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(en) Southern africa, A Journal of Class Struggle Anarchism - Zabalaza No.9 Now Available Online

Date Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:18:18 +0300

Issue number nine of the theoretical journal of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist
Front is now available online. ---- In this issue... ---- Southern Africa:
Workers, Bosses and the 2008 Pogroms ---- “Ba Sebetsi Ba Afrika”: Manifesto of
the Industrial Workers of Africa, 1917 ---- Ninety Years of Working Class
Internationalism in South Africa ---- Unyawo Alunampumulo: Abahlali baseMjondolo
Statement on the Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg ---- Xenophobia, Nationalism
and Greedy Bosses: An Interview with Alan Lipman ---- Interview with Two
Libertarian Socialist Activists from Zimbabwe ---- Africa: ---- Kenya’s Troubles
are Far from Over --- Will EU troops stop the Central African cycle of violence?
* Brutal Repression in Sidi Ifni (Morroco)
* Obama and Latin America: a Friendly Imperialism?
* Anarchism & Immigration
* The Poison of Nationalism
* Nostalgic Tribalism or Revolutionary Transformation?: A Critique of Anarchism
& Revolution in Black Africa

A .PDF version of the journal can be downloaded here:
Related Link: http://www.zabalaza.net/pdfs/sapams/zab09.pdf


Português: www.nestormakhno.info/portuguese/platform2/org_plat.htm
Français: www.nestormakhno.info/french/platform/org_plat.htm
Arabic: www.anarkismo.net/article/9237
Castellano/Español: www.nestormakhno.info/spanish/platform/org_plat.htm
Deutsch: www.zabalaza.net/theory/txt_plattform_de.htm
English: www.zabalaza.net/theory/txt_platform.htm
or download the pamphlet from: www.zabalaza.net/pdfs/varpams/platform_2006_en.pdf

Links to local groups, education material, email discussion lists, PDF
leaflets for you to distribute etc. etc.

Post: Postnet Suite 47, Private Bag X1, Fordsburg, South Africa, 2033
Email: zacf@zabalaza.net (within southern Africa) or international@zabalaza.net
We b s i t e : www.zabalaza.net


Only 14 years after the end of apartheid
some say that this is a new apartheid. Only
14 years after the genocide in Rwanda
some say that this is a genocide South
African style. But this time it is not just
about the still existing economic gap
between South Africans of different skin
colours, nor about a war between different
ethnopolitical groups like in Rwanda. It is
about nationality and the fight between
those who have the minimum security of
being born in South Africa, and the unlucky
ones who have no such security ­ who
have, in many cases, had to flee to South
Africa from violence or starvation else-
where. The events of May 2008 show a
deep xenophobic sentiment in South Africa
that is largely due to social and economic
circumstances. It is a poisonous cocktail of
nationalism mixed with lack of service
Pictures went around the world in May
that we are used to seeing from Rwanda or
Liberia, but not from South Africa, at least
not since the 1980s. Some, like one of a
burning man, won't be forgotten quickly.
Even though the police could extinguish
the flames, the Mozambican man died a
few hours later. Some said he became a
victim of a cruel method from apartheid
days: necklacing, the setting alight of a liv-
ing person with a tyre around their neck,
although no tyre was used in this case.
Necklacing was also used in the genocide
in Rwanda.
For more than 100 years Johannesburg,
the "City of Gold", has drawn people from
all over the world who were looking for a
better life. Many would say that South
Africa, the "rainbow nation", is known for
being a hospitable country. Since colonial-
ism, people from all over the world have
settled here. Until the end of apartheid it
was mostly Europeans: Germans, Serbs,
Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, British etc.
Since the end of apartheid it has mostly
been people from other African countries,
especially from those that are in a war or
crisis. The number of immigrants in South
Africa cannot be stated exactly, but it is
estimated to be between 5 and 6.5 million,
most of whom are from Zimbabwe and
But for all the long history of immigration,
surveys have shown that South Africans
are among the most xenophobic people on
earth (The Times, 24.5.08). This hostility is
especially common among younger peo-
ple, those that have grown up being indoc-
trinated to be "proudly South African".
