Intro: We are reposting this statement in solidarity with all South African strikers and their supporters. Similar threats have been made against former ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, as well as Johannes Seoka and Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, who have also been active strike supporters. (Mabasa is a leader of the Socialist Party of Azania.) Regardless of whatever political differences exist, solidarity must be swift and unconditional.
Resistance calls on the government of South Africa to protect the democratic rights of all striking workers and their supporters. We call on government agencies, organizations and individuals to refrain from threats, intimidation and violence against strikers and their supporters. We ask the President of the Republic, Jacob Zuma, to do everything in his power to protect the rights of strikers and their supporters.
South Africa: Statement by the Democratic Socialist Movement Executive Committee, response to allegations of violence (26/10/2012) (DSM is the South African section of the Committee for a Workers International.)
Published 26 Oct 2012
Democratic Socialist Movement Executive Committee October 26, 2012
1. The DSM strongly rejects the allegations by the Congress of South African Trade Unions General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, at a press conference on Saturday 20th October 2012, that the DSM instigated the stoning of his car at the Orkney Mine in Klerksdorp on Friday 19th October 2012. These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and irresponsible. More reprehensible are the allegations of the National Union of Mineworkers leadership on SAFM’s morning show, on Friday, 18th October, that the DSM is responsible for the murder of their shop stewards.
2. We demand the withdrawal of the allegations by the SACP-linked Communist University internet forum (CU), that the DSM is linked to the apartheid killers that carried out the Boipatong massacre, and the Alexandra and KwaZulu-Natal atrocities during the struggle against apartheid.
3. We demand an end to the sinister CU targeting of the DSM by placing members’ information on the internet including names, telephone numbers, employment details and photographs – amounting to a hit list and an invitation to assassinate DSM members. We call upon Cosatu, NUM and the SACP to condemn this reckless endangerment of DSM members’ lives.
4. The DSM has a proud record on the question of violence in the working class struggle in general and the miners’ strike in particular. Whilst we defend the right to self defence, we are firmly opposed to worker-on -worker violence. In line with international trade union tradition, we support efforts to prevent the bosses from breaking strikes through the use of scabs. But we advocate the force of argument, not the argument of force; persuasion and appeals to class solidarity rather than violence. In the face of the popular view that strike breakers should be dealt with by force up to and including putting them to death, we have stood firm putting forward what was at first a minority opinion and won over the majority of workers to our point of view.
5. What we plead guilty to is standing side-by-side with our class brothers and sisters, the mineworkers, in their struggle against slavery by the most rapacious section of the capitalist class in SA. We have offered guidance, promoted unity in action and sought solidarity in SA and internationally for the mineworkers. We make no apology for this. It is the fact that our analysis correspond to reality and the workers’ own conclusions and that our tactics have united them and sustained the struggle for as long as it has endured, that is the reason that the DSM is so popular and is so sought after on the mines. It is the role the NUM and Cosatu should have played.
6. The Cosatu/NUM leaders are the architects of their own demise. As the Marikana Commission of inquiry’s latest evidence confirms, the NUM leadership stood on the other side of the class barriers, actively colluded with the mining bosses, denouncing the demands and the actions of their own members, and called for the ANC to help end the strike and for the police to smash it.
7. It is an absolute disgrace that the NUM/Cosatu/SACP leaders are regurgitating the anti-working class prejudices of the upper class social circles they inhabit. They have drenched the mineworkers under a constant toxic torrent of abuse from the beginning. They denounced the strike as criminal; accused the workers of being under the influence of sangomas; of being led, in the words of SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin, by “Pondoland vigilante mafias”; of being under the influence of AMCU which in turn was allegedly created by the Chamber of Mines, and of being fooled by the ANC Youth League and Julius Malema. The DSM “counter-revolutionaries” are only but the latest addition to the NUM, the SACP and Cosatu’s list of scapegoats. It is this that has turned the mineworkers against the NUM and Cosatu.
8. Despite all this, we welcome Cosatu’s call for action to demand the reinstatement of all dismissed workers. We believe the reinstatement demand must apply to workers dismissed as long ago as 2009 e.g. at Murray & Roberts , and the release of all those jailed as a result of that strike, many of whom are serving outrageous sentences of 5 – 20 years for public violence and intimidation. We support Cosatu’s call for a national minimum wage but believe it should be set at the level demanded by the Lonmin workers – now echoed across the mines and other industries – of R12 500 a month.
9. We also call on Cosatu to reconsider the basis for holding the (at?) Rustenburg a rally on 27th October 2012. To rally to “reclaim Rustenburg from counter-revolutionaries” is tantamount to a declaration of war on the striking miners and will almost certainly result in worker-to-worker confrontation and possible violence. To proceed on this basis, especially with ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, as one of the main speakers, is provocative. The rally should instead be used to reunify the workers and to a prepare a mass action campaign including a general strike to support the workers demands, to demand reinstatement of dismissed workers and to denounce the mining bosses and the government for the Marikana massacre, based on Cosatu acknowledging the workers’ strike committees as legitimate, democratic structures which are not going away.
These are the real issues the witch-hunt against the DSM is aimed to distract attention from.