Over recent months, the dramatic plight of the peoples of the Darfur province of western Sudan has received a great deal of attention from western governments, politicians, journalists and newscasters. Unfortunately, there is nothing exceptional about the situation in Darfur. Throughout the underdeveloped world, and particularly in Africa, starvation, mass displacement of populations, torture, rape, pillage and massacres are commonplace.

"It's a great pity that Botswana always either receives no coverage or receives coverage which paints a false rosy picture of the so-called 'success story' by World Bank standards" This letter from a Botswanan comrade tries to give a different perspective.

We have received the following solidarity appeal from the Swaziland Solidarity Network. Swaziland has been under state of emergency since 1973. In the last few days a number of leading activists of the Swaziland Youth Congress have been arrested and tortured. In protest a group of trade unionists and left activists have now occupied the US embassy in the capital. We appeal to all labour movement, youth and left-wing activists to express their solidarity with the Swazi comrades and protest against the repressive actions of the regime.

It is important that we view the situation in Sierra Leone from its roots, i.e. from neo-colonial independence. The current civil war is a confirmation of the impasse capitalism has landed the country in. It is a reflection of the total failure of neo-colonial capitalism. All it can guarantee in the long run, unless the workers take power, is barbarism.

Sierra Leone is a very rich country in diamonds and bloodshed. The reason for the protracted civil war tearing Sierra Leone apart is the legacy of British colonialism and the struggle by the ruling cliques to rob the country's wealth.

Capitalism can't be blamed for the weather, but the disaster which hit this impoverished country has been made a thousand times worse by their inability to do anything that isn't profit motivated. The price of lives is weighed up against what they can buy and how they can be used.

All the world media have turned their attention to Zimbabwe in recent months since landless peasants started occupying white-owned big commercial farms. The press has unleashed a hysterical campaign against those land occupations which they depict as illegal and violent. They completely ignore the responsibility of capitalism and imperialism for robbing the land of the black peasants and pushing them into utter poverty. How do the white settlers dare to say those lands are theirs! When they robbed the lands of the blacks peasants they used all the violent means of repression possible.

This document was written by Zimbabwean socialists in 1985 and deals in detail with the history of the struggle against colonialism, the character of the Mugabe regime and the tasks facing socialists in Zimbabwe at that time. We have decided to republish it here to give revolutionary activists in Southern Africa and in the rest of the world a better understanding of the background to the current crisis.

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.

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