New Caledonia: Enough with Colonies! Solidarity with the Kanak People!

May 20, 2024 editorial of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France, translated from French

Burning stores and cars, roadblocks, clashes, young people shot dead… The Kanak revolt is a reminder that this “French Overseas Territory” [Kanaky] is, in reality, a colony. The current revolt followed massive demonstrations against plans to extend the list of eligible voters to include settlers who have been there in New Caledonia for 10 years. A decision that [France Minister of the Interior] Darmanin and [French President] Macron justify in the name of democracy… a lie! If this were true, why don’t they grant the right to vote to all immigrants living and working here in France for more than 10 years? Why did they enact an anti-migrant law at the behest of the Rassemblement National [extreme right National Rally party]?

Macron wants to ensure that in this territory 17,000 km [10,540 miles] away from France, the Kanak people remain a minority in their own land, despite their right to self-determination.

Lies and colonial brutality

The government’s only response is repression and slander, deploying the RAID and GIGN [special police forces]: 1,000 cops in addition to the 1,700 already on the ground, plus 600 military personnel. All backed up by tanks, helicopters and even planes. About one over-armed cop or soldier for every 30 Kanaks. And all these forces of repression leave the armed settler militias, already responsible for the death of several Kanaks, to fend for themselves.

Darmanin slanders pro-independence movements as “mafia organizations”. The same Darmanin who accuses those who protest against the Israeli state’s genocide in Gaza of anti-Semitism or support for terrorism. The same Darmanin who called those who protested against the police murder of Nahel last year delinquents.

A return to calm or to colonial order?

While the Right applauds the repression, the Left (PCF [Communist Party fo France, PS [Socialist Party],and LFI [France Unbowed—a left populist party) calls for calm and dialogue, invoking [reformist Socialist politicians] Mitterrand, Rocard and Jospin. But it was the Socialists who, in 1984, sought to impose a new status for the [New Caledonia] islands, initiating a wave of confrontations under Mitterrand-Chirac, with the 1988 massacre of 19 separatists in the assault on the Ouvéa cave. The “dialogue” that followed was above all a way of lulling the population with bogus referendums promised for forty years later… Here we are forty years later: and not a single problem has been solved.

How could they be? Can referendums eliminate the region’s glaring inequalities? Put an end to poverty wages? Put an end to the exploitation of nickel, the islands’ great wealth, and of the people by capitalist companies? Eliminate the shantytowns?

We’re told that the riots have disrupted food supplies and that hospitals are short of blood transfusions. But this lack of everything is already the daily lot of the exploited and colonized! 25% of Kanak people are unemployed, and thousands depend on food aid.

There, as here, those who work and create wealth are treated like nobodies, dispossessed of everything.

In Kanaky as well as here: urgent revolution!

The starting point of the revolt is anti-colonial. Its backdrop is the islands’ misery. Among the rebels are many young Kanak, but also young people from families originating from other islands in Oceania or Vietnam. In Kanaky, as elsewhere, it’s an inegalitarian and violent society that needs to be overthrown, by opposing the State that defends it.

So, at the European elections on June 9 – which will also be attended by voters from Oceania, the West Indies and Africa – to make it clear that the time for colonies is over, in Kanaky, in Mayotte, in Palestine and everywhere else, vote for the slate “For a world without borders or bosses: urgent revolution!” led by Selma Labib and Gael Quirante!