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
Kenyan activists Faith Asina and Gathanga Ndung’u deliver powerful and sharp criticism of the role of the Kenyan police as the oppressor of the masses. They explain in detail how police terror has manifested itself on issues such as the crackdowns on activists, the aftermath of elections, state-led campaigns against terrorism and informal settlements. They also take the time to commemorate fallen activists and inform us about ongoing grassroots movements against the violence of the police, which they believe needs radical surgery or a total overhaul.
We share a second extract from ‘Revolution is the choice of the people: crisis and revolt in the Middle East and North Africa’ by Anne Alexander. The extract provides an astute historic and comparative analysis of the revival of the workers' movement, which played a vital role in the mass protests and revolutions of 2011 and 2019.
We share an extract from ‘Revolution is the choice of the people: crisis and revolt in the Middle East and North Africa’ by Anne Alexander. The passage deepens our understanding of the complex class structure of the Middle Eastern and North African societies in which uprisings and revolutions erupted in the 2010s. Neoliberalism produced a crisis and profound transformations among the middle-class and proletariat while propelling them to play a major role in popular resistance.
Nadia Sayed assesses the Black Lives Matter movement two years after mass protests erupted following the assassination of George Floyd. We share a talk she gave at Marxism festival in London in July 2022, which is based on her article for the International Socialism Journal (click the link at the bottom of the page to access the full article). Defending the movement’s achievements while considering its weaknesses, Sayed argues that mobilising the power of the working class is crucial to ensuring that Black Lives Matter is not merely a moment but the beginning of a movement that delivers fundamental change.
ROAPE's Ben Radley interviews Congolese activist Bienvenu Matumo. Matumo speaks about what led him to become an activist with Lutte Pour Le Changement (LUCHA)...