Africa

A storm erupted in policy circles in South Africa after Julius Malema the leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) boldly proclaimed the need for the mining industry in South Africa to be nationalized. The demand was predicated on fulfilling the vision of the Freedom Charter, which was adopted at Kliptown in 1955 as the ‘manifesto’ of the liberation struggle. According to the Charter “The wealth of the country shall be shared among all who live in it!” (Note: the full ANC YL document on nationalisation of the mines can be read ...

The physical ill-health of the present President of Nigeria is compounding the crisis of the regime. But whoever the ruling class replace him with, the anti-worker policies will stay the same. What is required is for the Nigerian Labour Party to break with the bourgeois elements and pose as a completely independent party of the working class.

After the blow to the Nigerian economy by the sharp fall in the price of oil, due to falling demand on a global scale, now that there are signs of recovery in the advanced capitalist economies, the price of oil has been rising for some time, although not reaching anywhere near the peak of over US$140 per barrel. Thus, Nigeria is also set to grow, but all this hides the real underlying weaknesses of the Nigerian economy.

Last Thursday there was a demonstration in Chefchouan to demand the immediate release of the three young victims of the police repression in Jebha. They were arrested on January 11 following their participation in the protest movement against the deterioration of the living conditions in their village. We also ask the international youth and workers movement to keep on sending letters of protest.

A Labour Party was created in the recent period in Nigeria. This had been a long time coming, but unfortunately many renegades from various bourgeois parties have jumped on the bandwagon using the party to promote their own careers. The Marxists maintain that the party must be tightly linked to the Nigerian Labour Congress and the workers must take control of the party if it is to become the true voice of the Nigerian working class.

As a result of a mass protest against the lack of water supplies, power cuts and other problems affecting the village of Jebha (Chefchaouen) in Morocco, three leaders of the protest have been arrested. We call on all our readers to send messages of solidarity.

A Labour Party has been formed in Nigeria, but it has not received the official backing of the NLC national leadership, although trade union activists are members and work within it. Unfortunately, the present leadership is not pushing for a stronger trade union link. On the contrary, it wishes to distance the party even further from the trade unions. What is required is for the trade union movement to put its full backing behind the party and transform it into a fighting working class organisation.

Initially Nigerian so-called economic experts were denying the world crisis would affect Nigeria. Then reality hit them with a bang! There had been a frenzy of speculation, as the investors believed they could money from money, without actually producing anything. Now the financial mess is clear to all, and the only answer the ruling class has is to throw more money at the speculators, while squeezing the Nigerian masses.

The working masses and poor of South Africa overthrew the old hated Apartheid regime as a means of improving their living and working conditions. Instead what we have is a party in power, the ANC, which was created by the working masses but which is presently carrying out policies in the interests of the rich. This contradiction must be resolved and the only way is for the working people to take back control of the party they created.

Supporters of the International Marxist Tendency in Morocco have just published the first edition of their paper, The Communist. Here we provide a brief explanation of the contents and also make it available online for any reader who wishes to download it.

A militant strike has been going on of the University academic staff in Nigeria. Significantly this time they have linked up with the non-academic staff. The education system in Nigeria is in a dismal state, with the best academics leaving in droves for the advanced capitalist west. This very fact is a condemnation of the corrupt Nigerian ruling elite.

Earlier this year, in May, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria was in what amounted to a state of war, with the army bombing villages, killing many poor civilians. This article, written at the height of the events, looks into what is behind this conflict, placing it within the context of the crisis of Nigerian capitalism, the unstable nature of the present Yar’Adua government and the key product of Nigeria, crude oil.

A sizeable proportion of Nigerian workers receive pay that is nothing but a starvation wage. Today, over 75% of them live in conditions of crushing poverty, in conditions not far removed from barbarism. And yet any demand for a decent minimum wage is presented by the ruling elite as “unaffordable”, as something that would do terrible damage to the economy.

There has been much talk in Nigeria among bourgeois economists on how to “save the Naira” the country’s currency. Here a Nigerian Marxist explains how none of the policies advocated by these “experts” can work. Only by taking over the banks and the commanding heights of the economy can real control be established over monetary policy.

