Where Are Cape Town’s Social Justice Activists When Working Class people Are Protesting? By Cheryl Roberts

30 May

Cape Town’s working class people, mostly unemployed, struggling to survive people, who live in the under-resourced, marginalised, neglected communities are protesting. Also protesting are people living in their historical communities experiencing vicious gentrification and white privilege take over, like the Bo Kaap.

The people are angry about their struggling lives whilst they live in the rich, prosperous city of Cape Town. They have had enough of being neglected by successive city and provincial administrations, of being unemployed because of neo – liberalism in South Africa’s capitalist society. They also know they now have nothing any more to lose, except their chains of struggle, unemployment and poverty.

Cape Town has activists galore. They exist on social media, in academic institutions, at parliament, in government departments, working in NGO’s and in the suburbs. But where are these social justice activists who always commentate and give opinions on social media and commercial media, in their political organisations, NGO’s and suburban homes, when the working class is protesting against their struggling lives and state of impoverished living?

Why are these social justice activists missing from the terrains of working class protest action? Are they too busy still talking about and theorising and writing about how ‘the revolution should be supported and started’.

Get this! The working class revolution is here and now and happening. The very working class whom you write about and commentate on and give your opinions about caring for and supporting is protesting. They are not waiting for some suburban resident, liberal activist, middle class person, elite citizen, theory-filled academic to lead them and say when they must protest. Whilst you earn your middle class salary, live in suburban homes, eat out at restaurants and profess about social justice, the struggling and gatvol working class have their bodies on the front line of protest action.

When the people are protesting, getting hit and arrested by police, Cape Town’s social justice activists are seemingly ‘getting on with their lives.’ Yes, there are some who are supporting working class protests, out there with the people. But where are the rest of you? Using up space writing, commentating and observing from your comfortable positions, are you?

8cheryl roberts  in the rain forest in ghana

Cheryl Roberts (writer of the blog)

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