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Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign

Official logo of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is a popular movement made up of poor and oppressed communities in Cape Town, South Africa. It was formed on November 2000 with the aim of fighting evictions, water cut-offs and poor health services, obtaining free electricity, securing decent housing, and opposing police brutality. It has been able to successfully mobilise against the recent xenophobic attacks in the areas where it is strong[citation needed].

The movement is the oldest of the first generation of so-called 'new social movements' to spring up after the end of apartheid and is known for its direct action style militancy, its refusal of all forms of vanguardism, including NGO (Non-Governmental Organisations) authoritarianism.[citation needed] The movement has publicly refused to work with some local NGOs[1] and insist that the middle class left respect the autonomy and internal democracy of grassroots movements.

The AEC is a founding member of The Poor People's Alliance and, along with the other members of the alliance, refuses all electoral politics and encourages the development of popular power rather than voting for political parties.[2][3]

The AEC opposed evictions related to the FIFA 2010 World Cup.[4]


[edit] Communities

The AEC is currently an umbrella body for over 15 community organisations[5], crisis committees, and concerned residents movements who have come together to organise and demand their rights to basic services. The organisations that make up the AEC include but are not limited to:

Affiliated movements and committees in the Western Cape:

There is also a branch in Blikkiesdorp[6]

[edit] Coordinators

The AEC has a federated structure and its leaders are called coordinators.

[edit] Activities

The AEC opposes evictions and water and electricity cut-offs on many different levels. Activities range from legal actions that challenge the constitutionality of evictions, to mass mobilisation and popular education initiatives, to organisation and capacity building programs.

[edit] Campaigns

Since its inception, the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) has called for an end to all evictions and cut-offs of basic services in the Western Cape.[7] In 2001, the AEC achieved a 6-month moratorium on all evictions in the Cape Town Unicity.[8][9] Even though the DA had declared the moratorium, illegal evictions continued.[10]

In recent months the movement has strongly supported the struggle for the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers to resist forced removal to a transit camp and to demand access to decent housing.

No Land! No House! No Vote! is the name of a civil society campaign boycotting the vote and against party politics and vote banking in South Africa. In 2009, the Poor People's Alliance voted to boycott the national elections under the No Land! No House! No Vote! Banner.[11][12]

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has been connected to a large number of evictions in South Africa which many claim are meant to 'beautify the city'.[6][13][14] The WC-AEC has begun a campaign against all evictions caused by the event. The campaign's hotspots include the anti-gentrification issues in Gympie Street and other parts of Woodstock[citation needed], the national N2 Gateway housing project and its evictions in Joe Slovo and Delft[15], Sea Point evictions, the upgrades and pending evictions in Q-Town next to Athlone Stadium[citation needed].

The movement is committed to opposing xenophobia and has been particularly active in this regard in Gugulethu[16] where it has set up a forum[17] for these issues to be discussed. According to both the media[18] and the local police[19] the forum has had considerable success in reducing xenophobic hostility.

[edit] Poor People's Alliance

In September 2008 the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, together with Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Landless People's Movement and the Rural Network (Abahlali baseplasini) formed the Poor People's Alliance.[20][21] The poor people's alliance refuses electoral politics under the banner 'No Land! No House! No Vote!'.[22]

[edit] Influence

Take Back the Land[23] in Miami and the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign[24] have both stated that their work is inspired by that of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ South African Grassroots Movements Rebel Against NGO Authoritarianism
  2. ^ See the article 'Anti Eviction Campaign urges poor to boycott elections' by Aziz Hartley in the Cape Times, January 05, 2009
  3. ^ [1] Grassroots movements plan to boycott South African poll Ekklesia, 29 April 2009
  4. ^ South Africans fight eviction for World Cup car park, Mohammed Allie BBC News 2 June 2010
  5. ^ About Us: Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
  6. ^ a b South Africa's poor complain of evictions as country prepares to host World Cup, Sudarsan Raghavan, [The Washington Post], 20 June 2010
  7. ^ "Stop Forced Removals & Evictions! Stop Privatisation!". Land Research Action Network. 
  8. ^ Subjectivity, Politics and Neoliberalism in Post-apartheid Cape Town
  9. ^ "Fighting Foreclosure in South Africa". The Nation Magazine. 
  11. ^ "“No Vote” Campaigns are not a Rejection of Democracy". Mail and Guardian. 
  12. ^ "Anti Eviction Campaign urges poor to boycott elections". Cape Times. 
  13. ^ "In South Africa, evicted residents struggle". Bay State Banner. 
  14. ^ Le Monde Diplomatique
  15. ^ "Call to demonstrate at constitutional court". Joe Slovo Task Team. 
  16. ^ 'Xenophobia Still Smouldering' by Mandisi Majavu, IPS, 19 June 2009
  17. ^ Gugulethu, traders to hold follow-up meeting, Cape Times, 7 July 2009
  18. ^ 'Xenophobic tensions in Gugulethu calm down', Anna Majavu, The Sowetan, 5 June 2009
  19. ^ Independent Online, 'You could see the anger in their eyes', Caryn Dolley, 15 June 2009
  20. ^ The Struggle for Land & Housing in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Toussaint Losier, Left Turn, January 2009
  21. ^ 'Participatory Society: Urban Space & Freedom', by Chris Spannos, Z-Net, 29 May 2009
  22. ^ The alliance, and its position on electoral politics, is mentioned in the speech by S'bu Zikode at
  23. ^ Take Back the Land in South Africa
  24. ^ Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign[not in citation given]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Social Change  – 

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