Thursday, August 26, 2010

South African unions addressed the question on how they should confine themselves to shop floor issues or become involved in political activities focu

The ruthless and horrific acts of apartheid in South Africa agitated the South African labour Unions in the workplace to overlap from shop floor issues and be involved in the political matters that indirectly or directly affected the conditions of the worker. Shop floor issues only could not address the problems that the workers in the Apartheid era faced hence the involvement of Labour unions in political activates. This easy will discuss and elucidate how South African unions addressed the question on how they should confine themselves to shop floor issues or become involved in political activities focusing on the role of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Trade Council (SACTU).
Industrialization resulted in the increasing number of blacks to enter cities to look for employment led to black workers coming into contact with another institution of the whites hence formation of trade unions. According to Maree (280;1985) African trade unions came into existence in the twentieth century and before the 1970s African Trade Unionism had experienced three major cycles of growth and decline .The large scale African industrial worker and the farm labour tenant organisation was according to Maree (280;1985) industrial and Commercial workers Union the ICU formed in 1941.The second in the cycle according to Maree (280;1985) it comprised of 119 unions with a combined membership of 158000 in 1945 the Non European Trade unions, Du Toit (37:1976) it was established as a co-ordinating body with the express aim of gaining legal recognition of Black workers under industrial legislation of the country. It’s split the according to Maree (281;1985) weakened the union as well as the state repression noticed in the 1946 strike which was viciously repressed by the state .The emergence of the of SACTU South Africa Congress of Trade Union in 1955 according to Maree (281:1985) was the final upsurge of the African trade unionism it was not exclusively African unions but rather committed to non-racial.
The challenge of the apartheid regime was the efficacy of the change of trade unions objectives that of not separating workers interests in the work place with economic and political needs hence the major paradigm shift from being shop floor oriented organisations to political motivated organisations. According to Maree (281:1985) the very inception of SACTU it perceived the struggle against economic exploitation to be inextricably linked to Black’s political oppression. The existence of SACTU was also submerged with the powerful brutal oppressive acts of the Apartheid regime to silence the trade unions. According to Maree (282;1985) after the destruction of the SACTU led to progressive working class leadership either in prison, exile or silent in fear of further state repression. The apartheid era comprised of various set ups that were meant to benefit the whites in the 1970s according to Maree (286;1985) the South African industrial relations was dualistic one system for whites, coloureds and Indians another for black African workers. Within this system meant trade union rights were only reserved for whites, coloureds and Indians. According to Maree (286:1985) the use of the legislature by the Apartheid regime was main weapon to silence and repress the creation of unionism in South Africa the Native Labour Act 1953 which was later amended in 1973 was legislation to suppress unionism in South Africa and the Industrial Conciliation act in 1924 was meant to not recognise African workers as employees. SACTU failed because of its prematurely propelled mass political campaigns and its leaders did not value the worker movement as an end in itself.
The emergence of independent Trade Unions followed in the 1970 according to Maree (287;1985) was in the reaction , of fear of states repression ,to avoid direct or indirect control of their activities by financing bodies as they heavy relied on international funding and finally were committed to the democratic trade unions. FOSATU Federation of South African Trade Union according to Maree (294:1985) came as a result of the combination of forces of the independent trade unions in reviving African Trade unions and achieved to survive in a hostile political environment with both the state and capital opposed to their existence.
FOSATU promoted working class politics as a way to challenge to apartheid era through this the unemployed took part in the fight against apartheid struggle and capitalist oppression. The most pronounced achievement of the independent unions according to Maree ( 285;1985) was the reorientation of the labour law in 1979 after the recommendation of the Wiehahn Commission give African trade unions rights, change the state approach on African Trade Unions and the independent unions also strengthened the foundations of democracy in working class politics. The failure of independent unions (FOSATU) by pursuing the narrow unionism agenda which confined them to the workplace issues and practice of working class politics resulted in them not fully representing the workers interests.
The formation of COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Union) which was different from the independent unions that prior existed gave a new face in the working conditions of the workforce. COSATU has a political unionism approach which advocates for unions to be involved in the national struggle with main alliance of the political movements. In its nature COSATU is closely afflicted with ANC (African National Congress) this was difficult for the Apartheid regime to repress. According to Wood (135;2001) after a series of mergers and realignments of the independent unions the unions coalesced into two main federations by the mid-1980s COSATU and NACTU (Africanist National Council of Trade Unions).Wood (135:2001) elaborates that COSATU had a membership of 400000 by 1990 it had reached the 1.2 million mark which clearly shows that political unionism was the only way to challenge the Apartheid era. The increase in assertive politics by the trade unions according to Marx (384;1989)was able to tackle the state repression to crush and divide it’s opponents which it took advantage of the opposition’s inability to combine both ideological and organisational coherence the establishment of COSATU was able to withstand the Apartheids regime repression.
The adoption of the Freedom Charter by the COSATU was a fundamental step to political unionism the ANC and SACP where the leading advisors in the adoption of this charter according to Marx (391:1989) the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1987 Congress before 12 of its affiliated unions resulted in its members becoming more politicised, Marx (393;1989) furthermore elaborates that the increasingly political agenda of the unions and pressure of unity adoption of the role of leading representative of the black working class. COSATU adopt political unionism and workerist unionism in its structures to strengthen the existence of the trade union and to challenge the apartheid era this to combine the shop floor issues with the economic and political issues that affected the workers.
Within the different strategies and approaches enforced by the different African Trade Unions ever since their origins to counter the Apartheid era repression acts against their existence the African Trade Unionism needed to merge the popularist unionism and workerist unionism approaches to their struggle. African Trade Unionism experienced three major cycles of growth and decline ICU, SACTU and FOSATU all faced decline due to weak strategies to challenge to apartheid regime. The efficacy of the COSATU trade union was a breakthrough in improving the legality and exact pressure of the Apartheid regime to recognise the African trade unionism through adoption of both the popularist unionism and workerist unionism approaches.

