Charlie Hebdo and a white world whose ideological expressions reflect dying relations of parasitic capitalist production

The white power imperialist system is reeling from the January 9, 2015 assassination of 10 cartoonists and journalists from the French magazine Charlie Hebdo along with two police forces by a pair of avowed Muslims, French citizens whose families hail from the French colony of Algeria.

A possibly related action saw another cop and four Jews in a kosher grocery in Paris killed by a third African.

The killings have resulted in an avalanche of mostly white or European outpourings in opposition to terrorism and in defense of “free speech.”

There is a sense of palpable fear in France and throughout Europe.

Hundreds of French Jews from the largest Jewish population in Europe are said to be rushing off to Occupied Palestine or Israel in search of protection from Muslims.

There is a real concern for free speech. Increasingly the French and other Europeans are finding it difficult to characterize or, if you will, satirize subject peoples in the same old way.

A real one-sided debate is occurring among Europeans in Europe and worldwide about the value of free speech as a necessary gauge of free society.

More than a million people marched in France in support of free speech behind the slogan “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) on January 11. This was a march comprised of Jews, Christians, Muslims and peoples of various hues and nationalities.

Representatives from governments of more than 40 countries joined the solemn demonstrations. They included the heads of French-created deformed states such as Mali in West Africa, as well as Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader installed by Israel, Europe and the U.S., along with Benjamin Netanyahu from the illegitimate state of[ Israel.

We must look below the surface to understand what is happening here.
Why are citizens of the former and current colonial powers terrified by the loss of a few lives in one of Europe’s celebrated cities and what is the real origin of the beloved free speech millions are marching to defend?

Can this be understood by simply examining the events of January that resulted in the deaths of staffers of Charlie Hebdo and those who were killed in a kosher grocery store?
Can it be understood by the statements of those who are responding to the January killing or those responsible for the killings?

The Political Report to the Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party—published as “An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism”—sought to help us understand how to interpret events in society and even the thoughts we have about them.

First of all, we have to understand how we got here and why Europeans would be driven to do everything possible to defend their values from a world community that is characterized predominately by poverty and powerlessness.

Speaking to our own development as a movement and Party, the Political Report to the Party’s Sixth Congress include this long passage that is worth reading:

“We were forced to learn that our preconceived notions gleaned through colonial civics books, preachers and liberal white friends only helped to obscure the real contradictions with which our people are confronted. We came to recognize that we must understand the world just as it is, not as we would wish it to be…

“Our Party and movement were forced to conclude that all humans, including Europeans, are trapped by an absolute necessity to secure and develop the means of subsistence. In other words, the primary motivating factor in human society is the production and reproduction of life. Without life, all other questions – religion, culture, genetics, etc. – are moot, meaningless. Indeed, culture is a byproduct of the process of producing and reproducing life…

“The material and human resources of Africa have gone to satisfy the requirements of life for Europeans at the expense of Africa and Africans. The process of Africans producing and reproducing life has not been primarily for Africa and Africans – it has been primarily for Europe and the white world at our expense.”

“Slavery, genocide and colonialism are the stuff of which capitalism was born. African enslavement was the first capital in the development of capitalism. The prevailing legal system, culture, religion and general philosophical outlook or worldview constitute the superstructure of capitalism thus conceived. This superstructure is a natural product and reflection of this economic base of colonial slavery…

“The total existence of ‘white’ people and their ability to produce and reproduce life is dependent on this parasitic relationship that came into being with the attack by feudal Europe on Africa and the world.

“Instead of separate, more or less self-contained worlds existing in casual relationship to each other, there is one capitalist world system united by a parasitic economic relationship imposed by Europe upon the rest of us.

“There is, therefore, no European reality separate from that of Africa and the rest of the world. The entire world is now locked into a single dialectical process, a unity of opposites, whereupon the gruesome extraction of life and resources from Africa and the rest of the world is a condition for the life and ‘development’ of what we now know as Europe, ‘white people’ and the capitalist system to which we have been forcibly affixed.

“The legal system, culture, white sense of sameness and political institutions are reflections of this parasitic economic base. Every white aspiration and dream, every expectation for happiness and a good life – from a successful marriage to a secure future for their children – requires drone strikes in Pakistan, police murders and mass imprisonment in the African colonies and barrios of the U.S., starvation and forced displacement of the oppressed throughout the world.”

This is how both the question of terror and free speech for Europe and white people must be understood. It was not the acts of violence in Paris that killed a few Jews and editorial staffers of a French magazine that has the white world in an uproar.

It is the fact that the world is changing underfoot, that the great contest between the past of slavery, colonialism and brigandage responsible for the rise of Europe and Europeans as masters of the world and the future of free peoples and nationswhose existence up to now has been to facilitate the wealth and wellbeing of white people is, of late, coming into full view.

