With the claims that a new trade union federation will be launched in March 2017, it is appropriate to draw up a balance sheet of the labour movement in South Africa, and ask whether the optimism of many that a new Left force is going to be unleashed is justified. Or whether the possibilities for a force of revolutionary working class politics lie elsewhere … //
… State of the Unions: … //
… State of COSATU: … //
… The Sources for COSATU’s Demise: … //
… How Should We Regard COSATU’s Demise? … //
… It is not a given that the building of a mass working class movement privileges trade unions: … //
… Self-Organization and Struggle is the Key: … //
… The Organizing Role of Capitalism Itself and New Questions for the Movement: … //
… In these senses, and others, neoliberal capitalism is organizing the class, objectively, differently to that of most of 20th century capitalism. And so the forms of organizing within the new movement will also be different.
But, seeing that the victory of neoliberalism was predicated on a profound defeat of the dominated classes since the 1970s and 1980s, the existential question arises: How does the class which is being organized differently, objectively, out of defeats by this form of capitalism yet find ways to forge a movement which is an expression not of defeat, but of new capabilities able to turn the historic defeats into new victories?
To do this the class is experimenting with new ways of organizing. But this is not a “pure” organizing question, but a political one of finding within these experiments new ways of how to re-assert the need for unity, for political power and for emancipatory practices, both as a vision for Left politics, for movements as well as practices within movements.
Any Left worth its salt needs to be part of these processes – grappling with the strategic, tactical, organizational and political questions that they throw up.
(Leonard Gentle is a long-time South African political activist and trade unionist, and is the retired director of the International Labour Research and Information Group ILRIG.org).
Congo: Etienne Tshisekedi and the future of Congo - a tribute, on Pambazuka News.org, by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Feb 16, 2017: the first Congolese to earn a doctoral degree in law from the University of Kinshasa, Tshisekedi is considered the most important leader in the central African nation after the iconic nationalist Patrice Lumumba. He was a very principled man; an incorruptible politician whose single interest was the wellbeing of the Congolese people;
Japan: Fukushima, Still Getting Worse After Six Years of Meltdowns, on Dissident Voice, by William Boardman, Feb 14, 2017: even Fox News reports radiation at unimaginable levels … (nuclear-news.net);
Switzerland: Corporate Tax Reform III – by order of the OECD, on Current Concerns, by Dr iur Marianne Wüthrich, Feb 6, 2017: how can the sovereign state of Switzerland deal with it? Federal referendum of Feb 12, 2017 …
(Swiss vote results 12 February 2017 - today, Swiss voted on:
whether to make it easier for third generation residents to become Swiss nationals. This plan was accepted by 60.4% of voters;
the vote to overhaul the company tax system was rejected by 59.1% of voters,
and the vote to spend more federal funds on roads was accepted by 62% of voters);
Canada: Class, Party and the Challenge of State Transformation, on Canadian Dimension, by LEO PANITCH and SAM GINDIN, Jan 31, 2017: the following is excerpted from Socialist Register 2017: Rethinking Revolution, edited by Gregory Albo and Leo Panitch. Populated by an array of passionate thinkers and thoughtful activists, Rethinking Revolution reappraises the historical effects of the Russian revolution—positive and negative—on political, intellectual, and cultural life, and looks at consequent revolutions after 1917. You can purchase the edition here;
South Africa: The Crisis, Bailouts, Quantitative Easing, Tapering and Class War, on ILRIG.org, by Shawn Hattingh, not dated;
… and this: