On 27 February, the National Assembly of South Africa passed a motion on land expropriation, tabled by the Economic Freedom Fighters and supported by the majority of parties in parliament, including the ANC. The motion was passed by 241 against 83 and called for a process to review the constitution and possibly change it to allow for land expropriation without compensation. Parliament’s Constitution Review Committee will conduct “public hearings” to illicit “public comment” and report back to parliament in August. If a constitutional amendment is recommended, it requires the support of two-thirds of members of the National Assembly as well as the support of 6 of the 9 provinces. Even then, the last word would be from the Constitutional Court, which is the highest decision-making body as far as constitutional legality is concerned.

The last two months have seen renewed worries about the economy. It was meant to be a period of optimism, with plenty of positive figures on unemployment, wage growth and so on. Yet in spite of the figures, the markets are jittery and the bourgeois is gradually realising that none of the problems that caused the crisis in 2008 have been resolved. If anything, they have become even worse.

In the final part of George Collins' history of the rise of Stalinism, he explains the bureaucracy's final victory over Trotsky's Left Opposition; their shameful co-operation with fascism and imperialism; and the brutal, counter-revolutionary role they played in suppressing the working class in Russia and internationally. He concludes with an optimistic assessment of the political situation in Russia in the late-80s, and while we know the tragic reality of what happened after the Soviet Union collapsed, a new revolutionary current has now gripped the minds of workers and youth worldwide.

A wave of optimism has swept across South Africa since Jacob Zuma resigned as president of the country last Wednesday. There was a collective sigh of relief that the 9-year scandal-ridden presidency of Zuma was finally over. Middle-class commentators said that a ‘new dawn’ has arrived. But Marxists have explained many times that the crisis facing South Africa is not that of an individual, a single political party nor one section of the ruling class. The political crisis is only an expression of the crisis of the capitalist system as a whole. And as long as the system survives, changes at the top will not result in changes of anything fundamental.

Extraordinary events over the last few days, surrounding the fate of Jacob Zuma, have plunged the ANC – and the country – into a deep crisis. Zuma’s scandal-plagued presidency is clearly untenable for the Ramaphosa faction, which marginally controls the ANC. Moreover, Zuma’s continued presence is destabilising the whole political situation and could damage the ANC’s electoral prospects in 2019. Big business is desperate to dig itself out of a hole. The problem for them is that the balance of forces between the two fighting ANC factions is very even, as we saw at the national conference in December. Now the crisis in the party has put the whole country in political limbo.

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