The 1697 Treaty of Ryswick legalized French control over the western third of the island of Hispaniola – a Spanish asset – under the name of Saint-Domingue. The colony proved to be a valuable spigot of wealth. In 1789, Saint-Domingue supplied two-thirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest individual market for the European slave trade. It was a greater source of income for its owners than the whole of Britain’s thirteen North American colonies combined. The labour of half-a-million slaves propped up the dazzling opulence of the French commercial bourgeoisie, and formed the hidden foundations of cities like Bordeaux, Nantes, and Marseille. In August 1791, after two years of the French Revolution and its ripple effects in Saint-Domingue, the slaves revolted.
with Abby Martin
Empire Files on Mar 13, 2021
Abby Martin speaks to Eugene Puryear to discuss the big picture of US imperialism in Africa: From the Berlin Conference to the subversion of liberation movements to neocolonial puppets and the current sprawl of AFRICOM “counterterrorism.”
October 15, 2020, was Thomas Sankara’s 33rd death anniversary. On this day, he was murdered by imperialist forces at the tender age of 37. A Pan-Africanist, internationalist and Marxist, he was committed to the total liberation of the oppressed masses from the clutches of imperialism. Instead of bourgeoisie nationalism, Sankara believed in radical nationalism: a combination of anti-imperialist courage and unabashed humanism that pushes for revolution instead of neo-colonial settlement. Thus, he belonged to a pantheon of African revolutionaries like Amilcar Cabral, Samora Machel and Patrice Lumumba who understood the necessity of adopting socialism for the fundamental transformation of their respective societies. Looking at the short life of Sankara, one can’t help but be moved by the way in which he emerged through the anguish and aspirations of millions of Burkinabe civilians and commanded a radical project of socialist transformation.
Underneath the bluster of a Trump administration that still acts like the United States is the world hegemon, the ruling class is working to pragmatically respond to the loss of America’s status as a dominant power. In 2017 the Pentagon put out a report that admitted American global influence is rapidly declining, and now that the U.S. is sure to soon lose its superpower status, the corporatocracy has to address this issue.
Chapter 1 of Against Empire, 1995
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become “commonwealths,” and colonies become “territories” or “dominions” (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, “commonwealths” too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of “national defense,” “national security,” and maintaining “stability” in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.
France is emerging as the new partner-in-crime in support of America’s imperialist machinations across the globe.
Up until recently, that thuggish role was filled by British in what was euphemistically referred to as the “special Anglo-American relation”. Now the French are taking over from the British as the “oldest ally.”
This week the world rewound more than a century – with the announcement that the European Union is to send troops to Central Africa.
This development has ominous resonance with how imperial rivalry historically played out in Africa and which eventually led to world war.
“Forcefulness seems to come easily to Mr Hollande abroad”, noted one commentator for the New York Times, who contrasted the French president’s ailing political performance at home with his robust foreign policy.
Where Francois Hollande looks weak and beleaguered on the national stage, registering as the most unpopular French president ever, his fortunes seem to rise abroad with a strident interventionist foreign policy. We saw that in September when the French president unseated the British as America’s “special friend” by declaring his country’s readiness to join Washington in a military assault on Syria.
The former French African colony of Niger is facing famine – yet again – with international aid agencies reporting this week that up to one million people are currently without access to food.
It is the fourth such crisis to wrack the West African country in recent years, when famines struck similarly in 2012, 2010 and 2005. The immediate cause is extreme climate that has hit crop harvests. But the root cause is the deliberate underdevelopment of Niger under France’s parasitical neo-colonialism.
In many parts of the world development has become an invisible cloak under which all manner of “state sponsored” atrocities and human rights violations are being committed. Married to growth, development has been (largely) reduced to economic advancement – meaning maximizing Gross National Product (GNP) figures month on month, year on year, and turning over glowing returns to the insatiable global monetary bodies – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and – profit to private investors. No matter the human impact and environmental consequences.
Dancing to the tune of their corporate benefactors, governments of the ruling G8 countries are enacting complex agriculture agreements delivering large tracts of prime cut African soil into the portfolios of their multinational bedmates.
Desperate for foreign investment, countries throughout Africa are at the mercy of their new colonial masters – national and international agrochemical corporations, fighting for land, water and control of the world’s food supplies. Continue reading
How to describe the actions of Britain and France towards Syria and by extension, the wider Middle East and Africa regions?
This week, the insane British and French mis-rulers gave notice that they intend pouring fuel on the Syrian crisis – a crisis that they largely instigated – by openly sending more heavy weapons to the Western-backed mercenaries tearing that country apart.
It should be patently obvious that the murderous rampage against Syrian civilians that is entering its third year could not be sustained if it were not for the relentless Western government and media support. Continue reading
A failed coup in the North African country of Chad this week is just another repercussion from the wave of Western state-sponsored violence and destabilization, stretching from Central Asia, through the Middle East and across Africa.
The Chadian regime of President Idriss Deby said it had thwarted a coup attempt after it arrested an unknown number of army personnel and at least one opposition politician. Continue reading
A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.
The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. Continue reading