Spartacist South Africa No. 6

Summer 2009/2010


Break with the Bourgeois Tripartite Alliance!

Fight for a Black-Centred Workers Government!

The African National Congress (ANC) wasted no time after sweeping the April parliamentary elections to demonstrate that the new government under Jacob Zuma would crack down on strikes and township protests. The day after the elections, military personnel were called on to break a strike by doctors demanding overdue pay hikes and more funds for the overburdened, hellish public health system. Municipal workers who struck this winter for a rise in their paltry wages were attacked by cops firing rubber bullets and thrown in jail. Protesters throughout the country demanding houses, roads and sewage systems for their impoverished townships have met with similar treatment.

Like the “neoliberal” Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela before him, the populist Zuma is doing his job as chief of the capitalist state—an apparatus of organised violence, based centrally on the police, military and prisons, that is wielded on behalf of the filthy-rich ruling class against the overwhelmingly black masses they exploit and oppress. This bourgeois class dictatorship, which continues to defend a system of white privilege, is cloaked by the “non-racial democracy” that was installed in 1994, when white-supremacist apartheid rule was replaced by a government led by the ANC and its Tripartite Alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

As revolutionary Marxists, Spartacist South Africa, section of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist), declared that no party in the April elections represented the interests of the working class and the poor. The SACP and COSATU bureaucracy worked overtime to get out the vote for the ANC, tirelessly portraying Zuma as a “friend” of the workers as opposed to the leaders of the Congress of the People (C.O.P.E.), who split from the ANC to the right after Mbeki was ousted as president last year. But as we wrote in Workers Vanguard No. 933 (27 March), newspaper of the Spartacist League/U.S.: “Despite the ANC’s ‘pro-worker’ and ‘pro-poor’ rhetoric, the ANC and C.O.P.E. are both bourgeois-nationalist—i.e., capitalist—parties” that “represent the interests of the aspiring black bourgeoisie and the predominantly white capitalist ruling class”.

At the core of the recent spate of strikes and protests is the explosive anger at the base of society over the failure of the Tripartite Alliance, after 15 years in power, to fulfill expectations of social and economic equality for the majority. Township protesters complain that they voted for a better life but what they have is getting worse. Striking postal workers demanded the closing of the apartheid wage gap. Adding to longstanding mass unemployment, the world recession has thrown hundreds of thousands more out of work.

A new study shows that the chasm between the wealthy at the top and the masses at the bottom has become the largest in the world, surpassing that in Brazil. The wealthiest are overwhelmingly white and enjoy First World living conditions, while blacks as well as coloured and Indian toilers are at Third World levels. This is a damning indictment of the SACP/COSATU misleaders, who promised the masses that the alliance with the bourgeois ANC would bring social transformation and equality. The result instead was neo-apartheid capitalism. While the political superstructure underwent a major change with the end of the apartheid system of rigid, legally enforced racial segregation and subjugation, the foundation of the capitalist economy remains the superexploitation of mainly black labour.

As the black majority’s anger over their unbearable conditions continues to build, the Zuma government has made clear its intention to beef up the state’s arsenal of repression against labour and the poor. On the opening day of the COSATU national congress in September, Zuma lectured delegates about “violent strikes”. In a speech a week later, he supported giving cops more leeway to “shoot to kill”, supposedly to fight South Africa’s “abnormal criminal problem”. Zuma’s reprimands, echoed by COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, did not go down well at the COSATU congress. Leaders of the SAMWU municipal workers and SATAWU transport workers unions criticised the top COSATU leadership for failing to condemn police attacks on their strikes this year. But these same unions include cops and security guards whose job is to defend capitalist rule and profits by violently repressing workers and the poor. SSA demands: Cops and security guards out of the unions!

To justify their class-collaborationist alliance with the bourgeois ANC, the SACP and COSATU tops speak of a “developmental state” under the ANC in which the working class must fight for “hegemony”. This claptrap was answered almost 140 years ago by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Summing up the lessons of the 1871 Paris Commune, the founders of scientific socialism insisted that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes” (1872 preface to a German edition of the Communist Manifesto). The capitalist state must be smashed through socialist revolution and replaced with a workers state—the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Based on this fundamental Marxist understanding, SSA fights for a black-centred workers governmentthat would expropriate the capitalist bloodsuckers and build a society where the wealth created by labour is used for the benefit of all. Socialist transformation, extending throughout Southern Africa, would depend above all on the victory of proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries of the U.S., West Europe and Japan, where the workers are ruthlessly exploited and, in times like the current economic crisis, thrown onto the scrap heap. It will take an international socialist planned economy, based on the highest level of technology, to lift the urban and rural masses out of poverty and backwardness and create a classless society of material abundance—the beginning of communist society.

