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Africa

Radical objects: MaThoko’s post box and the LGBT movement in South Africa

Simon Nkoli visits the Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy in London, 13 July 1989 (photo thought to be by Gordon Rainsford). All photos courtesy of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA)

Simon Nkoli visits the non-stop picket of the South African embassy in London, July 13, 1989 (photo thought to be by Gordon Rainsford). All photos courtesy of Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA).

By John Marnell

February 17, 2015 -- History Workshop, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sometime in the early 1980s, an unassuming house in KwaThema, a township just outside of Johannesburg, became a safe haven for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Like the other houses in the township, it was small – only four rooms – and simple, matchboxes made on the cheap by the apartheid state. It belonged to Thokozile Khumalo, known affectionately as MaThoko, who for the next decade opened her home and her heart to countless young people.

Thomas Sankara and Burkina Faso's 'Black Spring'

Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary
By Ernest Harsch,
Ohio University Press, 2014.
163 pages

Review by Ernest Tate

February 9, 2015 -- The Bullet, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Ernest Tate -- A press report in 1983 that a popular uprising in Upper Volta, a small and poor land-locked country in Western Africa, had led to an obscure, but charismatic army officer becoming head of state was truly inspiring news for all those looking for some kind of breakthrough against imperialism in that part of the world.

It had come after the depressing news that Margaret Thatcher's Britain had defeated Argentina in the Malvinas and Ronald Reagan's USA had crushed Grenada, a clear message to the world that, on a moment's notice, imperialism would brutally crush anything that threatened its power.

But because the US empire had been taken by surprise by the Cuban Revolution 24 years earlier, many of us were then hopeful that maybe we were witnessing such a possibility again, in Africa.

Africa: How the IMF worsens the Ebola crisis

Cuban doctors on their way to help with the Ebola outbreak.

By Jérôme Duval, translated by John Catalinotto

February 6, 2015 -- Committee ofr the Abolition of Third World Debt, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims it is part of the solution, the IMF is really part of the problem of underdevelopment and has been for decades. The latest proof of this is that the conditions imposed on countries in need have had serious impacts on the development of these countries’ public health services. In some countries this means letting epidemics destroy the lives of thousands of people. The latest example involves the Ebola epidemic.

The IMF is responsible for serious restrictions at this time in developing adequate healthcare systems

Interview: South African metalworkers' leader Irvin Jim at the centre of a storm

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

January 28-30, 2015 -- Real News Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this three-part interview, Irvin Jim, leader of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) -- the largest trade union in South Africa with 340,000 members that is calling for a return to the principles of the Freedom Charter -- describes his early life and radicalisation and explains why his union withdrew its support for the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Workers must build a united front to implement the Freedom Charter, which includes participating in electoral politics, and fight for socialism. The workers movement can't just be about marching, he says.

The full rough transcript continues below the videos.

South Africa: NUMSA's Irvin Jim builds solidarity in USA for a socialist South Africa

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

January 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), South Africa's largest trade union, has toured the United States to report on the fight for socialism in South Africa. He delivered this presentation on January 11, 2015, at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 offices in New York City.

Irvin Jim's message to Americans can be read in full HERE. For more information on NUMSA, go to http://www.numsa.org.za.

This was video recorded by Ken Nash of WBAI Pacific Building Bridges radio show, a production of the Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org.

Nigeria: 'Je Suis Baga'? The world ignores the tragedy of Baga

Nigerian troops patrol Baga after the previous massacre in 2013.

For more on Nigeria, click HERE.

By Baba Aye

January 17, 2015 – Links International Journnal of Socialist Renewal -- The fishing community of Baga, by Lake Chad in Borno state, Nigeria, was under siege by Boko Haram for a week at the beginning of January. Amnesty International described the ensuing bloodbath as Boko Haram’s “deadliest massacre”, estimating that some 2000 persons were killed. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, who condemned the “dastardly terrorist attack” against Charlie Hebdo cartoonists within hours of the tragic event in Paris, did not say a word about this tragedy.

South Africa's 'freedom journey' stalled by poverty, unemployment and inequality

Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station/flickr.

For more on South Africa, click HERE.

By Dale T. McKinley

January 13, 2015 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Evidently, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) thinks that the people of South Africa do not know their own history.

That’s more or less what ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe said the other day when addressing the media in the lead-up to the organisation’s 103rd anniversary celebrations. In his words: “We will be reminding people of their history. They don’t know the journey and the complexity of the journey. Freedom is not a destination. It is a journey.”

Besides their astoundingly arrogant and patronising nature, such utterances surface a much more profound blind spot in the ANC’s understanding and appreciation of the historical and present freedom journey of the South African people.

How citizens’ revolt in Burkina Faso unfolded

By Ernest Harsch

December 9, 2014 -- African Futures, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Even the long months of demonstrations and strikes that came before did not fully prepare the people of Burkina Faso for what they would accomplish during the last week of October 2014. In Ouagadougou, the capital, hundreds of thousands—organisers claimed a million—packed the central square on Tuesday, October 28, to protest President Blaise Compaoré’s “constitutional coup”, as they called his plan to force through an amendment enabling him to run for reelection yet again, after more than a quarter century in power.

