Author: Sifuna Zonke

Anti-Immigrant Attacks in South Africa. Report by First of May Anarchist Alliance member

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by D. (First of May Anarchist Alliance)

KNIFE EDGE: An immigrant waits for gangs of locals that attacked foreign shop owners in the Durban city centre yesterday. At least three people were stabbed and one burnt. Image by: TEBOGO LETSIE
KNIFE EDGE: An immigrant waits for gangs of locals that attacked foreign shop owners in the Durban city centre yesterday. At least three people were stabbed and one burnt. Image by: TEBOGO LETSIE

The following is a short summary of the anti-immigrant violence happening in several cities and townships in South Africa. The Report is made by a member of First of May Anarchist Alliance currently living in South Africa and has been slightly edited by the ZACF with the author’s consent.

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South Africa and the DRC: Has Rhodes passed on the baton?

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In the heat of the struggle for statues like that of Rhodes – the arch-symbol of British imperialism – to be pulled down, and in the midst of the horror of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, few people seemed to notice an announcement by Jacob Zuma that South African troops will remain at war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for another year.

Of course, Zuma made this announcement on behalf of the South African ruling class – comprised today of white capitalists and a black elite mainly centred around the state, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and ‘traditional’ royal families. In this there was a real irony that while Rhodes’s likeness was falling from its perch at the University of Cape Town, and immigrants from other parts of Africa and Asia were being attacked because of sentiments stoked up by a rehabilitated relic of apartheid (the Zulu king, Zwelithini), the South African ruling class felt brash enough to say they will be continuing their own imperialist war in the DRC.

Like in all wars, including those promoted by the likes of Rhodes, it is not the ruling class that are actually doing the fighting in the DRC, but the sons and daughters of the working class. Reflecting on the First World War, Alexander Berkman noted that the working class are not really sent to war to save the poor or workers, but to protect and further the interests of the rulers, governors and capitalists of their countries1. This applies equally so today in the case of South African troops’ involvement in the DRC. Indeed, what South Africa’s war in the DRC shows is that the South African ruling class don’t just exploit and oppress the working class in South Africa, but the working class in many other areas in the rest of Africa. It also shows that both at home and abroad they will use violence to do so, including trying to turn different sections of the working class on one another, by amongst other things tapping into nationalism, racism, ethnic chauvinism and xenophobia.

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The party is haunting us again

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by Shawn Hattingh (ZACF)

460_0___30_0_0_0_0_0_20140701t135820z_01_msh08_rtridsp_3_safricastrikedemand01072014160723819Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce. A case in point is that in South Africa sections of the left are once again calling for a mass workers’ party (MWP) to be formed to contest elections – this they believe will bring us closer to revolution. History says otherwise.

Of course the new calls for a MWP stem from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) breaking from the African National Congress (ANC). As an outcome NUMSA is exploring the possibility of setting up a MWP to contest elections. Many Marxist and leftist influenced organisations, but also cadres within NUMSA, are therefore providing reasons why activists should be interested in such a party.

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Statement of the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement

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LSM (Egypt) logoGeneral al-Sisi, a former army chief (and now Egyptian leader – Organise! editors) must grapple with the country’s economic problems as with infighting in the circles of power. —- Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seems to be a victim of his own success. He who in July 2014, seemed to hold a “supernatural” power and popularity supported by a ferocious media machine devouring everything in its path, is now trapped in his post as the strongest man in Egypt. It is even ironic to see him drown in the same defects as those that toppled the President that he overthrew: An empty and populist discourse, measures to capture executive and legal authority in Egypt (while having put Adli Mansour as malleable puppet at the head of the state), etc. Likewise, the socio-economic problems on which he relied to bring down the government of the Muslim Brotherhood have not been solved: power cuts are back at the same rate as at the time of the Muslim Brotherhood, the geopolitical crisis from the construction of the Annahda (Renaissance) dam on the Nile by Ethiopia is nowhere near being solved, (which could have disastrous effects on Egyptian agriculture-Organise! editors) the prices of staple goods are rising, not to mention the crisis in the important area of the economy which is tourism.

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Obituary of Nigerian anarchist Sam Mbah

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wpid-photo-13082012-557-pmZabalaza Anarchist Communist Front is deeply saddened to hear of the death a great human being, African brother, and fellow activist – Sam Mbah. We would like to send our deepest sympathies to those who knew Sam. We hope that you are comforted by the fact that the time he did spend with us was put to its absolute fullest use.

It is particularly difficult for us in South Africa to hear of this news because we are likewise struggling to build a movement that, as Sam has always acknowledged, is still in its infancy and will take some time to “crystallize”. Knowing that people like Sam were out there in other parts of Africa doing what we are trying to do here was a great inspiration to us. It helped us to continue on a long and difficult path. Sam’s individual contribution to our own (and collective) project of building a strong and viable anarchist movement in Africa was massive, and his departure will be sorely felt. But we feel comforted in the fact that his legacy will be an inspiration for others who will eventually follow in his footsteps.

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In the rubble of US imperialism: the PKK, YPG and the Islamic State

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This article highlights how the US state created the conditions in the Middle East in which a right-wing reactionary force like the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) could emerge. Along with this – and central to the article – it discusses how the US state is refusing to back the only two effective forces that are fighting the Islamic State: the Kurdish Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units. Indeed, this article is also written to express solidarity with the People’s Protection Units that are currently fighting a key battle against the Islamic State to hold onto the city of Kobani in Syria.

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To vote or not to vote: Should it be a question?

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vote-cage

by Shawn Hattingh & Jonathan Payn

There has been much hype, amongst the media and sections of the public, in the run up to this year’s provincial and national elections in South Africa and, for some, the arrival of new parties to the electoral arena has renewed their faith in the possibility of an electoral solution to the myriad of problems facing South Africa. Politicians from across all parties have been using this hype and a seemingly renewed faith in the ballot box to their advantage.

The question, therefore, is: can equality, socialism, national liberation or ‘economic freedom’ – or even a respite from state violence – for a majority be brought about through parties and activists entering into the state or through voting for parties that promise not to use the state for violent or oppressive means; or will this only lead to a dead-end for the working class yet again?

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