After the Marikana massacre last August, South African miners rose up, forming self-organized workers’ committees across the platinum belt. This wave of militancy spread into other sectors, first gold and coal, and then eventually transport, dockworkers, and most recently, agricultural workers in the Western Cape. Not since the late 1980s have we seen militant wildcat waves like those that have transpired since August 2012, and for this reason Advance the Struggle engaged in solidarity work with the strikers. From a 150-person rally in downtown Oakland to our work with the South African Miners’ Solidarity Committee, we have consistently pushed this kind of work.
Our comrades Zach and Gerald gave a talk last fall on the history of labor militancy and resistance during and since the end of apartheid, and we continue our educational initiative by promoting the following documentary by two young radical filmmakers from Berkeley, Shweta Kumar and Gabrielle Forte. Their independently produced film Empty Promises explores community mobilization in South Africa’s informal settlements against eviction and failure of service delivery by the local government. The documentary addresses the following questions: Why do community members mobilize? Which factors lead individuals to protest? How do individuals define their aims/objectives? And where do members place themselves in relation to the police and local government?
Kumar and Forte interview activists, leaders, and community members from six informal settlements in Johannesburg and Durban in an attempt to portray the political landscape of post-apartheid South Africa. The film was independently funded and made in collaboration with the Socioeconomic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI).
On Thursday, March 7 at 7 pm, come see the premier of their documentary Empty Promises with both filmmakers in attendance! Admission is only $5, and it all goes down at La Peña Cultural Center at 3105 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. Join AS, Kumar, and Forte for another evening of post-apartheid militancy!
You’ve probably heard about the class struggle unfolding over the past few months in South Africa. An unprecedented wave of wildcat strikes has all but shut down much of the mining sector since August, with workers resisting wage cuts, layoffs, and hyperexploitative working conditions. When the South African Police Service massacred 34 strikers in broad daylight, the workers were not deterred; instead of backing off, the strikes spread across the entire mining sector, with iron ore and gold miners joining their platinum mining comrades in struggle against the multinationals that own and profit from these oppressive conditions. Now the struggle has spread into Namibia, Botswana, the Western Cape, and elsewhere, and strikers have self-organized workers’ committees across the platinum belt.
So what does all of this mean for class struggle in South Africa? How are these workers’ committees being organized, and why is this (as the Financial Times recently claimed) potentially the most effective strike wave to hit South Africa since the demise of apartheid?
Mazibuko Jara, a long-time organizer from South Africa’s Eastern Cape and one of the founders of the Democratic Left Front, will be giving two presentations on this new wave of class struggle:
On Thursday, Nov. 15, he will be speaking at a forum organized by UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies at 4 pm (575 McCone Hall). While admission is free, we highly encourage people to make donations to the strike fund for these unprotected workers’ committees. Please give generously; every last dollar will help prolong this struggle.
On Friday, Nov. 15, Mazibuko will be speaking at La Peña in Berkeley (3105 Shattuck Ave) at 7 pm. Admission is on a sliding scale of $5-20, but please give as much as you can: every dollar raised will go to the workers’ committees. Additional donations are highly encouraged.
We hope to see you at one or both events. A luta continua! Forward to a living wage for all workers!
Posted in Event Announcements
Tagged Africa, class struggle, internationalism, labor, marikana, marikana miners, miners, Police Brutality, political repression, south africa, strikes, Unions, workers, workers' committees, working class