Strategy Centre for Social Movements

About the Programme: 

The Strategy Centre for Social Movements is working on a number of different projects, among others the Media for Movements Project, the Leadership and Organisation Building Project, the Economic Literacy Project and the Campaigns and Mobilisation Project.

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The end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s saw the emergence of various social justice movements like the Anti Privatisation Forum in Gauteng, Anti-Eviction Campaign in Cape Town, Concerned Citizens Forum in Durban and the Treatment Action Campaign and Landless People’s Movement nationally. The formation of these movements represented an important moment in the process of rebuilding a social justice movement in South Africa. These movements emerge against the background of a political transition process dominated by elites and their interests. The new movements also had to confront the flight into business and government of leaders of the mass movement, which contributed to the weakening and in many instances the collapse of mass organisations. The Strategy Centre for Social Movements was formed as part of responding to challenges posed by the emergence of these new movements.

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The Media for Movements Project
Documentary video on labour brokers in South Africa

The media team of GIWUSA in cooperation with Khanya College produced a 26 minute documentary on labour brokers in South Africa. It presents a short history of contract labour and an introduction about labour brokers as a result of Globalisation responding to the demands of neo-liberal economy.

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As addressed in Khanya College's publications on GEAR and NEPAD, labour broker companies like Capacity Outsorcing respond to the demand of transnational corporates. Companies who do not want to directly employ workers can make use ofhired labourers through these agencies. This process only caters for the needs of neo-liberal capitalism, disabling the access of workers to a long-term employment at one company only.

The documentary presents a wide range of cases of workers rights violations, such as sexual abuse of female workers, and threats to fire workers who belong to GIWUSA. The DVD was produced by Amos Magadla, Bongani Ntuli and Daniel Lanteigne and presents interviews with workers of TNPC as well as AEL, the sociologist Bridget Kenny and general secretery of GIWUSA, John Appollis.

Comrades interested in screening the DVD contact Khanya College:
Phone: +27-11-3369190 or comrade Bongani Ntuli at
E-mail: bongani.ntuli@khanyacollege.org.za.

 

About the Media for Movements Project

The absence of community media is one of the obstacles in the way of building organisation and social movements. Communities are isolated from mainstream media by their poverty and the mainstream media does not really reflect the conditions and aspirations of the poorer sections of society.

Further, communities are not able to communicate among themselves in a systematic manner and organisation building and mobilisation is weakened as a result.

The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Assist various organisations with producing their own media
  2. Provide training for activists in producing various forms of media
  3. Develop activists’ understanding of how to use media in building organisations and in campaigns
  4. Build a progressive media movement as part of the broader social justice movement

The activities:

  • Train movement journalists in writing and newsletter production skills
  • Host a regular forum of community journalists
  • Produce community newletters and other media
  • Host seminars and educational events on the role of media in society and in promoting social justice.
  • Community radio skills training for programming, interviewing and operating.
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Leadership and Organisation Building Project

One of the key challenges facing the new social justice movement is the building of a new leadership cadre, and the building of strong organisations. The leadership training and organisation building programme will focus on the development and consolidation of a layer of targeted activists across a range of organisations and the consolidation of a group of “anchor organisations”, or organisation that occupy strategic positions in the sectors in which they are active.

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The anchor organisations will continue in a consultative relationship with the Strategy Centre and will be assisted in their ongoing solidarity building and resource mobilisation strategies.

The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Provide training in various skills and develop the political understanding of the leadership layer within the emerging social justice movement
  2. Facilitate and support the emergence of a strong leadership cadre in the social movements
  3. Provide support to various social movements in order for them to meet the challenge of building strong organization
  4. Provide a platform for an exchange of experiences and ‘best practice’ in the building of organisations under current conditions

The activities:

  • Develop and run a community organisers’ course for activists from the social justice movements
  • Provide resources to support organising efforts for a group of (select) strategic organisations
  • Host a regular community organiser’s forum for social movements activists
  • Produce a series of ‘community profiles’ publications, which will lay the basis for the development of organising strategies for various community based organisations
  • Produce a ‘building organisations’ publications series
  • Host an organiser exchange programme among various social justice organisations
  • Host a regular roundtable of social movements to exchange experiences in building organisation
  • Hold an annual evaluation and accountability workshop with the social movements
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Economic Literacy Project

The adoption of conservative macro-economic policies by the new democratic government in 1996 has had a wide-ranging impact on the development of South African society in the post-apartheid period. In recent years there has been a sharp decline in debate about economic policy options. This is due largely to the on-going weakening of civil society, and to the flight of skills on these issues from civil society into government or business. This project seeks to address this weakness in civil society on this all-important policy area.

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The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Strengthen civil society organisations and social movements’ capacity to engage in the economic policy debate
  2. Develop an understanding of globalisation, its sources and the way it impacts on the daily lives of ordinary people
  3. Develop alternatives to present neoliberal economic strategies
  4. Promote public debate on economic alternatives

Activities:

  • Hold workshops and other educational events on the national budget
  • Host an annual economic policy conference to debate topical economic issues and alternatives
  • Produce an ‘economic literacy series’ of publications that educates activists and the public on topical economic policy debates
  • Participate in economic policy debates and conferences organised by other organisations
  • Produce research and publications into globalisation and how it impacts on our daily lives
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Campaigns and Mobilisation Project

One of the key sources of social and political power for community comes from their capacity for social mobilisation, advocacy and direct, non-violent action. Yet, very few organisations have developed skills of how to organise for social mobilisation or for advocacy. This is the challenge that this project seeks to respond to.

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The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Train activists in campaign and advocacy strategy skills
  2. Assist organisations to develop campaign and advocacy strategies on various issues confronting their communities

Activities:

  • Provide campaign support to various organisations
  • Produce publications on the state of social movements in South Africa that reflect on their campaign and organisational strategies
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