Website: khayelitshastruggles.com or www.abahlali.org
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org office admin: 073 2562 036/ 083 446 5081
Invitation to All Those Seeking Political Office to Come Down to the People
On the 21 March 2011 Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape will have a mass rally at the VE shack settlement in Khayelitsha from 10:00 till 13:00. Representatives of 15 communities will attend this rally. The aim of the rally is to launch our campaign for the 2011 local government elections, which is: No Land! No House! No Water! No Electricity! No Jobs! No Freedom! No Vote!
As a movement we see no point in voting for political parties which are just competing for the right to oppress the poor. We do not see any political party taking the side of the poor. No political party stands with us when we are fighting shack fires, running crèches, occupying land or resisting evictions. Therefore we refuse to vote and instead focus on building our own power in our own communities so that the people can discipline who ever tries to use them as ladders to climb into office.
The ANC and the DA repress popular protest. The ANC can not escape the truth of Kennedy Road or eTwatwa. The DA can not escape the truth of Hangberg or Macassar Village. The ANC and the DA are not just anti-poor. They are both also anti any autonomous politics of the poor. Due to their history of repression neither the ANC nor the DA can be said to be democratic organisations.
Some civil society formations are playing the same game as the political parties and trying to divide the poor by criminalising popular organisations that organise independently of the ANC. Here in Cape Town TAC and their subsidiary organisations, which are aligned to the ANC, have even tried to blame the actions of the ANC Youth League on our movement! This allows them to let the ANC off the hook for the thuggish actions of its youth league while making us look like bad. Although we acknowledge the important work that these organisations have done in winning treatment for people living with HIV, supporting migrants after the xenophobic attacks in 2008, raising the issue of unequal education and so on we have to acknowledge the reality that many civil society organisations remain an extension of the ANC. With the exception of the South African Municipal Workers’ union, which has decided that it cannot in good conscience ask its members to vote for the ANC once again, COSATU is, while clearly the only progressive formation in the tripartite alliance, also an extension of the ANC.
The real opposition to the ANC and the DA is not COSATU or those civil society formations which criticise the ANC on some important points but still expect the poor to vote for their oppressors. The real opposition to the ANC is in the rebellion of the poor and the organisations and movements that have emerged from that rebellion.
We are clear that the ANC and the DA are our oppressors and that COSATU and some civil society formations are failing to take this reality seriously. However we are democrats. We always allow the parties to campaign freely in our areas. We are therefore extending an invitation to all those people who have ambitions to be elected by the votes of the poor to attend our rally on Human Rights Day. We are inviting Patricia de Lille, Tony Ehenrich, the ANC Youth League members that engaged in thuggery in TR section and that now want us to elect their leader as a councillor, the civil society organisations that continue to support the ANC and all other individuals and groups that want our vote to attend our meeting.
They will all be given a platform and the right to speak freely. They will be listened to respectfully. However they will all be asked the following ten questions:
1. Will they actively oppose all water and electricity disconnections?
2. Will they actively oppose all evictions?
3. Will they actively support the occupation of unused land to house the poor?
4. Will they actively support the right of all people to organise freely, including outside of and against political parties?
5. Will they actively provide non-party political support to community initiatives like crèches, food gardens and so on?
6. Will they actively support the demand for fair and effective policing to ensure the safety of everyone in poor communities?
7. Will they actively support the right of all communities to plan their own future by democratising development via mechanisms like participatory budgeting and popular urban planning?
8. Will they only take a basic living wage for themselves and put the rest of their politician’s salaries into community controlled projects in poor communities?
9. Will they take instruction from above, by party bosses, or from below, from their electorates?
10. Will they give the people that elected them the right to recall them if they do not allow the people to lead them from below?
For comment contact: Mzonke Poni ABM WC chairperson @ 073 2562 036
Direction to VE informal settlement: Take the Mew Way turn off to Khayelitsha from N2, on stop sign you turn right over the bridge (only if you are coming from Cape Town Direction, and you will turn left if you are coming from Somerset West direction) and go through the traffic light (Mew Way road) and over the bridge there is 4 way stop and you turn left. VE informal settlement is allocated along the road on your right hand side, is about 1 kilometer away from the 4 way stop.