Leonard Gentle

Leonard Gentle

Leonard Gentle is the director of the International Labour and Research Information Group (ILRIG), an NGO that produces educational materials for activists in social movements and trade unions. He has been an anti-apartheid activist for many years and has worked as an organiser for the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union (SACCAWU), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA) and as an educator for the International Federation of Workers' Educational Associations (IFWEA).

Leonard is interested in and has been published on matters concerning national and international political economy. He has B.A (Hons) and B.Sc degrees from the University of Cape Town.

To Hell with Economics

Picture credit: Independent Australia Leonard Gentle - President Jacob Zuma recently returned from Russia, a strange place to be for many when you’re in the middle of a crisis at home, as many a commentator here in South Africa has observed. Maybe he and Putin were swapping stories of a new series of Survivor. Putin certainly would have a lot to teach Zuma on that score. But important as those tips may be for our embattled Zuma, Putin has much bigger fish to fry and for those of us more interested in social justice than the competing...

What about the Workers? The Old is Dead, the New is Emerging

Picture credit: Daniel Arauz/flickr Leonard Gentle - Two issues that journalists file under “labour news” continue to make headlines – the one inspirational, the other ludicrous. They show two very different faces of the now tired refrain of “20 years of democracy”. In the one corner is the on-going platinum workers’ strike in which 70,000 workers lead a struggle to bury the tradition of cheap migrant labour that has been the cornerstone of wealth accumulation in this country. On the other is the spectre...

In the Run-up to South Africa's 2014 Election, the Battle for the Future Commences

Picture credit: On the left, Ronnie Kasrils and Julius Malema. On the right, Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille Leonard Gentle - On the eve of South Africa’s 2014 general election, the outcome is assured. Despite Nkandla, the Guptas, the Secrecy Bill, Marikana and 10 years of service delivery revolts, the African National Congress (ANC) will win the election. All the talk of the Democratic Alliance (DA) making serious inroads, of Agang and the possibilities of coalitions and of the new scenario of the “born-frees”, etc., are known to be exaggerated. And yet the ANC, certainly in its Zuma...

Forging a New Movement: NUMSA and the Shift in SA Politics

Picture credit: General Secretary of Numsa, Irvin Jim courtesy You Tube screengrab. Leonard Gentle - The decision of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that Zwelenzima Vavi will get his job back. As such, the greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neo-liberal order, and thus to the left of the...

A Week in August: Factions in COSATU, Economic Fear Mongering and the State We're In

Picture credit: Crosses planted at the foot of the infamous Koppie in Marikana in memoriam of the miners killed, courtesy destiny.com. Leonard Gentle - Lenin once said, “There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen.” British Labour Party Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was to similarly explore the vicissitudes of political time when he remarked, “a week was a long time in politics.” It’s too early to say whether the week beginning 12 August 2013 was such a week, as might have been thought of by either the revolutionary Lenin or the reformist Wilson. Yet two events in that...

AngloPlat: The Economic Propaganda War and the Battle for Democracy

Picture credit: Leonard Gentle - How soon we forget…When the striking workers were killed by the police at Marikana there was a universal sense of shock and horror. How could it have come to this? Just 18 years after apartheid and here we go again - the police mowing down demonstrators. Now AngloPlat has announced that it will retrench 14 000 workers and the mood amongst the commentariat is, “Well, what did they expect?”    Angloplat’s announcement seems to confirm our most dismal...