Friday, 2 December 2016

Marcel Paret on the post-2009 South African Protest Wave

Marcel Paret and Carin Runciman (2016) The 2009+ South African Protest Wave, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 19(3): 301-319.
Abstract: South Africa is not typically mentioned in studies of recent global protest. But popular resistance surged in South Africa from 2009, reaching a peak of more than one protest per day in 2012. We examine the 2009+ South African protest wave, highlighting its sources, antecedents, primary features, and key consequences. Marked by an explosion of popular resistance in both communities and workplaces, we argue that the protest wave shares key features with recent protests elsewhere. Most importantly, they are propelled by forces of marketization and critique the failures of democracy. The protest wave had a major impact on South African politics, instigating the emergence of new challenges to the dominance of the Alliance between the African National Congress (ANC)—the ruling party—the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). But the current political trajectory is far from stable, and the future is remarkably uncertain.