On Jan. 16, ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and the Party for Socialism and Liberation held a speak-out and banner drop at Teralta Park in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego to demand a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Somalia and an end to AFRICOM. City Heights is home to one of the most densely populated Somali communities in the country. Other organizations in attendance included Socialist Unity Party and Socialist Alternative, along with supporters in the community and from as far north as Los Angeles.
Pentagon announcement not what it seems
The Pentagon announced last month that military personnel would leave Somalia and be “repositioned” to neighboring countries on Jan. 15. Despite Trump and his supporters using this to score political points, the Pentagon insists that “the U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa.” Additionally, special forces and private mercenaries will remain, as they are not counted as U.S. military personnel.
AFRICOM, short for U.S. Africa Command, is responsible for operations in Africa allegedly aimed at “fighting terror.” However, Arantxa Calles from ANSWER San Diego pointed out that AFRICOM officials have described the Horn of Africa as an area of “strategic importance,” and that a major priority is to “protect the free flow of resources to the global market.” Calles also explained how U.S. imperialist intervention in Africa serves to continue the 400 years of super-exploitation of the resources and workers of the continent.
As cars drove by honking in support, Jose Cortes of PSL spoke on the bipartisan nature of U.S. imperialism, pointing out that AFRICOM’s growth came primarily after Barack Obama was elected president. Cortes said that imperialism is not a set of policies, but an inseparable feature of U.S. capitalism. “Socialism,” he said, “is the only alternative to imperialism and colonialism.”
After the speak-out concluded, a 14-foot banner was put up over a nearby freeway overpass. The banner read “U.S. out of Somalia! End AFRICOM.”
Our anti-war and anti-racist organizing must have an internationalist orientation. The Party for Socialism and Liberation believes in unity among the workers of the world against imperialism through demands for justice, self-determination, and reparations for African countries and all oppressed nations.
Even during a global pandemic, the military-industrial-congressional complex continues to prioritize imperialist profits over the lives of working-class people. “Our lives are political,” Jose Cortes told the crowd. “Get involved, fight back!”
Featured image: Marcos Perez