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Africa

South Africa: The massacre of our illusions … and the seeds of something new

By Leonard Gentle, director of the International Labour Research and Information Group (South Africa)

August 23, 2012 -- ILRIG -- The story of Marikana has so far been painted shallowly as an inter-union spat. In the first few days after the August16 police killing of  34 striking mineworkers, employed by the Lonmin mining corporation, and the shock and horror of watching people being massacred on TV, there have correctly been howls of anger and grief. Of course no one wants to take responsibility because to do so would be to acknowledge blame.

Some pundits have even gone the way of warning at anyone “pointing figures” or “stoking anger”. That buffoon, African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema, stepped forward as if scripted, and promptly lent credibility to those warnings. So South African President Jacob Zuma’s setting up of an inquiry and his call for a week of mourning for the deceased and their families could come across as “statesmanlike”.

Zimbabwe: Corporate collaboration lets Mugabe continue abuses

Corporate cash continues to feed Mugabe's rule.

By Patrick Bond, Zimbabwe

August 15, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Zimbabwe’s political-economic crisis continues because dislodging decades of malgovernance has not been achieved by the Government of National Unity that began in early 2009, civil society activism or international pressure, including this week’s Maputo summit of the main body charged with sorting out democratisation, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). With a new draft constitution nearly ready for a referendum vote, followed by presidential and parliamentary elections by next April, the period immediately ahead is critical.

Many examples of chaos appeared over the last week (much of which I spent in a rural area northwest of the capital of Harare). On Monday, for example, 44 activists were arrested in the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe office at a project launching documentation of the repeated violations of their human rights. Though released, it reminded the society of the power of dictatorship mixed with homophobic social values.

Adam Hanieh on Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood, the military and the continuing revolution

Thousands of Egyptian protesters cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge to attend a rally in Cairo on January 27, 2012, to demand democratic change, a year after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

[For more analysis and discussion on Egypt, click HERE.]

By Adam Hanieh

August 12, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Eighteen months after mass protests and strikes ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak from power, the basic aspirations that drove Egypt’s uprising remain largely unfulfilled. The vast majority of the population has seen little substantive improvement in living conditions. Political decision making continues to be dominated by a military junta closely tied to the United States.

Eritrean referendum on independence

Wednesday, March 31, 1993

By Peter Boyle

Green Left Weekly -- On May 24, 1991, the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF) won its long armed struggle against the Ethiopian government. In April the Eritrean people will freely express their right to self-determination in a referendum on the future of their war and drought-ravaged country. They will have three choices: independence, regional autonomy within Ethiopia or federation with Ethiopia.

While there will be thousands of international observers, the United Nations refused a request by the provisional government/EPLF to administer the referendum because it did not want to pick up the costs, according to Elias Habte-Selassie, a former official of the Commission for Eritrean Refugee Affairs and a member of the EPLF.

Habte-Selassie spoke to Green Left Weekly when in Australia recently to lecture at the Diplomacy Training Program at the University of NSW.

Like many of his compatriots, Habte-Selassie has spent a long time in exile. He had to leave Eritrea when he was 13 to continue his studies in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. In 1975 he fled to Kenya and then to Sudan, where he joined the EPLF.

Eritrea: out of the ashes

Wednesday, June 12, 1991

By Tony Iltis

The collapse of the Ethiopian military regime, following the flight of Haile Mariam Mengistu to Zimbabwe, ends 14 years of brutal dictatorship and raises hope for an escape from the oppression, war and starvation that have made Ethiopia and Eritrea synonymous with suffering.

On May 28, Meles Zenawi, leader of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), announced that the front would form a temporary administration pending the establishment of a transitional government within a month. Internationally supervised elections will be held within a year.

The Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF), which has liberated the whole of Eritrea, will not take part in the transitional government but will form a provisional administration in Eritrea until a referendum is held on independence.

Cuba's internationalism: 11,000 doctors graduate; 5315 Cuban and 5694 from 59 other countries

By José A. de la Osa, Havana

July 19, 2012 -- Granma.cu -- This July, 11,000 students are to receive their degrees as doctors of medicine; 5315 Cubans and 5694 students from 59 other countries, the highest total in the history of Cuba and an eloquent example of internationalist solidarity. These young graduates completed their studies free of charge in Medical Science Universities recognised for their high scientific level and social commitment to the poorest in the world.

