South Africa

The African National Congress (ANC), which led the struggle against Apartheid, has become the key political vehicle, both in party and state form, of corporate capital.

This applies to all capital — domestic and international, black and white, local and national, and includes a range of different “fractions” of capital.

Over the past two decades, it has been the fight on and over this terrain — with some for, some against, some in the middle — that has defined the ANC’s journey since the end of Apartheid in 1994.

Australian soldiers during the Boer war.

Unnecessary Wars Henry Reynolds Newsouth, 2016 266 pages

Australia’s first war — the Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902 — notes historian Henry Reynolds in Unnecessary Wars, was closely bound up with the uniting of the six Australian colonies into a single nation within the British empire.

This conjunction of militarism, nationalism and imperialism was ominous. Australia has never broken the habit of being at the military beck and call of its imperial managers.

Students at universities across South Africa have been demonstrating for the complete removal of university fees for poor students.

They are pushing for the realisation of the demands raised by the #FeesMustFall campaign last year. This was the largest wave of protests since the fall of Apartheid and drew tens of thousands of students into the streets.

Pitched Battle: In the Frontline of the 1971 Springbok Tour of Australia By Larry Writer Scribe Melbourne, 2016 336pp, $35.00

“Sport and politics don’t mix” is often heard from politicians and media commentators when people target sporting events in acts of protest or athletes use their chosen sports to make political statement — for example Muhammad Ali and, more recently, US NFL star Colin Kaepernick. However, sport is often politicised in many different ways by the ruling class to reinforce the status quo.

Economic Freedom Fighters' members. After the August 3 local government elections, it is not just the ruling ANC that is licking its wounds. The left also has very little to celebrate, outside of the consolidation of the anti-neoliberal Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as the third biggest party in the country.
Bill Gates was set to deliver the July 17 annual Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg, justifying his philosophy of market-oriented, technology-centric philanthropy. Last year, French economist Thomas Piketty’s speech on inequality attracted healthy debate — with even business notables endorsing his concerns — given South Africa’s intense social conflict. To illustrate, South Africa’s Gini Coefficient measuring inequality is the world’s highest (at 0.77 on a scale of 0 to 1, in terms of income inequality from employment). Since 2000, social protests have numbered on average 11 per day.
A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite. Among the victims of this power struggle are vast numbers of poor people. The poor are starting to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki sacked then-deputy president Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.
Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recognised and thanked Cuba on November 12 for its important support in achieving national independence 40 years ago. Commemorating four decades of independence from colonial powers, dos Santos invited a Cuban delegation to honour the historical events that led Fidel Castro to deploy 36,000 troops to defend Angola from a US-back military invasion by forces of apartheid South Africa.
Wits students protest in Johannesburg against a proposed tuition fee hike tuition fees on October 15. A historic victory over neoliberalism in South Africa was won on October 23, after the most intense three-week burst of mobilisation in the country since liberation from apartheid in 1994.
Students sit in protest during a mass demonstration on the steps of Jameson Hall at the University of Cape Town, October 22 In a victory for protesting students, South African President Jacob Zuma backtracked on October 23 and cancelled a planned university fee rise next year.

The United Front is a new organisation in South Africa initiated by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) that held its first People's Assembly in December under the slogan “Kwanele Kwanele!” (Enough is Enough!)

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), campaigning groups and labour-supporting members of the European parliament launched protests this month about the continued harassment and jailing of trade unionists and democracy campaigners in Swaziland. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has noted that, in Swaziland, “Violations against the fundamental rights of workers have become systemic”.

Why Kobane did not fall By Dilar Dirik — After 135 days of fearless resistance, the people of Kobane have liberated the city from the so-called Islamic State (IS). Since September 2014, the YPG and YPJ (People’s and Women’s Defence Units) have been leading an epic and unbelievable resistance against the latest wave of attacks by the IS. South Africa’s electricity crisis: muddle through, meltdown or miracle?
It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. In the early hours of November 8, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was expelled from South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, interrelated areas of impact. ANC-led alliance
About 30 international guests and 120 shop stewards from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) met over August 7 to 10 in Johannesburg to discuss building a new, left alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC). This challenge to the ANC by the country’s largest trade union, with more than 440,000 members, has caused shockwaves throughout the country. An August 6 Times Live article said the process was “likely to lead to the birth of a workers' party that will eventually challenge [the ANC] for power”.

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