South African Police Massacre 34 miners at Marikana
The cold blooded killing of 34 miners by SAP (South African Police) at Marikana on Thursday is a deliberate warning by the ANC (African National Congress) that a militant breakaway of rank and file unions from COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) will not be tolerated. The evidence is there that the ANC and its SACP (South African Communist Party) leadership instructed the police to ‘shoot to kill’. The global crisis has put pressure on ANC to make South African workers pay for the crisis. The militant miners are the vanguard of the proletariat and have begun to break from the Tripartite regime (ANC/SACP/COSATU).
The militant miners were members of the AMCU (African Miners and Construction Union) a breakaway union that split from NUM (National Union of Miners) when its founding leader was disciplined by the NUM for leading a 2 week mine occupation for his reinstatement by the company. As the NUM has become more bureaucratised and oriented towards the better paid workers the AMCU has grown to represent the poorest and most militant workers.
This poses a problem for the ANC as imperialism demands that it uses COSATU to discipline the workers but workers are breaking from COSATU to form independent unions to resist paying for the imperialists’ crisis. The ANC has no choice but to try to blame the striking workers and turn other workers against them, and when that fails, to ‘shoot to kill’. Thus South Africa is entering a revolutionary situation of open class war to decide which class will control and benefit from its vast labour and mineral resources.
Imperialists Mine Southern Africa for super-profits
This clearly exposes the role of the ANC as a capitalist party that runs the SA semi-colonial capitalist economy on behalf of international finance capital. SAs historic role in the imperialist division of labor was to serve British and US mining capital such as Anglo-American and Lonhro – now Lonmin that owns the Marikana platinum mine. The owners make huge super-profits at the cost of workers poverty and lives. Apartheid slavery was the method used in SA until ‘94. Equally or more barbaric conditions still exist all over Southern Africa. Africa was divided up by the imperialist powers into many artificial states that cut across whole peoples and nations as well as the rich mineral belts of gold, copper, diamonds, platinum, etc., all plundered by imperialism. Masses of workers migrate across Southern Africa to work for imperialist corporations or traders. In the DRC warlords from Rwanda and Uganda control mining in the North-East while the Chinese mines flout labour laws in Katanga. In Zimbabwe the army and ZANU-PF control diamonds. In Zambia and Tanzania Chinese and other mines have a poor safety record. As the global crisis worsens, we see the conditions of miners deteriorate across the whole of Southern and Central Africa as the rival imperialist powers compete to pump surplus profits out of the mines. This means that to defeat imperialism and their client regimes and warlords in Africa, workers have to unite across the colonial borders to create a Socialist Federation of Southern Africa!
The brutality of apartheid gave way in ‘94 to the ‘power sharing government’ with the ANC as the party representing the black majority. But the black majority never got to rule. The ANC and the Stalinist SACP joined forces in the early '50s as a vehicle for national liberation and the end of white racist capitalist rule. But it could never fulfil this task. Even before it shared power in government with the white bourgeoisie, the ANC was a “popular front party” in which the black working masses were subordinated to a black petty bourgeoisie who aspired to become black capitalists serving imperialist finance capital. The fake Trotskyist left betrayed the socialist revolution and became apologists for the Stalinist ANC popular front. The Cliffite, Mandelite, Barnesite and Militant tendencies voted for ANC as if it would bring about the ‘Freedom Charter’. A few Trotskyist currents such as the British “Workers Power” called for a vote for ‘workers candidates’ and a break from the ANC. As the Trotskyists predicted, the ANC victory turned ‘national liberation’ into a new form of imperialist domination and over the last 18 years the ANC has presided over the super-exploitation and impoverishment of the masses while pocketing its share of the spoils of imperialist plunder.
Today the Trotskyist program demands a break from the ANC popular front regime. Against the Stalinist lie of bourgeois democracy for the masses we can see that to survive the ANC must use the guns of bourgeois dictatorship to kill the masses. We reject the call by Julius Malema for strikes to change the ‘corrupt’ ANC leadership. He is trying to keep the workers in the popular front to be betrayed again and again. What we call for is a political general strike to bring down the ANC regime to expose it fully as the agent of imperialism. A general strike will force a showdown. The regime is fragile and it will try to use the army to stay in power. We have to spell out that the strike committees and defence guards of today must become workers councils and workers militias, and that the ranks of the army must be won over to defend workers from a military clampdown. This is eminently possible as the rank and file of the military has unionized despite the attempt by the ANC to crush the organizing drive. The unionization of the military drove a wedge between the most militant youth and the leadership of the Tripartite regime. Workers’ councils and militias will become the basis of workers power and a Workers and Poor Farmers Government that will empower the working masses to fully participate in the permanent revolution for socialism.
Trotskyist program: Permanent Revolution the order of the day
We support the immediate demands of the WIVP for workers in all unions and all sectors to go out on strike against this massacre and to form self-defence squads against further repression. We also support the WIVP call to build for a general strike, and to break with the ANC and SACP!
- General Strike to break with the ANC, Smash the Popular Front!
- Down with SACP Stalinist traitors!
- Rank and file take control of COSATU, throw out the corrupt leadership!
But a call for a general strike to break with the ANC must show what will replace this regime. We need socialist demands for workers councils, workers militias, for the ranks of the army to refuse to shoot workers and form soldiers’ councils.
- For a general strike to bring down the capitalist Government and form a Workers’ Government!
- Build Workers and Soldiers councils, and Workers militias!
- For a Workers and Poor Farmers Government!
- For a Socialist South Africa in a Socialist Federation of Southern Africa!
Liaison Committee of Communists
(Communist Workers Group - NZ/Aotearoa; Communist Workers Group - USA; Revolutionary Workers Group - Zimbabwe)
For a New World Party of Socialist Revolution.
20 August 2012