DA embarking upon an unwinnable class struggle – Irvin Jim

NUMSA GS says that if the privileged white complex wants confrontation it will get it

Numsa General Secretary’s Irvin Jim’s Input to the NUMSA Sedibeng Region Congress, Quest Conference Centre, Curie Boulevard Street, Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng province, May 5 2012

“In our country–more than in any other part of the oppressed world–it is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the land to the people as a whole. It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.”

(ANC, Morogoro, 1969)

“A trade union is the prime mass organisation of the working class. To fulfil its purpose, it must be as broad as possible and fight to maintain its legal status. It must attempt, in the first place, to unite, on an industrial basis, all workers (at whatever level of political consciousness) who understand the elementary need to come together and defend and advance their economic conditions. It cannot demand more as a condition of membership. But because the state and its political and repressive apparatus is an instrument of the dominant economic classes, it is impossible for trade unions in any part of the world to keep out of the broader political conflict.”

(Joe Slovo, The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution, 1988)

Local and Regional Office Bearers of Sedibeng Region present here
Local Delegates to this important parliament of metalworkers
COSATU, ANC & SACP leadership present
Invited guests and all members of the media present.

As the your General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, it is my humble duty to bring you warm and revolutionary greetings from our National Office Bearers, our National Executive Committee and our Numsa Central Committee.

NUMSA is proud of your revolutionary militancy and on behalf of the National Office Bearers I want to thank you for a job well done in the very recent mass strike against labour brokers and e-tolling. It is this revolutionary militancy and unity which you displayed which will lead the working class to victory against the capitalist class!

As you gather and attend to the matters of this important Congress, the world, Africa and the whole of South Africa is watching and waiting to hear from you! Metalworkers are at the core face of capitalist exploitation. Therefore what we do in our union in general and in our Congresses is of great interest to all of humanity!

I am confident that this Sedibeng Congress will both be a revolutionary political school of metal workers and a resounding success.

The rise of new methods and tactics by the South African right wing

Comrades, allow me, before I get into my address, to warn all of us of the immediate real threats to our National Democratic Revolution.

The world capitalist system has crushed. It is in big trouble. All over the world, capitalism is failing to provide water, food, housing, shelter, security and peace to the world’s people. Billions of workers are out of work.

In Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe – everywhere – we read and watch on television mass demonstration for a better life by the world’s peoples.

Here in South Africa, the mass poverty, impossible levels of unemployed and Olympic levels of inequality which we inherited in 1994 from more than 350 years of white economic, social, cultural and political oppression and exploitation have exploded to make South Africa the most unequal and unfriendly place on Earth.

In defence of white monopoly capital and white privileges in South Africa, the party of white monopoly capital in South Africa – the DA – assisted by the white liberal media, is mounting a huge political campaign to discredit, destroy and substitute itself for the formations of the liberation movement in the face of the growing triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa today.

In order to destroy the organised power of the working class, today the DA and the liberal media have shifted their capitalist class focus to COSATU and its leadership.

They understand very well that the black and African working class who form COSATU are the backbone of the ANC and of the liberation movement. Thus if they can break and destroy COSATU and its leadership, they are confident this will destroy the liberation movement.

The DA and their masters – white monopoly capitalists and their black and African stooges – know very well that this country is on the verge of a massive social explosion because of the mass poverty, unemployment and inequality which their racist capitalist system has imposed on South Africa.

To get out of this triple crisis, and to avert the coming social revolution in South Africa, they are proposing that capitalists must be bribed by the government through the so called youth employment subsidy.

They imagine that the youth employment subsidy will break the backbone of youth unemployment in this country. This way, they hope to prevent the youths from exploding and participating in the coming social revolution in this country.

The DA and their white pay masters are blaming COSATU for mass unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular, because COSATU has refused to allow the crisis of youth unemployment to be used to divide and destroy the unity and power of the South African working class. COSATU has refused to allow the government to bribe the white bosses and their black stooges so that they can then fictitiously “employ” the youths.

We hear the DA will now be matching at COSATU Head Office. NUMSA wants to serve a timely warning to the DA and the vested white capitalist class interests it represents: they are embarking on a dangerous and unwinnable class struggle with the power of the black and African working class.

We have restrained ourselves for the past 18 years in the vain hope that white capitalists and their privileged white complex will come to the party and help defeat the triple crisis which is leading South Africa into a social revolution. If they now want direct confrontation, they will get it. NUMSA is ready for them. We shall fight to the last woman and man to defend COSATU and its leaders. COSATU is our shield.

NUMSA will not idly sit by and watch COSATU general secretary – Zwelinzima Vavi – get brutalised everyday by the party of white privilege.

This is a timely warning: the DA and the white privileges it defends are sawing the seeds of social revolution in this country, they will have no one but themselves to blame for the fire they are fanning!

NUMSA is very unhappy that in the face of the global evidence of the failure of the global capitalist system in general, and our own failed Apartheid capitalist system, we still find among the ANC and Alliance leadership those who are happy that we are pursuing a narrow, conservative National Democratic Revolution.

In our coming Congress we will address all the key policy issues and tactics and strategies to confront the challenges and obstacles preventing us from pursuing a radical NDR. It is time, Comrades, to revive our revolutionary credentials. It is time to confront, head on, global and South African capitalism.

NUMSA demands absolute unity and maximum revolutionary discipline from all its members and the entire working class, if we must win this class warfare. The alternative is destruction and death, from capitalism.

What is a trade union and what is Karl Marx saying about a revolutionary trade union movement as a critical component of the working class?

Marx said:

Trade Unions should continue to defend the daily interests of the workers; but at the same time they must act as a conscious centre working for the emancipation of the working class; for this purpose every social and political movement “tending” in that direction should be aided; they are champions of the entire class and should not form themselves into closed corporate bodies only of their members, shutting out non-members; it is their duty help organise those who cannot organise themselves easily and protect the interests of the worst-paid trades like the agricultural workers; by their action they must show that they are not using their organised strength only to guard their interests, but working for all the downtrodden millions.”

Comrades our forebears defined a trade union as a voluntary organization whose primary duty is to deal with bread and butter issues affecting workers which is the reason under capitalism workers join Numsa.

Comrade Joe Slovo helped all of us, he defined a trade union as the prime mass organisation of the working class. To fulfil its purpose, it must be as broad as possible and fight to maintain its legal status.

It must attempt, in the first place, to unite, on an industrial basis, all workers (at whatever level of political consciousness) who understand the elementary need to come together and defend and advance their economic conditions.

It cannot demand more as a condition of membership. But because the state and its political and repressive apparatus is an instrument of the dominant economic classes, it is impossible for trade unions in any part of the world to keep out of the broader political conflict.

Marx further elaborated this:

This means the immediate activity of the trade unions is therefore confined to everyday necessities. This activity of the trade unions is not only legitimate, it is necessary. It must be generalised by the formation and the combination of trade unions throughout the country.

On the other hand, unconsciously to themselves, the trade unions were forming centres of organisation of the working class, as the medieval municipalities and communes did for the middle class. If the trade unions are required for the guerrilla fights between capital and labour, they are still more important as organised agencies for superseding the very system of wage labour and capitalist rule.” (Marx, Selected Works, vol. 2, pp. 82-83)

But then Marx knew that this was far from the consciousness prevailing in the movement. He therefore characterises the trade union movement of that particular time with the following words, delineating its weaknesses:

“Too exclusively bent upon the local immediate struggles with capital, the trades’ unions have not yet fully understood their power of acting against the system of wages slavery itself. They therefore kept too much aloof from the general social and political movements. Of late, however, they seem to awaken to some sense of their historical mission as appears, for instance from their participation, in England, in the recent political movement…”(Marx, Selected Works, vol. 2, p. 83)

Asking them to overcome these weaknesses and breaking through the narrow framework of daily economic struggle Marx calls on them to take a new course for the future.

He said: “Apart from their original purposes, they must now learn to act deliberately as organising centres of the working class in the broad interest of its complete emancipation. They must aid every social and political movement leading in that direction. Considering themselves and acting as the champions and representatives of the whole working class, they cannot fail to enlist the non-society men into their ranks. They must look carefully after the interests of the worst paid trades, such as the agricultural workers rendered powerless by exceptional circumstances. They must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of downtrodden millions” (Ibid, p. 83)

This advice guided the revolutionary trade union movement since the days of Marx, it remains a guide to today’s National Union of Metal Workers Of South Africa. That is why metalworkers fight the invasion of reformism and revisionism in the trade union movement.

The reformists precisely forgot the aim of abolition of wage slavery, delinked the trade union movement from the struggle for socialism and turned it into an inward looking movement-seeking gains for its members.

Since the days of Marx the struggle inside the trade union movement centred on the place and role of the trade unions in the general class struggle of the proletariat. For decades in Europe, the labour aristocracy bought by concessions arising from the colonial loot of the colonies, tied down the trade union movement to parliamentarism, to activity within the framework of the capitalist system. After Marx, Lenin waged an irreconcilable struggle against the betrayal by trade union bureaucrats and reformist social democratic leaders.

