Issue 88 of Amandla! asks whether a political alternative is possible. The centrepiece of the feature is an edited version of a roundtable discussion between five young socialist activists, which reflects honestly on the weakness of the Left and attempts to understand it, before beginning to look at possible ways forward. Two additional pieces, an article by Mercia Andrews and an interview with Mosa Phadi, provide further thoughts.
This issue has two articles on austerity. Firstly an interview with Lydia Cairncross, who runs the Surgery Department at Groote Schuur and is a long-time health activist. She talks about the practical impact of the current budget cuts on the service the hospital is able to deliver. And then there is an edited version of a presentation made by Clara Mattei, from the New School for Social Research. She explains austerity as a deliberate tool to “shift resources away from the many who live off of wages and state benefits, to the few, very few, who make a living from capital and rent, from profits and interest.”
We have started a new series with this issue, which we are calling ‘Story of a Struggle’. It’s the first in a series of interviews with leaders of local popular organisations. This first one tells the story of the South African Green Revolutionary Council in Emalahleni, from its beginnings in the 1980s to the organising of the 2022 Emalahleni shutdown and its current agroecology project.
The Simunye Workers Forum in Ekurhuleni has just won a notable CCMA victory over the Registrar of Labour. He had refused to register the Forum as a trade union. Vuyelwa Magidela also explains how they have structured the Forum to try to avoid the bureaucratisation of the trade unions and provide a suitable structure for organising precarious workers. Regrettably, the Register has decided to review the CCMA decision – so the struggle continues.
A moment of history, in this issue, recognises the 50th anniversary of the founding of the South African Council on Sport (Sacos) – the “sports wing of the liberatory movement”. It organised sporting events for the oppressed and fought for their sporting interests during the apartheid years.
We have an article which explains the NHI and analyses its benefits and shortcomings. The NHI Bill has just passed the House of Assembly. The article deals with the right-wing criticisms of the NHI before looking at the problems raised by progressive forces in health.
In the international section, we have a shocking expose of the effects of the privatisation of water under Margaret Thatcher – mass pollution of the rivers and the sea with sewage, as the water companies take on massive debt and pay out huge dividends to their shareholders. And we commemorate 75 years since the Nakba in Palestine in 1948 – the catastrophe which saw 750,000 Palestinians forcibly removed from their land.
We have more provocative poetry from the Botsotso Collective.
And we have the beginning of a new comic strip – The Reluctant President – in which we go behind the curtains of the President’s bedroom as Cyril Ramaphosa prepares for bed, to find out what really interests him and what he is thinking about his job.
Read the editorial: Prospects for a new Left