John Claude Abadys
The thousands of dead in Liberia (there is talk of more than 200 thousand dead in a country of not more than 5 million people) cries out to the human conscience faced with the criminal intrigues of the imperialists.
It is necessary to ask the following questions: Why has Liberia, a country of "peace" at the time of Tubman and Tolbert, fallen abruptly into violence? What are the reasons for such a collapse? What is at stake in the clashes between various bourgeois fractions? What are the lessons for the peoples?
Certainly, the Americo-Liberians1 who ruled with an iron hand over the indigenous peoples, who were there at the time of the creation of Liberia, do not understand what is happening today on their host country. But social facts have a source and a reason. For more than 100 years the Americo-Liberians, who served as the backbone for the domination of U.S. imperialism in the region of West Africa, exploited the wealth and peoples of Liberia with the utter contempt and arrogance of slave owners in reverse. The indigenous peoples, from among whom came the majority of the putchists who seized power in a bloody coup díetat in which the dignitaries of the deposed regime were killed, expressed their hatred accumulated for generations. The coup by Samuel Doe and his companions went hand-in-hand with a tyrannical and autocratic regime. There were arbitrary arrests and repression against the popular masses; which further isolated the new aristocracy. The instability of the regime whetted the appetites of the various monopoly groups in waiting. These groups, coveting the wealth of Liberia, provided weapons to the armed sectors to incite rebellions. The regimes of the sub-region, for their own interests and for those of the monopoly groups, were the foreign supporters of the armed factions that have tormented the Liberian people for more than 14 years. The destabilization of Liberia spread to Sierra Leone with the rebellion of the RUF [Revolutionary United Front]. Taylor, supported by the infamous regimes of the sub-region (Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso), pursued a policy of looting the wealth of his country and became an active supporter of the rebel groups in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Anglo American imperialism, important backers of the Guinean and Sierra Leone regimes, took the stabilization operations into their own hands under the cover of the UN and ECOWAS,2 and set up the Sierra Leone rebellion at the same time as the one in Guinea was crushed.
The armed movements, encouraged and supported by Guinea and U.S. imperialism, occupied a good part of Liberia. At the same time, international imperialism under the direction of U.S. imperialism imposed an embargo on the Taylor regime.
The intervention of Taylorís armed Liberian factions in the crisis in the Ivory Coast served as a pretext for U.S. imperialism to freeze the foreign bank accounts of Taylor and his companions and to demand his departure. The armed groups, LURD [Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy] and MODEL [Movement for Democracy in Liberia], supported by the regimes of Guinea and the Ivory Coast, were prepared to give the final blow to Taylor if he refused to leave. He therefore departed as U.S. imperialism wanted.
What lessons can we draw from the situation in Liberia?
1) The pro-imperialist, anti-democratic and tyrannical forces such as those of Tubman and Tolbert are unbearable. The essential thing is not the replacement of one tyrant, for what is necessary is an alternative policy based on the interests of the social classes able to get the country out of the claws of imperialism. Such coups may originate from marginalized factions, justifying themselves by the evildoings of the anti-popular policies of the regimes. They carry out coups that placed themselves at the head of the state without questioning the dominant imperialist interests; or they carry out coups with the complicity of other monopoly groups for the division of the wealth of the neo-colonial countries.
2) The inter-imperialist contradictions remain the backdrop for the wars in Africa. The imperialists, under the slogans of solidarity, are poorly concealing the ferocious struggles among themselves to maintain and conquer markets, zones of influence. At the moment when LURD and MODEL were about to prevail, despite the massacres they committed, the U.S. remained indifferent to the suffering of the Liberian people. Their main concern was Taylorís departure, as he was probably looking to turn to other imperialist powers.
3) The peoples do not have to suffer from imperialism and the tyrannical regimes that they support. Another policy is possible whose contours can be found within the present social system. Imperialism, as Lenin said, is the highest stage of capitalism. He also said that imperialism is characterized as capitalism in transition or more precisely, moribund capitalism. Capitalism has generated the social force that will bury it Ė the proletariat. All petty bourgeois solutions delay the fall of capitalism. Local wars are part of the means of survival of the imperialist system. In the era of imperialism, it is only the revolution of the proletariat which can put an end to the fratricidal wars of which the dependent peoples are victims.
4) People like Taylor or Patasse are small change since, after they have served the imperialists for a certain time, they will be cast off by them, put out to pasture and abandoned like squeezed lemons. Such is the fate of each of our tyrants.
1) The Americo-Liberians are the descendants of some 15,000 slaves and free Blacks who were sent to Africa starting in 1822 to found Liberia. This was part of the plan of U.S. President James Monroe (after whom Liberiaís capital, Monrovia, is named) and other white capitalists and politicians to set up a neo-colony in Africa through the American Colonization Society. [Translatorís note]
2) Economic Community Of West African States, a group of countries headed by Nigeria which sent "peacekeeping" troops to Liberia. [Translatorís note]
From the journal Revolution Proletarienne of the Ivory Coast:
Translated from the French by George Gruenthal.
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