The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Capitalist Profiteers Cause Famine in Africa

Jun 6, 2022

This article is translated from the April 17th issue, #484 of La Pouvoir aux Travailleurs (Power to the Workers), the paper of comrades in West Africa.

In western Africa as well as in the Sahel region, about 38 million people are facing famine. In the region where Chad, Nigeria and Niger come together, malnutrition has increased by 300% in the last four years.

In the face of drought caused by climate change, the COVID19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine (one of the countries exporting the most wheat in the world), the leaders in African countries and in the rich Western ones point the finger at one another. Of course all these factors play a part in the rise of wheat prices. But the real problem is the chase after profits among capitalists, some of whom are speculating in wheat. Their attitude is criminal because millions will die as a consequence; millions of people lack the money to pay for these brutal price hikes in necessities.

Before the colonial period, the peasants of Africa produced local grains that fed their populations. These peasant populations were forced by colonialism to give up growing such products in order to cultivate the crops sold for profit in the centers of the colonial countries, like peanut production in Senegal or cotton production in Chad. In today’s market economies, peasants cannot return to cultivating crops that sustained them in their local areas for centuries, not when faced with the pressures from financial markets manipulated by imperialist speculators.

That’s why workers and peasants in Africa have the same interests as workers or peasants living in the rich countries, all of whom face the same capitalist exploitation.