The deepening capitalist crisis: From blood and dirt to much worse
It was long ago stated that capitalism came into the world dripping in blood and dirt, from every pore, from head to toe. While it has demonstrated that it won’t simply collapse under its own weight, the recent goings-on around the current capitalist crisis have shown that with age it has become even more hideous. Capitalism is now rank with massive state intervention required to simply keep its rotting body moving: through states propping up the financial sector and deepening the colossal attack on the working class.
Fallout from Chinese stock markets
The goings-on that have once again highlighted capitalism’s depravity, are the turmoil – starting in China – that has occurred over the last few weeks on stock markets; including the underlying causes that led to it, and the actions that the ruling classes have taken since then to try and end it, or at least alleviate it.
The recent volatility in world stock markets erupted in earnest in June 2015. In June, the Chinese stock markets began a plunge that has frightened the ruling classes (capitalists, top state officials and politicians) across the globe. This plunge has not yet ended, and so far the Shanghai Stock Market has lost 40% of its value. In the wake of this, stock markets from New York to London have reeled; leading to a roller coaster ride of uncertainty.
Read more: The deepening capitalist crisis: From blood and dirt to much worse
Class Struggle, ‘Xenophobia’ and the Local Elite
The xenophobic violence and looting following King Zwelithini’s statement that foreigners “pack their bags and leave” spread to cities and townships across the country. However, the recent attacks are not an isolated incident; nor is Zwelithini solely responsible for fomenting it. Local elites – particularly those linked to the ruling party – also encourage anti-immigrant attitudes and actions. This article, based on discussions with Abahlali baseFreedom Park activists, looks at how local elites in townships stimulate ‘xenophobia’ to protect their class interests, as well as how progressive working class activists have responded.
Xenophobia and local elites
Freedom Park is among few townships where development is underway; RDP houses are being built etc. However, residents complain about corruption around tenders and contracts. The development agencies have been accused of playing local and foreign workers against each other to secure cheap labour. These agencies, linked to the local ANC elite, felt South African workers wouldn’t accept the low wages they were offering and so approached immigrant workers, often more desperate because of their precarious situation, and offered them jobs below the wages locals were trying to negotiate. This is one way local elites play immigrant and local people against each other, creating fertile ground for the spread of xenophobic sentiments.
Read more: Class Struggle, ‘Xenophobia’ and the Local Elite