Category Archives: africa

URGENT solidarity appeal – Nigerian socialists arrested & imprisoned

By Stephen Rigney

Following a massive crackdown by college authorities in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) three students have been arrested on trumped up charges of conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

The three students, Saburi Akande Akinola (Students’ Union President) and Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Olatunde Dairo (both members of the Democratic Socialist Movement – the CWI in Nigeria) have played a key role in organising protests in support of students’ rights and improved living and education standards in OAU.

Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Olatunde DairoLast year, in opposition to the sponsored candidates of management, OAU students elected a radical students’ union leadership, standing on a platform of opposition to plans to commercialise education and campaigning for an independent students’ union, free from interference from OAU authorities.  Immediately, management began cracking down on the rights of students to protest, banning the Union and expelling students, including Saburi, in response to a campaign demanding that students be given their legal right to a free study week before exams.

On 31 July, while on his way to court to challenge his expulsion, Saburi was arrested on trumped of charges including rioting, destruction of property, disruption of exams and conspiracy to murder, in an attempt to cut across students organising.

Two days after a mass student meeting on 9 October, which called for a lecture boycott on 17 & 18 October, in support of Saburi, Olatunde (Students’ Union PRO) and Taiwo (Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign) were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder of the OAU Vice Chancellor, in 2004.  College authorities have also closed down OAU to stop any demonstrations by students, in support of the Union leaders.

The university authorities are cracking down in an attempt to break the Students’ Union, so that they can ram through their attacks on the rights of students and turn education in OAU into a profit-making business.  In response to the repression, OAU students are organising a protest outside the bail hearing of Saburi, on 23 October and international protests are also planned.

Support the OAU Three

Send protest letters against this brutal repression of student activism to the e-mail addresses below:

Obafemi Awolowo University: registra@oauife.edu.ng
OAU Vice-Chancellor: mfaborode@yahoo.co.uk
Federal Ministry of Education: enquiries@fme.gov.ng / te@fme.gov.ng

CC copies to: dsmcentre@hotmail.com

Funds for defence of the OAU three are also being appealed for. Donations can be sent via www.socialistnigeria.org/donate.htm.

See Also: ‘Student leaders framed on charges of conspiracy to murder‘, ‘Imprisoned students get world-wide support‘ and ‘Day of action protest march in Osogbo‘.

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Heartless and barbaric: The deportation of Great Agbonlohar

By Paul Murphy

Great Agbonlohar and his family’s deportation underlines the barbaric nature of this government’s immigration policy.

Great is a six year old autistic Nigerian child, who has lived with his mother Olivia and twin sister Melissa in Clonakilty, Co. Cork since March 2003. He and Melissa were born in Italy and have never been to Nigeria.

Great AgbonloharAutism is a condition which requires ongoing specialised care and Great will not receive this care in Nigeria and may be victimised and brutalised by some in society. Being sent back to Nigeria has been described as equivalent to a death sentence for him by his mother.

Yet despite this, and despite the appeals of the local community in their support, including 3,000 signatures on a petition, they have been deported. They were flown back to Nigeria on 14 August, where they stayed in a hostel for one night and then were left to their own devices.

The family had launched a series of failed legal challenges against the decision of the previous Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, when Great was diagnosed with autism, trying to get their case reviewed.

Many felt that with Brian Lenihan, former Minister of State for Children, becoming Minister for Justice, that he would be more open to the appeals of the family and the community. However, he clearly wanted to show that he was just as “tough” on immigration as his predecessor. As we have come to expect the Green Party despite its posturing on human rights did nothing to stop this deportation.

Climate change: Socialist international planning needed

From The Socialist (England & Wales)

Organised to raise awareness of climate change, Live Earth is a series of concerts with an estimated worldwide audience of 2 billion people, taking place over seven continents on 7 July.

Among the backers is the multi-millionaire businessman and environmental spokesperson, the former US vice-president, Al Gore. Gore appeared in the Academy Award winning 2006 documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, about the threat of rapid climate change on the environment.

However, this event is unlikely to get to grips with the real causes and solutions to rapid climate change. In particular, how can large corporate sponsors and rich businessmen like Gore seriously challenge the very capitalist system of production that is responsible for destroying the world’s environment?

Undoubtedly at these events the public will be asked to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ while the big burners of fossil fuels – manufacturing, energy and transport industries will be asked to clean up their act in line with the weak and flawed Kyoto treaty to which the two biggest polluters – the US and China – are not obligated.

In February 2007 the UN-sponsored committee of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report arguing that stabilising concentrations of greenhouse gases would ‘only’ cost between 0.2% and 3% of global GDP by 2030. US officials immediately claimed that such a target would lead to a global recession.

