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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.

•••

WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY (WRP) TO REBUILD THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL
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

Appeal
Erica is the leader joint committee for truth and justice by the committee of parents former PLAN Fighters.
The committee is fighting for an international enquiry into mass murder of Namibians in Exile.
She is also the director of the workers advice centre which was established in 1991.
The workers advice centre fight against the onslaught on workers rights all levels including the derogation of legal rights in labour legislation by corporate lawyers.
Hewat is the leader of the Workers Revolutionary Party which fights to arm the working class through organisation and building their own political party.
Both have been involved leaders in the struggle for independence and self-determination.
In 1974 they established a clandestine socialist youth organisation.
Erica and Hewat have faced continual persecution by the Namibian State over the past 31 years.
The target was their livelihood.
In 2005 the organised criminal First National Bank illegally sold their residence in the name of the South West Africa Building Society (SWABOU) with which they held the bond.
This was part of the scams conducted by the FNB through the courts of Namibia in which they stole the R3,7 billion homeloan book of the SWABOU, deregistered the building society without the knowledge of the members and the bondholders.
Court cases proliferated as corrupt judges through corrupt judgments protected the bank.
The State and the bank used the municipality and the courts to cut all services to Erica and Hewat. In 2005 they cut water and in 2017 the Chief Justice gave a judgment which he concocted from smear campaigns and pure fabrications to find that Erica and Hewat had no right to water and electricity. The pre-paid electricity had been cut too.
On 25 March 2021, a judge gave the final judgment on the house dispute rejecting the application of Erica and Hewat .The judgment did not make sense, but they were forced to lodge an appeal after they came to hear of the judgment on 21 May 2021.
We ask that socialists and working class fighters respond to our financial appeal. We need N$56,000 for the appeal record of which we need 30% deposit urgently. Comrade Hewat will defend the case in person in the Supreme Court. Thus, costs for legal representation will not be required.
We may need a further N$25,000 for legal costs for legal expertise. This will be pressing very shortly
The residence over time has become a centre for working class struggles around the country. In 1986 the house was bombed. In post-colonial Namibia it has become a target for harassment, intimidation and ejectment.
Its very defence is part of the struggle of the working class in this country.

Jacobus Josob
Secretary General




ADDENDUM TO 10 JUNE 2021 STATEMENT RE: MAGISTRATE UNCHEN KONJORE’s INTIMIDATION, THREATS AND COERCION BY THE JUDICIARY AND THE GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY

WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY (WRP)

TO REBUILD THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL

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

ADDENDUM TO 10 JUNE 2021 STATEMENT RE: MAGISTRATE UNCHEN KONJORE’s INTIMIDATION, THREATS AND COERCION BY THE JUDICIARY AND THE GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY

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.

In April 2021, Magistrate Unchen Konjore supervised the swearing-in of the Karas Regional Management Committee.

On 3 June 2021, the chief magistrate and the government attorney sent her an affidavit which they had written. They instructed her to sign it and have it commissioned by a commissioner of oaths.

They instructed her to take her decisions to swear in the management committee review in the High Court.

The purpose was to concoct a rerun of elections or regional counsellors in Karas.

But, they also planned to force the magistrate to implicate herself as being politically biased and incompetent. Once this was achieved they would remove her. She would not be able to defend herself, because by own admission she would have disqualified herself.

Adv. Matti Asino, the head of the government attorney, personally threatened her and tried to force her to carry out their instructions of self-incrimination.

The High Court to which they take these reviews entertains these absurd nullities. It gives Court orders to create the impression that this state is operating in terms of some law.

The parties who approach the court have no legal interest. An aggrieved person may approach a competent Court of law in terms of Namibian constitutional law. The person going for reviews are officials who seek to corrupt political bodies and organs around this country in favour of the SWAPO regime. They have no legal standing and no legal interest.

The High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the reviews and is not competent.

The officials do not take the reviews to the Electoral Court, which would make it too obvious that the persons who bring the reviews have no interest in the elections.

We now have it on good authority that the chief magistrate was instructed by the government attorney to bring the review, because of the widespread public opposition to the thug methods to force Magistrate Konjore to bring the review.

