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Africa

Climate illusions sowed by Avaaz: Upward gazing can be politically blinding

G7 leaders frolick. Not so green.

Click for more by Patrick Bond and on climate issues

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 17, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, first published at Triplecrisis and reposted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission from the author -- Who’s not heard the great African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral’s injunction, 50 years ago, “Tell no lies and claim no easy victories”? If, like me, you’re a petit bourgeois who is hopeful for social progress, then let’s be frank: this advice hits at our greatest weakness, the temptation of back-slapping vanity.

World soccer corruption, Africa’s ‘illicit financial flows’ and elite silences

Click for more on sport and capitalism, the soccer World Cup and articles by Patrick Bond

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 3, 2015 -- originally published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and, especially, the United States. We now know more about offshore centres of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.

On May 21, Africa’s "illicit financial flows" (IFF) looting was partially dissected by Nelson Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, in his urgent-sounding report to the African Union, Track it! Stop it! Get it! Mbeki’s bottom line:

Sudáfrica: Para resistir la xenofobia es necesario abordar sus causas profundas

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4401.]

Por Patrick Bond, Durban

10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- En Sudáfrica los símbolos políticos están un día y desaparecen al siguiente, pero la opresiva política económica continua. En la superficie, somos testigos de una explosión de activismo anti-racista entre los sudafricanos más ilustrados – jovenes académicos negros que tratan de romper los restos de poder de un apartheid residual - pero al mismo tiempo, una implosión xenófoba está causando estragos en los estratos socioeconómicos inferiores.

A mediados de marzo, en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo (UCT), el estudiante de pregrado de ciencias políticas Chimani Maxwele arrojó un cubo de excrementos a la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes, el gran emprendedor colonial del sur de Africa, catalizando una rebelión contra las estructuras de poder dominadas por blancos en la UCT y otros lugares. Menos de tres semanas después, una revuelta de sudafricanos pobres urbanos en otras dos grandes ciudades del país - Durban y Johannesburgo – escogía como chivo expiatorio un sector igualmente pobre y oprimido: los inmigrantes, en su mayoría de otras partes de África.

'Don't moan, mobilise! Don't mourn, organise!' -- Zwelinzima Vavi's May Day message

May Day 2015 speech by Zwelinzima Vavi, Durban

May 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today we march in concert with millions of workers all over the world to celebrate International Workers’ Day. We stand with workers in Greece, in Syria, in Bangladesh, in Argentina, in Zambia, in Canada and in every other country of the world to pronounce our determination to step up the struggle against exploitation and oppression. For while the global elite get richer and richer, the working class continues to be condemned to poverty.

In standing together against exploitation we also gather to celebrate our past victories. This includes the victory of the working class in South Africa in winning May 1 as a paid public holiday in 1994. This was not given to us on a plate. It was a struggle started in 1904, intensified in the 1980s, and finally won immediately after our first democratic election.

South Africa: Xenophobia or Afrophobia?

By Denja Yaqub, assistant secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress

April 20, 2015 -- Vanguard (Nigeria), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Until 1994, for over a century, South Africa was locked against the rest of Africa and indeed the country and her people were not easily accessible to the rest of the world as the white minority used its might to impose racial segregation, which denied the majority black of everything, including quality of life. The rest of the world rose in support of the black majority in popular agitation for the liberation of a country held in the worst and unusual form of domination in all spheres of life.

The "support" given by the rest of the world was not because it was South Africa. It was because a part of humanity with legitimate rights to their land had been deprived and decimated only because they have resources of global economic values and not just because of the colour of their skin. Everyone saw the anti-apartheid struggle as a liberation struggle, an integral part of the global struggle against oppression, all forms of oppression.

The ticking time bomb of Swaziland

South Africa's ANC President Jacob Zuma gives Swaziland tyrant Mswati III the red-carpet treatment.

For more on Swaziland, click HERE.

By Terry Bell, Cape Town

April 19, 2015 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), campaigning groups and labour-supporting members of the European parliament this month launched protests about the continued harassment and jailing of trade unionists and democracy campaigners in Swaziland. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has noted that, in Swaziland, “Violations against the fundamental rights of workers have become systemic.”

But apart from a few verbal sallies from non-governmental groups, there has been silence from South Africa. And this should be deeply worrying to those who are concerned about deepening democracy on the continent and in ensuring that a wealthy, often corrupt — if not entirely melanin deficient — elite do not continue to dominate.

Namibia 25 years on: What happened to our dreams?

By Henning Melber

[April 9, 2015 -- The following article appeared in the Namibian newspaper’s March 21, 2015, 25th independence anniversary supplement. Henning Melber joined the South-West African Peoples Organisation (SWAPO) in 1974. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Melber’s permission.]

