We are pleased to announce the publication on the internet of Richard Monroe's history of the ANC movement. This pamphlet, written in the 1980s, deals extensively with the struggles of the 1950s and the tactics adopted by the middle-class ANC leaders, who favoured negotiations with the "progressive" section of the capitalists. It was originally printed in issue 13 of Inqaba ya Basebenzi ("Workers' Fortress"), the publication of the Marxist Workers' Tendency of the African National Congress in March 1984. Now we have an ANC government in power which is pursuing capitalist policies, and we have new layers of workers moving into struggle to fight for their interests. The question is whether this time the mass movement will have a bold revolutionary leadership worthy of the name. In building such a leadership, a careful and detailed study of the lessons of the past is indispensable. We hope that this document can help clarify some of the key issues from the history of the movement and will assist those today fighting for the socialist transformation of society. With a new introduction by Jordi Martorell.
87 people were arrested on Saturday April 6 at a protest outside the house of Johannesburg's mayor, Amos Masondo, in South Africa. The protest was against the practices of the privatised South African electricity company ESKOM, which has been disconnecting users who cannot afford to pay their bills. It was organised by the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (SECC) which has trained activists in how to reconnect people's power supplies.
Recently we received a request from an SACP activist for our comments on the exchange of letters between an SACP leader and an ANC leader that were published in the SACP quarterly journal, the African Communist. Quotes from Marx and Lenin were used to justify the pro-capitalist policies of the government. Jordi Martorell sets the record straight by explaining what Marx and Lenin really stood for.
Jordi Martorell looks at the 2002 SACP pre-congress documents in the light of the developments in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. The positive break with the Stalinist two-stage theory must not mean a retreat into social-democratic ideas. The break with Stalinism should mean a return to the genuine revolutionary ideas of Lenin, for socialism and the overthrow of capitalism as the only way to acheive genuine liberation.
The South African working class movement has a long tradition of singing revolutionary songs and toy-toying as a way of expressing its ideas, anger and willingness to struggle. The 11th Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP), held from July 24-28 2002 in Rustenburg in the North West Province, was no exception. This time revolutionary songs reflected very well the anger of the rank and file delegates against the policies and leadership of the ANC which have failed in government to solve any of the problems facing the South African workers and the poor. The only way forward is energetic organization around a clear, genuinely socialist programme.
Hosting the World Summit for Sustainable Development was an important test for the ANC government in South Africa. Since it came to power in 1994 the ANC government has pursued openly pro-capitalist policies. A growing protest movement has emerged, particularly from the poorest townships where residents are being cut off from water and electricity and evicted because they cannot pay their bills.
A massive march marked the first day of the 2-day general strike called by COSATU in South Africa to protest against the privatisation plans of the ANC government, and against job losses and poverty which have been aggravated by the recent increases in the prices of staple foods. Report from Johannesburg by Jorge Martin.
As was to be predicted the ANC government and the employers made a combined effort to discredit COSATU's two-day general strike on October 1 and 2. The strike has opened the doors for an all-out attack on COSATU by the right wing of the ANC. This started with Thabo Mbeki's statements on Friday to the effect that the "ANC is not a vehicle for socialism" and that anyone who disagreed was welcomed to leave, and accusing COSATU of being infiltrated by the "ultra-left".
In Part Two of his article, Didi Cheeka shows how Soyinka's works express
the struggle for " the liberation of the individual, for the individual, by
the individual and the removal of general liberation for the mass of the people".
It arises from the petit-bourgeois intellectual's conception of human nature in completely individualistic terms, divorced from
all social being. It is, nevertheless, a tribute to Soyinka that at the height
of the ethnic cleansing that presaged the Nigeria/Biafra civil war he was shrill
in his condemnation of the perpetrators. He paid for this with 27 months in
detention. Again he protested against the brutal repression of students in 1978.
But his individual and petit-bourgeois approach has now led him to have
illusions in the present party of government, the PDP.
Wole Soyinka is a prominent Nigerian playwright, and in 1986, he became
the first African writer ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In
October 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region
radio studios and using them to publicly dispute the published results of the
recent elections, but in December of the same year, he was acquitted. Didi
Cheeka of the Workers' Alternative Editorial Board looks at the ideas and
works of this well known writer.