Hands off Angola!

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no 12, September 1981

Since the beginning of June, the South African Defence Force (SADF), with the complicity of US and British imperialism, has been engaged in a major act of military aggression against revolutionary Angola. The MPLA government of Angola stands as a solid barrier to imperialism's efforts to hurl back the advances of the southern African revolution. It has given unbending support to the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) fighting to rid Namibia of South African occupation. It has given its support to the African National Congress (South Africa). And using its rich oil reserves and rail network it is trying to eliminate the Frontline African states' dependence upon apartheid and imperialism. For its valiant internationalist stand, and in particular for its support for SWAPO, it has been subjected to apartheid's bloody war machine.

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Namibia: interview with SWAPO

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism no. 7 November/December 1980

 jon ya otto

The interview below was given to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! by John Ya Otto — SWAPO Secretary for Labour — whilst on a visit to Britain to mobilise British working class support for the Namibian people's fight against South African occupation and oppression. As Comrade Otto points out this occupation and oppression of Namibia and her people is only possible because of British imperialism's direct military and economic support of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The results of this foreign imperialist occupation of Namibia are poverty and starvation for the oppressed workers and peasants. Black worker's wages are 1/25th of those of the whites, 50% of all children die before the age of five, workers live and work in the most appalling conditions and diseases such as tuberculosis are rife. Every attempt to organise and fight against these conditions is met with brutal repression, 80% of Namibian people live under martial law, Rio Tinto Zinc (a British firm) has an agreement with the South African racist army to crush any labour or political organisation in the Rossing Mine. With British supplied weaponry and technology South African troops hunt down, imprison, torture and murder the freedom fighters of SWAPO.

This is the regime that British imperialism is actively engaged in supporting. Communists and the working class movement in Britain have a duty and interest to smash any British involvement in Namibia and Southern Africa as a whole.

In fighting in support of SWAPO and the Namibian people, communists and the working class movement should beware of the Labour Party and Labour Lefts, especially of that hypocrite imperialist Tony Benn. Benn has been prancing round the stages of Britain's speaking halls uttering his support for democracy and self-determination. But the working class movement should note that he himself when Minister signed the contract with Rio Tinto Zinc to supply British capitalists with uranium, in defiance of UN Decrees and of international law. In building support for SWAPO and the Namibian people, communists will not allow Benn and his ilk to cover up their racist imperialist role in Namibia.

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Samora Machel: Son of the Mozambican Revolution

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! No. 64 - 15 November-15 December 1986

The People's Republic of Mozambique was declared on 25 June 1975. Born out of ten years of FRELIMO's guerilla war it was the first expression of people's power in Southern Africa. The new republic's President, Comrade Samora Machel, was just 41 years old.

Portugal first invaded the country four centuries before in pursuit of its slave trade — over 2 million Mozambicans were abducted. By the mid-20th century the colony had been turned into an engine for the exploitation of surplus labour. In the south, adult men were shipped to the British-owned mines in Rhodesia and the Transvaal — between 1900 and 1920 alone more than 63,000 died. The mine owners paid a portion of the wages in gold direct to Portugal: it was the colony's main source of income.

Portugal practised ruthless social discrimination to provide a buffer of privilege for the settlers. 95% of the population was kept illiterate. Eighty-five per cent lived in the countryside and there was little industrial development. The administrators, managers and the few skilled workers were Portuguese.

The colonial regime's suppression of all democratic rights was demonstrated in 1960 when the army massacred 600 unarmed peasants. The Mueda massacre was Mozambique's Sharpeville; it marked the turning point for the opponents of foreign rule.

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East Africa famine

Somalian children queuing to receive food

On 20 February 2017 the United Nations (UN) declared a famine in parts of South Sudan and reported that up to 20 million people in four countries (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen), faced famine unless the ‘international community’ stepped in to ‘avert catastrophe’. It is very likely that there was a famine in South Sudan last year but no formal declaration was made. Under the five-level Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC scale) established by the UN in 2010, a famine (IPC Phase 5) is not officially declared until ‘starvation, death and destitution are evident’, defined as when more than 20% of households face acute food shortage, acute malnutrition is above 30%, and the child mortality rate for under-fives is higher than four deaths per 10,000 children per day. Additionally, a South Sudan government representative sat on the IPC committee, blocking any such famine declaration. Blame has been attributed to climate change, the El Niño weather phenomenon, terrorist groups, drought and lack of funds for the catastrophe, but the elephant in the room is imperialism. Imperialism is to blame for this recurring disaster and the famine is proof of the inability of capitalism to meet the basic needs of humanity. Charles Chinweizu reports.

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Western Sahara: an albatross on African Union’s conscience

Western Sahara

We are pleased to publish an article on Western Sahara and the African Union, which we have received from Nizar Visram, a free-lance writer from Tanzania (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). This article is published for discussion and education, and is prefaced by a short introduction, giving the background to the struggle.

In 1975, following Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's death, the Spanish state abandoned its last large colony on Africa, Rio de Oro and Saguia el-Hamra - modern-day Western Sahara. However, instead of becoming independent, it was handed over to Morocco and Mauritania, which claimed the territory. The national liberation movement, the Polisario Front, unilaterally claimed the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and fought back with Soviet and Algerian aid. Polisario was able to defeat Mauritania, with whom it has good relations today. However, Morocco was able to drive out all armed resistance from the strategic locations and major towns. It did so thanks to the consistent military aid from Western Europe and the US. Also, the Moroccan state colonised the Western Sahara with civilians, outnumbering the natives, and built a wall for every area that it secured. The longest is now the ceasefire line, set in 1991 by the UN. About half of the Sahrawi population, around 200,000, lives in Western Algeria in refugee camps, where Polisario's headquarters are based.

Western Sahara is mostly desert, but is rich in various resources. Its coast has become an important source of tuna for Europe. In the interior, there are large phosphate mines and its soil is being tested for oil and natural gas. The Western Sahara's profitability is increased even further as the Moroccan king is, jointly with European companies such as Siemens, building renewable energy sources and farming areas. King Mohammed VI personally owns strategic sectors such as electricity, giving him an increased motivation to continue the occupation.


Western Sahara: an albatross on African Union’s conscience

At the 28th Summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa on 30 January 2017, Morocco’s readmission to the continental body generated heated discussion. At the end of the day the Kingdom of Morocco managed to win over sufficient member states on its side and it was allowed to join the fold unconditionally.

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