South Africa has imposed one of the world’s most draconian COVID-19 lockdowns, slapping hundreds of thousands of mostly black and working-class people with criminal charges. The authoritarian response highlights again the lost promise of the post-apartheid government and the deep disparities that still plague the country.
Benjamin Fogel is a historian and contributing editor at Africa is a Country and Jacobin.
After more than a year of Jair Bolsonaro’s rule in Brazil, the country is hurtling toward authoritarianism. Now the president is calling on his supporters to take to the streets in a “Fuck You March” against the democratic institutions that are standing in the way of his far-right agenda.
Since Labour’s election defeat, pundits have accused the party of being out of step with working people’s social conservatism. But the “Blue Labour” obsession with Christian morality and national pride offers a caricature of the working class — and ignores the ability of socialist politics to unite people across cultural divides.
Bolsonaro doesn't need an open military dictatorship to crush his opponents. As the "Colombian model" demonstrates, he can lean on violent paramilitaries to do the dirty work for him.
South African politics urgently needs an injection of electoral energy from the Left, that speaks in a language that resonates with voters, rejects chauvinism, and embraces democracy.
Establishment outlets like the Economist insist the Brazilian military is a moderating influence on the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. But precisely the opposite is true.
The core of Bolsonarism is hatred of Brazil's organized working class, which today — despite no threat of socialist revolution — is incarnated in the PT and the image of Lula.
If the Left is serious about wielding and transforming state power, it needs to go beyond a moralistic understanding of corruption.
Jacob Zuma won't be remembered as a liberation hero, but as a corrupt leader who broke the South African left.
South Africa needs more than a new leader: it needs a new vision, one that levels economic inequality and dismantles patronage systems.
Apologetics for a kleptocratic tyrant have nothing to do with anti-imperialism.
What have we learned from the Pink Tide’s years in power?
From Donald Trump to Jacob Zuma, we can’t reduce politics to “getting rid of the bad guys” and expect to win.
A real political alternative in South Africa will come from powerful social movements — not charismatic leaders.
A revived South African trade union movement could challenge the ANC from its left.
Racism and crime in post-apartheid South Africa.
What happened to the African National Congress?
Today, South Africans will likely reelect Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress. But the party of Nelson Mandela is losing ground.
While Mandela was certainly a “great historical figure,” too many tributes have been unable to move beyond hagiography.