|May 25 of this year is the 54th 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.
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. Britain and the US are increasing their aggressive military operations throughout the continent, particularly in north, east, west and central Africa.
The US 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, South Sudan and Somalia. British troops have also deployed to Sierra Leone.
No matter how much the offspring of Disraeli and Cecil Rhodes claim that they have "modernised" themselves, that they are no longer colonialists and racists, they cannot hide their empire-building objectives. Their essence is the same. Whereas at the end of the 19th century the imperialist Rhodes dreamt of building a British empire in Africa from "Cape to Cairo" on which the sun would never set, today the vain dream of the May government and previous governments to "make Britain great again" has the continued rape of Africa as part of the British ruling elite's plans to re-conquer their lost positions.
The African peoples took up arms and put an end to Rhodes' dreams. Likewise today they will fight for complete economic and political independence and put an end to neo-colonialism on the African continent and the dreams of the imperialist "modernisers". The aid that the peoples of Africa need most from Britain is that of the working class of Britain fighting for its independent programme and further organising its own fight to stop the imperialist plunder and demand reparation for the colossal human and material damage carried out by Britain in Africa, as part of its own struggle for progress and emancipation.
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.
On the occasion of African Liberation Day, RCPB(ML) 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.