This is the uneasy equilibrium, the fierce tug of war between the oppressors and the oppressed that is now tipping the balance of power onto the side of oppressed through the relentless resistance of those who have been silenced, exploited and colonized for so long for the benefit of white power.

In 1859 German philosopher Karl Marx wrote an excellent piece in his preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. It reads thusly:

“In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely [the] relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production.

"The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.”

Prior to the advent of capitalism Europe experienced a thousand years of feudalism, a social system primarily characterized by the relation between the landless peasants and serfs versus the landlords and the nobility.

Under this system the landless peasants and serfs had no freedoms to speak of. Certainly there was no such thing as free speech. The basic terror experienced by the bulk of European society was that imposed on the people by the nobility, including the Catholic church.

European slavery and colonialism changed this. The rape and plunder of African, Indigenous, Arab and Asian peoples changed the social contours of Europe and the world.

The contradictions within European society became obscured and minimized by Europe’s parasitic attachment to the rest of us.

The primary contradiction in the world became the contradiction between parasitic Europe and its African, Asian and, increasingly, “American” host.

This process of slavery and colonialism consolidated “white” identity as distinctly different from that of the rest of the world, especially Africans. This is the foundation upon which all the freedoms of the white world, including France, rest.

This is the process that Karl Marx called the “primitive accumulation of capital” from which sprang capitalist accumulation and production. In a word this is the genesis of capitalism itself. It is also the origin of our understanding of the reality of “…one capitalist world system united by a parasitic economic relationship imposed by Europe upon the rest of us.”

It was slavery, colonialism and the continued economic control of 14 different African territories that enabled France to be an empire and today limp along as a major power with an imperial arrogance that dares to teach the world about French “values” and free speech.

France, its culture, psychology, ideology, including religion, was constructed on the blood and freedoms of peoples all over the world – from Africa to Haiti and Vietnam. France helped draw the borders that now configured the “Middle East” for its benefit and imposed its will at gunpoint on the people of that area of the world.

Most of us find it nonsensical that the people of France (including French Jews) never uttered a single word about the butchery and repression of Africans, Haitians and so many others, would today be presenting itself as the progenitor and defender of free speech.

Europe overcame feudalism at the expense of the rest of us. The plunder that transformed feudalism into capitalism resulted in the loss of all freedoms for the majority of the world.

How many people were garroted and decapitated by France in Haiti, throughout Africa and Vietnam for daring to speak or even think a thought that would challenge France’s path to freedom and development at our expense?

At one point France controlled twenty percent of the entire surface of the world only to later be outdone by the British, whose empire, it was boastfully claimed, existed in every time zone and whose brutality is incalculable and boggles the mind.

But the world is changing.

We are seeing before our very eyes a transformation described by Karl Marx in a quote that continues from A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy:

“…The changes of the economic foundation lead, sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic, or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

"Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks of himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production.”

So while people on each side of the question are attributing their actions to religion or free speech we recognize that we are witnessing “the material transformation of the economic conditions of production,” the growing movement of the world’s peoples to remove themselves as hosts to the European-initiated capitalist parasite.

Invasions and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the colonial barrios and “ghettos” of the U.S. are being carried out in the name of free speech, democracy, civilization, law and order, etc.

Free speech, democracy and other imperialist terms are simply what Marx referred to in the quote above as the “ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.”

We are witnessing the growing struggle that constitutes the battle between the past of slavery and colonialism and the future of free peoples based on collective ownership and control of our own resources and means of production.


- Advertisement -spot_img

Support African Working Class Media!

More articles from this author

Exposing the U.S. government’s unending war on black liberation

Excerpt of Chapter 3, “How the Party Survived Counterinsurgency” from the book, Vanguard - The Advanced Detachment of the African Revolution, written by Chairman...

“Anti-Semitism” – A weapon against African and Palestinian freedom struggles

In the Dec. 3, 2023 #OmaliTaughtMe Sunday Study, APSP Chairman Omali details how anti-Semitism is used as a weapon against the just liberation struggles...

Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people

Chairman Omali Yeshitela's statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people, posted by Lebanon-based news outlet قناة الميادين - Al Mayadeen Tv with subtitles in...

Similar articles

The African People’s Socialist Party calls for unity with Russia’s defensive war in Ukraine against the world colonial powers

On March 17, 2022, the African People's Socialist Party conducted a press conference featuring Chairman Omali Yeshitela, who put forward the official position of...

Fresh La Vwadezil’s ‘Mande Yo Pou Mwen’ justly criticizes oppressive powers for Haiti’s mass displacement

    HAITI—On March 17, 2021, singer-songwriter Fresh La—whose birth name is Donald Joseph and who is the lead singer of his band called “Vwadezil”—released a...

Cops Assassinate African Youth in Broad Daylight

The day after St. Petersburg police brutally executed Dominique, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), defenders of the African working class, called a news conference led by Director of Agitation and Propaganda (AgitProp) Akilé Anai.