South African miners' families back Julius Malema's call for nationalisation
Source: The Guardian
They were there in their thousands, leaning against tin shacks or sitting in the dusty veld: miners and their wives still looking for answers after a massacre by South African police that left 34 striking workers dead. A red T-shirt worn by a rally organiser seemed to offer one, stating: "Fuck capitalism."
The huge crowd erupted as a charismatic young politician, Julius Malema, took the microphone. He is seen by some as a dangerous demagogue, but to the grieving, angry community at the Lonmin mine in Marikana he came as a messiah offering a radical future.
"The British are owning this mine," he said. "The British are making money out of this mine ... It is not the British who were killed. It is our black brothers. But it is not these brothers who are mourned by the president. Instead he goes to meet capitalists in air-conditioned offices."
Malema was expelled this year as president of the youth wing of the governing African National Congress after falling out with President Jacob Zuma, whom he accuses of failing to challenge "white monopoly capital". He has since been in the political wilderness; once contemptuous of the media, he now courts it. As the Marikana tragedy lays bare discontent over inequalities 18 years after apartheid, he senses his moment.
Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/18/south-african-miners-julius-malema
Twenty years or so ago, most of us agreed to give a chance to a modified form of free market development. We thought there didn't seem to be any alternative to continued bloodshed and the misery of civil wars that were grinding along without much benefit for those who were paying the costs of conflicts around the world. So, we tried doing something different, their way.
Now, two decades later, the inequality is still there, and in some cases worse than before. Sure, it has a local face, at least in politics. But, the owners aren't local and they still don't look like the people doing the work and shedding the blood.
What are we going to do, now?
The changes since 1994 have not been nearly deep enough to fundamentally transform the country.
And the "Democratic Alliance," the right-wing "liberal" group promoted by some in the West, opposes not just nationalization, but also even higher taxes on foreign mining concerns. The solution can be and must be found in the ruling liberation alliance. Unfortunately, this will require a struggle against the right-wing of the ANC, and for the left in the ANC, COSATU, and the SA Communist Party.