Nationalism and Class Collaboration

Squalor in black and coloured townships; miserable wages for factory workers, miners, teachers and municipal workers; jails jam-packed with black and coloured youth and deaths in police custody rising steadily; the criminal neglect of health care in the midst of the AIDS pandemic and other rampant diseases: all are signs that the masses’ aspirations for social equality and a decent life have not even begun to be met. An education specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa gave one stark measure of persistent, deep racial inequality: While one in ten white children get A-level passes in their matriculation exams, the number for black learners is one in 1,000. Underlining that blacks continue to be treated as second-class citizens, recently the newly-appointed vice-chancellor of University of the Free State pardoned the so-called “Reitz Four”, inviting them to return to the university in what was grotesquely called an act of “racial reconciliation”. The four white racist students had been kicked out last year following outrage over a video they made of black campus workers being fed urine-laced food and enduring other humiliations, part of a racist campaign resisting integration of campus residences.

The achievement of national liberation for the oppressed majority is inseparable from the emancipation of the overwhelmingly black working class from the chains of capitalist exploitation. It is the proletariat, which can stop the flow of capitalist profits by withdrawing its labour, that has the social power to lead the unemployed and all the urban and rural poor in overthrowing the murderous capitalist profit system.

A prerequisite for such revolutionary struggle is the political independence of the working class from the bourgeoisie. In struggling for this basic Marxist principle, we say that the Tripartite Alliance must be broken along class lines. The Tripartite Alliance is a nationalist popular front—the South African variant of a governmental coalition binding a reformist workers party to the bourgeoisie. The SACP and COSATU tops perpetuate the illusion that the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie can be expressed in a common programme, like the “national democratic revolution”. This is the essence of their class collaborationism. In fact, the class interests of the exploited are irreconcilably counterposed to those of their exploiters.

In the early days of the “new South Africa”, telling the truth about the bourgeois class nature of the ANC was fighting words. After 15 years of neo-apartheid capitalism, many working-class militants—including inside the SACP—now will admit that the ANC is a bourgeois party. The critical question is, what programmatic conclusions does one draw from this. Some reformist dissidents use this to argue that the SACP should adopt a more “independent” posture in order to gain more influence within the Tripartite Alliance, thus giving a “left” cover for maintaining the subordination of the working class to its capitalist exploiters in the nationalist popular front. This is counterposed to the programme of class independence of the workers from the bourgeoisie and its parties, which means recognising that the ANC is a party of the class enemy. We seek to win advanced workers to this programmatic understanding, which is needed to politically arm them to fight against the betrayals of the SACP and COSATU tops.

There is growing disgruntlement at the base of the SACP over the more forward role their leaders are playing in the Zuma government. Many are angry that Blade Nzimande took a post as Higher Education Minister in direct violation of the SACP constitution, which specifies that the party’s general secretary must serve full-time as an official of the SACP. (Of course, serving as ANC government ministers has been the rule for leading SACPers ever since the late Joe Slovo was Housing Minister under Mandela.) Nzimande has also been ridiculed for his R1,1 million BMW, which many see as exposing the hypocrisy of SACP leaders who decry the corruption of government ministers.

The SACP is an example of what revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin called a bourgeois workers party, with a working-class base and a pro-capitalist leadership and programme. A revolutionary workers party will be built in political combat against the SACP and other reformist organisations, whose best elements must be won away from their treacherous leaderships to the Leninist-Trotskyist programme. We fight to forge a party modelled on the Bolshevik Party, which under the leadership of Lenin and Leon Trotsky led the workers in Russia to power in the October Revolution of 1917. In South Africa, such a party can only be built independent of and in opposition to the bourgeois ANC. This requires a head-on fight against the nationalist ideology that holds the Alliance together and poses the biggest obstacle to winning advanced workers to a Marxist worldview.

