capitalist class appears to have cheap black labour by employing the whites as a praetorian guard.On the other, the capitalist class has to suffer all the expenses and restrictions on accumulationconsequent on racial discrimination. To understand this ambiguous relationship it is essential tointroduce the category of abstract labour.The term abstract labour is itself not an easy category but it is a fundamental one. Specifically itrefers to the social reduction of labour to a common form. This does not imply that there is anactual physically determined amount of labour time common to all workers. It refers rather to alevel of labour time, intensity of labour etc., which is common in the economy. Thus in the UnitedKingdom the intensity of labour is very different from that of the United States, as is the number ofhours worked, the numbers of workers per machine and so on. The question is not that everyoneworks at the same level but that they tend towards that level. Its determination is a result of theprocess of accumulation expressed particularly in the mechanization of the economy and of theclass struggle. The word form, here, is crucial. The form of abstract labour, hitherto, has tended tobe a national form, rather than an international form. In turn, this is reflected in the national fluidityand mobility of labour. The problem in South Africa is that abstract labour has necessarily to befractured to maintain the system. There are two important consequences. Firstly, the capitalist classfaces a conflict between its (individual and collective) economic interests and its collective politicalinterests. Secondly, the fracturing of abstract labour has inevitably led to a community-based formof struggle as opposed to class action. However, the conflict between the formation of abstractlabour and its fracturing has only delayed and hindered but cannot prevent the formation of a blackworking class.Thus, the fundamental reason that has prevented direct working class forms of struggle in SouthAfrica is the fracturing of abstract labour. In practice, this material fracturing has provided theopportunity for the African National Congress/Communist Party, and other organizations to turn thecommunity struggle into a nationalist form. The combination of these two forces - the one materialand the other political and ideological - has prevented direct working-class forms of struggle. Thepresent nationalist form of the movement (although some workers did advance socialist demands),the nature of the uprising from 1984 onwards, and the consequent defeat are all attributable to theStalinist leadership and ideology accepted by the masses. In other words, the absence of an anti-capitalist mass movement is to be explained in part by the line of the Communist Party and theinfluence of the USSR. Indeed, the failure of the campaigns from 1984 onwards may also be tracedto the communitarian as opposed to class form of the struggle.The defeat of 1984-6 and the current strategy of the ruling class necessitates a debate about thenature, development and decay of racial discrimination and its specific adaptation of the laws ofcapitalism. The simplistic and wrong view that apartheid is a system utilized by the capitalist classto raise its profits has been widely propagated. It has never explained why the capitalist class hasalways been opposed to the white worker and his extreme racialism, why it financed politicalopposition to the Nationalist Party and fought to replace white with black workers in the wholeperiod down to 1922.The current Communist Party view that the system exists in order to raise the profits of worldimperialism from an 'internal colony' has become common parlance among the left. Unfortunately,the early tradition of theoretical discussion in South Africa on the left, even within the SouthAfrican Communist Party, has been replaced with descriptive analysis, the gathering of empiricaldata and ruinous Althusserian diversions.