Who we are
#UniteBehind started as a civil society coalition constituted of more than 20 organisations organising and mobilising together around common campaigns and local struggles. After getting the instruction from our coalition affiliates, we formed our own civil society organisation, where we could act efficiently and autonomously in collaboration with our partner organisations. We work for a just and equal South Africa where everyone shares in the country’s wealth. Our campaigns focus on issues most affecting the poor and working class.
The #UniteBehind coalition was formed in 2017 by activists from various peoples’ movements after the Cape Town Memorial for Ahmed Kathrada. The coalition consisted of young people, struggle veterans, queer people, women, workers and unemployed people, who have came together for a just and equal South Africa. We continue to collaborate and combine our struggles for justice and equality with our partner organisations, many of whom formed part of the initial coalition movement.
#UniteBehind is committed to urgently mobilise against the current crisis of state capture which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society.
Our most pervasive systemic injustices—inequality, unemployment, colonial legacies, apartheid spatial planning, and crime and gender-based violence—require knowledge, mass mobilisation and persistence. These cannot be overcome as long as our state is infested with corruption, maladministration, and a lack of accountability. State capture continues to sabotage the lives of our people and destroy the economy.
#UniteBehind is focused on solving the electricity crisis and fixing the rail service through our Electricity Action and #FixOurTrains Campaigns. We also work on campaigns, particularly with our partner organisations, to end gender-based violence, improve safety and security, assist vulnerable workers, and stop environmental destruction.
Our methods involve public education, progressive protest, political advocacy, and litigation. Our roots as a coalition have instilled a culture of collaboration.
Founding principles of #UniteBehind
Our struggle is for a just and equal South Africa – a democracy in which people participate in decisions affecting their lives.
Government must be elected, open, accountable, ethical and effective. They must put the needs of the people first. This applies to anyone who exercises responsibility or power in society. But, government commands resources on our behalf and therefore it must set the example.
Over the years, our organisations, movements, unions and communities, including faith communities, have called for a different society, culture and economy based on these demands.
As a part of this struggle government and business in South Africa must ensure that:
- Workers earn a living wage and more jobs are created.
- As jobs are replaced by machines, we move progressively towards a universal income grant and universal dividend.
- We have a just and sustainable energy future based on solar, wind and other renewable sources.
- Government is freed from the grip of public and private sector corruption.
- Taxes on super-wealth and international financial transactions increase the state’s income to reduce its debt and create wealth.
- Criminal and corrupt transfers of money from South Africa by companies or individuals are punished.
- Racial and class domination is eradicated through a just redistribution of wealth.
Competent, honest government & business in South Africa to ensure that:
- Every person in our country feels and is safe from all forms of violence, including hunger.
- Education from early childhood to tertiary level is free, decolonised, equal, public and of high quality.
- The health system is integrated to guarantee every person quality health care as a right with the prioritisation of TB, HIV, mental health and all chronic and life-threatening conditions.
- Free childcare facilities are available for all who need them.
- Every woman, girl and boy is safe from rape and all forms of gender-based violence.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people enjoy freedom and equality.
- Racism whether structural or personal is confronted and rooted out.
- Immigrant, refugees and asylum seekers live in dignity.
- All youth have access to culture, recreation and sport as a right.
- Cities employ just land policies aimed at ending race and class-based apartheid segregation.
- All land policies, urban and rural, are based on justice and redress for Black African, Coloured and Indian people, particularly working-class and poor people.
- Informal settlements are upgraded and residents have a guaranteed right to a home.
- Our natural environment and its biodiversity is protected so as it may continue to guarantee ecosystem functioning and the continuance of life.
- Everyone has access to safe, affordable, reliable and quality transport systems that are integrated socially and geographically.
Our society is the most unequal in the world with the highest reported rate of unemployment, particularly Black African and Coloured youth unemployment. Our households and individuals carry a crippling debt burden. Every one of these demands requires both radical economic wealth creation and redistribution. We understand that our economy is subject to global market forces and powerful global companies. These forces can be overcome but government, unions, social movements and political parties must unite with our allies internationally to ensure a just, fair and equal world economy.
Our responsibility as individuals, households and organisations require building:
- Families where every child, woman and man is equally valued and respected.
- Homes, schools, workplaces, streets, recreation, sports, culture, places of worship and social media that are freed from anger, injustice, inequality, racism and the rule of men.
- A society where individuals and specifically leaders (particularly leaders of #UniteBehind and its affiliates) recognise our privilege and power in every form. Domination through race, gender identity, class, nationality, sexuality, ability, language, education and sex must be resisted by all of us.
We want to discuss and improve this vision. Divided movements cannot overcome these powerful obstacles. #UniteBehind’s encourages spaces for organisation and action but equally to discuss and disagree with dignity.
These principles and demands are not cast in stone but they indicate the world in which we wish to live.