7 June

'It was winter [and] the cold was extremely bitter. My overcoat was in my luggage, but I did not dare to ask for it lest I should be insulted again, so I sat and shivered'

June 7, 2009 · 1 min read

Today in 1893, Mohandas Gandhi committed his his first act of civil disobedience.

Settling in to his first-class seat as the train to Johannesburg, a white European affronted at a ‘coolie’ sitting in first-class summoned the guard who warned Gandhi that he would be forcibly removed unless he voluntarily left the carriage. Gandhi refused and was pushed off the train and his luggage flung on the platform of the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station in Natal. After a cold night spent in the station’s non-European waiting room he decided to remain in Natal to assist the Indian community of sugar plantation workers.

‘The Mahatma put our city on the world map. When he was kicked off that train at Pietermaritzburg Station, out of that humiliation, a freedom fighter was born, and he became one of the most profound and gallant leaders in the world.’

Deputy Mayor Zanele Hlatswayo at the unveiling of a bust of Gandhi outside Pietermaritzburg Station in June 2005


The Socialist Olympics of 1936

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Review – You’re History: The Twelve Strangest Women in Music

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Lying through their legacy-speak

Olympic ‘legacy’ has greased the path for enormous, upward transfer of wealth to the global propertied classes, writes Jules Boykoff


SWexit: What are exit schemes for sex workers missing?

If earning money is a fundamental reason for entering the sex industry, it is also essential to leaving it, writes Marin Scarlett.

Failure to deliver

Major financial institutions have cited Deliveroo’s employment practices for its disastrous public share launch. Alice Martin and Tom Powdrill look at what went wrong and what it might mean for workers’ rights

Power on the picket line: remembering the Burnsall Strike

Almost 30 years on, Sarbjit Johal recalls supporting the strike, which consisted of mostly Punjabi women workers

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