Portuguese on their side saw the opportunity of establishing a Christian State as a bastion against Islamic intrusion and as a link with the Kingdom of Prester John. The first consignment of technical aid, consisting of priests and skilled craftsmen with the tools of their trade and a variety of religious objects, arrived in 1490.
From then onwards there was a small but steady flow of European technicians, who included, in 1492, two German printers. Considering that printing had been established in England only fifteen years before and had not yet been established in Spain, the provision of printers is a remarkable tribute to the level of civilization reached in the Congo. The Portuguese, with the support of the Mani Congo, set out on a systematic policy of westernization in the Congo. At this point emerged the contradiction that has haunted European and African relations ever since.
The Congolese wanted to secure, through trade with Europe, foreign exchange in the form of gold and silver, capital equipment like merchant ships and printing presses, and above all European specialist in medicine, teaching, shipbuilding and navigation. The Portuguese on the other hand were determined to exploit the naval knowledge, their large merchant fleet and their command of the sea. This command of the sea involved alliances with those who controlled the approaches to the Congo and beyond. Such an alliance was fatal to any real partnership between the Congo and Portugal. The center of Portuguese naval power in the Central and South Atlantic was the island of Sao Tome, originally colonized as a Portuguese penal settlement in the very year the first group of priests and technicians were sent to the Congo. It was ruled by a Lord Proprietor, whose goodwill the Portuguese had to maintain at all costs.
The Lord Proprietor of Sao Tome had one overriding interest--the slave trade. Once Portugal began to develop Brazil she became herself dependent on the slaves sold through the Sao Tome slaving organizations.
The development of all this was in the future. At the time, it appeared on paper that Portugal and the Congo treated each other as equal states. The Mani Congo, who ascended the Ivory Throne in 1506, became a Christian as part of a concerted policy of westernization. Much of the correspondence of this remarkable king, Dom Affonso, with the Kings of Portugal has survived and it is clear that he looked on the Portuguese alliance as the most effective method of modernizing his kingdom. Before we condemn his lack of realism in this regard, it is necessary to remember that there are African rulers today who are pursuing a similar policy. What subsequently happened in the Congo should be an object lesson to them.
In much the same way as modern colonialist powers provided their colonial territories with model constitutions, so King Manoel of Portugal provided a constitution for the Congo. This famous document known as the Regimento of 1512, can perhaps be described as the first essay in neocolonialism. It provided that the Portuguese should help the King of the Congo in organizing his kingdom. The Portuguese were to introduce a system of European law and to train the Congolese Army in their methods of warfare. They were to teach the royal court the correct etiquette to observe and they were to build churches and to provide missionaries. In return for this the Congo would fill the Portuguese ships with valuable cargo. In his letter of instruction to the Ambassador who was to present the Regimento, the king of Portugal wrote:
'This expedition has cost us much; it would be unreasonable to send it home with empty hands. Although our principal wish is to serve God and the pleasure of the King of the Congo, none the less you will make him understand, as though speaking in our name, what he should do to fill the ships, whether with slaves or copper or ivory. '
The mention of copper is interesting as showing that the products of the Zambia and Katanga copper belt were already well known. At this time, surviving records show that Katanga copper was also being marketed on the East Coast, though the main African trade in the metal was internal. Dom Affonso accepted the Regimento and provided the Portuguese with 320 slaves. Thus began an unequal trade between the Congo and the West. The evil effect of this trade was not immediately apparent and the Kingdom of the Congo was at first able to treat other European nations on equal terms. In 1513 a mission from the Man! Congo led by his son, who had been baptized Dom Henrique, visited the Pope, travelling overland from Portugal and carrying with them gifts of ivory, rare skins and the fine woven raffia textiles then manufactured in the Congo.. Dom Henrique, who was at this time 18 years old, was able to address the Pope in Latin and five years later, on the formal proposal of four Cardinals, he was elevated to the rank of Bishop of the Congo.
In the end Dom Affonso was prepared to sacrifice all Portuguese trade if he could suppress slaving. In 1526 he wrote to the King of Portugal:
'We cannot reckon how great the damage is, since the above mentioned merchants daily seize our subjects, sons of the land and sons of our noblemen and vassals and our relatives.... Thieves and men of evil conscience take them because they wish to possess the things and wares of this Kingdom..... They grab them and cause them to be sold: and so great, Sir, is their corruption and licentiousness that our country is being utterly depopulated. And to avoid (them), we need from (your) Kingdoms no other than priest and people to teach in schools, and no other goods but wine and flour for the holy sacrament: that is why we beg of Your Highness to help and assist us in this matter, commanding your factors that they should send here neither merchants nor wares, because it is our will that in these kingdoms (of Congo) there should not be any trade in slaves nor market for slaves. '
But by then his power had been undermined. The traders of Sao Tome went over his head to his nominal vassals from whom they procured the slaves, even fomenting civil wars in which Portuguese subjects served on both sides. Thus whichever way the war went, an ample supply of captives was assured for sale to Sao Tome and Brazil. With Dom Affonso's death the Congo Kingdom broke up. Portuguese troops, acting under the terms of the alliance, drove out invaders in 1570 and the Mani Congo of the time acknowledged Portugal as the protecting power. The ancient Congo capital of Sao Salvador was raised to the rank of city as was made the seat of the Bishop of the diocese of the Congo and Angola. But by 1700 the Bishops had departed, its twelve churches were in ruins and Sao Salvador was a deserted city. The Portuguese turned their attention to the area farther south, the Portuguese colony now known as Angola.
