[Marxism] An inspiring end to 2013 in South Africa, as labour leads us left

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 20 10:55:01 MST 2013

Holy shit! Comrades, make sure to read this through all the way to the end.
It's not just a resolution breaking with the Alliance, which would be
historic enough in itself. But in addition section 3 deals with the
consequences of the break, i.e. the need for a new united front, for union
structures to take up community struggles, and for the formation of a
Movement for Socialism, studying current and past experiments.
Patrick please send the other documents.

On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 7:44 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

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> (Forwarded from Patrick Bond.)
> Comrades might want to know, that Africa's largest and most militant
> union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), just decided to
> break from the African National Congress-SA Communist Party-Congress of SA
> Trade Unions (ANC-SACP-Cosatu) "Alliance", via a resolution passed at a
> major conference a few hours ago. There are a great many other implications
> than you see below, and another five major resolutions to share if anyone
> wants (email me at pbond at mail.ngo.za) but this resolution is a delightful
> taste of a profound new development in SA's class struggle. From a long and
> draining war of position, now time for a war of movement. Feb 26 2014 -
> Budget Day - appears to be an opportunity to start practicing general
> strikes, and Numsa will likely become a general workers' union as it
> recruits way beyond its traditional sector. Numsa has 340 000 members,
> having recently overtaken the strongly ANC-loyalist mineworkers union
> (which has since dropped to #4 largest in SA following the Marikana
> Massacre in August 2012
> What a holiday gift for a weary society, so in need of confirmation that
> Mandela's pre-1994 fighting spirit is still present in SA, as the 'second
> stage' of the revolution now finally may begin.
> Patrick
> Adopted by NUMSA Special National Congress. Adopted unanimously by 1,050
> delegates.
> Resolution on Challenges Facing the Alliance
> 1. Noting that;
> 1.1. The Alliance is dysfunctional, in crisis and paralysed. It is
> dominated by infighting, factionalism and fails to meet regularly.
> 1.2. Although there are protests everywhere and every day in the country,
> the Alliance is not an instrument in the hands of these struggling masses
> nor does it provide leadership to these struggles which is largely
> leaderless struggles. The reality is that there is a political vacuum and
> the working class is on its own.
> 1.3. The Freedom Charter which we understood as the minimum platform of
> the Alliance has been completely abandoned in favour of rightwing and
> neo-liberal policies such as the National Development Plan (NDP).
> 1.4. There exists little common understanding within the Alliance of the
> real objectives of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
> 1.5. The Alliance operates and works during election periods and it is our
> experience that the working class is being used by the leader of the
> Alliance – the African National Congress (ANC) - as voting fodder.
> 1.6. The Alliance has been captured and taken over by rightwing forces.
> Those who are perceived to be against neo-liberalism or advocates of
> policies in favour of the working class and the poor are seen as
> problematic, isolated or purged.
> 1.7. Dominant classes in society have swayed the Alliance in their favour.
> 1.8. The ANC has resisted the reconfiguration of the Alliance into a
> strategic political centre where issues of policy, deployments into
> government and programmes are jointly decided upon by all components of the
> Alliance.
> 1.9. The strategy of swelling the ranks has not worked and all resolutions
> of COSATU congresses in relation to how the Alliance should function have
> not been implemented by the leaders of the Alliance.
> 1.10. In practice the Alliance is still in the hands of one alliance
> partner, the ANC. The ANC is the centre and implements government
> programmes and policies alone with little or no consultation with other
> components of the Alliance.
> 1.11. There is strong opposition from the ANC to an alliance agreement or
> pact. The movement has told us in no uncertain words that the ANC is the
> political centre. They have also argued against the pact, quoting OR Tambo
> when he said at the SACP’s 60th anniversary in 1981: “Ours is not merely a
> paper alliance, as created at conference tables and formalised through the
> signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders".
> 1.12. As Numsa we have been detecting an abuse by the ANC of other
> Alliance partners.
> 1.13. The alliance is used to rubber stamp neo-liberal policies of the ANC
> and not as a centre of power that debate policy issues and implementation.
> 1.14. The treatment of labour as a junior partner within the Alliance is
> not uniquely a South African phenomenon. In many post-colonial and
> post-revolutionary situations, liberation and revolutionary movements have
> turned on labour movements that fought alongside them; suppressed them,
> marginalised them, split them, robbed them of their independence or denied
> them any meaningful role in politics and policy-making.
> 1.15. The recent alliance summit still failed to make fundamental changes
> to the current proposed NDP and had no significant impact in changing
> policies in favour of the working class and the poor.
> 2. Further noting that;
> 2.1 There is no chance of winning back the Alliance to what it was
> originally formed for; which was to drive a revolutionary programme for
> fundamental transformation of the country with the Freedom Charter as the
> minimum platform to transform the South African economy.
> 2.2 The South African Communist Party (SACP) leadership has become
> embedded in the state and is failing to act as the vanguard of the working
> class.
> 2.3 The chance of winning back the SACP onto the path of working class
> struggle for working class power is very remote.
> 2.4 For the struggle for socialism, the working class needs a political
> organisation committed in theory and practice to socialism.
> 3. Therefore resolve that;
> 3.1 In light of the above as NUMSA, we should call on COSATU to break from
> the Alliance. The time for looking for an alternative has arrived.
> 3.1.1. that our members and shopstewards must be active on all fronts and
> in all struggles against neo-liberal policies whether these policies are
> being implemented in the workplace or in communities.
> 3.1.2. that in all our constitutional structures, there should be a
> standing agenda item on community struggles, their nature and NUMSA’s
> attitude to these community struggles.
> 3.2 As NUMSA, we must lead in the establishment of a new UNITED FRONT that
> will coordinate struggles in the workplace and in communities; in a way
> similar to the UDF of the 1980s. The task of this front will be to fight
> for the implementation of the Freedom Charter and be an organisational
> weapon against neoliberal policies such as the NDP. For this to happen it
> requires:
> 3.3. Side by side to the establishment of the new UNITED FRONT, we in
> NUMSA must explore the establishment of a MOVEMENT FOR SOCIALISM as the
> working class needs a political organisation committed in its policies and
> actions to the establishment of a socialist South Africa.
> 3.4. In order to execute the task of exploring the establishment of the
> MOVEMENT FOR SOCIALISM, as a union we must do the following:
> 3.4.1. In line with the existing NUMSA resolution, convene a Conference on
> Socialism
> 3.4.2. Leading up to the this conference, NUMSA must conduct a
> thoroughgoing discussion on previous attempts to build socialism as well as
> current experiments to build socialism
> 3.4.3. Commission an international study on the historical formation of
> working class parties. As part of this study we need to explore the
> different type of parties – from mass workers parties to vanguard parties.
> We must look at countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Greece and
> any other experiments.
> 3.5. This work to explore the formation of a MOVEMENT FOR SOCIALISM must
> be regularly reported to constitutional structures and the work must be
> finalised by the first NUMSA Central Committee in 2015.
> 3.6. In all the work being done whether on building a new united front and
> exploring the formation of a Movement for Socialism, as NUMSA we must be
> alert to gains that may present possibilities of either the new united
> front or any other progressive coalition or party committed to socialism
> standing for elections in future. The NUMSA constitutional structures must
> continuously assess these developments and possibilities.
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