Africa

Nigerian workers joined their brothers and sisters throughout the world to celebrate Workers’ Day on May 1st. In Lagos State, the celebration was held at Onikan Stadium. Workers trooped into the stadium en masse to mark the day. However, they had a surprise coming, with the newly elected State Governor giving them a lecture about how increases in workers’ wages cause inflation!

The political drama that unfolded with the April 2011 general elections turned out to be all revealing about the real nature and the deceit of the various sections of the Nigerian ruling class; and more obvious was the lack of genuine political alternative to the present rot in society, which a number of critical voters unconsciously sought during the elections.

Yesterday, a bomb killed 16 people at the historic centre of Marrakesh. Most of the people killed were sitting in a café overlooking Marrakesh's Jamaa el-Fnaa square, a place that is often packed with foreign tourists.

The Moroccan regime is treading very carefully, doing everything to avoid situations that could lead to confrontations between the revolutionary youth and the forces of state repression, but the movement keep getting stronger. It was in this situation that the Moroccan Marxists of the LAC gathered for their first Spring Marxist School.

The French army has bombed the residence of Laurent Gbagbo, to "protect civilians" we are told. One is struck by the wide variety of means used to achieve this so-called “humanitarian” objective!

On Saturday, April 9, the Pretoria Central branch of the South African Young Communist League held a political seminar and a memorial session on the anniversary of the death of the South African Communist leader Chris Hani, where two speakers addressed the gathering, Leon Wiitboi, the branch secretary and Ali Nooshini of the International Marxist Tendency.

We provide a brief historical outline of the development of the Gaddafi regime from the bourgeois Arab nationalism of the early days, to the period of so-called Islamic socialism, to the recent period of opening up to foreign investment, with major concessions to multinational corporations and the beginnings of widespread privatisations.

What started as a genuine revolution against Gaddafi, has been taken over by reactionary bourgeois elements. In the Interim Council, and now the newly formed Interim Government, direct representatives of imperialist interests have been promoted to leading positions.

A new momentum has been reached by the protest movement in Morocco. The call for a new Day of Action on March 20 was a test. Would the King’s shadowy reforms succeed in demobilising the masses or on the contrary push the movement forward? As we predicted the latter happened. Possibly twice as many people came out on the streets than a month earlier.

On Saturday afternoon French warplanes were the first to bomb Libya, in what one can only describe as open imperialist aggression. This was followed by US and UK ships and submarines launching 110 Tomahawk Cruise missiles. The French are strengthening their position by sending their Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier into waters off the Libyan coast.

Yesterday the United Nations Security Council voted by 10 votes in favour against 5 abstentions to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The resolution authorises UN member states "to take all necessary measures... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory".

After taking one town after another in the early days of the Libyan revolution, now the insurgents are having to come to terms with the fact that Gaddafi has managed to hold together a significant section of his special security forces and is hitting back. How does one explain this dramatic turnaround?

Three weeks after the first Day of Rage in Morocco, King Mohamed VI made a surprise speech on television. He delivered a message promising ‘constitutional reform’. Fear of protracted revolutionary turbulence and even of the risk of being toppled seems to have gripped the regime.

The revolutions unfolding in North Africa and the Middle East are having an impact well beyond the Arab world. In Nigeria too, the effects are being felt. Here we publish a comment by a Nigerian Marxist on what lessons can be drawn from these events for workers in Nigeria.

On Monday, March 7, Tunisia’s new prime minister Béji Caïd el Sebsi announced the composition of his government, the third since the overthrow of Ben Ali by the revolutionary uprising of the people on January 14. Essebi himself only came to power on February 27, after the resignation of Mohamed Ghannouchi, who had been Ben Ali’s prime minister and continued in the same role after his overthrow.

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