Class Struggle and Resistance in Africa

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That ploy was devised by the ruling party and big business during the late s as their profit-friendly strategy for deracializing Apartheid. With this extent of degeneracy, it was no surprise that class struggle burst into the open regularly. In early the largest of the three huge platinum firms, Implats, suffered a debilitating strike and in early , the second largest, Anglo American Platinum, announced the closure of shafts and the firing of 13, workers, though it retracted the most extreme threats and only a few thousand were laid-off.

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Most mining houses offered a raise rate one-twelfth as high and as a minimum salary, just 40 percent of what was demanded. By the time this article went to press in late February, the mine owners held firm with an offer below 9 percent with inflation for low-income people running at 7 percent. These were mostly the same white male Afrikaners who in earlier generations simply occupied state bureaucracy to oppress black workers.

Today the financial and legal system reproduces the same class-race power. This household-scale debt crisis affects more than 13 percent of all mineworkers across South Africa and 9 percent of the general workforce. These proved farcical. Lonmin also justified mining on stolen land by ignoring the long historic context of pre— land dispossession. Lonrho gained a very poor reputation for its role in Africa, especially in the years — when it was managed by Tiny Rowland. The description was fitting because Rowland was a perambulating piece of filth who had indulged in bribery, tax-dodging, and the general range of ingenious whizz-kid schemes designed to make viciously unscrupulous people rich and keep them that way.

On August 16, , Marikana was the site of a premeditated massacre, as became clear during testimony to the state-appointed Farlam Commission.

The class dimension of African social struggles | International Socialist Review

Led by former senior judge Ian Farlam, the Commission learned that members of the South African Police Service planted evidence putting weapons on the bodies of corpses to pretend the killing was in self-defense , hid crucial video records, laughed heartily at the scene, and indeed had earlier planned much of the massacre. Reflecting his inordinate influence, that man—whose Shanduka corporation held 9 percent of the shares—was soon elected the ANC deputy president at a December party convention: Cyril Ramaphosa.

Labor, Xenophobia And The Class Struggle In South Africa

Rampahosa was himself once a militant mineworker leader he led a pathbreaking industry-wide strike and early—s ANC secretary general, as well as the main drafter of the South African Constitution. A day later, mass murder ensued. Ramaphosa is quite a complicated character, and there are bitter-end liberal supporters of the ANC who believe he will revive the ruling party. Such Ramaphosa-boosterism, especially common in the business press, requires overlooking contrary career evidence since In , the capital flight reached a previously unscaled height of 23 percent of GDP.

Molewa apparently arranged an out-of-court settlement which, experts fear, will hasten the degradation of the critical catchments feeding agriculture, communities, the world-famous Kruger Park and then Mozambique when rivers cross the border. As a result, he gradually put some shareholdings in blind-trust and divested others to avoid obvious conflict of interest charges. But the most critical inflection point was the way Ramaphosa brought in the police to serve white-dominated multinational capital by killing dozens of black workers so as to end a brief strike. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterized as such.

There needs to be concomitant action to address this situation. I have said as much to the Minister of Safety and Security. At the heart of this was the toxic collusion between the SA Police Services and Lonmin at a direct level. At a much broader level it can be called a collusion between the State and capital and that this phenomenon is at the centre of what has occurred here. In , under the leadership of the African Mineworkers Union, 70, African workers also went on a massive strike and the government sent 16, policemen and arrested, like they did to the people we represent, some of the miners under an act called the War Measures Act.

So this has happened, this collusion between capital and the State has happened in systematic patterns in the history of, sordid history of the mining industry in this country. Part of that history included the collaboration of so-called tribal chiefs who were corrupt and were used by those oppressive governments to turn the self-sufficient black African farmers into slave labor workers.

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Today we have a situation where those chiefs have been replaced by so-called BEE partners of these mines and carrying on that torch of collusion. The cozy relations epitomized by Ramaphosa-Lonmin incensed the mineworkers, raising their staying power to such high levels.

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One result, at nearby Implats, was that of the 28, workers, 70 percent had been NUM members in late , but by September the ratio was down to 13 percent, with AMCU taking over worker representation. The crony relations reached deep into the state, with provincial and municipal governments in the mining belt apparently rife with corruption.

Emblematic was the assassination of a well-known ANC whistleblower, Moss Phakoe, which a judge found was arranged by the mayor of Rustenburg, the municipal district just west of Madibeng. At the national level, too, family enterprise suited the Zumas, who had a reported businesses. Indeed, that particular mining house had perhaps the single most extreme record of ecological destructiveness and labor conflict in the post-apartheid era, reflecting how white-owned mining houses sold used-up mines with vast Acid Mine Drainage liabilities to new black owners who were ill-equipped to deal with the inevitable ecological, social, and labor crises.

The society thus learned a great deal about itself because of the massacre and a growing realization about the socioeconomic, political, and ecological context. The stage was set, immediately after Marikana, for renewed debates over whether the Tripartite Alliance was now a progressive or regressive political arrangement, especially between the center-left unionists and Communists who are close to official power and thus defensive of the political status quo , on the one hand; and on the other, critical, independent progressives convinced that South African politics could become more acutely polarized.

Overlaying the crisis and these debates was the internal ANC split between pro- and anti-Zuma forces. This spilled over into Cosatu prior to its September congress before, at the Mangaung electoral conference of the ruling party, Zuma squashed his only opponent in the race for ANC president then deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe with three quarters of the vote. It was this same political battle that initially paralyzed labor leadership, given the danger Cosatu would unleash centrifugal forces that its popular general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi could not control.

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    Geneva, ILO: Smith, N. Standing, G. Stewart, P. McBride and I. Thompson, E. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Trotsky, L. London, Socialist Resistance: Wahl, A. London: Pluto Press. Wood, E. M Democracy Against Capitalism: renewing historical materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. New York: Monthly Review Press: Wright, E. Class struggle in times of crisis: conceptualising agency of resistance. Spectrum: Journal of Global Studies , 7 1 , AMA Bieler A.

    Class Struggle and Resistance in Africa

    Vancouver Bieler A. Full Text File. Author: Andreas Bieler. Publication Date : May 11,