Tag Archives: South Africa

50 Years Strong! Long live the PLP!

From South Carolina to the Middle East, capitalism keeps killing the working class. From bombs falling on Shia to bullets blasting their way into the back of another unarmed Black worker being fired out of the gun of a KKKop, the violence of this economic system continues to brutalize the working class.

Every bomb that falls in Syria or Iraq as the jihadist fascists fight the imperialist puppet fascists and workers keep getting slaughtered is a testament to the need for Progressive Labor Party’s egalitarian vision of Communism. 50 years ago, the international Communist movement appeared to be unstoppable. There were no suicide bombers or Jihadists in the Middle East because there was a powerful Communist movement that inspired the working class with a secular humanist vision grounded in the need to improve our society to benefit everyone. The essence though, was that that movement was flawed due to it being based on maintaining capitalist economic and social relationships.

PLP was born out of breaking with the old CP-USA. The CP was Communist in name only because they had abandoned fighting for Communism by then. By breaking with the CP, PLP was then able to continue the fight against revisionism as an integral part of the fight for Communism. Half a century later and Stalin’s warning of the dark ages of human history should the Communist Movement fail have now come true. The worst part is that these are still the good old days. Nobody has fired off the nukes yet, people are still eating, and the first world countries can still live in the bubbles of safety that come at the expense of the rest of the world’s billions of workers remaining in oppressive exploitation at the behest of profit.

China is now the most oppressive regime in the world. It is wantonly destroying the environment in our already damaged oceans by building landing strips on top of corral reefs in the South China Sea in order to impose their imperialistic aims on The Evil Empire. The US Evil Empire is worried about this strategy, as it will be able to deny them from their pivot to Asia. It looks like the US’s pivot to Asia is going as well as their last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only war the US has been successfully winning has been the class war they are waging as pigs are free to kill and deport Black and undocumented workers, hospitals are closed and schools are being redesigned to meet the needs of the imperialists. Two years ago, many workers died in a factory fire in Bangladesh, yet the factories are still unsafe and still making vast profits for the bosses. The working class in the US and all over the world is under attack by capitalism.

Half a century ago, the world was divided into two camps, Soviet Imperialism crept under the guise of Communism – even though millions of workers were inspired by Communist ideas, The USSR used them to advance their imperialist aims. Today, the world is still divided by inter-imperialist rivalry and they have no scruples in what fascist groups they use. The Evil Empire uses Nazis in Ukraine and Jihadists in Syria, Iraq, and China to challenge Russian and Chinese imperialism.

In order for a ruling class to build imperialism abroad, they must build fascism at home even more intensely. These fascist attacks in the US use the tried and true strategy of divide and conquer in order to attack the working class as a whole. The fascist attack on education was first done in New York City, and then spread to the mostly white upstate area. It is now affecting them. The attacks on Black workers help to set up the attacks on White workers because “labor in the White skin will never be free so long as Labor in the Black skin is in chains.” Walter Lamer Scott was another victim of the racism that capitalism needs in order to maintain itself. The racist pig Michael Slager who murdered him is on charges of murder, but how many other racist murders have happened since? How many more will happen? It is not just one cop doing the killing, but the system of capitalism requiring the force and terror of the state in order to protect its profit system.

PLP has broken with the Old Communist Movement’s (OCM) focus on reformism, vanguardism, and the two stage theory. Though PLP will always fight to alleviate the burden of wage slavery and the inherent injustice under capitalism, we are clear that this is part of the uncompromising struggle for Communism. We know that capitalism can never be reformed to meet the needs of the working class just as slaves could never run the plantations in order to get rid of slavery. PLP is a mass party dedicated to relying on and trusting the working class. The OCM didn’t believe that the masses could grasp the ideas of Communism and fight for it directly. We do. We know that the working class has built this world and will rebuild a better world. We know that the working class is at its best under Communist leadership. We know that one Party dedicated to creating one world of the working class is what’s needed. Finally, PLP has negated the struggle for socialism. Socialism is just another form of capitalism. Egalitarian profit-based wage slavery can never emancipate the working class. The same ideological superstructure is necessary in order to maintain an economic base predicated upon systemic inequality.

Communism is the answer to the problems wracking the world today. From the way that homosexuals are treated all over the world, to the racist attacks happening in South Africa as one group of workers uses nationalism and racism to attack another group, to racist pigs blasting our working class brothers and sisters on the streets of the US, to fascists massacring villages and rewarding themselves with young girls as sex slaves, the world needs an answer that is based on a scientific understanding of necessity rejecting racism, sexism, and nationalism. We need to organize based on class, the relationship to production, and fight for Communism. In order to do that, we must build PLP wherever we are so that the next 50 years will see victory for the world’s working class. PLP started with less than 20 dedicated revolutionaries in a room of a seedy hotel and has now spread to over 20 countries on 4 continents. We can’t be stopped and we won’t stop until we have ultimately emancipated the working class from all forms of slavery. PLP fighting for Communism is the only hope for mankind.

