In the last three months in South Africa 80,000 miners have been involved in a wave of wildcat strikes in gold, platinum and coal mines. In WR 356 (“South Africa massacre of miners: The bourgeoisie uses its police and union guard dogs against the working class”) we looked at the massacre of 34 miners in Marikana. We showed how unions and government acted together against the working class. At the time it was not clear what direction events would go. Since then we have witnessed the largest strike wave since the ANC came to power in 1994.
On 16 August, above the mines of Marikana, north west of Johannesburg, 34 people were killed by the bullets of the South African police, who also wounded 78 others. Immediately, the unbearable images of these summary executions went around the world. But, as always, the bourgeoisie and its media tried to distort the class character of this strike, reducing it to a sordid war between the two main unions in the mining sector, and bringing up the ghosts of apartheid.