Many older South Africans also think that
they should be the first to enjoy the fruits
for which they have fought so long and
In recent years, attacks on foreigners
from other African countries have hap-
pened again and again. Four hundred and
seventy-one Somalis alone have been
killed in the past 11 years (Cape Argus,
17.5.08). But xenophobic attacks took a
leap forward in May 2008. Many observers
aptly characterised them as pogroms,
referring to a form of racist mob violence
against Jews that was common in Europe
for many hundreds of years. As pogroms
happened in Europe, so they happened in
South Africa. Instigated by a few provoca-
teurs, a mob would form, which would go
from house to house and attack individuals
who were different, mostly because their
skin colour was darker, or because they did
not speak a particular language (usually
isiZulu). They would rape, loot, kill and set
houses alight. They would even attack
children. In such circumstances, some
South Africans fell prey to the violence. As
shack-dwellers' movement Abahlali
baseMjondolo said: "A war against the
Mozambicans will become a war against all
the amaShangaan. A war against the
Zimbabweans will become a war against
the amaShona that will
become a war against
the amaVenda." (see
page 10) Also, on
May 10, the very first
night of the vio-
lence, a South
African was
allegedly killed in
Alexandra for
refusing to take part
in the attacks. But most of the
targets were immi-
grants, largely from
Zimbabwe ­ just at
the time when
needed help and solidarity
from South Africans,
whom they helped dur-
ing apartheid and took in
when they had to flee into exile from
oppression. (See interviews on pages 14
- 17 for more on Zimbabwe and its rela-
tion to the violence in South Africa.)
Many South Africans who live in slums;
who don't have enough to eat because of
food prices that, in line with global trends,
have rocketed 81 percent in three years;
who have lost their jobs ­ if they ever had
jobs ­ because of neo-liberal programmes
and privatisation; and who live in shacks
without running water and electricity, blame
foreigners for stealing their jobs, houses
and women, and for crime. But they just
want to find a scapegoat and blame those
that are most vulnerable, instead of blam-
ing the ones really responsible ­ the gov-
ernment and the capitalists. When you
don't know who your enemies are, when
you don't see that the government that
says it's on your side is really working for
the capitalists, when you don't understand
how the global business cycle creates a
downturn that makes poor people suffer all
over the world, it is easy to misdirect your
Myth and Reality
But this anger is based on myths.
Foreigners in South Africa are often unem-
ployed. Some are paid lower wages than
South Africans, a sad result of capitalism
that can be observed around the world.
We should note that such divisions among
workers help the capitalists to keep wages
down for everyone. If immigrants are not
with South Africans in unions, employers
can hammer South African workers by
employing cheaper immigrants ­ just as, in
the past, they hammered white workers by
employing cheaper blacks, and male work-
ers by employing cheaper women.
Many foreigners
who don't have
documents and
thus cannot
get jobs set
up small
shops. If they
run well then
people become
jealous. Most immigrants
live in slums and send
the little money
they earn back
to their families
at home.
however, immi-
grants live in RDP
houses built by the gov-
ernment. Some rent these houses from
South Africans; others, no doubt, get them
from the government by bribery. But as
Abahlali says: "Oppose corruption but don't
lie to yourself and say that people born in
The Bosses' Nationalism...
But even if government statistics do not
support hostility to immigrants, still the gov-
ernment, the media, and politicians of all
parties are united in promoting this hostili-
ty. Nearly every day we hear how
Zimbabweans steal and how Nigerians
deal drugs ­ and the newspapers add to
these rumours, always being sure to men-
tion when a crime is committed by a "for-
eigner". In particular, the "Daily Sun" ­
South Africa's most widely read daily
paper, aimed at the black working class ­
has been blamed for inciting xenophobia
and reporting inappropriately about the
attacks: its headlines have repeatedly
referred to foreigners as "aliens". But the
Sun is not alone, even if other papers are
more subtle. A 2005 study by the Institute
for Democracy in South Africa showed that
anti-immigrant coverage was widespread
in the South African press. This included
derogatory references to immigrants and
calls for tighter border controls. There
were exceptions, notably in the busi-
ness press. But the study noted that
business and the newspapers that
cover business tend to support immi-
gration because "we need foreigners'
skills or investments". There may be
some truth to this view, but it is not a
view informed by concern for immi-
grants themselves.
Xenophobia in South Africa starts at
the top, at the infamously incompetent
department of home affairs, which is
known for mistreating foreigners and
which is often corrupt. Former minister
of home affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi
blamed immigrants for high unemploy-
ment years ago. Since then deporta-
tions have increased. Buthelezi, the
leader of the Zulu-chauvinist Inkatha
Freedom Party, is no longer in government;
but he is not alone in his views. The
Democratic Alliance, the right wing liberal
opposition, which takes pride in calling for
an "open opportunity society" ­ meaning a
society based on the "free market" ­ con-
fines its "openness" to South Africans. It
says the answer to the attacks is tighter
border controls. This is also the view of the
South African Institute of Race Relations,
of many journalists and academics, and of
many ANC politicians. Practically all these
distinguished ladies and gentlemen con-
demned the May pogroms; but it is clear
that they do not have a problem with vio-
lence against immigrants. They simply
want this violence to be carried out by the
state: the problem arises when disobedient
poor people in the townships do for them-
selves what they are supposed to leave to
their betters. And they are happy, not only
with the state carrying out violence, but
with the even more devastating conse-
quences of closed borders: with the
absence of any escape from war, oppres-
sion and starvation; with all the lives that
are lost by those who, in desperation, still
make the attempt to cross the border in the
face of the state's forces.
And this is how it works in practice. The
South African police are hardly known for
being nice to immigrants. It happens quite
often that immigrants get threatened by the
police and illegal immigrants are made to
give them money ­ or face deportation.
Even in the May attacks police have not
been interested in helping immigrants.
They have been filmed playing soccer in
townships struck by xenophobic violence;
on another occasion, they didn't help a
man who slowly died in front of their eyes.
Foreigners complained that police not only
incited violence, but did not intervene to
prevent it. In the refugee camps to which
immigrants fled after the pogroms, there
have been problems between refugees
and police. In some incidents, police have
shot at foreigners. (Mail & Guardian,
22.5.08) In at least one,
they used abusive language,
saying: "Fucking kwerekwere go back to
your country, this is our country."
Long before the May pogroms, police
attacked immigrants at the Central
Methodist Church in the centre of
Johannesburg in January 2008. This
church has been home to over 1 000 immi-
grants for years and it is also a centre for
various social projects, such as Aids help.
The police stormed the church heavily
armed, without a warrant, and arrested,
without good reasons, about 1 500 immi-
grants, 200 of whom were women, some of
them pregnant. But the church is still a
place of refuge. During the pogroms, hun-
dreds more refugees came to the church,
which means that more than 2 000 people
now stay there.
Many illegal immigrants are brought to
the Lindela Repatriation Centre ­ or rather,
concentration camp ­ in Krugersdorp.
Immigrants without documents are held
here for many months until they get deport-
ed. Again and again, gross human rights
violations have been reported; people have
died in Lindela. There are reports that
South Africans get deported to Zimbabwe
because they "look Zimbabwean" and
because they didn't have papers with them
(Citizen, 14.11.06). Without papers,
money and contacts they somehow have to
find their way back to South Africa. It is
certainly common for South Africans with
darker skin than the average, or those who
speak Shangaan or Venda rather than Zulu
or Xhosa, to be harassed by the police.
The method used during the pogroms for
identifying targets ­ testing potential vic-
tims' knowledge of obscure Zulu terms ­
has been favoured by the police for many
years. This insistence on papers and judg-
ment due to skin colour recalls the dark
days of apartheid and pass raids.
The police are building a new detention
centre near Musina for Zimbabweans
found crossing the northern border, from
where they will be deported without being
offered the opportunity to apply for asylum.