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South Africa: Workers, Soldiers Challenge ANC Rulers

In South Africa (SA), the misery of the working class has taken a violent turn. During July and August, the working class there held militant demonstrations against the profit system run by the capitalist African National Congress (ANC) government. Soldiers, municipal and chemical workers, miners and workers in the townships participated. As one worker stated, “The ANC turned their backs on us.”

The workers were demanding pay increases and basic services — housing, electricity and water. To maintain their fascist law and order against the workers’ anger, the ANC ordered out the police who used rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas. (The Mail Guardian, a SA daily newspaper.)

As the capitalist crisis hits worldwide, the profit system is becoming more unstable daily. The working class in SA is facing huge cut-backs in their daily living standards. Over 40% of the working class lives  below the poverty level. (The Economist, 7/25) One in four is now jobless while the cost of food and fuel have skyrocketed. In the shanty towns around the big cities, people are cold and hungry. Millions of workers live in leaky shacks without electricity or running water.

The reformist ANC and its allies, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the SA Communist Party have no solutions for the working class. All represent the bosses’ profit system.

So now we see that the abolition of the apartheid system in 1994 did not free black workers from capitalist exploitation. That system was a totally divisive capitalist-run society in which a politically dominant white minority ruled to maintain the intensely exploitative profit system. Millions of workers worldwide supported the struggle against apartheid. Thousands of black workers were jailed and many were killed. Thus, the end of apartheid gave birth to a black SA leadership.

The ANC represents local and international bosses. The SA economy is important to the capitalist world because it is particularly rich in mineral resources and is one of the world’s leading raw material exporters. This includes gold, diamonds, platinum, chromium, manganese, uranium, iron ore and coal.

During the 1960s’ U.S. civil rights movement, rebellious black workers rocked every major city. However, this did not end racism and super-exploitation of black workers. The movement eliminated some forms of legal segregation, but clearly did not end racism or segregation. The idea that racism could be defeated without overthrowing the capitalist system ended up giving rise to black bosses and politicians.

Today, these politicians are performing a tremendously valuable service for the capitalist class. They divert black, Latin and white workers into the polling booths instead of fighting back.

The Progressive Labor Party led many militant demonstrations on university campuses and at work-places against the apartheid system and segregation. But PLP also  put forward the abolition of capitalism and fought for workers’ power and communism.

Today, the world is entering another historic period of economic crisis, war and fascism, all stemming from the internal insoluble contradictions of capitalism. Therefore,  building the PLP-led international communist movement is essential for workers’ power.

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South Africa General Strike Shows Power of Workers

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, Aug. 6 — A massive general strike shut down this country’s economy today as tens of thousands of workers marched against rising fuel and food prices. Today’s nationwide strike, which followed several regional ones, was called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), under pressure from nearly two million members.

The Mail and Guardian (8/7) said, “The South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union…reported that 93% of its members had not gone to work….Gold mining operations…were affected substantially, with AngloGold Ashanti saying no shafts were operating while Harmony and Gold Fields said its operations were limited. Volkswagen’s…factory in Uitenhage…halted production, and Toyota South Africa closed its Durban plant for the day, as did Mercedes-Benz…in East London. Many…schools had been closed…”

Masses marched in many cities. In Pretoria, thousands marched to the Union Buildings, giving a memorandum of grievance against soaring electricity prices to Labor Minister Membathisi Mdladlana. Some 6,000 workers marched in East London, while about 5,000 took to the streets in Mthatha. The closure of Mercedes-Benz’s East London plant and other automotive factories in the province had the most obvious impact on the Eastern Cape economy.

This massive strike again showed the power workers have to shut down any modern economy. It is the road workers and their allies worldwide must follow to fight the bosses’ growing attacks in this age of economic meltdown and wars. Such an action is also one way to counter the recent racist pogrom fueled by lies blaming immigrant workers from Zimbawe, Mozambique, and elsewhere for the rise in prices and lack of jobs for all.

But much more is needed. The plight of workers won’t be solved by changing one politician or union misleader for another. For many years the COSATU leadership supported the African National Congress (ANC) government led by Mbeki and whose IMF-imposed austerity measures worsened workers’ lives here. COSATU, along with its allies in the “Communist” Party, which also supported Mbeki, are now backing the presidency of Jacob Zuma, who until 2005 was one of Mbeki’s deputy vice-presidents.

Zuma supported the privatization of Eskom, the government-owned electric utility. The recent electricity price rises are supposed to help Eskom, whose failing system has caused blackouts affecting capitalist operations like the gold mines. Privatization didn’t go through because investors realized that Eskom’s current sad state won’t be profitable.

The power struggle between different factions of the ruling ANC for control of state power, and the fruits of their being the main servants of local and international capitalists, again show that workers’ fight-back cannot limit itself to backing one set of bosses (such as African nationalists like the ANC) as the past militant anti-apartheid struggle did.

