The Fight Inequality Alliance South Africa, a growing alliance of communities, social movements and NGOs has called for a month of mass rolling action in October 2020.
In September, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that we will move to a “new normal”. This, after more than 5 months of one of the most extreme lockdowns in the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. A lockdown that has made survival for working-class communities almost impossible!
We have been harassed and murdered by the police and military in our own homes; the informal economy which is essential to our survival has been devastated; violent evictions have left many homeless; millions more have been forced into unemployment or precarious work; gender-based violence has worsened and women have had to bear a disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work; more of our communities do not have food and water and our collapsed school infrastructure cannot protect our learners and teachers. The government’s commitments to grants, wage support and food and water supply have been an insult to our communities!
For us, this “new normal” is just a deepening of the social and political crisis that has forced us out of the economy and into suffering and hardship.
The state’s logic of neoliberalism
Let’s be clear: we are in this crisis because the state is stuck in the logic of neoliberalism.
Even before the pandemic, the government has been waging attacks on us, intensifying its neoliberal agenda. Since 2012 the government has consistently cut budgets that are vital for our dignity and survival, in order to prioritise debt repayments. This year, Treasury has proposed even deeper cuts to the budget. This includes cuts to education, health, and social services.
But, through self-organisation and people's power, we have defied the logic of neoliberalism and have shown that another world is possible. From seed sharing and backyard gardening in Waterberg, Limpopo; popular education on Covid-19 safety in Makause Informal Settlement, Gauteng; mass food security programmes in Bonteheuwel, Western Cape; and occupations of unused land for housing across the country.
Now is the time!
Covid-19 has made clear the failures of the state’s neoliberal project. At the end of October, the Minister of Finance will announce the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) where he will speak about an “economic recovery”. We know too well that this “recovery” will just be another way to favour the rich and powerful while the rest of us are made to suffer.
But we cannot afford further attacks! Now is the time for us to organise ourselves from the ground! Now is the time to take back our power! Now is the time to build a government for the people - not the rich! Now is the time to build a new world! Now is the time to intensify our struggles for:
We will show that all of this is possible through the cancellation of odious debt, transforming our State-Owned Enterprises, taxing the rich and restructuring the economy.
Community movements across the country will be embarking on mass-rolling protest action in October, around localised demands. Prior to the MTBPS announcement, we will host a national conversation and a global rally will take place on 17 October.