[Marxism] Think Twice Before Donating to Kony 2012, the Charitable Meme du Jour

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 7 15:42:26 MST 2012

I first found out about Joseph Kony this morning from a PEN-L comrade 
who has been following the story behind the liberal interventionist 
campaign based on the online movie "The Invisible Children". I sent his 
note to a good friend from Uganda who had this to say:


Thank you for your mail, and your good work on this subject. Certainly 
the intervention of the US in the war against Kony and the LRA has an 
odour, or rather stench, of a 19th century civilising mission to it. As 
to the reasons behind the intervention, it has seemed for a long time 
that US has been working towards increasing its influence in Southern 
Sudan and central Africa. The breakup of the Sudan into two states, with 
the aid of its Ugandan proxy, was done with this objective in mind. Now 
the war against Kony allows the US to integrate the armed forces of the 
client regime in Uganda even more tightly with the US military. At the 
same time, Kony and the LRA, themselves in part a by-product of the war 
to break up Sudan, now provide a pretext for the US to treat Southern 
Sudan as a failed state that is unable to police its own territory, and 
therefore further entrench itself there.

I would guess the US perceives that intervention in countries like 
Uganda and the Sudan, both neighbouring countries of the resource rich 
DRC, gives it a strategic advantage in the new scramble for Africa, 
particularly as Chinese oil, mining, and construction companies have 
been moving into the continent that was formerly a back yard of the 
Europeans and North Americans. The conflict in the 1990s in the DRC and 
Great Lakes involved the replacement of French with US clients in Rwanda 
and DRC, and undoubtedly US/European rivalry played a part in those 
years of pointless bloodshed. However, I feel the US is most concerned 
now to make sure that US power is not marginalised in Africa by Chinese 
economic investment and Chinese patronage of the African states and 
elites. Chinese corporations have invested in Sudanese oil fields, and 
recently  there was some talk of the Chinese state paying for the 
extension of the railway line from Northern Uganda to Juba, capital of 
Southern Sudan.

Such investments by Chinese corporations in peripheral places like 
Uganda and Sudan may be relatively small in world terms but, given the 
marginalisation of these places, even these small sums do nonetheless 
threaten the thousands of threads of patronage, corruption and 
client-ism that have thus far bound the post independence African states 
to Europe and North America.

Besides that, don't empire, wars and humanitarian interventions become a 
self justifying way of life for those who embark on them?

Talking of civilising missions, did you hear of this?

I'm also cc'ing this mail to Patrice Nyembo. Patrice is from the DRC, 
and has been working to expose the crimes of the US there. He maybe able 
to give you his opinion on the intervention in Sudan as well. In and 
case, Patrice will certainly be interested to read your blog on the Kony 

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