Sunday, June 16, 2024

C.L.R. James on The Gravediggers: How French Rulers Sold Out to Hitler, (October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 40, 2 October 1944, p. 4.

Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

The victories of the Allied armies over the armies of fascism and the driving out of the Nazi invader from the occupied countries pose an important question: why did France come under the heel of Nazi domination?

The answer is revealed in the fact not apparent to all that France like every country was composed of two nations. One was the bourgeoisie, the ruling or capitalist class. An important section of this class not only found it possible to collaborate with Hitlerites, but actively worked to achieve such a union. Arrayed against the collaborationists was the other nation of France, the working class, together with smaller layers of the middle class and farmers. We have evidence, even from sources which would deny this existence of classes, that proves beyond any doubt the guilt of these representatives of the ruling class of France. Is this so? Let us see.

A French journalist has just written a book describing the history of France before, during and after the 1940 catastrophe. The book is called The Grave-Diggers and it lays the blame on Gamelin, Daladier, Weygand, Reynaud and Laval. It is a masterpiece of description and analysis and should certainly be read. There the reader will see, among other things, the behavior of Weygand, the commander-in-chief of the French army in 1934, and Petain, the Minister of War at the same period. Pertinax, the author of The Grave-Diggers, gives chapter and verse for the following: Weygand hated democracy, trade unions, socialism and everything connected with the working class. With him this amounted to a frenzy.

Petain was governed always by the fear of a “social upheaval,” in other words, fear of the revolution of the workers.

In 1934 they were in command and control of the military preparations for the coming war. Weygand, commander-in-chief, told Petain, War Minister: “In case we are defeated you can become the Hindenburg of France.” Hindenburg was the German general who, as President of the German Republic, prepared the way for Hitler.

Weren’t these a noble pair of patriots to be leaders of the “national defense” of France?

But worse is to come. Petain, for years before the catastrophe, went about saying that France needed Laval. And Laval’s program was capitulation of France to Hitler and incorporation of France as junior partner in Hitler’s “new” European “order.” He said so openly, even when he was Prime Minister of France in 1935!

Were all the French political leaders and generals like that? Let us note the significance of the fact that Blum, the socialist Prime Minister, bowed humbly before Petain. Blum also gave the support of himself and his Socialist Party to Reynaud. And after the first defeat of France in early May, Reynaud, with the support of Blum, appointed Weygand as commander-in-chief and Petain as Vice-Premier of the government.

In other words, these “democrats” appointed these notorious pro-fascists as leaders of the nation in its moment of greatest crisis!

Pertinax describes what happened. He shows how Weygand’s generalship was governed by his fear of the French workers and his anxiety to get rid of the alliance with Britain. Pertinax shows also how Weygand bungled the defense and rushed to the cabinet to tell Reynaud that they must make an armistice at once. If they didn’t, said Weygand, the army would disintegrate and there would be Soviets in France. While Weygand spoke, Petain kept nodding his head in agreement.

The French people as a whole were willing to continue the fight but, as usual, the “democratic” leaders capitulated to the fascists, and Laval, Petain and Weygand became masters of France under Hitler’s domination.

For seventy years the French ruling classes had preached to the French workers submission to the ruling class government, of course. Why? Because the French “nation” had to be saved from the German menace. Now, frightened at the growth of the working class movement and the threat of socialism, they had capitulated to Hitler without making any real fight. Henceforth they preached to the French workers a new doctrine – submission to Hitler’s “new order.” Some of them ran away with their fortunes to Algiers but supported Hitler from there. The French masses were bewildered at first but soon settled down to magnificent resistance.

The French government persecuted them without mercy. But when the British and Americans began to show signs of winning the war, then the French rulers, in Algiers in particular, turned away from the Germans and began to support the “democratic” imperialisms. These utterly shameless capitalists from start to finish were concerned not with the nation but with their property. They would support Beelzebub himself if he could guarantee their profits.

Now we ask one question. If the French working class, as a whole, from the start had realized that the ruling class, the bourgeoisie, as a whole, was its main enemy, wouldn’t it have been better off today? The treachery of Petain and Weygand, the rush to support Hitler, the rush back to support Roosevelt, all these treacheries could not have taken place, to the sorrow and confusion of the French masses.

If anyone wants to have a clear example of what is meant by the idea that in an imperialist war the main enemy is at home, he should read The Grave-Diggers.

(Read also a review in The New International for September, where this book is fully reviewed and Pertinax’s own role as grave-digger is exposed.)

Friday, August 4, 2023

Three Military Governments Say They Will Resist Any Western-backed Intervention in Niger

Mali, Burkina Faso and the CNSP based in Niamey have cautioned ECOWAS, France and the United States to refrain from any attempt to reinstall the administration of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Thursday August 3, 2023

Geostrategic Review

General Abdourahamane Tchiane, the chairman of the ruling military administration in the West African state of Niger, has rejected the call by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to relinquish power to the former President Mohamed Bazoum.

The Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP) staged a coup against the Bazoum government on July 26. 

Tchiane is the commander of the presidential guard which led the putsch. The following day on July 27, the leadership of the conventional armed forces in Niger announced their support for the coup.

On July 31, a joint statement was issued by the military governments in Burkina Faso and Mali expressing their solidarity with the CNSP in Niger. The declaration went further to send a message to the ECOWAS Chair, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, that any intervention aimed at removing the current regime in Niger would be viewed as an attack on their countries as well.

This statement begins by acknowledging that Burkina Faso and Mali:

“Express their fraternal solidarity and that of the peoples of Burkina Faso and Mali with the brotherly people of NIGER who have decided in full responsibility to take their destiny into their own hands and to assume before history the fullness of their sovereignty; denounce the persistence of these regional organizations in imposing sanctions aggravating the suffering of the populations and jeopardizing the spirit of Pan-Africanism; refuse to apply these illegal, illegitimate and inhuman sanctions against the people and authorities of Niger; warn that any military intervention against Niger would amount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali; warn that any military intervention against Niger would result in the withdrawal of Burkina Faso and Mali from ECOWAS, as well as the adoption of self-defense measures in support of the armed forces and the people of Niger.” (

Such a political position portends much for the future stability of the entire West Africa region as the rhetoric of ECOWAS Chair Tinubu of Nigeria indicates a determination to attempt the reinstallation of Bazoum by military means. Undoubtedly, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the French Armed Forces would play a critical role if such an intervention was authorized. 

AFRICOM and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are in charge of two drone stations in Niger which ostensibly are there to assist in the battle against Islamic rebel groupings which have grown since the Pentagon-NATO war of regime change against Libya in 2011. Niger is the site of large deposits of uranium which is mined and exported by a French multinational corporation (Orano). (

The same above-quoted statement from Burkina Faso and Mali goes on to:

“Warn against the disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger which could destabilize the entire region as was the unilateral NATO intervention in Libya which was at the origin of the expansion of terrorism in the Sahel and West AFRICA. The Transitional Governments of Burkina Faso and Mali are deeply indignant and surprised by the imbalance observed between, on the one hand, the celerity and the adventurous attitude of certain political leaders in West Africa wishing to use armed forces to restore constitutional order in a sovereign country, and on the other hand, the inaction, indifference and passive complicity of these organizations and political leaders in helping States and peoples who have been victims of terrorism for a decade and left to their fate.” 

France has already begun the evacuation of its nationals wishing to leave. Other people from the European Union (EU) and the U.S. have been transported out of the country by the French Armed Forces. 

The State Department says that it will evacuate what it describes as “non-essential staff” at the U.S. embassy in Niamey. As of early August, the White House has not announced any intentions to close the embassy in Niger. 

Sanctions Are Acts of War

ECOWAS, the 15-member West African regional organization, has already imposed sanctions against the CNSP in Niger. This follows a similar pattern of what has already occurred with respect to Mali, Guinea-Conakry and Burkina Faso over the recent period of 2020-2023, in the aftermath of the seizure of power by military regimes. 

However, the degree of economic sanctions and threats to remove the CNSP by force reveals that there is much more at stake for the imperialist states and their allies in Niger. The fact that Niger is a formidable base for purported “counterterrorism” activities by Washington and Paris means that there is a concern over the exposure of AFRICOM forces, intelligence personnel and military hardware if the Russian Federation was invited to come to the aid of the military administration in Niamey. 

On August 2, it was announced that neighboring Nigeria had cut power supplies to Niger by 90%. Niger, a country of 25 million people, is listed by the United Nations as one of the poorest countries in the world. 

Sanctions which deprive the people of power sources can only worsen the already existing humanitarian crisis inside the country. 

ECOWAS defense ministers began a two-day conference on August 2 in the Nigerian capital of Abuja to map out its strategy for Niger. Former Nigerian military leader General Abdulsalami Abubakar is leading an ECOWAS delegation to Niamey for further talks with the CNSP.

Ousted President Mahamed Bazoum has not been harmed by the military government since he was taken down from office on July 26. Photographs of Bazoum with the Chadian transitional President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno were released over numerous international news agencies on July 31. 

Meanwhile, the government of Burkina Faso received a delegation from Niger to the capital of Ouagadougou where the transitional head-of-state Captain Ibrahim Traore pledged the government’s backing of the CNSP in Niamey. A communique from the Burkina Faso government said of the talks:

“A CNSP delegation was received by the Head of State (Ouagadougou, August 2, 2023). The President of the Transition, Head of State, Captain Ibrahim TRAORE received this Wednesday (Aug. 2) at the end of the afternoon, a delegation from the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP) of Niger headed by General of army corps, Salifou MODY.

Discussions with the President of the Transition focused on the situation in Niger, which is calm and under control according to the head of delegation. We also talked about support. It must be said, we received very strong support from Burkina Faso.” 

Intervention Could Further Destabilize Entire West Africa Region 

France has already been forced to depart Mali after the transitional administration leader Colonel Assimi Goita suggested the presence of foreign forces were related to the escalation in rebel violence against civilians and the state. In addition, Burkina Faso has been the scene of anti-French demonstrations which enjoy widespread grassroots support.

The anti-French organization known as the M62 Movement has been operating in Niger. They have been credited with the mobilization of youth and workers against the continued military presence of France in Niger. (

In demonstrations since the early days of the CNSP coup, people have been burning French flags, attacking symbols of colonial and neo-colonial rule while many carried both the Nigerien and Russian flags. Although there is no indication that the Russian Federation or the Wagner Group had a hand in the ascendancy of the CNSP to power, President Vladimir Putin recently announced his opposition to a western-backed military intervention in Niger. Putin urged the resolution of the conflict in Niger through dialogue and negotiations. 

Overall, throughout the Sahel and other areas within the West Africa region, the economic situation is worsening. In Nigeria, which is the most populous state in Africa and designated as the continent’s largest economy, a food emergency was declared by President Tinubu. 

The specter of sharply rising prices and food shortages prompted the two largest worker organizations, the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), to stage a national day of protest across the oil-rich state on August 2. President Tinubu met with the leadership of the union federations and agreed to grant some of their demands. Reports in the Nigerian press suggest that the mass actions by the unions will not continue as previously threatened by the NLC and TUC. 

