#feesmustfall: student protests in South Africa

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Anonymous
Oct 23 2015 18:05
#feesmustfall: student protests in South Africa

There have been a series of protests against fee increases at universities across South Africa recently. These protests began when a tuition hike was announced for 2016. It appears that they government has backed off now:

Quote:
Pretoria, South Africa (CNN)South African universities will not increase fees in 2016 as planned, President Jacob Zuma announced Friday after days of student protests over the issue.

Students celebrated, but many posting on social media said fees remained too high and worried about what will happen after 2016.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/23/africa/south-africa-fee-increase-protests/

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Alf
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Oct 23 2015 19:52

As I understand it the movement is still going on. There have been some interesting developments. After a demonstration at parliament the other day 200 students were arrested and charged with treason and terrorism for going to parts of the parliament area closed to the public. They were later released, but the generally repressive attitude of the government has led some of the students to raise the slogan "ANC must fall". As the film below shows there have also been attempts to connect with workers. Bus workers came out in solidarity and provided free transport to the demos, and I think there have also been attempts to link up with low paid staff at the universities.

http://ewn.co.za/2015/10/21/UCT-students-take-protest-to-Parliament

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jahbread
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Oct 23 2015 20:59

President Zuma has just announced a freeze on tuition fees after initially pressing for a 12% increase. In my book, that's a little victory for our class.

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Oct 23 2015 21:03
Quote:
They were later released, but the generally repressive attitude of the government has led some of the students to raise the slogan "ANC must fall".

Here's hoping that more will take up that slogan.

BorisJobson
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Oct 24 2015 17:16

At the latest count, this thread about a massive social movement in South Africa has 3 posts, whereas the thread on how many tattoos can dance on the head of a schmidt, about one irrelevant South African has 525 posts. Good to see people have their priorities right. For those who clearly think the relentless South African class struggle is unimportant, I suggest they stear clear of this. After all, the show of opposition must go on .

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Khawaga
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Oct 24 2015 17:43

Are you going to add something of substance Boris? Arguably you are just adding to the anarchist spectacle by firstly connecting this thread to the other one, and also giving off the image that you really know what's what. What more spectacular that that?

BorisJobson
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Oct 24 2015 19:20
Quote:
something of substance

:
this (as above in my post)

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Red Marriott
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Oct 24 2015 19:31
Boris wrote:
At the latest count, this thread about a massive social movement in South Africa has 3 posts, whereas the thread on how many tattoos can dance on the head of a schmidt, about one irrelevant South African has 525 posts. Good to see people have their priorities right.

But this thread has been going for one day while the other has been going for one month.

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Khawaga
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Oct 24 2015 22:05
Quote:
this (as above in my post)

A link is not "substance". Posting a summary of it would be. Now you might have written that yourself, but still posting a link is the least substantial thing you can do in a forum.

rooieravotr
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Oct 25 2015 02:20

And now this thread has already nine comments, four of them reacting to Boris Jobson comment (nr. 5). wink Returning to the subject of the thread: students are not very impressed by the Zuma concession on fees. From the Daily Maverick, which has much more: [url=http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2015-10-23-feeshavefallen-a-big-day-in-pretoria-with-a-zero-outcome/#.Viw5Zd9NniY ]http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2015-10-23-feeshavefallen-a-big-day-in-pretoria-with-a-zero-outcome/#.Viw5Zd9NniY [/url] The article talks about this being the biggest student revolt in South Africa since Soweto 1976. I get the feeling that this is not over yet.

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Oct 25 2015 11:32

I was sent this by a UCT post-grad student who has been taking an active part in the movement. It's especially interesting on the real level of state violence and the attempts of the ANC 'youth wing' to recuperate the movement:

We were caught off guard by the speedy response of the government. We knew that the 0% would be granted, but we were expecting the announcement on Monday, not yesterday, so the letter of solidarity we had drafted became a bit irrelevant. I am working on another one with a friend which explains that the workers and students have always been in solidarity on this, and how the theory of decolonisation fits into this. There were always two demands 1) no fee increase and 2) end outsourcing of public institutions. It seemed the second one was drowned out after the events at parliament.

