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international / economy / opinion / analysis Saturday March 01, 2014 19:49 byShawn Hattingh 2 comments (last - saturday march 08, 2014 19:36) 1 image
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.
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southern africa / migration / racism / feature Sunday December 15, 2013 23:39 byShawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt 1 image
Mandela, the ANC and the 1994 Breakthrough: Anarchist / syndicalist reflections on national liberation and South Africa’s transition
Shawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt
The destruction of the apartheid state form, with its odious policies of coercion and racism, was a major triumph for the working class in South Africa and elsewhere, showing that ordinary people can challenge and defeat systems that seem quite unbreakable. Mandela did play a heroic role, but was also the first to admit that “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants, the doctors, the clergy." And indeed, it was the black working class, above all, that through struggle tore down many features of apartheid by the late 1980s, such as the pass law system, the Group Areas Act and numerous other odious laws and policies.
The 1994 transition in South Africa was a political revolution, a break with the apartheid and colonial periods of state-sanctioned white supremacy, a “massive advance” in the conditions of the majority. It introduced a new state, based on non-racialism, in which South Africa was to be a multi-racial, multi-cultural but unified country, founded on human rights; welfare and social policy and legislation was transformed; capitalism was kept in place, but despite this, there were very massive and very real changes, political and material, that made qualitative differences in the daily lives of millions of black and working class people. And for millions, it is precisely the association of Mandela with that victory and with those changes that makes him so emotionally powerful.
Yet at the same time, Mandela’s policies and politics had important limitations that must be faced if the current quandary of South Africa, nearly 20 years later, is to be understood. Mandela never sold out: he was committed to a reformed capitalism, and a parliamentary democracy, and unified South Africa based on equal civil and political rights, a project in which black capitalists and black state elites would loom large. These goals have been achieved, but bring with them numerous problems that must be faced up if the final liberation – including national liberation – of South Africa’s working class is to be achieved.
The 1994 breakthrough was a major victory, but it was not the final one, for a final one requires a radical change in society, towards a libertarian and socialist order based on participatory democracy, human needs rather than profit and power, and social and economic justice, and attention to issues of culture and the psychological impact of apartheid.
As long as the basic legacy of apartheid remains, in education, incomes, housing and other spheres, and as long as the working class of all races is excluded from basic power and wealth by a black and white ruling class, so long will the national question – the deep racial / national divisions in South Africa, and the reality of ongoing racial/ national oppression for the black, Coloured and Indian working class – remain unresolved. And so long will it continue to generate antagonisms and conflicts, the breeding ground for rightwing populist demagogy, xenophobia and crime. By contrast, a powerful black elite, centred on the state and with a growing corporate presence, has achieved its national liberation.
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international / imperialism / war / opinion / analysis Thursday April 18, 2013 20:56 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
Many people in South Africa were shocked by the death of at least 13 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops when rebels overran their base in the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Amongst the public and within the media questions soon started arising around the possible reasons why troops were in CAR to begin with. When it emerged that troops were possibly partly deployed to protect businesses in CAR linked to top African National Congress (ANC) officials, there was widespread outrage. The fact that South African troops were involved in protecting the political and economic interests of wealthy people linked to the South African state in CAR, and other African countries, should perhaps, however, not come as a surprise. Throughout its history, whether during apartheid or post apartheid, the South African state – which is controlled by the ruling class and headed up by members of this class - has been most willing to deploy troops in parts of Africa to protect the political, economic and strategic interests of the South African ruling class.
