EVENT: 17th ANNUAL ILRIG GLOBALISATION SCHOOL
The International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) welcomes all activists and organisations to our 2019 Globalisation School. The title/topic for this year’s school is: ‘The rise of right-wing politics and authoritarian rule: deepening our understanding and broadening inclusive organisation and struggle. Not only is this a timely topic, given the general weakness of left/progressive forces and struggles, but it is also central to locating our present domestic and international political, economic and social realities and how best we can respond to them.
Right-wing politics and authoritarian rule have emerged in many parts of the world over the last many years, particularly since the worldwide crisis of capitalism in 2008. The neoliberal programmes that framed this crisis and its aftermath were, and continue to be, specifically designed to attack and break apart any unity and common struggle/purpose of the broad working class. Further, through the ‘gospel’ of unregulated growth and profit maximisation, to gradually destroy the social fabric of societies alongside the sustainability of our physical/natural environment. Unfortunately, there has been much success in this regard.
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Should the Anti-Capitalists Contest Elections?
This is a lightly edited transcription of a talk given by Prof. Lucien van der Walt on a panel on the eve of the 2019 national elections in South Africa: the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)/ Workers World Media Productions (WWMP) Public Forum, Isivivana Centre, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa 25 April.
THANK YOU comrades for the points that you have made. Should anti-capitalists vote? The quick answer is "no." Let's be clear, the right to vote is important. It is better to be under a state where you can vote, where there are some basic civil and political rights, than under, for example, the apartheid state that we had. It is not that there is no difference - it is big victory for the working class that we're under a bourgeois parliamentary democracy.
Having said that, using the state and using elections is not something that is going to take the working class forward, it is not something that is going to enable the working class to build the capacity to take power directly by itself, through bottom-up organs of working class democracy.
Let's be clear: this isn't an argument about whether comrades are sincere in their programmes when forming parties, it is not an argument that genuine comrades who believe in the party model secretly have malicious plans to get rich. We know that there are many politicians who are in it to get money, but not all.
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