Ivory Coast - A "Second Republic" born in the midst of cheating and ethnic provocation

Jan 2001

After a year which saw two military coups - one successful and the other a failure - all kinds of political twists and turns and several popular explosions, the long succession crisis opened up by former dictator Houphouet-Boigny's death in 1993, appears to have found a temporary conclusion. But this is only an appearance since, while the new president Laurent Gbagbo has moved into the presidential palace, no-one would bet on the solidity of his power.

The succession war mostly involved former heavyweights of Houphouet-Boigny's old single ruling party - the PDCI. Yet, through an ironical twist of history, Gbagbo, who emerged as the winner of this succession war, was on the contrary the symbol of the "respectable" opposition to Houphouet-Boigny's regime. Indeed Gbagbo is the leader of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) - a party formed in 1990, which, at the time of the cautious legalisation of political parties in Ivory Coast, was supposed to represent the opposition and claimed to be "on the left". At the same time Gbagbo is and always has been linked to the French Socialist party - although this never prevented Socialist party-led French governments from supporting the Ivorian ruling leader of the day, whether Houphouet-Boigny, Bédié or Guéï, while Gbagbo had to be content with being invited to Socialist Party congresses.

Today, the interests of the French state and those of the French Socialist party coincide at last, thanks to Gbagbo. All the more so because he never indulged in the kind of demagogy that would have made him sound hostile to the very substantial interests that French imperialism has in Ivory Coast. So, from the point of view of French imperialism, the replacement of the PDCI's 40-year rule by Gbagbo's FPI implies continuity rather than change.

Things are different from the point of view of the poor masses. Not that Gbagbo's policy towards them is different from that of his predecessors. But circumstances have changed and, over the past months, ethnic tensions have been rising in such a catastrophic way that they have pushed everything else into the background.

During the long period when Gbagbo was in opposition, he enjoyed a certain amount of sympathy among the poor masses. Not that Gbagbo has ever made any promises to them or even made vaguely radical statements showing some sympathy for them. But he was the symbol of the opposition and the repressive measures taken by the PDCI regime against him - arrests, terms in jail for him as well as for his party's activists - and the blatant use of electoral fraud against the FPI, generated some sympathy among the population. Besides, the trade union "Dignité" - which was also set up at the time of the legalisation of political parties - allowed some FPI activists to build a presence in some companies. In most companies the bosses resisted this attempt at creating a union which was independent from the UGTI - the old PDCI-controlled union confederation and previously the only legal union, which acted as a mere transmission belt for Personnel departments. However the FPI never tried to carry out systematic activity directed towards the factories in order to help their activists who were involved in building the "Dignité" union. Despite this failure, these attempts at setting up an independent union and the fact that the "Dignité" activists paid the price for it, won the FPI some credit among workers.

Today, however, this is not what characterises Gbagbo s political image. Ratherit is the exacerbation of ethnic tensions which coincided with his arrival in power. Not that Gbagbo has been more active in whipping up ethnic tensions than the PDCI leaders who were involved in the succession fight at the time when he was no more than an outsider. But once he was able to reach the forefront of the scene he immediately went along with this xenophobic and ethnic demagogy. And it was at the time when he came to power that the most bloody consequences of this demagogy were seen.

The whipping up of ethnic tensions

Without going back over the details of the seven years between Houphouet-Boigny's death and Gbagbo's arrival to power, it must, however, be recalled that immediately after Houphouet-Boigny's death a political fight broke out between his constitutional heir - the then president of the National Assembly, Konan Bedié - and his former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara. Since Bédié had the support of a majority among the PDCI's notables, Ouattara and his group left the PDCI to create a new party, the RDR. For a while the RDR and Gbagbo's FPI joined ranks within a Republican Front, to fight the PDCI and its electoral cheating. But by December 1999, when Bédié's corrupted regime was overthrown by Guéï's military coup, Gbagbo and Ouattara had already parted ways. By then Gbagbo had endorsed Bédié's demagogic accusations against Ouattara - claiming that Ouattara's Ivorian citizenship was dubious and that as a foreigner he should not be allowed to stand for the Ivorian presidency.

