Monday, October 4, 2010

Letter from Zambia

Fantastic open letter from Zambia that I found on the Socialist Banner blog,another blog with a focus on Africa!

Africa is a vast continent comprised of nations which because of their colonial past have different histories, just as they have variegated geographical landmarks that distinguish them. Thus African nations do not share many things in common except the forcible grouping together of tribes regardless of the interaction that existed before colonialisation.

In the attempt to create nations, different ethnic groups have been split between boundaries and the expression of nationalism has therefore not been through the medium of cultural or ethnic identity, but defined within the context of the country in which the language of the colonial master became the lingua franca.

It is imperative to note, therefore, that such a situation in which countries find themselves has made nation building and African unity a difficult task.
The political developments taking place in Zambia today are African in nature and therefore similar and comparable to political events taking place elsewhere. In Africa, parliamentary democracy defined through multi-party politics still remains a test case today. Political leaders in Africa are finding it hard to relinquish power through the medium of the ballot box. The current political scenario in Zambia may easily degenerate into political violence if left unabated. The Catholic church and some western NGOs have kept on to criticise the ruling MMD government both through the press and privately-owned radio stations. Radio ICENGELO – owned by the Catholic church has become the mouthpiece of the voiceless people on the Copperbelt.

The widening gap between the rich and poor is something the ruling MMD government of President Rupiah Banda does not seem to be concerned about. Indeed, privatisation of the Zambian economic sector can only succeed by strengthening the private- and profit-making social sector, otherwise than defending and safeguarding the economic upkeep of the peasants and workers.

Massive and periodic job losses in the formal and informal sector have come to characterise the economic policy of Zambia’s economic liberation ever since the MMD came to power in 1991 to date. During the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda education was subsidised by the state and every child had a right to free education from primary school to university level. Every year the UNIP government carried out massive recruitments of teachers, doctors, nurses, policemen and soldiers.

The change from one-party participating democracy to multi-party democracy saw the implementation of economic liberalism (defined as privatisation) under the MMD government of President Fredrick Chiluba. This entailed the liquidation of state-owned mining, industrial and financial companies. The privatisation of state-owned companies led to massive job losses – in most cases the retrenched workers have not yet received their retirement salaries.

But we cannot mop up the fact that the UNIP government had experienced economic decline from 1980 to 1991 – the MMD inherited a bankrupt economy as the case may be. But it must be emphasised that the manner in which privatisation was carried out by the MMD was less than transparent.
It was in an attempt to monopolise power that Kaunda introduced a one-party state in 1973 on the excuse that Zambia was facing tribalism under multi-party politics. He introduced the philosophy of humanism in order to weld the different ethnic groups together under “One Zambia One Nation”. He declared a state of emergency – political detentions without trial (political criticism was banned). It is a fact that both the ruling MMD and political opposition have shown no restraint in manipulating the masses through feeding them with prejudices against other tribes in order to win their support. Thus tribalistic sentiments in Zambia originate from politicians or political parties. The voting patterns that emerged from the previous three general elections depict tribal and regional allegiances in the sense that people voted on the basis of ethnic patronage.

Every economic gain achieved under the late President Levy Mwanawasa has been dissipated by the global economic downturn of 2009, making it possible for the PF leader Michael Sata to increase votes in the coming 2011 elections. General elections in urban areas of Zambia are determined by economic factors, especially for food prices, the cost of education and availability of employment. The ruling MMD has concentrated on building roads, hospitals, schools and subsiding peasant farmers. In rural areas where the party received massive votes, working class political consciousness is visibly absent in rural village communities. The failure of African leaders to relinquish power through the medium of the ballot box means that elections in Africa are conducted in a win-or-die situation. The experience of many African nations with regard to their armed forces have been sad in that they have stifled democracy with their intervention, purportedly in their attempt to correct the mistakes of their political bosses also had failed to adhere to the principle of democracy through perceived violations of the constitution. When military leaders come into power, they not only breach the constitution, they become traitors to the oath of allegiance they swore to the nation.

The reluctance of the ruling MMD to accept the PF and UPND as viable future political options is a bad omen for multi-party politics in Zambia.

