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Search author name words: Shawn Hattingh

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international / the left / opinion / analysis Monday February 01, 2021 21:39 by Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
We are living in a world that for most people is broken and that has broken most people. It is not a god given world, but one that has been constructed by those in power and that has left most people mired in deprivation. Under COVID-19, this world has sunk to new lows. All is not lost though. There has historically been a section within the progressive movement – in different parts of the world and in South Africa – based around forms of radically democratic socialism that has not only tapped into the righteous anger of the working class, but has also sought to create a home and sense of belonging for people based on progressive values and principles such as mutual aid, solidarity and even love. If we want a better world, we need to revive the popularity of the types of politics, ethics, values, principles and practices that formed the essence – at their best – of such movements and update it for the context of the 21st century. read full story / add a comment
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west africa / community struggles / feature Thursday November 12, 2020 17:33 by Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
A video went viral on social media platforms on October 3, outlining how the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian police force shot a young man, dumped him at the side of the road and stole his car. What followed was three weeks of protests by young people against such police brutality and the corruption that defines the state; initially via social media, #EndSARS, and later in towns and cities across Nigeria. During these protests the Nigerian state used various tactics to either suppress the protests or to try and demobilise them through insincere “concessions”. To begin with, the ruling class, the state it controls and its head, President Muhammadu Buhari, attempted to quell the protests through window dressing. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu promised on October 11 that the SARS unit would be disbanded and supposedly replaced with a new unit called SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). This was an obvious lie, as the same personnel that formed part of SARS would form part of SWAT. Over the last several years the government has made similar announcements resulting in no actual change. Needless to say, the protests continued and grew into the largest in the history of Nigeria. As the protests grew, the state changed tactics and responded to the escalation with outright violence. Part of this involved the state deploying thugs to attack protestors in order to try and intimidate people off the streets. When this failed to produce the state’s desired result, it deployed the military and implemented a curfew in a number of cities. By October 20, however, the protests had spread across Nigeria. Some of the assets of the Nigerian ruling class were also targeted during these protests and the largest and most lucrative toll road in country, Lekki, in Lagos, was blockaded. On that day the military attempted to brutally end the protests and shot dead 12 people at the Lekki tollgate. read full story / add a comment
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international / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Wednesday July 15, 2020 01:40 by Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it often seems as if we are stuck in a dystopian movie. In this movie death is stalking us, hospitals overflow with the sick and dying, and the grave diggers are at work. We know more victims will soon die as the folly of millions of workers being forced by circumstances to return into cramped mines, banks, factories and warehouses is so evident. Those that are no longer needed by the billionaires who own the companies are marshalled daily by the police and military dishing out violence and on occasion, humiliation, to underline their power and the power of their bosses. It all feels so unreal, a ghastly movie playing out before our eyes.

The trauma of it all has led many people to seek solace in fiction or conspiracy theories. It can be morbidly comforting to believe in fantasy in times of strife. We, however, fall into such fantasies at our own peril. When we try and deny reality and escape from it – even if we are traumatised – we are left powerless. We miss that all of this has to do with the workings and power relations that define our everyday lives – the very workings and power relations of capitalism and state systems. read full story / add a comment
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international / the left / opinion / analysis Monday June 29, 2020 22:48 by Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
The ongoing capitalist crisis, and the impacts of COVID19, have made it clear that the capitalist and state system we live under is neither efficient nor just. Inequality has hit record levels and a small elite has more wealth than ever, while the very basics – such as a decent healthcare, water, housing, sanitation, food and electricity – cannot be effectively financed, run nor delivered. Politicians in every state abuse their power too and corruption is rife, only its severity varies. We see this even when there is a pandemic – some local politicians have even sold food parcels meant to alleviate people’s hunger during the COVID 19 lockdown. Parliamentary democracy is largely hollow with a majority of people having no real political power. The oppression of women and people of colour continues unabated and imperialism deepens everyday. Due to the ever-expanding nature of capitalism the ecology is on the verge of collapse. It is clear a movement for change and an alternative to capitalism and the state system is needed. One alternative that is proving to be viable in large parts of the Kurdish majority areas of the Middle East is Democratic Confederalism. In South Africa there is much we can learn, adopt and adapt from Democratic Confederalism for local movement building. read full story / add a comment
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international / anti-fascism / opinion / analysis Tuesday June 02, 2020 19:13 by Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
The rise of an authoritarian populist politics, which presents itself as against the “Establishment,”” for the “common” people and “anti-globalisation,” is happening worldwide — and there are dangerous signs in South Africa. The populist upsurge sees voters reject big, established parties that embraced neo-liberalism after the economic crisis of 2007, in the context of a retreating working class and left. The author argues that the solution is to build from below for a new society beyond the state, class rule and capitalism based on self-management and production for need. read full story / add a comment
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international / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday November 21, 2019 19:04 by Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh   image 1 image
Mandy Moussouris and Shawn Hattingh explain the roots and principles of anarcho-syndicalism and what these mean for the practice of worker education in movements inspired by these principles and traditions. Emphasising the democratic practice, working class rooted, organic and critical nature of the pedagogy, they explain that the practice seeks to intersect employed and unemployed women and men. Practically, the education provides a platform for post-revolutionary practice of direct democracy at the point of production and, thus, naturally included practical skills such as trades, accounting and sciences. read full story / add a comment
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