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For how long can South African elites keep misleading the people?

category southern africa | migration / racism | opinion / analysis author Wednesday August 26, 2015 15:02author by Philip Nyalungu - Personal capacityauthor email zacf at riseup dot net Report this post to the editors

Those in power don’t want to confront the status quo of hatred against immigrants, or South Africa’s imperialist role in the region. They have a narrow set of interests: getting votes, accumulating wealth and power. However, the recent wave of attacks on immigrants and the ruptures of relations with other African countries – especially where South African corporations are operating – have touched the most delicate nerves of the established political powers, who have vowed to advance corporate interests in making profits.

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Regardless of who you vote for, these corporations reign above people, along with big politicians and state officials. Whether you are a South African or a “foreign” member of the working class, you remain a threat to these elites. And if you unite, as the masses, against the elites, they get deeply worried. This is not surprising as today South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. When Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) activists together with foreign nationals marched against xenophobia in Durban, the police blocked them, telling AbM activists to “stay away from things that do not concern them.” The recent actions by the South African National Defence Force, in occupying areas where the anti-foreigner attacks took place, but targeting foreigners in these raids, is also a tactic to weaken those showing solidarity with victims of xenophobia and those who are critical of ANC government.

Likewise, government officials warning people not to share their views on the attacks and the SANDF response through social media, on the absurd grounds that this inflames attacks, is not simply mediocrity, but deeply disturbing. As when former President Thabo Mbeki said HIV did not cause AIDS, this is another sad day for South Africa.

There needs to be an open process and discussion. The challenge of xenophobia in South Africa is so serious that we need something like a “Truth Commission” where everyone can be given an opportunity to reflect and speak out without fear or favour. Let us be honest about how widespread this hatred is; let us not pretend, like state officials, that the attacks are simply examples of criminal violence. We, as the working class, have to tackle this demon.

I don’t know of any South African who has never come across vicious xenophobic sentiments by fellow South Africans, white and black. These can be heard from parents, relatives, friends, community members, work colleagues, government officials and the public at large. It is not a matter of a few bad apples, but a problem we need to confront as the working class. The politicians will not do this – they blame the problems on criminal elements and secret agendas; not one major politician from the ruling party has even spoken out against the venomous words of the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who helped spark the latest attacks with his utterances. They have instead shamelessly and readily gone all out to defend this man – who, since his infamous “pack their bags” speech, has gone on, with the police minister and their fellow brutes, to walk with self-importance and rub salt on the wounds.

But are we as the working class doing any better? The fact is that the same is happening amongst us ordinary South Africans: we don’t confront those who utter such vicious and venomous words, which is a daily occurrence. There are many unreported xenophobic incidents, not just the big outbreaks, but do we act? Not often. About five or six years ago, my Xhosa neighbour in his early 20s, got stabbed and killed in front of his gate by fellow Xhosa young men merely because he was protecting Shangaans! The local ANC leadership didn’t do anything to condemn this cruel act. I can also tell you it was never reported as xenophobia and such incidents are voluminous.
It is like in apartheid, when whites were taught from an early age that blacks are inferior to them: today, black South Africans are taught that foreigners with dark skins, especially those who are poor and from Africa are inferior humans to them. The attacks, in this situation, target black Africans from elsewhere. I am also aware that Pakistanis and other related foreign nationals are being attacked.

The violence and hate must also be seen as deeply shaped by the current economic and political situation in the country. As long as the current grossly evasive ANC-led government, and party politics in general, are not successfully challenged by something serious – a big working class movement and rebellion for real change – South Africa is heading towards disaster. Small movements on university campuses like the “#Cecil John Rhodes statue must fall” initiative fail to address these massive tasks.

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Southern Africa | Migration / racism | en

Mon 24 Apr, 17:29

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zacfront_symbol.jpg imageTerre'Blanche is dead; long live the workers! 04:57 Wed 28 Apr by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front will shed no tears for the killing of the racist Eugene Terre'Blanche. Why should revolutionary workers lament the death of a thug who lived in nostalgia for the days when his emulation of Hitler and (empty) threats of war shook the whole country, and who never ceased to exploit and terrorise the black workers on a farm that should rightly be managed by those who work it to meet the needs of all and not be the property of any one single person?

1_2.jpg imageDon't fight your neighbours for their houses - Fight the government for houses for all! 18:10 Wed 28 May by Joe Soap 0 comments

Over 5000 people from South Africa and Zimbabwe to the Congo and Ethiopia marched through Johannesburg on Saturday, 24th May in protest against xenophobic violence, which ravaged South Africa during the previous two weeks leaving more than 50 dead and an estimated 35 000 immigrants displaced from their homes.

