Thursday, January 12, 2023

Honoring MLK Six Decades After the Mass Struggles of 1963


January 11, 2023

Reprinted from Fighting Words, Journal of the Communist Workers League

Honoring MLK Six Decades After the Mass Struggles of 1963 – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On January 16 in the United States, the 94th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be commemorated as a federal holiday.

Since 1986, the third Monday of January has been designated in tribute to the martyred Civil Rights and Antiwar leader who was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) intervention in support of the sanitation workers’ strike for recognition from the racist city government of Henry Loeb. African American sanitation workers were subjected to near slave-like conditions despite the passage of legislation such as the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964-1965.

The mass Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. had gained momentum in the aftermath of the brutal lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi in August 1955. Mamie Till Bradley Mobley, the mother of Emmett, militantly condemned the racist lynching of her son prompting mass rallies in several cities such as Detroit.

Later, on December 1 in Montgomery, Ms. Rosa Parks, a longtime labor and civil rights activist, was arrested for violating the segregation laws of the State of Alabama. Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger. Several days later the African American community embarked upon a year-long boycott of the city buses. They defied the threats and intimidations by the racist city administration. Dr. King and other leaders were subjected to unjustified arrests and the bombings of their homes.

The case against segregation in Alabama was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court resulting in a victory in November 1956. After the highest court confirmed the unconstitutionality of the segregated bus system, the boycott was called off by the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).

According to a source on the historic ruling by the Supreme Court:

“Aurelia S. Browder v. William A. Gayle challenged the Alabama state statutes and Montgomery, Alabama city ordinances requiring segregation on Montgomery buses. Filed by Fred Gray and Charles D. Langford on behalf of four African American women who had been mistreated on city buses, the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld a district court ruling that the statute was unconstitutional. Gray and Langford filed the federal district court petition that became Browder v. Gayle on 1 February 1956, two days after segregationists bombed King’s house. The original plaintiffs in the case were Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanatta Reese, but outside pressure convinced Reese to withdraw from the case in February. Gray made the decision not to include Rosa Parks in the case to avoid the perception that they were seeking to circumvent her prosecution on other charges.”

After the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement accelerated. In 1960, African American college and university students began the mass sit-in struggles throughout the South including Greensboro, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. In April 1960, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed while the following year, the freedom rides commenced resulting in additional legal victories outlawing segregation in interstate travel.

Mass Demonstrations Erupt in 1963

Despite these victories beginning with the Brown v. Topeka case of May 1954, where segregated K-12 public schools were deemed unconstitutional, to the Montgomery campaign, the sit-ins and freedom rides, the overall objective for the total elimination of Jim Crow was stalled by 1963. Then President John F. Kennedy had an image of being sympathetic to the plight of African Americans, yet his administration had not initiated a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill to nullify the draconian state and municipal laws enacted after the failure of Reconstruction in the late 19th century.

In Birmingham, the SCLC opened up a campaign to force the desegregation of the most industrialized city in the South. The Birmingham movement resulted in the arrest of several thousand youth who refused to halt their demonstrations in the city. Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor became the public face of the intolerant institutional racists who refused to integrate public facilities, businesses and schools.

A split between the outgoing and incoming segregationist municipal administrations in Birmingham led to a political vacuum where Connor was able to take administrative control of the efforts to halt the demonstrations during April and May 1963. These dynamics proved the opening for the business leaders in Birmingham to speak directly with the SCLC and other organizations where they reached a settlement to end the protests. Thousands were released from detention along with the reinstatement of African American students expelled from schools due to their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

During this same period, demonstrations erupted in numerous cities across the U.S. In Cambridge, Maryland, the struggle to desegregate the city led to mass militant protests and a rebellion. National Guard troops were ordered into Cambridge where they remained for over a year, representing the longest military occupation of a city since the Civil War.

Other municipalities impacted included Somerville, Tennessee; Danville, Virginia; Greensboro, North Carolina; and northern cities such as Chicago and Detroit where youth and workers took to the streets to protest the monumental injustices related to housing, police brutality and substandard education. In 1963, there were at least two cities where the demonstrations turned violent, providing a preview of the urban rebellions that became the focus of the Black struggle after 1964. In Cambridge, arson attacks and other forms of property damage occurred after many people became frustrated with the repressive tactics of the police. In Birmingham, there were occasions where youth and workers utilized unconventional methods to resist the brutality of Bull Connor’s law-enforcement agents.

On June 11, there was the historic admission of two African American students to the segregated University of Alabama, where then Governor George Wallace symbolically stood at the administration building to block the entrance. The admission of the two students had been authorized through a federal court decision which was supported by the Kennedy administration. These events and a speech by Kennedy suggesting he would introduce a Civil Rights Bill for deliberations in Congress, outraged segregationists in the South.

The following evening on June 12, Medgar Evers, a longtime Field Secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi, was assassinated outside his home in the capital of Jackson. The murder of Evers by a well-known racist businessman who boasted about committing the execution, infuriated people across the country.

In Detroit, a mass demonstration took place just two weeks later on June 23, representing a major departure for the overall movement for racial justice. This march known as the “Walk to Freedom” attracted hundreds of thousands of people within the city. The manifestation was led by Dr. King and the Rev. C.L. Franklin, a nationally-renowned minister based in Detroit and the father of the later designated “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin. This demonstration culminated at Cobo Arena where Dr. King delivered an early iteration of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, over two months prior to the March on Washington. The speech was captured by Motown Records and released as a recording, the first of LPs featuring Dr. King.

Although the Detroit Walk to Freedom was an overwhelming success attracting the participation of then UAW President Walter Reuther and liberal Democratic Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, less than two weeks later, a 24-year-old African American woman, Cynthia Scott, was gunned down by two police bullets in her back during the early morning hours of July 5. Scott was walking on the street in the lower eastside when she was accosted by two white police officers. They demanded that she get into a police cruiser and when she refused, one of the officers shot her in the back while Scott walked away.

