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Johannesburg: Demo gegen Angriffe

Phansi Xenophobia! Phansi! In Johannesburg haben am Samstag (24.05.08) 5000 Menschen gegen die ausländerfeindlichen Angriffe protestiert. Organisiert war das ganze vom Antiprivatisierungsforum (APF), verschiedenen Gewerkschaften und Flüchtlingsorganisationen.

Laut dem APF kursierten beim ANC Informationen sich nicht dem Marsch der ‚ultra-linken’ anzuschließen. Dennoch hat am Anfang der Demo die zum ANC gehörende Ministerin für Public Service and Administration gesprochen, ich finde ein wichtiges Zeichen. Das APF schreibt, dass einige Busse in den Townships nicht zur Demo losfahren konnten, weil sie von Ausländerhassern bedroht wurden. Die Demo ist von den Migranten in der Joburger Innenstadt jubelnd aufgenommen wurden.

Mit den Gewaltakten der letzten Wochen ist klar geworden, dass es im Moment keine linke Formation in den Townships gibt, die in der Lage ist, den Unmut gegen die Herrschenden zu wenden, bzw. gar die Flüchtlinge zu verteidigen. Wie der kanadische Südafrika Experte David McDonald vom Southern Africa Migration Project (SAMP)
sagt, gibt es in allen gesellschaftlichen Schichten Südafrikas einen massiven Hass auf Einwanderer, nur dass er sich in den Armenvierteln am ehesten auslebt. Die Konkurrenzsituation vor dem Hintergrund einer andauernden sozialen Krise, die ihre Wurzeln in Apartheid und dem Neoliberalismus der letzten Jahre hat, dürfte hier die Hauptgrund sein. Aber auch die verinnerlichten, rassifizierten Wertevorstellungen. Xenophobie ist somit kein rein „schwarzes“ Problem in Südafrika.

Einen guten Text zu den Gewaltakten der letzten Wochen hat die Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM), der Bewegung aus den Armenvierteln um die südafrikanische Hafenstadt Durban veröffentlicht. Der Text gibt einen guten Einblick in die Gründe für die aktuelle Gewaltwelle gegen Migranten in Südafrika. Und er thematisiert die Verantwortung des Staates, der Polizei und der Behörden und reagiert auf die Forderungen, dass den Armen nun erklärt werden soll, was Xenophobie ist.

Am Ende werden Forderungen wie die nach Papieren für alle und einer sozialen Wohnungsbaupolitik erhoben. ABM ist eine der größten Bewegungen der letzten Jahre, die mehrere tausend Menschen bei vergangenen Demos gegen Wohnungsnot und Räumungen mobilisiert hat.

Hier noch der Demoaufruf:

Beim Labour Net Germany gibt es einen guten Überblick von Analysen und Berichten zu den Ereignissen der letzten Wochen.

Einige Fotos von der Demo:

Und noch ein Bericht vom APF (englisch):

Anti Privatisation Forum

Statement on the Anti Xenophobia March in Johannesburg which took place on Saturday, 24 March 2008

Monday 26th May 2008

The Anti Privatisation Forum with the Social Movements Indaba and a large coalition of organisations marched on Saturday 24 May 2008 against xenophobia and hate, through the inner city of Johannesburg to the Gauteng Legislature to submit a memorandum to government. The public responded to the call from the Coalition Against Xenophobia in a colourful demonstration for the inclusion of foreigners in our communities. Over 5000 people marched despite SMS messages circulated in ANC circles discouraging participation in a march organised by the 'ultra left'. Well, thanks then to the ultra left for mobilising communities and concerned residents of Johannesburg against the insidious hatred bred by poverty, developing links with immigrant communities and being clear about why we are poor.

Fears are patrolling our freedom and already determine with who or what South Africans associate with. It is regrettable that the APF can report that the buses from its affiliates in Atteridgeville and Shoshanguve had to be cancelled for threatened reprisals. Buses and taxis from other townships did otherwise arrive for the march unhindered. For APF comrades, this was a march unlike any other at its start at the Pieter Roos Park below Constitutional Hill, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, assumed the platform to number herself among the 'we Africans united against the scourge of hatred'; one demonstrator at the march held a placard professing ‘Free markets/Free Immigration/Free South Africa’. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the marchers were agreed that the government’s consistent failure to deliver adequate basic services to poor communities, combined with macro-economic policies that have benefited corporate capital/the rich, are a large part of what is behind the explosion of xenophobia and hatred amongst the poor who live in this country. The memorandum addressed to Premier Mbazima Shilowa as well as the Departments of Housing and Home Affairs calls on the "South African government to acknowledge its role in the crisis, and to assume responsibility for providing solutions to the problems that speak to the root causes of the problem." This would include, the memorandum stated, the suspension of "the neo-liberal macro-economic policy approach."

While the government will be hard-headed in its insistence on finding a criminal motivation to the xenophobic attacks, the demands submitted to government are unlikely to be met. What the demonstration did achieve was an affirmation of African working class unity and to break the spell of tension that has been stalking Johannesburg streets for the last two weeks. Residents of Hillbrow and the inner city cheered the march from their balconies as is it proceeded down Claim and Pritchard streets. The loudest cheer en route to the Gauteng legislature came from the predominately Zimbabwean refugees at the Central Methodist Church. Immigrants taking refuge at the church had prepared to come to the march but their busses to the starting point had been delayed. Banners they had prepared the evening before were as critical of government's policies as the Coalition's memorandum: 'Mr Mbeki: is this what you call quiet diplomacy.' Incensed by the xenophobic coverage in the South African press, particularly the Daily Sun tabloid, another wit declared, 'Aliens are what you find on Pluto'.

Amongst the speakers on the march was a representative from the Refugee Fellowship based at the Central Methodist Church. Representatives of the Zimbabwean, Congolese, Cameroonian, Ethiopian, Mozambican, Somali and Nigerian immigrant communities also had opportunities to speak, all welcoming the solidarity demonstration. As government continues to treat the xenophobia as a criminal phenomenon, they have very little faith that the police will do anything to solve the problem. The South African police violently raided the Central Methodist Church in January this year, brutalising the desperate people sleeping on floors there. How can the police be trusted to find a solution to xenophobia when so many of them are confirmed xenophobes, relating to foreigners as cash machines? When the Remmoho Women's Group visited Alexandra police station on Tuesday, 20th May, refugees there spoke of harassment by members of the police force.

The solution to xenophobia is for 'the enemy at home' to be targeted by our organisation and our action. These enemies are not foreign immigrants but the corporate and government elites who commodify our basic resources, retrench workers, casualise employment, profit-gouge on basic necessities most crucial to the poor and engage in double-speak when it comes to treating all who live in South Africa with fairness, equality, and humanness. Treating xenophobic South Africans only as criminals reminds the APF of government's criminalisation of our members who protest for basic services. Both xenophobia and service delivery protests will not go away unless those with political and socio-economic power listen to the poor, unless social development involves people and is not conceived as a benefit trickling down from investments. With the upsurge in violence, the ANC government must, with all urgency, acknowledge that the time to start back-pedalling on its failed policies and arrogant political ‘rule’ is NOW!.

No-one is illegal!


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