The chief magistrate has been trained in South Africa. She would be fully abreast that she cannot legally bring review. It is crystal clear that she has been forced, or through opportunism, to submit to the legally incompetent government attorney. It is public knowledge that the government attorney employs persons with no workable knowledge of law.

The United Front of political parties, churches, civic organisations, and workers’ and working peoples’ organisations combine to reject these underground terror methods of the SWAPO regime through the organs such as the Government Attorney and the judiciary.

We call on all to fight alongside us to expose and work to stop the violation of our Nation.

Let us work to protect professional officials and jurists such as Magistrate Unchen Konjore.

JACOBUS JOSOB

Secretary General




Open Statement by the WRP(Namibia)

WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY (WRP)TO REBUILD THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL

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

 OPEN STATEMENT   10 JUNE 2021  

AND TO: THE MAGISTRATES COMMISSION

THE CHIEF JUSTICE

THE GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY

THE CHIEF MAGISTRATE

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.

They tried to force her to lodge a review application against her swearing-in of the said committee. This would be a confession of total incompetence and incapacity. The black comedy who would shoulder costs when the application was granted passed them by.

The fact that the SWAPO counsellors’ disdain for the law and their responsibilities was the cause that the committee was elected and duly so by a quorum was swept under the carpet.

The extracts from the correspondences below will show that they threatened the magistrate to sign an affidavit drawn up by them and to take her own decision on review. The government attorney which is from the executive and purportedly operating on the principle of The Separation of powers did not spare the rod of power on the magistrate.

The daunting heading of the various correspondences says it all: FIRST AND FINAL WRITTEN INSTRUCTION TO COMPLY WITH LAWFUL ORDER: PROCEDURAL ERROR: //KHARAS REGIONAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS.

No amount of protest from the magistrate that she could not take her own decision on review in terms of the law would suffice.

They were relentless, savage and organising for a full-scale assault on the person, a character, her individuality and the right to decide.

This matter was a proliferation of the absurdities which were displacing logic and coherence: In Luderitz a magistrate commissioned 7 councillors instead of 5. He took the case on review to court; in January this year the Electoral Commission took its purported mistakes in regional elections in the south to court. None of the affected parties found it necessary to enforce their rights through court.

This mockery has become part of the fabric of the Namibian legal system.

The magistrate is self-evidently a competent jurist.

This in itself requires in the Lubango tradition that she be removed.

On 4 June 2021, Chief Magistrate, Philanda Christiaan, wrote to Magistrate Konjore, “I confirm receipt of the affidavit, but that was not what is requested, the request is for you to avail yourself for consultation with the GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY, since you were an integral part of the proceedings and will shed light.  You will however be the one that must depose of a founding affidavit with the guidance of GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY, and not on your own volition.”

Government Attorney, Monique Meyer on 8 June 2021, wrote to her, ”I wish to place on record that you were not threatened at any point during the conversation. The phone was on loudspeaker as it was yesterday and I have been present for all your conversations with the Government Attorney.
The Government Attorney spent hours yesterday evening and spent a great deal of time this morning trying to convince you that you are the appropriate person to bring this review because of YOUR PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE of what transpired during the elections for the management committee. He repeatedly told you that this is not an attack on you personally and that we serve at the pleasure of the Government as a whole, to cure the irregularities we are now faced with.
He further attempted to convince you that our office is mandated to represent all Government officials, which we do without fear or favour, and the course of action our office mapped out is the best route to cure the irregularities in the High Court.

When we spoke to you telephonically yesterday, you refused to depose to the affidavit because you do not agree with “anything” in the affidavit. Thereafter, we spent hours on the phone going through every paragraph and editing it to your satisfaction. We removed every single statement you were not happy with. After that intensive and time-consuming exercise, you indicated around the end of the call that you do not wish to be the First Applicant. This was around 18h00.
This morning, when you still refused our advice as your legal practitioners, he ADVISED you to seek legal counsel from an alternative lawyer, who may perhaps clarify the law in a way that is understandable to you, and for you to see that we are not trying to trick you by bringing this application as a self-review. He even went as far as to state that we will pause everything pending your consultation with your lawyer and that you revert to us by 12h00. Even this attempt to meet you halfway was refused by you.
The accusation of alleged threats is therefore a complete falsity and an afterthought to cure the fact that our office spent valuable time appeasing you by editing the affidavit to your liking. I further place on record that great deference was shown to you by the Government Attorney throughout your exchanges.”

It is unclear how much incompetence is embedded in the depravity and malice. It is certain that it is a lot.

Nevertheless, we declare our unequivocal stand beside Magistrate Unchen Konjore for her refusal to abandon her knowledge and principles under the savagery of a depraved State and Judiciary.

We call on all parties which have not yet lost their souls to opportunism and hopelessness to defend Magistrate Unchen Konjore in her admirable stand to defend her profession and her duty to the Namibian working people.

JACOBUS JOSOB

Secretary General




International support for Rössing Union leaders

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

https://youtu.be/kjLdDEnONqo

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.

Additional media: Namibia Mine Workers Union Rossing Leaders Report On CNNC & Letter To Chinese President Xi-Jinping https://youtu.be/oNoaMxLiC9U

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Rossing Branch & The Struggle of The Namibian Working Class https://youtu.be/1LCD5ZuAgvc

Namibian Rössing Mine Workers Face Covid-19 & Attacks From State Owned China National Uranium Corporation Limited (CNUC) https://youtu.be/pHsDDqy_WPU

Namibia Rössing, union in wage deadlock https://www.namibian.com.na/198882/archive-read/Rössing-union-in-wage-deadlock

China and Namibia Rössing Workers on Collision Course https://www.facebook.com/informantenam/posts/3090166147716991/

Namibia MUN claims China National Nuclear Corporation is falling short of its Rossing promises https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nLuFIxwcIM&feature=emb_logo https://www.nbc.na/news/mun-claims-china-national-nuclear-corporation-falling-short-its-rossing-promises.29304

Namibia Rössing uranium mine union members face dismissal by Chinese owners https://www.namibian.com.na/203896/archive-read/Rössing-union-members-face-dismissal

Swapo, what is ‘Socialism with a Namibian Character’? https://www.namibian.com.na/183845/archive-read/Letter-of-the-Week–Swapo-what-is-Socialism-with-a-Namibian-Character

Namibia says China can buy Rio’s uranium stake if it respects laws https://www.reuters.com/article/us-rio-tinto-namibia-china/namibia-says-china-can-buy-rios-uranium-stake-if-it-respects-laws-idUSKCN1SZ0UR

Anatomy of a Bribe & Fish Rot Files https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJ1TB0nwHs

Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org




Press statement by the Rössing Nine

Press statement by the Rössing Nine

Comradely greetings to all our comrades, workers, brothers and sisters around the world.

Rössing Uranium Ltd has been producing and exporting uranium oxide from Namibia to nuclear power utilities around the world since its inception in 1976 and the union movement got into focus, so much so that the struggle spilled back from South Africa back into Namibia. In 1978 the labour movement (union) was born at Rössing Uranium Mine when the oppressors tried to brutally suppress but did not succeed and they jailed the leaders under Administrative General (AG) proclamation 26.

The repression continued but failed to suppress the rising working-class movement. In 1984 the workers won the rights to organise the union movement and register trade unions. The culmination of those rights were contained in the 1992 Labour Act (Legislation), the pinnacle of labour rights in Namibia. The problem is while as the Namibian working class succeeded in winning these significant union and labour rights as was enshrined in the 1992 Labour Act and the 1990 Democratic Constitution of Namibia, the multinational corporation came down with a vengeance to nullify the unions and labour rights in its entirety.

The mechanisms used against the union movement and working-class rights were among others: privatisation, Labour judicial corruption, the return of the labour-hire through outsourcing, formalisation of labour-hire companies, etc. One of the reasons which facilitated the derogation of rights was the co-option of working-class leaderships into state structures. Endemic corruption furthered the historic weakness in the struggle of the working class in that it failed to create a working-class leadership in its own name and for its own interest.

The historic significance of this struggle is that it pointed the workers to the end-goal by showing everyone the indispensability and the power of the working class, through the 1971 to 1972 general strike that brought the entire nation to a standstill and inspired the South African working class to rise up since 1973 until South Africa overthrew Apartheid in 1994,

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) was formalised in 1986. The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Rössing branch signed the first ever recognition agreement in Namibia on the 14thNovember 1988 that governs the relationship between the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) and Rössing Uranium Ltd., which is still in existence to date.

Under Rio Tinto as a majority shareholder in Rössing Uranium Ltd., as employees we were part of the greater Rio Tinto and labour relations were based on the existing laws. Although we had our difference, we still mutually coexisted and the Rio Tinto respected and complied with legislation, the internal policies and agreements. Rio Tinto understood the role of the union with regards to the Supreme Law of Namibia and Labour Act 11 of 2007.

This all started to change when Rio Tinto sold all its shares in Rössing Uranium Ltd. to China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in July 2019. The CNNC management used every opportunity to suppress and threaten union rights by demanding to renegotiate among others the following agreements to less favourable agreements:

  1. Procedural (Recognition) Agreement of 14 November 1988
  2. Performance and Conduct Procedure (Disciplinary Code)
  3. Recruitment Policy
  4. Retrenchment Package Agreement
  5. 5 Conditions of employment
  • Leave Days
  • Sick Leave days
  • Commutation system
  1. Salary scales and structures
  2. Medical Aid Provider

Their renegotiation attempts failed and this culminated in grave attacks on the Branch Executive Committee. Among the attacks are the exclusive unprocedural correspondences between the General secretary of MUN (Eben Zarondo) in which the Chinese General Manager instructed him to discipline the Branch Executive Committee, and when he failed to find any grounds or faults, CNNC Rössing Uranium Ltd. took the matter in their hands by unlawfully and illegally dismissing the Branch Executive Committee.

Between July and September 202, the management unlawfully and illegally suspended, charged and dismissed the Nine Executive Committee Members in their individual employment positions on witch-hunt and unfounded allegations against MUN (Mineworkers Union of Namibia) of allegedly leaking confidential information about the illegal employment of the 4 Chinese nationals in management to the media, breaching employment contracts, bringing the company’s name into disrepute and dishonesty.

The illegal and unlawful employment of the Chinese was exposed by the media to the nation, drawing the attention of immigration control officers to investigate, arrest and detain them and a police case number CR08/08/2020 was registered upon the full establishment that they were indeed illegal and unlawfully working for CNNC Rössing Uranium Limited and for violating the Namibia Immigration Control Act.

The illegal and unlawful employees were then transferred to Narraville Police Station to be held in custody and to be brought before court for prosecution. However, close to midnight that very day, an awful and disgraceful act happened in that, the accused were jail-broken on an instruction from some high-ranking government official. These instructions were illegal and unlawful, as the officials that dispensed the instructions are not part of the justice system, neither are they from the office of the Prosecutor General or the Police and no document or police bail was processed for their release, only instructions from above.

For the mine to dismiss an organ of the union is a compete renunciation of the laws of Namibia. What will be the full social, economic and political implication of this? It will mean that Namibia is not a sovereign state, there is no rule of law, and legal entities in Namibia are without any legal protection.

MUN Rössing Branch is the foundation and torch-bearer of the union movement in Namibia. These attacks on the union movement as expressed in the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation Rössing Uranium Limited situation echoes the capitalist attack on the union movement around the country and around the world.

As leaders of the workers’ movement (union), we will defend the fundamental rights which Namibian workers have fought for more than a century and won,

The sad situation informs the way forward and the basic element of the program is as follows:

  • The rebuilding and training of the working-class basic organisations and structures of the union, both national and international
  • The rebuilding of national and international solidarity as the means of achieving such workers’ organisations
  • The rebuilding and r-affirming of the working-class movements for political power nationally and internationally t avert the onslaught on the rights of workers.

The role of imperialism today as reflected in the Rössing example is to destroy fundamental rights and derogate social, economic and political relations and in particular the proper relations brought to bear on the working class worldwide.

We firmly believe that the only outstanding matter to resolve this increasingly destructive situation is the crisis of leadership in the working-class movement. We dedicate ourselves to work to resolve that crisis by building such a leadership nationally and internationally.

We thank our brothers and sisters who stand in solidarity; the Rössing Uranium Ltd. employees, MUN Walvisbay Salt Refinery, Namibia United Fishermen Association, AR movement, individuals and we further extend gratitude to our brothers and sisters internationally from the USA, UK, Brazil, Japan, Greece, Australia, Argentina and many others.

Your solidarity actions national and around the world is already a major step in realizing our program of action and change.

In solidarity

Injury to one is injury to all

The Struggle Continues

The Nine Dismissed Union Leaders




A report from a comrade in Belarus

The process of mass protests against the falsification by dictator Lukashenko of the election results in August this year. These days, we were engaged in supporting the national strike committee and helped organize connections between various striking enterprises.

You ask about the peculiarities of life in Belarus, about what is happening in addition to receptions against the dictatorial regime. Firstly, our president is the main COVID-dissident of Europe and we do not take any measures related to quarantine or restriction of economic activity. Secondly, we have a vicious and quite capitalist dictatorship that is covered by the fake facade of Soviet nostalgia. People who get into our country say “Oh, yes, you have everything as in the Soviet Union” you do not have oligarchs, but in fact this is not so. Although in our country, unlike Russia and Ukraine, large machine building and agricultural enterprises have been preserved, called collective farms “Kolkhoz” but all this is only a sign. These are quite capitalist enterprises. In relation to medium-sized factories and factories, we have quite capitalist privatization, the large Lukashenko clan seeks to maintain control, so they become CoLTD with a controlling stake in the state and managers appointed by the authorities. In agriculture, the so-called collective farms have long been part of large capitalist agrarian holdings.

The situation with the rights of workers and labor legislation is even worse. In Russia and even Ukraine, food after the Maidan was decommunized, things in this area are much better than ours. The working class is practically deprived of the right to a legal strike. And enterprises have a system of individual short-term contracts. That is, when entering the job, he concludes a contract for a year after which he can be fired without explanation and severance pay simply without renewing the contract for the next year. In such conditions, the activities of trade unions are practically meaningless.

In general, President Lukashenko’s dream is to establish a hereditary monarchy covered in fleur of left rhetoric as in North Korea. He has long been preparing his son Kolya as his successor.

As for communication through one type or another of messenger, we still have not used Zoom and I am not sure whether it is possible to use it in Belarus. Some of the messengers, for example, Telegram is banned in our country, since they can be used to organize mass protests. We will try to whether we can legally or illegally use Zoom.

With comradely greetings,

 




Belarus activists released from prison

Workers International welcomes the success of the international campaign on behalf of  jailed Belarusian activists (see previous post) in securing their release from prison.




Belarus: Free union leaders and activists

In the last couple of months, Belarus has experienced rigged elections, mass protests, and severe violence carried out by the security forces.

Union leaders, members of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU), have been arrested and imprisoned for participating in protests and strike action.

Belarus: Free union leaders and activists.

At the center of these events is the JSC Belaruskali potash fertilizer site.  Dozens of activists and strike committee members at Belaruskali have been prosecuted, threatened, fined and deprived of benefits at work for their activities. BITU vice chair Siarhei Charkasau and three of his comrades, Pavel Puchenia, Yury Korzun and Anatol Bokun are in prison now. One sentence has followed the other while they were still serving their sentence.

BITU and IndustriALL are demanding an end to the persecution of employees of Belaruskali for their participation in the strike, and also those who continue to “work to rule” at Belaruskali. They are demanding an immediate release of the BITU leader and jailed activists.

Please take a moment to support the online campaign – click here.

And please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.

Eric Lee




Luxfer doit vivre : itw d’Axel Peronczyk, délégué syndical CGT de l’usine

Luxfer doit vivre : itw d’Axel Peronczyk, délégué syndical CGT de l’usine




Political training in South Africa under “lockdown”

SOCIALIST REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS PARTY

We are born of class struggle, in the fight to demolish the capitalist system that insists on the continued exploitation of most of society by a few humans. We seek to educate, agitate, mobilise and organize the working class into our political organisation.

The working class must fulfil our historic mission: to defeat imperialism and capitalism, establish a Socialist South Africa, Africa and World, as a prelude to advancing to a truly free and classless society: to a Communist South Africa, Africa and World!”  (SRWP homepage)

It turns out that political organising and education can take place a lot more effectively than some comrades feared online, even during “lockdown” when physical gatherings of any size are impossible within the state’s arrangements for dealing with Covid-19. Some of the resources which have assisted imperialism to step up exploitation across the globe, such as computer technology and modern communications, are also tools in the hands of the workers’ movement.

At time of writing, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party of South Africa (SRWP) has just contributed to members’ political education online with two talks on Marx and the early beginnings of capitalism by SRWP Deputy General Secretary Dr. Vashna Jagarnath and a session with Vijay Prashad of Transcontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books.

Vijay Prashad’s contribution on “CoronaShock & Imperialism” on 23 April 2020 is the one I would like to discuss here. It can be viewed on the SRWP Facebook page, so I urge the reader to do that, and I will make no systematic attempt to summarise his contribution here. It contained a number of important and useful observations.

Although Vijay Prashad only makes a couple of passing references to the Corvid-19 pandemic, he does lay out succinctly an analysis and a conception of present-day imperialism. Unfortunately, very informative though this presentation is, it does not shed light on how and why, in the course of the political struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie at an international level for more than a century now, we got to the point which society has reached today. Vijay Prashad merely lists as objective facts the changes in features such as technology, communications and banking and finance which facilitate the current form of imperialist plunder. Nor does his presentation refer to or illuminate the aims of the SRWP stated above: “our historic mission – to defeat imperialism and capitalism, establish a socialist South Africa and World”, etc.

His references to the class struggle are all about forms of it which can be contained within the framework of existing bourgeois society. These are either trade union struggles over the extraction of surplus value in the form of “unpaid labour time”, or the politics of pressure on the bourgeois state to set limits on the rapacity of the bourgeoisie, provide welfare and other essential services, and so forth. These have been historically very significant ways in which the class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat has been waged, and indeed continue to be so. However, it has always been the understanding of Marxists that the culmination of this struggle must be what is expressed in the aims of SRWP set out at the head of this article.

In the globalised economy described by Vijay Prashad, these two forms of struggle are held in check for reasons which he describes lucidly. His economic analysis of the workings of imperialism is linked to certain considerations of class relations, but the political issue of the revolutionary overthrow of capitalist society, of which imperialism is the highest expression, and progress towards a higher, Communist society is not mentioned.

But it was for precisely that purpose that Lenin wrote his famous little book:Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, early in 1916.

Vijay Prashad does refer to the book. He notes that Marx and Lenin viewed imperialism as being rooted in the political economy of capitalism. This is to his credit: there are those on the left who try to separate the two completely. However, in presenting Marx and Lenin’s views on the matter, Vijay Prashad carefully steers around some core issues and mishandles others.

Vijay Prashed discusses certain topics which Lenin dealt with in Imperialism, but leaves other vital matters out. He (Prashad) picks up Lenin’s description of the changes on the world scale within capital accumulation as the 19thcentury ended and the 20thcentury opened as “concentration of production and monopolies”; Vijay Prashad refers to the “finance capital and the financial oligarchy” which Lenin dealt with, and he also mentions the “export of capital”. (These are all section headings in Lenin’s book).

By the way, Lenin also mentioned “the division of the world between … powerful trusts” and comments that this: “does not preclude redivision if the relation of forces changes as a result of uneven development, war, bankruptcy, etc”.(1) He also devoted a whole section of his pamphlet to “Division of the World Among the Great Powers”(2) which catalogues the forms this took 100 years ago; the forms have changed but the essence remains today!

But Lenin’s Imperialism is about so much more! For a start, Lenin emphasised that the development of imperialism is a dead end for capitalism:

Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations – all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism”(3). (My emphasis – BA)

In discussing the concentration of production and the growth of enormously powerful industrial and financial monopolies Lenin noted:

Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production; it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness, into some sort of a new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialisation.”(4)

Lenin believed that the “new social order” of imperialism is a contradictory one, a “transition” from complete free competition to complete socialisation. He certainly did not believe that the necessary outcome (complete socialisation) can be achieved by methods which leave the social, economic and political power of the bourgeoisie intact. The transition will not take place spontaneously or without the deliberate destruction of the bourgeois social order as thoroughly as the bourgeois revolution destroyed the feudal social order that preceded it.

He devoted a significant part of the book to a critique of socialist theoreticians, such as Karl Kautsky, who thought that a stable and peaceful form of imperialism could be attained without violent disruption. Lenin had learnt his Marxism at the feet of such Marxists of the Second (Socialist) International as Kautsky, but at the outbreak of World War I they found themselves on opposite sides!

