Africa

The National Question in Nigeria is probably one of the most complicated in the world - with over 120 languages spoken, three main ethnic groups, none of which constitutes a majority of the population, and the religious divide between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Over the past few years thousands of people have been killed in ethnic clashes. Unless the working class can offer a way out, Nigeria could be dragged into a bloodbath of barbaric proportions. Here we are publishing a collection of articles from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative, concerning this question.

Recently we received a request from an SACP activist for our comments on the exchange of letters between an SACP leader and an ANC leader that were published in the SACP quarterly journal, the African Communist. Quotes from Marx and Lenin were used to justify the pro-capitalist policies of the government. Jordi Martorell sets the record straight by explaining what Marx and Lenin really stood for.

This was the editorial from the first edition of the Nigerian Marxist paper, the Workers' Alternative which was launched in October, 1998.

The regime headed by Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria prides itself at being "democratic". Recently it was involved in passing judgement on the electoral process in Zimbabwe. But behind the democratic façade hides the same old despotic regime of the military that governed Nigeria for many years in the past. At the University of Ilorin, a leading student activist, Tosin Akinrogunde, has been expelled for protesting against the sacking of teachers who were involved in a strike in 2001. During his long history of student union activity he has been expelled several times, and in 1999 was also arrested and imprisoned for five weeks. This case will go to court and will incur legal...

Jordi Martorell reviews this new book by Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya. It traces the economic history of Zimbabwe over the last 100 years but pays special attention to the last 20 years since the coming to power of Zanu-PF. But while they make a damning condemnation of the IMF and their policies that have wrecked the Zimbabwean economy, the authors are proposing reformist solutions of tariff barriers and exchange controls, which will not solve the main problem which is the over-exploitation of the workforce. There is no way forward on a capitalist basis.

87 people were arrested on Saturday April 6 at a protest outside the house of Johannesburg's mayor, Amos Masondo, in South Africa. The protest was against the practices of the privatised South African electricity company ESKOM, which has been disconnecting users who cannot afford to pay their bills. It was organised by the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (SECC) which has trained activists in how to reconnect people's power supplies.

This is another editorial from the Workers' Alternative, written at the time of the transition from the previous military dictatorship to the present civilian regime. At that time there were many illusions in so-called "democracy", as people hoped it would rectify the dire economic situation. We are republishing it now, as we believe it is as relevant now as when it was first published. (June, 1999)

We are pleased to announce the publication on the internet of Richard Monroe's history of the ANC movement. This pamphlet, written in the 1980s, deals extensively with the struggles of the 1950s and the tactics adopted by the middle-class ANC leaders, who favoured negotiations with the "progressive" section of the capitalists. It was originally printed in issue 13 of Inqaba ya Basebenzi ("Workers' Fortress"), the publication of the Marxist Workers' Tendency of the African National Congress in March 1984. Now we have an ANC government in power which is pursuing capitalist policies, and we have new layers of workers moving into...

The Western imperialists were very quick to brand the recent elections in Zimbabwe undemocratic, but there is no shortage of undemocratic and rigged elections in the African continent. Jordi Martorell takes a timely look at the history of the country since independence in 1980; its relations with the IMF, and why the imperialists have switched their support from Zanu-PF to the MDC. He says the main lesson to be drawn from the history of Zimbabwe in the last 20 years is precisely that genuine national liberation cannot be achieved simply by winning formal independence and democratic rights, but only by the overthrow of the capitalist system itself. Capitalism has sufficiently proven...

Nigeria is facing the worst crisis in its history. So-called "democracy" has not improved the lot of the Nigerian masses. Manufacturing industry is in a state of collapse. And now the financial sector is also on the brink. In the past two years we have seen two general strikes and practically every section of the Nigerian working class has taken part in strike activity. Even the police has been out on strike and built its own union. And now there are rumours of a mutiny among the soldiers. Nigeria is facing an Argentine-type scenario. From the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative.

We have received this report about the brutal repression at Sidi Ben Abdellah University last May which left 4 students dead. The news about these clashes have not been reported anywhere outside Morocco and the Moroccan press has given an extremely biased version of them. We urge our readers to express solidarity and spread the news of what actually happened.

The United Nations has betrayed the Saharawi people once again. After ten years of promising a referendum on self-determination, they have now dropped this plan altoghether and are proposing limited autonomy. We publish here an article from the Spanish Marxist paper El Militante written just before the latest developments. The author argues that the Saharawis will find their best allies in the Moroccan workers and youth in their common struggle against the hated Moroccan monarchy and for a Socialist Federation of the Maghreb. (J.J. Catala, June 2001) Also in Spanish:...

AIDS ACTION recently staged a successful march in Durban against pharmaceutical company Merck over its part in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations Court action against the South African government. Pravasan Pillay, an AIDS ACTION activist, charts the genesis of the March Against Merck.

Nearly 40 South African pharmaceutical companies are taking the South African government to court in order to defend their massive profits, even if this means the death of millions of people who are HIV positive. The case opened at the Pretoria High Court on March 5th. This article examines how the profit motive of the pharmaceutical multinationals prevails over the lives of millions of people.
Join us