Socialism

Number 82
Sep/Oct 2012

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from below
Against capitalism and racism, for workers’ power

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MINERS SHOW THE WAY, ACTION FROM BELOW WINS

MARIKANA! STRIKING AGAINST CAPITALISM
Stop the tolls - make the bosses pay * No more borders * free education, houses, and living wage for every living human , employed or unemployed, wherever we were born * RENATIONALISE Eskom * REVERSE privatisation, evictions, cutoffs and price increases

KEEP LEFT!

Active in the Democratic Left Front (DLF)

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MAGAZINE

Socialism
MINERS SHOW THE WAY, ACTION FROM BELOW WINS

«

from below

R1

MARIKANA! STRIKING AGAINST CAPITALISM
Stop the tolls - make the bosses pay * No more borders * free education, houses, and living wage for every living human , employed or unemployed, wherever we were born * RENATIONALISE Eskom * REVERSE privatisation, evictions, cutoffs and price increases

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Front

MARIKANA
By Keepleft
The Marikana uprising demonstrated overnight the close relationship that the government has with business, however this is not only the case in this country but right across the world. No business people were shot at for not paying the proper wage; rather those that went on strike against bad wages saw 34 of their fellow comrades killed. People who looked to our own government as having a pro poor and working class bias must really be shocked by the police actions at Marikana. People are asking how could this have happened, how could it be that the police who are controlled by the government stand so clearly on the side of bosses in the conflict. Yet we see this happening in all the conflicts that are happening across the world. Karl Marx in his writings warned of this, he argued that the state under capitalism, no matter whether it came out of a national liberation struggle or not is designed to ensure the continuation of capitalism as an economic system. Dictatorship of the Majority The only way to put an end to this state of affairs was for workers and their poor relatives to fight for and win a completely different way of running a country and the world at a large. He argued that workers need to make revolution and replace the existing order with "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat". Until they achieved this they would always face the bullets of the government protecting the interests of the bosses. Some say that this idea of Marx led to dictatorships, they point to the Soviet Union, which might have assisted the ANC with weapons, but back at home oppressed and exploited people by brute force. But the Soviet Union was far from the image that Marx had of socialism. For Marx the workers through their own council organisations had to run society. This was not the case in Russia, Stalin had smashed all of the democratic control from below by 1928 and society was run by the dictatorship of the Party. A party that now acted in the interests of building capitalism. Russia became a state capitalist society. Marx and his collaborator Engels in fact spent their live defending and

UPRISING
fighting for democracy. They were known by friend and foe alike as "extreme democrats". Marx started his political life in Germany as the editor of a radical democratic paper. State censorship and harassment drove him into poverty stricken exile, first in France and then in Britain. He backed national revolts against the Russian empire, supported the struggle for Irish independence and passionately defended the first workers uprising in the world, the Paris Commune of 1871. It was during the short-lived Commune that the "dictatorship of the proletariat arose". All officials were elected and paid the same rates as the people they represented and all were instantly recallable by those who elected them. It was infinitely more democratic than any of today's societies. The ANC says that it is a legitimate democratic government, this is true in comparison to apartheid rule, and we now have one person one vote: But we only vote every five years and most positions that effect our lives are not voted for, they are appointed positions. There are never votes on who controls the factories, or what should be produced, how profits should be divided. The police, army and judges are unelected and unaccountable. Democracy is not there for us in most areas of our lives; we are excluded in all places that might undermine our ruler's domination. Marx argued that this false democracy should and could be replaced by a socialist society in which the majority of the population democratically decide in all important areas of life. His "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" however has nothing to do with Stalinism. For Marx it was the machinery needed to prevent the old bosses and police chiefs trying to find a way back to being in power. This layer has shown time and again that they will stop at nothing to restore their rule. Each time workers have erupted in fierce struggle in the years since the Paris Commune they have put Marx's words in practice. They have started to organise their own councils of democratic practice. The Marikana strike committee had the seeds of a long history of working class struggle

AND MARX
in it. It was fiercely democratic in its discussions, report backs and actions taken. It paid no homage to bureaucratic positions. In this lies the future kernel of the capability to take power and build a new society. Why Revolution is Necessary Marx became a socialist because he became convinced it was only through workers' struggle and revolution that real; democracy could be achieved. Marx was particularly contemptuous of those who said society could be changed using methods which ignored a mass, democratic workers' movement. "The emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself" he insisted time and again. Marx often told how his hero in history was Spartacus, the leader of the great slave rebellion against the Roman Empire. That struggle was defeated, but for Marx it symbolised the spirit of revolt from below. Marx understood that when workers are struggling they are prey to all sorts of horrible ruling class ideas like sexism, racism, tribalism, xenophobia and homophobia. "The prevailing ideas in any epoch are the ideas of the ruling class." But he also understood how capitalism pushes workers to fight and how, in struggle, they not only discover their potential power but radically change their ideas. "Revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found a new society anew." Class Struggle is the key Marx did study and use some of the findings of the great Philosophies and economists of the time, but he declared "Philosophers have interpreted the world; the point is to change it." Marx was not neutral; he was an unashamed partisan of the fight by ordinary people to improve their lives. He insisted that the key issue in any society is the division into and conflict between classes. "Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild master and journeyman, (in Marikana, miner and mine owner) in a word oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden now open fight." Continues on pg 3

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Crisis of the profit system The major part of Marx's work was devoted to explaining how the capitalist system works and how it is based on exploitation and class struggle. He showed how the rulers control all the means of producing the necessities of life, (the factories, farms and mines) and how this means workers have no real freedom- either they work or they starve. The struggle in this country won a vote every five years but in no sense did people win real freedom, the freedom to decide how they work, what they work at and the freedom to receive all the benefits of their work. Marx showed also that capitalism was based on the anarchic competition between bosses for profits. This fact inevitably leads to repeated economic crisis in which millions of people's lives were ruined. The world has already this century gone through many recessions. At present the world economy is in a massive crisis. At first the government here said that we were insulated from the latest one, but this was false call, the time around 2009 saw the country shed up to a million jobs. Marx argued that under capitalism the "accumulation of wealth" is matched by the "accumulation of misery". Nowhere is this more evident than in the Platinum belt. A glance at the world today shows exactly what he meantthe contrast between the enormous wealth modern industry produces, and the famine, poverty and disease which afflict the majority of the world's people. Smashing our rulers' state Marx did more than simply analyse how capitalism worked. He pointed out that capitalist society creates in the working class a force than can end class society and the misery it brings. We have now over the past ten years seen one service delivery protest after another involving many tens of thousands of people. The government has been able to bumble along through it all, at times making reforms which answer to some of the demands, at other times nothing was given another than long winded promises. The Marikana uprising threw things into complete turmoil, why did this have such an effect? The answer is simple; the rock drillers struck at the heart of the system, their action brought the whole of production to a halt. No rock drilled, no platinum for the refinery, no profits for the bosses, no money for government.

Every action by people to fight for better service delivery must be applauded, but it is easy to see that when workers strike at the heart of the system the country really shakes. President Zuma although playing polite homage to the dead, found plenty of time to bemoan the fact that the government lost money, investors were complaining, and the economy was

suffering. It is no wonder that the police were so trigger happy; their role in society is to protect the ability of the bosses to make profit. Marikana showed their true colours. Marx argued "What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own gravediggers." Workers have this potential because capitalism depends on their labour to provide its profits. By seizing control of the factories, offices, mines and industrial farms, workers can break the power of the rulers and reorganise society in the interests of the majority of the population. Workers power, though, unlike other classes could only be exercised collectively and therefore democratically. You can divide land up amongst rural small farmers, but you can't cut a production line up and divide it between the workers. Only by co-operation can workers succeed. Alongside this, for workers co-operation is fostered by the daily conditions of work life and in the battle to defend and improve their conditions of life. Today there are countless millions more workers in the world than when Marx was writing, so the chance now for winning a better society is so much stronger than in his time. Marx also argued that it would not be enough to just take over the

factories; they would also have to break the power of the state-the army, police, judiciary and the state bureaucracy. The state Marx pointed out was not some neutral body standing above society; rather it was a means of maintaining the existing rulers in power. Unless workers broke it and built their own new organisations, the rulers would use the might of the state to crush them. This is why Marx argued that the working class cannot simply lay hold of the readymade state machinery and wield it for their own purposes, but must smash it. In the Marikana uprising we see all the elements of the arguments that Marx made coming together. We must salute the Marikana fighters, for as Marx said, out of the struggle of workers comes the power to once and for all time bury exploitation, oppression and build society anew. The second transition that South Africa needs to make, rests not on the long winded hopes of the path of "National Democratic Revolution" but rather the power and courage, here and now, that the workers of Marikana showed us all, Their example can smash the legacy of apartheid that still hangs so heavily over our heads.

VOICES OF THE MINE WORKERS: MARIKANA
By Botsang Mmope
The South African police and the army killed more than 34 Lonmin workers, injuring another 78, arresting 269 and others (unrecorded number) have disappeared. The workers were on strike for a better wage of R12,500.00. The following are some of the conversations we had with the workers and widows. One woman said "The television is hiding the truth about the killings, its lying". Another said 'My husband has worked here for 27 years - waking up at 3am and returning at 20:30pm. 'He earns R3 000.00 a month. What clown would earn so little and not protest?' The third one said 'My brother (34) has disappeared, we looked for him ...See page 4

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everywhere and his home does not even appear in the list of those who are arrested'. They told us about the shootings. 'All we saw was a helicopter flying, we heard shots then we saw men running and cops picking up anyone running around the streets' Other told us about their immediate practical problems. One said 'we have no money for rent, food for our children. We expect no income this month'. Tshepo a mine worker said 'many people had been killed at the small Koppie and it had never been covered by the media'. He emphasizes that 'many. many people were killed'. After the shooting began, Tshepo said he was among many miners who ran toward the small koppie. The police chased them and someone among them said "let us lie down comrades, they will not shoot us then." 'At that time, there were bullets coming from a helicopter above them. Tshepo then laid down. A number of fellow strikers also laid down. He says he watched Nyalas driving over the living miners. Other miners ran to the Koppies and 'that was where we were shot by police and the army with machine guns'. One of the strike leaders said, "We were being shot at as if we were criminals. But we never stole from anyone. All we wanted was our right to a better life and better working conditions’.

HISTORY
By Gavin Capps

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PLATINUM MINES

Gavin Capps looks at how platinum has taken centre stage in South Africa's mining industry-and how workers have paid the cost Platinum mining is a big part of South Africa's economy. South Africa holds 88 percent of the world's platinum reserves and accounts for over three quarters of global platinum production. In the boom years between 1994 and 2009 the industry grew by 67 percent, making it the single largest component of the country's mining sector. The period saw a huge wave of mine expansion and investment, including at British-owned Lonmin, the owners of the mine at the centre of the battle (see below). With gold in long-term decline because of the difficulty of reaching the remaining reserves, platinum has become the pivot around which South Africa's mining future turns. The ANC government has identified mining as central to its new resourcebased development strategy. It even plans a "platinum valley" to concentrate platinum-based manufacturing industries. However, its plans have been severely hit by the global crisis and a dramatic fall in the price of platinum over the past year. The earlier scramble to expand production has now led to a situation of global over-supply. Pressure At the same time, rising wage pressure, electricity and transport costs are squeezing profits. This has led some smaller producers such as Aquarius to temporarily close their mines. All the big players are radically cutting back on their investment plans. Anglo Platinum-which alone accounts for 60 percent of world platinum production-has been particularly hard hit. It recorded a loss of £20 million in first six months of 2012. For its part, Lonmin has cut its planned spending for the next two years from £285 million a year down to £160 million. Now the South African ruling class is panicked by militancy. It is particularly scared by the growth of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and its power to shut down production.

It is equally worried by the loss of control by the established National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The union has been central to dampening and deflecting struggle since it became deeply embedded with management. Since 1994 it has effectively worked for the government. A militant strike at the Impala platinum mine in January set a pattern. It lasted six weeks, cost Impala £180 million and stopped almost half of national platinum output. This strike resulted in a sudden growth of the AMCU at other mines, including Lonmin, which is terrifying the bosses, the ANC and the NUM alike. Lonrho's shameful hidden history Lonmin is the renamed British company Lonrho. The name change hides a shameful history even for an industry as brutal as mining. The firm was originally set up in 1909 to grab mining rights in what was then called Rhodesia. Even British Tory prime minister Edward Heath called Lonrho's boss Tiny Rowland "the unacceptable face of capitalism" in 1973. This was amid allegations of tax avoidance, bribing African leaders and breaking UN sanctions against the racist regime in Rhodesia. Golden tradition of workers' fight Since gold was discovered in South Africa in the 19th century, more than 80,000 miners have died in avoidable accidents. But this brutality has gone along with a long history of militancy. The current National Union of Mineworkers first built its strength from strikes in the gold mines under the apartheid regime in 1975. It faced systematic repression. In 1986 177 miners died in an accident caused by cost-cutting. More than 300,000 miners struck for a day. And in 1987 330,000 miners struck for 21 days, proving the power of the black working class in South Africa.

