cropped-cropped-dokument-1-seite0015.jpgLetter to South African Socialists on the “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign”

 

 

Note of the Editorial Board: Below we publish a letter which has been circulated amongst socialists in South Africa. It has been sent by the RCIT in late May in response to the publication of the draft “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign” written by the comrades Ahmed Jooma and Shaheen Khan. The platform has been published on the website of the Khanya journal (http://khanyajournal.org.za/platform-of-the-left-bloc-in-the-zuma-must-go-campaign/).

 

 

 

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Dear comrades,

 

 

 

Thanks for forwarding us your “Platform for the Left Bloc in the ‘Zuma Must Go’ Campaign“. We think that this document is highly interesting and provides a useful basis for discussion among revolutionaries in South Africa and internationally.

 

In the following letter we would like to outline some observations on your platform. We will not outline here our assessment of the political situation in South Africa in the last years and refer you, as a summary of our views, to two documents of the RCIT (http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/south-africa-election-tactics/, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/south-africa-workers-party/) as well as our recently published Theses on Black Africa (https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/).

 

Obviously we ask you to take into account that we have to refrain ourselves to rather general remarks as we are not so closely familiar with the current concrete situation in South Africa. Hence we will focus here on some analytical and methodological issues.

 

We want to emphasize that we agree with your economic analysis, your general anti-capitalist and socialist outlook as well as your denunciation of the Stalinist/ANC strategy of NDR which in fact has always been only a cover for its capitulation to White Monopoly Capital.

 

Your analysis of the ‘State Capture’ by the Zuma faction of the ANC and its fusion with a sector of capital (Gupta, etc.) sounds sensible and convincing to us.

 

You repeatedly speak about the ANCYL/WL/MKMVA as (semi-)fascist forces. While we are aware that petty-bourgeois-nationalist, populist forces have the potential to become fascists, we are not sure if this is a correct characterization in this case. In general, we would warn against a too loose use of the term “fascist” and would restrict it to paramilitary movements in the service of imperialist capital with the goal to annihilate the workers government and bourgeois democracy. In our opinion it is not necessary to characterize the Zupta regime as potentially fascist in order to legitimize the need to focus the struggle against it. Yes, revolutionaries should support the present mass protests against the regime because it represents a reactionary, increasingly Bonapartist neoliberal regime in the service of monopoly capital.

 

We agree that revolutionaries must not support any wing in the current power struggle inside the bourgeois, popular-frontist ANC.

 

We agree with your assessment of the present situation as having the potential to transform into an “Arab Spring” situation and hence the necessity to fight for a revolutionary Action Program.

 

We agree with your criticism of the NUMSA leadership and of their strategy of abstaining from the growing mass movement.

 

It seems correct to us to say that the present mass movement against the Zuma regime has a cross-class character. We also share your approach that it would be sectarian to organize a small movement outside of this mass movement. It is necessary to fight inside this mass movement and to combine it with a perspective to fight for working class independence and against the influence of the bourgeois (e.g. DA) and petty-bourgeois parties (e.g. EFF) and to finally destroy their influence.

 

In this context it might be worth mentioning that Trotsky – contrary to the ultra-leftists – also argued for working inside the mass action committees of the French popular front in the 1930s in order to better break up the popular front.

 

On the other hand, joining organized political popular front campaign like “Save SA” would be completely unprincipled for Marxists.

 

We strongly support your perspective to call for the creation of action committees as the basis for an authentic mass movement.

 

Our biggest difference with your document is probably that we consider your call Bring Forward General Elections!” as completely wrong. We consider it as wrong because it shifts the focus of the current mass struggle to a parliamentary level. Naturally, if elections take place revolutionaries will not ignore it and either stand candidates independently, participate in a workers party or give critical support to reformist/left-populist parties. But in the current situation it would massively disorientate the mass movement if you call for elections now. The focus must rather be to better organize and mobilize the mass movement towards a general strike and a popular uprising in order to prepare for the overthrow of the government. This could open the perspective for the formation of the government of the workers and poor.

 

In contrast your slogan of elections now does NOT open the perspective for a workers government because i) such a workers government should be based on soviet-like councils and militias and not the parliament and ii) there exists currently no party you could call to vote for and which would fight for a workers government inside the parliament.

 

In this context we want to draw your attention to the fact that you do not mention the issue of the armed self-defense of the working class and the poor against the state repression and the “fascists” a single time! This however seems to us to be an important issue – even more so should it be for you since you characterize your enemies partly as “fascists”! We also mention this because there is a strong reformist tradition in South Africa which creates illusions in the possibility of a peaceful transformation to socialism (the Stalinist SACP, the centrist CWI/WASP, etc). Hence these forces all oppose or are silent on the necessity of the arming of the working class and the poor. The task of revolutionaries is to fight against such illusions and openly denounce their reformist supporters.

 

In general we feel you should give more emphasis to the issue of building a mass workers party respectively a Bolshevik organization fighting for a revolutionary program. A “Left Bloc” in the best case can only be a temporary thing.

 

Finally we have a question to you: do you consider South Africa as an imperialist or a semi-colonial state? Or do you share Patrick Bond’s opinion that it is sub-imperialist?

 

We hope our comments are of any use for you and look forward to your thoughts.

 

 

 

Revolutionary Greetings,

 

Michael Pröbsting (International Secretary of the RCIT) and Tinashe Mhukahuru (Zimbabwe Section of the RCIT)

 

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About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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