In Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of His Assassination on October 15, 2012
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) and the entirety of the International League of Peoples´ Struggle (ILPS), are in solidarity with the social movement and progressive forces in Senegal that have organized the Sankara Memorial Day in order to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the assassination of the revolutionary martyr and hero Thomas Sankara on October 15.
We take this opportunity to celebrate the revolutionary life and work of Sankara and draw inspiration from his legacy. We welcome the focus of activities on his vision of African development and his contribution to Pan-Africanism and African unity in line with his firm anti-imperialist stand and militant support for anti-imperialist struggles of the people in Africa and all over the world.
We are deeply pleased that a member of the ICC of the ILPS Comrade Demba Moussa Dembele and member-organizations of the ILPS in Senegal and the rest of Africa are actively involved in commemorative activities and that national chapters and member-organizations of the ILPS on a global scale are commemorating the martyrdom of Sankara and celebrating his revolutionary ideas and deeds.
It is the honor of ILPS to help propagate the heroic example and revolutionary legacy of Thomas Sankara in order to inspire all anti-imperialist and democratic forces to raise the level of their revolutionary strength and achieve greater victories through revolutionary struggle against imperialism and its reactionary puppets.
Thomas Sankara is a great African hero in the era of proletarian revolution and national liberation movements and is in the historic company of such African heroes as Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Khrumah, Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko. His revolutionary ideas and deeds must be perpetuated to inspire the revival of Pan-Africanism and the resurgence of the anti-imperialist struggle in Africa.
At the age of 33, the Marxist revolutionary and military captain Sankara led a coup, supported by the people, in order to end the continuing dominance of the former colonial power France in his country in 1983. He was president of his country until October 15, 1987 when he was assassinated in a coup by the French-backed group of Blaise Campaore.
While he was president, Sankara rejected the colonial name “Upper Volta” for his country and adopted the name Burkina Faso, which asserted the dignity of his people. He taught and practiced the values of independence, self-confidence, frugality and self-reliance and mobilized the toiling masses to assert and exercise their democratic rights and improve their economic, social and cultural conditions.
Sankara adopted an anti-imperialist policy. He denounced the IMF and World Bank and defied the neocolonial and neoliberal impositions of the Western powers. He shunned all foreign aid and demanded the reduction of odious debt. He nationalized all land and mineral wealth. He stressed self-sufficiency in food and carried out land reform. He prioritized education, engaged in a nationwide literacy campaign and promoted public health.
He was a protector of the environment. He carried out large scale reforestation to stop desertification and doubled wheat production as a result of land reform.
He upheld and defended women´s rights. He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy. He appointed women to high government positions and encouraged them to go to school and work outside the home.
He set up people´s revolutionary tribunals to try corrupt officials and counterrevolutionaries. He followed the example of Cuba in forming Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. He was bitterly opposed by the French imperialists, big compradors, landlords and the traditional tribal leaders who resented the loss of their privileges to forced labor and tribute payments. The French imperialists instigated the coup by Blaise Campaore.
Sankara had learned revolutionary ideas from the American and French revolutions, the Great October Revolution and succeeding revolutions led by the proletariat. He was a militant exponent of revolutionary Pan-Africanism. He aligned the Burkina revolution with the revolutionary struggles for national liberation in the third world.
He was a steadfast internationalist, supporting all the struggles against colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism anywhere in the world. He was a staunch supporter of the Cuban people against US imperialism, South African people against the apartheid system and the Palestinian and Arab peoples against US-supported Zionism.
At the present time, the crisis of the world capitalist system is rapidly worsening. A global depression is wreaking havoc on the lives of the people upon the unraveling of the neoliberal policy of “free market” globalization. The US and other imperialist powers and their local reactionary puppets are shifting the burden of crisis to the oppressed peoples and nations in the underdeveloped countries.
They are escalating the exploitation and oppression of the people. They have become even more rapacious in extracting superprofits from cheap labor and grabbing the natural resources of Africa, especially oil and other minerals of strategic importance. They are whipping up state terrorism and are unleashing wars of aggression and counterrevolutionary wars. The US is doing everything to build the African Command in order to exercise over-all hegemony in Africa,
The revolutionary ideas and deeds of Thomas Sankara are relevant to the revolutionary struggles of the African people. They are needed to inspire the resistance of the people and illumine the road of their advance. More than ever the revolutionary spirit of the martyr and hero Thomas Sankara is needed to revitalize the revolutionary struggles of the African people.
Long live the revolutionary spirit of the martyr and hero Thomas Sankara!
Long live the anti-imperialist unity of the African people!
Long live the revolutionary struggles of all peoples in the underdeveloped countries for national independence, democracy, social justice, development and peace!