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The revolutionary programme of Trotskyism in South America:
The Theses of Pulacayo
As the leading elements in the South African working class struggle over key points in the revolutionary programme of Marxism, such as the role of the working class in the revolution, how they relate to other classes, how they should work in government and politics, how to organise at the workplace and in the community, how to plan to develop the national economy and industry, how to organise politically as a party and in a United Front, the Pulacayo Theses provide an essential guide for a way forward.
In 1946 the Bolivian Miners’ Federal Trade Union (FSTMB) was a centre of a profound debate between political tendencies which culminated in the Pulacayo Theses submitted by the Trotskyist Revolutionary Workers Party (POR). Now nearly 70 years old, these Theses stand up astonishingly well as a practical and theoretical guide to action.
Workers International Journal strongly recommends a study of these theses to all those who strive to build the movement demanded by the NUMSA special congress of December 2013
I. Basic principles
1. The proletariat, in Bolivia as in other countries, constitutes the revolutionary social class par excellence. The mineworkers, the most advanced and the most combative section of this country’s proletariat, determine the direction of the FSTMB’s struggle.
2. Bolivia is a backward capitalist country; within its economy different stages of development and different modes of production coexist, but the capitalist mode is qualitatively dominant, the other socio-economic forms being a heritage from our historic past. The prominence of the proletariat in national politics flows from this state of affairs.
3. Bolivia, even though a backward country, is only one link in the world capitalist chain. National peculiarities are themselves, a combination of the essential features of the world economy. Continue reading
The Workers Revolutionary Party of Namibia (a section of the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International) is registered as a parliamentary party with long-standing member Hewat Beukes as its official responsible officer. In November 2014 the WRP took part in the Assembly (government) elections and won two seats.
However they faced problems immediately when parliamentary officials tried to insert a certain Willem Beukes as one of their MPs, whereas under Namibian law it is for each party itself to name its MPs. This being the case officialdom was obliged to back down. But this did not end the threats, interference, intimidation and harassment of the WRP.
The aim of the SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation) government is to silence effective opposition to their state-assisted looting of the country’s assets and natural resources. Therefore they are deeply opposed to the policies which the WRP wants to pursue in Parliament. These were detailed in the maiden speeches of the two MPs explaining that “we use parliament to advance the demands of the working class including the poor peasantry”. (NOTE: these two speeches are published in full in Workers International Journal no. 12, May 2015: web: workersinternational.info). Continue reading
Inside this issue:
‘This house will have to hear the independent voice of the working class’ Maiden speech of WRP parliamentarian Benson Kaapal
‘We will put forward the seizure of our natural resources to enable us to fund the upliftment of the working class and poor peasantry’ Salmon Fleermuys addresses Parliament
WRP Namibia’s response to Sam Nujoma
‘You are not welcome at our commemoration’ A letter to the President of Namibia from the Baster Community in Rehoboth
Hewat and Erica Beukes on behalf of the Beukes and Thiro families: Do not attend!
Statements and postings by the United Front
Irvin Jim’s input to the conference for socialism
Report of a Workers International delegation to Johannesburg
Suicide bid of two workers, former combatants
An appeal to the international labour community
Inside this issue:
Workers Revolutionary Party of Namibia:
Report on November 2014 National Assembly elections
Numsa National Treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo speaks to the Australian Workers Union
Historical Materialism: A timely reminder. An extract from a forthcoming book by BALAZS NAGY examines and defends a fundamental aspect of Marxist thought
Workers Revolutionary Party to Rebuild the Fourth International is a member of the Workers International for the Rebuilding of the Fourth International.
Its leadership emanated from the liberation struggle of Namibia and were part of the socialists in the SWAPO Youth League, which in 1976 unsuccessfully challenged the SWAPO Leadership for all-encompassing corruption and imperialist collaboration due to imperialist intervention.
In 1984 we started building our party clandestinely and stood in the forefront of the struggle against the terror campaign and mass killings of SWAPO members by the SWAPO leadership in exile in Angola and Zambia.
In 1988 our party called out the mass protests of 4 May 1988 against South Africa just prior to independence obtained in 1989.
