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The Durban Moment

Rick Turner, Participatory Democracy and Workers’ Control

This article considers the contribution of radical South African philosopher Rick Turner to theories of ‘workers’ control’. Turner’s philosophical work, especially his book, The Eye of the Needle (1972), posited the workplace as a fundamental site of ‘participatory democracy’ and a space for the potential radical transformation of South African society. The confluence of Turner’s ideas about workers’ control, the students’ activism, and the collective action of the black working class gave South Africa’s labour movement a radically democratic, shop-floor orientation that deserves a revival in the new South Africa.

Rick Tuner and South Africa's Sixties

Rick Turner

This article examines the life and thought of South African radical philosopher Richard “Rick” Turner (1941–1978), a crucial figure in the 1973 anti-apartheid political conjuncture known as the “Durban Moment.” Though steeped in existentialist philosophy, Turner’s real contribution to New Left thought in South Africa came elsewhere. Turner’s receptivity to “Black Consciousness,” his vision of radical pedagogy, and his commitment to participatory democracy and “workers’ control” all made a deep imprint on Black working class mobilization and the birth of a democratic trade union movement in South Africa.

Strikes in Durban, 1973

The Durban Strikes (1973)

Gerhard Maré's study of the 1973 strikes of nearly one hundred thousand workers in Durban, South Africa.

Rick Turner: A Biographical Introduction

Rick Turner

Rick Turner was a South African philosopher and trade unionist who was assassinated in Durban in 1978. He had a significant influence on a generation of activists introducing ideas around participatory democracy and charting a democratic course independent of both the Stalinist and Trotskyist left at the time.

Richard Turner & the Politics of Emancipation

Rick Turner

This is the text of the first Richard Turner Memorial Lecture delivered at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, on 12th August, 1987, by Duncan Greaves. Richard Turner, known as Rick Turner, was a radical philosopher and trade unionist assassinated in Durban in 1978.

Collaboration and Debate in the ‘Durban Moment’: Steve Biko, Richard Turner and the politics of Black Consciousness, 1970-1974

Steve Biko.

This essay by Ian Macqueen examines the philosophical and political contributions by Rick Turner and Steven Biko to the 'Durban moment' - the period in which the city of Durban became the centre of radical political innovation in the anti-apartheid struggle.

Let's Talk About Rick Turner

Rick Turner

Personal reflections on Rick Turner, the South African philosopher and trade unionist assassinated in 1978, by Peter Hudson.