Africa

On Tuesday, 1 July, hundreds of thousands of metalworkers went out on strike in the engineering and metals sectors, bringing the industry to a complete standstill. The strike involves small, medium and large companies, with more than 220,000 workers at about 10,500 workplaces. Some of the big companies that are affected includes Bell Equipment, Dorbyl, Murray and Roberts, Scaw Metals and Reunert.

The longest strike in South Africa’s history has ended. For nearly five long months, platinum miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) held out against the arrogance and intransigence of the platinum mine bosses. On Thursday the business press  broke  the news that an “in principle agreement” had been reached between the platinum mines and the union. The markets and the national  currency made strong gains in response. On the same day the workers indicated at mass rallies in Rustenburg that they would accept the latest offer of the mining houses. The companies and the union are expected to sign the agreement soon.

In 1998 a number of students were arrested at the University of Ilorin for organising protests against hikes in student fees. They were held in prison for over a month and this website campaigned for their release at the time. One of the students involved in that struggle was Rasheedat Adeshina, a leader of the student union. The price she paid for daring to protest was that although she passed all her exams brilliantly, her degree certificate was never released by the authorities. It has taken 14 years, but finally she has won.

The abduction by the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram group of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in the north of the country and the way the Nigerian government has reacted to it has highlighted the truly corrupt nature of the regime. It has revealed its utter cynicism in the face of the real suffering of the masses.

An explosive situation is once again building up in the platinum belt around Rustenburg, as a four month old strike over wages by 70,000 miners has seen the dramatic escalation of tensions in the last few days. Just in the last few hours the state has dispatched the army to assist the already large police contingent in a desperate attempt to break the strike.

The dramatic events that have unfolded in this country in the past few weeks – among them the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – confirm more than ever the complete impotence of the inept and extremely corrupt Nigerian ruling class, and also the rottenness of the country's armed forces, in the face of the insurgency.

The the South African national elections of 7 May resulted in a clear victory to the African National Congress. However beneath the surface the mood is one of anger and disillusionment with the corrupt right-wing leadership of the party through which the masses overthrew the Apartheid regime.

On May 7th, South Africa will hold the 5th national and provincial elections to take place since the downfall of apartheid. This year marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. However, the elections are not marked by a jubilant mood. The past few years have seen a very sharp increase in the class struggle. At the same time the political establishment is stumbling from one crisis to another. This is a reflection of the sick nature of capitalism.

A group of ANC veterans led by anti-apartheid stalwart Ronnie Kasrils are urging disgruntled ANC voters, rather than staying home, to either spoil their ballots at the May 7 elections or tactically vote for some of the small opposition parties. They are unhappy with their political home, but don’t have an alternative. The veterans are urging voters to spoil their paper rather than abstain because, in their view, this will send a clear message to the politicians.

On Friday 4 March, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the metal union NUMSA’s and Zwelinzima Vavi’s application for the latter’s suspension as COSATU general secretary to be lifted. Vavi had been illegally suspended as the federation’s General Secretary on 14 August 2013.

On February 27, 2014, the Boko Haram sect entered into a Federal Government Secondary school in Yobe and massacred over 60 harmless and innocent school children in their sleep.  It was reported that the army stationed to protect the young students walked away from the gate a few minutes before the attack took place.

Yesterday, 19 March 2014, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) held a one-day strike and national day of action to denounce the policies of the African National Congress (ANC) government which it accuse of “subsidizing capitalists” with tax payers’ money.

The crude dismissal of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido by the Goodluck regime on February 20 shocked many. It is technically a dismissal in spite of the claim of suspension pending investigation. The overwhelming majority can clearly see that this is the price for blowing the whistle on the massive looting taking place in the oil sector and an intensification of the intra-class conflicts going on within the Nigerian ruling class.

The term revolution is probably one of the most popular terms among the Nigerian masses and youth today. Clearly, revolution is most desired by the masses in the face of undue and unbearable hardship. Even key members of the Nigerian ruling class use the term revolution intermittently to warn themselves of the inevitable consequences of their recklessness and degeneration.

This is a report from an activist of the Nigerian Marxist paper Workers’ Alternativewho visited Maiduguri twice some weeks ago and stayed there for two weeks cumulatively in collaboration with a working class activist on the ground in Maiduguri . The report gives a true insight into state of things in this hot zone in Nigeria.

