The history of oppression and the partition of Africa carried out by the Western colonial powers together with the complex as well as passionate history of  the process of Africa’s formal decolonization (which began half a century ago), show how the continent, where about 30% of the mineral and metal ressourses, more than 10% of the oil reserves, about 8% of gas reserves, 17% of the world forests and about 60% of non-exploited arable land are concentrated, has never stopped being a target of  plunder, interference and war incitement, carried out by the major world colonialist powers.

Equally, the reality of the last 30 years has shown that the African continent never stopped being out ofimperialism’s clutches. It has supported criminal regimes such as the apartheid South Africa and instigated ethnic-religious conflict via financing and weapons supply to groups and militias.

I omit mention of support for cliques connected with the European and North-American transnational companies, with the consequent training of a selfish bourgeoisie in a relation of neocolonial dependence on such companies. Foreign debt mechanisms, IMF programs, European Union and even NATO "agreements" and the continents’s growing militarization, namely via AFRICOM, all have been used to hinder the deepening of the African peoples’ real liberation process. They, therefore ,  perpetuate imperialism’s economic and geopolitical rule over the African continent.

This is a reality which, far from weakening, on the contrary, has become more evident. The  deepening of the capitalist crisis and the growing dependence of the capitalist triad (US, EU, Japan) on the wealth and raw materials of the African continent, combine with US and French imperialism’s anxiety about the growing "Chinese presence" and the intensification of China’s trade with the continent, in search of raw materials to nourish its development and economic growth.

Imperialism is also concerned about South Africa’s growing economic or political relations with Brazil, Russia, India and China, and its relations with Latin American countries such as Cuba or Venezuela. These are factors which point towards greater interference throughout the African continent, using typical methods, namely "divide and rule".

With this analysis, one reads of the recent events in Sudan. After decades of instigating a brutal conflict, which has its historic roots in control of this country’s huge oil reserves and mineral wealth, the Western powers (namely the USA and France), confronted with the growing economic relations between Khartoum and Beijing, gambled on "a peace agreement" which will not have a happy ending.

The current referendum, a  blatant imperialist option for Sudan’s partition, and the real risk of post-referendum  "Balkanization" are particular examples of how, by making factions and ethnic groups into their tools,  financial cliques achieve exponential enrichment in a country in which more than half of its population live under the poverty line. It is a strategy consistent with imperialist rule over the largest African country’s natural resources. Sudan is a country stretching from the Red Sea to Central Africa.

The Sudanese events, together with those in the Ivory Coast, have revealed that the old imperialist drive to dismantle countries and foster political and military conflict have not been given up. Within that framework it is difficult, if not impossible, to talk about real popular power. Above all, these events reveal an imperative need of African national and progressive popular forces, to persist in their peoples’ national and social emancipation, thereby achieving what many call the African peoples’ "second liberation wave."

January 19, 2011

Translated from "Avante!"

Angelo Alves is a member of the Political Committee and of the International Department, PCP