Hattingh, “Exploding Anger: Workers’ Struggles and Self-Organization in South Africa’s Mining Industry” (2014)

Shawn Hattingh, 2014, “Exploding Anger: Workers’ Struggles and Self-Organization in South Africa’s Mining Industry,” in Immanuel Ness, ed., New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism (Oakland: PM Press).

Get the PDF here.

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Hattingh, “Sugar Coating Exploitation” (2012)

From ZCommunications here

Sugar Coating Explotation

Hattingh, ” South Africa’s rulers have blood on their hands, again” (2013)

From ZCommunications here

South Africa’s rulers have blood on their hands, again

 

WSF (1998): “SADC : No friend of the working class”

WSF (1998): “SADC : No friend of the working class”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 4, number 2, fourth quarter 1998. Complete PDF is here

ecently, SADC (the Southern African Development Community) has been in the news a lot. In particular, SADC has intervened militarily in both Congo and Lesotho. SADC is a regional coalition of governments, and its members are the governments of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SADC pretends to stand for “democracy” and “development”. But the truth is different. Many of the SADC governments, such as Swaziland and Zimbabwe, have a long history of political oppression. And all of the SADC governments are anti-worker. In October 1997, SADC issued a statement called the Windhoek Declaration. This statement said that “the private sector [is] the locomotive of economic development,” and that “business requires … a climate in which it can develop safely, freely and profitably“.

What this means is that the bosses will play the main role in the economy, and that government must keep the bosses happy.

In practical terms, the statement means policies such as GEAR: privatisation, cuts in health and education spending, cuts in public sector jobs, more VAT and PAYE, less company tax, and low wages and few labour laws to protect workers (“flexible” labour). All of these policies mean less jobs and less money for the working class.

Zimbabwe’s form of GEAR (called ESAP) has seen mass cuts in education spending (down to the level of 1980), health care (down 39% in 1994-5), and jobs (22,000 jobs lost in the public sector; 33,000 in private industry).

WSF (1998): “Bad boy’s club: The ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ and mass murder in the Third World”

WSF (1998): “Bad boy’s club: The ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ and mass murder in the Third World”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 4, number 2, fourth quarter 1998. Complete PDF is here

The SABC adverts proclaimed it “the biggest peace movement in the world”. With police motorcycle sirens wailing, 467 brand new stretch limousines followed by secret service agents in 4x4s drove at breakneck speed through Durban towards luxury hotel suites. The cops had hustled the street kids off the pavements out of sight of the foreign TV cameras. Snipers adorned rooftops and recces prowled the sewers below. The bad boys of the Non-Aligned Movement were in town for their R75-million debating society party.

Peace movement! Ha! If you believe that, you need your head read.

NAM founder India and arch-rival Pakistan were there, having recently flexed their muscles in a display of idiotic, genocidal behaviour by conducting !@#$%^&*-for-tat atomic bomb tests that threatened to plunge Asia into nuclear war.

The United States- the only government insane enough to have actually committed atomic genocide – was there as an “observer” of 1998’s most dangerous neighbourhood argument.

So too were Ethiopia and Eritrea whose guns were only just cooling after having belted the hell out of each other’s civilian populations. And let’s not forget the “Democratic” Republic of Congo where dictator and tribalist Laurent Kabila was backstabbing his former allies.

Talk of “democracy” and human rights” was hot air for the media. Take Burma, where the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council crushes all minority ethnic groups and any attempt at democracy. South Africa has helped prop up this anti-worker reign of terror by selling the junta R1-million in arms between April 1994 and February 1998. Or Indonesia, where a brutal regime which climbed to power on the corpses of perhaps a million murdered leftists, still gluts itself at the public trough, jails trade unionists, and commits genocide in East Timor. Our bosses sold them R1,9-million in arms over the same period.

Or former NAM chair country Colombia, where the regime, with United States backing, wages a bitter murder

campaign against working and poor people under the guise of a fake “war on drugs”. South Africa sold them R184-million in arms.

