South Africa

We publish here an article written by a comrade of the Young Communist League in South Africa. The article, which was first published on the website of SASCO (The South African Students Congress) was a reply to another comment on the same website called "A revolution foresaked or advanced: 2007 Polokwane aftermath" (at the bottom of the page). Although we are not in complete agreement with all the content of the article we think that it is an important contribution to the debate that is going on within the South African worker movement.

Ever since the South African masses overthrew the apartheid regime and propelled the ANC into power, the South African bourgeoisie, its ideologists and its media have waged an uninterrupted and daily war of lies and slanders against the ANC, SACP and COSATU – i.e. the traditional mass organizations of the South African youth, workers and poor.

On Saturday, April 9, the Pretoria Central branch of the South African Young Communist League held a political seminar and a memorial session on the anniversary of the death of the South African Communist leader Chris Hani, where two speakers addressed the gathering, Leon Wiitboi, the branch secretary and Ali Nooshini of the International Marxist Tendency.

The Young Communist League of South Africa held its 3rd Congress in the university town of Mafikeng on December 8-12, 2010. The congress was the culminating point of four years of explosive growth and big success for the organization that has quickly grown to be a massive force of more than 56,000 activists. It also brought into sharp focus the conflict between the left and right wing within the South African Communists.

Miners at the Aurora mining company’s Grootvlei mine in Springs, on the East Rand, and the Orkney mine in the North West have taken action demanding the payment of their wages and to get their jobs back. We publish here a letter (with an introductory explanatory note) we have received from South Africa regarding this issue, which expresses the anger of the miners and also advocates the only solution to the problem: nationalization under workers’ control.

South Africa was moving towards a general strike type situation as the public sector strike that started on August 18 was building up momentum. Now the strike has been suspended by union leaders because of some concessions on the part of the government. This has angered many workers who wanted to step up action, not take a step back.

As the strike by more than a million public sector workers in South Africa enters its second week, the government has launched an all out attack against the unions using all powers at its disposal, including the courts, the police, the Army and the media. The unions have replied by threatening solidarity action which could involve the police and the army.

More than a million South African public sector workers started an all-out national strike for better wages and conditions on Wednesday, August 18. The present wave of strikes shows that the South African workers are not prepared to accept promises anymore and it's time for the Zuma government to deliver the change it was voted in for.

After months of build up, the World Cup is finally underway. As it approaches the end of the first week, in what is a month-long bloated competition, something has become rather clear. Hype is everything.

The recent death of Eugene Terre Blanche, leader of the AWB (Afrikaner Resistance Movement), at the hands of two farm workers, has highlighted the situation that exists today in South Africa, on the one hand the many unresolved problems of the huge majority of black workers and poor, and on the other a minority within the white population who cannot reconcile themselves to the end of Apartheid, upon which their privileges depended.

We provide here a link to this important document produced by the ANC Youth League on the question of the nationalisation of the mines. The ANC YL document is inspired in the bold call of the Freedom Charter that "the mineral wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industries and banks should be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole." This document has created a heated polemic within the workers' movement in South Africa and with the capitalist class. We publish it here for the information of our readers. This should be read in

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A storm erupted in policy circles in South Africa after Julius Malema the leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) boldly proclaimed the need for the mining industry in South Africa to be nationalized. The demand was predicated on fulfilling the vision of the Freedom Charter, which was adopted at Kliptown in 1955 as the ‘manifesto’ of the liberation struggle. According to the Charter “The wealth of the country shall be shared among all who live in it!” (Note: the full ANC YL document on nationalisation of the mines can be read ...

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.

The entire land redistribution programme in South Africa is being bedevilled by a mixture of feudalist and capitalist land rights, with the liberal constitution of the country protecting private property as a 'right', while the majority black African population not having private property in land, still being subject of a pre-colonial property dispensation that came to be entrenched under Apartheid.

The National Union of Mine Workers of South Africa today marched on the Reserve Bank of South Africa to deliver a memo protesting the conservative monetary and fiscal policies of the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank Governor Toto Mboweni refused to receive the memo from the protesting workers. After hours of waiting outside the SARB, the protesters broke down a police barrier and threatened to storm into the bank.

The workers and poor of South Africa voted massively for an ANC that had been purged of its right wing. Now that the ANC is once more in office, the bourgeois – having failed to stop this – are putting enormous pressure on its leaders to steer away from any radical pro-worker policies. What is required is a struggle within the South African labour movement to anchor its organisations to genuine socialist policies.


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Today South Africans are going to the polls. The elections come after the December 2008 Pholokwane Conference of the ANC, where the Mbeki-led right-wing clique was resoundingly defeated, breaking away to form the Congress of the People, while the new Zuma leadership took over. For years workers in South Africa have waited for the "second stage" of the South African revolution that never materialised. It is about time the socialist agenda were taken up again by the ANC!

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The recent barbaric events in some of the poorest townships of South Africa highlight the dramatic situation that is developing in the country. The ANC leaders have sold out the cause the masses struggled for so many years. Apartheid was brought down but not the system that spawned it. There is an unfinished task to accomplish.

There has been a lot of talk about eradicating poverty in Africa over the past few days. Africa is a continent rich in raw materials. There is no logical reason why it should be poor. But under capitalism there is a logic, the logic of the greedy multinationals, of the capitalists who condemn Africa to this poverty.


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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".

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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.

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Phineas Malapela, member of the Executive of the Anti-Privatisation Forum and member of the Vaal Working Class Communities Co-ordinating Committee spoke to In Defence of Marxismbefore the recent October 1-2 general strike in South Africa. He explains the devastating effects of the privatisation policies of the ANC government on ordinary working class people in South Africa and explains how people are organising to defend themselves.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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AIDS ACTION recently staged a successful march in Durban against pharmaceutical company Merck over its part in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations Court action against the South African government. Pravasan Pillay, an AIDS ACTION activist, charts the genesis of the March Against Merck.

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Nearly 40 South African pharmaceutical companies are taking the South African government to court in order to defend their massive profits, even if this means the death of millions of people who are HIV positive. The case opened at the Pretoria High Court on March 5th. This article examines how the profit motive of the pharmaceutical multinationals prevails over the lives of millions of people.

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On Saturday October 21st, nearly 40,000 people participated in 14 marches and 5 pickets all over South Africa to protest against racist and discriminatory banking practices. The day of action, called the 'Red Saturday', was organised by the South African Communist Party as part of their Red October Campaign. This article looks at the way South African banks discriminate against working class and poor people and argues that the SACP should have raised the issue of nationalisation of the banks.

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As much as half of South Africa's workforce participated in a 24-hour nation-wide general strike called by the 1.8 million strong Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on May 10th. The main reason for the strike was the jobs crisis but it did reflect a wider discontent with the pro-capitalist policies of the ANC government. The article argues that talking about socialism is not enough and that the leaders of the SA Communist Pary and COSATU should break with the capitalist wing of the ANC and put forward a clear socialist alternative.

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On June 2nd the ANC won, as was expected, a landslide victory in South Africa's second democratic election. This article looks at the policies of the first term of the ANC government, the debates within the South African Communist Party, and the perspectives for the next five years.

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"Victory is certain! The struggle continues! Amandla!" With these slogans, Jacob Mamabolo, president of the South African Students Congress, closed his political report to the organisation¥s 7th Annual Congress. The Congress, which took place at the Vaal Triangle Technikon from December 1st to December 5th, with the participation of 600 delegates and visitors, did not discuss just purely student issues, but dealt with the main debates and challenges facing the South African revolutionary movement at present.