WSF (1996): “Don’t Wait For The Government! The Poor Must Take Back The Land”
From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 2, third quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here
The land question will be the site of massive struggle in the future. Since 1652, the colonial and apartheid governments have dispossessed the indigenous people of the land in favour of rich White farmers.
WAR AGAINST THE POOR
Today 60 000 mainly white farmers own about 87% of all land. But 68% of the rural population (mainly African and Coloured working- class people) live in extreme poverty. Labour control is extremely violent and unions rare. Unemployment is very high, as machines are used to replace workers.
In the bantustans, the chiefs control access to land and use this power to extract labour and taxes from working and poor people. They use their connections with the government to enrich themselves and enforce their rule. Women are denied access to land on the grounds of so-called tradition.
Whatever the role of the chiefs may have been in pre- colonial times, it is clear that they spent the twentieth century as allies of the racist capitalist state. The actions of these so- called “Bantu Authorities” are well known in the reserves.
Heavy use of chemicals on the “White” farms, and land shortages in the reserves, have led to massive environmental degradation. This worsens the conditions of the workers and the poor.
CAN THE RDP DELIVER?
The ANC- led government’s land reform policy is totally inadequate for the task at hand. Continue reading