This incident mobilized the African American community in Detroit. The Wayne County Prosecutor and the Recorder’s Court refused to indict the officer who killed Scott. Thousands of people marched to police headquarters to protest the killing. Later a civil suit filed by Attorney Milton Henry was dismissed by the courts. A public rally was held at the Central Congregational Church attracting 700 people demanding justice for Cynthia Scott.

The corporate press during this period in Detroit attempted to criminalize Scott after her murder, citing previous arrests. The police claimed Scott had attacked them with a knife. Nonetheless, eyewitnesses to the killing gave statements to the police and the press saying that the shooting of Scott was completely unprovoked.

It would take another four years for the African American community to erupt in Detroit on July 23, 1967, with the largest urban rebellion in U.S. history. These events led to the election of the first African American mayor, Coleman A. Young, a decade after the Walk to Freedom and the police murder of Cynthia Scott, in 1973.

Lessons from the Mass Struggles of 1963

Today in 2023, there are no local or national elections for this year, therefore leaving the African American people largely abandoned by politicians who are not compelled to seek their votes. As in 1963, some six decades earlier, a Democratic administration is in office which could not have been elected three years before without the electoral support of African Americans.

Similarly, as in 1963, the reformist program adopted by the Democratic National Convention in 2020 has not been fulfilled. African Americans are still suffering from police misconduct, impoverishment, unequal educational opportunities and increasing environmental degradation.

The Pentagon war budget and the subsidization of the ruling class by the U.S. government continues to hamper the capacity of the state to meet the immediate needs of the masses of people. Dr. King in early 1967 began to speak out forcefully against the U.S. intervention in Vietnam demanding that the troops be withdrawn from Southeast Asia. He viewed the imperialist war machine as an enemy of the poor and oppressed.

Dr. King linked the struggles against poverty, racism and war into a program of action which the U.S. government feared. In 2023, we must study these developments which took place during previous decades to gain guidance and inspiration for the impending mass struggles ahead aimed at ending all forms of racism, national oppression, economic exploitation and imperialist war.

Netherlands Prime Minister Apologizes for Atlantic Slave Trade


December 27, 2022 

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologizes for African enslavement

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Over the last few decades the demand to pay reparations for African enslavement has drawn support from around the world.

Africans on the continent along with those living in other parts of the globe have joined the movement for reparations as compensation from Europe and North America for the centuries-long Atlantic slave trade.

The initial move in any reparations process would be a formal apology from the nations, governments and corporations involved. Many nations within Western Europe and later the United States and Canada profited immensely from the enslavement of African people.

In fact, scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Eric Williams, Walter Rodney, Vincent B. Thompson and many others have made the argument that without the exploitation and oppression of African people, the feudal and capitalist economies of Western Europe and North America would have never gained dominance within the world economic system after the 15th century. Such an historical fact means that the current international bourgeoisie owes its global status to the labor power, waterways and natural resources of the African continent and would therefore be liable for incalculable amounts of monetary damages extending back nearly six centuries.

As a result of the institutional racism which grew out of the slave and colonial systems, Africans and their descendants still suffer today from national oppression, discrimination based on color and economic exploitation which has its origins in the antebellum period and the rise of imperialism. In the U.S., segregation was legal up until the mid-1960s when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by both chambers of the Congress. The following year, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law even though well into the 21st century, the right to universal suffrage remains a source of struggle.

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on December 19 delivered an address at the national archives where he expressed his deep regret that Dutch history had been marred by involvement in the Atlantic slave trade. This speech grew out of a commission which was established in 2020 amid the worldwide demonstration against racism prompted by the police execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The role of the Netherlands commission was to examine the colonial history of the country which profited from the enslavement of African people in several territories in North America, South America and the Caribbean. In 2021, the commission concluded that the Netherlands needed to accept its responsibility for what was described as a “crime against humanity.”

In the 20 minutes speech, Rutte apologized for:

“[T]he actions of the Dutch state in the past: posthumously to all enslaved people worldwide who have suffered from those actions, to their daughters and sons, and to all their descendants into the here and now. For centuries the Dutch state and its representatives have enabled and stimulated slavery and have profited from it. It is true that nobody alive today bears any personal guilt for slavery…(however) the Dutch state bears responsibility for the immense suffering that has been done to those that were enslaved and their descendants.”

Yet those African descendants who were present at the speech were not impressed with the Rutte apology. During the address the prime minister ruled out the payment of reparations. Instead, he announced that his government would be establishing a fund of $US212 million to tackle some of the problems stemming from past injustices.

Africans whose ancestors were enslaved by the Dutch accused Rutte of being disingenuous in his statements. Residents of existing and former colonies of the European country say they had not been consulted prior to the speech. Others claimed that the apology was ill-timed since the 160th anniversary of the abolition of enslavement in the Dutch colonies will be commemorated during 2023.

Dutch retiree Waldo Koendjbiharie said of the speech by the Dutch leader that:

“It’s about money. Apologies are words and with those words you can’t buy anything.”

Another African descendant from the South American state of Surinam, which was colonized by the Netherlands, Roy Kaikusi Groenberg of the Honor and Recovery Foundation, emphasized:

“It takes two to tango — apologies have to be received. The way the government is handling this, it’s coming across as a neo-colonial belch.”

The Dutch Role in Slavery and Colonialism

This area of Europe would emerge as a critical player in the Atlantic slave trade and colonization in the Western Hemisphere, Africa and Asia during the early 17th century. The Dutch fought a war of independence against the Spanish crown during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Several rival European states were seeking to dominate the trade in human beings and commodities during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Dutch fought both Spain and Portugal to claims its own place within the burgeoning Atlantic slave trade and the colonization of the Western Hemisphere and the Asia-Pacific.

