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Africa

Sudan: Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud's ideas will live on

Procession at funeral of Sudanese Communist Party general secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, March 25, 2012.

By Abohoraira Ali

March 29, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, secretary general of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), died on March 22, 2012, in London, where he was undergoing medical treatment for an inoperable brain tumour. Thousands of people joined the funeral procession to farewell Nugud on March 25, when his body was taken from the airport past his home and the SCP headquarters, before being buried in the Al Farouq cemetery. Leaders of other opposition parties and representatives from South Sudan attended.

The contradictions of Ronnie Kasrils: The leftist spy who came in from cold Pretoria

Ronnie Kasrils speaks out against Israel's apartheid policies, March 5, 2009.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

March 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- ‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after 14 years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was replaced in palace coup.

Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughing stock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.

Video: Eight myths behind 'Kony 2012'

March 27, 2012 -- A video by Green Left Weekly's  Paul Benedek that exposes the dangerous myths behind Invisible Children's viral film Kony 2012. Is the focus on Kony justified by the facts? Should we support the Ugandan army? Will US intevention help? Kony 2012: viral activism or viral imperialism?

Western Sahara: ‘No one will give us our freedom’

[Click HERE for more on the struggle of the people of Western Sahara.]

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Laura Gilbie

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After two decades of political deadlock, Africa’s oldest refugee population is losing faith in UN mandated peace negotiations.

“No one will give us our freedom — we must take it!,” Sahrawi journalist Embarka Elmehdi Said told Green Left Weekly. Said sees little hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has gripped Western Sahara since its independence from Spain in the 1970s.

A child when her family fled the Moroccan invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Said has spent most of her life in the Polisario run refugee camps on the Western Sahar-Algeria border.

Her two sons, aged 12 and three, have spent all their lives in the camps.

International solidarity helps keep the ‘Zimbabwe 6’ out of jail

Johannesburg protest in support of the "Zimbabwe 6", March 20, 2012.

By Lisa Macdonald

March 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Six Zimbabwean activists who were convicted for watching a video of the Arab Spring in February 2011 won a partial victory on March 21 when they were given suspended jail sentences of two years, ordered to each do 420 hours of community service and pay a fine of US$500 each.

The six activists were convicted in the Harare Magistrates Court on March 19 of trumped-up charges of “conspiracy to commit public violence”. They had faced up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a sentence demanded by the state prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba.

Germany's genocide in Namibia

German troops kill the Herero, circa 1904. Painting by Richard Knötel (1857-1914).

Africa's Pambazuka News has devoted an entire issue to Germany's 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples (in Namibia). Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal posts the editorial and an article that details this shameful imperialist slaughter and modern Germany's refusal to adequately acknowledge and compensate Namibia for its crimes. Read the full issue HERE. Become a Friend of Pambazuka.]

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By Eric Van Grasdorff, Nicolai Röschert and Firoze Manji

March 20, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- On March 22, 2012, Germany's parliament will debate a motion to acknowledge its brutal 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples. Germany’s refusal thus far, and its less than even ‘diplomatic’ treatment in 2011 of the Namibian delegation at the first-ever return of the mortal remains of genocide victims, demands a reassessment of suppressed colonial histories and racism.

Zimbabwe: Activists found 'guilty' on trumped-up charges -- protests keep them out of jail!

Munyaradzi Gwisai, a political activist and former member of parliament, left court in Harare on March 19 after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government. Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press.

STOP PRESS: March 21, 2012 -- The final verdict is two years' jail, suspended for five years (on condition that no similar "offence" is committed), 420 hours of community service (about six weeks Mon.-Fri.) and an US$500 fine each. The sentence is designed to be a chain on their ankles, but clearly the state does not feel confident to smash them. That is certainly a victory for the mass showings at the courts in Harare, and the international solidarity campaign that included the sending of protests messages from around the world and the holding of pickets and demonstrations. Viva, viva comrades there for resisting the intimidation, and also for the many forms of international solidarity. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal would like to thank its many readers for their participation in the campaign.

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By Ashley Fataar

Uganda: How the West brought Idi Amin to power

Some of the victims of the Idi Amin regime recovered by local farmers in the fertile fields of the Luwero Triangle region north of the Ugandan capital of Kampala in 1987.

