Over the last couple of days Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been rocked by a series of protests against the weak, reactionary and corrupt government of Joseph Kabila. Through mass mobilisations, the predominantly student movement has dispelled any notion of the democratic credentials of the Kabila regime and has exposed its true dictatorial nature.

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.

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.)

In a country two thirds the size of Western Europe the overt and widespread rigging of elections has not prevented the Congolese masses turning out to decide their own fate by any means they can find. In the process more than a dozen have been killed and over a hundred injured before the election with at least another four killed by the police of the regime in the days after the result was announced.

On May 17 the forces of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) took Zaire's capital Kinshasa and changed the name of the country to Democratic Republic of Congo putting an end to 31 years of dictatorship by Mobutu Sese Seko. This article analyses the different forces behind the conflict and outlines a socialist perspective for the masses of the Central Africa region.

On October 16, 1997, the troops of the former president of Congo Brazzaville, M. Sassou Nguesso, took control of the capital Brazzaville, thus ousting the current president Pascal Lissouba, after a five month long civil war. It would be very difficult to understand the reasons for this conflict without taking into account the background struggle for influence between French and US imperialism in Africa, and the interests of the different oil companies in the rich oil fields in Congo Brazzaville's Atlantic coast.

This article, by Ted Grant, deals with the refugee crisis in Central Africa at the end of 1996, when Belgium and French imperialists were demanding military intervention in the area for 'humanitarian purposes'.

The night of January 17th 1961 Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, was shot dead in Katanga. Forty years later a new book by Belgian sociologist Ludo De Witte uncovers proof of what everyone already knew: the complicity of the Belgian government and the United Nations in this crime. Pierre Dorremans looks at the political background of this case and explains the politics of Lumumba.

In May 1997 Kabila came to power in the former Zaire (which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo), ousting dictator Mobutu. The US diplomacy was euphoric. They now had a string of "client" regimes which included Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, the DR of Congo and also a great deal of South Africa's foreign policy in the region was dictated by Washington. But many things have happened since. At least nine African countries have become involved in the Congo conflict which broke out on August 2. What is the meaning of the conflict in the DR of Congo?

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