SA: ‘White monopoly capital’ turns the screw on ANC


10/09/2017 by socialistfight

 Gerry Downing 10-9-17

Image result for Zuma and Ramaphosa imagesPresident Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa take an oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony of Members of Parliament on May 21, 2014. 

Bell Pottinger, Lesotho, and the Bank of Baroda,

On Monday 4 September, the British-based Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) [1] expelled the public relations firm Bell Pottinger following a complaint in July by the Democratic Alliance of South Africa because they had “brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute with its actions”. Therefore, “it has received the harshest possible sanctions”. As we noted in a previous article, “the imperialists are shifting alliances in South Africa to the party that contains the political bones of the white liberals Helen Suzman and Harry Schwarz together with those of Vorster, Botha and de Klerk. Could the whiff of racism from the Cape coloured and the National Party be expunged by the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa?” [2]

This is the first time the PRCA has expelled a member. This judgement may well lead to the liquidation of the former Thatcherite transnational corporation. Their crime was to seek to provide PR services to Guptas’ firms, and thereby to Zuma. According to the International Business Times on 3 October 2016:

“British PR firm Bell Pottinger was reportedly paid $540m (£417m) by the US to create campaign material in Iraq to portray al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathisers. A recent report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) indicates that the London-headquartered company, which is known for its roster of controversial clients – such as the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation – made fake terror and news-style videos, which would then be used to track those accessing them.

Created by Margaret Thatcher’s PR advisor Lord Timothy Bell in 1989, staff from the company moved to US base Camp Victory in Baghdad, where they worked alongside high-ranking military officers.

Bell, the company’s former chairman, confirmed the same to The Sunday Times and said that the “covert” team reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council. “It was a covert military operation. It was covered by various secrecy documents. We were very proud of it. We did a lot to help resolve the situation. Not enough. We did not stop the mess which emerged, but it was part of the American propaganda machinery,” Bell said. [3]

Bell Pottinger had engaged in these terrible crimes without a peep from the PRCA, and it is a sick joke to claim that it ever had any ethnical principles to betray in the first place. But undoubtedly it was the assistance rendered to the wife of Bashir Assad in Syria and now Zuma that has outraged ‘white monopoly capital’. ‘White monopoly capital’ was the ‘racist’ slogan that brought the wrath of the PRCA down on their heads, undoubtedly urged on by the representative of ‘white monopoly capital’ itself. The spooks have unearthed a swath of emails from the Gupta accounts and the one that we are told was the most telling was from Nick Lambert‚ a senior advisor at Bell Pottinger who, as Frank Chung, writing in commented on 8 September, “these spin doctors have represented dictators, murderers and molesters — but three words were beyond the pale”:

The Democratic Alliance previously raised concerns about contents of a leaked Gupta email in which a senior adviser at Bell Pottinger identified “key moments” in a speech delivered by ANC Youth League leader Collins Maine. “These key moments include the following quote: ‘Those who want to disrupt the State of the Nation speech must prepare themselves for a civil war’,” Ms Van Damme said. “It is disturbing that the incitement of a civil war in South Africa is identified as a ‘key moment’ by a Bell Pottinger adviser.” [4]

How ironic that, having accused ‘white monopoly capital’ of plotting against him Zuma finds Bell Pottinger brought down by just that force. Racism against the white post-apartheid capitalist agents of imperialism is a terrible crime… in the not-so-post-apartheid South Africa. Casual and extreme racism exists still against black workers in many firms dominated by whites in South Africa but that is nor a real problem for the likes of the PRCA. Stalinist opportunist, two stage revolutionists (the second socialist revolution was only a face-saving pious aspiration for them) and increasingly corrupt as it was the ANC was nonetheless the first mass party of the Black masses, their first opportunity to vote in their own country and that deeply impinged on their consciousness. That was why this author and at least two left Trotskyists groups called for a vote for the ANC in that 1994 election.

