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southern africa / environment / opinion / analysis Friday December 07, 2018 19:20 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, South Africa falls within the 15 biggest polluters in the world. But there is also a class dimension when it comes to pinning down which sections of society are responsible for air pollution – the major polluters in South Africa are the ruling class (capitalists, politicians and top state bureaucrats) and their state and corporations (including state corporations), continuing an economy based on cheap black labour, mining and externalising costs. State-backed”empowerment” firms — for Afrikaners from 1948, and blacks from 1994 — are deeply involved.
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international / anti-fascism / opinion / analysis Thursday July 26, 2018 02:39 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
The context we now exist in is one that is defined by glaring contradictions everywhere, its fractured, changing, unstable and confrontational. It is a time of despair, but also pockets of hope. On the one hand, a spectre is haunting us, but it is not the one that Marx spoke of. Rather an authoritarian and extreme right wing form of capitalism, last seen on extensive scale in the 1930s, is rearing its hideous ghost-like head. This right wing extremism has become an ‘acceptable’ form of politics amongst some people in the context of the unresolved capitalist crisis. It is the ‘solution’ amongst sections of ruling classes in many countries to a crisis that is not going away. As part of this, many states are passing laws attacking basic rights that oppressed classes have won through decades and even centuries of struggle (including in South Africa); states are beginning to bare their teeth more often rather than being in a position to rule by consent; toxic nationalisms based on exclusionary racial, ethnic and religious identities (including within sections of the population in South Africa) have once again become acceptable and even embraced by sections of the population (giving rise to the likes of Trump, Le Pen and Duterte and xenophobia and other ills in South Africa); and bigotry and hate are back. Yet there is also hope. In many parts of the world, sections of the working class have fought back. This has seen movements of protests in some parts, attempts to revive unions in others and in some cases the re-emergence of left political parties and projects. But it is also a restructured working class, a working class that is fundamentally different from even the 1970s. New or different forms of organising happen next to the old. It is thus also a working class in which the past weighs like a nightmare on the present in organisational terms; experimenting with the new and different ways of organising, but also falling back into the old. read full story / add a comment
mashriq / arabia / iraq / the left / opinion / analysis Friday June 15, 2018 07:57 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
In this education series we look at experiments, which have arisen through working class struggles, to create alternatives to capitalism. This will include looking at present and past alternatives to capitalism. In doing this, we are not saying these experiments should be carbon copied – they have often taken place in very different times and contexts.
Rather we are trying to show that, through struggle and experimentation, new societies that overturn capitalism can be brought into being; even under very harsh conditions. This, we believe, provides hope to working class struggles: what we have today under the capitalist and state system can be ended and replaced by a better society. Experiments in alternatives show clearly how another world is possible.
In this article, the first article of the education series on alternatives to capitalism, we look at an experiment that is taking place today, known as the Rojava Revolution, to overturn capitalism and the state system in northern Syria (which is being subjected to an imperialist and civil war). In Rojava a social revolution, influenced by libertarian socialism, has been underway since 2012 and a new society has emerged in the process.
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southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Monday February 19, 2018 14:58 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
The article looks at the structural reasons why Ramaphosa replacing Zuma as the head of state in South Africa won't end corruption. read full story / add a comment
international / workplace struggles / opinion / analysis Saturday January 13, 2018 00:51 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
Mechanisation and automation have been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But these are not inevitable or neutral economic realities. They are political weapons of oppression under capitalism. It is a war against the working classes to increase profits. It is no an accident that bosses choose to mechanise and automate in the context of the massive crisis of capitalism. read full story / add a comment
région sud de l'afrique / impérialisme / guerre / opinion / analyse Wednesday December 06, 2017 09:58 by Shawn Hattingh
Cet article s’attache à comprendre les événements récents qui ont entouré la démission de Robert Mugabe au Zimbabwe. L’auteur ne pense pas que cela est susceptible d’amener une quelconque forme de libération pour le peuple du Zimbabwe, étant donné que cela ne répond pas aux problèmes auxquels le Zimbabwe doit faire face : une classe dirigeante sans scrupules, l’État, le capitalisme et l’impérialisme. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / imperialism / war / feature Friday December 01, 2017 18:39 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
This article looks at the recent events around the removal of Robert Mugabe from power in Zimbabwe. It argues that this will not bring liberation for the people of Zimbabwe, as it does not address the problems Zimbabwe faces – a ruthless ruling class, its state, capitalism and imperialism.