Therefore, the newly inaugurated administration of President Tinubu in Nigeria could very well be aggravating the social situation inside the country by threatening to deploy troops to Niger. Even the Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, whose country has troops along with Germany, France and the U.S. in Niger, proclaimed that a military intervention by the West to bring down the CNSP would result in charges of re-colonization.  

Anti-imperialist and antiwar forces in the western industrialized states must oppose the military interventions by France, the U.S. and other NATO countries in Niger. Another disastrous invasion and occupation by the Pentagon and NATO will only create more displacement, underdevelopment and political divisions. 

White House Concerned over Niger Coup


August 3, 2023

Fighting Words White House Concerned over Niger Coup – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

A new leader has emerged in the uranium-rich West African state of Niger just two days after the elected head-of-state, President Mohamed Bazoum, was toppled by his special forces.

The presidential guard on July 26 took over the residence of Bazoum and other key government buildings including the national media.

Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane spoke for the newly established National Council for the Safeguard of our Homeland (CNSP), saying that the president had been detained. Abdramane later claimed that the government had been seized by the presidential guard due to the declining security, economic and social conditions prevailing in the former French colony of 25 million people.

On July 28, yet another television announcement was made, this time by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, who said he was the leader of the CNSP and the present head-of-state for the country. General Tchiani continued a similar narrative related to the worsening atmosphere in Niger and the need to embark upon a different course.

Niger has been a close ally of France and the United States in its “war on terror” across the continent of Africa. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the French Armed Forces maintain a significant troop presence inside the country. Published figures indicate that France has at least 1,800 soldiers in the country while the Pentagon forces stand at approximately 1,100.

There are two drone stations established by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Niger ostensibly to curtail the attacks by armed Islamist groups which have been staging operations in the south and west of the country. However, anyone assessing the military presence in Niger by NATO states cannot ignore the western interests in the uranium producing areas of the country.

The statement by Tchiani which aired on July 28 on national television in Niamey emphasized:

“We can no longer continue with the same approaches proposed so far, at the risk of witnessing the gradual and inevitable demise of our country. That is why we decided to intervene and take responsibility. I ask the technical and financial partners who are friends of Niger to understand the specific situation of our country in order to provide it with all the support necessary to enable it to meet the challenges.”

Immediately after the seizure of power by the presidential guard, the National Security Advisor for the White House, Jack Sullivan, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called for the restoration of President Bazoum to office. In subsequent statements from Washington, administration spokespersons urged members of the conventional military forces in Niger and the population to prevent the consolidation of power by the CNSP.

However, on July 27, the day following the coup, the Nigerien military leadership expressed their support for the putsch, setting the stage for the appearance of Tchiane on July 28 as the new head-of-state. The coup has provided a dilemma for the Biden administration which has continued the support for AFRICOM which was launched from Stuttgart, Germany in February 2008.

Reports from the capital of Niamey suggest that the situation has calmed. Friday prayers in the Muslim-dominated state took place as usual.

Through successive U.S. Republican and Democratic administrations, there has been no wavering on the Pentagon and CIA operations in Africa. In 2011, the destruction of Libya under the previous Jamahiriya government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, represented the first full-fledged destabilization and occupation project of AFRICOM. Since the overthrow of the Gaddafi administration, there has been no stable government in Libya. Since 2011, the North African oil-rich state has become a source for internecine conflict and human trafficking which has spread throughout other states within North and West Africa.

Supporters of the Niger Takeover Express Solidarity with Russia

Interestingly as well, on July 27, youthful adherents to the CNSP coup set fire to the Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) headquarters of ousted President Bazoum. During the demonstrations in favor of the CNSP, people waved Nigerien and Russian national flags.

Omar Issaka, one of the demonstrators supporting the CNSP, told the Associated Press:

“We’re fed up. We are tired of being targeted by the men in the bush. … We’re going to collaborate with Russia now.”

Following a similar pattern which emerged in Burkina Faso and Mali in 2022, these leaders have moved closer diplomatically and militarily towards the Russian Federation. Obviously, the military forces, although being trained and groomed by AFRICOM and the French Armed Forces, have accused France and the U.S. of being a major impediment to stabilizing their countries.

In response to the CNSP takeover, the U.S. warned that the continued assistance to Niger is contingent upon cooperation with the Pentagon and CIA. Vice-President Kamala Harris reiterated this position on July 27.

The same above-mentioned article from the Associated Press noted regarding the level of funding by the U.S.:

“The United States in early 2021 said it had provided Niger with more than $500 million in military assistance and training programs since 2012, one of the largest such support programs in sub-Saharan Africa. The European Union earlier this year launched a 27 million-euro ($30 million) military training mission in Niger. The United States has more than 1,000 service personnel in the country. Some military leaders who appear to be involved in the coup have worked closely with the United States for years. Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, the head of Niger’s special forces, has an especially strong relationship with the U.S., the Western military official said. While Russia has also condemned the coup, it remains unclear what the junta’s position would be on Wagner.”

Which Way for Niger?

It is not clear as of yet which line the Niger CNSP will take on continued cooperation with AFRICOM and the French military. The White House, having failed so far to reverse the coup, may decide to continue its cooperation for the time being in consideration of the declining status of Pentagon-NATO forces in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Other states such as the Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Sudan and Mozambique are utilizing the services of the Wagner Group in handling internal security issues. While the coup was unfolding, the Russia-Africa Summit was being held in St. Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in his consultations with the leadership of African Union (AU) member-states pledged to provide grain to the most distressed countries on the continent. This announcement was made in the aftermath of the suspension of the Black Sea grain deal in effect since the closing months of 2022.

