Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Independence for what ?

2010 is the year 17 countries celebrate 50 years of independence since colonial rule. Independence anniversaries in post-colonial countries used to be a time of celebration for those workers who believed they were commemorating their freedom. Africans resisted the colonialists on grounds of segregation, slavery, exploitation and domination. But today African countries still struggle with development and human rights issues and the governments in power have done nothing to change the situation.

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence on March 6, 1957. In Ghana 45 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day and 79 percent on less than $2 a day.

The Somali Democratic Republic received its independence from Italy on July 1, 1960 when they joined with their northern neighbour, Somaliland, who had gained independence from the British on June 26, 1960. In Somalia 60% population lives below the $1 per day poverty line. An estimated 40 percent of the population were in need of relief assistance in 2009 - the largest proportion of the population requiring relief of any country in the world. Somalia has the worst health indicators in Africa with less than 0.5 doctors and two nurses per 100,000 people.

On June 30, 2010, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) celebrated 50 years of independence. In Congo 70 percent of the population live in poverty. Congo was ranked 139 out of 177 countries in the 2007 UNDP Human Development Index. Life expectancy is 52.8 years and 49 percent of the population do not have access to an improved water source. Infant mortality rates are estimated at 93.86 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2003 the adult HIV infection rate was estimated at 4.9%, with 100,000 deaths from the disease in the same year.

Burkina Faso received independence from France in August 1960. Burkina Faso is ranked by the World Bank as the 13th poorest country in the world in 2002. The UNDP's 2005 Human Development Index ranked it at 175 out of 177 countries. Life expectancy is 47.5 years.

Independence solved none of the problems resulting from exploitation. Independence for the vast majority has simply meant the exchange of one set of exploiters for another. Nothing changed except the personnel of the State machinery. Poverty in the midst of a potential for plenty remains a running sore, exploitation and massive disparities of wealth continue to exist. Environmental degradation continues virtually unabated. Independence will not solve the peasant or working-class problems, only the establishment of socialism can do that. The festering of tribalist, nationalist and racist sentiment are nurtured and sustained by the capitalist system of production which produces only for profits and not for needs. Religion, secessionist movements and nationalism are generally tools used by the ruling classes to perpetrate the status quo. But the only solution is to uproot the real cause of the problems – the overthrow of the unjust economic system in operation in today's world. Socialism will depend on contribution to society by individuals based on individuals' ability and individuals will take from society according to their self-determined needs. It's time for the people of Africa to discover the truth, that they need to unite and fight for socialism. The struggle remains the same – the class struggle. Masters are uneasy when servants are awake.

See also Financial wizards or great pretenders?

No comments: