Workers International Vanguard League [WIVL]
Manifesto 2004

WIVL supports the call of the Social Movements for either a boycott or a spoilt vote in the 2004 General and Provincial elections.
Without exception, ALL the parties taking part in the elections, despite their promises, will deliver a future of more unemployment, lower wages, more hardship, more evictions, more homelessness, more exclusion from education, death and destruction through starvation and Aids.

They are ALL fundamentally in the pockets of the capitalists.
Fundamental change will not come through parliament but rather outside, and against it. The elections will come and go but our struggle will continue. For this struggle to be successful there are a number of tasks that the working class needs to tackle:
We need to ensure real working class control over our fighting organizations – this means setting up broader committees of workers to control our Unions and Social Movements; we need to replace the current leadership with fighters who are prepared to put the interest of the workers above that of the capitalist and their alliance partners in government.

Our fighting organizations must be independent of the capitalist and the government.
We must build unity in action of the unions and the Social Movements
Most importantly we need to build a new political force that can lead the struggle for working class demands – this means building a new network of fighters across every working class area and factory from Cape Town to Limpompo. Let us pool our experience and develop a common programme of struggle that meets all working class demands. WIVL extends the hand to all militants, activists and working class groups to start work on a common programme that will form the basis of the new political force, a revolutionary working class party that is internationalist in character.

We, the WIVL, would have participated in the 14th April General and Provincial elections but the law passed by this government and supported by all the parties in parliament demands a R460,000 (four hundred and sixty thousand rand) deposit before participation. How can a working class grouping like us whose members are ordinary wage workers afford this? This high deposit has effectively excluded us and all other working class organizations wishing to take part. This government and all the other parties are afraid of real revolutionary working class opposition.

Why would we want to participate? Let us assure you NOT because we are looking for cushy well paid jobs but because it will afford us the opportunity if elected, to publicly expose the fraudulent, capitalist nature of the existing parties, its leadership and indeed the capitalist nature of parliament and the state itself. Elected Wivl representatives would have been subject to instant recall and would have received a salary of R3500 with the rest of the salary being paid to WIVL for advancing working class struggle. No other party can offer this as the parliamentary salary is used to buy off their representatives to advance the interests of the bosses.

We will challenge and expose the legislation which is detrimental to the interest of the working class. We would have proposed legislation that will genuinely advance the interest of the working class. The opposition by all other parties to our proposals would have exposed the class allegiance to the capitalist of all these parties. This is why they want to keep us out. If we have to choose between electioneering and supporting workers on strike, we would always choose the workers on strike.

The Cosatu leaders have abandoned the Equity Aviation strikers, now in their 4th month on strike, in favour of campaigning for the very party, the ANC, that is responsible for privatising baggage handling at airports. This privatization has created worsening conditions, such as forcing workers to work a 45 hour week rather than the 40 hours they had won.

If the ANC government cannot even meet this simple demand of workers to maintain their 40 hour week, what hope has the rest of the working class, for their demands??

We maintain that all the parties participating in this election are capitalist parties, servicing the interest of the capitalist class and middle classes. They are funded by the capitalists and are so shy about this connection that they are not prepared to reveal to the electorate who their funders are. Their promises to the working classes a better life if elected is patently false because under decaying capitalism the capitalist is fighting to maintain its rate of profit hence the continued retrenchments, low wage increases, extra working hours, etc.

Also the State, which is the executive arm of the capitalist class, is cutting down on social spending on the working class, cutting the taxes of the capitalist; and makes many concessions such as subsidies on water and electricity to facilitate capitalist profits.
The manifestos of all these parties are riddled with contradictions and false promises. (See our article on the ANC and DA manifestos) The programmes of all the parliamentary parties are based on keeping the working class permanently in starvation.

People’s contract or Police state? On Thursday 1st April 2004, police opened fire repeatedly on strikers at Lombardi foods in Strand. We condemn the actions of the state in the strongest possible terms. Several strikers were injured and a bystander was critically wounded. The actions show us that the role of the police is to control the working class and defend the bosses. The training of 150 000 more police is not to fight crime but to crack down on the working class while we strive for our rights.

The unanimous support for the Anti-Terror law by all parliamentary parties show that they are all on the side of the bosses and imperialists. Even though this law was temporarily put aside, it is sure to make a comeback once the parties have our votes. The parliamentary parties are preparing for the role of policeman for imperialism in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.

We propose simple demands which can easily be implemented if one is at all genuinely concerned about the appalling conditions of life of the vast majority of the South African working class. Millions are unemployed, homeless NOW, millions earn low wages, live in overcrowded conditions NOW, the state must take responsibility for everyone NOW.


