Break the alliance with the ANC and SACP!
The capitalists and their parties claim that there is a world economic crisis and they use this to justify mass retrenchments, cuts in social expenditure and a drive to attack and undermine workers gains that have been won through centuries of struggle. But what is the nature of the crisis and who is responsible for it? More importantly what can be done about the crisis?
Workers International Vanguard League (WIVL) has been excluded from the April elections
One of the rights that has long been fought for, has been the right to organise, form political parties and to contest elections. Even this right is under threat. All the parties in parliament sat on their own and set the deposit for taking part in all provinces and at national level at R540 000. WIVL submitted all the requirements, including a list of 29 candidates from 5 provinces, from urban and rural areas. All the Electoral Commission (IEC) was interested in, was if we had the deposit. The IEC, set up by the ANC Popular front government, acted on behalf of the monopoly capitalists to exclude working class organizations such as us. Many capitalist countries simply require a list of signatures to show some support, in order to take part in elections. Such a simple provision is denied to the working class here.
Why are we participating in these elections?
Many people have asked us why we are participating in the elections when we believe that Socialism will not come through parliament. We are participating in these elections because many people have the illusion that parliament can bring about an improvement in their lives. Our main aim by participating is to confront the representatives of the capitalist parties head on. We will put forward proposals and demands of the working class. The very responses of the representatives of the capitalist parties will help reveal to the mass of the working class what the true role of parliament is. The role of parliament is to give the masses the illusion that we have a real say in the running of the country, when in fact, we are being ruled by the dictatorship of the class of capitalists.
It is because the capitalist parties realise that they will be exposed by us, that they will try everything to keep our representatives out of parliament.
We have strict conditions on our representatives to ensure that they advance the working class struggle and do not get co-opted. Our representatives will sign pledges in advance that they will be subject to instant recall, they will receive the average wage of a skilled worker; they will only serve 6 months (representatives will be rotated); they will place the struggle of the working class outside of parliament above any parliamentary work.
So what is the cause of the so-called crisis of the bosses?
Their drive to increase profits has hit a major obstacle. Their profits have begun to fall more sharply because they cannot extract enough surplus value from the world working class. This has led to capitalists diverting their money from investing in production into speculating in housing, food, shares, derivatives, etc. It is the collapse of this speculative bubble that has sparked off the current crisis, which is but a symptom of falling profits in productive sectors. Over the years, they have so cut down on workers to increase their rate of profit that a point has been reached that there are too few buyers (too few in employment to buy commodities) so the rate of profit has started to decrease more rapidly. The capitalists are so used to making massive profits that a slight decrease is for them a ‘crisis’. The supermarkets are full of food, the car dealers are over-stocked with cars, but there are too few buyers to purchase at the high level of prices. Thus the crisis is not that there is too little, but too much! Capitalism means the wealth of the world is in the hands of a few capitalists, while the working class of the world is kept in starvation.
Imperialist Capitalist monopolies continue to make huge profits
Last year, the SA government collected R161Billion in company taxes on profits. This was at 28%, which meant that companies made profits of R580 Billion last year. If we consider these are only declared profits then it is safe to assume that the real company profits were closer to at least R700 Billion. So clearly, there is no crisis of profits in
When the big bosses talk about crisis and when workers talk about crisis, we are talking about different things. When the bosses talk about crisis they mean that instead of making 3000% profit their level of profit has come down to 2500%. When workers talk about crisis, we mean high unemployment, starvation and early death of millions of workers.
Superprofits come from commodities sold way above their real cost of production
The real cost of a bag of cornflakes is 30 cents. But will the giant food producers or retailers reduce prices so that the millions of starving can eat? No, because it means that their rate of profit of 5700% would come down to 100% or 200%- this they are not prepared to do.
Not too long ago the price of Platinum was $440, then speculation drove up the price to over $2000. Now that it has dropped to $1000, Anglo Platinum wants to retrench 10 000 workers, yet they were quite comfortable with the same number of workers when the price was $440. They have become used to a higher profit level and are not prepared to sacrifice this.
Over 40% of petrol used in SA is locally produced at less than $20 per barrel by Sasol. When the company was starting up, the working class, through our taxes subsidised them but now they are making massive profits they continue , with the active help of the ANC government, to keep the price of fuel artificially high. The main shareholders today of Sasol are US banks such as the Bank of New York, JP Morgan Chase, SSB,
Why doesn’t the ANC impose higher taxes on imperialist monopolies?
It is possible to raise company taxes
In the days of ‘apartheid’ the company tax rate was 48%. The ANC government alliance has reduced company tax to 28%. As a measure within the capitalist system, the government could easily raise the company tax rate to 50%. This would raise an extra R200 billion per year for social expenses and the companies would still be making R350 billion profit per annum. In several European countries the rate of company tax is 48%. The rate of company tax in the
The truth is that the ANC government, with the active support of the Cosatu and SACP leadership, are fundamentally pro-capitalist. They are the junior partners in the imperialist exploitation of SA. When capitalism is in crisis, with the masses in uprising, as they were here in 1985-1994, the capitalists sometimes rule through a Popular front. This Popular front is a multiclass alliance, which generally has the support of the trade union leadership, which ties the working class movement to support the capitalist system. In essence the leaders of the ANC-Cosatu-SACP popular front pose as pro-worker, but divert the struggles of the masses into a dead-end, away from a struggle to overthrow capitalism, that is, away from the struggle for Socialism.
Popular fronts have a history of betrayal of the working class
The popular fronts of the MDC in
A brief analysis of the recent budget
All parliamentary parties, without exception, generally welcomed the budget. The Cosatu leadership had warm words of praise for the budget. The Cosatu and SACP leadership justify support for the ANC because we have a ‘developmental’ state. The Cosatu and SACP leaders believe we have to go through a period of ‘democratic capitalism’ to build conditions for Socialism. This is a smokescreen to hide the real aim of the ANC-SACP-Cosatu popular front alliance, namely that a section of the black middle class becomes the junior partners of imperialism, at the expense of the demands of the working class. Let us examine a few areas:
It is estimated that the current housing backlog is 1.5 million houses. Due to population growth the number of houses needed each year just to keep pace with this is 200 000. Let us assume that a decent home is 90 square metres. Each house would cost R270 000, then with a budget of R19,6 Billion only 73 000 houses can be built. This is not even enough to cover population growth. This means that the current 7.5 million people without housing will always remain homeless and the number of homeless people will increase each year by 600 000. Even if the small RDP houses are built it will only amount to 163 000, still less than population growth; still the number of homeless will grow by 180 000 every year. To completely wipe out the backlog in housing requires R400 Billion (at today’s over-inflated housing prices). When the government talks about R700 Billion for infrastructure, they clearly do not have housing in mind.
Most of the R700 Billion will be used for the Eskom scam (which we have written on extensively – see our website). In summary, the government plans to double the electricity generation capacity within 20 years. ‘Growth’ in the economy has come from public works, financial services and tourism. How many power stations are needed to power the smile of a tour guide? The companies who will benefit are the shareholders of General Electric and Murray and Roberts (with the major shareholders such as Bank of New York,
Most of the budget deficit of R90 Billion is not for housing or any social need, but for building power stations that are not needed, even by capitalist industry. The ANC government is prepared to borrow from imperialism to fund projects of imperialism but are not prepared to go to the same extent to put the millions of shack dwellers in proper houses. Their stated commitment to abolish slums is a lie, proven by their own budget figures.
By September 2008, the number of formal jobs was put at 8.4 million. This figure has dropped over the past 10 years from over 9 million. This means that the supposed job increase of 2 million jobs since 2002 have not been formal jobs and in fact have been largely confined to public works. These ‘jobs’ have already disappeared. Since 1994 half the number of 50 000 commercial farms were wiped out and over 1.5 million farmworkers lost their jobs. Every year there are 500 000 school leavers. Thus the number of unemployed increase at least by 200 000 every year. Yet the government plans only to create 400 000 ‘fulltime- equivalent’ jobs through public works schemes over the next 3 years. Instead of employing 400 000 new municipal workers with benefits, the government chooses to privatise municipal services through these casuals in public works.
The Cosatu leadership fully supports this casualisation of the public sector. The government has redefined the meaning of who is unemployed to exclude millions who have given up looking for work and the millions who starve in the informal sector. Last year they even redefined the meaning of ‘discouraged’ to exclude a further million workers from their books and put them in the general category of ‘not economically active’. The government claims unemployment has come down when in fact it has not only gone up but will always keep increasing under the current government plans.
c] A further tax for low-wage workers is being planned
The ANC government is planning to introduce an extra tax of 12-15% for all workers. This is supposedly to go for workers’ pensions. When a worker leaves a job, you will not be able to claim any of the money, you must wait until you go on pension. The average life expectancy is less than 50 and 3 out of every 10 workers will die before the age of 40. This means that the ‘pension’ deduction will go to the banks and that most workers will not even see this money. But what will happen is that your take-home pay will be reduced by 12%. For example, if your wage is R2500 per month, your take-home pay will be R300 less.
d] Cuts in pensions and grants
Pensions and grants rose by 5% or less. This means that in real terms the government cut pensions and grants, ie with the new level of R1010 and R240 pensioners and grant holders can buy less than what they could last year. Yet, the Cosatu leaders and all the parliamentary parties hailed this budget as pro-poor. Pensions are cut, while at the same time the government is bailing out the mining monopolies by R2 Billion and the motor bosses by hundreds of millions of
Education is being privatised and many of the school leavers can hardly read or write. In addition about 4 million youth between 7 and 24 years are not attending any educational institution.
From 1994 to date, the number of hospital beds per 1000 people has dropped from 27 to 17. Two-thirds of health expenditure goes to the private sector. Cosatu unions have investments in privatised health care.
g] Ongoing neglect of the rural areas
The budget allocates R1.8 Billion to ‘rural development’ while R179 Billion is allocated to ‘economic services’. The government spends more on spying on the resistance to big capital (the Intelligence budget is R3 Billion) than on the millions in the rural areas. The ‘bailout’ by government of the monopoly capitalists receives hundreds of billions (2010 stadiums, Eskom, etc) while the rural poor are left to die of starvation and unemployment. Clearly, under the Popular front government of the ANC-SACP- Cosatu alliance, the rural poor face only further starvation and early death.
All the parliamentary parties are capitalist
The international prices of wheat, maize and sunflower seeds has dropped by over 40% in recent months, yet the major retailers and food producers have not lowered food prices on this scale. Not a single parliamentary party has waged a campaign for food prices to come down. Not a single one of them opposed the Eskom scam; not a single one of them demanded that the price of bread should be dropped, after Tiger Brands and other producers were found guilty of collusion over raising the price of bread since 1994. The Cosatu leaders have waged no centralised campaign against the current bloodbath of retrenchments, yet they praise a capitalist budget that supports profiteering by the bosses. They should have called a general strike to stop the retrenchments but do nothing because they are too busy campaigning for the election victory of the capitalist ANC. The fight against high food prices was reduced to a one-day strike for workers’ to blow off steam- no prices have come down. Workers’ sanctions should have been called in support of the masses in
Both DA and ANC have similar positions on
We expose the DA's plans to starve the working class
The DA claims that it has a 'plan' to address unemployment. For this they put forward the setting up of Export processing zones (EPZ's).
The reformist ILO has done a study over 20 years of EPZ's and concludes that these are areas of low wages and high exploitation. Today there are over 27 million workers in 850 EPZ's worldwide, 90% of these workers are women. These are areas where there are regular mass dismissals, child labour, no minimum wages, where security guards and paramilitary are used to bash even the right to belong to a union. Worker leaders have been murdered, such as in Bangladesh; often police use physical violence to crush union organization; there are no minimum conditions such as the right to overtime pay and a limit on the working day; in Thailand, long promoted as an Asian Tiger, child labour works for 90 cents per hour- this is what the DA wants to reduce the working class to- absolute slaves.
The worst capitalists like Coca cola, Nike are serial perpetrators of human rights abuses in the EPZ's; if the capitalists do not like the conditions, if for example the government wants to clamp down on their practices, they just leave; this happened in Malaysia where a few years ago when workers wanted more rights, 60% of the EPZ bosses left overnight. What is more, EPZ's are like another country- not covered by any local law (or any law for that matter); the capitalists there pay no tax at all.
The DA reflects the worst side of the current capitalist crisis: the capitalists have made massive profits for many years, now that their profits are falling slightly, they want us to bail them out. They want to shift the burden of their crisis onto the working class by taking back what little rights we have. They want to reduce our wages and crush the unions. Every year the capitalist companies in
We expose the attempt by COPE to split the working class
Workers International Vanguard League condemns the attempts by COPE (Congress of the People) to split the workers'movement by wanting to form a new trade union and/or new federation. Belatedly this splinter of the black middle class has discovered that they have no base among the working class. As is typical of the middle class they want to use the working class to fight their battles for them; they want to use workers for votes in the April elections.
Their manifesto is based on 'macro economic stability' that the country has énjoyed' (read: they support the GEAR economic policy responsible for opening the working class to increased exploitation, increased suffering and starvation); they believe the key is 'enterprise development' (read: more black capitalists to share in the exploitation of the working class); they believe in joint decision-making with big business in all that government does. Let's put it clear: big capital is retrenching 310 000 workers, they have deliberately starved us through high prices and kept us homeless by profiteering on housing. This is the same big capital that COPE wants to have a joint decision -making over government.
In other words, the programme of COPE is to become the new boss boys of imperialism in
Now is the time we need working class unity against high prices, against retrenchments, against imperialist backed war in the DRC, in
We call on the working class to reject COPE and their opportunist 'trade unionism'.
What do we propose?
- Put up company tax to 50% now! This will lay the basis for immediate building the houses for all and other social needs.
- break the alliance with the ANC and SACP; Replace the Cosatu leaders with working class fighters who will advance working class interests and who will pursue real working class independence.
- expropriate all the banks, place them under working class control and centralise them into one entity.
- The SA revolution is part of the world socialist revolution: The SA economy and the ruling classes are connected by a thousand threads to the world economy and imperialism. The highly developed division of labour in the epoch of imperialism excludes any notion of a successful revolution in one country. The success of the SA revolution will be absolutely dependent on successful revolutions in one or more advanced imperialist-capitalist country and the tangible support of the international working class. The best solidarity with the SA revolution would be a successful socialist revolution in one or more of the imperialist centres.
- Jobs for all: reduce the working week, without loss of pay to 35 hours, share the work among all those who can work ; those in the mining and dangerous industries to a 30 hour week (without loss of pay); all work should be divided among all those who can work. In the case of retrenchments the relevant company should be expropriated and placed under workers control [wherever we speak of expropriation in this programme, we mean expropriation without compensation]
- A sliding scale of wages and price controls: Presently, the enormous jump in food and energy prices is wreaking havoc to the point of desperation in the lives of the employed and unemployed workers and their families. The capital-labour relations has always been characterised by starvation wages, high prices and exorbitant profits. We demand that wages should increase whenever there are price increases (a sliding scale of wages). No to one- or multiple year agreements. There should be the establishment of workers committees to monitor high prices in every workplace and in every area. reduce the price of basic food by 50%; expropriate without compensation and place under workers’ control all food retailers and producers.
