NUMSA defends Vavi against Stalinist slanders

NUMSA campaign against e-tolls (electronic toll collection on toll roads) on the ‘March for Youth Jobs’  – the South African Communist Party attacked the NUMSA campaign
NUMSA campaign against e-tolls (electronic toll collection on toll roads) on the ‘March for Youth Jobs’ – the South African Communist Party attacked the NUMSA campaign

THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has issued a response to the South African Communist Party (SACP) November 2014 Augmented Central Committee.

The following are extracts from the NUMSA statement: ‘The Augmented Central Committee of the SACP, held on 28-30 November 2014, issued a statement titled “Expose the regime change agenda! Defend our democratic institutions! Build the unity of the working class!”.

‘We are not surprised that this label of a “regime change agenda” has been mentioned in a malicious document that is currently circulating, penned by so-called “concerned NUMSA members”.

‘Instead of engaging in open ideological contest, the faceless writers of that nasty document decided to engage in primitive and underhanded tactics against us. We are however not surprised, this is class struggle.

‘It started with Zwelinzima Vavi, who was accused, by some intelligence document that circulated in COSATU circles, of working with opposition parties and plotting with foreign intelligence agencies.

‘Later on, it was Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela, accused of working for foreign agencies to wreck South Africa’s democratic institution. Now it is NUMSA. We are accused of working with international forces to implement a “regime change agenda” in South Africa.

‘We freely and openly admit that we do want a regime change indeed. We want a change from the current regime of Colonialism of a Special Type to a revolutionary-democratic regime as a transitional stepping stone towards socialism. We have said this all along, and we owe no one an apology!

‘Time was when the SACP also held the same belief with us – the belief that our National Democratic Revolution must be contested for a socialist outcome for South Africa. Clearly, the SACP has now completely abandoned the struggle for socialism. We illustrate this most obvious fact very clearly below.

‘We found it necessary to begin responding to attacks that are directed at us, and to set the record straight, beginning with a response to the current SACP.

‘As NUMSA we remain a Marxist-Leninist inspired red trade union, we state it for the record that we will continue to unashamedly use the historic revolutionary teachings of the South African Communist Party of Joe Slovo and Chris Hani.

‘We will continue to stand firm in defence of the revolutionary and path-breaking perspectives that the historical SACP produced, which the SACP of Blade Nzimande and his friends in the ANC government has now completely abandoned. . .

‘Blade and his friends are now the mouthpieces of South African neoliberal capitalism, and live by it.

‘History will judge very harshly the Blade Nzimandes of this world and his friends for literally killing a once proud revolutionary socialist political organ of the South African working class. We are absolutely certain of this. . .

‘The SACP hypocritically and vehemently denies its destructive role in the current crisis in COSATU.

‘It claims that we have been expelled because we violated the “one industry, one union” principle of COSATU.

‘However, it is now well known that in his Political Report to the 13th Congress of the SACP, Blade Nzimande openly told the whole world that they will intervene in COSATU to “isolate and defeat” some “lingering phenomenon”. The result of that intervention, is a COSATU in tatters. . .

‘. . . the issue of the SACP leadership embedding itself in the capitalist state and in the process the SACP abandoning genuine struggles of the working class by defending neoliberal capitalism, and therefore the SACP being “irritated” when the working class attack the neoliberal capitalism of the ANC/SACP government, is therefore the dominant way in which the abandonment of the socialist revolution by the SACP and its signing up for neoliberal capitalism expresses itself.

‘As we explain in this Response, this is at the heart of the matter in the continuing paralysing crisis in COSATU.

‘For anyone who is confused about the crisis in COSATU, the massive exodus of SACP cadres into the ANC/SACP capitalist state provides the best handle to understand what is behind the crisis in COSATU.

‘The SACP has abandoned the struggle for socialism, it has abandoned the critique of neoliberalism, and it has abandoned the critique of the capitalist state policies in South Africa.

‘In short the SACP has abandoned the mass-based, working class struggle against white monopoly capitalism. It has abandoned the struggle for socialism.

‘Note that in its 2014 Discussion Document the SACP quite unashamedly states that most of the policies required to achieve its objectives are already in place!

‘Our sustained critique of the neoliberal policies of the ANC/SACP capitalist government and the role of the SACP in that government, did not earn us friends in the SACP leadership. So, the SACP decided to intervene within COSATU to “expose and defeat” us.

‘The crisis in COSATU is because the SACP intervened to “expose and defeat” a lingering phenomenon and the irritation that continued to question the SACP’s role in the capitalist state. We will show that the SACP sought to achieve this by paralysing the unity of the COSATU CEC. . .

‘The COSATU Central Executive Committee (23-25 August, 2010) observed that former SACP leaders tend to become more right-wing than some ANC conservatives upon assuming positions in government. The COSATU CEC was appalled by the rate at which these SACP leaders were drifting to the right upon earning government perks. . .

‘This is not NUMSA making this assessment: it is the now divided COSATU! Cronin and Blade and their friends in the ANC/SACP government must deal with that.

‘We as NUMSA, during the course of 2013, consistently and independently elaborated the COSATU assessment. When our General Secretary called Cronin the “Marxist Pontiff”, it was basically a battle to defend the independence of COSATU to think, to arrive at decisions independently and to implement its decisions.

‘Our General Secretary even had a skirmish with Cronin, when Cronin defended e-tolls and insulted COSATU when COSATU raised its objections and proposed a campaign, in line with its 11th Congress resolutions, against e-tolls. . .

‘The SACP has shamelessly and consistently exploited the fact that some leaders who sit in the COSATU CEC are also members of the SACP Central Committee. As the SACP was getting more conservative, the COSATU CEC was getting more critical, and so to resolve this gulf, the SACP used those leaders in the COSATU CEC who sit on the SACP Central Committee to “surgically remove”, “expose and defeat” any critical voice within COSATU. . .

‘In these difficult times for the South African working class, the SACP of Cronin and Blade Nzimande always seeks to project itself as a unifier, pacifier and a builder of COSATU.

‘Yet its footprints and fingerprints are all over the destruction that is unfolding in COSATU. This type of SACP, embedded in the state and maintaining its government positions by dividing the CEC of COSATU, refuses for COSATU to move an inch independently. This SACP holds a huge knobkerrie of ideological labels to thump us if COSATU just moves an inch independently. . .

‘In his attempt to respond to Steven Friedman’s insightful analysis of the divisive role of the SACP in the crisis in COSATU, the first deputy general secretary of the SACP, Cronin, misled the public when he tried to hide the divisive role of the SACP in COSATU. He instead blames NUMSA for the divisions, thinking that Friedman will be fooled into forgetting the statement about “the lingering phenomenon” . . . the SACP does not want to see an independent COSATU, a COSATU that takes decisions and pronounces on those decisions without clearance from the vanguard.

‘The Political Report to the COSATU 11th Congress foresaw what was going to happen to the Federation as a result of the SACP’s shenanigans: “(it) would lead to paralysis of the organisation, and a loss of independence, and internal democracy”.

‘From what we have said above, and what is actually taking place in South Africa today, the battle in COSATU is about the independence of the Federation from the SACP and the ANC; it is about the right of the Federation to think and act independently of the ANC and the SACP; it is about genuine respect and a refusal to be treated as junior partners in the Alliance.

‘Given the configuration of class forces and the scale of the embeddedness of the SACP in the capitalist state, as NUMSA we came to the painful conclusion that the Alliance is totally irredeemable, it is no longer a viable vehicle for advancing towards socialism; it has become a booby-trap for the working class. . .

‘We must mention that having played a sterling role in wrecking the unity and cohesion of the COSATU CEC, Majola and his SACP friends, particularly Senzeni Zokwana and Joe Mpisi among others, exited the Federation to parliament. Majola was rewarded with the position of being the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Energy. Senzeni Zokwana is now Minister of Agriculture. Mpisi sits comfortably in the Gauteng legislature.

‘Others, such as the CEPPWAWU General Secretary, Simon Mofokeng, whose union never held a single constitutional meeting at a national level, were all out to defend themselves against “Vavi’s interference” within their unions, when Vavi began to raise questions about their conduct. . .

‘One way in which the ideological differences between NUMSA and the SACP of Blade Nzimande manifest themselves is in how we understand the roots of the South African crisis.

‘In its Augmented Central Committee statement, the SACP says: “The persistence of the triple crisis in our society is directly linked to a deeply problematic capitalist growth path, and the massive disinvestment out of our country over the past 2 decades by monopoly capital. This disinvestment has involved illegal capital flight, as well as dual listings, transfer pricing, tax avoidance, and financialisation. This is the root cause of our persisting socio-economic crises. However, opposition forces (neo-liberals and pseudo-left populists alike), seek to shift all blame on to the ANC-led government.” . .

‘If we cannot blame the ANC-led government for the neoliberal growth path, then who, according to the SACP, is to blame and what is the SACP doing about it?

‘Searching throughout the Augmented Central Committee statement, we found no answer. Blame monopoly capital? But how does the SACP locate monopoly capital outside of the ANC-led government and indeed, outside of the ANC itself? For, by so doing, the SACP obfuscates and makes it impossible for the working class to understand why the ANC of today is so wedded to neoliberalism. . .

‘Without any intellectual pretence, the SACP liberally makes the colonial character of South African monopoly capital to disappear, just like that. It is no longer “white monopoly capitalism” that it is against; it is just “monopoly capitalism”. Theoretically, this means a denial of the continued persistence of Colonialism of a Special Type in South Africa by the SACP of Blade Nzimande. . .

‘We now know that each mining house, monopoly industry, has an ANC surrogate in its executive, and these “narrow BEE (black economic empowerment – News Line) collaborators”, the compradors, are leading the ANC today, with Blade Nzimande.

‘For example, the current deputy president of the ANC and the chairperson are big shareholders of mining houses. Why in hell would they agree to have their wealth “nationalised”? Blade Nzimande serves with these individuals on the ANC National Executive Committee. We find it hard not to have contempt for the “anti-monopoly capitalist front” the SACP Central Committee Statement is calling for. This is a hollow front, a “pseudo-revolutionary-sounding phrase” that not so cleverly masks the defence of “white monopoly capitalism” in post 1994 South Africa.

‘In the light of the ANC having adopted neoliberalism, what did the SACP think will be the behaviour of monopoly capital, invest a lot in manufacturing, not export profits, employ more people, pay more taxes to build infrastructure, and so on? . . .

‘As NUMSA we have been consistent to say the underlying problem that creates crises in South Africa is colonialism of a special type perpetrated by white monopoly capital. . .

‘In fact, including in the SACP Central Committee Statement of the 1st of December 2013 itself, the SACP acknowledges that even post 1994, what it now strangely calls “monopoly capital” (no more reference to white monopoly capital) has “strengthened its hold on South Africa, and internationalised”. . .’

On ‘the SACP and the past 20 years’, NUMSA attacks the CP’s defence of the ANC.

The NUMSA statement says: ‘We refuse to agree that the positions adopted by the ANC-led government were simply “erroneous”, that is not Marxist-Leninist analysis. Those economic policies were “neoliberal” policies that consciously served the interests of white monopoly capital.

‘They were not erroneous, they were not mistaken, but they were a result of the defeat and outmaneuvering of the working class by white monopoly capital with the assistance of the leading cadre of the ANC-led alliance, as Cronin himself acknowledges that they were persuaded by white monopoly capital to adopt neoliberalism. . .’

On the SACP and the state, NUMSA says that . . . ‘the SACP rejects the allegation that the “whole of the ANC”, or “the whole of the state” is corrupt. But unless corruption and corporate-capture are dealt with severely and decisively these problems risk becoming systemic and difficult to reverse”.

‘If the SACP was applying the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state, the fact that there is “money politics at play and even business people having a direct hand into appointment into key positions within the state”, would not have come as a surprise. It is standard practice and culture in bourgeois-democracies. . .

‘The SACP is still dreaming about dealing severely with “corporate-capture and corruption”, yet Leninism teaches us that the state is an instrument of class rule. In other words, the dominance of white monopoly capitalism means that the state is by definition already captured.

‘We would have expected that the brutal massacre of mine workers in Marikana should have at least, awoken the SACP to the reality that South Africa is a white monopoly capitalist state. It is very disheartening to see that, while Lenin has clearly spoken about the “omnipotence of wealth” being more certain in a democratic republic as far back as 1917, the SACP is panicking about the rise of “money politics” in 2014, as if this is a new phenomenon in bourgeois-democracies!

‘All these elementary theoretical errors show that the SACP has abandoned Marxism-Leninism.’