CDL Statement in Support of the AbM Campaign in Cape Town

Conference of the Democratic Left in the Western Cape Statement of Support for the Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape Call to Action in October

20 October 2010

The Conference of the Democratic Left in the Western Cape reiterates its support for the period of action called in October by Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Western Cape in protest at the lack of housing and service delivery. In contrast to others, we regard the tactic of direct action and civil disobedience as legitimate forms of protest under a neo-liberal and pro-capitalist state. Our democracy would not have come into existence without such acts of civil disobedience on a mass scale, and sustaining and deepening democracy can also depend on such acts of civil disobedience as long as they enjoy the support of the people on the ground. We also reject the idea that has been put forward that such actions are “anarchic” or “reactionary”. We note that some of those who have condemned Abahlali baseMjondolo for “violence” or “anarchy” did not condemn the community of Hangberg Hout Bay for their violent response to police attempting to enforce evictions in the area. Indeed many of them supported the community of Hangberg, as did the Conference of the Democratic Left in the Western Cape.

Those that criticize the Abhalali baseMjondolo call for mass direct action pretend we live in a “normal democracy” and forget the gross inequality and violence of the current system. They also forget that this system has a name – capitalism.

We invite all organizations who have criticized Abahlali baseMjondolo to meet with them, hear their point of view, and discuss rather than flying into public criticism. At the minimum there can be agreement to disagree about tactics without public criticism. We invite all organizations who support the aims of Abahlali baseMjondolo to participate in the march on Parliament called by Abahlali baseMjondolo on 28th October to demonstrate their commitment to struggle for these aims.

For comment please contact Martin Legassick on 0834176837

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