South Africa: “MINERS SHOT DOWN” (trailer)

Published on Jan 23, 2014

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the POV of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down, follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country’s first post-colonial massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.

South Africa: Another Political Eviction in Sisonke Village

By Abahlali BaseMjondolo, Pambazuka News

Armed ANC members acting with police support now openly attack people struggling against corruption and for land in Cato Crest. They are even hiring assassins

On Sunday 28 September 2014 the ANC Ward 74 councillor Nolubabalo Mthembu called an ANC meeting to discuss ways of replacing the Land Invasion Unit with an ANC demolition team. This meeting took place at the Lamontville Community hall in the afternoon at around 1pm. The Task Team Committee was launched to carry out the illegal eviction of the nearby Sisonke settlement. Sisonke Village, formerly known as Madlala Village, made headlines early this year when they approached the Constitutional Court after they had been subjected to more than 24 illegal evictions.

The Constitutional court found that the Eviction Order obtained by the Member of the Executive Council, Ravi Pillay, was invalid as it was made in breach of the Constitution. The court also found that the eThekwini Municipality [one of the 11 districts of KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, covering the City of Durban and surrounding towns] had lied to the Court and referred the matter back to Durban High Court. We are still waiting for the High Court to make a ruling on the matter. It is clear that replacing the Land Invasions Unit with ANC members is a tactic to avoid legal accountability for evictions. We saw a similar strategy at the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest on Friday 26 September when ANC members began demolishing shacks. They also attacked one of our members with a spade.

In 2009 repression by the police was replaced with repression by armed ANC members acting with police support. Last year Willies Mchunu openly called for ANC members to act directly against people struggling against corruption and for land in Cato Crest. Since last year izinkabi (assassins) have also been used to repress us. Continue reading

India: Revolutionary Students Challenge the Heroism of Nelson Mandela

Democratic Student Union, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDecember 14, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Hero for the oppressors, A BETRAYER FOR THE OPPRESSED!

The mournings & praises from the imperialists and their agents, are Mandela’s “legacy” of brokering one of the biggest sell outs of the 20th century!

Ever since the death of Nelson Mandela on the 6th of December, the most flowery tributes have been showered on him by a wide spectrum of the ruling classes all over the world. While the face of US imperialism Barak Obama “led the world” in paying tribute to “his personal hero”, the speeches his lieutenants in Britian, much of Europe, and across the world reverberated the same. The mass murderer president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakshe who oversaw the genocide of the people of Tamil Ealam also had tears to shed for Mandela. The Indian state also gargled the same and declared a four day long state mourning. The same waves also reached our campus. From ABVP to the parliamentary pseudo-left AISA or SFI and their likes, several organizations vied with each other in presenting their laurels to their “hero”. This spectrum is certainly striking, and may even confuse a few as to the real “legacy” of Mandela. However in reality, it is precisely this unanimity of imperialists and their agents that is most revealing. Mandela’s so called legacy is built upon on an illusion, the seeds of which were laid by Mandela himself. It is extremely important that we break this collective iconization and the illusion of Mandela’s legacy. Continue reading

South Africa: Protesters Denounce US Foreign Policy, as Obama visits

Obama meets Mandela family, police disperse protestersWhile the US media focused on Obama meeting the Mandela family, and claiming a link to the iconized figure of Nelson Mandela. police disperse protesters opposed to US drones and foreign policy

U.S. President Barack Obama met the family of South Africa’s ailing anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela but faced protests by South Africans against U.S. foreign policy.  Obama faced protests by South Africans against U.S. foreign policy, especially American drone strikes.

Police fired stun grenades on June 29 to disperse several hundred protesters who had gathered outside the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg, where Obama was due to address a town hall meeting with students.

JOHANNESBURG — Police fired rubber bullets and a stun grenade into a crowd of hundreds of protesters before President Obama arrived at the University of Johannesburg on Saturday.

The crowd quickly scattered as police officers walked up the street pushing protesters away with shot guns.

