Thursday, November 29, 2007

Africans in Chad call for removal of French troops; French military base not welcome

French troops are stationed in various parts of Africa, not to help Africans but to facilitate France's imperialist interests.

CHAD — “Africa doesn’t need protection from Europe. Africa needs recognition of the crime which Europe committed in Africa.”

When the former French colony of Chad, gained so-called independence on August 11, 1960, French imperialism obviously had its own economic and political interests in maintaining some form of its illegal activities in its former occupied land in Africa. France left division and hatred between Muslims in the North and Christians in the South.

François Tombalbaye, the first president of Chad, was forced by France to sign a defense cooperation. That agreement gave France the power to set up military bases in Chad. This mechanism allowed France to have a huge number of troops well-trained and ready to intervene anywhere in Africa to defend its imperialist interests.

In 1990, French president François Mitterrand legitimized the regime of Chad’s current president, Idriss Déby. This was not done because Hissène Habré’s regime before it was a dictatorship, but because he had questioned the benefits expected by Elf Petroleum when oil was discovered in Chad since the mid-70s.

The crimes that French troops have committed are well documented. It was a French military base that gave orders and support to Idriss Déby to send our troops to Congo-Brazzaville where they carried out the massacre of thousands of civilians.

It was a French military base that was involved in regime change in the Central African Republic. French military bases in Africa are involved crime and genocide in Rwanda. The list goes on.

The true face of Chad’s neocolonialism

According to France, Chad is a democratic republic, and it must be protected from any military coup d’etat. In fact, Déby and his cohorts monopolize power and suppress any suggestion of a challenge.

Since November 2006, the regime has restored the state of emergency and restrictions in most of the country and has jailed several journalists and members of opposition. To criticize this parody of democracy, the political oppositions had boycotted the presidential election on May 3, 2006. They had also rejected Déby’s fraudulent victory.

In all actuality, the regime is not working for the interests of African people in Chad. It survives only through military support from France. France armed and legitimized the Déby regime because Déby works for French interest. Therefore, French military bases in Chad are illegal.

Imperialist-imposed Darfur crisis impacts Chad

The conflict of Darfur is war over resources between China and Europe with its ally America. Everything in the region of Darfur — the country, the people, the animals — is affected by the crossfire of these powerful imperialists.

The term of Arabs against non-Arab tribes is also a myth. Darfur has become cinema and theatre for the world. It has also become a place of business.

Western food programs exported countless Westerner’s products including rice, milk, millet and oils to East of Chad. The local farms closed their business because they cannot compete with the subsidized westerner products.

Food being imported from the United States and delivered to the refugees of Darfur is unacceptable. The United Nations World Food Programme should buy food from Africa’s farms if it wants to help refugees in Africa.

French’s traditional evil behavior contributes much to the crisis of Darfur. On one hand France supports the rebels of Darfur via its agent Idriss Déby. On the other hand, the Sudanese government responds back aggressively to rebels.

France’s citizens are even playing their part in deepening the crisis. Last Thursday, a French plane loaded with more than a hundred children was arrested by Chadian police at Abeche Airport. A French association called L’Arche de Zoe (or Zoe’s Arc) tried to illegally smuggle the 103 children from Darfur to France.

European Union would deepen crisis in region for its own interests

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner’s suggestion to deploy European Union (EU) troops to East of Chad is nothing more than the enforcement of French military bases in Chad. While the protection of refugee camps in Darfur is relevant, history does not tell us that the European Union and the UN are working for the security of this world.

Where were they during the genocide in Rwanda? Where were they during the genocide in the Balkan countries of Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania? Why don’t they protect civilians in Iraq?

If the EU and UN can prevent the conflict of Darfur it is only because they are the creators of the conflict. Sending EU and UN troops to East Chad is not an option to prevent conflict in Dafur. Instead, it will put more woods into the fire.

France wants the deployment of the EU and UN force because its aim is to control the areas of oil in Darfur on the border with Chad. It also intends to control the uranium and diamond mining areas North of the Central African Republic.

French troops out of Chad!

The Chadian oppositions, civil servants, trade unions, students and all Chadian workers are tired of the menace of foreign troops. What Chadian people want is to have the French troops out of Chad. Foreign military bases are not welcome here.

The myth that says Africans cannot help themselves is out of time. Africa is suffering because former colonizer countries are still exploiting via their lazy agents.

Africa’s poverty, conflict and disease are artificial and man made. These crises can only be ended when European countries stop their traditional looting.

We ask French citizens to urge their government to withdraw French military bases from Chad and everywhere else in Africa. We ask all Africans to join our struggle against the illegal French military base in Chad!

Uhuru News is the online voice of the International African Revolution. It is dedicated to giving voice to the struggles of the African working class from around the world through its programming in an effort to unite and inform the struggles of African people and forward the International African Revolution.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The African Brain Drain , Slavery and Racism

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said he was not interested in students from his country receiving scholarships "only to have them fly off to France."

The violence, corruption and generalised poverty marring more than three decades of independence in Portugal's five former colonies in Africa have been the main obstacles for development in these countries, but not the only ones.

Brain drain is another phantom that is slowly but inexorably destroying hopes for progress and wellbeing for the people of Guinea-Bissau, which became independent in 1974, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tomé and Príncipe, which became independent in 1975 .

Skilled and academically qualified people from African countries where Portuguese is an official language often give up their status in their unstable home countries to build a new life in peaceful Portugal, even if it means sacrificing their former careers and having to take up a hastily learned, lower skilled job.

Brain drain does not only affect the former Portuguese colonies, but is a problem throughout the developing South. The editor of the monthly magazine Africa 21, Joao Matos, describes it as "planetary apartheid."

"Nicolas Sarkozy...asked on a recent visit to Senegal if it could be considered normal that there are more doctors from Benin in France than in Benin itself."Africa needs its élites, because if they all end up in France one day, who will concern themselves with the development of Senegal?"" said the Angolan writer who lives in Lisbon. But according to Matos, the French president's statements were "of doubtful sincerity." He said he does not believe that "Sarkozy would make do without the doctors from Benin who are working in France: what he really doesn't want are poor and indigent migrants, mostly from Africa."

The shaky economies of most African countries "are largely a consequence of the plundering of the continent's resources by the West, which continues to this day. It began with its most valuable resource, people, millions of whom were taken by force to far-off lands, which they helped to develop with their slave labour," Matos said.

In a article published by Angolan professor Jonuel Gonçalves, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, in the latest issue of Africa 21, entitled "Negroes and Mestizos in Latin America Today Gonçalves points out that Latin America "is the region of the world with the highest degree of 'mestizaje' (mixed ancestry), from both the biological and cultural points of view, because it was the destination of the greatest flow of slaves in history, and the way in which slavery was abolished left deep marks that still endure."

"There was no consistent programme in Latin America to help former slaves integrate into society, which condemned them to poverty and illiteracy that have lasted, to a greater or lesser degree, through the successive generations," Gonçalves says.

One of the characteristics of Latin American social structures that demonstrate this "is the extremely low representation of descendants of slaves, blacks or mestizos in decision-making," the article says. "Brazil is one of the most striking examples, in spite of having the second largest population in the world of blacks and Afro-descendants, who make up at least 45 percent of its population of 188 million. It is surpassed only by Nigeria," with 131 million people, Gonçalves says. "Cuba, for three centuries another major destination for the slave trade, has similar characteristics," because, in spite of the 1959 revolution and the country's socialist system of government, "the number of black people in the governing bodies remains very small,"

Matos acknowledges that Africans themselves are not entirely free from blame because since independence they have not managed to turn their countries into "good places to live, beginning with our own citizens, especially the young.".

Former secretary-general of the United Nations Kofi Annan , of Ghana, spoke of the problems of destructive self-racism and of "our tolerance" of African tyrants.

Angolan intellectual Arlindo Barbeitos frequently deplored the tendency for Africa to reproduce "the same ideas and models imposed by the colonial powers, such as racism, but in reverse."

Check out Socialist Banner.
Features "COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS focussing on Africa To persuade others to become socialist and act for themselves, organizing democratically and without leaders, to bring about a world of common ownership and free access .We are solely concerned with building a movement of socialists for socialism. We are not reformists with a programme of policies to patch up capitalism."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Monthly Action Alert: Hands Off Obadele Kambon!


Title: Support Obadele Kambon facing trial on Dec 10 2007!
Time Frame: 1 Month

Plan of Action: Protect/Support Obadele Kambon as he faces a police corruption induced trial on December 10, 2007.

Purpose of Action: Be involved in a continued fight against Police Brutality and corruption in our communities by helping to support our warrior brother.

On the evening of June 25, 2007 at 9:45PM, Obadele Kambon and his pregnant fiancée, Kala Mujibha, were stopped by the Chicago police allegedly for a broken turn signal light. Without explanation, Obadele and Kala were told to get out of the car and were unlawfully searched, handcuffed, and detained by the police while the car was illegally searched without expressed or implied consent and without probable cause. Though Obadele safely transported an unloaded weapon in a closed container within the trunk of his car with papers of ownership, the police confiscated the weapon, arrested Obadele, and impounded his car. Because the police had no probable cause to perform the illegal search in the first place, they decided to manufacture probable cause out of thin air. In an untruthful report, the police claimed that in stopping Obadele and Kala they visibly saw the weapon in the cabin of the car. Furthermore they said it was loaded, allowing them to pursue felony charges. Due to the lies of the police and the malicious prosecution of the state's attorney, Obadele now faces a serious felony charge with a minimum of five years imprisonment.

Obadele Kambon, who has given so much to our communities, now needs our support. Our young, brother-warrior has been an uncompromising fighter and activist for the Afrikan community all of his 28 years of life. He has not only acquired five Afrikan languages, but has taught these languages of our ancestors to Afrikan communities all over the world; including Ghana, The Gambia, Senegal, the U.S., Canada, Belize, Australia, and England. In Chicago alone he currently teaches at seven institutions from pre-school to middle schools to alternative high schools to the university level. Our brother, who has taught our youth and adults how to defend themselves as a Capoeira instructor and Outdoor Survival instructor in Chicago and Mississippi, and has started an Afrikan Language Institute and African Liberation Forum online to provide our people with courses, resources, and information for the purpose of our re-Afrikanization, can face five years in jail. As a PhD candidate, who has never had any prior criminal records in his life, Obadele is now being erroneously accused of having a loaded weapon in the cabin of the car. This concocted story filled with holes changed the scenario from a case of transporting a weapon in a manner consistent with federal guidelines to a trumped up aggressive unlawful use of a weapon charge with the potential to enact harm to the Black community which he serves. What do lack of probable cause to search, illegal search tactics and blatant lies on a police report and in front of the grand jury get the Chicago police? A day off of work and a monetary bonus for finding a weapon. While the story of the police couldn't be further from the truth, we know who the real criminals of our communities are….

The Chicago police department is notorious for their brutal and unlawful acts of harassment and murder within our communities. The reported death toll since 2000 is 85 from shootings alone much less the deaths as a result of Jon Burge-like murders from torturous police interrogation methods that go unreported. We can only imagine the number of innocent lives that have been lost physically, spiritually and emotionally in Chicago alone due to acts of genocide and false imprisonment at the hands of the Chicago police. According to the Chicago Reporter, a reported 45% of police who have been involved in wrongful death lawsuits were previously sued for police misconduct; in some cases multiple times. Obadele Kambon's case is a case of gross police misconduct. Will the police go unchecked in their lies and misconduct only to be the next officers to take liberties and innocent lives as in the case of the recently disbanded Special Operations Section (SOS) of the CPD?

The Prison Industrial System has increased arrests of our brothers and sisters claiming the lives of thousands of our youths. These police officers, often backed and supported by the legal system, have gotten away with the murder of our youth and the murder of the souls of our youth through incarceration with impunity. Meanwhile, many of these incarcerated thousands of our people have been wrongly accused but do not have the funds to obtain the proper legal aid needed to protect them from this nefarious system.

Let's not allow this corrupt system to stop another of our sons from doing the work of liberation for our people! Support Obadele Kambon as he faces trail on December 10th 2007!

We Need Your Help:

1. Make A Financial Contribution to Obadele Kambon's Legal Defense fund- Click the Donate Button Below:
and follow the instructions to make a contribution to the paypal legal defense fund online, or send your contributions to the following Address:

Obadele Kambon Legal Defense
C/O PO Box 1256, Wendell NC, 27591 (773) 696-5765

Because of these concocted charges, Obadele has had to postpone his wedding, incur costly charges of legal fees, vehicle impoundment, bond and more totaling more than $10,000. In the 1960's the police used the underhanded tactic of draining individuals and organizations that were doing the work of our people through various means; physically through false incarceration, monetarily through trumped up charges, emotionally through harassment and terrorism and more. Their tactics have not changed. Have we changed our response?

2. Support by attending the Dec. 10th trial: The trial is being held in an area outside of Chicago that is notoriously racist. A large presence would be an empowering influence for Obadele, and will send an effective and powerful message to the court. The more people of our community present in support of our brother the better. Let them see how many people are in support of Obadele and against these corrupt actions! Please wear royal Afrikan attire or wear All Black or ALL white in solidarity.

Date: December 10, 2007
Location: Fifth District Courthouse -- (773) 974-6800
10220 S 76th Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455
Time: 9:00 AM Sharp!

3. Tell Others: Inform your family members, friends, community organizations, Black-owned establishments, related email list serves, media contacts, and others know about what is happening on December 10th. Ask for their participation and support for Obadele Kambon. Information about this trial, info about police brutality, and how to protect yourself when stopped by the police, etc. can be downloaded and handed out. (See below).

