Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2403

South Africa needs change the corrupt ANC can’t deliver

Socialist Worker’s feature on the long term decline of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party was excellentHaving recently returned from a visit there I read it with great interest.

It is clear that there is widespread disappointment at the ANC’s inability to bring about the changes hoped for in 1994.

Like most left-wing governments, the ANC started with a very ambitious programme offering hope for a more equal and fairer society. 

But as with any government hoping to manage capitalism for the benefit of the majority, the ANC soon found itself unable to deliver on its promises. 

South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, played his part in obstructing change. He emptied the state’s coffers between 1992 and 1994, almost doubling the budget deficit.

The ANC, impotent to effect change, has become a very corrupt organisation. Many individual members have become rich while the majority live in poverty.

As for the alternatives mentioned in your feature, Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters are also tainted by the suspicions surrounding their charismatic leader’s great wealth. 

This wealth was accumulated when Malema was president of the ANC’s Youth League for many years.

Out of desperation at the lack of genuine socialist alternatives, former ANC minister Ronnie Kasrils and others called for people who normally abstain from voting to vote tactically for smaller parties in order to punish the ANC.

The election last week was too soon for the left to put forward a strong alternative. 

But the hope for the people still living in the squalor of the townships must be that the trade unions and the wider left can assemble a party to challenge the capitalist system for the struggles and elections to come.

Richard Hallatt, Sheffield

Challenging Ukip myths

With Ukip getting more airtime than other political parties in the election campaign it’s important we protest everywhere they meet and challenge their disgusting politics. 

Inside Ukip’s London election rally last week an audience of Tories, toffs, Nazis and xenophobes turned out to see millionaire Nigel Farage spread his racist and homophobic filth. 

I went along to disrupt and heckle and was proudly ejected with others from the Stand Up To Ukip campaign. 

Ukip are not a fascist party and we did not go to smash it up or stop them having a platform.

We want its supporters to see there is real opposition to its policies. 

We can drive a wedge between their more extreme edge and their “softer” support. We need to debunk their myths with facts and take them on. 

It’s heartening that people are taking to the streets to campaign against them. We need this to continue.

Most of all we have to make sure that when we wake up after the elections we don’t just collapse in despair but continue the fight for a better and more equal society.

Dean Harris, North London

Build social housing, don’t demonise the poor

My local newspaper ran a nasty anti-immigrant, anti-homeless story last week saying rough sleepers in the shopping centre “intimidate shoppers”. It implied that they were mostly eastern European.

The centre is a public right of way and one side of it forms a relatively warm safe place for around 20 homeless people to sleep. 

They are there because Newham has a chronic shortage of affordable housing. I have walked through the centre hundreds of times day and night and have never felt intimidated. 

In fact it feels safer with people, including the skaters who turn it into effectively a community centre at night. 

Newham’s Labour mayor Sir Robin Wales wants us to vote for what we value on 22 May. I vote to build affordable housing and not demonise the poor.

Sarah Ensor, East London

Halal scare is racist crap 

The reason so much of the meat sold in Britain is halal is not because Muslims demand we all eat it—that’s racist crap. It’s due to the business of global meat production.

As abattoirs get bigger and export meat around the world it is more profitable to slaughter all their animals the same way—and halal is big business.

The real problem is not how much halal meat is sold but how little control we have over how society produces the food we eat.

Stef Sheldon, Exeter

FA quotas are racist

A commission into the state of English football gave its long-awaited report last week.

It was to investigate the lack of top young players, and why England hasn’t won a tournament in years. 

Two of its conclusions are deeply worrying.

They are to increase the minimum quota of English players that clubs must employ and to further restrict non-EU players by changing the work permit system.

Both plans smack of the racism towards migrants we see in wider society—and both ignore the facts. 

Germany, often hailed for developing young talent, has no restrictions on foreign players.

Football fans must argue against these backward ideas and celebrate the multicultural nature of football in Britain.

Tom Kay, Sheffield

Job stats show recovery sham

The Tory coalition boasts that figures for the creation of new jobs have increased. But since mid-2010 two out of five new jobs created have been in self-employment. 

It’s very difficult to attain a stable income and get any pension if you’re self-employed. 

Self-employment has a role to play in the economy but employment figures shouldn’t be so dependent on it. 

This revelation really undermines the government’s claim that they’re improving the economy. 

Name and address supplied

Free transport for everyone!

Well done to the South Yorkshire “freedom ride” (Socialist Worker, 3 May). It got me thinking: why shouldn’t public transport be free? And I mean everywhere.

It would boost people’s freedom of movement, particularly the elderly or less

well-off. It would even be good for the economy.

Graeme Kemp, Shropshire

Evict Tories not tenants

the Tories are attacking welfare spending and causing misery for millions of families across.

One consequence of this is that the number of tenants facing eviction from rented accommodation is at a ten-year high.

In just the first three months of this year landlords made nearly 50,000 possession claims in county courts.

Meanwhile toff Tory minister William Hague is having £2,000 a day of taxpayers’ money lavished on his exclusive London residence. It’s despicable.

Chris Deans, Sunderland

Video has a go at Coalition

Our band, The Vulnerables, has produced a music video called Coalition.

We’re sure readers will appreciate the sentiment, if not the music!

Darren Tolliday, Manchester

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Article information

Tue 13 May 2014, 17:48 BST
Issue No. 2403
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