Sunday, May 18, 2008

Xenophobic violence erupts in South Africa

About 12 people were killed and more than 50 were taken to hospitals with gunshot and stab wounds last night in Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city. Local police used tear gas and rubber bullets in attempt to try to stop the attackers - gangs of armed youths. (BBC)

This was not, however, the racial violence we are used to hearing regarding South Africa. The victims of these attacks are immigrants from neighboring African countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi etc.

The BBC report sated that "Since the end of apartheid, millions of African immigrants have poured into South Africa seeking jobs and sanctuary. But they have become scapegoats for many of the country's social problems - its high rate of unemployment, a shortage of housing and one of the worst levels of crime in the world."

Incidents such as these are nothing new in modern history as immigrants are often the scapegoats for the economic problems of the various capitalist states. The common view is that the "aliens" are somehow the cause of unemployment, crime, and even poverty itself. The true source of these problems, however, is a chaotic and unequal economic system -capitalism. These nationalistic illusions, which beguile workers into fighting among themselves and believing that their interests and the interests of their rulers are linked, are a convenient instrument of the ruling class which serve as a divergent to the real struggle - the class struggle.

As the Socialist Standard summed up back in May 2001: is the problem of "the haves and have-nots" which is central to war, violence and hatred. Thus the real solution will be to eliminate the present situation of a minority owning the means of production and distribution of wealth whilst the majority owning nothing, have to work for the few. In other words money, buying and selling, commodities and the like must be done away with. Humanity must commonly own the means of production and must have free and equal access to the produce. Under such circumstances there will be no want and consequently no war and hatred.

But this type of system can only be possible when people make efforts to understand it. When they understand and want it, they can organise to usher it in.

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