May 25 — African Liberation Day
Hail African Liberation Day!
Victory to the Fighting Peoples of Africa!
Imperialism, Out of Africa!
People of the Republic of the Congo, celebrate independence, July 7, 1960 — one of 17 states in Africa to gain independence that year. (Bettman)
May 25 of this year is the 53rd anniversary of African Liberation Day. It marks a historic convergence of the peoples of Africa to have their sovereign nation-building projects and exercise decision-making based on their own experience and thought material, and to rid themselves once and for all of the enslavement, colonialism and imperialism of foreign powers.
African Liberation Day was born out of the consciousness of the peoples of Africa that their liberation was their own act and part of the worldwide struggle against imperialism and of the united front of the working class and peoples to end the exploitation of persons by persons. It was initiated at the first Conference of Independent African States held in Accra, Ghana, on April 15, 1958, and attended by eight independent African heads of states. That day was declared “Africa Freedom Day” to mark the ongoing progress of the liberation movement.
In 1960, seventeen African states gained their sovereignty marking it as the “Year of Africa.”
On May 25, 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with more than 1,100 people representing 31 African states, 21 African liberation movements and hundreds of supporters and observers in attendance. The OAU (today known as the African Union) proclaimed that May 25 would from then on be celebrated annually as “African Liberation Day.” Up to the present, African Liberation Day is an occasion to highlight and carry forward the aspirations of the peoples of Africa for freedom, sovereignty and a new society.
African heads of state at founding of OAU, May 25, 1963.
Today, while nearly every country in Africa has nominally achieved its independence, the peoples’ fight to block imperialist dictate and ongoing exploitation of their countries’ human and natural resources continues. Not a year goes by without the revanchism of the imperialist powers and powers of old Europe rearing its ugly head. The U.S., France and UK are increasing their aggressive military operations throughout the continent, particularly in north, east, west and central Africa.
The U.S. has at least 4,500 soldiers and at least six bases, including for drone warfare. France has more than 3,000 soldiers across five countries and five military bases. British troops are deployed in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and most recently have been deployed again in Libya. The new Canadian government of Justin Trudeau has cynically declared its intentions to interfere in African affairs through increasing its participation in “Peace Operations,” particularly those in French-speaking countries.
No recent example has been more heinous than that of Libya, whose government was overthrown by the U.S.-led aggressive military alliance NATO and its proxy forces in 2011. This was the most cynical revenge by the imperialists against the Libyan people and their leadership which fought to defend Libya’s interests and would not kowtow to imperialism. One particular consequence of the NATO bombing campaign was the racist terror inflicted on Libyans of Sub-Saharan African origin, many of whom were killed brutally and whole towns such as Tawergha were emptied. The NATO powers and their monopoly media went to great efforts to spread lies of “African mercenaries” specifically targeting Black Libyans for attack.
The aftermath of “regime change” in Libya has been widening instability, lawlessness and terrorism not only in that country but throughout north Africa and West Asia. The countries responsible include all the old colonial powers, as well as Canada. These countries must be held to account and reparations made for this crime and all the historical crimes and those of the present against African peoples. The U.S. and NATO are planning more such tragedies which must not be permitted to pass.
In the countries of southern Africa, many of which waged the most glorious and heroic Liberation struggles throughout the 1960s to 1980s against the colonial powers and racist apartheid rule, the people are displaying the same heroism as they confront the problems of nation-building today. A major problem they are confronting is the continued control of important sectors of the economy by racist monopoly capital, whether foreign or coming from the legacy of racist minority rule. The peoples of countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa and Angola which delivered strong blows against imperialism have worked staunchly to ensure that this legacy does not have the upper hand. The question of the land and its historic theft from the people remains of utmost importance and land reforms and redistribution have been an historic step to ensure the people have an economic base which can guarantee their livelihood and development.
Canadians and Quebeckers, who proudly count among their ranks the daughters and sons of Africa, must see to it that Canada has a government that has foreign relations based on mutual respect and benefit with the countries of Africa. Canada must repudiate participation in imperialist aggression against African countries and take a stand against all those that seek to exploit, aggress or invade others.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) firmly rejects the paternalistic attitude toward African countries taken by successive Canadian governments to justify exploitative relations or foreign intervention. CPC(M-L) calls on all its members and friends to oppose aggression against the countries of Africa, support the struggles of the peoples and inform themselves and others about the developments taking place there today.
On the occasion of African Liberation Day, CPC(M-L) sends militant revolutionary greetings to all the peoples of Africa fighting to exercise control over their lives, countries and economies so as to guarantee a bright future for themselves and their children. CPC(M-L) salutes their achievements and contributions to the worldwide movement for national liberation which are second to none and that have uplifted all of humanity.