Ramaphoria: All at sixes and sevens on Zuma and Ramaphosa

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02/03/2018 by socialistfight


The Yeltsin and/or the Chinese Road Vs Permanent Revolution

By Gerry Downing 27-2-18

Image result for Zuma and Ramaphosa images

The current rapidly evolving crisis in South Africa is a result of the betrayal of the revolutionary onslaught of the Black masses that developed after the Soweto massacre of 1976 by the Triple Alliance (TA) of the African National Congress (ANC), the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) ideologically led by the South African Communist Party of (SACP). They set their face against the masses in revolution via the Freedom Charter, a stagist ‘democratic’ revolution that sought a compromise with the international finance capitalism, imperialism, and their local SA agents. The code for imperialism and their local agents in South Africa is White Monopoly Capitalism (WMC), and that is how we will use the term in this article.

On September 2017, the British-based Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) expelled the public relations firm Bell Pottinger, Zuma’s public relations firm created by Margaret Thatcher’s PR advisor Lord Timothy Bell in 1989, 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”. ‘WMC’ was the ‘racist’ slogan that brought the wrath of the PRCA down on their heads, undoubtedly urged on by the representative of ‘WMC’ itself.

How ironic that, having accused ‘WMC’ 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.

The Gupta brothers were feted by the Modi government of India and regarded as informal ambassadors to South Africa until the movement began to oust Zuma. By late 2017, undoubtedly under pressure from Anglo/American imperialism, the Bank of Baroda sought 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 Modi had previously withdrawn the services of the Bank of India.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 were then concentrating on ousting Zuma. [1]

Tripartite Alliance deceives the masses

To accomplish the deception of the masses the TA, ideologically guided by the SACP, seeks to divert the anger of the masses by a bogus leftism. Internal conflicts in the TA were always about those who got to represent WMC now and those who sought to oust the incumbents to represent it themselves by making bogus populist appeals to the masses, emphasising aspects of their grievances but always partial and reformist, never challenging the system as a whole. In this way, genuine revolts at the grassroots were controlled and turned off by false promises of big changes as soon as state power was captured by the new kleptocrats.

It should be emphasised here that the relationship of the TA to the South African state was unique in advanced western society. In fact, it retained most of the repressive structures of the Apartheid state except now a new Black elite benefited from them. It also reflected in many ways the relationship of the communist parties to the state in ‘really existing socialism’; the Stalinist states that existed before the 1989-92 collapse and still exists in the remaining ones and also in former workers states like China and Vietnam. Here the Communist parties were and are the state, there was no separation of powers. These CPs, beginning with the Stalinised USSR after 1928, controlled all aspects of the state and appointed all its functionaries, they had a bogus Supreme-Soviet-type legislature, they appointed judges and police chiefs, all of whom had to be members of the CP. Although they still represented in a distorted form the dictatorship of the proletariat in that property relations were proletarian, i.e. production was for a plan, however, distorted and undemocratic, to satisfy human need and not profit. The TA retained all the worst features of those states but dedicated to satisfying the needs of global finance capital and definitively not human need.

That has been the real situation in SA up to now, with various trappings of western democracy, an executive dominated by the President, a legislature in the parliament nominally independent from that and a judiciary and police force nominally independent from both. But this separation of powers, which defines a properly functioning bourgeois democracy in theory, if never really in practice, is much further from the reality of the power structures in SA than in other metropolitan western bourgeois democracies.

Until the ascendancy of Ramaphosa all SA Presidents, Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma, had not only been ANC and SACP members but were also on the SACP Central Committee (CC), Mandela secretly we learned on his death. To win the Presidency of the ANC was automatically to become the President of the Republic as the ANC candidate always won. The crucial vote was in the ANC itself, the election itself was more of a formality. The judiciary always delivered the verdicts required by the ANC President and even if they delivered a contrary one, as in the case of overruling a lower court by finding Mbeki innocent of politically interfering in the prosecution of Zuma for corruption ten years ago, it was too late as Mbeki had already resigned. Of course, they will now prosecute Zuma for corruption, the same charges they refused to prosecute him for when he was the shoe-in President at that time because he was the vehicle to get their hands on the loot.

