Friday 14 September 2007

As the APF, we affirm our support for both the Kennedy Road 5 and the community of Crossmoor in their struggle for a decent life. In the specific case of the Kennedy 5 it is a struggle that has now seen the mobilisation of the institutionalised racism and repressive force of the Sydenham Police and Durban municipality in their attempts to stamp out the voice of the poor, as represented through the Abahlali base Mjondolo, which has suffered heavily at the hands of the state. For the Croosmoor community, the continuous and brutal demolition of shacks, physical assaults and refusal to provide any basic services by local government is reminiscent of how the apartheid state treated the poor.

Our solidarity with the is neither an act of charity nor kindness. Although separated by geography, we see in the face of the captors of the Kennedy Road 5 and the tormenters of the Crossmoor community, the grimace of our own enemies and hear in their struggles the voice of our own desires.

We do not claim to know all the circumstances surrounding either the arrest of the Kennedy Road 5 or the repeated attacks on the Crossmoor community. However, in the actions of the Sydenham police, the blackjacks, the Local municipality, private security firms and the local courts, we recognise a trend that has become all too familiar to us - the criminalisation of the struggles of the poor. The communities of the APF have felt the same heavy hand of politically motivated arrests/assaults, degrading treatment by the police and the hired-guns of private security firms, manipulations of the ‘justice system & the bail process.

We have seen in own struggles how the local state has increasingly called upon the criminal-justice system, not only to discipline our movements, but also to try to destroy them. And we have learned in these times the incalculable value of the solidarity and unity of the oppressed in struggle. While statements of solidarity are important, the APF has in the past, and will continue in the future, to provide practical support, where it is able, to other community organisations and social movements. We will endeavour to do more and to be of practical assistance to the Kennedy 5 and the Crossmoor community. Among the many issues that will be discussed at our AGM this weekend will therefore be how to extend and expand practical ways of contributing to assist and to build broader unity amongst the oppressed.

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