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WHAT
By Keepleft
Some supporters of the Marikana strikers had skippers with the slogan "Capitalism Sucks." They were pointing this slogan at the mine owners and at the same time engaging with workers over the need for a different economic system than that in which we live today. "Know your enemy" is useful advice for anyone engaged in a battle, but for socialists it is absolutely essential. Unless we know what we are up against, we have no chance of winning. And what we are up against is not just a group of people - the racists, the bosses, the ruling class etc - but a whole system: Capitalism. Unfortunately a clear view of capitalism is completely missing among wide sections of the left and the labour movement at present and this confusion often leads to the most serious political mistakes. Failure to grasp what capitalism is, means failure to realize what is necessary to defeat it, and often leads to the illusion that it has been defeated when it has merely changed some of its superficial features. For example there are those who regard capitalism primarily as an attitude of mind - a matter of personal greed and selfishness. This can lead either to the defeatist view that capitalism is somehow an expression of "human nature" which can never be changed, or to the absurdly complacent notion that it was enough to replace Apartheid rulers with the caring and concerned ANC. Others do a least recognize that capitalism is a definite economic system. But they think of it primarily as a national affair existing within the boundaries of particular countries, so that it can be overthrown within one country while remaining intact in the rest of the world. We have been through an era when many countries called themselves socialist. Stalin had argued that it was possible to build socialism in one country. Following on many national liberation movements painted themselves red and declared their countries socialist. China today still calls itself socialist, some say this is "really existing socialism." If you visit this country you will see

IS

CAPITALISM?
simply, to maximize profit. The primacy of capital accumulation derives from three fundamental facts: The first is the separation of the immediate producers ie the vast majority of ordinary working people, from any ownership or control of the land, tools or machinery necessary for production. The second is the concentration of all the major means of production in the hands of a privileged minority. And the third is the division of the total means of production into independent units (small or large, private or state owned) which produce in competition with each other. The first of these facts forces the working people to sell their ability to work, their labour power, to the class that does possess the means of production. That is, it transforms them into wage labourers, or proletarians, as Marx called them. The third fact forces the owners to maximize capital accumulation, not out of personal greed, but on pain of extinction in the competitive battle. This in turn forces the owners to exploit the workers as ferociously as they possibly can. This iron logic applies whether governments call themselves conservative or socialist, national liberation movement or even MarxistLeninist, and whether the controllers of the means of production are individual owners, anonymous shareholders or state bureaucrats. It can be broken only when the mass of the producers themselves take possession and real control of the huge industries and corporations that constitute the major means of production in the modern world. To do this they must first take on and defeat the state structures which the capitalists have constructed for the defence of their system. In short, a clear understanding of what capitalism is demonstrates beyond doubt that it cannot be defeated by means of parliamentary reform or any kind of action from above. There is no path to defeating capitalism via the road of "deepening the National Democratic Revolution," as promised by our own Communist party. The only path is by a workers' revolution from below, ultimately on an international scale.

party officials walking around with red badges but for the rest its business as usual and with it exploitation as usual. Capitalism certainly still rules. However, the most serious misconception prevalent on the left is the view that capitalism is defined simply as a system of private ownership of the means of production. This definition is historically false because it fails to distinguish capitalism from feudalism and from the slave societies of the ancient world in which there was also private ownership. It supports the right wing "revisionist" view that some countries are no longer really capitalist because they have nationalized - that is, state-owned industries.

It can lead to the idea that workers in nationalised industries should moderate their struggles within these supposed "islands of socialism" and it discredits socialism by associating it with the past Russia and Eastern Europe where the system of state ownership was run by undemocratic Stalinist parties. In fact capitalism is neither an attitude of mind nor national, nor primarily characterized by private ownership. Rather it is an international economic system which has developed from roughly the 16th century onwards and whose main characteristic is that it is dominated by the drive to accumulate capital, or, to put it more

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MARIKANA
By Anita Khan
Marikana, Women and the Fight for Socialism In the informal settlement, home to many of the women and the men of Marikana, people live in lopsided tin shacks. There is no electricity, sewerage runs freely between dwellings and only those few who can afford a standpipe have access to water. There are no local schools. Unemployment is rife and there are few job opportunities for women in mining. The majority of households are headed by women and an estimated 67% of households live on less than R1 600 a month. Difficult daily living conditions combine with a strong gender bias in the mining industry to compound the oppression and exploitation of women in particular. Of the approximately 10 percent of mineworkers who are women, most are regarded as supplementary rather than core labour and stuck in the lowest paid jobs, where conditions are dreadful and reports of sexual harassment are high. There have been incidents of mining jobs being traded for sex, sexual harassment by both bosses and fellow workers, and women workers feeling so unprotected underground that they are forced to carry small weapons to defend themselves. In Marikana, as in the case of other mining communities, the state has handed all social responsibility to Lonmin, the third biggest platinum producer in the world. The company has completely neglected to provide even basic services. The Lonmin mine is a tremendous source of wealth for a few, producing the platinum needed for catalytic converters and for jewellery for the rich. The boss of Lonmin earns in excess of R55,000 per day off the backs of the mineworkers. This in itself is a travesty of justice for the men, women and children living in these communities. With no state services and Lonmin siphoning off national resources without putting anything back into the community, women often carry the burden of supporting children, taking care of male workers, gathering firewood, water, cleaning, cooking and all of this with little recognition or

WOMEN
payment. While popular ideas of gender mean that women's central role is seen as a domestic one and violence as an acceptable way of men maintaining authority, the gender division is deliberately reinforced by the mining bosses who divide the workforce along sexual lines, and the state that treats women differently from men. By undermining women in the workplace, the social dominance of male workers over women and women's financial dependence and inferior status, all combine to reinforce the inferiority of women at community level. The division of the sexes at the point of production is a division that undermines the unity of the working class and in extreme cases, can cause women to see their interests as different to those of male workers.