4. Educate and Participate: Obadele's case is one of thousands of examples of the historical police brutality and genocide against our people. Educate yourself about the issues going on locally, nationally, and internationally concerning police brutality in our communities, know your legal rights when approached by the police. Participate in organizations and/or community events addressing such issues.
Click HERE to Discuss Action Alert with Others Online

Download Fliers Below

Please Read and Distribute Widely Word Version PDF Version

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Facts and Info on Police Brutality - to view article

What to do if you get stopped by the police - to view article

Know your rights when approached by the Police - Video

Goals & Outcomes


1. To have the charges against Obadele Kambon dropped, and his record cleared.
2. To raise the funds to help obtain the legal aid urgently needed for and after the trial.
3. To mobilize an empowering force for the trial in support of Obadele and against Police corruption/white supremacy To spread information to educate our community about Police Brutality and the Prison Industrial System


Charges dropped against Obadele Kambon so he can continue doing the work of liberating our people.

Greater level of education and activism surrounding issues of police corruption and the prison industry.

*We are asking for the Unity and collaboration of all Pan-Afrikans, Afrocentricists, Grassroots organizations, websites, mailing lists, news services, individuals, students and etc. to get involved with This Monthly Action Alert Campaign.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Putting Reparations on the Socialist Agenda

According to the International Monetary Fund(IMF), in 2006 the United States of America had a GDP of more than $13 trillion and thus ranking it as the largest national GDP in the world. GDP, or gross domestic product, is the value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given time period. Yet, this wealth is becoming gradually concentrated as yearly statistics show. According to State of Working America, in 2004, 12.7% of the population, 37 million persons, were considered poor. Not only is wealth in America unequally distributed, but poverty is as well also, with 30 percent of Blacks being poor, 20 percent of all Hispanics, but only 9 percent of Whites. How did America generate and continue to generate this vast amount of wealth and is there a connection between that process and it's disproportionate allocation?

Slavery and Primitive Accumulation of Capital

Primitive, or "original accumulation", refers to the initial process that led to a 'critical mass' of accumulation that enabled capital to be set in motion. It's a concept developed by Karl Marx to explain how the capitalist mode of production came into fruition. Marx says we must envision an accumulation of capital that was not a consequence of capitalist production but was the starting point of capitalist production. He called this "primitive accumulation of capital".

So what is this primitive or original/previous accumulation of capital? According to Marx it was the,

discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of blackskins, are all things which characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. [Marx 1977, p. 915]

Capitalist development was due to the brutal exploitation of Blacks and indigenous people as consumers and workers. African slaves were forced to perform free labor for almost 250 years. Karl Marx notes,

Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that has given the colonies their value; it is the colonies that have created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry.
-The Poverty of Philosophy: A Reply to M. Proudhon’s Philosophy of Poverty, New York, International Publishers, n.d., pages 94-5.

This constant expropriation of surplus value, at a high rate of exploitation, was the driving force behind capitalist development, as well as the underdevelopment of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Where did the reproduction and growth needed for capital investment come from after the abolishment of slavery?

Abolition and Permanent Accumulation of Capital

After the abolishment of the slavery mode of production in the South, the United states still continued to generate wealth. Rosa Luxemburg proposes that the cause of this continual generation of wealth is due to what is called, permanent accumulation of capital. The difference between Marx and Luxemburg is that, for Marx, primitive accumulation is the starting point for capitalism proper, whereas for Luxemburg it is an ongoing process. Even after Black Americans were "freed", they still were subject to economic exploitation and political disenfranchisement. This was accomplished by the racist/capitalist state through, but not limited to, Black Codes, convict lease, peonage, Jim Crow laws as well as institutional racism. The rate of exploitation was higher for black workers than white workers, allowing capitalists to accrue higher profits from black workers than their white counter-parts. This discrepancy still occurs today, according to State of Workign America, "For every dollar of whites’ income, minorities receive only 56 cents. For every dollar of networth that whites control, minorities control only 27 cents."

A Call for Reparations

The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America(NCOBRA) views reparations as a "process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments or corporations. Those groups that have been injured have the right to obtain from the government or corporation responsible for the injuries that which they need to repair and heal themselves. In addition to being a demand for justice, it is a principle of international human rights law. As a remedy, it is similar to the remedy for damages in domestic law that holds a person responsible for injuries suffered by another when the infliction of the injury violates domestic law". Economist Larry Neal, estimates that unpaid net wages to blacks before emancipation amount to $1.4 trillion today. While, University of California at Berkeley calculated the gains of whites from labor market discrimination from 1929 to 1969 to total $1.6 trillion. In total, there are estimates that blacks are owed up to 10 trillion by the US government. Yet, through all of NCOBRA's legal routes and tribunals , blacks have yet to receive any compensation. Nor, is it for certain that the government ever will.

Revolution is the Solution

There is a direct correlation between the development of capitalism and the underdevelopment of Black America. The exploitation of blacks if the motor for the United States rapid accumulation of capital. The high rate of exploitation, combined with the expropriation of surplus value from black labor is not only the cause of America's vast amount of wealth, but also the reason why that wealth is disproportionately allocated. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the capitalist class to continue to accumulate profit through division of labor according to race. The legal route for reparations and the development of Black America is a dead end. The only solution is a socialist revolution.

In that sense, reparations for Africans and indigenous people must be included on the socialist agenda. The only way compensation and development will be achieved is through the destruction of the vary economic system and state apparatus that is the cause of the underdevelopment of Black America. One of the first tasks of a socialist society would not only to meet the basic needs of the people, but to develop historically oppressed communities. The socialist society will give preference to developing these areas not to recreate inequality, but to raise the standards of life for everyone in society. This task cannot be completed in a capitalist society, but only a post-revolutionary socialist one.


"Four hundred years the white man has had his foot-long knife in the black man's back - and now the white man starts to wiggle the knife out, maybe six inches! The black man's supposed to be grateful? Why, if the white man jerked the knife out, it's still going to leave a scar!"
-Malcolm X

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fallen Soldiers Friday: Mao Tse Tung

Every Friday I will post a biography of an honored hero in the revolutionary struggle. Some will be well-known freedom fighters like Sojourner Truth or James Baldwin, others, so not well known. Because not all believed in the same strategy to achieve liberation, we will see a conflict of ideas. Something that we can draw upon to construct our views today.


Mao Tse Tung (1893 – 1976)

The son of a peasant farmer, Mao Tse-tung was born in the village of Shao Shan, Hunan province in China. At age 27, Mao attended the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai, in July 1921. Two years later he was elected to the Central Committee of the party at the Third Congress.

From 1931 to 1934, Mao helped established the Chinese Soviet Republic in SE China, and was elected as the chairman.

Starting in October 1934, "The Long March" began – a retreat from the SE to NW China. In 1937, Japan opened a full war of aggression against China, which gave the Chinese Communist Party cause to unite with the nationalist forces of the Kuomintang. After defeating the Japanese, in an ensuing civil war the Communists defeated the Kuomintang, and established the People’s Republic of China, in October 1949.

Mao served as Chairman of the Chinese People’s Republic until after the failure of the Great Leap Forward, in 1959. Still chariman of the Communist Party, in May 1966 Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution with a directive denouncing "people like Khrushchev nestling beside us." In August 1966, Mao wrote a big poster entitled "Bombard the Headquarters."

Served as Party chairman until his death in 1976.

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung

We should be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and serve the Chinese people heart and soul....

"China's Two Possible Destinies" (April 23, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III p. 253.

All our cadres, whatever their rank, are servants of the people, and whatever we do is to serve the people. How then can we be reluctant to discard any of our bad traits?

"The Tasks for 1945" (December 15, 1944).

Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means.

"The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan" (August 13, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 16.

In order to build a great socialist society it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity. Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work in production. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole.

Introductory note to "Women Have Gone to the Labour Front" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside, Chinese ed., Vol. I.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dead Prez Animal in Man

"Animal in Man"is a retelling of George Orwell's Animal Farm which is a satirical allegory of Soviet totaliarianism. Published in 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era. The animals play the roles of the Bolshevik revolutionaries and overthrow and oust the human owners of the farm, setting it up as a commune in which, at first, all animals are equal; soon disparities start to emerge between the different species or classes. The novel describes how a society's ideologies can be changed and manipulated by individuals in positions of power. A remarkable retelling of this classic story. One of the standout tracks on dead prez's album Let's Get Free!

Dead Prez Animal in Man Lyrics

*Two Guys Talking*
(Guy 1)
Help me!
(Guy 2)
You want me to help you?
Man is evil, capable of nothing but destruction - (From Planet of the Apes)

Once upon a time
There was a very serious situation growing
There was a farmer and a farmyard filled with animals
And this is the story of their times

Verse 1
Old man Sammy had a farm
Walked the land with the wife
Most of the time shit was calm
His whole life was maintained off the everyday labor
from the mules in the field to the cattle in the stable
This is how we kept food on this table (maxing)
You would have he was disabled by the way he be relaxing
Acting like Mr. Magnificent
But the animals were thinking something different
The sentiment was tension in the barnyard
Throughout the years they had been through mad drama
with the farmer, word is bond
And they all came to one conclusion
They argued there was no way they'd ever be free
If it was up to humans
Therefore the only course left was revolution which was understandable
And since the pigs promised to lead in the interest of all the animals
They planned a full attack
Under the leadership of Hannibal
The fattest pig in the pack
The next morning on the farm
Everything was calm
Just before dawn
But before long
The sun got so hot it made the farm seem electric
Now check it
This is when that shit got hectic
Directed by Hannibal, the animals attacked
Old Sam was in a state of shock
And fell up on his back
And dropped his rifle
Reaching in vain
Each and every creature from the field at his throat
Screaming "Kill, feel the pain."

This is the animal in man
This is the animal in you
This is the animal in man
Coming true (2X)

Verse 2
After they ran the farmer off the farm
The pigs went around and called a meeting in the barn
Hannibal spoke for several hours
But when talks about his plans for power
That's when the conversation turned sour
He issued an offical ordinance to set
If not a pig from this day forth then you insubordinate
That's when the horses went buckwild
One of them shouted out
"You fraudulent pigs, we know your fucking style!"
Hannibal's face was flushed and pale
All the animals eyes full of disgust and betrayal
He felt the same way Sam felt
They took his tongue out of his mouth
And cut his body up for sale, for real
You better listen while you can
Its a very thin line between animal and man
When Hannibal crossed the line they all took a stand
What would have done?
Shook his hand?
This is the animal in man

Chorus (4X)


Monday, November 12, 2007

Meeting the Demands of the People

In the late 1960s a group of black militants burst onto the scene to capture the hearts and minds of inner city youth with fiery rhetoric and words as slick as their black leather jackets. Through armed police brutality patrols and calls for "power to the people", the Black Panther Party embodied the radicalization of the Black Struggle and inspired a generation of young people to become politically active. The Party however, was not just a Self-Defense organization. Early on, founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, articulated their immediate demands and political positions into a ten point program. In the autobiography of Bobby Seale, Seize the Time, explains the importance of the ten point program.

Huey said, "We need a program. We have to have a program for the people. A program that relates to the people. A program that the people can understand. A program that the people can read and see, and which expresses their desires and needs at the same time. It's got to relate to the philosophical meaning of where in the world we are going, but the philosophical meaning will also have to relate to something specific."

Point 10 on the Panther's ten point program proclaimed, "We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace." However, as Marxists, the Panthers recognized that their interests conflicted with the interests of the bourgeoisie. Newton states, "The Black Panther Party is a revolutionary Nationalist group and we see a major contradiction between capitalism and our interests". So, just how would these demands be met? Newton goes on by saying, "We realize this country became very rich upon slavery and that capitalism is slavery in the extreme. We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism.We must destroy racism and capitalism." Their interests therefore, could only be realized through the destruction of capitalism through a socialist revolution.

Participatory Planning

In a post-revolutionary society the means of production are owned by everyone in equal share and not by one particular production group. The bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie will no longer have a monopoly on the decision making process. Each actor in society would influence decisions in proportion in which they are affected by them. Society will thus be participatory and egalitarian.

Participatory planning allows participants to exercise direct democracy and allows ordinary citizens to control their own lives. Citizens of a post-revolutionary society will be organized into federations of workers and consumer councils. Workers in worker councils need to articulate proposals on what and how much they want to produce, as well as the resources needed for production. Consumers, on the other hand, will need to express through proposals what and how much they intend to consume. Both production and consumption proposals will be sent to the facilitation board where through a system of proposals, amendments, and rejections, a social plan articulated to cover the entire economy is hashed out.

Personal Consumption Proposals

How can demands for "land, bread, housing, education, clothing,justice and peace" be achieved in a socialist society? The answer to this question lies in participatory planning.

For example, Omar, an African-American living with his girlfriend in a co-housing community in Detroit, Michigan, is working on his personal consumption proposal. His neighborhood already negotiated it's collective proposals, which have consequently, been summed up with county, state, regional and national collective consumption proposals.

Omar, like most able bodied individuals, works at a roughly average job complex and requests a roughly average consumption bundle. He knows that everyone has a finite share of the total social product. So all citizens can request things up to the limit of their budget allocated to them. Logging on to his computer, he begins to draft a consumption proposal based on combinations of different goods he desires and their indicative prices.

Omar is unfortunately a very picky eater, so his choice of foods are very limited. He bases his food consumption proposal on his old grocery store lists in pre-revolutionary and capitalist days. His computer program manipulates the input to articulate it for the whole year. Of course, he may change his mind, so fortunately for him, the iteration processes of participatory economics introduces "slack" in the social plan to allow for spontaneous "purchases". Omar is really a simple man and doesn't need a roomful of clothes, so he is modest when it comes to his clothing requests. A dozen or so new shirts and pants, a trench coat, boots for the winter, more socks( they continue to disappear in drying machine post-revolution too!), and other items will do him fine.

