The working class is rising in pursuit of economic emancipation

The workers are fighting for better wages. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

The workers are fighting for better wages. Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 11, 2023


By Onke Xhinela

South Africa has long been a nation of stark contrasts, where breathtaking natural beauty coexists with deep-seated social and economic disparities. One of the most glaring disparities is the vast wealth divide between the capitalist elite and the working class. However, in recent years, a growing movement has been taking shape, aiming to challenge the capitalist regime and usher in a more equitable society.

For decades, South Africa has been under the influence of capitalism, a system that has perpetuated inequality, poverty, and injustice. The apartheid era reinforced this economic divide, leaving a legacy that remains ingrained in the nation’s socio-economic fabric. The capitalist regime has allowed a select few to accumulate immense wealth, while the majority of South Africans have been left struggling for basic necessities.

The working class in South Africa, representing the majority of the population, has endured decades of economic hardship, labour exploitation, and a lack of access to quality education and healthcare. This situation has been further exacerbated by corruption, political instability, and inadequate governance. However, there is a growing sense of empowerment among the working class.

Labor unions, grassroots movements, and community organisations have mobilised to demand fair wages, better working conditions, and an end to economic exploitation. These efforts culminated in the rise of new political leaders committed to change. South Africa has witnessed the emergence of leaders who understand the struggles of the working class. These leaders have championed progressive economic policies and social reforms, aiming to shift the balance of power away from the capitalist elite. They have also pushed for greater access to education, healthcare, and housing as fundamental human rights.

To truly break away from the capitalist regime, South Africa has had to confront its historical injustices head-on. Land reform, for example, has been a contentious issue, as much of the nation’s fertile land remains in the hands of a few wealthy landowners. Efforts to redistribute land to those who were historically dispossessed have faced numerous challenges, but they remain a critical aspect of achieving economic equality. This needs leaders who are committed and ready to make strides in challenging the capitalist regime that has perpetuated economic inequality and injustice for generations. As the movement gains momentum, it is becoming increasingly clear that the working class is determined to transform South Africa into a more equitable society.

The struggle is ongoing, but it carries the promise of a brighter future where the wealth of the nation benefits all its people, not just a privileged few. It is our time; the waiting is over. The youth must take it to the streets to confront unemployment. We demand job opportunities. We demand better living wages. End crime now. We demand basic service delivery.

Revolutions are often marked by a desire for change, a breaking point in societal norms, and a yearning for progress. However, there are times when revolutions are intentionally postponed, either due to external pressures, calculated decisions, or a combination of factors. One of the primary deliberate elements in postponing a revolution is the suppression of dissent in the South African context, it’s greed and corruption. Our leaders are preoccupied with self-enriching themselves more than anything. While these deliberate elements may temporarily delay revolutions, there are significant consequences associated with such actions.

Postponing a revolution often leads to heightened frustration and pent-up anger within our people. When change is continually denied, the situation may eventually reach a tipping point, resulting in more significant and potentially violent uprisings because continuous suppression of dissent and manipulation of information erode trust in the government, to our movement and institutions, leading to a loss of legitimacy. This can result in long-term instability and a growing disillusionment with the status quo. Deliberate elements of postponing a revolution is used by our leaders to maintain their grip on power and delay us attaining National Democratic Revolution (NDR). Their tactics to delay the revolution will only be effective in the short term. Our leaders must warn of the consequences.

Postponing a revolution can have significant societal costs, including economic stagnation, lost opportunities for growth, and the perpetuation of social injustices. These costs can accumulate over time and have long-term implications for our developing country.

Leadership is a critical factor in the transformation of any nation. The willingness of political leaders to enact change, address pressing issues, and adapt to evolving circumstances plays a fundamental role in shaping a country’s future. However, there are instances when leaders appear to lack the political will necessary to initiate transformation one common reason leaders may lack the political will to transform a country is a focus on short-term interests, often linked to electoral cycles. Eager to secure their positions in the next election, leaders may prioritise policies that bring immediate rewards, even if they don’t address long-term issues. This can hinder investments in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure that are vital for a nation’s sustainable development. If they can’t lead us, we must lead ourselves!!!

*Xhinela, is head of the state and popular power commission and provincial chairperson of Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) in Moses Kotane.

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL