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Understanding the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China: reflections on a posting


Understanding the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China: reflections on a posting
A fellow member of my trade union asked my opinion of an online article by a British socialist, John Ross: The historical significance of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China – Learning from China .
This union colleague and I have worked together over quite a few years as part of a grouping in a teachers’ union here in England which aims to build the union at its base and in its leadership. This group has had considerable success and our union is now well-placed and playing a significant role in the re-awakening of organised resistance by the UK working class to the effects of the economic crisis This work is earning significant support from wide sections of the community. We are also known throughout our union for the emphasis we lay on international solidarity issues.
Several of the better-led trade unions here are organising resistance to attacks on wages, living standards, access to public service and welfare entitlements on the part of finance capital, employers and the current UK government. In the process we are standing up for the interests of the broader community. This is not an isolated trend. There are similar struggles across North America, the Caribbean and in southern Africa, for example.
It is worth stressing this because the topic under discussion – the current state of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) and its role in world economy and politics – is not a matter of abstract interest or of concern just for political nerds. The posting by John Ross under discussion here is a very explicit attempt to establish a dominant position for the PRC and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and its policies in the workers’ and progressive movement across the world. The role of the PRC and CPC is undoubtedly having an impact among workers, activists and trade unionists here and elsewhere who are striving to renew their own outlook, political consciousness and understanding of their place in the world.
Instead of forming fighting solidarity with workers’ movements around the world, we see the Chinese government forming cosy relationships with regimes which practice exploitation, bow down to trans-national corporations and very often deny basic rights to their own citizens. Continue reading

What We Can Learn From The Crisis in NUMSA



The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is not just any old union. It was built by black industrial workers fighting exploitation by multinationals keen to use the repressive, racist apartheid regime to secure super-profits. It was built with support and advice from Marxist activists. These workers asserted themselves as an independent revolutionary force, quickly grasped the core ideas of socialism, and fearlessly fought to bring down the whole apartheid system. They established workers’ democracy as the working principle of their union.

The settlement which ended apartheid rule in the early 1990s cheated these militant workers of the opportunity to take the road to a socialist South Africa. An alliance between the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) not only dropped any socialist policy (such as nationalising the mining and metal-refining industries, returning the land to the toilers who work it, etc.); it actually forged ahead with a policy of widespread selling-off of public utilities. At the same time, the leaders of this alliance neglected no opportunity to enrich themselves.

For over 20 years, the triple alliance was actually able to ride out any working-class opposition which was provoked as a succession of government policy initiatives failed to provide progress in jobs, welfare and living conditions or in mass black access to education and agricultural land.

Working-class resistance was reflected in internal wrangles within the alliance and the regular-rapid turnover in national Presidents, with Thabo Mbeki replaced by Jacob Zuma and Zuma in turn replaced by the former miners’ union leader, Cyril Ramaphosa. Each successive incumbent became mired in accusations of corruption and incompetence.

Working-class resistance broke out into the open in the middle of 2012 with the shooting by the South African Police Service of thirty-four striking miners at Marikana and the subsequent wave of industrial militancy.

Correctly identifying this as a pivotal moment in the class struggle in South Africa, NUMSA convened a Special Congress in December 2013 which undertook a serious campaign to re-establish a socialist and internationalist workers’ movement. The decisions of this Special Congress are summarised at What Numsa decided in December 2013 – wirfi (workersinternational.info).

These Special Congress decisions amounted to a carefully considered understanding of a way forward to revive the workers’ movement, workers’ democratic organisation and workers’ political power as a class.

However, progress along the lines sketched out at the Special Congress has been far from smooth. Old mistakes and embedded illusions have persisted in the very leadership of this trade union. This leadership is quick to point out the failings of post-apartheid rule but has never really taken on board any analysis of the real lessons of these failures. They have therefore neglected many of the decisions of the December 2013 Special Congress and taken the union in quite a different direction from the one chosen by delegates.

