An African response to There is no alternative

Revolutions from Tunis to Ouagadougou – Published on Pambazuka News, by Guy Marius Sagna, July 27, 2011.

For the past three decades, neoliberalism has insisted that there is no alternative to semi-colonialism and the diktats of the IMF and World Bank. But, writes Senegal’s Guy Marius Sagna, our people have enough common sense to understand that things have to change … //

… Our political credo, to liberate our people from semi-colonialism and collaborationism, will be compromised if we fall prey to these schemes. Many of our compatriots sympathetic to Wade’s departure wonder who will replace him as our leader. The only options on the table seem to be the ruling neoliberals and neoliberals from the opposition on the one hand, and on the other, a united or fragmented social democratic movement whose candidates present themselves as a messiah come to deliver their people. 

There is a serious risk that the Democratic Left will find itself isolated and pulled between different Social Democrat candidates. Why should we choose Moustapha Niasse instead of Ousmane Tanor Dieng? What left strategy is served by backing Tanor? What is the strategy in the first place?

Today more than ever, the Left must chart a new course by pushing for the unity of the Left and building on the momentum of the ‘Wade out’ campaign by working with ‘Y’en a marre!’, ‘Dafa doy seuk’!’ and ‘Yamale’. This could trigger Benno to join the struggle… Our nation has reached a critical point – there is mobilisation everywhere, sporadic clashes that presage a final battle, a big number of Senegalese have realised that mere alternation is not enough and that no single organisation or political party can win – it is time for a united left movement to set the departure of Wade into motion.

Getting rid of Wade is a necessity. The gerrymandering during local council elections is a case in point. The recent ruling in favour of the workers of JLS and Bara Tall (a national company looted by the regime) shows that everything has to be wrested from the neo-liberals. Concerted struggle is the only way to obtain anything from Wade. And it is now that we have to prepare the ground to force the regime that has resulted from the second political alternation in Senegal to accept the decisions taken by the National Conference. This is the lesson learnt from past mistakes – allowing Wade to have a free run after 2000 and the ineffectiveness of the opposition to counter him and his neoliberal cohorts.


To conclude, it is too early to say whether the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions engender states like the anti-imperialist nations in South America or whether they will model themselves on the BRIC group which are mounting a serious challenge to capitalist ‘uni-polarity’ and unbridled imperialism at the expense of poor and working peoples across the world or indeed, whether the imperialists and their local collaborators will succeed in restraining the nascent anti-imperialist, nationalist, patriotic and democratic movements taking root everywhere. We hope the Tunisians and Egyptians will succeed in their revolutions and chart an alternative course to emancipation. And that this revolutionary wave sweeps across Africa from North to South. In Senegal, the alternative has to be built by social movements and leftist, democratic and anti-imperialist political forces and trade-unions.

We need to clarify our strategy and tactics in the months ahead.

Our strategy is to unify our political family and make it a force independent from the neoliberals and social democrats. A movement that places the interests of our people and workers in the battle for power. To that end, we need a unified list for the next legislative elections, which could be done within the CNP/CNG framework, but without the social democrats and against the neoliberals.

We need to strengthen the ‘Wade degage’ and ‘Ablaye abal nu’ movements and field a single candidate emanating from the National Conference to form a transition government which will put in place a parliamentary system, order a complete audit of the budget before and during the alternation and organise new elections based on proportional representation. (full long text).

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