The working masses and poor of South Africa overthrew the old hated
Apartheid regime as a means of improving their living and working
conditions. Instead what we have is a party in power, the ANC, which
was created by the working masses but which is presently carrying out
policies in the interests of the rich. This contradiction must be
resolved and the only way is for the working people to take back
control of the party they created.
African Navy is currently engaged in joint operations with the United
States Navy. Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League is calling for the
nationalisation of the Mines. The National Union of Metal Workers of
South Africa (NUMSA) is calling for the nationalisation of the wealth
of leading black “empowered” mining industrialists, Patrice Motsepe and
Cyril Ramaphosa, citing the obscenity of their spectacular wealth in
the sea of poverty that is South Africa. 700,000 workers (that is
almost one in five workers) have lost their jobs since the beginning of
the year, while the government bends over backwards to keep capitalist
businesses afloat. And trade union membership is in rapid decline.
Grassroots working class ANC and SACP members lead community
delivery protests and uprisings against ANC local government
structures. Concerted struggle by the working class residents of
Sakhile township against rubber bullets, teargas and police dogs
finally paid off as the ANC NEC and the National Government were forced
to dismiss the corrupt local government councillors of Standerton.
The President intervenes to have capitalist mercenaries released
from jail in Equatorial Guinea, while PAC liberation fighters still rot
in jail, 15 years after first democratic elections.
10,000 South Africans register for debt counselling every month,
while the wealthy elite preach that the frugality of the poor in this
time of recession (more likely to be a depression) is a valuable lesson
for the same poor, and simultaneously complaining that a lack of
demand, including for credit, is hampering the recovery of the economy.
Clearly they would like to see their own pockets swelled with state
assistance, and are looking forward to a time of rapid export growth
and magnificent profit margins on the back of a depleted working class.
COSATU and the SACP are fighting to curb the powers of “neo-liberal”
planning minister Trevor Manuel. In contrast the bourgeoisie views the
Minister Ebrahim Patel with grave suspicion. COSATU bewails the fact
that Pravin Gordhan, the new Minister of Finance, is doggedly sticking
to Trevor Manuel’s economic fundamentals of inflation targeting and
rigid interest rate controls despite the fact that the country is in a
severe recession (depression). COSATU fails to understand that
Gordhan’s “neo-liberal” mandate does not come from the voters but from
the capitalist ruling class. On the other hand, the capitalist media
and Billy Masetlha (former National Intelligence Agency spook) are
warning that the SACP and COSATU are trying to take control of the ANC,
i.e. Their own party!
These are all the contradictions, as various factions struggle to
control the steering wheel of the ANC bus. The reason for this is the
fact that the bus picks up passengers who are all intending to go in
different directions and reach divergent destinations. Those who sell
the bus tickets (ANC Party membership cards) are vague about the end
destination, hence the confusion of the passengers. The struggle for
the control of the steering wheel of a moving vehicle is a dangerous
business. Unless someone actually succeeds in getting a firm grip on
it, and steer it towards a clear ideological direction, the bus with
its multi-class passengers will reach no destination at all, and fly
off a cliff somewhere with disastrous consequences.
The working class must wrest control of the steering wheel of the
bus away from the bureaucrats and petit bourgeois nationalists in the
ANC so as to avoid disaster. Only by abandoning the class conciliatory
policies of the current leadership of the ANC and steering the bus in a
more revolutionary direction will we have a useful tool to pose a
serious socialist alternative to the capitalist system – this system
that is responsible for all the contradictions South African society
finds itself in at the moment and which is inflicting hardship on the
workers and poor of this country.
Article first posted on 17th November at www.marxist.com