Last week several thousand gold miners marched in Athens against the government (the media claimed there were 6,000 protesters, although this is visibly an exaggeration). They were demonstrating against the government’s plans to close the Skouries gold mine in Chalkidiki, owned by the Canadian mining company El Dorado and also partly by Greek investors.

The death of more than 800 people who drowned when a small fishing boat capsized 60 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa late on Saturday brings the death toll to of people among people attempting to reach Europe by boat in 2015 alone to 1,600. This tragic event highlights the dramatic situation that has developed in Africa and the Middle East after years of imperialist meddling.

The recurrence of the barbaric violence against mainly African immigrants in some parts of South Africa over the past week has once again shone the spotlight on the worsening situation which is developing in the country. These reactionary attacks go against the whole grain of the history of the South African workers’ movement which was mainly born out of the need to combat this kind of racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination and to unite all oppressed layers of society under the umbrella of working class solidarity.

Over the last three weeks, students, lecturers and workers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have been demanding that management remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes – a 19th century British colonialist whose destructive imperialist legacy is still remembered across much of Southern Africa to this day. However, the issues that have been brought up by the students in the wake of the campaign are much broader and more far-reaching than the mere removal of a statue. The "Rhodes Must Fall Campaign", which was started by a handful of students, has mushroomed into a furious country-wide debate over the need for radical change.

The number of civic protests in South Africa has skyrocketed to new record highs. New figures which were released by the Civic Protest Barometer of the University of the Western Cape on 19 February 2015 show that the number of protests by communities, so-called ‘’service delivery’’ protests, more than doubled between 2007 and 2014. The researchers also show that 2014 was the year with the highest number of these protests on record.

The dust still has not to settled after the stormy start to this year’s parliamentary year. The extraordinary events of 12 February and in the days which followed it, have thrown South Africa into a maelstrom of political crisis, which is at bottom a reflection of the crisis of the capitalist system.

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