The ANC- 100 years of striving to become the local bossboys for imperialism (and indeed 18 years of being exactly that)

[A response to Pallo Jordan’s ‘ANC- a century of movement’- 23 Dec 2011]

 

Millions of workers and fellow poor supported the UDF and the ANC; millions still support the ANC. Tens of thousands laid down their lives in fighting against ‘the system’, many thinking that the ANC would bring liberation and an end to poverty. But today the ANC is managing the ‘system’, keeping the masses in poverty and starvation, while a tiny section of the black elite enjoy the crumbs from the tables of the capitalist masters. The capitalists are making their biggest profits ever while the masses continue to suffer and die from preventable diseases. We owe it to the youth, to the many who suffered under the previous regime, to the millions who still suffer under the ‘system’, to the many who died fighting it, to pose and to attempt to seriously answer the question: What went wrong?  Is it simply a question of a corrupt few, as Pallo Jordan and the SACP and Cosatu leadership say? What really went wrong?

 

Pallo Jordan’s article (ANC- a century of movement) tries to paint a glowing picture of the ANC’s past but it is filled with half-truths. Quite frankly it is an attempt to whitewash the collaboration of the ANC with the capitalist class over the past 100 years and how the CPSA/SACP played a leading role not only in reviving and shaping ANC policy but assisting capitalism-imperialism in containing the revolutionary actions of the working class. The ANC-SACP is currently the main agency of ensuring the continued dominance by imperialism through maintaining and running the system of brutal, cheap labour capitalist exploitation.

 

Over the past 18 years, the ANC-SACP, instead of dismantling the racial group areas, have built ‘housing’ in the ghettoes, thus entrenching racial divisions. Most of the ‘housing’ built are so small and of such poor quality that they are nothing but glorified shacks. The pace of ‘housing’ is less than population growth, so homelessness is growing every year. Now the ANC-SACP government wants to even scrap the small housing subsidy. Schooling, despite the different racial departments being scrapped, still takes place mostly along racial lines. Poverty is so rife that the average life expectancy has dropped from an already low 51 to 47 (some statisticians would even put it at close to 41). More than 2 million workers have been retrenched since 1994 and today more than 2 million of the few who are working, live as semi-slaves at the mercy of the modern slave traders (labour brokers). Many millions are unemployed, and many of the youth face the prospect of never getting work.

 

While a section of the ANC-SACP elite have become millionaires and billionaires, the monopolies who have plundered the riches before 1994, like Anglo American and the Bank of New York, still continue to make super-profits. In fact these imperialist monopolies are making the greatest profits ever in their history. For example, in 2007, over R1000 Billion of profits was taken out of the country by the international capitalists (R500bn, 20% of GDP, was taken out through transfer pricing according to Ben Fine- The Shop Steward Vol 20 no 4 1 Sept 2011 –‘New Growth Path for Old’). Transfer pricing is when Anglo American and other capitalists deliberately lie about the value of their exports, stating it is much less than what it really is, and so smuggle out hundreds of billions of Rands of wealth every year without paying tax for it. Through transfer pricing Anglo American and other capitalists have been taking hundreds of billions of Rands of wealth out of the country, each year, for many years, starting even in the days of the old apartheid regime- they have been doing this every year of the 18 year ANC rule. The ANC,SACP and Cosatu leaders were well aware of this plunder and corruption but did nothing about it. It was not even raised at the so-called ‘corruption summit’.

 

The fundamental question then is: What went wrong and what can we do about it?

 

What we are summarizing, in essence, is the urgent need for the working class to break from the ANC and SACP to build a revolutionary working class party that is independent of the state and the capitalist class, a party that is part of an International (we say this should be the refounded Fourth International).

 

The early history of the ANC- 1912 to 1965

Edward Roux in his Time longer than rope- the Black Man’s Struggle for Freedom in South Africa, presents a more objective account of the history of colonization and exploitation from the earliest days in 1497 up to 1965.

