There has been a dangerous and sinister turn to events in South Africa where 100,000 mine workers remain on strike in the Rustenberg region of South Africa.
Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (sister party of the Socialist Party) have been playing a very important role in assisting workers organising the strike, winning the argument with workers that worker-on-worker violence does not serve any purpose except the interest of the minow owners and the government and assisting in the development of a region wide body of independent workers committess to organise the strike action and support for the families of striking workers.
In a very sinister and dangerous change in direction by the South African establishment, the discredited leadership of the so-called National Union of Mineworkers, COSATU and the South African Communist Party (part of the triumpherate of power involving the ANC, the SACP and COSATU) have engaged in a potentially lethal witchhunt against members of the Democratic Socialist Movement.
On Friday, 18th October, National Union of Mineworkers leadership on SAFM’s morning show claimed that the DSM is responsible for the murder of their shop stewards. This is an utterly reprehensive allegation that potentially threatens the lives of members of the DSM.
On Saturday 20th October Congress of South African Trade Unions General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, at a press conference, claimed that the Democratic Socialist Movement instigated the stoning of his car at the Orkney Mine in Klerksdorp on Friday 19th October 2012. These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and irresponsible.
Over the following days allegations by the SACP-linked Communist University internet forum (CU), claimed that the DSM is linked to the apartheid killers that carried out the Boipatong massacre, and the Alexandra and KwaZulu-Natal atrocities during the struggle against apartheid. Again this is an utterly reprehensible claim that in the context of South African Society potentially threatens the lives of members of the DSM
More sinister is the fact that during the week the Communist University published the names, telephone numbers, employment details and photographs of DSM members – amounting to a hit list and an invitation to assassinate DSM members. The DSM has demanded that Cosatu, NUM and the SACP condemn this reckless endangerment of DSM members’ lives and the personal information of these individuals be removed from the internet.
In a statement issued following a meeting of its Executive Committee on Friday 26th October the Democratic Socialist Movement stated -
I do not have a direct link to this information - it has come to me through contacts - I will post a link as soon as it becomes available.The DSM has a proud record on the question of violence in the working class struggle in general and the miners’ strike in particular. Whilst we defend the right to self defence, we are firmly opposed to worker-on -worker violence. In line with international trade union tradition, we support efforts to prevent the bosses from breaking strikes through the use of scabs. But we advocate the force of argument, not the argument of force; persuasion and appeals to class solidarity rather than violence. In the face of the popular view that strike breakers should be dealt with by force up to and including putting them to death, we have stood firm putting forward what was at first a minority opinion and won over the majority of workers to our point of view.
What we plead guilty to is standing side-by-side with our class brothers and sisters, the mineworkers, in their struggle against slavery by the most rapacious section of the capitalist class in SA. We have offered guidance, promoted unity in action and sought solidarity in SA and internationally for the mineworkers. We make no apology for this. It is the fact that our analysis correspond to reality and the workers’ own conclusions and that our tactics have united them and sustained the struggle for as long as it has endured, that is the reason that the DSM is so popular and is so sought after on the mines. It is the role the NUM and Cosatu should have played.
The Cosatu/NUM leaders are the architects of their own demise. As the Marikana Commission of inquiry’s latest evidence confirms, the NUM leadership stood on the other side of the class barriers, actively colluded with the mining bosses, denouncing the demands and the actions of their own members, and called for the ANC to help end the strike and for the police to smash it.
It is an absolute disgrace that the NUM/Cosatu/SACP leaders are regurgitating the anti-working class prejudices of the upper class social circles they inhabit. They have drenched the mineworkers under a constant toxic torrent of abuse from the beginning. They denounced the strike as criminal; accused the workers of being under the influence of sangomas; of being led, in the words of SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin, by “Pondoland vigilante mafias”; of being under the influence of AMCU which in turn was allegedly created by the Chamber of Mines, and of being fooled by the ANC Youth League and Julius Malema. The DSM “counter-revolutionaries” are only but the latest addition to the NUM, the SACP and Cosatu’s list of scapegoats. It is this that has turned the mineworkers against the NUM and Cosatu.