FORWARD TO A GENERAL STRIKE FOR REAL WAGE INCREASES, JOBS, FOOD, HOUSES FOR ALL!
WE NEED AN EMERGENCY WORKERS’ PLAN!
Today the clothing workers and their unions stand on the point of being destroyed by the capitalists. These attacks are becoming generalised across all sectors, employed and unemployed. In 1994, millions of workers and unemployed had hopes of a better life, of permanent jobs, of decent wages, of adequate health care for all, of a better education.
Now, 15 years later, only 9 million have some sort of work out of a labour force of 28 million; many are casualised; workers are locked into multi-year agreements which reduce real wages; millions, mainly youth, face permanent unemployment; the health system has been collapsed and privatised; thousands of teachers were retrenched and the education system, inadequate as it was, has fallen apart, producing many who cannot even spell or count, millions are still without adequate housing and sanitation, many of the houses that have been built before and after 1994 are falling apart. While world prices of food and oil have fallen by over 40%, the food retailers and food monopolies deliberately starve us through high prices; the government maintains a high petrol price, although the real cost of a barrel of oil is 3-4US$. In 1994 the ANC-SACP-Cosatu leaders said the working class must reconcile with the exploiters.
Before and after 1994, the same group of monopolies control the economy (Anglo American, Liberty Life, Old Mutual, Rembrant, Sanlam). The bank of New York controls most of the gold mines, while JP Morgan Chase controls the Reserve bank; American banks control much of the mining, food production, construction, engineering as well as much of the food distribution. The international banks that control our economy are in crisis and are shifting their crisis onto the shoulders of the working class, through mass retrenchments, low wages, high prices, mass starvation and homelessness. Workers are expected to sit with folded arms, conciliate, while the monopolies have not ‘conciliated’ but accelerated attacks on the working class.
Every year, for decades, these international corporations send more than R200 billion out of the country. Since 1996 they have made much more profits than they even made under the repressive NP regime. Under the disguise of ‘broad black economic empowerment’ a small elite of the amabhulu omnyama have become overnight billionaires, while the masses are dying of hunger, freezing in shacks or concrete matchboxes. Some alliance leaders are themselves owners of labour brokers that are brutalising the workers. Workers money is invested in privatizing health care, in fishing companies (while the small fishermen starve), in Sasol (despite having workers resolutions to nationalise it); many trade union leaders promote multi-year agreements that cut real wages and work hard to deactivate the current wave of strikes and protests by the working class. They hand over billions of workers’ money to ‘bail’ out the capitalists. Many of the trade union leaders are themselves conveyor belts of the world capitalist crisis onto the shoulders of the working class. The main conveyor belt of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working class has been the economic policy of the ANC, be it the mild RDP, or the more-openly pro-capitalist GEAR and current ‘Zumanomics’ (neo-GEAR). In 1994 Cosatu and SACP leaders helped water down working class demands to draft the RDP. Recently, the Cosatu and SACP justify the current pro-imperialist economic policy though dispatching their own leaders into Cabinet.
In June this year, through a military base in Honduras, the Obama regime launched a coup to overthrow the government there. This shows that the crisis of imperialism-capitalism is so deep that they cannot depend any longer purely on ‘democratic’ measures of control of the working class.
Recently, there have been increasing number of unprovoked attacks by the police on community protests, workers’ strikes (such as the transport, municipal, postal workers), and now the protest of unarmed soldiers. The police are the direct paid thugs of the monopolies. How long must the working class conciliate with the murderous monopolies? These imperialists launch coups in Honduras, and for us, they are starting with increased attacks by the police, they want to target organisers of protests, they want to ban unions in the army, and who knows where this will all lead to? If they smash the soldiers unions and bring back the tens of thousands of SA mercenaries currently fighting in Iraq, what attacks will then be launched on the working class?
The ANC plan, HR2010, is precisely to dismiss all progressive forces in the army, including most veterans from the ex-liberation armies (lower ranks will have an age limit of 28; if you are not constantly promoted, you will be dismissed; upper ranks will be 4-15 year contracts and special skills will be head-hunted, eg from the CIA and mercenaries). What is more is that the Cosatu and SACP leaders who have been deployed to parliament support the mass dismissal of over 1300 soldiers. These leaders help bail out the capitalists, while companies, where workers have the so-called majority stake, such as Frame, are closed down. These leaders are implementing the attacks of imperialism, against the progressive forces in the army, against the working class. All worker leaders in government should be recalled immediately. Cosatu must break with the capitalists!
We need an emergency workers’ plan.
We call on all working class communities, the unemployed and all workplaces to send delegates to the Cosatu Congress, 21 -24 September at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, to work out a joint programme of action.
We need an immediate general strike for real wage increases, jobs, food and houses for all!
Down with the fatcat CEO’s Ministers and Generals!
Reduce food prices by 50%. Reduce the working day without loss of pay and share all work among all those who can work. Increase wages whenever prices rise!
For a general wage increase of a minimum of 30%!
Stop all retrenchments and mass dismissals. What is needed is direct occupation of workplaces (not stayaways)!
If we want work, if we want to eat, to have decent houses, then our rallying call must be to expropriate all imperialist assets, the mines, commercial farms, factories, banks, retailers, without compensation, under workers’ control (they belong to the working class in any case)!
To prepare for attacks by the police we need armed workers’ defence committees, uniting workers and soldiers (in every industrial area and working class community)!
For any union leader that stands in the way of a general strike in defence of the lives of the working class, let us exercise our right to remove them immediately!
Even if they agree to a general strike, the current leaders cannot be depended on to really organise this struggle; we need extended workers’ control committees of every structure that co-ordinates the strike!
The imperialists are terrorising and super-exploiting the working class across Africa. Down with the MDC-Zanu-PF regime in Zimbabwe!
Down with the monarchy in Swaziland!
Down with the puppet regime in Lesotho!
Down with the imperialist plunder of the DRC!
Down with the ANC government that reconciles with imperialism that is massacring the working class with unemployment, low wages, high prices and homelessness!
We need a workers’ government!
We need an internationalist revolutionary working class party, drawing the lessons from international working class struggles to begin the defence in the face of the world capitalist offensive.
The International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction (based South Africa, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, New Zealand, USA) stands ready to support this very necessary task.
15.09.09Issued by Workers International Vanguard League, 1st Floor, Community House, 41 Salt River rd, Salt River, 7925, ph 021 4476777; ph 0822020617; firstname.lastname@example.org web:www.workersinternational.org.za