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Abahlali baseMjondolo condemns xenophobia

South Africa: Statement by Abahlali baseMjondolo after xenophobic actions in Soweto and Zeerust.

Submitted to Enough is Enough.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. A person is a person through other people.

Unyawo alunampumlo. A person is a person whenever and wherever they find themselves.

These are African proverbs that encourage the spirit of humanity.

Borders were created by those who colonised us in order to divide and control us. We were further divided by the creation of fixed ethnicities tried to specific top down political authorities in specific territories. Today elites continue to try and actively divide the working class and impoverished people on the basis of nationality and ethnicity.

Our politics is rooted in the land occupation and in struggle. If you are a resident in an occupation you are from that occupation. If you are a participant in a democratic struggle you are a comrade in that struggle. It does not matter which country or province you came from. Our politics is a politics of gathering people together, forging community, and building the power of the oppressed in struggle. Those who try and tell us that are neighbours and our comrades are really our enemies because of where they were born or what language they speak at home are in fact our real enemies.

Since our movement was first formed we have always opposed all forms of xenophobia or ethnic discrimination. We have always called on all progressive forces to shelter and defend people that come under xenophobic attack. We have always worked to build a movement in which everyone can feel at home and have their dignity respected. We are proud that we have members and leaders from different provinces and countries in our movement.

The xenophobic actions of people in Soweto and Zeerust are disgraceful and must be condemned in the strongest possible way by all of us. That condemnation must translate into concrete forms of solidarity.

Let us not allow our minds to be colonised even though we have fought against colonialism. Let us understand clearly that our oppressors, including the ANC, want to divide impoverished people and the working class in order to keep us weak. Let us build the democratic power of the oppressed in struggle.

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