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This post is a chapter from a joint memoir that is being written by Selina Molteno and Robin Cohen about their period in Nigeria, September 1967–September 1969, which was framed by the Nigerian Civil War. The chapter tells a personal story and also provides some more general insight into those tumultuous years. They were both working at the University of Ibadan, Selina in African Studies, and Robin in Political Science and describe the visit that Ruth First made to Nigeria, and the friendship that developed....

For nearly fifty years, one figure has embodied revolutionary politics in Senegal: Omar Blondin Diop, a young activist and artist who died in 1973 while imprisoned at Gorée. Our understanding of liberation movements in Africa tends to focus on struggles in colonial settings, yet Florian Bobin argues that sixty years after Senegal’s independence, Blondin Diop’s life, work, and legacy helps reveal what revolutionary politics looks like in a neo-colonial state. ...

In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas knifed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Shortly after, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Declared unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in the history books as a deranged murderer. Harris Dousemetzis exposes one of the great lies in South African history and shows that Tsafendas was an extraordinary man, with deeply held communist and anti-racist politics....

In 2015 and 2016 students at South African universities campaigned under the banner #FeesMustFall for the abolition of tuition fees. Little public attention however has been paid to the alliances of students and workers in parallel #EndOutsourcing campaigns for fair labour practices for all university workers. Heike Becker asks what were the trajectories of the student-worker movements for insourcing of all workers at public institutions of higher learning? And what did they have in common with similar campaigns that arose at the same time also at universities in the United Kingdom?...

Examining the recent and brutal attempts to suppress the Sudanese revolution, Magdi el Gizouli looks at the efforts by the regime and its various factions to seize the initiative from the streets. In recent months the ruthless figure of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (aka Himeidti), the leader of the infamous Rapid Support Forces, has moved into the centre of Sudanese politics. However, will the ‘neighbourhood committees’ be able to translate their revolutionary zeal into mass political action that can unite rural and urban discontent and challenge the regimes hold on power?...

For roape.net Magdi el Gizouli provides a detailed account of the revolutionary crisis in Sudan. Events started on 18 and 19 December last year in the small city of Atbara, but soon spread across the country. However, the forces of counter-revolution in the country are formidable. Importers, wholesale merchants, bankers, military and security officers, large landowners, sharia scholars and preachers embedded in Islamic banks, all have stakes in maintaining in the current regime. Magdi el Gizouli argues that to dismantle their powers and to fulfil the promise of the Atbara moment requires a revolution in Leninist terms. The country and its peoples have been subject to deep and dramatic socio-economic changes of which the current wave of protest is a symptom, it is so far unclear whether the leadership of the protest movement can turn elemental anger into systemic agency....

ROAPE’s Patrick Bond looks at the context for the 14-17 January nationwide protests in Zimbabwe. The protests were called by trade unions against an unprecedented fuel price hike, leading to repression, death, injuries and mass arrests reminiscent of former leader Robert Mugabe’s rule. Bond unpicks what he argues is a full-on capitalist crisis....

In a powerful defence of Marxist political economy John Saul argues that ‘facing down the hulk of capital that presently bestrides the world was never going to be easy.’ Though as ‘powerful and ill-intentioned as capitalists’ might be ‘as they destroy the world, environmentally and morally’, everything, in Africa and elsewhere, continues to depend on the struggle of the oppressed. In this contribution he blends his on-going work on Africa with a more general analytical and theoretical consideration on progressive political economy. The fruitfulness of this approach is exemplified in his forthcoming book, Revolutionary Hope vs Free-Market Fantasies: Towards the Revival of Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa (to appear in 2019). There readers can see a more elaborated model of the method of both learning and communicating – in exploring the juxtaposition between theory on the one hand and ‘practice’, in the chapters 'southern Africa...

In the second part of Matt Swagler’s blogpost on the Russian Revolution, he focuses on how Marxist ideas became central to African political organizing from the late 1940s through the 1970s—a development which took place at the same time that the Soviet Union emerged as a new global superpower. In the first part of Swagler’s article posted on roape.net last year he argued that the 1917 Russian Revolution had important repercussions in Africa, notably in the new connections formed between Black Marxists from the Americas and trade unionists and anti-colonial figures on the African continent. In the second part of the post he looks at how the USSR (and Soviet doctrines of Communism) began to exert the most profound influence in Africa precisely at the time when the incredible emancipatory potential of the 1917 Russian Revolution had been obliterated by Joseph Stalin’s campaigns of mass...