Netherlands colonial outposts around the world Netherlands colonial outposts around the world.

The Dutch West India Company and its counterpart known as the East India Company established numerous stations around the world. The company fought several wars with states in addition to Spain and Portugal.

Between the early 17th century to the concluding years of the 18th century, competition was fierce between France, England and the Dutch. Eventually, the Dutch would be overwhelmed by the military and commercial successes of other Western European powers such as France and Britain.

One source says of the impact of Dutch colonization that:

“Dutch West India Company …  founded in 1621 mainly to carry on economic warfare against Spain and Portugal by striking at their colonies in the West Indies and South America and on the west coast of Africa. While attaining its greatest success against the Portuguese in Brazil in the 1630s and ’40s, the company depleted its resources and thereafter declined in power. It was dissolved in 1794. The company also established several colonies in the West Indies and Guyana between 1634 and 1648, including Aruba, Curaçao, and Saint Martin, but later lost many of them to the French. The Dutch colony in North America, New Netherland (renamed New York in the mid-1660s), became a province of the company in 1623. A combination of low Dutch immigration, autocratic administration, and under-investment, however, damaged the ability of New Netherland to compete with the neighboring English colonies, and it was ceded to the English in 1667. The Dutch West India Company was much less successful than the Dutch East India Company, its counterpart in Southeast Asia. The West India Company was taken over by the state in 1791 and was dissolved in the wake of the French invasion of the Dutch Republic in 1794.”

Even today in the 21st century, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is composed of the European capital and other island nations in the Caribbean. The Caribbean part of the Kingdom is made up of the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius.

The Netherlands joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. Since this time successive governments and the monarchy have been loyal members of the western military alliance.

The Netherlands: A Center of “International Law” for Imperialism

Prior to the advent of World War I and II, The Netherlands attempted to maintain its foreign policy based on neutrality. Nonetheless, the country was occupied by the Nazis in 1940 forcing its leaders to take refuge in England.

In 1945 after the conclusion of WWII, The Netherlands would be a founding member of the United Nations. Later the country benefited from the Marshall Plan along with the aid airlifts in 1953 when over 1800 people died in catastrophic flooding.

During the last two decades, the Netherlands has become a venue for trials over alleged human rights abuses carried out in the former Yugoslavia and the African continent. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been exclusively preoccupied with the investigation, extradition and prosecution of African state actors and rebel organizations.

For this reason, the ICC has become a controversial institution as several African governments have criticized the court and threatened to withdraw from the Rome Statute, which created the framework for the ICC in 1998. Efforts were underway for several years to bring the former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the current President William Ruto, to the Netherlands to stand trial over events which occurred in 2007-2008. Both cases against the two Kenyan leaders were subsequently dropped due to lack of evidence.

The former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, was kidnapped by French paratroopers in April 2011 and transported to the Netherlands where he remained for nearly a decade awaiting and standing trial over efforts he carried out to prevent the current French and U.S.-backed regime from taking power in this West African state. President Gbagbo was acquitted by the ICC also as a result of a lack of evidence. These are just two examples of the injustices perpetrated by the Netherlands government in alliance with imperialism operating under the guise of international law.

Consequently, until the Netherlands pays reparations for its role in the enslavement and colonization of African and Asian peoples, its apologies under the present administration of Rutte will remain a hollow gesture. Beyond the era of African enslavement to the present, the Kingdom of the Netherlands cannot escape its culpability in the ongoing oppression and exploitation of African and other peoples.

Death Toll Mounts as Unrest Continues in Peru


December 27, 2022 

Peru people protest death of Wilfredo Lizarme

Reprinted from Fighting Words, Journal of the Communist Workers League

Death Toll Mounts as Unrest Continues in Peru – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Peru remains a center of resistance to the removal of President Pedro Castillo in a political coup by the Congress on December 7.

Castillo is still incarcerated on numerous charges including corruption and violation of the state constitution.

The former union leader and left-wing president has rejected these allegations and is demanding to be released from detention immediately. On December 22, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) was in Peru to investigate the current political turmoil.

As part of the assertion that he remains the legitimate head-of-state in Peru, Castillo requested a meeting with the IACHR delegation saying that the conditions under which he is being held are a violation of his human rights. Castillo, along with thousands across the South American country, are calling for the resignation of the recently installed President Dina Boluarte, the immediate release of the former president, the dissolving of Congress and the holding of national elections.

Castillo has received significant international support from several governments throughout the region. Mexico has repeatedly called for the president’s release along with Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Honduras and others. The Mexican government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (often referred to as AMLO) has granted political asylum to the family of Castillo, who have already left Peru.

The Mexican ambassador to Peru, Pablo Monroy Conesa, was expelled by the Boluarte government claiming that statements made by officials were hostile to the current coup regime in Peru. Since the impeachment of Castillo on December 7, the military has moved to seize control of all major transportation and infrastructure institutions in the country. This has taken place amid continuing strikes by workers, farmers and youth who have blocked roads, highways, airports and trains. On December 22, the defense minister, Luis Alberto Otarola, was appointed as prime minister of the government in Lima.

Mexican President AMLO announced that his government would seek to maintain diplomatic relations with Peru under the existing administration of Boluarte. The president was concerned about the status of Mexican citizens living and working in Peru.

Telesur reported on the diplomatic crisis between Mexico and Peru that:

“Regarding the current situation in Peru, marked by a political and social crisis, AMLO described Boluarte’s administration as ‘a very questioned government.’ In this sense, he denounced the use of repression in the face of the conflict instead of opting for dialogue and ‘the democratic method’ of early elections. AMLO criticized ‘the attitude of the so-called political class, of the economic and political power groups in Peru.’ The Mexican President accused them of being ‘those who have maintained that crisis in that country because of their ambitions.’”

AMLO characterized the Peruvian society as being under a “state of siege” since December 7 when Castillo was removed from office and arrested by the security forces. In addition, the Mexican leader criticized United States Ambassador Lisa Kenna who met with the Boluarte government, giving the regime legitimacy.

Other imperialist centers also met with Boluarte including the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). State Department spokesperson Ned Price went as far as to commend Boluarte for protecting Peruvian institutions and publicly proclaimed the recognition by the U.S. of the coup which resulted in the existing regime.

The left-wing governments in South America, Central America and the Caribbean are constantly under threat by the U.S. Cuba has been under a blockade for the last six decades and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela defeated numerous coup attempts engineered by Washington and its allies in the region over the last two decades.

Peru has been undergoing political turmoil in recent years. The impeachment of Castillo and the ascendancy of Boluarte marked the sixth person to hold the office of the presidency in as many years.

Castillo is being held in pretrial detention which could last up to 18 months. After this period if he is not released, a judicial panel will decide his fate as it relates to the charges filed against him.

The country has been impacted by the worldwide rise in inflation. In Peru the rate of inflation is approximately 8.5%. Since the December 7 coup, uncertainty has increased both inside and outside the South American state.

A report published by Telesur noted:

“On Thursday (Dec. 22), the visit to Peru of the IACHR Secretary Tania Reneaum and her team concludes. They held meetings with authorities and organizations to gather information on the institutional crisis that the country is going through.

“Since December 7, thousands of citizens have taken to the streets to demand new elections, the closure of Congress, and the release of Castillo, whom lawmakers removed to appoint then-Vice President Boluarte in his place. With the support of the Armed Forces, her administration has harshly repressed social protests, which has left 27 citizens dead and dozens of people injured and detained. In this regard, prosecutor Karen Obregon opened an investigation into the heads of the Police and the Army as alleged perpetrators of 10 deaths in the department of Ayacucho.”

State of Emergency Declared by Installed President Boluarte

A 30-day state of emergency was declared by Boluarte after riot police and the military were not able to quell the initial wave of demonstrations. Peru, which in addition to its mining resources, is a center of tourism attracting hundreds of thousands every year to the ancient civilization of Machu Picchu. During early and mid-December, thousands of tourists have been unable to get transportation out of the area due to the popular uprising against the removal of Castillo.

In a first-person account of the situation in Peru, the Jurist printed a report from a law student which said:

“My flight was cancelled, since the protesters had taken over the airport and for safety reasons all the airlines suspended their flights until further notice. For this reason, I had to resort to another means of transport. There were no buses that provided the transportation service, there were only cars and since I needed transportation, I had to travel by hired car. However, I was unable to complete my journey as the roads were blocked…. A little later, the police arrived and started throwing tear gas canisters to try to disperse the protesters. The policemen were throwing many tear gas canisters, and they were also pushing the protesters, despite the fact that there were young people and older adults. This made the protesters angry and a fight started between the protesters and the police. I ran and tried to take refuge in some nearby houses because the situation was getting worse. I was afraid that the police would stop me or that the protesters would attack me.”

In a gesture to the popular movement, the Peruvian Congress passed a bill to hold elections by mid-2024. This measure differed from the proposal put forward by Boluarte who wanted elections to be held by December 2023. However, many outstanding issues remain within the context of these proposals.

Will the state of emergency be lifted along with the release of ousted President Castillo? This is an important question because of the more than two dozen people already reported killed since December 7 which must be addressed by the judicial system.

The bill in question was sponsored by the Constitutional Commission President Hernando Guerra, a far-right lawmaker and supporter of the party controlled by former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. However, this decision to move the elections from 2026, must be approved by the legislative session, which does not convene until March 1, 2023.

This latest political crisis in Peru has regional and international implications. The administration of President Joe Biden has not made any substantial changes in U.S. policy towards Latin America.

The objectives of Washington and Wall Street in the region remain essentially the same. The U.S. wants to maintain control of the domestic and foreign policy of the governments throughout Latin America. This can only be done through the utilization of economic control and military domination.

All throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean, the masses of people yearn for genuine liberation and sovereignty. In order for these objectives to be realized a protracted struggle must be waged against the U.S. and its surrogates so that total liberation and self-determination can be achieved.

White House Summit with African Leaders Results in More Promises

December 18, 2022 

Reprinted from Fighting Words, Journal of the Communist Workers League

White House Summit with African Leaders Results in More Promises – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

During the December 13-15 White House-Africa summit, the Biden administration sought to persuade leaders and officials from 49 states that the United States wants an equal partnership with the continent.

This was the first of such meetings since 2014 when the administration of former President Barack Obama was in office.

The tenure of Obama’s successor, former President Donald Trump, was marked by open hostility towards Africa where he never visited while in office. Nonetheless, the Biden administration has made no substantial shifts in its policy towards the continent. In actual fact, President Joe Biden has sought to further utilize the 55 member-states African Union (AU) as an appendage in the renewed 21st century cold war between NATO and the Russian Federation.

During the first day of the summit, the position of African governments was that they favored a diplomatic resolution to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. The continuing conflict over the last 10 months has resulted in the further aggravation of supply chain problems plaguing the global economy since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obviously, the administration in Washington wants to remain in dialogue with African heads-of-state despite the rapidly developing trade, political and military relations between the AU member-states with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation. However, as it relates to infrastructural and security questions, Beijing and Moscow now are far more advanced in regard to building long term relationships.

Biden promised to facilitate investment of $55 billion into African economies while pledging to visit several countries on the continent in 2023. Some of the funds are designed to purportedly support the capacity of African governments to conduct democratic elections. Biden reportedly reflected on the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The attacks were aimed at preventing the results of the November 2020 elections from being certified by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Differences over Key Issues in U.S.-Africa Relations

The divergence of opinion between the African leaders and the White House over Ukraine policy was not the only point of disagreement at the summit. Some of the participants questioned the U.S.’s commitment to the security of the continent.

On the second day of the summit, the Department of Defense under Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, hosted a session entitled the “Peace, Security and Governance Forum.” Much of the discussion on the part of the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) attending the gathering represented a repackaging of the language already present in the briefing documents of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Although the Pentagon has established a separate command for Africa since 2008, insecurity in key geo-political regions is worsening. A series of military coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Conakry and Chad with an attempted seizure of power also taking place in Sao Tome in early December, illustrate the failure of AFRICOM to carry out its stated mission. Criticisms among the people and those in government are growing over the role of AFRICOM along with French military forces.

Almost all of the coup makers over the last decade in West Africa are graduates of Pentagon military training programs conducted both inside the U.S. and on the continent. Joint military operations between the Pentagon and various African military structures have become routine. These annual maneuvers and war games operations represent the degree to which imperialism has penetrated military forces on the continent.

Even though there are clear connections between the military usurpation of power from civilian-led governments and the Pentagon, those who have taken power in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Conakry were not invited to the White House. The State of Eritrea was not present as well since the government in the Horn of Africa state is often on the receiving end of punitive measures by Washington. The presidents of key countries such as the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe sent their foreign ministers as representatives to the summit.

Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is the current Chair of the AU, spoke of the differences over U.S. legislative policy and sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe.

“Sall criticized pending U.S. legislation that he said unfairly ‘targeted’ Africa, an apparent reference to a measure titled ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa.’ Lawmakers sponsoring the bill say the legislation is intended to prevent Moscow from using Africa to bypass U.S. sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine. Sall also raised concerns about years-long U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe for corruption and human rights violations, saying that it was time to lift the penalties so the nation could ‘fight against poverty and underdevelopment.’ Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was hitting four Zimbabwean people, including the adult son of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and two companies with new sanctions, accusing them of roles in undermining democracy and facilitating high-level graft.”

Washington Views Moscow and Beijing as Strategic Competitors

Undoubtedly, this summit at the White House was planned as a public relations campaign directed against China, Russia and other international powers which have held multilateral meetings with the AU member-states. However, in real terms, the U.S. has decreased its level of direct investment in Africa since the Obama administration.

U.S. preoccupation with military interventions has dominated its foreign policy imperatives since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries in Eastern Europe. These destabilization campaigns, aerial bombings, proxy wars and direct occupations have objectively weakened the political legitimacy of Washington in various geo-political regions internationally.

Beijing over the last two decades through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and other structures has become the largest trading partner with the AU member-states. The U.S. Peace Information Center says of the contemporary situation:

“China is Africa’s largest two-way trading partner, hitting $254 billion in 2021, exceeding by a factor of four U.S.-Africa trade. China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment, supporting hundreds of thousands of African jobs. This is roughly double the level of U.S. foreign direct investment. While Chinese lending to African countries has dipped of late, China remains by far the largest lender to African countries. It is to be expected that China’s commercial activity in Africa would increase with the dramatic rise of its economy to become the second largest in the world, especially given China’s need for raw materials to support its very large manufacturing base. But this growth also represents a determined Chinese government-driven effort to make significant inroads in Africa.”

As it relates to Moscow, the historic relations between the Soviet Union and African independence movements and post-colonial governments marked a sharp departure from the neo-colonial approach of the U.S. Both the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China advanced a foreign policy which was supportive of liberation struggles, sovereignty as well as non-capitalist development.

In recent years, the Russian Federation under President Vladimir Putin has established the Russia-Africa Summit which was held in 2019 in Sochi. Another summit announced earlier in 2022 has not yet convened.

Russian trade with Africa is far less than China’s. However overall, the volume of trade between the African continent and Russia has grown substantially in recent years. Agricultural products such as grain are heavily imported into Africa. Also, agricultural inputs like fertilizers are essential in local farming efforts. website says:

“The annual volume of trade between Russia and countries located on the African continent reached 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, marking a decrease from the previous year. The revenue from Russian exports from and imports into the region more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. Russia’s leading trade partner on the continent was Egypt. The value of goods and services exchanged with Egypt accounted for roughly one third of the total trade volume between Russia and African countries.”

Russia-Africa trade relations are not the major concern of Washington in regard to the role of Moscow. More worrisome for the White House, the State Department and Pentagon are the volumes of arms sales from Russia to the African continent. In addition, the presence of the Wagner Group, a military services company based in Russia, which has been contracted by Mali and the Central African Republic to assist with national security, has been a cause for concern. France has claimed to have withdrawn its armed forces from Mali due to criticism from the military government led by Col. Assimi Goita along with the presence of Wagner. Secretary of Defense Austin during the White House summit referred to Wagner as “mercenaries” yet did not acknowledge the destructive character of AFRICOM in Libya, Somalia and other states where they are engaged in military surveillance and offensive operations.

One source on Russian weapons transfers to Africa notes:

“Russia’s arms sales to Africa have increased by a quarter over the last four years. In fact, Russia accounts for nearly half of major arms exports to Africa, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, with Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and Angola as the biggest customers (all of which, except Egypt, abstained in the UN vote to condemn Russia). And all across Africa, Russia has military trainers on the ground who are supporting the sales of the popular Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters and other equipment, according to U.S. intelligence reports.”

Moreover, the support for Russia on a grassroots level among the workers and youth has been revealed in mass demonstrations in Burkina Faso and Mali. These factors are often considered by African heads-of-state in their public comments and actions at the United Nations and other international forums.

U.S. imperialism provides no other viable alternatives to Africa other than the pursuit of its non-aligned policy. Africa cannot be genuinely liberated and sovereign until the people defeat U.S. influence on the continent and around the world.

Another “Political Framework” Signed in Sudan


December 16, 2022

Sudan leaders sign new framework agreement on Dec. 5, 2022 Sudan leaders sign new framework agreement on Dec. 5, 2022.

Reprinted from Fighting Words, Journal of the Communist Workers League

Another “Political Framework” Signed in Sudan – Fighting Words (

By Abayomi Azikiwe

On December 5 yet another transitional political framework was signed in the Republic of Sudan by the military regime and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), the broad-based democracy organization inside the country.

The agreement is designed to break the stalemate which has been in existence since a military coup removed former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April 2019.

This new accord was met with much skepticism and angry protests from various political tendencies throughout Sudan. The Resistance Committees which have organized street demonstrations over the last four years have categorically rejected the new agreement saying it does not bring about the removal of the military as the dominant political and economic force inside the country.

The Sudanese Communist Party has condemned the new agreement while continuing to call for mass mobilizations to end military rule. “No negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy” with the military institution has been the rallying cry of the Resistance Committees and the Communist Party.

In addition, several Islamic parties have opposed the deal. These parties want a greater role for religious leaders within the overall structures of governance.

Violence and mass arrests have occurred since the outbreak of protests over high food and fuel prices during December 2018. Massive demonstrations and strikes prompted the military to seize power in the hopes that the unrest would subside.

However, the democracy movement which includes many youth and workers continued to demand national elections and the departure of the military after April 2019. A sit-in outside the Ministry of Defense in the capital of Khartoum continued until it was broken up in June of the same year resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people at the hands of the Sudanese security forces encompassing the military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Negotiations led by the African Union (AU) provided the initial political framework creating a Transitional Sovereign Council which included both the military and the pro-democracy leaders tasked with preparing the country for multi-party elections. Nonetheless, since the June 2019 transitional agreement peace and social stability has not been achieved.

The initial transitional framework which ushered in the Sovereign Council was supposed to last for 39 months. In that time period the military would first serve as the Chair of the Sovereign Council, later relinquishing control to a civilian.

Before the civilian leadership could take hold of the Sovereign Council, the military dissolved the body and arrested the interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on October 25, 2021. That coup did not bring a halt to the mass demonstrations and rebellions against the military leadership of General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan and Commander of the RSF Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemeti).

Although Hamdok was briefly reinstated as interim prime minister several weeks later, he would soon depart again realizing that the military was not committed to relinquishing power to a democratically elected civilian government in Sudan. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, one of the important professional groupings in the democracy movement, has reported that 120 people have died at the hands of the security forces since the October 2021 coup.

An article published by Al Jazeera on December 6 notes that:

“Critics fear the deal extends a lifeline to the army and the powerful paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), both of which spearheaded the putsch. Sudan’s resistance committees, which are neighborhood groups leading the street pro-democracy movement, say the deal effectively restores a partnership between political and security elites and thereby betrays the aspirations of the 120 people killed in anti-coup protests. ‘We believe that if there is no justice then the killing and raping will continue,’ said Ahmed Ismat, a spokesperson for the Khartoum south resistance committees. ‘We are just repeating the same cycle.’”

In essence the December 5 agreement does not provide definite timelines for the transition to democratic rule. Nor does the framework address the demands among the democracy movement that the military be held accountable for the brutality and deaths of people over the last four years.

The Role of the United States in Imposing the Framework

State Department envoys to Sudan and the Horn of Africa have been visiting the country over the last year desperately seeking to negotiate a solution to the political impasse. Washington does not want a revolutionary democratic government to emerge in Sudan which could challenge U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Under the previous administration of President Donald Trump, former interim Prime Minister Hamdok was pressured into making several concessions which would ensure that Khartoum remained within the western sphere of influence. During 2020, the Trump administration pressured Hamdok to recognize the State of Israel in violation of the 1958 Sudanese law which mandated a boycott of Tel Aviv by Sudan.

Later the interim administration of Hamdok agreed to pay hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to the families of people killed in terrorist attacks. These attacks did not occur in Sudan but in other African states and in the Gulf of Aden.

These concessions by Hamdok and the military leadership were designed to make Sudan eligible for renegotiating financial obligations to the banks and foreign governments along with the procurement of additional loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Sudan would be removed from the “state sponsors of terrorism” list which has been utilized as a foreign policy weapon of Washington.

This same pattern of interference and the imposition of policies which betray the interests of the majority of the Sudanese people has not been altered under President Joe Biden. The latest framework agreement was adopted largely at the aegis of the U.S. State Department.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the immediate aftermath of the signing of the latest agreement, issued threats to anyone the U.S. believes is undermining the accord. Sanctions, which are a hallmark of U.S. foreign policy, will be leveled against anyone opposing the transitional agreement.

The Middle East Eye news website emphasized in regard to the role of the State Department:

“This was a pact to rescue Sudan’s democratic transition after the 2021 military coup, Washington argued. It didn’t matter that the deal had little popular support, and had been outright rejected by many key players. ‘We have experience of agreements signed under international pressure … none of them led to a happy ending’, said Mohamed Badawi, Sudanese political analyst. ‘Just as we used our prior visa restrictions policy against those who undermined the former civilian-led transitional government, we will not hesitate to use our expanded policy against spoilers in Sudan’s democratic transition process,’ the US secretary of state said in a statement.” 

Some Armed Rebel Groups Also Reject Framework Deal

Several rebel groups which have been fighting the Sudanese central government for years are opposed to the latest agreement. These groups include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim, who is now serving as finance minister under the military regime. Also opposing the agreement are Mini Arko Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), and Mohamed Tirik a sectional leader from the Eastern region of the country around the strategic Port of Sudan.

Interestingly enough, these armed opposition groups were supportive of the October 25 coup and have taken cabinet positions in the administration established by the military over the last year. Since December 5 these organizations have publicly criticized the framework agreement.

