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A year and half ahead of the 2018 general elections, the poor and working people of Zimbabwe are up in arms against President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his ZANU-PF regime which has been in power for 36 years. In the last 3 months Zimbabwe has been shaken by protest actions of workers, informal traders, commuter omnibus operators, and unemployed youths. These actions have occurred at a time when the country is experiencing a liquidity crisis and the ruling party structures are crumbling from within as liberation war veterans, once Mugabe’s staunch loyalists, break ranks from the regime. Meanwhile, the opposition political parties (a myriad of MDC splinter groups and two ZANU-PF splinter groups) are in talks to form a coalition party. The regime has since stepped up its repressive measures in a bid to squash dissent.
Freedom for All? Members of Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front threatened, activities disrupted, forced into hiding
southern africa / repression / prisoners Friday October 16, 2015 16:18 by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front
South Africa, 16 October 2015: On the evening of Friday 9 October 2015, a militant of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front in the impoverished black township of Khutsong (west of Johannesburg), was threatened with violence for his political work by a group of youths.The next morning, a political school that he and another member run in the area, was forcibly disrupted by an even larger mob. The two Zabalaza comrades were fortunately able to escape, but have had to flee to a neighbouring township where they are now in hiding. Meanwhile the thugs have returned to the house where “Tebogo” lives, looking for him.
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On 3 September 1984, the Vaal Triangle, which is located southeast of Johannesburg and was part of the industrial heartland of South Africa, exploded into unrest. A general stay-away from work was called, schools were closed, buses and taxis stood idle and militant protest spread across the country. It was the most significant and large-scale rebellion of the black working class since the Soweto Uprising of June, 1976, and signified one of the final nails in the coffin of apartheid and white minority rule.For the black working class living in the townships across the Vaal Triangle, such as Sharpeville, Sebokeng, Evaton, Bophelong, Boiketlong, Zamdela and others the conditions were very similar to those of today. A slump in the steel industry had led to many workers being retrenched, there were evictions of rent defaulters and bribery, corruption and self-enrichment of local councillors was rife. Councillors’ election promises went unfulfilled and township residents demanded their resignation; allegedly threatening that they would set fire to their houses should they fail to do so.
Thirty-one years later, on 21 April 2015, the Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court in the Vaal sentenced four community activists from Boiketlong to sixteen years in prison each for allegedly setting fire to the local ward councillor’s house and cars during a protest action.
Karl 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.
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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