Africa

A bright young revolutionary has gone. Anas Benani, alias Yayha Benhamza died in a bus accident Sunday on his way to a football match of his favourite team the ‘Maghreb de Tétouan’. A car accident is rarely an accident on the Moroccan roads. It is probably one of the most predictable things to happen when driving in the country.

The situation is moving at lightning speed on a world scale. After the Arab Revolution, events followed in quick succession: the movement of the indignados in Spain; the wave of strikes and demonstrations in Greece; the riots in Britain; the movement in Wisconsin and the Occupy movement in the U.S.; the overthrow of Gaddafi; the fall of Papandreou and Berlusconi; all these are symptoms of the present epoch. (See Perspectives for world capitalism 2012 (Draft discussion document) – Part One); and, if we may add, there was the magnificent movement of millions of Nigerian masses in January of this year.

Originating in the USA, a video titled “KONY 2012” is doing the rounds of the internet via various social networks. The video, which is approximately thirty minutes long, is designed to make the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony internationally known and to justify launching a campaign against him and hunting him down. This campaign, however, reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of social networks.

Despite having a constitution that enshrines equality between the sexes, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to some of the most extreme and brutal oppression of women. This demonstrates in a very vivid manner that women’s oppression cannot be eliminated simply through legal rights, but requires certain material conditions, which in turn must be fought for in the shape of a class struggle. (The author of this article recently visited the DRC where he found a country ravaged by imperialism and where the oppression of women was extremely acute.)

The city of Bni Bouayach in the mountainous area of the Northern Rif in Morocco has been sealed off since Wednesday, March 8. All the repressive organs of the state, the army, the gendarmerie together with the secret and public police, have joined forces to blockade the small city. The inhabitants live in fear of police terror and the raiding of houses and arrests. Other repressive forces are hunting down activists who fled into the neighbouring mountains to escape arrest. The media black-out is total.

“Decent work is a right, labour broking is just like slavery and is causing major problems for the working class... we want the National Executive Committee of the African Nation Congress to sit down and review this.” Irvin Jim, General Secretary of the National Union of Metal workers of South Africa (NUMSA). As hundreds of thousands of worker and the general public were marching under the blistering sun in 32 cities across South Africa, their mood was captured by these words from their leader.

The recent militant strike by the miners at the Impala Platinum Mine has highlighted how far the present NUM leadership is lagging behind the mood of the workers. The contradictions that had been brewing beneath the surface at Impala Platinum Mine, in Rustenburg, came to the public’s attention on the 12th January 2012 when rock drill operators (RDOs) refused to work. On the 24th January the mining company dismissed 5000 workers who went on strike without giving the employer a “formal notice”, and as the strike intensified the number of workers on strike significantly increased.

In Zambia the lightning offensive of the workers has thundered on as the strike wave rolled into the New Year, drawing in broader layers of the class and demonstrating the strength of the workers in action. Undeterred by attempts to victimise striking workers – including the sacking of 200 miners by China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Group (CNMMG), who were reinstated under government pressure the very next day – the strikes have continued

One year after the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali, Tunisia faces a wave of strikes, regional uprisings, sit-ins and protests of all sorts. For hundreds of thousands of Tunisian workers and youth who bravely defied the bullets of the dictatorship to get jobs and dignity nothing has fundamentally changed.

This article was written by a Nigerian Marxist at the height of the recent general strike. It gives a flavour of the sudden change in mood among the oppressed Nigerian masses, their entry onto the scene of history, their desire to take their destiny into their own hands. Although the strike was eventually called off by the trade union leaders, Nigeria will not go back to what it was before the strike. 

As the scorching sun kissed our dehydrated skins, one could not help but feel goose bumps at the thought of being part of history as the oldest liberation movement reached the 100th year mark on Sunday, 8th January. The ANC leadership decided to mark this occasion by spending R100 million ($12. 3 million) on a commemoration that included a huge feast for invited heads of states and several guests, also indulging in celebrity music shows and a golf tournament.

Nigeria's trade union leaders have suspended the general strike as it was entering its second week. This comes after the government approved came up with a “compromise” on the pump price of petrol to 97 naira (about $0.60) per litre, instead of the initial 140 naira. This is still an increase from the 65 naira ($0.40). Here we provide eyewitness reports of the events over the past week, (written before the calling off of the strike) which clearly indicate a radical change within the Nigerian working class, something that is not going to go away whatever the ruling class or the trade unions agree on.

As the movement against the fuel price hikes and corruption continues, Ola Kazeem expains how the Nigerian masses are radicalising as the struggle is developing. The demand for the president to step down is becoming ever louder.

History was made today, 9th January 2012, as Lagosians in their thousands harkened to the call of the Labour and Civil Society Organisation (LASCO) to embark on a nationwide strike/mass protest toexpress their dissatisfaction with the recent increment in the pump price of petrol as announced by the Goodluck Jonathan-led government on 1st of January. LASCO encompasses the two labour centers in Nigeria i.e. the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as the Joint Action Front (JAF) which is the umbrella body of the pro-labour civil society organisations.