Nationalism is a bourgeois ideology that obscures the fundamental class divide in society by preaching the common interests of all who were oppressed under white racist rule. Thus, everyone from government ministers on the gravy train to black mothers in desolate villages struggling to keep their families fed are told to unite in the “broad church” of the ANC, which the SACP falsely portrays as the party of national liberation.

In South Africa, where the capitalist class is white (now including a handful of others) and the working class is overwhelmingly black, class divisions are hugely distorted by the lens of racial colour. The SACP uses this historic characteristic of South African society to openly and shamelessly advance its popular-front alliance with the ANC. The confusion of race and class fostered by nationalism is seen in the widespread misidentification of all poor and oppressed people—from township unemployed to petty shopkeepers—with the working class, which is defined by its key role in the process of production.

Most dangerous of all is the reformist left’s embrace of the cops as fellow workers. Black cops under apartheid were despised because they were correctly seen as serving the interests of the oppressor. But Alliance apologists say that under the ANC-led “democratic” government, the police serve the people. So a white cop may still be a racist Boer, but a black cop is your “comrade”. Meanwhile, they’re both attacking strikes and firing rubber bullets at township and student protesters.

The Debate About Race

Against a backdrop of strikes and township struggles, the Tripartite Alliance has seen sharpening divisions at the top, mainly pitting elements on the ANC’s right wing against the SACP/COSATU bloc. Former Intelligence chief Billy Masetlha condemned the growing influence of SACP and COSATU leaders at the top of the ANC. Speaking from a bourgeois perspective, he correctly pointed out to the Mail & Guardian (9 October) that the ANC “was not founded on a socialist agenda”. Earlier, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader Julius Malema sought to take advantage of the unease at the SACP’s base by condemning Blade Nzimande as a fake working-class leader. Malema also made several appeals to the ANC’s plebeian base by pointing to the perpetuation of white privilege, touching off a wide debate in South Africa on the question of race.

In the main, Malema voices the interests of the emerging black bourgeoisie. While spewing reactionary demagogy about sex under the pretext of fighting “imperialist” concepts, Malema complains about the Zuma government giving whites, coloureds and Indians key economic portfolios. While not naming names, an SACP Central Committee discussion document for an upcoming SACP policy congress responded by criticising a “new anti-left tendency” in the ANC espousing “narrow ‘Africanist’ ideology”.

Despite differences in rhetoric and (sometimes) policy, both sides uphold ANC nationalism. For the SACP and the ANC mainstream, this comes wrapped in the doctrine of “non-racialism”, a vague concept mainly defined in opposition to the racially exclusive citizenship and property rights that were the rule under British-dominion and apartheid rule. As Govan Mbeki, a historic leader of both the SACP and the ANC, explained: “The ANC is struggling to form one people, to be represented in one parliament in one country…. The ANC is seeking to forge one nation, building a non-racial democracy in a unitary state” (quoted in Michael MacDonald, Why Race Matters in South Africa [2006]).

“Non-racialism” promotes the notion that national liberation and social equality for South Africa’s vast majority can be achieved under capitalism. The bankruptcy of this perspective is exposed every day in every way. The stark truth is that 15 years after the demise of apartheid, whites—joined by a handful of blacks—are still on top and the black masses on the bottom. “Non-racialism” provides an increasingly flimsy cover for the neo-apartheid capitalist order that is administered by the Tripartite Alliance government.

The continuation of “racialised inequality”, as the SACP document delicately puts it, is not due to the so-called “1996 class project”, which the SACP invokes in order to blame the Mbeki camp for the masses’ misery. The “class project” really began at the ANC’s founding in 1912 by tribal chiefs and others in the black elite. The ANC always represented the interests of an aspiring black bourgeoisie, although there was no meaningful layer of black capitalists until recently. When the ANC consummated its aspirations to share power with the white ruling class in 1994, it was the logical outcome of its programme.