And the sentence of death on the 34 Marikana miners in August 2012 was passed by Ramaphosa with Zuma’s blessing, carried out by the police as required and the judges whitewashed the crime as required in the subsequent Commission of Inquiry. Although all western democracies breech the separation of power when really required; the Bloody Sunday Widgery whitewash, the convictions of the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4, the Hillsborough and Orgreave coverups etc. in Britain for example, nevertheless there is a far greater separation of powers in Britain than in SA because of the hegemonic position in the state of the TA; the ANC and Cosatu, ideologically guided by the SACP.

The anger of the Black masses was always threatening, the fear was that they would mobilise for victory on a Trotskyist programme of permanent revolution. That presupposed a transitional programme of mobilising demands leading towards the socialist revolution as part of a regional and thence global programme for revolution, as Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks had used so effectively in 1917 to make the Russian Revolution. And the SACP was always conscious of that danger and was consciously counter-revolutionary in fighting to prevent that happening.

Image result for Soweto massacre images

The early 1990s was a time of major changes

The struggles in South Africa of the early 1990s did not take place in normal times internationally. Whatever space imperialism was prepared to allow Mao, Tito and Castro in the middle years of the 20th century, because of fear of revolution at home, neo-liberalism was now fully in the saddle and arrogantly speaking of the end of history. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 during these negotiations, thereby strengthening the hand of imperialism and the WMCists who negotiated on behalf global finance capital with Nelson Mandela.

And as the talks dragged on the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and Eastern Europe took a nasty turn for the masses there. Yeltsin emerged as a representative of gangster kleptocratic oligarchs. He allowed them to loot the economy by selling off all state assets to mafia-type capitalists whilst allowing imperialist transnational corporations free access to the economy; he was little more than a stooge of US imperialism. Meantime in China, the CCP was restoring capitalism at a more leisured pace, having transformed the state into a capitalist one in 1992. The Communist Party remained in control of the new capitalist state and planned introduction of capitalist property relations in the economy avoided the economic shock and the appalling fate of the Russian and other Eastern European workers, whose life expectancy dropped by between 6 and 10 years as state jobs guaranteeing full employment went and the welfare states and education were abolished and/or privatised.

Ramaphosa was the SA Yeltsin character, the golden boy of the WMCists but he was not an SACP member. Whereas Mandela and Mbeki could follow up the CODESA capitulation with the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) neoliberal strategy in June 1996 it took the 2003 BEE to really allow the enrichment of the Black elites to gather pace. Thus, a new and more corrupt section of the Black elite was born not directly dependent on the TA but more closely dependent on WMC.

The Zuma-Ramaphosa struggle broke with the precedence of 1990 to 2004 struggles because the situation had radically changed in several crucial aspects.

