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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...

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....