[Marxism] Cosatu statement on SADC/Zim
glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Mon Aug 27 18:48:02 MDT 2007
First or all, I don't think COSATU's alliance with the ruling ANC party
is as unique as Walter believes. As far as I know, there are no COSATU
members in governent ``explicitly as representatives of the labor
movement''. There are no ``COSATU'' ministers or ``COSATU'' MPs. There
may be some former COSATU officials, but they all under ANC caucus
discipline, as are SACP members. There are none directly representing
COSATU. (Perhaps that would be a step forward.)
I don't think the situation is fundamentally different to the situation
in Australia, where the majority of trade unions are affiliated to the
thoroughly capitalist Australian Labor Party (or in Britain, NZ and many
European countries where capitalist ``social democratic'' parties are
ruling parties or seek to be). I might even venture that it not is not
in essence that different to the US unions' relationship with the US
The problems this produces I think are also similar (although to varying
degrees from country to country). The unions have compromised their
class independence in the fight for their members' interests, in order
to have ``influence'' over capitalist governments which either ignore or
abuse the very people the trade unions represent. The real role is to
coopt the top layers of the unions and reinforce class collaborationism.
It delays the creation of a genuinely pro-working class party to
politically represent workers.
Clearly, this situation is provoking a real debate within COSATU and the
SACP at the moment. That is for them to decide. However in the parallel
situation in Australia, it would be a step forward for the Australian
unions to untangle themselves from subserviance to the capitalist ALP.
Walter Lippmann wrote:
>QUESTIONS BASED ON THIS:
>Hi, Norm -
>Most interesting document. Thanks for sharing it.
>Not trying to open the familiar debate on the ANC government
>this time, I would like to ask Norm to discuss his thinking
>about the political meaning of the fact that COSATU, which
>belongs to this same government, remains in it despite such
>actions at those it protests here.
>My impression is that, regardless of their differences over
>Zimbabwe, and other matters, like police brutality, etc.,
>COSATU's differences aren't considered significant enough
>for them to leave the South African government. Now as far
>as I'm aware, South Africa is the only country on earth in
>which trade unions are currently members of the government
>Explicitly as representatives of the labor movement.
>What is the political significance of union membership in
>the government, and why, in your estimation, are issues
>like police brutality and Zimbabwe NOT splitting issues
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