Differences over these matters have led to a crisis within the trade union. This came to a head over preparations for the 11thNational Congress of the Union slated to start on 25 July 2022. An opposition group of political activists alleged serious abuses of democratic process by the national leadership of General Secretary Irvin Jim in the course of local and regional gatherings to discuss policies and select and mandate delegates. Leading figures in this opposition – all elected office bearers at various levels within the union – went to court and obtained a ruling that the Congress should not go ahead. The majority of the national leadership of the union nevertheless went ahead with the Congress. They obtained a ruling from another court that some slight last-minute changes they made were adequate to meet the terms of the previous injunction.

A Secretariat Report to the NUMSA NEC Meeting held on 28 and 28 October 2022 reveals at some length the attitude, orientation and methods of the current NUMSA leadership. This Secretariat Report makes no direct or systematic attempt to defend this leadership against any of the charges made against it. It is nevertheless worth studying, as it reveals some very basic weaknesses and problematic attitudes in that leadership, as well as underhand ways of dealing with political problems. The underlying roots of the problems in the leadership of the union, the reasons why an opposition had to arise and challenge this leadership can be traced and identified by analysing aspects of this Secretariat Report. This present article delves into some of this. Continue reading

The crisis in Numsa: The lessons and the way forward


The crisis in Numsa:

The lessons and the way forward

We, the members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), firmly commit ourselves to a United South Africa, free of oppression and economic exploitation”

This proud and defiant statement opens the Preamble to the Numsa Constitution, which goes on to assert “that this can only be achieved under the leadership of an organised and united working class”.

The Preamble lists the conditions under which this struggle can be successful, including:

(a) fight and oppose all forms of discrimination” in the trade union, the workplace and society.

(c) ensure that all levels of the union are democratically structured and controlled by the members themselves through elected worker committees.”

(d) encourage democratic worker leadership and organisation in our factories and in all spheres of society.” (“Preamble to the Constitution” at: https://numsa.org.za/numsa-constitution/)

And yet, it seems that this crucial trade union has fallen under the control of a dictatorial and corrupt special-interest clique. Union activists claim that this clique imposes its authority in flagrant breach of the principles expressed in the Preamble to the Union’s Constitution. Continue reading

Ukraine is a warning to workers everywhere


Comrade Leonardt, a trade-unionist and socialist in Namibia, asked a few days ago for an explanation for the crisis and war in Ukraine.

He speaks for millions of people all over the world, who have been increasingly horrified by the growing savagery of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is right to denounce this appalling brutality on the part of the Russian government and it is right, as many people are now doing, drop their daily routines and make a great effort to support the millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country.

But it is not enough. We have to do our best to understand the driving forces behind this crisis situation, which is a warning to everybody in the world.

The mounting crisis points to a central feature of world politics, economy and diplomacy: the growing rivalry between the established “Western” (or “First World”, to use that repulsive and misleading term) powers and the rising economic, diplomatic and military powers of Russia and China.

Continue reading

China and the crisis of imperialism


For about four decades, the west and China engaged with each other economically and diplomatically to the benefit of both. But this era is at an end. The crucial question now is to what extent a process of mutual decoupling can be managed to minimise the economic fallout and avert the risk of conflict.”

(“Averting the risk of a China-US conflict”, Financial Times, 23 December 2021)

During the 1970s, the supposedly Marxist and Communist Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government of China threw a life-line to the crisis-ridden imperialist states of the US and Western Europe. This provided China with access to world markets, modern technology and finance markets. No one can deny that the people of China have a right to all of this. However, the political side of this deal was deeply reactionary, as we will show below. Fifty years down the line, a hugely changed China emerges as a redoubtable rival, within the system of international imperialism, to the powers which have been her quasi-allies for nearly 50 years.

Chinese workers and peasants paid a price for this deal. For almost half a century their underpaid and sweated labour has enriched both a Chinese bourgeoisie and Western finance capital. The price that workers in North America and Europe paid was to undergo a debilitating war of attrition on their class as industry after industry was closed down and “exported”.

Imperialism (capitalism at its highest stage of development) was in an intractable crisis in the 1970s. Throughout North America and Western Europe, a well-organised and confident working class was asserting itself in the workplace and exerting pressure on bourgeois political systems. On the one hand, Soviet troops were stationed in the heart of Europe to the east of the river Elbe, a reminder that the legacy of the Russian Revolution of 1917 still lived, even under a degenerate and corrupt leadership; on the other hand, a post-war generation of workers in the west had grown up under bourgeois governments committed (despite themselves) to full employment and increasing social expenditure on welfare, health, working-class housing, access to justice and educational provision. Continue reading

Report on Political Parties Liaison Committee by WRP Namibia




A party duly registered in terms of the Electoral laws of the Republic of Namibia

Fax: 088641065 Tel: 061-260647 4479 Dodge Avenue Khomasdal jacobusjosob@gmail.com / ericabeukes@yahoo.co.uk

10 November 2021.


On 9 November, yesterday, the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PLC) met at the Electoral Commission of Namibia to discuss amongst others, “the way forward”.

“… The Electoral Commission has noted with great concern that most political parties do not comply” with the provisions of the Electoral Act regarding annual audited statements and statements of liabilities and assets. Only one party has submitted statements. Continue reading

Financial appeal from our Namibian comrades


For many years now, the Namibian Workers Advice Centre has been run from the Windhoek home of Erica and Hewat Beukes.
They have been forced to fight a legal battle over many years to defend the premises against legal and financial chicanery. Many homeowners in Namibia have suffered from this evil, but in the case of Erica and Hewat Beukes a further element has been state and political attempts to silence and paralyse their campaigning work.
In the course of the struggle, for example, their access to electricity and water has been illegally cut off.
Now they are involved in a legal appeal which could secure their title to the premises. They need to raise money to finance the technical costs of the court case.
Their detailed request for support is below. Please help with as much as you can. Continue reading





A party duly registered in terms of the Electoral laws of the Republic of Namibia

Fax: 088641065 Tel: 061-260647 4479 Dodge Avenue Khomasdal jacobusjosob@gmail.com / ericabeukes@yahoo.co.uk

12 JUNE 2021


Some definitions: “An “affidavit” is a written statement that is considered made under oath. It is only valid when made voluntarily and without coercion.”written statement of facts voluntarily made by an affiant under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law.

TRUTH has its own ways. In April/May 1989, three Lubango dungeon prisoners were confronted with two choices to make. One, to repeat lies in front of a video camera and return to Namibia. Two, to refuse repeating lies in front of a video camera and be killed. They chose the latter. They are Tshuutheni Tshithigona, Gerhard Tjozongoro and Kleopas Namushinga. “ Samson Ndeikwila. Continue reading

Open Statement by the WRP(Namibia)



A party duly registered in terms of the Electoral laws of the Republic of Namibia

Fax: 088641065 Tel: 061-260647 4479 Dodge Avenue Khomasdal jacobusjosob@gmail.com / ericabeukes@yahoo.co.uk






In April 2021 magistrate Unchen Konjory swore in a management committee for the Karas Region. SWAPO counsellors had abdicated their statutory duty to facilitate the election of the said committee.

The judiciary and the government attorney then combined to reverse the process. They attempted to bully the magistrate into submission to reverse the process as an admission of her incompetence.

The magistrate refused.

The full savage legacy of the SWAPO Lubango regime then kicked in. Continue reading

International support for Rössing Union leaders


Rehire Namibia Mineworker Union Rossing Leaders President Xi-Jinping! Rally At SF Chinese Consulate


Trade unionists and workers spoke out at the San Francisco Chinese Consulate on February 12, 2021 to demand that the Chinese government rehired the fired Namibia Mineworker Union Rossing branch. The Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) which is controlled by the government has illegally fired the NMU Rossing union executive committee in September. They also recently fired a newly elected chairperson in an effort to completely destroy the union. Speakers also opposed the US imperialist encirclement of China but said that internationalists must back the struggle of not only the Namibian workers but all workers around the world whether they work for Chinese companies or other US and European capitalists companies. The rally took place before the labor arbitration hearing that is being held in Namibia on February 15, 2021 to decide on their discharges. Continue reading