At a December 13 public meeting held in Khartoum, the three leaders explained their respective positions. The Middle East Eye quoted the leaders of the armed groups who said:

“Our problem with what happened in the so-called political framework is the clear hijack of the fate of the country by specific forces and individuals. So we are against this methodology, which excludes us from participation in the management of the country,’ Minawi said. ‘We believe that this way is not correct, and it will neither lead to stability nor any progress of the democratic transition. We are one of the main actors in this country … we are Sudanese like others …. This mentality has to be stopped or otherwise Sudan will never see stability,’ Ibrahim warned. Tirik, meanwhile, has closed the road linking Eastern Sudan with Khartoum, cutting the capital from Port Sudan.”

It remains to be seen whether the December 5 framework can bring stability to the oil-rich state which is a gateway to North, East and Central Africa. With the dominant role of the U.S. in the negotiations for the current agreement, there will not be a genuine democratic solution that brings together all of the legitimate forces concerned with uniting the country independent of imperialism and its allies in the region.

Crypto’s Collapse Strikes Deep into Black Community

January 8, 2023 

Collapse of cryptocurrency hits Black community harder. | Photo:

Reprinted from Fighting Words, Journal of the Communist Workers League

Crypto’s collapse strikes deep into Black community – Fighting Words (

By Chris Fry

Back in July 2014, published an article by Black writer Jamelle Bouie titled “The Crisis in Black Home Ownership”, which described the catastrophic impact of the Great Recession on Black families:

In 2005, three years before the Great Recession, the median Black household had a net worth of $12,124. Yes, this was far behind the median white household—which had a net worth of $134,992—but it was a huge improvement from previous decades, in which housing discrimination made wealth accumulation difficult (if not impossible) for the large majority of African-American families.

By the official end of the recession in 2009, median household net worth for Blacks had fallen to $5,677—a generation’s worth of hard work and progress wiped out. (The number for whites, by comparison, was $113,149.) Overall, from 2007 to 2010, wealth for Blacks declined by an average of 31 percent, home equity by an average of 28 percent, and retirement savings by an average of 35 percent. By contrast, whites lost 11 percent in wealth, lost 24 percent in home equity, and gained 9 percent in retirement savings. According to a 2013 report by researchers at Brandeis University, “half the collective wealth of African-American families was stripped away during the Great Recession.”

In 2009, when the Great Recession began to ebb, computer researchers developed the first cryptocurrency, which is a digital currency tied to distributed encoded ledger. Anonymous traders can conduct purchases and other transactions without using traditional banks, without credit checks and largely without government oversight, particularly by the IRS.

This system has had growing appeal among the oppressed and other workers so battered by the catastrophic economic devastation unleashed on them during the Great Recession, when so many lost their homes, their jobs and their life savings to the vulture investment banks like Citibank, Wells Fargo, and others.

In the last two years crypto companies have advertised heavily, particularly in the Black and Latinx communities:

Just a few short months ago, venture capital firms, celebrities and even some elected officials were hailing cryptocurrency as the future of personal finance, an investment vehicle that could turn modest nest eggs into massive fortunes.

Among the advantages touted by its supporters was the claim that crypto had the potential to close a pernicious, generations-old racial wealth gap for Black and Latino would-be investors. Cryptocurrencies, the narrative went, were primed to “democratize finance.”

Cryptocurrency is sponsored by a portion of the ruling billionaire class resistant to the control by the central banks over the flow of capital inherent in the imperialist economy. This tendency has a long historical precedent. The racist, pro-NAZI industrialist Henry Ford vehemently opposed the banks in his day famously remarking that it was a good thing that most Americans didn’t know how banking really works, because if they did, “there’d be a revolution before tomorrow morning”.

Of course, the last thing that fascist pig wanted was a genuine social revolution. He just opposed the banks taking a cut of his profits.

A number of Wall Street hedge funds are backing cryptocurrency exchanges. There is even a “crypto caucus” in Congress. A number of fascist groups conduct secret financial operations using cryptocurrency. White supremacist Richard Spencer went as far as to declare Bitcoin the “currency of the alt-right.”

But because the banks have been and still are so discriminatory against people of color, cryptocurrency has drawn a disproportionate number of Black people into its arena. As a Dec. 23 CNN article points out:

Its supporters had argued that cryptocurrencies allowed members of historically marginalized groups to bypass institutional barriers to traditional investments and structural ones such as racism, discrimination, and bias. No longer would there be a need for invasive credit checks or unattainable income requirements; no longer would a prospective investor be turned down because of their race or ethnicity.

Over time, dozens of crypto-focused Clubhouses and Facebook groups catering to Black and Latinx audiences sprang up, as did events such as the Black Blockchain Summit, an annual conference encouraging investment in crypto currencies by African Americans.

Celebrity endorsements and generally favorable media coverage also made cryptocurrencies seem safe and credible. Its proponents rarely mentioned how crypto’s volatility compared to traditional financial products and services, and little mention was made about how cryptocurrencies can be targets for scams, fraud or hacks.

Eventually many Black Americans staked their hopes in crypto as a comparatively accessible wealth-building vehicle. Within a short time, there was a noticeable uptick in the adoption of cryptocurrency by communities of color, which overcame their initial reluctance. According to a 2021 survey by NORC at the University of Chicago, nearly 44% of Americans who owned and were trading crypto were people of color.

Of course, “traditional banks” are not immune from robbing the workers, particularly Black workers. For example, the New York Times reported on Dec. 20th that Wells Fargo was forced to pay $3.7 billion in fines and damages:

The consumer protection bureau said Wells Fargo did not record customer payments on home and auto loans properly, wrongfully repossessed some borrowers’ cars and homes and charged overdraft fees even when customers had enough money to cover purchases they made with their bank cards. 