  1. President Ramaphosa is, and has been since 1990 at least, the most corrupt politician in South Africa.
  2. He has never been a member of the SACP, let alone its CC.
  3. The two richest Black men in South Africa are Ramaphosa’s brother in law, Patric Motsepe, the 6th richest with about $1.3 billion and Ramaphosa himself, the 14th richest man with about $500 million. Mbeki comes in at ‘only’ $8.5 million and Zuma at ‘only’ $20 million.
  4. Whereas the wealth of both Mbeki and Zuma was gleaned from corrupt kick-backs from government contracts etc. both Motsepe and Ramaphosa grew fabulously wealthy in a short few years by participating in the Black Empowerment Programme (BEE). WMC granted them ‘tendered shares’, and directorships which included shares to be paid for out of future profits (‘tenderpreneurs’), and, in the case of the more entrepreneurial Motsepe, ‘business opportunities’. In other words, they bunged them and bunged them and bunged them until they bought their very souls, if they had any to begin with. They, and others like them, Irene Charnley with $150 million, a former negotiator for the NUM and Pule Mabe, appointed the ANC’s new national spokesperson on 6 February, another capitalist like Ramaphosa who allegedly benefited from dodgy contracts worth R33 million ($2.79 million) from the national rail company. These have no alliance to the ANC, which still is, in whatever distorted a form, the remnants of a national liberation movement and still seen as such by the Black masses.
  5. Motsepe and Ramaphosa, who accepted this direct ‘sponsorship’ by WMC, are, therefore ‘honest’ but Mbeki and Zuma who accepted indirect ‘sponsorship’ in a different form from those same people are ‘corrupt’. With the vital difference that the former acted as direct agents of WMC, the latter as their political paid agents via the TA. Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) falls somewhere in the middle of both categories.
  6. Because of the obvious corruption of the ANC leadership, national and provincial, it began losing support to both the Democratic Alliance to its right and to the EFF to its left, although both allied with others against Zuma for Ramaphosa. If the trend continues there was a real danger that the ANC could lose its hegemony and the CODESA arrangement could unravel, opening up space for a new revolutionary upsurge of the masses and for a more vicious dictatorship of capitalism from the right. Such possibility still remains; it is by no means certain the ANC, and consequently, Ramaphosa will win the election in May 2019.
  7. To retain its mass base, which is growing rapidly as the ANC’s is declining, the SACP has begun to stand candidates against the Zuma-led ANC. If the Ramaphosa honeymoon is very short, which it may well be, they may be forced to stand candidates against the Ramaphosa-led ANC in future. In 1991 the SACP had 10,000 members; 1995 – 75,000; 2002 – 19,385; 2007 – 50,000; 2012 – 150,000; 2015 – 213,551 and we must assume the membership continues to grow – they stopped releasing membership figures in 2015. The bulk of that new rank and file are clearly left moving workers and quite poor. The ANC’s membership is moving in the opposite direction, dropping from just over 1.2-million in 2012 to 769,000 in 2015, particularly after the defection/expulsion of Numsa from Cosatu.
  8. The ANC got 62% of the vote in 1994, it increased to 68% under Mbeki in 1999 but was back to 62% in 2014 and to 54% in the local elections of 2016. The DA got a record 26.9% then, the Economic Freedom Fighters, expelled from the ANC in 2012, increased to 8.2% and Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party got 4.25%; these all are locally concentrated so resulted in many seats. The ANC lost control of three metropolitan municipalities; Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Tshwane and City of Johannesburg. The decline in ANC support was most significant in urban areas, with the ANC losing its outright majority in 4 of the country’s 8 metropolitan municipalities for the first time since 1994. The loss of the votes of the urban working class is a very worrying sign for the ANC and surely here is where the SACP will step in with the most to gain. It is not certain Ramaphosa will reverse that trend. [2]
  9. Cosatu expelled the 340, 000-strong National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) on 8 November 2014 following its 2013 decision not to support the ANC in the 2014 elections.  Numsa is the biggest single trade union in South Africa. [3] Zwelinzima Vavi, expelled as general secretary of Cosatu in March 2015, launched the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) on 21 April 2017 with a claimed membership of 700,000. This makes it the second largest union federation after Cosatu who claim 1.8 million members but that is declining. Numsa, under Irvin Jim, makes up over half the membership with the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu), who left Cosatu in 2016, as the second largest. Jim and Vavi have threatened to launch a workers’ party to oppose the ANC since 2013 but have so far failed to do so. The SACP may then have a free run in the inner cities if Jim and Vavi continue to prevaricate over launching their workers’ party

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

Sixes and Sevens 1: Karl Cloete, Irvin Jim, and Zwelinzima Vavi

One political force which did not seem to be fully on board with the ouster of Zuma was the left-Stalinist controlled National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa). Irvin Jim, Numsa General Secretary, his deputy Karl Cloete and Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Saftu. But they are at sixes and sevens with themselves. Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary of Numsa seemed to indicate that they were refusing to go along with the moves against Zuma in the Daily Maverick, 12 April 2017:

“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” (our emphasis). [4]

This seems very close to the Socialist Fight’s position of No to the Ouster of Zuma. But the third campist, “the working class should however never aid an agenda that replaces one butcher with another” is putting an equal distance between the attack by WMC and its target, Zuma, impossible in the circumstances. But Numsa was giving Zuma uncritical support back in 2013 as the Revolutionary Marxist Group reported in Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013, Cosatu under attack—How Do Revolutionaries Respond? “Vavi and Numsa’s Irvin Jim even went to the extent of mobilising in support of the corrupt Jacob Zuma and the ANC leadership.” Now they were doing the two opposite things at the same time.

