I’ve been overly focused on North American politics of late. On August 16th of this year police in South Africa engaged striking platinum miners in Marikana, near Rustenberg. This event has been reported as the single most vicious use of state police since the apartheid era. 34 Killed. 78 Injured.
Photo courtesy of the Mail & Guardian
The Socialist Project has an analysis of the changing face of Union politics in South Africa — and certainly this is part of what happened in Marikana.
How easily people forget when workers forge new movements today. For a long time now the ongoing service delivery revolts throughout the country have failed to register on the lap tops and blackberries of the chattering classes. This is because of the social – and even geographic distance – of the middle classes to the new working-classes and the poor.
Now the sight of the police shooting striking workers on TV has brought the real world of current struggles right into the lounges and bedrooms of public opinion.
But there is another story here too. A story about how South Africa’s violence and poverty has not improved in the post-Apartheid era. About a betrayal. There is a story here about a society that seems to be so deeply buried in the criminality of that era that its repeating the same vicious mistakes. Maybe they aren’t mistakes. Maybe the viciousness is intentional and that makes it worse. There is a story here about tribal divisions, intentionally cultivated and exploited to the hilt. Zulu men largely worked the mines. Zulu men died before the police line.
In the meantime the ANC seeks to provide both the face of sober concilliation and stern authority, calling for an inquiry while daring people to speak against it. Over a decade ago we had the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission. Well there’s a new Truth, its much the same as the old one. But the question is who is to be reconciled. Or what?
With details from Deep Read: Go tell it on the mountain – Mail & Guardian Online