Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Remember Congo



I remember when we lived in England my dad came home talking about things were getting hot in the Congo.  He seemed a bit scared - he was in photo reconnaissance loading the spy cameras on planes at the US air force base.

The Congo story always stuck with me as I grew up and lately I've wanted to show greater solidarity with the people on the African continent as the Pentagon's Africa Command (AFRICOM) moves to expand US military operations there.  Washington is going full bore to create chaos as the west tries to desperately hang on to control of Africa.  China is finding many welcoming arms as they help invest in things the local African community badly needs.  The US only offers war - weapons are now our #1 national industrial export product.

Patrice Lumumba was killed in a CIA-directed operation at the age of 36 in 1961.  The US was even then making its moves on the grand chessboard cut deeply into the heart of the African continent.

Jacobin shares the bigger story:

The Belgians reluctantly conceded political independence to the Congolese, and two years later, following a decisive win for the Congolese National Movement in the first democratic elections, Lumumba found himself elected to prime minister and with the right to form a government. A more moderate leader, Joseph Kasavubu, occupied the mostly ceremonial position of Congolese president.

On June 30, 1960, Independence Day, Lumumba gave what is now considered a timeless speech. The Belgian king, Boudewijn, opened proceedings by praising the murderous regime of his great-great uncle, Leopold II (eight million Congolese died during his reign from 1885 to 1908), as benevolent, highlighted the supposed benefits of colonialism, and warned the Congolese: “Don’t compromise the future with hasty reforms.” Kasavubu, predictably, thanked the king.

Then Lumumba, unscheduled, took the podium. What happened next has become one of the most recognizable statements of anticolonial defiance and a postcolonial political program. As the Belgian writer and literary critic Joris Note later pointed out, the original French text consisted of no more than 1,167 words. But it covered a lot of ground.

The first half of the speech traced an arc from past to future: the oppression Congolese had to endure together, the end of suffering and colonialism. The second half mapped out a broad vision and called on Congolese to unite at the task ahead.

Most importantly, Congo’s natural resources would benefit its people first: “We shall see to it that the lands of our native country truly benefit its children,” said Lumumba, adding that the challenge was “creating a national economy and ensuring our economic independence.” Political rights would be reconceived: “We shall revise all the old laws and make them into new ones that will be just and noble.”

The oil, precious minerals, water, and other resources in Congo could not be left under the control of someone like Lumumba.  That would be dangerous and the idea of declaring independence from the west would spread like wildfire across the continent. That would harm the corporate plan to control and sever from Africa virtually everything of value.  Only the people were in the way.

It was during those days that the mafia, the mega-resource extraction companies, Wall Street and the military industrial complex merged their interests into the CIA as the 'deep state' to run America.  An extraordinary effort would be put into place to sell 'democracy and freedom' as the goals of the nation.  But in the shadows America was wielding its dark axe. The CIA had at its disposal the always expanding military organ called NATO.  Together they formed the military fist of corporate capital.

They've been taking down leaders and countries since the end of WW II but Congo should be remembered as one of history's great tragedies.  The people had a vision and if they had been left alone to run their own lives the world would be better for it.  With AFRICOM in place the signal is that the US-NATO is willing to fight to hang onto the continent.  Colonialism dies hard.

Bruce

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