One of the problems socialists face today is the prevalence, in public discourse and indeed of peoples’ minds, of reformist approaches to imperialism, attempts to rein in the system’s truly degenerate and destructive features and achieve a system of peaceful and progressive nation-states without attacking capitalist social relations at their root.

Lenin wrote in 1917 in a new preface to Imperialism:

This pamphlet was written with an eye to the tsarist censorship … It is painful, in these days of liberty, to re-read the passages of the pamphlet which have been distorted, cramped, compressed in an iron vice on account of the censor”(5)

Nevertheless, what stands out in reading the pamphlet, even as published in 1916 under the whip of the censor, is Lenin’s extremely plain language when he is dealing with former Marxists like his own respected teacher and guide, Karl Kautsky, who now proposed that a peaceful and fruitful way forward would be possible under imperialism:

No matter what the good intentions of the English parsons, or of sentimental Kautsky, may have been, the only objective, i.e., real social significance of Kautsky’s ‘theory’ is this: it is a most reactionary method of consoling the masses with hopes of permanent peace being possible under capitalism, by distracting their attention from sharp antagonisms and acute problems of the present time and directing it towards illusory prospects of an imaginary ‘ultra-imperialism’ of the future. Deception of the masses – that is all there is in Kautsky’s ‘Marxist’ theory”.(6)

And yet it was a version of Kautsky’s theory which came to dominate in the Communist International after Lenin’s death and the defeat of Lenin’s followers by the bureaucratic caste which later took control in the Soviet Union.

The main expressions of the Kautsky-inspired politics of Stalin and his supporters were (1) asserting the possibility of building socialism in a single country, relying on “peaceful co-existence” with the imperialist powers, (2) the abandonment of revolutionary politics in the richer capitalist countries in favour of reformism (“Popular Fronts” and reformist socialism) and (3) the limitation of the revolutionary struggle of those peoples oppressed and subjugated by imperialism to national independence under their “own” bourgeoisie (the “Third World project”).

Any analysis of imperialism which does not address these issues is bound to be of limited value because it leaves too many vital questions untouched. Imperialism exists today in the extreme form that Vijay describes in part. But imperialism has only been able to rot every more deeply because the working class and the masses have been disarmed politically by Stalinism. It was the Stalinist politics of the SACP leaders which led to South Africa’s first democratically-elected government being firmly in the hands of big business and big financial groups. And these are precisely the question which were raised by the decision on the part of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in 2013 to split the reactionary, Kautsky-inspired alliance of Cosatu, SACP and ANC and find a way back to the genuine, Marxist policies of Lenin.

It is important to emphasise these points because without accounting for the fate of the Bolshevik project, the seizure of power in 1917 and establishment the Communist International and its eventual fate, there can be no all-round understanding of imperialism in its current iteration. If imperialism survives until today and takes on even more extreme and even absurd forms, it is because of the degeneration and collapse of that Leninist project.

Without studying and understanding that, the historical account of imperialism is simply reduced to “one damn thing after another”, with no connection or thread of continuity, and consequently the collapse of the USSR is simply an objective “event”, a false step in history, at best a convincing reason why nobody can now ever look beyond the limits of the imperialist system. And yet that system is in front of our eyes falling into the ever-deeper forms of “decay and parasitism” that Vijay Prashad describes so vividly.

That is why Vijay Prashad can regard the epoch of imperialism such as Lenin described it as being over and done with, replaced by a new period of “globalisation” defined by new and in his view specifically different forms of financial capital from the ones Lenin analysed, involving more than just the “export of capital” but actually “new ways” in which capital accumulates. If the imperialism Lenin defined is over and done with, then so are the tasks it posed in front of the working class and the masses by that period.

This is how Lenin presented dialectically the changes between capitalism in the nineteenth century and capitalism at the beginning of the twentieth century:

Half a century ago, when Marx was writing Capital, free competition appeared to the overwhelming majority of economists to be a ‘natural law’. Official science tried, by a conspiracy of silence, to kill the works of Marx, who, by a theoretical and historical analysis of capitalism had proved that free competition gives rise to the concentration of production, which in turn … leads to monopolisation. Today monopoly has become a fact”.

