One Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders: Attacks Hurt Working Class and Poor, Only Capitalists and Politicians Benefit
by Lucien van der Walt (ZACF)
*Text commissioned by Unemployed People’s Movement, Grahamstown, October 2015.
*Edited version: November 2016.
A year ago, starting 20 October 2015, around 75 small shops were looted, some burned down, in the eastern townships and downtown area of the small Eastern Cape university town of Grahamstown/ iRhini, South Africa. The attacks targeted Asian and African immigrants, many of them Muslim, and displaced 500 people. These riots were largely ignored by the media.
The text below is a slightly revised revision of a briefing I was asked to write at the time for the local Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The UPM played a heroic role in opposing the attacks and assisting the displaced. The text’s general points remain relevant to the working class’s fight against prejudice and racism. And the riots of 2015 should not be forgotten.
by Shawn Hattingh (ZACF)
The battle between Pravin Gordhan and Jacob Zuma has been presented along the lines of a superhero comic. Gordhan, the hero, is portrayed as the last defence against the rampaging villain, vile Zuma. And like all superhero tales Gordhan the good appears to be gaining the upper hand over Zuma the bad – especially since corruption charges have been dropped and the damning Public Protector’s report on state capture has been released.
by Leroy Maisiri (ZACF)
First published in “South African Labour Bulletin”, volume 40, number 4, pp. 39-40
Recent worker-student alliances and activities are lacking in an anarchist/syndicalist approach which focuses on ‘people’s power’ and ‘worker control’. Such an approach is important for radical transformation, writes Leroy Maisiri.
Inspired by the Events of 28th September 2016 –
Police Shooting on RU students.
“Superintendent Officer Mthembu”
by Leroy Maisiri (ZACF)
If our pain was turned into an art museum the most popular exhibit would showcase portraits of the South African Police Service with our bodies on the floor as their footstools. Our silenced screams chock up the airways in our throats, our tracheas burst out and with both hands we grab the artery veins in an attempt to contain the bleeding, trying to redirect this blood, this life back into the cause and yes, bang, bang, bang; you keep shooting and yes bang, bang, bang, we keep running.
But please first allow me to start this poetic prose in Joza extension 7, the peripheral of the township itself almost excommunicated from the centre of Grahamstown. Somewhere unclearly mapped by angry ground stones who share their space with the kind of dust that does not easily settle well on the road, is what looks like an afterthought of an RDP house. In it is Superintendent Officer Mthembu. A child of the working class. Mthembu on his tea breaks always jokes about how he wanted to be a lawyer, most of his stories start with the words “and during the apartheid…” he would recall those memories so well, remembering quite clearly all the fights, the protests, the revolutionary climate that engrossed South Africa. His stories would also always end with “…if only I could afford the fees in ’94, I would have been a qualified lawyer like Madiba”.
by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF)
The ZACF is saddened to learn of the passing away of comrade Bobo Makhoba in Soweto this Thursday 29 September, at the age of 41, after a long illness. He is survived by his son, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences – as we do to the rest of his family, friends and comrades.
Bobo was a founding member of the ZACF as well as one of the original guerilla electricians for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee’s Operation Khanyisa campaign, which illegally reconnected thousands of households’ electricity after it was cut off for non-payment – forcing Eskom, the state electricity utility, to scrap arrears for thousands of Sowetans.
by Leroy Maisiri (ZACF)
The last 4 months in Zimbabwe can surely be characterized as an awakening of the Zimbabwean working class, as thousands of these citizens have taken to the streets, responding to Pastor Evan Mawarire’s call: “hatichatya” – we are not afraid. This is certainly a historic time for Zimbabwe; a time of growing labour pains as the country (hopefully) enters a process of rebirth towards a better and new Zimbabwe.
But before we can even begin to talk about a free Zimbabwe and how we would go about getting that, we need to first have a clear and coherent class analysis of the Zimbabwean social and political climate.
Understanding who we are fighting is essential. Zimbabwe without a doubt needs to rid ourselves of the 92-year- old man who thinks the state house is his graveyard. But in the same breath, we must rid itself of the oppressive state system altogether. Swapping a vicious state capitalist manager with another is nowhere close to constituting progress.