One hundred (100) delegates from West African nation-states, and Observers from fraternal organisations in Africa.
As a foremost anti-imperialist network, our mission is to promote regional unity across West Africa
We are a network of Pan-Africanist formations, political parties and broad anti-imperialist and progressive movements across West Africa drawn from organized labour unions, farmers, women movements, youth and cultural organizations.
West Africa independently developed science, technology, religions, universities, and legal systems. Of course, our people were not angels or “noble savages”. Our pre-imperialist history is as bloody and oppressive as the pre-industrial history of other peoples around the world. We had class exploitation and oppression. We had forms of slavery and gender oppression. We fought wars. And we resisted these terrible institutions. We both scaled the giddy heights and plumbed the miserable depths of the human development experience – the same as contemporaries worldwide. The point is that this was an authentic independent experience. It was development.
However, Comrades, the last 500 years have been a period of destruction and humiliation for West Africa. We suffered centuries of slavery and slave trading – a system that reduced Africans to commodities brutally, killed or captured, imprisoned, exported, and sold, in strange lands, as field animals. When slavery became impossible because of African resistance and significant shifts in North American capitalism, Imperialism transitioned West Africa to colonialism. Europe carved up our entire continent brutally and inorganically to facilitate monopoly looting of our resources and to forestall a European war. Our transported brothers and sisters, once slaves, became oppressed second or third-class citizens in the Americas in their new countries. We who remained in Africa were deprived of sovereignty and made second-class citizens in our own lands. Imperialists reorganised our societies in many overt and subtle ways for their profit and to limit our will and capacity to resist. But resist we did. And we were slaughtered by what we are now pleased to call our “Development Partners” in the interest of European Capital.
popular demands for liberty. We have endured and resisted neo-colonialism for almost 70 years now.
However, comrades, neo-colonialism, never more than a tactical experiment, has run its course. The combination of our continuing resistance, the deep internal crisis of the global capitalist system, and the emergence or re-emergence of powerful new global forces like China and Russia (and the other BRICS) threatens the preferential access that neo-colonialism guaranteed the West. At the very least, West African elites are finding that they have new options for exploiting our people that are not controlled by the hypocrisy of the West and seek to expand this “freedom” from Western hegemony. The question is, what lies ahead?
our sovereignty and confirm the spinelessness of our leaders. US and French military bases now encircle us in West Africa. The West cynically manipulates our internal social crises (often products of colonialism itself) and the threat of “militant Islam” (absolutely a product of neocolonialism) to terrorise our leaders into submission to further military occupations. And now ECOWAS leaders, in their alienation and panic, have announced a plan to engage militarily with ECOWAS countries that have overthrown corrupt and oppressive leaders – under the pretext of restoring bankrupt constitutional arrangements and corrupted electoral systems. While we do not support military usurpations of power, such a military response (by leaders of questionable popular legitimacy) offers no solution. ECOWAS military action does not restore our people’s control over their destinies. Instead, it will provoke a conflagration, the collapse of more of our fragile “democracies”, and hundreds of thousands of deaths. But, it will leave our strategic and precious resources intact for Imperialist exploitation – all that matters to the West.
Could this happen? It sounds like madness, I know. But, as observed, this will not be the first time Imperialism has slaughtered our people to protect profit. Further, Western forces are already deployed and multiplying across West Africa. We know how easy it is for Imperialism to disrupt and destroy the lives of Palestine, Syria, and other countries of the Middle East to protect the Apartheid state of Israel. And we have all seen recently how ready the US and its allies in NATO are to destroy Ukrainian lives and to provide a nuclear-armed Russian Federation; or to destroy Taiwan’s semiconductor industry (and perhaps the entire island) so as to prevent this industry from falling again and rightfully under the control of the Peoples Republic of China. Imperialism’s violence and disregard for human life knows no limit.
West Africa have shared a history reaching back to the dawn of civilisation. Blending our separate struggles into one West Africa struggle is a logical next step for the sub-region. But it does not stop there. WAPO is also immediately and consciously a unit of a broader pan-African struggle alongside anti-imperialist movements and organisations in other subregions of Africa, including the Diaspora. WAPO is also immediately and consciously part of a global struggle working with people from other regions. We share an agenda and can work democratically to advance it. WAPO will work alongside other fraternal organisations in a multi-faceted African and global struggle imperialism to end wasteful competition and profit accumulation by foreign and local capitalist elites. WAPO is in solidarity with all people struggling for self-determination. We are especially committed to the frontline countries and peoples, including the people of
<li>Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, <li>
WAPO’s definition of “West Africa” is not exclusive. We will happily work with movements physically outside ECOWAS on a non-exclusive basis who share our platform.
increasing regimentation of western countries by NATO pushes them into costly conflicts that serve only the US establishment. Europeans have nothing to gain from provoking China and Russia, both nuclear powers. But their sabre rattling could lead us to nuclear war. We call for multilateral processes to end the Ukraine conflict and reduce the tensions around Taiwan based on international law and convention.
We oppose imperialism’s militarisation of West Africa. We recall post-WWII “Indochina”, where the US similarly intervened to save (and absorb) French Imperialism and the resultant devastation of the Vietnam war. Conflict in our Region is escalating and destabilising many neo-colonial governments – a trend the West has seized upon to justify its interventions. The US and France have at least 20 foreign military bases covering the Western part of Africa. They seek either submission or a permanent state of upheaval, taking advantage of the many discontents that Imperialism has already created within the sub-region. They mistakenly believe that they can meet their objectives in chaos. The subregional situation is amplifying crises within West Africa’s neo-colonies. WAPO believes that any solution to the problems of the Sahel will require the complete withdrawal of foreign combatants from the Region – especially US, French and Jihadist. We must make space for a popular peace process that addresses land, water rights, and cultural rights.
We oppose the use by WEST AFRICA neo-colonies of violence against dissenting citizens. WEST AFRICA’s neo-colonial states correctly interpret the rising tide of communal unrest and civil society dissent as revolutionary stirring and increasing awareness of imperialist exploitation and class betrayal by our leaders. They are both terrified by the spectre of Islamic jihad moving through the Region and opportunistically glad of a “real” security threat that can justify crackdowns. Like their principals, they incorrectly believe they can postpone and intimidate the future. We commit to popular mobilisation against the use of violence in the resolution of social conflict globally, regionally, sub-regionally, and nationally.
fundamentally unrepresentative and culturally alien. Without exception they have led to persuasive corruption, plundering of the public purse and alienation of the majority of our people from participation in politics. National political processes have been reduced to seasonal contests amongst factions of the neocolonial elite and electoral outcomes are determined more by chicanery, foreign alliances, money and violence. We stand for popular democratic control of the resources of West Africa and rebuilding of our institutions to deliver socioeconomic rights, social justice and equality.
common. We note with concerns that wage workers and peasants are under-unionized in most countries due to unbridled implementation of neo-liberal policy assaults packaged as structural adjustment programmes by West African States in the 1980s. For the smallproportion of union members, in many countries, a good part is in the hands of union monks or labour aristocrats who advocate participatory unionism; a type union ideology which expounds worker submission to its exploiters and plunderers thereby and weighs on the class struggle. WAPO hopes to bring together all the trade unions of member countries and effectively support them to become the main actors for the defense of the rights of the workers of the sub-region and the fight for progressive political change in each country.
savannas to the south these countries share long-standing cultural and political linkages. Besides their socio-economic, political and security dynamics are known to be intrinsically linked. People in the Sahel are therefore affected by multiple interrelated crises with nearly 50% of the population living in extreme poverty. In the Sahel, Rain-fed agriculture is the most important sector and provides livelihoods for the majority of the population but it is vulnerable to climate change. Repeated cycles of droughts, desertification and floods make it increasingly harder for the local population to sustain subsistence agriculture practices. As a consequence, such extreme weather events most often lead to widespread crop failure and reliance on food assistance programs. The impact of climate change is straining the relationship of herders and pastoralist and thus also ethnic relations. For centuries, pastoralists have crossed the Sahel following seasonal patterns, which allowed them to feed their herds. The scarcity of water, pasture and fertile soil force people to migrate. Such displacement is now leading to conflicts over lands and resources between herders and farmers, which in turn further fuel displacement dynamics which are increasingly filled by Jihadist groups. Impacts do vary across different regions especially as Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Already, with temperature increases of approximately 1.5C over much of the continent, and with predictions that temperature will rise further, the Sahel will gradually become hotter, with some areas experiencing increased but erratic rainfall. Total available water in the large basins of Niger, Lake Chad and Senegal has decreased by 40-60 per cent and many climate models project declining mean precipitation in the already-dry regions of southern Africa. Subsequently, extreme weather events, including drought and floods, are expected to intensify in this context leading to additional widespread food insecurity and significant displacement within the region. We will therefore fight for the establishment of a Joint Commission by countries within the Sahel region to address the existential climate change challenges as well as climate justice through reparation as compensation to Africa countries who can account for less than 5% of the global carbon emission.
To build a much better West Africa with the people and for the people; a new society where the well-being and equality of its citizens are assured within a peaceful development framework based on the foundations of socialism.
WAPO’s definition of “West Africa” is not exclusive. We will happily worked with movements and organizations physically outside ECOWAS on a non-exclusive basis who share our platform and ideas.
West Africa has been shaped by common environmental, climatic, geological, and developmental processes that transcend national boundaries. Based on this shared development context, we believe that substantial and sustainable progress is only possible if the peoples of West Africa act in concert to find consistent solutions to our common problems. This is the rationale for ECOWAS or UEMOA which has unfortunately become a community of sovereign states but not West Africa’s people.
WAPO is funded from:
(a. annual contributions of member organizations: political parties, social and political movements, labour unions, women, youth and cultural societies.
(b. donations and gifts received from sisters organizations and individuals (sympathizers and important personalities) who are not members of WAPO.