A key factor in the negotiated settlement with the apartheid government was the demise of the Soviet Union, a bureaucratically degenerated workers state that had been the main sponsor of the ANC and SACP in the international arena and had given military support to their guerrilla actions, largely symbolic, against the apartheid state. With the end of the Cold War, the ANC/SACP quickly came to terms with Western imperialism and its South African junior partner. Nelson Mandela himself assured the capitalists that an ANC-led regime would defend private property. In 1990, even before the ANC came into power, the SACP sent its leader Joe Slovo and NUMSA metalworkers union chief Moses Mayekiso to break a strike by workers at Mercedes-Benz in East London who had occupied their plant. Once in power, the Tripartite Alliance imposed austerity and continued to break strikes, from the 1995 nurses strike and the 2000 VW strike to this year’s strikes by courageous public hospital doctors.

It was the elementary duty of Marxists to defend the ANC, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Azanian People’s Organisation against murderous apartheid repression. At the same time, genuine Marxists give no political support to such petty-bourgeois and bourgeois parties. Writing after the 1994 elections, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president, the ICL declared: “The ANC-led nationalist movement cannot achieve any semblance of ‘liberation’ for the nonwhite masses since it is committed to maintaining South African capitalism, which has always been based on the brutal exploitation of the black toilers” (“South Africa Powder Keg”, Black History and the Class Struggle No. 12, February 1995).

Against all forms of nationalism, we counterpose the fight for a black-centred workers government as part of a socialist federation of Southern Africa. It will take a workers government centred on the black majority to break the power of the Randlords, expropriate capitalist property and begin the socialist reconstruction of society, finally opening the road to the liberation of the non-white masses. Such a government would not be racially exclusive but would unite the many black tribal- and language-based groups along with the coloured and Indian populations while providing ample room and full democratic rights for those whites who would accept a government centred on the black toilers and join in building a society based on genuine equality.

The call for a black-centred workers government is an application of Leon Trotsky’s perspective of permanent revolution. Trotsky explained that in the colonial and neocolonial world, where capitalism developed belatedly, the democratic tasks associated with the bourgeois revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries can be achieved only through proletarian revolution. Adequate housing for the millions in the townships, squatter camps and villages, electricity and water for the entire population, free quality education, the eradication of lobola (bride price) and other traditional patriarchal practices oppressive to women: these desperately needed measures require the socialist transformation of the economy and society under the dictatorship of the proletariat, fighting to promote socialist revolution internationally.

As Trotsky stressed in an April 1935 letter to his South African comrades: “Insofar as a victorious revolution will radically change not only the relation between the classes, but also between the races, and will assure to the blacks that place in the state which corresponds to their numbers, insofar will the social revolution in South Africa also have a national character.” He continued:

“The historical weapon of national liberation can be only the class struggle. The Comintern [Communist International], beginning in 1924, transformed the program of national liberation of colonial people into an empty democratic abstraction which is elevated above the reality of class relations. In the struggle against national oppression different classes liberate themselves (temporarily) from material interests and become simple ‘anti-imperialist’ forces.”

Under the direction of the Stalinised Comintern, the forebears of the SACP adopted the dogma of “two-stage revolution”, which they translated as the “national democratic revolution” that would somehow “grow over” into the socialist revolution. The “two-stage” schema tells workers and the oppressed to subordinate their interests to those of the “progressive” bourgeoisie in the first stage of the revolution, while the second stage—socialism—is relegated to the distant future. In fact, the second stage never comes. From China in 1925-27 to Indonesia in 1965, the “first stage” has ended in the slaughter of Communists, militant workers and peasants. In South Africa, it means the subordination of the SACP to the ANC. The only “growing over” we have seen is some top “Communists” and union leaders becoming millionaires.

The Left and “Nation Building”

In reviving the call for a black-centred workers government, we note that Spartacist South Africa incorrectly stopped using this slogan after 2001. We remarked in “South Africa: For a Black-Centered Workers Government!” (Workers Vanguard No. 911, 28 March 2008) that “this deprived us of a crucial weapon in combating the illusion that the ‘national democratic revolution’ has achieved a ‘rainbow nation’ based on the ANC’s celebrated doctrine of ‘non-racialism’”. Exemplifying those who purvey such illusions, the Workers International Vanguard League ludicrously claimed that our call “plays into the hands of those who still seek to divide the formerly politically oppressed along ethnic lines” (see our 1998 pamphlet Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacists No. 1, “A Reply to the Workers International Vanguard League”).

