13 May 2012
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) held an emergency bilateral meeting with the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), namely the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) and Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL) in Johannesburg on Thursday 10 May 2012. The meeting discussed the provocative and deceitful planned march to COSATU’s Head Quarters by the chief political representatives of white monopoly capital and apartheid apologists – the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The meeting took place after successful Free Education Campaign demonstrations across the country, led by class-conscious and militant vanguard of the student movement – the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) and the three-month long and unresolved strike action by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) who are working at the SA Post Office.
The meeting was characterized by high levels of maturity, unity, robust and comradely engagements. The meeting laid a foundation to consolidate and deepen the historic ties between leading workers’ formations and the youth movement of our country under the banner of the PYA.
The meeting reaffirmed the Freedom Charter as the correct political programme of the ANC-led Alliance and the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) as a whole.
The meeting agreed that we are living in a country that is engulfed by the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequalities, mostly affecting the urban and rural working class youth of our country. The meeting acknowledged that the current high waves of unemployment, poverty and inequality are a manifestation of the neo-liberal economic policies fostered and entrenched in the state over the past 18 years of our democratic breakthrough.
The meeting acknowledged that white monopoly capital remains in power in South Africa today, despite the democratic breakthrough of 1994. We also agreed that political power is just a shell, when it is not accompanied by genuine economic emancipation.
Real political power therefore remains firmly in the hands of white monopoly capital, which owns the decisive means of production in our country. It is precisely this situation which continues to generate the centuries-old conditions of humiliation and the suppression of the talents of the vast majority of the people, who are Black and working class.
The meeting agreed to drive a campaign that mobilizes the workers, unemployed, youth, with the working class as the leading motive force, to campaign for the full implementation of the Freedom Charter by the ANC-led government. We also agreed to wage a struggle to defeat the revisionist tendency which seeks to emasculate the revolutionary content of the Freedom Charter.
The meeting agreed that youth unemployment constitutes a ticking time bomb, and requires a clear and decisive break from the failed neo-liberal economic policies.
We have noted the intention of the DA to march against COSATU. We welcome this class provocation and we will grab this opportunity to be frontal against white monopoly.
This DA march marks the beginnings of an open class warfare that will characterize the South African landscape. We also view this open class warfare as a reflection of the deepening class antagonisms in our society.
The march by the DA reflects the heightened confidence and arrogance of white monopoly capital, whose sole intention is to smash the hegemony of the working class, thereby weaken the ANC-led Alliance, and turn the mass of the unemployed against employed.
Spurred forward by the rapid accumulation of wealth and the protection it receives from the neo-liberal collaborators within our ranks, white monopoly capital is now ready to openly and frontally attack the most revolutionary class within the national liberation movement.
We are clear that this march by the DA is not for the unemployed youths, it is a celebration of what it perceives as its victory over the popular forces of democracy in South Africa since 1994 and it is thus for the capitalists class to continue its accumulation by depressing workers’ wages and conditions of employment.
The white capitalist class accumulated capital by first dispossessing African people of the means of production and turning them into wage-slaves. Then white capital accumulated on the basis of depressing wages to the barest minimum, helped by prison-labour, forcing the working class to live in shacks, eat poor diet, have access to poor health and education, etc. The economic crisis has significantly reduced profits and the capitalist class is getting desperate to find ways to increase profits, and now the DA wants to mobilize the unemployed into badly paid jobs in order to recover the profits for the class it represents. The flipside of this is the return to the apartheid state of accumulation by depressing wages and living conditions.
The old trick of pitting the unemployed and the employed is as old as capitalism.
The South African workers have defeated it a long time ago through linking their struggles with the struggles of the broader working class. Not long ago, the evils of our country were well known to have been caused by white domination.
Today white monopoly capital has the guts to openly state that the evils of today are caused by the victims of colonialism. Indeed this is the instance of the political economy of capital in confrontation with the political economy of labour.
From now on, the South African terrain of class struggles will never be the same again. The DA has opened the chapter of open political warfare! They have sown the wind, they shall reap the harvest!
NUMSA, SACCAWU, CWU and the Progressive Youth Alliance calls on the workers and the working class youth of our country to defend COSATU against the disingenuous attacks from the chief political mouthpiece of white monopoly capital and apartheid apologists – the Democratic Alliance (DA).
During the 2011 Local Government Elections we watched angrily as the DA openly insulted the noblest aspirations of our people as contained in the Freedom Charter by launching their political warfare against the mass of the people of this country in Kliptown.
Their confidence is very high, because we have not taken them on, head-on, on their insults.
We call on the workers and the youth to occupy the streets outside COSATU House on Tuesday 15 May 2012. We cannot allow the DA to mock us, having plunged us into poverty, unemployment and extreme inequality; they now want to spit on the shield of the black and African working class.
We are calling on the unemployed youth, those workers dismissed by labour brokers and those workers who will not be working on Tuesday 15 May 2012, to come and defend the federation against chief representatives of white monopoly capital and apartheid apologists – the DA!
We take this opportunity to wish the mothers of our country a happy Mother’s Day.
We are ready!
Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary – 073 157 6384
Mduduzi Mbongwa, SACCAWU Deputy General Secretary – 082 336 5146
Magdalene Moonsamy, ANCYL National Spokesperson – 073 268 8269
Themba Masondo, SASCO Secretary General – 079 199 3421
Aubrey Tshabalala, CWU Provincial Secretary – 082 710 5846