The South African metal workers union, NUMSA held its much awaited special national congress in Boksburg from 17-20 December to discuss its future and, by implication, the future of the entire South African labour movement after a long period of infighting in the labour federation COSATU and fierce class struggle in South African society. This was the first time ever that the union has had to hold a special congress and signifies the extent to which relations in COSATU and the Tripartite Alliance (ANC, COSATU, and SACP) have deteriorated.

The Nelson Mandela national memorial day turned out horribly wrong for the bourgeoisie, the ANC, and President Jacob Zuma as the masses completely upset the applecart and took center-stage. Around 90 heads of state, presidents, prime ministers, kings, business tycoons and foreign dignitaries from all over the world came to attend the memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela. But these "respectable people" came face to face with a defiant, emotional and raucous proletarian crowd of over 60,000 at the FNB stadium in Soweto. The result was a massive embarrassment for these "respectable people" and especially for President Zuma who was booed amidst an outpouring of raw emotion by

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Nelson Mandela is no more. At about 20:50 on Thursday, 5 December Nelson Rohishlahla Mandela passed away peacefully after a long illness. The news was announced by President Jacob Zuma to a worldwide audience. He was 95 years old.

Thousands of workers, poor people and trade unionists marched from 12-14 November in cities and towns across South Africa against the implementation of anti-worker laws and counter-reforms that have created outrage across the country. The national days of action were called by the trade union federation Cosatu against the implementation of the e-toll system, labour-brokering and the youth wage system.

The National  Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is in the process of gathering the views of its members in preparation for the union’s extraordinary national congress to be held in December. The congress of NUMSA will be held in Ekhurhuleni and will give the union a mandate on how to deal with the ruptures inside the trade union federation COSATU, as well as giving the leadership directions on the way forward. The NUMSA congress will be held ahead of the COSATU extraordinary congress to be held at a later date. Earlier the president of COSATU, S’dumo Dlamini, reluctantly wrote to the affiliates confirming that the congress will be held.

Protests have spread all over Sudan since the announcement, one week ago, of the increase of fuel prices in Sudan. This is not the first uprising against the Islamic dictatorship of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in power since 1989. Last year ‘‘Elbow Lick Fridays” rocked the regime. But the latest protests are the biggest since the beginning of the dictatorship. The brutal repression meted out by the police and Islamic militiamen is not deterring the heroic youth of Sudan. But will it succeed this time in overthrowing the regime?

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will hold a special national congress to deal with divisions that have ravaged South Africa's largest labour federation for the last period. The announcement came on August 19th after the three day meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting that was held in Johannesburg. This was after nine affiliated unions wrote to the CEC, requesting such a congress. This represents a step in the right direction for the federation. COSATU's constitution states that for a special congress to be held, at least one third of affiliates (seven) must make such a request. The president of the federation then has 14 days to deal with the

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On Wednesday 14 August South Africa's biggest labour federation, Cosatu is scheduled to hold a special meeting of its Central Executive Committee to discuss the future of its General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. This is only the latest instalment of a series of divisive events that have engulfed Cosatu. At bottom, this reflects a struggle between the right wing and the left wing of the movement.

We publish this article, written by a Tunisian comrade, which offers a criticism of the idea of a "national salvation government" as a solution to the current political crisis in the country, and argues instead for a revolutionary way forward. 

On the morning of Thursday, July 25, left wing nasserite Constituent Assembly member Mohamed Brahmi was assassinated outside his home in Tunis. A protest general strike has been called by the UGTT union, while the Popular Front has called for mass civil disobedience to bring down the government and disband the Constituent Assembly.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on 14 May declared an indefinite state of emergency in three north-eastern states in Nigeria. In his speech he conveniently ignored the fact that he had earlier declared states of emergencies in two of these states already back in December 2011. The state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, Plateau & Niger, are yet to be called off. If the earlier declared emergency rule failed in its declared aims, what will make this one work, as the conditions remain the same?

During the past week the barbaric acts of the Nigerian Islamist organisation Boko Haram have repulsed people around the world. Barak Obama along with other western government leaders have all denounced these ‘acts of pure evil’. However these gentlemen conveniently forget their own role in creating this monster. Here we republish an article which explains the origins of Boko Haram and how it is a product of Imperialism itself.