Numsa are radical third campists (far more radical than Peter Manson, or the WASP, below – GD); but they refuse to follow the logic of their analysis and take no sides between “one butcher and another”. They say:

“The Popular Front is the main strategic weapon of the bourgeoisie to tie the hands of the working class to the interests of the bosses… The anti-State Capture Movement has been organised largely by the Social Movements/NGO’s and parliamentary political parties. It has attracted various classes and ‘races’ to march against state capture; the white upper middle classes, the uppers sections of the black petty bourgeois, the middle classes in general, the working class and poor have all joined the protests. The class character of these movements is not as important to ordinary people as the fact that they are ready to take up the fight practically and immediately.” [5]

This is what old Joe Stalin used to call “dialectical” i.e. complete self-contradictory nonsense. Why join this Popular Front if it really is, “the main strategic weapon of the bourgeoisie to tie the hands of the working class to the interests of the bosses”?

Image result for Zwelinzima Vavi imagesAddress by Zwelinzima Vavi, SAFTU General Secretary, to the Annual Closing Ceremony of the Academic and Professional Staff Association in December 2017.

The Herald Live on 15 May gave a bigger list which screamed of a pro-imperialist Popular Front:

“In the recent mobilisation before the secret vote failed to remove Zuma the parties involved 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. [6]

Irvin Jim was even more very forthright and radical in his attack on Ramaphosa on 19 February: “The Ramaphosa Presidency Marks a New Era in The War Against Workers”, was the headline, and it began:

“The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) views the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa to the position of President of the Republic of South Africa, as a new era in the war against workers and the working-class majority in the country.” [7]

A subhead proclaimed, “THE RAMAPHOSA PRESIDENCY SPELLS DOOM FOR THE WORKING CLASS” and, citing his role in procuring the Marikana Massacre he observed that his class treachery went back a long way: “This is why Ramaphosa is the ‘Darling’ of the business world. He negotiated the original CODESA deal which sealed our fate as the working class through a bourgeoisie constitution.”

Surely if Jim and Numsa were still in the ANC they would have voted for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma against Ramaphosa, despite all their criticisms of Zuma? She clearly had the more radical and anti-imperialist programme.

But Irvin Jim surely went further than he meant in making this historical reference because Nelson Mandela was President when the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) was implemented in the form of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 1994 and Ramaphosa was only a minister. Mandela had two Deputies until 30 June 1996, F. W. de Klerk (the last Apartheid President) and Thabo Mbeki.  And Mandela chose Mbeki over Ramaphosa because both were SACP CC members and presumably he acted under their discipline.

Whilst CODESA’s first plenary session took place on 20 December 1991 the negotiations leading up to that began on 4 May 1990 between the ANC and the government. This resulted in “a commitment between the two parties towards the resolution of the existing climate of violence and intimidation as well as the removal of practical obstacles to negotiation including immunity from prosecution for returning exiles and the release of political prisoners”. In other words, the ANC firmly eschewed revolution. On 6 August 1990, the ANC and the government agreed to a ceasefire; the ANC armed struggle had always only been a means to force compromised from the Apartheid regime. The end of Apartheid formally ended discrimination against Blacks whilst preserving capitalism and so enhancing ANC, SACP and Cosatu career prospects. Twenty-seven political organisations and national and homeland governments signed National Peace Accord on 14 September 1991, which prepared the way for CODESA.

No surprises here, the ANC, ideologically guided by the SACP, of which Nelson Mandela was a CC member, were following the principles of the Freedom Charter. That is, they were seeking only a bourgeois democratic state and were seeking an end to aspiration of the masses for violent revolution to overthrow capitalism itself. Standard Stalinist socialism in a single country and two-stage revolution stuff which have gutted innumerable revolutionary struggles since Popular Frontism became Stalinist policy at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in 1935.

And it was the nature of the bourgeois constitution and its implementation, neo-liberal capitalism and not capitalism itself, that Jim really objects to. The Freedom Charter had a bourgeois constitution as one of its central aims, not a workers’ state and the dictatorship of the proletariat via workers’ councils as was instituted in the Russian Revolution of October 1917. The Freedom Charter envisaged a bourgeois regime similar to the Provisional Government which the February Revolution of 1917 put in place.

But then he goes on to say:

“It is also important for us to state that we welcome former president Jacob Zuma’s well deserved and humiliating removal from the highest office in the land. Zuma’s inglorious exit from power is fitting punishment for his treacherous betrayal of the African working class.”

But the failure of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to win the Presidency of the ANC, which would have baulked the ouster, resulted in the ascendency of Ramaphosa, and that was the desired outcome of almost everyone who fought for the ouster of Zuma, this really is looking two ways at the same time.  But they are obliged to do so because:

“As an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) which is still a member of the ANC led alliance Numsa was a part of the ANC led alliance. Together with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the through the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) we played a significant role in the rise to power of Jacob Zuma and his eventual ascendance to the office of President of South Africa.”

Oh, come one now Irvin Jim, you surely understood that the ouster of Thabo Mbeki in September 2008 was achieved because all the above condemned him for exposing the corruption of Zuma, as did Malema, current EFF leader, still an ANC Youth leader at the time. Malema also has a string of corruption charges pending, but they will remain pending until it becomes politically opportune for the WMC to instruct their lackeys in the judiciary to pursue him. Zuma was promoted because he was more corrupt that Mbeki or represented different corrupt leaders and thus he opened up the possibility of enhancing the kleptocracy that had been developing since 1994, under the fatherly eye of Nelson Mandela.

But Zuma did not do as instructed and sought to build his own power base in KwaZula-Natal independently of the WMC via the Gupta brothers. Once the agenda behind the ouster of Zuma was clear we should have given him unconditional but critical support, as we did with the ouster of Dilma in Brazil. Jim presents his alibi thus:

“Zuma was barely in office when, in 2012, it became very clear to us that neither the neoliberal policies nor corruption and all the rot which combined these two capitalist evils can unleash on any country, were abating under Zuma. Rather, we noted a steep rise in both evils. Numsa then did what any genuine revolutionary working-class formation does under such conditions: we called for Zuma’s immediate resignation and separated from the ANC led alliance.”

But he knew the score long before then and surely knew the same truth about Zuma back then that he knows about Ramaphosa today:

“That is why we have absolutely no illusions about what a Ramaphosa presidency means for the working class: the ANC government now has a man most favourable to South African old money – WMC and imperialism, as president of the ANC and the country. Furthermore, Ramaphosa is personally responsible for the mass murder of 34 striking miners in Marikana in the North West in 2012…”

Again, the ouster of Zuma was the victory of Ramaphosa, you cannot have it both ways unless you have a programme for the socialist revolution in a revolutionary situation, which does not obtain and which programme Jim and Vavi do not have.

Vavi was noticeable to the right of Irvin Jim in his assessment of the new Ramaphosa regime. Although he may seem to have many of the same mutually exclusive formulations of the ouster of Zuma vs the ascendency of Ramaphosa it is clear that he sees it as no worse than Zuma’s, in fact, a little better if it means an end of corruption. In a piece posted by Patrick Craven on 27 February the headline is: “Ramaphosa’s appointment has changed nothing – SAFTU, Federation says Cabinet remains rooted in corrupt and pro-business ANC led by Zuma.”

So here Vavi does not see what Jim saw, a significant move to the right. In fact, the worse he can say about Ramaphosa is he is ALMOST as bad as Zuma. Because the cabinet reshuffle:

“Vindicates SAFTU’s view that Ramaphosa’s appointment has changed nothing. He has reshuffled names but remains rooted in the corrupt and pro-business ANC led by his predecessor. It is a crisis in the whole ANC leadership of which multi-billionaire Ramaphosa was a leading figure, who never lifted a finger to expose and denounce the looting of public resources since 2009 and backed the neoliberal National Development Plan.”

When Vavi was general secretary of Cosatu in 2013 they posted articles such as “Dump the neoliberal National Development Plan (NDP) and Implement the revolutionary Freedom Charter!”

Now he is still singing from the same hymn sheet about the workers’ party:

“It is now more urgent than ever to build an independent workers’ party to challenge the capitalist system and the ANC factions who now serve its interests.”

Changed circumstances may force a change of tactics even from Jim and Vavi.

Image result for Malema and  Mmusi imagesThe EFF’s Julius Malema and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane shake hands at the State of the Nation debate. Coalitions between the left and right are common now.

