London: Lessons of South Africa’s Marikana Massacre

Alex Davis, Hackney Socialist Party

Marking a year since the Marikana Massacre in South Africa, a London Socialist Party and Socialist Students joint meeting listened to Wales party organiser Alec Thraves and Unison activist (personal capacity) April Ashley.

Alec spoke about his two visits to South Africa since the massacre. 34 miners were killed in Marikana, with over 70 injured and numerous others arrested when police fired at the striking workers. Many were shot as they were retreating or trying to find cover behind the trees.

This was an incident which bears similarity to the brutal repression of the apartheid regime, but this time with the African National Congress in government.

But, as April – who was involved in the struggle against apartheid – said, instead of silencing workers, the massacre ignited more struggles.

Both speakers looked at how the ANC had become a pro-capitalist, anti-worker organisation. Almost 20 years after the fall of apartheid, mass poverty and suffering remains along with the highest inequality in the world.

Such desperation provides a fertile breeding ground for alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic abuse and crime in society, but also for mass movements.

The Socialist Party’s sister organisation, Democratic Socialist Movement, played a pivotal role in the creation of WASP (Workers and Socialist Party), a new workers’ party involving miners and other impoverished workers, to challenge the corrupt elite.

£800 was donated in the finance appeal.