SOCIALISM
has the potential to really begin to shift gender division in the community. For Marxists, class society with all its different levels of oppression and exploitation, only continues because most workers most of the time accept the ideology of the ruling class. They may not like being exploited, but there exists a consensus that this system is the only alternative. In struggle workers' consciousness can begin to change very quickly, particularly if the level of struggle and militancy is high. When workers fight over their immediate economic interests, they quickly come into conflict with the state that acts to protect the interests of capitalist rule. Lonmin workers witnessed this most painfully on the 16th August and have been living under virtual state siege since then. For Marxists it is through

Yet the signs are that this is not happening in Marikana, where two significant things have stood out about the women. The first is that, despite the loss of income during the strike, women in Marikana were fully behind the demand for R12,500, and that this soon became synonymous with their call for a better life for all. The other is that women saw the importance of using what little resources they had to maintain the momentum of activism in support of the strike and against the trumped up charge of Common Purpose, even though for they face a daily struggle for survival. In fact, the level of involvement of women in the struggle and their central role in activism

struggles like these that workers begin to change consciousness very quickly. Capitalism forces us into struggle and even if we begin with pro-capitalist ideas, including sexist ideologies, the struggle then forces us to question these ideas. Within days of the massacre of striking Lonmin workers on 16th August, women in Marikana gathered in numbers and held a protest against the police. They appeared time and time again, in force, outside the court where the bail application of the 270 arrested miners who had survived the massacre was taking place. While men and women have been shot down, wrongfully arrested, pushed around by

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police and now forced back to work, working class women in Marikana have stood shoulder to shoulder with men, and have tried to get their voices heard. This is because women benefit when the general level of class confidence and militancy is high. Women workers have everything to gain from fighting alongside male workers. Since the massacre, the heavy police presence in the area has put women and children in the frontline of harassment and police brutality. More recently, women have been the targets of police bullets. On 15th September, after the government announced a crackdown in Marikana, effectively illegally banning gatherings and giving police powers to fire on groups of people, several woman activists were shot by police. One of them, Paulina Masutlho, has since died as a result of police bullets. While Marxists believe that male domination is the result of the division of society into classes that results in a sexual division of labour, many feminists see the root of women's oppression in male power and have displayed considerable hostility toward Marxist ideas. As women during the Lonmin dispute have shown, working class women share the same material world as men of their class and during times of struggle, such women look to class struggle to lay the basis for their emancipation. At the same time, the level of women's oppression is deeply rooted in workplace and community and we cannot be complacent as socialists about the work that needs to be done around raising gender issues within the context of struggle. The struggle for socialism must also be a conscious struggle to end the subordination of women to men as well as the exploitation of workers by employers. That means we have to participate in the range of struggles that involve women as women. The women's march in Marikana is one example as is the conscious effort to include women in key roles in the Marikana Support Campaign and to ensure that women, as supporters of the strike and the justice campaign, become leaders in their own right. We have an opportunity here to see some real shifts in the consciousness of both men and women around gender inequality. The struggle against women's oppression is not just a women's struggle. Socialism cannot be won for one half of the class at the

expense of the other. To organise working class women we need men to commit to fighting women's oppression. Without this women are condemned to fight alone. Unity between men and women can be achieved by acknowledging that oppression exists and making the fight against it a major part of our strategy.

TRADE UNION AND THEIR BUREACRACY
By Keepleft

There are many kinds of trade unions. They change all the time. Their nature is determined by the conditions in which they operate. Those that develop in revolutionary situations tend to be very radical and in conditions of downturn tend to become conservative. The relative strength of the external and internal forces bearing upon the union shifts and fluctuates. In certain periods the pressure from below is of overriding effect; in others the pressure from the capitalists and the state predominates. This is true in South Africa, in which the trade union movement, more especially the emerging COSATU was more radical in the late eighties than it is today. Today we see the fight for socialism, which was prominent in the middle eighties, being pushed back by notions of "deepening the national democratic revolution" or the path of the " second transition." The passive road of urging the government to take a greater controlling role in the economy. One can also be angered by the NUM leadership's current direction, instead of applauding the victory at Marikana, they bemoan the breakdown in the negotiation process that

Marikana rock drillers shattered. They are extremely worried by all the action from below as this reduces their importance in the battle between the workers and the bosses. In frustration however one may argue, well that is the end of them, we must build a new union movement, COSATU is down the drain, and its reaction to Marikana was disastrous. The reason for this are ties to the tripartite alliance and with it the bosses. This may well be true, but am sure the COSATU trade union leadership will welcome being left to run their ship without socialist critics, revolutionaries however cannot abandon this ship as its still holds in its hands the majority of unionised workers. There is also no guarantee that unions like AMCU that have done so well at supporting the Marikana miner's demands and should be defended for this with all our hearts, will not in the future get stuck in the mould that NUM finds itself in today. It is important that we understand trade unions and the role of the trade union bureaucracy in them to get a path forward in answering this frustration. The following article was written by Lebohang Matete in 1993, then in response to the drift by COSATU from the heady days of anti- apartheid struggle to the more stayed role of a traditional trade union movement that one may see in many other countries around the world. What he said then remains relevant today. The Role of Unions. Trade unions exist within the capitalist system. Their task is to defend workers' interests within this network. The union exists to improve the terms on which workers are exploited, not to put an end to the system. Unions tend to unite workers into distinct groups and keep each group apart from one another. Unions themselves are divided, even when different workers are under one umbrella union. For example, there is no way in which the same negotiations with employers can cover miners and teachers. Hence there is no place for miners in a teachers' union, or vice versa. Why Bureaucracy? The emergence of the trade union bureaucracy is rooted in the narrow economistic and sectional nature of the

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unions. Because of the unevenness of struggles in the working class, the union bureaucracy plays a role in mediating between capital and labour. An important reason for this is that trade unions struggles are, by their very nature, partial struggles waged within capitalism. This means that, at the end of the day, some agreement must be reached between labour and capital. A division of labour emerges between the mass of workers and those (the bureaucracy) who spend their time bargaining with employers. Their role reinforces them as authority figures within the union movement. They are increasingly removed from the people they represent on the factory floor, and from the immediate conflicts with management, into the environment of an office. Their wage ceases to depend on the ups and downs of capitalist production. They are not involved in working overtime nor are they vulnerable to short time or retrenchments. Because of this, they develop an interest in maintaining the organisation as a tool for enhancing the class's ability to struggle. This means that lengthy strikes begin to threaten the financial and organisational stability on which the union bureaucrat survives. As a result, they come to see negotiations, compromises and reconciliation between capital and labour as the very stuff of trade unionism. Mediator. The trade union bureaucracy presents two faces. It balances between the employers and workers. At points, it holds back and controls workers' struggle. But at the same time it has a vital interest not to push the collaboration with the employers to a point where it makes the union completely impotent. The bureaucracy has to make sure that it does not stray too far into the bourgeois' camp, because otherwise they will lose their base. They will also have to check workers who are active and rebellious by relying on those who are more passive. They hate pressure from both the workers and from the employer who doesn't recognize the union. Their interest is to keep the union going. The bureaucracy is not homogenous. Union officials are not the same; they are divided between left and right. But at the end of the day, all bureaucrats,

whether from the right or left, generally seek to curb and control workers' militancy. The divisions between them are rendered secondary. Challenge. It may be difficult to push the bureaucracy into action through pressure from below. This challenge is, however, essential. Trade unions are important organisations for uniting workers to fight collectively. But they embrace workers with different sorts of ideas. And the masses will only become consciously revolutionary at times of revolution. The task of the revolutionary is to work within workers' organisations, including trade unions and try to influence the course of struggles by building people's confidence to challenge not only the bosses and government but their leaders if they hold them back. At the same time, revolutionaries must maintain their organisational independence; especially from the union bureaucracy. It is only this independent and revolutionary organisation, which must be rooted in all workers' organisations that can build the ability for workers put an end to bureaucracy and capitalism once and for all.

