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Hamas and AMCU – Birds of a feather?

17 July 2014, 20:21
Hamas is currently busy with an offensive against Israel. They have fired over 1200 rockets into Israeli territory over the last week. Israel has a very effective rocket defence system called Iron Dome. This defence system identifies whether a rocket will hit a populated area in which case a missile is fired and it destroys the rocket. The result of this rocket attack has thus been the death of a single Israeli civilian. Israel is however not content just to sit back and let Hamas fire rockets at its population – and have commenced an aerial assault on the Gaza region resulting in over 200 Palestinian fatalities. The world is horrified and calling for action to be taken against Israel. Israel agreed to a ceasefire – but Hamas has continued firing the rockets. Israel has thus recommenced the aerial bombardment. Where will it end? How many more rockets will be fired at Israel? How many more Palestinian fatalities will result from the Israeli responses? Does the bulk of the Palestinian people support Hamas and want them to continue firing rockets at Israel?
So what has this got to do with AMCU? Well – I see AMCU as being the South African mining equivalent of Hamas. They were brought into a position of power by the bulk of the mining employees (like Hamas was voted into power by the bulk of the Palestinian people). They are seen to be the legal voice of the demands of the people they represent. They represent a group of people who have genuine reasons to be dissatisfied and feel their grievances need to be heard. They embarked on a plan to make those grievances heard by those in power. The plan involved industrial action and violence. The result of this plan of action was a 5 month long strike with violence and intimidation and the suffering for the people that they are supposed to be representing. The result of the strike was finally a settlement with a higher salary, but the loss in earnings by the workers will take years to recover. The people are dissatisfied by the suffering they were subjected to as a result of the actions by their leaders. The movement has been seen to have been driving an ideological agenda at the expense of their supporters’ welfare.
Do we see the similarities? The AMCU led platinum strike ended but now we are seeing calls for the same demands in the gold sector. Will the gold employees agree to a long strike with very little real reward at the end? Will the Palestinian people continue to follow Hamas and their policy of violence against Israel? How many more Palestinian lives will be lost before the rockets stop? How many gold employees will lose their lives and income if AMCU embarks on a gold sector strike?
The only solution is dialog. Palestinians need to sit around the table with Israelis. The one party however is calling for the total destruction of the other party. How can any dialog take place if the one party has this type of agenda? AMCU claims to represent workers’ rights, and yet has engaged on a course of action which will ultimately lead to the loss of jobs, mine closures and disinvestment in the South African mining sector. How much longer will people continue supporting organisations that follow courses of action that result in harm and death to those followers?   

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