Saturday, 5 September 2009

Patrick Bond on South African protests

Rhodes University workers protest on August 7
More on the Service delivery protests in South Africa, this time from Patrick Bond, from the Centre for Civil Society at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban. When and why did these protests start? My starting point is 1997 for ‘service delivery protests’ in their contemporary form... as neoliberalism [free market policies] descended. Who is protesting and what are they protesting for? Varied! See some coverage at Centre for Civil Society. What has been the government’s reaction? Mainly repression and half-hearted cooptation. What is the next step for the protest movement? To form a ‘movement’ out of a large number of discrete disconnected revolts. Some in the media are saying the protesters are “xenophobic”. Is this true? There is an element there, yes; but mainly it's a critique of retail capital which is often dominated by foreign nationals in buying syndicates. Very complicated. This may help: Xenophobia tears apart SA’s working class (May, 27 2008). What has changed, and what has not changed since the end of Apartheid? Phew, big question... see my latest summary, from the current New Left Review. [Re-published on UNIYTblog here]

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