From the March 26th to 30th the 13th World Social Forum took place in Tunisia. Tens of thousands of activists from hundreds of organisations around the world came together in workshops and meetings on the campus of the university to discuss solutions to the social problems of the world.

The French government claims it has sent troops to Mali to combat terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. However, the truth is very concrete: France has major interests in the regions and is fighting to hold on to its spheres of influence. Tragically, the leadership of the French Communist Party (PCF) supports the war. Greg Oxley, editor of La Riposte and member of the "Conseil Départemental" of the Paris PCF, in this interview, recently given to Raoul Rigault of the German left-wing paper Junge Welt, explains the reasons for all this.

The ninth edition of The Communist, paper of the Moroccan section of the IMT, is out! This new edition contains articles on the new government budget, the uprising of the masses in the Sidi Youssef Ben Ali neighbourhood in Marrakech, the meaning of the imperialist intervention in Mali, and the future of the left student movement.

On the morning of February 6th, the prominent left wing leader Chokri Belaïd was assassinated in front of his house in Tunis. Thousands have taken to the streets, attacked offices of the ruling Ennahda party, which they consider responsible for the assassination, and a general strike has been called for tomorrow, February 8th. This could be the incident that sparks a much needed second revolution, two years after the overthrow the hated Ben Alí regime.

Francois Hollande has decided to flex his muscles. Based on the "threat of Islamic terrorism", the French president has deployed more than 4000 soldiers. The "international community" has unanimously approved of the intervention.

Contrary to the statements of François Hollande and his government, the intervention of the French army in Mali has nothing to do with the stated “French values”, “human rights” or any other humanitarian preoccupations. It is an Imperialist intervention aiming to protect the interest of French multinationals in the region. The recent collapse of the Malian state and the Jihadi offensive in the north of the country threatens to destabilise neighbouring countries, whose natural resources are exploited by the French ruling class on a vast scale: Uranium in Niger, gold in Mauritania, gas and petrol in Algeria etc.

Once again the Democratic Republic of Congo has been through months of turmoil, soldiers defecting en masse from the Congolese Army (FARDC) followed by fighting between government forces and militia in the Kivu regions. But why is all this happening and what interests lie behind these events? Gavin Jackson looks at the different forces on the ground and outlines the looting on the part of the various imperialist powers that is the real reason behind the barbarism.

Clashes between  protesters and the armed forces continue as the Tunisian town of Siliana enters the fourth day of a general strike led by the UGTT trade union federation. The clashes which have led to more than 300 injured have become a focal point for people all over Tunisia.

Two weeks have passed since thousands of vineyard farm workers from the area of De Doorns in the Western Cape went on strike. They are demanding that their daily slave wage be doubled to a minimum of 150 rand ($17) per day; currently they are earning R69.39 per day. But there is more behind this genuine issue of low wages. In our “democratic era” since the fall of Apartheid, this is and will probably be the longest period on strike for these farm workers in this region.

Floyd Shivambu was a leading member of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) as well as a leading member of the Young Communist League (from which he was suspended in 2010). As a leading member of the ANC YL he played a key part in developing this organisation’s stance on the need to nationalise the mines which has now become a central issue of the political debate in the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

It is over a month since Lonmin platinum miners in Marikana, South Africa, walked out in a wildcat strike. They have been attacked and vilified; watching as 34 of their number were killed by police on August 16, a majority of them in cold blood, and 270 arrested, charged and often tortured while in custody. The leaders of the NUM, the bosses and the state have signed a “peace accord” behind the backs of the miners and they have been repeatedly given ultimatums by the company. Yet still the strike is ongoing and the miners are continuing to demand a wage increase to R12,500. They are an example of worker militancy and resilience and one which is spreading to other sections of South

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It has been almost four weeks since miners at Marikana went on strike, marching alone without any leadership, demanding a genuine wage increase from R4000 to R12500. Since then there has been all sorts of pressure, from all leaders, to end the strike in the midst of the current global recession. But the workers are intent on not going back to work till their demands are met, they are resolute in their demands and are not prepared to back down.

Sudan until the recent secession of its southern part was Africa’s biggest country. It is mostly known and in particular portrayed as such in the world media, for its wars, genocides, organised famine, and ethnic, religious and tribal strife. But revolutions tend to cut through the old divisions fostered by the sitting dictators, old colonialist powers and new imperialist forces. This is exactly what is happening today in Sudan since the beginning of the ‘Sudanese spring’.

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