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Defend Casual Workers Advice Office in Johannesburg!

On Monday evening 2 September 2019, during a campaign of xenophobic violence, a 200-strong gang wrecked the premises of the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The door was broken open, glass was shattered and the premises were thoroughly trashed. The CWAO stated: “We lost our furniture, printing and communications equipment, our case files … this is a heavy loss in already difficult circumstances.”

CWAO works mainly with labour broker workers who are among the most exploited and marginalised sections of the working class.

Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International condemns the xenophobia which divides the exploited and the oppressed and exculpates the imperialists and their servants in the South African state who exploit the masses and violently bar the way to social progress.

Please support the CWAO’s appeal to restore their premises and facilities and continue to organise and defend casual workers. You can donate to their fund here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/solidarity-with-casual-workers-advice-office-sa

Hewat Beukes expressed the views of WIRFI on these matters in this posting:

UNRESOLVED CONTRADICTIONS COME TO BITE AGAIN 

In 1971/72 Namibian contract workers went on a general strike in the mines, agriculture, and in the colonial industrial and commercial sectors. It was an indelible demonstration of workers’ power. It inspired and set off the South African veld fire of strikes which culminated in the struggle for union rights and the student struggles of 1976. By 1978 Namibia had a fully-fledged union movement in tandem with South Africa. The bourgeois nationalists in both South Africa and Namibia, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Stalinists did not like it. Lacking a workers’ party, the workers’ movement was relatively easy prey to slander and liquidation both here and in exile.

The ‘Marxist left’ which ought to have given clarity failed to see the attacks against the working class as the deployment of a toxic lumpen proletariat by a tribal petit-bourgeoisie to subjugate the class and its struggles to the alliance of the bourgeoisie and pre-capitalist tribal structures. They even went on to mistakenly characterise the kangaroo courts, necklacing of workers, etc. as “self-rule” and “dictatorship of the working class”. The most insidious, reactionary, and horrific reaction against the rising working class could not come from the race regime. It came from the tribal agents of the bourgeoisie within oppressed communities.

This lumpen vice-like grip on working class communities is now being used to revive the caretaker regime’s grip on the working class. It is not directed against organised crime: drug dealing, etcetera. It is directed against mostly vulnerable impoverished refugees, as a smokescreen for lumpen elements to loot and advance petty crime. The political objective is far more sinister, which is to deliver the working class bound hand and foot to the capitalist exploiter and international capital.

It is the obligation of the workers’ movement to correctly define and characterise the present instigated attacks against the working class under the smokescreen of xenophobia. Its central objective is to disable working class organisation and subjugate working-class communities. It is the same monstrous legacy of the 1970s and 1980s. It is meant to lift the caretaker petit bourgeoisie out of its crisis. 

This politics is encompassed by the ongoing denial that the determining factor in the independence of Namibia, the universal right to vote in South Africa (nothing more) and the independence of Zimbabwe were the mass uprisings of the working classes in Southern Africa since 1971. The scale of disruption of Apartheid tyranny in Southern Africa by the South African working class as the decisive factor of change (albeit in caretaker states) is denied and absurdly assigned to individuals to boot.

There can be no revolution in Southern Africa if these historical analyses are not concretised in the organisational structures of the working class. The agencies of the bourgeoisie shall be identified analytically. We shall know and recognise the operations of reaction as against the operations of working-class struggle for political power.

Hewat Beukes

7 September 2019

Out Now! Latest issue of Die Werker, June 2019

 latest issue of Die Werker 

 In this issue:

The discrimination against the San continues unabated.

Organisation and program in place of hopelessness – Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party launched in South Africa 

Message from the WRP to the SRWP.

Birth of the United Seafarer’s Association.

The Committee of Parents petition the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for accounting on the atrocities committed against Namibian refugees.

Where have all the trains gone? 

TSUMEB: The Endobo Hostel fraud.

Workers Advice Centre pledges to join SAFTU in the giant federation’s fight against the organised criminality of the First National Bank.

TCL miners resume their struggle for their stolen pensions. 

WIRFI Message at Miroslav Vodslon’s funeral, Berlin, December 2018

Mirek was a comrade in the truest sense of the word; a fighter side by side with us for a socialist future for the human race.