At Sixes and Sevens 2: The Democratic Alliance and the EFF

In his rejection of Ramaphoria Irvin Jim managed to out-left all his fellow Stalinist rivals and the third campists like the Weekly Worker and the WASP in spelling out the real meaning of the ascendency of Ramaphosa if not how to fight that ascendency. We will show that the opposition of both the DA and the EFF were unprincipled and opportunist. Far from attacking Zuma from the opposite sides of right and left then and Ramaphosa from the right and left now both politically operate as representatives of WMC, despite Malena’s strong pitch to the left which has fooled some.

And this was shown most sharply in their joint opposition to the issue that began the current struggle, Zuma sacking of his Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015. This is put as the single act which began the push to oust Zuma. The Mail & Guardian called it “an unprecedented step”:

“In a shocking move that saw the rand plummeting to below R15 to the US dollar, Zuma appointed a relatively unknown backbencher David ‘Des’ van Rooyen – who served as a member of the finance committee in Parliament – to replace Nene. Nene has been at loggerheads with SAA chair Dudu Myeni – who serves as the chairperson of the president Jacob Zuma’s education trust.”

The apparent reason was Myeni’s (and Zuma’s) refusal to accept the diktat of Nene, and obviously of WMC, on how to manage the affairs of South African Airways. The international finance community immediately indicated their strong disapproval of any refusal of instructions issued by WMC –  the Rand plummeted to below R15 to the US dollar.

Immediately both the DA and the EFF sprang to defence of global finance capital, “DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma’s decision would have a negative impact on the economy”, the Mail & Guardian told us:

“Nene fought for the fiscal discipline (and we all recognise that code – GD). The implication of this on the economy is that South Africa is now seen [by investors] as unstable. Former minister Trevor Manuel served for two terms. For Zuma to fire Nene after a just over a year is a clear indication of instability within his administration. This will have huge implications for job creation. It is very irresponsible,” said Maimane.

The Economic Freedom Fighters said Nene was fired because he refused to take “illegal instructions” made by Zuma and his friends in both business and state-owned enterprises, obviously instructions from WMC was the only way to go:

“EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “Nene refused to give SAA guarantees and bailout when Zuma’s girlfriend and chairperson of the board requested it. Nene also refused to buy Zuma a new luxurious private jet and declined to grant Zuma’s staff exemptions from using expensive hotels and flying first class. Above all, Nhlanhla Nene was reluctant to approve the country’s new nuclear deal which Zuma wanted expedited, so he can benefit before his term as president ends. There can be no more shocking news coming out of South Africa to signify that we are a country in crisis, with no knowledge of what tomorrow holds.” [8]

On 2 November 2016 EFF leader Julius Malema had accused the Save South Africa (Save SA) movement of only standing up to protect WMC.

“They must not think we are friends. We will never be friends with (ABSA CEO) Maria Ramos, we will never be friends with Rupert, we will never be friends with WMC… WMC remains the enemy of the Economic Freedom Fighters,”

He said to cheering crowds. So one face for the WMC and another for the masses. In May 2017 he was in an openly pro-imperialist Popular Front with them to overthrow Zuma. Now the EFF cheer Ramaphosa in parliament, only complaining that his cabinet reshuffle retained too many Zuma supporters and no criticism of the most corrupt Black politician in South Africa, the Butcher of Marikana, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As he (Ramaphosa) took the podium, he received a standing ovation in which even Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) group of MPs participated, as they did later when he sat down. This is the same EFF that warned a week earlier that it would pursue Ramaphosa even more fiercely than it did Zuma.”

Image result for Peter Manson Weekly Worker  CPGB  imagesImage result for John Haylett  CPB  images Image result for "Dominic Tweedie" ANC

Peter Manson’s origins, John Haylett and Dominic Tweedie: at 6s and 7s

Sixes and Sevens 3: Peter Manson, John Haylett, and the Tweedies

In Weekly Worker 1190 on 15 February editor Peter Manson headlined, Break with multimillionaires to analyse the resignation of Jacob Zuma. It was a very third campist article at first glance, Zuma was an exceedingly corrupt individual who had to go. He had indicated strong disagreement with Socialist Fight’s article No to the Ouster of Zuma, produced during the CPGB’s Communist University in August 2017. [9] But the target of his contempt in this article was not Socialist Fight but Dominic and James Tweedie:

“Despite the fact that the entire NEC had eventually fallen into line with the Ramaphosa leadership (and no doubt with the sentiments of a large majority of ANC members across the country too), incredibly a section of the South African Communist Party was still opposing the SACP’s own call for Zuma to resign. Foremost among them was Dominic Tweedie, who runs several SACP-influenced email lists. On February 13 he circulated the ANC statement quoted above to WhatsApp and various discussion and information lists, but just below that he included a touching photograph of Jacob Zuma, under the words, “Thank you, Nxamalala” – the great man’s affectionate nickname, derived from his Zulu clan and home village. Last week I reported how Tweedie’s son, who happens to be the Morning Star’s foreign editor, had been claiming it was all a matter of the hostile media. Since then James Tweedie has continued in that same inane manner.”

A truly shocking, “inane”, and opportunist stance by the Tweedies who was quickly slapped down by the Morning Star political editor John Haylett, Peter was pleased to report:

“But all this was clearly becoming too much for former editor John Haylett (now political editor) and on February 8 he wrote a feature headed: “With Zuma still holding on, the ANC is in trouble”. The online version of his article was even more explicit: “As long as Zuma remains, the only way for the ANC is down,” read its headline.”

But Peter feared that John may not have gone far enough:

“The policy of black economic empowerment (BEE) transformed comrades of modest means almost overnight into multimillionaires,” writes Haylett. “Comrades previously committed to serving the people now saw their priority, acknowledged or not, as serving themselves.” And he added pointedly: “Both Zuma and Ramaphosa are implicated in this.” But what comrade Haylett stops short of admitting is that the SACP alliance with the pro-capitalist ANC is totally and utterly unprincipled. What is needed is the independence of the working class.”

Well now, it seems as if Ramaphosa might be as bad as Zuma. But no, the great majority of those who were for the ouster of Zuma were for the victory of Ramaphosa, apart from those third campists who advocated the traditional cover of being for “the independence of the working class”, or indeed “one solution revolution” which has the benefit of tying you do doing nothing either but sounds far more radical.  All very correct but pious phrase-mongering if you do not propose any solution to the problems in terms of what concrete steps to take next. And do not bear in mind that those who are not able to defend old gains will never make new ones.

But Comrade Manson was strangely silent in the issue in WW 1191 because John Haylett had clarified his position: Hope revived in South Africa MS 22-2-18:

“South Africa’s people have experienced such a collective upswing of confidence over the past fortnight that former public protector Thuli Madonsela says Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as state president has “put the country as a whole on the pedestal of hope…. Ramaphosa’s insistence on negotiating has seen Zuma go quietly, his supporters have understood the need for change and rowed in behind the president and the opposition appears willing to wait and see what the new administration has to offer. A pedestal of hope indeed.” [10]

So, no third campism there for comrade Manson. Ramaphosa is certainly NOT as bad as Zuma in John’s view, on the contrary, he is a “pedestal of hope”, for the careers of the SACPers, that is, if not for Dominic Tweedie’s. In fact, the phenomenon of populist ‘hope’ he has engendered is referred to as “Ramaphoria” and it has caused deep divisions within the Democratic Alliance, who have gathered many of the old Apartheid cap[italists into their ranks and are led by a black Christian pro-Zionist fundamentalist, , because he has stolen their thunder.

Image result for Weizmann Hamilton WASP  images

At Sixes and Sevens 3: The Wasp and Genuine Trotskyism

Weizmann Hamilton passed the WASP’s judgement on the Ramaphosa ascendency on February 26.  ZUMA OUSTED. We have identified the programme of the Grantites in Britain and internationally as a left Stalinist one, a leftist version of the British Road to Socialism penned by Stalin himself in 1951. A left Labour government, or a Grant reformist government nationalising the top 200 (or is it 150 now?)  companies and mobilising the masses to prevent counter-revolution; i.e. socialist through parliament. And the reaction of Hamilton to the  Ramaphosa regime reflects those politics. It is not even as radical as Irvin Jim’s and is closer to Vavi’s in many ways. There is no indication that the WMC have at last installed their preferred champion and this indicates even more vicious attacks on the working class and poor. The raising of VAT from 14% to 15% as the first economic act of the new regime shows that this regressive tax was the direction of the government and no chance of a wealth tax on the WMCs.

