Front Page

What’s Left in Africa? Reflections on the Failure of Left, Working Class Movements to Take Root in Most of Africa

by Firoze Manji
March 1, 2015

The early 1950s witnessed an extraordinary sweep of popular mobilisations across the African continent inspired by aspirations for emancipatory freedom: an end to the colonial yoke. Nationalist parties convinced people that the path to freedom was through political independence. Since then, many of the gains of independence, which cost the blood and lives of millions in Africa, have been reversed with the privatisation of the commons and public utilities, as well as by dispossessions of land, by unemployment, and by the increasing costs of food, rent, and other necessities of life.


Nelson Mandela was a member of the South African Communist Party as well as the ANC.

In response, discontent has been growing across the continent, with spontaneous eruptions and mass uprisings that have in some cases resulted in the overthrow of regimes nurtured and nourished by imperialism (e.g. in Tunisia, Egypt, and Burkina Faso). In such circumstances, one would have thought that there would have been fertile grounds for the emergence of strong left working class movements across the continent. But why has this not happened?

Left and communist parties of various sizes and influence have arisen in a number of countries across the continent over many decades, despite the terror of colonial repression that they faced...

On the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination: Malcolm X in Life and Legacy

by Kwame Somburu
February 21, 2015

Malcolm X was a unique person. His transition from Malcolm Little to the internationally renowned Malcolm X--with the development in his final years of uncompromising opposition to all forms of national/international oppression, exploitation, and discrimination--is truly exceptional.


Malcolm X.

Malcolm was never a criminal. Instead I see the anti-social behavior of his early life as being the result of his victimization by the most criminal, inhumane, hypocritical, ruling class and society that has ever existed. The Nation of Islam was significant to his positive early development. I saw and heard Elijah Muhammad three times along with many other N.O.I. ministers, and read every word in the weekly issues of Muhammad Speaks for over two years. In addition I attended many meetings at Temple #7 in Harlem.

I was attracted to Malcolm's intellectual curiosity, humanity, and rapidly accumulated knowledge of diverse and varied types of social injustice worldwide. He was seeking to tell the unvarnished truth and expose the basis of structural inequality. He felt that was the first step in the fight for the true liberation of African Americans, and later, as he became a person of the world, for liberating all of humanity. Knowledge, unity, and militant determination were key to transforming a brutal society into its opposite.

Electoral Action Conference Will Bring Together Leaders Building Alternatives to the Two-Party System

by Robert C.
February 17, 2015

Activists and candidates from around the country will come together on May 2-3 in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.


Left to right: Brian Jones, Kshama Sawant, and Howie Hawkins. Sawant and Hawkins have endorsed the conference.

The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social movement formations, to referenda campaigns. Kshama Sawant’s November 2014 election to the Seattle City Council captured the attention of leftists across the country, but a number of other exciting campaigns have also been path breaking, including the Jackson Plan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Richmond Progressive Alliance’s David and Goliath fight against Chevron in the East Bay. Many recent political developments have brought organizers building alternatives to the two-party system together with those using direct action and referenda to help win gains against fracking, for a $15 minimum wage, and other important initiatives.

"A Grain of Sand in the Machinery:" Eric Toussaint Discusses Syriza

Eric Toussaint interviewed by Benito Perez
February 12, 2015

So the battle lines seem to be drawn. Is that simply posturing in order to raise the stakes, or is any dialogue really impossible?


Alexis Tsipras of Syriza and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos.

I tend to lean towards the latter. Syriza proposes two fundamental things: First, maintain budgetary balance—something few European governments can boast of doing—but redistribute the costs differently, lightening the burden on victims of the crisis while increasing it for those who have benefited from it. Second: Negotiate a reduction of the debt. However, for the European leaders, the debt is the instrument used to impose the very neoliberal structural adjustment measures that Syriza has decided to end. Therefore no compromise seems possible. Possibly, if Syriza had said, “We’ll continue following neoliberal model, but you lighten the debt,” the EU might have accepted. But in fact, Europe cannot allow Tsipras to keep his word. He’s probably been told, “Look at Hollande; that’s what he did in your position. So do like he and everyone else have done and get with the program.”

The important thing that’s happened this week is that Syriza has already dropped a grain of sand into the machinery, and that’s decisive.

Black Lives Matter Gathering Points to a New Direction for the Movement

by Dan La Botz
February 2, 2015

The Black Lives Matter Movement is alive and well. If it has for the moment—under political attack and facing the winter’s sub-freezing temperatures—withdrawn from the streets, it has done so to plan a new stage in the fight for justice for African American victims of police racism and violence. As many as 400 people, mostly young people of color, attended the eight-hour long Black Lives Matter Gathering at the famous Riverside Church in Manhattan on January 30 where in workshops, trainings, and plenary sessions it seemed that a new direction was being set for the movement.

Black women took the lead in organizing the event, in the workshops, and in the plenary, where the dominant themes were the need for organization, program, and strategy. If they admire the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the activists of today’s Black Lives Matter Movement believe they start at a higher political level, committed to full equality for women and the LGBT community. If some of those involved in Black Lives Matter got their first experience with a mass movement in Occupy Wall Street, they seem have now to have drawn the lesson that a movement needs a democratic organization, a list of demands, and a strategy that can organize the power to achieve them. If they still want no traditional leaders, they are interested in creating an inclusive, democratic, and collective leadership.

March 1, 2015
by Firoze Manji
The early 1950s witnessed an extraordinary sweep of popular mobilisations across the African continent inspired by aspirations for emancipatory freedom: an end to the colonial yoke. Nationalist...
February 21, 2015
by Kwame Somburu
Malcolm X was a unique person. His transition from Malcolm Little to the internationally renowned Malcolm X--with the development in his final years of uncompromising opposition to all forms of...
February 17, 2015
by Robert C.
Activists and candidates from around the country will come together on May 2-3 in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent...
February 12, 2015
Eric Toussaint interviewed by Benito Perez
So the battle lines seem to be drawn. Is that simply posturing in order to raise the stakes, or is any dialogue really impossible?
Alexis Tsipras of Syriza and Pablo Iglesias of Podemos.
I tend to...
February 2, 2015
by Dan La Botz
The Black Lives Matter Movement is alive and well. If it has for the moment—under political attack and facing the winter’s sub-freezing temperatures—withdrawn from the streets, it...

All featured articles

February 24, 2015
by the Revolutionary Worker’s Party-Mindanao/Revolutionary Peoples’ Army (RPM-M/RPA)
The Mamasapano bloody incident last January 25, 2015 is a clear manifestation of the fragility and complexity of the peace process and security situation in Mindanao.
February 22, 2015
by Paul Prescod
My first exposure to radical politics of any kind was through watching documentary footage of Malcolm X speak. Often I would watch this with my father and other family from Barbados, who had a long...
February 16, 2015
from Julie Korenstein, Marlene Furth, Leo Frumkin, and Sherry Frumkin
Pauline Furth, M.D., 98, beloved sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on December 26, 2014. The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Tanya and Samuel Frumkin, Pauline...
February 6, 2015
by Suzi Weissman
Before I met Frank I felt like I already knew him: he was legendary on the far left for putting people together, being effective, and getting things done. And he had good politics. How could I not...
February 4, 2015
by François Sabado
The following text is a transcription of a talk given last month by François Sabado, a member of the French New Anticapitalist Party, to the Congress of Izquierda Anticapitalista, a socialist...

All recent articles