Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Imperialism, Nigeria and the fracturing of nation states

from Stephen Morgan in Brussels

Thanks Sean for his earlier blog posting which gives us the principles and foundations of how to analyse this terrible situation in Nigeria and how to do something about it. I will be honest, if you had not taken this initiative, I would probably not have put my shoulder to the wheel as I should have. Yet again, not pushing the question of women's oppression, as you do, shows how we can fall into a situation of failing to understand the fundamental interests of capitalism and Imperialism in this situation. If we begin from the situation of the most oppressed section of the population - women -then we can begin to make sense of the whole class based society which we live in.

As Sean says, the responsibility for the horrendous situation in Nigeria lies with Imperialism and especially historically with British Imperialism, of which Nigeria was a colony until 50 years ago. Now today, Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa, but the biggest oil exporting country on the continent, also having huge gas reserves and in which energy companies like British Petroleum/Shell and Chevron are deeply involved. It is also a huge market for Western goods. I just researched some figures and found that in 2013 foreign investment in Nigeria's economy increased by 28% from the last year amounting to more than $21 billion. It's not just energy firms involved in the Nigerian economy, but companies like Procter and Gamble, Yum! Brands, Hugo Boss, Nestle, Siemens and SAB Miller.

One might imagine that Imperialism would like to have the most economic and calm of situations in Nigeria and to some extend that is true. But Imperialism, which is simply the interests of international capitalism led by the multinational corporations represented by capitalist governments is not the most rational of entities. The problem with the international capitalist class is that now, in its demise, it has has become myopic or short-sighted and greedy for quick returns on its investments, regardless of the longer term consequences. To achieve this, it has no moral scruples and is driven by economic lust. It is like a vampire/cocaine addict looking for any new fix, as quickly as possible, without regard for consequences.

Imperialism is insane. Einstein said that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. British Imperialism has divided countries along ethnic and religious lines from Ireland to India, Palestine to Pakistan, Cyprus to Sri Lanka and countless more communities. The US is equally guilty. The situation now in Nigeria reaffirms the insanity of capitalism, because it will all backfire on the bourgeoisie, when its current policy of sectarian division for divide and rule, finally plunges Nigeria into an all-out civil war.

So here we have in Nigeria yet again an example of how the gluttony and arrogance of Imperialism is creating another sectarian Frankenstein monster. The long term strategy of Imperialism in Nigeria is to provoke sectarian conflict to a level which leads to the disintegration of the country into two states, one based on the Islamic north, the other on the richer Christian south.

With regards to Nigeria, in order to suck the economy dry, the best situation is to offload the economic burden of the less interesting economic region of the Muslim North and concentrate on the Christian south. Then the Nigerian government could redirect resources into helping and developing the south for Western Imperialism.

Therefore, Western multinationals and their representatives in the form of Imperialist governments and the Nigerian bourgeoisie have decided that the best way to keep control of the country was to stimulate sectarian conflict between Christian and Muslims and allow an extremist Islamic group to emerge which would foster these divisions. Already some half a million people have been displaced as a result and these are the most economically active section of the population being pushed south by the conflict - potentially making Southern Nigeria a booming populous region with oil and gas where Imperialism can make super profits.

Why invoke sectarianism? Over the last decade or more, Imperialist oil interests have not been threatened by Islamists, but by the southern guerrilla groups in MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, in the south, who (as far as I know) have no religious affiliations, but have used guerrillas tactics to protest against the ecological destruction of the region and to demand the re-investment of profits made by Western oil companies and the Nigerian government back into the Niger Delta. They have been extremely successful, reducing oil output in the Niger Delta by roughly one-third!

Unfortunately, their guerrilla tactics are a reflection of the fact that oil workers and the working class generally have not yet developed sufficiently along class lines to find expression in working class methods of organization and struggle and guerrillaism has surfaced. But guerrilla actions are a precocious omen of the birth of a militant labour movement among Africa's largest working class, after South Africa.

Sean is absolutely right that there are hidden forces at work in the situation. Even Amnesty International has exposed the fact that the Nigerian government and military had advanced warning of the April 14 attack on the Chibok secondary school, but did nothing. They knew it was coming and let it happen because it was just one incident in a wider plan to divide Nigeria. Clearly they are either working in collusion with the Boko Haram leadership or are in contact with people in it at a high level. As Sean pointed out Hilary Clinton refused to put Boko Haram on the list of terrorist organizations, thus giving a green light to the Nigerian bourgeoisie and military not to intervene to destroy this organization and, instead, to give it the breathing space to develop unimpeded and carry out numerous hideous sectarian outrages culminating in the current horrendous situation for the kidnapped girls. Western Imperialism financed and equipped Al Qaeda in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. Deals are struck secretively and it is interesting to note that Boko Haram has never targeted any Western interests in Nigeria. Clinton and Obama are accomplices in the rape and torture of young girls, whom they consider to be collateral damage in the war to protect Imperialist interests.

But this atrocity is also being used to inflame Islamophobic prejudices around the world. This tragic incident has nothing to do with Islam. Africa is bedevilled by sectarian conflict regardless of its religious manifestations. There are violent cults like the Christian Lord's Resistance in Uganda, Sudan and Congo, who also turn children into soldiers or sex slaves. The same is true of the civil war in Mozambique where young children were forced to march into towns holding the severed heads of their siblings on their own heads in front of guerrilla armies or in Sierra Leon where mutilation such as double arm mutilation, or severance of ears, nose and tongue was common place practices among the belligerent forces. Up to 1 million died in the Rwandan civil war/genocide, which is an historical crime on the level of the holocaust and which has been surreptitiously swept under the political carpet and forgotten this because it was BLACK Africa. For all the atrocities suffered by the peoples of Asia or South and Central America at the hands of Imperialism, no place on earth has suffered like the peoples of Africa.

There is no doubt that these girls in Nigeria are being raped and tortured as we speak. This means that practical actions take precedent over any sectarian schemes by leftist groups to cynically use this situation for recruitment on the argument that only the overthrow of capitalism by building a revolutionary party will end this sort of thing.

The international labour movement must be mobilized to defend them! In particular, in countries like the UK, there are great numbers of Nigerian immigrants who must be approached with offers of help to mobilize protests and demonstration with the backing of union organizations and left activists. But at the same time we must call for unity between Muslim and Christian communities in Nigeria. Don't let us be divided by Imperialism and capitalism! The multinationals, Imperialist governments and the Nigerian bourgeoisie must be exposed for their criminal responsibility for this situation. F...k the law! Protests should be held outside embassies and corporate head quarters of Western companies, including attacks on and occupations of these buildings. The web sites of these institutions must be hacked and immobilized. These girls must be protected and released now!


