Amandla is a left wing media project built around a magazine that publishes six editions per year. It was initiated in 2006/7 by activists coming from different political traditions on the left. Driving the project were independent left activists working together with militants from the South African Communist Party that were searching for a break with the social liberal policies of the ruling ANC and the bureaucratic politics of the SACP. Linking up with radicalising social movement activists coming out of the anti-globalisation movement it was felt that an important moment had opened up for encouraging a dialogue amongst activists on questions of perspective and strategy. The South African transition had been stalled and many of the democratic and social gains flowing from the ending of Apartheid were under threat.
That was the immediate context for the launching of Amandla. Subsequently Amandla has evolved to take into account the new reality of both the deepening of an organic crisis affecting the post-Apartheid transition and the possibilities for the development of new movements and popular alliances that can challenge an exhausted and corrupted national liberation project.
2012 was a turning point for progressive forces in South Africa. The great mineworkers strike and the Marikana massacre brought back into focus with a vengeance the power and militancy of labour as a driving force for challenging not just the mine owners but the system itself. That this was quickly followed by the farm worker rebellion, only helped to reinforce the depth of the rupture that was taking place with the social liberal framework provided by the ‘94 settlement. The student uprisings of 2015 and the alliances forged between students and workers in the symbiotic and mutually reinforcing struggles for free education and insourcing pointed to the power of worker-student-community alliances. The potential for all of this to come together in a new movement inspired by an anti-capitalist emancipatory vision was provided by the ‘NUMSA moment’ – movement led by Africa’s biggest trade union for a political break with the ANC and the emergence of the Economic Freedom Fighters – a split from the ANC’s youth movement.
Amandla has redefined itself as a project integrally linked to these new processes seeking to build a new, open, non-dogmatic left politics which creates space to reflect on the crisis of the transition in South Africa while locating and identifying itself with similar initiatives in the Southern African region, across the African continent and globally. We see ourselves as part of a broader international project that needs to address the crisis of politics, i.e. the crisis of providing solutions when national solutions are not sufficient while at the same time recognising the weaknesses and disruptions of regional and international terrains and institutions necessary for new emancipatory processes to gain a mass resonance and power. All this means coming to terms with the questions of agency taking into account new forces and methods of struggle, the problem of the state and not least a mutating capitalism that poses new challenges and most critically threats to the very survival of our and other species.