There is much talk of electoral reform in Nigeria, but even if a genuinely democratic procedure were put in place the workers would still be faced with a choice between parties that stand more or less for the same bourgeois interests. What is required is a party of labour. The Labour Party exists but is run by bourgeois gangsters that have hijacked it. The task is to boot these out and place the party in the hands of the workers.

Adams Oshiomhole was last year declared the rightful winner of the gubernatorial elections in Edo state. He is a very popular figure, having been for years the general secretary of the NLC (Nigerian Labour Congress). But instead of standing for Labour he stood on a bourgeois ticket. Many hopes were placed in him, but what has he achieved so far in the state he now governs?

The entire land redistribution programme in South Africa is being bedevilled by a mixture of feudalist and capitalist land rights, with the liberal constitution of the country protecting private property as a 'right', while the majority black African population not having private property in land, still being subject of a pre-colonial property dispensation that came to be entrenched under Apartheid.

The National Union of Mine Workers of South Africa today marched on the Reserve Bank of South Africa to deliver a memo protesting the conservative monetary and fiscal policies of the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank Governor Toto Mboweni refused to receive the memo from the protesting workers. After hours of waiting outside the SARB, the protesters broke down a police barrier and threatened to storm into the bank.

Nigeria is an oil-rich country and yet its people live in absolute poverty. A small privileged elite profits from the oil industry, stashing away their ill-gotten gains and do not use this oil wealth to improve living conditions for the masses. Now they want to worsen things with deregulation. The only answer is nationalisation and planning of the resources under workers' control.

The workers and poor of South Africa voted massively for an ANC that had been purged of its right wing. Now that the ANC is once more in office, the bourgeois – having failed to stop this – are putting enormous pressure on its leaders to steer away from any radical pro-worker policies. What is required is a struggle within the South African labour movement to anchor its organisations to genuine socialist policies.


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Today South Africans are going to the polls. The elections come after the December 2008 Pholokwane Conference of the ANC, where the Mbeki-led right-wing clique was resoundingly defeated, breaking away to form the Congress of the People, while the new Zuma leadership took over. For years workers in South Africa have waited for the "second stage" of the South African revolution that never materialised. It is about time the socialist agenda were taken up again by the ANC!

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Scenes of innocent people being killed at the hands of the police are becoming ever more common in Nigeria. Here a Nigerian Marxist links this phenomenon to the ever deeper senile decay of capitalism.

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Most Nigerian workers earn miserably low wages. The present minimum wage is set at 5,200 Naira (US$36) per month. The workers have now raised the demand for a 52,000 Naira (US$360) minimum wage, still low compared to international standards, and yet the Nigerian elite complain that this will damage the economy!

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We publish here an interview with Hosam Benhamza, a Moroccan Marxist. He is talking about how young people and workers in Morocco reacted to the attack against Gaza by organising massive demonstrations in a lot of cities and villages all over Morocco.

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We publish this impressive video of a school students' demo against the Israeli imperialist aggression in Gaza. It illustrates well the sea change in the consciousness of young people in the Arab world, in Morocco in particular.

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Not so long ago Nigerian economists were claiming Nigeria would be immune from the world financial meltdown. Now the Nigerian economy is being hit very hard as the world economy is pushed more and more into recession. The dramatic fall in the price of oil is having a devastating impact on Nigeria's finances and the coming period will see this translated into even greater suffering for the working masses.

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The present Yar'Adua administration in Nigeria elaborated a so-called "Seven Point Agenda" as it came into office. None of its goals have been achieved and will not be achieved on the basis of the present capitalist economic set up.

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The crisis in Nigeria is affecting all layers of society. Significantly the Lagos doctors have taken a decision to embark on militant strike action for better wages, but also better and cleaner working conditions.

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The barbaric attack of Israeli forces on the people of Gaza has provoked widespread mass opposition within the Arab world. Here we provide a brief report on youth mobilisations in Morocco, where the Marxists have intervened connecting well with the militant youth.

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Just a few months ago all the talk was of Nigeria avoiding the effects of the world crisis of capitalism, the idea being that the local economy was not as integrated into the world financial markets as the more advanced economies. Then suddenly things started to change...

As food prices soar world-wide it was reported recently on the BBC that ‘Ethiopia has launched an urgent appeal to international donors for more than $300m (£154m) of emergency aid’. According the news item, ‘a total of 4.6 million people are now thought to need food aid’.


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A major teachers' strike has broken out in Nigeria over the question of a Teachers' Salary Scale. What is significant is that 88% of the population is backing the strike. This fact alone reveals the real feelings of the Nigerian working class and poor masses. It reveals the potential for a much wider movement involving the whole of the working class.

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A huge protest movement has erupted in the mining area of Gafsa in Tunisia, and it is spreading. An enormous gulf has opened up between an exasperated people and the authorities. The response of the Ben Ali regime has been brutal repression with some workers being killed.

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There has been brutal repression of the workers in Sidi Ifni in Morocco. At least seven protestors have been killed by the police. Please raise a protest, write to the Moroccan authorities and take this issue up with your local Moroccan embassy/consulate.

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Nigeria, like all countries, is being affected by the sharp increase in food prices. Now the government, floating on the huge amounts of petrodollars coming into the country, has ordered 500,000 tons of rice to flood the Nigerian market in an attempt to get the price down. But will this solve the problem?

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The recent barbaric events in some of the poorest townships of South Africa highlight the dramatic situation that is developing in the country. The ANC leaders have sold out the cause the masses struggled for so many years. Apartheid was brought down but not the system that spawned it. There is an unfinished task to accomplish.

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In spite of the bulk of the population being employed in agriculture, the main source of revenue for the Nigerian state is the export of oil. At the moment a lot of money is coming in, and yet poverty and income inequality have never been so high. When the US recession finally hits Nigeria it will have a tremendous impact on the political life of the country.

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According to official figures Nigeria is booming, thanks mainly to the sky-high price of oil. And yet poverty levels are increasing and the gap between rich and poor has never been so high. There is a lot of talk of boom, but more and more people are literally becoming hungry, some on the verge of starvation.

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This year's May Day rallies in Morocco revealed a more militant mood and where the Marxists intervened they received a huge welcome from the workers.

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May Day in Nigeria this year came after a series of rotten deals between the trade union leaders and the bosses in many companies. That explains why the turn-out was not as high as in previous years. In spite of this, the union leaders came under such pressure that they have been forced to call a day of action for May 8.

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Last year's elections in Nigeria saw fraud on a scale never seen before. This has severely undermined the authority of the government in the eyes of the masses, so much so that the judiciary are now overturning some of the results. This has led to illusions that the judiciary is now a friend of democracy and even "revolutionary". Nothing could be further from the truth.

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The present impasse in Zimbabwe is a direct result of the so-called Structural Adjustment Plans so dear to imperialism, imposed on the Zimbabwean people in collaboration with Mugabe after he came to power. Now they have turned against him, but he is a creature of their own making.

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This article, written this summer, highlights the material and human devastation provoked by the oil barons in Nigeria. They have sucked out billions of dollars from the Niger Delta region without any benefit accruing to the poor masses that inhabit the regions. That explains the violence and constant conflict. It is an utter condemnation of the Nigerian bourgeoisie that is totally incapable of solving any of the pressing problems facing the masses.

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At the beginning of November, the Marxists in the Moroccan student union UNEM organised a political drive towards this year’s new intake of university students. Here you can read extracts of a remarkable report.

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Once again, just as the general strike was starting to have an effect, the leaders of the Nigerian trade unions called it off. The regime was on its knees, but it has survived thanks to the unwillingness of the trade union leaders to go all the way. It highlights the need for a genuine fighting leadership. The Marxists can play an important role in building this.

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The contradictions and tensions in Nigerian society have exploded and the class struggle is back firmly on the agenda. Nationwide strike action has been called to battle government proposals to raise petrol prices, increase the VAT, and sell two state-owned refineries. After two days of solid support for the strike, the struggle continues.