Persistent efforts by the White House to persuade African states to condemn the Russian Federation have not been successful. The AU says it is guided by a policy of nonalignment and therefore is urging a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

The Democratic administration of President Joe Biden is opposed to any negotiated settlement or even a pause in the fighting, viewing such a set of circumstances as an admitted failure militarily and diplomatically. After sending $115 billion for weapons, training and other logistical support to continue the proxy war, the Ukrainian forces have failed miserably in the much-championed spring and summer offensives.

While losing influence in the West African Sahel nations, the State Department has refrained from describing events in Niger as a coup. Such a declaration would require the termination of assistance approved by the Congress.

Moreover, the deposits of gold and uranium in Niger are a cause for concern to Washington and its NATO allies. France and the U.S. would not want Russian military consultants and operatives in Niger since their hegemony over the natural resources could be jeopardized.

An update published by World Nuclear News on the developments in the country says:

“Niger produced 2248 tU in 2021, around 5% of world uranium output. Current production is from the open-pit operations of SOMAÏR (Société des Mines de l’Aïr), near the town of Arlit. SOMAÏR is 63.4% owned by French company Orano and 36.66% owned by Sopamin (Société du Patrimoine des Mines du Niger). Sopamin manages Niger’s state participation in mining ventures. According to data from the World Bank, uranium is Niger’s second largest export, in monetary terms, after gold. Uranium was first discovered at Azelik in Niger in 1957, and commercial uranium production began at Arlit – 900 km northeast of the capital Niamey – in 1971. COMINAK (Compagnie Minière d’Akouta) – also majority-owned by Orano – began production from an underground mine at Akouta in 1978, producing more than 75,000 tU before operations came to an end in 2021.”

Therefore, in pursuit of its strategic competition against Russia and China, the military option remains the most probable in the trajectory of U.S. foreign policy in Africa. However, based upon the outcomes of recent invasions and occupations, the specter of defeat will inevitably haunt the Biden administration in its campaign to win reelection in 2024.

Niger Soldiers Overthrow Western Allied Government


August 3, 2023

Fighting Words Niger Soldiers Overthrow Western Allied Government – Fighting Words (

Niger demonstration against the coup Niger demonstration against the coup.Niger regional map 

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Throughout the day on July 26, members of the presidential guard in Niamey, the capital of the West African state of Niger, were reportedly in the process of seizing control of the government headed by a key United States and western ally, President Mohamed Bazoum.

Bazoum is an important player in the military operations of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the French Armed Forces.

The AFRICOM units in Niger operate two Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drone stations ostensibly designed to fight Islamic insurgent organizations in conflict with the central government in Niamey. U.S. AFRICOM documents indicate that some 1,100 U.S. special forces are based in Niger to carry out military missions and the training of Niger troops.

Several years ago in October 2017, four U.S. Green Berets were killed in a clash with armed elements operating in Niger. The U.S. government, under the-then administration of President Donald Trump, never provided a clear explanation as to how the Pentagon soldiers were killed.

This seizure of state power on July 26 appears to be led by Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane who announced the formation of a National Council for the Safeguard of our Homeland (CNSP). In a television address. Abdramane declared the dissolution of the administration headed by Bazoum citing what he described as the rapidly declining security situation inside the country.

In addition, Abdramane noted the poor economic and social conditions inside of Niger, which contains large deposits of uranium. This important natural resource is largely controlled by the French through a multinational corporation, Orano, based in Paris.

An indication of the importance of Niger and its president to the U.S. imperialist project in Africa was revealed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the country in March. The administration of President Joe Biden is desperately seeking to maintain the influence of Washington and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in various geo-political regions of the African continent which has experienced five military coups since 2020.

A Guardian newspaper report revealed the position of the U.S. noting that:

“The White House said as the situation unfolded that the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had spoken to the captive Bazoum and ‘conveyed the unwavering support of the United States … the strong U.S. economic and security partnership with Niger depends on the continuation of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights.’”

Blinken, visiting New Zealand, later said: ‘I spoke with President Bazoum earlier this morning, and made clear that the US resolutely supports him as the democratically elected president of Niger. We call for his immediate release. We condemn any efforts to seize power by force. We’re actively engaged with the Niger government, but also with partners in the region and around the world and will continue to do so until the situation is resolved appropriately and peacefully.”

In neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, the military regimes which have taken power are highly critical of the longtime alliances with France, the former colonial power. France has maintained its military presence and economic control of key sectors within these states.

In many ways Niger remains the closest West African ally of Paris and Washington in light of the shifting policies within Mali and Burkina Faso where French military and economic influence has been under attack. In Mali, the new government has demanded the withdrawal of French and United Nations troops from the country.

A coup in Burkina Faso last October was marked by mass demonstrations and violent attacks on symbols of French interests inside the country. Youthful protesters took to the streets waving Russian flags demanding that the government shift its security alliances from Paris to Moscow.

Mali’s military government headed by Col. Assimi Goita, has invited the Wagner Group to assist the state in fighting several Islamic rebel groupings in the northern areas of the landlocked country. France objected to the presence of Wagner in Mali threatening to withdraw its military forces. The Malian government welcomed this announcement from France and went on to encourage their troops in leaving the country.

Generally, the atmosphere in Mali is hostile toward Paris. The military government recently called for the removal of French as the national language of the country.

Will the U.S. and France Back Military Operations to Reinstate Bazoum?

Several reports from western media sources claim that there are elements within the military outside the presidential guard which remain loyal to Bazoum. The governments of the U.S. and France seem to be encouraging such a move to reinstate the civilian administration of its close ally.

