In Challenging Inequality in South Africa: Transitional Compasses leading scholars of South Africa explore creative possibilities to challenge structures of economic, social and political power that produce inequality. Through concrete empirical examples of movements, workers' struggles, initiatives, and politics in challenging inequality, the authors illustrate 'transitional compasses' that go beyond protest politics to a 'generative' politics, a politics of building the alternatives in the interstitial spaces of capitalism. The conceptual framing is oriented around the way in which power is produced and reproduced through intricate relationships between hegemonic projects and everyday life. While power underpins all social relations, it is often taken for granted, as it is frequently hidden behind other social relations. Resistance to power emerges through engendering counter-hegemonic projects that are intertwined with alternative everyday practices. The authors highlight sources of alternative forms of power found in resistance to dominant forms of power through concrete experiences to create transformative alternatives. To concretize the conceptual framing, the authors look at the emancipatory possibilities of a universal basic income, the use of law in tackling inequality in health and education, creative initiatives to establish a people-centred food system through food sovereignty, new forms of organizing led by precarious workers, democratic possibilities in local state delivery, and attempts at reconceptualizing the good life by looking at issues of happiness and ecosocialism.
The chapters in this book were originally published in the journal, Globalizations.
Michelle Williams is Professor of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her recent publications include Building Alternatives: The Story of India's Oldest Worker Owner Cooperative, 2017 (co-authored with Thomas Isaac); The End of the Developmental State?, 2014; Marxisms in the 21st Century: Crisis, Critique, and Struggle, 2013 (ed. with Vishwas Satgar).
Vishwas Satgar is Associate Professor of International Relations, editor of the Democratic Marxism series and the principal investigator for the Emancipatory Futures Studies in the Anthropocene project at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has published widely on South African politics, global political economy, and the ecological issues. He chairs the board of the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre and is a co-founder of the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign and the Climate Justice Charter process.
1. Transitional Compass: anti-capitalist pathways in the interstitial spaces of capitalism
Michelle Williams and Vishwas Satgar
2. New dawn or end of labour?: from South Africa's East Rand to Ekurhuleni
Edward Webster and Thomas Englert
3. The transformative power of civil society in South Africa: an activist's perspective on innovative forms of organizing and rights-based practices
4. Climate and food inequality: the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign response
Vishwas Satgar and Jane Cherry
5. Democracy as a transitional compass: women's participation in South Africa and Kerala, India
6. The crisis of waged work and the option of a universal basic income grant for South Africa
7. Happiness, wellbeing and ecosocialism - a radical humanist Perspective