This militancy is the same that characterized Numsa when it was launched in 1987; this is the very same militant metal workers here in Ekurhuleni demonstrated during the strike season – something we must talk about with humility and vigilance.

Comrades Marxism is omnipotent, it is truthfully; we must be clear therefore that the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities is a result of the economy being dominated, owned and controlled by white monopoly capital accumulated only by white population in the country and its small black and African parasites, the fact all our mineral endowment are foreign owned and controlled we are just a custodian, the fact that we have not transformed mineral energy complex, the fact in the face of a collapsed global crisis of capitalism we maintained toxic combination of high interest rate, inflation targeting, overvalued currency, export minerals raw without imposing an export tax the most severely affected brutalized is the African majority old and young a key constituency of the ANC, of Cosatu and the Sacp.

This is reflected by many service delivery protest, the levels of intolerable high levels of violence, that are extremely dehumanizing, high levels of crime victims indeed is the African majority right from a toddler to a grandmother.

Numsa warned a long time ago that it was a miscalculation and in fact it was wrong ideologically to set up the movement led by the ANC for failure by adopting an un-dialectical political posture that shifts our movement from its revolutionary character as a liberation movement which is about fundamental change through implementing of the Freedom Charter to reconciliation now to service delivery, a task completely impossible without changing power relations by making sure that the economy and wealth is restored back to the people.

This could be achieved through nationalization of key commanding heights of the economy as demanded by the Freedom Charter. In Zimbabwe, elements of the Freedom Charter on land have been implemented and still the sun still rises and sets.

What does this mean? Simply put, in the interests of the very masses who are victims of this crisis we must take full responsibility for the future of the ANC, SACP and Cosatu. It is time to be firm with humility and resoluteness and we must take no prisoners in defending the ANC, SACP and Cosatu, that include making sure that there is no confusions in all organization of the mass democratic movement and all organizations of young people including the leagues unfortunately if those who occupy leadership in the ANC, SACP and Cosatu are not moving from a a simple understanding that we have a collective responsibility to defend the movement as ANC, SACP and Cosatu cadres embedded in all working class formations like Numsa we might have a fight in our hands.

Comrades the current state of the ANC in particular with the ANCYL need all cadres across the liberation alliance, to take full responsibility to unite the ANC and to unite the alliance and acknowledge that it is as if the ANC does not have enemies. The current rampant revival of the case against the president of the ANC of the country Comrade Jacob Zuma suggest that we need to revisit our working class tools of analysis and ask the question: what divides us whilst facing and dealing with an extremely rampant brutal rightwing political party in the DA and Cope? Unless the two political revolutionary axis the working class and the youth come together we are giving the enemy free ammunition to destroy the ANC and the Alliance.

We should be asking the question: can we allow individual political ambition to triumph over the destruction of the liberation movement? We think that whilst we must be firm about making sure that the NDR is on track meaning we must have a revolutionary program, with revolutionary leadership that must provide leadership such that this decade benefits the working class and the poor by pursuing class struggle, what we cannot afford is to allow the weakening of revolutionary forces.

This means it is time for bold leadership within the liberation alliance and there must be no holly cows. The leadership must provide leadership, quite frankly if we know that labour brokers, e-tolling, rightwing anti working class, bashing union labour reforms as currently proposed by the Minister of labour in the form of balloting workers before the strike, an attempt to make the whole public service to be an essential service, an open plot to liquidate trade unions using violence on strikes, all of this leave us with no option but to call on the ANC to lead us by taking correct decisions.

What are those correct decisions in the interest of the working class and the poor?

1. The ANC leadership must bite the bullet and barn labour brokers the reason are very clear the principle of equal pay for the work of equal value has been establish.

2. It must dump this inferior idea of e-tolling and move swiftly to find alternative funding of the roads through progressive taxation.

3. All anti working class labour reforms that have been championed by DA and now are championed by Minister Olifant our ANC Minister must go failing which this Numsa Congress and Numsa National Congress must resolve to be ready to embark on an ongoing rolling mass action and we must be firm and call on the leadership of the federation to consider serious action marches that could be accompanied by stay always .

4. Numsa must continue to further the aims of the national democratic revolution by perusing internal in Numsa revolutionary, principle, discipline, organization in the immediate we must defend the leadership of the Federation, its is collective leadership, and we must refuse comrades any attempt to divide and break the Federation from any component of the alliance. For instance it is wrong and un Marxist for any Communist to develop a big unscientific theory that seeks to pit the leadership of Cosatu against each other from any component of the alliance, to charge that within the leadership of Cosatu there are demagogues, “Kadalists”, liberals constitutionalist, that is equal to fictionalizing the federation. Put bluntly it is nothing but stigmatization in order to liquidate and such a posture is anti trade unionism as defined by Joe Slovo when he said trade unions as prime mass organizations of the working class.

