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New Book: Movement for Socialism! South Africa’s NUMSA points the way

small pamphlet
On 7th May 2014 the African National Congress (ANC) was returned as the government of South Africa, but there is deep disquiet. For the defeat of apartheid did not bring an end to capitalism as many militant activists had hoped, and a small group of the ANC at the head of the government and their cronies in the trade union leaderships have prospered while imposing neo-liberal policies which are impoverishing the masses. Meanwhile the workers‚ movement has been set back in a number of different ways in the last 20 years.

In response to this, even before the general election, at its Special National Congress in December 2013, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) had with- drawn its support from the ANC and its ally, the South African Communist Party (SACP), and had already begun a series of actions to establish a united front to coordinate struggles in the workplace and communities. These stormy developments in the class struggle in South Africa have profound implications for working people everywhere.

This book highlights the way forward proposed by the leaders of the NUMSA to resolve the crisis. To assist readers outside of South Africa to understand how this came about, we include the history of the struggle by South Africa’s working class and its close links to the Namibian workers‚ movement to overthrow white majority racist rule as part and parcel of the struggle for socialism by participants in the movement.

Published for Workers International by Socialist Studies, PO Box 68375 London, E7 7DT

May 2014

ISBN 978-0-9564319-4-3

Price £5

Numsa and the question of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist political organ of the working class in South Africa today

“It is obvious that the black capitalist class favours capitalism and that it will do its best to influence the post-apartheid society in this direction.  

It is obvious that the black middle and upper classes who take part in a broad liberation alliance will jostle for hegemony and attempt to represent their interests as the interests of all Africans.  

It is obvious that (like their counterparts in every part of the world) the black middle and upper strata, who find themselves on the side of the people’s struggle, are often inconsistent and vacillating. They are usually the enemy’s softest targets for achieving a reformist, rather than a revolutionary, outcome.”  (Joe Slovo, 1988)

It has become necessary, and quite urgent, to emphatically re-state and explain the December 2013 historic Numsa Special National Congress Resolutions, especially the ones that talk to the formation of the United Front, the Movement for Socialism, the ANC and its alliance, and the formation of an independent revolutionary socialist vanguard party of the working class and the role of Numsa in all this.

The Resolutions adopted in our Special National Congress were a culmination of more than 26 years of working inside the South African Liberation Movement (LM) in general, and inside and building the ANC and its alliance in particular.

Over more than two decades of struggle inside the LM and the ANC and its alliance, by December last year, Numsa came to the inescapable observation and conclusion that there is no chance of winning back the ANC led alliance to what it was originally formed for, which was to drive a revolutionary programme for fundamental transformation of the country, with the Freedom Charter as the minimum platform to transform the South African economy and society.

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Numsa President Opening Speech during Central Committee at The Lakes Hotel and Conference Centre on 12 – 16 May 2014

20 Years After 27th April 1994: what is the state the South African Revolution?

“Nothing demonstrates better the increasing rigor of the colonial system: you begin by occupying the country, then you take the land and exploit the former owners at starvation rates. Then with mechanization, this cheap labour is still too expensive. You finish up taking from the native their very right to work. All that is left for the Natives to do in their own land at a time of great prosperity, is to die of starvation.” (Jean Paul Sarter, 2001)

Numsa National Office Bearers,
Delegates to this Numsa CC,
All Numsa Staff,
Invited guests,
Media present.

On behalf of the National Office Bearers of Numsa, I welcome all of you to this first Central Committee meeting of Numsa after our historic December 2013 Numsa National Congress.

As we seat here, we are meeting after the first South African National Elections in which Numsa as an organisation did not support any political party.

This Central Committee must help all of us to fully understand the moment we are in, from a clear Marxist-Leninist class perspective. There should be no confusion over what Numsa resolved to do, in the Numsa National Special Congress.
All of us must be very clear what these just ended elections mean to the working class of South Africa. All of us must be clear what our revolutionary and trade union responsibilities are, post the Numsa historic Special National Congress. Continue reading

Statement on the decisions of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa by the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International Conference 29-30 March 2014

The Special Congress (17-20 December 2013) of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), with 1,200 delegates representing 338,000 members, unanimously decided to break with the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) as the first step towards establishing a political organisation committed in its policies and actions to the establishment of a Socialist South Africa.

For NUMSA the massacre of the Marikana miners marked a turning point in the social and political life of South Africa. It could not be business as usual. They put the question: How do we explain the killing of striking miners in a democracy? They had to conduct a sustained and thorough analysis of the political meaning of Marikana. Continue reading

Long live the South African working class as they get ready to storm the heavens!

by Balazs Nagy, April 2014

Here in France, as elsewhere, the media have hardly mentioned the social and political ferment currently convulsing South Africa, which is no surprise actually. This evasive and rather suspect silence contrasts oddly and strikingly with the unprecedented enthusiasm these same media showed during Nelson Mandelas elaborate funeral rites, an enthusiasm whose real purpose was to glorify the mans politics. The sleight of hand that makes important information like this simply disappear also contrasts strangely with the endless, servile, outpouring of easy-reading chatter when the President of France visited the US. (This sycophant never once stopped licking his hosts boots, although they hack into his private communications like they do everybody else on the planet, and US-owned businesses in France dont even pay their taxes). Continue reading

Numsa launch new paper

Numsa News: We say No to handouts, we need real jobs

Highlights include:
Numsa congress: Breaking new ground
Parliament: So, what is the state of the nation when it comes to policy and direction?
Numsa striking for youth jobs against false solutions
ANC vision: An Assessment of Vision 2014
Shop floor: Eskom salary report
Benefits: Will the government take workers’ pension fund money?
The meaning of Marikana tragedy

Issue One here!

NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

10 March 2014, Posted in Press ReleasesSpeeches

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirit of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language…” (Karl Marx, 1984, Eighteenth Brumaire).”

 NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

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NUMSA Sedibeng statement on SACP Gauteng futile exercise!!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

7 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

The current action and so called mobilization exercise of the Gauteng Province of the SACP is another attempt to discredit Numsa and a distortion of facts.

The SACP is moving around companies organized by Numsa in what they term as mobilization to encourage Numsa members to vote for the ANC in the coming national and provincial elections.

Numsa Sedibeng region view this as nothing but another attempt to create confusion amongst its members and discredit us. These dirty tricks will not succeed; our members have taken the decision and are firm and running with speed to see implementation.

We are aware that the SACP will be in Sedibeng from Monday 10th March 2014 where meetings have been arranged with our members in Arcelor Mittal Vereeniging Works. We are further aware that towards our Special National Congress, the same SACP tried in vain to use the same members who are employed by a labour broker called Workforce and PPO to rebel against Numsa through a fabrication on unsubstantiated lies. Those attempts drastically failed as we marched through our Special National Congress and took resolutions that are to emancipate the working class and the poor from neo-liberal economic exploitation they are currently faced with.

We want to set the record straight especially for the attention of the SACP in the District of Sedibeng and Gauteng Province. The Numsa Special National Congress resolution is very clear and says “Numsa as an organization is not going to endorse any political party going to elections in 2014, we are not going to release any funding and any of our resources to mobilize support for any political party, but however, our members have the right to vote for any party of their choice in the coming elections”. Finish and klaar!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

Contact:
Mokete Makoko
Sedibeng Regional Secretary, 083 297 8784