South Africa: Malema wants language to unite Africans as kiSwahili gets dept’s nod

Source:  IOL
19 September 2018,

by Khanyisile Ngcobo

julius malema 4

EFF leader Julius Malema addresses members of the media at a press
conference in Braamfontein. Picture: Itumeleng English/African
News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says Africa needed one language uniting it if it is to be an equal competitor with the West.

Malema said this in reaction to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s announcement that kiSwahili will be included as an optional second additional language to be offered in South African schools.

“We managed to get the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) to approve the listing of kiSwahili as an optional second addition language to be offered to different learners. We currently have 15 non-official languages in the National Curriculum Statement, which will include your French, German, Mandarin,” Jacaranda FM quoted Motshekga as saying.

KiSwahili is the first African language to be included in the list.

She added that, unlike the other languages included in the list, kiSwahili did not have the support of its mother country and instead would be supported by the department.

Motshekga explained the significance of having kiSwahili included in the list, saying it was important because it was broadly spoken across the continent.

Malema, speaking at an EFF briefing, lauded the inclusion of kiSwahili as among the first steps needed towards decolonisation.

Decolonising Africa starts with simple things… it starts with doing away with colonial symbols and colonial ways of doing things. We must, and even if it’s not our generation, generations to come must have a language that unites Africans like kiSwahili.

“KiSwahili can be developed and become a continental language and we do away with speaking to each other in English.”

KiSwahili will be implemented from 2020.

South Africa: First step to land expropriation without compensation

Source:  Mail Guardian
February 27 2018

south africa national assembly.jpgThe EFF’s motion calls for the establishment of a parliamentary ad hoc committee that will review and amend section 25 of the Constitution (David Harrison/M&G

The National Assembly has just voted in favour of beginning a process so that the Constitution can be amended to allow land expropriation without compensation.

On Tuesday, 324 of 400 MPs sat in the National Assembly to vote on the motion that was brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

241 MPs voted in favour of the motion, while 83 voted against it. There were no abstentions.

 The EFF’s motion, which was led by Julius Malema, calls for the establishment of a parliamentary ad hoc committee that will review and amend section 25 of the Constitution after hearing public submissions from policy makers, academics, civil society and the public.

The ANC, Inkatha Freedom Party, and the National Freedom Party voiced their support for the motion.

READ MORE: The last people stand alone in the face of platinum’s bulldozers

The ANC said it also wanted include amendments that would protect agriculture and food security, which the EFF found amiable.

But the Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus voted against the motion. The DA said that a proposal to expropriate land without compensation “undermines” property rights.

Congress of the People leader Terror Lekota also ignited controversy in the House after saying that colonisers did not steal land from black people, because the Khoisan entered into an agreement with settlers for their land to be taken.

READ MORE: The bones echo the cry for the return of ancestral land

The sitting at the National Assembly on Tuesday saw fierce debate among MPs, but once the ANC agreed to support the EFF’s motion “unequivocally”, it became clear that the red berets’ proposal would win the majority.

A Constitution Review Committee will review section 25 of the Constitution and has been set a deadline to report back to the National Assembly by August 30.

South Africa’s President Ramaphosa to Settle Land Issue ‘Once and for All’

Source:  TeleSUR
March 1 2018

Cyril Ramaphosa south africa.jpg

“This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved,” said newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he welcomes discussions about the issue of land expropriations to prevent widespread, public alarm. However, he reiterated that his government intends to, “once and for all,” settle racial disparities in property ownership.

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Taking a lesson from their northeastern neighbor, Zimbabwe, Ramaphosa has vowed to follow through with his own land reform program, expropriating land held by the descendants of European colonialists and transferring it to the majority Black populace.

“Soon enough I will initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders… There is no need for any one of us to panic and start beating war drums,” Ramaphosa said in parliament, according to Reuters. “We are going to address this and make sure that we come up with resolutions that resolve this once and for all. This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward.”

However, AfriForum, a civil rights group representing mostly white South Africans, stated that it would launch an international campaign to inform governments and foreign investors “that property rights in South Africa are being threatened.”

On Tuesday, South Africa‘s parliament passed a motion brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF, to carry out land expropriation without compensation, a pillar of the ruling African National Congress’, or ANC, political platform.

The ANC has long promised to redress disparities in land ownership as the matter remains a pressing issue throughout the country.

