Friday, May 01, 2020

About Apartheid

‘Apartheid is against the interests of the South African capitalist class.’ (Socialist Standard, April 1969)
The Anti-Apartheid Movement, founded in 1959, continued to operate until 1994 when South Africa held elections, generally seen as ‘free and fair’ and in which all ‘races’ could vote for the first time. Mission accomplished? Hardly, alas. We read today ‘Just 3,500 people – 0.01% of the adult population – own 15% of total wealth in South Africa, according to a new study. And, there has been no decrease in wealth inequality in the 26 years since democracy’ (, 10 March). The first three Presidents there supported the dictator Mugabe. Mbeki is responsible for the premature deaths of up to 365,000 AIDS victims. King Zuma has his palace and shares responsibility for the Marikana massacre with Ramaphosa. Anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said of the ANC: ‘They stopped the gravy train just long enough to get on themselves.’ He went on to describe the Zuma administration as ‘worse than the apartheid government’ and that he would ‘pray for the downfall of the ANC.’ Racism remains rife in South Africa, the most unequal society in the world – economic apartheid persists for millions. Yet it would be churlish to deny the AAM played a part in bringing about a more inclusive democracy. However, before then, the apartheid system – like chattel slavery – had become a fetter on capitalism’s development.

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