Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

26 August 2010

Whose side are you on?

Interesting dynamics in the .za political landscape right now and these dynamics are reflected in the organisations coming out in support of the public service strike. In addition to the unions involved in the strike, such as PSA, NEHAWU, DENOSA, SAPTU, HOSPERSA, SAPU, POPCRU, SADNU, PAWUSA, SAOU, NATU etc, are many related unions and even some  ANC alliance partners.

I've decided a list of those supporting the strike would make for interesting reading.

Here they are:
  • The Gauteng SACP "The SACP in Gauteng is fully behind the public service strike and is convinced that the demands of the workers are legitimate. We have thus far taken it upon ourselves to mobilize the rest of civil society and our communities to understand and support this action"
  • COSATU Free State
  • COSATU national "The Central Executive Committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions has declared its total support for the strike by 1.3 million public service workers and demands that the government moves immediately to make a new offer which can lead to a rapid conclusion to the strike."
  • SASFU (SA Security Forces Union) "The continual use of soldiers as scab labour in hospitals is not only unsustainable but is parasitic as the very soldiers stand to benefit to a reasonable settlement and demand of the public service workers. Our government should be careful of developing a negative relationship between the soldiers and the poor as this might strain any future cooperation between soldiers and workers."
  • SACP North West "The South African Communist Party (SACP) North West province calls on all our democratic movement to support COSATU on its call for a total general strike in the country following the unnecessary intransigence demonstrated by our government on this matter."
  • SAMWU Eastern Cape "The Largest local Government Union in the Eastern Cape has today confirmed that it would be pledging its solidarity with Public Sector workers and their legitimate demands. SAMWU in the EC will begin mobilizing its 16 000 workers in the Province, to embark on solidarity protest action with the Public Sector workers."
  • Democratic Socialist Movement "The government’s refusal to accede to the public servants’ legitimate demands has nothing to do with affordability. It has everything to do with making workers pay for the concessions forced upon government by the 2007 strike, to break the power of the trade unions and to legitimise the exploitation of workers."
  • Workers International Vanguard League "We salute the heroic spirit of the public sector strikers in the face of brutal, fascistic intimidation and attacks by the amabhulu omnyama of the ANC-SACP government."
  • SA National Defence Union (SANDU)  "The problem is, if this is not solved, there's a possibility that we might be seen as scab labour, we are not going to allow our workers to be seen in that particular fashion. That is why we are planning action."
Here's the ANC's opinion issued on 25 August 2010: "The ANC strongly appeals to all parties who are involved in the dispute within the public sector to scale down on the unhelpful rhetoric and inflammatory language used, as such do not bring parties closer to the resolution of the dispute but instead hardens attitudes on all sides." 

It is up to each us to make up our own minds about this, but for me the big picture is significant. And that is the fact that the balance of power is shifting in South Africa right now. I foresee two possible outcomes: one is a split in the ANC and the second is a clampdown within the ANC to assert itself, hush any real opposition and ensure a future "one party state" of sorts. I just cannot see any real opposition coming from outside the ANC, it has to come from within and the signs are there that this is happening.

Little splinters like COPE will have no impact. It will have to be a larger split such as the SACP, COSATU and maybe some branches of ANCYL and even the ANCWL joining forces and walking away from the mother body. What happened to the Women's League by the way? I just never hear their voice anymore. It's like they've been silenced???

Either way, major change is coming and sooner than I thought.

History (short term history at that!) will tell if I am right or not.

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