 

Pallo Jordan refers to the formation in 1919 of the ICU (Industrial and Commercial Workers Union of Africa). He states that ANC members of the ANC were members of the unions and members of the unions were members of the ANC. This is not true- The ANC started off as a middle class organization, led by chiefs and lawyers. Their base was small and they did not have a workers base. Because of the slave conditions such as the pass laws that were introduced by British imperialism, the ICU became at once political. Its first leader was Clements Kadalie (who was from Kenya- the ‘Nyasaland’ of old). Edward Roux writes: ‘In fact, for a number of years, it [the ICU] replaced the African National Congress as the chief political party of the Bantu people.’ Thus while the ANC led the campaign of pass burning in 1919, it was soon eclipsed by the growth of the ICU.

 

Unfortunately Kadalie was both a syndicalist and a nationalist. When the CPSA (Communist Party of South Africa) tried to build its influence in the ICU, Kadalie had them expelled in 1926.

 

The CPSA was formed in 1921 with the magnificent internationalist programme which , ‘makes its appeal to all South African workers, organised and unorganised, white and black, to join in promoting the overthrow of the capitalist system and outlawry of the capitalist class, and the establishment of a Commonwealth of Workers throughout the World.’

A struggle developed in the CPSA which was a reflection of the Stalinist takeover of the Bolshevik party in Russia as well as the Communist International. The CPSA became one of the most loyal servants of the Stalin clique in the world, following all its twists and turns, expelling Trotskyists and indeed anyone who dared challenge the Soviet bureaucracy.

 

Stalin changed the Bolshevik policy of building independent Communist parties. In China in 1926 the policy of Stalin was for the Chinese Communist Party to ally itself with the party of the Chinese nationalists, the Kuomintang and to postpone its programme for the working class to take power.

 

In South Africa, the CPSA was instructed to build an alliance with the middle class ANC and to adopt the infamous 2-stage theory- first a fight to put the ANC in power to achieve ‘democracy’ and then later to fight for Socialism.

 

It was the work of the stalinised CPSA that brought the organised working class to postpone its fight for Socialism and to tie itself to the ANC. This was the origin of the myth that ‘ANC members are unionists and unionists are ANC members’. Pallo Jordan deliberately perpetuates this myth because without the working class, the ANC would collapse- it would become an empty shell, much like COPE (the splinter ‘Congress of the People’) is today.

 

In India, the Stalin bureaucracy similarly instructed the Communist party to support the nationalist Indian Congress.

 

One of the founders of the Indian Congress was Mahatma Ghandi. This is what Edward Roux writes about him: ‘ Ghandi took a similar line during the Bambata rebellion in 1906. This was essentially a revolt against the poll tax on the part of the Africans and as such it was quite comparable to the struggle of the Indians against a similar discriminatory law. But Ghandi remained loyal to the British Empire. He again offered to the government his services and those of the Indian community.

 

While the British troops machine-gunned Bambata and his followers, massacring some 500 of them, Ghandi’s supporters stood ready as stretcher bearers to save any British troop who was injured. Such is the nature of the middle class Ghandi, hero of the ANC and the Indian Congress.

 

By 1928 the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union directed the CPSA to change its programme of uniting ‘white and black workers’ to adopting the ‘Native Republic’ thesis. The ‘Native Republic’ thesis later developed into the infamous ‘Internal Colonialism’ thesis where all whites, including white workers, were now regarded as oppressors. Thus it was from Moscow that the policy of dividing the working class came. This CPSA policy supported the divisions that imperialism had imposed and cultivated for many years. Although the CPSA had spearheaded the development of African unions in South Africa, under the stalinization of the party, the ‘new’ CPSA leadership either smashed the unions or antagonised  these unions in 1928. The CPSA later made efforts to rebuild their influence in the unions.

 

SP Bunting and others who were expelled from the CPSA, played a major role in building and rebuilding militant trade unions. By 1942 there was a Council of Non-European Trade Unions formed. They claimed membership of 158 000 by 1945. They were made up not only of CPSA controlled unions but unions controlled by the Workers International League (Trotskyist) and 2 groups of independent unions that were previously under CPSA and Trotskyist influence respectively.

 

Thus the support of the trade union movement, in the early years, for the ANC, was limited and at best contested. It was not a blanket ‘every union member an ANC member’.

Like the party of Ghandi in India, despite the ongoing repression by British imperialism, the ANC supported the imperialist power in the second world imperialist war (1939-1945). At the outset, while the Stalin-Hitler pact was in operation, the CPSA opposed the British imperialist. But once Hitler launched the attack on the Soviet Union, the CPSA switched sides to then support the British imperialist. The Fourth International issued its manifesto on the war in 1940. It included the following: ‘By helping their bourgeoisie against foreign fascism, the workers would only accelerate the victory of fascism in their own country. The task posed by history is not to support one part of the imperialist system against another but to make an end of the system as a whole.’ The Fourth International called for the fraternizing of workers on all sides to deal with their respective regimes- the enemy is at home!. Trotskyists were killed off and arrested around the globe. In South Africa, the regime imprisoned some of the Trotskyists.

By 1948 the fascistic National Party regime came to power. By 1950 all ‘Communist’ activity was banned, including any literature of Lenin and Trotsky. Considering that the CPSA was violently anti-Trotskyist, the banning was aimed not only against the CPSA but also against the Trotskyists. Imperialism and their lackey regme in SA knew the threat posed by independent communist activity. The French Ambassador warned Hitler that the only victor of war would be the Fourth International. Indeed the big capitalists knew the threat of working class independence, especially when the imperialists were fighting one another in a world war over new markets, namely there would be the  threat of a revolution like in Russia October 1917 when the working class took power but this time the threat was of workers taking power in France, Britain Germany, or even the USA or even again in the Soviet Union against the Stalinist bureaucracy, or in any colony or country on the planet.

This is what Edward Roux says of this period: ‘Since the war the communists had established intimate links with organizations such as the African National Congress and Indian Congresses. These organizations had not become completely communist bodies, but they had become permeated with many of the ideas of militancy and direct action which had characterised the CP.’ The CPSA/SACP actively built the Congress of Democrats, COD, (for ‘white’ liberals) and the Coloured People’s Congress. Although the CP could not operate openly, they worked through the Congresses and the COD, playing the leading role for the 1955 adoption of the Freedom Charter.

The Freedom Charter was deliberately vague but was written in a way consistent with the notion of Stalin that there would first be a ‘democratic’ revolution led by the ANC, followed at some unspecified date in the future of a transition to Socialism. That the first ‘stage’ is capitalist and not Socialist is confirmed by Mandela, Slovo and recently by Cronin and the 2009 SACP conference:

In an article, entitled ‘In our :Lifetime’ published in Liberation in June 1956, Nelson Mandela made the following statement about the Freedom Charter:

 

‘Whilst the Charter proclaims democratic changes of a far reaching nature, it is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state, but a programme for the unification of various classes and groupings amongst the people on a democratic basis. Under socialism the workers hold state power. They and the peasants own the means of production, land, the factories and the mills. All production is for use and not for profit. The Charter does not contemplate such profound economic and political changes. Its declaration “The people shall govern!” visualizes the transfer of power not to any single social class but to all the people of the country be they workers, peasants, professional men or petty-bourgeoisie.

            It is true that in demanding the nationalisation of the banks, the gold mines and the land the Charter strikes a fatal blow at the financial and gold-mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country and condemned its people to servitude. But such a step is absolutely imperative and necessary because the realisation of the Charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until these monopolies are first smashed up and the national wealth of the country turned over to the people. The breaking up and democratisation of these monopolies will open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous Non-European bourgeois class. For the first time in the history of the country the Non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name and right mills and factories, and trade and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before. To destroy these monopolies means the termination of the exploitation of vast sections of the populace by mining kings and land barons and there will be a general rise in living standards of the people. It is precisely because the Charter offers immense opportunities for an overall movement in the material conditions of all classes and groups that it attracts such wide support.’

In other words, for Mandela, the Freedom Charter is not about creating Socialism but about creating a black capitalist class. In other words, the Freedom Charter is about creating a small elite that is parasitic over the labour of the working class, and is not symbiotic, as Pallo Jordan states. [‘Symbiotic’ would imply that both the working class and the capitalist class would benefit- this is a contradiction as capitalism is based on the exploitation of the working class].

Knowing full well that the Freedom Charter was capitalist, the SACP promoted the ANC as the leader of the struggle.

While the wave of anti-colonial struggles swept across Africa, the ANC, PAC and other groupings took to guerrilla struggle, but by 1965 these had been crushed. For the next 20 years the ANC had virtually no presence in South Africa, something acknowledged even by Pallo Jordan.

Pallo Jordan even acknowledges that the ANC accepted ‘white rule’ for 20 years as a ‘loyal’ extra-parliamentary opposition. In other words, despite large-scale repression of the masses by the capitalist state, the ANC remained committed to a parliamentary path- in other words they showed that their real aim was to become managers of the control of the masses through a capitalist parliament. In other words, the ANC was never aiming for a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. That is, the real programmatic aims of the ANC was to maintain the system of wage slavery, to maintain the very ‘system’ that tens of thousands died fighting- the past 18 years are confirmation of this.  

The periods from 1965 to 1985 and from 1985 to 1994

By 1965 the imperialists, through their lackey, the National Party regime, had smashed the working class and the broader liberation movements. By 1973, with the spontaneous Durban strikes, the trade union movement was reborn. The 1976 student uprising was spearheaded by the Black Conciousness movement but it too was largely spontaneous. Later that year the mass stayaways marked the greater political re-entry of the working class into the class struggle arena. The strike movement grew and by 1980 and in the early 1980’s spontaneous mass trade unions, civics, youth and other working class organizations were being formed everywhere, they were mushrooming. Pallo Jordan is correct when he says that the regime could not rule in the old way. In other words a pre-revolutionary situation had opened up- the masses had lost their fear and were not prepared to be ruled in the old way. The only factor missing was a revolutionary working class party. The NP regime was completely discredited. Imperialism needed a new agency to help it control the masses. Rather than risk losing everything, imperialism decided to revive the ANC to act as its new agency. Imperialism always backs several horses. When the old one becomes discredited, they prepare to push a new horse forward to control the masses.

The Scandinavian government and churches were a front for imperialism to fund the development of the UDF (United Democratic Front), which was formed in 1983. The UDF had a start-up budget of R30 000. By 1989 it had a budget of R1.7 million [according to Jeremy Seekings’ The UDF]. This was only for the UDF structures. Many of the affiliates also had their own funding, also from the Scandinavian government and churches. The UDF adopted the Freedom Charter and was thus a front for the revival of the ANC. It rode on the legitimate anger and aspirations of the masses to channel the revolutionary anger of the masses into the parliamentary road, promoting the ANC into the role of becoming the new political managers for the continued exploitation of the working class. The might of all imperialist forces, through the UN, the churches (with the aid of Bishop Tutu and Allan Boesak), set up structures of workers and the middle class, in other words, workers and popular committees that were under the control of the middle class leaders of the ANC. They deliberately set up a fighting organization that was constrained by the ANC’s capitalist programme. There are several historical examples of imperialism even building soviets (councils of workers) but under the leadership of pro-capitalist forces in order to ride out the revolutionary wave and for the chosen capitalist agency to regain control.

In his article The revolution in India- its tasks and dangers- Trotsky wrote in 1930:

As if the Soviets cannot be a weapon for deceiving the workers and peasants! What else were the Menshevik-Socialist revolutionary controlled Soviets of 1917? Nothing but a weapon for the support of the power of the bourgeoisie and the preparation of its dictatorship. What were the social democratic Soviets in Germany and Austria in 1918-1919? Organs for saving the bourgeoisie and for deceiving the workers. With the further development of the revolutionary movement in India, with the greater swing of the mass struggles and with the weakness of the Communist Party’… ‘the Indian national bourgeoisie itself may create workers and peasants’ Soviets in order to direct them as it now directs the trade unions, in order thus to slaughter the revolution as the German social democracy, by getting at the head of the Soviets, slaughtered it. The treacherous character of the slogan for the democratic dictatorship lies in the fact that it does not close tightly to the enemies, once and for all, such a possibility.’

