One in eight people across the world live in informal settlements. This, despite the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family” as declared by the International Declaration of Human Rights. Reality, however, is very far from this. This is why movements of the world’s poor and dispossessed fight tooth and nail to protect the rights and dignity of the workers and the poor. Because, in the words of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) president S’bu Zikode, “we have no choice but to live like human beings.” Recent victories of the left, from Morocco and India, and the tireless organizing and bravery of movements like AbM, provide glimpses of inspiration and hope against the bulldozer of capitalism and its accomplices.
In the Ruins of the Present traces the challenges posed by globalization and what these challenges produce for our society. The first attempt to address the problems of globalization was neo-liberalism. It failed. Next came cruel populism, which expresses itself in narrow, hateful terms. It will also fail. The Left is weak – decomposed by globalization. The need of the hour is for the Left to recompose itself, to become a vital force for a fragile humanity.
Globalisation and Its Alternative lays out Samir Amin’s assessment of the concept of globalisation as well as his concept of ‘de-linking;’ that is, for the Third World to compel imperialism to accept its conditions and to be able to drive its own policy. Amin’s perspective helps us understand the current crisis of capitalism and imagine a world based on a multi-polar, internationalist people’s agenda, rather than one driven by global capital.
The shack-dwellers’ movement– Abahlali baseMjondolo, or AbM— is among the organizations of the world’s poor and dispossessed fighting for land reform and dignity. Despite waves of repression by the state, AbM membership now numbers over 50,000 in settlements across the country since their founding in 2006. In an interview with Tricontinental Institute, Zikode talks about the essence of AbM—what they are fighting for, who they are, what they have achieved, and what we can learn from them.