Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unite the Resistance conference

South African miner at centre of crucial strike to speak at Unite the Resistance conference on Saturday 17 November in central London

Tumi Moloi, Amplats striker, comes to London for the conference. Make sure you are there to hear a report direct from one of the world’s crucial class battles.

For the last three months the Rustenburg area in South Africa has seen bitter class battles between striking miners, the police and the bosses of the multinationals. The massacre at Marikana in August revealed the brutality used against workers who fight for their rights. Despite the killing of 34 of their comrades, the Marikana miners won a great victory against their Lonmin bosses, securing a big pay rise and building up organisation that has continued after the end of the strike.

The Lonmin strikers’ demand of 12,500 rand a month inspired workers across the industry. Workers in the nearby Amplats platinum miners have been on strike for two months demanding a wage of 16,000 Rand (£1,150) a month. They have defied waves of attacks. In October police used teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition against thousands of striking miners after they barricaded a road to stop police assaults. Later the same day police attacked a meeting of thousands of strikers, arresting at least 14. The police then rampaged through a shack settlement. Destroying homes and hitting people.
Unite the Resistance is proud to announce that Tumi Moloi, an Amplats striker, will speak at the Unite the Resitance conference on 17 November.

Tumi is 27 years old, and has worked as a general labourer underground at an Amplats shaft close to Rustenburg for over a year, where he earns £400 per month, from which he supports his mother and his sister.

During 2010 his leadership of the youth in local civic township organisation ensured electricity was finally connected and faulty sewerage systems were repaired. Despite having no union involvement Tumi led his shaft’s 4,500 workers out on strike in September. He is a member of the Rustenburg strike committee (now being reconstituted as the Rustenburg workers’ committee).

Taking place just days after the millions of workers across Europe are set to take part in a general strike, it will to bring together hundreds of trade unionists, students, anti-cuts and community campaigners to debate how we build an effective fight back against austerity, inequality and injustice.

A major plenary will debate “After 20 October how do we beat the Tories”, whilst a series of workshops will provide forums to discuss our fight for the NHS, education and public services, how we organise against attacks on protest and build unity against scapegoating, racism and the attacks on women, LGBT people and people with disabilities.

We hope the conference will provide a forum to learn from resistance here and internationally, to debate the way forward and to help build a network of activists in every union, community, workplace and college that can organise together and build solidarity in the struggles ahead. 

Highlights include:

Opening plenary 11am: The Tories and the neoliberal assault with Owen Jones author of Chavs, Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary, Sheila Coleman Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Kevin Courtney NUT general secretary, Tumi Moloi Amplats strike, Matt Wrack FBU general secretary and Gill George UNITE NEC

Tumi Moloi, Amplats striker who has been at the centre of the South African miners struggle struggle has inspired the world (see link to story here). He will be joined by activists from Egypt, Spain and Greece to discuss the international struggle against austerity

Michael Mansfield lawyer representing just causes from miners fitted up by police at Orgreave to the Hillsborough families fighting for justice. He will discuss Solidarity, Protest and the Law along with Carol Duggan aunt of Mark Duggan killed by police in Tottenham,  anti blacklisting campaigner Dave Smith and Alfie Meadows victimised student currently on trial for taking part in the student protests against fees.

Building a strategy to defend the NHS with Wendy Savage of Keep Our NHS Public, Ray Gill Save Our Hospitals Ealing, Karen Reissmann UNISON NEC and health workers and campaigners organising against attacks on pay, closures and cuts.

Our Vision for Education with Katie O'Neil who was involved in the successful Chicago teachers strike in the US alongside John Holmwood -Campaign for the Public University, Prof Steven Ball Institute of Education and Jamie Woodcock, NUS NEC.

Benefits, Scapegoating and Organising with Merry Cross (DPAC), Ronnie Draper BFAWU general secretary, Jamil Keating NUS NEC FE, Mark Dunk Right to Work

Fighting for equality as part of the fight against austerity with Zita Holbourne PCS NEC and BARAC, Sara Bennett UNITE NEC and Ronan McNeren Queer Resistance/Occupy


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