Africa

The huge demonstration on 1 November marks a high point for the Algerian Hirak movement, which has been going on for an uninterrupted 37 weeks. The regime has decided to call for presidential elections on 12 December, which the masses have correctly rejected. The slogan of a general strike to stop the elections and force the ousting of the regime is gaining ground.

The 1995 FIFA Player of the year, George M. Weah, has been in power for just a year and a half; and Liberia, often referred to as the “oldest independent African nation”, is suffering from severe austerity. The yoke of capitalism—neo-colonialism, imperialism, corruption and exploitation—has become an overwhelming burden resting on the shoulders of the worker and peasant masses of Liberian society, to such an extent that the soccer legend’s short presidency seems more like a decade.

A few months ago, Nigeria was thrown into one of the deepest socio-religious controversies ever when Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer and wife of singer Timi Dakolo, accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, senior pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) of raping her on two different occasions when she was 16 years old. The accusation, in an explosive interview she granted YNaija, was released on social and mass media via four separate videos on 28 June 2019.

The first round of the Tunisian presidential elections on 15 September, described as an “electoral insurrection,” was a heavy blow against all the parties that have in one way or another ruled the country since the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali in 2011. Nearly nine years later, none of the social and economic problems that sparked the revolution have been addressed. This was expressed through increased abstention (turnout was only 45 percent, 18 points lower than in 2014) and two “outsiders” going on to the second round, despite one of them being jailed for tax evasion during the campaign.

Since the death of Robert Mugabe last Friday, Western media outlets have been falling over themselves to show their distaste for the former dictator. What is not reported is that, for most of his 37-year rule, Mugabe was the darling of the West. As long as he was faithfully implementing the policies of Western imperialism, they propped up his regime and turned a blind eye to his atrocities. But that is all forgotten today, and Mugabe is portrayed as having mercilessly persecuted his opponents and ruined his country single-handedly.

On Saturday 27 July, the African Action Congress (AAC), led by former presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore, called Nigerians to a revolution, to take place on 5 August. This has predictably gained the attention of the ruling class as well as a layer of radicalised youth.

Last night, a power sharing agreement was reached between the Transitional Military Council (TMC), the military junta currently in power, and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which includes the main leaders of the revolutionary movement that erupted last December.

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of workers, peasants and poor took to the streets throughout Sudan to protest against the vicious rule of the Junta organised in the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

18 comrades from Lagos, Ibadan and Ekiti gathered at the Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Lagos state, on Saturday and Sunday 15-16 June for the national congress of the Campaign for Workers’ and Youth Alternative – the Nigerian section of International Marxist Tendency (IMT). Comrades arrived with a lot of enthusiasm, which reflected the radical change in the situation in the country.

The spark of 7 June has ignited the contradictions in Liberian society. The massive mobilisation of the masses last Friday was a slap in the face for the cynics who argued that the Liberian people would continue to blithely accept the rotten status quo without acting to change the course of history. But nothing is stagnant: everything is in constant flux and subject to change. So too is the consciousness of the Liberian masses.

The Sudanese Revolution has been an inspiration to workers, women and youth around the world. The women in particular have revealed tremendous revolutionary potential. All that was progressive in Sudanese society emerged to show the world that society can be changed. But there was also a darker side and this has now reared its ugly head in the most brutal manner possible. Why is this happening?

Sunday 19 May marked a new turning point in the Algerian Revolution, which is still growing day by day, when tens of thousands of students hit the streets of Algiers calling for a real change.

The Sudanese Revolution entered a new stage after carrying out a powerful general strike, which paralysed the whole country on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The organisers are demanding that the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which usurped power in April, cede power to a civilian-led government, which is to be installed.

Algerian Workers' Party (PT) President, Louisa Hanoune, was arrested by a military court charged with conspiracy against the state and military authorities. Louisa appeared in court as a "witness" to a lawsuit concerning the former president's brother and, after giving her testimony, was jailed. The accusation of "conspiracy" or "rebellion" is fanciful, as millions of Algerians, every week, protest against the continuation of the military regime. In addition to Louisa, who has been imprisoned since 9 May, Hadj Ghermoud, a human rights activist, has also been in custody since January. Dozens of activists are being threatened and arrested in Algeria.

Negotiations between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and representatives of the revolutionary movement in Sudan have been suspended. They should never have happened in the first place. Now is the time for the Sudanese workers to go on the offensive.

Election results can provide an important barometer of the mood in society. The results of the Sixth National and Provincial elections on 8 May confirm that there is a deep ferment in South African society. The sharp drop in voter turnout, together with the high abstention from the election process, especially by the youth, meant that, for the first time ever, a minority of the voting-age population voted in the elections. This is highly significant in a country where the working class conquered the right to vote from the ruling class only 25 years ago.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

Libya is gripped by civil war. General Haftar has launched an offensive to oust President Fayez al-Serraj and his Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the UN. The offensive began on the same day that the General Secretary of the UN, António Guterres, arrived in Tripoli to secure a national reconciliation conference, scheduled on 14 April. His visit was useless, as the UN has been in Libya since 2011.

The removal of Sudan’s former dictator, Omar al-Bashir, on 11 April did not spell the end of the Sudanese Revolution. On the contrary, far from meeting the main demands of the revolution, the army power grab is an attempt to disorientate the masses and steal their accomplishment. However, the masses are not letting go of their hard-earned victory that easily.

After the removal of the now former President Omar al-Bashir from power yesterday by the military, the people of Sudan remain on the streets. They are rejecting the curfew and military transitional council led by Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, the former First Vice President of Sudan. Yesterday, in response to the new transitional government formed by the regime old guard, chants could be heard saying “We won’t replace Koaz [An Islamist leader - ed] by another, Ibn Auf we will crush you, we are the generation that will not be fooled” and "the revolution has only just begun".

Yesterday, 11 April, on the back of a revolutionary movement that has lasted for more than four months, the Sudanese people have overthrown General Omar al-Bashir. The overthrow of Bashir, a man who had ruled Sudan with an iron fist for thirty years, is an important victory, not only for the Sudanese people, but for the whole region. However, it is important that this be only the first step in a revolutionary process, which must end with the overthrow of the regime as a whole.

After almost three decades in power, Omar al-Bashir has been ousted as president of Sudan by popular protests. The masses have come onto the streets in what can only be described as a revolutionary movement, although one without clear leadership or demands. Bashir himself has been arrested and is being “kept in a safe place” by the military.

Late last Friday (5 April), the Casablanca Court of Appeal upheld the verdicts handed down by the Court of First Instance on Tuesday 26 June 2018 against detainees from the Rif movement, and the journalist Hamid Mehdaoui. Collectively, the defendants will face sentences of more than 300 years, including 20 years for four detainees, 15 years for three, 10 for seven, and so forth.

Since the start of the academic year, there has once again been a major upsurge of mass protests at nearly all universities in South Africa. These protests are a continuation of the mass movement in the universities in 2015 around the issues of affordability of higher education.

Algerians poured onto the streets in celebration yesterday night, after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation. This comes after one-and-a-half months of mass protests against his rule. But this alone will not solve anything, and the masses are now calling for the downfall of the whole regime.

On Tuesday (26 March), the old general, Gaid Saleh, appeared again on Algerian state television to read a statement, with great difficulty and many errors. He was keen to start, as usual, by warning the Algerian people that their protests “might be exploited by hostile local and external forces, which resort to suspicious manoeuvres aimed at destabilising the country”, without specifying who these forces are.

As strikes get underway throughout Algeria, the ruling class is yet again retreating in the face of the revolutionary masses. More and more top officials are calling for the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The revolutionary movement in Algeria is keeping up its momentum as the regime begins to crumble. Millions of people took to the streets again on Friday 22 March and a new general strike movement is developing, which could bring down the whole rotten regime.

Yesterday, millions of Algerians took to the streets for the fourth consecutive Friday to protest against the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika. According to initial accounts, the protests were even bigger than the record protests that shook the regime last Friday (8 March). Long accustomed to carrying out all of its crimes with impunity, the regime is now being forced to realise that the revolutionary masses are not going to give up easily.

Yesterday evening, the streets of Algeria erupted with joy after the announcement that the hated, de facto dictator-for-life was withdrawing from the presidential election scheduled for April. “No fifth term for Bouteflika!” was the rallying cry of the masses for weeks. Now it seems that they have achieved their goal.

Algeria, the sleeping giant of the Arab world, has awoken. In a country where open dissent was rare, tens of thousands have taken to the streets across the country, demanding an end to decades of despotism. This, in a country where street protests have been illegal for decades. What is behind this recent turn of events?

In the aftermath of recent elections in Cameroon, instability has increased, with a factional struggle opening up between different sections of the ruling class. President Paul Biya of the ruling CPDM, who retained power in 2018, has ramped up political repression, arresting opposition leader Maurice Kamto and intensifying his suppression of the country’s Anglophone minority.

The recent Nigerian elections reveal how discredited the two parties of the establishment have become after 20 years of bourgeois ‘democracy’, laying bare the ruling elite’s inability to solve any of the fundamental problems of society. While the APC has almost exhausted the overwhelming goodwill it enjoyed during its initial entry onto the stage, the PDP has equally proven incapable of overcoming the shock it received when it was booted out of power in 2015.

