A statement of solidarity with the U.S. movement against racism and police brutality by the shackdwellers movement in South Africa, Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Many of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus in South Africa assume that everyone lives in a house with water and sanitation, and at no risk of being destroyed by the state. But millions of us continue to live in shacks of indignity.
Neither the coronavirus nor the ongoing climate changes are merely “acts of nature.” Rather both have emerged at this moment because humanity is grounded—entrapped—in the economic-social-political system(s) of capital/capitalism. It is the behemoth that we must examine: the monster we must free ourselves from.
Shack dwellers, and other poor people, including street traders, casual workers and undocumented migrants, have not been taken into consideration when it comes to the prevention of the coronavirus, or included in decision-making about the crisis.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa plans to cut the wages of public sector workers. He has come to represent the contradictions of post-apartheid society.
Laws against abortion and sex outside of marriage in Morocco; violence against women in South Africa; Ontario’s Provincial Police will no longer release the genders of crime suspects and victims, and abortion laws in Mexico.
South African shackdwellers state: “We believe that there is only one human race and that the borders created by colonial rule should be irrelevant to our project to build solidarity among the oppressed and to ensure that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.”
We post this Dec. 24, 2018, commentary by Mohammed Elnaiem as a discussion article which begins: “On these holidays, we mourn for the Kurds in Syria who hopelessly fear an upcoming Turkish invasion, we mourn for the yellow vests in France who rise up in an empire built on colonial wealth but which continues to make destitute its working and unemployed poor…”
Readers’ Views on: Capitalism vs. the Planet; Anti-Semitism’s Inhumanity; Kavanaugh Travesty; Youth Rock!; Freedom Movements vs. Fascism across the Globe; Catholic Church Crisis; Voices from behind Bars
Landless people in Tembisa near Johannesburg, promised housing by the municipality, occupied empty land and put up houses since February, only to rebuild them with each destruction and eviction by police.
Readers’ Views on Women’s Marches; Iran in Revolt; Around the Globe; Race and Freedom; Queer Oppression; Why Read N&L?
Baby Jayden Khoza, two weeks old, lost his life during the brutal police assault on the Foreman Road community in Clare Estate, Durban, on May 29, 2017.
Protesters in South Africa agitate against President Jacob Zuma, the ruling African National Congress, the high unemployment rate and elections, and in support of the poor and workers.
Student journalists at the University of Kentucky targeted for publicizing a professor’s sexual misconduct towards a student; protests against racism at Cornell University; Maryland middle school students’ creative protest against sexist dress codes; Fees Must Fall Movement in South Africa continues shutting down Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
International look at youth activism including the Fees Must Fall movement in South Africa; students at Boston College rallying against an anti-gay atmosphere; the CDC leaving out Transgender students in a survey on suicide; and Native American youth protesting polluted water in the Klamath Strait Drain in Oregon.
Women’s news worldwide including a march against rape culture in cities in Canada; a march across Israel for peace by Israeli and Palestinian women; and South African teenagers challenging health clinics to give young women contraceptive information.
Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League South Africa commemorates the 60th anniversary of women who marched against apartheid Pass laws and for gender and racial equality as they plan for future economic development for women.
Part I of the Draft Perspectives 2016: Discontent is seething in the U.S. among workers, youth, Blacks, women, LGBTQ, including elements of the new society. Fear of revolution is powering neo-fascism opposing the revolt.
Students protesting racism at US campuses get some wins; student movement The FeesMustFall student movement at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand wins a temporary freeze on fees, call for campus jobs to remain on campus and making it more possible for more poor and working class students to be able to afford university; University of Georgia students arrested for calling on the university to grant in-state tuition for undocumented youth; University of Missouri students continue to agitate for racial justice by calling for more Black faculty.
Colorado student-teacher-parent walkouts lead to recall of reactionary school board members; Oxford students campaign to remove images of racist imperialist Cecil Rhodes; student activism sweeps South Africa.
Students at University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg opposed a proposed 10,5% fee hike, and defying some student leaders to march on ANC headquarters, demanding no increase. Students at University of Cape Town had in April forced removal of racist imperialist Cecil Rhodes from campus.
The racist murder of nine people at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., is the characteristic U.S. form of terrorism, directed against the expression of Black self-determination.
Worldwide, the refugee crisis is unprecedented and is fueled by war, terrorism and climate change. The worldwide response is paltry with country after country turning away or deporting frantic and desperate people in search of a safe haven.
Durban, South Africa—On April 8 Abahlali baseMjondolo supported a march against xenophobia organized by our comrades in the Congolese Solidarity Campaign together with the Somali Association of South Africa and other migrant organizations. There was a permit for the march and yet the police would not allow it to go ahead.
From UPM: The formation of the Black Consciousness Movement in this country was a realization by Black people that we could no longer stand and be spectators of the game we are supposed to be playing. This election season continues to demonstrate the relevance of Biko’s teachings.
“For Nelson Mandela,” a poem by Paul Knopf.
Just when Mandela has passed, the African National Congress is not even ashamed of the lives the poor are living, or the fact that the residents of Cato Crest will spend Christmas on the street.
Deadly South African evictions
The new November-December 2013 issue of News & Letters is online.
News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 6
November – December 2013
The Syrian Revolution as the test of world politics
On Aug. 21 the genocidal regime of Bashar al-Assad murdered over a thousand civilians, mostly women and children, with sarin gas in the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta. [=>]
What have we learned from the Marikana massacre of South African mine workers?
