Mandela’s economic legacy

The death of Nelson Mandela reminds us of the great victory that the black masses of South Africa achieved over the vicious, cruel and regressive apartheid system first encouraged by British imperialism and then adopted by a reactionary and racist white South African ruling class to preserve the privileges of a tiny few. Mandela spent 27 years in prison and the people he represented fought a long and hard battle to overthrow a grotesque regime, backed by the major imperialist powers, including the US, for decades.

Despite the efforts of the British Conservatives, particularly under Margaret Thatcher, the winer and diner-in-chief of all reactionaries globally, and the other imperialist leaders, the South African regime was eventually brought to its knees by the sacrifices of millions of black South Africans: the labour forces in the mines; the children in the schools and the people in the townships. They were backed by the solidarity actions of workers and people in the major countries through boycotts, strike action and political campaigning. It was a big defeat for the forces of reaction in Britain and America.

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The Ukrainian trap

The current political crisis and social unrest are part of a geopolitical game between the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian authorities intended to sign an Association Agreement with the EU, a step towards becoming a member state. When doubts about signing appeared in the media, peaceful and cheerful marches in support of greater integration with the EU mobilized on the streets. These have evolved into violent anti-government mass rallies. The protests in Kiev are a desperate cry from the masses, expressing — in a distorted form — their anger against the entire legacy of the transition to capitalism.

After weeks of spectacular mobilization the movement is drowning in contradictions and confusion. The country is on the edge of a further economic collapse, so — for the moment — Ukrainian society is at an impasse. The conflict over the “choice” between a European or Russian orientation is simply the form of appearance of this crisis.

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Jonathan Clyne: “Jobs have not disappeared to China!”

Jonathan Clyne, Swedish/British Marxist, the main political organizer in The Socialist Network speaks about the common myth that China supposedly destroys the labour markets in advanced capitalist economies. This is often used as an excuse by western politicians not to wage any struggle or to prevent it. Jonathan Clyne speaks in Conway Hall in London (UK), November 2013.

Compiled by:
 Bojan Stanislawski

A Turkish can of worms

After the massive street protests this summer and their brutal suppression by the police, this week has seen the outbreak of a huge corruption scandal in Turkey involving various politicians and business people from the ruling party. Among the 52 people already detained by police units are the sons of the Interior, Economy and Environment Ministers along with various mayors, the manager of a major public bank, big real estate businessmen and so on.

Apparently the investigation was sparked off by an anonymous letter to the police over a year ago which pointed to the illegal use of central and local government powers to facilitate various building projects which yielded huge profits to all involved. The media is reporting that police have a mass of evidence through surveillance and phone tapping of up to ten government ministers being involved in the corruption including video footage of one minister personally receiving a $1.5 million bribe.

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Mandela and the communist spirit

Nelson Mandela’s death aroused a global chorus of praise for the man and his work. At the premiere of his biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wept when news of Mandela’s death reached her and Prince William. Bill Gates, who, with $67 billion, is the second richest man on earth, expressed profound admiration for Mandela’s struggle against apartheid and his campaigning on HIV/AIDS issues.

For the wretched of the earth – its 2.4 billion people living on less than $2 a day – Mandela was also their hero. This global carnival of tears; this celebration of his life and struggle, this festival of memories of revolutionary dreams is classless. Mandela’s death signals a momentary lapse into a universal emotional state that commemorates the colossal revolt of the masses against oppression. By unifying the psychic state of the princess and the pauper, the billionaire and the beggar, Mandela, in death, has awakened a moment of global mental unity, in which the idea of communism – of a society where there are no classes – temporarily penetrates the universal mind.

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