It must be recalled that, in fact, Bédié was the first politician ever to promote the idea of an Ivorian identity ("ivoirité") and the slogan "Ivory Coast to the Ivorians". This kind of demagogy was not just stupid, it was also dangerous in a country where immigrants (from Burkina- Faso, Guinea, Mali, Ghana, Togo, etc..) make up 30% of the population as a whole and a majority among the working masses. Besides, the fact that some ethnic groups are split by the state borders between Ivory Coast and some of its neighbours, made it possible for Bédié to reject some people born in Ivory Coast as foreigners as well. And in fact this was precisely Bédié's motive. By assigning the ethnic groups living in the North of Ivory Coast (from where Ouattara originated) to Burkina-Faso nationality, he was able to shed doubts on Ouattara's nationality. And since, shortly before the previous presidential election, in 1995, Bédié had already introduced an amendment in the constitution requiring that any candidate to the presidency should be born in Ivory Coast from parents who were both citizens of Ivory Coast, he was able to declare Ouattara unfit to stand for president.

General Guéï promised to "clean the house" - that is, to end corruption - before handing back power to a civilian regime by organising a presidential election. In terms of "cleaning" up corruption, he did nothing, as could be expected. But, as so many generals taking power after a coup, he quickly came to consider that, after all, he was better suited than any civilian to move into the presidential palace.

Guéï did organise the election, however, on 22nd October 2000. But he was careful to push aside any candidate he considered as a serious rival, including Ouattara. To do this, he did not even bother to produce a new pretext, he just used the same demagogic arguments used previously by Bédié. And so did Gbagbo. Guéï went further in imitating Bédié by introducing a new constitution which included exactly the same nationality condition for presidential candidates. This new constitution was endorsed in a referendum held in July 2000, all the more easily as all parties - including Ouattara's RDR - supported it, no doubt because they all hoped to be able to use this clause against their rivals.

In the end, however, it was Ouattara who fell victim to this constitutional clause. Together with Ouattara, another presidential candidate, Bédié's former Interior minister, was also pushed aside, but primarily due to his notorious involvement in corruption scandals. As a result not one prominent figure of the PDCI remained in the race. The only remaining candidate was the erstwhile oppositionist, Gbagbo. Guéï thought he could easily handle Gbagbo. First he expected the PDCI notables to support him rather than Gbagbo, in the absence of any PDCI figure in the race. Second, he knew that the army would be in control of the polling stations and he believed that he was in control of the army.

But he was wrong on one point: most of the PDCI heavyweights proved reluctant to support the general who had overthrown Bédié. However the army did control the polling stations. On the strength of this, two days after the election, on 24 October, the Interior minister announced both the dismissal of the National Election Commission and Guéï's victory with 52% of the votes. Then Guéï appeared on television to celebrate his election and thank the electorate.

But Guéï had underestimated the population's disgust for the military regime. Thousands upon thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets to protest against this "electoral hold-up", chanting "Gbagbo president". And the demonstrators began to march towards the centre of the capital to put pressure on Guéï.

Then Guéï was to discover his second mistake: as it turned out, the army was not solidly behind him. When Gbagbo saw that the demonstrators supported him unanimously, he immediately declared that he had won the election. He then called on the population to take to the streets to show its support (which it had done already). By that time, the odds are that Gbagbo had already obtained the support of at least some army chiefs. Besides, the attitude of Paris had already changed. The French government had been prepared to support Guéï if he was successful. But when the demonstrators began to fill the streets, Paris changed tack and denounced Guéï as an electoral fraud.

As to the army, Guéï could count on the support of the military camp of Akouedo. But the support of the "gendarmerie"(militarised police) and that of the Koumassi "Red Berets" (paratroopers) was much more uncertain. And in fact, when these latter units saw this enormous crowd which looked determined to have a showdown with the regime, on the morning of the 25th October, they were nudged into the idea that this was the time to change sides and to give their backing to Gbagbo's camp, which journalists had already began to describe as the "loyalist" camp.

The military's rallying to Gbagbo was carried out cautiously. Initially, the military confined themselves to adopting a neutral attitude by not firing against their colleagues in Guéï's camp. And when the demonstrators began to demand weapons, they just told them "we're coming, we're coming". Eventually it was the "gendarmes" who made the decision when, by joining Gbagbo's side, they got the rest of the army to follow suit. This was the end of Guéï.

26 October - the ethnic repression

The popular mobilisation against Guéï had not even had time to settle down, when, on 26 October, Ouattara's RDR organised demonstrations demanding (with a certain logic) a new presidential election in which Ouattara would be allowed to stand.