We are living in contradictory times, especially when it comes to women’s struggle for freedom. On the one hand you have a Women’s Liberation Movement that has never been more radical, unified and global. On the other hand there is more repression, and the violence is more brutal and deadly than ever before.
We do not believe that the state is taking the rape and murder of Thandiswa Qubuda seriously. The state holds poor people in contempt. We are just voting fodder to them. We are not human beings to them. It is clear that the leadership in the struggle against rape will have to come from below. It is time for real action against rape.
Capetown, South Africa—During the Christmas break we received the most shocking news from KwaZulu-Natal. The provincial traffic department advertised 90 positions for trainee traffic officers. More than 150,000 people applied, most of them between the ages of 18 and 20.
On Christmas Day 34,000 people received text messages saying that they had been shortlisted for these [=>]
From the September-October 2012 issue of News & Letters:
Readers’ Views, Part 2
REVOLUTIONARY SYNDICALISM DISCUSSION CONTINUES
The discussion article on “Revolutionary Syndicalism” (July-August N&L) reminds me of when it was considered a major force of revolution. There was a syndicalist party, the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), that thought we could vote in socialism. [=>]
Oakland, Calif.—On Aug. 24, 100 activists converged on Oscar Grant Plaza to express solidarity with the South African miners’ struggle in Marikana and outrage over the police slaughter of 34 striking workers at Lonmin Platinum Mine there. Signs read: “This Was Not An Aberration” and “Capitalism [=>]
World in View
by Gerry Emmett
We mourn the passing of South African revolutionary and scholar Neville Alexander. Born in the rural Eastern Cape, Alexander moved to Cape Town in 1953 to attend university. There he was introduced to revolutionary ideas. As he said, “I was forced to grapple seriously with the works of Marx and [=>]
World in View
by Gerry Emmett
The Marikana platinum mine massacre of 34 miners, near Rustenburg, South Africa, has outraged the revolutionary working class. That outrage is compounded by the government’s decision to charge 270 survivors with the murders of their fellow workers, who were shot by police. The workers were dragged to court, many still bloodstained [=>]
Marikana, South Africa–Aug. 18: It’s now two days after the brutal, heartless and merciless cold bloodbath of 45 Marikana mine workers by the South African Police Services. This was a massacre!
Mining has been central to the history of repression in South Africa. Mining made Sandton to be Sandton and the Bantustans of the Eastern Cape [=>]
Reactionary U.S. election shows capital’s contradictions
“We built it!” roared the delegates at the Republican Party convention in Tampa. It was the perfect expression of the presidential campaign and of capitalist thinking in general. The truth is that workers built the social wealth. Capitalists take it from the workers, and the government gets a portion.
Mitt Romney [=>]
“2020 is too late to wait!” rang out the words of Abigail Borah, a 21-year-old college student/activist from Vermont. She was interrupting U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern’s speech at the latest yearly UN climate summit, held this time in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 28 to Dec. 11. Her passionate intervention, drawing applause from many delegates, [=>]
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: The upsurge of freedom struggles from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street makes it imperative to learn from the revolutions of a half-century ago in Africa, Asia and Latin America, not alone as the excitement of masses in motion but as illuminating the role of theory and organization, [=>]
From the writings of Raya Dunayevskaya
Editor’s note: As the world experiences a new stage of revolt–from the Arab Spring to Wall Street–and seeks ways to make it a revolutionary new beginning, we present excerpts of Raya Dunayevskaya’s Perspectives Report to the 1977 national gathering of News and Letters Committees. Originally titled, “IT’S LATER, ALWAYS LATER–except when [=>]
Editor’s note: Zimasa Lerumo is coordinator of Abahlali baseMjondolo-Western Cape Youth Project and involved in the “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign. Their campaign for South Africa’s 2011 elections declares: “No! to Capitalist Democracy. No! to ANC, DA, ID, COPE, UDM policies that lead to water cutoffs, electricity cutoffs, and forced evictions.” They will [=>]
by Gerry Emmett
The final vote for southern Sudan’s independence from the north will be overwhelming. The days of referendum have been days of tears and memories along with happiness. Among the diaspora, people in line to vote echoed the words of one woman who said, “I’m casting my vote for the men and women who [=>]
On Dec. 17, 2010, the Eighth International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers was observed in 15 cities in the U.S., seven cities in Canada and six cities in other countries. In candlelight vigils, the names were read of 60 sex workers murdered in 2010. The speeches, discussions and video showings made statements [=>]
Editor’s note: S’bu Zikode of Abahlali baseMjondolo of Western Cape spoke recently in Oakland, Cal., on a U.S. tour about this movement within South Africa. Here are excerpts from his talk:
People are born and live in these shantytowns, at least 2.3 million of us. In 2005 Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organization representing 25,000 people, came together [=>]
South Africa’s ‘Class Apartheid’
Two decades after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, South Africa has actually increased the apartheid-era race and class inequality. Neoliberal capitalist economic policies have resulted in massive unemployment and poverty that has been termed “class apartheid.” So extreme is the situation that the unemployment rate for Black youth has reached almost [=>]
From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters:
South African activists slam Communist Party
Editor’s note: The self-organized communities in the Western Cape shackdwellers’ movement in South Africa have protested lack of services and housing through direct action, to be followed by a march on Parliament. The South African Communist Party (SACP), a part of the [=>]