Even though, Omar enjoys living in the co-housing community, he and is girlfriend decided they wanted a bit more privacy and want to relocate into a household in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Housing Facilitation Board is a group of workers that assists people wishing to change their residence. Likewise, the Employment Facilitation Board is a group of workers whom assists people who wish to change their workplace. These two boards help Omar and his girlfriend relocate to an available household in Kalamazoo, as well, as get him quickly situated in a new workplace.

One of the other main reasons, why Omar wanted to move to Kalamazoo, was because it houses a brand new college specifically centered on African And African American Studies. Before the revolution, such places didn't exist and it was senseless to major in African studies at a college because that degree was useless on the job market . Now, part of his job complex is teaching Egyptian History in a local community Center, as well as smelter in a local steel plant.

In capitalism, Omar was subject to police brutality and racial profiling. Being born in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, he had little chance to pursue higher education or escape the vicious circle of poverty. His mother lived off of paycheck to paycheck and some nights all he had to eat was his hatred for being born black and poor.

However, after the socialist revolution, Omar has more opportunities and more freedoms than ever before. All basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc are easily met now. There is no more police brutality, black on black crime has gone down from the Crips and Gangster Disciples having been disbanded, he has enrolled in college which is provided free to all citizens and he goes to bed each night with his hunger satisfied.

In conclusion, post-revolutionary society will be participatory and egalitarian. The social plan for society will be reached upon by a series of proposals from workers' and consumers' (neighborhood) councils and meetings of regional delegates. This makes sure that every citizen's demand for "land, bread, housing, education, clothing,justice and peace" is met and that the Panther legacy continues to live on.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is China Africa's New Imperialist Power?


by Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt

The African tour of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, centred on fostering trade relations between China and African and Arabian countries, highlights an important recent development.

Revolutionaries in Anglophone Africa have always seen Britain and France as the dominant imperialist powers on the continent, but other forces are emerging from the shadows to challenge their continued post-colonial dominance - and it’s not just the United States.

Southern African anarchist-communists would normally see the former British colony of South Africa as acting as a sub-imperialist power on behalf of the big capitalist powers and its own capitalist ruling class in the region, a sort of regional policeman as it were: if British interests in Swaziland are threatened by the democracy movement, we are sure that South African military might will intervene (as it did against Lesotho in 1998) to shore up the Swazi elite.

But the international scene is changing and today we can chart the rise of the People’s Republic of China as one of Africa’s most powerful kingmakers, whether backing the genocidal regime in Khartoum, or embarking on large-scale building projects including the new Luanda airport (in exchange for 10,000 barrels of crude oil a day) and the Number One Stadium in Kinshasa, a city that with its giant gold statue of a fat, Mao-like Laurent-Desire Kabila is looking like a city on the Yangtze River instead of the Congo (the DRC's mimicry of the Chinese national flag, before adopting a new flag this year, was too obvious to miss).


Unlike the old Soviet Union, China has managed to engineer a successful transition from closed State-capitalism (the Maoist era) towards an export-orientated neo-liberal model. Its rapid economic growth and cheap goods - overseen by the Chinese Communist Party, the CCP - may see the country overtake the US as the largest manufacturing power worldwide by 2010.

This capitalist boom has been built on the back of a brutal suppression of the working class and peasantry. Strikes are illegal, dissidents are murdered, and the top 20% of households earn 42% of total urban incomes while the poorest 20% receive just 6%.

There has been a sharp rise in class struggle, with strikes rising from 8,150 in 1992 to 120,000 in 1999. Last year residents of the village of Huaxi, Zhejiang province, battled the police and local officials in hand-to-hand combat in April and drove them off. In December, hundreds of villagers armed with dynamite and petrol-bombs attacked police in Dongzhou, Guandong province, after police killed 20 villagers who had protested against land seized to build a power plant. A source close to the CCP central committee revealed last year that some 3-million workers took part in protests last year.

This is a country where the official monthly minimum wage is US$63 (compare that to US$45 to US$55 in rural and urban Vietnam, respectively, levels won by Vietnamese workers last year by embarking on wildcat strikes against their communist bosses), which has probably the worst mining fatality record in the world (the official Xhinhua News Agency figure is 5,986 dead in coal mines alone in 2005, resulting in some cases in miners armed with dynamite attacking their bosses), and multinational sweat-shop operations such as Nike and McDonalds setting up operations in special “economic exclusion zones”.

While terror and repression fuel China’s economy, the country’s capitalist ruling class looks outwards for cheap labour, raw materials and fuel supplies. Africa, economically sidelined in the world economic crisis starting in the 1970s, has suddenly become hot property. In 2005, the overall African economy grew at 5% - it’s fastest in decades - as demand for African raw materials shot up, with Chinese demand playing a key role. The 1980s and 1990s saw Africa fall off the investment map, with Africa getting less than 1% of all private direct investment to “third world” countries in 1995. Chinese (and South African) capitalists have increasingly taken the gap, and the trend is reversing.


China clandestinely traded with apartheid South Africa despite its funding of liberation movements in the country and in neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe. Formal relations with South Africa were re-established in 1998.

According to Martin Davies, the director for the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University (and a businessman with interests in Shanghai), last year, trade between China and Africa soared to US$35-million, with Chinese investment primarily centred on the oil industry, especially in Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea.

Grim conditions in these countries have hardly worried the Chinese dictatorship: whether it is the total lack of democracy in Equatorial Guinea, the state-driven race-war in Sudan, or the fact that the blatant theft of oil wealth by the ruling cliques in Angola and Nigeria has fuelled conflict, with UNITA and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, respectively trying to win back a slice of the pie.

So it will come as no surprise that Chinese helicopter gunships have been used against civilians in Darfur, according to human rights activists. China - which maintains an electronic listening post on the Comores - gave Sudan massive military aid between 1996 and 2003, including jet fighter aircraft, shipped tons of arms to Ethiopia and Eritrea prior to the outbreak of their border war in 1998, and has sold jets, military aircraft and radio-jamming equipment (to prevent outside broadcasts being heard inside the country) to the Zimbabwean regime.


China has greased its imperialist wheels in Africa by scrapping over US$1-billion in debt owed by 32 African countries and the SABC reported this year that South Africa’s trade with China is growing at 26% annually.

South Africa is China’s largest trade partner in Africa, with trade growing 400% over the last six years. South Africa supplies iron ore and other raw materials, and receives manufactured goods - and a new trade agreement will see China limit textile exports but strengthen co-operation in areas like nuclear energy. Meanwhile, South Africa’s trade with traditional partners like Britain is shrinking.

However, the importance of relations with China is relatively limited, given the strength and diversity of South African capitalism. On the other hand, Chinese investment looms very large in weak economies like those of Equatorial Guinea. China’s interest in securing direct raw material supplies - for example, oil outside the OPEC cartel - means we can expect these relations to intensify, and African elites to solidify their links with the East Asian power. Africa now provides around 30% of China’s oil imports.


But what does all this investment in guns, ore and oil mean? COSATU has reacted with alarm to a deal struck between the South African and Chinese governments, warning that with the country flooded with cheap imported Chinese clothing (a 480% increase since 2003), the already-fragile domestic textile industry (62,000 jobs lost in the same period) could collapse.