But this time, the demonstrators were immediately confronted with the police and the "gendarmerie", who did not just use clubs and tear gas, but live ammunition. The makeshift barricades which were erected did not last long. A wholesale manhunt was launched. Those who were running away from the bullets of the military were confronted by FPI and PDCI activists who were united, for once, in a common hatred for the "Northerners". Many demonstrators were beaten to death. Soon the whole thing turned into an overt ethnic pogrom. Among the many atrocities committed on that day, the role of the "gendarmes" should be mentioned (in particular for the massacre they committed at Youpougon, where a mass grave was discovered later and caused some shock) as well as, on the "civilian" side (but one should talk rather of unofficial armed gangs), that of the activists of the FPI- controlled students' union, who acted as auxiliaries for the "gendarmes". Sometimes the "gendarmes" arrested a demonstrator - or simply a passer-by who happened to wear a "boubou", the traditional clothes of the North - and then left him in the hands of the counter-demonstrators to finish him off. Sometimes the "gendarmes" received a "suspect" from the "civilians" and killed him themselves.

The repression was, therefore, ferocious. The official figure of 170 victims is probably very short of the truth. It does not really matter whether it was Gbagbo who instructed the army to repress the pro-RDR demonstrators or whether - which is a lot more likely - he was only asked to endorse what the army had really decided. In any case, this bloodshed sealed the alliance between Gbagbo and the army.

On the day following the massacre, Notre Voie (Our Way), the FPI's paper, published an article entitled "ADO or the madness of despair" (ADO is Ouattara's initials). This article described Ouattara's supporters as "injuring and even sometimes killing innocent people." According to this article,"confronted with this cowardly and barbaric attack, citizens got mobilised" to organise "a response.(..) As a result many young thugs were lynched by the public.(..) Given all this, there can be no doubt that Alassane Dramane Ouattara is responsible for every death that took place last Thursday."

As the RDR's electorate is mostly made of Northerners who make up a large proportion of the population in the capital, and even a majority in some poor districts, the repression against the RDR took the form of a repression against all Northerners.

These Northerners are often lumped together as "Dioulas" (although this word is not an ethnic characterisation but means "small traders", which is what some Northern ethnic groups are traditionally) or "Muslims" (although Northerners like the Senoulos, for instance, are animist rather than muslims). Despite the large variety of Northern groups, the repression is creating a kind of common Northern identity. Being dressed in the same way as certain Northerners, having a name which sounds like those from the North or going to the mosque, is becoming enough to put one's life at risk at the next street corner, in the case, say, of an identity check or merely as a result of a quarrel.

Ironically, the same Ouattara who, when he was prime minister, was just as vicious against Gbagbo and the FPI as Gbagbo is against his supporters today, has now become the spokesman of those opposing Gbagbo's repression and the stirring up of ethnic tensions. It is no less paradoxical that this pro-Western bourgeois, who spent most of his adult life in New-York as a senior official with the IMF and the rest enjoying himself comfortably in France, should be supported by the mosques and should even be on his way to becoming the spokesman of the country's muslims!

The parliamentary election - another provocation

Over his three months in power, Gbagbo has not even tried to reduce ethnic tensions, far from it. During the parliamentary election which took place a month-and-a-half after the presidential election, Gbagbo allowed the Supreme Court to invalidate once again Ouattara's candidacy. In the eyes of the Northerners, this could only appear as a provocation. All the more so because initially the Electoral Commission had authorised Ouattara to stand. Besides, what makes Gbagbo's measure even more provocative is that Ouattara had applied to stand in a constituency whose sitting deputy was his own brother, who is also a former president of the National Assembly - meaning someone with the same parents and therefore, the same rights from the point of view of the constitution.

This new provocation was met with another wave of protest. This led to a state of emergency and a new wave of repression, which left as many dead as the previous one. Despite this and the RDR's decision to boycott it, the election took place as planned on 10 December, still under the state of emergency. In 29 of the 33 Northern constituencies (out of 225 for the country as a whole), the election was actively boycotted and the seats have still to be filled. Several Northern towns were in a state of quasi- insurrection and in one of them at least, the representatives of the central state were forced to flee. This has led the papers which are close to the FPI and PDCI as well as the official television to brandish the threat of a possible Northern secession and to accuse Ouattara of preparing for it - when he is not accused of aiming to integrate the North into Burkina-Faso.