1_1.jpg imageAgainst Chauvinism, Against Nationalism! 17:29 Fri 23 May by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 1 comments

[ Nederlands] [ Ελληνικά] As the media, the politicians and the "experts" rack their brains in search of the cause of the "criminality" and "xenophobia" that has killed 42 people in 10 days and driven 15 000 from their homes, organisations of the working class have come closer to the truth than any of these wise men and women. The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front supports and replies to the Abahlali baseMjondolo Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg

imageOne Year after the 2015 Grahamstown Riots against Foreign Traders Dec 15 by Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

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.grahamstown-riots

imageAttacks on Foreigners: Only the Ruling Class Benefits Feb 01 by Siyabulela Hulu-Hulu 0 comments

Attacks on African and Asian foreigners flared up in South Africa twice in 2015, first in April, mainly in KwaZulu, then in October in Grahamstown, the Eastern Cape. Many attacks were on small (spaza) shops run by foreigners. Maybe 500 were displaced in October. The looting and smashing of property in spaza shops, and the immensity of these criminal activities country wide, has had an incredible and negative impact on our democracy, on our lives, on our livelihoods, and reflects badly on the nation's morality.

imageDear Mama: Anarchist poetry against the anti-foreigner pogroms in Grahamstown, South Africa Nov 09 by Leroy Maisiri 0 comments

The poem below was written by Zimbabwean Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front comrade Leroy Maisiri, against the backdrop of the a wave of riots against African and Asian ‘foreigners’ that started to sweep Grahamstown, South Africa, from Wednesday 21 October 2015. By Saturday, around 300 shops, mostly small businesses, owned by people from countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia, had been targeted, many burnedand looted. Perhaps 500 people have been displaced, many are in hiding. While university and college student protests across town faced down the state in the fight against high fees in a heroic struggle, mobs provoked by rumours of murders and mutilations by ‘foreigners,’spurred on by malicious forces including local taxi drivers, attacked the ‘foreigners.’ Heroic efforts by the local Unemployed Peoples Movement (UPM) and some other township residents were not enough to halt the carnage. Working class, see this divide-and-rule for what it is! You have nothing to gain from this. As the UPM says, “We are all the victims of colonialism and capitalism. We all need to stand together for justice. If unemployed young men chase a man from Pakistan out of Grahamstown they will still be unemployed and poor the next day. The students have shown us what unity can do.” The students have shown us the way forward.

image‘Xenophobia’, service delivery protest and government failure: The case of Thembelihle Jun 02 by Jonathan Payn 0 comments

Like in 2008, the recent wave of anti-immigrant violence and looting of foreign-owned stores that followed King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners must “pack their bags and leave” quickly spread to cities and townships across the country. Unlike other places in Johannesburg, however, there were no reports of xenophobic violence in Thembelihle and, although the violence spread to numerous parts of Soweto in 2008, this adjacent township was unaffected then too. This article, based on an interview with an activist from the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), looks at how working class self-organisation and solidarity helped curb or prevent the outbreak of xenophobic attacks and attempts to draw lessons for preventing future attacks.

textThe Poison of Nationalism Sep 10 by Steffi 0 comments

Some of the people attacked in recent xenophobic pogroms in South Africa were born in South Africa or have a South African passport. Aren’t they South Africans? What makes a South African? How many generations must one have lived here to be accepted? What skin colour does one have to have? When thinking about this it quickly becomes clear that who is a South African and who is not is not a scientific decision. It is about what people think and want and this changes over time.

more >>

imageTerre'Blanche is dead; long live the workers! Apr 28 ZACF 0 comments

We in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front will shed no tears for the killing of the racist Eugene Terre'Blanche. Why should revolutionary workers lament the death of a thug who lived in nostalgia for the days when his emulation of Hitler and (empty) threats of war shook the whole country, and who never ceased to exploit and terrorise the black workers on a farm that should rightly be managed by those who work it to meet the needs of all and not be the property of any one single person?

imageAgainst Chauvinism, Against Nationalism! May 23 ZACF 1 comments

[ Nederlands] [ Ελληνικά] As the media, the politicians and the "experts" rack their brains in search of the cause of the "criminality" and "xenophobia" that has killed 42 people in 10 days and driven 15 000 from their homes, organisations of the working class have come closer to the truth than any of these wise men and women. The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front supports and replies to the Abahlali baseMjondolo Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg

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