The first attempt to construct an African State by an African leader in alliance with a European power had foundered in anarchy and confusion.
In the last official Handbook of the Congo published by the Belgian Government in 1959, the results of western slave trading are thus described:
'By the end of the 17th century the slave trade, which had started as a Portuguese monopoly, had become a gigantic international undertaking. The places where slaves were kept became more and more numerous and profitable. The French appeared in their turn, drove the Portuguese away from the port of Cabinda and installed their slave markets chiefly beyond the north bank of the river toward Loango and Malemba, while the English traded in the estuary.
In the course of a single year, in 1778, 104,000 slaves had been exported from Africa; one third of them came from the Congo and Angola. '
Excerpt from "Challenge of the Congo"
We all remember the terrible slaughter, ghoulish dismemberment and acid-based disintegration of the body of the legitimate Congolese government of Patrice Lumumba on the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. We cannot forget the role that the UN played in this international crime and how they used the Ghana army to block Lumumba's access to the Congo's key radio station.
This crime was facilitated by the fact that the Ghanaian army Nkrumah had inherited from the British a few years earlier were overwhelmingly loyal to the British and not Ghana. This was particularly true of the officer class and indeed Major General Henry Templer Alexander the leader of the Ghanaian contingent in the Congo, was a European settler from Britain. So, the Ghanaian army of that day had no intention of observing the command of Nkrumah, particularly in light of their command structure blatantly contradicting Nkrumah.
This kind of neo-colonialist mentality in the Ghanaian military was the essential reason that Nkrumah had advocated a merger of the Congo and Ghana rather than an appeal to the UN by the Lumumba government. As a union of the two countries would have put the forces under joint Ghana-Congo control, but the resort to the UN, put all the military contingents ostensibly in the Congo to stabilize the legitimate government under UN control, and not under their national states. This is why Egypt and Guinea withdrew their forces, as they felt it was pointless to continue working with the UN; Nkrumah kept his forces inside Congo at the request of Lumumba, prior to the radio station incident, of course.
This episode contributed, along with the numerous assassination attempts on his life, (there were some eight or so attacks on his life by the imperialists), led to Nkrumah's decision to build a socialist armed force in Ghana that would protect the Pan-Africanist base in Ghana that Nkrumah and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), and obviously Pan-Africanism as a whole.
And we must not forget that many African lackeys inside and outside of Africa, played an essential role in this vile conquest of the infant Congolese state whose only ambition, and thus only "crime", was to work for the achievement of justice for the long suffering people of the Congo and of Africa at large.
One of the few concrete efforts to combat these imperialist forces was the belated agreement between Lumumba's Congolese government and Nkrumah's Ghana government.
Here is the text of the Congo-Ghana agreement:
Secret Agreement signed by Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and His Excellency, Mr. Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, at Accra on 8 August 1960.
The President of the Republic of Ghana and the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo have given serious thought to the idea of African unity and have decided to establish with the approval of the Government and peoples of their respective States, among themselves a UNION OF AFRICAN STATES. The Union would have a Republican Constitution within a federal framework.
The Federal Government would be responsible for:
The issue of a Common Currency;
Economic Planning and Development.
There would be no customs barriers between any parts of the Federation. There would be a Federal Parliament and a Federal Head of State. The Capital of the Union should be Leopoldville. Any State of Territory in Africa is free to join this Union. The above Union presupposes Ghana's abandonment of the Commonwealth.
Dated at Accra this 8th day of August 1960
President of the Republic of Ghana
Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo
This Ghana-Congo Agreement, along with the Ghana-Guinea Union of November 1958, and the Union of African States (UAS), created when Mali joined the Ghana-Guinea Union, in April 1961 were the first tentative steps towards building a truly united African government.
Unfortunately, after the CIA-MI6 overthrow of Ghana's great Pan-Africanist
government under the leadership of the CPP and Dr. Nkrumah (February 24, 1966),
Mali lost its nerve and thus the UAS ended. However, the spirit of the unity
created by the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) and the CPP lived on when President
Seku Ture of Guinea, on behalf of the people and party-state of Guinea invited
Osagyefo to assume the mantle as Co-President of Guinea. This was an absolutely
heroic gesture on the part of the Guinean Revolution, as it thwarted imperialism's
goal of ending Nkrumah's work promoting the African Revolutionary struggle and
The Congo situation is one of the starkest examples of neo-colonialism at work, joined by the bloody overthrow of Nkrumah and the peoples' government of Ghana, and the NATO mercenary army invasion of the PDG state in Guinea on November 22, 1970.
Fortunately in the case of the latter crime, the valiant people of Guinea, and the forces fighting for the liberation of Guinea Bissau, who had training facilities in Guinea Conakry, other African movements training in Guinea, Nkrumah and the core of the other Pan-Africanists working directly with Nkrumah, such as his Political Secretary, Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael) and his wife at the time, Miriam Makeba, combined to defeat this NATO-backed invasion. It was a shining moment and clear indicator of Pan-Africanism's true potential for good in the world.
But, neocolonialism is still with us today. This is the meaning of the rightist, pro-western capitalist dominance inside the African Union (AU). Although it uses Nkrumah as a symbol, many of the leaders reject his policies absolutely. They enshrine capitalism and links with the imperialist states as sacrosanct, they follow the imperialist dictates on the question of African integration/unity, opting for a go slow, regional-based approach, both of which Nkrumah and his allies opposed furiously. In short much of the AU's past edicts have been lifted right from the imperialist playbook.
But there are signs of possible positive movement. The Libyan led effort to use the "African Union Authority" as a back door to African Union Government. There has been stiff opposition to the US's AFRICOM hoax, which is clearly a neo-colonialist effort, with its emphasis on US military domination of both military and political-economic systems in Africa. But, even here, even with the most naked ambition to extend neo-colonialist control of Africa, there are misleaders, such as Sirleaf in Liberia, the regime in Djibouti and others who are openly loyal to the AFRICOM and general US military occupation of Africa.
Neo-colonialism thus remains strong. The recent April 2009 G20 meeting in London, did not include an AU representative, but the Ethiopian leader, a pawn of the US, was invited as the representive of the NEPAD, which is not really a part of the AU, as it is the "common" property of the so-called "partners" of Africa and Africa. The decision to ignore the AU was taken even though it contradicted the stated position (Jan 2009) of the AU that Africa should be represented by the Chair of the African Union and the Chair of the African Union Commission. By the way, one of the things that the Libyans proposes to do in the context of creating the AU Authority is to finally put NEPAD under Africa's control.
And the fact that the AU was not invited, although a chorus of African leaders lobbied for its inclusion is even more of a slap in the face because the European Union (EU) was an official participant in the G20 meeting. This demonstrates the weakness of the AU, as now configured, the submissive posture of the current crop of African leaders and their absolute capitulation to the major capitalist powers, particularly the US, and Africa's pathetic reverence for the IMF and similar US-dominated agencies, a reverence that is more like subservience. Far too many African leaders have assimilated the habit of obsequious servility in the face of imperialist bullying and intimidation. They do not have the courage and integrity of a Sobukwe, Ben Bella, Nasser, Seku Ture, Lumumba or Nkrumah. Too many are like Nyerere, Kenyatta and Mandela.
The South African government delegation at the G20, which was the only official African state delegation, led by Trevor Manuel, said that it did not discuss Africa's great damage caused by the capitalist crisis, because it was their based on its own merits. Not that it should have allowed itself to be fostered as Africa's voice without the consent of Africa.
On the other hand it is not surprising that the ANC government did not make an overly vigorus argument for Africa's case for inclusion in this meeting, as it has been in the vanguard of the vocal opposition to African Union Government, and thus African Unity and Pan-Africanism, since at least 1999. It is totally locked into the preservation of the imperialist economy which owns the South African neocolonial state.
In fact, the ANC led government is essentially a tool to achieve the dream of the British imperialist since Cecil Rhodes, that of a South African led southern and central African federation to dominate Africa's economy. The Rhode's idea has been expanded dating back to the "apartheid" state, when it became a Constellation of Southern African States, whose purpose was the domination and control of the whole African economy. This in essence is why the ANC does not support Pan-Africanism, and thus refuses to support any calls for the implementation of Union Government in Africa.
Thus we see why the struggle against neocolonialism, in all its forms, from financial and economic manipulation, to psychological and philosophical brainwashing, to political and military strategies of destabilization, is essential. As Nkrumah wrote, "It is only when the bourgeois ruling class in neo-colonialist states is overthown by class-based socialist revolution, that fundamental changes in society can be accomplished." p. 81 "Class Struggle in Africa"
Neo-colonialism in depth....
Neo-colonialism emerged because of the collapse of the colonialist imperialist system. The colonialist system of imperialism arose when the great European banks, stock markets, capitalist combines and trusts, could no longer find new opportunities to make super-profits in their host countries. So they targeted and seized overseas areas to conquer and exploit.
This is essentially how Lenin explained the development of imperialism as the last stage of capitalism. To futher our understanding I would like to offer two quotes from Lenin's book, Imperialism The Highest Stage of Capitalism, so we can get a feel for his views:
It is not without interest to observe that even at that time these leading British bourgeois politicians fully appreciated the connection between what might be called the purely economic and the politico-social roots of modern imperialism. Chamberlain advocated imperialism by calling it a "true, wise and economical policy," and he pointed particularly to the Germans, American and Belgian competition which Great Britain was encountering in the world market. Salvation lies in monopolies, said the capitalists as they formed cartels, syndicates and trusts. Salvation lies monodies, echoed the political leaders of the bourgeoisie, hastening to appropriate the parts of the world not yet shared out. The journalist, Stead related the following remarks uttered by his close friend Cecil Rhodes, in 1895, regarding his imperialist ideas,
'I was in the East End of London (a working-class quarter) yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed.. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for 'bread! bread!' and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism.... My cherished idea is a solution for the social problem, i.e., in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.'
