South Africa’s local government elections, set for 3 August, will see a bitter battle between the ruling African National Congress and its opponents on both left and right.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema, is building support by saying it is more radical than the ANC. It promises to speed up land reform, root out corruption and take action against the multinationals and white-owned big business.
The EFF highlights the lack of basic change for ordinary people more than 20 years after the end of apartheid.
It points out, for example, that only 8,000 out of 24,000 state schools have flushing toilets.
It says, “Our struggle is about the restoration of black dignity which has been systematically dismantled through centuries of racism”.
The EFF is expected to make gains.
The ANC is also challenged in some areas by the right wing Democratic Alliance which is trying to build an openly pro-capitalist force.
Workers go all out to stop the petrol flowing in Nigeria
Ten thousand members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (Pengassan) began an indefinite strike last week. The action could quickly bring much of oil production to a halt.
It follows a general strike which lasted five days in May but did not include most sections of oil workers.
The Pengassan strike makes positive demands about workers’ rights.
But it also includes some pro-multinational sentiment.
It is crucial that the strikes mix with the wider struggle for economic and social justice. Nigeria’s government and the oil giants are also facing intensified attacks on pipelines and installations from a group known as the Niger Delta Avengers.
The government recently signed deals with a new swathe of Chinese firms.
The militants are protesting at the way the multinationals wreck the environment and ignore the needs of local people.