Africa

Urban Revolt

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Read this to be inspired by stories of city-based resistance in some of the most difficult conditions possible.

The editors want to confront the idea that capitalism is triumphant everywhere and instead look at examples where “the hegemony of ruling classes is being directly challenged by mass organisations”. Their examples range from Africa to Asia to Latin America.

A catastrophic failure to act

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As the Ebola crisis continues to rage across West Africa, Tokunbo Oke recalls the history of colonialism and neoliberal policies, which has ravaged the continent and left many states unable to withstand the epidemic.

The current Ebola crisis has been running for seven months — yet you would not know that from the media coverage in the West. The epidemic has only become a major concern since US and European citizens have become victims. British nurse William Pooley, who has returned to Sierra Leone to help victims having recovered from Ebola himself, has been rightly hailed for his heroism. But the deaths of several hundred African doctors and nurses from the disease so far have been virtually ignored.

George Bush: a bad man in Africa

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George Bush's five nation visit to Africa last month received some absurd congratulations.

Even the normally discerning Guardian journalist Chris McGreal could not contain himself, commenting in an article called "George Bush: a good man in Africa", that Bush's African HIV initiative is "transforming healthcare in Africa and has been praised as the most significant aid programme since the end of colonialism".

Obituary: Ousmane Sembene

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Ousmane Sembène was one of those rare people whose death feels like a personal loss even to those who did not know him. We have lost a great mind.

Sembène had an extraordinary life. Born in 1923, he was sent by his father to an Islamic school in the Casamance - the poor southern region of today's Senegal, then part of the huge French West African colonial empire. Expelled from the school in 1936 for indiscipline, he worked as a fisherman before leaving to find work in the capital, Dakar.

DR Congo: Elections for the West, Not the People

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The presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were the first national vote in the country for more than four decades.

The first round of the election saw the sitting president, Joseph Kabila, take a 45 percent share. As Kabila did not win an absolute majority he now faces a run-off in a second round on 29 October with Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Some of the striking images from the election were of people queuing to vote for the first time in their lives. Sadly the elections offer little in the way of a real alternative for most Congolese - rather the run-up to the elections has seen a further phase of plunder.

Corruption: Who is to Blame for Bad Governance?

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Africa is normally seen negatively, particularly from the West, which often sees itself as the saviour of a dark continent marred by problems. Hunger, war, disease, refugees and debt are the issues that typically dominate the news stories in the Western media. Lately talk of bad governance has been added to the list.

Associated with it is the question of corruption. The rulers of the world, and their institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, set "anti-corruption measures" as a pre-condition for getting assistance.

Imperial Oil: Petroleum Politics in the Nigerian Delta and the New Scramble for Africa

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Anna Zalik and Michael Watts explain why being "oil rich" has become a curse on the poor of Nigeria and Angola.

The new scramble for Africa strikingly resembles the gun boat diplomacy and violence of the late nineteenth century. And the violence in the Niger Delta arises from a context in which oil industry policies have encouraged competition among local residents for the meagre payments associated with corporation activities on their land and waterways. Africa is experiencing a major oil boom. The continent accounts for roughly 10 percent of world oil output, and 9.3 percent of known reserves. Over the last decade it has emerged as a strategic supplier to the US market.

Imperialism's African Helpers

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Africa needs to break immediately from the most destructive circuits of global capital, and its leaders are on the wrong side.

Paul Wolfowitz is a 'wonderful individual'. He is 'perfectly capable'. This judgment of the Iraq war architect's anointment as World Bank president came from Africa's most prominent finance minister, Trevor Manuel. The former grassroots anti-apartheid leader offered the comments at a 17 April press conference of the World Bank/IMF Development Committee, which he has chaired since 2002.

Liberia: Blood and Diamonds

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Leo Zeilig traces the history of the crisis gripping Liberia.

On a demonstration in the Liberian capital Monrovia in June, a demonstrator held up a handmade placard that read 'America Come and Save Us'. The depth of the crisis that has gripped Liberia in the last few months - which has resulted in thousands fleeing their homes and thousands more being killed in fighting - has led many to hope that the US would intervene to stop the fighting. In August the president, Charles Taylor, was forced to step down and was granted asylum by the Nigerian government. Taylor was installed in Calabar, in two palatial mansions.

Kenya: The Safest Pair of Hands

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Kenyans had good reason to cheer when Uhuru Kenyatta was heavily defeated in the presidential election at the end of last year.

Kenyatta was the chosen successor of Daniel arap Moi, the man who ruled the country for 24 years from 1978. It was probably a surprise to many people that Moi did not fiddle the result this time--as he did in 1992 and 1997. Such blatant rigging was passed over by Moi's western backers, who saw him as a valuable agent of 'stability' in the region. Moi got on very well with the British Tories. Kenya's prestigious Moi University proudly boasts the Margaret Thatcher library. During the first Gulf War in 1991 against Iraq, Moi lined up completely with US demands.

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