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 its
inability all over Africa to solve any of the problems facing the masses. It is time for a
socialist alternative, based on the democratic planning of the continent's vast resources
by the workers and peasants themselves.
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.
We publish this translation of an article that originally appeared in the last issue of La Riposte,
the Marxist journal in France. The article analyses the role of French
imperialism in the latest conflicts, and looks at the perspectives for
future French involvement in the region.
The conflict in the Western Sahara is an important question for revolutionaries in the Maghreb not only from the theoretical point of view (taking into consideration the importance Marxism gives to the right of self-determination), but also from the political and practical side of the issue (as it is impossible to carry out the tasks of the socialist revolution in the region without putting forward a clear Marxist and internationalist understanding of the national question).
Mass protests of university and school students shook the Tunisian regime in April. Some
sections of the workers, protesting against privatisation, also joined in. We have
received the following article about the situation in Tunisia toghether with an interview
with a Tunisian student activist.
Last month the dictator of Tunisia, Ben Ali, sent Sharon an invitation
to visit the country. This has provoked massive opposition from the
youth. Throughout the whole of last week, one school after another, one
campus after another, came out in protest. Many have been arrested and
badly beaten by the police. Thus Tunisia joins the long list of
unstable countries throughout the region, but because the protests are
against a regime that is a friend of US imperialism these have not made
the headlines like the events in Lebanon.
Tunisian student youth remain very defiant despite the repression
against them. The immediate reason for the spontaneous student protest
two weeks ago was dictator-president Ben Ali’s invitation to Ariel
Sharon, the butcher of the Palestinian Intifada, to visit Tunisia in
November. This invitation is becoming a focal point through which all
the social frustrations of the youth in particular are erupting.
On top of all its other anti-working class policies, the Obasanjo
regime in Nigeria
has recently introduced a new pension scheme, which is nothing other than a
privatisation of pensions, with investment funds taking over the running of
workers' pensions, funds which could collapse easily, and with no government
guarantees, leaving future pensioners destitute.
Back in February two Lagos students were killed by police as they protested against the recent hike in school fees. In some cases fees have been increased a hundred times over. This is making it practically impossible for poor and working class Nigerian children to get an education.
In March millions of Nigerian were forced to stay at home for the day
as government officials carried out a head and property count. The regime
claimed this would allow for a serious calculation of the level of unemployment
and thus allow for “job-creation” to go ahead. The operation was inefficient
and plagued by corruption. In the real world Nigerians continue to lose their
jobs, pensions, education…