Vijay Prashad treats modern-day financialisation as something essentially different from the “finance capital” that Lenin described.

He argues that whereas Lenin talked about the “export” of capital across borders, such borders are insignificant today as far as finance capital is concerned. They are only “borders” for the workers imprisoned in one country or another. But while such a distinction is not without its significance, it surely does not indicate a systemic change; it is merely an intensification of the contradictions of the imperialist epoch.

A better way to look at it all might be this: Imperialist policy in the last fifty years has successfully played on its ability to divide workers in the advanced metropolitan countries from workers in the rest of the world, which itself is in no small part caused by the leaderships of mass movements dominated by Stalinist and now post-Stalinist politics. Vijay Prashad gives graphic and compelling examples of how this works out, but not of the political developments which allowed it to happen. The results are that classic and significant weapons of the working class in advanced capitalist countries, like trade union militancy and parliamentary political pressure, are held in check by the threat (and the practice) of shifting production to underdeveloped countries. Meanwhile the factory owners in many a “developing” country can (and indeed must) impose savage rates of exploitation on their workers under the threat of “losing the contract” if production costs rise. By the way, the current setup frees the Multi-National Corporation, brand or main contractor from the obligation to fund the investment in production in the “developing” country: the local entrepreneur has to scrape that together somehow, further intensifying the pressure to exploit “their” workers.

These workers’ wages are kept extremely low, even to the extent of compromising the reproduction of the labour force and with devastating cultural and social consequences. The tax bases of governments in underdeveloped countries are also eroded, so these governments have to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for permission to borrow money, which is only granted on the condition of sustained cuts in living standards and wages. And so, the “Third World Project” is over. Meanwhile attempts to copy what was achieved in Cuba have resulted in long and debilitating and in the end fruitless guerrilla wars.

Most governments in former colonies have become “compradores” effectively servicing imperialist looting (while lining their own pockets at the same time, and stripping away any real democracy or the rule of law). Vijay Prashad can describe the ability of Multi-National Corporations and financiers to lord it over a global system which seems to offer no limit, but he fails to put his finger on the aspect of this that Lenin identified: These features are the characteristics of constantly intensifying “parasitism and decay”.

Globalisation” is not a completely new period in the history of capitalism, however essential it is to know at any stage “what is going on” and to take that into account when providing political leadership to workers. The fundamental features of imperialism are continued and intensified and above all unresolved today. The continued existence of capitalism in imperialism and the indeed increasingly absurd forms that takes testify not to the strength and viability of capitalism as a system but to the problems which have arisen in constructing the leadership of the working class.

It is indeed extremely difficult to raise these matters directly in most places. “official science” and “a conspiracy of silence to kill the works of Marx” join with a mood of resignation in many parts of the working class following the ignominious debacle of the Soviet Union and a series of industrial and political struggles frustrated by the “globalising” tactics which the imperialists have adopted.

But the class struggle never stops, never goes away entirely until it is actually resolved. The mass outburst of working-class resistance that led to the Marikana massacre and the subsequent wave of industrial action in South Africa lifted a corner of the blanket of “official science” and “killing the works of Marx”, and that is what made the 2013 Numsa special congress decisions and the work to establish the SRWP so important, not just in South Africa but on the international stage.

Workers International greeted these decisions and encouraged their implementation. They open the door to a fuller and franker discussion on the past and the future of the workers’ movement than is probably possible anywhere else on the planet at the moment.

These are the matters which deserve to figure most prominently in the political education of SRWP members, when they are preparing themselves to lead the political struggles of the South African working class. SRWP members need to make themselves familiar with all issues around the struggle for working class political power: the fate of the Paris commune, the Russian Revolution, the split with reformist “Marxism” and revisionism, the struggle to build the Communist International, how and in what way the Soviet Union and the world communist movement degenerated.

A cadre of politically-educated South African workers will not only be a powerful force in South Africa, it could also play a significant leading role in building anew the revolutionary proletarian leadership of the world socialist revolution.

Bob Archer

23 May 2020

1. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Moscow 1968 p.66

2.Ibid. p.71

3. Ibid. p.118

4. Ibid. p.23

5. Ibid. p.3

6. Ibid. p.111