The soldiers of the Ivory Coast, on the orders of President Laurent Gbagbo, have undertaken the conquest of the northern part of the country, which is held by rebel forces. For months the Gbagbo regime has been rearming with this goal in mind, all the while pretending to comply with the Marcoussis accords and successive revised accords.
French tanks in Ivory Coast
War has broken out again, and Gbagbo’s militias have burnt the offices of the opposition newspapers in Abijan and have begun a reign of terror in the streets of that city.
This war was prepared under the noses of the French military and the international contingents which were supposed to enforce the peace. But this time, they themselves have become the targets of attacks by both the Gbagbo armed forces and demonstrators. The French military opened fire, killing and wounding many people. French President Jacques Chirac has ordered air raids, and the French troops, which have been deployed in all the strategic centers of Abijan, are awaiting reinforcement by several hundred men. French citizens have been attacked by demonstrators and are demanding more protection.
The leaders of the Ivory Coast have denounced the colonial behaviour of France and the support given to the rebels by the French army and its ally Blaise Compaoré. These accusations are based on the real system of military, political and economic domination that France exercises over the Ivory Coast and over the entire “franc area” in Africa. This system, which has been termed “françafrique”, is an outgrowth of French colonialism and is the form presently assumed by French neocolonialism. While we denounce the French system of domination, and side with the struggles of the peoples of Africa — the people of the Ivory Coast as well as the peoples of Burkina-Faso, of Benin, and of Chad — this does not mean that we support the operation launched by the Gbagbo regime. The war that Laurent Gbagbo has started is nothing like a people’s war of national liberation, since it denies Ivory Coast citizenship to part of the population, in the name of the reactionary principle of “Ivorianism.”
What Are the Demands That Can Be Formulated in the Interest of the People of the Ivory Coast?
We fight for the end of the system of imperialist domination and plundering, which, together with others, we term “françafrique.” This is a long-term struggle and one which must include the development of an anti-imperialist consciousness and an anti-imperialist mobilization among the popular masses of our own country, France. In view of the tragedy being visited upon the people of the Ivory Coast:
— We denounce the current reactionary war and believe that an end to all combat is in the interest of the people of the Ivory Coast.
— As concerns French imperialism, it has been proved that the French military presence is a destabilizing factor. Due to its history and to the economic interests of the French monopolies established in the Ivory Coast, the French military cannot be neutral. Its very presence presents the risk of an escalation whose consequences to all peoples are all too well known. That is why we demand the withdrawal of French troops from the Ivory Coast.
— We back the forces in the Ivory Coast that are working for the national reconciliation of the people of that country. Such a reconciliation can only be obtained through negotiations that include all the groups that make up Ivory Coast society.
— We denounce the intentions of all the imperialist powers that are itching to take the place of French imperialism.
Paris, November 7, 2004
Parti Communiste des Ouvriers de France
The Communist Party of the Workers of France
Frankrigs Kommunistiske Arbejderparti
Netavisen 10. november 2004