Elsewhere the election took place as planned but the turnout was only 33%. As a result of the fighting of the previous days, the streets of the capital, Abidjan, remained quiet on polling day. But in the poor areas, where the proportion of "Northerners" or "foreigners" is even higher than elsewhere, the turnout was below the national average.

The results gave 96 seats to the FPI, 77 to the PDCI, the rest being shared between various smaller parties.

The fact that Gbagbo's regime was born out of election fraud and ethnic violence does not prevent the French government from considering it as a democratic regime. Its strongest "criticism" - a very mild one, to say the least - was formulated by the French foreign minister Vedrine, when he said in the aftermath of the parliamentary election that "the way the election took place in Ivory Coast did not meet our expectations in full." Nevertheless French diplomats are continuing their efforts to convince their European "partners" as well as a seemingly reluctant US government, to endorse the new regime.

The new regime, its enemies and allies

Gbagbo can consider himself lucky. Not only has he succeeded in winning the presidential seat but his party, the FPI, is the largest party in the new National Assembly. However, the consolidation of his regime does not depend on the new Assembly, but on an army whose cohesion is threatened by ethnic tensions and, beyond the army, on the support of imperialism in general and at least that of French imperialism.

It must be said that French imperialism has a considerable interest in ensuring political stability in Ivory Coast. Indeed, for a long time, this country was the jewel of France's African backyard. Even today, despite the economic crisis, it still provides a few large French companies (like Bouygues and Bolloré) with huge profits. Besides, Ivory Coast remains a kind of "Eldorado" for many adventurers coming from the petty or middle-bourgeoisie, from France or Lebanon, who have been established there for a long time or have recently arrived in search of a quick buck.

Gbagbo needs the support of French imperialism because, without its financial support, it will be difficult for him even to pay the army, as the state is virtually bankrupt. The military are getting increasingly into the habit of living on the back of the population, by setting up various kinds of rackets. But this does mean that they are prepared to tolerate wages not being paid, or even being late - which is already the norm among civil servants. It must be remembered that Bédié's downfall was the final stage of a process which involved a mutiny due to soldiers demanding to get the unpaid wages they were owed. When he came to power, Guéï had some difficulties in defusing the mutiny, and he was a general. And Gbagbo is in a much worse position than his predecessors to contain the army and to preserve its unity.

Gbagbo's position is all the more difficult because, in addition to the hostility against the central power which is growing in the North, there are more and more indications that Guéï, despite his quick reconciliation with Gbagbo in front of the television cameras, is now busy recruiting troops in the West of the country, next to Liberia, among the ranks of his own ethnic group, the Yakoubas.

Besides there is no guarantee that the circumstantial coalition between the FPI and the PDCI - united against the North for the time being - will resist the tensions which exist between the PDCI cliques, who are mostly rooted among the Akan ethnic group, and the cliques within Gbagbo's FPI, who is himself a Bété. The fact that a new contingent of FPI notables comes to claim its share of the crumbs of power can only be seen as a threat by the established PDCI notables. For the past 30 years, the latter have had a monopoly of positions such as that of mayor or MP, not to mention the many lucrative senior positions in the state machinery. So far, even multipartyism, the RDR split and the FPI's few initial electoral successes have failed to really weaken their dominant position. How will they react when they realise that they have to share? Given the corruption of the political caste and, in the context in which the amount of crumbs available for sharing is decreasing, their ethnic demagogy will find an increasingly favourable terrain. And while today the antagonism which dominates the political scene is that between the North and the South, it must be recalled that Houphouet- Boigny used to rely discreetly on an anti-Bété coalition between Northern Baoulés notables.

If Houphouet-Boigny was discreet about his use of these sorts of games it was because he had a base of support which was large enough for him not to need to use such ethnic demagogy too openly and because the dictatorship and press censorship made it impossible for any opposition to express itself, even on an ethnic basis.