COSATU leaders were embarrassed last year when members of their affiliated SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union demonstrated against the fact that the congress’ red T-shirts were made in China. Many mainland Chinese textile operations have relocated to Africa in order to by-pass European and American quotas on Chinese imports, but they have often brought with them brutal working conditions. At the same time, COSATU and its ally, the SACP continue to praise China as a socialist country.

Neither position is correct. COSATU’s “Buy South Africa” campaign will do nothing to stop cheap Chinese imports. It promotes anti-Chinese racism and feeds into the poisonous xenophobia that afflicts the local working class. It also suggests that all South Africans, capitalists and workers alike, have a common interest. Nothing is further from the truth: South African capitalists are not the friends of South African workers.

Further, the ANC’s GEAR policy promotes free trade, so there is no prospect of the wave of imports subsiding in meaningful terms. COSATU is left with making futile appeals to the morals and patriotism of the South African ruling class - appeals that will achieve nothing. South African capitalists are developing a pact with Chinese capitalists: if these rivals can unite, why can’t the working class learn the lesson, and defend Chinese labour?


As we have noted in these pages before, both GEAR and NEPAD aim at attracting more trade and more foreign investment, and China fits both bills. Meanwhile, Intelligence Minister (and ageing Young Communist League politburo member) Ronnie Kasrils enthused in a glossy book China Through the Third Eye: South African Perspectives - funded by the China Chamber of Commerce and Industry in SA - that China’s building boom, including the controversial Three Dams project on the Yangtze that will displace 1-million people, “is a construction engineers’ dream”. This is a good thing, it seems: “If China is to remain a sustainable economy, it has to speed the transition from a rural to an urban society, from an agricultural to an industrial economy.”

Chief state spin-doctor Joel Netshitenzhe claimed in the same book that “South Africa and China share mutual goals as both countries are committed to ensuring a better life for all their citizens. Both aim to lower the levels of poverty.” Given the state-enforced poverty of the Chinese people, one wonders what Netshitenzhe has in mind when he praised the role of the Chinese state propaganda machine for “the rigour and focus with which China uses information to mobilise people around common objectives and a shared vision…”

A chill settles in one’s bones when one reads him hailing the “diversity of voices” in the Chinese media, while studiously ignoring state censorship and the complicity of Western search engines such as Yahoo in helping China jail political dissidents.

The view of SACP deputy secretary general and one-man think-tank Jeremy Cronin is even more revealing. The SACP, terrified that the bubble of “real, existing socialism” was washing down the drain with the restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China, sent a delegation there in 2001 to check things out.

Cronin and his delegation were clearly wowed by their CCP hosts: he quotes a 1999 central committee document that “The public-ownership economy, which includes the State-owned economy, is the economic basis of China’s socialist system… China must always rely on and bring into full play the important role of the SOEs to develop the productive forces of the socialist society and realise the country’s industrialisation and modernisation…” China, it seems, is socialist as well as capitalist! What are we to make of such confused thinking?

“To manage SOEs well in general, efforts must be made to establish a leadership system and organisational and managerial systems in them that conform to the law of the market economy and China’s actual situation, to strengthen the building of their leadership, to give play to the Party organisations as the political core of enterprises, and to adhere to the principle of relying on the working class wholeheartedly…” And “rely” they do, for China’s miracle is built “wholeheartedly” on exploitation and terror!


So, Chinese communism is finally revealed as nothing more than a modernisation programme guided by authoritarian marketing and management gurus who double as Party bosses! And the Party itself is revealed as a clique of commissars that rides on the working class!

Cronin admits that the delegation “did not have sufficient time to gauge the degree to which” the central committee’s stated commitment to workers’ “democratic decision-making” and “status as masters of their own enterprises” - capitalist enterprises steered by the party - but he thought it significant that these cheap words had been put on paper.

Cronin lauds the regime for the “fairly clear socialist agenda [that] shines through…” “There is no reason,” he huffs, “why markets should not exist under socialism” - a liberal interpretation that allows for the coexistence of “the emergent small and medium privately owned service sector”. Where exactly “socialism” “shines” is not clear.

From such mixed economic thinking arises a confused politics, based on industrial and market requirements rather than people’s needs, where in Cronin’s view, wage increases in the public sector, adopted purely to stimulate market demand qualify as “socialist”.

So what we have is an ANC/SACP government that is not only increasingly trading with, but ideologically inclining itself towards, the world’s last large totalitarian state, a state that is so blatantly capitalist and simultaneously anti-labour that Cronin’s skill as a poet fails to gild the brutal reality. The SACP’s state-capitalist thinking has finally manage to find, in the Chinese example, a happy marriage with neo-liberalism.


Chinese goods are cheap because Chinese labour is cheap. If COSATU wants to protect local jobs - and show its commitment to the international working class struggle - it should support trade union organising in China, and step up the class struggle at home and in southern Africa. Neo-liberal capitalism thrives on pitting cheap labour in one country against even chepaer labour in another, in a race to the bottom. The only way out is international solidarity and class struggle, starting with a struggle for an international minimum wage and universal union rights.

China has a proud tradition of class struggle - and this does not mean the CCP and Mao! Back in 1913, anarcho-syndicalists built the first trade unions in Canton, rising to challenge reformist and communist unionism in all the big industrial centres such as Shanghai in the 1920s. Armed anarchist peasant movements controlled huge swathes of territory in Fukien province and in Kirin province, Manchuria, in the 1930s and anarchist guerrillas fought alongside communists in the resistance to Japanese imperialism in the 1940s.

But after the Maoist coup d’état of 1949, China’s estimated 10,000 anarchist trade unionist militants were driven underground and Makhnovist-styled guerrillas such as Chu Cha Pei were forced to retreat into the hills in Yunnan province from where they continued to harry the new ruling class headed by Mao and his entourage of warlords and state-capitalists.

As Africa increasingly becomes the back-yard of China’s oil-driven imperialism, one has to ask firstly, whether the government will try to mimic the worst aspects of China’s enforced civil peace, a development that would prove a serious challenge to our own working class.


We have no interest on following those leftists who hope for an end to “capitalist restoration” in China: China has been capitalist since Mao took power, and any Chinese revolutionary movement must jettison Marxism and its Maoist variant. Nor can we agree that China is - in fact - “socialist,” despite what SACP leaders may think.

Capitalism is a class system, and a class system means class struggles. Sooner or later China’s working class will rediscover its proud fighting tradition and take charge of its own affairs to the exclusion of parasitic Party leaders and capitalists - what is called in Chinese wuzhengfgu gonchan, or common production without government, in a word, anarchist-communism - and bury the CCP.