And there’s the rub. Capitalism means that the interests of the owners and shareholders in transport, energy and wider industry – who do not want any reduction in their profits – come first.

The market

Just two weeks after New Labour issued its draft Climate Change Bill in March, which talked about cutting greenhouse gases, new figures showed how big privately-owned power stations in the UK by switching fuel in 2006 from dearer gas to cheaper coal had contributed to a 1.15% rise in CO2 output.

Under capitalism it’s ‘the market’ which is expected to deliver cuts in emissions. Any capitalist party will only do so at the expense of workers’ jobs in ‘dirty industries’, or by bigger taxes on ordinary people’s energy and transport.

Socialists, on the other hand, will fight climate change with a programme of rational planning of resources, based on public ownership and public good – not private profit – and by the international action of millions of ordinary people seeking to build a planet with a sustainable, socialist future.

The G8 means war, poverty and environmental destruction

 

Socialist Youth leaflet – Available as PDF here.

G8 Hypocrisy

G8AID: Of the $60 billion that was pledged for third world countries at the recent G8 summit only $3billion was new money pledged – These are the same leaders that spend $1 trillion annually on the arms trade.

ENVIRONMENT: Despite the continuing destruction of our environment, the G8 said that they would only ‘consider’ reducing carbon emissions.

FAIR TRADE: African goods still face enormous tariffs when they try to export goods to places like Europe and America.

WAR ON IRAQ: Bush and Blair have spent billions on the war in Iraq that has resulted in the death of over 650,000 Iraqis and has forced millions to flee their homes.

G8 and capitalism mean:

GLOBAL INEQUALITY: 1 billion people worldwide have no access to clean water while the super rich buy designer deodorants worth $30,000 a pop!

AIDS EPIDEMIC: In some parts of Africa one third of young adults will die of the aids epidemic, major pharmaceutical companies have blocked the production of cheap generic drugs to combat aids which would reduce their cost from $10,000 to $150.

“FREE TRADE”: In 2003 $4 billion was given to 28,000 big US cotton farmers – This is more than the GDP of the African country Burkino Faso which has 2 million cotton farmers

ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION: The G8 leaders have failed to achieve the limited targets for cuts in carbon emissions set out by the Kyoto Treaty. One scientist has claimed it would take the equivalent of 30 Kyotos to deal with global warming!

Kevin Carter, a white South African photographer, won a Pulitzer Prize for this photo of a vulture stalking a sudanese baby during the famine. No one knows what happened the child as Carter left the place as soon as the photo was taken. Three months later, Carter committed suicide. Is any more evidence needed as to the brutal reality of capitalism?

Kevin Carter, a white South African photographer, won a Pulitzer Prize for this photo of a vulture stalking a sudanese baby during the famine. No one knows what happened the child as Carter left the place as soon as the photo was taken. Three months later, Carter committed suicide. Is any more evidence needed as to the brutal reality of capitalism?

The G8 is a club made up of the most powerful capitalist countries worldwide. Under the pressure of ordinary working and young people its leaders were forced two years ago to give commitments to resolve the desperate poverty facing Africa. 250,000 marched in Edinburgh under the slogan ‘Make Poverty History’.

However, the above facts speak for themselves. Even Bob Geldof and Bono were forced to describe the recent G8 summit in Rostock in Germany as a ‘total farce’. They have no intention of resolving the desperate problems of poverty and environmental destruction faced by the majority of the world’s population. The 80,000 people who came to protest against the G8 this time did so to oppose not only their policies but their lies and broken promises as well.

Why won’t the G8 ‘make poverty history’?

Today the top 500 companies gloablly control 70-80% of world trade. These are privately owned and controlled by those who enrich themselves with vast profits at the expense of the needs workers and poor people internationally. This capitalist system leads to war, horrific poverty and is threatening the very existence of humanity itself. G8 leaders like Bush, Blair and Putin are only interested in helping these companies exploit the resources of the‘third world’ as opposed to helping the people who live there. It is this reason and not simply because of a lack of‘political will’(as Bono and Geldof would have us believe) that explains the inaction of the G8 on issues like third world debt, fair trade and aid.

What is the socialist alternative to the capitalist profit system?

Socialist Youth and the Socialist Party participated in the recent protests against the recent G8 summit in Rostock. We reject the that idea celebrities like Bono and Geldof have put forward in the past that the G8 can be used as a force for good.

Workers and young people should be organised internationally in a movement that can oppose the attacks on their living standards and fight for a democratic socialist society. Such a society would bring into democratic public ownership and control the 500 companies that control the world economy.

On this basis it would be possible to prioritise the needs of people and end global inequality through democratic socialist planning of the economy. If you agree with our ideas then join Socialist Youth today.