- Good Housing for all: Housing provision has been privatized and left in the hands of the banks. The state subsidy supports privatized housing as it is completely inadequate for the necessary housing needs of the working class. The profiteering by the developers and the credit Act excludes the vast majority of the working class from adequate housing. Under these circumstances mass homelessness will not only be a permanent feature of capitalist SA but will continue to increase every year. We demand the immediate provision of adequate, low rental housing for all (pensioners, the unemployed and extremely low waged workers to be exempt from rent payment). We demand that all vacant buildings, offices, hotels be expropriated and made available for housing; we demand that vacant office space of big capital, insurance companies, lawyers, accountants be expropriated and made available for housing need; mansions and large estates of the capitalists and the upper middle class be expropriated and made available for housing; dismantling of the group areas and the resettlement of the working class near places of work and in the urban centres; the rural working class should be given permanent security of tenure, the immediate upgrading of their dwellings and expropriation of the buildings of the capitalist landowner and the resettlement of the rural working class in appropriate dwellings.
- Expropriate monopoly land owners: 90% of the agricultural land belongs to the commercial monopoly capitalists; the immediate task is to expropriate (without compensation) of all this land and the establishment of workers control; nationalization of the land in the former Bantustans and the return of such land to those who want to continue subsistence farming, with the support of the state through increased allocation of land, implements, credit and seeds, with the vision of encouraging such farmers to form co-operatives and eventually collectives that would be incorporated into the socialist farming collectives.
- For a United Palestine: the calling of a debate on sanctions against Israel and promoting immediate workers’ sanctions against Israel, Zimbabwe and Swaziland; forward to a united Palestine; forward to working class power in Palestine, Zimbabwe, DRC, Swaziland.
- Free liberatory, universal, compulsory Education: The current schooling system is a mechanism for maintaining the class domination of the capitalist class. It places obstacles in the way of the working class as a whole from acquiring scientific knowledge. Universities and their professors currently play the role, by and large, of justifying the system of capitalist exploitation. The first demand on education is that the schooling/education system becomes an organ for the complete abolition of the division of society into classes; it should be an organ of communist regeneration of society. The struggle for this fundamental change of the basis of education goes hand in hand with the struggle for free, compulsory, general and technical education from crèche, kindergarten, pre-school, primary to secondary school. The freeing of women and a special emphasis that the education of children is a social responsibility. All pupils should have their food, clothing, shoes and scholastic equipment provided free by the state. Support for students, especially for working class students to enable them to attend universities; many-sided state aid for the workers, semi-peasants and peasants (such as there are): further education institutions, libraries, adult schools, open universities, courses, lectures, cinemas , etc. The extensive scientific and technical, professional training of all students above the age of 17.
- Abolishing of segregated areas: The interconnection of the banks and housing provision means that under capitalism the segregated group areas will remain. This is the objective reality that underlies and perpetuates racism. Side by side with the integrated housing demands as set out in demand 4 above, the demand is made for integrated schools and social amenities and services.
- Free universal Health care: Over 70% of the national expenditure on health goes into the private sector. Only 7 out of 45 million people benefit from this. The rest of the people (38 million) face a collapsed health system that makes profits more important than health. We demand that all private hospitals and clinics be expropriated and free health care be provided to all. There needs to be a speedy training of a new generation of socially conscious health workers.
- End to Privatization of state assets: In the current period of capitalist decay, the profiteers desperately seek new fields to exploit as they struggle to overcome falling profits. Electricity, public land, schooling, water, health care, social welfare, etc all become targets of the capitalists. We demand the expropriation of all privatized state assets (without compensation) and for them to be placed under working class control.
- An end to the stranglehold of imperialism over the economy: All the banks, the major food companies, the big mines, in fact over 80% of the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) are controlled by imperialist banks and monopolies. These imperialist companies are therefore the primary reason for the mass unemployment, low wages, high prices, mass homelessness, collapse of what little health care there was, super-exploitation of the working masses and oppression of the peasantry across
Africa. Imperialism made massive profits during the period of National Party rule, on the back of the most brutal exploitation and slavery of most of the working class. Only when imperialist rule was threatened by revolution in the 1980’s did they accept a transition to a limited, bourgeois democratic rule. Now they continue to profit at a rate higher than ever before. We demand the immediate expropriation of all imperialist assets and for them to be placed under working class control.
- An end to tribalism and regionalism: For hundreds of years the capitalist class has depended on the mechanism of ‘divide and rule’. One such mechanism is the promotion of tribal divisions. The overall result, irrespective of some privileges to one or other group, is the continued poverty of the masses. We demand an end to all tribal councils and their replacement with workers councils, where leadership is elected, subject to instant recall and who receive the average wage of a skilled worker. In fact all elective structures should be on the same basis. All provinces should be disbanded (they are modelled on the lines similar to the ex-Bantustans) and a new system of central planning introduced so that the differences between urban and rural are abolished.
- Away with xenophobia: The development of the SA economy has always been based on the labour of workers from all over the world. Workers from
Malaysia, China, India, southern Africa, Europe, etc have from time to time played a role in building the economy. Once again, the media and institutions of the capitalists play up artificial, national differences to divide the working class, with the sole objective of maintaining control, ie of ensuring the continuation of exploitation of the entire mass. There are only 400 capitalist families that control the bulk of the world’s wealth. The same imperialists who are behind the wars in Africa and South America, in the Middle East, who are behind the exploitation of workers in every country, are also responsible for the exploitation of the working class in SA. We have more in common with the migrant worker than with the local capitalist. We reject the notion of ‘illegal migrants’. We stand for international working class unity in struggle against our common enemy- world imperialism-capitalism. Workers have no country and indeed the world is our home. Our struggle for Socialism cannot be separated from the world struggle for Socialism. In this struggle we stand shoulder to shoulder with all workers of the world.
- Equal rights for women: To solve the Gender question we believe that what has been traditionally regarded as ‘women’s work’ should be socialised: We thus demand cheap, public laundries; cheap public restaurants/eating houses; child care and education should be a social responsibility. Nursing mothers should have crèches at their workplace. Light duties should be prescribed pre and post-birth for an adequate period. Housing cleaning should be a collective responsibility.
- For the formation of workers’ defence committees: The capitalists and their agents are launching ongoing attacks against the working class, through high prices, mass retrenchments. The capitalists’ desperation for greater profits is increasing. This means that attacks on the working class will intensify and as in the case of
, may mean the possibility of workers facing armed fascist gangs. It is necessary for workers to become organised in our workplaces and in our communities through setting up of rank-and file defence committees. These committees may become the embryos of workers councils that reflect workers’ democracy outside of parliament, and will be the basis of building local, regional, national and international struggles and campaigns. Bolivia
- For the Dictatorship of the proletariat: Change will come outside of and against parliament: In essence, what we stand for is the total transformation of the political-economic-social relations- ie the establishment of working class power. The transition to Socialism can only be through the dictatorship of the proletariat (the dictatorship of the majority), organised in soviets (workers councils), with delegates subject to instant recall, earning the wage of average skilled workers, the disbanding of a standing army and the rule of the armed working class; as opposed to bourgeois parliamentary ‘democracy’ (in reality the dictatorship of the handful of capitalists) we propose workers councils which will be legislative and executive at the same time.
- Federation of Southern African Socialist states: Due to the inter-connection of the Southern African region we stand for the establishment of a federation of Southern African Socialist states as a transition towards a Union of Soviet Socialist states in
Southern Africa. At the same time we stand for the establishment of a United Socialist states of Africa. The broader context however, must always be the advancing of the world Socialist revolution, which will not proceed in a straight line but will open up various possible combinations that cannot be determined in advance. At the same time it is imperative to realise that any revolutionary overthrow of capitalist relations in Africa, or anywhere in the neo-colonial world, cannot be sustained without a successful Socialist revolution in one or more of the imperialist centres.