Burkina Faso, the people rise up

The parliament is burning, the state television center is burning, the ruling party’s offices are burning, the revolution has returned to Burkina Faso. Blaise Compaoré, the dictator of this poor African nation has fled like the coward he is. Burkina Faso was created in 1983, after young Thomas Sankara took power in the nation of Upper Volta, a former French colonial state. Sankara rejected the pro-capitalist establishment and took their power and wealth. He also rejected French imperialism and the pseudo-socialist government ruling in Paris. With French support, Blaise Compaoré staged a counter-revolution in 1987, killing Thomas Sankara. Since then Burkina Faso has been ruled by this dictator, who got rich while the majority of all people are very poor. But no longer, the people have rising and Blaise Compaoré’s regime is finally over!!

Burkina Faso used to be called Upper Volta, until a charismatic officer named Thomas Sankara took power in 1983, at the age of 33. He was a radical revolutionary, rejecting western imperialism and colonialism. As president, Sankara renamed the nation into Burkina Faso and carried out revolutionary social programs. French capitalism was not happy with the leftist president, who opposed their influence in Africa. In 1987, Blaise Compaoré started a coup against his friend and comrade Sankara. Soldiers invaded the presidential palace and killed the young president. After the murder of Thomas Sankara, Blaise Compaoré installed himself as president ruling unopposed in a pseudo-democracy, that gave his party the Congress for Democracy and Progress always a victory. Dictator Compaoré got away with killing the African Che Guevara. Supported by capitalist France, Blaise Compaoré created a personal dictatorship and reversed the revolutionary social programs of the Sankara government!

France was ruled in 1980’s by the pseudo-leftist; Socialist Party or PS. Their leader was Mitterrand, a class traitor who promised socialism in 100 days, yet cowered before the threats of world capitalism. Mitterrand betrayed the French workers and never carried out socialist politics. In fact the PS went to the right-wing, by sinking a Greenpeace ship and aided in the killing of Thomas Sankara. After Blaise Compaoré took power, all social programs were reversed and Burkina Faso started to support western nations. In 1996, the dictator created a political party to act as a base of support. The Congress for Democracy and Progress was able to win every election thanks to voter fraud, massive manipulations and state control over the media!

But the people never supported the dictator. They were however unable to stop him as they lacked a party to combat the corrupt government. The collapse of the Soviet-Union enforced the propaganda of the Congress for Democracy and Progress, that Thomas Sankara’s socialism could not work. Unfortunate they were partly right. In his four years in power, Sankara became authoritarian as his top-down economic system was inefficient. Like Che Guervara in Cuba, Thomas Sankara believed in top-down bureaucratic state planning of the economy, not giving the people any saying. Also his political authoritarianism led to strikes and protests which Blaise Compaoré exploited. Leftists and trade unionists turned against the young president and his use of police forces only fueled the political opposition. Then in October 1987, with support from the French, Blaise Compaoré ordered his soldiers to murder the young president. After they killed the icon of many young Africans, Compaoré took the office of president and returned his nation to world capitalism!

In the next 27 years, Burkina Faso would be ruled like most African nations. A pseudo-democracy with only one major political party in power, thanks to government corruption, voter fraud and massive manipulation of the media. But the most important reason is the lack of a socialist alternative. Workers of Burkina Faso never created a political party for themselves as they lack class consciousness and a revolutionary leadership. Thomas Sankara never thought them how to organize and to lead a socialist nation, as he centralized all power in his military ( who in the end, turned against him ). The young revolutionary president lack a true socialist understanding, although he was very charismatic and popular with the poor. Sankara was also impressed by the Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi. As a young idealist, Thomas Sankara praised the Jamahiriya system of Libya, win-out understanding how undemocratic Libya was ruled!

The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahirya was a major ally of Thomas Sankara. Muammar Gaddafi even went so far in proclaiming that Burkina Faso was the second Jamahiriya of Africa. Gaddafi kept supporting Burkina Faso, even after the murder of Thomas Sankara. But the idea of Jamahiriya died out after Gaddafi opened up to the western world. By 2007, the first Libyan stock market was opened and like in Burkina Faso, the ideals of direct democracy and people’s power were echo’s of the past!

In October 2014, the people of Burkina Faso rose up and were able to force their dictator out of the capital. They began to rebel in response to attempts at changing the constitution to allow Blaise Compaoré to run again and extend his 27-year regime. But many opposed this, having been forced to live under his rule for far too long. Burkina Faso is a very poor African nation, kept poor by the corrupt ruling elite around Blaise Compaoré. Still the opposition Burkina Faso offer no socialist alternatives to poverty and income inequality. The Alliance for Democracy and Federation – African Democratic Rally is the biggest opposition party to Compaoré’s Congress for Democracy and Progress. The ADF-RDA is a liberal democratic party that calls for social freedoms, but at the same times promotes capitalism and the rule of markets. Leftist parties in Burkina Faso are centered around the legacy of Thomas Sankara and some calls themselve Sakarists. None of them are offering a socialist alternative and none have been able to become mass parties of the working class. For genuine changes, more is needed then just the removal of the dictator!

Western imperialism liked Blaise Compaoré. Because he returned Burkina Faso to capitalism and he created a pseudo-democracy in the 1990’s. This is how western capitalist governments play the game. They love pseudo-democracies who only look democratic on the outside. African nations who stand against the western world are criticized and hated like Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. Now Zimbabwe is a dictatorship, but so was Burkina Faso under Blaise Compaoré and the western world never criticized this. In fact Blaise Compaoré is a murderer who killed Thomas Sankara, yet the western world never attacked him on this fact. They were far too happy with this dictator, who supported France and Europa against people like Robert Mugabe!

Now the parliament, the state television building and offices of the Congress for Democracy and Progress, have been burned. An act of revenge after 27 years of corruption and abuse of power. Blaise Compaoré fled to Senegal and on 31 October resigned as president. With his resignation, the 27 year old regime that started with the murder of a young revolutionary leader, came to an end. At this movement the military claims to rule Burkina Faso, the opposition however rejects this claim, which makes the future uncertain. France and the EU however are not yet in panic, as there is no force that is capable of leading the people against capitalism and western imperialism. This is what needs to be build, a workers party on a socialist program that can finished what Thomas Sankara started in 1983. However unlike his top-down system, workers must build a system from below up. A workers council based democracy is what Burkina Faso needs, then the revolution of 1983 can be finished and Thomas Sankara will triumph over Blaise Compaoré in death!!

This is why we revolutionary socialists say:

– No to a military led government

– No to the pro-capitalist opposition parties

– For a workers party on a socialist program, that fights for a socialist Burkina Faso under control of workers councils



Finally after 27 years, Blaise Compaoré is gone. The people invade the offices and buildings of the government and there is massive looting. Compaoré ruled like most corrupt leaders and gave good money to his supporters. Now the people retake what was stolen from them!