Africa

We have received this report about the brutal repression at Sidi Ben Abdellah University last May which left 4 students dead. The news about these clashes have not been reported anywhere outside Morocco and the Moroccan press has given an extremely biased version of them. We urge our readers to express solidarity and spread the news of what actually happened.

The United Nations has betrayed the Saharawi people once again. After ten years of promising a referendum on self-determination, they have now dropped this plan altoghether and are proposing limited autonomy. We publish here an article from the Spanish Marxist paper El Militante written just before the latest developments. The author argues that the Saharawis will find their best allies in the Moroccan workers and youth in their common struggle against the hated Moroccan monarchy and for a Socialist Federation of the Maghreb. (J.J. Catala, June 2001) Also in Spanish:...

AIDS ACTION recently staged a successful march in Durban against pharmaceutical company Merck over its part in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations Court action against the South African government. Pravasan Pillay, an AIDS ACTION activist, charts the genesis of the March Against Merck.

Nearly 40 South African pharmaceutical companies are taking the South African government to court in order to defend their massive profits, even if this means the death of millions of people who are HIV positive. The case opened at the Pretoria High Court on March 5th. This article examines how the profit motive of the pharmaceutical multinationals prevails over the lives of millions of people.

On Saturday October 21st, nearly 40,000 people participated in 14 marches and 5 pickets all over South Africa to protest against racist and discriminatory banking practices. The day of action, called the 'Red Saturday', was organised by the South African Communist Party as part of their Red October Campaign. This article looks at the way South African banks discriminate against working class and poor people and argues that the SACP should have raised the issue of nationalisation of the banks.

We have received the following solidarity appeal from the Swaziland Solidarity Network. Swaziland has been under state of emergency since 1973. In the last few days a number of leading activists of the Swaziland Youth Congress have been arrested and tortured. In protest a group of trade unionists and left activists have now occupied the US embassy in the capital. We appeal to all labour movement, youth and left-wing activists to express their solidarity with the Swazi comrades and protest against the repressive actions of the regime.

This article was first published in the October 2000 edition of the Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers’ Alternative. We think the analysis developed here by the Nigerian Marxists is still valid, and that the development of the MDC in Zimbabwe is full of rich lessons for the Nigerian and other labour movements. It shows that a mass party based on the trade unions can be created, and can be very successful - but also that this is not enough. To prevent the party from being taken over by capitalist elements, it must be controlled by the working class and have a socialist programme.

This article exposes the conditions of the workers at the farm owned by Obasanjo, the ruler of Nigeria. Obasanjo is the "civilian" president of Nigeria, who was in power in the past, but as a military dictator. He is now in power as a so-called civilian.

A week-long general strike from 7th to 13th June 2000 took place in Nigeria. It was in protest at the 50% increase in the price of fuel announced by the government of President Obasanjo. The strike was successful in forcing the government to drastically reduce the announced increases. We publish an eyewitness report we received.

It is important that we view the situation in Sierra Leone from its roots, i.e. from neo-colonial independence. The current civil war is a confirmation of the impasse capitalism has landed the country in. It is a reflection of the total failure of neo-colonial capitalism. All it can guarantee in the long run, unless the workers take power, is barbarism.

Sierra Leone is a very rich country in diamonds and bloodshed. The reason for the protracted civil war tearing Sierra Leone apart is the legacy of British colonialism and the struggle by the ruling cliques to rob the country's wealth.

As much as half of South Africa's workforce participated in a 24-hour nation-wide general strike called by the 1.8 million strong Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on May 10th. The main reason for the strike was the jobs crisis but it did reflect a wider discontent with the pro-capitalist policies of the ANC government. The article argues that talking about socialism is not enough and that the leaders of the SA Communist Pary and COSATU should break with the capitalist wing of the ANC and put forward a clear socialist alternative.