Contact Person: Chris Matlhako
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African Conference on Participatory Democracy and the African Left Networking Forum Meeting

19 - 21 August 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa


We, delegates to the Africa Conference on Participatory Democracy and Africa Left Networking Forum Meeting representing 52 Organisations from 28 Countries, including 3 Youth Formations and 28 Political Parties, meeting from the 19th to the 21st of August 2010 in Johannesburg, declare as follows:

1. The struggle continues!

As we mark 50 years of the decolonisation process in our continent, we note the wide diversity of experiences, of popular and democratic advances, of partial gains, of stagnation and even, in many cases, of grave setbacks and the heavy oppression of progressive forces. Everywhere in our continent the struggle for the legitimate democratic, social and economic aspirations of our peoples continues.

Centuries of anti-colonial struggle, decades of national liberation mobilisation, and 50 years of neo-colonial plunder and manoeuvring, have taught us an important lesson - advancing, deepening and defending the interconnected objectives of national liberation, national unity, vibrant democracy and social and economic advances require ongoing struggle, popular mobilisation, organisation and vigilance.

Freedom and the unity of our peoples and our continent will never be delivered from above, but always through the struggles of workers and popular forces.

In this context we reject manoeuvres from within some quarters of the AU to impose a hasty and top-down single African Government, a "United States of Africa" cobbled together by some heads of state, many of whom lack a legitimate democratic mandate from within their own countries. The unity of Africa, the unity of our peoples will be built in struggle, bottom-up and on the basis of mobilisation against external reactionary forces and their local agents.

Contrary to the liberal myth of a new world order and of a beneficent north bent on offering our continent a helping hand, everywhere imperialist forces, their local neo-colonial agents and their pay-masters, the transnational corporations, are active in fostering the effective re-colonisation of our continent. This persisting strategic agenda assumes many forms - the expansion of external military interventions, notably the persistence of French military bases and the expansion of Africom, working with local militarised regime; the continued and selective support of autocratic regimes; the fostering of ethnic and regional divisions; the hypocritical certification of deeply flawed electoral processes; and the deliberate undermining of the capacity of African states and their public sectors to discipline capital and to advance development.

Our continent is rich in people and natural resources, and yet everywhere our people live in poverty. Our wealth continues to be plundered, while here, as the Sotho proverb says, we are left "to share the head of an ant".

2. African Development and the Global Crisis of Capitalism

Conference and the Networking Forum take as a starting point the reality that for the great majority of popular forces in our countries, whether in times of so-called "boom" or bust, capitalism is a daily crisis of grinding poverty, unemployment, destruction of natural resources, hunger, and the bitter struggle for survival. There can be no stability, peace, real democracy and full human development under the dominance of capitalism - a system which is predicated on the exploitation and oppression of the great majority of the world's peoples.

We reject the simplistic view that the ongoing global economic recession is merely a product of the mismanagement of the global financial system by greedy bankers.

The ongoing global economic instability is an inherent characteristic of capitalism, and Africa may once again be made to pay dearly for the inherent weaknesses and evils of the global capitalist system.

We pledge to work to promote Africa's full social and economic development premised on the needs of the African peoples and not private profits, with the protection of Africa's labour and natural resources from a new round of global capitalist exploitation; as the global capitalist system struggles to regain its falling rates of profits. We view this as integral to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Africa.

3. On Climate Change and the Destruction of our Natural Resources

We have noted the growing international scientific consensus that the present trajectory of global economic growth is rapidly destroying the bio-physical conditions for human civilisation itself. We further noted that, while it is the economies and consumption patterns in the developed North that are the principal drivers of this deepening crisis, it is the peoples of the South who will bear the brunt of the crisis.

At the heart of the ecological crisis is a global capitalist system premised upon the expanded reproduction of private profit. Our struggle for socialism is a struggle to make social needs and not private profit the strategic priority. As such, the struggle for socialism is and has to be simultaneously a struggle for ecological sustainability.

We pledge to support all efforts aimed at developing environmentally sustainable renewable sources of energy and a just and democratic world social and economic order.

In the search for new sources of energy and protection of the environment, we will always guard against manoeuvres by imperialism to further under-develop Africa and plunder its labour and natural resources.

4. Global Left Solidarity

Across the world, not least in the global South, progressive and popular forces are once more realising that their diverse struggles are inextricably linked to the struggle against capitalism. We, progressive forces from the African continent, pledge to work closely with and learn from the rich experience of social movement, women, youth, indigenous, labour and party political anti-capitalist struggles.

As the African Left Network Forum we will work to forge more active links with like-minded forces, not just within our continent, but also with those in Latin America, Asia and everywhere else in the world.

We are encouraged by important left advances made in Latin America, and we believe that diverse left projects in that continent, including in Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador hold many important parallels and lessons for our own struggles on the Africa continent. We reaffirm our deep appreciation for the outstanding internationalist support that Cuba has consistently provided to our peoples, and we pledge to continue to expand our actions of solidarity in defence of Cuban socialism.

Way Forward

As this gathering we have resolved to intensify our interactions. To this end, we will now meet on an annual basis. To prepare for our annual meetings, and to ensure continuity and ongoing work, we have established a secretariat of the ALNEF. Amongst other things, we will consolidate ALNEF and its website to act as a repository of our ongoing discussions and debates.

Apart from our annual meetings, we will also convene meetings focused on sectoral struggles. To this end, we have resolved to convene in February next year an international conference on Women in Africa.
Collectively, as a network and individually as separate formations, we pledge to carry forward into our mass base the ideas, perspectives and campaigns that we have resolved upon over these past days.

AMANDLA NGAWETHU! (Power to the People!)
YA UMAAL ALALM WA CHOUB EITHEDU! (Workers and Peoples of the World Unite!)
MAPAMBANO! BADO YANAENDELEA! (The Struggle Continues!)

21st August 2010