Africa


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The increasing use of repressive measures in Morocco reflects the weakness, not the strength of the present regime. We can expect more of this in the next periods as the protests spread. The families of the arrested workers and youth thank everyone for their support and renew their appeal for more solidarity actions.

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The recent elections in Nigeria were blatantly rigged, but the nature of the official opposition – as corrupt as the clique in power – means the masses have no clear point of reference to rally round. In this situation the responsibility of the leaders of the labour movement is enormous. If they gave a lead the masses would rally behind them and it would mean the end of this regime and the beginning of the struggle for socialism.

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The answer of the Swiss bosses to the international solidarity campaign with the workers at the Rieker shoe factory in Morocco has been to sack another ten workers! The orde was quite specific: “Eradicate the Marxist cells!” Please take part in the campaign and send messages to the addresses provided.

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The health of one of the political prisoners recently arrested in Morocco, Abderahim Karrad, is being seriously affected by the conditions in his cell. Please continue the protest campaign.

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Repressive measures in Morocco are being stepped up. The five activists arrested in Ksar-ek-kebir in the aftermath of the May Day demonstrations have been sentenced to three years in prison! They need the solidarity of the workers and youth of the world. Please take up the issue in your country and join the protest movement.

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Further to yesterday's report, we publish some pictures of the demonstration in support of the political prisoners of KK yesterday in front of the court. The sit-in was composed of young left wing activists, members of the union, of the ANCDM (the unemployed youth association), of the AMDH (the Human Rights Association) and of activists of the youth of Voie Democratique.

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A number of left-wing activists have been arrested and sentenced to severe terms in prison in Morocco. The regime is cracking down because there is a growing wave of militancy in the country. Please sign and send off the protest letter here provided.

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For the first time in years there was one joint Mayday rally in Nigeria of all the trade unions. The Marxists intervened successfully in spite of attempts by the police to stop the distribution of material. Meanwhile the petit bourgeois left are once again making the same mistakes as in the past by mouthing the same slogans as the bourgeois “opposition”.

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The recent elections in Nigeria were blatantly rigged. The problem is that the official bourgeois oppositions is incapable of doing anything about it. That is because they serve the same interests. It is up to the working class to build its own party through the trade unions and offer a genuine socialist way out of the present crisis.

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The Nigerian authorities are attempting to crush all independent student union representation. At the OAU campus the students are valiantly defending their right to organise but have been met with a brutal response. Please add your name to the protest.

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Workers at the Riekebir shoe factory in Morocco work under terrible conditions with dangerous chemicals. They have set up a union and are fighting for better and safer working conditions. The bosses have launched a counter campaign of sackings and intimidation. We are launching the following appeal in support of the workers at the factory.

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The Obasanjo regime in Nigeria boasts about its economic achievements, but it is only fooling itself. The real situation is that polarisation between the classes, with extreme wealth for the few and intense poverty for the many, has never been so great.

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Here we have a blatant case of victimisation of a female trade union activist in Nigeria, victimised for defending her fellow workers.

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A Labour Party has been launched in Nigeria and is standing candidates in the forthcoming elections. Unfortunately it is dominated by bourgeois politicians, in many cases people who have abandoned the rotten ship of the discredited parties that make up the present set up. That may explain why so few workers have joined it so far.

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The National Union of Moroccan students recently organised a week of political and cultural activities with the aim of reaching new layers of youth with their ideas. From meetings to film shows, the National Union was able to explain their ideas and discuss current events in Latin America and the world with a wide layer of students.

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Yesterday a newly formed Moroccan Marxist group was publicly launched on the website www.marxy.com. The group, called the Communist League of Action, brings together students and young workers from different towns in the country.

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While promising to meet the unions, the Nigerchin management is trying to use scan labour to break the strike. On recognising the workers’ right to join any union thy wish they have raised the excuse that they must first consult with the owners back in China! These workers are fighting for basic trade union rights. Please support the solidarity campaign and raise this in your union.

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Chemical workers at the Nigerian company, NIGERCHIN, have come out on an indefinite strike simply to defend their right to join the trade union of their choice. Trade union activists and members are being victimised because of this. They need your support! Raise this issue among your workmates and friends and get letters of protest sent off.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Recently Nigeria paid a sum of $12billion to the Paris Club, thus cancelling its foreign debt. The fact that through the servicing of the debt, Nigeria had already paid back more than it has borrowed is conveniently skipped over. Those $12bn could have been used to improve the miserable lives of most Nigerians.

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Pensions have been privatised, 92% of Nigerians are living on less than $2 per day, the interest rate stands at 36%, the (official) inflation rate at 15%, millions are either unemployed or not gainfully employed, life expectancy stands at 45 years, annual per capita GDP at $200 and incredible sums of debt hang over the head of the poor. There is no way out on the path of capitalism.

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Many arguments have been presented in favour of Obasanjo remaining for a third term. Here we list them together with a reply.

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Yesterday attempts to amend the Nigerian Constitution to allow Obasanjo a third term in Office were defeated. Here we publish the latest Editorial of the Workers' Alternative written before the vote.

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The Rank and File Tendency of the National Union of Moroccan Students participated in this year’s May Day activities. The following is a report of their activities and provides extracts of a leaflet they distributed on the demonstration.

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This year’s May Day rallies in Nigeria marked a sharp shift to the left among the rank and file workers. Trade union leaders that were admired and respected until very recently are now becoming discredited and the interest in Marxist ideas is growing.

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Arab supporters of the Venezuelan revolution have launched a new website at http://arabic.handsoffvenezuela.org. Its aim is to build up solidarity for the revolution in Venezuela in the Arabic speaking countries and help in the work of developing the revolutionary movement in the Arab world.

Beginning on March 8, International Working Women’s Day, the “Rank and File” Tendency of the National Student Union in Morocco organised a week of activities around the question of the emancipation of women. We publish here a report of the week of action. Picture gallery available here.

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Another message of support (in Spanish) from the Corriente Marxista Revolucionaria (CMR) and the Juventud Socialista Revolucionaria (JSR) to the 180 students gathered in December at the University of Tetouan.

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Some 180 students gathered in December at the University of Tetouan in the north of Morocco for the first ever meeting in solidarity with Venezuela. This historic initiative in Morocco and in the Arab world was taken by the left-wing students of the TAWAJOH AL KAAIDI, the young activists of the ‘rank-and-file’ tendency (‘tendance basistes’). This activity was part of a whole week of debates and discussions at the university about the right to education and the right to work.

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Everywhere we look in the world the same process is taking place, privatisation, cuts in welfare, cuts in pensions, job losses and so on. In Nigeria this IMF/World Bank-inspired anti-working class programme is being carried out by the Obasanjo regime. But the workers are fighting back. Here we provide a sample of articles from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers’ Alternative and its programme to combat the regime effectively.

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The problem of unrepresentative trade union leadership is a worldwide one. Here we have an example of the corrupt leaders of a steel workers' union in Nigeria. As a result several branches have broken away and joined what they perceive as a more radical union. But the corrupt leaders of the steel workers are still there. It is the whole leadership that needs to be changed!

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Venezuela and Nigeria are both oil-rich countries. But in Venezuela we have a genuine attempt at poverty alleviation, which has brought the Bolivarian regime into conflict with imperialism. In Nigeria, where Obasanjo even refuses to acknowledge that poverty exists, the regime has very good relations with imperialism

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Thousands of people in Nigeria are driven by hunger to sell their bodies and souls to live; thousands of people, wretched and living in misery and appalling squalor, struggle to earn just enough to keep themselves alive; willing to work and begging for a chance, yet starving, condemned to hunger, dirt and disease. And yet president Obasanjo appearing on TV claims no one goes hungry in Nigeria! In which Nigeria does he live?

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The sacked Dewhirst workers in Morocco are building up support for their struggle. Messages from Spain, Uruguay, Belgium, the USA, Britain and Sweden have been a big morale booster for them. The conditions in the factory are atrocious. Please keep the solidarity and protest messages coming in.

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LASCO is an umbrella body that has emerged in Nigeria which purports to have a wider representation than the unions themselves. In reality it is a body with no powers and the top union bureaucrats simply hide behind it to defuse the movement whenever it erupts and then they put it to one side once this job is done. It is time to build action committees in all the workplaces, elected by the workers and recallable.

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September witnessed an unprecedented wave of protest across the whole of Nigeria, with mass trade union rallies in all the major cities. The spark that set the movement in motion as the latest increase in the price of fuel, but the demands being raised, such as the call for the government to resign, and the mood displayed on the rallies all serve to underline that Nigeria is moving towards a revolutionary upheaval. An editorial statement from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers’ Alternative.

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We urge you to support this group of Moroccan workers who have been sacked simply for standing up for their rights. The British clothing manufacturer Dewhirst, linked to Marks and Spencer, pays Moroccan workers a pittance. Send protest messages and make them see that workers around the world will not accept such brutal policies.

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Millions of people are facing starvation in Niger. Are we to believe that this is another “natural” disaster, as the media would like us to? The fact is that there is food available in the markets of Niger, but the people cannot afford to buy it. Again, profit comes before the lives of the poor.

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In spite of being rich in oil Nigeria is in a state of collapse. Healthcare, education, transport, pensions and so on are all coming under attack. Unemployment is growing everywhere. An explosive mood is developing from below, while at the top the political leaders offer nothing but conferences, talk shops and so on. And yet it could be different, very different. It is in the hands of the leadership of the labour movement.

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A series of very successful rallies have been taking place all over Nigeria against the fuel price hike. Here we provide the pdf format of the article we published earlier,  Nigeria: Endless fuel price hikes. This was widely distributed at the Lagos rally, and we are making it available as a PDF file for anyone to print out.

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Yesterday there was a gigantic rally of protest in Lagos. The mood of anger simmering below the surface for so long is now erupting onto the streets of the cities and towns of Nigeria. This process marks the beginning of the end of the Obasanjo regime. Nigeria is poised to join the many other countries where the masses have successfully overthrown rotten regimes that are there only to serve the rich.

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At the end of August the Obasanjo regime in Nigeria upped the price of fuel massively. This has provoked widespread anger among the workers and poor. Today the first of a series of rallies is taking place. Here we publish the text of a special leaflet produced for the occasion by the Nigerian Marxists of the Workers’ Alternative journal.

There has been a lot of talk about eradicating poverty in Africa over the past few days. Africa is a continent rich in raw materials. There is no logical reason why it should be poor. But under capitalism there is a logic, the logic of the greedy multinationals, of the capitalists who condemn Africa to this poverty.


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On February 24, 2004 a large earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rocked the Rif region in northern Morocco. More than one year later, hundreds of families continue to live in utter misery. Now other tremors are hitting the region.

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With some delay we received this report on the May Day rallies in Lagos, Nigeria. We are publishing it because it gives a taste of the militant mood that is developing among Nigerian workers.

To an ordinary sincere observer, a recent clampdown on a few corrupt officials by the Obasanjo administration is just a difficult to unravel riddle. How come an Obasanjo who did everything possible to cover up the certificate forgery scandal of the then speaker of the Federal House Of Representatives (Alhaji Buhari), even planned to reinstate him back after impeachment, could have become a saint overnight? Is this the Obasanjo who entered a deal with Abacha’s son, that all that he wanted back was half of what they stole? Now this same Obasanjo is prepared to stake everything to imprison these criminals.


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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.