Spartacist South Africa No. 11
Struggles of the Poor in the Western Cape
Brutality and Vindictive Cruelty of the Democratic Alliance
Less than a month after the 2014 general elections, the immiseration of the non-white masses continues unabated. Brutal mass evictions during freezing temperatures were carried out in several parts of the country in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg CBD in Gauteng and Lwandle informal settlement in the Western Cape. Profiting from the African National Congress (ANC) black nationalists’ marginalisation of the coloured majority, among other things, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has ascended to dominate the political landscape of the Western Cape. Here the coloured and black poor working class masses are reeling under the neo-liberal and union bashing rule of the DA in its all-out war against the poor, abetted by the national enforcement of neo-apartheid by the ANC and its alliance partners.
If anything, Western Cape politics show how the ANC and DA represent two faces of neo-apartheid capitalist misery. The recent finger pointing between them over the eviction of 846 Lwandle families, in the drenching rain and cold, from state-owned South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) land is a case in point. The political shenanigans by these capitalist parties only serve to obscure the fact that both the ANC and DA are equally responsible for this brutal act, as well as the contempt both of these parties have for the poor.
The rabidly racist DA skilfully props up its legitimacy through its economically powerful, racist and reactionary petty bourgeois constituency that still dominates the largely white commercial racist media which portrays the DA as progressive, and the Western Cape as an example of good governance and of how the DA delivers, as opposed to the “incompetent” and “corrupt” ANC.
According to the DA, the non-white working class, the underemployed and rural proletarian population should be grateful wage slaves. The unemployed, homeless and poverty-stricken masses only have themselves to blame for failing to improve their conditions in the “open society” and “equal opportunity” that the DA supposedly provides to all.
There is a consistent and predictable theme as to how the DA responds to those that dare to stand up against their miserable conditions: brutal cop violence. The victims are denounced as criminal gangsters and opportunistic violent mongers or manipulated by some evil “third force” with a political agenda to undermine the “perfect” DA government. There is a sickening vengeful and vindictive quality that transcends contempt to outright racist hatred and cruelty.
The brutality of the DA government was exposed during the militant and widespread farmworkers strike around the meagre demand of R150 a day against the even measlier minimum wage of R69 a day. The DA government responded with a massive mobilisation of police in the rural towns and appeals for military assistance.
The DA is the loyal defender of the filthy rich white farmers and their right wing white supremacist adjuncts. Its propaganda supplemented and covered up the violent political persecution committed by right wingers in the form of death-threats and provocations against political leaders even those only expressing sympathetic pretences towards the strike. An ANC councilor in Beaufort West was shot in the face and the strike leader, Reverend Nosey Pieterse was slightly injured when a rubber bullet, clearly directed at him, grazed his arm.
While the Western Cape regime tried to portray themselves as victims of a political conspiracy, many of those brutalised were entirely unprovoked attacks in surrounding townships away from the camera lens of the protest. Vengeful atrocities were carried out by patrolling cops during the day and during night time raids. One example was the horrific murder of a 25-year-old Lesotho man, Letsekang Tokhoane, whilst working in a spaza (informal) shop in De Doorns. He was beaten up, shot several times with rubber bullets and dumped in a ditch. Also in De Doorns, a 10-year-old girl, standing in her yard was shot in the face and a 20-year-old man was shot four times in the back inside his own house. In the end three people were killed and several injured. According to police reports a total of 337 people were arrested.
At the height of the anti-strike police violence, the four public clinics in De Doorns were summarily closed down, leaving bed-bound patients and those needing ARVs and TB medication in the lurch. Striking workers injured by police violence reported that they were too scared to seek medical help at the clinics as they would simply be handed over to police for arrest.
Another issue that sent the DA into a hysterical and psychotic frenzy was the provision of food parcels to striking workers. They embarked on a relentless slander campaign against ANC Minister Tina Joemat-Peterson for approving the allocation of R10 million in food aid for distribution to striking workers. The racist DA, determined to starve the farmworkers into submission, took deep offence at those who “incentivise violent unrest”. The truth of the matter is that this was just a fig leaf to cover up the role of the government in the eyes of the disillusioned farmworkers, whose legislated minimum wage condemns them to malnutrition and starvation. One thing that is not often talked about is the fact that some of the highest incidents of scurvy and kwashiorkor in the country can be found amongst Western Cape farmworkers.
Concerned that the strike wave was exposing the horrific working and living conditions of farmworkers, the provincial COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) leadership rushed to play its role as strike-breakers in the service of the capitalist ANC. COSATU provincial leader Tony Ehrenreich, posing as a defender of the poor farmworkers struggle against the “baas skap” of the DA, worked hard to suspend the strike, but did absolutely nothing to defend workers against the DA and national government’s retaliatory attacks after the strike was suspended.
The ANC government, conceding to the racist farmers collective Agri-SA, rolled back the minor gains of farmworkers by granting amnesty to farmers still refusing to abide by the imposed, but still insulting minimum wage of R105 per day. The national government provided no recourse to workers affected by the mass firings from some farmers whilst the DA embarked on a vengeful terror campaign targeting informal grape sellers trading on the N1 highway, which is a vital means of supplementary income for some farmworkers. The Farmworkers Coalition was denied a permit to march against this collusion between the national government and farm owners for shamelessly reneging on the terms for settling the strike.
Attacks on Fishing Communities: Hangberg Atrocities and Police Violence in Hawston
With their livelihoods as fishermen spanning centuries of traditions criminalised, fishing communities have been condemned to poverty and chronic unemployment by poaching laws and shrinking quotas imposed by the national ANC-led government. The DA’s appetite for egregious violence can be seen in its atrocities and violence committed against these vulnerable fishing communities.
On 21 and 22 September 2010 South African Police Services (SAPS) and Cape Town metro police under orders from the DA-led council, conducted an operation to evict people from shacks in the town of Hangberg. These two days of occupation and terror amounted to one of the biggest single act of atrocity committed in the Western Cape post-apartheid. Four people had their eyes shot out and a total of 75 were injured. Pregnant women, children and the elderly, indeed no one was spared from the brutal violence of the DA cops. One of the elderly community leaders described the police behaviour that day as worse than anything he had ever witnessed during apartheid. “I have never seen the police attack the way they did then, not even in the seventies”…“We’re talking about kids—10, 11, 12 years old. They chased those kids, they kicked open the doors, they beat the parents… They did not just intimidate, they attacked the community”.
Despite numerous protests to seek justice against the DA city council for its crimes against the community of Hangberg, all the capitalist courts did was to add insult to injury. The Cape High Court ordered the drafting and signing of a bogus peace accord that only served to exonerate the DA government from of all wrongdoing. The DA leveraged the signing of the peace accord as a political victory. Through a nauseating pompous ceremony, the DA racists celebrated the peace accord as an example of a reconciliation “miracle”.
Four months later, on 21 March 2012, residents of Hangberg were greeted on Human Rights Day, with an early morning swoop by police in another act of provocation and intimidation. This ostensibly anti-poaching raid was once again extremely brutal with cops kicking down doors, guns blazing and beating people in their beds. With the events of September 2010 still fresh in their minds, this community finally had had enough and took to the streets in what was described in one newspaper article as an outpouring of “Blood-red rage”, an event iconised in the “The Uprising of Hangberg” documentary.
In the southern coastal town of Hawston is another fishing community that has been in the cross-hairs of the provincial government. An anti-poaching unit was set up to terrorise the poor. These gangsters have been contemptuously dubbed the “Slaan Squad” (hitting squad) by local residents, due to their deadly reputation of brutal assaults and torture. This state of affairs has devastated this poor community which has been making desperate incessant appeals to authorities to urgently intervene against this uncontrolled police brutality. It is really indicative of the extreme marginalisation faced by these poor communities. On top of this, there has been a conspicuous dearth of media coverage about frequent occurrences of police brutality, simply considered business as usual criminal cases by the racist capitalist media.
