Message of support to the student occupations across the US, from South Africa

We salute you for your bravery in standing up against US-perpetrated genocide against Palestinians. A little over 3 years ago it was widely publicised as if a vote for Biden was a sure step against fascist and anti-democratic tendencies of Trump. Even we made the error of calling for a vote for Biden without political support for him or his party, recognising that both were imperialist parties. Our argument that that the democratic space under Biden would allow greater opportunity for defeating both imperialist parties. How wrong we were.

The campaign against Palestinians, the genocide against them, has been led from start up to now by US imperialism, both of their parties. The campaign against the Palestinians is fascist. For decades the Israeli masses have been force-fed on Zionist ideology, training every day for the extermination of Palestinians and suppression of the broader masses in the Middle East. This was a genocide-in-waiting, all fostered by US imperialism through yearly grants of $3 bn in weapons and other billions of dollars of support by the giant banks and monopolies around the world. Every act of the Zionist regime has been supported by imperialism since 1948. The mass uprisings and general strikes of the 1930s in the Middle East posed a threat to imperialist control of the region. This is why israel was created, to act as a military base for imperialism in the region.

Some lessons from South Africa

By 1994 Anglo American, which is largely controlled by JP Morgan Chase, controlled more than half the shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. US imperialism played a decisive role in the negotiations process, attempting to slow or reverse the gains of the masses. Imperialism and the apartheid state funded a campaign of mass slaughter which saw more than 40 000 killed in the years before the 1994 elections. The negotiations process was sabotaged until a private property clause was inserted into the interim and final Constitution. This essentially protected all imperialist assets from expropriation and ensured that semi-slave capitalist relations continued under new management, the ANC government.

In 1980 there was a widespread school boycott where students at over 81 schools and a few universities took control of their campuses and schools. The movement grew rapidly, from 21 to 61 to 81 schools within weeks. The students ran their own curriculum, liberatory education, with plays, poetry, discussions, film shows, etc. The boycott lasted 3 months and trained a whole generation of youth in the art of protest. As students we realized that our role was only the spark. We needed to draw in the working class in order to carry forward the struggle against the system. We did this by inviting Left union speakers and supporting strikes at that time. Our slogan was : Away with gutter education. We wanted liberatory education.

We had a flat structure where delegates from each school met in the Committee of 81 every week, to assess the development of the boycott and plan for the next week. We also faced harassment from the police and the state.

By 1985 there was a generalised uprising against the state. This is what drove the process to the fall of the apartheid state. Divestment only happened when imperialism feared losing all their assets. And even then it was a shift from open control to hidden control. In reality imperialism was in control of the economy before 1994 and since 1994. Since 1994 many of the companies created front companies and billionaires from among the black elite. But control still rests with imperialism. The trade-off for remaining in control was to cede several democratic rights to the masses, such as abolishing the bantustans and the creation of a unitary state, freedom of speech and movement, freedom of political activity. However control over parliament and the economy still rests with imperialism. With the support of the Stalinist SA Communist Party they agreed to have a unity government for 5 years keeping all the apartheid employees in their jobs. Not one of the apartheid killers were prosecuted. They remained in the state or when they left they opened security companies, sometimes offering their services as mercenaries to imperialism. In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the second biggest force in the imperialist army were 40 000 mercenaries from South Africa.

Some suggestions for the way forward

It is important to set up a unified committee representing all campuses in occupation to draw up a single set of demands. It is important to link these discussions to a direct democracy base general meetings. Delegations across the country can meet on zoom or whatever is deemed appropriate. Then it is important to reach out to UAW Labor for Palestine to consider coordinating with them from the base level, being sure not to ally yourselves to the leadership of the UAW that has given unconditional support to Biden for November.  It is important to make a call to the rank and file of the military to honour the demands put forward in the extreme protest of the unnamed female protestor from Atlanta, of Aaron Bushnell and Larry Hebert. The military veterans should be invited to each encampment.

The movement is mass action based and should remain so. The unitary set of demands can also be a platform for linking with other university students in action around the globe. What is heartening is that progressive Jewish students are an integral part of the encampments. It ties in fundamentally with our perspective of unity of the masses in historic Palestine irrespective of religious belief.

At the moment, the threat to invade Rafah and the enforced starvation and the daily bombing of Palestinians is being used as a pressure tool to get the Palestinians to submit to the dictates of US imperialism.

What is the political way forward, considering that both the Senate and Congress are captured by the large banks and the military industrial complex.

We propose the setting up of an action-centred committees that combats the not only the genocidal policies of the state on the Palestinian question but also on the struggles of the masses in Sudan and the DRC where millions have been displaced and millions killed since 1997. The entire IT industry is based on genocide in Africa. The attack on women’s right to abortion is also a central issue to take up. A day of action at all US embassies and consulates around the globe could be considered, with a demand for a permanent ceasefire, dismantling of the genocidal state of Israel and for the unitary Palestine to be established, from the river to the sea, including the return of all refugees. Let us set up Palestine committees at every school, every workplace, every college, every university. Should we consider critical support for the Green Party in November? Will this break the hold of the large banks and the military industrial complex over the state? We think that we need an action centred workers party to spearhead our struggles, locally and internationally. These are discussions to be had over the next few days and weeks. It is only through mass action independent of and against the state that our demands will be met. The annual military budget of the US is $877 bn whereas it would take only $40bn to abolish world hunger. There are about 1000 US military bases around the world that keep the global billions in chains. How do we draw in the rank and file soldiers to the encampments? How do we unite across the USA and across the world to end the imperialist empires and establish a world based on co-operation and mutual sharing? We can consider a global general strike along the lines of the mass strikes that brought us Mayday. That would only be a start, although a heroic one. We need to unite the working class of the world in one International.

Issued by Workers International   28.4.2024 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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.

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