Category Archives: Occasional Paper Series

Occasional Paper| An Empty Pot at the End of the Rainbow? Trade Unions and Twenty Years of Democracy

This paper explores the causes of the crisis in South Africa’s trade union movement. It argues that the impasse is multi-layered, and can be attributed to both structural changes in the country’s political economy and organizational challenges. The issues discussed are related to global debates on the state of the left, and what forms of political agency are required to revive labour movements.  Some of the key recommendations include: strengthening worker control; rebuilding social movement unionism; reviving autonomous education structures; and advocating for heterodox macro-economic frameworks

Occasional Paper | Caught between Afro-Southern Solidarism and Liberal Cosmopolitan values: Four Turning points in South Africa’s Human Rights Foreign Policy

South Africa’s foreign policy is entrapped: it is trapped between Afro-Southern (or Africa-South-South) solidarism, on the one hand, and lofty liberal cosmopolitan values, including human rights, on the other. There had long been a tension between the professed values of South Africa’s foreign policy and its interests, a tension that the post-settlement governments had battled to square.Twenty-two years into the post-settlement period, South Africa learnt that good intentions, proclamations and edicts were not good enough in the hurly-burly of world affairs.