The importance of Congress

1. A congress is a platform provided by our Numsa Constitution to do an audit and assessment of the growth of the movement of workers in the region, political and organizational developments, our impact economically, how as an organization in the region we impacted on the quality of life of our members and cultural life.

2. Congresses also provide a platform to assess our collective contribution as comrades and cadres of the organization at all levels of the organization.

3. Comrades, we must remind each other that trade unions including Numsa are voluntary organizations. Workers join it primarily so that the Union can be both a spear and a shield to defend their gains and to improve their condition of employment and benefits in the workplace, sectors and industries in the South African economy.

4. The question and the challenge to this Congress, even before we speak about our political role which we are very resolute and firm about, is to deal with two fundamental challenges:

  • They relate to the content of issues we shall resolve on in this Congress and on the leadership we shall elect.
  • A critical question to be answered is how much both of these areas will speak directly to the interests of our members?

6. In other words, do we as shopstewards constitute what Numsa calls the bedrock, the backbone, of the organization? This Congress must answer this question.

What then does both historical revolutionary legacy of Numsa and the current global crisis of capitalism demand from Numsa and its shopstewards?

1. Our revolutionary and historical role calls for a particular breed of a shopsteward who is conscious that in this 21st Century of global imperialist rule Numsa Ibatla amacadre!

2. Numsa needs a shopsteward who understands that shopstewards are the backbone of Numsa as an organization, they are the face of Numsa, and their important primary responsibility is to be overwhelmed by how they take care of a member in ensuring that Numsa delivers quality service to Numsa members across the length and bread of Ekuruleni from a big to the smallest company.

3. The kind of commitment that Numsa expects from its shopstewards is the one of selflessness, just as trade unions are voluntary organizations.

4. Our key constituency that joins Numsa in our country do so not only because of their class position in relation to means of production but also out of their concrete South African reality of being completely excluded in the economy. This is so because our economy is owned, controlled and managed by a white monopoly complex made up of 12 % of the population.

5. Numsa needs this particular selfless shopsteward, who is ready to learn, to make huge personal and family sacrifices, whose mission is to build Numsa in the factory to be both a spear and shield in the hands of workers for absolutely no material gains, who wants to serve with humility and honest, who understands that yes indeed under capitalism there is a fundamental contradiction that exist between labour and capital that contradiction is irreconcilable and it can only be resolved through a Socialist Revolution!

6. Our Numsa Constitution in its Preamble champions unity.

7. Unity is sacrosanct for Numsa. Our Constitution calls on all Metalworkers in our country and in the world to put aside all prejudices, it calls on all metal workers to champion the working class struggle to end exploitation, and it visualizes a society in which all human beings are truly free and live on the basis of “from each according to their ability – To each according to their needs ” {abayaziyo Ngabangazange bayibone }it is anti imperialism it want to destroy capitalism the future to metal workers is socialism .

8. That is why we are not mincing words about the nature and character of a Numsa shopsteward, a cadre of the organization sometimes called an official of the union,

9. Numsa is not a yellow union. Our is a militant revolutionary union. It is thus not by accident that Comrade Harry Gwala Ibubesi Lase- Mkhungundlovu – a fearless and courageous Communist is our horary President.

10. This Congress must serve both as an intensive induction and educational event, as well as being a platform for all of us to renew our revolutionary credentials regardless of how long we have served in the Union or the positions we are privileged to hold.

11. This Congress must take us back to the basics that of linking shop floor struggles with community struggles and we must selflessly and courageously further the aim of the National Democratic Revolution.

12. Comrades, we must not be afraid or ashamed to learn and to be guided by the pledge of the African National Congress which calls for selflessness from all its members. We want to strongly suggest that the ANC pledge presents a good example of the kind of commitment we need from a Numsa shopsteward of the 21st Century. Of course we expect all Numsa members to join the ANC and to swell its ranks.

13. The ANC Pledge read as follows: “I, ……………, solemnly declare that I will abide by the aims and objectives of the African National Congress as set out in the Constitution, the Freedom Charter and other duly adopted policy positions, that I am joining the organisation voluntarily and without motives of material advantage or personal gain, that I agree to respect the Constitution and the structures and to work as a loyal member of the organisation, that I will place my energies and skills at the disposal of the organisation and carry out tasks given to me, that I will work towards making the ANC an even more effective instrument of liberation in the hands of the people, and that I will defend the unity and integrity of the organisation and its principles, and combat any tendency towards disruption and factionalism.”

14. We are suggesting here Comrades that there is a lot to be learnt from the ANC Pledge!

We must deal with exploitation in the workplace

1. As workers we must appreciate that employers at the point of production, in the context of competitive globalization, have adopted Japanese management techniques of continuous improvements.(globalization)

2. Employers have brought in sophisticated terms like-restructuring, re-engineering, labour broking ,outsourcing, casualisation, so called world class production processes, temporary work, contract work, getting rid of non-core production and focusing on reduction of cost like chasing a very fast animal called a Gazelle and this is endless process.

3. This agenda of bosses represents a direct attack on worker benefits and conditions some of which were secured during the dark days of apartheid.

4. In this agenda of the bosses all past gains of workers are presented as a threat to the South African economy. In fact the whole agenda is about lowering expectations of the current generation of workers – so yes the working class has been under attack and it is under attack as we speak.

5. This agenda of the bosses on the shop floor must get our Numsa shopstewards in the name of workers to be asking a very vital question: competitiveness for what and for whom?

6. Central to the above question from a Numsa shopsteward is the fundamental question – if you increase volumes of production but at the same time you retrench workers in the context of so called new management techniques which guarantees job losses – who is to buy the very increased volumes of production because this re-engineering directly destroys the buying power in the economy by destroying jobs?

7. In all different regions of the world multi-nationals who champion this agenda do not just rely or use these management techniques to destroy jobs only, they are usingmergers and acquisitions to destroy competition for the sole purpose of maximizing their profits.

8. Our organizers and shopstewards are challenged in the light of the above to know how to fight back. As you know fighting back is the best form of defence. The union must be on top of fighting restructuring by taking the employers head on through declaration of the dispute of interest.

9. Numsa shopstewards and their organizers should master the art of fighting retrenchments in terms of the two different types of section 189A and ordinary section 189A. We must be champions of understanding strategies and tactics of handling this now hidden and then open fight as a direct result of a war unleashed by capital against the working class.

10. Numsa very soon might be left with no option but to declare war with the Auto sector and Chapter 3 companies as we are under attack in particular in many of Numsa Regions where the bosses have become experts in championing the race to the bottom, slavery wages, demanding to cut wages by half.

11. Such a framework is being imposed by Auto sector employers as they put pressure on Chapter 3 companies to reduce costs. They also change their sourcing of supplies through cheap tactics of global sourcing, and if they cannot get their way they retrench.

12. For example Toyota South Africa is directly responsible for the current retrenchment of our members at Smith Plastic South Africa, BMW South Africa was directly responsible for retrenchments at Aude.

The importance of the Numsa Sedibeng Region in the family of metalworkers in South Africa

I want you to know that as you gather and attend to the matters of this important Regional Congress, the world, Africa and the whole of South Africa is watching and waiting to hear from you! We metalworkers are at the coalface of capitalist exploitation. What we do in our Congresses is of great interest to all of humanity!

Comrades, your Sedibeng Region carries a rich history of class struggle. It was the sons and daughters of the working class of this region here in Sharpeville who were massacred on the 21st march 1960 where at least 180 black Africans were injured and 69 killed by the then police state so backward, conservative and extremely right wing.

It took battalions of the working class in Sedibeng its sons and daughters through a radical defiance campaign who said freedom or death victory is certain. Comrade Chris Hani speaking about these heroes and heroines of our country he said there is no country in the world that has ever produced a breed of young fighters who defied death and their blood was shed in order to address the fundamental issue in the country the national question.

This is the same region that made history by electing the current leadership of Numsa in 2008 during difficult times in the history of liberation alliance where the movement led by the ANC was overwhelmed by what we latter defined as 1996 class project. In the complex history of your region within Numsa you have always made contributions at different epochs that our revolution had to go through.

In your organisational life in the former Numsa Western Transvaal and now Sedibeng region you were consistently confronted with ill discipline and factionalism within your ranks. This has continued and thus the Numsa Central Committee having assessed the level of dysfunctionality and instability in the Numsa Sedibeng region resolved to place the Region under administration.

Despite our best efforts to unite the region, we have seen pockets of comrades internally working with some external forces continuing to pull back the advances made by the Central Committee. We remember very clearly how in a RSSC in October 2011 how shopstewards there agreed with the NOB to fully implement the Central Committee’s plan to revive the Numsa Sedibeng Region. Soon after this RSSC some few Comrades who were not part of the RSSC defied the processes and virtually collapsed the agreed processes.

In this Regional Congress we must guard against tendencies which are anti democratic and factional.

What is expected off us in 2012?

1. As we get deep into 2012 the Numsa National Office Bearers are calling metalworkers to the front to organize or starve and die. We have no other choices.

2. We do so on the basis of our ongoing work of building the metalworkers organization with a clear target of reaching 300 000 members for Numsa in 2012. In this regard every Numsa member must be an Organizer and every Numsa Organizer a defender of workers interest.

3. The decision to build a solid, militant, mass based, revolutionary and mighty Numsa has become more important than ever before especially against the backdrop of the global crisis of capitalism.

4. This important task is both to ensure that workers power continues to be a shield and a spear, to defend and improve worker benefits and conditions, but most importantly to ensure that we remain consistent in struggling for our vision and mission which is Socialism.

5. Since we welcomed 2012, there was no doubt that it was going be a year of challenges confronting our struggle for a Socialist South Africa, and a Socialist world.

6. To demonstrate this point, this is some of what we see in South Africa today:

The unemployed are largely our family and friends – they are black, rural, young and female. One out of two of us are unemployed. But it’s worse amongst our youth – 7 out of 10 black youth have no job. Among whites the unemployment rate is estimated to be as low as 6%.

Too many of us are forced to live in shacks or the old apartheid townships far away from where we work. There is poor sanitation and lack of amenities where we live.

Every day we risk our lives in over-loaded and inferior transport while the rich, mostly whites, drive their modern cars to work, alone.

Our children are condemned to inferior education and health facilities. White children who can pay have access to well equipped and expert resourced schools and health facilities, comparable to those in rich countries.

The basic structure of the South African economy and society remains untransformed. ‘Colonialism of a special type’ still exists – black and African labour is at the bottom and white monopoly capital controls the bulk of the country’s wealth and monopolises social resources.

There is a real threat of mass revolt, especially from unemployed youths as their awareness of these inequalities increases. Already service delivery riots and demonstrations are a common feature of community life. There is growing restlessness and discontent.

7. It is true that these problems are not confined to our country. Across the world, youth unemployment, poverty and inequality – even in rich countries – are setting off alarm bells.

8. The world is now in a state of crisis brought about by the global crisis of capitalism. Big capitalist companies are pushing rural farmers off the land; countries are selling off water rights and electricity generation to private companies and prices of these services are rising. Other countries are removing subsidies that help the poor. The rich are getting richer, and the poor, poorer again the message is to lower the expectations of the current generation of the working class in the interest of maximization of profit for the property owning class.

9. Never before in the history of humankind has one economic, political and social system – capitalism – so thoroughly dominated the world.

10. The 1996 Class Project toxic combination of failure to confront and destroy Colonialism of a Special Type in South Africa combined with their neoliberal fiscal and monetary policies embedded in GEAR are responsible for the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and one equalities in our counry:

Irrational liberalization of trade by reducing tariffs in a manner that destroyed millions of jobs across various sectors in our economy.

It removed exchange controls allowing money to flow out of the country into the casino economy of financial speculation. This is money our country desperately needed for investment in productive sectors off the economy.

They championed inflation targeting, high interest rates, all of this led today to an overvalued currency and all of this destroys jobs.

11. The 1996 Class Project completely did not deal with the fundament challenges of taking measures in the interest of our revolution to change the colonial structure of South African economy, its accumulation path, ownership and control.

12. The Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex, meaning white monopoly capital, is in power in South Africa. In the past the South African Communist Party, our Vanguard, correctly characterized this economic position as Colonization of a Special Type (CST).

13. Today, after the formal and Constitutional abolishment of Colonialism of a Special Type, South Africa is internally dominated by a White Complex which controls the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex.

The picture in South Africa today is extremely frightening as a result of persistence of white monopoly capital post 1994.

1. South Africa has become the most unequal place on Earth today. At the bottom, of course are Black and African people, and at the top are white people. The facts to illustrate this are there for all to see.

2. Black and African people are condemned to inferior public sector education and health facilities, while the white population enjoys first world schools, hospitals and shopping malls.

3. Of course the trick today is that there is no Group Areas Act and you are simply told to get on with it as an individual and make your money and you will join the white population!

4. As a result of the lamentable failure to radically restore the basic wealth of the country to the people as a whole, 11 percent of the South African School system accounts for more than 70 percent of Matric passes.

5. An average white male in South African earns anything above R19 000, 00 per month while a black male earns just about R2 400, 00!

6. Ultimately of course, the life expectancy of a white person in South Africa today stands at about 70 years, while that of a black person is at 48 years – some 22 years less!

