Largest socialist conference in Sierra Leone since 1930s establishes ASI West Africa Regional Committee

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The first West Africa Regional Conference of the African Socialist International (ASI), held in Freetown, Sierra Leone from October 20-22, 2008 was attended by over 500 people each day, with roughly 80 percent of its participants less than 30 years old. It was also attended by international observers, including the Ambassador from Iran, who delivered a solidarity statement from that country.

In his speech to the opening ceremony, Africanist Movement Director Chernoh Alpha M. Bah stated that “this conference is occurring at a crucial moment in history; a period when the entire capitalist economy is faced with tremendous crisis and great uncertainties about its ability to survive.

“It is pertinent for us to understand that this ongoing crisis of imperialism, the collapse of the global capitalist economy, is one that has been made obvious by the rising resistance of the oppressed masses of the world who are ever desirous to break free from the parasitic chains of capitalism. All around the world, from Latin America to Asia in the Middle East and the pacific, capitalism is being challenged by the struggles of the oppressed masses.

“We are faced with a defining moment in history, a moment, which demands from us our collective effort and contribution as a people to further deepen this crisis of imperialism and accelerate the death of capitalism. Africa must not assume a passive role in this world historical process. The struggle for socialism should be understood from the position of a genuine struggle for popular democracy and creation of a new world in the hands of the workers and poor peasants.

“Africa must move to the position of once again becoming subject of history rather than an object of history. This is the opportunity presented to us by the first West Africa regional conference of the African Socialist International.”

Conference participants passed a General Resolution outlining a revolutionary program for the unification and liberation of Africa and African people and calling on “all Africans, at home and abroad to unite to build the African Socialist International, the single organization capable of consolidating our separately fought struggles into a common direction.”

The General Resolution demands that “all multinational corporations, including Koidu Holdings, Branch Energy, Africa Minerals, London Mining, Milestone, Alcoa, Alcan, Bridge Resources, Africa Gold and Diamonds Ltd, and others involved in the exploitation of the vast mineral wealth of Africa should be forced to cease operations with immediate effect and forced to pay reparations for the theft of diamonds, gold, aluminum, iron ore, and other resources.”

It calls for all western military and intelligence agencies including IMATT and AFRICOM to immediately withdraw from Africa. It repudiates all manufactured debt imposed on the African masses and demands reparations from Europe and the United States for slavery, colonialism and the continued oppression and exploitation of Africa and African people. It demands the right of return for all Africans dispersed throughout the world.

The General Resolution also makes demands for the improvement of living conditions for African workers and peasants, including free and efficient healthcare, public service jobs, better working conditions and minimum wage guarantees, youth employment, free and quality African-centric education for all children, and programs to promote the interests, dignity and position of African women.

The Conference resolved that “the trial of African leaders and others accused of committing crimes against African people should be the task of the African masses and not the imperialists.”

According to ASI Secretary General, Luwezi Kinshasa, “ASI’s first West Africa conference has launched the return of the African population in Sierra Leone to political life under the leadership of the African working class. There has not been a socialist meeting so well attended in Sierra Leone since the 1930s.

“We have been able to equip African workers with a unique worldview of African internationalism, the point of view of the slave, the philosophy developed by Chairman Omali Yeshitela. We have begun the establishment of the ASI national committee of Sierra Leone, which will be followed by the consolidation of the ASI national committee of Guinea.”


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