Numsa is correct to reject the NDP (National Development Plan) in its entirety but it does not go far enough to pose an alternative. In fact the Numsa leadership are stuck in the flawed argument of promoting the ‘national democratic revolution’ and the Freedom Charter as an alternative. Even the SACP now admits that the aim of the ‘national democratic revolution’ and that of the Freedom Charter, is not to end class exploitation. (SACP’s reply to Numsa on the NDP: ‘Let’s not monumentalise the NDP’). In other words, the SACP argues that we still need an indefinite period of capitalism, that conditions are not ripe enough for Socialism. The SACP supports elements of the NDP, accepting some of Numsa’s criticisms, claiming that the focus should be on the New Growth Path (NGP) and on IPAP2 (Industrial Policy Action Plan 2) of the government. But what is common to the position of the Cosatu leadership, the Numsa leadership, and the SACP is that the ANC government is the leader of the struggle for the attainment of the democratic aspirations of the masses. They are all wrong.
Lenin wrote in his State and Revolution that upon the attainment of a democracy, the capitalist class and the middle class lose their revolutionism. Was Lenin right or did history prove him wrong?
The class nature of the ANC and its programme
The ANC comprises of capitalists such as Ramaphosa, Sexwale, Motsepe, Zuma, etc and aspirant capitalists, middle class and working class members. The interests of the capitalists in the ANC are opposite to that of the workers within the ANC. Fundamentally, on every major democratic demand, the interests of the capitalist class has always won out over the interests of the workers. At each and every stage, the middle class in the ANC has proven itself incapable of fighting even for its own interest up to the end; indeed, on all major questions, the middle class leadership of the ANC has sided with the monopoly capitalists that control the entire Southern African region:
· The middle class aims of the ANC as per the Freedom Charter, was to redistribute all the farming land, creating a class of small farmers and of black commercial farmers; the RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme), the programme of the ANC for the 1994 elections, was only for a 30% such redistribution of land. Even this middle class aim was delayed and to date only 4% of the land has been redistributed in this way;
· Similarly the middle class aims of the Freedom Charter was for the breaking up of all the monopolies and for the creation of a black capitalist class (Mandela , 1956, June, The Liberator). The various sector Charters put black ownership at a limit of 25%- but all of the black capitalists created in this way are loan billionaires and millionaires (they had to borrow funds from the very monopoly capitalists they were going into partnership with); thus while the front may be a Motsepe, Ramaphosa or a Sexwale, behind the scenes, even the black ownership is tied hand and foot to the old monopoly capitalists. The ANC loan capitalists are sharing the crumbs from the master’s table. [The Freedom Charter should really say: ‘The people shall share crumbs’].
· The cornerstone of the Constitution is the property clause, which protects the wealth of Anglo American and other monopolies, even though much of their wealth has been derived from theft of land and resources from the masses;
· Instead of breaking down ghettoes and building integrated areas, housing, for the past 19 years has been built in segregated apartheid ghettoes;
· The ANC may have built 3 million tiny dwelling over the past 19 years but this has barely kept pace with population growth; there are more squatter camps and homeless people today than in 1994; every year there is a need for at least 200 000 new houses but the govt does not even build this number; in the past financial year almost R1 bn was unspent by the ‘Human settlement’ ministry; in other words, the number of homeless people will always grow every year- slums are a permanent feature of the ANC and DA governments;
· We condemn the state’s use of army and police resources for a private wedding of Zuma’s fellow labour broker, Gupta. The capitalist media make a big fuss over Guptagate but they gloss over the presence of SANDF troops in the DRC, protecting Anglo American mining facilities- over the past period more than 6 million people have died in the wars in the DRC, which have been backed by imperialism to clear the land of the people to open up exploitation of the minerals for them. Much of the material for cellphones, laptops, Playstations, come through the plunder of the DRC which is also being actively protected by the SANDF at a cost of billions. The SANDF protect the imperialist mining operations from the masses of the DRC. The ANC government facilitates the imperialist plunder of Africa, not its liberation, a fact which we condemn even more.
· During the Mandela presidency the ANC government signed a trade agreement with Israel, greatly expanding trade between SA and Israel, which included sales of weapons, helicopter and aircraft parts to Israel; during the Mbeki Presidency, a further agreement was made by SA to never nationalise any Israeli company operating in SA. Most diamonds from SA, Namibia and Botswana are exported by the robber Anglo American, to Israel. Far from supporting the Palestinians, the ANC government has consistently supported US imperialism to trample on their struggle.
· There are not enough teachers; many schools do not have libraries nor even basic facilities; thousands of public sector posts are left unfilled and more and more public sector work is privatised, some thousands of fulltime posts such as community care givers are filled with casuals from the Expanded Public Works programme, who have not received an increase of their R1500 stipend for years now; millions are unemployed; yet Anglo American and other mining giants have been stealing through transfer pricing for the past 40 years at least; this deliberate mislabelling (such as labelling Platinum, whose current price is $1400, as Palladium, whose current price is $400, and then smuggling out $1000 per ounce) reached its peak in 2007, when 20% of GDP was smuggled out of the country by Anglo American and others- that is, R600bn was stolen in 2007 alone, over and above the usual hundreds of billions that these companies take out of the country. The ANC government turned a blind eye to the theft, claiming that it is necessary for e-tolling, tightening of belts, and low wage increases. At the same time, the ANC government has reduced tax on company profits from the 48% it was in the days of apartheid, to 28% today.
· The ANC has proven incapable of ending slave conditions on the farms; in fact, ANC leaders like Valli Moosa and Sexwale have become commercial farm owners, opposing even the modest demands of farmworkers for a lowly R150 per day.
· All the economic plans of the ANC, from the RDP, to Gear, to Asgisa, to the New Growth path, to the IPAP 1 and 2 to the NDP, are based on the principle that the wealth of the country belongs to the capitalist monopolies and only a small fraction of it can be used for the needs of the masses and its democratic aspirations;
· Africa after independence from colonialism, is testimony how the indigenous middle class sold out the democratic aspirations of the masses, giving all the wealth to imperialism in return for a few pieces of silver. Where representatives of the indigenous middle class wanted too much, either for themselves or a bit too much for the masses, imperialism either had them assassinated or overthrown through a coup.
Once more on the Freedom Charter- just who are ‘the people’?
The Freedom Charter has this to say about who ‘the people’ are:
‘ All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions’
The right to trade does not apply to the worker but to the middle class and the capitalist; similarly, the right to manufacture applies to the upper middle class and the capitalist- what worker has enough funds to open a factory to begin to manufacture? So far as trades, crafts and professions, these apply to the middle class- very few workers enter trade or crafts or professions- the vast majority are stuck in wage slavery or unemployment.
The Freedom Charter is a variant of what the DA wants, namely an ‘equal opportunity’ society, while the wealth remains under the control of the monopolies. The mineral wealth is already under ‘ownership’ of the ANC govt, who dish out licences to the monopolies left right and centre- this is because the true rulers are the monopolies and the ANC govt merely their managers.
Thus from the beginning, the SACP-drafted Freedom Charter of the ANC has never been a programme for the liberation of the working class. The Freedom Charter was and is the programme of the radical black middle class, wanting to share in the spoils of the exploitation of the masses.
The nature of the middle class
The middle class is incapable of taking an independent stand; they sway in the wind; the lower ranks going to support the working class in times of revolution while the upper ranks tend to go over to the side of the capitalist class. These priests, doctors, lawyers, teachers, tribal chiefs, managers, traders, academics, etc, form the middle class, which the ANC’s freedom Charter regards as ‘the people’.
The International context
The world capitalist economy has been stagnating for a long time. World employment is falling; there are very few new industries developing- overall, the trend is downward. Sectors that formerly were in the public sector, that subsidised low wages in the private sector, are now increasingly being privatised. The ANC government has been following this international trend. In addition to this, Africa has long been regarded by imperialism as a source of plunder of the raw materials. This is why the education system across Africa has been deliberately collapsed and kept to a minimum- just along the lines of what a raw material export economy requires. Over the past 12 or so years, capitalism raised food, housing and commodity prices without any real production underpinning it. This has meant that more and more the wages and conditions of workers were reduced- exploitation was increased. Where trade unions exist, their leadership have been bought off to control the masses for imperialism; where the trade union movement is weak or non-existent, capitalism maintained control by dictatorial regimes.
The ANC government has been part of the international onslaught by the capitalists, actively implementing its attacks against the working class.
But the increase in exploitation was not unchallenged: such has been the resistance by the masses, that every capitalist regime on a world scale has come under threat from being toppled through a revolution. We have seen revolts in Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, China, India, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, and many other places.
While the masses of the world are disunited, imperialism has long begun to draw the lessons of the revolt of the masses and how to counter it on a world scale. One of the conferences held by the World Bank in June 2012 specifically studied the revolts of the masses in North Africa, the Middle East, Chile and the Occupy Wall street movements.
Imperialism’s new plan to counter the revolutionary uprising of the world masses- ‘Shared Prosperity- a new goal for a changing world’
Based on discussions of how to counter the revolutions around the world, the World Bank has come up with a ‘new plan’, called ‘Shared prosperity- a new goal for a changing world’.
The basic elements of the plan are as follows:
· A so-called end to extreme poverty by 2030 by cutting wages overall and increasing the wages/income of the bottom 40%;
· The funds for upliftment should not come from redistribution of the existing wealth but by growing the economy (in other words, the monopoly control by the rich capitalists should be kept intact)
· Even if income inequality is initially increased, over time it will reduce, as the economy grows [ie make the masses poorer, eventually they will get rich!]
· The model is based on creating ‘income opportunities’ for the masses [even if these are ‘opportunities’ for greater slavery and exploitation]
· There should be a social contract, ie in return for the ‘opportunity’ to work, [at greater starvation levels], a ‘safety net’ for the poor, the workers should not ask for higher wages nor better conditions, meanwhile profits for the capitalists are guaranteed at all times]
· The safety net comprises of an increased focus on early childhood development, health, nutrition, education and basic infrastructure, dismantling barriers to the participation of women within economic, social and political life
· This plan will be varied from country to country to suit its needs
The World Bank’s plan for South Africa is the NDP
The NDP focuses on the same essential content of the World Bank’s ‘Shared Prosperity’ plan, namely many new measures will be developed to enrich the monopoly capitalists while current gains of the working class will be undermined with the excuse of improving the lives of the bottom 40% of the population:
· The existing wealth will remain in the hands of the monopolies while ‘redistribution’ will be based on growing the economy; Even then, the NDP estimates that profits of the capitalists will double by 2030 if a 5% annual growth rate is achieved while the bottom 40% who currently share 6% of the total income, will then achieve 10% of the total income. Yes, it is ‘shared prosperity’, just the working class gets next to nothing while the capitalists gets most of the benefit. At this pace of ‘sharing’ it will take 144 years for the bottom 40% of the population to actually get 40% of the total income. Workers needs are postponed by 100’s of years while the capitalists profits double instantly; By 2030 the NDP and the World Bank aims that the lowest 40% of workers earn R419 per month , or just less than R20 per day for a 5 day week. Workers are supposed to be eternally grateful to the government for this starvation wage.
· Overall wages will be reduced by the bosses getting a subsidy for employing youth and by entry level wages being reduced; a social contract means that workers will be asked to reduce their wage demands and accept lower wage increases; in addition bosses will have incentives to fire more workers and hire younger unemployed workers. The NDP proposes making it easier to fire workers- procedural unfairness will no longer be good enough reason for reinstatement. So if a boss suspects a worker has done something wrong, they can just be chased away from the job and the boss can line up a list of witnesses to lie at the CCMA.
· Pensions will be privatized and stolen by the banks: Currently, if you reach age 60 you will automatically qualify for a state pension, irrespective if you have worked or not; what the NDP proposes is that a pension deduction be made compulsory for all workers; but here is the catch, if you leave your job or get retrenched, you will not be able to touch that money until you get to 60; most workers die before 60, so what this means for more than half the workforce is that you have an extra 10% tax, having to survive on less and still miss out on pension- who benefits? The banks who are all linked to the imperialist banks. These banks will have the best use of your savings and hand over the small change if you get to retirement age; further, the money that the state usually spends on pensions will now be diverted to the same international banks who also control Anglo American and other monopolies who benefit from the fake coal and nuclear build scam;
· Privatization of public assets is promoted through a number of scams: public –private partnerships, concessions, etc- the bottom line is that capitalists will now profiteer from public services;
· Work which should have been carried out by full-time public sector workers are now handed over to the so-called Expanded Public Works schemes- the NDP proposes that up to 2 million public sector jobs be done by casuals of the Public Works schemes, at low wages and without benefits;
· The aim of the Health Insurance is revealed as encouraging more use of private health care- thus more of public health funds will flow directly into the pockets of the capitalists who own the private health companies
· The aim of quality health care is rather cynical as the cornerstone of the infrastructure build programme is the construction of high polluting coal power stations (which will damage the health of hundreds of thousands of people who stay in the region around these power stations, and of the workers in this sector)
· The supposed aim of ‘industrialization’ from previous documents is shown to be a myth as the NDP proposes that 11 000 MW of existing power stations be closed down;
· The dubious proposal of 9600 MW of nuclear power is promoted in the NDP- nuclear projects are notorious for massive escalation of cost- the next 10 generations will have to pay for this scam as the prices go up and out of control. At the same time the NDP does not even propose housing or electricity for all. So these expensive power station projects are another get-rich quick scheme by the imperialists (see our articles on the Eskom scam); just a new coal power station that generates 4800 MW costs more than double the value of all the existing power stations; nuclear power costs much more;
· The NDP claims that all informal settlements will be ‘upgraded’ by 2030. This does not mean that everyone will have houses by then, only that 90% of SA will have electricity connections and access to a toilet.
· The NDP also adopts the World Bank’s new buzzword, early Childhood development- the capitalists have been exposed that the current education system ignores the critical role of the first 5 years of a child’s life in its overall development- the proposal for 2 years of pre-school education is totally inadequate because the widespread unemployment and low wages are not addressed at the same time; this half-measure is being used to persuade workers to accept all the attacks that the NDP launches against us;
· Further, the NDP proposes that electricity generation and distribution be handed over to an independent entity- this is nothing but the privatization of electricity and what we have been saying all along, that the price of electricity is being artificially increased to create another profit-making industry for the capitalists; the same massive increases in prices and privatization of water is also another gem from the NDP
· What the NDP covers up on is that many with electricity connections will have them disconnected because they cannot afford the high cost thereof; the same goes for the many water disconnections that will be occurring due to the high cost of privatized water.
· The NDP promises that when commodity prices fall, eg gold, then the government would manipulate the currency by devaluing it; already local food and oil prices are linked to the dollar- to reduce the value of the Rand means that food and transport prices will go up. This means that the government will in effect reduce the wages and salaries of the entire masses while Anglo American and others would have to convert less dollars to pay for local expenses; in this way the ANC govt will reduce everyone’s wages to keep the profits of Anglo American and other monopoly capitalists high. The NDP also proposes that mining royalties should be kept low to protect the monopolies;
· The NDP claims to be based on the demilitarisation of the police, but it was released on the 12th August 2012, when Anglo American, Lonmin, the ANC leaders were plotting to send a special militarised armed police unit to Marikana. The massacre occurred on the 16th August, only 4 days after the public launch of the NDP, showing the lie that the plan is based on. The centre-piece of the NDP is that capitalists profits must be protected at all costs- this is the instruction from the World Bank and the imperialist masters.
· The NDP claims the economy cannot grow because there is not adequate infrastructure to expand mining; so here they give the game away- the economy will still be based on mining and export of raw materials; seeing that none of the existing mining monopolies will be touched, the R3 trillion infrastructure programme on new ports, rail, road, pipelines and electricity power stations are mainly to serve them [just the electricity build programme itself will cost R2.4 trillion]. That the R3trillion infrastructure build programme is mainly for the capitalists is confirmed by the NDP’s plans for the creation of 11 million jobs up to 2030- according to the NDP most of these jobs will come from low income jobs, survivalist farming and public employment schemes. The type of jobs that will be created are in housing construction, retail (spaza shops); hairdressing, cleaning and office cleaning and repair and small scale farming. Now, was it necessary to build R2.4 trillion power stations to power hairdryers and vacuum cleaners? The old apartheid regime regarded us as just being fit for being cleaners and security guards. The ANC grand plan is to expand this to hairdressing- just imagine, every second house will have a hairdresser. You may be dying of hunger but at least your hair will be permed; then again maybe not, as you would not have the money to pay for the little electricity the hairdryer would use. One of the academic aims of the NDP is to produce more doctoral graduates; just imagine, hundreds of graduates walking the streets with doctorates in ‘permology’ (hairdressing).
· The NDP proposes harsher punishment of workers and unions who break essential and minimum service agreements;
· Public sector Central bargaining will be broken up into smaller councils; a head of public sector will be appointed who has the power to dismiss workers- this brings a capitalist thinking into the public sector; the NDP proposes that the power of unions over school appointments should be broken; the principal will have greater powers of dictatorship at school level;
· The NDP proposes making it easier for bosses to dismiss workers for misconduct and poor performance; if you are on probation for 6 months, you will not have any rights and will be subject to instant dismissal without any right to challenge it; small business will also be able to fire workers more easily; the NDP promotes and entrenches labour brokers;
· Funds for investment for infrastructure will be taken from public sector wages and employment levels (there will be more unfilled vacancies so Anglo can build more power stations for the hairdryers).
· The property rights of the existing mining monopolies and the large scale commercial farmers are guaranteed, so says the NDP- how will it be possible to produce food for the needs of the masses when the best agricultural land is in the hands of the capitalists? The food of the masses will be completely in the hands of the capitalists who will continue with their high prices and thus with enforced starvation of the masses.
Why the New Growth Path (NGP) is no alternative for the masses
· This plan is also based on leaving the mining and other monopolies intact and is centred on the scam infrastructure build programme, largely based on coal power and nuclear power. The NGP wants to double electricity capacity by 2020. We have already pointed out that only the monopolies benefit from this. Anglo American already has a 40 year contract for supplying coal. If solar power were to be used, Anglo would get nothing as sunlight is free. What little industrialization is proposed is directly held hostage by the dominance of capitalist monopolies in every sector. While it calls for a state mining company, this would be based on new areas that are not under monopoly control, a very limited area. Thus the mineral wealth would still be under the control of imperialist companies, with the scraps left over from which to form a state mining company.
· This model is also based on cheap labour as it calls for those who earn between R3000 and R20 000 a month to accept inflation related ‘increases’ (CPI +1-2%). Thus bosses can get super profits while workers are expected to accept slave wages. Considering that there is huge income inequality, wage ‘moderation’ for the lower paid workers would perpetuate and increase the income gap between rich and poor. To add insult to injury, the unions would be signing a ‘productivity accord’, namely to agree that workers work harder for lower wages, another recipe for starvation wages and more retrenchments.
· The NGP also proposes to put a limit in pension withdrawals. So workers who lose their jobs would not have access to their providend fund monies; they would have to wait until the age of 60, and even then they would only be able to get a monthly amount. Considering most workers die before the age of 60, the providend fund monies will be used by the banks for years, while the worker dies of hunger. If the worker survives to age 60, she/he would only receive the leftovers from their savings.
· With the wealth remaining in the hands of the monopolies, the plan for regional energy use and transport infrastructure building, is just another way of saying that public funds will be used to make it easier for the monopolies to exploit workers across Southern Africa.
· The claim to support rural development is hollow as the plan wants to create a further 260 000 small farmers. With the best land and resources in the hands of the large commercial farmers, this plan is bound to fail as the new small farmers would have to make do with poor quality land. This plan is trying to roll back the wheels of history by recreating a peasantry. The trend up to now is that most of these farms will fail and the few who survive may develop into capitalists. Many of the small farms that fail may once again be bought up by the existing farming monopolies.
· This plan also promotes devaluing the Rand. Seeing that most of the exports will remain in the hands of the mining monopolies like Anglo American. This is once again a plan to reduce local wages while increasing the profits of the imperialists who operate here.
· While the New Growth Path has some features which are more progressive than the NDP, it is certainly not a path out of suffering and capitalist slavery; it also leaves the commanding heights of the economy under the control of the imperialist companies.
Why IPAP 2 is no solution either
· The Industrial Policy Action Plan 1 and 2 are no way to resolve the poverty and slave conditions in SA and the region, either. Its key projects are Locomotives, wagons and coaches for Transnet and Prasa; coal power, nuclear power; buses for Metros; key pharmaceuticals local manufacture.
· Thus the cornerstone of the IPAP is the scam electricity build programme of coal and nuclear power that benefits imperialism; The wealth controlled by the monopolies are left untouched and the key programmes are completely dependent on the goodwill of imperialism. The entire plan of renewable energy depends on ‘donor countries’ , that is, either imperialist countries directly or indirectly; the plan for food processing relies on the goodwill of the 15 biggest capitalist companies in this sector. The plan promotes IDZ’s (Industrial Development Zones)- these are areas where capital gets tax cuts and are exempt from either all or part of the labour laws- in other words, these are slave labour camps parading as job creation. The plan also promotes the use of shale gas, which involves a mining process that pollutes and destroys the underground water. The forests on communal land (the ex-Bantustans) are being targeted for creating timber business. Thus land which is exhausted and over-used is to be used for this industry, which leaves the bulk of the existing paper and pulp monopolies intact.
· This plan holds up the Competition Commission as a major advance, however, wherever big capital has been fined for collusion and hiking prices, not a single case has resulted in a reduction of prices. The monopolies still operate, just a bit more carefully than before in their exploitation of the masses. Where have the fines collected disappeared to? What the state takes away from the monopolies with the one hand, is given back by the other, through the scam infrastructure programme and other schemes.
· The plan clams to promote ‘South African’ manufacturers to become suppliers in the rest of Africa- the major ‘local’ companies are controlled by the imperialist banks, so this is another way of using the legitimacy of the SA struggle to open the path for expanded imperialist exploitation of Africa.
· With the plan for manufacture of gold jewellery seriously challenge Anglo American’s exports of gold and diamonds to Israel? We doubt it. Anglo only allows a tiny fraction of the diamonds to be cut and polished locally. This plan has no measures in place to stop all exports to Israel and for beneficiation locally. Some of the projects are hardly what we can call high tech: some are for beads, charcoal, retreads, call centres, supply of food and wine to pubs, shebeens and fast food outlets. Will the production of maize, soya and flavourants by the new small producers be based on GM (genetically modified) processes? In this case they will be completely dependent on Monsanto and other capitalist monopolies; even if it is not based on GM food, these sectors are dominated by monopolies that control the supply chain from farm to processor to distributor.
· For the moment, only a 100MW wind farm is in the process of being set up. This is 0.5% of the 20 000 MW that is coal and nuclear based. 25% energy based on renewables by 2020 is the aim of the IPAP. It seems the ANC has already abandoned even this modest aim.
· While the IPAP 1 and 2 has some progressive features, it is totally hostage to the dictates of the imperialist monopolies.
· The adoption by the ANC conference of the NDP shows that even where minor steps forward are being proposed, the middle class leadership is so tied to big capital, that even these steps are watered down and some abandoned.
Conclusions on the NDP , New Growth Path and IPAP2
These programmes are all efforts by imperialism to save capitalist rule in SA and the region; at the same time they reflect the deepening crisis of imperialism-capitalism and thus launch further attacks on the masses. The NDP is the most right wing of the 3 imperialist plans.
The ANC December 2012 conference voted to adopt the NDP in the main. This shows that where there is a ‘multiclass’ organization, the capitalist interests always win out. In fact a ‘multiclass’ organization cannot really exist- it has to be either for the working class or the capitalist class. The entire history of the ANC is testimony that it is a capitalist organization- it is just that its capitalist nature has become more exposed in the past 20 years. The adoption of the NDP by the ANC shows that is a reactionary organization.
The second stage of the transition? Or another excuse to divert revolution?
At the ANC policy Conference in 2012 they adopted a new slogan, namely that we are now in the ‘second stage of the transition’ (of the national democratic revolution). This stage was supposed to open up more radical democratic transformation. The result of this second stage of the transition is the adoption of the right wing NDP, the most serious attack on the masses since 1994, spearheaded by the ANC leadership.
The adoption of this slogan for a second stage of the transition was to hide that the ANC was playing a leading role in holding back the democratic aspirations of the masses and that the whole concept of a ‘national democratic revolution’ is a fake. The ANC, a section of the national middle class is holding back the struggle for democratic aspirations, playing a counter-revolutionary role. The international monopoly capitalists that propped up and benefitted from the apartheid regime are the same ones who prop up the ANC and who continue to benefit from the masses being kept in enforced starvation and slavery.
What is next for the masses? A third stage of the transition headed by the same counter-revolutionary ANC? No.
Who leads the struggle for democratic demands and how can we achieve these?
The motor of any revolution against the capitalist system is the working class- this is the lesson of class struggles internationally. The workers struggles of 1973 laid the basis for the rebirth of the trade union movement and the working class movement in general; The revolt of 1985 to 1993 created the basis for winning a democratic parliament, albeit one limited by the property clause. Every single democratic gain was because the working class rose up against the system, not because of the ANC. In fact the role of the ANC has always been to water down the democratic demands of the masses while securing the interests of the international capitalists.
The main role in holding back the fight of the masses for their demands has been the SACP who raised the Stalinist notion of a ‘national democratic revolution’- ie put the local middle class in the lead of the struggle for democratic demands in the colonies and semi-colonies. That many activists supported the ANC and still support it is due in large part to the deliberate confusion that the SACP sows by clouding the class lines through a Freedom Charter and its notion of the ‘national democratic revolution’, to hide the class role of the ANC.
Trotsky raised the question that the only class that is capable of fighting for democratic demands up to the end, is the working class, and that what follows from this is that the working class needs to take power against the capitalist regime, dispersing it and replacing it with a workers’ government based on directly elected councils of workers delegates.
What each and every country needs is a revolutionary working class party as part of an international- we say this should be the refounded Fourth International.
To make a start on this, the various Socialist groups and activists need to agree on a common programme that will set the basis for such a revolutionary party and International. At the same time, our intervention in the day to day class struggles should continue.
Down with the NDP!
Forward to a Special Congress of Cosatu to break with the reactionary ANC and its NDP!
Forward to a revolutionary working class programme with Democratic, Transitional and Socialist demands, a programme around which a revolutionary working class party and International can be formed.
Forward to working class power, the only way that the democratic demands can be taken to completion and thus opening, at the same time the path to Socialism on a world scale.
1. Interview with Mandela, June 1956, The Liberator
2. The Freedom Charter
3. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)
4. The National Development Plan
5. The New Growth Path
6. IPAP 2
7. Numsa Critical Analysis and rejection of the NDP March 2013
8. SACP discussion document May 2013 ‘Let’s not monumentalise the National Development Plan’
9. Lenin- State and Revolution
10. Trotsky- Permanent Revolution
11. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/05/08/shared-prosperity-goal-for-changing-world accessed 13.5.2013 Shared Prosperity- A new goal for a changing world 8 May 2013
12. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/06/28/inequality-of-opportunity-hampers-development accessed 13.5.2013 drawing lessons from North Africa- Middle East, OWS and Chile- how to prevent revolution.
13. The Eskom scam http://www.workersinternational.org.za/Eskom2scam9.2.2013.htm
14. The Transitional Programme of the Fourth International, 1938