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Africa

Egypt: The rise and (potential) fall of the Muslim Brotherhood

Arabic slogan that reads "No for military trials for civilians" over protesters' mouths during a rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands rallied against military rule. Photo by Amr Nabil / Associated Press

By Tim Dobson

November 29, 2011 -- Red Press Box, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- While the results of the Egyptian election won’t be known for a while, initial reports make it fairly clear that the election will result in a substantial victory for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

Sudan: Farewell Uncle Al Tijani — a remarkable revolutionary (+ Tijani's 1982 address to the court in defence of the SCP)

By Abohoraira Ali

November 29, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- On November 23, Sudan lost an invaluable activist, writer and leader.

Al Tijani Al Tayeb was one of the founders of the Sudanese Communist Party and the editor of the SCP's newspaper Al Midan. He dedicated his entire life to the movements against colonialism, dictatorship and capitalism in Sudan and against imperialist exploitation of Africa and the Middle East.

Al Tijani was born in 1926 in a poor village near the town of Shendi in north Sudan. His father was heavily involved in the Sudanese independence movement, fighting against the British occupation. Al Tijani learned much from his father’s ideas.

His family moved to Omdurman in Khartoum when Al Tijani was young. He attended school there and studied at Gordon College, which later became Khartoum University.

Al Tijani then went to Egypt to study, where he became involved with Egyptian communists and other leftists. After one year, he was arrested for helping the Egyptian people fight against the British, capitalism and the caste system.

Al Tijani was deported to Sudan where he continued to fight the British occupiers.

Welcome to Durban (excerpt from new book, 'Durban’s Climate Gamble')

Above: Durban’s Climate Gamble editor Patrick Bond (right) and contributor Ashwin Desai provide a background to the Durban climate talks.

[The following is an excerpt from a new book, Durban’s Climate Gamble: Playing the Carbon Markets, Betting the Earth, launched on November 23, 2011, ahead of the November 28–December 9 COP17 climate change talks by UNISA Press. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

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By Patrick Bond, Durban

(Updated Nov. 24) Egyptian revolution enters new phase: Thousands protest military rule (Democracy Now! reports)

November 23, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government.

In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Swaziland: Liberation movement proposes path to democracy

By Skhumbuzo Phakat, PUDEMO secretary general

November 15, 2011 -- The only solution to the current crisis is a transition to democratic governance. The financial crisis, judicial crisis, education crisis, health crisis and the entire deep-seated structural crisis the Swazi regime is under can only be solved by democratisation.

The time has come for King Mswati to swallow his pride and succumb to the demands of the people. The king must unban political parties as a matter of urgency, to pave way for a democratic dispensation. A genuine political dialogue must begin that involves all political parties and other major stake holders. The problems in Swaziland are political and require a political solution.

The People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) believes that a genuine political dialogue process must be preceded by the unbanning of political parties, release of all political prisoners, return of all exiles. We reaffirm our profound conviction that real solutions to the challenges facing our country will come from a peaceful, genuine negotiation process based on real and effective participation by the people.

Democracy is not the preserve of a selected few; it is by its very nature a process guided by the principles of freedom, co-determination and shared responsibility. Essentially, therefore, we must engage all the various interests in our country in a process that will sufficiently address the political, economic and socio-cultural dynamics at play in Swaziland.

COSATU leader on South African and Israeli apartheid

Address by Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, District Six Museum, Cape Town. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine's Cape Town hearings concluded that Israel is guilty of apartheid crimes. Its panel of jurists ruled that Israel's actions against the Palestinians breach the prohibition of apartheid under international law. Click here for more details of the tribunal's findings.

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Black South African workers -- especially a mineworker like myself -- who bore the brunt of South African racial capitalism, and understood the purposes and mechanisms of apartheid, know that when we talk about the conditions faced by our Palestinian comrades we are talking about apartheid . -- Zwelinzima Vavi

Indian communists on challenges for the Arab Spring and the American Autumn; Revolt of the 99 per cent

Placard at a Occupy Washington DC protest.

For more on the Occupy movement, click HERE. 

By the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation

November 7, 2011 -- ML Update -- It was Iraq in 2006. It is Libya today in 2011. In 2006, the administration of US President George Bush had celebrated the conquest of Iraq by exhibiting the mutilated body of Saddam Hussein as a prized trophy. The spectacle of celebration of Libya’s "liberation" is turning out to be remarkably similar. On October 20, 2011, the world came to know about the ruthless elimination of Libya’s deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi. He was captured alive – and unlike in the Saddam case there was no pretence of a trial – only to be murdered brutally and his blood-streaked body was put on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping centre in Misrata. Around the same tIme his son, Mutassim, was also captured and killed in Sirte, reportedly the last stronghold of the Gaddafi regime. While Barack Obama's administration and NATO immediately hailed the "liberation" of Libya, US and French flags could be seen being waved on Libya’s streets alongside Libyan flags.

Nnimmo Bassey on what to expect from Durban climate talks

Nnimmo Bassey (centre). Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

November 2, 2011 -- It’s unlikely there will be "an equitable outcome" from the COP17 climate talks, to be held in Durban in December 2011, but it will be "a great moment to intensify campaigns against the business-as-usual manner" in which climate negotiations have been conducted so far, Friends of the Earth International's Nnimmo Bassey told Pambazuka News.

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Pambazuka News: What role will Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth International be playing at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban? What will you be pushing for?

Libya: NATO's war feeds ugly violence

Amnesty estimated up to half those detained were migrant workers from Sub-Saharan Africa, who have been persecuted since the beginning of the conflict over spurious allegations that they served Gaddafi as mercenaries.

By Tony Iltis

October 31, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The October 23 declaration of Libya’s “liberation” by the National Transitional Council (NTC), the de-facto government since taking Tripoli from former dictator Muammar Gaddafi on August 21, was a showcase victory for the West’s vision of how the Arab democratic awakening should progress.

An uprising began in Libya on February 17 — part of the popular rebellion that has broken out against dictatorial regimes across the Arab world. The Gaddafi regime's brutal repression — carried out with Western-supplied weapons — meant the rising turned into a civil war.

By March 17, with the regime's forces preparing to attack the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi, a NATO intervention was sanctioned by a UN Security Council resolution in the name of protecting civilian lives.

Gaddafi, imperialism and Western hypocrisy

"The lesson of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and now al-Gaddafi is that friends can be quickly forsaken by their Western patrons when the writing is on the wall."

By Reza Pankhurst

October 21, 2011 -- New Civilisation, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement regarding the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi  will go down as another piece of brash hypocrisy, which would be breathtaking if it was not so expected from the British premier. He mentioned that he was “proud of the role that Britain has played” in the uprising – intending of course the support given by NATO once it was clear that the Libyan people had risen up against the man en masse.

However he neglected to mention some of the other roles that Britain previously played with the Gaddafi regime which have undoubtedly had an effect on the events:

Sudan/South Sudan: Communist Party sees dangers, but also possibilities for progress

South Sudan's independence celebrations.

Rashid El Sheikh, Sudanese Communist Party, interviewed by John Foster

October 19, 2011 -- Morning Star -- Africa's newest state, the Republic of South Sudan, came into being on July 9. Its secession from the north has transformed the political dynamics of a region rich in natural resources and which still suffers from the legacy of Britain's long colonial rule.

The original state of Sudan emerged from the bloody wars of conquest waged by Britain in the 1880s and 1890s. The region's previous rulers were Arab feudal landlords. Britain sought to rule the new colony by pitting the Islamic north against a south that was first Christianised and then used as a base for the mass commercial farming of cotton. Sudan achieved formal independence in 1956 and the new state entered a period of neocolonial economic control administered through a concordat with the economically reactionary Arab clans of the north.

At the same time, these years also saw repeated challenges by more progressive nationalist elements and Sudan's relatively large working class, largely a product of its commercial cotton production. In the 1960s Sudan had one of the largest communist parties in Africa.

Beware of ‘social justice’ promises by international bankers

Ismail Serageldin was invited to deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, which he titled, “The Making of Social Justice”. Serageldin has been a leader of the water privatisation lobby’s World Water Council.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

October 12, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In these days of dire economic and environmental crisis, with political elites under attack from Athens to Washington, the establishment is desperate for legitimacy. Even International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff now publicly endorse "social justice" at the same time they tighten austerity screws.

Recall the context. The 2008-09 financial meltdown was supposedly solved by throwing money at bankers in Wall Street, the City of London, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo. But it didn’t work, and on BBC’s Newsnight, Robert Shapiro of the Georgetown University Business School blew the whistle on the European debt crisis.

Arab Spring eyewitness: Reflections on the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia

[The writer is an Australian Socialist Alliance activist presently in the Middle East. His regular reports appear in Green Left Weekly, Australia's leading socialist newspaper.]

By Ted Walker, Cairo

October 7, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Arriving in Egypt the day before the September 9 protests that brought tens of thousands into the street, marches to the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Court, and then the storming of the Israeli embassy, certainly threw me in at the deep end! But arriving in Cairo at almost any point would have been like that.

For the last few months, Friday protests -- in Cairo's Tahrir Square and nationwide -- have been going on more or less every week. The week after September 9, there was a protest at Tahrir Square of around a thousand against the military trials; today there are "back to the barracks" protests demanding a quicker timetable for creating a civilian government.

Egypt: Military massacres Copts, stokes religious divisions to defuse revolution


October 12, 2011 -- Real News Network -- Angry protesters call for overthrow of the Egyptian military regime as many are killed by army. More at The Real News.