RESISTANCE R A C I S M SLAVERY
By Joe Kelly
The Atlantic Middle Passage, the journey across the ocean for captive slaves, was perhaps the most harrowing experience of their lives. The trauma that the journey involved is chillingly captured in mortality statistics for slaves, some 5 % in the early days of the trade, the fifteenth century, rising to between 11% and 15 % on Dutch and English ships in the seventeenth century. The crew of slavers were essentially brutal men who cared very little for the lives and the conditions under which their African captives were held. However, there was an economic calculation to be made -- excessive cruelty and the inefficiency of transport was a costly loss of purchased human bodies. Thus, by the eighteenth century, with smaller crews and bigger ships, journeys were made in which larger

numbers of slaves were transported alive than ever before. Beside the factor of increased size and the greater efficiency of the ships that sailed, the horrors of the journey were often neutralized by the bonds of kinship between slaves. Captives often found ways to reconstruct their former lives and culture as far as possible within the constraints of the tight controls of the ship's crew over them. Captain and crew often believed that they could prevent slaves from making contact with each other and building communal or interpersonal relationships on board. Slave traders made sure to load their ships with human cargos that they believed were not in a position to understand each other. A crew member of the Royal African Company vocalized this illusion when he stated that captives from the Senegambia region were from such varying language backgrounds that "there will be no more likelihood of their succeeding in a plot, than of finishing the Tower of Babel." However the fact that West African captives came from a linguistically rich zone does not mean that captives could not understand each other. Recent historians have shown that the West African coastline was a multilingual cultural zone that fostered mutual understanding between people. The need to survive on board was often so pressing a need that captives were quick to pick up on English by speaking with sailors. They also developed ways of communicating with crew and among themselves by signs and gestures. Captives also communicated through a vibrant culture of drumming, dance, drama, singing and storytelling. This cultural flexibility and communicative creativity among captives not only allowed captives to find "kin, fellow villagers, countrymen and identify which cultural groups were on board" but also facilitated their ability to plan shipboard revolts and other forms of collective resistance. By using various means to communicate with each other African captives on slave ships maintained aspects of their culture and attachment to Africa as their home. Despite the odds, the communicative environment they were able to establish on board helped captives to survive the long and perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Many, in fact, did not survive,

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although in numerous instances where lives were lost it was often out of choice. Choosing death was often a statement of captives' resistance to being sold as property and as labour power for white men. Resistance occurred in the form of silent unwillingness to co-operate and ultimately suicide. The story of a small child on board the ship, the Black Joke in 1765, painfully illustrates the selfless determination often involved with such resistance. As the story goes, the child would neither take its mother's breast milk nor the rice and palm oil that captives were usually fed. In order to compel the child to eat, Captain Thomas Marshall beat it with a whip and tied a mango log around its neck. He flogged the child repeatedly, picked it up in his arms and dropped it onto the deck. Within in an hour, the child was dead.

Captain Marshall may well have been a psychopath and an unimaginably cruel man even among men of his dark profession. Yet the relentlessness against murmurs of protest from enchained men - with which he tried to compel an unwilling baby to eat, hints at the fact that any sign of resistance among captives was a threat to the power of the crew. It was a threat moreover to the prospective profits to be made on the delivery of as many live and healthy captives to the Americas as possible. Even more menacing for slave ship crews, unwillingness to eat could often be coupled with a broader will to rebellion among captives. As historian of slave shipping, Marcus Rediker has observed, "The hunger strike aboard the Loyal George, as recalled by Silas Told, led directly to an insurrection and, once that failed, to mass suicide." Suicide was not necessarily the intended outcome of more risky acts of resistance. Thus, when captives jumped overboard close to an African port - as dangerous as this was in shark infested waterways - the intention

was to make it back to shore alive. However, jumping overboard, beyond the physical aspect of suicide, was also a spiritual escape from the prospect of a lifetime of enslavement. It was a bid to return to one's home country in a state, unburdened of worldly cares. Suicide, however, could also be a directly insurrectionary act. This is most evident in the case of mass suicides involved in exploding a ship. Such occurred on the New Britannia in January 1775, in which 300 crew and captives were killed, and on a Dutch slave ship in 1785, where insurgent captives, rather than face capture or defeat, destroyed the ship in a spectacular explosion that killed everyone on board. When uprisings among captives occurred, these were not necessarily spontaneous events without leadership and planning. People communicated with each other in the crowded lower decks. They engaged sometimes in reconstructing shared cultures and kinship ties, but at other times they conversed in small groups, with the purpose of identifying common grievances and possible solutions for these. Their carefully laid plans and conspiracies often revealed the leadership of men and women who had previously been involved in battles on African soil and thus had the courage, discipline and combat skills to see an insurrection through to the end. These were some of the first fight backs in the long history of the struggle against racism.

R4000 to R12,500). Over a month later, the workers agreed to a 22% wage increase. Although far off from their original demand, this reflects a drastic increase nevertheless and will certainly inspire workers elsewhere, as they have at Implats, to continue to fight for better wages. The struggle for higher wages being advanced by the working class in places like Marikana is the foundation for building socialism whereby the means of production is controlled by the majority. The Marikana workers have shown us that, when they are well organised and determined, they can win real gains from the capitalist class. But, the struggle for socialism will involve much more - including the absolute destruction of the logic and practice of capitalism which allows CEO's to make R56,000/day, and rockdrillers a mere R5000 per month as they do in Lonmin. When the fruits of what is produced are put towards the needs and interests of the majority and our planet, then the working class will be in control of its own destiny. By strengthening the power and democratic practices of their own autonomous worker's organizations, the working class can begin to make strides towards achieving genuine economic freedom.

