A Brief History of the Social Wage: Welfare before and after Racial Fordism
This essay explores the legacy of racially allocated welfare in South Africa, focusing on the history of the migrant labor system. In outlining a relationship between racial capitalism and precarity—the immediate consequence of the denial of welfare—the essay argues that the promises of universal welfare that came with the transition to democracy were ultimately displaced given the advent of neoliberalism post-1994. If the anti-apartheid struggle strove to dismantle white supremacy, in practical terms, the liberation movements addressed the everyday, material conditions of life including land, housing, services, and wages creating continuity with struggles since 1994 that have been primarily concerned to address the inadequacies of welfare policy and the challenges of social reproduction.
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