Why Not aSub-Saharan African Uprising like North Africa?

Kola Ibrahim is a Nigerian student and labor activist. He responded to the question of why Sub-Sahara Africa hasn’t “caught the bug” of MENA’s revolutions, despite having worse economic and social problems.[i] Some explanations others give are corrupt regimes pretend to be western-style democracies and offer regular elections and SSA is divided by ethnic and religious differences so it’s hard for protesters to unify around a goal. But as a socialist, he thinks these bourgeois suggestions are an “excuse to cover the revolutionary potential of the region . . . and downplay the impact of the capitalist dislocation of the region.” In fact, Ibrahim says the history of Africa includes pan-national mass movements against slavery, colonialism and neoliberalism but African activism is undermined by weak trade union leadership bought out by business interests and “the absence of a revolutionary party of the working class” to oppose imperialism.  Since the 2008 recession, workers, youth and the poor have engaged in uprisings more massive than in MENA, such as South African miners, the Nigerian youth and workers protests against the fuel hike, Mozambique’s movement against hikes in food prices, and demonstrations in Cameroun, Ghana, Uganda, and Malawi. He points out that often opposition leaders are “actually offshoots of the ruling regime. They mostly become opposition during struggle for spoils of office.” He concludes that revolution against the capitalist system is imminent.


[i] Kola Ibrahim, “Middle East and North African Revolts and Revolutions: Is Africa Immune? Global Research, December 29, 2013.


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