By Patrick Bond
January 1, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
1) Africa owes its takeoff to a variety of accelerators, nearly all of them external and occurring in the past 10 years:
- billions of dollars in aid, especially to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria;
- tens of billions of dollars in foreign-debt cancellations;
- a concurrent interest in Africa’s natural resources, led by China; and
- the rapid spread of mobile phones, from a few million in 2000 to more than 750 million today.
Business increasingly dominates foreign interest in Africa. Investment first outpaced aid in 2006 and now doubles it.
A nascent oil palm plantation in southeastern Sierra Leone owed by Socfin Agriculture Company, which in March 2011 signed a 50-year lease with the government of Serra Leone. Photo by Felicity Thompson/IRIN.
By Alan Broughton
November 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and its associated food crisis that sent another 200 million people into malnutrition, there has been a massive grab for land by large corporations around the world. Worst hit has been Africa, where food security is already non-existent for many people. Governments, including the Australian government, welcome this “investment” in agriculture, some bizarrely claiming that food security will be increased.
Graphic from the Economist.
By Patrick Bond
[Address to the Muslim Youth Movement 40th Anniversary Conference, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, September 30, 2012. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.]
At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends. – Former US president Jimmy Carter, 25 June 2012, New York Times
Sydney, December 10, 2011 -- Leaders of the Congolese community in Australia, at a meeting organised by the Latin American Social Forum, explained the crisis the Democratic Republic of Congo is facing after more than 50 years of exploitation by the Western countries and their local allies, and appealed for solidarity from the international socialist movement. Above community elder Mbuyi Tshielantende speaks (translated by Fralis Kolanga).
Liliane Lukoki discusses the situation of women in Congo; Fralis Kolanga calls for solidarity.
The Devil’s Milk: A social history of rubber
By John Tully
Monthly Review Press, 2011
[Order the The Devil’s Milk from Monthly Review Press HERE. John Tully launched the book in Melbourne on February 17, at Readings Books, Carlton (309 Lygon St). He will also launch it in New York City on February 22, 7.30pm, at The Brecht Forum, 451 West Street.]
February 18, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new book from Monthly Review Press – by Australian socialist John Tully -- documents the history of rubber and the role it has played in the development of capitalism.
Rubber is an essential industrial material, although underappreciated by most of us, even though we are surrounded by it. Since its industrial uses began to be fully appreciated in the 1800s, the quest for rubber has been, in Tully’s words, “a paradigm of imperialism”.
The high demand for coltan is helping fuel the bloody civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo as rival armies fight over reserves.
By Stuart Munckton
August 1, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- “Yes, the notable features with iPhone 4 — both the device and the iOS4 — are mostly tweaks”, said a June 22 review on the popular site BoingBoing.net. “But what tweaks they are.”
In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit I have no idea what “iOS4” means. But my eye was caught by the admission that the iPhone 4, launched in Australia on July 29, was almost the same as the iPhone 3.
Corporations use “inbuilt obsolescence” as part of artificially creating markets. This means the products they sell are deliberately made to break down — so we have to keep buying more.
In the case of products tied to ongoing innovations, the trick has a variation. Makers will hold back innovations in order to release, a short while later, a new version of the same product with a few extra features.
Wednesday, September 14, 1994
By Zanny Begg
Green Left Weekly -- The death toll in Rwanda has shocked people around the world. Rows upon rows of dead bodies have filled TV screens, newspapers and magazines since the carnage began in April. It has been estimated that 500,000 people have been killed. The spread of cholera and dysentery in the refugee camps is still adding hundreds to the death toll each day. Rwanda, previously one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, is now a mass grave. Due to migration and murder, its population has declined from 8 million to 5 million, a drop comparable to that in the Irish famine of the 1840s.
Ghana's elected President Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a US-backed coup in 1966.
By Tony Iltis
July 18, 2009 -- US President Barack Obama used his African heritage in his July 11 speech to the Ghanaian parliament in Accra as justification for proceeding to blame Africa’s problems on its own people.
He acknowledged historical Western crimes, but denied that ongoing suffering is caused by the current policies of the West. Western aggression and exploitation, Obama claims, are things of the past. A July 15 Los Angeles Times editorial said: “It was the same message about good governance they’d heard from presidents [Bill] Clinton and George W. Bush. No new programs or initiatives for Africa. But just because the message is old doesn't mean it's not worth repeating.”
Obama played up his own ancestry to appeal to his audience. He referred to the indignities his grandfather suffered under British colonial rule in Kenya, including being briefly imprisoned during the independence struggle of the 1950s and ’60s.
Tony Iltis interviewed on Iranian television
By Tony IltisNovember 7, 2008 -- Despite Western media and politicians having largely ignored a decade of genocidal warfare that has cost 6 million lives, the recent upsurge in fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has drawn not only media attention, but visits to the region by the British and French foreign ministers and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The current round of fighting in North Kivu province, which began on October 26 with an offensive by the Rwandan-backed rebel forces of General Laurent Nkunda, is indeed a humanitarian catastrophe — 200,000 people have been displaced, many not for the first time.
Leo Zeilig, author of Lumumba, a new political biography of Congo independence leader Patrice Lumumba, has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to offer its readers an exclusive excerpt to download.