by Shawn Hattingh
Since 2009 the US state has been undertaking Quantitative Easing (QE), which has involved the US state creating $ 85 billion a month, effectively electronically printing money out of thin air, and linking this to the “purchasing” of paper assets like US government bonds and also more importantly mortgaged backed securities from banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, and asset management companies, which lost their value when the capitalist crisis hit hard in 2008. Through this, these financial institutions and banks have been given up to $ 85 billion a month for the last five years. Much of this money has been used by these corporations to increase their speculative activity, including speculating on government bonds sold by the likes of the South African, Brazilian, Argentinean, and Turkish states. Now the US state has been looking to start tapering QE and speculators as a result are exiting these government bond markets. As this article explores it will probably not be the ruling class (capitalists and top state officials) that suffer the worst convulsions associated with tapering, although they may be affected, but the working class in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Argentina and Turkey. This article examines why and how this could take place, how ruling classes from different countries are trying to protect themselves; and why and how the working class will in all likelihood be worst hit. In order to, however, understand how the class war around QE is unfolding it is important first to look at the role states have played during the crisis, along with the competition that exists between states.
Mandela, the ANC and the 1994 Breakthrough: Anarchist/Syndicalist Reflections on National Liberation and South Africa’s Transition
by Shawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt
Since Nelson Mandela’s death, thousands of articles and millions of people have paid tribute to him. They have rightly praised him for his stance against the apartheid state, which saw him spend 27 years in prison, his non-racialism, and his contribution to the struggle in South Africa. For much of his life Nelson Mandela was indeed the most prominent figure in the liberation struggles in Africa that were waged in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
Anarchism/Syndicalism as a Vision, Strategy and Experience of Bottom-up Socialist Democracy: A Reply to Daryl Glaser
Politikon, 2013, Vol. 40, No. 2, 339 – 349
ABSTRACT Examining the theory and practice of ‘mass’ anarchism and syndicalism, this paper argues against Daryl Glaser’s views that workers’ council democracy fails basic democratic benchmarks and that, envisaged as a simple instrument of a revolution imagined in utopian ‘year zero’ terms, it will probably collapse or end in ‘Stalinist’ authoritarianism—Glaser also argues instead for parliaments, supplemented by participatory experiments. While agreeing with Glaser on the necessity of a ‘democratic minimum’ of pluralism, rights, and open-ended outcomes, I demonstrate, in contrast, that this ‘minimum’ is perfectly compatible with bottom-up council democracy and self- management, as envisaged in anarchist/syndicalist theory, and as implemented by anarchist revolutions in Manchuria, Spain and Ukraine. This approach seeks to maximise individual freedom through an egalitarian, democratic, participatory order, developed as both means and outcome of revolution; it consistently insists that attempts to ‘save’ revolutions by suspending freedoms, instead destroy both. Parliament, again in contrast to Glaser, from this perspective, meets no ‘democratic minimum’, being part of the state, a centralized, unaccountable institutional nexus essential to domination and exploitation by a ruling class of state managers and capitalists. Rather than participate in parliaments, ‘mass’ anarchism argues for popular class autonomy from, and struggle against, the existing order as a means of winning economic and political reforms while—avoiding ‘year zero’ thinking—also building the new society, within and against, the old, through a prefigurative project of revolutionary counter-power and counter-culture. Revolution here means the complete expansion of a bottom-up democracy, built through a class struggle for economic and social equality, and requiring the defeat of the ruling class, which is itself the outcome of widespread, free acceptance of anarchism, and of a pluralistic council democracy and self-management system.