Nigerians woke up on Saturday, 16 February 2019, to the shocking news of the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, scheduled for that day. But what class interests lay behind this decision? The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement a few hours before the opening of the polls. This was after he had been repeatedly assuring Nigerians and international observers that the elections were going ahead.

On 12 February, over 100 workers and Marxist supporters gathered at the conference hall of the Federal Secretariat of Ibadan, Oyo State, for a symposium organised by the Campaign for a Workers’ Alternative (CWA), the Nigerian Section of the International Marxist Tendency, entitled “Minimum wage and the workers’ struggle for power: beyond 2019”. The symposium invited eight lead speakers, out of which six eventually made it. The Oyo State TUC Chairman and the NLC Chairman could not attend due to an impromptu meeting called by the Governor of the State, which required their presence.

On 25 January 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen from office, and immediately swore in the most senior Supreme Court Justice, Justice Ibrahim Muhammed, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. According to President Muhammodu Buhari, the act was his way of executing an order ‘ex-parte’ of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which was granted on 23 January 2019.

Trotsky wrote in the Transitional Programme: “The capitalists are tobogganing towards disaster with their eyes closed.” Today in Nigeria, we can make a simple modification to this assertion that the Nigerian ruling elites are tobogganing towards disaster with their eyes wide open. They can see what is happening, they can see what is coming, but they can do absolutely nothing to prevent it.

On Tuesday, 29 January 2019, the MAP (Maghreb Arabe Presse) announced that the Kingdom of Morocco expressed its official support for Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela. By doing so, Morocco became the first country in all of Africa and the second in the Middle East to express its support for the American-backed coup against the democratically elected President Maduro. Israel (headed by the child-murderer Netanyahu) has also recognised Guaido as a "legitimate president", just because he declared himself so.

Zimbabwe is again moving in the direction of a social explosion. Over the last few days, mass protests against new austerity measures have spontaneously grown over into a general strike against the government. The strike was formally announced to last for 72 hours – from Monday to Wednesday – but as we write these lines, it is in effect still ongoing.

When the Abacha dictatorship in Nigeria (1993-98) was facing collapse, the Nigerian elite, backed and advised by imperialism, prepared the ground for a transition to a bourgeois democratic regime. The various presidents, from Obasanjo to Buhari today, have run corrupt regimes, doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian masses, while enriching themselves and their cronies in the process.

A forensic report by investigators appointed by the South African Reserve Bank into the collapse of the Limpopo-based VBS Bank has confirmed “one of the biggest bank frauds that we’ve seen in South Africa”. Over a period of three years, nearly 2 billion rand of poor people’s money was stolen. The report has identified at least 53 individuals who, through various schemes, benefited from a combined 1.89 billion rand between 2015 and 2018.

On 22 October (weeks after the polls opened on 7 October), it was finally confirmed that 85-year-old President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, will serve another term in office. Voter turnout was very low; and in the urban centres of Douala and Yaoundé, the leadership of the working class was nowhere to be seen – despite widespread hatred of the Biya regime. Moreover, violent unrest in the Anglophone regions made any kind of democratic process there impossible, and tit-for-tat skirmishes between state troops and separatists have aroused fears of a new civil war that could plunge the country into barbarism.

Monday 1 October marked the one-year anniversary of the declaration of independence by anglophone separatists in the southwest of Cameroon, when they announced the birth of a new nation: Ambazonia. That declaration of independence provoked a brutal clampdown by the Cameroonian government, leading to hundreds of civilians and dozens of members of the security forces being killed over the past year.

On Friday 14 September, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his much-awaited economic stimulus package, which is supposed to “kick-start” the sluggish economy and “ignite” growth. With the economy back in recession and the support for the ANC at a record low seven months before the next general elections, Ramaphosa has to move quickly to prevent the party losing its majority, which would usher in a new period of instability in the form of coalition politics.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday suspended its general strike on its fourth day, after the government agreed to meet the unions on October 4-5 to discuss an increase in the minimum wage. The call for the strike had surprised the union leaders themselves, who had not expected such a massive response. Now they are doing everything to demobilise.

Over the last week, some sections of the ruling class have changed their tune about the debate around land expropriation without compensation in South Africa. The rabidly conservative and far-right Afrikaner groups such as Afriforum, which were given a strong voice in the mainstream media at the beginning of the debate, are increasingly being squeezed out by the big capitalists.

Two weeks ago, British Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on a three-day jaunt across Africa, visiting South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The purpose of May’s whistle stop tour (aside from showcasing her inimitable dance moves) was to strike up post-Brexit trade relations with Africa’s “emerging economies”. The visit was a cringe worthy affair that saw May shuffle awkwardly from one public relations blunder to the next, and it highlighted the decline of British imperialism and the crisis facing the capitalist class as the Brexit cliffedge looms.