Robert Mugabe, the longstanding authoritarian ruler that has waged a war against Zimbabwe’s poor, is gone. He was forced to resign in the wake of a coup – although the main actors in the coup comically denied it was one.
When it was announced that Mugabe was exiting power, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Harare to celebrate. Many are hoping that his exit will bring change for the better for Zimbabwe. This hope, unfortunately, may be wishful thinking. The reason for this is that Mugabe was a symptom of far deeper problems, and without addressing those problems, Zimbabwe cannot be free; nor can there be genuine equality. Similarly, those that removed Mugabe are cut from the same cloth, and come from the same ruthless ruling class. [Français] read full story / add a comment
southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Thursday October 12, 2017 19:58 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
Wave after wave of community protests have been taking place in South Africa. People are angry that after twenty years of so-called freedom they are still confined to living in shacks, having to defecate in communal toilets, and having essential services terminated when they can’t afford to pay. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / community struggles / opinion / analysis Friday June 09, 2017 19:56 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
The hope that the end of apartheid would herald a better life for the oppressed in South Africa has evaporated. Their conditions today are materially as bad as under apartheid - and even worse in some cases. But the upper classes are having the time of their lives. Working class struggles should be intensified and linked, based on self-organising and direct democracy to bring about real change.
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international / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Friday May 05, 2017 18:10 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
Globally and in South Africa, the capitalist system is becoming more and more unstable. Over the last period, the responses of the ruling classes in many parts of the world to this growing crisis has been a turn to authoritarianism. This has been done to hold onto power and to increase their control over wealth. Factions within ruling classes, in countries such as South Africa, are also engaged in a battle over shrinking opportunities to accumulate wealth. Competition between factions within ruling classes is, therefore, also intensifying. This too is feeding into an intensification of imperialist rivalries. The consequences are that over the last few months the threat of large scale war globally, as part of a show down between imperialist powers, has become an awful possibility. The only force capable of changing this situation is the working class locally and internationally. Yet to do so, struggles need to come together, new forms appropriate to combating a rampant and growing authoritarian form of neoliberalism are needed; and such struggles need to be infused with a revolutionary progressive politics. While struggles are taking place in different parts of the world, none as yet have come to hold these three ingredients on a large scale. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Friday March 31, 2017 20:26 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
In the midst of gorging themselves through exploitation and corruption, competing factions of the flabby ruling class in South Africa (the ruling class being capitalists, politicians and top state officials) have once again stepped into the ring to take pieces out of one another. In the one corner of the fight is the Zuma faction - comprised of sections of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) capitalists, top state officials, and politicians aligned to Zuma - while in the other corner is the Ramaphosa/Gordhan faction - comprised of sections of the ANC leadership such as Ramaphosa and Gordhan, white capital and the South African Communist Party (SACP). These factions have recently been standing toe to toe exchanging blows and in the process, metaphorical blood has been spilled: those of a few Cabinet Ministers, including Pravin Gordhan. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / economy / opinion / analysis Sunday February 26, 2017 03:28 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance of South Africa stood up in the circus that passes itself off as a National Parliament and without any sense of irony what-so- ever declared that the South African state’s budget for 2017 was redistributive and progressive. If the Minister was to be believed, therefore, the budget was aimed at making a dent in the substantial class and racial inequalities that exist in the country. To back this up, supporters pointed out that the tax rate on top earners was raised marginally in the budget and people receiving dividends from shares would have to pay 5% more on these in tax. Despite this, one word could sum up the idea that the budget presented was redistributive and progressive: bullshit. Rather the budget presented by Minister Pravin Gordhan was yet again another attack on the working class. What the budget did was to favour corporations at the expense of the poor. In doing so, it remained based on the neoliberal dogma that has defined South Africa’s post-apartheid politics. In other words, the budget was a vivid demonstration of how the state is an instrument and weapon of the ruling class that functions to benefit that class. This can be seen throughout the budget, including how the state plans to raise money and how it plans to spend it. read full story / add a comment
southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Saturday November 05, 2016 22:47 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
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.
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southern africa / miscellaneous / opinion / analysis Tuesday May 10, 2016 16:41 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
Across the political spectrum, individuals and organisations have been expressing their disgust and shock that a faction – indeed a single family, the Guptas – have ‘captured’ the state. Consequently, there have been calls for state ‘capture’ to be ended though firing Zuma.
The Gupta’s offering cabinet posts to politicians, if true, was brazen and corrupt. While the fact that a section of capitalists – in this case a family – have such influence over the state should disgust us; it should not come as a surprise. To understand why, it is important to look at what states are, why they arose, and whose interests they serve. Coupled to this, it is essential to look at a few examples of how the state and capitalism in South Africa have always been defined by cronyism and corruption. read full story / add a comment
international / economy / feature Sunday September 13, 2015 08:46 by Shawn Hattingh 1 comment (last - monday september 14, 2015 03:52) 1 image
It was long ago stated that capitalism came into the world dripping in blood and dirt, from every pore, from head to toe. While it has demonstrated that it won’t simply collapse under its own weight, the recent goings-on around the current capitalist crisis have shown that with age it has become even more hideous. Capitalism is now rank with massive state intervention required to simply keep its rotting body moving: through states propping up the financial sector and deepening the colossal attack on the working class.
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central africa / imperialism / war / opinion / analysis Wednesday April 29, 2015 17:31 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
In the heat of the struggle for statues like that of Rhodes – the arch-symbol of British imperialism – to be pulled down, and in the midst of the horror of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, few people seemed to notice an announcement by Jacob Zuma that South African troops will remain at war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for another year. Of course, Zuma made this announcement on behalf of the South African ruling class – comprised today of white capitalists and a black elite mainly centred around the state, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and ‘traditional’ royal families. In this there was a real irony that while Rhodes’s likeness was falling from its perch at the University of Cape Town, and immigrants from other parts of Africa and Asia were being attacked because of sentiments stoked up by a rehabilitated relic of apartheid (the Zulu king, Zwelithini), the South African ruling class felt brash enough to say they will be continuing their own imperialist war in the DRC. read full story / add a comment
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. read full story / add a comment
Νότια Αφρική (Περιφέρεια) / Λαϊκοί Αγώνες / Γνώμη / Ανάλυση Saturday October 04, 2014 20:54 by Shawn Hattingh - Lucien van der Walt 1 image
Ο θάνατος του Νέλσον Μαντέλα συνοδεύτηκε από χιλιάδες άρθρα και εκατομμύρια ανθρώπων τα οποία απέδιδαν σε αυτόν φόρο τιμής. Εξυμνώντας τον σωστά, για την εναντίωση του στον φυλετισμό, την συνεισφορά του στους απελευθερωτικούς αγώνες στην N. Αφρική και για την στάση του ενάντια στο καθεστώς του απαρτχάιντ, το οποίο και τον κράτησε φυλακισμένο για 27 χρόνια. Για μεγάλο μέρος της ζωής του ο Νέλσον Μαντέλα υπήρξε η βασική φιγούρα των απελευθερωτικών αγώνων στην N. Αφρική κατά την διάρκεια των δεκαετιών του 1960, 1970 και 1980.
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mashriq / arabia / iraq / imperialism / war / feature Sunday September 28, 2014 06:13 by Shawn Hattingh 1 image
This article highlights how the US state created the conditions in the Middle East in which a right-wing reactionary force like the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) could emerge. Along with this – and central to the article – it discusses how the US state is refusing to back the only two effective forces that are fighting the Islamic State: the Kurdish Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units. Indeed, this article is also written to express solidarity with the People’s Protection Units that are currently fighting a key battle against the Islamic State to hold onto the city of Kobani in Syria. [Italiano] read full story / add a comment
mashrek / arabia / irak / imperialismo / guerra / opinione / analisi Saturday September 27, 2014 16:24 by Shawn Hattingh 1 comment (last - saturday october 04, 2014 07:38) 1 image
Le notizie che vanno per la maggiore raccontano le storie degli orrori commessi dallo Stato Islamico (IS) in Siria ed in Iraq ma anche di come gli Stati Uniti vogliano apparentemente mettere fine a questi orrori per ragioni umanitarie. Quello che non viene mai detto dai media privati e di Stato è da dove viene l'IS, quali sono le vere ragioni di questo nuovo intervento degli USA in Medio Oriente, della volontà degli USA di isolare e distruggere le uniche due forze che stanno realmente combattendo contro l'IS: il PKK e le YPG. [English] read full story / add a comment