Since 1990 we have fought on all fronts on issues wracking the working class and the colonial status quo maintained by the colonial ruling classes through a caretaker boss-boy SWAPO regime. Continue reading
10 December 2014
It has been realized that the Government is failing to meet the needs of most if not all poor communities. This is evidently shown by a significant number of community struggles such as road blockade, burning of tyres, etc. While on the other hand the government is using the state through police brutality to smash those communities that are aggrieved.
This led NUMSA in its Special National Congress (SNC) that took place in December 2013 to take resolution of being a catalyst or a facilitator in forming the United Front (UF), since most NUMSA members are the victims of the policies promulgated by the government.
For instance E-Tolling, affects the poorest of the poor directly. If the bread cost R10 including delivery cost, the owner of the bakery will add E-Toll amount into the price of bread, of which the poorest of the poor may end-up paying R12.
Likewise the National Development Plan looks like a good plan, but most people hardly look at how it is going to be funded. It talks about infrastructures like roads to be built, funding coming from users, of which it will be through the e-tolling system.
It is evident that in most countries outside Europe where Western countries have intervened; the situation gets worse than before. That means in South Africa we need to coordinate these protests in order not to be hijacked by agencies of the West. And everything should and must be from below (Bottom Up Approach).
On 15 November 2014, the KwaZulu Natal (KNZ) had a UF provincial workshop to address the Numsa idea of a United Front. The people who attended the workshop adopted the Numsa idea of the UF which is independent from Numsa. A steering committee was elected of 15 people around KZN. Continue reading
Zwelinzima Vavi, the General Secretary of COSATU and himself an SACP member, got into a public argument with SACP Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin last November over contentious issues in the Alliance that rules South Africa.
This bare fact alone shows how utterly fundamental the political crisis in South Africa is.
A lengthy reply by Vavi to Cronin dated December 17, 2014 is available online at:
The basic division in the political crisis is between the working class and wider layers of working people on the one hand and the bourgeoisie and its representatives in the Alliance on the other. That was made very clear when armed police opened fire on striking rock-drillers at Marikana on 16 August 2012 and in the way political forces have lined up subsequently. It is therefore very hard to understand why in his reply Vavi makes no reference of any kind at all to the events at Marikana. The silence on this issue robs his remarks of meaning in a certain sense. It belies the very reality he attempts to portray at considerable length in the letter.
The crisis in South Africa involves the unravelling of the National Democratic Revolution’s meretricious promises. It is a crisis which involves workers driven to mobilise against the Alliance government in order to defend their class interests, but also one which works right through every element in the alliance, COSATU, SACP and ANC.
It is a crisis in which the developing leadership of the working class lies in the hands of the NUMSA officeholders, who correctly take the fight through all parts of the Alliance, while at the same time building their movement in a very open way in the United Front and among their international contacts. Their insistence upon their right to belong to COSATU and fight within the federation testifies to their understanding of their responsibilities towards their class and the masses in general. Big, indeed historical, political issues are at stake. They cannot be resolved by walking away from this fight or displacing it elsewhere. Continue reading
A fresh wind really has started to blow from South Africa, where the leadership of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) has responded positively to the growing resistance of the masses against the African National Congress (ANC) regime and the situation following the massacre of platinum miners at Marikana in 2012.
NUMSA proposes to:
(1) Break the trade unions away from the ruling alliance with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) because that alliance has been “captured by hostile forces”
(2) Commission an international study of the history of previous attempts to establish working class political parties in different parts of the world in order to prepare to form one which can defend the interests of working people today
(3) Establish a united front of struggle with all who are suffering and resisting under the present pro-imperialist government.
In a few short months since taking these decisions, NUMSA has successfully organised political schools for its militant activists and also held an international seminar attended by a range of left-wing political and trade union activists from different parts of the world. More recently they have managed to achieve united-front actions to defend manufacturing jobs and employment in the country and made great progress towards organising an actual united front as an instrument to take forward the struggle of the broad masses of South Africans. Continue reading
WRP election sucesses
Reply to US Embassy invitation
Cauldron ready to blow
Invitation to a conference
Workers Front programmatic principles
“We want to abolish capitalism”: Interview
South Africa Dossier
KZN United Front
Stalinist witch-hunt underway
Vavi wades into the discussion
Two opposed conceptions of the socialist revolution