Somali traders are not the enemies of the People
On the 25th of May 1963 leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia leading to the formation of the Organisation for African Unity which later evolved into the present African Union. This day and its activities represented an acknowledgement and the need for a collective effort amongst Africans to come together in addressing its continental challenges.
From that day forth the 25th of May has come to be celebrated as “Africa Day”, a day when all Africans are urged to cast their minds back and mobilise their efforts behind those founding principles centred on the theme of African Unity. The year 2011 represented the 48th such celebration on the 25th of May.
For many Africans this day has been marked and continues to mark an ideal far from reaching actualisation. The continent as much as it has been able to politically liberate itself from the colonial masters continues to be ravished by conflict after conflict, abject poverty of its masses, which in many instances have led to the displacement of many Africans from their places of birth. In this context these 48th anniversary celebrations of Africa Day for many Africans were commemorated in foreign lands, as victims of conflicts driven by the greed of capital accumulation.
In South Africa and specifically in Port Elizabeth this year’s celebrations, for many Somalis did not only represent a reality of displacement but the reality of an added burden of attacks from South African nationals (the burden of xenophobia). The reality is that for these foreign nationals and many across the country there is no celebration of any Africa Day, as they find themselves camped outside police stations fighting for their very lives.
As the South African Communist Party and Young Communist League, we want to voice our utmost disgust at these attacks against the Somalis in our communities and the use of vulnerable young people in carrying out these activities.
Our view is that this persistent crisis of the displacement of many Africans from their countries of birth and the xenophobic attacks they are confronted with in this country cannot be understood outside of the social crises caused by the system of production of capitalism the world over.
We have to educate our local communities that the same enemy that has displaced these foreign nationals from their countries of birth is the same enemy that displaced many of our own brothers and sisters from this country into exile. The same enemy that continues to ravage the majority of our people leaving them in abject poverty, the same enemy that has in our own country created the most divided society in the world. The existing system of the organisation of society, in the present epoch being imperialism has seen the expansion of colonialism such that it has covered the globe and no new colonies can be acquired by the great powers except by taking them from each other.
The enemies of the people are not the Somalis
The wars in the Sudan, in the DRC and the rest of Africa are the outward expression of these imperialist interests in the African continent, with various and successive African leaders finding themselves as pawns in the war of the great powers. We must educate our local communities that the strategic enemy of the people are not the Somali nationals they co-exist with, running small shops yielding just enough to make a living. The enemies of all the people in their totality are international and national capital, in unison raping the continent of its natural resources in pursuit of their narrow interests of accumulation.
What capitalism has been successful in doing is creating disunity within and amongst the working class, creating intra-class conflict of breadcrumbs of the economy whilst the social structure remains intact. Any investigation of the percentage of the income of the metro captured by the Somali traders would reveal one truth, in the bigger scheme of things it is menial. Whether our local communities are able to drive the Somalis out of their communities and re-capture the lost “market” the reality is they will remain in abject poverty.
The strategic enemy of the South African working class is not constituted by Somali traders, but by white monopoly capital. We have to wage a battle against capital with the same vigour, anger and strength with which we launch battles against our class brothers.
By the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda District YCLSA.
Msingathi Siphuka, District Chairperson, Cell Number: 083 872 8551
Makhi Feni, District Secretary, Cell Number: 073 504 5289
Lazola Ndlazilwana, DEC Member, Cell Number: 083 510 3686
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