Trade union Solidarity changed the world on August 14 1980. I was in the middle of my first high school year at St John’s College in Umtata. Growing up under apartheid, Poland’s Solidarity, led by Lech Walesa, inspired a number of us in the student movements the Congress of SA Students and Azanian Students Organisation. Those sacrifices and a belief in mass protest, boycotts and strikes changed SA into a nonracial, nonsexist and democratic country belonging to all who live in it. However, the SA trade union Solidarity, led by Dirk Hermann, is embarking on a total shutdown of Sasol to protect and preserve white Sasol workers’ privilege. The Solidarity of Hermann is very different from Walesa’s, and also somewhat different from SA’s 1922 white working-class strikers, who fought for better working conditions and a decent wage. Their strike was violently crushed by the Smuts government in cahoots with the Chamber of Mines, with no work-related gains. White privilege was entrenched in th...

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