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Broken world, broken people – we need a path to a better future

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

January 29,2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — We are living in a world that for most people is broken and that has broken most people. It is not a god given world, but one that has been constructed by those in power and that has left most people mired in deprivation. 

Under COVID-19, this world has sunk to new lows. While hundreds of millions of people have become unemployed – and in South Africa the unemployment rate has now surpassed 42% – corporations have once again received trillions in bailouts from states to keep capitalism barely afloat. Indeed, we face the greatest capitalist crisis since the Great Depression, political turmoil is rife, reactionary ideas continue to abound, and little hope of a better future seems to exist.

South Africa: Hunger, anger and a new social movement in response to COVID-19

 

 

By Kate Alexander

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — South Africa’s government moved quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case was on 5 March 2020; a State of National Disaster was promulgated on 15 March, with this accompanied by closure of schools; a full lockdown was implemented from 26 March and the first death was announced the following day. Lockdown was draconian. Travel was prohibited except for essential services; only food shops, pharmacies and medical facilities were permitted to open (even the sale of cigarettes was illegal); and a curfew was enforced. From 1 May there was a slight easing of restrictions, with more industries and shops allowed to open; and there were further relaxation in most areas from 1 June. The number of confirmed cases is higher than elsewhere in Africa with 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths recorded in mid-August. In our survey, 84.3% of adults felt the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was doing a good job or a very good job.

Grave diggers: the grim tale of states, capitalism and COVID-19

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

July 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it often seems as if we are stuck in a dystopian movie. In this movie death is stalking us, hospitals overflow with the sick and dying, and the grave diggers are at work. We know more victims will soon die as the folly of millions of workers being forced by circumstances to return into cramped mines, banks, factories and warehouses is so evident. Those that are no longer needed by the billionaires who own the companies are marshalled daily by the police and military dishing out violence and on occasion, humiliation, to underline their power and the power of their bosses. It all feels so unreal, a ghastly movie playing out before our eyes. 

In, out and round-about: the variegated terrain of labour responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

 

 

By Dale McKinley

June 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Society, Work & Politics Institute — Long before the Covid 19 (C-19) pandemic arrived in South Africa, the country’s broad working class was already in serious trouble. Whether permanent, casual or unemployed or whether part of trade unions, worker collectives or wholly unorganised, the worker ship had long been navigating treacherous waters.

Much of this journey has been framed by the cumulative, devastating impacts of 25 years of neoliberal onslaught; created, managed and implemented by the post-1994 power triumvirate of the state, capital and party (ANC). Further, the more immediate (post-NASREC) period under Ramaphosa has seen intensified attacks on unions, rising levels of casualisation and thus worker precarity as well as a more generalised increases in poverty and inequality amongst the working class majority.  

South Africa: A programme of action in the time of Covid-19 – a call for social solidarity

 

 

April 10, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alternative Information and Development Centre — We, as civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal workers, faith-based organisations and community structures in South Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain the infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political impacts of the Covid-19 virus. We put forward the following Programme of Action for all of us to work towards in the coming days.

The government retains a critical role in coordinating actions and distributing resources, yet its efforts will not be enough if we do not hold it to account and commit to a broad, bottom-up, public effort at this time. In a society as unequal as ours, we must work together to ensure that all safety measures are shared equitably.

South Africa: Coronavirus and capitalism — structural foundations and opportunities for systemic change

 

 

By Dale T. McKinley 

March 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Understandably, the dominant focus (conceptually and practically) of most governments,  media outlets and the general public both globally and in South Africa, has been on understanding and confronting the immediate impact and effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, this focus has been directed at global as well as national impacts and responses related to human health and economic relations.

For the most part however, what has been missing is an understanding of the pandemic’s more foundational causes. Further, how, as we move through this unprecedented crisis, such an understanding can potentially provide fertile ground for some of the conceptual and practical, systemic changes we so desperately need.

At the heart of the multi-level crises that this virus has unleashed is the fact that so little is known about it and that it is not an isolated case. The reasons for this are there to find if we look hard enough.

A Green New Deal for South African workers?

 

 

By Carilee Osborne

February 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Africa is a Country — Speaking recently on a proposal for significant economic reform, Matthews Parks, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Parliamentary Coordinator, made the following extraordinary statement: “Both environmental and economic denialism are dangerous and should not be entertained. We think we can and must tackle climate change and unemployment simultaneously. All it requires is creativity, political will, planning and resources.”

Numsa strike against sexual harassment is a ‘powerful moment in labour history’

 

 

By Erica Emdon

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Mail & Guardian — What does it require to get management to take a sexual harassment complaint seriously? If the recent National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) strike is anything to go by, it takes about 290 striking workers remaining underground without food and clean water for nine days.

 

South Africa: The urban crisis is a crisis of capitalist democracy (and the struggle to remove its chains)

 

 

By Trevor Ngwane

 

July 28, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Amandla — There were protests galore during the build-up to the 2019 May 8 South African national elections. The elections took place after 25 years of freedom and democracy and the people’s victory against apartheid. The protests happened in many parts of the country but mainly in Gauteng, the industrial heartland, and in the Western Cape, with its palpable legacy of colonialism. In Caledon, Western Cape, two protesters were shot dead by private security during a march and a land occupation. In Alexandra, the state president, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the protesting community after a tumultuous week, including a march to nearby ultra-rich Sandton.

