The destruction of the state, the end of law, the dissolution of society, in which terms we can sum up the political situation today, what are these if not the end of the bourgeoisie as a class capable of guaranteeing order, of creating and keeping alive a state?
Antonio Gramsci, quoted in
J. Joll, Antonio Gramsci 77
Oppression, it has been said, breeds resistance and struggle. This is a basic law of human development from time immemorial. Like everybody else, the oppressed and exploited peoples of South Africa yearn for and dream of freedom and justice. Though the intensity of their struggle ebbs and flows, crucial junctures have occurred during which years are the equivalent of decades in terms of the intensity of their resistance. During these critical periods, illusions, which otherwise could linger and foster acquiescence, die. It is this state of affairs that has existed since September 1984 when the South African regime moved its troops into the black townships in an attempt to crush popular resistance to apartheid. Eight months later, having failed to do so, the South African government declared a state of emergency on July 21, 1985. Since then, with the exception of a brief period in early 1986, the country has been under continuous rule by emergency power. The powers themselves have been expanded and made more draconian as the regime attempted not only to suppress resistance but to destroy alternative structures organized by the resistance.