7. The unemployed are largely our family and friends – they are black, rural, young and female. One out of two of us are unemployed. But it’s worse amongst our youth – 7 out of 10 black youth have no job. Among whites the unemployment rate is estimated to be as low as 6%.

8. Too many of us are forced to live in shacks or the old apartheid townships far away from where we work. There is poor sanitation and lack of amenities where we live.

9. Every day we risk our lives in over-loaded and inferior transport while the rich, mostly whites, drive their modern cars to work, alone.

10. Our children are condemned to inferior education and health facilities. White children who can pay have access to well-equipped and expert resourced schools and health facilities, comparable to those in rich countries.

11. The basic structure of the South African economy and society remains untransformed. ‘Colonialism of a Special Type’ still exists – Black and African labour is at the bottom and white monopoly capital controls the bulk of the country’s wealth and monopolises social resources.

South Africa and the domination of the White Complex

1. In South Africa today, because of the historic dominance of our economy by the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex and this Complex is dominated by white ownership and control, we live in a country in which the white population dominates both in the economy and society.

2. This explains why the last Apartheid government President, FW De Klerk has been the first to jump in defence of the property clause in the Constitution, and we at Numsa know that because the movement is multi class in character without being mandated by the movement there will be self appointed spoke persons who will take it upon themselves to have the absolute duty to allay the fears of finance capital and the South African White Complex in our country that white ownership and control of South African economy will not be tempered with.

3. The majority of the population, who are black and largely African and by and large are the working class, suffer mass poverty, effects of massive and chronic unemployment and the effects of extreme social, cultural and economic inequalities in our country.

4. The Central Bank of South Africa is owned by private shareholders. It is essentially a private bank, with the state having a stake in it in the same way that any individual shareholder can.

5. Thus we end up with the dominance of finance capital of our Reserve Bank which explains why we have the hot pursuit of inflation targeting by the Central Bank, to protect the interests of fiancé capital and the wealth of the White Complex.

6. In the end, therefore, protecting the value of the currency in these circumstances is reduced simply to protecting the value of the wealth of the White Complex. And this is what the Central Bank has been doing – using inflation targeting to prevent the value of the riches of the White Complex from being eroded at the expense of an expanded mandate that would ensure that the Central Bank first contributes to destroying the strangulation the Minerals/Energy/Finance Complex and its White Complex has on our economy and society and then protecting the value of our currency by placing employment and the destruction of inequalities in our economy as the basis for protecting the value of our currency.

7. Thus the history of South African capitalism (Colonialism of a Special Type – domination of South Africa by the White Complex) simply makes it impossible for the Central Bank, post 1994, to protect the value of the currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in the Republic without first dismantling the monopoly of the White Complex in our society and economy, and ending mass poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

8. The world capitalist system is in trouble, deep trouble. The systemic and structural bases of the global crisis of capitalism simply demands popular control and expanded mandates of Central Banks – merely protecting the values of national currents is not enough, to contribute to lifting the world out of the pit global capitalism has sunk it in.

9. In South Africa, as already explained, the current mandate simply entrenches the inequalities produced by our history of racial capitalism. Our democratic order is thus dangerously threatened by our failure to expand and root the mandate of the Central Bank in our overall struggles to destroy our historic racist capitalist economic bases and replacing them with new democratic bases.

10. The movement needs to act swiftly in the interests of the majority of the people of this country, if South Africa is to avoid having its own Winter Revolts.

11. The majority of the people of this country – who are black and African and the working class – cannot for ever be condemned to wait for their economic, social and cultural liberation to come only when white wealth and privilege will have grown.

12. The triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities, constitute the solid bases for speedily banning of labour brokers and rejection of e-tolling.

13. We are calling on our government to act in the interest of the working class now. Now is the time. Tomorrow will be too late.

14. We know that in all societies where the dominant class in ownership and control of the means of production, the property owning class, imposes its hegemony over the state.

16. The Real Communist Manifesto (1848) says the following about the epoch of the bourgeoisie:

“Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance in that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association of medieval commune: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France); afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general — the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative state, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

17. We at Numsa refuse to allow a situation where our leadership of our revolutionary party, the SACP, must be reduced to being merely part of the committee for managing the common affairs of the South African bourgeoisie!

18. Numsa is pleading with Comrade Jeremy Cronin to please stop vulgarising Marxism, especially as he has done in his latest insult to Cosatu on e-tolling.

19. We want our Communist Party to remain a party of revolution, and not to bedestroyed and transformed into a party of South African capitalist reforms – a mere improver of South African capitalism.

