Solidarity from South Africa

September 12, 2012

Ashley Fataar, a South African socialist and member of Keep Left, sends solidarity greetings to striking Chicago teachers--and explains the ongoing struggle against the privatization of public education in South Africa.

I WRITE to you as part of a campaign in Cape Town, South Africa, that is engaged in precisely the kind of struggle that you are engaged in as well.

The post-apartheid ANC government (with its Democratic Alliance partner) has been and is continuing to close public schools in South Africa. This year, the provincial government--the equivalent in South Africa of a state government--is moving to close over two dozen government schools, all in working-class areas.

Through a state-owned investment corporation, they have raised the equivalent of $141 million to hand over to a corporation listed on the stock exchange. This corporation will, in turn, use this money to buy government schools and turn them into privately (read: corporate) owned schools.

There is a known disastrous history in South Africa of the private sector in providing education. It has been revealed this year that millions of reading books have been criminally destroyed to maintain the profit levels of the service providers.

But this attack on our education system has not gone unanswered this year. A group of activists, students, parents and teachers have mobilized in the last four weeks. We have gone to all the affected schools in Cape Town in solidarity and to organize resistance to this attack--an attack that has triggered anger and a determination to fight back.

Chicago teachers march downtown on the first day of the stike
Chicago teachers march downtown on the first day of the stike

We have shown the provincial government, in the public meetings that it has called, that we reject their plan and that we will keep the schools open in our hands next year--they want to close the schools at the end of this year.

We are inspired at the 50,000-strong march through the streets of Chicago, and we send you our solidarity greetings. Your struggle to maintain public schools is also our struggle.

We have one common enemy--capitalism and all the horrors that it produces. Amandla!
Ashley Fataar
Keep Left (South Africa) and the Concerned Committee Against School Closures in the Western Cape

Messages of solidarity can be sent to [email protected].

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