In Namibia … we are clear … No exploitation of man by man. That will not be allowed here – Namibia’s President Sam Nujoma in an interview in a Namibia special report of the New African magazine in 2003.

South Africa: Slow-motion disintegration of COSATU likely to continue

"COSATU's highly respected national spokesperson, Patrick Craven, announced his resignation, after Vavi's expulsion noting: 'I could not defend the indefensible.' Several other senior COSATU figures are also discussing whether to take a similar step."

By Terry Bell, Cape Town

April 6, 2015 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The fact that COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has refused to accept his dismissal from the federation should have come as no surprise to readers of this blog. This column has pointed out for months now that the central executive committee (CEC) of COSATU has no constitutional authority to finally dismiss, suspend or expel any office bearer or affiliate; that only a national congress may do that.

South Africa: United Front condemns COSATU's expulsion of Zwelinzima Vavi

COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been expelled from the federation by its pro-ANC leadership.

Read more about recent developments in South Africa HERE.

March 31, 2015 -- United Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As expected, yesterday the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) decided to expel Zwelinzima Vavi from his position as its general secretary. The United Front (UF) regards this decision as the final nail in the regrettable terminal decline of what was once a mighty, principled, independent and militant federation of workers’ trade unions.

Adam Hanieh: Power, wealth and inequality in the Arab world

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

By Adam Hanieh

March 1, 2015 -- Middle East Monitor, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over four years since mass uprisings ousted sclerotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders.

In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Hosni Mubarak era. Elsewhere, autocratic governments look more secure in their rule today than they have for many years.

South Africa: NUMSA and the troubled ANC-led Alliance

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

March 20, 2015 --The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The expulsion of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in November 2014 was a watershed moment in the post-apartheid labour movement. The expulsion was a product of, and has deepened further, the crisis in the Alliance between the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), as well as the internal crises of each of the three component parts of the Alliance.

Defend Swaziland unions! Free Mario Masuku!

Mario Masuku, jailed president of the People's United Democratic Movement.

For more on Swaziland, click HERE.

By Patrick Craven

March 17, 2015 -- Congress of South African Trade Unions, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns recent violent attacks by Swaziland police on trade union meetings and sends a message of solidarity and support to the Swazi workers struggling for democracy and the right to organise in free and independent trade unions.

On March 14, 2015, King Mswati’s police broke up a meeting of the executive board of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), and injured a union leader who was taking part. According to TUCOSWA leaders and the Swazi Observer, more than 300 plainclothed police forced participants to end the meeting in the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Centre and blocked the gates to the building. TUCOSWA has reported that Muzi Mhlanga, SNAT secretary general, was assaulted and had to seek medical care.

Mining, energy, climate, capitalism: Why don’t NGOs connect the dots?

Alternative Mining Indaba Feb 2015

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

March 14, 2015 -- Despite making powerful criticisms of multinational mining corporations, an NGO-organised conference in Cape Town ignored essential links with related struggles.

In southern Africa, the Zulu and Xhosa word Indaba is used for important gatherings or conferences. February’s Alternative Mining Indaba, challenging a pro-corporate conference held at the same time, was organised by the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, in assocation with  Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

* * *

Intersectionality missing-in-action at Cape Town’s Alternative Mining Indaba

By Patrick Bond

South Africa: NUMSA's message to Australian workers

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

NUMSA national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo's address to the Australian Workers Union, Australia

March 3, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I greet you in the name of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). I am here to give you an update since our general secretary, Irvin Jim, addressed your 2013 conference. I am happy to report that, despite the shrinking of South Africa's manufacturing sector, NUMSA has continued to grow.

In 2013 we reported to you a membership of 300,000. Today it stands at 360,000. We are the biggest union in the history of the African continent. Despite massive deindustrialisation in our country, during which hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been destroyed, NUMSA's membership has grown by nearly 65% over the last six years. NUMSA is truly a dominant force.

The key development since Comrade Jim's address to you in 2013 was our Special National Congress at the end of 2013.

South Africa: 'We are not prepared to remain paralysed', eight militant COSATU unions declare

For more on South Africa, click HERE.

Group of eight COSATU unions statement

March 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa continues to be ravaged by the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality and the black and African working class are its worst victims. Black working class women and youth are in a state of hopelessness, desperation and despondency. Increasing numbers of school leavers are swelling the accumulating pool of the unemployed.

We are fighting for a militant, independent trade union movement

The congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is in a state of paralysis and that has given our government an opportunity to pursue its neoliberal policy direction, as articulated in the National Development Plan. This was not going to be easier for the state if the federation remained the militant defender of the working class that it has been throughout its history.

The leaderships of the eight unions have consistently refused attempts to turn COSATU into a passive and non-campaigning federation. We have rejected all attempts to get COSATU becoming a conveyor belt and an apologist of neoliberal policies.

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

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