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southern africa / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Saturday February 09, 2013 23:28 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
The series of strikes and protests that recently took place in and around farms in South Africa’s Western Cape Province was fuelled by the deep-seated anger and frustration that workers feel. On a daily basis, farm workers face not only appalling wages, bad living conditions and precarious work, but also widespread racism, intimidation and humiliation. The extent of the oppressive conditions run deep and it is not uncommon for workers to even be beaten by farm-owners and managers for perceived ‘transgressions’. Indeed, life for workers in the rural areas has always been harsh, but over the last two decades it has in many ways gotten even worse and poverty has in many cases grown. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / workplace struggles / feature Monday September 17, 2012 17:06 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
This article explores, from an anarchist perspective, the sugar industry in southern Africa, and how the two dominant companies - Illovo and Tongaat-Hulett - exploit and oppress workers and communities surrounding their operations. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Tuesday September 04, 2012 15:19 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
While any human being with any sense of justice should be appalled by what happened at Marikana it would, however, be a mistake to view it as an isolated incident that emerged out of the blue. read full story / add a comment
Ελλάδα / Τουρκία / Κύπρος / oικονομία / Γνώμη / Ανάλυση Tuesday May 29, 2012 19:03 byShawn Hattingh (ZACF) 1 image
Καθώς η κρίση στην Ευρώπη έχει ενταθεί, ο ταξικός πόλεμος και ο ιμπεριαλισμός έχουν εμβαθύνει στην Ελλάδα. Πράγματι, η ελληνική εργατική τάξη έχει υποστεί περαιτέρω επιθέσεις σε βάρος της από την τοπική άρχουσα τάξη -που αποτελείται από τους καπιταλιστές και υψηλόβαθμους κρατικούς αξιωματούχους- και τις ιμπεριαλιστικές δυνάμεις. read full story / add a comment
venezuela / colombia / the left / feature Tuesday May 08, 2012 03:44 byShawn Hattingh 12 comments (last - friday june 08, 2012 01:26) 1 image
For many people on the left, within and outside of Southern Africa, the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ is seen as a beacon of socialist hope in a sea of capitalist despair. The reason why many leftists feel so strongly attached to this project, and promote it as an alternative, is because they have come to view it as a move by the Venezuelan state towards creating a genuine, free form of socialism or at the very least an experiment that profoundly breaks with the tenets of neo-liberalism. This article, however, questions the assumption that the Venezuelan state is embarking upon a path to create a truly egalitarian and free socialist society. It will, therefore, be argued that Venezuela is not in a transitional phase to socialism; rather it is a capitalist country where the private sector and important state-owned companies seek to maximise profits. read full story / add a comment
griekenland / turkije / cyprus / miscellaneous / opinion/analysis Friday April 27, 2012 20:34 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
Klassen oorlog en imperialisme hebben zich in Griekenland verdiept. De Griekse arbeidersklasse is onderworpen aan verdere aanvallen van de lokale - en imperialistische heersende klassen. Om de laatste 'bailout' van het IMF en de ECB te ontvangen werd de Griekse staat door de Duitse, Franse en Amerikaanse heersende klassen verteld dat de pensioenen opnieuw moesten worden verlaagd, de openbare nutsvoorzieningen volledig moesten worden geprivatiseerd, en sociale uitgaven en lonen opnieuw moesten worden verlaagd. [English] read full story / add a comment
greece / turkey / cyprus / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Thursday April 12, 2012 18:55 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
Class war and imperialism have deepened in Greece. The Greek working class has been subjected to further attacks from the local and imperialist ruling classes. To receive the latest ‘bailout’ from the IMF and the ECB, the Greek state was told by the German, French and US ruling classes to again reduce pensions, to fully privatise public utilities, and to again cut social spending and wages. [Nederlands] read full story / add a comment
africa meridionale / economia / opinione / analisi Tuesday March 06, 2012 17:38 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
Ancora una volta molto clamore è scoppiato sui media in seguito alla presentazione del bilancio dello Stato del Sud Africa. La finanziaria 2012, comunque, è una volta di più la dimostrazione del programma della classe al potere dell'ANC: liberalizzazioni, tagli alla spesa per i poveri e sussidi per i ricchi. Dalla legge di bilancio e da altre fonti risulta evidente che l'ANC, a dispetto dell'isteria dei media, non ha alcun interesse per le nazionalizzazioni. Lo Stato, dunque, cerca in gran parte di affrontare la crisi economica globale con il ricorso al mondo delle imprese, come al solito. [English] read full story / add a comment
Once again much media fanfare has broken out in aftermath of the South African state’s budget speech. The budget, however, is yet more proof of the ANC’s ruling class agenda: free markets, budget cuts for the poor and subsidies for the rich. From the budget and other utterances it is clear the ANC has, despite media hysteria, no interest in nationalisation. The state will, therefore, try and deal with the global economic crisis largely through business-as-usual.