Jack Sullivan, the Biden administration’s National Security Adviser, condemned the seizure of power by the CNSP. Blinken, the top U.S. envoy at the State Department, echoed this sentiment saying that the coup represented a threat to the democratic government in Niamey.

According to an article published by Al Jazeera:

“Bazoum supporters tried to approach the presidential complex but were dispersed by members of the presidential guard who fired warning shots, according to an AFP reporter. One person was hurt, but it was not immediately clear if he was injured by a bullet or from falling as the crowd scattered. Al Jazeera, however, could not independently verify the incident. But there was calm elsewhere in Niamey. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Abuja in neighboring Nigeria, said there was a directive from the army for troops loyal to Bazoum to move in to quell what seemed to be a coup attempt. He said there were reports from the Nigerien capital signifying that there was ‘some form of negotiations’, with one report suggesting that the coup plotters wanted Bazoum to ‘surrender power’. ‘Right now, we also heard about mobilization in the outskirts of Niamey where military barracks are situated,’ he added.”

Other entities have condemned the coup in Niger as well. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the 15-member regional organization now chaired by the newly inaugurated President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, has called for the resumption of civilian rule. Benin President Patrice Talon has reportedly flown into Niamey in efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis of governance between the Bazoum administration and the coup makers within the presidential guard.

The African Union (AU) on behalf of the Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, issued a statement on July 26 emphasizing:

“Informed of an attempt by certain members of the military to undermine the stability of democratic and republican institutions in Niger, which is tantamount to an attempted coup d’état, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, strongly condemns such actions by members of the military acting in total betrayal of their republican duty. He urges them to immediately cease these unacceptable actions. The Chairperson further calls on the people of Niger, all their brothers in Africa, particularly in ECOWAS, and around the world, to join their voices in unanimous condemnation of this coup attempt, and for the immediate and unconditional return of the felon soldiers to their barracks.”

Crisis of Governance Linked to Imperialist Influence

Previous military coups which have taken place in West Africa since 2020, although being condemned by ECOWAS and the AU, have not been reversed. Sanctions imposed by ECOWAS are not effective enough to apply the necessary economic pressure on the coup regimes.

Moreover, the legitimacy of the ousted civilian governments in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Conakry since 2020 have been questioned by broad segments of the civilian populations. In Guinea, protests have occurred demanding the holding of elections in order to transition to elective rule. However, the military regime of Colonel Mamadou Doumbouya has still not relinquished power to the politicians and their many political parties.

Widespread discontent over the failure of AFRICOM and the now-defunct French-dominated Operation Barkhane has provided a rationale for popular support of the military coups over the last three years. The unstable security situations in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have exposed the dubious role of western military presence in Africa.

Despite the thousands of AFRICOM and French Armed Forces troops on the continent, the purported anti-terrorism campaigns have resulted in greater insecurity and economic underdevelopment. Consequently, the African states backed by the majority of workers and farmers provide the only potential solutions to the crisis of insecurity and impoverishment.

Russia-Africa Summit Held Amid Worsening Global Security Situation

African Union member-states put forward their peace plan for ending the conflict in Ukraine and received a positive response from Moscow

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire

August 1, 2023

Geopolitical Analysis

Despite the tremendous pressure by the western imperialist governments placed upon the African Union (AU) member-states and the Russian Federation, the second Russia-Africa Summit was held on July 27-28 in St. Petersburg.

Many of the African heads-of-state present came from the leading countries across the continent of 1.4 billion people.

Heads-of-state such as Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Adel-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Macky Sall of Senegal, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, among others, were present and intensely engaged in the proceedings. The Summit consisted of open plenary sessions along with one-on-one meetings between African leaders and President Vladimir Putin. 

Media reports in the United States made much of the fact that 17 heads-of-state attended the Russia-Africa Summit compared to 43 at the previous meeting in 2019. However, there were 49 delegations which attended representing a majority of African governments on official ministerial levels as well as regional organizations such as the African Union (AU), Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the New Development Bank (NDB), headed by former Brazil President Dilma Rousseff.

The Summit took place during an intensification of the military conflict in eastern and southern Ukraine as the United States and the European Union (EU) has pledged in excess of $100 billion to continue its efforts to maintain the dominant status of the imperialism throughout the globe. U.S. President Joe Biden has focused heavily on the foreign policy imperatives of weakening the Russian Federation through sanctions and the recruitment of Eastern European states into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In Africa, the impact of the Ukraine war is resulting in high rates of inflation triggered by the shortages in agricultural products. Rising prices and a deteriorating security crisis in several West African states has prompted military interventions in political life and the attempted realignment of domestic and foreign policy away from France and the U.S. towards Russia and China. 

This is the first full meeting of the Russia-Africa Summit since the inaugural gathering in 2019. Over the last four years the world underwent a global pandemic whose magnitude has not been experienced for a century. The commencement of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022 grew out of the reemergent Cold War initiated by Washington and Wall Street against Russia and the People’s Republic of China. 

Over the last year-and-a-half since the beginning of the special military operation, the administration of President Joe Biden has sought to pressure AU member-states to support its position in Ukraine. U.S. Congressional figures drafted a bill designed to punish African states who maintain cordial political and economic relations with Moscow. The government in the Republic of South Africa led by the African National Congress (ANC) was accused by the U.S. ambassador of supplying arms to the Russian Federation to utilize in the Ukraine theater.

Russia has been subjected to widespread sanctions aimed at bringing about the collapse of its economy. During the Summit in St. Petersburg, Putin announced the cancellation of $23 billion in debt owed by African countries.

Outcomes of the Russia-Africa Summit   

Consequently, the proceeding of the recent gathering provided an opportunity for both Russia and the AU to present their views on a myriad of issues impacting the international situation. Both the host, President Vladimir Putin and the AU delegates emphasized their interests in building closer relations in the cultural, economic and political spheres. 

In a report on the Summit published by Tass news agency it says:

“The global importance of the second Russia-Africa Summit, held in St. Petersburg on July 27-28, continued to reverberate over the weekend. On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held meetings with several counterparts from the continent. As well, St. Petersburg native Putin hosted four African leaders at his hometown’s annual Navy Day parade on July 30 along the Neva River, Vedomosti writes. Putin said at his final press conference on July 29 that, ‘in general, the African continent is friendly and positive towards Russia.’ A 74-point declaration was the principal document to come out of the summit, where the signatories spoke out in particular against ethnic and racial discrimination and announced plans to coordinate a range of joint political activities, including within the United Nations Security Council.” (

Russia and its relationship with the African continent have been mutually cooperative since the era of the imperialist conquest when the country under the monarchy provided military assistance to Ethiopia during its war against Italy in the late 19th century. During the period of the Soviet Union, the official foreign policy position of Moscow was to aid the national liberation movements struggling for freedom and independence. The post-colonial years in Africa were marked by solidarity with the newly independent states through the granting of educational opportunities, trading projects along with military training.

A continuing pledge of security assistance was made clear during the Summit. In addition, scholarships for education will be enhanced for African students in Russia. The Russian government acknowledged the legacy of colonialism, imperialism and neo-colonialism and pledged to stand in solidarity with the African people in their struggle for genuine independence and sovereignty. 

Testimony by African leaders were recorded in a Tass news report saying that:

“Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera underscored that Russia’s support helped save democracy in his country. ‘Fearing no geopolitical problems, Russia provides aid to our country, our armed forces and security agencies in their fight against terrorist organizations,’ he said. Mali was able to reinforce its armed forces and ensure its security thanks to Russia’s aid, said Interim President Assimi Goita. ‘Mali has a military partnership with Russia, and we thank it for support and friendship. […] The Malian Armed Forces are currently on the offensive; we have significantly reduced the number of [terrorist] attacks on [our] military bases, we were able to ensure security in many places,’ he noted.” (

AU Leaders Emphasize Peace Plan

An underlying theme throughout the concluding phase of the Summit was the quest for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. The withdrawal of Russia from the Black Sea Grain Deal was based on the failure of the imperialist states to lift their sanctions against Moscow. 

The actual volume of grain produced and exported by Russia far exceeds that of Ukraine. Putin offered to supply grain to several African states free of charge in an effort to meet the current challenge of burgeoning food insecurity. 

Tass summarized the discussions on the African Peace Initiative for Ukraine as follows:

“South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that ‘negotiations and dialogue, as well as commitment to the UN Charter are necessary for a peaceful and fair resolution of conflicts.’

‘The African initiative deserves the greatest attention, and it should not be underestimated,’ President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso said, calling to ‘end the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. This conflict affected the entire world in a negative way, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said. ‘Of course, we are concerned over the grain supply issue,’ he said, adding that it is ‘necessary to immediately and promptly resolve the problem of food shipments to countries in need.’" (

Putin reiterated to the African delegations that Russia has been willing to hold constructive negotiations with Ukraine. However, Moscow has been met with refusals by Kiev which is operating at the behest of Washington and the NATO states.

Overall, the Summit further revealed the escalating conflict between the proponents of western imperialist domination and those advocating for a multipolar world system. This ideological and material conflict could very well be resolved in a protracted global conflagration which would portend much for the long-term stability and sustainable development of the majority of peoples and nations of the globe.   

East Africa Food Insecurity and the Role of AFRICOM


July 29, 2023

Fighting Words East Africa Food Insecurity and the Role of AFRICOM – Fighting Words (

AFRICOM continues to bomb Somalia amid food insecurity AFRICOM continues to bomb Somalia amid food insecurity.

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On July 19, several media sources reported that airstrikes were carried out against what was claimed to be bases of the Islamist group fighting the central government in the Horn of Africa state of Somalia.

The attacks were coordinated and implemented by the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) with the assistance of the western trained forces of the Somali National Army (SNA).

A report published by the Voice of America (VOA) notes that:

“AFRICOM said the strike was in support of Somali National Army forces fighting al-Shabab. The strike came at the request of the federal government of Somalia, the statement added. AFRICOM said it will continue to assess the results of Wednesday’s (July 19) operation and will provide additional information ‘as appropriate.’ The Somali government has been fighting al-Shabab militants since 2006. The group was removed from major cities but continues to control vast areas in the countryside. In August 2022, the Somali army, supported by self-mobilized local fighters, launched a military offensive that seized parts of central Somalia from the militant group. The militants have struck back, raiding military bases and inflicting heavy losses on government forces in the south and central regions.”

Apparently in response to the bombing of the previous week, on July 24 a military training facility of the SNA was attacked by a suicide bomber resulting in significant casualties and physical damage. This continuing conflict in Somalia can be traced back to the persistent interference in the internal affairs of the country by successive administrations in Washington and their allies.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, redeployed hundreds of Pentagon troops from AFRICOM to Somalia during the early phase of his tenure in office. This policy decision was carried out after his predecessor, President Donald Trump, had withdrawn soldiers from Somalia prior to his leaving office in early 2021.

AFRICOM has been operating on the continent for the last 15 years while the level of instability has increased in several geopolitical regions. In West Africa, states such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Conakry, Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) have experienced military coups and insurgencies despite the joint military operations and training programs sponsored by AFRICOM and other NATO countries.

