Africa

We are publishing an article sent to us from the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative and is to be published in the next edition of their paper. It argues the case against the privatisation plans of the Obasanjo regime and poses the need for planned economy in Nigeria.

Hosting the World Summit for Sustainable Development was an important test for the ANC government in South Africa. Since it came to power in 1994 the ANC government has pursued openly pro-capitalist policies. A growing protest movement has emerged, particularly from the poorest townships where residents are being cut off from water and electricity and evicted because they cannot pay their bills.

The South African working class movement has a long tradition of singing revolutionary songs and toy-toying as a way of expressing its ideas, anger and willingness to struggle. The 11th Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP), held from July 24-28 2002 in Rustenburg in the North West Province, was no exception. This time revolutionary songs reflected very well the anger of the rank and file delegates against the policies and leadership of the ANC which have failed in government to solve any of the problems facing the South African workers and the poor. The only way forward is energetic organization around a clear, genuinely socialist programme.

Jordi Martorell looks at the 2002 SACP pre-congress documents in the light of the developments in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. The positive break with the Stalinist two-stage theory must not mean a retreat into social-democratic ideas. The break with Stalinism should mean a return to the genuine revolutionary ideas of Lenin, for socialism and the overthrow of capitalism as the only way to acheive genuine liberation.

The National Question in Nigeria is probably one of the most complicated in the world - with over 120 languages spoken, three main ethnic groups, none of which constitutes a majority of the population, and the religious divide between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Over the past few years thousands of people have been killed in ethnic clashes. Unless the working class can offer a way out, Nigeria could be dragged into a bloodbath of barbaric proportions. Here we are publishing a collection of articles from the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative, concerning this question.

Recently we received a request from an SACP activist for our comments on the exchange of letters between an SACP leader and an ANC leader that were published in the SACP quarterly journal, the African Communist. Quotes from Marx and Lenin were used to justify the pro-capitalist policies of the government. Jordi Martorell sets the record straight by explaining what Marx and Lenin really stood for.

This was the editorial from the first edition of the Nigerian Marxist paper, the Workers' Alternative which was launched in October, 1998.

The regime headed by Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria prides itself at being "democratic". Recently it was involved in passing judgement on the electoral process in Zimbabwe. But behind the democratic façade hides the same old despotic regime of the military that governed Nigeria for many years in the past. At the University of Ilorin, a leading student activist, Tosin Akinrogunde, has been expelled for protesting against the sacking of teachers who were involved in a strike in 2001. During his long history of student union activity he has been expelled several times, and in 1999 was also arrested and imprisoned for five weeks. This case will go to court and will incur legal...

Jordi Martorell reviews this new book by Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya. It traces the economic history of Zimbabwe over the last 100 years but pays special attention to the last 20 years since the coming to power of Zanu-PF. But while they make a damning condemnation of the IMF and their policies that have wrecked the Zimbabwean economy, the authors are proposing reformist solutions of tariff barriers and exchange controls, which will not solve the main problem which is the over-exploitation of the workforce. There is no way forward on a capitalist basis.

87 people were arrested on Saturday April 6 at a protest outside the house of Johannesburg's mayor, Amos Masondo, in South Africa. The protest was against the practices of the privatised South African electricity company ESKOM, which has been disconnecting users who cannot afford to pay their bills. It was organised by the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (SECC) which has trained activists in how to reconnect people's power supplies.

This is another editorial from the Workers' Alternative, written at the time of the transition from the previous military dictatorship to the present civilian regime. At that time there were many illusions in so-called "democracy", as people hoped it would rectify the dire economic situation. We are republishing it now, as we believe it is as relevant now as when it was first published. (June, 1999)

We are pleased to announce the publication on the internet of Richard Monroe's history of the ANC movement. This pamphlet, written in the 1980s, deals extensively with the struggles of the 1950s and the tactics adopted by the middle-class ANC leaders, who favoured negotiations with the "progressive" section of the capitalists. It was originally printed in issue 13 of Inqaba ya Basebenzi ("Workers' Fortress"), the publication of the Marxist Workers' Tendency of the African National Congress in March 1984. Now we have an ANC government in power which is pursuing capitalist policies, and we have new layers of workers moving into...

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...

Nigeria is facing the worst crisis in its history. So-called "democracy" has not improved the lot of the Nigerian masses. Manufacturing industry is in a state of collapse. And now the financial sector is also on the brink. In the past two years we have seen two general strikes and practically every section of the Nigerian working class has taken part in strike activity. Even the police has been out on strike and built its own union. And now there are rumours of a mutiny among the soldiers. Nigeria is facing an Argentine-type scenario. From the Editorial Board of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers' Alternative.