Imperialism is the epoch of finance capital and of monopolies, which introduce everywhere the striving for domination, not for freedom. The result of these tendencies is reaction all along the line, whatever the political system, and an extreme intensification of existing antagonisms in this domain also. Particularly acute become the yoke of national oppression and the stringing for annexations, i.e., the violation of national independence (for annexation is nothing but the violation of the right of nations to self determination). Hilferding justly draws attention to the connection between imperialism and the growth of national oppression.
'In the newly opened up countries themselves,' he writes, 'the capitalism imported into them intensifies contradictions and excites the constantly growing resistance against intruders of the people who are awakening to national consciousness. This resistance can easily become transformed into dangerous measures directed against foreign capital. The old social relations become completely revolutionized. The age-long agrarian incrustation of 'nations without a history' is blasted away, and they are drawn into the capitalist whirlpool. Capitalism itself gradually procures for the vanquished the means and resources for their emancipation and they set out to achieve the same goal which once seemed highest to the European nations: the creation of a united national state as a means to economic and cultural freedom. This movement of national independence threatens European capital just in this most valuable most promising field of exploitation, and European capital can maintain its domination only by continually increasing its means of exerting violence'
To this must be added that it is not only in newly opened up countries, but also in the old, that imperialism is leading to annexation, to increased national oppression, and, consequently, also to increasing resistance
Neo-colonialism is a stage of imperialism
Now an imperialist system that exists in neo-colonialist conditions can be described as the phase of the internationalization of monopoly financial capital where the political reins of power appear to be in the hands of the native peoples. That happens when the monopoly capitalist find that the peoples of the area that they have seized will no longer tolerate colonialism. That is, instead of passively accepting their enslavement, the people fiercely oppose the imperialist system and demonstrate a strong willingness to fight, die and KILL if necessary to end it.
To avoid the loss of the colony's wealth and labor, either through a victorious outcome achieved by the indigenous forces or by a war that destroys the ability to make profit, even if the colonialists are not strictly speaking defeated by the popular forces, the colonialist decided to pretend to give the people their freedom and sovereignty. Thus by placing handpicked leaders from among their native elite lackeys, they can still reap the benefit while appearing to have relinquished all control over the territory. All the while they are exercising all power in the infected area from behind the screen of these cadres of lackeys.
Kwame Nkrumah picked up where Lenin left off and demonstrated that the final desperate stage of imperialism is neo-colonialism, that is the stage where the consciousness of the colonized peoples is so high that old-line colonial forms can no longer remain in tact. Hence there must be a new colonialism, one that lulls the people into thinking that the attainment of sham independence, that is possession of the trappings of political sovereignty, without the means and power to exercise real economic and political control, fully satisfies the goals and objectives of their particular national liberation struggle. In essence, the people are deprived of social and economic improvement in their lives and are given the myth that they are independent of the colonial power, who has merely feigned withdrawal, and continues to run the society behind the screen of local reaction, primarily the local, i.e., the indigenous, bourgeoisie.
Nkrumah pointed out that neo-colonialism is sustained by the ages old tactic of divide and rule. The remedy for this is obvious unity; African unity; unity between Africa and Asia, Latin America, strengthening ties with the socialist states across the globe, and building relationship with the small anti-imperialist circles in the imperialist countries themselves. The pre-requisite for this is the development of ideological clarity among all these forces.
He pointed out that the key to understanding neo-colonialism is that it represents a compromise in the previous imperialist equation, namely the participation of the state in the determination of the direction of capitalism, and the provision of benefits to the workers in the imperialist countries, thus transforming the rich-poor conflict from the national level, that is the conflict inside their countries between the capitalist and the exploited, to a conflict at the international level, where the intensified exploitation and oppression of the captive nations, to buy off their own working classes, transfers the rich-poor conflict from a contradiction pitting national forces, the workers of the particular capitalist state, to one between the peoples of the subject country and the neo-colonialist state. In the last few decades of the 20th century, however, capitalism found itself unable to maintain the system of modern day "bread and circuses" and decided to shut down the welfare state and increase their overt control of the neo-colonies. This has even led to some people, including Ali Mazrui, to call for the re-colonization of Africa. Ideological turncoats such as Mazrui, Ben Jochanon, must be exposed and defeated just as their masters in the neo-colonial global white supremacy structures centered in the US and Europe.
Dr. Nkrumah was very clear that neo-colonialism was the number one threat to world peace; the source of instability, assassinations, coups, limited wars against small countries, and most threatening of all, it carries the seed of a potentially devastating third world war.
Through his work and sacrifice, Dr. Nkrumah and his comrades, helped us understand the true nature of neo-colonialism. We now know that neo-colonialism is first and foremost the breakup of the large geopolitical units that were employed in the colonial period into small ineffective states. This is done because, whereas the colonial powers were interested in the administrative benefits and economies of scale provided by larger geopolitical areas, they did not want the newly independent peoples to have these advantages.
Generally speaking neo-colonialism is affected through either collective imperialism such as the collaboration of the US, Belgium, Britain in the Congo, each seeking to assure that the Congolese national liberation movement did not realize its political and social goals that would have benefited the people of the Congo, and ended the diabolical dominance of their multinational mining concerns and other interests; or by the domination of a single imperialist power such as the USA.