Everyone with eyes to see knows that tribal and ethnic divisions in the townships and villages that were consciously fostered by the apartheid regime are thriving under the “new dispensation”, where those at the bottom continue to be pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival. As the enforcer of austerity, the Alliance government cannot help but perpetuate these divisions and engage in divide-and-rule tactics. ANC veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and black capitalist Tokyo Sexwale, who is currently the Minister of Human Settlements, infamously remarked in 1994 that protests by impoverished coloured township residents made him vomit. The Democratic Alliance, a party of white privilege espousing “free market” capitalism, was able to defeat the ANC in the April provincial elections in the Western Cape largely through huge gains among coloured voters, many of whom had been alienated by the perceived favouritism of the ANC toward blacks.

The ICL stressed in the 1997 pamphlet, The Fight for a Revolutionary Vanguard Party: Polemics on the South African Left, that “if the masses’ frustration does not find expression along class lines it will fuel and embitter every other kind of division”. This result was seen in all its horror in the anti-immigrant pogroms of May 2008. The violence began when Alexandra residents demanding decent housing turned against immigrants in the township, unleashing an orgy of pillage and murder that spread throughout the country. Sixty-two people died in the pogroms, many of them South Africans killed because they “looked like” immigrants or did not belong to whatever the dominant ethnic group was in their area. Tens of thousands of immigrants were forced to flee the country or to try to survive in wretched refugee camps.

We issued a leaflet after the violence broke out calling on COSATU and other unions to mobilise in defense of the besieged immigrants, demanding: Full citizenship rights for all immigrants! No deportations! Immigrants, who have always formed a large part of the mining workforce and other components of the economy, must be organised into the unions with full rights and benefits. The unions should fight for jobs and decent housing for all, which could unite the poor across national, tribal and ethnic lines against the common capitalist enemy.

The urgent necessity for such struggle was again seen in this year’s township protests, which often turned into attacks on Pakistani and Somali shopkeepers and other immigrants. Standing in the way of a united proletarian fight are the workers’ misleaders, who accept the capitalist system of scarcity and promote bigotry against “foreigners” through protectionist “proudly South African” campaigns. The situation cries out for the construction of a multiracial vanguard party that would act as a tribune of the people. Championing all the exploited and oppressed, such a party would, as Lenin wrote in What Is To Be Done? (1902), “produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation” in order to “clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat”.

The SACP/COSATU tops and other proponents of “nation building” accept as sacrosanct the borders drawn up by the British colonialists, who practiced divide-and-rule in Southern Africa and throughout the Empire. South Africa is not a nation but a colonial-derived state comprising many national, tribal and ethnic groups, several of which span the country’s borders. As we wrote in “South Africa Powder Keg”:

“It is entirely possible that under proletarian class rule a South African nation will evolve through widespread inter-marriage and the development of a common culture and language or languages. However, ‘nation building’ is in no sense the supreme goal of the socialist revolution, nor will national integration be confined to the people now living within the borders of the South African state.”

Only a socialist federation of Southern Africa can provide a framework for overcoming the ethnic and tribal divisions bequeathed by the imperialists in a democratic, egalitarian and rational manner.

Marxism vs. Reformist Nationalisation Schemes

The need to forge a new proletarian leadership that is at once revolutionary and internationalist is underscored by the economic recession, which has led to renewed protectionist and anti-immigrant chauvinism in South Africa and around the world. The 1938 Transitional Programme, written by Trotsky during the Great Depression as the founding document of the Fourth International, is acutely relevant to today’s situation. To solve the problem of mass unemployment, the Transitional Programme calls to shorten the workweek and divide the available work at no loss in pay: Jobs for all! We call for massive pay hikes and a sliding scale of wages to keep pace with inflation. To answer the desperate need for houses, schools, roads and hospitals, we demand a massive programme of public works, with labour paid at good union rates. This points to the need for comprehensive economic planning, which the anarchic capitalist profit system cannot provide. Trotsky declared:

“Property owners and their lawyers will prove the ‘unrealizability’ of these demands. Smaller, especially ruined capitalists in addition will refer to their account ledgers. The workers categorically denounce such conclusions and references... The question is one of life or death of the only creative and progressive class, and by that token of the future of mankind. If capitalism is incapable of satisfying the demands inevitably arising from the calamities generated by itself, then let it perish. ‘Realizability’ or ‘unrealizability’ is in the given instance a question of the relationship of forces, which can be decided only by the struggle. By means of this struggle, no matter what its immediate practical successes may be, the workers will best come to understand the necessity of liquidating capitalist slavery.”

The current economic crisis has thrown “neoliberal” policies, such as banking deregulation, out of favour in bourgeois governments around the world, which have turned to wage-slashing corporate bailouts and other spending to try to kick-start renewed economic growth. No amount of such tinkering can solve the problem of capitalist economic crises, which are inherent to an economic system defined by the private ownership of the means of production and the drive for profit (see the 2009 Spartacist pamphlet, Karl Marx Was Right: Capitalist Anarchy and the Immiseration of the Working Class.)

Earlier this year, ANCYL leader Julius Malema, the Young Communist League and COSATU officials revived talk about nationalising the mines that constitute the core of the economy.Zuma quickly assured business leaders that the ANC had no intention of nationalising mines and that this was all just a friendly debate inside the Alliance. The talk about nationalisation was at bottom just another bourgeois reform scheme. As several commentators pointed out, one factor driving the debate is the failure of some “black economic empowerment” mining enterprises whose owners cannot meet debt repayments and need to be bailed out. After nationalising one or two mines, the government could sell them to some of its cronies.

Giving the ANC some left cover, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, and Keep Left!, followers of the late Tony Cliff, jumped in with calls for “workers control” of nationalised enterprises. These reformists’ entire framework is to pressure the bourgeois Alliance government to serve the interests of workers and the poor. The DSM was buried inside the ANC for more than a decade before declaring in 1996 that the ANC was “pro-capitalist”. The Keep Left! leadership in effect called for a vote to the ANC in the April elections in an article by Alan Goatley and Claire Ceruti in Socialism from below (November 2008) on the split of “Terror” Lekota and other Mbekiites from the ANC. The article falsely drew a “class line between the Lekota ANC and the Zuma ANC” and declared that “boycotting is not an option with this choice”.

Malema & Co. lean on the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, with its statement that “the mineral wealth beneath the soil shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole”. There is nothing socialist about the Freedom Charter. At best it poses nationalisation within the framework of capitalism, not uncommon for bourgeois populists in Third World countries dominated by imperialism. Deliberately vague on how the transfer of property is to be realised, the Charter states that “only a democratic state…can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief”. As we noted in “Forge a Leninist-Trotskyist Party to Fight for Workers Revolution!” (Spartacist South Africa No. 5, Spring 2007): “‘The people’ are divided into different classes with counterposed interests. In referring to ‘democracy’, the ANC meant bourgeois democracy, which means above all defence of the ‘right’ of the capitalists to exploit the workers.”

Answering Malema in the Sunday Times (19 July), Ben Turok, an ANC Member of Parliament and author of the Freedom Charter’s economic clause, wrote: “It was the colonial aspect that the charter sought to reverse, not private ownership of property. It has never been the intention of the ANC to create a command economy by nationalisation, either then or now.” He added: “Certainly, as the ANC moved to a negotiated settlement, there was no suggestion of taking over major industry, and this continues to be the formal policy position.”

Revolutionary Marxists are for the expropriation of the mines, large farms and factories, without compensation to their former owners. This is key to achieving genuine national liberation for the oppressed masses. But it will take a workers state to carry this out.

Trotsky noted in the Transitional Programme that while Marxists are for the expropriation of the capitalist class as a whole, it is also appropriate to occasionally call for “the expropriation of several key branches of industry vital for national existence, or of the most parasitic group of the bourgeoisie”. Trotsky continued: “The difference between these demands and the muddleheaded reformist slogan of ‘nationalization’ lies in the following: (1) we reject indemnification; (2) we warn the masses against demagogues of the People’s Front who, giving lip service to nationalization, remain in reality agents of capital; (3) we call on the masses to rely only upon their own revolutionary strength; (4) we link up the question of expropriation with that of seizure of power by the workers and farmers.”

The mining bosses who for more than a century have reaped incredible profits from the superexploitation of mainly black labour should not get one cent in indemnification. Against Vavi, Nzimande, Malema and all the demagogues of the nationalist popular front, we say that only by taking power in their own hands can the workers begin to reconstruct society in their interests. This requires building a Leninist-Trotskyist party in South Africa as part of the struggle to reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution.