Uniting our struggles: Building a New Mass Movement
ILRIG has been hosting the School since 2001. Over that time we can discern three phases.
In the first Phase we were trying to unmask globalisation to a movement which then largely consisted of older activists who looked to the Tripartite Alliance for its politics. Within this movement ILRIG considered that it was possible to develop critical thinking within COSATU and that focusing on Globalisation was a vehicle to understand the major changes that had happened to capitalism globally since the 1980s, including the ANC’s adoption of neoliberalism.
That old movement is now not only dead but its leading cadre are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Then there was a second phase of the ILRIG Globalisation Schools – roughly from the 2005 School – where we attempted to work with a new layer of activists, whilst keeping one eye on the possibilities of revival amongst the older trade union activists. Amongst these activists there was still the task of helping all of us to understand neoliberalism in all its manifestations and even (by 2007) that an Alternative to neoliberal capitalism was possible and necessary.
And then came Marikana.
Now it is clear that we have a new movement – completely outside of, and in opposition to, the Alliance. Activists today do not need to be convinced that capitalism is bad, that neo-liberalism is the worse kind of capitalism, and that the ANC is the party of the rich – with its allies along for the ride. They know this already.
But this new movement has activists grappling with many new questions: how to we unite? How do we sink deeper roots into our communities and workplaces? What role is there for politics? How do we build women’s leadership?
Now the School speaks to a new movement and we have to learn about all our different initiatives even while we are trying to add something from our knowledge of other struggles.
camera and edit: Geert Veuskens (geertveuskens.be)
interviews: Lien Bauwens (fos-socsol.be/cntnt/zuidwerking/afrika/
translation song: Jacob Potlaki (cwao.org.za)