South Africa: Class Struggle, State Repression, and the tarnished myth of “the people’s” ANC

The Marikana Massacre and The South African State’s Low Intensity War Against The People
by Vishwas Satgar, Defending Popular Democracy

On Thursday, August 16, police officers fired into the crowd with automatic weapons. When it was over, 34 miners lay dead. Here, police check the bodies of dead mineworkers.

The massacre of the Marikana/Lonmin workers has inserted itself within South Africa’s national consciousness, not so much through the analysis, commentary and reporting in its wake.  Instead, it has been the power of the visual images of police armed with awesome fire power gunning down these workers, together with images of bodies lying defeated and lifeless, that has aroused a national outcry and wave of condemnation. These images  have also engendered international protest actions outside South African embassies. In themselves these images communicate a politics about ‘official state power’. It is bereft of moral concern, de-humanised, brutal and at odds with international human rights standards; in these ways it is no different from  apartheid era  state sponsored violence and technologies of oppressive rule.  Moreover, the images of police officers walking through the Marikana/Lonmin killing field, with a sense of professional accomplishment in its aftermath, starkly portrays a scary reality: the triumph of  South Africa’s state in its brutal conquest of its enemies, its citizens.

At the same time, the pain and suffering of the gunned down workers has became the pain of a nation and the world; this has happened even without the ANC government declaring we must not apportion blame but mourn the dead. In a world steeped in possessive individualism and greed, the brutal Marikana/Lonmin massacre reminds us of a universal connection; our common humanity.  However, while this modern human connection and sense of empathy is important, it is also superficial.  This is brought home by a simple truth: the pain of the Marikana/Lonmin workers is only our pain in their martyrdom. They had to perish for all of us to realise how deep social injustice has become inscribed in the everyday lives of post-apartheid South Africa’s workers and the poor. The low wage, super exploitation model of South African mining, socially engineered during apartheid, is alive and well, and thriving. It is condoned by the post-apartheid state. This is the tragic irony of what we have become as the much vaunted ‘Rainbow nation’. Continue reading

Israel’s apologists for ethnic cleansing say a Black Icon (MLK Jr) supported the Zionist Apartheid State. The truth?

Counterpunch, March 01, 2012
Hucksters for Israel attempt to make up for in chutzpah what they lack in facts.

On opening night of the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week at NYU — at an event featuring Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat, leading Palestinian figures in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign — apologists for Israel’s crimes showcased one of their more curious myths. Defenders of Israel repeatedly argued in the Q & A section that America’s foremost Black icon, Martin Luther King Jr., was an arch defender of the Jewish state.

Let’s explore the evidence.

Pro-Israel Web sites, politicians and campus activists often reference the source of their claim about MLK’s defense of Israel by citing King’s “Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend,” supposedly published in an August 1967 edition of  the Saturday Review. Here’s the quote they cite:

“… You declare, my friend; that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely ‘anti-Zionist’ … And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews… Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.”

This quote even made its way into an excellent exposé of Israel’s deadly decades-long relationship with apartheid South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s  The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South AfricaIn fact, I repeated part of the quote in my own review of the book, much to my regret. Later I discovered that the MLK letter was a hoax.

Antiracist activist Tim Wise published an article on Znet in 2003, “Fraud Fit for a King,”  in which he documents the fact that no such letter appears in any of the 1967 issues of the Saturday Review.

The alternative source provided by Zionists for this apparently nonexistent letter is a nonexistent book by King, This I Believe: Selections from the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to the authors of Electronic Intifada’s 2004 piece that further details this bamboozle, “Israel’s Apologists and the Martin Luther King Hoax”: ”No such book was listed in the bibliography provided by the King Center in Atlanta, nor in the catalogs of several large public and university libraries.” Continue reading

Dennis Brutus, Presente!

[On December 26, 2009, Dennis Brutus died, leaving an endless legacy of determined and visionary struggle, drawn from the battles against apartheid, from the ongoing fight against neo-colonialism in post-apartheid South Africa, and from the movements against Global Apartheid which so presaged the revolts of 2011.  We remember him in all these ways, and with his poetry, such as “There will come a time.” — Frontlines ed.]

————————————————


There will come a time

There will come a time we believe
When the shape of the planet
and the divisions of the land
Will be less important;
We will be caught in a glow of friendship
a red star of hope
will illuminate our lives
A star of hope
A star of joy
A star of freedom.