The Marikana Massacre: The government that pulled the trigger and the workers who survived it

Revivifying what are only recent memories of massacres by the state during the apartheid era, the Marikana massacre occurred on 16th August 2012, when policemen shot down 112 striking mineworkers, killing 34. Resistance by the ANC and the press to label the incident a massacre (‘Marikana shootings’ was the preferred terminology) at once exposed the easy analogy between Marikana and previous mass shootings at Sharpeville or Soweto, the fraughtness of South Africa’s difficult reckoning with its past, and how violence and the covering up of violence remains an intrinsic part of South Africa’s political structures and institutions.

Luke Sinwell, co-author of The Spirit of Marikana  a fascinating recent history of post-Apartheid South Africa, emphasising the crucial role of workers in changing history – has written here about the fight for justice by the workers that survived the massacre and the prosecution of 72 police for their role in the events.

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The recent decision taken by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to prosecute 72 police for their role in the events related to South Africa’s Marikana massacre is welcome, but it may obscure the truth that the African National Congress (ANC) government pulled the trigger. The Sprit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism tells the story of the agency of those workers who survived it.

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Protesting the Capitalist University by Henry Heller

The University of Manitoba is on strike. Since 1st November, more than 1,200 faculty members took to the picket line to protest the lack of funding for education, a need for workload protection and safeguarding for fairer tenure and promotion procedures, in addition to addressing several job security issues for instructors and librarians. Author of ‘The Capitalist University’, Henry Heller is a professor of History at the University of Manitoba, he writes here of the strike and how the walkout resonates with the themes of his book. 

Authors don’t often get to live out the denouement of their books. Yet that is what is happening to me as I blog.  On 20 October Pluto published  The Capitalist University: The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States, 1945-2016. Its last chapter deals with university-of-manitoba-faculty-on-strikethe development of the neoliberal university and the growing resistance to it on the part of faculty and students and other workers. Two weeks have gone by  and I find myself on a picket line at the University of Manitoba on a faculty strike against the neoliberal university. As we stand vigil at the gates of the University the days are rapidly shortening and getting colder. Overhead the geese are quickly and excitedly fleeing to the south. But each morning since 1 November I find myself on the morning shift defying the university’s attempt to impose total control over the work of professors and librarians at our university. We are an important part of a rising tide of class struggle developing both inside and  outside of universities across the globe against the ravages of neoliberal capitalism.

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Video: David Rosenberg presents Rebel Footprints

Check out the book trailer for David Rosenberg’sRebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History, the radical response to conservative heritage tours and banal day-tripper guides.

‘You haven’t walked the streets of London unless you’ve understood the secret history of revolt, rebellion and poverty hidden all around you in its bricks and alleyways. Rosenberg takes you there as no other writer has done.’ Paul Mason

Read the Guardian review here.

You can buy the book directly from us, and we’ll throw in extra goodies to say thanks! Go to www.rebelfootprints.co.uk.

The full version of the video can be found on Pluto’s Youtube channel.