Liberia is under a frontal assault. This state of affairs undermines the dignity of our people, and it makes manifest through the criminal activities of the discredited regime. Our society is being damaged, despoiled and contaminated—the depth of the decay is massive, and as the level of the rot is colossal. Our hope for a prosperous future lies in the fog of darkness, and we lose our common destiny in topsy-turvy.
Despite the uncertainty and the awful efforts of the regime to plunge us into the doldrums, the resistance against the social order is robust and remarkable. Comrades at the University of Liberia and other citadels of tertiary education are fighting with astonishing determination and bold courage notwithstanding the harassment, intimidation, and threat from the forces of counterrevolutionary gangsters. The act of these comrades to risk everything—their lives and happiness—standing up for their country is the height of patriotism and profound display of revolutionary altruism. The decision to kick material inducement in the face and sustain the defiant spirit speaks volume about the rapid spread of revolutionary consciousness in the country. With everything, the regime has done to paralyze resistance and cripple the alternative mode of politics to the neoliberal status quo and the CDC ideology of vainglorious populism and black fascism; the glorious site of young comrades fighting, arguing, and writing protest polemics even with wrinkled stomachs have rekindled our faith in Liberia and steeled our optimism in the efforts of change. Notwithstanding the collective dismissal of the Liberian people by timid minds and impatient revolutionaries, our confidence in the Liberian people remain evergreen and unshakeable. We maintain that these people will continue to fight for a just and better world, even if they cast their lot with a particular experiment, and it doesn’t work. They will keep fighting until one day they would attain final victory.
Of special mention is the sisters who have thrown themselves into the vortex of struggle. Previously, the site of protest and struggle has been the turf of men, but today the massive involvement of sisters mounting the barricades has rendered the theory anachronistic. And thus we can join the tens of thousands of sisters in Lebanon opposing the rotten sectarian system to say, as they say, “the revolution is a woman.” Sisters in the homeland have coalesced with their class brothers in a common cause to oppose injustices, fight for justice and dignity, and resist the assault of the regime and the status quoists. The scenes of them chanting freedom songs, dancing in fulfilment of their revolutionary obligations and their commitment to superior justice and popular experiment show that no matter what our homeland will rebound above the ashes of inertia and enter a buoyant future. That after this era of stagnation and sclerosis, on the top of the ruins and debris, we will construct a society that would not just inspire many people it will also be the aspiration of social forces fighting for social emancipation. This gives us faith in the process of resistance and social struggle.
Comrades, I write to you today when we are about to mark two years of the nightmare of George M. Weah, and at a crucial historical conjuncture. I salute the bold courage of everyone resisting in various ways—whether be it civil servants that exposed the cruelty of the government, be they health workers whose go-slow actions undressed the regime as being contemptuous about the health of the people, be they the teachers whose actions have shown to the world that this regime has zero interest in education, be they students of the University of Liberia who stampeded to the streets to expose the political mirage of free education declared by Weah, be they the tens of thousands of our compatriots who renounced corruption with their feet on Sept 21 and June 7, be they the many courageous journalists who refused to become stenographers of the establishment or engaged in tabloid journalism; we recognize their contributions to the cause of building a resilient future and all who have in their imitable ways sabotaged, undermined, and exposed the full-scale plunder and looting of the rogue government. In this period of political uncertainty, the people need you all the more and don’t frustrate their efforts. No matter the circumstances, we should never miss the opportunity to refine our methods and modes of struggle when it is appropriate to tack.
With your actions against the black fascists’ regime, we get closer to our dream of a liberated, progressive, and dynamic Liberia. Your fight against pillage and avarice, and to a degree against the neoliberal incursion, the cruel palliative of structural adjustment programmes and other killer prescriptions, you show to the world that the Liberian people are thinking human beings. You have attacked the oppressive elements, their cruel motive, and exposed them as common thieves pursuing their agendas. We attribute the popular discredit and the loss of political legitimacy of the regime to what you have done on the battlefield of struggle. That is a real victory considering the legitimacy of any regime lies in the popular endorsement of the masses. They may wear expensive suits and use Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), complete with blue light convoys, build condominiums or gentrified themselves in upscale neighbourhoods and gated communities; all those status symbols matter little in the eyes of the masses. In the eyes of the masses, they are a rogue’s gallery of economic vandals and killer clowns. This is an important leap in the consciousness of the masses considering the popular outrage that has characterized the government.
The backlash from the actions of the government has been hard-hitting. We have lost loved ones; it has brought our common future in uncertainty, turned some of our kids into delinquents, tempered with our plans about forward progress, not forgetting scenes of mothers dying in childbirth, brothers and sisters in the countryside barely having the means to feed themselves, and girls taking to prostitution for survival. But we are not alone in this debacle. From Chile to Lebanon to Algeria to Sudan to Ecuador, working masses, students and professional technocrats of your kind and type are fighting against oppressive governments and opposing them with audacious steadfastness, and that must hearten our hearts as we confront the human menaces that parade as officials of government in our Liberia. In the global South, 2019 was the year of resistance and protest. And ours on the home front is a chapter in the wider struggle for a better world and developed homelands where the collective of citizens will rise above the tide of underdevelopment and reach the pinnacle of material salvation.
But we must mention the fight against Weah is just a footnote in the long and bitter struggle we must stage in our quest to build a progressive homeland. We underscore that the main task is not to oppose Weah blindly but to stand against the vested interests he represents: the rotten, authoritarian Liberian state, the disaster neoliberal capitalism, the foreign backers that sustain the economic reign of terror, and the running dog of the comprador type. It would be the height of political folly to oppose Weah openly and again cede our future to the neoliberal politicos. If we must experiment with anything after this era, it must be new forms of people’s organization and formation—popular democracy and emancipatory politics. This is the only path that offers hope, guarantees sovereignty, and assures national self-reliance against the shackles of stagnation. We must not miss out on this trajectory because the consequences would be dire. After this era, we don’t want structural adjustments, but an economy that works for the poor masses. We want a country with a people’s economy that responds to their aspirations and put them at the front and centre of national life and that the commanding heights of our economy would not be the fiefdom of imperialist capital and predatory multinationals that leave holes in our communities like the metamorphosis of Bomi Hills to Bomi holes. This concern is even exigent now as the climate catastrophe lurks on the horizon.
When we choose the path of popular democracy, our path to a progressive future would be clear after the collapse of the decadent order. We can prove the cynics and sceptics wrong, the doubters and all who have written our obituary and talked about us with derogatory dismissal. Like the man who declared “the End of History” and now he has eaten his words as scores of people have developed renewed interests in Marxism, socialism and the class struggle, we can defeat the negative punditries about our country. We will shock them with the progress Liberia will make. We can be the reference point of how the masses fought a long struggle and won social justice and material abundance. In West Africa, we can be the standard-bearer of a new form of socioeconomic organizing and people’s democracy that is far superior to the discredited neocolonial configuration. We can be that shining symbol of the audacious creativity of a people bartered, beaten and ruined, but they stood up and changed their reality. This is possible with a radical political vehicle with revolutionary programmes and perspectives rooted in socialism and the class struggle.
Brothers and Sisters,
We hear the slander every day that you people are not on the home front, but you are inciting the masses. You are cowards why don’t you come on the home turf and struggle. First, the charge of cowardice is malapropic as it is childish and bizarre. The accusation that we are inciting the masses is to discredit them as unthinking people, but it is also the logic of the oppressor who doesn’t see objective realities as the motor force of history but subjective actors. To them, we quote the immortal words of Commandante en Jefe Fidel Castro: “The fact is, when men carry the same ideals in their hearts, nothing can isolate them - neither prison walls nor the sod of cemeteries. For a single memory, a single spirit, a single idea, a single conscience, a single dignity will sustain them all.” Further, they cannot question our commitment to the cause because our absence on the home front doesn’t make our feelings of disenchantment, agony, and shock any lesser. We suffer with the masses suffering under the jackboot of Weah and his gang. Our rage against the horror the regime perpetuates is not milder because we are not on the home front. They should not discount our opposition to the government because the regime has not thrown us into a smelly prison. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pains of comrades who have faced that fate. Our resistance has been standing and amplifying as the Liberian toilers struggle through this dastardly era. While away, we have continued to show solidarity and defend every social activist on the frontline, dealing a blow to the kakistocracy. We write and publish and continue our support to all efforts of defiance. We have not hidden our opposition to the regime and never will we surrender our dignity on the altar of instant gratification and political expediency.
It gives us joy that the illusions of the people in George Weah have fizzled. We have exposed the political farce that carries itself as a government for all its sterility, bankruptcy and ugliness. The time of hiding behind the microphone to sloganeer and speechify is over. The people know that beneath the bluff and bluster about “change for hope” lies political impotence, ideological bankruptcy, and social degeneracy. The entire world has seen through the Weah experiment, and the people have written a fitting epitaph: a regime of gangsters, bimbos and economic vandals plundering the resources of the masses while they keep them in servitude, privation and subjugation.
But also, as the government fails, it will fight back with sadistic violence. Therefore, we must be ever more vigilant and painstaking. Brothers and sisters on the frontline trenches must start thinking about forming resistance networks to ensure the safety of every comrade opposing the repressive government. It would be foolhardy for forces of social justice to leave their security to chance—the ramifications could be heavy, and while we commemorate martyrs in the struggle—we don’t want martyrs but struggle icons! Never should we underestimate how vicious and wicked elements in the regime are. To defeat the enemy, we must be far ahead of them, know their weaknesses, strengths, and we must oppose them with great awareness and vigour. We must dissect the enemy, know his next move, the range of his taught as we devise our revolutionary strategies to his counterrevolutionary skulduggeries. That is why the first law of resistance is vigilance, vigilance, and more vigilance.
Yes, we know the government has sharpened its oppressive apparatus—not only the armed defenders of the state—it has hired hatchet men and death squads to do it biddings. It has drifted into hitman politics. The regime double down on its violent streak when elements of the SABU Unit attacked Brother Martin K. N. Kollie on the day of his graduation with knives, machetes and guns and threatened to crush him. This incident has led to the comrade fleeing the country for fear of his life. As the government fails, it would get very desperate and would use violence to stamp its authorities. It is a simple logic that when the popular masses reject a government; it uses brute force and the militarization of the state to remain in power. This is the stage at which we are. The regime would find money to fund death squads and pay the armed defenders of the state—no matter a pittance—but it cannot find money to address the problems of the disinherited masses. This contradiction tells us exactly where the interests of the regime lies and the class nature of it. It takes little to build a society of prosperity, but it takes a whopping sum to maintain a militarized, repressive state. But this tells you all you need to know about Weah, what he represents and his savaged disposition.
The basis of every genuine struggle is the people. No matter what, once the people are in support, we will win. While the oppressive rapist state relies on brute force and gangsters to provide protection, forces of social justice rely on the tireless support of the Liberian people who will construct the new society that we so need and must so fight for. We the first to say that every success in popular pursuit is the people’s success. Only the people can achieve revolutionary change, and only they can pose a serious threat to the power of the oppressive ruler. As dumb as the government is, it realizes this central point that is why each time forces of social justice call for mass mobilizations the regime uses all of its communication outlets and spin doctors and poison pens to stoke fear in the masses to remain indoors and not show up on the streets. It knows once the people amass on the streets, the world will see through the farce of the regime and its plunder, exploitation and dirty tricks. But hybrid propaganda has not stopped the masses from coming on the streets. It is a truism once the masses are on the knife-edge of subjugation, dehumanization and domination, resistance to the wretched order becomes their last resort even if it means they should pay with their blood. This is the iron law of revolution which the scoundrels in the government don’t know.
Honestly, the ruling thugs in Liberia are a strange breed. We know of Fanon’s characterization of the African bourgeoisie, its lack of creativity, innovation and the entrepreneur spirit, and the lack of capital to engage in commerce or become an authentic bourgeoisie. So the way they amass wealth is through the conquest of political power and the despoliation of the public treasury. Rather for them, political power is not the means to the end, it is the end for them. That revolutionary orthodoxy is instructive, but this African bourgeoisie got its education and socialization in the canon of western epistemology and to manage the oppressive neo-colonial state. Unlike it, the ruling thugs in Liberia are unimaginative, illiterate and insipid. It can neither operate the neo-colonial state nor do elements of it schooled in the canon of western epistemology. It is the most useless collection of scoundrels to preside over a state. It cannot exercise revolutionary consciousness; it has no revolutionary scruples. What we have are political nondescripts dancing on the historical stage, performing scandalous acrobatics.
We have a task before us; it is difficult and tedious and would require us to suffer, make a sacrifice and increase our efforts. The Liberian masses say they don’t want the regime to lead them in the same old way. They want a way out of the society where mystery, poverty and inequality it the well-known features. They want dignity and to live like human beings in a society where they can use their imagination to contribute to knowledge, art, philosophy and every aspect of human innovation. We can neither equivocate nor play possum, and the options are clear: struggle or perish—there is no third way!
To embark on the emancipatory project, we must be fair to ourselves and the people, especially we who are the vanguards. We must rid ourselves of the desperation for money, gentrification, and material things and subject everything to the struggle, always putting our interests below the common good. It is only this way we can gather the momentum to struggle. Revolutionaries who go after material things, and want to use the struggle to profiteer, amass wealth and crook his comrades-in-arm are the rogues, criminals and exploiters of tomorrow who will want to feast on the national treasury. We must uproot these elements in our midst and banished them from the struggle. It would be fatal were we to keep those rancid elements in our midst because tomorrow they would slow our progress and would join with the counter-revolutionary gangsters to oppose the genuine experiment in social transformation.
Further, always we must have at the back of our minds that men who overly exert themselves, who are self-publicists and do everything in the struggle to promote themselves cannot sacrifice for noble causes. People who call themselves revolutionaries but are in the habit of building the cult of the personality would become ruthless murders tomorrow because for them the struggle is an enterprise for self-promotion and they would not take kindly to criticism. We must watch out for these people in our midst and eliminate them from our cycles. They are not revolutionaries, but political opportunists who play at being revolutionaries, and who take advantage of the moment of despair to ride on the popular wave of anger to political stardom. We see them; they are many.
Noteworthy is that as we struggle to make our revolution, we must study the processes of others in our country and the processes of others elsewhere. They make a rich trove of materials for us to read, dissect and draw lessons from as we map out the contours of our struggle. They are not a Bible neither should we treat them as a catechism because each struggle has its method, each problem has its unique solution, and we cannot transplant one solution from elsewhere to a problem without taking into consideration the specific reality. As we move forward, the struggle would teach new lessons; so, we will study and deepen our understanding. As they say, the best school is the struggle, so we must never gloss over the fact that as we move forward, we will learn new lessons. Sometimes we make a mistake, we slip and fall back, and then we mobilize and continue the fight. The struggle doesn’t move on a linear plane or on an uninterrupted path.
We must take an internationalist vantage point towards the struggle. So just as we stand in solidarity with the students and people of West Papua against the boots and weapons of Indonesia, just as we stand firm in bold solidarity with the people of Venezuela — the land of Simon Bolivar — El Libertador—against the ploy of imperialism and that it gives us great joy that those people are resisting the assault though the close-knit efforts of the civic-military union, just as we oppose the criminal blockade of Cuba, that glorious land of Jose Marti, Fidel Castro, Juan Almeida, Celia Sanchez and that Cuba is still standing despite everything imperialism has done to stifle them and crumble the revolution, just as we stand in unadulterated solidarity with the cadres of Movement Towards Socialism and the indigenous people of Bolivia, the land of Tupac Amaru, opposing the coup government of Jeanine Áñez Chávez and the fascist thugs of Luis Fernando Camacho, even by paying dearly with their lives and the lives of their loved ones, just as we wake up in solidarity with the people of Palestine especially in Gaza, the open-air prison, notwithstanding the smear of anti-Semitism to weaken our resolve against the bloodlust of the Israeli Defence forces, since the Nakba to the intifadas and even now, so we defiantly oppose the criminal Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara. And we suffer with the Sahrawi people, and we cry with them, and we speak out for them!
For us, imperialism is imperialism; colonialism is colonialism no matter who practices it and against whom. Our anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and anti-capitalism know no race nor colour, nor does it become perfunctory when people mention race. We follow the exemplary advice of Jose Marti: “Every true man must feel on his own cheek a blow to the cheek of any other man.” Black or white apartheid doesn’t make it less an apartheid; black or white colonialism doesn’t make it less colonialism, or black or white imperialism doesn’t make less an imperialism. We arbour injustice, domination and exploitation. Our answer against the vices will not change—solidarity, struggle and resistance!
The enemy may try to kill us; they would kill some of our comrades, and some would pay a heavy price with their lives as Adolph Lawrence, Matthew Innis, Gwendolyn Dabbah Myers—these are martyrs in whose collective memory when we succeed we will erect monuments to recognize their heroic deeds and their courage of convictions. To the mothers and all compatriots who have lost loved ones, we owe it as a duty to not betray their trust. Their crisis has broken their spirit, but we can uplift their spirit as we struggle for a new world. If we ever feel despair, we must remember in 2001, when imperialism was very aggressive, when reactionary regimes loomed the earth, elements of the left converged on the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre to discuss ways and methods of opposing imperialism, at that gathering despite the gloomy atmosphere, although imperialism was vicious, despite they had declared the “End of History,” although the fat cats and captains of industry were in Davos lecturing how to plunder from the poor masses and maximize inequality, comrades of social justice sat and declared a better world. Today, despite the gloomy picture, we proclaim forcefully that a better Liberia is possible. Thus, let us write the history of this era through struggle and resistance!
As we move forward with our struggle to push the dark forces in the garbage of history, let us internalise the below lines from the Chilean resistance song:
the people are going to win.
The life to come
will be better.
and a clamor
of a thousand fighting voices will rise,
a song of freedom.
the fatherland will win.
And now the people,
who are rising in struggle
with a giant voice
crying out: Forward!
The people united will never be defeated,
Kiadii writes from Accra, Ghana, and you can contact him via [email protected]