Trotsky himself had called for a Black republic here in his 1935 article, The Agrarian and National Questions,

“A victorious revolution is unthinkable without the awakening of the Native masses; in its turn, it will give them what they are so lacking today, confidence in their strength, a heightened personal consciousness, a cultural growth. Under these conditions the South African Republic will emerge first of all as a “Black” republic; this does not exclude of course, either full equality for whites or brotherly relations between the two races (which depends mainly upon the conduct of the whites), but it is entirely obvious that the predominant majority of the population, liberated from slavish dependence, will put a certain imprint on the State. In so far as a victorious revolution will radically change not only the relation between the classes but will also assure to blacks that place in the State which corresponds to their numbers, in so far will the SOCIAL revolution in South Africa also have a NATIONAL character. We have not the slightest reason to close our eyes to this side of the question or to diminish its significance”. [5]

It would undoubtedly be understood as a defeat for these masses if, in their confusion and sense of betrayal at the corruption of Zuma and the leading ANC figures, the Democratic Alliances succeeded in ousting and smashing up the ANC.

The political essence of this campaign is clearly directed by the DA and Ramaphosa as the agents of Anglo-American imperialism. The target is not just the Guptas and Zumas but the ANC itself. The anti-Zuma ANC Stalwarts which “include all of the remaining members of those imprisoned after the Rivonia Treason Trial who are signatories of the document “For the Sake of our Future, (27 December 2016)” urged the ANC MPs to vote against Zuma in the secret ballot in August.

A comment by, ‘JusticeAboveAll’ on that ANC Stalwarts statement welcoming of the Bell Pettinger expulsion shows the state of the conflict; some want to smash the ANC:

The problem with the ANC stalwarts is their myopic view of the challenges of SA and especially their myopic view of the solution. They still believe the solution to get SA back on track lies with the ANC….if the ANC can self-correct then SA can self-correct they, continue to tell themselves. Of course, that is all BS, the ANC of Mandela and Tambo which they are longing after is long dead….it died the same death as other liberation movements across the African continent has…. within 25 years after “liberation” these movements all turn corrupt and are run by a despot. No, the solutions for SA lies beyond the ANC, the people are waking up to that reality…in fact the liberation movement itself has now become the people’s greatest enemy…. dream on stalwarts, dream on about years gone by….. [6]

Lesotho and the Bank of Baroda

On the same day, 4 September, came the shooting in Lesotho of army commander Lt. Gen. Khoantle Motsomotso, in a murky affair in which Cyril Ramaphosa is centrally involved. Both assassins were conveniently killed. Some have suggested they were Zuma men but double agents are a familiar phenomenon in the world of the assassin. After the murder, it was revealed that one the men was involved in the murder of the previous army commander Maaparankoe Mahao in the coup attempt two years ago. Who knew that and why was he never arrested for the murder at the inquiry into that shooting?

Now, via the Modi government of India, undoubtedly under pressure from Anglo/American imperialism, the Bank of Baroda seeks a further turn of the screw to bankrupt the Guptas by withdrawing all financial services from his firms. Modi had previously withdrawn the services of the Bank of India. Obviously, Zuma is the target here also. The entire weight of global imperialism and its local agents are now concentrating on ousting Zuma.

The hand of the CIA/MI6, Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance are obvious here as US/UK finance capital seeks to oust the ANC and split it via the 24 ANC MPs (20 openly) who took Ramaphosa’s side in the secret parliamentary vote against Zuma in August. And they have many allies, as we pointed out in our No to the ouster of Zuma:

“In the recent mobilisation before the secret vote failed to remove Zuma the parties involved in the unprincipled pro-imperialist Popular Front were: the African Christian Democratic Party‚ the African Independent Congress‚ the African People’s Convention‚ the Congress of the People‚ Agang SA‚ the Democratic Alliance‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ the Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement‚ together with the Freedom Movement and Save SA.” [7]

This is international finance capital engaging in a Brazil/Venuezua style coup against the ANC and Zuma. This is a further manifesto of the big push by US-led global imperialism against the BRICS and its closest allies in the more advanced semi-colonial countries since the crash of 2008.

Of course, Zuma and the Guptas are corrupt and totally politically compromised with imperialism. But look at the examples of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muamar Gaddafi in Libya, Bashir Assad in Syria, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine. Their capitulation to imperialism or conceding to abandoning weapons of mass destruction was no guarantee of immunity from imperialist sponsored regime change either by military means or constitutional coups orchestrated by imperialist agents within these countries. North Korea has clearly learned this lesson.

Image result for Zuma and Ramaphosa imagesSACP: “If President Jacob Zuma’s choice is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (above right), our choice is Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Imperialism’s fight back since the 2008 crash

Imperialism’s fight back against the national bourgeois of the semi colonial world and the two remaining deformed workers’ states; Cuba and North Korea, has enormously increased since that crash of 2008 and it takes two basic forms, overthrow by invasion or assisting proxy internal forces or constitutional coups. They overthrew Saddam and Gaddafi by invasion and sponsoring pro-imperialist rebels and NATO bombing, Yanukovych fled for his life Kiev in the Maidan fascist led and imperialist sponsored coup but the Donbass held out. Assad has all-but defeated the imperialist sponsored regime change push in Syria with Russian assistance and the Taliban has frustrated the attempts of the US to occupy and impose regime change in Afghanistan since the US invasion of that country in September 2001.

Dilma and the Workers Party (PT) shamefully capitulated to the coup in Brazil by refusing to rally the working class and poor to their side, which was still possible despite the collaboration of Lula and Dilma with all the agencies of imperialism, the IMF etc., in imposing austerity. But Maduro has held out and is fighting back in Venuezua as is Raul Castro in Cuba, Zuma in South Africa and Kim Jung Il in North Korea in their own ways against Trump’s warmongering aggression.

If Syria could rely on Russia, who has defended their own interests there, neither Zuma nor Maduro can expect such assistance. Chavez made half a revolution in Venuezua and Maduro is fighting now but only for a new compromise with US imperialism.

Mandela didn’t even do that in South Africa, or at least we must say he ended apartheid in a counterrevolutionary manner by embracing the 1991 Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and the 1996 Growth and Economic Development programme (GEAR) which was a pro-imperialist neoliberal economic programme which left the black masses worse off in many ways. In South Africa and Venezuala the working class, poor and oppressed can be rallied. Maduro is doing so in a limited way via the Constitutional Assembly.

In South Africa, it seems only the forces around the biggest trade union, the left Stalinist dominated National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, are now willing to do that and to them, all serious revolutionists in South Africa must rally in the first place with political transitional demands for the struggle. Without in any way neglecting to address the mass working class base of both the ANC, the SACP and the EFF. But we must acknowledge that only the forces of Numsa have the real ability to do that. As we pointed out in No to the Ouster of Zuma:

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is the biggest single trade union in South Africa. It was expelled from COSATU on 8 November 2014. [8]

Image result for Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary of Numsa   imagesGeneral Secretary of Numsa Irvin Jim and Deputy General Secretary Karl Cloete

Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary of Numsa indicates that they are refusing to go along with this move against Zuma:

“Which class forces stand to gain the most from this important site of struggle? … In as much as we must analyse the class forces at play, we must also use the crisis and popular feelings of ordinary people to concretely benefit the working class and build working class hegemony… Not staying aloof from inter class struggles and alliances, the working class should however never aid an agenda that replaces one butcher with another. The world knows all too well what Cyril Ramaphosa’s role was in Marikana and the mass murder of mineworkers by the South African Police Services in 2012. The cold reality is that some who are calling for Zuma to fall are actively campaigning for Ramaphosa to become the next South African President. Ramaphosa has the backing of COSATU and the SACP, and perhaps even Save South Africa and others are also supportive of him.” [9]

We should not support this constitutional coup against Zuma; we should identify Cyril Ramaphosa and the DA and their allies in the SACP as the representatives of the main enemy of the South African masses, US-led global imperialism. But we must now look at the SACP and its stance on the Marikana Massacre.

Marikana; Zuma, Ramaphosa, the SACP and ‘white monopoly capital’

The Marikana massacre is correctly seen as a turning point in class relations in South Africa. If a principled revolutionary group had existed in any numbers on the ground the ANC would now be marginalised and a mass workers party would be leading the working class and oppressed in challenging for state power via socialist revolution. But that has not happened and now the opposite danger looms; a gambit from the right to install Cyril Ramaphosa as the more immediate and direct representative of global imperialism and to oust Jacob Zuma and break up the ANC as one of few remaining gains of the struggle against apartheid. Repulsive as the task appears at first sight we must ‘get down and dirty’ and seek to stop Ramaphosa and the Democratic alliance from ousting Zuma and the ANC.

Image result for The Marikana massacre imagesMgcineni Noki, the hero of Nick Davies moving account of the massacre on 9 May 2015 in The Guardian. And below, the damming video evidence of the cold-blooded massacre by the police of the striking platinum miners on 16 August 2012. 

Let us first remind ourselves of what actually happened on that fateful day of 16 August 2012 and there has been no arrest, let alone prosecution for these mass murders or their masters, despite the fact that the identity of the killers is clearly seen in the photographs and videos. This is from a 19 May 2015 article by Nick Davis in The Guardian:

From the top of the koppie, Xolani had watched the attack begin. At first he was going to follow Mambush (the dead hero of Davies’ article – GD). He remembered hearing the shooting, running into a miner called Liau, saying he could not see Mambush any more, saying that now they must go in the other direction, where there were a couple of smaller koppies to hide in. But Liau ignored him and ran towards the settlement. He was shot in the chest – one of 17 men who died there. Xolani went in the opposite direction, tearing off his jacket as he went, in case it identified him as a strike leader and a target.

For 15 minutes, there was no firing. Then two groups of officers closed in one of the two smaller koppies. Several dozen strikers were now hiding among its rocks and bushes. Police opened an explosion of intense fire – 295 bullets, many aimed from the top of the koppie down at the shapes of men huddling below. Seventeen more men died there. Police in one of the helicopters were lobbing stun grenades at fleeing miners. As Xolani zig-zagged through the chaos, he pulled out his phone and called the number of the bishop of Pretoria. “Father, they are killing us.” [10]

Responsibility primarily rests with Jacob Zuma, as President, and the ANC government. And with Cyril Ramaphosa who clearly procured these killings personally in alliance with the ANC and the NUM:

At that moment, the provincial chief of the South African police service, Lt Gen Mirriam Zukiswa Mbombo, was sitting with Lonmin managers, monitoring the strikers on CCTV. Mbombo had joined the police in 1980 and risen fast through the ranks after the end of apartheid. She set up a joint operations centre in Lonmin’s office, where, according to evidence at the Farlam inquiry, her officers were working not only with the company but also with NUM officials who were helping them to identify strike leaders.

… And there was another alliance player to consider. Mbombo advised the Lonmin executives that they must be careful not to favour Amcu over the NUM. Mbombo was worried, she said, that by settling their strike, the Impala management had looked like allies of Amcu, and that generally trouble was erupting because the mining companies wanted to replace the NUM with the new union.

… The following day, Wednesday 15th, Ramaphosa was busy. From his position on the board of Lonmin, the former union leader could have argued for negotiation, even for a better deal for the workers. Instead – as a chain of emails released to the Farlam inquiry disclosed – he argued for the police to move in. In a message to fellow directors, he wrote: “The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such … There needs to be concomitant action to address this situation.” [11]

There was also the press release by Frans Baleni, the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers on 13 August, calling for the deployment of the Special Task Force to Rustenburg and the surrounding areas:

“We call for the deployment of a special task force or the SANDF to deal decisively with the criminal elements in Rustenburg and its surrounding mines,” Baleni said. “We appeal for the deployment of the Special Task Force as a matter of urgency before things run out of hand. For months on end we have argued that the situation in Rustenburg requires special intervention and we are seeing no difference.” [12]

“Concomitant action” swiftly followed the following day as demanded; the terrible Marikana massacre. But what of the SACP? Surely these “revolutionaries” stood with the workers and the slain miners and against the ANC/NUM/Lonmin-procured police massacre? Not a bit of it! Peter Manson, writing in the Weekly Worker on 7 September, details the horrible Stalinist reality and also the CPB/Morning Star cover-up for those responsible for that massacre, quoting the Morning Star of 17 August 2012:

So how was the massacre covered by the Morning Star immediately afterwards? Obscenely its report the following day was headlined: “NUM: rival union ‘may have planned’ mine violence”. It read: “National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) secretary general Frans Baleni … blamed the unrest on the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) making promises which could never be delivered and, in the process, organising an illegal action which led to the loss of lives.” No, you did not misread this. The NUM actually blamed the breakaway union for the slaughter of its own members – and the Star dutifully went along with that! [13]

Although all the 34 miners murdered on 16 August were members that breakaway Amcu union, the defence was that ten people were killed in the days before the massacre by these striking miners, and therefore the Amcu dead were responsible for provoking the police to take revenge for their slain comrades of the previous days. The ten included two police and two mine security guards and, the world only later discovered, six miners from both the NUM and the Amcu. As we have seen above the NUM fought on the side of the police and Lonmin as scabs and strike-breakers; Lonmin not only gave their officials time off with full pay for union duties but also supplied them with Lonmin credit cards, Manson informs us.

Until the film footage emerged of the 16-August massacre all information of what happened in the days before was obtained from statements from Lonmin, the police and the NUM, who all sang from the same hymn sheet; no one told the striking miners’ story. In fact, the troubles began on 10 August when the unarmed striking miners approached the NUM office to demand support. NUM officials opened fire on the crowd, who fled, wounding several and leaving two miners behind for dead, as they thought. Only then did they begin to arm themselves with spears and sticks. All this only emerged in the inquiry afterwards but is largely ignored by the establishment mass media and the Stalinist crew who defend the massacre. The honourable exceptions are some investigating journalists like The Guardian’s Nick Davie and the revolutionary left, of course. Davies’ ‘long read’ in the paper of 9 May 2015, referred to above, is a classic exposure of the lies of the whole murdering crew [14].

Malema’s EFF, the WASP and Numsa

But some on the broader left in South Africa also rallied to the besieged miners, sought to defend the living and justice for the slain and their bereaved and now wageless families. But how sincere and principled was their stance and how long did it last? Jorge Martín, in an article, The aftermath of the Marikana massacre and the struggle within the ANC in In Defence of Marxism on 4 September 2012, on behalf of the International Marxits Tendency (IMT), former comrades of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) and its South African section, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI South Africa) who formed the broader Workers and Socialist party (WASP) in early 2013, tells us of some:

It is in this context that the leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema, opened a debate about the need to nationalise the mining industry, a call which was received with widespread support across the movement. However, the SACP leadership came out strongly against it and the call and it was also opposed by the NUM leaders. The response of the ANC leadership, with full support from the SACP leadership, was to move to expel Malema as well as ANC YL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu. The actual charges levelled against them (bringing the ANC into disrepute) are irrelevant; the real reason is that their call for the nationalisation of mines was providing a rallying point of opposition to the pro-capitalist leaders of within the movement.

The whole movement (ANC, the Youth League, the YCL, COSATU, the SACP, etc) is divided along left-right lines, though the political issues are not always coming clearly to the fore and are many times clouded by personality and power struggles. Malema and Shivambu, to their credit, have been the only ones to go to Marikana, to help and support the victims of the massacre and their relatives, provide legal defence for the arrested workers and go and speak to other striking workers to defend their struggle. [15]

Malema went on to found the Economic Freedom Fighters in early 2013 after he was expelled from the ANC (for corruption, which charge had substance, Jorge bashfully omits to tell us, although we have to admire the chutzpah of Zuma in expelling anyone for corruption!). But there were others, primarily Zwelenzima Vavi, who was general secretary of Cosatu at the time of the massacre and whom the ANC now targeted because of his sympathy for the Marikana miners and the largest affiliated union, the National Union of Metalworker of South Africa (Numsa) under general secretary Irvin Jim. This was a left Stalinist formation which was eventually expelled from Cosatu because they withdrew support from the ANC. Vavi was sacked as general secretary of Cosatu. We outlined the political issues involved in reprinting a statement in the Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013. special Cosatu edition, Cosatu under attack—How do revolutionaries respond? by the Revolutionary Marxist Group:

Deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said “We are more certain that the intelligence community is centrally involved in the battles in Cosatu. We also have it on good authority that after dealing with Vavi, the next person would be Numsa general secretary. The other person would be the Numsa president (Cedric Gina)”. Numsa suspended Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi on 25 September. She was a full-time shop steward at the Ford Motor Company in Port Elizabeth. She is widely seen as close to Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini and part of the anti-Vavi heave. But the opposition has no principles either: “Vavi and Numsa’s Irvin Jim even went to the extent of mobilising in support of the corrupt Jacob Zuma and the ANC leadership. [16]

Since then Numsa has promised to form a new workers party but have been dragging their heels on it, failed to field candidates in 2016 and have no plans to field candidates in the elections in 2019. But that might change if events on the ground forces change. However, both the EFF and WASP have now broken with Numsa and been denounced by them as both have jumped on the anti-Zuma bandwagon that we have outlined above. The illusion sown in Malema by Jorge Martin above (Malema exposed as just a populist demagogue in the end) are now brought to their logical conclusion in an article in The Socialist, on 15/6/15, delivering their verdict on the Marikana inquiry report, South Africa, The Marikana report – a whitewash:

What the establishment will not be able to prevent, however, is the political fall-out from the massacre. Marikana was far more than a simple labour dispute ‘tragically’ mishandled. It was a political earthquake, the after-shocks of which continue to rock the political establishment. The latest development of this is the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) renunciation of Zuma. [17]

Presenting the SACP opposition to Zuma as a progressive development is the opposite of the truth, reflecting their capitulation to Malema’s EFF and away from the mass base of Numsa. The SACP did not break with the SANC over Marikana and it is breaking to the right now over corruption, that convenient non-class issue that has been used to cover a sharp move to the right by so many historically. Peter Manson points out in that Weekly Worker of 6 September that:

However, things have been complicated a little by the fact that the Star’s foreign editor is now a certain James Tweedie, who is himself South African. He is the son of leading SACP hack, Dominic Tweedie. Tweedie senior was possibly the most disgusting of the SACP apologists immediately after Marikana. He was quoted by right-wing journalist RW Johnson as saying: “This was no massacre: this was a battle. The police used their weapons in exactly the way they were supposed to. That’s what they have them for. The people they shot didn’t look like workers to me. We should be happy. The police were admirable.”

But now James Tweedie, his son and the Morning Star’s foreign editor, whilst following religiously the defence of the massacre by blaming the slain miners also sees fit to highlight the case against Ramaphosa by quoting this damning email that says the actions of the striking miners, “are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such” and his call for “concomitant action” to be taken. Clearly the Tweedies are hedging their bets but who would consider either principled Marxists?

However, the WASP did have serious and correct criticisms of Numsa’s failures to implement the decisions of the December 2013 Special National Congress where, as WASP’s Weizmann Hamilton tells us:

The SNC adopted resolutions committing Numsa to building a United Front (UF), Movement for Socialism (MfS) and a workers party to be launched in time for the 2016 local government elections. Three years later, unfortunately, none of these have been built. It is now legitimate to ask the question: has the “Numsa moment” passed? [18]

The Stalinist leadership of Numsa took fright at the growing influence of the ‘Trotskyist’ WASP and furiously manoeuvred and bureaucratically delayed and frustrated the mass movement that had developed after Marikana until the dead hand of Stalinism was once again firmly in control.

The leadership has ensured that the resolution on a workers party does not escape from the central committee where, starved of the oxygen of open democratic debate within the membership and with left forces in the MfS, it is trapped in a sterile, meaningless disagreement over whether it should be a “mass” or “vanguard” party. The dominant Stalinist faction in the Numsa leadership is instead campaigning for the outlandish idea that the workers party will be built by 100 hand-picked shop stewards – the “Red One Hundred” who will be schooled in “Marxism” through “cadre” schools from where they will presumably emerge with certificates to present themselves to the working class as leaders of a party that workers have had no role in creating. To invite the Chinese Communist Party – a one party totalitarian dictatorship committed to the restoration of capitalism – and Samir Amin who argued that socialism is off the agenda for a thousand and possibly two thousand years – demonstrates a light mindedness on something as important as theory. [19]

Moreover, this mass workers party was to be ideologically guided by the original ANC’s popular frontist class collaborating Freedom Charter, the very Stalinist ideology that produced the Triple Alliance in the first place and could only produce another such, tying the working class to the capitalist state yet again.

Despite all this it is not now correct to line up with the new Popular Front under Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance behind Malema to oust Zuma on behalf of ‘white monopoly capital’ which is what the EFF with the WASP in tow is doing now. And the term is not an invention of Bell Pottinger but has long been associated with the struggle against the apartheid system itself. See the following quote from Qina Msebenzi in September 2013:

It (the ANC) has implemented economic policies that favour white monopoly capital and the new black capitalists. This has resulted in the majority of black South Africans getting poorer and suffering economic hardship – having to pay high prices for everything from housing, transport, food, electricity, water to education for our children. Yet millions of workers have lost their jobs over the last twenty years and millions still working have seen their working conditions and wages worsen – having to rely on expensive loans to survive (our emphasis). [20]


This analysis in no way implies political support for any of these bourgeois nationalist governments or the Stalinist leaderships of the deformed workers’ states. But those who cannot defend past gains will never make new ones, as Trotsky observed in his defence of the USSR against Max Shachtman and his supporters in 1939-40.

Of course, ultimately only the organised working class under revolutionary internationalist leadership can lead the working class to victory either in the semi colonial world or the advanced metropolitan ones. Such is the understanding gained both by Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution and Lenin’s April Theses which led the first and only so far only successful socialist revolution in October 1917. But we must not counterpose the abstract to the concrete.; we reject the view of those who propose any new version of the cowardly third campist Shachtmanite slogan, “neither Washington nor Moscow but the international working class”.

Finally, let us emphasise that we must not confuse the question of tactics and strategy. If we rely on strategy alone we can correctly identify all the political enemies of the revolution in South Africa and everywhere else and denounce them all equally. Or even worse, acknowledge there are hierarchies of enemies with different agendas which all seek to defeat the working class or live off the crumbs from the masters’ table gleaned from betraying it but misidentify the main and threatening enemy right now and even ally with that enemy against the secondary one.

That is what the EFF and Wasp are doing now and such was the third period Stalinist errors of Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s, where the Socialist Democrats were designated the main enemy and the Nazis seen as lesser enemies who the communists of the KPD could ally with against the Social Democrats of the SPD. It was a disastrous error which allowed Hitler to assume power without a shot being fired in January 1933. This ‘left Stalinist’ ideology still exists in many Maoist/Marxist/Leninist groups.

On the other hand, we have those leftists who give over all to tactical manoeuvring and for them political principles and theory are an obstacle to making opportunist political alliances. The SWP and the CPB/Morning Star and their international affiliates have been correctly charged with this position. And so, have the WASP/CWI here in their unprincipled alliance with the EFF.

But there is yet another category with manages to combine both, sectarianism and opportunism at the same time, and surely Numsa fits that bill and also the WASP, to a lesser extent. Let us finish with the famous Trotsky quote which shows how to distinguish between the main and the secondary enemy and the importance of getting this correct:

We Marxists regard Brüning and Hitler, Braun included, as component parts of one and the same system. The question as to which one of them is the “lesser evil” has no sense, for the system we are fighting against needs all these elements. But these elements are momentarily involved in conflicts with one another and the party of the proletariat must take advantage of these conflicts in the interest of the revolution.

There are seven keys in the musical scale. The question as to which of these keys is “better” – do, re, or sol – is a nonsensical question. But the musician must know when to strike and what keys to strike. The abstract question of who is the lesser evil – Brüning or Hitler – is just as nonsensical. It is necessary to know which of these keys to strike. Is that clear? For the feeble-minded let us cite another example. When one of my enemies sets before me small daily portions of poison and the second, on the other hand, is about to shoot straight at me, then I will first knock the revolver out of the hand of my second enemy, for this gives me an opportunity to get rid of my first enemy. But that does not at all mean that the poison is a “lesser evil” in comparison with the revolver. [21]

And surely Brüning was not a lesser political scoundrel than Zuma today, although we must not charge Ramaphosa with being the modern Hitler; we are not yet in the 1931 situation described here by Trotsky, the international balance of class forces has not yet produced any serious fascist challenger for power in any major metropolitan country and therefore neither in advanced semi-colonial ones like South Africa.

  • No to the ouster of Zuma!
  • Break the class-collaborationist Popular Front Triple Alliance!
  • Numsa must implement the decisions of the December 2013 Congress and launch a mass workers party with a socialist programme based on the trade unions!


[1] Wikipedia: The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a trade association for the public relations sector in the United Kingdom. The association lobbies on behalf of its member companies and also provides a forum for sharing information. It was founded in 1969 (as the Public Relations Consultants Association), and was originally an organisation for PR agencies; its membership includes 400 agency members, including most of the top 100 UK consultancies; over 100 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and public sector organisations.

[2] Socialist Fight, No to the Ouster of Zuma, 24/8/2017,

[3] Lara Rebello, International Business Times, 3 October, 2016, Thatcher PR guru Lord Bell ran a $540m Pentagon false propaganda campaign in Iraq,

[4], Frank Chung, @franks_chung, 8 September 2017, ‘White monopoly capital’: The three words that brought down PR firm Bell Pottinger,

[5] Leon Trotsky, The Agrarian and National Questions, Remarks on the Draft Theses of The Workers Party of South Africa, April 1935,

[6] ANC stalwarts welcome Bell Pottinger ban, 7 September 2017,

[7] No to the Ouster of Zuma, 24/8/2017,

[8] See Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013, Cosatu under attack—How Do Revolutionaries Respond?

[9] No to the Ouster of Zuma.

[10] Nick Davies, Marikana massacre: the untold story of the strike leader who died for workers’ rights,

[11] Ibid. It should be mentioned here that the NUM was part of the Cosatu trade union federation which forms part of the ‘Triple Alliance’; ANC/SACP/Cosatu, which corporate amalgam has ruled South Africa since the first ‘democratic’ elections in 1994. It is obvious what is wrong, even in terms of bourgeois democracy, with allying the main trade union federation with the government of a state.

[12] Sipho Hlongwane for Daily Maverick, part of the Guardian Africa Network, 24 October 2012, Cyril Ramaphosa’s Marikana email batters ANC heavyweight’s reputation, Lawyer tells commission investigating deaths of 34 striking miners of explosive email from struggle stalwart,

[13] Peter Manson, Weekly Worker, 7/9/17, Apologists for mass murder,

[14] Nick Davies, Marikana Massacre.

[15] Jorge Martín 04 September 2012,In Defence of Marxism: The aftermath of the Marikana massacre and the struggle within the ANC,

[16] See Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013, Cosatu under attack—How Do Revolutionaries Respond?

[17] The Socialist, CWI/WASP 15/6/15, South Africa, The Marikana report – a whitewash,

[18] Weizmann Hamilton, Has the “Numsa moment” passed?, April 26, 2016,

[19] Ibid.

[20] Qina Msebenzi,

[21] Leon Trotsky, December 1931, For a Workers’ United Front Against Fascism,


4 thoughts on “SA: ‘White monopoly capital’ turns the screw on ANC

  1. Shaheen Khan says:

    1. Jorge Martin in not a member of the CWI but the Alan Woods group in England.
    2. I think you are judging these developments from far away. This does not automatically disqualify you from putting forward a correct perspective; however I think you are completely misreading the situation in the country and the relations between the different ‘fractions of capital’. The DA/Save SA and United Bourgeois Opposition do not represent any danger whatsoever to the rule of the ANC as the premier organisation of the bourgeoisie. The black masses in SA will never give support to the DA as it is no more than the old Nationalist Party dressed up in democratic clothes. The ANC is the main organisation that runs the state and protects the interests of Monopoly Capital in SA. It will remain so. The bourgeoisie would prefer an ANC that sticks to the Constitutional Mandate and therefore is fully behind the Ramaphosa campaign.
    3. The main struggle of the working class is to defeat the ANC as the party of big capital! The ANC under Zuma has exposed the rotten character of the national bourgeoisie, their kleptocratic nature and their narrow class interests. The main issue in SA is the lingering support of the black working class and poor for the ‘liberators’. The Zuma regime through its kleptocratic practices has been exposed and this has opened the door to an alternative political formation, a Mass Workers Party on a socialist program.
    4. You fail to appreciate that the ANC is the strongest and best (and ONLY) organisation for the bourgeoisie in the context of our history (if the ANC implodes it will be replaced by a black proletarian party or another black bourgeois party). Even in the local government elections it was the boycott of the elections by ANC supporters that led to the victory of the alternative bourgeois coalition led by the DA. The masses did not vote for them! The piano strings we need to press is for the exposure and defeat of the ANC. In the current situation it means the defeat of the Zuma clan, because their defeat means huge splits in the ANC and their total implosion. Your position ‘No to the Ouster of Zuma’ is reactionary in the current environment.
    5. The NUMSA position is an ultra-left knee jerk reaction by ‘new’ style Stalinists who do not want to dirty their hands in the class struggle. Of course we can have no truck with the Save SA/United SA Campaign or the bourgeois parties including the EFF. Our challenge is to build a both a Mass Workers Party on a socialist program and a real Workers United Front through linking up with the masses who are fighting on the ground and are searching for an alternative.
    6. Your position ends up as a defence of bourgeois rule in SA!


  2. You are correct about Jorge Martin, of course. I will correct the text on that. I will reply to the remainder of your comments later.


  3. […] [20] ‘White monopoly capital’ turns the screw on ANC, […]


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