Update 12/9 15:20 ET: US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel orders US troops into CAR
This past Thursday, December 5th, the UN Security Council approved the influx of French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) where France already had stationed 400 soldiers. The Central African Republic is a former French colony, similar to Mali the subject of French military intervention only three months ago, which can only be described as being “lawless” at the moment; the consequence to decades of what has been described as “chronic politically instability” in a notoriously poor and underdeveloped country. A rebel coup just months ago could be considered the ‘tipping point’ in this monumental crisis as the new government, ruled by ex-military and their mercenaries, “on behalf” of a Muslim minority, has all but entirely disintegrated. Effectively opening the door to looting, violent conflict between warlords, and brutal sectarian violence which some observers have noted makes genocide a very real possibility.
So, what is the stated goal of the French insurgence? To secure “geo-strategic targets” nominally the host of French nationals and assets held by the French community. Nonetheless, French “socialist” President Francois Hollande has called on the CAR and the rest of Africa to seize its own destiny; a quaint suggestion given the intimately neo-colonial relationship France has entertained with a nation that but 60 years ago was considered property of France.
Recent reports now indicate the French forces will begin to disarm the rebel government’s fighters as their leader, Michel Djotodia, has expressed his inability to control his troops.
Beyond the immediate implications of these reports we can view this as a tragically introspective irony in the historical course of the Central African Republic. The imperialist forces are ‘disarming’ the Africans of a power they never truly had: the power of self-determination. The being of which is deeply political and lends more to the reality of national oppression and the pervasive ideology of the comprador than the superficial ‘independence’ a few detachments of armed soldiers can bring. And all of this is widely observed given the historical development of this particular nation. The Central African Republic has been subject to centuries of colonial exploit, first by slave traders and then by the French dominion, and all the subsequent brutal processes of forceful capital expropriation and value appropriation; continuing up until this very moment in which the softpower of Imperialism still dominates the CAR in almost every venue of socio-politics. These relationships materially condition the CAR towards a position of international servitude. One in which the (under) development of the Central African Republic parallels the interests of the still powerful comprador on behalf of imperialist powers.
The charge of instability towards the Central African people is wholly ridiculous. The peoples of the CAR were never self-determinant to which they could then become ‘unstable’. Imperialist powers, principally France, have maintained real supremacy in Central Africa especially in determining the method of ‘economic development’ which undoubtedly appropriates wealth towards the aforementioned parties. The ‘independence’ gained by the CAR in 1958 only represented the functional displacement of political power in neocolonialism for the imperialist powers, strategically granted on two fronts. First, the suppression of concrete national democratic sentiments which had been expressed quite violently for example in the Kongo-Wara Rebellion. Second, the inter-imperialist program towards realizing ‘independence’ movements in most of the African continent. All of which only sublimated the antagonisms between a profoundly colonial state of rule and the material oppression experienced by the people of the Central African Republic.
Therefore the apparent bewilderment of the Western community and the ‘justice’ upon which the UN and France act only exudes utter hypocrisy and a disgusting measure of willful negligence; such that is only to be expected of those who spend countless decades systematically raping the continent before retiring upon a mountain of skulls to ponder the subsequent ‘instability’. All of this only considers the universal notion of specifically French colonialism without considering the assortment of particular neocolonial instances such as the French backed Dacko and later Bozize coups. The history of these particular instances which give form to the application of imperialism and neocolonialism by France in the CAR could at the very least be considered convoluted. A complicated short history riddled by coups, rebel factions, foreign incursion, and failed governments. A history that greatly reflects the manner by which the whole of a national political economy can become a mere plane of foreign domination.
Such a perpetual crisis makes the perfect playground for the monopolists and their compradors understood in the context of global imperialism. A global context in which the principal contradiction remains between the imperialist powers and the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world. In the CAR the particular instance of this principal contradiction can be understood looking broadly over the history of the region and simultaneously over the spectrum of the current situation. The contradiction between the oppressed people of the Central African Republic and their neocolonial masters, expressed by the internal displacement of some 400,000 Central Africans amid a consistently devolving security atmosphere.. Expressed in the recent deaths of hundreds if not thousands and the pervasive comprador-racist ideology of looking to the sky for the Great White Powers to sweep from heaven and rescue the “backwards Africa”. However, we see this ideology to be the consciousness developing in the last instance of material relationships. This and the antagonistic nature of the primary and secondary contradictions indicates the solution can only be which concretely transforms the current material relationships relative to their conditions.
As implied earlier, it is not simply enough to re-imagine the socio-political context of the CAR and its historical development. There must actually be a material transformation of these relationships to resolve the principal contradiction. Real political power in Central Africa must be transferred into the hands of the African people. The idealist narrative is that which reinforces the logic of neocolonialism and comprador capitalism; specifically that re-conceptualizing the notion of real politic in the CAR and other ‘post-colonial’ nations can resolve the contradictions of colonial domination. Granted, the particular conditions of the CAR will necessitate a path that will diverge from the theoretical continuities at present now. However, this is not a criticism of the line of Anti-imperialism.com in so much as a realization of the universal-particular dialectic and its role in the continuity-rupture thesis on developing Marxism as a science. We put forth the universal concepts and principles which in turn can guide a particular strategy toward a revolutionary end. The particular instance can only be understood through concrete social investigation which, frankly, is impossible to perform correctly sitting thousands of miles away from the respective conditions.
Regardless, the intensity of these contradictions only continues as every moment passes. The raw tragedy of the Central African Republic cannot be expressed by a white Amerikan thoroughly detached such as I. Yet, we extend the hand of solidarity towards those anguishing in the CAR and greatly hope the suffering of the African people be relieved. Moreover we hope that the African peoples may take power into their own hands and forever abolish this unfathomably barbaric colonial system. Until then, colonialism continues.