Many workers and youth in South Africa consider themselves pro-communist and revolutionary, but they must realize that the ANC-“C”P-COSATU leaders are far from that. The best lesson to draw from general strikes like today’s is to turn them into schools for communism, and rebuild a red-led workers movement. But this time it must break with all capitalists and fight for the only society capable of freeing workers from capitalism and its racism — communism.

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Racist Anti-Immigrant Gangs Betray Anti-Apartheid Fight


“Shock” is the expression being used after the eruption of violence on a scale not seen since the end of apartheid. “Anger at substantial immigrant populations — fellow blacks mainly from Zimbabwe and Mozambique — has seen at least 22 people killed in the past week since the first incidents in the northern Johannesburg township of Alexandra. The killing has now spread through the country like wild-fire…” (London Times online, 5/19)

The violent anti-immigrant pogrom has been fueled by the same lies directed against immigrants in Europe and the U.S. — they “steal jobs, cause crime,” etc.  Racist gangs have employed the weapons used against traitors during the anti-Apartheid era, like “neck-lacing” (burning tires around victims’ necks).
This racist violence is not “shocking” if we understand the real cause. Racism and inequality are universal aspects of capitalism, from Paris to London to New York to Johannesburg.

Since the African National Congress (ANC) took power following the dismantlement of the old apartheid regime, the lives of some black politicians and petit-bourgeois elements have improved, but life is harder for the majority of black workers. Last year, mass workers’ strikes reflected this situation. “People are having to find scapegoats, this is about competition for diminishing resources…. President Mbeki has tried to de-racialise the economy but only a very small number at the top have really benefited,” said Sipho Seephe, President of the South Africa Institute of Race Relations. (London Times) “Some 40 percent of the population — 80 percent of which is black — is little better off than at the end of apartheid in 1994.”

Another important lesson is that there is no half-way solution to the evils of a worldwide capitalist system involved in endless wars, continuing economic crises and the need to divide and super-exploit more and more workers to reap super-profits. Once the imperialists and capitalists realized the old apartheid regime couldn’t control South Africa’s angry workers and youth, the ANC came to power. Nelson Mandela, Mbeki and Jacob Zuma (the next President) — supported by the “Communist” Party of South Africa (with a substantial base among its most militant workers and youth because of the “C”P’s role in fighting apartheid) — became capitalism’s managers. They provided some cosmetic changes but without changing the essence of racist exploitation.

Zwelinzima Vavi , leader of the COSATU union federation, spoke at a protest organized by the ANC-CP-led federation outside parliament. He said it’s not the Zimbawean exiles causing the problems for poor South Africans, even blaming capitalism. But only 100 people protested, showing the lack of credibility of COSATU, which since 1994 has supported the ANC governments and its free-market capitalist policies, and now backs the new ANC President Zuma.

The racist gangs are murdering immigrant workers in the same townships where heroic battles against apartheid were waged in the past, a direct product of these sellouts’ pro-capitalist policies. Now the struggle to build a society without racism and capitalism is now more difficult than ever. But it’s the only struggle which will eventually extricate workers here and worldwide, out of this capitalist-created hell.

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The Battle That Helped Crush South Africa’s Apartheid

Part VII of Africa Series

On March 25, the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, Angola, was celebrated in Cuba by Raúl Castro and government representatives from Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Although the battle is mired in propaganda over whether the South African apartheid army really lost or the Cuban Army-led forces won, it marked the beginning of the end of the hated South African apartheid regime and the myth of its army’s invincibility in Southern Africa.
It has been called “Africa’s largest land battle since World War II,” occurring amid the Cold War between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. A brutal, bloody civil war gripped oil-rich Angola after it won independence from Portugal in 1975. Angola’s MPLA government was pro-Soviet. So the CIA, the apartheid South African regime, Congo’s corrupt dictator Mobutu and Israel armed, financed and trained UNITA, a guerrilla movement that had also fought Portugal’s colonial army. UNITA and its backers outgunned the MPLA, so the latter sought aid from Cuba, which sent thousands of soldiers to fight alongside the MPLA. The South African army also wanted UNITA to control Angola’s southern border to stop the liberation movement (SWAPO) fighting for Namibian independence from South African control.

The border war’s final battle occurred in the city of Cuito Cuanavale, in early 1988. It involved hundreds of tanks, artillery, planes and 50,000 Cuban-army-led soldiers against the UNITA-South African army attempt to capture the city. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. The apartheid regime claimed it wasn’t defeated.
But as von Clausewitz said, “war is the continuation of politics by other means.” That battle crushed the myth of invincibility of the racist apartheid regime and its army. Several years later, apartheid was dismantled in South Africa.

Unfortunately, this defeat of the hated apartheid regime didn’t include a revolutionary struggle against the root of racism: capitalism. Today, the rulers of South Africa, Angola and Namibia (all former leaders of those liberation movements) are in bed with capitalism and imperialism. Cuba looks to be turning towards the “China” road of free-market capitalism. And a new imperialist battle for Africa’s oil and other vital resources is developing, now between the U.S. and Chinese imperialists. A luta continua (the struggle continues).

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