On 3 November 2012 the funeral of Steven Figaji, a-19-year-old youth, murdered by police was held. The anger of this community was palpable as police maintained that they were not responsible for the murder and that the youth, who dives for a living, drowned. As word of mouth spread about the witnessing of an assault by police on the same day, the anger exploded. One observer pointed out, “every single one young and old joined and supported the protest”. The main roads were blockaded and several police vehicles were burned. The much hated K9 Dog Unit headquarters building was razed to the ground. A 13-year-old boy was shot in both legs in the subsequent retaliatory police crackdown. It is the ANC cronies seeking to profit from fish resources that ruin and criminalise these communities, giving the green light for the racist DA to brutalise them.
Housing Crisis in the Western Cape and the Racist Legacy of Apartheid and Slavery
The old Cape Colony was built on the complete land disenfranchisement of the indigenous Khoisan population and imported slave labour. This gave rise to a wealthy white landed class whose rule was characterised by violent subjugation of slaves through barbaric torture, mutilation and death penalty for those who dared to challenge the system. This set the tone for the future of the capitalist system in South Africa and the super-exploitation of non-white labour and racist monopolisation of the best land for whites. The abolition of slavery in 1834 was replaced by a system of miserable starvation wages. Indeed the farmworkers are a direct social continuation of this slave system. Their strike outlined earlier is a protest against this legacy which is perpetuated in the Western Cape farms through starvation wages and racist abuse.
Black townships in the city were architected by the colonial government and later the apartheid rulers to more effectively control the black population. As early as 1901 the colonial government saw the need to segregate blacks in “official” townships. Thousands of blacks were forcibly removed from the city centre and District Six to first Ndabeni (1901) and later again forcibly relocated further away to Langa in the late 1920’s. The racial inequality in land ownership was formalised in the 1913 Land Act.
A growing black population soon became a problem for the apartheid rulers who viewed blacks as an economic burden and a nuisance to the ideal of a lily-white Cape Town. Up until this day the Cape is considered some sort of haven for unreformed racists. Starting in 1952 the apartheid government launched an intensive and sustained campaign to deal with blacks on squatter settlements. The purpose of the 1952 “Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act” was to increase the destruction of black settlements and the deportation of thousands of “illegals” back to the Eastern Cape. Those left to stay were forced into cramped hostels. Only sharp resistance scuttled the attempts of the apartheid rulers to close down the Crossroads settlement, forcing them to recognise it as an “emergency camp” in 1978 and to begrudgingly install rudimentary water supplies and refuse collection.
The Group Areas Act had the purpose of reinforcing segregation amongst the races and restricting ownership of land to whites. All the best urban land was declared white only and more than 60 000 coloureds were forcibly removed from their historical home of District Six. Thousands more were dumped on the sandy plains of the Cape flats further and further on the urban periphery.
This racism is today recycled by the DA which conveniently blames all the neo-apartheid capitalist social ills of Cape Town on the neighbouring Eastern Cape, where the ANC plays the same role of administering capitalist misery. This is encapsulated by DA leader Hellen Zille’s statement, which caused uproar, when she referred to Eastern Cape learners in Western Cape schools as “education refugees”. Besides being a violation of the elementary democratic right of freedom of movement, this is a disgusting statement considering the strong historical familial and social links Eastern Cape people have in the Western Cape. There was more to this than just semantics, it is in fact a fundamental tenet of DA politics.
In February of this year Hellen Zille’s provincial MEC (member of executive council), Mr Grant, bemoaned the influx of 105 850 learners from the Eastern Cape over the past five years that had cost the Western Cape government R1.2 billion. A few days later the provincial health MEC, Theuns Botha, in an “unprecedented move”, called on the national government to compensate the Western Cape government for “large migration to the Western Cape from especially the Eastern Cape”. His statement is reminiscent of the racist colonial regime in 1901 that blamed blacks for the spread of bubonic plague and other diseases to justify the expulsion of blacks from the city centre.
Eastern Cape is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. This is largely due to the poverty found in the former homelands, where subsistence agriculture still predominates. The provincial powers regime is one of the many sell-out examples of the ANC negotiated settlement. This allowed the economy to be maintained along the apartheid fault lines which diverted all wealth and resources away from the Bantustans. Provincial powers whether DA or ANC provide a convenient cover to dupe the masses and cover up the fact that “democratic” capitalism has no capacity to change conditions in the poor historical Bantustans. This, together with the profit system’s inability to develop decent housing, is the cause of decaying urbanisation. The DA wants people to believe that this phenomenon of urban migration is unique to its little Cape Town fiefdom through garbage statistics diligently repeated and endorsed by the capitalist media. This can be rubbished by the lone fact that Gauteng province experiences more than triple the amount of urban migration.
Attacks on Backyard Dwellers
Chronic housing shortages in the coloured townships dotting the Cape Flats resulted in massive overcrowding and an unsustainable explosion of shacks in backyards (backyard dwellers). In 2007 this situation came to a head when these people—many of whom have been on the housing waiting list for decades—illegally occupied houses built by the ANC provincial government in Delft. This government evicted the 103 families of backyarders who in defiance occupied the pavement of Symphony Way. The succeeding DA government’s solution was to evict and forcibly relocate these residents to a newly constructed Temporary Relocation Area (TRA), a transit camp that became known as the notorious Blikkiesdorp (Tin Can Town). The backyarders courageously resisted and occupied the pavement for 21 months before being evicted and forcibly relocated to this state-built informal settlement. Blikkiesdorp has since developed into an urban dumping ground and a convenient contingency and justification for evictions, round-ups and atrocities, in systematically orchestrated attacks on the homeless.
Whole families are cramped into these one-roomed tin shacks with outside taps and toilets shared amongst five households. As far as the DA is concerned this is more than good for the poor. They are gloating that this miserable concentration camp-like residence is one example of how the DA delivers as mentioned in separate statements made by the city of Cape Town spokesperson Kylie Hatton:
“...the TRA has been constructed for emergency accommodation needs and is provided by the city, and exceeds national housing requirements”, The Guardian, April 2010. “It compares extremely favourably with all the other [settlements] with respect to services, shelter, environment and density”, Mail and Guardian, October 2009.
This is a disgusting lie. Blikkiesdorp is a deplorable hellhole built on desolate sand and bush where daily existence consist of crushing poverty, disease and police violence. Reports abound of elderly people dying from disease and starvation, deaths from TB and AIDS are rampant. That this can be used by the DA as a national housing benchmark is the most grotesque indictment of this neo-apartheid capitalist system. Many Blikkiesdorp residents contend that in many ways they are worse off than under apartheid. Anger is simmering as people start realising that far from being temporary, Blikkiesdorp is still today, seven years later, a permanent feature complete with plans of expansion by the DA government. It has become a conspicuous and striking manifestation of a system that simply cannot satisfy the aspirations of the oppressed for decent housing.
The racist vindictiveness of the DA was again on display in its treatment of a group of coloured Tafelsig backyarders. After being evicted from city council land, they moved to a piece of land owned by national government through Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). They resisted attempts by PRASA to evict them and snubbed the offer by the DA city council to be relocated to Blikkiesdorp. After the court granted PRASA permission for the evictions following a drawn-out legal battle, the DA city council wanted to make a point that the squatters should be severely punished for their insolence.
According to residents’ accounts, the city council withdrew the Blikkiesdorp relocation option, because these homeless had the audacity to resist and snub the “generous” offer of relocation to Blikkiesdorp. Their shacks and possessions were simply bulldozed and all including women, with babies, were left stranded in an open field with no prospect of alternative accommodation offered. In desperation, they resorted to putting up tents at night and taking them down in the morning. The police would still confiscate their meagre possessions and even food, self-acquired or parcels provided by NGOs and charities. Once again, as with the farmworkers strike, the DA demonstrated that taking food from the mouths of the starving is one of its preferred weapons in its arsenal of violence against the poor.
Black Informal Settlements and Sanitation
DA rule is characterised by racist contempt towards the poor black African masses languishing in horrific unhygienic conditions in the shacks and townships, where permanent shortcomings in essential services like refuse collection and sewerage is the norm. The issue of sanitation in Cape Town townships and squatter camps has recently caught headlines due to the massive poo-protest movement.
This issue dates as far back as the 2009 construction of 51 unenclosed toilets in the Makhaza township of Khayelitsha. The DA rulers defended this act by appealing the ruling of the Human Rights Commission against them and begrudgingly accepting the later High Court ruling, which only sought to cover up this appalling indignity which is the reality for the poor black masses in the neo-apartheid South Africa.
In what the DA considers an act of benevolent goodwill, it started to roll-out portable flush toilets (PFT) as a solution to the massive toilet backlog and the pervasive use of the bucket system. The aim of this was said to be to relieve pressure on the communal mobile toilets. They marketed the PFT as a viable and clean solution, ensuring privacy and dignity because of its suitability for inside (the house) use. Each household would receive two buckets that would be cleaned three times a week.
However the reality was much different. The PFT’s proved unsuitable for adult and inside use. The cleaning service of the buckets also never happened three times a week as promised and the buckets were prone to breakage and leakage. Anger increased as the authorities continued to show scant regards for the concern of residents. The situation was exacerbated when the bucket toilets were not cleaned for months due to the janitors strike. The workers blockaded and dumped faeces on the N2 highway and affected communities joined in and the massive poo-protest (also referred to as the toilet-wars) started.
According to the DA narrative the cause of these protests can be reduced to a handful of instigators conspiring against them. The facts are clear! The protest was simply an entirely spontaneous response to the racist politics of the DA and its humiliating and degrading attitude towards black Africans in the townships and squatter camps. Not the “instigators” (mostly ANC Youth League members) who were opportunistically jostling for leadership of the protest movement only after it had already started.
The ANC attempted to capitalise on the matter of unenclosed toilets for electioneering purposes against the DA. But this backfired after revelations that the ANC-led Moqhaka municipality in the Free State, also had unenclosed toilets. This indignant contempt for the poor spans the length and breadth of South Africa under ANC rule. Horror stories such as kids dying from falling into pit latrines are rife. Weeks after the recent elections a similar poo-protest broke out in Gauteng, carried out mostly by women residents of the Diepkloof hostel in Soweto. This was against the non-servicing of the bucket system which had not been emptied for three months. These protests once again highlighted the deplorable conditions suffered by the poor who are still demanding flush toilets and the eradication of the bucket system.
Shortage of Housing, Services under Neo-Apartheid Capitalism and the Dead-End of Social Movement Pressure Politics
None of the bourgeois parties have a solution or the interest to address the burning issues of provision of basic services and decent housing to the poor. This is just the reality of the limitations of the capitalist profit system which they administer. The cruel joke on housing delivery under this neo-apartheid system is starkly exposed in the wretched track record of the ANC government and the DA in the Western Cape. In 2007, then ANC national Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu launched the Housing Development Agency which subscribed to the sham United Nations Millennium Development goal of “eradicating informal settlements by 2015”. The legacy of its flagship project, the “N2 Gateway project” in Cape Town, hailed by the minister as “the biggest housing project ever undertaken by any government” was a privatisation con-plan that delivered nothing to the poor. The project was privatised by appointing an ANC BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) crony, the ostensibly non-profit Thubelisha Homes, which is infamous in Cape Town for its legacy of forced relocations, evictions and being a precursor to the construction of the Blikkiesdorp transit camp. It is this type of hopelessly inadequate and failing schemes that the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) of Julius Malema calls for, when it talks of a “state housing construction company” in its election manifesto. Housing delivery for the poor is seen by the aspiring capitalist elites of the black nationalists as an opportunity for profiteering from the misery of the poor masses under the guise of black economic empowerment.
Today in 2014 there is an estimated 1.6 million households languishing in informal settlements. As per the latest conservative Census 2011 figures, the number of homeless has already soared past a 2.3 million households. Both the ANC and DA are now talking of “in-situ upgrading” of informal settlements and left-talking labour lieutenants such as Ehrenreich speak of “humane” transit camps. Whilst presenting empty promises of housing for political speechifying, the real government response is intensifying police violence against the increasing number of service delivery protests. This goes along with bolstering repressive apparatus like the anti-land invasion units (ALIU) and Red Ants (a security company commonly employed by the City of Johannesburg) for evictions. Also there has been an increase of transit camps once considered a repulsive relic of the apartheid past. Transit camps have now become a feature nationally. According to 2013 estimates the biggest transit camp, Blikkiesdorp, already had over 10 000 residents and eThekwini Municipality in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) has moved more than 11 000 families to transit camps.
One outcome of the attacks on the townships poor has been the appearance of social movement organisations, first starting in the Western Cape. Many of these one-issue organisations claim to be independent from political parties and donor-funded NGOs. As an example, the Abahlali BaseMjondolo (AbM) slogan during the 2006 local government elections was “No Land, No House, No Vote”. Their reformist programme is the same as the NGOs they claim to be different from, and at best they can only delay evictions at great human cost. Their spread of deadly illusions in the ability of the system to reform itself has meant defeats and demoralisation for the poor toiling masses. The capitalist state’s brutal violence over these poor communities and the use of housing de-allocations to punish activists has destroyed many of these organisations. The logical outcome of such reformist programmes can be seen in the recent developments within Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) in KZN. Whilst they always postured to be independent of political parties, the pressure of ruthless and sustained violence from ANC-run municipalities compelled the leadership to drop their apolitical stance and call for a vote to the DA plunging this organisation into political disarray.
The overwhelmingly Xhosa poor black masses in the Western Cape who have illusions in the ANC to defend their interests would be wise to look at the brutal and violent persecution of Xhosa-speaking activists in KZN by the ANC provincial government in Kennedy Road and Cato Crest. Here the ANC is known for mobilising and defending Zulu chauvinist mobs rallied around anti-Xhosa sentiments to violently attack AbM members who they accuse of being an “amaMpondo”(Xhosa speakers) organisation. They launched a massive attack in September 2009 on AbM’s biggest base in Kennedy Road settlement. The police moved in to hound the victims and arrested 12 AbM members, all Xhosa speakers, who were only acquitted in July of 2011.
Continued violent assaults, assassinations and state repression is forcing the AbM leadership in KZN into hiding. In October 2013, Nqobile Nzuza, a young Xhosa woman of 17 years old and an AbM supporter was killed by cops after being shot two times in the back with live ammunition. Another woman at the time AbM general secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, was arrested for participating in the solidarity protest against this killing. She was detained in prison for seven days before being granted bail. She is still standing trial on bogus charges of public violence. Spartacist South Africa condemns the killings and violence perpetrated by ANC mobs against Abahlali and demand, Hands off the AbM activists! Drop the charges against Bandile Mdlalose now!
The repression of AbM shows once again that there is no justice for the oppressed in the bourgeois courts. As we wrote in SSA No.9 “No amount of reformist tinkering with the machinery of state repression can change the viciously racist and brutal nature of the neo-apartheid police. V. I. Lenin explained in The State and Revolution (1917):
‘The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonisms objectively cannot be reconciled….’
The state is an instrument for the oppression of one class by another—under capitalism, for the oppression and exploitation of the working class by the bourgeoisie”.
Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party to Fight for a Black-Centred Workers Government
Against all currents of bourgeois nationalism and social movement types we counterpose the Trotskyist theory of permanent revolution. This theory leads that the national bourgeoisie of semi-colonial countries is too weak and dependent on imperialism to satisfy even the most elementary democratic tasks to resolve national oppression. To achieve the latter requires the forging of a Leninist vanguard party that can fight for the political independence of the proletariat from all bourgeois parties. Such a party centred on the working class, leading the oppressed masses behind it, will fight to overthrow the capitalist system and extend the revolution internationally.
Local South African application of permanent revolution is captured in our slogan for a black-centred workers government. Against the false notion that this would translate into the racial domination by blacks, this government would uphold full democratic rights for the coloured and Indian people, and those whites who would accept a government centrally based on the black working class. Minorities such as coloureds and Indians will have an important role to play in this fight for national liberation of all the oppressed through socialist revolution and the achievement of workers rule.
In Western Cape this means confronting and breaking from anti-black racism and parochialism to win over the mass of coloured workers and poor to the programme of fighting for a black-centred workers government. However, for such a perspective to succeed, it would be necessary to at the same time break the majority black working class from bourgeois nationalism, especially that of the ANC/SACP/COSATU Tripartite Alliance.
Many anti-racist coloureds and blacks that identify with the poor toiling masses and feel revulsion towards the brutal anti-poor ANC, still support the ANC alliance or the EFF as a progressive alternative to the racist DA. It’s crucial that they understand that bourgeois nationalism is no alternative for the workers and poor. Black nationalists like the DA racists, would always seek to pit different sectors of the oppressed against each other when it suits them. In the Western Cape this is often done by fuelling inter-racial tensions between Xhosas and coloureds. This undermines the opportunities for united workers struggle that is required to combat racist neo-apartheid capitalism. A revolutionary vanguard party can undercut these divisions through the class struggle leadership of the multi-racial proletariat, while intransigently opposing all racist, ethnic and anti-immigrant prejudices.
The farmworkers and South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) strikes in the Western Cape were glowing examples of how the class struggle united all the different sections of black, coloured and immigrant workers. These militant united strike actions can in part be explained by the level of anger of the non-white working masses against the racist abuse by DA government. During the farmworkers strike the DA was horrified when despite its best efforts to foist racial and anti-immigrant divisions, the workers were unflinchingly united in their strike action. To mobilise the social power of the working class to fight for its own interest and champion the aspirations of all the poor is desperately needed. But for this to happen, the class needs to break with its pro-capitalist trade union misleaders and replace them with a revolutionary class struggle leadership.
A Leninist working class party will act as a tribune of the people and will react to all manifestations of oppression, no matter who it affects. It will also seek to organise workers defence guards to defend the oppressed against the violence of the capitalist state; a much more effective defence as opposed to reliance on the capitalist courts, illusions in the ballot box or faith in this or that bourgeois political party. Class struggle leadership would prevent the discontent of the masses from being channeled along racial and ethnic lines and provide a class axis to direct the fight against the capitalist system which is the source of misery suffered by all the oppressed.
Only the dictatorship of the proletariat can deal decisively with the aspirations of the poor masses and workers for decent housing. It will expropriate all privately-owned urban land without compensation and would mobilise the required significant resources made possible through the socialisation of the means of production to address the burning needs of the poor. The workers state will undertake a massive public works programme to build racially-integrated, quality and affordable housing for all. Spartacist South Africa wants to win those wanting to fight against this rotten capitalist system to the internationalist, revolutionary, proletarian programme of Lenin and Trotsky. Join Us!