FTX goes belly-up

On Nov. 11, the Bahamas-based FTX cryptocurrency exchange company declared bankruptcy. The entire crypto sector has gone down from a value of $3 trillion in 2021 to just $850 billion currently.

From a Dec.18 Washington Post article:

The arrest last week in the Bahamas of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of what until very recently was one of the biggest and best-respected cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has only deepened the sense that the crypto bubble has definitively popped, taking with it billions of dollars of investments made by regular people, pension funds, venture capitalists and traditional companies.

Crypto has crashed before, but this time it fell from a greater height — having gained mainstream acceptance in a way it hadn’t before, even finding itself in some 401(k)s and pension funds for retirees. It’s unclear whether it can recover.

The Dec. 23 CNN article reports the devastating impact of crypto’s collapse on the Black community:

If crypto has democratized anything, it’s been hefty – even spectacular – financial losses endured by many thousands of investors who sank their savings into them. The downfall of Sam Bankman-Fried and his crypto exchange FTX has become the best-known symbol of crypto’s volatility, obliterating personal financial holdings large and small as it crashed and burned.

The fallout is being felt particularly keenly in communities of color. A study earlier this year by Charles Schwab found that Black Americans were far more likely than white Americans to invest in crypto currencies. A Pew Research study also found that Black, Asian and Latino Americans were more likely than white Americans to say that they owned or traded in cryptocurrency.

Black Americans have been among the groups hardest hit by crypto’s implosion because of their greater financial exposure and their later entry into the cryptocurrency market. In the early days of bitcoin and other digital currencies, Black investors were hesitant to buy in.

Research has shown that Black Americans are far less likely than their white counterparts to be invested in stocks – crypto appeared to offer an attractive alternative. But that lack of assets in traditional financial instruments, and in many instances, an absence of generational wealth, has made this group of investors particularly vulnerable to the precipitous swings in value with crypto.

Crypto’s fraud against the Black community adds validity to the struggle for reparations by Wall Street, not only for the unpaid labor of slavery, but also super-profits extracted from the oppressed from redlining, employment, educational and banking discrimination, and now crypto.

Digital currency does not create wealth. Wealth stems from the surplus value generated by workers in the production of goods and services. Crypto’s nature of speculation merely redistributes it, eventually reaching the coffers of the ruling billionaire class. To truly control the distribution of wealth in favor of the workers and oppressed requires a revolutionary transformation of society, where our class wrenches control of production away from the billionaire class, erecting a system of social ownership and scientific planning designed to bring prosperity to all.

Energy Companies Cashing in on Ukraine War

January 4, 2023

Exxon Mobil suing EU to stop war profiteering tax.

By David Sole

The Russian Federation’s Special Military Operation into Ukraine began February 24, 2022. In response, the United States, the U.K and the European Union initiated widespread economic sanctions intending to crash the Russian economy. That result never happened, but it did result in a cut off of oil and natural gas supplies from Russia to Europe. The Nord Stream undersea pipeline from Russia to Germany was also blown up, very likely by the United States, to make sure that source of energy could not be used any more.

Since that time, energy prices have skyrocketed in Europe, and the U.K. and the United States have been selling gas and oil to them at highly inflated prices. In response, the European Union voted back in September to impose a windfall tax on energy companies and electricity providers.

According to the BBC,

“The plan includes a levy on fossil fuel firms’ surplus profits and a levy on excess revenues made from surging electricity costs…It comes as Europe braces for a difficult winter due to the cost of living crisis and squeeze on global energy supplies…Energy firms are getting much more money for their oil and gas than they were last year…because of supply concerns due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…EU ministers estimate that they can raise 140 billion euros from the levies on non-gas electricity producers and suppliers that are making larger than usual profits from the current demand.”

On December 22, Reuters reported that the “U.S. may become a net exporter of crude oil. The nation’s exports could exceed its imports next year for the first time since World War II.” This includes gasoline, diesel fuel and liquefied natural gas. “European refiners have snapped up U.S. grades to offset the loss of Russian oil.”

Things are looking so grim for European states that Germany announced that it had to nationalize the Uniper energy giant, the nation’s largest gas supplier. This was a bailout of the Uniper shareholders for a reported $8.4 billion immediately and an additional infusion of $27.8 billion over the next year.

Uniper, meanwhile, has brought legal action against Russia’s Gazprom “seeking billions of euros in compensation …for undelivered natural gas….Russia’s Gazprom Export confirmed that Uniper has initiated arbitration proceedings, saying, however, that it does not recognize the violation of contracts.” Interruption of Russian supplies are “due to sanctions imposed by Western countries. A section of the pipeline was subsequently blown up in September, rendering it inoperable.”

Not surprisingly, however, is the response of U.S. energy giants who are making record profits from the current situation. On December 28 it was announced that the Exxon-Mobil oil corporation filed suit in Luxemburg against the EU’s windfall profit tax. According to MSN, Exxon Mobil raked “in more that $40 billion so far this year.”

On October 31, a few days prior to the U.S. midterm elections, President Joe Biden made a fiery speech threatening similar actions against the oil profiteers. Forbes reported that “President Biden has declared war on oil companies, accusing them of ‘war profiteering’ and threatening them with new taxes on ‘excess’ profits.” Biden stated “The American people are going to judge who’s standing with them and who is only looking out for their bottom line. I know where I stand.”

Biden was looking for votes when he made these remarks. Once the elections were over not a peep has been heard about this radical proposal to punish war profiteering oil companies. The capitalist class, with the oil giants at its heart, is firmly in control of the politicians of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The people of Europe and the U.S. continue to face crippling inflation and high energy costs. Meanwhile, tens of billions of dollars’ worth of military supplies from both sides of the Atlantic continue to flow to the Ukraine army fighting a proxy war to weaken Russia and capture the lucrative European energy market.