(It is worth noting that many would have
trouble getting asylum, since even after
yet another faked election in which
Robert Mugabe held on to power by
force against massive popular opposi-
tion, the Mbeki regime continues to
cover up for the tyrant in Harare and
deny that he is a dictator. As for the
economic ruin in Zimbabwe, the fact
that many people can't afford a loaf of
bread is not accepted as justification
for claiming refugee status. (See
interviews, pages 14 - 17)
The police have probably killed
more immigrants since 1994 than
were killed in the pogroms of 2008;
but these crimes get far less mention
in the media. Politicians might con-
demn some "excessive" actions of the
police ­ as if murder and brutality were
anything other than the cops' job! But in
general, they want the violence to go on.
Immigrants are not welcome, unless they
bring something the South African ruling
class needs. Their interests and hopes
and dreams are not considered. The politi-
cians and the press may support "black
economic empowerment" and condemn
anti-black racism; they may say women
deserve equality; many of them support
gay and lesbian rights; most at least say
they want better conditions for the poor,
even if they obviously don't mean it. But
hardly any will support equal rights for
immigrants. The "liberal" position is that
they can come here if we need their skills.
Imagine the outcry if someone said that
about blacks! But the border is absolute;
those on the other side of the fence do not
enjoy the same rights.
This is the poison of nationalism (see
pages 24 & 25). It is the ideology that tries
to tell us who we are and what our rights
are on the basis of states and borders. It is
an ideology that says a South African work-
er has more in common with a South
African boss than with a Zimbabwean
worker. It is an ideology that divides the
workers in order to rule and exploit us. It
has overwhelming support in the ruling
class: from the ANC, from the Communist
Party and the Cosatu leaders who give the
ANC left ideological cover, from opposition
parties, from the media. All these forces
promote such initiatives as the "Proudly
South African" buy-local campaign. This
campaign undermines international work-
ing class solidarity by promoting the illusion
that what workers need, rather than joining
in solidarity and struggle across borders, is
to create jobs inside South Africa by sup-
porting the local economy. It fosters
nationalist pride and patriotism for South
Africa, the most industrialised country on
the continent, as opposed to solidarity
across artificial colonial borders ­ borders
that the ANC, indeed, accepts uncritically.
Not surprisingly, the campaign enjoys the
overwhelming support of local capitalists:
after all, it is they, not South African work-
ers, who benefit from the campaign.
But although nationalism may be the
greatest force of division, hatred and vio-
lence in South Africa, it is not alone.
Racism and sexism continue, and showed
themselves to be particularly
dangerous in the months leading
up to the May pogroms. In these
months we saw the cruel racist
pranks of white students at Free
State University; the sexist vio-
lence at Noord Street taxi rank
in Johannesburg; and many
other incidents of chauvinistic
violence, notably against
women, and, in particular, black
lesbians. According to People
Opposing Women Abuse, 10
lesbians have been killed by
homophobic violence against
women since 2006, an esti-
mated one every three
The times are hard, and it
would seem that the culture of chauvinism
is growing, or at least showing itself more
clearly, throughout South African society.
This may be linked to the ANC's new pres-
ident, Jacob Zuma, who is on the way to
the presidency of South Africa. Zuma is a
notorious homophobe and a sexist, as
revealed in the statements he made during
his rape trial, which have surely fomented
the spread of sexist and chauvinist atti-
tudes. This aspect of his politics is far
more significant than his supposed com-
mitment to the working class, which has
never revealed itself in action or even in
any serious words. Like any politician,
Zuma is out for his own power, and he has
played on frustration and anger against the
neo-liberal Mbeki regime to win working
class support. In fact, his views scarcely
differ from Mbeki's, except in his blatant
chauvinism: if he has broken with Mbeki,
his break is to the right, no matter what
Cosatu's opportunistic sellout leaders
might say. It is telling that, although Zuma
publicly condemned it, the mobs carrying
out the pogroms in May often sung `Mshini
Wami" ("bring me my machine gun"), Jacob
Zuma's signature song. This was original-
ly a progressive song, a song of the anti-
apartheid struggle; but Zuma's supporters
have turned it into a song of personality
cult, of Zulu chauvinism, male chauvinism,
and, perhaps, reactionary chauvinism in
general. Anger that could have been
directed into working class resistance
against capitalism is being diverted into
division of the class on gender and nation-
al lines.