The ANC has since tried to co-opt this movement by handing a victory to their youth league yesterday. They invited SASCO students (part of the ANC youth league) and students leaders from opposition partied to a meeting with the president to negotiate with them, even though this movement has been non-partisan and leaderless from the beginning. They then played the game of negotiating with their own lackies to make it seem as though it was their own youth league's action which had brought this about. As far as I know, mainly men were invited to this negotiation, even though this movement was largely led by women. People on the ground are not happy about this, mainly because the movement has been misrepresented, it was always a grassroots one, and also because this settlement has left the workers behind.

Another thing which seems to have gotten little attention is the level of violence on used on campuses of historically black/coloured universities. It has been much worse for them than it has been at the "more prestigious" formerly predominantly white ones such as, Wits, UCT, Stellenbosch and the University of Pretoria. The press has also given far less attention to historically black/coloured universities. When we, at UCT, marched on police stations and blocked main roads, there was plenty of press and the police were less aggressive. Our crowd had many white students in it marching with us, in a predominantly white neighbourhood. At UWC and CPUT, where the student body is largely black and coloured, exits to the university were blocked, and water cannons, tear gas, stun grenade and rubber bullets were used on them.

I am not sure what the press abroad has been reporting, but the government response has been brutal

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 26 2015 07:14

Africa is a Country have made an 11-minute film on the movement:

Africa is a Country wrote:
You could hardly catch your breath last week with the #FeesMustFall protests in South Africa. For a while, after #RhodesFell, we feared that identity politics would swallow and spit out the loose agglomeration that was that movement (there is no national coordinating body; instead it has been led by a mix of campus organizations and the local or youth affiliations of nationalist or leftist parties). But the ability of students to find and develop “a theory to suit their times, capable of holding the contradictions of ‘born-free’ life, just as their parents practiced their theory of opposition to the realities of their lives” astonishes every day.

Last Friday, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced that there will be no fee increases for the next academic year, starting in January 2016. This was of course some kind of victory, but not all that students are asking. President Zuma’s announcement was silent about free education or the problem of outsourcing at universities. Neither did he address police brutality or the charges against students who were arrested. The students were not appeased.

http://africasacountry.com/2015/10/watch-our-11-minute-film-capturing-the-energies-of-feesmustfall-in-south-africa/

Mark.
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Oct 26 2015 19:47

Daily Maverick - South Africa's May '68 moment

rooieravotr
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Oct 27 2015 19:52

Patrick Bond in Counterpunch:

South African Student Protesters Win First Big Victory: Decolonization, Race and Class Politics Fused in Epic Battle

redsdisease
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Nov 4 2015 06:11

Does anybody know of any sites that have decent news and analysis about this? A general internet news search hasn't been all that useful.

Mark.
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Nov 4 2015 11:42

For South African mainstream media I'd guess the Daily Maverick and the Mail and Guardian would have reasonable coverage, though I haven't really checked.

Edit: here's an opinion piece from the Daily Maverick

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Nov 4 2015 11:56

There's also been an article in the current issue of The Economist. I'm not sure if it's online though.

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 5 2015 20:22

UJ students 'beaten up' by bouncers

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Nov 5 2015 22:11

The last time I spoke on skype to the young woman who wrote the comments in my previous post, it looked as if the ruling class was beginning to divide the movement by giving in to the demands of a more 'prestigious' university like UCT (not only no increase in fees, but also no more outsourcing of university-employed workers), but not so much to the students on the poorer campuses. At that point (last weekend), UCT was re-opened but UCT students were still going in large numbers to give solidarity to the campuses that were still blockaded. However, I have the overall impression that the movement is in retreat.

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 9 2015 18:38

If anyone has any questions about the movement, post them up. a comrade is in touch with a contact active in the movement and might be able to do an email interview to write-up.

BorisJobson
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Nov 24 2015 11:09

Some information taken from here:

16/11/15:

South Africa, Kwa-Zulu Natal: 2000 blockade national highway and burn community hall in protest over water shortage“There was also vandalism in one of our community schemes where fences and doors were stolen” … Cape Town: CPUT students disrupt traffic in city centre “at least one protesting student has been taken into custody following a disruptive protest in the Cape Town CBD earlier today. Demonstrators brought the CBD to a standstill as they protested along Darling and Adderley Street.”… UCT students protest over rape of a woman at occupation (video)” A small group of protesters smashed windows, threw buckets of urine and attempted to disrupt exams at the sport centre on the University of Cape Town campus” It should be noted, in light of the admirable solidarity displayed by the students towards their comrade, that this comes as something of a wake-up call to a problem that women have been trying to complain about all along, but did not get taken seriously. Three responses in their own words: ‘We are done with “liberation spaces” where we are told to swallow violence for the sake of unity. The patriarchy will fall NOW’; another said ‘The #RapeAtAzania is doubly tragic because women in the movement have BEEN saying they feel unsafe since the statue came down. Since forever‘; another said ‘I honestly wish the #RapeAtAzania last night is the first time I’ve heard of sexual assault in our student movements. It’s not.‘…Bellville: student financial aid building set alight for the second time… East London: students occupy university building [SK]

17/11/15

South Africa, Stellenbosch: workers and students barricade roads, burn rubbish over wages and outsourcing (pictures and video) “The group started protesting this morning in Victoria Street by burning campus property and blocking roads. The group set fire to objects across campus including bins and crates. Businesses in the [town] centre have been closed”… four arrested, stun grenade used to disperse their comrades “A stun grenade was fired at a crowd of protesters apparently rattling the gates of the Stellenbosch police station following the arrest of four Stellenbosch University workers”… protesters later burn two university owned vehicles and assault security guard

18/11/15:

South Africa, Pretoria: students shut-down first day of exams in fees protest, torch cafeteria and student centre “They argue that the non-increase in fees next year will be not good enough, as some students won’t get their final results because they owe fees”…

19/11/15

South Africa, Pretoria: students loot shop, smash windows, hijack buses to use as barricades, torch admin building, attack guard “The protesters were apparently bused to the campus, where they stormed into a pizza shop and helped themselves to muffins, softdrinks, cigarettes and also stole cash from the tills, according to some students. They went on the rampage, throwing stones randomly towards the student residence and damaged a few windows. Some non-protesting students were forced to take part in the protest. Keys of the two students buses were taken by force from the drivers and the buses were parked in the middle of the road… Smoke billowed out of the students governing office but the fire-fighters were able to extinguish it… One guard showed his colleagues a bleeding wound on the head, after he was allegedly hit by one of the protesters.”

20/11/15:

South Africa, Pretoria: TUT exam centre torched as students demand eradication of all debt

****

Just over 30 days ago I wrote:

Quote:
At the latest count, this thread about a massive social movement in South Africa has 3 posts, whereas the thread on how many tattoos can dance on the head of a schmidt, about one irrelevant South African has 525 posts.Good to see people have their priorities right.

Red Marriott wrote (here), in response to my comment:

Quote:
But this thread has been going for one day while the other has been going for one month.

I was, I admit, a little hasty in my comment, but now, with just over the same amount of days after the beginning of the thread about one irrelevant South African, this thread about a massive social movement involving possibly hundreds of thousands of South Africans, has 26 posts - the last one being a bump, and 6 being either from me or exclusively in response to my post. In other words, 19 posts about a country which - on the face of it at least - has the world's most intensive class struggle, whilst one about an irrelevant anarcho-leftoid-possibly-fascist-racist-avant-gardist who has never written anything of interest as far as I can see had 525 posts over the same period.

This, iexist, is not a derail. It shows clearly that anarcho-libcommers are more interested in their own little anarcho-scene than in the class struggle on a wider scale.

Substantial enough, Khawaga?