As we embark in a new year of struggles, the first Karibu! edition of 2017 seeks to provide a view of the state of South African society in the current post-Marikana context, and link it with the rest of Africa, and the world. 27 years after South Africa’s transition to democracy, the structural racism and social inequality experienced by the black working class in this country has remained very much the same. An explanation of why these oppressive systems persist is to be found in De Klerk’s 2 February Speech in 1990, and the period of transition from 1990 to 1994.
The rising levels of social inequality, unemployment and extreme poverty are being experienced by the working class all over the world. We see this in food and labour protests from Nigeria to the USA, and the #FeesMustFall students in Walter Sisulu University protesting the inaccessibility of tertiary education to the working class. The working class is under constant assault, as capital seeks to exploit it further and further, and the trade union movement has proved inadequate in its ability to respond to this.
We have also seen a resurgence in xenophobia and tribalism, here in South Africa, and also globally (with the election of Trump and Brexit), as the working class finds it more and more difficult to survive. The recent State of the Nation Address made clear the increasingly violent repression meted out by the ANC government on voices of opposition in Parliament (and outside). This culture of resorting to violence to resolve disputes has filtered from within the ANC and its government, to greater South African society.
In response to these local and global developments, student, labour and community movements across the world have begun to rise, ready to take up the universal struggle for the liberation of the working class.
Thus, in 2017 and the years to come, Karibu! aims to provide a platform for these struggles to be heard and documented, these ideas to be disseminated far and wide, and for healthy debate.
Yours in solidarity,
Searatoa Van Driel