Africa

The ninth edition of The Communist, paper of the Moroccan section of the IMT, is out! This new edition contains articles on the new government budget, the uprising of the masses in the Sidi Youssef Ben Ali neighbourhood in Marrakech, the meaning of the imperialist intervention in Mali, and the future of the left student movement.

On the morning of February 6th, the prominent left wing leader Chokri Belaïd was assassinated in front of his house in Tunis. Thousands have taken to the streets, attacked offices of the ruling Ennahda party, which they consider responsible for the assassination, and a general strike has been called for tomorrow, February 8th. This could be the incident that sparks a much needed second revolution, two years after the overthrow the hated Ben Alí regime.

Francois Hollande has decided to flex his muscles. Based on the "threat of Islamic terrorism", the French president has deployed more than 4000 soldiers. The "international community" has unanimously approved of the intervention.

Contrary to the statements of François Hollande and his government, the intervention of the French army in Mali has nothing to do with the stated “French values”, “human rights” or any other humanitarian preoccupations. It is an Imperialist intervention aiming to protect the interest of French multinationals in the region. The recent collapse of the Malian state and the Jihadi offensive in the north of the country threatens to destabilise neighbouring countries, whose natural resources are exploited by the French ruling class on a vast scale: Uranium in Niger, gold in Mauritania, gas and petrol in Algeria etc.

Once again the Democratic Republic of Congo has been through months of turmoil, soldiers defecting en masse from the Congolese Army (FARDC) followed by fighting between government forces and militia in the Kivu regions. But why is all this happening and what interests lie behind these events? Gavin Jackson looks at the different forces on the ground and outlines the looting on the part of the various imperialist powers that is the real reason behind the barbarism.

Clashes between  protesters and the armed forces continue as the Tunisian town of Siliana enters the fourth day of a general strike led by the UGTT trade union federation. The clashes which have led to more than 300 injured have become a focal point for people all over Tunisia.

Two weeks have passed since thousands of vineyard farm workers from the area of De Doorns in the Western Cape went on strike. They are demanding that their daily slave wage be doubled to a minimum of 150 rand ($17) per day; currently they are earning R69.39 per day. But there is more behind this genuine issue of low wages. In our “democratic era” since the fall of Apartheid, this is and will probably be the longest period on strike for these farm workers in this region.

Floyd Shivambu was a leading member of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) as well as a leading member of the Young Communist League (from which he was suspended in 2010). As a leading member of the ANC YL he played a key part in developing this organisation’s stance on the need to nationalise the mines which has now become a central issue of the political debate in the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

It is over a month since Lonmin platinum miners in Marikana, South Africa, walked out in a wildcat strike. They have been attacked and vilified; watching as 34 of their number were killed by police on August 16, a majority of them in cold blood, and 270 arrested, charged and often tortured while in custody. The leaders of the NUM, the bosses and the state have signed a “peace accord” behind the backs of the miners and they have been repeatedly given ultimatums by the company. Yet still the strike is ongoing and the miners are continuing to demand a wage increase to R12,500. They are an example of worker militancy and resilience and one which is spreading to other sections of South

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It has been almost four weeks since miners at Marikana went on strike, marching alone without any leadership, demanding a genuine wage increase from R4000 to R12500. Since then there has been all sorts of pressure, from all leaders, to end the strike in the midst of the current global recession. But the workers are intent on not going back to work till their demands are met, they are resolute in their demands and are not prepared to back down.

Sudan until the recent secession of its southern part was Africa’s biggest country. It is mostly known and in particular portrayed as such in the world media, for its wars, genocides, organised famine, and ethnic, religious and tribal strife. But revolutions tend to cut through the old divisions fostered by the sitting dictators, old colonialist powers and new imperialist forces. This is exactly what is happening today in Sudan since the beginning of the ‘Sudanese spring’.

On Monday, September 3, most of the miners arrested during the Marikana massacre were released after an outcry of protest forced the state prosecutor to withdraw charges of murder against them. The strike at Lonmin continues as well as strikes and protests at other mines. The incident has clearly revealed the real content of the struggle between left and right in the run up to the ANC Manguang Conference.

Eighteen years since the end of Apartheid – and the dawn of ‘freedom and democracy’ -  the  brutal killings of 34 miners by the police in the Lonmin owned platinum mines at Marikana last Thursday has exposed the stark reality of the suffering and agony of the South African proletariat. This shooting is reminiscent of the harrowing Sharpeville massacre of sixty black protesters in 1960 by the then racist Apartheid regime.

The fatal shooting of 34 striking miners at the Marikana mine near Johannesburg has met with outrage. A crowd of defiant strikers were gunned down in cold blood in a hail of police gunfire that brought back memories of the Apartheid era, of Sharpeville, Soweto and the struggles of the 1980s. A further ten people have been killed prior to this massacre and 234 have been arrested.

Following the declaration of independence by South Sudan – which is dependent on financial and military aid from American imperialism – tensions between Khartoum and Juba have been steadily ramped up over the past year and have brought death and destruction both sides of the border. Into the high-octane mix of mass land grabs by foreign capital, which in turn places an even greater strain on the land available for both settled farmers and nomadic herders, are thrown heavily armed militias on both sides of the border and a brutal struggle for control over the oil of Sudan amidst the wider regional struggle of American and Chinese capital.

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