Two decades after the end of apartheid and celebrations marking Nelson Mandela‘s release from prison, white estate proprietors continue to occupy the overwhelming majority of South Africa’s land.

Occupation and genocide disguised as “discovery”

Source:  Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity

February 1 2018

by Jerome Duval

occupation and genocide as discovery“We have been told, and still are, that it was the pilgrims of the Mayflower that populated America. Had it been empty before?” Eduardo Galeano.

What was really discovered

“What was really discovered [in 1492] is what Spain really was, the reality of Western culture and that of the Church at that time. (…) They did not discover the other world, they covered it. What was manifested was a ‘discovering of the conquest’, and a ‘violent and violating covering of the conquered populations, their cultures, their religion, the people themselves, their languages. What remains to be done today is to discover what was covered over, and to create a ‘new world’ that is not just the repetition of the old, but which is truly new. Is this possible? Is it pure utopia?” Father Ignacio Ellacuria, a few months before being savagely murdered by the Atlácatl Battalion of the Salvadoran army on 16 November, 1989.

Replacing the colonies of yesterday

The so-called “developing countries” (DC) of today replace the colonies of yesterday: large Western multinational companies settle in former colonies, invest and extort resources to accumulate exorbitant profits which escape into tax havens. All of this is taking place under the approving gaze of corrupt local elites, with the support of northern governments and international financial institutions (IFIs) demanding repayment of odious debts inherited from the colonial period.

By means of debt leverage and the imposed neo-capitalist policies that condition it, the dispossessed populations still pay for the colonial crimes of yesterday and the elites surreptitiously perpetuate them today. This is what is known as neocolonialism. Meanwhile, apart from some late and altogether far too few acknowledgements of the crimes committed, every effort has been made to organize collective amnesia and avoid any debate about possible reparations. For they would pave the way for popular claims, and could set in motion an emancipating memory trail that might lead to demands for restitution, something that should certainly be nipped in the bud!

The demographic catastrophe of genocide

On Friday the 3rd of August, 1492, la Pinta, la Niña and la Santa María, the three ships of Christopher Columbus, left the port of Palos de la Frontera in Andalusia with nearly 90 crew members. Less than three months later, the expedition landed in several parts of the Americas, including Cuba on the 28th of October. 1492 marks the misnamed “discovery of America”, but it is also the year when Spain, after nearly eight centuries, finally overcame the last stronghold of the Muslim religion with the conquest of Granada on 2 January 1492. The Church’s so-called “holy war” against Islam, led by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, who had unified their rival domains through marriage, was victorious. “Nationalist” exaltation fed a xenophobic impulse based on intolerance.

Three months later, approximately 150,000 Jews who had refused to convert to Roman Catholicism were expelled from Spain (31 March 1492). The warlike culture of the crusades was exported to the new colonies. Queen Isabella, who had patronized the Inquisition, was also consecrated the First Lady of this “New World” by the Spanish Pope Alexander VI. The kingdom of God was extended, and the conquistadors forced the various native peoples, misnamed “Indians”, to convert to the Catholic faith.

At least 10 million people from the Americas were exterminated between 1500 and 1600, with the Vatican’s blessing. But the figures could be much more alarming than this low estimate, if we consider that the Americas were much more heavily populated than has been previously acknowledged. Indeed, many scientists now estimate that “the population of the two American continents before 1492 was somewhere between 90 and 110 million inhabitants (including 5 to 10 million in the Amazon rainforest).

In other words, contrary to what we still learn in history textbooks, more people lived in America than in Europe at that time!” . Taking into account the”septic shock“ upon contact with the first conquistadors: shipments of unknown epidemics in these territories, namely smallpox, influenza, measles, the plague, pneumonia or typhus, spread like wildfire among native populations, decimating 85 to 90% of the Native American population in the century following the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

If we add to that malaria and yellow fever imported by the Europeans to America, the conquest by arms and forced labour, which often led to death, we reach a figure of 95% of Amerindians who disappeared between 1492 and 1600. As Charles C. Mann points out in his works of reference 1491 and 1493, the human and social cost is beyond comprehension; indeed there is no comparable demographic catastrophe in the annals of human history.

A turn to African labour

The massacre was on an immense scale. As there were too few Amerindians left to constitute a durable workforce, the colonial powers had to rely on African labour to pursue the colossal enterprise of the greatest looting of all time. As the aforementioned genocide of Native Americans took place, historian Aline Helg reminds us that 8 to 10 million Africans died “when captured on their land, in the marches to reach African ports and during the long wait in the coastal warehouses” before being crammed into the holds of the slave ships leaving for the “New World”.

Eventually, at least 12 million Africans torn from their homeland were deported to the Americas and the Caribbean between the 16th and the 19th centuries“. But a large number of them, almost 2 million (about 16% of the total) did not survive the trip and died during the transatlantic crossing before reaching the European colonies.

For the survivors, their fate was governed, as far as France was concerned, by the infamous Code noir, drafted by Colbert and enacted in 1685, of which Article 44 declared “slaves are moveable property” thus conferring legal status on the slave trade and slavery. Thousands of African captives landed each year for sale in the slave markets of the Americas.

The decade from 1784 to 1793 was the culmination of the slave trade with imports averaging nearly 91,000 Africans a year. But the absolute record was reached in 1829, when 106,000 captives landed, almost all in Brazil, Cuba and the French Caribbean. Once bought by their masters, the slaves were branded (after earlier branding on the boat or while boarding), suffered all sorts of blows to encourage work, and women were frequently raped.

Attempts to rebel, whether proven or not, were severely repressed by whipping, followed by a sentence of death by torture. Slaves were torn apart by stretching on the wheel, and were mutilated, castrated, hanged or burned alive at the stake. Heads were exhibited, in the public square or in front of the plantations, to set an example. For escape attempts, ears were cut off or the shin sliced. There was no limit to the forms of torture that could be imagined… this list is not exhaustive.

It is important to put these two major events of the year 1492 into context, and to emphasize the fact that they were intrinsically linked. We cannot understand the violence perpetrated in America without perceiving it as the result of the Crusades. Dissociating them from one another, as textbooks do, does not aid our understanding of one of the darkest pages in our history and underestimates the predominant role of the Church on the old continent as in the “New World”. Religious orders also owned slaves, and in the Iberian and French colonies, Roman Catholicism imposed on them evangelization and baptism, whether they were African captives or born in America. Spanish and Portuguese become the languages of conquest, with the Church’s blessing.

Colonial heritage and cultural debt in Africa

Imperial languages, like the Islam and Catholicism, the religions imported by the colonizers, played a major role in the annihilation of local ancestral cultures and prevented their memories from being handed down. We can speak here of cultural debt whose most visible aspect is undoubtedly materialized by the looting of the art objects of these peoples, exhibited in the museums of the colonial West.

At the end of 1996, Jacques Chirac received a terracotta statuette from Mali for his birthday. The work came from a group of objects seized by the police a few years earlier on the grounds of illegal excavation, stolen during their transfer to the Museum of Bamako. After more than a year of negotiations, Mr. Chirac had to return the work to the Malian museum. Apart from some restitutions like this one or that of the three terracotta nok and sokoto originating from illicit excavations in Nigeria and exhibited in April 2000 at the inauguration of the Louvre Museum’s Tribal and Aboriginal Arts gallery in Paris (showcase for the future Quai Branly Art Museum of Indigenous Arts), and finally returned to the Nigerian State, countless works of art still remain outside their country of origin and have not yet been restored. However, many resolutions adopted since 1972 by the UN General Assembly “promot[e] the return of cultural property to its country of origin or its restitution in the case of illegal appropriation”.

Knowing and acknowledging past genocidal horror helps to understand, on the one hand, how North America was propelled into becoming a new capitalist empire and, on the other, the impasse of false development into which the imperialist West has led the subjugated Southern countries.

Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity

Marcus Garvey’s Glowing Praise of Lenin

Source:  TeleSUR  The Russian Revolution and the Caribbean
November 20 2017

by Earl Bousquet

The Caribbean, then called the “West Indies”, expressed solidarity with and admiration for the Russian revolution and its leader when it shook the world in 1917.

History records that Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the Jamaican who led the largest organization of Black people in the Western hemisphere ever, quickly dispatched a letter from the United Negro Improvement Association, on behalf of its millions of members in the United States, the Caribbean and South America.


unia parade in harlem 1924Marcus Garvey’s UNIA parade in Harlem 1924

marcus garveyGarvey’s letter to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin expressed support from the UNIA on behalf of all the workers of the Caribbean region, which was under complete colonial rule.

The colonial rulers resisted his attempts to organize the tens of millions who were not only UNIA members, but also unattached workers of all types on all islands and in all British colonial territories across the region.

Lenin the “Greatest”

Following Lenin’s death in 1924, Garvey also heaped glowing praise on the leader of the Russian Revolution.

In a speech in New York on Jan. 27, soon after Lenin’s death, Garvey said, “‘One of Russia’s greatest men, one of the world’s greatest characters, and probably the greatest man in the world between 1917 and 1924, when he breathed his last and took his flight from this world. We as Negroes mourn for Lenin because Russia promised great hope not only for Negroes but to the weaker people of the world.”

IN DEPTH: Russian Revolution at 100

lenin and the october revolution.jpg


Oscar Lopez: Puerto Rico – a product of 119 years of US colonialism

Source:  Granma
November 13, 2017

by: Arlin Alberty Loforte |

Oscar López Rivera arrives in Cuba: “I feel at home”

The Puerto Rican independence fighter was greeted at José Martí International Airport by Fernando González, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples.

oscar lopez y fernandoPhoto: Ismael Batista

Puerto Rican independence fighter, Oscar López Rivera, was greeted at José Martí International Airport by Fernando González, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP).

Upon his arrival in Havana during the dawn hours today, November 13, the Puerto Rican patriot expressed his gratitude and affection for the Cuban people and government.

“I feel at home, this is a dream come true; for many, many years, I have wanted to come to Cuba and today for the first time I have arrived,” he said after receiving a warm embrace from decorated Hero of the Republic Fernando González, with whom he shared a cell for several years, when they were both unjustly incarcerated in the United States.

Imprisoned for almost 36 years

López, who was imprisoned for almost 36 years, convicted of “seditious conspiracy,” before being released May 17 this year, said he wished Cubans much strength, adding that the Puerto Rican people will always stand with Cuba.

“I am very encouraged to be able to enjoy some time with the Cuban people. I’m alive and kicking; at my age I believe I can work 14 or 15 hours a day. I feel good.”

Puerto Rico after 119 years of colonialism

Commenting on the extremely difficult situation in Puerto Rico, he said, “No Puerto Rican can say we govern in Puerto Rico, it is Washington and Wall Street who give orders.”

He added that the U.S. government and Donald Trump have shown they have no respect, or consideration for the suffering people.

“After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was left devastated and is now showing the world the poverty that existed and was hidden; the world is being shown what colonialism is, because it is perhaps the best example of what becomes of a country that has been colonized for 119 years by the U.S. government, and how the U.S. government has behaved toward Puerto Rico for these 119 years. If there is a huge debt, it is the one the U.S. owes Puerto Rico,” he emphasized.

López Rivera commented that there are more Puerto Ricans living abroad than on the island, and that many more have left since Maria struck, September 20.

US does not allow aid for Puerto Rico from Cuba

He noted that the U.S. did not allow aid from countries like Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, or México to enter Puerto Rico.

During this first visit, López Rivera will be awarded the Solidarity Order by the Council of State; visit the Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara; as well as Santiago de Cuba, where the remains of national hero José Martí and Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz rest.

Also present to greet the Puerto Rican patriot were Silvia Matute, from the Party Central Committee’s International Relations Department; Yolanda Ferrer, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power International Relations Committee; and Edwin González, from the Puerto Rican mission in Cuba.

The Great October Socialist Revolution marked a new era for humanity

Source: Granma
November 9 2017

Speech by José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Party Central Committee and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, in the political-cultural act to mark the centennial of the Great October Socialist Revolution, held at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater, November 7, 2017

Author: José Ramón Machado Ventura |

jose ramon machado ventura.jpg“The principles of equality, solidarity, internationalism, social justice, the peoples’ right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty, which were the basis of the October Revolution, will also continue to be ours,” stated José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Party Central Committee and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.

Photo: Juvenal Balán

Compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the PCC Central Committee

Compañeras and compañeros:

We are gathered to commemorate one of the most significant events of the twentieth century: the Great October Socialist Revolution, with which a new era for humanity commenced.

Today, in some media there is a tendency to diminish the importance of the Revolution that led to the founding of the world’s first socialist state and opened a path of hope, giving way to a new social regime that would show that a world free of exploiters and the exploited was possible. Attempts are made to diminish and even disregard the role played by its eminent leader, Vladimir Ilich Lenin.

lenin4.jpgComandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, on referring to Lenin stated: “He was a brilliant revolutionary strategist who did not hesitate to assume Marx’s ideas and implement them in a vast and only partially industrialized country… Lenin was a truly exceptional man, capable of interpreting all the depth, essence and value of Marxist theory,” end of quote.

Lenin’s brilliant leadership

He had the merit of taking advantage of a moment of crisis of imperialism, provoked by its own war, and the growth of the labor movement in Czarist Russia, to carry out the socialist Revolution. He was the man who was met with incomprehension in his own surroundings, but at the same time he had, like no other at that time, the greatest understanding of the humble, of the workers aware that the seizure of political power was the only way to lead them to their emancipation.

It was precisely Lenin’s brilliant leadership that gave rise to that great Revolution, with which important changes ensued for the oppressed of this world.

The immense contribution and legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution

One hundred years later, it is impossible to deny the immense contribution and legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution, which gave way to other great social revolutions of the 20th century, which emerged a few years after the victory against fascism, like that of China, the Vietnamese and the Cuban.

The events that followed October, the implementation of Marxist theory in the specific conditions of the time, demonstrated the relevance of the global social revolution, for which, in the words of Lenin, the Russian (Revolution) was just the prologue or a step.

The process of decolonization would not have been possible without the enormous influence of the October Revolution, in that it decisively contributed to the right of the peoples to self-determination and independence becoming a reality in many countries of the world.

An undeniable contribution of this great feat was the beginning of the process of political-economic structuring of a new system: socialism.

Creating a better world for the people

The Revolution favored the drastic change in the correlation of world forces, demonstrated that the elimination of exploitation was possible, that there were other forms of government and democracy, and that alternatives existed beyond the formulas offered by capitalism, generating wars and divisions, overwhelming peoples and nations.

In the field of international relations, it inaugurated a new way of doing and acting. In the Decree on Peace and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, expressed were the principles that should govern the relations between states and peoples, which are still fully valid today.

The USSR achieved, in a historically very short period, technological and industrial development. It eradicated illiteracy, generalized schooling, reached a high scientific level, ensured employment and social protection, eliminated discrimination against women and proclaimed their rights, as well as those of children and young people.

These achievements were obtained in the midst of military, economic and political aggression. The nascent socialist state made the postulates of its Revolution a reality through blood and fire, and began to build itself in a country totally ruined, bled dry and blockaded, which required no less hard and heroic efforts.

Many contributions

There were many contributions and efforts from the peoples that made up the USSR, but none more significant than the defeat of fascism, which deserves eternal gratitude.

The influence of the October Revolution and the battle for multifaceted development being waged in what was the most backward imperial country of its time, also reached Latin America, where the ideas of the Revolution were disseminated and communist parties began to emerge, including that of Cuba, in the midst of the conditions of first an invaded, and later a neocolonial republic.

In this and other Cuban revolutionary groups that confronted imperialist domination and its complicit governments of the day, present were, along with the ideas of Martí, the ideas of the October Revolution, the ideas of Marxism-Leninism.

In 1970, on the occasion of commemorating the centenary of Lenin’s birth, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution stated: I quote “Without the October Revolution of 1917, Cuba could not have been constituted as the first socialist country in Latin America.” Later, in 1972, in a profound reflection on the roots of our socialist Revolution, he specified: “the revolutionary process of Cuba is the confirmation of the extraordinary strength of the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin,” end of quote.

The first great attempt to transform the world

During these 100 years, but mainly since the disappearance of the socialist system in Europe, much has been written and debated, from very different ideological positions, about this Revolution. Regrettably, extreme positions converge to point out that its ideas failed, with a marked distortion of the causes and consequences, with the intention of imposing a single mindset destined to highlight the supremacy of capitalism against socialism.

The October Revolution initiated an extraordinarily complex process, with achievements and mistakes, but to judge it we must take into account, first of all, the historic conditions in which it was developed, the international context and the contradictions generated by any revolutionary process. It was also the first great attempt to transform the world, to turn utopia into reality.

Imperialism today seeks new alliances and attempts by all possible means to stifle and destroy any attempt at social change.

In this historical context we can affirm that the ideas that inspired it and socialism as a system maintain full force. The principles of equality, solidarity, internationalism, social justice, the peoples’ right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty, which were the basis of the October Revolution, will also continue to be ours.

Long live the Great October Socialist Revolution!

Thank you.

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