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Africa

Nigeria: Africa’s number one economy -- for wealth evaporation

In 2012, neoliberalism catalysed a national “Occupy Nigeria” strike that nearly overthrew the government the removal of a petrol subsidy, under direct pressure from the IMF.

Click for more on Nigeria; and on BRICS. More articles by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond

April 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jim O’Neill – the Goldman Sachs banker who in 2001 coined the idea of Brazil-Russia-India-China or “BRIC” serving as “building bricks of the 21st century world economy” – has another bright idea. [With South Africa this bloc is now known as BRICS.] He recently announced a new fascination with the Mexico-Indonesia-Nigeria-Turkey (MINTs) countries, which “all have very favourable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting”.

Rwanda: The World Bank and IMF role in the 1994 genocide

For more on Rwanda, click HERE.

By Eric Toussaint

April 7, 2014 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt -- Twenty years ago, beginning April 7, 1994, in less than three months, nearly 1 million Rwandans were exterminated – the exact figure has not yet been determined – because they were (or thought to be) Tutsis. Tens of thousands of moderate Hutus were also slaughtered. This was indeed a genocide, that is, the deliberate destruction of an entire community through mass murder in the aim of preventing their biological and social reproduction.

In this context, it is crucial to investigate the role played by international financial institutions. Everything we know leads us to believe that the policies imposed by these institutions, the main financial backers of General Juvénal Habyarimana’s dictatorial regime, accelerated the process resulting in the genocide. In general, the negative impact of these policies is not taken into consideration to explain the tragic unfolding of the Rwandan crisis. Only a few authors highlight the responsibilities of the Bretton Woods institutions |1|, which have rejected any kind of responsibility.

Egypt: Take action now against mass death sentences

By Egypt Solidarity

March 25, 2014 -- Egypt Solidarity -- A court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya has sentenced 529 defendants to death in a trial which has been condemned as “grotesque” by Amnesty International.

Take action now – sign our statement using the form at http://egyptsolidarityinitiative.org/2014/03/25/take-action-on-egypt-death-sentences/ . Signatures will be published and delivered to the Egyptian embassy by April 28, the likely date for an appeal against the sentences.

We condemn the death sentences issued by a court in Minya province in Egypt on March 24, 2014, against 529 defendants who were found guilty of the murder of a police officer during the storming of Matay police station in August 2013.

The use of the death sentence against such a large number of defendants underscores that the current regime is not interested in finding out the truth about the events which led to this prosecution but rather in imposing collective punishment on its opponents.

The sentences were issued without hearing any arguments from the defence in a trial which lasted only 45 minutes according to defence lawyers.

South Africa: Irvin Jim (NUMSA) on new working-class leadership and prospects for socialist politics

In three parts.

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

Presentation by Irvin Jim, general secretary of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa; chaired by John S. Saul.

March 6, 2014 -- Left Streamed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The dramatic upsurge of popular grass-roots protest in South Africa's townships and rural areas in recent years has marked a “rebellion of the poor” in that country. The working-class itself has also been assertive, prompting the African National Congress administered state's horrific massacre of dissident mineworkers at Marikana in 2012.

Until recently, leading trade unions have confined been within the tripartite governing coalition of the ANC, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country's largest trade union federation.

South Africa: Workers' guide to the crisis in COSATU; Reply to Jeremy Cronin

Tens of thousands of workers across South Africa responded to the call from NUMSA for a general strike on March 19, 2014, against neoliberal government policies.

Break the paralysis of COSATU!

Why the attacks on Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi and NUMSA will fail!

Our call for a special COSATU national congress

[Posted March 20, 2014 at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal]

Statement by the nine COSATU affiliates campaigning for the reinstatement of Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi as general secretary

Almost 29 years ago at the height of mass struggles by workers, youth, women, students and communities, despite repression, detention without trial, a state of emergency, killings and assassinations of activists and leaders, the workers of South Africa declared; “A giant is born”. And so the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), by the blood, sacrifices and sweat of many generations before it, was launched.

How did the giant help to defeat apartheid?

South Africa: NUMSA to hold socialist conferences across the country; critical election looming

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

By Terry Bell

March 6, 2014 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Despite media claims to the contrary there is no move by the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) to start a political party. What the union plans to organise is a series of “socialist consultative conferences” in the nine provinces of South Africa— and this is in line with a 21-year-old Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) decision that has apparently never been rescinded.

The jargon used at the NUMSA press conference at which general secretary Irvin Jim referred to the establishment of a united front or movement that may in future contest elections was the probably cause of media confusion. Neither a movement nor the more formal united front is a political party in the traditional sense. Both are groupings of individuals and organisations that share broadly common aims.

South Africa: Nine COSATU unions call for Zwelinzima Vavi's reinstatement

Zwelinzima Vavi.

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

January 29, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This press conference has been called to explain why the nine Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) affiliated unions have taken the unprecedented step of coming together in an attempt to rescue and regenerate COSATU.

Our main and overriding purpose is to work openly towards freeing COSATU from its current state of organisational and political paralysis, for it to become once again a vibrant, independent, progressive worker-controlled federation. The working class at this critical time demands nothing less!

What crisis in COSATU?

We hold the view that COSATU is in deep crisis, and denying the scale and extent of the crisis makes matters worse. A review of what COSATU was supposed to implement following its 2012 congress reveals an organisation unable to move forward on any significant area, and especially in relation to economic and social matters. Meanwhile millions of our people continue to face unemployment, poverty and worsening inequality.

Forging a new movement: NUMSA and the shift in South Africa's politics

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

By Leonard Gentle

January 28, 2014 -- SACSIS -- The decision of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Zwelinzima Vavi will get his job back.

The greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neoliberal order, and thus to the left of the ANC, rather than the line up to the right is being missed.

Klassenapartheid: Die Wirtschaftspolitik der Mandela-Ära war geprägt von Zugeständnissen an das »big business«

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3620.]

Von Patrick Bond

Analyse & Kritik -- Die Welt trauert um Nelson Mandela, der am 5. Dezember 2013 im Alter von 95 Jahren starb. Wie hat Mandela Südafrika verändert? Und wie viel politischen Spielraum hatte er dabei überhaupt? Südafrika taumelt heute von Krise zu Krise, weshalb sich viele nach Mandelas Regierungszeit zurücksehnen. Diese habe sich grundsätzlich unterschieden vom jetzigen kumpel-kapitalistischen, durch und durch korrupten, auf einer brutalen Sicherheitspolitik beruhenden Regime – so lautet der Tenor. Doch vielleicht wurde die Saat des heutigen politischen Übels schon früher gesät?

Libya's continuing struggle for democracy

An anti-militia protester gunned down on November 15, 2013.

By Chris Slee

January 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In recent months there has been a wave of protests against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in particular towns or regions, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.[1]

On November 15, 2013, protesters marched on a militia base in Gharghour, a suburb of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The base was occupied by a militia from the city of Misrata. The protesters were demanding that the militia leave Tripoli. But the militia opened fire, killing 47 people and injuring 500.[2]

This led to more protests. The Tripoli local council called a general strike, initially intended to last three days.[3]

Reminiscences of Nelson Mandela and the US anti-apartheid movement

Ike Nahem at the memorial for Soweto martyrs.

See also "Cuba and the South African anti-apartheid struggle".

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Ike Nahem

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. -- Nelson Mandela

December 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The outpouring of emotion and dignified appreciation that met the passing of Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013, flowed like a raging river from every nation and people on the planet. It was a grief tempered by a jubilation and wonderment at the life of this great and humble human being.

While it is certainly true that Mandela's death resonated most powerfully with the South African people and particularly with oppressed and exploited working people worldwide, it is also the case that Mandela was admired and loved by countless millions from all social classes and walks of life with any democratic and anti-racist principles, who were sincerely touched and inspired by his amazing life, his example and his deeds.

I had the unforgettable experience -- and the thrill of a lifetime -- to meet, shake hands and exchange a few words with Nelson Mandela.

'I am no messiah': Mandela and the dangers of deification

'Farewell to an icon', by Zapiro.

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Terry Bell, Cape Town

December 13, 2013 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- As everyone from monarchs to the labouring masses this week sought to share in the Mandela memorial moment, the myth machine went into overdrive, the very machine Mandela had so disparaged when I sat with him in his Johannesburg office in 1992. One sentence he uttered then has resonated with me throughout the years: “I am no messiah.”

The virtual deification of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, would almost certainly have been anathema to the man. Especially since it has been peppered with hypocrisy in the laudatory comments by the likes of President Robert Mugabe, and the statements by, and selection of, some of the VIP delegations to his memorial and funeral.

From Marxism to neoliberalism: Ronnie Kasrils on how Mandela & ANC shifted

[Read more on Nelson Mandela and South African politics.]

December 12, 2013 -- Democracy Now! -- Speaking from Johannesburg, leading anti-apartheid activist and former South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils discusses the evolution of the African National Congress’ economic views from its time as a liberation movement to leading South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Kasrils says the ANC was forced to make a "Faustian pact" with neoliberalism in order to bring apartheid to an end and avoid civil war. He also discusses recent reports that Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party. Kasrils was on the National Executive Committee of the ANC for 20 years, serving as minister for intelligence services from 2004 to 2008.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

CIA and Mandela: Can the truth be told now?; Mandela and misremembering history

"One of Our Greatest Coups": The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela, Democracy Now! on December 13, 2013, spoke to journalist Andrew Cockburn, who first reported on the CIA link to Mandela’s arrest in 1986 in the New York Times. For the full transcipt, click HERE.

December 10, 2013 -- Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting -- Back in 1990, FAIR (Extra!, 3/90) noted that the media coverage of Nelson Mandela's release from prison failed to mention there was strong evidence that the CIA had tipped off South African authorities to Mandela's location in 1962, resulting in his arrest.

So with coverage of Mandela's death dominating the media now, can the story of the CIA's role in Mandela's capture be told?

Mostly not.

Ashwin Desai: Nelson Mandela’s long walk

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By Ashwin Desai, Johannesburg

December 10, 2013 -- The Unrepentant Marxist -- Nelson Mandela’s best-selling autobiography, published in 1994, is entitled Long Walk to Freedom. It tells the powerful story of the journey of a rural Transkei boy who was a cow-herd and son of a deposed tribal chief, to guerilla fighter to decades-long prisoner on an Island fortress and then to the first black and democratic president of his nation, South Africa.

This story came at a time when the world was witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Union, the toppling of statues of many socialist icons and the quagmire of many post-colonial states in Africa. Mandela’s story was rightfully seen as one example of vindication for resistance, righteousness, principle and steadfastness. With the African National Congress (ANC) victory seen as a rare move forward during the 1990s, it reminded us all that to sacrifice for justice will finally find redemption.

Cuba’s Raúl Castro praises Nelson Mandela’s 'unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle'

December 10, 2013 -- Democracy Now! -- Cuban President Raúl Castro was among the speakers at today’s memorial to Nelson Mandela.

"Let us pay tribute to Nelson Mandela”, Castro said. "The ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle, to freedom and justice, a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation. As Mandela’s life teaches us, only the concerted effort of all nations will empower humanity to respond to the enormous challenges that today threatens its very existence." We also air a video clip of the 1991 meeting between Mandela and Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

'To truthfully honour Mandela, we must renew the freedom struggle of the working class and rural poor'

For more on Nelson Mandela, click HERE.

By the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

December 8, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) joins the people of South Africa, and the world, in mourning the passing on of our freedom fighter, political prisoner, people’s hero, people’s servant, leader of our people and founding father of our post-1994 democratic dispensation, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Metalworkers across the length and breadth of our country mourn the sad passing of this arguably greatest world inspirational leader of the 20th century.

We lower our red banners not as a sign of respect to death’s vengeance, but as a tribute to President Mandela who was a symbol of our people’s resilience and struggle for a free, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

We shed our tears in grief with the rest of the working and masses of our country for losing this great son of Africa. His exemplary revolutionary political life will be celebrated by different generations to come.

President Mandela will forever be admired and adored by the militant and fighting Metalworkers of our country.

Nelson Mandela’s years in power: Was he pushed or did he jump?

"Mandela led fight against apartheid, but not against extreme inequality", Patrick Bond told the Real News Network on December 5, 2013. Full transcript at The Real News.

[Read more on Nelson Mandela and South African politics.]

By Patrick Bond[1]

December 5, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The death of Nelson Mandela, at age 95 on December 5, 2013, brings genuine sadness.

South Africa: Zwelinzima Vavi explains the real cause of the crisis in COSATU

Zwelinzima Vavi.

Below are suspended general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi's speaking notes for his address to the National Union of Metalworkers KwaZulu-Natal congress, on November 23 2013.

* * *

I am speaking strictly in my personal capacity and not in any way as a representative of anybody.

A. Very lazy, shallow and extremely misleading explanations of the bases and causes of the paralysing crisis in Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) suggest the following:

a. That the current general secretary of COSATU, Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi has fallen out with a pro Jacob Zuma leadership faction inside COSATU, and that he is himself is supported by an anti-Zuma faction. This is arguably the most publicly punted explanation for the crisis in COSATU by the media.

b. That both the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) national leaders are unhappy with Zwelinzima Vavi and his anti-government corruption crusade, oppositional stance and public criticism of the ANC.

South Africa: 'Beacon of hope' still flickers faintly

By Terry Bell

October 25, 2013 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “South Africa has rather fallen off the radar”, the BBC journalist noted. This was similar to comments voiced by former anti-apartheid activists and by several one-time strugglista exiles, mainly in London, who never returned home to settle. Because, in the mainstream media of Europe, there is little mention of South Africa; and, after six weeks abroad, it was for me a useful reminder of how minor is our role in global political and economic affairs.

And the moral high ground bequeathed to the country and its post-apartheid government by the global struggle against apartheid has also all but evaporated, depositing a residue of concern and disillusionment among many of those who once saw South Africa as a global beacon of hope. “What on Earth is happening there?” was a common, and concerned query, expressed by those who seek out what news they can of the country.

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