TRIBUTE TO COMRADE ZAKES
Comrade Zakes Ngubene of ikageng Ptchefstroom. Our dear comrade Zakes passed away recently after battling the effects of illness. He was let down by a society that could not meet his medical needs. Zakes was a long-time member of Keep Left and its predecessor socialist worker organisation. Zakes was a strong fighter for socialism in his community, in Africa and across the world: He wrote: "We must begin to see the class character of the African society. It is the duty of socialists not only to show the class divisions, but also to unite the fragmented struggles of the working class." We will do so! Hamba Kahle comrade Zakes!

ECONOMIC FREEDOM
By Luke Sinwell
We salute the 34 workers in Marikana who died fighting their right to a better life on the 16th August 2012. They, along with the other workers who survived them, have demonstrated the power of ordinary people to begin to shape their own destinies. The workers bypassed the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the largest affiliate of COSATU, deeming it out of touch with the needs of members and too closely linked to the interests of the bosses. They headed directly to the management offices on the 10th of August or a 300% wage increase (from

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MARIKANA MARIKANA
By Rehad Desai

SUPPORT SUPPORT

TAKES OFF

The Marikana Support Campaign is a broad based non- sectarian campaign to fight to ensure justice is done and democracy is defended, by supporting those workers killed maimed, arrested and charged. It was established shortly after the massacre, it was initiated with the support of the Democratic Left Front and other progressive formations and then given support by the church bodies, academics and human rights and public interest bodies. It was soon endorsed by AMCU and the federation it belongs to, the National Council of Trade Unions, and community organisations, particularly those affected by the mining companies in the North West. It continued to grow from strength during the long and bitter strike at Lonmin, battle that reinforced by other mine workers who took up the demand for R12.500 as a living wage as their own. Given the consistent support for the strike and campaign work in the community , the Marikana workers committee, the Women's group of Wonderkop and the Bapo Tribal Authroity soon decided to join the campaign. The recently elected committee is now made up of all these groups and has instrumental in ensuring that 20 families of slain miners, AMCU, the workers strike committee and those arrested are legally represented during the Marikana Commission of Inquiry headed up by Judge Farlam. One only needs to look at the terms of reference of this commission. set by the Presidency to see that they intend to apportion a little bit of blame to each of those named as interested parties. These include SAPS, Lonmin, NUM, and AMCU. Large sections of the press, accompanied by Alliance partners have been vociferous in their attacks on the strikers, and AMCU, labelling the Lonmin strikers as ignorant tribalists, lumpen, suicidal, easily led by sangomas, and the likes of Malema and opportunist militant trade unions hell bent on anarchy. Nothing could be further from the truth, rock drillers simply decided they had they had enough of starvation wages, which condemns them to a life of misery. The mining community of Marikana are humble people, disciplined and determined to better their lives, even if that meant being dismissed and leaving the trade unions that they built and defended. For the 'crime' of going on strike, albeit unprotected by law, they sat on the mountain, that sits on public land and demanded the management engage them on their demands. The police responded by stating that 'they would end the strike' and the 16th would be D-day. The rest we know, and what is now becoming clear IS that because one worker opened fire with a handgun, whilst being fired upon by police using bird shot and rubber bullets, the order 5 seconds later to effectively shoot to kill was given, at least 34 were killed many in the back or at point blank range. To add insult to injury the state launched, a crackdown towards the end of the strike, ANC councillor Paulina Mashitilo was so severely injured by rubber bullets, she too died in hospital from her injuries. The campaign will stand steadfastly by all those miners who paid such a heavy price for daring to strike and those who died for daring to support them. We are demanding the focus of this inquiry be on those who authored the massacre, and we fear that was possibly a conspiracy between SAPS and Lonmin, possibly with support from some key government departments. Only the truth will set us free. If you want to get involved right to our national campaign coordinator Nhlanhla Ndaba, Nhlanhla@doti.co.za - also join the facebook group Justice Now for Marikana Strikers for updates on our actions and meetings.

KEEP LEFT!
Keep Left has weekly meetings. in
Joburg 0823329874, Tsakane 0824019185, Potchefstroom 0787242530, and Cape Town 0783180266.

socialismfrombelow@gmail.com

KEEP LEFT! is a magazine for everyone who wants to fight capitalism. We want workers' power. GET INVOLVED!

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