1 Addax Petroleum http://www.addaxpetroleum.com/operations
2 Chevron http://www.chevron.com/countries/nigeria/default.aspx
3 Conoco Philips http://www.conocophillips.com/
4 Total http://www.ng.total.com/
5 ExxonMobil http://www.exxonmobilafrica.com/Africa-English/PA/Operations/AF_OP_Nigeria.asp
6 Hardy Oil & Gas Plc http://www.hardyoil.com/Assests/nigeria_main.htm
7 Nexen Inc http://www.nexeninc.com/Operations/West_Africa/Nigeria.asp
8 Petrobras http://www.petrobras.com/
9 Shell http://www.shell.com/home/content/nigeria
10 Statoil http://www.statoil.com/
11 Afren Energy Resources http://www.afren.com/default.asp
12 Camac (Allied Energy Resources) http://www.camacholdings.com/contact/index.html
13 Conoil http://www.conoilplc.com/index-2.html
14 Equator Exploration Limited http://www.equatorexploration.com/operations/nigeria.aspx
15 Express Petroleum & Gas Ltd 11 Alhaji Babatunde Jose Street Victoria Island (234 1 261-5115)
16 Dubri Oil Limited 8 Gabaro Close Victoria Island
17 Amni International Petroleum Development Company Ltd http://www.amnipetroleum.com/index.htm
18 Famfa Oil http://www.famfa.com/
19 Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation http://www.nnpcgroup.com/
20 Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd http://www.npdc-ng.com/index.php
21 Oriental Energy Resources Limited http://www.oriental-er.com/about/index.htm
22 Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria http://www.panoceanoilnigeria.com/
23 Sahara Group http://www.sahara-group.com/index.php
24 Solgas Petroleum Limited 27/29 Adeyemo Alakija Street Victoria Island (234 1 262-0651)
25 South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd 105B Ajose Adeogun Street Victoria Island (234 1 2625516/7
26 Sunlink Petroleum Limited http://www.sunlinkpetroleum-ng.com/
27 Brawal Shipping (Oil) http://www.brawalshipping.com/brawal/index.php
28 Intels Services Nigeria http://www.intelservices.com/
29 Ladol http://www.ladol.com/
30 Technip http://www.technip.com/entities/nigeria/index.htm
31 Snake Island Integrated Free Zone http://www.sifreezone.com/
32 Department of Petroleum Resources http://www.dprnigeria.com/home.html
33 National Petroleum Investment Management Services http://www.napims.com/
34 Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists http://www.nape.org.ng/
35 Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria http://www.petan.org/petan/performance.html
36 CGG Veritas http://www.cggveritas.com/Contact.aspx?cid=266&lang=1
37 First Fossil Nigeria http://www.firstfossil.com/
38 Global Energy Group http://www.globalenergyco.com/
39 Mabon Limited http://mabonltd.com/
40 Petroleum Geo Services http://www.pgs.com/Data_Library/West-and-South-Africa/Nigeria/
41 Schlumberger http://www.slb.com/content/contact/geomarkets/eca/nga.asp
42 United Geo Physical http://www.unitedgeophysical.com/
43 Fugro Nigeria Limited http://www.fugro-prodec.com/
44 Survicom http://survicom.com/
45 Ensco Drilling Company (Nigeria) Ltd 35 Maloney Street Lagos Nigeria
47 Noble Drilling http://www.noblecorp.com/Contact/Contact.asp
48 African Petroleum Oil Field Services http://www.apoilfields.com/
49 Ana Industries Limited http://www.anaindustries.net/
50 MI Swaco http://www.miswaco.com/Locations/
51 Ariboil Company Limited http://ariboil.com/index.html
52 BJ Services Company http://www.bjservices.com/website/GBLocator.nsf
53 Ciscon http://www.cisconservices.com/default.html
54 Expro http://www.exprogroup.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=348&Itemid=373
55 Kasolute http://www.kasolute.com/
56 Melvon http://www.melvon-ng.com/home.htm
57 Oil Data http://www.oildatainc.com/html/contact_us.html
58 Oil Test Services http://www.oiltestng.com/index.htm
59 Petrolog http://www.petrologgroup.com/aboutpetrolog.htm
60 Roxar http://www.roxar.com/category.php?categoryID=1432
61 Sowsco http://www.sowsco.net/
62 Weafri http://weafriwellservices.com/
63 WOG Allied Services Nigeria Ltd http://www.wog-allied.com/
64 Zukus Industries Limited http://zukus.homestead.com/
65 Amosco http://www.amosco.com/
66 Bell Oil & Gas http://www.belloil.com/
67 B.G. Technical Ltd http://www.bgtechnical.com/
68 Drillog Petro-Dynamics Ltd http://www.drillogpdl.com/
69 Emex Systems http://www.emexsystems.biz/
70 Socotherm Group http://www.socotherm.com/

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