Hamilton begins with what can only be a defence of the new government, after what is merely a description of events without political judgement, in sharp contrast the Irvin Jim’s blunt statement above:

“He comes to power when rating agencies are demanding savage austerity measures to avoid a further downgrade. Given the state of the world economy, and lack of demand in the domestic economy because of the levels of poverty, there is in fact little incentive to invest at home and no way out on the world market.” [11]

And then the political grovel of a self-declared Trotskyist to the ideology of national ‘democratic’ revolution, stageism, i.e.Stalinism:

The Freedom Charter was a progressive document but it always had a contradiction at its core. It simultaneously tried to please the working class and poor with demands such as the nationalisation clause, but it also tried to please the aspiring black capitalist class who wanted to have the chance of competing with the white capitalist class on a level-playing field in a way that apartheid prevented. As Mandela himself explained, the Freedom Charter was “not a blueprint for a socialist society”. The founders of WASP, as the MWT, always pointed out that unless the nationalisation clause of the Freedom Charter was fully implemented, and then upon the basis of worker and community control as part of a planned socialist economy, the other freedoms of the Charter could never be fully realised. The EFF must not repeat the ANC’s historic mistake and suffer from the illusion that they will succeed in implementing the Freedom Charter without a complete break with capitalism (our emphasis).” [12]

The Freedom Charter is a reactionary document, the vehicle the TA used to betray the revolutionary aspirations of the Black masses in 1994, as we have explained above. And it is not dependent on the degree of nationalisation or workers’ control but on state power that the matter depends. However left the Stalinists pitch we must have our October revolution and that required breaking with the Provisional Government in 1917 and breaking with the Freedom Charter in 1994 and 2018, breaking with the Government of National Unity then and the Triple Alliance’s class collaboration and the leftist version touted by Vavi and Jim in 2018. And Hamilton is pitching towards the moderate Stalinist, Vavi and not the left Stalinist, Jim.

Hamilton tells us that “WASP entered into discussions with Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) but the EFF leadership demanded the dissolution of WASP making an Alliance impossible” but fails to mention the shared heave to oust Zuma and shared softness on Ramaphosa.

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.

How was it correct to line up with the new Popular Front under Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance behind Malema to oust Zuma on behalf of WMC which is what the EFF with the WASP in tow did in 2017? 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).” [13]


[1] Socialist Fight 10/09/2017, WMC turns the screw on ANC,


[2] Wikipedia,  South African municipal elections, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_municipal_elections,_2016

[3] See Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013, Cosatu under attack—How Do Revolutionaries Respond? https://socialistfight.com/2013/09/18/qina-msebenzi-labour-bulletin-september-2013-cosatu-under-attack/

[4] Daily Maverick, 12 April, 2017, What is the class agenda of the latest #ZumaMustFall campaign,  https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2017-04-12-what-is-the-class-agenda-of-the-latest-zumamustfall-campaign/

[5] Ibid.

[6]  Herald Live, Protesters gather ahead of no confidence court hearing,  May 15, 2017, http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2017/05/15/protesters-gather-ahead-no-confidence-court-hearing/

[7] Irvin Jim Numsa General Secretary, The Ramaphosa Presidency Marks a New Era in The War Against Workers


[8] Mail and Guardian, Matuma Letsoalo, 9 Dec 2015, Nhlanhla Nene removed as finance minister, https://mg.co.za/article/2015-12-09-nhlanhla-nene-removed-as-finance-minister

[9] Socialist Fight, No to the Ouster of Zuma, 24/08/2017 https://socialistfight.com/2017/08/24/south-africa-no-to-the-ouster-of-zuma/

[10] John Haylett Hope revived in South Africa John Haylett 22-2-18, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/hope-revived-in-south-africa

[11] Weizmann Hamilton, February 26, 2018, ZUMA OUSTED, http://workerssocialistparty.co.za/zuma-ousted/

[12] Ibid.

[13] Qina Msebenzi Labour Bulletin, September 2013, Cosatu under attack—How Do Revolutionaries Respond? https://socialistfight.com/2013/09/18/qina-msebenzi-labour-bulletin-september-2013-cosatu-under-attack/


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WRP Explosion

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WRP Explosion

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