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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Plundering Africa: British imperialism 2016

Africa gold

A recent report by War on Want, The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources, underlines the continued role of Britain as one of the world’s dominant imperialist powers.1 Researcher Mark Curtis has once again produced a vital report providing a savage indictment of the capitalist system. The report exposes the naked plunder by British extractive companies of African resources, ripping minerals, oil and gas out of the ground without concern for the human, social, and environmental cost. All this wealth is then transferred out of Africa through the City of London and tax havens. The report provides ammunition for revolutionaries in the fight against imperialism, in solidarity with African resistance to the plunder and destruction of their countries.

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Angola: 40 years of independence, from revolution to neo-colony

Agostinho Neto and Fidel Castro

On 11 November 2015, Angola celebrated 40 years of independence from its former colonial master; Portugal. The occasion is a significant milestone for the country's ruling party; Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), which has enjoyed 40 years of uninterrupted rule. Looking at the greedy, corrupt, self-serving clique at the top of the MPLA, it is impossible not to question how a once truly revolutionary organisation, that led the heroic struggle for national liberation, which all Angolans may take pride in, has become an enemy of all that the heroes of the liberation struggle fought for.

The future of the MPLA is increasingly uncertain. Falling oil prices have hit Angola’s heavily oil dependent economy very hard (crude oil makes up 90% of Angola’s exports), forcing the government to implement budget cuts, including the removal of fuel subsidies, which had been one of the most popular policies of President José Eduardo Dos Santos’ increasingly unpopular government. In June, 17 young people, members of a book club, were arrested, and accused of reading books about non-violent protest. Initially charged with plotting a coup, they are now on trial for rebellion against the state.

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