The slogans of the UDF deliberately shackled the revolutionary anger and direction of the masses. For example, the UDF called for stayaways rather than for general strikes with workers occupying the factories. How could workers take over the factories and mines if they stayed at home? The UDF called to make the country ‘ungovernable’ instead of calling for workers to mobilise to take over and seize power. Their slogan of ‘People’s power’ hid the class differences between the worker base and the middle class leadership who only wanted to get themselves into office in a capitalist government- after all, the middle class and capitalist class are also part of the people. You cannot say that workers and capitalists can rule as the capitalists exist on the basis of exploiting workers. To call for people’s power as you are saying that the wolf and sheep must rule- you forget that the wolf exists to eat the sheep. The capitalists own the best land, they control the farms, the mines, the banks, the factories- the working class has nothing. How can workers and capitalists rule together and be equal when one group has everything and the other nothing? The SACP raised the slogan of People’s power to hide that the capitalists would rule and the ANC would only be the new managers. The programme of the UDF protected the capitalist control over the commanding heights of the economy- the land, the mines, the farms. Thus it was that the UDF protected imperialism which controlled (and still control) the SA economy.

That the SACP was a key factor in reviving the ANC is seen from Slovo’s speech on 30th July 1986 (On the 65th anniversary of the SACP):

‘The main thrust and content of the immediate struggle continues to revolve around the Freedom Charter which provides a minimum platform for uniting all classes and groups for the achievement of a non-racial, united democratic South Africa based on the rule of the majority’…..

‘In expressing support for the Freedom Charter our 1962 Programme states that it is not a programme for socialism but rather a 'common programme for a free, democratic South Africa, agreed on by socialists and non-socialists'…

For some while after apartheid falls there will undoubtedly be a mixed economy’…

‘The ANC-led liberation alliance, representing the main revolutionary forces, is clearly the key sector of this front’….

‘In our book this does not imply that the Party itself must seek to occupy the dominant position in the liberation alliance. On the contrary, if correct leadership of the democratic revolution requires the strengthening of the national movement as the major and leading mass organisational force, then this is precisely the way in which a party exercises its vanguard role in the real and not the vulgar sense of the term’.…

In other words, Joe Slovo also agreed that the Freedom Charter was not a plan for Socialism. Indeed if it is a plan to ‘unite’ the classes, it cannot be a plan to abolish the capitalist class, the class that controls the commanding heights of the economy. That is, it is a plan to maintain capitalism, to maintain exploitation and maintain imperialist domination.. Slovo also confirms that the perspective of the SACP is to build and thereby revive the ANC.

But the 2 states of emergency of the latter part of the 1980’s greatly weakened the UDF. The SACP also gained control over a number of smaller unions and were a major factor, working with the syndicalist factions against the Trotskyist factions in the formation of Cosatu in 1985. Indeed several of the ‘Trotskyist’ factions also worked to revive the ANC instead of following a class independent policy. But the alliance of the syndicalists and SACP was too strong over the Cosatu apparatus and by 1990, after the SACP, ANC and others were unbanned, the Cosatu leaders formally established the alliance with the ANC and SACP, with the ANC being pushed by the SACP to leadership of the 3. But in the lead up to this, in many affiliates there were battles between the SACP supporters and a section of the ‘Trotskyists’ for the support of the ANC versus another section of the Trotskyists and supporters of the Black consciousness movement. One of the notable clashes was the split in CCAWUSA, where the Cosatu leaders recognised the minority faction which supported the Freedom Charter versus the majority which supported a Workers Charter and an independent class policy. Several Trotskyists who supported an independent policy were expelled from Cosatu.

Thus it was through the programme of the SACP operating in Cosatu and the UDF, that the ANC was revived. The aims of the SACP coincided with that of imperialism, to put the political leaders of the black middle class into political power to prevent a workers’ revolution.

This is the result of the pact of stalinism with imperialism, not only in South Africa, but in many countries around the globe. In essence it a pact for the Stalinists to maintain their positions of privilege, in the unions and government bureaucracies, in return for helping to suppress the world working class from the path of Socialist revolution, from taking power into their own hands.

