Guinea-Conakry is a small West African country of 10 million inhabitants, one of the poorest countries on the planet, in spite of the richness of its mining industry: diamonds, gold, iron, uranium and especially bauxite of which it is the 2nd largest producer in the world. Although the majority of the population of Guinea lives in misery, local and foreign bourgeois and the multinationals grow rich, protected by the regime of General Lansana Conté (who seized power after a coup in 1984) against rising dissatisfaction.
In November 2005 the trade unions had organized a 48 hour general strike to demand (ask for) a raise in wages and pensions, the introduction of a minimum wage, etc. In 2006 another general strike in March was followed by a teachers strike in May, followed by a new general strike in June which lasted 9 days before being broken by repression (with scores of dead).
In reaction to the rise in the price of essential goods, on January 10, 2007 the trade unions launched a new unlimited general strike. After 18 days of striking marked by repression which killed more than 60 and with hundreds of casualties, the negotiations between the government and the trade unions arrived at this conclusion: despite the strikers and the demonstrators demanding the departure of Lansana Conté and his clan, on January 27 the Intersyndicale decreed the end of the strike, against, among other things, the promise of the appointment of a Prime Minister. To effect a return to work and to push through this solution, puffed up by the imperialist milieu as a "victory for the people", the trade-union leaders explained that the future Prime Minister would have the real power and that the sinister Conté clan, his racketeers and his murderers, would effectively be rendered harmless.
However, faced with the delay in the appointment of the Prime Minister as well as the failure to respect full payment for strike days among other clauses of the agreement of 27/01, the trade unions threatened on February 2nd to start a new general strike from the 12th. The regime made profitable use of the broad interim left by the trade-union chiefs; in lieu of contacting them as they had wished, in order to negotiate, on Friday February 9 Lansana Conté named one of his close relations: Eugene Camara as Prime Minister. This former Minister of the Economy and as such the person responsible for the disastrous situation of the workers and the masses, had been promoted during the strike to the post of Minister Coordinator of Governmental Actions (to replace Fodé Bangoura, hated for his responsibility in the massacres of June 2006), i.e. de facto Prime Minister: as much as if to say that the agreements of the 27th were not even worth the paper on which they were signed...
This decision immediately provoked spontaneous demonstrations: as of Friday evening the youth in the Hamdallaye quarter of the capital Conakry started to demonstrate. Saturday morning in Conakry the presidential procession was trashed by the pupils of Matam College (the windshield of the car carrying Conté was broken, forcing him to change vehicle): the presidential guard shot at the young people, killing two of their number. In the second city of the country, Kankan, where the demonstrations began Friday, a soldier who had shot at the demonstrators, leaving 4 wounded, was himself finished off. Demonstrations and confrontations were announced in various localities: Coyah, Maferinya, Boké, Dalaba, Labé, Pita (where the offices of the Prefect were torched), Siguiri (where the mansion of the Minister for the economy was burnt), N’zérékoré, etc. Ensuing repression has left several dead and wounded. Meanwhile, whereas the capital is paralysed according to Guineenews.org, hundreds of Liberian combatants were concentrated in the suburbs of Conakry to lend a strong hand to the regime.
The bloody regime of Conté is determined to relinquish none of its privileges, as it already showed by the repression of the general strike of June 2006 and at the time of the strike in January of this year when it used the army, the police force and ethnic death squads. Staunchly propped up by French, American and various other imperialisms, which have always supported it, the regime chose to maintain itself by force, by violence.
But the masses and the proletarians of Guinea have demonstrated their combativeness while fighting against misery, exploitation and repression, and they showed their power to stop the economic activity of the country (including bauxite extraction). They spontaneously resumed the struggle, without awaiting the instructions of the trade-union chiefs, or of the politicians of the opposition who only seek compromise with the bourgeoisie and imperialism. The proletarians of the major capitalist countries must support their current fight against the assassin regime and more generally against capitalism; and this support must be concretized by the class struggle against imperialism which is the most solid support of the Conté regime and capitalism in Africa, and in particular, French imperialism which multiplies its military interventions and to which it could resort at any moment in Guinea.
Class solidarity with the fight of the proletarians and the Guinean masses!
Imperialism, out of Africa!
International Communist Party, February 10, 2007
3 Basse Combalot Street
69007 Lyon FRANCE