 

Protesters were not celebrating their freedom and their right to vote. Many were saying they saw no need to vote because politicians and political parties habitually abused their vote, promising heaven and earth, but never honouring those promises. There were threats of disrupting the elections. As things turned out, they proceeded smoothly, albeit with a low turnout, especially by the youth, and a few sporadic instances of disruption.

 

The coincidence of protests and elections is not new in this country. What was new was the ferocity and proliferation of the protests. The images of chaos in the country’s urban working class townships during the elections implied that there was a crisis underlying South African politics. 

 

Budgeting for black-out in South Africa

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

March 3, 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalUpon taking power in a palace coup a year ago, Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) government was supposedly going to sweep out the prolific corruption associated with the 2009-18 Jacob Zuma ANC regime. But although excruciatingly-slow progress is being made in evicting the most obvious villains, durable Zumite influences remain, and whistleblowing continues to unveil rapid ANC degeneracy, even stretching into the Ramaphosa family.

 

Cyril Ramaphosa relaunches neo-liberalism: After Jacob Zuma’s firing, South Africa risks budget austerity

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

February 28, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  — Cyril Ramaphosa’s soft-coup firing of Jacob Zuma from the South African presidency on February 14, after nearly nine years in power and a humiliating struggle to avoid resigning, has contradictory local and geopolitical implications. Society’s general applause at seeing Zuma’s rear end resonates loudly, but concerns immediately arise about the new president’s neo-liberal, pro-corporate tendencies, and indeed his legacy of financial corruption and class war against workers. There is still a lack of closure on the 2012 Marikana Massacre, in spite of his February 20 speech to parliament pledging atonement. New legislation Ramaphosa supports will limit the right to strike, while the new budget has cuts and tax increases that hurt the poorest.

 

Change in South Africa's president: Out with the old, in with the not so new

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

 

February 18, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from PambazukaFor white and international capital in South Africa, the last few weeks have been a period of rejoicing due to Cyril Ramaphosa being elected as African National Congress (ANC) president. His subsequent appointment as the country's president following Jacob Zuma's resignation on February 14 has lead the business elite to feel an even greater sense of smugness.

 

The bitter faction fights within the ANC, therefore, have seen Zuma defeated and his erstwhile supporters placed squarely on the back foot.

 

BRICS Xiamen Summit: Capitalist ‘deglobalisation’ could crack the bloc even if internal geopolitical strife eases

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

August 31, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa summit in Xiamen from September 3-5 is already inscribed with high tension thanks to Sino-Indian border conflicts. But regardless of a welcome new peace deal, centrifugal forces within the fast-whirling world economy threaten to divide the BRICS. South Africa, which plays host to the BRICS in 2018, is already a victim of these trends – even as President Jacob Zuma continues to use the bloc as a primary crutch in his so-called “anti-imperialist” (talk-left walk-right) political survival kit.

 

Falling BRICS endanger their citizens’ health, starting with South Africa’s Jacob Zuma

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

August 21, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As he launched the African Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Johannesburg on Thursday, nearly 18 months behind schedule, South African President Jacob Zuma must have had mixed feelings. Strife-riven Brazil, Russia, India and China are more risky allies than Zuma reckoned when in 2010 he accepted Beijing’s invitation to join the club.

 

“Zuma Must Fall” and the Left: Lessons from Zimbabwe

 

 

By Munyaradzi Gwisai

 

June 8, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — South Africa is at crossroads, facing its biggest upheavals since independence in 1994. Globally, since the 2008 Great Recession there are growing explosive class and social conflicts due to the deepening crisis of capitalism.

 

South Africa's ANC: Mistaking consequence for cause

 

 

By Dale T. McKinley

 

May 12, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka News — President Jacob Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle is nothing more and nothing less than the latest instalment of a long-running story of the capture of the ANC and the post-1994 democratic state it has politically run. It is but a component consequence of a political, economic and social crisis that has been forged and fed by the ANC (and its Alliance partners) as a whole, in conjunction with capital. That crisis is not the result of actions taken by a small collection of conspirators, a select group of bad people or an individual.

 

Julius Nyerere: Legacy and defeated dreams in Tanzania

 

 

By Alan Broughton

 

May 8, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– Julius Nyerere is regarded as one of the greatest African political leaders. He was a visionary for African unity, socialist development and self-reliance in the aftermath of colonialism, and still commands great respect. Though much of his vision failed to materialise he leaves a legacy of ethnic and religious tolerance and peace in his East African country, Tanzania.

 

South Africa: World Economic Forum-Africa hosts a turf battle between Jacob Zuma and ‘white monopoly capital’

 

 

By Patrick Bond

 

May 3, 2017
–– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At a time when US and South African presidents Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma personify controversies over crony capitalism, corruption, populist rhetoric and self-serving economic strategies, will big business calm down the politicians – or just egg them on?

 

South Africa: Mass protests follow cabinet reshuffle as Zuma impeachment vote looms

  

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 28, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On South Africa’s political left, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party dominated recent news by leading a mass march on President Jacob Zuma’s office in Pretoria, following a government power shift seen as amplifying corruption. The move also catalysed a ‘junk’ rating by two neoliberal credit ratings agencies. And an impeachment process on the immediate horizon represents the first real parliamentary threat to Zuma’s eight-year reign.

South Africa’s corporatised liberation: A critical analysis of the ANC in power

 
 

By Dale McKinley

 

March 31, 2017  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Pambazuka NewsThe ANC has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital; both domestic and international, both black and white, both local and national, and constitutive of a range of different ‘fractions’ of capital.

 

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