What about Sudan, where a Muslim fundamentalist regime has outlawed any social group that is not a state organ? Well, we sold them R7,4-million in arms. And Algeria, where civil war between the terrorist junta and the terrorist opposition has seen entire villages wiped out and has cost well over 60,000 lives? R11-million in arms.

And this is not even to begin addressing the violent anti-worker neo-liberal “New World Order” which most of the NAM elite are welcoming with open arms: privatisation, casualisation, flexible labour, cuts in education and health spending.

So who heads up this nest of vipers? Well, South Africa of course, which has tried to use the buzz word of “African Renaissance” to cover the stench of its role as an exporter of death and oppression (identical to its role during apartheid, except that thanks to the end of the arms embargo, we are now able to sell killing equipment to more countries than ever before). President Nelson Mandela made it quite clear on his last visit to Asia – when oppressed people were desperately expecting him to take a hard line in defence of human rights – that South Africa will trade with anyone- even dictatorships.

The NAM summit saw South Africa trying to play a leading role in sub-Saharan Africa as a regional power-broker, a sort of overseer cracking the whip on countries seen as not toeing the neo-liberal line, a strategy which should endear it to the United States, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Both the 1995 Rwandan genocide (which saw SA assault rifles used against civilians) and the 1998 SANDF-lead invasion of Lesotho show that working class and poor people in the region and elsewhere in the world face the very real threat of finding themselves staring down the barrel of a South African-made gun.

(*arms sale figures: Sunday Times, June 28, 1998)

WSF (1998): “Focus: Unemployment crisis”

WSF (1998): “Focus: Unemployment crisis”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 4, number 2, fourth quarter 1998. Complete PDF is here

1 million lose jobs in two years

The job crisis: What is the solution?

South Africa is in the midst of an unemployment crisis unprecedented in its history. There at least 5 million jobless. The official unemployment rate is 30%, but the actual unemployment rate varies between different areas. In some locations, unemployment is near 80%.

The unemployment is being increased by a massive process of job shedding in all major sectors of the economy.

* Overall, jobs have fallen by 1,230,000 since 1995

* Farming: jobs have fallen from 1,5 million to 750,000 over the last four years.

* Mining: at least 200,000 jobs have been shed over the last two years. This has taken place despite a two-year productivity agreement between the National Union of Mineworkers and the mine bosses.

* Overall, the number of jobs is at the level it was at in 1984. In other words, although the population has grown over the last fourteen years, job creation has simply not kept pace. Only 1 in every ten school leavers finds work.

THE REAL CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT

*Fire the Bosses- Workers Must Manage the Factories, Mines and Farms through their Trade Unions

We live in a capitalist society. This society is controlled by big companies, and by the government. Both of these structures concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few- the ruling class of bosses and politicians.

BOSSES

Capitalism creates unemployment. Even a healthy capitalist economy has a lot of unemployment. The bosses always make sure that there are some workers without jobs. This is so that they can use the unemployed as scabs during strikes, and as a way of controlling workers who want to fight back: “You can go and complain with the jobless at the roadside!”

The bosses create more unemployment by using machines to take jobs.

CRISIS

Capitalism is a very unstable system. It goes through periods of growth and periods of crisis. The whole world’s economy went into a crisis in the early 1970s. This includes South Africa. The crisis is still going on today.

During this period of crisis, unemployment has become even worse. This is because many companies have collapsed or shrunk their operations.

The companies that are still going are trying to cut their costs so that they can keep making profits. One way of cutting costs is to cut back on the number of workers employed through “workplace restructuring” – either by using fewer workers to do more, or by replacing workers with machines.

Government policies around the world during the current crisis are making unemployment worse. These policies, which take the form of GEAR in South Africa [see GEAR article on p. 20 for more details], involve privatisation, cut backs in the public sector, and allowing in cheap exports which undermine local industries.

WORKERS CONTROL

Unemployment is built into capitalism and will only end when capitalism is replaced by real socialism. We do not mean the thing that existed in Russia. We mean libertarian socialism under workers control brought about through revolutionary trade union action to take over the factories, offices, mines and farms (anarcho-syndicalism).