Wole Soyinka is a prominent Nigerian playwright, and in 1986, he became the first African writer ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In October 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region radio studios and using them to publicly dispute the published results of the recent elections, but in December of the same year, he was acquitted. Didi Cheeka of the Workers' Alternative Editorial Board looks at the ideas and works of this well known writer.

In May 1997 Kabila came to power in the former Zaire (which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo), ousting dictator Mobutu. The US diplomacy was euphoric. They now had a string of "client" regimes which included Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, the DR of Congo and also a great deal of South Africa's foreign policy in the region was dictated by Washington. But many things have happened since. At least nine African countries have become involved in the Congo conflict which broke out on August 2. What is the meaning of the conflict in the DR of Congo?

Phineas Malapela, member of the Executive of the Anti-Privatisation Forum and member of the Vaal Working Class Communities Co-ordinating Committee spoke to In Defence of Marxism before the recent October 1-2 general strike in South Africa. He explains the devastating effects of the privatisation policies of the ANC government on ordinary working class people in South Africa and explains how people are organising to defend themselves.

When King Hassan II died at the end of the last century all expectations of change were concentrated in the figure of his son Mohammed VI. Fascination grew over this young and apparently modern monarch who announced he would transform his country, establish the rule of law and lead it successfully into the 21st century. Expectations were running high. Only one year after his arrival, the royal reform movement stalled - the alliance of the Throne and the socialists has not delivered the results the masses had hoped and waited for. This is a recipe for future explosions in the class struggle.

Education, universally, has evidently proven itself to be the sine qua non to the development, progress and advancement of a nation. As a result of this, it plays a pivotal role in the development, progress and advancement of all other sectors of the social, political and economic enclave of such a nation. Pathetically however, despite this indisputable fact, the story of education continues, day-in and day-out, to remain one of tragedy in Nigeria. Education, particularly (though not singularly) tertiary education, continually suffers from abject neglect by the Nigerian ruling class, which starves the tertiary institutions of funds. According to a UNESCO report, the average budgetary allocation to education in sub-Saharan Africa is 21%; Nigeria’s record is less than 9%! This compels the authorities of such institutions to charge the students all kinds of exorbitant and obnoxious fees.

The crisis in the Nigerian pension scheme can be best appreciated when one has a graphic view of the inhuman and highly degrading conditions pensioners have been subjected to. It is either a case of non-payment of pensions and gratuity, or the creation of undue bottlenecks to frustrate and kill pensioners. They are constantly to go for worthless “identification parades”, and “verification exercises”, tortured in long queues, receive insults from dubious government officials or their servants, etc. The following examples show what the situation is.

Today is the fourth day of the Nigerian Labour Congress’ four-day warning general strike. However, the strike may be resumed on Monday after the police have killed, arrested and beaten workers and trade union leaders. The general strike is posing the question of power, but the union leaders refuse to call for the downfall of the government.

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