It was fantastic to see so many local people come out onto the streets of the town on Friday night to demonstrate their anger at the threat to Mid-Ulster A&E services. But it is crucial that this is the start and not the end of a campaign. Today, the Health Minister and Trust management to close A&E services, but the fight is not over. It is a purely administrative decision which can be overturned if there is enough pressure applied by ordinary people.
Vladimir Lenin, the main leader of the Russian revolution, made the following insightful observation in mid-1917: “During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred, and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the ‘consolation’ of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it”. (State and Revolution)
On Saturday 26 June I travelled with two comrades from South Africa's Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM, the Socialist Party's counterpart in South Africa) to a mass meeting they had called in Rustenburg, about two hours north west of Johannesburg.
The city of Rustenburg is home to 400,000 people and is best known to Australians as the host of several World Cup games at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.