But until that day, there is a more serious question we have to ask, one with implications beyond our borders: will China replace Britain as South Africa’s imperialist power, a changing of the guard, so to speak - leading to South Africa embarking on military expeditions in Africa to protect Chinese capitalist interests. All serious anti-imperialists must consider and plan for the possibility of Africa becoming the future battle-ground between US-backed Western and Chinese expansionist interests, and unite the continent’s people in a battle against the oil barons.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fallen Soldiers Friday: Frantz Fanon

Every Friday I will post a biography of an honored hero in the revolutionary struggle. Some will be well-known freedom fighters like George Jackson or Kwame Ture, others, so not well known. Because not all believed in the same strategy to achieve liberation, we will see a conflict of ideas. Something that we can draw upon to construct our views today.

His revolutionary ambitions cut short by leukemia in 1961, psychoanalyst and philosopher Frantz Fanon had by the time of his death amassed a body of critical work that today establishes his position as a leading theoretician of (among other issues) black consciousness and identity, nationalism and its failings, colonial rule and the inherently "violent" task of decolonization, language as an index of power, miscegenation, and the objectification of the performative black body. Fanon's burgeoning popularity and influence on more recent post-colonial readings of black liberation and nationalism perhaps serve as an index of his centrality to the movement for Algierian self-determination in the 1950's that shaped (and, in turn, was shaped by) his diverse career as a political activist and critic. Born on the island of Martinique in 1925, Fanon fought with the allied forces against Nazi Germany in Europe during the second World War and afterwards studied psychiatry in France, where he published his first book, Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks). While practicing medicine in Antilles in northern Africa during the French-Algerian war, Fanon actively supported and organized a resistance to French colonialism by authoring two books outlining an insurgent Third World uprising: L'An V de la revolution algerienne (A Dying colonialism or Year Five of the Algerian Revolution), and Les Damnes de la terre (The Wretched of the Earth).

"They are hungry: and the police officers, though they are now Africans, do not serve to reassure them particularly. The masses begin to sulk; they turn away from this nation in which they have been given no place and begin to lose interest in it."

Frantz Fanon
The Wretched of the Earth
pg. 169

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Anarchism in South Africa

Anarchism in South Africa
An interview with Michael Schmidt of the ZACF
by Alternative Libertaire

The ZACF is one of the most active libertarian formations in the southern part of the African continent. In order to better understand its history, its intervention in southern African society and the fights which it impels and supports, we interviewed one of its militants, Michael Schmidt.

Alternative Libertaire: Could you tell briefly in which conditions/context and how Zabalaza, and then the ZACF, were built?

Michael Schmidt: The roots of what became the ZACF are to be found in the anti-apartheid struggle of the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the formation of two semi-clandestine anarchist federations, one in Johannesburg and another in Durban, within the anarcho-punk movement. So the initial conditions were one of low-intensity civil war between the white and black nationalist organisations, and the organised anarchists took a strong stand against neo-fascism, nationalism and military conscription. From this came the Workers' Solidarity Federation in 1995 (a year after the first democratic elections). The WSF was the first national anarchist organisation and developed a more comprehensive platform of positions on race, class, gender, imperialism etc, most of which remain the ideological foundation of the movement today. The WSF had a significant number of trade union & shop-steward members and was 50/50 black and white. It was dissolved for tactical reasons in 1999 as the ANC began to move rightwards and trade unions became difficult to operate in. In the interim before the ZACF was founded in 2003, we ran the independent Workers' Library & Museum (working-class meeting-place) in Johannesburg and the Zabalaza Books propaganda unit. The rise of the radical new social movements from about 2000 saw us help found the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and later form the ZACF to participate directly in social movement activism. So in practice, we have moved from semi-clandestinity to syndicalism to social activism, depending on objective conditions within the working class.

Alternative Libertaire: What are nowaday the main struggles/actions they are involved in?

Michael Schmidt: Today, our main private activity is internal political education and strategy sessions, while our main public activity is what we call "Red & Black Forums". These are public workshops which give an anarchist-communist analysis of events. Previously, they used to be small affairs attended by a handful of anarchists and some friends. Today we sometimes get as many as 70 working-class people to a meeting, in poor areas as far away as Sebokeng, south of Soweto. The other big difference is that now instead of us inviting people to a meeting, we are often invited ourselves to give two-day Red & Black Forums in townships and squatter camps such as Orange Farm. Other than that, we participate in demonstrations relating to Iraq, Palestine and South African labour struggles - and have mounted campaigns against repression in Oaxaca and prisoners in Spain or Germany. We also have members living under the dictatorship in Swaziland and we give them regular practical and ideological support. The same goes for our anarchist comrades living under dictatorship in Zimbabwe: the ZACF helped run a public solidarity campaign for the youth of Zimbabwe in Johannesburg last December.

Alternative Libertaire: What are in your point of view the political/social emergencies now in South Africa?

Michael Schmidt: The two biggest political/social emergencies in South Africa (and southern Africa more broadly) are no doubt a) gender violence, and b) HIV/Aids. The slowness of the government in coming around to admitting that HIV causes Aids has strengthened grassroots activist organisations such as the Treatment Action Campaign, which uses a combination of lawsuits and street demonstrations to force the government's hand. The ZACF has no specific HIV/Aids policy (a failing of ours), but has been very pro-active in interrogating its own male members' behaviour towards women. We do, however, have too few women in our organisation. Violent crime, especially against women and children, has reached epidemic proportions especially in poor areas, and is often falsely blamed on Africans from other countries. Millions of refugees, from Somalia, the Great Lakes, DRC, Zimbabwe etc now live in South Africa, which means that xenophobia is increasingly used by the populists to divert anger from the indigenous comprador ruling class. But at base, these social distortions of crime are the result of extreme poverty in our region - which capitalism will refuse to solve because it relies on a cheap labour pool to feather its nest.

Alternative Libertaire: What are ZACF links with social movement (even if the last one is in the state you described)?

Michael Schmidt: The nature of our links has changed significantly over the years. In the WSF days, most of us were unionised and several like myself were shop-stewards. Today the climate has changed (my own union has collapsed and I'm not unionised, but am considering joining a Trotskyist-run union). So our first links to communities were through organised workers, but now our contact is directly with communities. But the social movements have proved more fruitful. We have done a little work with, for example, supporting sweat-shop workers in Soweto, but most of our work has been more within poor communities. We tried to set up community food gardens in Motsoaledi (a squatter-camp in Soweto), in Dlamini (a formal housing area in Soweto) and in Sebokeng. The one in Motsoaledi still continues - and has a popular community library and creche attached - whereas the one in Dlamini was destroyed by ANC Youth League thugs and the one in Sebokeng never took off. These projects are about teaching working-class autonomy: that the poor have enough skills, if they use them collectively, to solve their own problems outside of the state which cares so little for them. We have direct links into the prisons (and a network of jailed guerrillas) through our Anarchist Black Cross / Anti-Repression Network and have done significant prison-support work. In a wider context, through the Anti-Privatisation Forum, we became well-known to various struggling urban communities, and also to the 100,000-strong Landless People's Movement (LPM). Although the social movements have achieved much, they are currently in a state of retreat - often because of the bad politics (sexism, opportunism, vanguardism etc) of the Trotskyists and left populists who dominate the leadership of many organisations. But we believe the anarchists, plus the autonomists and some Stalinists have been honest, decent activists and so are recognised by the social movements as trustworthy (we rate militants by what they do, not so much by what they say).