Regarding the latest insurgent attack in Somalia, US News reported:

“A suicide bomber killed at least 30 soldiers and wounded scores more inside a military academy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday (July 24), two military sources said, in an attack claimed by the al-Shabaab militant group. A military campaign launched by government forces and allied militiamen last year has forced the al Qaeda-linked group from large swathes of territory in southern Somalia, but the militants have continued to stage deadly raids. In recent weeks, with the military campaign against them stalled as the army prepares a second phase of the offensive, al-Shabaab fighters have stepped up their attacks. In late May, they killed at least 54 Ugandan peacekeepers at a base south of Mogadishu. They laid siege to Baidoa, one of the country’s largest cities, for nearly two weeks. And they have staged a series of raids in Mogadishu this month. The bombing on Monday targeted the Jale Siyaad military academy.”

Imperialist Militarism and Food Insecurity

Somalia has been the focus of U.S. foreign policy initiatives going back to the latter years of the 1970s when the administration of former President Jimmy Carter encouraged the-then government of General Mohamed Siad Barre to intervene in the Ogaden region of neighboring Ethiopia. At this time, the U.S. was waging a destabilization campaign against the socialist-oriented administration of Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam in Addis Ababa.

Since the late 1970s, there have been ongoing attempts to remake Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa region in the political image of U.S. imperialism. With the present alarms sounded over threats of hunger and famine, Washington has paid very limited attention to their role in the developing crisis.

In fact, the problems of food deficits have been aggravated by the NATO proxy war in Ukraine against the Russian Federation. The suspended Black Sea grain deal is already negatively impacting the African Union (AU) member-states with their 1.3 billion people.

Although western media reports following the line of the administration in Washington, categorically blames and condemns Russia for the suspension of the Black Sea grain deal, an idea advanced and implemented at the aegis of the AU leadership and the government of Turkey. Contrastingly, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has said that he will continue to supply grain to AU member-states blaming the draconian sanctions imposed by NATO governments for the present situation.

Climate change has caused severe weather events including drought, cyclones and flooding in states as far south as Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Madagascar. On an international scale, the western industrialized capitalist governments have attempted to dominate the annual United Nations Climate conferences, blocking key resolutions which would provide assistance for developing regions to transition from a reliance on fossil fuels and other forms of pollutants.

In Kenya recently, the opposition party of former presidential candidate Raila Odinga has staged demonstrations which turned violent prompted by the rise in taxes. Several governments including large oil producers such as Nigeria and Angola have eliminated fuel subsidies causing sharp increases in prices.

However, the acute food deficits have been documented in Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations have published several reports on their activities in East Africa.

One organization known as World Vision said in a recent document that it has reached over 10 million people providing food assistance throughout the region, half of whom were children, over the last two years. A combination of climate change, internal and cross-border western-inspired conflicts, the post-pandemic economic crises and the escalating war in Eastern Europe, has resulted in the present conjuncture.

World Vision’s East Africa Hunger Emergency Response Situation Report #23, published in May emphasizes:

“In the face of unprecedented global demands for humanitarian funding, crises in East Africa are receiving limited international attention, despite urgent, growing and life-threatening needs. World Vision is calling on national governments, regional institutions, humanitarian actors and donors to urgently address the hunger crisis in Eastern Africa and more forcefully communicate its breadth and severity. This is not peculiar to this region as the world is facing its worst hunger crisis in modern times. In Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, there are more than 49 million people at risk of starvation or vulnerable to famine or famine-like conditions.”

The world’s leading capitalist state in Washington is at present preoccupied with its failing proxy war in Ukraine. Biden in his reelection bid for 2024, touts the official low jobless rate and the rising profits of the ruling class.

Nonetheless, there are many people within the U.S. and around the globe plagued by rising prices impacting their capacity to purchase food, energy resources, healthcare and housing. Social programs enacted during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic expanding unemployment payments, Medicaid and housing subsidies have expired. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allocations have been drastically reduced due to the inaction of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

This undeclared war on the impoverished millions within the U.S. and billions throughout the world coincides with the imperialist war drive against Moscow, the People’s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran and any other state and political entity which does not follow the dictates of the White House. Concerns about the events on the warfront in Ukraine are routinely ignored and dismissed by the Biden administration.

Consequently, the Pentagon war budget represents a major impediment in adopting any real solutions to burgeoning food insecurity in various geopolitical regions of the world. Therefore, the movement to defeat imperialism also represents the struggle to produce and distribute enough food needed for the well-being of people throughout the planet.

Food Insecurity in Africa and the Politics of NATO Expansion


July 24, 2023 

Fighting Words Food Insecurity in Africa and the Politics of NATO Expansion – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

United Nations affiliated humanitarian and development agencies are reporting that many countries across the African continent are experiencing food insecurity.

This phenomenon is related to at least three major factors: the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation led by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU); an inflationary spiral triggered by the impact of the COVID pandemic; along with the worsening aspects of climate change.

The Russian special military operation in Ukraine has prompted the western countries to attempt a complete economic blockade of Moscow. Having failed to cripple the Russian economy during the first few months after the intervention on February 24, 2022, the administration of President Joe Biden has been unable to articulate a clear path to victory in Ukraine.

Parallel efforts by the U.S. State Department center around exerting political and economic pressure on African Union (AU) member-states. The continental organization subscribes to a Non-aligned foreign policy which has been developing since the Bandung Conference of 1955 through the founding of a formal organization in Belgrade, Yugoslavia during 1961.

Since the majority of African governments have not responded enthusiastically to the calls by Biden to condemn Russia and join in the sanctions-regime, the White House and Congress have threatened to tighten their grip over the national economies in Africa. The Republic of South Africa has been accused by the U.S. ambassador in Pretoria of shipping arms to Russia.

