The president who has just been driven out by the masses of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, was a military officer trained by the French army. Compaoré defended the interests of the French bourgeoisie against those of its British rival during the civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002. He funded Chirac’s campaign in 2002. Burkina Faso hosts a French military basis from which the air force and the mercenaries of the French special forces can defend the interests of Areva, Total, etc. in the whole region. The fragile Burkinabe capitalism is dominated by foreign (especially French) capitalist groups : 45 subsidiaries are present in most of the sectors of the economy: agriculture (cotton), food, processing industries, building and public works, logistics and transports, as well as the third sector (services, banking, insurances).
The “Françafrique” has never been very regardful of democracy. In 1987, Compaoré assassinated and replaced president Thomas Sankara, a nationalist who tried to loosen the stranglehold of imperialism on Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta). It is likely that the French State and its secret services colluded with the coup.
In late 1998, the journalist Norbert Zango was assassinated. The regime attempted to qualify his elimination as an accident. His funeral in Ouagadougou turned towards a demonstration against Compaoré and his party.
In early 2011, Justin Zongo, a high school student in Koudougou, deceased after being beaten in a police station. The regime pretended that he died of a disease Clashes occurred in Koudougou between policemen and pupils, with several wounded. During the following weeks, the youth revolt reached other towns, among which Ouagadougou and Ouahigouya, then spread to other social layers in the whole country. The death toll was 19 people dead. The bourgeois army entered into crisis. Throughout 2011, Sarkozy fully supported Compaoré. In December 2011, Ségolène Royal went to Burkina and congratulated Compaoré.
The dictator was the guest of Hollande at the Élysée in September 2012. In 2013, one thousand Burkinabe soldiers were deployed in the North of Burkina in order to watch the border with Mali and Nigeria. The French military basis served as an airport for the aircraft of the French army in order to intervene in Mali. Compaoré sent 650 soldiers to Mali in support of the AFISMA, that is imperialism.
In August 2014, 100,000 people demonstrated against the project to amend the constitution in order to allow the president, holding office since 1987, to run for office for the 5th time. Compaoré had already succeeded in 1997 and in 2000, and a similar process has recently been implemented in Algeria, Tchad, Cameroon, Togo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Uganda and Djibouti. In early October, Hollande, anxious to maintain bourgeois order, advised Compaoré to renounce and to retire. The latter nevertheless persisted and on October 21st he announced his project of constitutional revision, which triggered a movement similar to the one of youth and people in the North of the continent, in Tunisia in 2011 or in Hong Kong last September. Democratic freedoms are crucial for the proletariat and it is the only social force that really struggles for them. Hundreds of thousands of young people and workers protested throughout country. In Ouagadougou, the demonstrators attacked the National Assembly under a CDP majority, the national television, the presidential palace (where the guards shot on demonstrators).
Given the extent of the demonstrations – up to a million of people, for a country with a population of 17 millions, the majority of which were not born when Compaoré took power – which caused at least one dead, the general strike, and probably under the pressure of the French and US imperialisms, Compaoré dissolved the Parliament and the government, proclaimed the state of emergency, then finally resigned, in exchange of a position in an international institution. The general staff visibly attempted visibly to steal the victory from the workers and youth who risked their lives in driving out the capitalist tyrant at the service of imperialism: “The army designated on Saturday November the 1st Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida to lead the transition period” (Jeune Afrique, 1st November).
Bourgeois parties express their confidence in the military leaders chiefs. However, the Egyptian proletariat and youth, which drove out Mubarak in 2011, suffer again the despotism of the general staff sold to the US imperialism, back in power with the support of “democratic” parties, of the Egyptian Communist Party and even of the Revolutionary Socialists. In order to take power and oust the generals, to link up with neighbouring workers and those of other continents, to question the colonial borders and crush Islamist fascism, workers in Burkina Faso need to build people’s councils and a revolutionary and internationalist worker’s party of their own.
Break of all workers organizations with imperialism, capitalists, bourgeois parties and the general staff! Disarmament of all troops that shot on youth and workers since 2011! Arming of the population! Workers’ control on production, distribution and banks! Cancellation of Burkina’s debts and of the debts of labouring farmers! Expropriation of the capitalist groups! People’s councils! Workers’ and peasants’ government! Shutdown of the French basis with the support of French labour organizations! Socialist United States of Africa!
Permanent Revolution Collective
(Austria, France, Peru)