Besides, most of Houphouet-Boigny's rule at the helm of Ivory Coast took place in an economic context which was favourable. Not only was Ivory Coast the favoured destination of French capital seeking investments in France's former colonial empire, but the country benefited from the high level of the coffee and cocoa prices on the world market (Ivory Coast being the world's largest producer of cocoa). The French capital which was being invested in the country's fledgling industry or in the public works designed to transform Abidjan from a small colonial town into a giant capital, needed manpower and so did the local plantation owners. This manpower came from the more destitute North and, as this was not enough, from the neighbouring countries, particularly from Burkina-Faso. And the South was all the more welcoming to these immigrants, whether foreign or not, because their presence was vital for economic development. For a long time the overwhelming majority of the workforce on the plantations and the majority of those who worked on the large building sites, and even in many factories, were from the North or from Burkina-Faso. This did not stop Houphouet-Boigny from staging occasional campaigns against certain foreigners - for instance against Beninese who were accused at the time of allegedly occupying too many positions in higher education. But the need for non-skilled workers was such that no-one thought about pushing them out. Houphouet-Boigny even granted them the right to vote for some time.

But these days are over. The economic situation is getting worse. The collapse of agricultural prices on the world market has pushed more and more peasants towards the towns, thereby increasing the competition for jobs between urban workers. The poor masses are becoming even poorer. In this context, ethnic demagogy - initially used by politicians to pursue personal ambitions - already becomes - and will become increasingly - a means of channelling, diverting and splitting the existing discontent and anger, of setting one section of the poor masses against another.

On this issue and on the consequences of this situation among the poor masses, this is what our comrades of the UATCI (Internationalist Communist Workers' African Union) wrote from Ivory Coast in their paper "le Pouvoir aux Travailleurs" (Power to the Workers):

