On the 24th June the Socialist Party held a public meeting on the struggles in South Africa that have developed over the past year. Introduced by Sean Figg, who has recently returned to the UK from 4 months in South Africa, Sean discussed the ongoing massive inequalities in South Africa; where huge proportions of the population live in villages with limited electricity supplies and resources while the ruling classes enjoy huge wealth brought on by South Africa’s massive supply of commodities such as platinum and gold.
Michael Johnson, Leeds City Socialist Party
Sean outlined how these inequalities, coupled with the historic legacy of fighting the apartheid movement, that lead to the strike by miner workers last year and subsequent massacre at Marikana that prompted huge national and international outrage.
It was discussed how in the wake of this massacre, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), helped link up the strike committees of mineworkers to help organise the ongoing strikes and fightback against the repressive ANC government. This fightback in turn lead to workers across South Africa coming to the conclusion that the ANC wasn’t a party of the mass of South Africans, only a small wealthy elite, and what was needed was a new party to represent them which has led to the launch of the Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) in March.
Since WASPs massively successful launch it has been the focus of a huge smear campaign by the government and activists and workers have been met by consistent repression with leading members of the workers committees losing their jobs. Liv Shange, a leading member of the DSM, is even currently fighting against an attempt by the ANC to deport her to Sweden!
Over the course of the meeting over £150 was raised in support of the work in South Africa, much needed as due to the terrible inequality in South Africa, the workers at the forefront of this fightback have extremely limited resources, even just to communicate with each other.
The meeting closed with a reminder of the huge potential, despite these attacks, for the workers in South Africa to win significant gains, and a lesson that even with limited resources the correct programme of ideas at the right time can have a monumental impact.
After the meeting, Socialist Party member Iain Dalton was interviewed about it by BCB Radio, you can listen to the interview here http://www.podcast.canstream.co.uk/bcb/index.php?id=12629 (29 mins in)
There is also an appeal for messages of protest against the South African governments threats to deport Liv Shange – please see http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6368