1 Unemployment: As opposed to the ANC proposal of public works which is supposed to create a million jobs in 5 years (hopelessly inadequate because these are short term jobs and every year 400,000 new work seekers enter the job market). We propose a more bold and imaginative initiative referred to as a SLIDING SCALE OF WORKING HOURS. This means that all available work must be divided among all those who can work (meaning all employed and all unemployed), without loss of pay. This means shortening the working week to 30 hours or less.
Amendments to LRA and Basic Conditions of Employment Act must be immediately passed to implement this demand. The trade unions must vigorously agitate for this demand. The capitalist and middle classes will object, some will even proclaim financial ruin. But the question objectively boils down to this: Starvation and death to millions of workers OR fat profits and privileges to the minority of capitalists. All privatization must be stopped and reversed. Production must first meet the basic needs of everybody. There must be an immediate ban on all overtime.

2 Housing: A new housing policy must be implemented to provide secure and decent housing for those who can ill afford it.
1) All evictions must immediately be stopped
2) Scrapping of all arrears owed to financial institutions
3) Institutions that refuse to scrap arrears must be immediately nationalized
4) Write off all housing loans owed to the banks by the unemployed and the title deed surrendered to the state
5) The government subsidize the loan repayment of the employed workers in accordance with the formula of income and affordability
6) The present formula of housing subsidy to be completely scrapped
7) The government provides low rental, adequate housing to all. Unemployed and pensioners to be exempt from payment. No profiteering from housing
8) The upgrading of all facilities such as roads, parks, libraries, recreational facilities

The capitalist financial institutions will refer to these demands as outrageous. However a decent house for all human beings is a fundamental human right. That millions cannot afford houses is directly related to unemployment, low wages and the greed of the capitalist. The one-roomed structures that the state builds [so small you cannot even change your mind in it] are not houses but glorified pondokkies.

3 High food prices, poverty and hunger.
a) Immediately and forthwith SCRAP VAT on all foodstuffs.
c) A MINIMUM SALARY of R3, 500 per month must be immediately legislated to meet the basic needs of the working class. Further wage increases must correspond directly to the rise in the cost of food, electricity and water. Independent worker consumer councils to monitor prices must be established.
d) The high food prices in South Africa (a direct consequences of monopolies) must be investigated and the production and distribution of food must come under the control of the government – no profiteering from food.

1) ALL ELECTRICITY AND WATER CUT OFFS must immediately stop and those cut must immediately be reconnected.
2) All arrears on electricity and water must be written off
3) A minimum of R300, 00 worth of electricity and R300, 00 worth of water must be provided free to all those earning under R3, 000 per month. These amounts to be adjusted in accordance with price increases [We take the minimum poverty datum level as R3000 for a 4 person family]
4) All privatized facilities to be returned to the ownership and control of the state- no profiteering from the provision of basic services.
5 Health care
1) The state is deliberately not providing adequate medical care and drugs to HIV+ patients. This is tantamount to genocide. Immediate and free, adequate supply and administration of HIV drugs and medical care to all patients.
2) The conditions and facilities at our hospitals and day clinics is pathetic, long queues and inadequate medicine is the order of the day. The immediately upgrading and restocking of our existing medical facilities and extra facilities to be provided in working class areas.
3) The scrapping of all medical charges to all patients earning under R3500 per month. A sliding scale of medical charges for those earning above R3500.
4) More doctors and nurses to be appointed in virtually all the hospitals and clinics.
5) The high price of medicines in South Africa is again directly related to monopolies. If we compare our medicine prices to those in Brasil and India, you will be paralysed with shock. Zantac [treatment for ulcers] cost R50 in India but R350 in South Africa. All health care taken over by the state including production and distribution of medicines- no profiteering from health care.

6 Education
1) The scrapping of OBE, Outcomes based Education, which is depriving working class students of education
2) More teachers, more class rooms, less students per class.
3) Free liberatory, compulsory education for all up to grade 12.
4) Free, liberatory tertiary education for all students coming from working class families earning less than R3, 500 / month.
5) Education is not a luxury but a fundamental right, the future of human culture is dependent on a highly skilled, educated population.
6) Education must be provided by the state – no profiteering from education
7) No state subsidy for private schools
7 Break with imperialism[the giant monopolies and banks]
The giant monopolies and banks of the world are responsible for war, poverty and destruction the world over. We demand a cancellation of the arms deal; an end to arms sales to the US and UK; the cutting of all ties with the fascist state of Israel. No to the economic plans of imperialism!

The above demands are our basic demands to immediately make a meaningful change in the conditions of life of the vast majority of the impoverished South African mass. These demands only halt the disintegration and decay the working class face; they do not eradicate the fundamental capitalist exploitative relationship where those who own the land, mines and factories, live on the sweat and blood of the workers.

True liberation, true equality, true freedom can only be attained when this system of exploitation (known as the capitalist system) is overthrown and a Socialist Society where, the land, the banks, the mines, the factories belong to the whole of society and not to a few individual capitalist and capitalist companies, is established.
The removal of the capitalist system can only be done by the working class which is the only progressive, historical force. But the working class requires a strong revolutionary working class party with revolutionary programme, and revolutionary and determined leadership to carry out this programme. We call on all class conscious and revolutionary workers to join us to form such a party.
Join Workers International Vanguard League now to make this a REALITY.



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