Once the ANC was unbanned, it was necessary to destroy the committees of the working class and the middle class- thus it was that the UDF was disbanded. Imperialism diverted funds away from the UDF and poured them into the ANC, beating them on the head every step of the way to give up on more and more of the democratic aspirations of the masses, in return for the crumbs of privilege from the imperialist table.  Meanwhile imperialism funded the ANC with a budget of R4 million per month and gave them a budget for the 1994 elections of R168 million (according to Seekings: The UDF).

The next major step was the Codesa talks which agreed to protecting private property of the capitalists- in other words that there would be no expropriation or confiscation of the wealth controlled by imperialism- indeed the commanding heights could now no longer be touched even if 100% of parliament voted for it.

The SACP leaders in Cosatu played the major role in developing the election platform for the ANC, namely, the RDP. Repeatedly discussions were held, watering down the demands of the masses through several drafts of the RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme). Some of the ‘Trotskyists’ also supported the RDP as a election programme, even if was not even a programme to meet all the needs of the masses. But essentially the RDP was a mechanism to tie the masses to a capitalist election, accepting the dominance of the imperialists, turning the eyes of the masses away from a revolutionary overthrow of the ‘apartheid’ regime.

Joe Slovo proposed the ‘sunset’ clauses through which the old state apparatus was to be kept intact for at least 5 more years. Mandela called for the masses to throw their weapons into the sea and totally ruled out nationalization. Thus the revolution was destroyed from within by the SACP and ANC.

Several of the international ‘Trotskyist’ groups like the Militant, the International Socialist Organization, supported the ANC, while Socialist Action supported the formation of a reformist Workers party through Wosa. They abandoned to task of building an independent, revolutionary working class party as part of a revolutionary International. Such was their tail-ending of Stalinism and of reformism. These groups deliberately isolated the struggle in SA from the task of workers taking power in the US, UK and other imperialist centres.

From 1994 to 2012

Every economic policy of the ANC has been supported by the SACP. They were among the first to welcome GEAR, a structural adjustment programme of imperialism (although they were forced by workers to backtrack from this position, at least on paper).  They supported Asgisa and now the New Growth Path, all of which are programmes for supporting the capitalist class and imperialism.

For example, while the ‘apartheid’ regime had a tax on companies of 48%, the ANC, with the full support of the SACP, have reduced the company tax to 28%. Thus the burden of tax collection has been placed much more heavily on the working class and lower middle class.

The SACP takes credit for the capitalist economic policy of the ANC and clothes it with socialist phrases. This is what the SACP said on the 14th Sept 2009 in their discussion document on The SACP on the state of South Africa:

Looking back to our September 2008 National Policy Conference discussions and resolutions, it is possible to realise how influential the Conference has proved to be. Almost all of the key resolutions have been implemented or have been strongly embodied in the ANC's election manifesto and government's recently published Medium Term Strategic Framework.’… ‘it is important that as communists we are clear that working class HEGEMONY doesn't mean working class exclusivity (still less party chauvinism). Working class hegemony means the ability of the working class to provide a consistent strategic leadership (politically, economically, socially, organisationally, morally - even culturally) to the widest range of social forces - in particular, to the wider working class itself, to the broader mass of urban and rural poor, to a wide range of middle strata, and in South African conditions, to many sectors of non-monopoly capital. Where it is not possible to win over individuals on the narrow basis of class interest, it can still be possible to win influence on the basis of intellectual and moral integrity (compare, for instance, our consistent ability, particularly as the Party, to mobilise over many decades a small minority of whites during the struggle against white minority rule). This kind of hegemonic ability is different from a "balancing" act, a "redistributive" programme so beloved by centrist reformism. It is not a question of striking deals with different classes - slicing up the cake.’

The SACP is correct that their policy is not about ‘slicing up the cake’ because the whole cake goes to the imperialists while the rest have to be satisfied with crumbs.  

In its 2009 discussion document, the SACP argues that the major gain of ‘beneficiation’ is the infrastructure programme- thus they justify the tripling of the electricity price to build coal and nuclear power, providing a cash cow that gives Anglo American and other imperialists over R 1000 bn just for the build programme. It also guarantees the exploitation of the masses for the next 30 years with hundreds of billions of Rands for coal and nuclear raw materials needed to run these power stations. Thus the SACP provides a cover for a ‘build programme’ that increases the efficiency of exploitation and stealing of the wealth, while defending a state which deliberately increases the desperation for housing through building ‘houses’ at less than the rate of population growth. Big capital’s major ally within the workers’ movement is the SACP.

This defence by the SACP of the imperialists to plunder and steal is confirmed when Jeremy Cronin agues against the nationalization of the mines (18th November 2009). He argues that the state owning the mineral rights is already a realization of the Freedom Charter. He also argues that the mines are in decline and thus the state should avoid taking on debt should they have to pay compensation for them. Thus while the ANC-SACP government ‘owns’ the mineral rights, the control should stay in the hands of Anglo American, the Bank of New York and other imperialist companies- so says Cronin.  The SACP rejects beneficiation of diamonds as a ‘pipe-dream’, pie in the sky. In other words, they justify the continued export of all the diamond production to Israel for cutting and polishing. By words the SACP supports Palestine, but in reality they provide a cover for the support of Anglo American for fascist Israel.

In 2007, the monopolies like Anglo American under-invoiced over R500bn of minerals that they illegally took out of the country. Within months  1 million workers were retrenched. Combined with the officially declared profits, Anglo American and other capitalists took out over R1000 Bn in wealth just in 2007. This practice of under-invoicing by Anglo American and others has been taking place for many years, even before 1994, with the full knowledge of the state. The SACP and ANC and Cosatu leaders know about this- an article on the ‘New Growth Path’ appeared last year in the Cosatu journal, The ShopSteward, which contained this data. But Cronin and the SACP have no problem with the corruption and large-scale plunder and stealing by Anglo American. We cannot nationalise the mines as they are in decline, says Cronin. Apparently to Cronin, R1000 Bn is too small an income for the state! According to Cronin, having company tax on profits reduced from 48% to 28% is a demonstration of the working class ‘hegemony’ of the state!

Under the disguise of Socialist phrases, the SACP is justifying that the wealth remain under the control of the imperialists like Anglo American. Here we see the real meaning of the Freedom Charter and ‘reconciliation’- the ANC-SACP leaders gets some crumbs from the master’s table while they keep the masses in continued slavery to the imperialists.

Some conclusions and the way forward

Pallo Jordan is wrong when he says that the sanctions movement in the USA played a major role in the ‘liberation’ of South Africa. What Jordan wants to hide It was only the threat of revolution by the working class that made the imperialists temporarily withdraw some of their funds while they prepared a new agency to regain control for them. He perpetuates the myth that imperialism plays a progressive role in the struggles of the masses. Imperialism has on occasion to pose as progressive in order to fool the workers on their own home soil (eg in the USA, France, etc). Further, the so-called sanctions campaign by imperialism helped to divert attention from the fact that they were funding the apartheid regime with billions of dollars to suppress the masses. More than 30 000 were killed by the hitsquads and other repressive agencies of the state while the sanctions campaign gave the appearance that imperialism ‘cared’ for the masses. The sanctions campaign made imperialism appear as innocent when in fact they were ultimately responsible for the massacres of the revolutionary masses.

While imperialism repressed and suppressed the ANC when it was convenient for it, when faced with a revolution, they helped revive the ANC to prevent the masses from taking everything. The imperialists understood, perhaps even better than many on the left, that the programme of the ANC was capitalist and that they could depend on them, with the able help of the SACP, and its 2-stage ‘revolution’, to strangle the uprising in South Africa. Imperialism supported the development of workers and popular committees that were under its control, so that they could remain the real rulers of the land. The middle class (as a class) is only revolutionary in that they are fighting for their space within the system. As Lenin wrote in State and Revolution that the attaining of democracy means the end of the revolutionism of both the capitalist as well as the middle class. The lower middle class would tend to support the working class while the upper middle class would tend to side with the capitalists. But the SACP depends on the middle class, striving to win even the lower middle class, to strengthen its grip on holding back the march of the masses towards revolution.

To call for ‘workers and popular’ committees, limits beforehand the struggle of the masses and ties it to the whims and prejudices of the middle class. The Stalin line in India, which took the notion of ‘worker- peasant’ committees to its conclusion, by promoting a ‘workers- peasant party, namely the Indian Congress Party. In South Africa, the Stalin line was to rebuild and strengthen a ‘worker-middle class’ party, the ANC, as a means to chain the masses to capitalism. Using Socialist phrases, the SACP sacrificed working class independence to limit the masses to fight for democratic demands behind the leadership of the middle class. What was necessary was for the working class to take power in its own hands, the only force that could guarantee the completion of democratic demands such as nationalization of the land, confiscating the commercial farms, confiscating all imperialist assets such as the mines and banks, abolishing the apartheid ghettoes and Bantustans and the building of integrated, decent housing in areas close to work, etc.

The middle class leaders of the ANC and SACP have sustained the apartheid ghettoes and Bantustans, they oppose nationalization and oppose confiscation of all the imperialist assets that were gained through plunder over centuries, sending the police when workers occupy even a small piece of vacant land, let alone any capitalist company. They have become agents, under the disguise of BEE- Black Economic Empowerment, of capitalist exploitation, of the very capitalist ‘system’ that the masses were/are fighting against. This is what is proven over and over again for the past 18 years. After gaining a limited democracy, the middle class leaders of the ANC and SACP have lost their revolutionism and become part of the ‘system’.

To even call for Soviets (fighting councils of workers’ delegates) without realizing that the revolutionary party needs to win leadership of these workers councils, poses a danger that the struggle of the masses may be hijacked from within by Stalinist and other reactionary forces operating within the workers’ movement, and indeed within these workers’ councils. If imperialism cannot smash a revolution from the outside, they will look to smash it from within. In the process of wanting to smash the revolution from within, imperialism could use the remnants of Stalinism, religious and nationalist prejudices of the masses to set up their own ‘fighting’ organs, as they have tragically done in South Africa with the UDF.

This does not mean that it was incorrect to make the call for fighting councils of workers delegates, or action committees based on workers delegates. It was correct to do so but not sufficient. It was necessary to have called for committees of action based on workers delegates and to have combined this with freedom of criticism for all political tendencies within the working class to operate openly within them, behind their own banner and contesting with their own programme in front of the eyes of the masses. Thus a revolutionary tendency for the working class to take power could have won out. This was impossible in the UDF as its programme was the capitalist Freedom Charter.

The late coming of Africa to capitalism, when it was in decline on a world scale, meant that the giant imperialist forces have cut it up into areas of influence, suppressing the development of local capitalists and reducing the entire continent to be a producer of raw, unprocessed materials. The development of a class of black capitalists will remain stunted, the class of indigenous capitalists small and the regimes Bonapartist (military or semi-military dictatorships) in character.

Democracy in South Africa means the freedom of the imperialists-capitalists to plunder the wealth. The masses may have the right to make a cross on a ballot every few years, but precious little else.

The black middle class (indeed the middle class in general) cannot be the driving force even to complete the ‘democratic’ demands, such as housing, work, education, healthcare, nationalizing the land, confiscation of all the imperialist assets- plunder of several centuries, etc.

The October 1917 revolution in Russia shows by the positive and the failure of the working class to take power anywhere in Africa, shows by the negative, that only the working class taking power through a revolution, can complete the democratic programme. Capitalism everywhere organises production on a world scale but divides the masses on artificial bases on so-called national states.

We need to overcome ‘democracy’ that is the dictatorship of the capitalists, with the dictatorship of the working class.

The SACP provides a theoretical cover for the ANC in its implementation of the plans of imperialism in attacking the working class. To fight for nationalization of the land and expropriation of all the capitalists and imperialists means workers must break decisively from the ANC and SACP.

We need to establish revolutionary working class parties as part of a revolutionary International (we say this should be the refounded Fourth International). This is the first step to fight for the completion of the democratic programme such as nationalization, etc. These parties should be independent of the state and capital. The treacherous leaderships of the working class should be politically defeated to free the working class from this parasitic caste. We are part of the world battalion of the working class. The working class needs to take power in the colonies and semi-colonies, as well as in the imperialist centres like the USA, France, UK, Germany and Japan.

Forward to the Soviet Union of Socialist states of Africa!

Forward to Socialism!

15.1.2012 amended 8.2.2012