Are there any books that seek to explain the demise of South African Aparthied from a Materialist point of view?

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Vlad The Inhaler's picture
Vlad The Inhaler
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Jan 24 2019 12:33
Are there any books that seek to explain the demise of South African Aparthied from a Materialist point of view?

Pretty much as the title suggests, I'm looking to better understand the social, political and economic mechanisms that eat away at the ideological, political, sociological, economic base of that awful system.

Its not enough to say as the Liberal historians do that minds were simply changed and that future generations were just successively more progressive.

Mike Harman
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Jan 24 2019 14:17

You should try to start in the '70s. This was when the ANC was almost entirely in exile and new social movements got going in South Africa outside of their control. Once you understand this, the '80s and '90s (and the lack of reform by the ANC since it gained power) starts to make a lot more sense.

1973 Durban General Strike:
https://libcom.org/library/strikes-durban-1973

The growth of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko etc., then the Soweto uprising:
https://libcom.org/library/year-fire-year-ash-soweto-revolt-roots-revolu...

Then very late '70s you get the institutionalisation of some of these currents with FOSATU and AZAPO (haven't read this one but found it instead of the article I was looking for):
https://libcom.org/library/future-hands-workers-history-fosatu

Could then go backwards from there to '40s/'50s struggles or forwards to things to post-apartheid movements like Abahlali baseMjondolo https://libcom.org/library/homemade-politics-abahlali-basemjondolo-south...

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Vlad The Inhaler
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Jan 25 2019 20:35

Cheers, will check them out.

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Alf
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Jan 26 2019 08:22

The ICC has produced a series on the history of the class struggle in South Africa:

http://en.internationalism.org/internationalreview/201402/9459/history-c...

http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201508/13355/south-a...

http://en.internationalism.org/international-review/201702/14250/soweto-...

http://en.internationalism.org/content/16598/election-president-nelson-m...

Vlad The Inhaler's picture
Vlad The Inhaler
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Jan 26 2019 11:25

Thanks Alf, will check them out. The ICC are the Birdigists, right?

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Jan 26 2019 16:37

Birdigists - it's true we fly above all the rest. But we're not Bordigists. See this:
http://en.internationalism.org/the-communist-left

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Jan 26 2019 17:33

Birdigists...I wondered what on earth you were talking about. It was a good few hours until I worked it out. Damn my big hands and my small phone.

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Jan 26 2019 17:45

Alf, I've barely started the ICC lit you linked but the the following paragraph stood out as curious...

Quote:
* All factions of the bourgeoisie are equally reactionary. All the so-called ‘workers’, ‘Socialist’ and ‘Communist’ parties (now ex-’Communists’), the leftist organisations (Trotskyists, Maoists and ex-Maoists, official anarchists) constitute the left of capitalism’s political apparatus. All the tactics of ‘popular fronts’, ‘anti-fascist fronts’ and ‘united fronts’, which mix up the interests of the proletariat with those of a faction of the bourgeoisie, serve only to smother and derail the struggle of the proletariat.

The ICC think official Anarchists (whoever that is) are the left of Capitalism's political apparatus? That is an awfully strange position. Anarchism, as best I understand it, rejects any notion that Capitalism can be reformed, reasoned with, allied with or humanised in any way whatsoever. Anarchism also as a rule rejects struggle within the existing bourgeois political system whether it be parliament or the trade/corporate unions. Was this just an over-eager slip of the keyboard or do the ICC really think this?

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Jan 26 2019 21:43

'Official' is not the happiest of terms but the idea behind it is that there are different currents within anarchism, expressing the influence of different social classes. There are genuinely internationalist and revolutionary tendencies (see for example this article: http://en.internationalism.org/wr/336/anarchism) which are definitely part of the proletarian movement; there are others - whether inclined towards lifestylism or terrorism - which express the position of the petty bourgeoisie; and there are others who have joined up, in one way or another, with the forces of capital, from the anarcho-Trenchists in World War One to those parts of the CNT which participated in the bourgeois republic in Spain or who paraded at the front of the allied imperialist forces reoccupying Paris in 1944; or who, today, act as cheerleaders for Kurdish and other forms of nationalism. Just calling yourself an anarchist is not enough to avoid the powerful ideological pull of this system - and of course, the same has applied, again and again, to those who have seen themselves as marxists. This is the main point of the article linked to in post 6: that you have to understand the real historical dynamic of a political current to identify its class nature, above all in the way it relates to the absolutely fundamental question of internationalism.

el psy congroo
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Jan 27 2019 15:23

Vlad, you're trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. Marxism is one perspective on the world, and actually a quite narrow one. There are other social classes beyond the two that the reds point out. I suspect in considering the events of South African apartheid the Marxist class perspective might not be the most useful.

And the ICC definitely resent anarchists.

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Jan 27 2019 17:40

Lots of information and analysis here:

http://issuu.com/mokonyane/docs/the_big_sellout

http://dialectical-delinquents.com/?page_id=4599

http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/class-struggle-histories-2/s...

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Jan 27 2019 18:03

I wasn't specifically looking for a Marxist perspective, I asked for a Materialist one. By materialist I meant to exclude liberal historical interpretations.

When you say Reds I assume you mean Marxists? Marxists hold that there are three, not two, main social classes under Capitalism, Bourgeois, Petit-Bourgeois and Proletarian, with the second inevitably transitioning into the third. I haven't seen any reason, as yet, to reject that analysis.

Also for the record I don't consider myself a Marxist. If anything I'd classify my politics as broadly Anarchist.