Friday, September 07, 2012

Victory to the South African Miners! Solidarity for ever!

3,000 striking Marikana miners march on Lonmin 5 September 2012
  • South Africa: Down with the Tripartite Regime!
  • Launch a General Strike Movement!
  • For a Workers Government! 
  • Build up Strike Committees, Workers Councils & Workers Militia!

Since the Maritlwana (aka Marikana) massacre on August 16, the historic betrayal of the ANC settlement in 1994 with imperialism is now coming under growing challenge from below, led by the miners’ strike which is spreading and becoming more resolute every day. As the revolutionary Marxists pointed out in 1994 there was no way that the ANC popular front government could avoid betraying the black masses.

But it has taken 18 years and the current crisis, which began as the great recession of 2008 and which is now deepening into a world depression, to expose this rotten regime to its roots. The global crisis has suppressed demand for commodities, causing Platinum prices to fluctuate and in the last years declined by 23%. This has caught the ANC tripartite regime (Alliance of ANC with the South Africa Communist Party-SACP and Confederation of South African Union-COSATU) between a rock and a hard place; between the demands of monopoly mining corporates to restore their profits, and the militant miners consigned to wage slavery in their barbarous mines. Now that the anger of the miners has exploded the ANC is forced to employ its state forces to brutally put down what is a potentially revolutionary movement.

The international movement in solidarity with the South African working class and the miners now under siege by the popular front state needs to confront and expose the open champions of Stalinist “socialism” if it is not to remain trapped in the infamous popular front. This international solidarity movement is a threat to the advocates for the popular front state and its apologists at home and abroad who will not even draw attention to the role of western imperialist mining firms in the Maritlwana massacre and subsequent abuses and shootings of striking miners, such as at the Modder One gold mine. This would illuminate the cozy relations the ANC-COSATU-SACP state has with these supporting "employers." What they fear more than anything else is a genuinely revolutionary mass workers party that will transform a spontaneous series of strikes into a powerful proletarian revolutionary movement that can spread beyond South Africa to the whole of Southern Africa and advance the world revolution.

Noticeably absent from launching, building or sustaining any international solidarity effort are the SWP, ISO, FSP, WWP, DSA, the trade union leaders and the Black Church leaders. Theoretical capitulation to alien class pressures (petty bourgeois chauvinism, black nationalism, imperialism on one hand and Stalinism on the other) exerted on these “socialist” groups (at one point or another in their various histories) led them to cave-in politically to the Stalinists two stage theory promoted by the SACP and implemented in the ANC power sharing government in 1994. Even after the abandonment of the Freedom Charter these erstwhile socialists are trapped by their capitulation and back-pedaling from Marxism to Menshevism, falling into the trap of the popular front.

As for the pundits consumed by moral effluvia over Koni 2012 we note they had nothing to say about Lonmin, Anglo-American, DeBeers etc. Yet you can bet they are checking their precious metals portfolios while pondering the inevitable inter-imperialist confrontation over Africa’s resources. While 3,000 Marikana miners marched on September 5th the Finance Minister called a conference to assure the likes of Goldman Sachs to keep the Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flowing. Stoking the coals of the impending inter-imperialist conflict Mineweb reports China is eager to take up any demand slack for South African precious metals that occurs in tandem with such bad publicity as the western mining multinationals suffer just now.

We have been criticized for making the point in different ways that the world has for long years needed socialism, by those who never say so outside of meetings where they disparage those of us who do call for socialism openly. The prevalence of Stalinophile currents in the New York left explains why even table staffers at OCCUPY's Union Square tables had no knowledge last week of international or west coast solidarity actions with the South African workers.

But international solidarity is speaking the truth. The popular front has betrayed the black masses to imperialism. The current leadership is exposed as traitors and fighting for its survival. This explains the desperate political somersaults of the Zuma government and the grandstanding of Julius Malema, who seeks to be the man on horseback to rescue the popular front and the future of the ANC.

We say reject any idea that the capitalist state or any component in or of it can conduct an "impartial" or "independent" investigation. We demand an independent workers investigation to expose the mine owners, the ANC, the NUM and the SACP! We reject the "provisional" release of the jailed miners and call for the total dismissal of all charges against the arrested miners! For a workers tribunal to bring those responsible to justice!

Tens, perhaps hundreds of millions have seen what happened, and there was nothing 'rogue' about the activity of the most elite police force at the popular front's disposal mowing down mine workers with armored vehicles, a gas assault and a shoot-to-kill battle plan. It was the state, the governing parties the COSATU federation and the National Union of Miners leadership who sent these police to murder striker "hooligans." If you cannot come to grips with this truth and its implications and spread this truth among the working class, you have no claim to Marxism. This goes as well for the truth about pro-imperialist labor leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere who want to tell you how South Africa is a success story for democracy (like Israel, they say.)

In the real situation of the South African miners you have Lonmin Platinum paying R4000/month to 23,000 plus full-time miners and employing 9,000 plus "contractors," who are typically migrants and get even less. This is pauper pay for life-threatening work. The 2nd largest platinum mining firm now pays R9000/month (still quite low) after a victorious miners strike earlier this year. The Maritlwana/Marikana strikers want R12, 500/mo. We say they deserve it! We say only when the mines and the assets of their shareholders are nationalized and put under workers control will the miners be paid in full for their labor!

Maritlwana/Marikana is Lonmin's biggest mine and Lonmin is the 3rd largest shop in the Platinum business. The N.U.M., the COSATU-affiliate, led these workers to defeat in a strike in May, 2011 for the same demands. The N.U.M. conduct and "leadership" of this strike (and its acquiescence in the "contractor" employment and wages/package) caused a mass defection to the A.M.C.W.U. This makes their strike "unprotected" by COSATU and the labor laws it makes as partner in the state. When their press lackeys get to work the AMCWU members become "illegal strikers," "hooligans," (to the SACP) and "criminals" to the regime and their imperial masters on the London and New York stock exchanges.

We say such a popular front regime exists to serve imperialism and cannot stop betraying and murdering the workers and their vanguard fighters. The mine owners are not just greedy misers, they are guided by the dictates of the market subservient to imperialism. Liberation requires you sweep them all away and establish your own state based on workers' councils and a workers' militia built in common cause with the enlisted ranks of the armed forces. A Workers Government in SA will be based on the black proletariat and exclude the black petty bourgeois and bourgeois classes. The workers' government must be a class dictatorship of African proletarians so as to make a total break with all the "governance" of the colonial settler regime that survives, here openly, there in hiding, in the bourgeois legality of the popular front. 

  • Take over the COSATU locals or build your own class struggle unions! Promote the resolute and immediately recall the waverers and the bought off!
  • Build the Strike Committees and Popular assemblies! Build neighborhood and workplace councils, price committees, Township, City and regional councils and affiliate them all.
  • Build workers militia to defend the strikes, defeat the police and win the rank and file of the army to the join the workers revolution!
  • Occupy the Mines and nationalize them without indemnification of the big shareholders and run them under workers control.
  •  Crowd the bourgeois power of "the suits" out with a workers government of workers deputies that works--and works for wages only!
  • Workers to Power! For Workers democracy! For Socialism! 
  • Build a Revolutionary Workers Party and New Workers International that fights for a Socialist Federation of Southern Africa!

Liaison Committee of Communists CWG (A/NZ) CWG (USA) RWG (Zim) Sept 6, 2012

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