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international / environment / policy statement Tuesday November 29, 2011 19:19 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
At the time of writing, ruling class scum (the rich, big bosses, politicians and state managers) from across the globe are hopping on fancy planes to descend, like fleas, onto the posh air conditioned Durban Convention Centre for the COP 17 meeting. In between living in luxury, posing for press pictures, attending cocktail parties, closing business deals, and flashing fake bleached smiles; we are told - by these very same ruling class parasites - that they are coming to Durban and COP 17 to solve global warming. To be sure, the ruling class scum want us to believe that they are Armani-clad superheroes who care about us and who are flying in to save us all. But hold the applause and cheers, because nothing could be further from the truth. read full story / add a comment
Νότια Αφρική (Περιφέρεια) / Καταστολή / Φυλακές / Γνώμη / Ανάλυση Thursday August 11, 2011 06:49 byShawn Hattingh (ZACF) 2 images
Πρέπει να μάθουμε από αυτά. Στην πραγματικότητα, αν θέλουμε να διασφαλίσουμε πως δεν θα υπάρξουν στο μέλλον άλλοι Άντριες Τατάνε, πρέπει να αναβιώσουμε τις καλύτερες πρακτικές της λαικής εξουσίας και να αρχίσουμε να χτίζουμε έναν ελεύθερο και ισότιμο κόσμο. Ένα κόσμο που θα βασίζεται στις αρχές που έχουν γίνει γνωστές, διαμέσου 150 χρόνων αγώνα για δικαιοσύνη, ως αναρχοκομμουνισμός. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / economy / feature Wednesday July 27, 2011 15:49 byShawn Hattingh 5 comments (last - tuesday august 02, 2011 16:48) 1 image
It has become common knowledge that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. Only 41% of people of working age are employed, while half of the people employed earn less than R 2 500 a month. Worse still, inequality is growing with wages as a share of the national income dropping from 50% in 1994 to 45% in 2009; while profit as a share of national income has soared from 40% to 45%. In real terms this means that while a minority live well – and have luxurious houses, swimming pools, businesses, investments, and cushy positions in the state - the majority of people live in shacks or tiny breezeblock dwellings, are surrounded by squalor, and struggle on a daily basis to acquire the basics of life like food and water. Likewise, while bosses, state managers, and politicians – both black and white – get to strut around in fancy suits barking orders; the majority of people are expected to bow down, do as told, and swallow their pride. Despite being expected to be subservient, however, protests in working class areas are spreading. People have become fed up with being unemployed, having substandard housing, suffering humiliation, and having their water and electricity cut off. In fact, per person South Africa has the highest rate of protests in the world . It is in this context of growing community direct action, even if still largely un-coordinated, that the state has felt it necessary, at least on a rhetorical level, to declare its intentions to lead a fight against unemployment and reduce inequality. To supposedly do so it unveiled a new economic framework, The New Growth Path (NGP), late in 2010 with the declared aim of creating 5 million jobs by 2020 . read full story / add a comment
southern africa / imperialism / war / opinion / analysis Friday June 10, 2011 00:12 byShawn Hattingh
In this article, using an anarchist analysis, it will be argued that this lopsided trade, expansive investment and projection of state power by the South African ruling class are signs of the imperialist role they play in southern Africa. In undertaking this, it will be outlined how the South African ruling class, as an integral part of their imperialist role, are conducting a class war against the workers and the poor across sub-Saharan Africa. Through examining this class war, it will hopefully become clear that the South African state is being used as a key instrument by the ruling class – made up of capitalists and high-ranking state officials – to further their own interests in southern Africa. The consequence of highlighting the imperialist nature of the South African state also has implications for the strategies and tactics that should be used in struggle. It will be strongly argued that due to its hierarchical centralising and expansionist ambitions, the state cannot be used as a tool for liberation in South Africa or in the region.
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southern africa / repression / prisoners / opinion / analysis Thursday April 21, 2011 21:28 byShawn Hattingh 5 images
On the 13th April, people in South Africa were stunned. On the evening news the sight of six police force members brutally beating a man, Andries Tatane, to death was aired. The images of the police smashing his body with batons and repeatedly firing rubber bullets into his chest struck a cord; people were simply shocked and appalled. Literally hundreds of articles followed in the press, politicians of all stripes also hopped on the bandwagon and said they lamented his death; and most called for the police to receive appropriate training to deal with ‘crowd control’ – after all, elections are a month away. Andries Tatane’s death was the culmination of a protest march in the Free State town of Ficksburg. The march involved over 4,000 people, who undertook the action to demand the very basics of life - decent housing, access to water and electricity, and jobs. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / workplace struggles / feature Thursday April 07, 2011 21:51 byShawn Hattingh 2 images
The economic crisis in South Africa has seen inequalities, and the forced misery of the working class, grow. While the rich and politicians have continued to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth, workers and the poor have been forced to suffer. It is in this context that the majority of the leaders of the largest trade unions have, unfortunately, elected to once again place their faith in a social dialogue and partnerships with big business and the state. So while the state and bosses have been on the offensive against workers and the poor, union officials have been appealing to them to save jobs during the crisis. Not surprisingly, this strategy has largely failed. While union leaders and technocrats have been debating about the policies that should or should not be taken to overcome the crisis, bosses and the state have retrenched over 1 million workers in a bid to increase profits. It is, therefore, sheer folly for union leaders to believe that the state and bosses are interested in compromise – without being forced into it. As seen by their actions, the elite are only interested in maintaining their power, wealth and lifestyles by making the workers and the poor pay for the crisis. For the elite, social dialogue is simply a tool to tie the unions up and limit their real strength – direct action by members. In fact, even before the crisis, social dialogue had been a disaster for the unions contributing towards their bureaucratisation and having abysmal results in terms of them trying to influence the state away from its pro-rich macro-economic policies. read full story / add a comment
russia / ucraina / bielorussia / storia / opinione / analisi Monday March 21, 2011 18:38 byShawn Hattingh 1 image
Negli anni recenti, molti a sinistra hanno cercato di formulare una visione del socialismo fondato sulla democrazia. Ne è nata una pletora di giornali e di dibattiti a livello internazionale su quanto sia necessario che il socialismo debba essere di natura partecipativa se si vuole conseguire la vera libertà. Alcuni hanno dato a questa ricerca nomi evocativi di una sorta di socialismo democratico, quali "Socialismo del 21° secolo", "socialismo-dal-basso" ed anche "ecosocialismo". In Sud Africa la voglia di socialismo democratico ha suscitato iniziative quali la Conferenza per una Sinistra Democratica (CSL); e persino il Partito Comunista del Sud Africa ha sottolineato la necessità di un programma socialista più partecipativo. [English] read full story / add a comment
russia / ukraine / belarus / history / opinion / analysis Thursday March 17, 2011 08:00 byShawn Hattingh 4 comments (last - friday march 18, 2011 22:01) 1 image
Over the last few years, many on the left have been trying to formulate a vision of socialism based on democracy. As a consequence countless papers and talks have been produced internationally about how socialism needs to be participatory if true freedom is to be achieved. Some have given this search for a form of democratic socialism evocative names, such as ‘Twenty-First Century socialism’, ‘socialism-from-below’ and ‘ecosocialism’. In South Africa the desire for a democratic socialism has also inspired initiatives such as the Conference for a Democratic Left (CDL); while even the South African Communist Party has outlined a need for a more participatory socialist agenda. [Italiano] read full story / add a comment
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