BLF COMMEMORATES THE 66th BIRTHDAY OF COMRADE THOMAS SANKARA

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BLF commemorates Comrade Sankara’s 66th birthday by reflecting on his legacy relating to women’s liberation.

At the International Women’s Day Rally on March 8, 1987 which was attended by thousands of women Thomas Sankara addressed a key issue of the black liberation project – BLACK WOMEN’S LIBERATION as foregrounding the liberation of all. He was mindful of the fact that black life operates within a capitalist, patriarchal, white supremacist reality. Furthermore we are products of these structural ills that enslaves us and the only way out of this slavery is to fight for total liberation.

Here’s Sankara in his own words in an extract of his 1987 speech:

“Imbued with the invigorating sap of freedom, the men of Burkina, the humiliated and outlawed of yesterday, received the stamp of what is most precious in the world: honour and dignity. From this moment on, happiness became accessible. Every day we advance toward it, heady with the first fruits of our struggles, themselves proof of the great strides we have already taken. But the selfish happiness is an illusion. There is something crucial missing: women. They have been excluded from the joyful procession… The revolution’s promises are already a reality for men. But for women, they are still merely a rumour. And yet the authenticity and the future of our revolution depend on women. Nothing definitive or lasting can be accomplished in our country as long as a crucial part of ourselves is kept in this condition of subjugation — a condition imposed … by various systems of exploitation.

Posing the question of women in Burkinabe society today means posing the abolition of the system of slavery to which they have been subjected for millennia. The first step is to try to understand how this system functions, to grasp its real nature in all its subtlety, in order then to work out a line of action that can lead to women’s total emancipation.

We must understand how the struggle of Burkinabe women today is part of the worldwide struggle of all women and, beyond that, part of the struggle for the full rehabilitation of our continent. The condition of women is therefore at the heart of the question of humanity itself, here, there, and everywhere.”

28 years after Sankara’s death we find ourselves operating within a political space where liberal feminism is being thrust as the dominant project – as the legitimate voice of womens’ suffering. BLF recognizes the limitations of liberal feminism which effectively amounts to  dividing the revolutionary black subject for settlement of the entire liberation project within neo-liberalism.

Thomas Sankara was against the oppression of women. He was against patriarchy and sexism. In his 1987 speech he elaborates what this commitment means.  He articulates a clear path, consistent with our desire for total liberation. In this context we urge our people to take sober counsel from our revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara on the resolution of the women question and to combat liberalism wherever it rears its ugly head.

Happy Birthday Comrade Sankara!

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

21 DECEMBER 2015

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Zanele Lwana

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 486 9087

Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

 

Lindsay Maasdorp

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com

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A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO

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We promise the politicians nothing! We demand that they deliver everything! All the political parties have now published their manifestoes; the empty ritual they buy our votes with. We say 17 years of elections without change are enough. Now we make our own manifesto:

We, the people of South Africa, hereby legislate a new law, titled “POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS: USE PUBLIC SERVICES”. This law compels all politicians, from the president to the local councilor, and all public servants, from the Director General to the sweeper and their families to use public utilities: Starting with the following:

  1. Hospitals.
  2. Schools.
  3. Transport.
  4. Housing! (The same standard house given to citizens must be used by all politicians and public servants)
  5. A living wage for all!
  6. Land belong to the people

Our politicians and public servants have neglected public services for far too long because they know they can take their families to the private sector. We say, what’s good for you is good for us. Equality for all, for real!

Our hospitals are falling apart; doctors and nurses are overworked and underpaid. By and large our public hospitals are places of death.  Simply put, no one is safe in our public hospitals. Our leaders, politicians, senior public servants and their families use private hospitals and that is why they don’t care about public hospitals which are used by the poor.

Our public schools are in bad condition, teachers are underpaid and the government is not investing in their training with the result that after 12 years of schooling most children from public schools can’t read, write or count.  This leads to a high unemployment rate amongst the youth who are trapped in hopelessness. Politicians and senior civil servants take their children to private schools.  This explains why public schools are not a priority for them.

Our public transport system is appalling. Every morning and night our people are packed into taxis, buses and trains like sardines. The queues are long and the fares are high. Our leaders, the rich and senior civil servants have big subsidies to get private transport. Some of our ministers can buy cars worth millions with tax payers’ money.

The townships are generally badly serviced. The houses are small and millions are forced to live in shacks. The RDP houses built by our black government are worse than the matchbox houses built during apartheid. Our leaders live in mansions, while the people are forced to live in rat-infested townships.

A living wage, the ANC and DA parties have legislated starvation minimum wages for our people. Farm workers earn a shocking R105 a day. Our government kills workers when they demand a living wage as in Marikana but cabinet ministers and members of parliament give themselves millions in salaries.

Land For 20 years of the ANC has delivered only 8% of land to black. It would take 100s of years to buy back our land.  Why are we buying our land back? We demand that all the land be nationalised without compensation and be equitably redistributed amongst the people.

We hereby commit ourselves to struggle to realize this legislation to hold public representatives and servants accountable to the people!

Together let’s make this law a reality.

This campaign is undertaken in the memory of Andries Tatane who was killed by our government for demanding quality services for all!

Issued by the September National Imbizo (SNI).