Christian Romero, Bolshevik Militant Tendency – Argentina
Humberto Rodrigues, Communist Party – Brazil
The coup in Niger is the latest expression of the geopolitical dispute over Africa. The dispute between decadent, NATO-based, US-led imperialism, and nations historically oppressed by imperialism, led by China and Russia, capitalist states “deformed” by revolutionary and post-capitalist experiences. After the 2008 economic crisis the bloc of countries led by Russia and China emerged as competitors for imperialism in the world market. The irruption from there of the Eurasian pole as in the cases of Russia, Belarus and China as advanced capitalist technocratic states with different degrees of inheritance of the bureaucratic workers’ states. But, those countries that return to capitalism will not return to the previous phase of capitalism that they were – as nothing returns to the previous existence in the history of the evolution of natural and social life. In these cases China, Russia, Belarus and others will not return to the phase before the cycle of social revolutions of the 20th century, but rather will return to contemporary capitalism under uneven and combined development.
The irruption of this Eurasian pole in other parts of the oppressed world, in Asia, Latin America and Africa, made several African countries see the opportunity to dispute, even in part, the control of the strategic resources of the continent. This generates in Africa and especially Central and West Africa a cycle of coups, counter-coups and civil wars. In this context, belligerent forces emerge that seek to join the Eurasian pole in its tendency to enter into contradiction with the different factions of world imperialism, not only the hegemonic ones – such as the US – but also the subaltern ones such as the French one, which has been convulsed by several struggles of the working class in recent years. In this sense, the coup of last July in Niger is part of this last tendency, against French imperialism.
As examples of this trend that predate the coup in Niger, in Burkina Faso and Mali already years ago, governments were installed based on tendencies that include the anti-French sentiment of the oppressed masses and pro-Russia orientation:
“The coups d’état experienced in Mali and Burkina Faso since 2020 have led to the constitution of military juntas of anti-French tendency – that is, questioning the French government’s policy in Africa – which has challenged the traditional Western alliance to strengthen, instead, its relations with Russia.”https://www.cidob.org/publicaciones/serie_de_publicacion/opinion_cidob/2023/burkina_faso_y_mali_expulsan_a_francia_el_rol_del_sentimiento_antifrances_en_el_giro_pro_ruso
Niger’s economic and strategic role in the confrontation between Russia and the Western powers, especially France, is key, especially in the supply of uranium, key to 70% of the electricity generated in France. ( See https://es.ara.cat/internacional/africa/golpe-niger-pone-riesgo-centrales-nucleares-francesas_1_4769644.html)
The role of French neocolonialism in Central and West Africa also extends to the level of monetary policies as in the case of the CFA. Until now, Niger and other Central African countries, former French colonies, use the CFA franc as a monetary unit. Through this mechanism, France effectively exercises veto power over the respective central banks of nations dominated by French imperialism. (see https://elordenmundial.com/que-es-franco-cfa/)
“According to the newspaper Liberation, 34.7% of the 6,286 tonnes of ore imported by France in 2020 came from Niger, ahead of Kazakhstan (28.9%), Uzbekistan (26.4%) and Australia (9.9%). Since then, imports have fallen and Nigerien uranium now supplies between 10% and 15% of the needs of French power plants, estimates the state-owned Orano group, which exploits uranium deposits in northern Niger, “being the key nuclear industry for the French energy matrix.”https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/475009-reportan-niger-suspendio-exportacion-uranio
France in Central and West Africa was very aggressive even after its former colonies had formal independence. Since 1961 there have been 44 French military interventions in Africa.
We must also add that we must add the imposition of coups d’état as in the 80s in Burkina Faso against T. Sankara with F. Mitterrand (PSF) complying as a substitute of the reaction reganianao-tacherista in Africa. (See https://lcligacomunista.blogspot.com/2016/10/thomas-sankara-ha-29-anos-de-seu.html)
Today the anti-French turn in Central Africa is broad and they turn to the search for an alliance with Russia. The current military coup in Niger is part of this trend. Therefore, it is not a pro-imperialist coup but a coup d’état that contradicts imperialism and must be supported by all anti-imperialist fighters in the world. (See https://www.cidob.org/publicaciones/serie_de_publicacion/opinion_cidob/2023/burkina_faso_y_mali_expulsan_a_francia_el_rol_del_sentimiento_antifrances_en_el_giro_pro_ruso
“The governments of Burkina Faso and Mali have warned the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday [31 July] that a possible intervention against Niger would be considered a declaration of war against them.”
the statement concluded:
“On the other hand, they expressed their fraternal solidarity with the Nigerien people, who have taken their destiny into their own hands and assumed the fullness of their sovereignty in the face of history.” In any case, the transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali invite the forces to be ready and mobilized, to lend a hand to the people of Niger, in these dark hours of Pan-Africanism,”https://www.lt9.com.ar/76843-mali-y-burkina-faso-avisan-que-una-intervencion-militar-en-niger-sera-una-declaracion-de-guerra-contra-ellos
The above shows how in Central and West Africa the feeling of being plundered of its resources by imperialism develops and how the tendencies of opposition to imperialism itself grow. All that happened on the eve of the BRICS leadership meeting in South Africa, now in August 2023.
Today the sectors that seek greater independence in the countries of West and Central Africa, a dependency closely linked to the presence of French imperialism, seek an alliance with Russia. Also from the economic point of view there is now a rapprochement with China, currently after 9 years of suspension of its activities the enterprise for the extraction of uranium in Niger is resumed in partnership with the uranium company of China.
“We know that Chinese cooperation has made great technological advances and we believe that we can accelerate these advances to have a modern, profitable operation for our economy within the framework of a win-win partnership,” said Niger’s Minister of Mines Ousseimini Hadizatou Yacouba , according to Niger’s own press.https://www.lesahel.org/exploitation-miniere-le-niger-et-la-compagnie-chinoise-cnuc-saccordent-sur-la-reprise-prochaine-des-activites-de-la-somina/
After July 26, the population of Niger began to have mobilizations, such as the one reported in the Niger press about the population of Dosso, in favor of the currently ruling National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP), which is how the government that emerged after July 26 is known. See https://www.lesahel.org/dosso-politique-les-populations-de-dosso-apportent-leur-soutien-au-cnsp-et-aux-fds/
Today in Niger it is vital to unite the tactics of the Anti-Imperialist United Front that today in Niger itself is a united front with every belligerent force that contradicts imperialism including the regular army. The tactic of the Anti-Imperialist United Front must be merged with the strategy of the permanent revolution, since there will only be authentic sovereignty of the people of Niger as part of a federation of republics based on workers’ and peasants’ councils of Central and West Africa.
Imperialism out of Niger! Unite the struggle against imperialism with the struggle for socialism!