This was our urgent appeal to the Wasp executive about the crisis looming over mining retrenchments:
Dear Comrades of the Wasp Interim Executive
Re: meeting scheduled for 25th Aug, our input
We thank you for the invitation to this meeting, which we accept. We will support whatever takes the class struggle forward towards the attainment of Socialism. What few resources we have, we will make available. We submit a number of comments/proposals for circulation and consideration:
1. Marikana commemoration: We denounce the role of AMCU in destroying the essence of the day . namely that the state massacred mineworkers on the instruction of the Lonmin bosses. The Amcu leaders not only used funding from Lonmin for the commemoration but also gave the platform to their CEO. Indeed Amcu has become the new ‘NUM’.
2. Lonmin: We should condemn the plans by Solidarity and NUM to strike at Lonmin; up to and after the Marikana massacre these 2 unions did not stand by the striking workers for their demands. A call should be made on the Solidarity and NUM members to think about this, namely that their leaders are more interested in subs than in fighting for workers’ rights. Our proposal here is that all the union should be rejected and the setting up of independent workers committees, irrespective of union affiliation, should once again be taken up;
3. Amplats: based on the Lonmin and Marikana experience as well as the role that unions played in the strike wave last year, we propose that the call be raised again for the establishment/re-establishment of mineworker committees centred on the fight against retrenchment, the fight against unemployment and for decent housing for all; we propose that the slogan be raised up: if you cannot afford us then let us take over the mines- in this way we will create jobs for 40 000 more workers; you Anglo American have been stealing trillions over the years (more than 70-80% of the mines do not even pay tax) ; we demand workers control over production. Thus this is our immediate proposed programme of action (it cannot wait for Sunday as the retrenchments of the 6900 is set for 1st Sept and every day is crucial; if the bosses succeed at Amplats, all other mines will follow suit- this is a political attack on the entire working class):
· send delegates to all mines and mineworker communities to set up committees: they should send delegates to a central meeting which would centralise the demands and get a full picture on what the situation is on the ground;
· There should be immediate mobilization for a strike across all the mines in all sectors
· We should put demands to the AMCU,NUM, Solidarity, Numsa, leaders to call a strike- this is to expose them as lackeys of the bosses;
· We should extend the campaign to unite the ‘service delivery protests’, such as for decent housing for all; to fight against high prices; calling for wages to rise when prices rise and for all work to be shared among all who can work;
· There should be international mobilisation among mineworkers and the rest of the working class; we should stand with the Chilean mineworkers (a court there recently found that the mine deaths were not anybody’s fault)
· We note that the state has plans to deploy the army on the mines- we can see the result of the deployment of the army against the masses in Egypt- we need to draw the lesson- US imperialism controls Egypt as they control the commanding heights in SA.
· We should draw the lesson from Marikana and workers committees should set up self defence committees.
4. Service delivery protests: we should evaluate these- they have been intensifying over the past 13 years. But all that happens is that the masses burn tyres, block some roads and then all goes on as ‘normal’- it is not affecting the capitalist class. This struggle has been limited- how does Wasp turn these fights into political ones? So far, just before the election a fw houses are built, then once the election is over, it is back to ‘normal’.
5. Umbrella or centralised party? The Wasp structure should be centralised not loose- otherwise we run the risk of being just a left UDF. There needs to be a centralised programme that we all agree to and a centralised structure that leads the combat on it. We urgently need a regular political newspaper to help the scaffolding of the building of the party. We need a process where the debate can unfold and involve all the constituents and prepare the way for the launch congress in December.
For the Committee of the WIVP