Among other critical components of neo-colonialism are their intelligence and espionage capability. These are used to defeat the true revolutionary elements in the national liberation struggle by means of physical elimination, and psychological warfare, and counter conditioning of the peoples. These entities promote splits between countries; instigate tribalism, religious and ethnic tensions; anything that will keep the people divided. An essential element of neo-colonialism is the campaign to negate Pan-Africanism by their strategy of substituting regional groupings as the cornerstone of African Unity as opposed to the full continental political unity advocated by Pan-Africanists. Unfortunately we note that the African Union has continued to follow this neo-colonialist format.
An extremely important component is the use of a variety of military means — control of the military through the alliance with reactionaries in the national armies such as Ankrah and Oto in Ghana, Mobutu in the Congo and so forth. Related tactics in this area include defence agreements, which allow the former colonial power to intervene in the affairs of the state any time their interest is threatened by the peoples' just struggles to seize control over their existence, achieve true sovereignty, and improve their quality of life; and by one sided agreements giving the former colonial power army, naval and air bases on the territory of the neo-colonial state, agreements which are nothing more than arrangements for the hosting of disguised garrisons in the subject neo-colonialist country. The European Union (EU) and the US are planning and formalizing the use of specific military assets in Africa, either in tandem, via EU-NATO cooperation; as part of the alliance between the US and individual European countries, notably France, UK and Belgium, or separately. The creation of the AFRICOM and related US military structures aimed at Africa, coupled with similiar actions of their European allies, have become the hallmark of this new form of military aggression against Africa and her interest.
Closely related to these is the provision of military aid to the puppet state.
A central form of neo-colonialism is manipulation of the financial, economic and trade sectors of the erstwhile independent country. Commercial domination is achieved through interlocking multinational corporations such as Unilever and Anglo American.
Still another critical element is their activities in the realm of ideological, psychological, philosophical, educational, and other related cultural areas.
In order to halt foreign interference in the affairs of developing countries it is necessary to study, understand, expose and actively combat neo-colonialism in whatever guise it may appear. They operate not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres.
The need to study and combat neo-colonialism, page 239, Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism
US role in Neo-colonialism
Dr. Nkrumah identified the USA as the leading force in the global neo-colonialist system. Pointing out that it had honed its skills in the course of its long time control of Latin America, he went on to show how at the conclusion of world war two, it used its superior financial and military position to establish a dominant position across the globe.
Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumbling at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after world war two when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.
US's post WW II assumption of the leading role in neo-colonialism, page 239, Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism
Osagyefo demonstrated the evolution and importance of the welfare state concept in neo-colonialism. He explained that it was a necessary response to the problems faced by the individual capitalist states that found themselves fighting the disaffected workers in their own country, as well as the emerging national liberation movements in the colonized world. The disaffection among their workers was instigated by the fact that the profits of capitalist imperialism primarily benefited the capitalist class, and very little benefit was received by the other sectors, causing these sectors to be less supportive of imperialism. As one bourgeois author described this phenomena:
Purchasing power was limited by the fact that a large proportion of the national income went to capital claimants, that is, owners or creditors in payment of rents, profits, royalties, and interest. The disproportionate share of these claimants induced further expansion and contributed to overproduction. Although wages and salaries increased in the 1920's the proportion of the national income allocated to wages decreased.
Distribution of national income in the US before the era of the Welfare State, pages 204 -205, Francis G. Walett, Economic History of the United States
This disproportionate dispensation of the profits of imperialism induced a reaction
in the disadvantaged sectors in the capitalist societies. The reaction was manifested
in strikes, slow downs and similar actions. What really alarmed the capitalist
however was, as Osagyefo pointed out, that the disgruntled workers were beginning
to see the anti-colonial fighters around the world as their natural allies in
their own battles with the capitalist.
To bring these sectors back into the fold the capitalist tinkered with the system, and altered their position slightly. In other words they reformed it, by using some of the profits from international monopoly financial capital's exploitation to give their workers some social benefits. In short they created the welfare state.
In his analysis of the evolution of neo-colonialism from its predecessor colonialism, Nkrumah provides us with this explanation of the rise of the Welfare State system.
Above all, neo-colonialism, like colonialism before it, postpones the facing of the social issues which will have to be faced by the fully developed sector of the world before the danger of world war can be eliminated or the problem of world poverty resolved.
Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. The temporary success of this policy can be seen in the ever widening gap between the richer and the poorer nations of the world. But the internal contradictions and conflicts of neo-colonialism make it certain that it cannot endure as a permanent world policy. How it should be brought to an end is a problem that should be studied, above all, by the developed nations of the world, because it is they who will feel the full impact of the ultimate failure. The longer it continues the more certain it is that the inevitable collapse will destroy the social system of which they have made it a foundation.
The reason for its development in the post-war period can be briefly summarized. The problem which faced the wealthy nations of the world at the end of the second world war was the impossibility of returning to the pre-war situation in which there was a great gulf between the few rich and the many poor. Irrespective of what particular party was in power, the internal pressures in the rich countries of the world were such that no post-war capitalist country could survive unless it became a 'Welfare State'. There might be differences in degree in the extent of the social benefits given to the industrial and agricultural workers, but what was everywhere impossible was a return to the mass unemployment and to the low level of living of the pre-war years.
From the end of the nineteenth century onwards, colonies had been regarded as a source of wealth which could be used to mitigate the class conflicts in the capitalist States and, as will be explained later, this policy had some success. But it failed in its ultimate object because the pre-war capitalist States were so organised internally that the bulk of the profit made from colonial possessions found its way into the pockets of he capitalist class and not into those of the workers. Far from achieving the object intended, the working-class parties at times tended to identify their interests with those of the colonial peoples and the imperialist powers found themselves engaged upon a conflict on two fronts, at home with their own workers and abroad against the growing forces of colonial liberation
The post-war period inaugurated a very different colonial policy. A deliberate attempt was made to divert colonial earnings from the wealthy class and use them instead generally to finance the `Welfare State'. As will be seen from the examples given later, this was the method consciously adopted even by those working -class leaders who had before the war regarded the colonial peoples as their natural allies against their capitalist enemies at home.
At first it was presumed that the object could be achieved by maintaining the pre-war colonial system. Experience soon proved that attempts to do so would be disastrous and would only provoke colonial wars, thus dissipating the anticipated gains from the continuance of the colonial regime. Britain, in particular, realized this at an early stage and the correctness of the British judgement at the time has subsequently been demonstrated by the defeat of French colonialism in the Far East and Algeria and the failure of the Dutch to retain any of their former colonial empire.
The system of neo-colonialism was therefore instituted and in the short run it has served the developed powers admirably. It is in the long run that its consequences are likely to be catastrophic for them
Advent of the Welfare States pages xii to xiii, Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism
The weaknesses of the system were evident as least as early as the great depression of 1929. One of the leading factors of that decline was identified, by Walett, as the collapse of the post World War I US-centered global financial and trading system:
When world trade began to contract in 1929, many European and Latin-American debtors were unable to export enough goods to obtain the funds they needed for payment of interest charges on their American loans. Importers of American products were compelled to reduce their purchases.
Depression of 1929 and the collapse of the US global trade and financing system, page 205, Francis G. Walett, Economic History of the United States
As such, the second world war was inevitable, as the capitalist imperialist
powers had to initiate a new round of redistribution of global spheres of political
Today we see a new phase in this last stage of imperialism. Dr. Nkrumah pointed out that the existence of the nuclear standoff between the Soviet led bloc and the US led bloc, made world wars of the types that developed in 1914 and 1939, less likely and forced imperialism to engage in limited wars, such as the war against the people of Indochina, when the US attempted to exploit the defeat of French colonialism and replace France as the imperialist power in that area.
As Nkrumah pointed out even though these kinds of conflicts are limited in scope,
they could very easily develop a momentum sufficient to create the conditions
for a world war. And the situation in Asia very nearly developed such characteristics
as there was conflict not only in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina; there was
the Chinese war of liberation, which only ended in 1949, between the socialist
forces, led by Mao, and imperialist neo-colonialism; there was the US neo-colonialist
war against socialist Korea in the early to middle 50's; and violent tension
throughout much of the region.
However, generally speaking, the possession of nuclear weapons by both blocs
did tend to diminish the possibility of a world war.
Now, however, with the internal collapse of the Soviet bloc, due to poor ideological
development of Soviet society, largely because of their failure to take Lenin's
advice on the critical role of theory. (Lenin had argued that Marx and Engels
were correct in their assertions that the theoretical struggle should be put
at the same level as the political and economic struggle, but this was ignored
by the leadership of the USSR.) Hence, there is no longer a bi-polar power equation, and in fact there is only one remaining all-around super power, the US. Compounding this is the fact that the Peoples Republic of China has hamstringed itself by it investment and related policies implemented as part of their social capitalism structures. Policies that has made it unlikely that China will be able to act as a sufficient counterweight to imperialism in the near and intermediate future.
This reality has led some of the leading elements of US capitalism, and their
main allies in Europe and elsewhere, to assume that this gives them a carte
blanche to pursue aggressive military and related policies throughout the world,
and to intensify the drive for a peculiarly American form of fascism domestically.
This has increased the possibility of a third world war to the degree that it
may be historically imminent.
Just as technology and other factors made WW II much more costly in terms of human suffering than WW I, a third world war would certainly make the second world war look relatively tame in comparison. It must be prevented if our global civilization and common heritage as human beings is to be preserved.
Fortunately, the resolute resistance of the peoples around the world, in the
Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa; plus the incipient, and still relatively
unconscious, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement that have enlisted
large sections of the population in the NATO countries, shows the very real
possibility of defeating those who are recklessly pushing us to a truly disastrous
The consciousness of the people of the imperialist countries is a critical
component in humanity's struggle against the narrow and dangerous policies of
the imperialist sectors. However, the most important blow against neo-colonialism,
the lynchpin of contemporary imperialism, and thus of the drive to expanding
global warfare, must be struck by the peoples suffering under the direct yoke
of neo-colonialism. This is why Africa, as the most oppressed and exploited
of the neo-colonized areas, is so important to the survival of humanity.
Consequences for the world's exploited countries
Nkrumah demonstrated how the primary products of the exploited countries, neo-colonized and non-aligned alike, were steadily losing purchasing power, and the prices demanded of them for manufactured goods from the imperialist countries were steadily rising.
It was estimated by United Nations experts that the dependent countries had to pay 2.5 to 3 billion more for their imports of manufactured goods in 1947 than they would have had to pay if price ratios were the same as 1913. For the period from 1950 to 1961, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the U.N., the index of returns for primary materials fell form 97 to 91 (70 for cocoa, coffee and tea), while that for manufactured goods rose from 86 to 110...In terms of exchange as between primary producing countries and the exporters of manufactured goods, there has been a decline in ten years form 113 to 82, to the disadvantage of the former. The value of Ghana's exports in 1962 was the same as that for 1961, but the volume had increased by about six per cent. The value of imports in 1962 was reduced by 16 per cent but the volume fell by only 14 percent.
Economic impact of neo-colonialism on the exploited peoples, page 238, Nkrumah, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism
Today we see that in point of fact primary commodities, such as cocoa, are still controlled by the imperialist countries, through the means of the commodity trading markets — which they use to set prices; domination of the value added side of the processing of the commodity (e.g., in the case of cocoa, the preeminence of imperialist countries in the transformation of cocoa into chocolate and collateral products); the financial control of the global banking system, including the Bretton Woods institutions the IMF and World Bank through SAP and HIPC constraints; by means of the use of so-called agricultural and technological advisors; and so forth.
President Fidel Castro, speaking at the Group of 77 meeting in Havana observed
that in 67 of the "South" countries such commodities accounted for at least 50% all export revenues. He also remarked that purchasing power
of sugar, cocoa, coffee and other such commodities was only 20% of their 1960
value and as a consequence does not even cover the cost of production. President
Castro unequivocally placed the blame on these circumstances at the doorstep
of the neo-colonial powers.
According to interest groups such as the chocolate industry, however, the price
of the cocoa commodity is strictly a function of supply and demand. The chocolate
industry firmly defend the futures contract marketing of cocoa, and deny that
these markets manipulate and control prices, asserting that the commodity exchanges
that handle the trading are transparent and neutral in the process.
I can recall back in 1979 the then Nigerian Oil Minister pointed out that the price of oil was manipulated through the use of nonexistent oil, that is oil that only exists on paper (the future contract), but nonetheless is figured in the projected supply of petroleum as if it was actual oil, thus affecting the "supply" of oil. In the same way, futures trading institutions artificially alter the perceived supply of other commodities, such as cocoa, by the issuance of future contracts and options. (It is important here to remember that each commodity exchange has members of the exchange who participate in the trading, these members are in fact actual members of the exchange, and not patrons as others who sell and buy the contracts. Hence, the exchange can use the well-financed members to create or stop a flurry of buying and selling in any of the commodities it offers.) By manipulating cocoa prices through the selling and purchasing of futures contracts, that is, inflating or deflating the anticipated supply of a commodity through the time sensitive exchange of the fictitious commodities created by means of the future contract, they actually determine the pricing level offered to the producer of the real good, those that produce the actual physical commodity. Since it is exceedingly rare for a purchaser of a futures contract to actually take possession of the physical commodity, the commodities exchange does not have to deliver the physical good, so it doesn't matter that the majority of the supposed commodity they are buying and selling never really existed, that such exchange are essentially notional operations, in the same way that credit swaps and the other such shady transactions that have come to symbolize the current phase of capitalist systemic crisis. Nevertheless, these operations exercise great power in determining the price of the physical commodity.
Imagine for a moment you grow apples, and you went to market once a year, obviously
you would hope to get the best price for your apples, let us say you wanted
12.50 US a basket. However, there was a futures trading establishment issuing
future contracts for the purchase of a basket of apples at 7.50 for the specific
month that you are going to market. Now the big, so-called "value added" concerns that buy apples, for manufacturing pies, juice, jellies, and what not,
can go to the futures traders and purchase a future contract at the 7.50 price
before hand, thus locking in a price five dollars lower than what you intend to ask
for. Since, even though we know that the futures industry does not normally
deliver tangible commodities to their customers, they have the capacity to do
so if the customer wants or if circumstances dictate for other reasons, you
cannot simply assume that they won't be able to get the apples they want at
that price. So, you could not afford to hold at your price of 12.50 because
you, as an individual producer, are not big enough, not capitalized sufficiently
to take on the futures exchanges. Your options are very limited. Basically you
could hold on to your apples and not sell at the time you had intended, which
is not a good option, as apples are highly perishable, and as a grower you have
not invested in the means to freeze them or alter them so they do not spoil,
Or you could find something else to do with your crop, such as eat them yourself,
give them away, throw them away; all of which would mean you would not have
the revenue you anticipated from the sale of the apples. Or you can sell your
real apples at the price established by the futures industry.
Clearly then to avoid this conundrum, this dilemma, you would have to find
a way to aggregate with other apple growers. In essence your only real viable
option, would be the creation of a cooperative cartel of apple producers strong
enough to counteract the collusion between the financial sector, the trading
sector and the apple users industry, such a cartel would then attempt to set
export and production numbers for its member apple growers.
However, since the apple users industry have the backing of their government(s),
you would have to find a way to get around this even if you created a cartel.
If you lived in an area under the same jurisdiction as one of the governments
in league with the apple users, you would have to find some way of keeping the
apple users from deploying their influence to induce the government to block
your cartel. If you lived in an area not controlled by the government(s) of
the apple users, you would obviously turn to your government for protection and succor. But if your government is too weak, or otherwise unable to render the needed support, then you would
have to somehow help your geographical area get an innovative form of government
that could and would respond to the apple growers and similarly impacted sectors
of your country's economy.
So, obviously for the chocolate industry and their lobbies to assert that the prices are not fixed by the collusion between themselves and the financial/trading sectors is simply a bold face lie to cover up their grand and highly lucrative activity, what we would call in street jargon, a hustle. A hustle that has very negative implications for African countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana and to a lesser extent, others such as Cameroon and Nigeria; and one would have to say Africa generally. Because, it is also a negative economic and social factor for countries such as Burkina Faso, whose citizens go to the Ivory Coast to work in its cocoa agricultural.
These circumstances have obvious political implications for the producer countries as a whole, because the manipulation of commodity prices can be used to destabilize the country, as was the case in Ghana. In the era of the CPP government in Ghana, the production of cocoa in Ghana increased but revenues from cocoa sales decreased because of the price offered (in fact the production doubled from the early fifties to the early sixties.)
The cold facts are that the West, here we refer specifically to the US, UK and
France, which are major consumers of cocoa, the US being the major consumer,
connived to destroy the Ghanaian economy by keeping the cocoa price down, thus
causing massive dislocation in the society and giving cover for the treasonous,
criminal actions of Generals Otu and Ankrah, and (Acting) Police Commissioner
Harlley, the leaders of the coup against the then CPP government. Each of these
three western countries had general and specific reasons for moving against
the CPP government. Let us look at a few.
The US for example was concerned because the CPP government was highly critical
of its role in the Congo and southern Africa, its war against Vietnam, its leading role in neo-colonialist generally and the racism that is endemic to the US society;
the UK was upset because of the CPP government's policy toward its Rhodesian and South African settler colonies and the settler-dominated neo-colony of Kenya; France was specifically peeved because the
CPP opposed their nuclear testing in Africa, was an obstacle to its plans to
isolate the PDG government in Guinea, who had dared to reject the Gaullist government's
implicit demand that they become a part of France, and instead opted for true
independence. In short, all of them were concerned with the support the Ghanaian
government was giving to African liberation generally, especially its support for the armed movements against colonialism, settler colonialism and neo-colonialism, opposed
Ghana's attempts to build socialism, and maintain ties with the socialist states,
in point of fact, they were against Ghana's role, in the words of Omowale Malcolm
X, as the font of Pan-Africanism. Hence, they colluded to get rid of the CPP
government, just as forty years or so earlier they colluded to get rid of Garvey
and the UNIA movement.
If there are any lingering doubts about the neo-colonialist states power to manipulate the prices of commodities such as cocoa, all one needs to do is take a peak at document 271. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson, an official US document and part of the official files of the Lyndon Johnson administration. It details a meeting between then US Vice President Hubert Humphrey with the head of the illegal regime of the misnamed National Liberation Council (NLC), General Ankrah. It details Ankrah begging Humphrey for help in the cocoa pricing structure negotiations. Ankrah explained that without such an agreement there could be no economic development, as cocoa exports represented 60 per cent of Ghana's exports. Humphrey replied that any effort on his part to support achievement of the price stabilization agreement would be blocked by the various chocolate industry interest groups in the US. Keep in mind that Ankrah was a key leader in the criminal enterprise that overthrew the CPP government. Thus we see that even a stooge of imperialism and the leading representative of their puppet government could not counteract the power of the combination (the banks: IMF/World Bank, chocolate manufacturers, cocoa future traders and so on) that really determine the price of cocoa and control the production and distribution of the commodity.
This scenario is typical of every commodity, more or less, for in the case of petroleum, the existence of OPEC has modified that somewhat, however, since many of the OPEC members are in the pocket of imperialism, and there are petroleum producers who are not part of OPEC, even OPEC's power is severely limited.
In the specific case of cocoa, the big chocolate combine has plans to introduce or increase cocoa bean production in other areas; they are specifically looking at Panama, Peru, and Vietnam. This will further weaken Africa's leeway in the cocoa trade.
If there was ever an economic argument for Pan-Africanism, for a continental socialist government, then the current commodity-trading imbalance is certainly one.
Nkrumah understood that even if a small country assumed an anti-imperialist position, if the continent it was a part of is infected with neo-colonialism, then all the countries and the great majority of the peoples of these countries on that continent would be adversely impacted.
Hence he posited that only Pan-Africanism, the construction of a United Socialist States of Africa could overcome the disastrous impacts of neo-colonialism. This would negate the problems of balkanization, render tribalism ineffective as a divisive device, and provide the political, military, economic and general cultural wherewithal to checkmate collective imperialism; and prevent a third and disastrous world war.