Workers Vanguard No. 978

15 April 2011


French, UN Troops Out of the Ivory Coast!

The following is a translation of an April 4 statement issued by the Ligue Trotskyste de France, section of the International Communist League. On April 11, the Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo was arrested at the presidential palace by French troops and opposition forces.

As of today, French and United Nations imperialist troops are openly intervening into the civil war in the Ivory Coast, attacking the presidential palace and military forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo with heavy artillery. We demand an immediate stop to the attacks and that all UN and French troops get out now! It is the duty of the working class in France to oppose this new bloody intervention of the French imperialist troops. We also protest against the manhunt of Gbagbo’s supporters in the streets of Paris, where police arrested dozens yesterday and brought them to the Clignancourt police station in the 18th Arrondissement, and did so again tonight.

Our position these past few years had been that both sides in the Ivory Coast’s civil war were equally reactionary, and in fact pro-imperialist, and that Marxists had no side in that conflict. The Gbagbo regime (which among other things granted the concession for Abidjan’s port container terminal to [President Nicolas] Sarkozy’s crony [industrial magnate Vincent] Bolloré) embraced the propaganda on “ivoirité.” According to this notion, millions of people who have been living in the Ivory Coast (or who were born there) were transformed into non-citizens because they are part of ethnic groups in the north of the country or from neighboring countries to the north. This racist concept was developed by Henri Konan Bédié, currently allied with Alassane Ouattara, leader of the anti-Gbagbo camp. The troops of Ouattara, who used to be a general manager of the International Monetary Fund, recently slaughtered hundreds of people in Duékoué, in the western part of the country.

What has changed is that the imperialists and in particular the French imperialists are now openly fighting on the side of Ouattara’s forces. After likely preparing Ouattara’s military offensive for a long time and providing him with weapons, the imperialists finally decided to intervene directly when the offensive stalled in Abidjan. As we wrote in “Carnage in Abidjan: Made in France—French and UN Troops Out of the Ivory Coast!” in Le Bolchévik [No. 170] in December 2004: “In any conflict between the French and Ivorian army (or Ivorian rebels), our side is unambiguously against our own imperialism.” We also denounce the imperialist attack against Qaddafi’s Libya, in which French troops are at the forefront, and defend Libya against this attack (see the March 20 statement of the International Communist League’s International Executive Committee [WV No. 977, 1 April]).

French imperialism is responsible for the crimes committed today in the Ivory Coast. This situation is the legacy of a hundred years of colonialism, which exacerbated interethnic tensions leading to civil war in that country. Using as a pretext the November-December electoral farce which was fraught with fraud on both sides, imperialism, in particular French and American imperialism, has aggravated these tensions. Today French imperialism is directly taking part in the slaughter. We call on workers here in France to mobilize against the blood-soaked imperialists’ new colonialist military adventure, without giving any political support to Gbagbo’s bourgeois regime.

The Ivorian proletariat is surely weak and torn now by interethnic violence, but it is the only internal social force representing a future for the oppressed of that country. A workers revolution in the Ivory Coast must be tied to revolutions in African countries with a more powerful proletariat, notably South Africa or Egypt, and must spread to the imperialist centers, in particular France.

A substantial number of immigrants from the Ivory Coast and the broader region have come to France in the past few years and are today partly integrated into the proletariat in the Paris area and elsewhere. We fight for full citizenship rights for all those who have made it here. We fight to unite workers internationally and to forge an indissoluble link between proletarian revolution in the countries oppressed by imperialism and in the imperialist centers themselves, a link embodied by these immigrant workers.

For working-class mobilizations in France against imperialist depredations in the Ivory Coast and in Libya! Defend Gbagbo’s troops besieged by imperialism in Abidjan! French imperialist troops, UN troops out of the Ivory Coast, out of Libya, out of Africa! For Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard workers parties, sections of a reforged Fourth International!