Marikana massacre- a proposed way forward

Just before the Marikana massacre, the NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni encouraged the police to shoot the strikers. This is what he said: Andries Tatane was killed [by the police]. And in this case they don’t act?’ We call on all mineworkers, spearheaded by the Platinum mineworkers, to immediately come out on an indefinite strike in support of the strikers at Marikana and to honour the workers who have been slaughtered by the state on the 16th August 2012.

For this to happen, we call for the setting up of strike committees uniting workers, irrespective if which union they belong to, even if they are permanent or casual, unionised or not, local or immigrant. The Marikana massacre shows that workers have to set up self-defence committees, as part of the strike committees, to defend themselves from the murderous attacks of the state. The NUM leaders have shown themselves to be in the pockets of the bosses, Lonmin, Anglo American, etc. They should be kicked out.

We call for this solidarity strike to take the form of an occupation and seizure by the mineworkers. Mineworkers should compel both the NUM and AMCU to release their money that they have in their accounts, for the duration of the strike. At Marikana, where such occupation may be difficult, ways should be sought to blockade the mine from any production taking place. Why occupy and place under workers control? In the Cosatu August-Sept 2011 The Shopsteward, it was reported that the mining bosses have taken out 20% of GDP (this is R600bn) in 2007 through transfer pricing (exporting goods by understating the real value). Transfer pricing by the mines takes place every year since the days of apartheid The strike and occupation should continue until workers’ demands are met, including:

·         The immediate release of all the bodies of the fallen mineworkers

·         The immediate release of all arrested strikers

·         Arrest of the police and commanders who perpetrated the massacre

·         The arrest of the Lonmin mine owners and board of directors (Lonmin met the police before the massacre and are thus complicit in the slaughter of workers)

·         The arrest of all the mine-owners guilty of transfer pricing (including Anglo American)

·         The return of all assets stolen through transfer pricing through the years

·         A R12500 minimum wage for Platinum mineworkers (the Platinum price has increased 300% over the past 10 years, while workers get starvation wages)

·         Compensation of the families of the mineworkers slaughtered by the police

We call for the rejection of a Commission of Inquiry by the state- how can the murderers investigate themselves? This is to cover up the truth about the massacre and to avoid immediate solidarity actions.

Immediate preparations towards an indefinite general strike whose demands could include:

·         A living wage for all workers

·         Reducing the working day, without loss of pay, to share all work among all who can work

·         An end of casualization and labour broking

·         Open the books of the mines to a workers’ inspection

·         An end to all transfer pricing

To clarify: the capitalist media and the Cosatu and SACP leaders want to falsify events:

·         They claim workers were armed but the police were the ones with semi-automatic rifles (workers had sticks and metal rods). If workers had any guns it was one or two for self-defence;

·         Thus it is a myth that there was a ‘shootout’- the only ones doing the shooting were the police

·         Vavi claims violence was being organised by some unknown third force- yet the video evidence is clear that the police shot down workers who only had metal rods and sticks in their hands. Vavi’s comments are a feeble attempt to cover for the mine bosses who colluded with the police to massacre the workers

·         The DA covers for the bosses by calling on ‘both sides’ to end the bloodletting- yet only workers blood was being spilt on the 16th August 2012

·         The workers were sitting on the hill, just looking that the mine, watching out for scabs- here the workers had turned the tables- they had besieged and locked in the mine bosses- it was the police, receiving instruction from the mine bosses, that attacked the workers to disperse them. The workers were being driven over by Nyalas (armoured police vehicles) and shot with a poisonous blue spray, they were being shot at even where they were hiding, some were shot in the back. They were running away from a slaughter, which they capitalist media distorted as a charge by a group on the police. This was the words of NUM General Secretary being put into practice by the police (‘Andries Tatane was killed. And in this case they don’t act?’). When profits of big capitalist are threatened, now and in future, the ANC-SACP-Cosatu leaders all support the bosses and will even call on the police to shoot their own members. Both SACP and Cosatu leaders do not condemn the massacre. NUM leaders supported the company’s ultimatum to dismiss strikers. The SACP even calls for the arrest of the worker leaders and wants to suppress workers right to choose which union to join- such devoted servants to big capital are the SACP  and Cosatu leaders. We call on the rank and file SACP and Cosatu members to confront and condemn your leaders- break with the SACP over their betrayal of the Marikana workers- kick out the treacherous pro-capitalist leaders of Cosatu- join in solidarity action in support of the Marikana strikers’ struggle.

Let us be clear, the leadership of the ANC gave orders for rank and file members of the ANC to be massacred. Ex-NUM Secretary, Cyril Ramaphosa is an executive director of Lonmin and an ANC NEC member. The former Commissioner of police entrenched a ‘shoot to kill’ policy which was adopted by the ANC-SACP govt. At the same time, the special militarised police was set up and trained by the FBI. The massacre is evidence of the real meaning of the shoot-to-kill policy of the ANC-SACP govt- when bosses steal R600bn every year, SARS and other state organs leave them alone. When workers stand up against the theft by the capitalists, they are shot down like dogs.

We call for a united front of workers and progressive organizations, spearheaded by workers’ delegates, of ‘We are all Marikana strikers’ committees, in every workplace, every working class area; we call for an international solidarity campaign which takes its lead from the Marikana strikers and their demands.

Let us take forward the fighting spirit of the Spanish mineworkers of Asturias and Leon, who have been occupying the coal mines in the north of Spain for more than 50 days now- they set up their own self-defence committees to protect themselves from the attacks of the state.

We call for marches across the country to all SA government offices and to all SA Embassies across the globe under the slogan: The ANC is not our govt; you are the agent of Lonmin, Anglo American and other mining capitalists.

Now is the time to kick out the treacherous Cosatu leaders; break the alliance with the capitalist ANC and SACP. Now is the time for a revolutionary working class party to be formed, locally, regionally and internationally. The state and big capital are organised internationally, why are the forces of the working class so divided? Let the ruling classes tremble at the socialist revolution. We have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win. Workers of all countries, Unite!

18.8.2012 amended 19.8.2012 Workers International Vanguard Party ph 021 4476777 ph 0822020617, , website: