The South Africa’s Popular Front government slaughters workers

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For the Marikana miners’ victory!
General strike! Self-defense !

On the 16th of August 2012, the police of the Tripartite Alliance government (ANC-SACP-COSATU) chaired by Zuma perpetrated a slaughter among the workers of Marikana platinum mine who have been on strike since the 10th August for a wage increase: 34 workers were killed – including 4 members (out of 6) of the strike committee elected by the miners – and at least 78 injured, without any warning.

South Africa is the first platinum producer in the world. The mine of Marikana belongs to Lonmin, the third platinum producer in the world, which is quoted at the London stock market. In the whole country, the miners’ wages and working conditions are as appalling as they were during the apartheid. Most of the Marikana miners live in a shantytown. They work underground 8 or 9 hours a day, with a 40° C temperature, for 4 000 or 5 000 rands per month (about 400 euros or 500 dollars), they request a 15 000 rands wage increase.

When the strike started, it was supported by the union AMCU. Yet, on the 15th of August, the General Secretary of the AMCU Joseph Mathunjwa and the General Secretary of the NUM Senzeni Zokwana went together on stage for asking the workers to resume. The general assembly expelled Zokwana and decided to carry on the strike.

The NUM, member of the COSATU, is the miners’ traditional union, but it is now under the threat of the AMCU because of its open collaboration with the bosses. It happens that Cyril Ramaphosa, the former President of the NUM, is now a director of Lonmim, so a direct exploiter of the Marikana miners. His brother-in-law is the Minister of Justice. The COSATU is part of the “Tripartite Alliance” which subordinates the mass workers’ organizations (the COSATU and the “communist” party SACP) to the nationalist bourgeois party ANC.
The SACP, which is part of the government, had prepared the police repression.

It cannot be that today people resort to violence to force mine workers to join a particular union… The SACP calls on the police to act swiftly and bring to book these hooligans who have substituted reason and dialogue for bullets. (SACP, Statement on the violence at Lonmin, 14th of August 2012)

On the day after the slaughter, the 17th of August, the president Zuma decided to set up a board of inquiry, which is the typical diversion of all the bourgeois governments. On the same day, Riah Phiyega, the head of the national police, said that the policemen had just done their job, and that they “shouldn’t be sorry” for the death of the miners. On the 20th of August, the trial “for murder” of 250 miners, who were arrested on the 16th of August, started while some of the accused workers were still at the hospital.

The SACP kept silent during these three days. Then, it started talking for blaming the rival union NUM and for supporting the government, the police.

Our well wishes to those who have been injured, workers and police. The CC welcomes President Zuma`s announcement of a commission of inquiry… The Presidential Commission of Inquiry must also consider the pattern of violence associated with the pseudo-trade union AMCU… (SACP, Central Comittee Statement, 19 August)

All the union bureaucracies and all the reformist parties are bourgeois agencies within the working class. The workers should not believe the “communists” and the centrists who try to convince them, despite the experience of the 1934-1937 Spanish revolution, of the 1953 German revolution, of the 1956 Hungarian revolution and of the 1970-1973 Chilean revolution, that the parties who come from Stalinism are much more progressive that those who come from Labourism or from Social-Democracy.

Social-democracy has betrayed since 1914 and Stalinism since 1933. Since then, all of them defend homeland, they strengthen the army and the police and they even use the latter against the workers when they are in power. In Greece, the KKE is chauvinist, it supported the repression of the youth and it deliberately divides the workers’ ranks. In France, the PCF was part of the government which privatized the most, between 1997 and 2002. In Italy, the PRC and the PCd’I supported the Prodi government which reduced the pensions. In the US, the CPUSA calls for an Obama vote for the second time. In Cuba, the single party PCC fired 500 000 workers at a time and it is reestablishing capitalism. In China, the single party PCC restored capitalism, it forbids independent unionism, it represses strikes and it oppresses the national minorities. In Russia, the KPRF is chauvinistic and xenophobic. In South Africa, the SACP is part of the ANC-led bourgeois government who murdered 34 miners. And it keeps in.

The ANC party was born as a bourgeois nationalist movement, it expressed the aspirations of the Black, Indian and mixed race petite-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie to share the power and the capital with the white bourgeoisie. In 1950, the Stalinist party SACP became a component of the ANC, in the aim of submitting the youth and the workers to the bourgeois leadership of the nationalist party.

In 1976, despite the ANC, the youth of the Soweto suburb rose up and strikes by Black and mixed race workers multiplied. Thanks to the SACP Stalinist apparatus and to the COSATU union bureaucracy, the ANC achieved to take control over the “non registered” workers’ unions who were born from the struggle, and to submit them to the “anti-imperialist united front” “revolution by stages” (first the end of the apartheid, and in a far future socialism).

Yet, class struggle intensified and in 1990, American imperialism had to negotiate the transition in South Africa with the Russian bureaucracy. The NP racist government, facing a revolutionary situation, liberated Mandela, allowed the legalization of the ANC, of the SACP and of the PAC (another nationalist movement) in 1990 and the abolition of the apartheid in 1991. The racial equality and the democratic liberties have been a sub-product of the class struggle and of the fear of the proletarian revolution by the local and world bourgeoisie.

But the Black masses and the working class were frustrated of their victory by Mandela and the Tripartite Alliance, supported by all the Christian churches, which preserved South-African capitalism and the bourgeois state that allows exploitation. The flag really changed; a small minority of Blacks, members of the ANC, of the SACP and of the COSATU got the highest functions of the state or became shareholders and bosses. But for the majority, it was still exploitation, poverty and oppression; the executioners of the racist regime kept unpunished and the land reform had not been implemented; the ANC-SACP government undertook the privatization of the public firms; the police and the army keep prosecuting the migrants (the Blacks, not the Whites), suppressing riots in townships and breaking strikes.

For real change, we need a different union structure than the corrupt COSATU bureaucracy; we need a class struggle leadership. We need a different party than the reformist SACP, which is corrupted by the bourgeoisie; we need a real communist, revolutionary and internationalist party. We need a different economy than the one based on private ownership, wage-earning and search for profit which keeps the minors inmisery, we need the control of the producers and of the consumers on the production and on the distribution. The bourgeois state and its repressive machinery must be abolished and replaced by workers’ councils and people’s arming. If the workers of all the country surrounded the police stations, they could unarm the workers’ killers once and for all. It would be the start of the socialist revolution and of the emancipation of the continent.

Freedom for all imprisoned miners, end of all the legal proceedings against the Marikana workers!
International solidarity of all the workers’ organizations with the Marikana workers!
General strike and workers’ militia in the whole country for helping the miners and for the satisfaction of their demands!
Expropriation of Lonmin without compensation or buyout!
General arming of the population and disarming of the mercenaries of the permanent police!
Workers and peasants government!
Socialist United States of Africa!

23rd of August 2012

Collective Permanent Revolution / Austria, France, Peru
Comité Communiste Internationaliste (trotskyste) / France