Two and a half years after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian streets have spoken again. Mohamed Morsi has been ousted after a one-year reign and four days of demonstrations on an unprecedented scale in the history of the country. The Egyptians have reminded the world that an election is not a blank cheque which leaves representatives free from all constraint. Real democracy involves control over those mandated by those giving the mandate and it would be nothing without the ability to remove those who betray their mandate. No constitution gives that power to the workers (except for some “recall referendums”, à la Chavez) – the ruling classes would be too afraid of the democratic spiral that could eventually be damaging to them. Unconcerned with constitutions, the law, the supposed “democratic legitimacy” of elections, the workers in Egypt have reclaimed their destiny through collective and revolutionary mobilization. Let our little Western bosses beware, and let workers around the world take note!
I met Mohammed Hassan Aazab earlier this year over tea at a table of young anarchists in downtown Cairo. The anniversary of the revolution had just passed with massive protests and the emergence of a Western-style black bloc that appeared to have little to do with anarchists in the city. At the time, much of the ongoing grassroots organizing was against sexual violence — in particular, the mob sexual assaults that have become synonymous with any large gathering in Tahrir. The trauma of such violence carried out against protesters was apparent in our conversation. In fact, Aazab told me that he was done with protests and politics, and had resigned himself to the dysfunction of day-to-day life in Egypt.
Then came June 30. Crowds reportedly as large as 33 million took to the streets to call for the Muslim Brotherhood to step down from power, just a year after Mohammed Morsi took office. In the pre-dawn moments of July 1, as Aazab’s phone battery dwindled steadily, I reconnected with him to chat a bit about his return to resistance.
Call for solidarity and endorsement against the persecution in Brazil of anarchist militants and the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha in Porto Alegre
In Porto Alegre, on June 20 last, about 15 officers from the Civil Police raided the Ateneo Batalha da Varzea, the political and social premises where the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha is located, without a warrant.
In this city where, since the beginning of the year, there have been massive demonstrations for popular demands concerning public transport, health, education, against corruption, with the aim of creating social change for their locality and their country.
Download Issue #1 of the Newsletter of the
Tokologo African Anarchist Collective here
[PDF: 2.83 MB]
Sam Mbah is the co-author, with I. E. Igariwey, of African Anarchism, originally published in 1997. In that book, Mbah and Igariwey argued for an anarchist alternative in Africa. I have included excerpts from African Anarchism in Volume Three of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. Last year, Mbah gave an interview in which he discusses the prospects for anarchism, and a “African Spring,” in Nigeria, where he remains active. Below, I reproduce some excerpts from the interview, in which Mbah discusses power and corruption in Nigeria, the negative role of established religion, the weakness of civil society and trade union organizations, the role of the oil industry, environmental degradation, deindustrialization and the need for continuing support from people outside of Nigeria.
The entire interview can be found at: http://sammbah.wordpress.com/
Bathapi le boradipolitiki ba molato! Ba tshwanetse go
emisa mapodisi go dira dilo tse di sa siamang.
Ga gona molao, ga gona kagiso. Ga go na Zuma,
ga go na Malema, ga go na LONMIN!
A4 double-sided Flyer [seTswana]
Molaotheo o tshepisitse ditokelo tsa dipolotiki le tekatekano. Go a bonagala gore boradipolotiki le bathapi ba dira ka mo ba ratang ka teng. Ba tshameka ka batho. Seo se bonagetse ka nako eo mapodisi a bolaileng badiri bao ba neng ba dirile ditshupetso kwa moepong wa Lonmin Marikana. Read the rest of this entry »
Osozimali nosopolotiki banecala! Asimise ukuhlukunyezwa ngamaphoyisa. Akukho bulungiswa. Akukho xolo.
Asifuni uZuma, Asifuni uMalema, Asefuni iLONMIN!
A4 double-sided Flyer [isiZulu]
Umthetho sisekelo walelizwe uthembisa amalungelo epolitiki nokulingana kwabantu. Kucacile ukuthi osozimali nosomapolitiki bazenzela umathanda. Banyathela ubuso babantu baseMzansi. Isibonelo esidumile esamaphoyisa ebulala abasebenzi bezimayini zaseLonmin Marikana. Read the rest of this entry »