Welcome to the third and last edition of Workers World News for 2023.
This is a SPECIAL EDITION emanating from the 20th Annual ILRIG Political School held in Johannesburg from 14-17 September. Given the theme of the School – Organising and Movement Building in Times of Crisis – the ILRIG collective felt it appropriate to ask activists at the Johannesburg School to write up articles about their organisations movements and struggles for this SPECIAL EDITION. The response to that request was incredibly positive and as a result, we offer 8 articles written by activists representing various organisations movements that attended the school.
To frame and contextualise those contributions, the cover article from ILRIG’s Lara Reddy provides readers with a summary content profile as well as reflections of the school (with a brief addendum on the 2nd leg of the school which was held in the Western Cape from 16-19 October). The key message/take-away is that we must use times of all-round crises, to allow ourselves to be (positively) reflective and proactive about how we can more effectively and creatively structure our organisations, carry out our many and varied struggles and in doing so take better care of ourselves, individually and collectively.
In the pages that follow, we hope readers enjoy the words and views from the ground that cover a wide range of issues and struggles which are being engaged and waged in South Africa and the region. In the pieces by Brian Muziringa and Henry Wackam, we are reminded of the incredible challenges and barriers faced by disabled and LGBTQI+ migrant activists and organisations alongside an amazing courage and resilience. Lucky Dlamini updates us on the recently held elections in Swaziland and the increasingly difficult and repressive terrain on which popular, democratic activists and movements have to struggle.
The #PaytheGrants media working group gives us an incisive glimpse into the hugely important and expanding work and struggles being carried out by the Campaign in the midst of record levels of poverty and inequality. Sandile Mokhuane helps to frame this and other past and ongoing socio-economic realities and struggles of the majority by linking them to the continued dominance of neo-liberal macroeconomi policies. And bringing things into sharper sectoral focus, the Simunye Workers’ Forum’s Siza Mlambo reveals the increased necessity for casualised and precarious workers to self-organise and use all means at their disposal to fight against intensified exploitation and repression.
Two of the most vulnerable and exploited yet simultaneously strong and resilient ‘sections’ of our society are youth and women, who crucially make up the majority of our population. Viwe Mazwana provides us with an inspiring account of how youth in Thokoza, effectively abandoned by both the public and private sectors, are doing it for themselves, engaging in self-education as well as creative-artistic and self-care activities. In a similar vein, Manana Matima shows how a group of small-scale women farmers in the Sedibeng District have managed to come together without much outside assistance to build a growing movement that can give an effective and strong voice for change to the most marginalised. This article is also accompanied by an inspiring poem which reflects the difficult yet promising journey of the Women in Agriculture Movement (WiARM).
To close out this SPECIAL EDITION, we offer 3 poems of struggle and a beautiful pull-out poster of the design that adorned the t-shirts produced for the 2013 Political Schools, which reminds us that there are always possibilities of renewed strength and growth in times of crisis to carry our belief that another world is possible.