Another song that was sung during the
pogroms is the national anthem, "Nkosi
Sikelel' iAfrika" (God bless Africa). The
message of this song, ironically, is not
exclusive to South Africa; it is pan-
Africanist and religious. This does not
make it a song of the working class strug-
gle, which knows no borders of continents
any more than of countries. The exploding
costs of food and energy, which have
added fuel to the fire in South Africa, are
not an African crisis but a
global crisis, a
consequence of the global capitalist sys-
tem, which hammers the working class
everywhere. But some irony appears in
Africans singing "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" as
they attack their fellow Africans. Evidently
the message of the song has been forgot-
ten. And this is no surprise, for since 1994,
the song has become a symbol of the
South African state, a device to rally the
people around the flag, to make us follow
the bosses and stop thinking for ourselves.
Nationalism and the state are killers of
thought; they demand not understanding
but obedience; and from the death of
thought emerges the misdirected violence
of ignorant chauvinism.
...and the Workers'
But rational thought and solidarity are not
dead in South Africa. Working class inter-
nationalism has a long history in this coun-
try (see Pages 7 - 11). Internationalism
lives on in the social movements of the
popular classes, which are built on the
struggle for better services in the town-
ships. We know that this very struggle was
one factor that motivated the pogroms; but
we cannot join the bourgeois commenta-
tors who declare "Today's service delivery
protest is tomorrow's xenophobic attack."
For the social movements were almost
alone in presenting an internationalist
response to the pogroms: the first state-
ment of such a view came from the centre
of the storm in Alex, from the Alexandra
Vukuzenzele Crisis Committee (AVCC), an
affiliate of the Anti-Privatisation Forum
(APF). The ruling class characterises the
social movements as criminals and barbar-
ians; we know they are no such thing. This
is not to say they are perfect. Before the
pogroms, xenophobic sentiment was pub-
licly expressed by members of the AVCC
itself, and we know that such confusion,
such poison, is not easily eliminated. But
in the crisis, the internationalist tendency
came to the fore, informed to at least some
extent by class analysis. While
politicians, journalists and intellec-
tuals, the Institute of Race
Relations, members of the DA and
the ANC, were calling for tighter
border control, the APF was saying
"no one is illegal". Social move-
ments joined with religious organi-
sations, NGOs and middle class lib-
erals to co-ordinate relief for victims
of the pogroms.
What seemed to be lacking was a
link between relief efforts and efforts
to create safe havens and organised
self-defence. Not that efforts at
defence were altogether absent.
Refugees at the Central Methodist
Church watched the doors; some pre-
pared to defend themselves from the
roof. In some other places victims started
to organise themselves because the police
were overstrained. In a particularly elo-
quent statement of working class interna-
tionalism, Abahlali declared its intention to
prevent any attacks in Durban (see page
11). In Cape Town the Anti-Eviction
Campaign announced its mobilisation to
prevent at least one attack. Similarly,
social movement activists from Gauteng
expressed their support for defence, some
trying to mobilise people living in
Johannesburg's inner city slums to defend
immigrants in their communities.
Nonetheless, much remains to be done.
A notable expression of internationalism
was a march in Johannesburg on 24 May,
organised by the Coalition Against
Xenophobia, which comprises social
movements, NGOs, immigrants' organisa-
tions, church groups, and left political
groups including the ZACF. Thousands
attended the march, but it had serious
flaws: in particular, little attention was given
to the underlying class conflict. Moreover,
participation by the APF's grassroots affili-
ates was disappointing. Some stayed
away because of intimidation; but xeno-
phobic sentiment within the fighting organi-
sations of the class may have been a fac-
On the other hand, it was interesting that
many of the demonstrators were white
South Africans, largely middle class, usual-
ly not seen at marches. Further, some mid-
dle class whites ­ as well as some middle
class and working class blacks ­ made
extensive donations to refugees. No doubt
these actions were motivated by sincere
solidarity and horror at the pogroms. But
we must wonder how this crisis came to
attract so much more attention from the
white middle class than the daily horrors of
poverty. It is too easy for the relatively well-
off to see something terrible and think it is
extraordinary, a remarkable explosion, an
isolated event to be dealt with in isolation.
