US military officials in front of AFRICOM headquarters.

Building a Movement to Shutdown AFRICOM

On the 13th anniversary of AFRICOM’s founding, the Black Alliance for Peace‘s Africa Team and the U.S. Out of Africa Network are organizing a month of action on AFRICOM to raise the public’s awareness about the use of western military power to impose western control of African land, resources, and labor on behalf of the world’s corporate and financial elite, as well as the effort to build a popular movement for demilitarization and anti-imperialism on the African continent.

In 2008, the establishment of the U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, one of the eleven U.S. global command structures, began the new scramble for Africa, an effort by the United States to practice full spectrum dominance over the entire continent. Most governments on the African continent have corrupted leadership that is in alignment with the U.S. and western powers. These misleaders have allowed the U.S. to station their troops and bases in their countries and have relinquished their sovereignty to the West and the U.S. settler colonial empire, whose goal is to prevent true independent forces from emerging and to establish hegemony over the entire continent.

AFRICOM’s operations in Africa over the last decade, including hundreds of drone strikes, billions of dollars in “aid” and “development” projects, and countless massive military exercises, correlate with a 500% spike in incidents of violence attributed to Islamist terrorist organizations. Part of AFRICOM’s stated mission is to “promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.” But its very nature precludes the development of any of these conditions and really brings about destabilization and the furthering of U.S. interests on the continent.

As President Biden and other U.S. officials make the nonsensical claim that the U.S. is not engaged in war after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, AFRICOM continues to militarily occupy Africa, with thousands of U.S. troops now stationed in some 30 African countries with dozens of U.S. bases across the continent, while it carries out bombings in places like Somalia. U.S. Special Forces roam the Sahel, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Sanctions on Zimbabwe, Eritrea, and Ethiopia function as an economic form of U.S. war on African people.

The U.S. empire does not only use direct forms of war. AFRICOM also functions as an infiltration-in-force to reinforce relationships that the U.S. Africa Command has been cultivating with African militaries. Through these relationships, the U.S. and other western powers use African militaries as proxies to fight wars on their behalf.

The continued drone strikes in Somalia, the western-led militarization in the Congo and Mozambique, the recent coups d’état in Guinea, Niger, and Mali, and the massive military exercises that AFRICOM has organized with the participation of tens of African states, demonstrate that western neo-colonial powers like the U.S. and France are intensifying war on African people and their military stranglehold on the African continent in response to competition from China, Russia, and others in the new scramble for Africa.

The U.S. recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2022 that included billions for AFRICOM and the continuation of the Department of Defense 1033 program that transfers millions of dollars worth of military equipment to police forces across the country. Resources that are being squandered to support imperialist adventures must be seized by the people and used to address the human rights needs of African/Black people and other oppressed and exploited peoples for housing, healthcare, education, food and clean water, instead of on war on behalf of the capitalist dictatorship.

A mass movement must be forged to expose AFRICOM and its real purpose and make it inseparable with the concerns we have over the militarization of police in our communities in the United States. In the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign, we are clear that the brutality, violence and systematic degradation of Black life in the colonized zones of the United States against Black people by the domestic police is replicated in Africa by the U.S. global police represented by the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

Please join us for the launch of the international month of action by attending a webinar on October 1st, titled “AFRICOM at 13: Building the Popular Movement for Demilitarization and Anti-Imperialism in Africa.” Speakers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, and the African diaspora will discuss AFRICOM and what we can do to expel imperialist forces from the continent. Following the webinar, events will take place throughout October organized by various organizations on the African continent, in the U.S., and around the world to demand an end to the U.S. and western invasion and occupation of Africa.

BAP makes the following demands in the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign:

  • The complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Africa,
  • The demilitarization of the African continent,
  • The closure of U.S. bases throughout the world, and
  • That the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) oppose U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conduct hearings on AFRICOM’s impact on the African continent, with the full participation of members of U.S. and African civil society.

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Tunde Osazua is a member of the Black Alliance for Peace’s Africa Team and the coordinator of the U.S. Out of Africa Network.