Namibia: SWAPO wins presidency with 86% vote but grassroots frustration mounts

By Henning Melber

December 8, 2014 -- Nordic Africa Institute, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On November 28, 2014, close to 900,000 Namibians of a registered electorate of some 1.2 million (a bit more than half of Namibia’s total population, estimated at 2.3 million) voted in the country’s fifth parliamentary and presidential elections since independence.

The result was predictable, though the dimensions of the overwhelming dominance of the former liberation movement SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organisation) did surprise. While SWAPO secured in every election since 1994 well above a two-thirds majority, this time the result crossed the 80% mark. The party’s presidential candidate Hage Geingob topped this by a whopping 86%.

South Africa: NUMSA rejects dirty tricks campaign, bogus document

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) responds to the "Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize South Africa" document

December 3, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last 10-days, a document that alleges that NUMSA leaders are involved in an underground plot to destabilise South Africa has been doing its rounds. The document which is entitled "Exposed: Secret Regime Change Plot to Distabilize [sic] South Africa" names two elected national officer bearers of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), Irvin Jim and Karl Cloete as the kingpins of the plot (see here in PDF).

Ebola crisis: Cuba shows the world how it is done

By Rupen Savoulian

November 24, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan, was speaking about the terrible crisis afflicting the poor West African countries Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, namely, the growing outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. This condition is a fatal disease, transmitted from undomesticated animals to people, and is transmitted by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

Raj Patel on nutrition, gender and food security in Africa

More from Raj Patel.

November 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, speaks on “Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa". Patel is a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, a visiting professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy. His current writing and film project is “Generation Food”. The event is sponsored by UT’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Produced/edited by Jeffry Zavala, videography by Grace Alfar, Jeff Zavala and Ellie Main.

An Austin Indymedia Production, http://Austin.Indymedia.org.

Sudáfrica: Los metalúrgicos son expulsados de COSATU por defender el socialismo

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4141 and http://links.org.au/node/4142.]

Por Unión Nacional de Trabajadores Metalúrgicos de Sudáfrica (NUMSA) y también Dale McKinley

23/11/2014 -- Sin Permiso -- Ha pasado lo que habíamos advertido a los trabajadores sudafricanos y al público en general. El Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Metalúrgicos de Sudáfrica (NUMSA), con sus 350.000 miembros fue expulsado del Congreso de Sindicatos de Sudáfrica (COSATU) en las primeras horas de la mañana del sábado (después de la una de la mañana), 08 de noviembre 2014 , en una reunión del Comité Central Ejecutivo Extraordinario (SCEC). Esta expulsión tuvo lugar tras una votación 33 a 24.

Ebola epidemic exposes the sickness of the global economic and political system

An awareness campaign against Ebola in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 25, 2014.

By the Peoples Health Movement

November 2014 -- PHM Global News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern". The declaration came four months after the WHO reported a major Ebola outbreak in Guinea in West African. The epidemic broke in Guinea and spread to three of its neighbours – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The cumulative number of cases and deaths as at November 12 stood at more than 13,000 cases and 5160 deaths. Most public health experts agree that the official figures are a major underestimation of the extent and spread of the disease.

Zwelinzima Vavi: The 'root cause' of the crisis in COSATU

For more on COSATU, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

Speech by Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), to mark the 40th anniversary of the South African Labour Bulletin

November 21, 2014 -- COSATU, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- First let me say congratulations to the South African Labour Bulletin on its remarkable achievement of 40 years of uninterrupted critical publishing. Thank you for the honour of this invitation. For 40 years you have provided a voice to the voiceless; you exposed the brutality of the capitalist system that continue to brutally exploit workers; you have created space for policy debates that shaped the policies not only of trade unions but of the liberation movement as a whole.

South Africa: World Bank shrugs at inequality and corporate subsidies

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa's Lonmin's Bermuda-based "marketing" operations were revealed as a major source of tax avoidance.

Click for more by Patrick Bond. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond

November 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa is achieving a sizable reduction in poverty and inequality through its fiscal tools" -- that was the main claim by the World Bank’s Pretoria-based country director Asad Alam last week, in the foreword to the November 2014 report, Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in an Unequal Society.

South Africa: 'I can’t defend the expulsion of NUMSA' -- COSATU general secretary

For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.

November 13, 2104 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi (pictured above) was absent from the COSATU media briefing on November 11, in the aftermath of the November 8 expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). In the letter below, he explains why.

* * *

Letter from COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to the COSATU affiliates and others, November 11, 2014

To: COSATU president
COSATU affiliated general secretaries
COSATU provincial secretaries

November 11, 2014

Dear Comrades

RE: THE CRISIS IN THE FEDERATION

South Africa: The political significance of NUMSA's expulsion from COSATU

NUMSA members dance at a demonstration.

By Dale McKinley, Johannesburg

November 10, 2014 -- South African Civil Society Information Service, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. In the early hours of November 8, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was expelled by the majority of the leadership belonging to South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, inter-related areas of impact.

South Africa: NUMSA's expulsion from COSATU is 'an attack on the poor and an attack on workers'

Statement by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

November 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What we have warned the South African workers and broader public about has come to pass. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) with its 350,000 members was expelled as an affiliate by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the early hours of Saturday morning (after 1 am), November 8, 2014, at a Special Central Executive Committee meeting (SCEC). This expulsion took place through a vote which was 33 for our expulsion and 24 against.

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