“I feel my rights are being infringed,” said 24-year-old Bilaal Qibr, who was at the protest. “We can’t protest anymore. Personally, I feel like this is an extension of the U.S.” Continue reading

South Africa: Grassroots activists mourn UnFreedom Day, to mark the hard-fought freedoms still unwon

Friday 26 April , 2013
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA — Press Statement

UnFreedom Day in Durban

UnFreedom Day, 2012, Durban, Azania (South Africa)

UnFreedom Day, 2012, Durban, Azania (South Africa)

Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA, a democratic and membership based organization, has held its UnFreedom Day event in Durban every year since 2006. This year UnFreedom Day will be held in Durban and in Cape Town.

UnFreedom Day will be mourned at the eThekwini College, Springfield (adjacent to the Kennedy Road shack settlement) in Durban on 28 April 2013 and at the Sweet Home Farm Community Hall in Philippi in Cape Town on 27 April 2013. The event will begin at 09:00 in the morning in both cities.

We wish to acknowledge all the sacrifices made by many South Africans in the name of freedom and all of the gains that have been won. We also wish to salute all the international communities who fought hard with us to defeat apartheid. But we are sure that this is not the real freedom that so many people struggled and had suffered for. We do not want in any way to undermine the struggles of the past or the real gains that have been won. But who can say that they are really free when they must live without land, without homes, without jobs and without dignity? Who can say that they are really free when they do not have the right to organise freely and safely? Who can say that they are really free when women are not safe? Who can say that they are really free when they are being forced out of the city and taken to human dumping grounds in the middle of nowhere? Continue reading

How the Marikana Movement Stunned Neoliberal South Africa

The day after the Marikana massacre, wives and mothers of the victims gathered in rage

[By all accounts and assessments, the Marikana mine massacre has marked a major turning point in the ANC-led “post-apartheid” South Africa.  But what sort of turn is being made?  A radical commentator and analyst, Patrick Bond, delves into this in some depth, and comments:  “this is potentially the breakthrough event that independent progressives have sought, so as to unveil the intrinsic anti-social tendencies associated with the ANC-Alliance’s elite transition from revolutionaries to willing partners of some of the world’s most wicked corporations……..What is definitive, though, is the waning of any remaining illusions that the forces of ‘liberation’ led by the ANC will take South Africa to genuine freedom and a new society.”  The following article, though long, is well worth exploring. — Frontlines ed.]

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by PATRICK BOND, in Counterpunch

How long can the amazing upsurge of class struggle in South Africa go on? Living here 22 years, I’ve never witnessed such a period of vibrant, explosive, but uncoordinated worker militancy. The latest news from the labour front is that 12 000 workers were fired on October 12 by Angloplats for a wildcat strike (it is likely most will be rehired in coming days if an above-inflation wage settlement is reached), and thousands of others are threatened by the mining houses. Jacob Zuma’s government is panicking about lost elite legitimacy, calling on October 17 for a pay freeze for top private sector, parastatal and state management to make a token gesture at addressing unemployment.

As the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and SA Communist Party (SACP) continuously fail to put a lid on the boiling labour pot, no one can offer sure predictions. To try, nevertheless, to assess the durability of this surge of working class revulsion, now two months after the August 16 Marikana Massacre of 34 wildcat-striking platinum mineworkers (plus 78 wounded), requires sifting through the various ideological biases that have surfaced in the commentariat, as well as first considering precedents. How much can the balance of forces be shifted if the ruling elite overplay their hand – and what organizational forms are needed to prevent divide-and-conquer of the forces gathering from below?

Metaphors for Marikana from the bad old days

We must be wary of drawing a comparison to the South African state’s last mineworker massacre, in 1922 when Johannesburg’s white goldminers rebelled against the increasing use of competing black labour (to the sound of the Communist Party of South Africa’s notorious slogan, ‘Workers of the World Unite for a White South Africa!’). They were resoundingly defeated and then coopted, a fate that Marikana workers and 100 000 others who went wildcat in recent weeks have so far avoided. Those workers are now moving by the tens of thousands from Cosatu affiliates to upstart – albeit economistic, wages-oriented and openly apolitical – unions like the Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU), predictably labeled by tired ANC Alliance hacks as the new ‘counter-revolutionaries’.

The aftermaths of more recent political massacres may have more to teach us. After March 21, 1960 at Sharpeville, where 69 were shot dead for burning the apartheid regime’s racist passbooks an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg, there was an immediate downswing in mass-resistance politics, followed by a hapless turn to armed struggle and the shift of resources and personnel to ineffectual exile-based liberation movements. It was not until 1973 that mass-based organizing resumed, starting in the Durban dockyards with resurgent trade unionism.

The next big apartheid massacre was in June 1976 when in Soweto as many as 1000 school children were murdered by the police and army for resisting the teaching of Afrikaans and taking to the streets. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there were periodic massacres by men who apparently fused ethnic interests of migrant workers (mainly from KwaZulu) to the Inkatha Freedom Party and the regime’s ‘Third Force’ provocateurs. But that era’s most comparable event to Marikana was the Bisho Massacre in which 28 were shot dead by a Bantustan army at the conclusion of a march in the Eastern Cape’s Ciskei homeland.

In 1960, the effect of the killings was first desperation and then more than a decade of quiescence. In 1976, the Soweto uprising put South Africa on the world solidarity map and along with liberation movement victories in Mozambique, Angola and then Zimbabwe, kickstarted other communities, workers, women and youth into the action-packed 1980s. In 1992, the revulsion from what happened at Bisho followed by Chris Hani’s assassination in April 1993 were the catalysts to finally set the April 1994 date for the first one-person one-vote election. Is there a historical analogy to pursue

In other words, if today’s struggle is against what might be termed class apartheid, then is the disparate resistance signified by Marikana similar to the early 1960s and hence will there be much more repression before a coherent opposition emerges? Or will the contagion of protest from this and thousands of other micro-protests across the country start to coagulate, as in the 1976-94 period, into a network similar to the United Democratic Front (implying an inevitable split in the ANC-Cosatu-SACP Alliance, led by genuine communists and progressive post-nationalist workers), and then the formation of Worker’s Party to challenge ANC electoral dominance?

Or, might something happen quite suddenly to rearrange power relations, as in 1992, and as we saw in Egypt in the wake of independent labour organizing against state-corporate-trade union arrangements in the years prior to the massive Tahrir Square mobilizations in early 2011? ‘Tunisia Day’ for South Africa could come in 2020, according to high-profile commentator Moeletsi Mbeki (younger brother of the former president). But if the strike wave continues to build and if capital insists the state put its foot down on the workers, aided by sweetheart unions, as the Cosatu-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is now known, things may come to a head sooner. On October 17, Zuma’s remarks about the need to ‘get back to work’ had an ominous sound, and the next day the Marikana workers went on another wildcat strike because the police moved in to the platinum mine once again, arresting a few central leaders. Continue reading

Mining Company Fires 12,000 Striking Workers in South Africa

Oct 5, 2012 by GExclusiveNews

The world’s biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, has fired 12,000 striking South African miners following a protracted dispute over wages.

Amplats said three weeks of illegal strikes by 28,000 workers in Rustenburg had cost it 39,000 ounces in output – or 700m rand ($82.3m; £51m) in revenue.

South African mining has been hit by a wave of wildcat strikes, in which miners and officials have been killed.

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR CHRISTIAN BRYANT

A new chapter in the saga of South Africa’s striking mine workers as the mining companies took a drastic step.

“Anglo-American, the world’s largest producer of platinum, fired 12,000 striking workers today. Mine strikes in the so-called platinum belt have been going on for two months.”

The company says the 12,000 didn’t show up to disciplinary hearings, and so forfeited their jobs. The workers are part of an illegal strike, which includes up to 15 percent of the industry’s workforce. Financial Times reports:

“Although the total number of miners participating in strikes is not clear, more than 100,000 workers throughout the industry are now caught up in the industrial action, as South Africa’s image as an investment destination is being hammered.”
A writer for the BBC says the effects of the mass firing will likely reach beyond the mining industry. Continue reading