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KONY 2012 : right cause, wrong answer

Dan Edwards and KD Tait from Revolution investigate the facts behind the popular Kony2012 campaign and find a sinister organisation with questionable goals

Huge numbers of people have been inspired by the  KONY 2012  video which has gone viral online. The video seems to portray a simple story of good vs. evil, whereby the viewer can easily get involved with the good-guys to help hunt down and take out a vicious criminal and child abuser. Days of action have been organised globally to publicise the campaign and further the goals of organisers, Invisible Children.

But the inspiring potential demonstrated by the reaction of so many people is threatened by the dangerous solution – military intervention – which the video aims to promote.

The video states the campaign has one overriding objective – to encourage the United States and the Ugandan Army to track down Joseph Kony, leader of the African militia the Lord’s Resistance Army. They want to organise a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to stop a rebel group operating, at different times, in Uganda, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. They want to give the US army the right to ‘intervene’ in four African nations alongside local military forces.

Invisible Children is a non-profit activist group and charity, whose main line of business is fundraising for the Ugandan Army. Last year only 31% of their expenditure went on their charity program – most of their money is spent making the kinds of films which aim to popularise the idea that military action by the USA can save child soldiers killing each other with weapons stamped “Made in the USA”.

Actions have consequences

The hunt for Osama Bin Laden took 10 years and left entire countries devasted. That ruthless excuse to impose US military power over the oil-rich Middle East was also justified with the ‘humanitarian’ PR. From Haiti to Pakistan, the US has a bloody history of solving humanitarian crises with bombs and bullets. Why? Because the humanitarian angle is simply posturing – the oil and minerals are the real target – the bombs and bullets are for those who dare to resist the pillaging of their land.

The imperialists tried to sell Iraq and Afghanistan as wars to protect people from their own governments. In both cases, military policy hasn’t been based on helping the ‘nice guys’ in the area, but funding and supporting whichever murderous faction happens to dislike America least. It doesn’t matter whether they’re guilty of ethnic cleansing or using mass rape as a weapon of war, so long as they’re willing to let multinationals keep plundering resources and paying people poverty wages.

In the case of KONY 2012, the local forces we are supposed to ask America to work with are the Ugandan Army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both are guilty of a wide range of human rights abuses, from kidnapping and rape to torture and murder (as well as the use of child soldiers). Uganda itself is under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni, a leader who took power in a coup, has ‘won’ several rigged elections, and enthusiastically followed the IMF and World Bank’s instructions on removing all barriers to the plundering of Uganda’s human and natural resources by western corporations.

Despite the Invisible Children’s claim that there is no economic motive for the US to hunt down Kony, Uganda and surrounding countries have large reserves of uranium and oil. Kony is clearly a criminal and would-be tyrant, but we should not allow our hatred of him and his tiny militia to be used to make us fall in line behind American imperialism and its ‘humanitarian’ interventions.

If not the USA, who?

Many people are arguing that it doesn’t matter who stops Kony – the important thing is to stop him.

If US Marines were sent to Uganda, they would not be welcomed as liberators. They would be opposed, by any means necessary, by all those who reject the ‘right’ of the imperialist nations to police the world in the interests of a super-rich elite.

Nobody fights a war for free and this makes Invisible Children’s solution a dangerous one. The response to Kony 2012 shows that people aren’t apathetic; we have the power to stop Kony, but there are thousands more like him armed, funded and protected by politicians, mining, energy and arms companies here in Britain.

Instead of demanding the US drop bombs on Africa, we should show our genuine solidarity by targetting those who profit from Uganda’s misery from the security of Britain’s shores.

We unconditionally oppose any US military action. We demand that our countries release African states from their debt-slavery, and end the sales of weapons and military material of every kind. 

We are fighting for the creation of an international working-class movement against imperialism in all its forms. We want to buid movements of solidarity and struggle which can unite the common interests of workers and poor farmers across the world.

Ending the use of child soldiers is a cause worth fighting for and we have the power to do it – but victory means fighting to abolish the system which provokes, arms and profits from war and its devastaion.

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