South Africa’s Unfinished Revolution and the Massacre at Marikana


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The massacre of 34 miners at Marikana lays bare the central contradiction of the South African “arrangement.” Back in 1994, “the ‘revolution’ was put on indefinite hold, so that a new Black capitalist class could be created, largely from the ranks of well-connected members of the ruling party and even union leaders.” The regime now represses Black workers on behalf of capital.


South Africa’s Unfinished Revolution and the Massacre at Marikana

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

They are ‘anarchists,’ say these two allies of the South African state, and guilty of fomenting ‘dual unionism’ – which is now, apparently, a capital crime.”

When thousands of miners went on strike at South Africa’s largest platinum mine, in Marikana, they were confronting not only the London-based owners, but the South African state, which since 1994 has been dominated by the African National Congress (ANC); COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions; and the South African Communist Party. This week, the full weight of the state was brought down on the Black miners, 34 of whom were massacred by police gunfire. Many of the survivors face charges of murder in the earlier deaths of two policemen and eight other miners.

The National Union of Mineworkers, whose representation the strikers rejected, and the Communist Party head in the region claim the strikers are at fault, that they have committed the sin of choosing an alternative union to argue their case for higher wages and, therefore, deserve severe punishment. They are “anarchists,” say these two allies of the South African state, and guilty of fomenting “dual unionism” – which is now, apparently, a capital crime. With a straight face, the Communist Party had the gall to call on all South African workers to “remain united in the fight against exploitation under capitalism.”

That is precisely what the Marikana miners were doing – the struggle they gave their lives for. However, since the peaceful transition to state power to the ANC and its very junior partners, the COSATU unions and the Communist Party, in 1994, the South African state has had different priorities. The “revolution” was put on indefinite hold, so that a new Black capitalist class could be created, largely from the ranks of well-connected members of the ruling party and even union leaders. It is only logical that, if the priority of the state is to nurture Black capitalists, then it must maintain and defend capitalism. This is the central contradiction of the South African arrangement, and the massacre at Marikana is its inevitable result.

The central truth is that South Africa did not complete its revolution.”

The 1994 agreement between Nelson Mandela’s ANC and the white South African regime was a pact with the devil, which could only be tolerated by the masses of the country’s poor because it was seen as averting a bloodbath, and because it was assumed to be temporary. But, 18 years later, the arrangement has calcified into a bizarre protectorate for foreign white capital and the small class of Blacks that have attached themselves to the global rich. Apologists for the African National Congress regime will prattle on about the “complexity” of the issue, but the central truth is that South Africa did not complete its revolution.

The fundamental contradictions of the rule of the many by the few, remain in place – only now, another layer of repression has been added: a Black aristocracy that has soaked itself in the blood of the miners of Marikana.

South Africa remains the continent's best hope for a fundamental break with colonialism in its new forms. But, as in all anti-colonial struggles, the biggest casualties will occur in the clash between those who truly desire liberation, and those who are intent on an accommodation with the old master.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].




In the late 1990's, nearly 20 years after "independence," 4500 Whites controlled ("owned")  approximately 12 million hectares of land in Zimbabwe. In other words, 1% of the population, which was racially and culturally distinct, and which had a long history of very bad relations with the Black majority, including those in positions of leadership, controlled roughly 30 million acres of land. Imagine how modern China, India, Indonesia, or Vietnam would look and function if the same situation existed after decolonialization? Try to imagine any nation on earth with a White majority in which a racial minority, especially a Black one was allowed to impose such such a skewed system on the White population. I can't either.

The liberation movements in Asia were about getting the White Western yoke off of the backs of the people no matter what the cost, or how long the process would take. No matter how hard its apologists both in the West, and locally attempted to redefine the nature of the struggle, and to soften resentment of the oppressor and of the oppression that was being inflicted on the local population, Asians never accepted White colonialists' "right" to be in Asia, and to remain there as a separate, special, privileged group after liberation. As a result, Asians in places like Indonesia and Vietnam went toe to toe with Western forces equipped with the latest weapons and a willingness to unleash them. In contrast, most Africans, or at least their so called leadership, decided that they couldn't defeat their oppressors, and that they couldn't make it without the aid and cooperation of their White oppressors and that of their oppressors' allies and supporters in the West after the struggle. The failure of non-racial democracy in places such as Zimbabwe and South Africa was always inevitable. One cannot leave the racist structures of the old apartheid order intact and pretend solve the problem simply by renaming the system of oppression and continuing business as usual, by adding a few Black overseers to the mix. Not indefinitely, anyway.

Euro/American Overseers

There   is   the   Nelson  Mandela   Statue in   London  Parliment   Square  and   they   celebrate    his   birthday  every   year;  supposedly   for   representing   the     "dignity  of   Africa."  In  reality,   its   a   reward   for   perserving  British   financial    interests   in  South  Africa.

Lonmin,  the   owner   of   the  mine   where   this  massacre   occured, is   headquartered   in   London.  Anglo  American,  another  mining   giant,  is   also  based  in   London.  Nelson  Mandela's   ascendency   to    President was  orchestrated   just   like  Obama's;  and   the   last   thing his   puppeteers   wanted   was    change.

Nelson  Mandela, current   President   Jacob  Zuma,  the ANC,     the   National  Union  of  Mineworkers,  at   the   leadership  levels,  are nothing   but   highly  paid  overseers,  protecting  white   Euro/American  economic   interests  in  South  Africa.


The Black overseer class protects not only British interests, but also those of the United States of America,  and those of the  Afrikaners, as well as those of any other White Westerners or Western Western capital, or White Western multinationals that are doing business in southern Africa. The people they don't protect, whom they actively seek to suppress, are the Black workers whose cheap labor supports the whole wealth pyramid. It's a very sad and extremely depressing situation for those of us who hoped that Africans would learn from the experiences of so many different liberation movements in so many parts of the world over so many decades and that they would use that wealth of knowledge and experience to do better. Instead, modern South Africa and neighboring Zimbabwe have become case studies for how NOT to conduct liberation movements if one's goal is to actually free the people who've been oppressed.

2 questions...

We support the workers of course, but we want to know who's the hidden hand (if any) behind the militant breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)?

This could be a NATO op to break the ANC's relationship with China. We know that NATO does not like the ANC...

The ANC is bad, but we want to know more about the ANC's main political opponents who are playing politics with this issue:

The Democratic Alliance:

Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, dubs Julius Malema: “dictator-in-waiting”.

Wikileaks puts a target on Julius Malema's back:

Then the ANC folds to NATO/Wikileaks pressure and SACKs Malema:

Anglophile NATO newspaper expresses their disatisfaction with the ANC taking over the African Union:

African Union:

"Controversial appointment"

The top spot in Africa’s most powerful club goes to a South African


Mr. Mandela, Bishop Tutu, and many, if not most of the higher ups in the ANC abandoned the Black masses long ago. Are we to believe that President Jacob Zuma just now became aware of the appalling living and working conditions of Black mine workers? What exactly, are the miners getting from their unions for their union dues? Mrs. Zille's party is nothing more the non-apologist wing of the old White supermacist Nationlist party which has been rebranded just enough to fool the gullible. The Black masses in South Africa have to decide if and when it's time to throw all of the rascals out and to restart the process of liberation.


This old WSWS article I found claims that Malema wants to nationalize the mines for his own faction interest, along side that of the Chinese interest (the striking workers don't seem to agree with this notion today).

The WSWS article also claims that Malema wants to rid the ANC of "the party of the working class component now coalesced around Cosatu and the SACP" (the same party that has blood on their hands today, and helped dismiss Malema from the ANCYL):

"Malema prophesies ‘nationalisation’ of mining"

14 September 2010

Since September 14th 2010, Mr. Malema has been subjected to attacks by mainstream western media, and Wikileaks:

You should also read the latest Economist article about the S. African massacre:

The Economist fret's about possible S. African government regulations and mineral nationalization, instead of about what happened to the poor workers! This article explains why NATO and Wikileaks had to get rid of Malema!