Meanwhile, the Black Sea grain deal which was suggested by the AU delegation that met Putin in Sochi during July 2022 and finalized with the assistance of Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, provided the potential for the reopening of trade in agricultural commodities produced in Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian and Russian exports of grain and other crops to several African countries contribute immensely to food supplies.

In addition to grain, maize and other staple foods, Russia is a major exporter of fertilizer and the agricultural inputs needed in large-scale farming. Consequently, the AU member-states have a vested interest in ending the war in Ukraine and the resumption of international trade with the Black Sea region.

An article in the journal African Business says of the present situation and its impact on the continent:

“The collapse of the deal is ‘really bad news for countries highly dependent on food imports,’ says Jacques Nel, head of Africa Macro at consulting firm Oxford Economics Africa. East Africa is only just beginning to recover from a long period of drought, while Nel warns that North Africa – a region highly dependent on food imports – is also vulnerable. Egypt has been the sixth-largest importer of Ukrainian grain over the past year. Nigeria is another one of the world’s largest wheat importers and receives a quarter of its imports from Ukraine and Russia, says Debo Akande, a senior specialist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Akande warns that wheat prices are set to ‘increase astronomically’, which will have knock-on effects for the prices of other staple crops.”

Food Emergency Declared

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa containing its largest national economy, has issued a declaration of emergency related to food supplies. The newly inaugurated President Bola Tinubu made the announcement just weeks after he assumed office in the oil-rich West African state.

After the cancellation of fuel subsidies which have kept petroleum consumer costs low in Nigeria, prices have soared in various sectors of the economy. The declaration of an emergency does not automatically address the fundamental problems in the country.

Although most reports in the western press dwell on the security challenges in Nigeria, which are many, particularly involving Boko Haram and other insurgencies operating in the northern regions of the vast country, almost no attention is paid in the mainstream media sources to the strain placed on the government resulting from the war in Ukraine and the subsequent draconian sanctions led by Washington.

The Tinubu government has adopted a policy of making more land available for agricultural production by channeling funds saved by abolishing fuel subsidies to providing incentive for farmers. Yet this pivot to greater agricultural production domestically will not occur overnight leaving open the potential for serious food insecurity in the urban and rural areas.

According to the website that monitors wheat production and distribution internationally:

“Nigeria, which traditionally has procured a large portion of its wheat from the Black Sea region, is enduring severe repercussions from the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ‘Nigeria is spending more on wheat imports amid high global wheat prices brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war,’ the FAS said. ‘The situation has negatively impacted Nigeria’s wheat supply value chain. More importantly, official records showed a drastic reduction in durum wheat imports from Russia in 2022. Russia was one of the country’s primary sources of cheap wheat.’”

A Global Crisis in Looming

The sharp rise in food prices is not just occurring in Nigeria. Many states across the continent and other geopolitical regions are facing similar problems. Even inside the most advanced capitalist states such as the U.S. and the U.K, price increases have created food insecurity as well.

Food pantries and soup kitchens are overwhelmed by the rapid increase in demand for assistance in cities and rural areas throughout the U.S. With the expiration of the expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Agricultural Program (SNAP) benefits, a lifeline has been taken away from millions of working class, oppressed and impoverished families.

This same website,, published a report during April 2022, less than two months after the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, which predicted that:

“As the war continues in Ukraine, the impact on global agriculture will have prolonged effects, including food inflation, limited fertilizer supplies, a European recession and fundamental changes in supply chains. ‘There’s a lot that we are not talking about in terms of the overall issues that can come from the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, particularly if it extends over a year, two or three,’ said Richard Kottmeyer with FTI Consulting, Inc., during a webinar April 14 hosted by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). The conflict adds another layer to existing pressure on the agriculture industry from the COVID-19 pandemic and the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, which aims to reduce the environmental and climate impact of production. Food inflation is likely to hit levels not seen in 20 plus years, Kottmeyer said. ‘If the war ended today, we would have food inflation widely for three years,’ he said. ‘That’s significant. As the war continues, food inflation and the number of years continues to get worse.’… With the food inflation that currently exists and the likelihood it will get worse, there is severe pressure on fundamental stability in northern and west Africa, he said. ‘The Ukrainian conflict is likely to lead to other conflicts within the next 24 months,’ Kottmeyer said. ‘That could put severe pressure on any number of specialty commodities, and agriculture trade in general.’”

The Biden administration is seeking to extend its tenure in office for another four years in the aftermath of the 2024 elections. Nonetheless, there are serious concerns on the part of the majority of the electorate in the U.S. over the handling of the war in Ukraine.

Food security graphic

Polls indicate that the primary issue on the minds of voters is the economy. While the administration praises the less than 4% jobless rate, tens of millions are struggling to pay rents, mortgages, education bills, energy costs and food.

The effects of climate change can be seen daily in the U.S. and Canada where drought, excessive heat, dangerous air quality, tornadoes, floods and wildfires are creating hazardous conditions for public health and food production. However, the Biden administration appears to be solely focused on undermining and weakening the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and other perceived adversaries of U.S. imperialism.

People in the U.S. can only hope for relief when the support by the government to carry on the war in Ukraine has halted. The much talked about spring and summer counteroffensive in Ukraine has been an abysmal failure.

Despite the allocation of approximately $115 billion in military and other assistance to Ukraine, much of the ammunition, tanks, armored vehicles and missile launchers have been destroyed by the Russian military forces. At present, the Russian army has begun offensive operations in several areas along the frontlines.

Ending the Ukraine war has implications far beyond the battlefields. Eliminating the Pentagon budget is a matter of the survival and sustainable development of humanity.