Benutzereinstellungen

Neue Veranstaltungshinweise

Southern Africa

Es wurden keine neuen Veranstaltungshinweise in der letzten Woche veröffentlicht

Kommende Veranstaltungen

Southern Africa | The Left

Keine kommenden Veranstaltungen veröffentlicht

After the election dust settles: Class struggle, the Left and power

category southern africa | the left | opinion / analysis author Dienstag Juni 25, 2019 22:09author by Jonathan Payn - ZACF Report this post to the editors

Twenty-five years into democracy the black working class majority in South Africa has not experienced any meaningful improvements in its conditions. The apartheid legacy of unequal education, healthcare and housing and the super-exploitation of black workers continues under the ANC and is perpetuated by the neoliberal policies it has imposed.

The only force capable of changing this situation is the working class locally and internationally. Yet to do so, struggles need to come together, new forms of organisation appropriate to the context are needed; and they need both to be infused with a revolutionary progressive politics and to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Outside the ANC alliance, there have indeed been many efforts to unite struggles – but these have largely failed to resonate with the working class in struggle and form the basis of a new movement. Nowhere is this more evident than with the newly-formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) – which got less than 25 000 votes in the national elections, despite the fact that the union that conceived it, Numsa, claims nearly 400 000 members.

power2.jpeg

After the election dust settles: Class struggle, the Left and power

Jonathan Payn (ZACF)

Twenty-five years into democracy the black working class majority in South Africa has not experienced any meaningful improvements in its conditions. The apartheid legacy of unequal education, healthcare and housing and the super-exploitation of black workers continues under the ANC and is perpetuated by the neoliberal policies it has imposed.

These troubles are part of the world’s troubles; this neoliberalism is part of global neoliberalism. As the global economic crisis deepens, the global ruling class is making the working class pay, transferring the costs to workers and the poor, leading to increased poverty, unemployment, inequality and insecurity. And so in South Africa neoliberal oppression is piled on top of national oppression.

The only force capable of changing this situation is the working class locally and internationally. Yet to do so, struggles need to come together, new forms of organisation appropriate to the context are needed; and they need both to be infused with a revolutionary progressive politics and to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Some such struggles have occurred over recent years, including the historic platinum mineworkers’ strike and farmworkers’ strike in 2012; but the many struggles have not yet pulled together into a new movement.

Outside the ANC alliance, there have indeed been many efforts to unite struggles – but these have largely failed to resonate with the working class in struggle and form the basis of a new movement.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the newly-formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) – which got less than 25 000 votes in the national elections, despite the fact that the union that conceived it, Numsa, claims nearly 400 000 members.

NUMSA’S NON-MOMENT

When the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) announced its resolutions, following its historic 2013 Special National Congress, to break with the ANC and SACP and to form a “United Front against neoliberalism”, many on the left were hopeful that this would give working class movements the new ideological and organisational direction they need.

The United Front, Numsa said, was not about building a new organisation, party or labour federation but “a way to join other organisations in action, in the trenches”, gaining community support for Numsa campaigns and building “concrete support for other struggles of the working class and the poor wherever and whenever they take place”.

It looked as if there hopes were not misplaced when, for example, unemployed youth and community activists across the country responded positively to Numsa’s call by supporting the 19 March 2014 actions against the Youth Wage Subsidy. Branches were set up and, despite initial scepticism, community activists joined.

By August 2017, however, the Johannesburg branch of the United Front had declared that, “After the initial enthusiasm, there is now a feeling the UF has largely collapsed, with only a couple of local structures still active.” Numsa had shifted its focus and resources to establishing a “Movement for Socialism” because “the working-class needs a political organisation committed in its policies and actions to the establishment of a socialist South Africa”.

Having gained some community support for its campaigns, including the United Front itself, the success of the United Front in building working class unity going forward depended on whether Numsa would reciprocate by putting its resources and capacity at the service of building “concrete support for other struggles of the working class and the poor wherever and whenever they take place”.

Instead, Numsa energies were shifted into calling for a new workers’ party, while presenting itself as the vanguard of the whole working class, and in so doing missed its moment.

