by Netfa Freeman
The US must cease its military occupation of Africans at home and abroad, and abandon its attempt to rule the world by force.
“U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.”
Marking exactly 10 years after the establishment of AFRICOM, short for U.S. Africa Command, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has launched “U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM,” a campaign designed to end the U.S. invasion and occupation of Africa.
Although U.S. leaders say AFRICOM is “fighting terrorism” on the continent in reality AFRICOM is a dangerous structure that has only increased militarism. The real reason for its existence is geopolitical competition with China.
When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations—led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya—rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe. But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.
“The real reason for AFRICOM’s existence is geopolitical competition with China.”
Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, the head of AFRICOM, declared in 2008 , “Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of Africom’s guiding principles.”
AFRICOM is the flip side of the domestic war being waged by the same repressive state structure against Black and poor people in the United States. The Black power and civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s was met with the repressive response of the FBI in the form of its COINTELPRO or Counter Intelligence Program that effectively obliterated these movements for social justice and self-determination. While in the very same era on the continent of Africa, the CIA conspired with other colonizing powers to do the exact same things, exemplified by the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana the and theassassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.
BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign links the resistance to the domestic war on Black people to U.S. interventionism and militarism abroad. Not only does there need to be a mass movement in the U.S. to shut down AFRICOM, this mass movement needs to become inseparably bound with the movement that has swept this country to end murderous police brutality against Black and Brown people. The whole world must begin to see AFRICOM and the militarization of U.S. domestic police departments as counterparts.
There is a petition that should be signed and distributed by all peace and justice loving people in support of BAP’s effort to help shut down all U.S. foreign military bases as well as NATO bases: tinyurl.com/ShutDownAFRICOM
BAP makes the following demands:
the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,
the demilitarization of the African continent,
the closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and
the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) opposing AFRICOM and conducting hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent.
Netfa Freeman is an organizer in Pan-African Community Action (PACA), a member organization in the Black Alliance for Peace, as well as an Analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies.