Joint Statement of Communist Parties of West Africa (excerpts)
The Communist Party of Benin,(1) the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta,(2) have met to examine the international political situation, concretely the situation in Iraq and in the Ivory Coast and their repercussions in the region… We are reproducing the statement on the Ivory Coast, since in India there is practically no information about the African continent, and what there is slanted and distorted.
The Communist Parties of Africa, meeting in Cotonou (Benin), declare that the Ivory Coast has been plunged into a reactionary civil war since September 19, 2002. This is undoubtedly the most serious crisis that the proletariat and peoples of the Ivory Coast, as well as the countries of the sub-region, have faced since formal independence in 1960.
[...] The Ivory Coast is a French neo-colony that formally achieved independence in 1960. Like many of the countries colonised by France, colonisation was replaced by neo-colonisation, a new form of imperialist domination. From 1960 to 1990, this French neo-colony was ruled by the State Party, the PDCI-RDA [Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast – African Democratic Rally], led by the autocrat Houphouet-Boigny.
The crisis of the neo-colonial system that the Ivory Coast has been experiencing since 1980, on top of the economic crisis and the heroic struggles of the popular masses for their freedom and bread, led to the weakening of the bases of the autocracy and its only party in 1990. From that partial victory of the popular masses, parties and organisations of the masses were formed. Of those parties, we should point out the ones that represent the middle classes which for a long time were oppressed by the PDCI. Those parties (FPI, PIT, USD, etc.) by their programmes, speeches and practice are competing with the PDCI to serve as lackeys of international imperialism, particularly French imperialism. After the death of Houphouet-Boigny, the PDCI-RDA, undermined by its internal contradictions, split into two: the RDR of Alassane Ouatara and the PDCI of Konan Bédié. Those two parties of the Houphouet-Boigny type, as well as the petty bourgeois parties are fighting to the death over neo-colonial power, to the extent of endangering the political stability necessary for the security of the interests of their imperialist masters.
The bourgeois parties have used various means: the exacerbation of religious differences and the playing off of some nationalities against others, the development of chauvinism and xenophobia, the adoption of anti-democratic measures, savage repression, etc. This relentless struggle has taken various forms: an active boycott of the elections of 1995, attempts at coups d’etat, the coup d’etat of 1999...
Those confrontations among bourgeois factions are the reflection of the evident failure of French imperialism to reach unity of their lackeys, and this has led to the present war. Thus, the essential motive of this war is to assure French interests in the Ivory Coast and in the sub-region of West Africa.
The deep causes can be summarised as:
The Intervention of French imperialism to impose lackeys who are capable of assuring the necessary political framework for imperialist exploitation and to defend their ‘plots’ in West Africa against the voraciousness of U.S. imperialism.
The anti-democratic, chauvinist, xenophobic and exclusionary politics of the bourgeois tendencies; the relentless struggles among those bourgeois factions for power.
The intervention of the neo-colonialist forces of Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso) and Charles Taylor (Liberia), as junior partners of French imperialism and also on their own account, giving support to the armed factions in the Ivory Coast (military, logistical and political support).
This reactionary war is between the party in power, the FPI and its allies in the ‘Patriotic Front’, and the rebels (MPCI, MPIGO, MJP) and the RDR. It is the continuation by means of arms of the reactionary politics of the bourgeoisie and its master, French imperialism. It is a reactionary war, because it does not correspond to the interests of the popular masses and their emancipation. It is a war opposed to the aspirations and interests of the popular masses. This reactionary civil war has the following immediate political consequences:
Aggravation of imperialist domination: the agreements of Lina-Marcousis and resolution 1464 of the UN that makes the Ivory Coast a protectorate of French imperialism.
The establishment of a fascist neo-colonial regime in the Ivory Coast.
Danger of an increase in the nationalist, chauvinist and xenophobic currents in the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. The danger of a generalisation of the war.
As for the economic and social consequences:
The collapse of the economies of the whole region, particularly the Ivory Coast and neighbouring countries (Burkina, Mali, Niger). A humanitarian catastrophe which is affecting the populations of the region (displacement of populations, a massive flow of refugees, epidemics, famine, etc.). Massive violation of human rights (collective massacres, pogroms, political assassinations...).
Faced with this reactionary war, the communist parties who have signed the present statement:
Denounce the reactionary civil war in the Ivory Coast and demand an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
Denounce international imperialism, particularly French imperialism, and demand the withdrawal of their military bases and other foreign troops.
Denounce the interference of Blaise Compaoré and Charles Taylor and demand the withdrawal of their mercenaries and an end to their support of the armed rebel factions.
The communist parties of Africa call on the proletariat and peoples of all countries in the region of West Africa to:
Fight for popular sovereignty, freedom and genuine independence.
Solidarity and harmony among the peoples.
Link their struggle against the civil war to the revolutionary struggle and the struggle for socialism. They call on the international proletariat and peoples of the world to support the struggles that the proletarians and peoples of the region are carrying out against this reactionary civil war.
Cotonou, March 2003
Communist Party of Benin (PCB), Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast (PCRCI), Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta (PCRV)
 Benin: formerly Dahomey
 The Party in Volta continues to use the old name for Burkina Faso (its country), Upper Volta
From: Octubre, (Madrid), No. 62, May 2003, p. 8.
Translated from the Spanish by George Gruenthal.
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