This year marks 132 years since the death of Karl Marx. Marx had profound influence on the course of human history and his ideas are more relevant today than they were when he was alive. In the words of his collaborator and comrade,Friedrich Engels: "His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work''. But the question which this article wish to address here is: why should the revolutionary youth of today discuss and study the ideas of Marxism,and what is its relevance for the youth and workers of South Africa?
We are pleased to announce the publication on the internet of Richard Monroe's history of the ANC movement. This pamphlet, written in the 1980s, deals extensively with the struggles of the 1950s and the tactics adopted by the middle-class ANC leaders, who favoured negotiations with the "progressive" section of the capitalists. It was originally printed in issue 13 of Inqaba ya Basebenzi ("Workers' Fortress"), the publication of the Marxist Workers' Tendency of the African National Congress in March 1984.
On 25 June year, President Jacob Zuma released the report of the Farlam Commission, which was appointed by the government to investigate the killings of 44 people at the Lonmin mine in Marikana in August 2012. This includes the massacre of mineworkers on 16 August that year, when the police opened fire on the striking workers, killing 34 and injuring 78 more.
Over the recent period, beneath the appearance of relative calm in the South African Communist Party, serious divisions have began to open up. These divisions are manifesting themselves along fault lines which have existed for long periods of the party's existence. Now, under the raging organic crisis of Capitalism, the turbulence which accompanies it, the resultant instability in the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance and the emergence of formations to the left of the ANC, the cracks in the party have began to open wider and wider. The SACP now finds itself struggling to fight for its relevance. Sooner or later all the divisions must burst into the open which will further destabilize it and the already turbulent alliance.
In a highly significant event, delegates to the 15th National Congress of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have voted to remove the incumbent general secretary, Frans Baleni and replace him with a clear left wing candidate, David Sipunzi. The result, which came as shock to many, is a heavy blow to the class collaborationist right wing of COSATU, the main trade union federation. This shakeup will have wide ramifications not only in the trade union movement, but also in the Tripartite Alliance.
The recurrence of the barbaric violence against mainly African immigrants in some parts of South Africa over the past week has once again shone the spotlight on the worsening situation which is developing in the country. These reactionary attacks go against the whole grain of the history of the South African workers’ movement which was mainly born out of the need to combat this kind of racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination and to unite all oppressed layers of society under the umbrella of working class solidarity.
Over the last three weeks, students, lecturers and workers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have been demanding that management remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes – a 19th century British colonialist whose destructive imperialist legacy is still remembered across much of Southern Africa to this day. However, the issues that have been brought up by the students in the wake of the campaign are much broader and more far-reaching than the mere removal of a statue. The "Rhodes Must Fall Campaign", which was started by a handful of students, has mushroomed into a furious country-wide debate over the need for radical change.
The number of civic protests in South Africa has skyrocketed to new record highs. New figures which were released by the Civic Protest Barometer of the University of the Western Cape on 19 February 2015 show that the number of protests by communities, so-called ‘’service delivery’’ protests, more than doubled between 2007 and 2014. The researchers also show that 2014 was the year with the highest number of these protests on record.
The dust still has not to settled after the stormy start to this year’s parliamentary year. The extraordinary events of 12 February and in the days which followed it, have thrown South Africa into a maelstrom of political crisis, which is at bottom a reflection of the crisis of the capitalist system.