suites du massacre de Marikana — les oppositions entre « durs » et « mous » se tendent
For those who have begun to take civil disobedience into middle class spaces, the logic goes that it is better to be vilified and taken notice of than to be given ’lip service delivery’ from the government. In other words, the escalation of protests by poor black communities is an indication of the complete lack of democracy for anyone who can’t afford to purchase their right to a voice in the elite public sphere.
(...) It is quite concerning, therefore, that a collection of Cape Town-based activist oriented NGOs have been making a significant effort to vilify certain forms of protest that do not fit within its directors’ and funders’ view of what constitute ’acceptable’ forms of protest.
To be sure, many of these NGOs can claim important victories. The Treatment Action Campaign, for instance, has had a significant impact in helping turn the tide from AIDS denialism to a more proactive HIV/AIDS health policy at the national level. However, just as often, well-funded and publicised protests led by NGOs have gone nowhere, fast. Despite bringing more than 10,000 people into the streets of Cape Town last year to demand that the state build one library per school, Equal Education has not been able to compel the government to build any more libraries. Instead, the Western Cape is now closing down 27 schools in the province. Legal protests have done nothing to prevent this from happening.
One of the best examples of real immediate success from illegal protest tactics was the 2007 blockade of the N2 by thousands of residents of the Joe Slovo shack settlement in Langa. The community was resisting the then Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s flagship N2 Gateway housing project which was attempting to evict 20,000 Joe Slovo residents to ’temporary relocation areas’ in Delft, a bleak and underdeveloped township on the far outskirts of the city.
Unfortunately, many of the leaders of NGO based civil society moralistically lambaste disruptive tactics in protests here in Cape Town while hypocritically forgetting that they simultaneously support those same tactics in other struggles throughout the world. For instance, respected activist Zackie Achmat attacked Abahlali baseMjondolo’s non-violent but disruptive Informal Settlement Strike in 2010 while a year later hosting Israeli Yonatan Pollak from Anarchists Against the Wall, a respected activist who consistently engages in disruptive and sometimes violent civil disobedience protests against the Israeli occupation.
During the recent protests, Vuyiseka Dubula, General Secretary of the TAC, penned an article in which she called for protests “built on alliances, strategy, clear realistic demands and the genuine intent to improve the lives of people”. (...)
Thus, what Vuyiseka, TAC and its affiliated NGOs are really saying is that communities should protest their way, should build alliances under their umbrella, and should make only ’realistic’ (reformist) demands that are acceptable to their vein of sectarian liberal politics. Yet their approach at donor-funded activism often does not work or is unaffordable to shackdwellers – thereby dictating who can afford to protest and actively preventing the formation of alternatives.