ANC and capitalists responsible for unrest in the mines PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:27

Reply to Mantashe’s attempt to scapegoat DSM

In his address to the gathering of professionals in the financial sector at Sandton on Tuesday 11th of June, Gwede Mantashe, the Secretary-General of the ANC, has in clear reference to the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) accused ‘foreign elements’ of foiling ‘anarchy’ in the mining industry.

by Mametlwe Sebei

First of all this attack is directed against mine workers fighting for a decent living in defence of their rights. Mantashe describes this legitimate struggle as 'anarchy'. Because he cannot discredit their demands, Mantashe needs a scapegoat to undermine working class struggle.

With his specific reference to Swedes and Irish people, he obviously refers to the DSM. The DSM is a home-grown political party, which began its life in the 1970s as the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC and was established by comrades from emerging trade union movement, and the struggles of the 1950s and 60s. The DSM Executive includes amongst others comrade Thami Dumezweni, a member of the Executive of the DSM, who is active in Flagstaff in the community struggle. He was drawn into the liberation struggle inspired by the Pondoland Uprisings in which his father was a leader, imprisoned for three years for his role.

The DSM is the only political party involved in the mining industry with a prominent full-time office bearer of Swedish origin, Comrade Liv Shange. The launch of WASP on the 21st March, 2013 was openly endorsed by the Socialist Party’s, Joe Higgins , a Member of the Irish Parliament, Joe Higgins from the Socialist Party (SP). The SP is a sister organisation of the DSM in Ireland and fellow affiliate of the Committee for a Workers International. It is more than reasonable to conclude that the reference to ‘foreigners fueling unrest in the mining industry’ can only mean the DSM and Workers and Socialist Party.

In doing so, Gwede Mantashe is merely joining a chorus of public abuses and the unrelenting campaign of misinformation which we have been subjected to since the beginning of the mineworkers strike. Recently, several of the most senior ANC leaders -- from Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa to ordinary cabinet ministers and NEC members have joined this chorus. Whilst members of the ‘free and unbiased’ media have been more than willing to peddle this factually baseless and malicious campaign of lies and systematic falsifications of the role of the DSM and WASP, they have invariably neglected their duty to ‘hear our side’ or to offer us the right to reply.

It is important however to set the record straight and clarify our role in the struggle of the mine-workers, communities and other sections of the working class as well as the organic and unbreakable links and solidarity we enjoy internationally.

Firstly, it is both factually baseless and malicious for ANC leaders to be arguing that the struggles of the mineworkers are fuelled by ‘foreign elements’. The struggles in the mines, communities and the revolt of the working class in general in this country is conditioned by the betrayals of the ANC itself and need no one to fuel them. The perpetuation of slavery in the mining industry, through the migrant labour system with its vices of poverty wages, long hours, high fatality rates and racism, is the main factor behind the revolt of the mineworkers and not the DSM or any other force for that matter. The same applies to community struggles; they are fuelled by poor delivery and corruption. In the final analysis the multiple crises confronting the country are rooted in the incapacity of the ANC to point an alternative way-out of the quagmire of capitalism.

So with or without us, the working class will struggle. The task of revolutionaries does not and has never consisted in making the working class struggle. The working class struggles because their own conditions compels it to fight. The revolutionary mass movements which overthrew dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa and which are now spreading through Greece, Turkey, Brazil and elsewhere are an instructive example of the unavoidable necessity for the masses to rise up against their own oppression and exploitation and to do so spontaneously.

The ANC having been elevated into power by popular struggles of the working class people against the apartheid regime is supposed to understand more than any, that it was not a merely a struggle against white minority rule, but a struggle emancipation form poverty, unemployment and social degradation. The betrayal of these popular aspirations and appalling conditions of life and work for the overwhelming majority of the people in this country is the objective factor behind the renewed struggles and resistance of the working class.

The role of DSM and WASP like those of every revolutionary working class party is to provide political support and to share the experience and lessons of workers struggles locally and internationally and together with workers, develop strategies and tactics to guide our actions today. Socialists from other countries are warmly welcomed at our meetings. We are proud that the DSM is part of the Committee for a Workers International, which is organized in over 40 countries and thus a world party of socialism.

The threatening, intimidating and xenophobic tone of the accusations that the ANC leadership is using in its campaign against the DSM and WASP are both worrying and a telling revelation of the character of the ANC. It is clear that these attacks are not just a case of scoring cheap political points but have a more sinister purpose: to both intimidate the DSM/WASP and also mobilise a backward xenophobic sentiment against us. It is clear that as the ANC is losing ground, it is also falling into the temptation of appealing more and more to reactionary sentiments within sections of society to prop-up its fading base of support in working class communities. This is extremely dangerous in a context where xenophobic sentiments and attacks are widespread. Both WASP and DSM make no apology for the role we are playing in co-ordinating the struggles of working class communities for delivery of services, job creation and decent living conditions, and to combat xenophobia, homophobia and other reactionary tendencies dividing working class communities. We call in particular, for solidarity between working class communities, workers and student struggles. These mobilisations are necessary building blocks for workers unity, working class power and the socialist transformation of society.

The ideas, perspectives and programme of genuine and revolutionary socialism or Marxism entail coordinating the struggles of the working class on a world-wide basis to overthrow the global system of capitalism. Working class solidarity and internationalism are an essential basis of any revolutionary proletarian and socialist organisation. This is supposed to be elementary knowledge for Gwede Mantashe, the former chairperson of the SACP, which still claims, in words, to be standing on the traditions of Marxism.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 June 2013 14:55

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