THE SRWP WON’T SET YOU FREE

Numsa undertook to “conduct a thoroughgoing discussion on previous attempts to build socialism as well as current experiments to build socialism” and “commission an international study on the historical formation of working-class parties, including exploring different type of parties – from mass workers’ parties to vanguard parties”. But it already knew what it was aiming for. It had said that a new political party was on the cards – to replace the SACP, which had become corrupted by the neoliberal state, as the political vanguard of the working class.

The potential of the United Front approach for building working class unity is precisely because it accommodates ideological differences in order to build the unity of working class formations in struggle. But Numsa still looks to the legacy of Communist Parties. And these parties have historically used united fronts to create unity in action in struggles against capitalist attacks, but also with the aim of winning over the majority in these struggles to their programme – in this case the formation of a new party, that they would lead – under their Party leadership and no one else’s.

While Numsa has broken with Cosatu and the SACP organisationally, it has not broken with them ideologically. The belief by a section of full-time Numsa leaders that they are the vanguard of the working class and their insistence on building a party to contest state power are founded on the same ideological certainties and theoretical understandings of class, power and the nature of the state as the SACP – with the same strategic implications that, invariably, will have the same disappointing outcomes.

If we really want to build a movement for socialism, and to avoid merely replacing one set of rulers for another, the state-centric left needs to rethink its understandings class, power and the nature of the state in light of the imperial evidence and learn from the mistakes of the past, instead of repeating them and expecting a different outcome.


This article first appeared in issue 112 of Workers World News, produced by the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)

Verwandter Link: https://zabalaza.net/2019/06/25/after-the-election-dust-settles-class-struggle-the-left-and-power/
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Neste 8 de Março, levantamos mais uma vez a nossa voz e os nossos punhos pela vida das mulheres!

Southern Africa | The Left | en

Sa 24 Aug, 09:36

browse text browse image

Selby Semela, 1958-2018 imageA South African Revolutionary Passes: Jabisile Selby Semela, 1958-2018 08:14 Do 30 Aug by ZACF 0 comments

Selby Semela, a leading figure in the 1976 revolt against apartheid, political exile, and author (with Sam Thompson and Norman Abraham), of “Reflections on the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Revolution”, passed away on Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, aged but 60 years.

zacfront_symbol_1.jpg imageThe “Democratic Left”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle 02:46 Mi 23 Feb by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World 20:26 Fr 16 Mai by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom 18:10 Mi 27 Jun by Jonathan Payn 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement 19:08 Do 07 Dez by International Secretary ZACF 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

textPower corrupts the left in South Africa 22:26 Fr 19 Aug by Zabalaza 0 comments

Even sitting on the government council at a local level puts a person on the other side of the line between oppressed and oppressor / exploiter and exploited and that is why we say that it is only when we fully control our communities and workplaces ourselves will we be able to provide decent food, clothing and housing for ourselves and our families

textSouth Africa: COSATU & Social Movements 23:15 Fr 12 Aug by Michael Schmidt (International secretary) 0 comments

COSATU has remained an ANC loyalist organisation - despite the 1-million job-losses under ANC rule but a survey by the human sciences research council shows that while 75% of COSATU members still consider themselves ANC loyalists - 25% of its 2-million members have lost confidence.

imageA Workers’ Party and Elections or Class Struggle? Feb 26 by Warren McGregor 0 comments

The question of state government elections and running a Workers or Socialist political party continues to be raised in the working class movement and the Left globally. As we may know, there was excitement about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party in Britain, left political parties in certain parts of Europe and Latin America and, more recently, certain shifts to more centrist positions in the United States amongst a section of the Democratic Party calling themselves “Democratic Socialists”. In South Africa, many workers and some activists seem cautiously optimistic by NUMSA’s formation of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party that will seek to participate in the 2019 general elections.

imageLeft unity, left cooperation or a working class front? Jul 21 by Warren McGregor 2 comments

A call for socialist Left unity is heard widely today in South Africa, but is usually taken as a call for unity of praxis (unity in theoretical programme and action). This is sometimes framed as transcending old divides (these seen as outdated, divisive or dismissed as dogmatic), and sometimes as unity in order to have action (rhetorically set up as the opposite of “arm chair” theory).

What do we as revolutionary anarchists think?

imageSouth African ‘Workerism’ in the 1980s: Learning from FOSATU’s Radical Unionism Dez 13 by Lucien van der Walt, with Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich* 0 comments

A lightly edited transcript of a presentation at a workshop hosted by the International Labour Research & Information Group (ILRIG) and the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre in Drieziek extension 1, Orange Farm township, south of Soweto, South Africa, on 24 June 2017. It was attended by a hall full of community and worker activists, including veterans of the big rebellions of the 1980s.

imageLessons from the 1984-85 Vaal Uprising for Rebuilding a 'United Front' of Communities and Workers To... Dez 13 by Jonathan Payn 0 comments

A lightly edited transcript of a presentation at a workshop hosted by the International Labour Research & Information Group (ILRIG) and the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre in Drieziek extension 1, Orange Farm township, south of Soweto, South Africa, on 24 June 2017. It was attended by a hall full of community and worker activists, including veterans of the big rebellions of the 1980s.

imageBeyond "Zuma must fall", beyond choosing between elites Mai 14 by Warren McGregor 0 comments

A constant fixation on the machinations of elite power manoeuvring, and persistent, recurring calls for either new leadership, or new political parties, are evidence of a very conservative and authoritarian political culture. These stories may well be important. Indeed, this is the nature of current socio-economic organisation (capitalism and the state). These human-created forms of control always operate to centralise power up the hierarchy, thus investing tremendous power in the hands of very few. This few – race, gender, rhetoric regardless – the ruling class, are those who control the means of production, administration and coercion. Our pre-occupations are drawn to such elite individuals and groups as many of us have chosen to hand over our political power and future to these. Now this political culture usually results in the general and often vain belief and hope that through hierarchical, fundamentally undemocratic organisation, leaders invested with this incredible power are somehow to create the foundations for a more equal society and world. Also important to consider is that all political parties, no matter the colour of its beret, whether in control of the state or seeking to attain this control, centralise the power of decision-making upwards, and are thus fundamentally authoritarian and anti-democratic.

more >>

imageA South African Revolutionary Passes: Jabisile Selby Semela, 1958-2018 Aug 30 ZACF 0 comments

Selby Semela, a leading figure in the 1976 revolt against apartheid, political exile, and author (with Sam Thompson and Norman Abraham), of “Reflections on the Black Consciousness Movement and the South African Revolution”, passed away on Wednesday, 22 August, 2018, aged but 60 years.

imageThe “Democratic Left”: A Small Step Towards United Working Class Struggle Feb 23 ZACF 0 comments

From 20 to 23 January 2011, working class and revolutionary militants from throughout South Africa, including a ZACF delegation, gathered in Johannesburg for the Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL). The gathering ended in the launch of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) as a loose alliance of organisations and individuals in struggle.

In explaining our relationship to the DLF, we will here summarise our reservations, while explaining why they are outweighed by the genuine achievements of the CDL. The reservations cover three main areas: attitudes towards the state and elections; leadership structures; and the DLF programme and demands. (We are also less than enthusiastic about some new terms that have become popular in the CDL and DLF, such as “eco-socialism”; but this is largely a matter of language, which we will not discuss in detail here.)

textIn Solidarity with Cosatu and the Workers of the World Mai 16 ZACF 0 comments

The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) recognises that the crisis in Zimbabwe, ongoing xenophobic attacks and rising food prices are of great importance to the working class, both in South Africa and internationally. Resolving these crises in favour of the poor and working poor will require mass direct action and solidarity. [ Italiano]

textZACF statement on the "racist anarchists" of Potchefstroom Jun 27 ZACF (southern Africa) 3 comments

Right-wingers in the South African town of Potchefstroom removed street-signs with the names of liberation figures and replaced them with those of Boer leaders. But the Potch City Council attributed the actions to "racist anarchists".

textSWAZILAND: Rush hour for liberation movement Dez 07 Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation 0 comments

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation statement on alleged armed struggle tendency of Swaziland pro-democracy movement.

more >>
© 2005-2019 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]