Countries with the largest number of graduates are Bolivia, with more than 2400; Nicaragua, 429; Peru, 453; Ecuador, 308; Guatemala, 170; and Colombia, 175.

According to information given to Granma by the Advanced Medical Studies Department attached to the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), the total of this year’s graduates amounts to 32,171 health professionals, both Cuban and from other countries, including the careers of medicine, dentistry, psychology, nursing and health technology, which has 21 units.

Thomas Sankara: Revolution and the emancipation of women

"The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph." -- Thomas Sankara

By Amber Murrey

August 2, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- The life and work of Thomas Sankara can be taken as a reminder of both the power and potential for human agency to enact transformation. I would like to situate my ideas within the geopolitical context of the popular uprisings that continue to take place around the world as people organise against neoliberal policies of advanced capitalism and their resultant gross inequalities in wealth, health and education.

Accompanying the intensifying neoliberal crises -- manifested through the financial crisis, food security crisis, and struggles over land reform and landed property -- is an ever expanding militarisation. The US military now has more bases and more personnel stations in more countries than ever in its history. The US Africa Command is one component of the US military’s current phase of expansion, including millions of dollars of military equipment, arms and training in African nations.

Mauritius: Victory in struggle for decriminalisation of abortion

By Lindsey Collen

July 20, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Victories, even partial, are rare in these times. The revolutionary socialist party LALIT ("Lalit" means "struggle" in Kreol) would like to share with you an important development in the class struggle and struggle for women’s emancipation in Mauritius. LALIT is the only political party in Mauritius that has, over the decades, campaigned for abortion decriminalisation, and finally last month parliament passed a new abortion law to replace the 1838 total ban on any abortion. Everyone in the country knows that this is a LALIT struggle, as our stand on abortion decriminalisation had often been used “against” us. So, it is like getting accumulated “support”.

This victory comes less than a year after another victory accredited to LALIT: the introduction into schools of the mother tongues, Kreol and Bhojpuri, for the very first time in 2012.

Sudanese rally for freedom

July 20, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV -- A popular uprising against the brutal tyranny of the Omar al-Bashir regime is sweeping Sudan. It began with protest led by women students at Khartoum University but has spread throughout the country, despite severe repression from the Sudan regime. Sudanese refugee communities around the world have started holding actions in solidarity with the uprising and on July 20 was the Sydney community's turn. It will be only the first of many more actions, they vowed. Video by Peter Boyle for GLTV.

For more on Sudan, click HERE.

South Africa: The ANC's 'second transition' to what?

A demonstrator protests against the passing of the Protection of Information Bill, known as the "secrecy bill", outside parliament in Cape Town, November 22, 2011. Photo: Mike Hutchings / Reuters.

By Vishwas Satgar, Johannesburg

July 13, 2012 -- Amandla! --The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa's ruling party for almost two decades, held a policy conference in June. There are many ideas and policy perspectives up for discussion but the "big idea" framing the discussion is captured in a 47-page long document entitled: The Second Transition? Building a National Democratic Society and the Balance of Forces in 2012.

South Africa: Who will surf the protest wave?

Johannesburg's Orange Farm revolts against local elites.

By Patrick Bond

July 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching, unifying political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse words "popcorn protests" – as they simply run out of steam, or worse, get channelled by opportunists into a new round of xenophobic attacks?

It’s been a hot winter, and we’re just halfway through July (the Centre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory keeps tabs at http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za). Consider evidence from just the past two weeks, for example, in Johannesburg’s distant Orange Farm township south of Soweto, where residents rose up against city councillors and national electricity officials because of the unaffordable $250 installation charged for hated pre-payment (i.e. self-disconnection) meters, not to mention a 130% increase in electricity prices.

Sudan: Regime digs its own grave in face of popular uprising

By Meera Zoll

June 24/July 1, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) regime is facing rising dissent after a new round of youth protests began on June 16 against austerity measures, spreading throughout the week to cities and towns across Sudan.

Protesters and security forces have clashed daily as the government of President Omer Al Bashir struggles to prevent a widespread uprising.

Sudan’s economy has been in a downward spiral since South Sudan’s secession last July. Most of the two countries’ combined oil reserves are located in the south, so Khartoum lost about 75% of its oil income after the split. Inflation reached 30% in May and the cost of basic necessities has rocketed, devastating the already impoverished population.

In a June 12 meeting, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), which comprises the major opposition parties including the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and the National Umma Party, decided to initiate a mass campaign to topple the regime in response to the planned removal of fuel subsidies. It discussed an interim plan for a three-year transitional period after the regime’s projected downfall.