He was a convinced and profoundly thoughtful Marxist. His theoretical stature towered above that of others because he was highly intelligent, very thorough and took Marxism very seriously indeed. He was never satisfied with superficial or half-baked formulations of it.

Mirek also possessed a wry, dry and self-deprecating sense of humour which showed deep appreciation of the contradictions that arise in life and which moreover enabled him to reveal defects in another person’s reasoning without massaging his own ego. This is something that we will especially miss.

Mirek came into contact with us UK Trotskyists as a militant of the Group of Opposition and Continuity of the Fourth International (GOCQI), in the late 1980s. Having just dealt with an abusive leadership in the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, we were looking for contacts with activists around the world who had gone through experiences parallel to ours and who had similar ideas to ours about the way ahead.

Comrades like Balazs Nagy, Miroslav, Radoslav Pavlovic and Janos Borovi had paid the price of resisting Stalinist rule in their home countries. They had been forced to leave behind families and comrades and go into exile or face death or imprisonment. Based on their own experiences and difficulties in the Trotskyist movement, they joined with the insurgent Workers Revolutionary Party members and contacts in Namibia, South Africa and Latin America to set up the Workers’ International to Rebuild the Fourth International in 1990.

The GOCQI, including Mirek, quickly showed their theoretical mettle, contributing powerfully to the theoretical publications which prepared for the new foundation. Continue reading

Why we must rebuild the Fourth International by Mirek Vodslon 14/09/15

Table of Contents:

1. The question posed
2. Productive forces and modes of production
3. Capitalism and democracy
4. The red flag and the hammer
5. The sickle
6. The number four: the International
7. The Manifesto
8. The first and the second Internationals

9. The failure of the Second International
10. Russian Revolution and Bolshevism
11. Third International
12. Stalinist bureaucracy
13. Left opposition and Fourth International
14. The fate of the Fourth International
15. The defeat of 1989-1991
16. Turn to new workers parties
17. The International that must be built
18. References to literature mentioned


1. The question posed

The Namibian working class – all the active elements in it – is now creating its own party. This party will represent workers and other exploited people in the parliament and soon also in the local authorities. This is already an important step. It will make workers more confident to fight for their demands.

Several movements of working class resistance against capitalist exploitation now converge under the banner of the Workers Revolutionary Party in order to fight together and achieve important partial improvements.

For instance, banks in cahoots with SWAPO officials have stolen the pensions of former press-ganged SWATF recruits and of miners who worked for the now bankrupt TCL corporation. The thieves must be forced to give back what they stole and be punished! The Southern Peoples have long been oppressed. Their legitimate demands which will enable a real development for them must be satisfied. These are just two examples, but there are many. In fact every oppressed section of society has legitimate demands and for each one there is only one party with which they can hope to achieve their satisfaction: the WRP.

However, a lasting improvement of the material situation of the working class requires a fundamental change in the whole society. All the groups and individuals who are now becoming part of the WRP have already understood that. And they expect the WRP as their party to arm itself with a programme that will allow them to achieve such a fundamental change. Continue reading

An analysis of the crises of Southern Africa

A situation characterised by increasing burden of parasitism on the working people

Southern Africa is in the throes of economic and political crises in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola.

In South Africa there’s a louder and louder clamour even from the ranks of the ANC itself for President Zuma’s removal on the misleading conception of so-called State capture. Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas is put forward as ‘State Capture’.

(The fact is that the ANC State was always a comprador State for the ruling classes of South Africa. In this sense the State was ‘captured’ long before the Guptas. Police Chief Jackie Selebi’s undignified relationships with organised gangsters uncovered in 2010 and the Marikana Massacre of miners in 2012 amongst general caretaking were adequate proof of the aforesaid.)

Nevertheless, the South African State is all but bankrupt and the mismanagement of central institutions such as ESKOM (the power utility), which is now under investigation for ‘State Capture’, and the State’s endangering and intrinsic inability to develop adequate infrastructure for capitalism are undoubtedly major issues behind the demand instigated by the ruling classes. Continue reading