Introduction by Tony Iltis

March 22, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reception in Uganda to the KONY 2012 viral video has been unanimously negative. From journalists, academics and bloggers to local NGO workers and local people at a public screening in the northern town of Lira, Ugandans have reacted angrily to their country’s politics and problems being simplified into a childish narrative to serve foreign propaganda needs.

Many Ugandan commentators noted that this is not the first time Uganda has suffered this treatment from Western filmmakers, citing the highly successful, award-winning 2007 British film, The Last King of Scotland, as another example. This film is centres on Idi Amin Dada, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 in a violent reign of terror that cost 100,000 lives.

Zimbabwe activists in danger of unlawful prison sentences – Solidarity needed!

Supporters of the activists facing unlawful imprisonment.

The following statement was issued by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU). Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to phone, email or send protest messages demanding the release of the six Zimbabwe activists to the Zimbabwe embassy or consulate in their countries. Solidarity actions are being organised in South Africa. Please send copies of protest messages sent to socialismfrombelow@gmail.com (copy to ashley_fataar@yahoo.co.uk and shanthabloemen@gmail.com).

Text messages can be sent to:

Home affairs (police) minister Kembo Mohadi: +263 712 605 424 (mobile)

State security (C.I.O.) minister Didymus Mutasa: +263 0712 200 532 (mobile)

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena +263 712 801 172

COSATU general strike shakes South Africa

By Ashley Fataar, Cape Town

March 12, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- March 7 saw South Africa’s largest protest in several years when more than 200,000 workers took to the streets in 32 towns and cities across the country. More than 1.5 million workers stopped work.

The strike – called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) to protest against the growing role of labour brokers and the introduction of road tolls -- was prompted by worsening poverty and working conditions in South Africa. There has been a steady decline in the wage share of national income, down from 56% in 1996 to less than 47% today.

After the Durban climate talks: State and market climate failures amplified by civil society failure

Durban, December 3, 2011. Photo by Anne Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 28, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In 2007, former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern termed climate change the worst "market failure" in history – since those who pollute with greenhouse gases are not charged, and since they threaten future generations and vast swathes of natural life – and at that moment, even the 1991 ravings of another former World Bank chief economist, Larry Summers, made sense.

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up that", according to a memo with Summers’ signature, although actually Summers was a mere plagiarist of Harvard economist Lant Pritchett’s genius, insiders allege.

'Uneven and combined Marxism' within South Africa’s urban social movements

A protest by Kliptown Concerned Residents and the Anti Privatisation Forum.

By Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai and Trevor Ngwane

February 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The political dynamics of contemporary South Africa are rife with contradiction. On one hand, it is among the most consistently contentious places on earth, with insurgent communities capable of mounting disruptive protest on a nearly constant basis, rooted in the poor areas of the half-dozen major cities as well as neglected and multiply-oppressed black residential areas of declining towns. On the other hand, even the best-known contemporary South African social movements, for all their sound, lack a certain measure of fury.

Letter from Zimbabwe: Court dismisses acquittal application by the '6 Egyptians'

Action is support of the charged Zimbabwean activists, Fremantle, Western Australia. Six Zimbabwean socialists are charged with “inciting public violence” (which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment).  Munyaradzi Gwisai, director of the Labor Law Centre, Tafadzwa Choto and Tatenda Mombeyarara, trade unionist Edison Chakuma, debt rights activist Hopewell Gumbo and student leader Welcome Zimuto were arrested on February 19 while meeting to watch video footage of democracy protests in Egypt and Tunisia (David Mpatsi, one of the 45 activists originally charged with treason for attending the film screening, died following a rapid deterioration in his health while he was imprisoned and denied medical treatment). The following letter explains the latest developments. For more background to the case, click HERE.

February 16, 2012 -- Yesterday Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini dismissed the defendants' application for the discharge of charges of conspiring to commit public violence. Their lawyer, Alex Muchadehama had applied for discharge at the close of the state's case on the basis that the state had failed to produce sufficient evidence to require the defendants to put up a defence.

‘Global sustainability’ wilts in South Africa’s political hot air

By Patrick Bond, Durban

February 15, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The latest acts in South Africa’s’s intensifying political drama include a sizzling summer-long battle between young and old within the African National Congress (ANC), the February 10 State of the Nation speech by President Jacob Zuma and the release of the ANC’s “research” on alternatives to mining nationalisation, a demand by the ANC Youth League which is now one of the main issues dividing the ruling party.

Amid the chaos, stepping over the political corpse of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema (about to be expelled for “throwing the ANC into disrepute”), Zuma apparently also wants to be considered a world eco-visionary. As co-chairs of the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, he and Finland’s President Tarja Halonen published an article last week entitled “Seizing sustainable development”. Zuma and Halonen ask, “How do we begin to tackle the massive challenge of retooling our global economy, preserving the environment, and providing greater opportunity and equity, including gender equality, to all?”

Adam Hanieh: 'The Arab revolutions are not over'

Adam Hanieh addresses a meeting in London.

Adam Hanieh interviewed by Farooq Sulehria

February 3, 2012 -- Viewpoint -- Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states, have been key protagonists in the counter-revolutionary wave unleashed against the Arab uprisings. Indeed, 2011 has clearly demonstrated that imperialism in the region is articulated with – and largely works through – the Gulf Arab states. "Overall, it is important for the left to support the ongoing struggles in the revolutions as the contradictions of the new regimes continue to sharpen", says Adam Hanieh.

Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Historical Materialism.

Farooq Sulehria: The outcome of elections in Tunisia and Egypt went in favour of Islamist parties, even though the revolutions in these countries had a secular character. Islamists are also an integral part, if not the dominant force, in the revolutions in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. Is the Arab Spring in fact a victory for the Islamist movements?

Will IMF neoliberalism make a comeback in Africa via Tunisia?

The neoliberal government of Ben Ali was overthrown by popular rebellion in 2010. Can the IMF co-opt the Arab Spring?

By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife

February 2, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde in Tunisia today, the stage is set for ideological war over the progress of democratic revolutions.

Until 27-year-old fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by immolation in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia was packaged as an IMF success story. In 2008, dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was embraced by Lagarde’s predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn: "Economic policy adopted here is a sound policy and is the best model for many emerging countries.”

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.

Tunisia: Left gains in trade union election

By Nizar Amami

January 12, 2012 -- International Viewpoint -- The 22nd congress of Tunisia’s UGTT trade union federation (Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens, General Union of Tunisian Workers) was held December 25-28, 2011. A large part of it was devoted to the election of a new national leadership. The new executive bureau (EB) is clearly better than the old one. It is based on real activists involved in struggles, who are not corrupt.

An alternative list had been constituted around those close to the federation’s former deputy leader. It includes some self-styled independents, of whom some were in reality close to the Islamists currently in power (about 10% of congress participants were estimated to be linked to the Islamists).

The overwhelming majority of members of the new EB belong historically to the trade union left, and this is a victory for that left. Half of those elected are not, or are no longer, members of a party. This is for example the case with the new general secretary. He was part of the minority on the old EB and belongs to the democratic and left movement. He was a member of the Communist Party 20 years ago.

Nigeria: A smouldering rage; Disappointment and anger at strike suspension

Kano, Monday 16 January

Anti-government rally, Kano, Nigeria, January 16, 2012.

By Nnimmo Bassey

January 18, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- The nationwide strike in Nigeria against a petrol price hike ended under rather curious circumstances. The strike called by labour unions had crippled the economy save for the fact that the oil pipelines continued to deliver their load. Labour leaders and civil society coalitions entered into dialogue with a government that favours monologues. It was not surprising that the game was over before the labour leaders knew it.

Nigerians woke up at the dawn of the new year to learn that the price of a litre of petrol had been jerked up by about 120 per cent. Petrol now costs 141 naira and N200 (about US$1) per litre in an economy where the minimum wage is N18,000 (about $110). We note that even before organised labour called out workers on strike, citizens had already hit the streets in protest against what they see as an insensitive and unacceptable action by the government.

Nigeria: The state versus the people -- 10 million join general strike, protests; Unions condemn state killings

By Baba Aye

January 13, 2012 -- Socialist Workers Bulletin -- Nigeria's federal government declared war on Nigerians on new year's day, with its 120% hike in the petrol price. With heads held high, the people gallantly rose across the country in stiff resistance, immediately. The resistance snowballed into a general strike and series of escalating mass protests of historic proportions, with more than 10 million Nigerians demonstrating in more than 50 cities and towns within the country and no less than a dozen cities across Africa, Europe and the Americas.

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