South Africa

SAFTU: The Tragedy and (Hopefully not) the Farce

The labour movement has been unable to de-link itself from its archenemy: capital. As its structures bureaucratise, as its leaders become career unionists, as it opens investment companies and pays staff increasingly inequitable salaries, it increasingly mirrors the very thing it is fighting. If the South African Federation of Trade Unions is to meet its promise, it must be fundamentally different from the organisation it was born out of.

Fueling the fires: South Africa in class war

The hope that the end of apartheid would herald a better life for the oppressed in South Africa has evaporated. Their conditions today are materially as bad as under apartheid - and even worse in some cases. But the upper classes are having the time of their lives. Working class struggles should be intensified and linked, based on self-organising and direct democracy to bring about real change.

Land, law and decades of devastating douchebaggery

This article looks at the recent wave of community protests in South Africa with a focus on the case of Freedom Park in Soweto

The ANC’s South Africa: kleptocracy and exploitation

Zuma uses Gordhan as front for his corruption (cartoon)

The corruption of the Zuma regime has now reached scandalous levels but it was entirely predictable given the ANC's past.

Politics at stake: a note on stakeholder analysis

Abahlali baseMjondolo in Caoe Town

In what Partha Chatterjee calls 'most of the world' the state and capital have two defences against grassroots political society - the police and civil society (especially NGOs and the academy). The first protect oppression with violent repression, the second do the same by throwing up a spongy wall around it in which grassroots political society is absorbed via individualising technocratic 'public participation' processes and educated to accept domination via all kinds of workshops and training that teach people to know their place. This article is an important attempt to think with grassroots militancy against civil society.

A return to repression in Durban: activist shot in the back

After the conviction and sentencing of two ANC councillors for the murder of an Abahlali baseMjondolo activist in May 2016 there was a marked decline in the repression faced by Abahlali baseMjondolo. But the recent shooting of an activist in the Bhambayi land occupation seems to mark a return to repression.

A Short Course in Politics at the University of Abahlali baseMjondolo

Abahlali baseMjondolo meeting in Durban

Raj Patel on participatory democracy in Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban, South Africa.

A South African ruling-class brawl

This article looks at the factions of the ruling class battling for positions and control over the state in South. It considers whether such battles offer anything to the working class in the country.

The colonial development of concentration camps

The practice of concentrating civilians in guarded camps or centres, specifically as part of a counter-guerrilla military strategy during wartime, long pre-dated and outlasted the Second World War. In the light of fresh research this article looks comparatively at the function of the camps in four different colonial arenas between 1868 and 1908.

Black concentration camps during the second Anglo-Boer war

African Anglo-Boer War prisoners of war in St Helena

The Boer war involved three networks of concentration camps. Boer (white) camps with women and children totalling around 115,000. Black camps with men, women and children totalling around 115,000, and overseas camps for Boer men in the tens of thousands