African states which have thrown out the French were adamant that a new domestic and foreign policy was imperative in the present period
During the third week of September in New York City, the United Nations General Assembly 78th Session featured heads-of-state and leading officials from more than 190 countries and territories around the world.
This year’s UNGA took place at a critical period in relations between the Global South and the Western Industrialized capitalist states of the Northern Hemispheres.
The war in Ukraine has further polarized the international community as the United States, the European Union (EU) and other NATO states are attempting to impose their foreign policy orientation on the peoples and governments of Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. Efforts aimed at promoting a ceasefire in the Pentagon proxy war with Russia have been rejected by the imperialists.
People in New York City along with all those throughout the U.S. are being told that the dumping of more than $136 billion on to the battlefields of Ukraine takes precedent over the health and well-being of the working class, oppressed and impoverished. A spring offensive against the Russian Federation aimed at pushing back the special military operation has been an abysmal failure leaving tens of thousands of Ukrainians dead and wounded.
An address before the UNGA by U.S. President Joe Biden sounded like a campaign commercial as the leader of the so-called “free world” sought to rationalize and justify the economic, diplomatic and military hostility towards Moscow and Beijing. Biden has promoted himself as the most “pro-union” president in U.S. history. Nonetheless, his continuation of the imperialist policy of “permanent war” constitutes one of the major threats to organized and unorganized workers.
Although the African American electorate was pivotal in sealing Biden’s ascendancy to office in 2020, his administration has failed to adequately deal with the problems of police brutality, poverty, national discrimination and economic exploitation impacting this community disproportionately. The administration has refused to initiate any meaningful reforms within law-enforcement practices and the overall prison-industrial complex.
As the U.S. government faces the possibility of yet another shutdown, it reveals that the only real Congressional actions center around providing resources to continue its imperialist militarism. As the North and West African states suffer from instability and rebel insurgencies, successive administrations in Washington have avoided accepting responsibility for the utter destruction of Libya which has spawned underdevelopment across the region.
West African States Speak Out Against Imperialist Hegemony
The new military-led governments in Guinea, Burkina Faso and Mali delivered speeches which criticized the imperialist states for fostering terrorism and the economic exploitation of natural resources. They condemned the industrialized states of Western Europe and North America for their failure to admit responsibility for climate change which has negatively impacted the African Union (AU) member-states.
Transitional President of Guinea, Mamadi Doumbouya, said of the current situation on the African continent:
“The transitions underway in Africa are due to several factors, including broken promises, lethargy of the people and leaders tampering with the Constitution with the aim of remaining in power, he said. Today, African people are more awake than ever and more determined than ever to take their destiny into their own hands. Voicing concern over the unequal distribution of wealth which creates endless inequalities, famine and poverty, he said: ‘When the wealth of a country is in the hands of an elite while newborns die in hospitals due to lack of incubators, it is not surprising that […] we are seeing transitions to respond to the profound aspirations of the people,’ he said.” (https://gadebate.un.org/en/78/guinea)
Later in Doumbouya’s speech, he reflected on the anger and disillusionment among African people regarding the notions of “democracy” and how these concepts have been crafted and held up idealistically as the only model for the continent’s people. Despite the accusations against his government as being dictatorial he challenged the European imperialists for their blatant interference in the internal affairs and historical processes of the AU member-states.
The Guinean military leader noted:
“’The transition that I lead has chosen to focus methodically on clear objectives in a precise order: the social, the economic and the political,’ he pointed out. The Sahel is going through one of the most serious crises in its very long history. In this context, he stressed that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must stop getting involved in politics and favor dialogue. ‘The African people are tired, exhausted of the categorizations with which everyone wants to box us in,’ he said, declaring: ‘We are neither pro- nor anti-American, neither pro- nor anti-Chinese, neither pro- nor anti-French, neither pro- nor anti-Russian, neither pro- nor anti-Turkish […] we are simply pro-African.’ ‘It is time to stop lecturing us, to stop treating us with condescension, like children,’ he said, underscoring that the international community must look at Africa with new eyes.”
In the address presented by Burkina Faso Minister of State, Bassolma Bazie, told the UNGA that the problems in existence now in the Sahel region are the product of the foreign policies of the imperialist states which influences the regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has threatened to invade Niger at the aegis of France and the U.S.
Bazie emphasized the necessity of achieving genuine independence and sovereignty on the continent:
“Mali and Niger are dealing with a war imposed on them by imperialism under the pretext of terrorism. ‘To take our destiny in our own hands,’ he affirmed, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso formed the Alliance of Sahel States, securing their countries through a treaty with revised authority for development. ‘We have decided to say no to all these so-called friends who want our so-called good or who threaten us with war to impose their friendship.’ Niger is enroute to becoming a second Libya, he said, strongly condemning the ‘underhanded maneuver’ of forbidding Niger’s leaders from accessing United Nations Headquarters. He also denounced Africa’s lack of permanent membership or veto rights in the Security Council as a ‘State crime’ and ‘a crime of the UN’. ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN must become ‘true organizations of peoples instead of structures used by a minority of Heads of State’. Inequality throughout the world is deliberate, he emphasized, condemning the true wounds that poison coexistence as the lies of states, diplomatic hypocrisy, thirst for power, the frenetic quest for profit, the diabolical spirit of domination, and exploitation of man by man.” (https://gadebate.un.org/en/78/burkina-faso)
In another speech, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop, spoke on behalf of the transitional military government in Bamako headed by Col. Assimi Goita as well as the leadership of the CNSP administration in Niger, Abdourahamane Tchiani, who was banned from traveling to New York for the UNGA. Diop mentioned the departure of French military forces and the phased withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
Diop called for solidarity with the people of Niger now facing draconian sanctions and diplomatic isolation by imperialism and its surrogates in the West Africa region. He emphasized to the international body that:
“[His] Government is ‘closely tracking the situation in Niger’, denouncing the imposition of sanctions and coercive measures against another nation — particularly when they are illegal and inhumane, as in the case of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) sanctions against Niger. Mali also opposes any military intervention by ECOWAS, which would have disastrous consequences for Niger and the region. ‘We will not stand idly by,’ he stressed, urging that past errors not be repeated. On that, he said that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya — authorized by the [Security] Council — violently destabilized that country and the region, serving as the ‘origin’ of terrorism’s expansion through the Sahel. He therefore called on the international community to ‘avoid reproducing in Niger the errors committed in Libya’, also calling for changes in global economic, financial and political governance to craft fair conditions for Africa’s participation in multilateral institutions. Mali is committed to a multilateralism ‘where each nation counts’, he added.” (https://gadebate.un.org/en/78/mali)
These speeches delivered by and on behalf of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea represent a critical juncture in modern African history. Africa has an overwhelming majority youth population whose aspirations conflict with the objectives of neo-colonialism.
These youth in conjunction with the workers, farmers and cultural activists must provide the organizational initiatives to transform Africa towards Pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism. The only real solution for the continent’s future lies in a complete break with the world capitalist system and the adoption of socialist construction to build the continent into a major force in world affairs.