23 March 2013 — Leftstreamed
The dramatic upsurge of popular grass-roots protest in South Africa’s townships and rural areas in recent years has been well-termed as marking a virtual “rebellion of the poor” in that country. The working-class itself has also been assertive there, prompting the ANC-led state’s orchestration of an horrific massacre of dissident mine-workers at Marikana in 2012. Until recently, however, leading trade unions have themselves been cribbed and confined within the tri-partite governing coalition of the ANC, the South African Communist Party and COSATU, the country’s largest trade union central body. Now NUMSA – the country’s National Union of Metalworkers with over 340,000 members – has begun to break that mould, under the leadership of its General Secretary, Irvin Jim, a longstanding socialist militant in the union. At its Special National Congress in December it heralded a new socialist political direction for South Africa.
Toronto — 6 March 2014.