Socialism is the only practical political alternative to capitalism and our message to the workers of Zambia remains the same – the creation of a classless moneyless and stateless society.

PnP staff refuse to 'lose'

Pick ‘n Pay employees in South Africa still deciding on strike action

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) is warning that a full-blown strike by Pick n Pay employees is on the cards.

The trade union said on Sunday if talks with management fail then workers could down tools in two weeks.

More than 20 000 staff members returned to their posts this week following three days of industrial action.

They are demanding a staff discount of 10 percent on basic food items, a R550 monthly pay hike and increased working hours for casual workers.

Saccawu's Jan Kotze said workers are fighting for a living wage.

"Workers feel very strongly in terms of their demands. They have indicated that they will not be agreeing with anything that will see them at the losing side of the bargain," he said.

Columnists | On the Blog Property Search | Property News Related News * Hout Bay resident threatens “an eye for an eye” for Helen

A march organised by Cosatu saw hundreds of people converge on the Hout Bay police station today.

The march was in protest of the City of Cape Town’s plans to evict people living in informal settlements in Hangberg. A planned eviction by police two weeks ago descended into chaos as angry residents resisted and some threw stones at police and city workers who reportedly got aggressive with stubborn residents.

The marchers handed over a memorandum to the provincial police commissioner, Mayor Dan Plato and Premier Helen Zille. The memorandum demanded that Zille launch a commission inquiry into the violence that erupted on the day of the evictions. Zille was at the centre of a chaotic meeting with Hangberg residents a week before the evictions. Residents accused her of being arrogant and refusing to hear them out.

The memorandum also called for Zille tobe held personally responsible for :” all injuries, maiming, destruction of property and emotional trauma caused by her actions”.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Black is Back Coalition opposes FBI attacks on antiwar activists and movement

FBI agents take boxes away from activist Mick Kelly's apartment


The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations wants to state our unequivocal opposition to the September 24 multi-state Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of a number of antiwar militants and activists.
For the Black is Back Coalition this recent aggression against political dissent is glaring evidence of the depth of the crisis of an imperialism that requires for its survival the permanent exploitation of the world's peoples, including Africans, Mexicans and others within the ghettos and barrios here within the US.
We see this crisis is one that is caused by the struggling masses of the world's peoples to reverse the verdict of imperialism that has resulted in the vast majority of the Earth's population being reduced to a status of poverty and oppression.
It is the struggles of the peoples of the Middle East, South America, Africa and elsewhere imperialism has left its bloody mark that has led to this crisis that the US white ruling class has attempted to quell through seduction with the selection of Barack Hussein Obama as US president. We recognize that Obama was imperialism's desperate response to the resistance of the world's peoples after the failed policies of George W. Bush served to deepen the crisis by winning more of the oppressed to the ranks of imperialist resistance.
The Black is Back Coalition is not hoodwinked by the phony charges imposed on the militants by the FBI under the guise of anti-terrorist investigation.
We know that this is an attempt to isolate the legitimate forces of resistance here in the US and throughout the world. We know that this is an attempt to intimidate those who currently oppose US imperialist foreign policy and to prevent any others from joining in the opposition.
The Black is Back Coalition is opposed to this blatant attack on free speech rights in the name of fighting against terrorism. We call on all activists and proponents of social justice to resist all government efforts to prevent solidarity with and between the oppressed peoples of the world, whether it be the people of Palestine who are locked in a life and death struggle with the illegitimate white nationalist settler state of Israel or the people of South America who are attempting to wrest their future from the oppressive grasp of its historical US imperialist enemy.
Finally, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations wants to go on record as declaring that our response to these FBI attempts to silence legitimate opposition to US crimes against the peoples of the world must be to unflinchingly redouble our efforts. We must deepen our solidarity with each other and the peoples of the world fighting for a better world.
Toward this end, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is holding our second rally and march on the White House on November 13. It is a rally and march dedicated to support for resistance throughout the world and within the US. We call on all activists to join with us.

Down with intimidation!

Defend free speech and all democratic rights!

Victory to the oppressed peoples of the world!

from UhuruNews