20. Cosatu leadership has engage with the ANC on labour brokers and e-tolling. Cosatu has been consistent – we want labour brokers banned, and we will not allow our roads to be privatised!

Why did Numsa launch its National Political Commission?

1. We shall remain resolute in maintaining our ANC as a liberation movement, a multi class formation where the working class must organize itself as a conquering force as a class for itself. The answers is very simple, since the formation of 1910 union between English and Afrikaner capital which made sure Black people in general Africans in particular are no-where closer to ownership and control of the economy in our country today in our country this is still our reality .

2. Ours like in the dark days of apartheid capitalist colonialism has been to provide cheap labour. To date it is still Black people in general and Africans in particular who are victims of labour brokers and victims of the 1913 Land Act. We need to overthrow this situation in our favour.

3. Numsa as an affiliate of Cosatu, and Cosatu being in an alliance with the ANC, we have a duty to influence the policy and leadership processes of both Cosatu and the ANC.

4. We do this simply to seek to protect the interests of the working class and to maximise the benefits to the working class, for belonging to such organizations.

5. There will be Conferences and Congresses this year. The internal constitutional processes of the affected organisations will ultimately produce the best outcomes for the moment. Numsa can only do its part by encouraging its members who are also members of these organisations to always defend and advance the interests of the working class.

6. We are happy to note the ANC is inviting everybody – both in and outside South Africa, and all its members and non-members, to engage with it through debating the Policy Discussion Documents it has released. Numsa will exploit this opportunity to engage the ANC

7. It is a tradition in the liberation movement to allow for maximum debates, discussions and engagements on both matters of policy and leadership. For us as the working class, we will be looking to influence both policies and leadership matters in the best interests of the working class as a whole.

8. Numsa remains resolute to carry out Cosatu’s 2015 Plan to swell the ranks of the ANC, build a strong SACP and strengthen COSATU at all levels.

On Nationalisation

1. It is Numsa’s honest view that nationalization is the policy of the ANC. Metalworkers are resolute that inherent to the implementation of the Freedom Charter is nationalization not only of the mines but of all key strategic sectors of the economy that could be defined as commanding heights of the economy.

2. To reinforce these fundamentals of the liberation struggle, the ANC at its Morrogoro Conference further stated that:

“In our country – more than in any other part of the oppressed world – it is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the land to the people as a whole. It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy.

To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.”

3. If we go back in history, the very same position that Numsa is championing on the Freedom Charter today, Thabo Mbeki, who is considered in our ranks to be the father and architect of the 1996 Class Project once thought and wrote about South Africa’s apartheid capitalist colonialism right back in 1978.

4. This is what Thabo Mbeki said about the Freedom Charter:

“Free South Africa must therefore redefine the black producer or rather, since we demand that the people shall govern, since we shall have through our own struggle, placed ourselves in the position of makers of history and policy and no longer objects, we shall redefine our own position as follows:

1. We are the producers of wealth;

2. We produce this wealth for our own benefit to be appropriated by us the producers;

3. The aim of this production shall be the satisfaction, at an increasing level, of the material and spiritual needs of the people;

4. We shall so order the rest of society and social activity, in education and culture in the legal sphere, on military questions, in our international relations, et cetera, to conform to these goals.

In my view this redefinition contains within it the theoretical basis of the Freedom Charter and the political programme of the African National Congress adopted in 1956.

It should be of some interest to point out that this political programme was written exclusively on the basis of demands submitted by thousands upon thousands of ordinary workers, peasants, businessmen, intellectuals and other professional people, the youth and women of all nationalities of South Africa.

It is a measure of their maturity that these masses in 1955 should have so clearly understood the fundamental direction of their aspirations. It is a demonstration in practice of how much the bourgeoisie, by refusing to temper its greed, did ultimately teach us to identify our true interests without any equivocation”

5. This particular quote of former President Thabo Mbeki (albeit that he later changed his revolutionary credentials and his ideological tune) strongly suggest that Numsa’s fight for jobs and changing power relations in a way that will change the material conditions of the immense majority of our people in general and the working class in particular cannot rely on other classes, is not wrong. We must remember Karl Marx’s warning that it is not the consciousness of men that determine their being but their environment.

6. It is Numsa’s honest view that the roots of South African racial supremacy would be well nourished if the existing economic forces were to be allowed to retain their interests intact. This is a very self-evident truth.

I live you with these words, below, Comrades:

Organise, Educate, Mobilise, Unite, Fight or Starve to Death!

Irvin Jim

Numsa General Secretary

5th May 2012

Issued by NUMSA, May 5 2012


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