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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...

In a major contribution to roape.net, Zsuzsánna Biedermann analyses the complex reasons behind the largely fruitless diversification efforts in Botswana. Many African countries abundant in non-renewable natural resources experience the harmful effects associated with the extensive role oil, mining or gas extraction plays in their economies. Even if Botswana’s initial development based on diamond mining was spectacular, there is mounting proof that the Botswana Democratic Party - the country’s governing party since independence – has been deeply intertwined with the De Beers diamond mining cartel. Development, industrialisation and diversification remains a frustrating and elusive goal for the country....

Abiodun Olamosu reviews the classic 1975 book, Economic Development of Nigeria: The Socialist Alternative by Ola Oni and Bade Onimode which will soon be republished. Oni and Onimode wrote about the underdevelopment of Nigeria and how the people were made poor. They also provided a programme for the country’s development which included the disengagement from international capitalism, the introduction of democratic planning, public ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Olamosu provides a critical introduction to the book. ...

For most commentators and scholars, it was only events in the Global North that constituted ‘Global 1968’. None of the relevant overviews brings related events on the African continent to the fore. In a detailed account of popular protest across Africa in the 1960s, it becomes clear that the decade was vital for activists – as it was elsewhere across the world. 1968 was a crucial year for popular protests and student militancy on the continent. roape.net begins to fill in the blanks in the story of ‘1968’ in a global perspective. ...

After the death of Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, we republish an article from our archive on his party, the MDC, and the election in 2000 that almost toppled Mugabe’s ZANU-PF. Tsvangirai's greatest moment. Writing in 2000, Peter Alexander describes how Tsvangirai rose to prominence as a trade union organiser who went on to head the powerful union federation, the ZCTU, and eventually became Zimbabwe's most prominent opposition politician....

In the first of a two-part blogpost, Matt Swagler considers how the Russian Revolution drew the attention of Black intellectuals and workers from Africa and across the African diaspora. He argues that the revolution cemented the importance of Marxist ideas in debates about colonial and racial liberation for decades to follow. For a time the revolution showed that the struggles to liberate Africa from colonial rule and struggles against capitalism in the imperial countries were integrally linked. The second part of the blogpost will look at the influence of the Soviet Union on African liberation movements after World War II....

In this blogpost Zimbabwean socialist Munyaradzi Gwisai unpicks the situation in South Africa. He explains that the working class and poor must avoid the dangers of both Zuma’s ‘fake left-turn’ and the Zuma Must Fall protests. What are the lessons, Gwisai asks, for South Africa from the movement that rose-up against Mugabe in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s?...

Jointly published by Jacobin and ROAPE, David Seddon writes about Joseph Kabila’s second term as president which was supposed to end last November, but he’s still clinging to power, despite massive resistance. For the past two years, the political opposition has struggled against Kabila, worried that he will try to extend his term by any means necessary. Seddon explains what has been happening. ...

In this introduction to a major paper on the Near East and North Africa, ROAPE's Ray Bush focuses on the struggles by small farmers across the region. He notes the spike in protests since the food price hikes of 2008 that had intensified rural malnutrition, poverty and inequality. How can the battle for livelihood and food security by the regions small and family farmers be assisted? ...

Last year witnessed one of the strongest El Niño events since the 18th century. Gary Littlejohn writes about the consequences for Southern Africa and Mozambique in particular, noting that the ensuing drought in parts of Africa continues with serious impacts on food security. Knowledge that could have mitigate the worse effects of the El Niño was discarded by a discredited neo-liberal orthodoxy, a zombie theory that keeps coming back from the dead, with fatal consequences for the poor. ...