Statement by Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt): Glory to the martyrs of Bloody Sunday. Shame on the military and the reactionaries

October 10, 2011 -- The Revolutionary Socialists send sincere condolences to the families of the peaceful demonstrators who were murdered by the bullets of the Central Security Forces and crushed by the military’s armoured cars after they came on the night of October 9 to defend the right of Coptic Christians to freedom and equality.

Durban climate talks: 'Only people-driven and democratic solutions offer genuine ways out of climate crisis'

Protests at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, December 2010. Protests are being organised to take place at COP17in Durban, November-December 2011.

People's Dialogue statement on climate change, COP17 and Rio+20

Durban, September 2011 -- The People's Dialogue is a network that brings southern Africa and South American rural and popular activists and social movements together to share experiences and strengthen linkages in challenging injustice and building alternatives. The People's Dialogue held a meeting in Durban from September 21-23,  2011, to engage with the issue of climate change and the challenges it poses for rural movements, moving towards COP17 [to be in held Durban in November-December] and Rio+20 [to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 4-6, 2012].

Mauritius, Seychelles: Wikileaks exposes US imperialism's modus operandi

The Seychelles houses a base from where a fleet of “hunter-killer” drones operate.

September 26, 2011 -- Lalit de Klas -- Here is Lalit de Klas' [the revolutionary socialist party in Mauritius] first analysis of the recently published Wikileaks cables from the US embassy in Port Louis to Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, and to others in the US state apparatus. The cables date from 2008 to 2010. Some are “secret”, others merely “confidential”. But, taken as a whole, they betray the United States' modus operandi, as an imperialist power.

1. The first thing of note is the outrageous way that the US embassy puts constant and overt pressure on the Mauritius and Seychelles governments to “toe its line”. There is pressure to vote for this US-supported candidate, not that undesirable-to-the-US candidate, to vote “yes” not “no”, at the UN – on every conceivable issue. There must be, the US says, more “voting coincidence”.

Challenges for independent South Sudan; Behind the clashes in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur

South Sudan celebrates independence. Photo by babasteve.

By Explo Nani-Kofi

September 6, 2011 -- Pambazuka News, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- I have decided not to separate Sudan and South Sudan in my articles because developments in both places, even after the secession of South Sudan as an independent country, are linked to how Sudan, Africa’s biggest country, was shaped historically and how it functioned as a country. The crisis in Sudan is a crisis of capitalism in post-colonial Africa but manifests itself through the way capitalism specifically functions in Sudan.

Sudan: Secret police target Communist Party press

September 15, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed alarm at the growing censorship of opposition newspapers in Sudan. The regime's secret police, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), halted the distribution of four different opposition newspapers without cause.

In particular, the NISS has targeted the publication of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP). The September 4, 6, 8, 11 and 13 print runs of the Sudanese Communist Party twice-weekly Al-Midan have been confiscated. On September 4 and 8, two other opposition newspapers, Al-Jarida and Al-Sahafa, respectively, were confiscated by authorities. On September 13, opposition paper Akhbar al-Youm was seized.

"The repeated confiscation of these newspapers' entire print runs is an insidious form of censorship designed to put the publications out of business", said Committee to Protect Journalists deputy director Robert Mahoney. "The people of Sudan are entitled to hear alternative voices. The government must respect this right and allow these papers to publish without interference."

Eyewitness Swaziland: The birth of ‘Liberation Friday!’; 'The struggle for a democratic Swaziland continues'

By the Swaziland Democracy Campaign

September 10, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Friday,  September 9, marked the last day in the second Global Week of Action on Swaziland, culminating in a large protest march in Mbabane that resulted in pitched battles between a heavily armed and aggressive security detachment, and mostly poor workers, students and the unemployed, who gathered legally and peacefully as they have done all week.

On September 5 and 6 (Monday and Tuesday) only minor skirmishes took place, and the security services were restrained and largely non-provocative. This is as it should be. The marches were legal, and the organisers made it clear that they wanted to exercise the few rights that they have.

There have been more than 20 protests across the world, and seven inside South Africa. These took place outside of the various offices of the Reserve Bank of South Africa in order to draw attention to the ill-advised bailout of R2.4 billion that is being offered to the Swazi regime through the Reserve Bank, "facilitated" by the South African African National Congress (ANC) government. The protests were also about the need for solidarity with the democratic forces inside Swaziland.

Swaziland liberation movement leader: 'Build an unstoppable tsunami for freedom!'

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

By Mario Masuku, president of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) of Swaziland

September 9, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few days, the mass of the people of Swaziland: workers, students, women, rural and landless masses, churches and other faith-based organisations, social movements, NGOs and the rest of civil society networks have confronted the tinkhundla system on a scale unheard of before.

This week alone has seen an unprecedented 30,000-40,000 people fill the streets of our country to demand freedom. This must be the beginning of intensified action. As we regroup and organise for April next year and the third global week of protest in September 2012, let us mobilise even more. Let us build the profile of the global week to reach an unprecedented 100 cities around the world. Let our allies across the world build more chapters of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) to intensify the global offensive.

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