This is an easier line of thought than under-
standing the roots of the violence in the
mighty and pervasive forces of nationalism,
statism and capitalism. There are other
escapes: no doubt many whites (but prob-
ably not those who came to the march)
said "Look at these terrible blacks and how
they're killing each other; oh for the good
old days when we were in charge." Others
condemned the pogroms, but were filled
with fury when the state proposed to estab-
lish refugee camps in their own neighbour-
hoods. Like the perpetrators of the
pogroms, they wanted the foreign barbar-
ians to stay away; unlike them, they felt
that the state could and should do the job,
out of sight and out of mind; they felt no
need to take violent action themselves.
Here we see the mentality of relative privi-
lege, of those who would hate to get their
own hands dirty, but will turn their eyes
away from violence as long as it is done
quietly and routinely by the state. It is akin
to the mentality that regards the pogroms
as an extraordinary thing that came out of
nowhere, and it is close to the attitude of
nearly all the organs of the ruling class, that
the way to prevent the pogroms is better
control of the borders.
Still, the demonstration was a success. It
moved through Hillbrow, a quarter in the
centre of the city in which many immigrants
live. Most of them supported the marchers.
The demonstration also marched past the
Central Methodist Church. It was an
important sign of solidarity. Like the relief
sent to the refugees, it was a hopeful sign
that there is more to human beings than
hatred and violence.
It stands in contrast to the attitude of the
ruling party, which refused to face the roots
of the violence. Politicians first blamed the
pogroms on a sinister "third force", then
attributed them to mere "criminality", deny-
ing any political or economic roots. The
notorious political opportunist Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela, no stranger to vio-
lence, apologised for the attacks and said
that not all South Africans were like that.
But she also said publicly that these
attacks were done by criminals and not
South Africans (The Star, 15.5.08). With
this she indirectly says that criminals are
not South Africans and leaves it up to us to
speculate if she means immigrants or not.
She puts herself, as usual, in the ranks of
the nationalists, saying that being South
African is good and not being South African
is bad, and setting herself up as the great
leader who knows who is a true South
Hidden Agendas
We can see that the government was
better at coming up with absurd excuses
for the crisis than at doing anything about
it. In their customary fashion ­ in contrast
to when the working class is demanding its
rights ­ the police responded slowly and
inefficiently when people's lives were in
danger, their presence doing little, at least
at first, to prevent further violence. It's no
wonder, given that the state is the world's
major agency of violence, that it would
respond so slowly to prevent further vio-
lence. But why did President Mbeki
choose not to heed the warnings given to
government by the National Intelligence
Agency, as early as January this year, that
this kind of trouble was brewing, "especial-
ly in Alexandra"? It seems plausible that
elements in the state either fomented the
violence or deliberately refrained from
intervening as some sort of experiment to
see how far it would go, to see to what
extent the popular classes could be
whipped up in mass hysteria against `the
other'. After all, this is a tried and tested
state strategy for misleading the masses,
keeping them under the thumb of the lead-
ers and dividing them among themselves.
Ruling class politicians and media have
added to the confusion by using the word
"anarchy" to describe the attacks. This is a
familiar response in times of turmoil. We
even hear that "anarchists" are responsi-
ble. Even less intelligent observers used
the word "anarchism" ­ which stands for an
ideology. Anarchy is again a word used as
a threat, as if these attacks were made by
anarchists. Anarchy, a social system with-
out a state, is not chaos but it is order with-
out authority. It is merely a term to
describe a society without a government.
To quote one anarchist communist who
lived 100 years ago, Alexander Berkman:
"The word Anarchy comes from the Greek,
meaning without force, without violence or
government, because government is the
very fountainhead of violence, constraint,
and coercion ... Anarchy therefore does
not mean disorder and chaos ... On the
contrary, it is the very reverse of it; it means
no government, which is freedom and lib-
erty. Disorder is the child of authority and
compulsion. Liberty is the mother of order."
The pogroms in May were chaos result-
ing from capitalism, the state, and the mis-
ery that necessarily goes along with them.
Politicians maintain that we live in a
ordered system of capitalism, when really it
is chaos. It shows yet again that chaos
comes not from anarchy, but from capital-
ism, which necessarily creates poverty and
thus frustration. The state is necessary to
uphold capitalism and therefore also
responsible for chaos. And we have seen
that in this chaos, the greatest call for order
came from the internationalist working
class movement, of which anarchism is a
part. Anarchists have warned about xeno-
phobia and the threat of nationalism in
South Africa over the years. Anarchy
would be a society without borders, nations
and capitalism, thus no fence to divide us,
no ruling elite to incite us and no bourgeois
class to exploit us.
But we have a long way to go. The
pogroms have ceased, but violence
against foreigners continues, particularly
from the state. On 16 July David Masondo,
the chairman of the Young Communist
League, was arrested and beaten up by
the cops, and insulted as a "foreigner",
because his home language is Shangaan.
If this can happen to a prominent political
figure, how much more must be happening
to ordinary South Africans and immigrants
every day? And we must note that, while
Masondo's own organisation condemned
the assault, along with the Communist
Party and Cosatu, none of them noted that
this sort of violence is what the police do.
Hardly surprising, since these supposedly
revolutionary working class organisations
are in alliance with the capitalist and statist
ruling ANC. Indeed, Charles Nqakula, the
minister in charge of the police, is a senior
member of the very same Communist
Worse still, the pogroms succeeded.
After the media has lost interest, the vic-
tims are still too scared to go home ­ and
thousands have no home to go to. Some
immigrants think that there have been hun-
dreds of deaths, and that the government
wants to keep the number of deaths low for
fear of scaring investors, or of undermining
that glorious project of the South African
state and capital, the 2010 Soccer World
Cup. The Mozambican government has
declared a state of emergency and built
refugee camps. At least 30 000 people
have fled to Mozambique alone. The government of
Malawi has transported hundreds of its nationals home
with buses. Before the phony election on 29 May, the
Zimbabwean leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai,
visited victims in Johannesburg and called on them to
come back home with him and vote for a better future.
(This was before Tsvangirai pulled out of the election, com-
ing to the reasonable conclusion that President Robert
Mugabe's lies and terror left him with no hope.) Mugabe
publicly declared that returnees will be given land and he
organised buses for them ­ and many left, willing to risk
the economic ruin and terror in Zimbabwe to escape the
terror in South Africa.
The perpetrators have reached their goal: a few thou-
sand immigrants less. Perhaps this will make more hous-
es and jobs available to South Africans: who can tell?. But
with 62 lives lost, what remains is poverty, which will lead
to more violence in the future. The government has said,
yet again, that they intend to fight poverty ­ but why should
this be taken any more seriously than before? A capitalist
government remains a capitalist government, concerned
with the interests of the few. And the success of the
pogroms could encourage more of the same, and worse.
European anti-semitic violence began with pogroms and
ended with the mass slaughter of six million Jews by a
powerful nationalist state. In Rwanda a million were
slaughtered by the same pogrom methods that we now
see in South Africa. It has happened before; it has hap-
pened again; it could happen anywhere. Such violence is
often manipulated by political forces in an attempt to
foment poor-on-poor violence as a means of deflecting
anger over lack of jobs and service delivery away from
government and local leaders. If this happens in South
Africa, the worst could be yet to come. It is not inevitable,
but it is possible, and the rise of Jacob Zuma is an ominous
sign. The only sure path to preventing mass slaughter is
solidarity of the working class, solidarity across borders,
solidarity against the real enemy: cops, bosses and politi-

South Africa are not also buying houses
from the councillors and officials in the
housing department." It is also not true that
immigrants are responsible for high crime
rates. Even statistics issued by the gov-
ernment say that out of all crimes only 3 to
4 percent are committed by immigrants.
This includes arrests for not having papers
­ which strongly suggests that immigrants
are responsible for an even smaller propor-
tion of real destructive anti-social crime.
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
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