“We Are All Turkish Democrats”: Solidarity from South Africa

“We Are All Turkish Democrats”: a Statement of Solidarity with the Turkish

Abahlali baseMjondolo is a democratic, membership based movement of shack dwellers and other poor people in South Africa. In 2005 our experience of suffering and injustice led us to decided to organize ourselves and to represent ourselves. We are struggling for land and housing as a vital step towards the restoration of our dignity and the recognition of our equality. We have been severely punished by those who want to keep us in our place and we have faced serious repression.

When we have come under attack we have received solidarity from across the world – from Auckland to Istanbul, Nairobi, London and New York. We have stood with comrades facing repression in places like Haiti and Palestine. Today we stand with our comrades in Turkey and with all Turkish democrats.

We keep over movement strong by making sure that it always remains in the hands of its members and that we take forward the struggles that affect people’s everyday lives. We call this a living politics. But we take very seriously the fact that the system that has marginalized and oppressed us here in South Africa is the very system that marginalizes and oppresses the people of Turkey. And we have not forgotten that the first people to be in solidarity with our struggle outside of South Africa were the comrades at Sendika and People’s House in Turkey. 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

ANC accused of airbrushing allies and rivals out of anti-apartheid struggle

South Africa’s ruling party said to be rewriting the past to give itself the starring role as it celebrates its centenary

in Johannesburg

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 31 December 2011

History may be written by the victors, but who gets top billing? South Africa‘s ruling African National Congress, one of the most famous political movements in history, has been accused of “airbrushing people out” of the liberation past as it prepares to celebrate its centenary.

The ANC, the oldest liberation movement in Africa, turns 100 years old next Sunday, the cue for year-long commemorations costing 100m rand (£7.8m).

While no one questions the central role of Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders in winning freedom from racial apartheid in 1994, rival political organisations and various commentators say the anniversary will be manipulated to sideline the contributions of others.

“The ANC are rewriting history,” said Allister Sparks, a veteran journalist and analyst and the co-author of Tutu: The Authorised Portrait. “They’re airbrushing people out. I don’t know of a street named after Desmond Tutu, and he was effectively the leader [of the anti-apartheid movement] for 15 years. I’m not trying to belittle the ANC, but they didn’t do it all.” Continue reading

South Africa: Remember the Black Consciousness Movement, and the 1977 Murder of Steve Biko

Steve Biko

“It is better to die for an idea that will live than to live for an idea that will die” — Steve Biko

Fahamu (Oxford)

South Africa: ‘Biko Lives!’, 34 Years Later

Khadija Patel

15 September 2011

Like Che Guevera, Steve Biko is the poster child for revolution. His face adorns the T-shirts and posters of a generation who may know nothing of his teachings except that his is a face with some erstwhile significance. Thirty-four years after his death, Steve Biko is an icon but he is also a lot more than a trifling symbol of an ancient idea. Khadija Patel talks to Steve Biko scholar, black consciousness thinker and organiser, co-editor of ‘Biko Lives!’ and publisher of the journal ‘New Frank Talk’ Andile Mngxitama about Biko’s legacy.

Andile Mngxitama

On 11 September 1977, apartheid police loaded Steve Biko in the back of a pickup truck. Tortured, dehumanised, naked and restrained in manacles, he began the 1,100km trek to Pretoria where he would purportedly be imprisoned in a facility with medical amenities. So severe were the injuries Biko sustained at the hands of the police during his detention that he died shortly after his arrival at the Pretoria prison. It was 12 September 1977. State officials claimed his death was the result of an extended hunger strike, but an autopsy revealed multiple bruises and abrasions, and that he ultimately succumbed to a brain haemorrhage from the severe injuries to the head. To everybody outside the state apparatus, it was clear that Biko had been brutally clubbed by his captors. It was Helen Zille, back when she was just a journalist, as well as Donald Woods, another journalist and close friend of Biko, who eventually exposed the shocking truth behind Biko’s death.

Thirty-four years later, Helen Zille is the leader of the Democratic Alliance, the opposition party taking the fight to the ANC, and Biko haunts the political subconscious of the “new dispensation”.

“Steve Biko… we say Biko lives. Steve Biko lives,” insists Mngxitama, “The biggest mistake of the apartheid regime was to think they could kill him and his ideas.” Mngxitama believes Biko himself understood the need for longevity in his ideas when he wrote, “It is better to die for an idea that will live than to live for an idea that will die.” Steve Biko is certainly more than a T-shirt. His were ideas that galvanised the struggle against the apartheid and a realisation of self-worth among black people themselves. Continue reading

Confederation of South African Trade Unions criticizes ANC economic program

[Since the ending of South African apartheid and the election of President Nelson Mandela in 1994,  the leading “Tripartite Alliance” (ANC, African National Congress/COSATU, Confederation of South African Trade Unions, and SACP, the South African Communist Party) has been formally united but actually far from united.  It has become known to represent the interests of the bourgeois (both nationalist and comprador), revisionist quasi-Marxists, and radical trade-unionists.  The deals which were made in the early 90’s with international capital, at the expense of the apartheid movement’s promises for economic democratisation and nationalisation, have created an ever-widening gap between the very rich and the very poor.  Rampant privatisation of national resources has become commonplace, and unemployment is now in the millions.  The working class, in both private and public sectors, has been squeezed to the breaking point, as the recent national strike has demonstrated.

Rumors are rampant that the Tripartite Alliance is now at the breaking point.  The following  proposal by COSATU may indicate the terms they are demanding today–protectionist trade and monetary policy, and hints of nationalization.  The article says that such measures will not be accepted by the ANC.  If so, when will the other shoe drop–and what form will it take?  How will the working class, and the landless and jobless, respond?  And how will those who carry the revolutionary spirit of the people of Azania meet the challenge?–ed.]

Business Day (Johannesburg), 15 September 2010

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) yesterday proposed a radical overhaul of SA’s monetary and financial policy, calling for controls over commercial bank loans and capping gold exports to increase national reserves.

Cosatu says in an economic strategy paper that it also wants a state bank to have “control and ownership” over the balance sheets of the Reserve Bank, so that it can direct economic policies.

Cosatu will present a range of interventions it says will boost job creation and economic growth, as well as redistribute both income and power, at the African National Congress (ANC) national general council next week. Continue reading

South African Public Workers Strike: Class Struggle Challenges Ruling Alliance

State blindly follows a recipe for disaster

The strike by public service workers, supported by Cosatu, the largest workers’ federation in the country, brings up many lessons, especially for working people and the rural and urban poor.

Aug 31, 2010 |

by Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)

Let me state right at the beginning that the Socialist Party of Azania (Sopa) unequivocally places its support where it rightfully belongs – with the workers.

Their demands enjoy our full support. The government, which is the employer, cannot remain intransigent while it is guilty of spending about R900billion on the Fifa World Cup, which was nothing more than a public relations effort for South Africa and the continent as a whole.

They must now show the same mettle and resolution in dealing with the workers who are citizens of this country.

In the first instance, the target for this strike is the government, which under normal circumstances should be more positive and sensitive when it deals with their employees who belong to the most essential services such as health, education and those directly involved in service delivery.

We want to state that workers who have gone on strike are not insensitive or irresponsible but are forced by the economic realities that this government knows quite well. What is good for government officials should in the same vein be good for the workers. Continue reading