One year after the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali, Tunisia faces a wave of strikes, regional uprisings, sit-ins and protests of all sorts. For hundreds of thousands of Tunisian workers and youth who bravely defied the bullets of the dictatorship to get jobs and dignity nothing has fundamentally changed.
It is true that the dictator has gone, but the system which condemns the best of the Tunisian youth to a future of unemployment or emigration still remains. As a matter of fact, for many, the economic situation has only gotten worse.
The Syrian revolution has entered a higher stage in the last few weeks. The number and size of demonstrations have reach record numbers, towns are falling under the control of the defected soldiers- including areas surrounding the capital Damascus, and embryonic forms of popular power are appearing on the stage in the form of popular councils.
After dying down for a period, the demonstrations in Syria have come back to a record level in terms of their size and geographical distribution. The Syrian Revolution 2011 facebook-page estimates the number of demonstrators to range from 3 to 5 million on Fridays and the number of locations to be in tens and hundreds covering the whole country. Most notable development is that the protests are becoming a daily phenomena in many areas. significantly the movement is expanding inside the two largest cities of the country, Damascus and Aleppo involving neighbourhoods likeAl-Mazeh in downtown Damascus and Salah Al-Din inside Aleppo.
Every year, an extremely dry dusty wind blows from the Sahara toward the western coast of Africa, mostly between the months of November and March, and usually most intense in December and January. It’s called the harmattan. And this is its season. From east to west, north and south an intense wind is sweeping across Nigeria.
On the first day of the indefinite General Strike declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress [NLC] and Trade Union Congress [TUC], a human tide swept down major roads of every Nigerian city, fed continuously along its path. The tide swept away the innate conservatism in the thought process and consciousness of the masses. People poured forth from adjoining streets into the arena of history, armed with slogans and indignation to seek control of their destiny. There were talks about Tunisia, Egypt, Tahrir Square. There were talks about the need for change. The next day, day two, was no different. Well, except that the crowd more than doubled the previous day’s, and was still growing! Day three also recorded a higher crowd than Day one and two! And was still growing!
History was made today, 9th January 2012, as Lagosians in their thousands harkened to the call of the Labour and Civil Society Organisation (LASCO) to embark on a nationwide strike/mass protest toexpress their dissatisfaction with the recent increment in the pump price of petrol as announced by the Goodluck Jonathan-led government on 1st of January. LASCO encompasses the two labour centers in Nigeria i.e. the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as the Joint Action Front (JAF) which is the umbrella body of the pro-labour civil society organisations.
In the final analysis, terrorists are instrument of the oppressors against the oppressed majority. Nigerian ruling elites have been over the years maintaining its rule in Nigeria on the basis of divide and rule, a method inherited from colonial masters and perfected by Nigerian ruling elites. Ruling elites are scared of unity of Nigerians because, they correctly understand that with unity of Nigerians ending their corrupt rule will just be a matter of time. Ruling elites are united at the top, but they ensure that Nigerians are sharply divided across both religions and tribes below.
Boko Haram’s action is more and more divisive. With its action, it has emboldened this regime to allocate N921 billion for security vote, obviously not for the purpose of fighting terrorism but to fight Nigerian masses who are presently on the move. Every of their action directly coincides with the interest of Nigerian ruling elites. Masses have correctly understood that their liberation and freedom lie in their unity across religion and tribal divides, but this drive always get challenged by the action of these fundamentalists and various charlatans.
We condemn the Goodluck regime’s sponsored invasion of the National Secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, in Abuja by thugs and the police on Friday, 7/1/12. This confirms the desperation of the government and shows how low they can go towards maintaining the attacks on the lives of the Nigerian people and how desperate they are to maintain the current fuel price increment. Already this action is being condemned globally.
The thugs stormed the NLC office in the morning under the protection of soldiers and police officers.
Support the Struggle against the Under funding of Education
By the time the current strike of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, commenced on December 5 2011, it had been two long years after they had an agreement with the Federal Government. That was in 2009. The 2009 Agreement is actually a review of the 2001 Agreement.
Earlier in September, ASUU had embarked on a one-week warning strike and the union shifted lots of grounds by extending the period for dialogue with the hope that the federal government would be sincere.
Currently, major attacks have been launched by the Goodluck regime against PHCN workers. Soldiers have taken over all the power stations, transmission stations and major PHCN offices nationwide and leaders of the power sector unions were arrested for some days and are all on the watch list. The plan is to ‘wind down’ PHCN by the first quarter of 2012.
PHCN workers had embarked on a 2-day strike to protest these assaults, it was this that forced the government to release the union officers but the armed take over and other atrocities are still continuing.
No to deregulation!
Nothing can testify to man’s bestiality towards fellow man as the current attempt by the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime attempt to further increase the price of petrol. Nothing is as wicked as this program and it has fully exposed the true face of the regime to the overwhelming majority.
Coming at a time when the overwhelming majority are living in abject poverty with no hope in sight, large numbers are living on less than $2.00 a day. This will no doubt be a death blow to many in Nigeria.
Since the LASU authorities declared in October the draconian increment in school fees, LASU students have embarked on a heroic struggle against this grand assault on education. They have not only boycotted lectures they have embarked on exam boycott and mass protests.
The over 725% fee increment was authorized by the Fasola led ACN government in Lagos. The fees were quite outrageous to say the least and it exposed the true nature of the ACN for what it really is – an anti-people party making pretension to be ‘progressive’.
17 December, marks the first anniversary of the Arab revolution. On this day, one year ago, Mohammad Bouazizi, a young Tunisian fruit vendor, driven by desperation, poverty, and anger, set himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid. The revolutionary wildfire that began after his death — first in southern Tunisia, then the entire country, then erupting across the entire Arab-speaking world—marked a turning point in human history.
One year later, it is clear that the revolution is by no means is over. The objective situation has never been as favourable for the revolution as now; however, a revolution is not a one act drama. The carnival atmosphere that transcended the early days of the revolution is being replaced by a more serious acknowledgement that more is needed to solve the main contradictions.
After 9 months of struggle, a major face-off is being prepared and the revolution is throwing all its forces to a single point of attack. For a number of days last week, a campaign for an open ended general strike was waged on all the web pages of the revolution. A call was made also by the Syrian National Council, the General Commission of the Syrian Revolution and other political forces for full participation in the strike. For the first time it looked that the organizers were taking the question of the general strike very seriously, drawing out a plan, and preparing leaflets for printing and distribution. The first date was chosen to be December 11.
Although the Nigerian economy has been officially growing at over 6% for the past 5 years, the poverty rate keeps increasing; youth unemployment has risen to an unprecedented 47% and over 80 per cent of Nigerian youth don’t have more than a secondary school certificate.
Infrastructure is collapsing with power generation hovering between 1,000 to 3,500 mega-watts, when Nigeria actually needs over 75,000 mega-watts to power its size. Out of over 160,000 kilometres of secondary and tertiary roads in Nigeria, with an average registered network of 4,000 kilometres per state, only about 10–15 per cent is paved. While a large proportion of this network remains in poor or very poor condition with only 15 per cent of federal roads in good condition.
Dramatic events have shaken the already stormy Syrian scene in the last month: strikes, demonstrations in downtown Damascus, attacks on intelligence headquarters, and condemnation by the Arab League. The Syrian regime looks weaker than ever and much exhausted, and a balance of forces favourable to the revolution seems to be the new reality. The arrival on the scene of a mass militia is an important shift in the situation which not only worries the regime, but also the bourgeois opposition and its imperialist allies.
At the end of my article on the Russian elections I wrote: “What happened in Tunisia and Egypt can also happen in Russia.” Events have begun to move in that direction far more quickly than I anticipated. In the last few days the cities of Russia have been swept by mass demonstrations.
In Moscow at least 50,000 people gathered on Saturday to protest the rigging of the elections. Some estimates put the figure at anything up to 100,000. It is impossible to verify these estimates, but the photos published on the Internet show that they were massive. In Petersburg 12,000 people protested, the biggest demonstration since 1995. In Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok and many other cities there were smaller demonstrations of a few thousands.
The parliamentary elections in Russia on Sunday, December 4, were seen as a popularity test of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running for the presidency in March. The result was a blow to Putin, registering a sharp fall in support for his United Russia party. According to the official results, which are undoubtedly rigged, United Russia obtained just under half of valid votes cast, which gives it a very small majority in the State Duma.
Workers at Waha Oil company have been on strike and holding protests for 7 weeks now. Their main demand is the purge of the top management of the company from directors whom they accuse of being stooges of the old regime. It is an example of class issues coming to the fore once the old regime has been put to one side.
The capture and killing of Colonel Gaddafi has been described in detail by the mass media in all its gory details. With the death of Gaddafi and the taking of Sirte the National Transitional Council is talking about forming a transitional government. The NTC is recognized by the imperialist powers whose interests it represents. However, many ordinary Libyans look with justified mistrust at the NTC and their imperialist backers.
Although Gaddafi was captured alive he was summarily shot. But it is not difficult to see why he was not arrested and put on trial. Had he faced a trial he would have exposed all his past dealings with the likes of Blair, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. That explains why they have revelled so much in his death. Their hypocrisy stinks to high heaven, as they had made many lucrative deals with Gaddafi in the past, even handing over people to his regime who were subsequently tortured.
The death of Gaddafi and the final collapse of his regime closes one chapter. However, this merely marks one turning point in the situation. Now that the old regime is finally gone, a struggle will open up over the future of Libya. In this struggle we will see the forces of both revolution and counter-revolution trying to get the upper hand. Here we publish an analysis of the situation by Alan Woods.
The Relevance of Marxism Today was written by Alan Woods and Ted Grant in 1994. It explains all the factors that have led to the present crisis, and although the temporary and unprecedented credit bubble allowed the system to avoid a serious recession for an extended period of time, eventually all the factors explained in this article have come to the surface.
Europe is standing on the edge of a precipice. This is the judgement, not just of the Marxists, but of the most serious strategists of Capital. Barely six weeks have passed since the latest Greek rescue package, and it is already unravelling. There is now a general crisis of confidence in the ranks of the bourgeoisie internationally. The panic, which is reflected in the wild gyrations of the stock exchanges, has spread rapidly from Europe to America. It is a kind of deadly contagion that has infected all the euro zone’s big countries.
There is now open speculation about the euro’s survival and even that of the European Union itself. The whole situation hangs in the balance. And all for what? Because Greece cannot pay its bills. But this was surely no surprise. Every serious person knew full well that the crisis of the Greek economy was so deep that all the rescue packages could do was to buy a little time.
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