South Africa

The Three Worlds of Social Democracy

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The authors discuss the social democratic models in Western Europe, South America and peripheries. The central model in Europe discussed by Max Crook is British social democracy, which championed a mixed economy with the free market dogma of containing inflation through a monetarist economic policy. New Labour saw social democracy integrate the neoliberal economic model.

A precious victory for South African miners

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The successful strike by platinum miners marks an important shift in the confidence of South African workers.

The miners, who are part of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), struck for five months in one of the country’s longest running industrial disputes.

They won significant concessions from the bosses, a 20 percent wage rise for new workers (around £55 a month) and between 7 and 8.5 percent increase for more skilled workers. Many will have their pay backdated from July of last year.

A new workers' party in South Africa?

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In the single most important political development in South Africa's post apartheid history, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has decided to challenge the leadership of the country's main trade union Cosatu federation, and particularly its decision to dismiss the general secretary, Zwelizima Vavi.

South Africa in revolt

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South Africa is in the grip of a high level of protests and strikes. Socialist Review spoke to Pete Alexander, a South African based socialist and academic, about the nature of the protests.


You and your colleagues have been researching the wave of township protests taking place across South Africa. What conclusions have you reached about the scale and character of those protests?

There have been a very large number of community protests in South Africa, over the last nine years in particular, and they have grown in number and militancy. For the most part they are localised protests, limited to one township or even just one informal settlement. Sometimes they spread out into a number of neighbourhoods within one municipality.

Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer

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Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope, Luke Sinwell and Bongani Xezwi

The killing of 34 strikers, platinum miners who were simply demanding a decent wage on 16 August 2012 by South African police shocked the world because it was reminiscent of the worst brutalities of apartheid.

South Africa after the Marikana massacre

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The killing by police of 34 striking platinum miners at Marikana echoed the worst massacres of the old apartheid era. Socialist Review spoke to Claire Ceruti, a South African socialist, about the strike, the implications for the workers' movement and tensions inside the ruling ANC party


The Marikana miners have won a pay increase of up to 22 percent. Can you say something about the significance of the strike and its outcome?

Even though it fell far short of the miners' original demand, the result of the strike was a victory for the power of self-organisation. The mine management was forced to negotiate directly with the miners and the rock drillers won a 2,000 rand increase (around £150), with other sections winning a bit less.

Letter from South Africa

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Angry at betrayals by leaders of the national liberation movement, working class protests are taking on a new militancy, reports Trevor Ngwane.

South Africa is a country in turmoil. Over the past four years the country saw an exponential rise in the number of protests and strikes. This created a political crisis which expressed itself as a vicious leadership battle inside the ruling African National Congress (ANC). But despite the recall of the country's president, Thabo Mbeki, and his replacement by Jacob Zuma, the turmoil continues.

South Africa - reclaim our streets

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Activists in Johannesburg are organising their local communities to oppose the recent violent attacks on foreigners there, Silumko Radebe from the Anti Privatisation Forum in Alexandra reports.

Tensions in South Africa have led to xenophobic attacks on our brothers and sisters from other countries, particularly against Zimbabweans and Somalis who live with us in our townships and communities.

We feel that as South Africans it is important to bring together a broad coalition of every civil society organisation, political organisation, faith-based organisation and the labour movement to reclaim our streets. We want to say that we condemn the attacks on the poor, especially the working class from other countries.

LGBT history month: The rainbow nation today

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The South African constitution is one of the most advanced in the world when it comes to LGBT rights. Viv Smith, a gay rights activist who worked for the ANC during the writing of the constitution, describes how these advances were won but argues there is still so much to fight for today.

The mass movement that got rid of apartheid carried with it a vision for a different society. The constitution, signed in 1996, symbolised the hopes of millions. Containing the most advanced Bill of Rights in the world it is no surprise that LGBT activists and human rights campaigners celebrated it. We felt that everything was possible: the world was at our feet ready for the taking.

South Africa: Capital's Dangerous Gimmick

With climate change posing one of the gravest threats to capital accumulation - not to mention humankind and our environment - it is little wonder that economists such as Sir Nicholas Stern, establishment politicians like Gordon Brown and Al Gore, and financiers at the World Bank and the City of London have begun warning the public. They are all pushing for more market solutions as the way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

This was the key theory motivating capitalist states' support for the Kyoto Protocol. And since February 2005, when the protocol was ratified by Russia and formally came into effect, a great deal more money and propaganda has been invested in the carbon market, including at a major Nairobi climate conference last month.

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