Contribution to a history of the workers' movement in Africa (part 4): Second World War to 1968

It is well known that French imperialism liberally drew its cannon fodder from among the youth of its African colonies, as was demanded by its high level involvement in the Second World War. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of foot soldiers, the overwhelming majority of them young workers and unemployed, were enrolled and sacrificed in the bloody imperialist slaughter. With the conflict over, a period of reconstruction opened up for the French economy whose repercussions were felt in the colony in an unbearable exploitation that the workers began to courageously struggle against.

Contribution to a history of the workers' movement in Africa (part 3): The 1920s & 30s

Following World War I, the echo of the Russian revolution rang around the world. Senegal was no exception to this general tendency, and Senegalese workers conducted a whole series of militant strikes and revolts in the fifteen years that followed the end of the Great War.

Contribution to a history of the workers' movement in Africa (part 2): 1914-28

Between 1855 and 1914, the proletariat that emerged in the colony of French West Africa (FWA) underwent its class struggle apprenticeship by trying to come together and organise with the aim of defending itself against its capitalist exploiters. Despite its extreme numerical weakness, it demonstrated its will to struggle and a consciousness of its strength as an exploited class. We can also note that, on the eve of World War One, the development of the productive forces in the colony was sufficient to give rise to a frontal collision between the bourgeoisie and working class.

Contribution to a history of the workers' movement in Africa (part 1): Pre-1914

For many generations Africa has been synonymous with catastrophes, wars and permanent massacres, famine, incurable sicknesses, corrupt governments; in brief, endless absolute misery. At best, when its history is talked about (outside of folklore or “exotic” aspects), it is to point out its “worthy” Senegalese or Maghrebi sharpshooters, the celebrated auxiliaries of the French colonial army during the two world wars and the time of the maintenance of order in the old colonies. But never are the words “working class” used and still less are questions raised concerning its struggle, quite simply because it has never really entered the heads of the masses at the world or African level.

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