Sudan: Interviews with Sudanese Communist Party's new leader, Mohammed al-Khatib; student protests continue

June 18, 2012 -- Police fire tear gas at protesters. Sudan's capital has become the scene for growing protests against austerity measures of the government of President Omar al Bashir. The protests were started June 16 by students from the University of Khartoum. The protests gained momentum and attracted more participants. On June 18, Bashir tried to explain in the parliament the need for a reduction of fuel consumption and an increase in food prices. But instead of calming the public uproar, civilians joined the demonstrations, shouting slogans against lifting subsidies on fuel and the increase in food prices. Amid the demonstrators some student activists also called for toppling the regime. Police have intervened by using tear gas. The riot police fired bullets into the air to disperse protesters. Some protesters were fainting and vomiting. Radio Dabanga reported how students of the ruling National Congress Party armed with iron bars accompanied the police and security forces. They assaulted several female students inside the university.

By Jaafar al-Sirr

NO REDD+! in Rio+20: A declaration to decolonise the earth and the sky

“Against Amazonian Genocide. Xingu (Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter) Lives Forever.” Photo by Anne Petermann/Global Justice Ecology Project. This photo was taken during the People's March through Rio on June 20, 2012, and first appeared at Climate Connections.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

Introduction and notes by Chris Lang

June 19, 2012 -- REDD-Monitor -- Last week, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life held a press conference denouncing REDD and the green economy. The press conference was part of the People’s Summit, a nine-day event taking place in parallel to the UN Rio+20 conference.

Values versus prices at the Rio+20 Earth Summit: 'the Green Economy is the environmentalism of the rich'

Climate Connections, June 18, 2012 -- What’s wrong with the green economy?: Joanna Cabello of Carbon Trade Watch at Rio+20.

For more coverage of the Rio+20, click HERE.

By Patrick Bond, Rio de Janeiro

June 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article also appeared at Climate and Capitalism -- Given the worsening world economic crisis, the turn to "Green Economy" rhetoric looms as a potential saviour for footloose financial capital, and is also enormously welcome to those corporations panicking at market chaos in the topsy turvy fossil-fuel, water, infrastructure construction, technology and agriculture sectors.

On the other hand, for everyone else, the Rio+20 Earth Summit underway this week in Brazil, devoted to advancing Green Economy policies and projects, appears as an overall disaster zone for the people and planet.

Royal Society’s tunnel vision on population and poverty

People and the Planet
Royal Society Science Policy Centre Report
April 2012

Review by Ian Angus

May 23, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the Ian Angus' permission -- The radical ecologist Murray Bookchin once compared populationism to a phoenix, the mythical bird that periodically burns up and is reborn from its own ashes. No matter how often the “too many people” argument is refuted, it always returns, making the same claim that people are breeding too much and consuming too much, devouring the Earth like a plague of locusts.[1]

Can Asia save global capitalism?

Protesters rally, coinciding with the 45th annual meeting of the board of governors of the Asian Development Bank. May 2, 2012, in Manila, Philippines.

By Reihana Mohideen

May 4, 2012 -- Socialist Feminist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of the author -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has just held its annual board meeting in Manila, accompanied by much publicity and fanfare about "sustainable and socially inclusive development". A key framework document presented is entitled How Can Asia Respond to Global Economic Crisis and Transformation. The paper was prepared by a team of ADB technocrats and other leading gurus of neoliberal economic dogma, such as Jeffrey Sachs. There are some key underlying themes that ran through the document, reflected in the major conference sessions:

The Flame, April 2012 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

April 16, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

South African metalworkers: 'Workers must lead the transition to a green economy'


Frank Hammer interviews Cedric Gina, president of the 287,000-member National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), about the need for workers to lead the transition to a green economy and the creation of green jobs. NUMSA advocates public ownership to achieve the necessary changes required to combat global warming. The interview, broadcast on the Real News Network on February 12, 2012, followed a NUMSA-sponsored conference on fighting climate change. More details on the conference can be found on Frank Hammer's Converge2Convert website.

South Africa: Interview with Soweto socialist councillor

Operation Khanyisa Movement banners at a march in Johannesburg, 2008.

April 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview appears in the South African left magazine Amandla!. The latest issue has just been released. Click here for the full contents. The new issue of Amandla! features analysis of the African National Congress' centenary.

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