Du Toit M. A. (1976) South Africa Trade Unions McGraw-Hill Book Company South Africa
Maree.J ;Labour,Capital and Society 18:2 (November 1985) pp 278-303.University of Cape Town South Africa
Marx.W.A South African Black Trade Unions as an Emerging Working-Class Movement The Journal of Mordern Modern African Studies,VOL 27,No 3 (Sep,1989) pp,383-400 Cambridge Press
Wood. G South African in the Time for Adjustment; Labour /le Travial. Vol 47 (Spring 2001)pp. 133-150 Canadian Committee on Labour History and Athabasca University Press


Question One: Patriotism
Patriotism is the love and devotion to a country or homeland for the reason of that being a resident there closely related to the notion of nationalism. According to Primoratz and Parkovic’ (2007;1) patriotism is a natural and morally appropriate expression of attachment to the land we were born and raised and of gratitude we owe it for the benefits of life on it’s soil among its people and under its law. Different types of patriotism exist for instance the Euro-centric patriotism that was advocated by Habermas. But it must be noted as according Primoratz and Parkovic’ (2007;8) who cites Socrates the Greek Philosopher that patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does and would actually promote analytical questioning in quest to make the country the best it possibly be. Partriotism can be considered as nurtured by the laws, exercise of civil rights and the personal interests of the citizen
Question Two De Tocqueviles “well considered Patriotism
De Tocqueviles states that the love of country is instinctive rather rational according to Goldstein (1964;40) De Tocqueviles elaborates that patriotic attachment principally arises from that instinctive and interested and undefinable feeling which connects the affections of man with his birthplace. The natural fondness is united with the taste for ancient customs and relevance for traditions of the past; those who cherish it love their countries as the love the mansions of their fathers Goldstein (1964;40).It can be stimulated by religious enthusiasm and it is capable of making prodigious efforts towards the building of a nation.
Question Three the ties that bind human being
Human beings are bone into states, families, tribes and other social and political communities and derive much of their development from the interactions that inevitably take place this associations are ties that bind human beings. Determination of duties in social units like family or political unit binds the socio-political community. Political side of life can bid human beings Moravcsik (2004;110) quotes Rousseau “humans are thrown into a web of political relationships soon as they are born it is not feasible to think of human life of having possibilities of considering all political ties from the beginning”. The degree of socialization among the human beings is also a tie that binds human beings.

Question Civil Society as a form of human association
Civil Society is an association of individuals governed by legal rules or an association of associations. The association take much variety of forms, families, churches, schools, fraternal societies and the myriad form of commercial society such as partnerships. They make people interact as they are natural and voluntary associations in society. Associations within civil society are created to achieve a particular purpose but civil society as a whole has no purpose it is the undersigned, spontaneously emerging result of all those purposive associations. Civil Society enables the individuals to voice out their concerns that affects them economically, socially and political.

Goldstein D; Alexis de Tocquevillas’ Concept Of Citizenship Proceeding of the American Philosophical Society Vol 108 No1 (Feb 28,1964) pp 39,53 American Philosophical Society
Primoratz I and Parkovic’A .2007 Patriotism; Philosophical and political Perspectives Ashgate Publishing Limited USA
Moravcsik J; 2004 The tie that bind Central European University Press Hungary

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hegel Account of Civil Society

Question one
From the reading describe the characteristic of the two sides of civil society in ancient times.
Ancient civil society comprised of two sides the domestic side of life and the political side of life according to Hunt (15:1996) the ancient notion of a civil society was a synonym for political society. The ancient notion of civil society was not contrasted not with the political state but either the domestic society of the family or the political state of nature. The domestic side of the notion of civil society was characterized with family and interpersonal relationships; the extent to which society is coherent and harmonious, spirituality, religion and philosophy. One of the major characteristics of the domestic side of life according to Hunt (16:1996) civil society was there to provide everything necessary for supply the wants of society and to employ the inhabitants.

The other side of the ancient notion of civil society was the political side the one referred to by Hunt (17; 1996) as the polis in Greek it was a public arena in which citizens demonstrated their knowledge of civic affairs and prudence. Issues of governance, security and peace were addressed with this group. According to Hunt (16:1996) the characteristic of this side was the classical republican model of citizenship as the active participation of free and economically independent citizens in the affairs of the polis.

Question Two
What is the impact of, or how does this new conceptualisation of civil society by Hegel, alter the past conceptualization and what does it bring that is new.

The modern notion of civil society has changed from that of the ancient times according to Hunt (16; 1996) civil society is a realm of social interaction independent of the state which is decisively influenced by the market economy as a social institution that can function in the absence of direct moral and political supervision. Hegel introduced the notion that the market economy plays a pivotal role in the formation and existence of the civil society according to Hunt (17:1996) this notion represents an emancipation of economic needs and the satisfaction from the confines of the household as well as depoliticizing of public life. The Hegel thesis the direct participation of political activities of the state hindered the citizens to economic roles, this altered out the past conception that civil society its main aim was involvement in politics of the state.

The impact of the Hegel model; tripartite division of domestic, economic and political society was the different form the past conception that of politics as the expense of the public virtue at the expense of private satisfaction it resulted according to Hunt (17; 1996) in the direct participation in affairs of the state limited to the class of professional civil servants whilst the role of the state limited to the independent functioning of the market economy. The location of the civil society between the spheres of the family and of the state resulted in the correspondence to different psychological bases of human association.

Louis D. Hunt, 1996 “Civil Society and the Idea of a Commercial Republic,” Western Models (New York: Routledge,)