Alternative Libertaire: What about Cosatu?

Michael Schmidt: Cosatu remains important to us because it is the country's largest working-class formation, with about 1,8-million members. It is about to embark on a massive (@1-million public sector unionists) general strike (May 30) over wage increases. They will strike alongside Fedusa, Nactu and independent unions, which is an important show of unity for union federations previously divided by ideology, now united as workers. Cosatu's ideologues believe that starting in 2002, they managed to reverse the rightward, neoliberal drift of the ANC, but this has yet to be seen in terms of ANC policy. However, Cosatu has from about a year ago, started making overtures to the social movements saying we must work together. This is both because union membership is changing because of creeping casualisation, and because of the great layer of unemployed (40% of the working population by union estimates) that can also be mobilised if we work together. The ZACF is in favour of a convergence of these forces - so long as it remains along class lines and the social movements are not compromised by working with a union federation allied to the ruling party (there are many factions within Cosatu that are deeply critical of the ANC). The ZACF has been discussing the possibility of establishing syndicalist cells within existing trade unions in at least two areas: the University of the Witwatersrand and at Independent Newspapers.

Alternative Libertaire: What are the main problems the anarcho-communist stream is confronted with in South Africa?

Michael Schmidt: Our biggest ideological challenge is the dominance among the popular classes of the ANC's black nationalist ideology which peddles the myth of the "National Democratic Revolution". Fortunately, over time, segments of the popular classes (especially the unemployed and the farm-labour tenants) have come to see that this "Revolution" was about the ANC enabling the survival of white capital's exploitation in exchange for a few seats at the feast for black leaders. Also, we have deliberately called ourselves the Zabalaza (Struggle) Anarchist Communist Federation to try to establish a true grassroots communism - and to distinguish it from the SACP's weak social-democratic version. But still, the SACP has huge numbers and resources compared to us. Which takes us to our biggest practical challenge: extreme poverty. Even many of our own members face hunger on a daily basis and the organisation is not wealthy enough to feed them (hence the food-garden idea, but it has been plagued with problems like community members wanting to turn it into a small business). We are not a charity, but a political organisation. Still, it is hard to operate in such conditions. The working class, so impoverished, becomes prey to fly-by-night religious sects, labour brokers, loan-sharks, and political demagogues who promise them "a better life" (the ANC slogan).

Alternative Libertaire: You say the anarchist message is starting to spead: how do you notice this process?

Michael Schmidt: We notice this whenever we run into a black person in a township who describes themselves as anarchist despite having never met us. We notice it by the great interest that our Red & Black Forums generate, and by the invitations we have been receiving to hold such Forums in poor areas (we have even had an invitation to speak to a radical miners'union in the far northern Limpopo province of South Africa). We also notice it by the presence of actual anarchists in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya and Morocco - and by the people who get in contact with us from Sudan, or Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of Congo or Nigeria wanting anarchist materials. Lastly, we notice it by the noticeable presence of so many African trade unions (nomatter how mainstream) at the I07 syndicalist congress in Paris. Clearly, African workers are looking for a socio-political model that is not corrupt like the "African socialism" they know too well.

Alternative Libertaire: What are the connections with other anarcho-communist or anarchist organizations in Africa and "in the world"?

Michael Schmidt: Historically, the Workers’ Solidarity Movement (WSM, Ireland) has been our most consistent supporter, and their solidarity has been considerably added to over the years by practical and ideological support from the likes of the SAC (Sweden), CGT (Spain), CNT (France), FA (France), WSA (USA) and ART (New Zealand). We have also established close ties in recent years with NEFAC (USA/Canada), FdCA (Italy), CIPO-RFM (Mexico), OCL (Chile), FAG & FARJ (Brazil), FAU (Uruguay), AKI (Turkey), OAE (Greece), ACT (Lebanon) and others. Practically, we have oriented ourselves towards the "social insertion" practice of the Latin American "especifista" organisations. We are proud to count as our comrades anarchist activists from the MLCE (Cuban exile), Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and other places that are very tough to organise in. In Africa, we have lost touch with the Awareness League (Nigeria), though we hear that it is still operating in the north, but still have contacts with Brahim Filali (Morocco) and the Wiyathi Collective (Kenya). The situation in better in the south with a ZACF presence in Swaziland and with good relations with anarchists among the Uhuru Network in Zimbabwe. As for Alternative Libertaire, we work alongside you in the project (and met your militants at Autre Futur in Paris in 2000)! We also hope to establish closer relations so that AL can keep us informed on developments in Francophone Africa, while we tell you what is going on in Anglophone Africa.

Report from NEFAC's 2007 Annual Conference

Report from NEFAC's 2007 Annual Conference

The Northeastern Federation of Anarchist- Communists recently met for our annual international conference. We met in a wonderful meeting space provided by Encuentro 5 in Boston and spent two days evaluating how best
to continue the movement towards libertarian-communism and workers power.

In attendance were comrades from Montreal, DC/Maryland, Boston, New York City, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Western Mass. First we went around the room and reported back on what projects collectives and
individual supporters/members had been involved with since our last
meeting. Activities were broad and included the organization of speaking events and book fairs, active participation in labor, community and student organizing, and militant action against fascists.

We next discussed the state of NEFAC's printed publications The
Northeastern Anarchist and Ruptures, our two theoretical magazines, and Cause Commune a free anarchist newspaper. Discussion was given to how best to allocate funds to publications and other methods of distribution of propaganda including blogs and pdfs that could be printed locally and distribute at a low cost.

Discussion was then given over to new collectives that wished to gain supporter or member status. A new DC/Maryland supporter collective was accepted and the Antithesis collective of NYC became a member collective. Both decisions came after a careful evaluation of the work that the collectives were doing and planned to do, and their political awareness. We are pleased to welcome both collectives into NEFAC.

We reflected on a discussion document brought to us by a New York member, concerning anti-imperialism and 'national liberation' movements. No
conclusions were reached, but there is a feeling that we are beginning to develop a shared vocabulary with which to approach these important questions. We then discussed the state of the anti war movement and how best to continue our efforts to halt the current wars.

The second day was largely dedicated to a lively discussion on how NEFAC can best continue and improve our work while dealing with some of the difficulties inherent with being a federation divided by the US/Canadian border. A discussion document with many ideas towards this end was brought to the conference by Canadian comrades and provided the framework
for our discussion. The discussion and the process goes on, and we are fully confident that it will result in a stronger anarchist communist presence in the north east.

In addition we discussed the proposal by our comrades in the Workers Solidarity Alliance to participate in a meeting of various groups interested in broadly red and black politics, Details are still being discussed but we are enthusiastic about this opportunity to further communication and cooperation amongst the class struggle anarchists.

With best wishes and solidarity to the working class, and unrelenting hostility to the bosses!

For more info about NEFAC, click here