Monday, May 12, 2014

Boko Haram: Imperialism and Nigerian capitalism.

by Sean O' Torrain

The bunch of vicious kidnappers of Boko Haram has to be condemned by all. Their name means that girls should not be educated. What an outfit. The first reaction is to throw our hands up in the air and say these are a bunch of nut case sadists misogynists and murderers. And we would not be far out to say this. But we would only be scratching the surface.

I had a friend some years ago from the Congo. He made me think. He said that the reason for all the catastrophes and mass slaughters and civil wars in that country and similar countries was not because these countries were too poor in resources. On the contrary these catastrophes took place because these countries were too rich in resources. As a result the major capitalist powers came in and robbed anything, including people, that they could carry away.

To assist them in their robbing they recruited local gangsters and gangs, the most backward of the populations. They also increased division and pushed the age old imperialist strategy of divide and rule. They developed all the worst and most backward ideas in these gangs and militias and threw themselves against each other in wars and civil wars, Rwanda, the Congo, are names that come to mind.  Comrades should read about the role of the imperialist powers such as the USA and France in the Rwanda genocide. And these tactics are not confined to Africa: the former Yugoslavia also comes to mind. And who knows what will happen in the Ukraine in the months ahead. Imperialism and its local gangs and militias in some African countries developed the most brutal ideas that soldiers could not be killed in battle if they raped women. Remember again the role played by mass rape in the break up of Yugoslavia.

To understand what is going on we need to see a number of processes. Behind all these monstrous activities are the major corporations of the world, that is imperialism. They want the wealth of these countries. They organize and fund the various militias and local corrupt governments to get them these resources. Nigeria is now the most wealthy country in the African continent. Does anybody think this is an accident? Imperialism and its local allies in the Nigerian government have not taken decisive action against Boko Haram because they think who knows what will happen in the future.  They might need them. The US when Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State refused to put them on their "terrorist list." African history under colonialism and imperialism is littered with examples of colonial and imperialist regimes not being able to hold on and being replaced by others who had the support of their imperialist string-pullers. Who knows imperialism might need Boko Haram yet.

The other process we have to see at work here is that while countries such as Nigeria have great wealth their capitalist classes, if they can be called that, are too weak and fragmented to develop this wealth. As Trotsky explained in his theory of the Permanent Revolution they came too late on to the scene of history and are unable to develop a modern economy and market, unable to unify the national territory and wealth and stand up to imperialism. So they are torn apart in non stop conflict, they are pawns in the inter imperialist conflicts, and the mass of the population sink further and further into mass poverty.

The crisis in Nigeria now of the kidnapping of the over 200 young school girls is the result of the destruction of that country by imperialism and the inability of the Nigerian weak capitalist class to drive out imperialism and to develop and modernize that country.

The only way forward for African countries such as Nigeria and the Congo and the rest is as Trotsky again explained in his Theory of the Permanent Revolution. The working class in these countries must take power into their own hands, drive out imperialism, take over the wealth of these countries under working class control and build a democratic socialist society in which the rights of women and all minorities would be guaranteed. But this alone would not be enough. This revolution would have to be spread internationally. The Congo has borders with nine other countries in Africa. Nigeria borders a number of other countries also. The vast wealth of all these countries has to be collectivized and organized together in a democratic socialist plan which could provide the necessities of life in abundance for all. Democratic rights and gender rights would also have to be guaranteed. Part of this would be the establishment of self determination for all national and tribal minorities.

The ideas of Trotsky explained in  his theory of the Permanent Revolution are the ideas which if implemented can give a way forward for these countries. They are the only way that catastrophes such as the kidnapping of the young girls in Nigeria and the mass poverty and wars and civil wars and mass rapes can be brought to an end.

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