January 24, 2013

Imperialist Adventures In Mali/Class And Political Struggles In France

The Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism has issued a strong statement denouncing French intervention in Mali. That statement reads in part:

For a week now the French imperialists are trying to achieve one of their goals: to sustainably deploy their military forces in Mali, transform the country into a bridgehead to control the wealth of the Sahel, with the blessing of the UN, a body of bargaining and sharing of the world into spheres of influence of the imperialist powers. With the so-called international legitimacy for its actions issued by the UN, French imperialism has obtained clearance. ECOWAS, its neo-colonial instrument, is playing policeman. The policy of Françafrique is to make and unmake regimes in Africa according to French interests.

This pretext is crude and hypocritical. Either as a right wing government or a government of the “left”, imperialism has always supported the reactionary movements, which are camouflaged as religion in order to counter the desire for emancipation of the peoples of from imperialist domination and overthrow the leaders who resist.

French imperialism kills two birds with one stone. (Il vient de faire d’une pierre deux coups.) Send troops to Mali. And hide under the intervention a plan of encirclement of Algeria from the south to strengthen pressure on our (Algerian) government to push it further along the path of compromise and break with its traditional anti-imperialist policy.

Read the entire statement here.

The World Federation of Trade Unions has also denounced the invasion. Part of the WFTU statement on the invasion reads as follows:

This French-led military operation in its former colony has been joint by Britain, Germany and the European Union, as well as USA, Canada and ECOWAS, all of whom have already been sending troops and airforce to Mali and have been providing their support according to the December resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

After the genocide in Rwanda and the demolition of Libya, France continues to use the military bases it maintains in Africa in order to strengthen its role in the inter-imperialist competition and to serve the interests of its monopoly groups who are plundering the wealth-producing resources (gold, uranium etc.).

This orchestrated conflict between all the belligerents is another bloody show in the wounded African Continent, with the African people paying a heavy toll, aiming for the protection of the French interests in the uranium mines found in Tuareg areas of the West-African Region, the inter-imperialist competition for the control of the wealth-producing resources of Mali and the placement of puppet-governments in the African countries serving the leading imperialist forces.

The World Federation of Trade Unions in solidarity with the working people and the poor people of Mali and the West-African countries is strongly denouncing the intensifying aggressiveness of the imperialist forces in the region that are further deteriorating the already difficult living conditions of the people in the region and are aiming for the maintaining and enhancing of the plundering of the wealth-producing resources which belong and should be used for the people's needs.

Read the entire statement here.

Meanwhile, the class struggle is intensifying in France. Tom Gill says the following in a great article on the subject:

Nearly two thirds of French people see a class struggle being waged in their country, according to a new poll. That’s nearly 20 points up from the late 1960s, according to pollster IFOP. Among the blue collar workers this perception rises to 67%, against 59% for white collar employees.

Reacting to the survey results, Thomas Piketty, an economist, foresees the possibility of a return to class structures of the 19th century. ‘One thing is certain, the class struggle exists and we can see this every day, ‘ tweeted Gérard Filoche, on the left of the governing Socialist Party. He’s in the majority among socialist supporters, 71% of which feel the country is beset by class conflict.

Among the radical Left Front – whose candidate Jean Luc Melenchon mounted such a challenge to Francois Hollande in the battle for Elysee Palace last year that the socialist leader was forced to adopt the 75% tax on the country’s burgeoning club of millionaires – the figure rises to 80%.

There are more than 2 million millionaires in France, making the country Europe’s supreme fat cat hotspot in Europe and third globally, after Japan and the USA. Until being overtaken by Spain’s Amancio Ortega, Frenchman Bernard Arnault (now busily trying to shred his French passport to lower his tax bill) was Europe’s richest man.

At the other end of the scale some 2.5m workers got a pathetic (below inflation) 3 cents an hour rise on January 1 – a net increase of 3.50 euros a month for a full time worker.

This is part of a picture of rising poverty – 10.1% of the active population over 18 is poor – and widening income inequality. In the France of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the top 20% of the population expanded its share of national income at the expense of the bottom 20%.

Read the entire article here.

The left is debating the imperialist intervention in Mali. Unfortunately, some in the Left Front are justifying this misadventure, however cautiously. François Asensi has said the following:

We are dealing here with bloodthirsty extremist groups, trying to impose a medieval society. This fundamentalism is a new form of fascism. We should not be under an illusions about the nature of the dictatorial regimes that they seek to impose; they are a serious threat for all progressives. We must do everything to block the path of these groups who wish carve up Mali.

Read part of an interview with Asensi here.

This has provided some ammunition for dissident social democrats and the ultra-left as well. An example of that can be found here.

It seems from this distance that French intervention in Mali has certain economic and political drivers to it and that it is made possible by the disastrous American intervention in Libya. One of these drivers is certainly the possibility of increasing class conflict in France itself. Once again the social democrats seek to divert class struggle and cover for imperialism as the capitalist crisis lurches on.

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