South Africa is in many ways a very different country to that envisaged by political activists of the 1970s.
For one, the equitable society they anticipated would replace apartheid remains a chimera.
I might be quite wrong but it seems to me too that the Labor party, traditionally the secure home of the working class, has also failed their ‘bad, white working class.’ As a movement Labor was unable to predict the fallout from a rapidly changing workforce and now finds its former adherents drifting to small right-wing parties with quick-fix solutions but no real answers in a rapidly-changing society.
I wonder if the drift to right-wing movements will continue if the major parties don’t face the big issues.
Instead, a process has taken place that political geographer Gillian Hart calls the “denationalisation” and “renationlisation” of the economy under the African National Congress (ANC).
As one abiding achievement of that decade – the trade union movement – begins to splinter, it is important to revisit the 1970s and engage critically with both its mistakes and achievements.
We’ve failed somehow to make it clear that these minority groups want equality, not domination.
The real ‘enemies’ of the working are the professional political and industrial classes that have sold out on the under-skilled and underemployed and failed to include them in a changing society.
If you scratch the surface I am indeed a liberal latte-sipping, bleeding heart – with security.
I too have failed to notice that a whole class was being left behind.