Against the ethnic poison, the proletariat's class consciousness

What many of us experienced on 4 and 5 December speaks for itself. Unquestionably, a new stage has been reached in the inte-ethnic confrontations. It is difficult to know how the number of victims compares with the ethnic confrontations of 26 October and the official figures will help no-one to find out. However this new ethnic explosion comes in addition to the previous one. And above all ethnically-motivated attacks are carrying on every day. Here a mere quarrel at the market turns into an ethnic attack, there an ordinary police check ends up in a murder, because the man who is being checked has a "Muslim" name. Elsewhere people living in a collective yard are told that they are undesirable and ordered to leave the place within 48 hours. In some areas, groups, which are more less armed, are set up on a permanent basis, with the overt objective of driving out all the "dioulas". And they do not confine themselves to insults. Acts follow, usually aggressive and humiliating.
The politicians who compete for power have managed to get a fraction of the population involved in inter-ethnic confrontations. For the time being those actively involved are only a minority. But this minority is meeting a larger concensus and is, therefore, imposing its rule in many districts.
In this paper, we have always denounced the evolution which has led to the present situation. We have always underlined the politicians' responsibility, from Bédié to Gbagbo, including Guéï and Ouattara, even if the latter appears today as a victim. But Ouattara, who has now retreated to France, does not pay with his blood, unlike those who die in the streets, in confrontations from which they can expect nothing. The fact that Gbagbo claims to be on the left and calls himself a progressive, only makes his policy even more criminal. Even while he was still in opposition he could have denounced the ethnic garbage that was being propagated from the top by Bédié's clique and the demagogic propaganda about the "Ivorian" identity. But he preferred to adopt both.
After he made it to the presidency thanks to the reaction of the poor districts, Gbagbo failed to use his new position to try to defuse the ethnic bomb. Instead he chose to fan the flames. He posed as a proponent of "reconciliation". But for him, this word only meant his quick and shameful "reconciliation" with the putschist general Guéï, in front of the television cameras, and then with Bédié whose plundering of the state's resources he forgave by dropping the charges made against him.
While, at the top, these men were sealing their reconciliation by forgiving their past crimes in order to justify their future crimes in advance, in the streets a section of the poor were fighting one another - a bloody fight which can only be a dead end. And Gbagbo was provoking more confrontations by endorsing the Supreme Court's decision, preaching for firmness on television and, to top it all, by letting the dogs free - i.e. the same army which almost deprived him of his victory. As if he did not know that the gendarmes and the armed forces, far from being neutral and enforcing "civil peace", are responsible for the worst ethnic crimes.
We have no political sympathy for Alassane Ouattara who, as a former prime minister, had been and remains one of the main oppressors of the working classes. Nor do we have any sympathy for the RDR, which came out of the party of the former dictatorship and is responsible, as a result, for many past crimes. Besides, while the FPI gangs have a major responsibility in transforming political violence into ethnic violence, this responsibility is shared, to a large extent, by the RDR's armed gangs which chose to act along the lines of ethnic revenge.
The Bédiés, the Gbagbos, the Guéï and the Ouattaras are made of the same material. Whatever their political rivalries - which are always paid for with the blood of others - they all serve the interests of the rich privileged class. However, the fact that Ouattara's personal secretary was beaten to death during a security check by the gendarmerie, just because his name sounded like a Northerner's name or the fact that soldiers were able to get away with torturing Henriette Diabaté's son, show what is in store for the dioulas, Senoufos or Northerners who have neither political protection nor wealth.
Beyond the political gangsters and their cliques, who, in order to come to power, have caused a bloodbath in the country, one cannot avoid mentioning those who call themselves the "elite" of the country, because they made studies, often in Western universities, because they are now teachers, academics, doctors, writers or journalists and because they have some money and claim to be cultivated. Who among them opposed the ethnic demagogy with the energy which this required? Who among them exposed the barbaric nature of the process which was developing? Didn't they feel it coming? As if there had not been enough examples to serve as warnings - in Liberia, Sierra Leone, just next door!
There is only one force left to save society from the ruin which threatens it - the working class, the labouring population, which has the most to lose in these confrontations. The most to lose because the poor districts are the hunting ground of the ethnic gangs. The most to lose because, regardless of one's ethnic group, it is intolerable to have to fear one's neighbour in the collective yards or to always have to carry a machete to be able to defend oneself against some attacker who is just as poor. The most to lose because it was in the poor districts that houses, workshops and stalls were burnt down. And because, if the ethnic gangs succeed in imposing their dictatorship, it will be in the poor districts where they will racketeer the population under the pretext of fighting an ethnic enemy.
And above all, if the divisions created by the ethnic gangs were to become impossible to bridge, if these divisions were to spread to factories, docks and building sites, the working class as a whole would be weakened and made incapable of defending its material interests against big business, the rich and the government.
However, nothing is irreversible yet. In the factories and the building sites, we are still all working together, talking to and understanding one another, Ivorian or not, dioula or not dioula. It is still possible to stop ethnic ideas from penetrating workers' ranks. The ethnic gangs must be prevented from imposing their law.
The point is not just to oppose this rising barbarism for the sake of humanity or because developments similar to what is happened in Liberia or Sierra Leone would be catastrophic for the overwhelming majority of the population - although these are also valid reasons. The point is to oppose it in order to defend the fundamental interests of the working class.
The working class, and more generally the labouring classes, must unite their ranks in the fight to improve their own lives and to escape from poverty. Who should be held responsible for the fact that wages are low in this country? That many workers and their families cannot afford more than one meal a day? That they have to crowd into lodgings which are not worth this name? That they are condemned to die of diseases not because there are no remedies but because they cannot afford to buy them? That workers from Burkina-Faso, Mali or Togo, have living conditions which are even worse? And if gouro or baoulé small traders earn just enough to survive, can it be blamed on dioula small traders?
Those who are really responsible for all this are elsewhere - among the bosses who own factories or department stores, the wholesalers, etc.., who, regardless of their nationality or ethnic group, enrich themselves in a scandalous fashion, by paying low wages and robbing the poor.
The fact that the government humiliates the "dioulas" or drives out the poor "foreigners" is not going to increase the wages of those who have them, nor to provide those who are unemployed with proper jobs or wages. As to the rich foreigners, the French bosses and bankers who ransack the country, the representatives of American and Japanese companies, the big Lebanese traders who rob the consumers, the government has no plans to do anything to them.
If the workers and poor want to improve their lot, they must not turn against workers and poor from other ethnic groups and nationalities. They must turn against the rich, against those whose wealth would provide hundreds of working families with enough to live. The point is not to make any attempt against their lives but to force them to increase workers' wages, to allow the small traders a larger profit margin, to guarantee to the peasants a living income. The point is to force them to accumulate less wealth, to buy fewer luxury cars and simpler villas, to deposit less money in their bank accounts in France or elsewhere, so that those who work can live better.
Let's not target the wrong enemy. Our enemies are not our brothers - the workers and poor belonging to another ethnic group or nationality. Our enemies are the rich, the big bourgeois, the bosses and the government who serves them. Our anger and energy must be aimed at them. And by doing this for the sake of our demands, our right to proper wages and lodgings and a decent life, we will all find ourselves together, quite naturally, next to all those who live a life similar to ours.