Session 7: Sunday, June 3rd: 2:00 - 3:50pm
The overwhelmingly Black South African working class has slipped into deeper poverty - measured at $4/day at nearly two thirds of the population, up from half at the fall of apartheid 1994. In response to a tightening World Bank-authored 1996 austerity plan, enacted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), contemporary South Africa has become perhaps the world's most intense site of class struggle (as even the World Economic Forum admits in its annual reports on worker militancy). In 2012, 34 striking platinum Lonmin mine workers were massacred by cops who were emailed 24 hours earlier by current president Cyril Ramaphosa, who was Lonmin's main South African investor. So far no one has been punished. Moreover, charges of massive corruption, which included former President Jacob Zuma, have shaken the country. Ramaphosa is a former mineworker union leader but now is worth over $500 million. Ramaphosa has introduced intensified neo-liberal, anti-labor legislation and an austerity budget since his ascent to power in mid-February. A powerful new South African Federation of Trade Unions, spearheaded by the large metalworkers union (NUMSA), the largest union in the country with 350,000 members, says it is time to break with the status quo and capitalism. Meanwhile, a massive student struggle to democratize and de-racialize education has swept the country. Discussing these developments and more will be Patrick Bond, a political economist. Also speaking will be Glen Ford, editor of the popular Black Agenda Report, Marty Goodman, a writer for Socialist Action newspaper and others. Please join us for a unique and sometimes shocking look at South Africa today decades after the fall of legal apartheid.