This debate aims to be used as a resource for researchers and activists. The debate is concerned to document and analyse popular protest and direct action on the continent, both as it happens, as a regular feature as well as charting broader patterns and trends in popular protest over recent decades. Broadly the debate considers the relationship between working class struggle and popular protest in Africa over the last ten years as we chart the development of protest movements across the continent. The debate focuses on a broader array of popular forces that challenge not only immediate austerity and repression introduced as part of structural adjustment and ‘economic reform’, but also the legitimacy of the reforms themselves and even, sometimes, the governments that introduced them.
Popular Protest and Class Struggle Across the Continent
Last year a wave of militant protests spread across North Africa and West Asia, in a sustained, historic series of popular struggles. Emma Wilde Botta reviews A Region in Revolt: Mapping the Recent Uprisings in North Africa and West Asia edited by Jade Saab.
The mass protests in Nigeria have brought out tens of thousands of people in several cities across all the geo-political regions of the country, defying the guns, risking their freedom and life, and declaring they are ready to die for freedom. Femi Aborisade and Andy Wynne look at the background to the protests and celebrate a movement that challenges Nigeria’s ruling class.
Concluding her discussion on the revolts in Sudan and Algeria, Emma Wilde Botta argues that we are seeing a new surge of global revolt against authoritarianism and austerity. Revolutionaries are grappling with questions of strategy and organization as the forces of conservation come into conflict with the forces of transformation.
Algeria is undergoing a period of dramatic popular resistance to an authoritarian regime in power for decades. In Emma Wilde Botta’s second blogpost, she focuses on the construction of Algeria’s political order, the dynamics of the current crisis, and an assessment of the ongoing impasse.
In the first of a series of blogposts on the extraordinary revolutions we have seen across Africa this year, Emma Wilda Botta examines the roots of the uprisings in Sudan. After decades of repression, the Sudanese people rose up in 2018-19, but the compromises that have temporarily pacified the country’s towns and cities, rest on a set of acute contradictions.