U.S.-Backed TPLF Breaks 5-Month Truce By Resuming War in Northern Ethiopia, No war but class war in the horn
U.S.-Backed TPLF breaks 5-Month truce by resuming war in northern Ethiopia

No War But Class War in the Horn of Africa

The latest class conflict in Ethiopia began in November 2020 when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, essentially waging war against the Ethiopian government. It is important to note here that TPLF is a group that has close ties with the United States as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. They had ruled Ethiopia from 1991 to 2018 with brazen corruption and even invading sovereign Eritrean and Somali land. In order to understand the motives of imperialist pawns like TPLF and the role of the government, one must understand how Ethiopia was created.

The modern state of Ethiopia as we know it was born out of colonialism as were many African states in history. Simply put, it is a dependent colonial state. The histories of Ethiopia widely available have always been written from the point of view that Ethiopia constitutes a unique case of an “ancient nation that valiantly staved off European colonial aggression to survive into the present day intact.” Horn of Africa Pan Africans for Liberation and Solidarity put together a succinct report listing out the primary contradictions and providing robust historical context as it relates to Ethiopia. 

If we understand that we must oppose imperialism at all costs, the same goes for imperialism’s mother: capitalism

Capitalism is the primary contradiction. It is imperative that we fight to destroy capitalism and the dictatorship of the capitalist class. We must organize workers and youth into a revolutionary movement for communism. Global Capitalist hegemony has only led to fascism, war, famine and the destruction of our environment. Below, I list several truths we must keep in mind to properly understand what is going on in the Horn of Africa. This is by no means an exhaustive list, however these points are where I feel a lot of the current media analysis is lacking

  • Thousands of people in the Horn of Africa are working in a brutal system of class exploitation, whether they are Eritrean, Tegaru, Amhara, Oromo, Somali, Sudanese, Kenyan, Ugandan, etc. 
  • Tribalism is a contradiction that’s been exploited by imperialism and has only been exacerbated/used to divide those who we call our class siblings
    • Think about why TPLF is systematically blocking and confiscating remittance to millions of their own people in Tigray
      • Hunger in Tigray pushing women and girls into sex work
      • Tigrayans desperate to flee starvation and forced conscription by TPLF
    • Regardless of whether the Europeans made contact with Africans via colonization, class struggle was always going to be the reality
      • This is truly one of the worst aspects of colonization and imperialism. It interrupted a class struggle we Africans inevitably were going to have with each other. We were going to have to go to war with the likes of Emperor Menelik, Yohannes, Haile Selassie, Mansa Musa, etc. It is clear that the fight to rid the continent and the rest of the global south from western hegemonic influence is just as important as the fight to share the wealth of our land with the workers on the continent and the diaspora
      • Nkrumah makes this clear in Class Struggle in Africa when he states “under colonialism, the worker’s struggle was largely directed against the foreign exploiter. It was in this sense more an anti-colonial, than a class struggle. It has, furthermore, strong racial undertones. This class-race aspect of the African workers’ struggle remains under conditions of neocolonialism, and tends to blunt the awareness of the workers to the existence of indigenous bourgeois exploitation. The workers’ attack is directed against Europeans, Lebanese, Indians and others, while the indigenous reactionary exploiter is overlooked”
  • The ruling class regardless of whatever identity they hold are our enemies
    • TPLF, the USA’s main mouthpiece for imperialism at the moment as well as any regional elite/ruling class party leaders contending for state political power on the basis on ethnicity
    • No side represents the interests of the working class, not the nobel peace prize winning leader Abiy Ahmed or the faux leftist, ethnic based “liberation front” who ruled with an iron fist in Ethiopia for thirty years all while threatening Eritrea and Somalia’s sovereignty
  • Nationalism will not resolve the contradictions listed above
    • Let’s be real: nationalism requires class collaboration, it’s the belief that that the national identity cuts across class identity and class conflict
      • By definition its a movement of a nation which requires collaboration between opposing classes 
        • Class collaboration is the rejection of an idea of class struggle, instead calling for collaboration and unity between the ruling class and the oppressed classes. While class struggle is a tenet of Communist ideologies, class collaboration is a tenet of fascism and liberalism 
      • In Lenin’s Theses on the National and Colonial Questions, he provides a solid framework tackling this: “It is the duty of the communist international to support the revolutionary movement in the colonies and in the backwards countries for the exclusive purpose of uniting the various units of the future proletarian parties to the task of the struggle against the bourgeois democratic tendencies within their respective nationalities”
        • Earl Ofari in “Marxism-Leninism: The Key to Black Liberation” makes the case that Lenin noted the collaborationist role bourgeois nationalists played in aiding imperialism and the danger this posed to an oppressed people. The obvious solution was proletarian internationalism 
        • However, Marxists support for a national, anti-colonial movement was conditioned solely to the degree that it promoted worker solidarity and was objectively anti-imperialist. This meant a strict class analysis of the movement
    • It is simply not enough to unite based off shared hate for TPLF, being anti-imperialist, etc
    • The question is: what are YOU fighting for?

The majority of the diaspora have a reactionary consciousness. It’s easy to get sucked into western propaganda and believe fellow diasporans that are actively working against their own people. That’s not an excuse not to investigate on your own and develop your politics. It is paramount that we revive communist sentiments amongst the diaspora so that we can effectively do our part to contribute to an international proletarian revolution. Workers in the horn have only ever been oppressed and immersed in endless war. They have no role in this current conflict in Ethiopia except to suffer and die. What we are seeing in the Horn of Africa once again shows the necessity to end capitalism with a mass international proletarian revolution built from the minds and hands of the workers. Only this will smash imperialism and the exploitation of the masses.

By using the science of dialectical materialism to understand, analyze and change the world, I continue to remain hopeful that the diaspora will build consciousness and support the political and economic integration of all workers in the horn as that is the next logical step forward

“My lament is about the rich. They live in towers with stairs reaching the sky. While we are living in cemeteries”

Harvest, 3000 years (1976)

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Gual Erey is an Eritrean who is an organizing member of the Horn of Africa Pan Africans for Liberation and Solidarity. She works with the organization to strengthen class consciousness amongst the Horn of Africa diaspora and unify on Pan Africanism and Anti-Imperialism principles. She has engaged with Black Alliance for Peace in discussing the Challenges in Intergenerational Black Radical Movement Building.