Unions Agree to Organise a New Independent Socialist Workers Federation in South Africa

360Published: 23 May 2016.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

On May Day 2016 unions representing more than a million workers met and decided to take all necessary steps to create a new independent militant workers federation in South Africa. This move logically follows on from the expulsion by the pro-ANC Government Congress of South African Trade Unions of the radical National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa which The Socialist Network  reported on 18 months ago. Below we print the stirring and forward-looking statement of this historic gathering…

“History was made in South Africa on 30 April 2016 when 1406 representatives of 29 separate  trade unions and one existing federation, NACTU, with 22 affiliates, supported by a range of civil society and community organisations, came together to commit themselves to building a new, worker-controlled, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, independent, financially self-sufficient, internationalist, socialist-orientated and militant union federation.

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Major Split in South African Workers Movement

Published: 13 November 2014
Intro by: TSN Editor
Author: Union Alliance in defense of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

Last weekend, the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) voted by 33 to 24 to expel one of its largest members, the 350,000 strong National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. The metalworkers were voicing the growing dissatisfaction in South Africa at the pro-business direction of the African National Congress-led government and the increasing poverty and inequality that has resulted. But the undemocratic expulsion of the metalworkers is not going smoothly. Already a defense campaign has been launched by seven other unions in COSATU to challenge the decision. Below is their first press statement, plus NUMSA’s own defense statement (abridged ).

Press Statement of the Seven Unions in Support of the Metalworkers

  • Defend the Congress Of South African Trade Unions
  • Defend the National Union of Metal Workers
  • Hands Off Zwelinzima Vavi!
  • Forward to an Independent, Worker Controlled Federation!

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The Meaning of the South African Elections

Statement of the National Committee of the Democratic Left Front on the 2014 National Elections
Following a very successful national conference at the end of March, the National Committee of the DLF held its first meeting over the weekend 9 ? 11 May. Taking place two days after r the 7 May national and provincial elections, our political discussion focused on the outcome of these elections, as well as the important strike in the platinum mines, the deepening crisis in the trade union movement and the NUMSA initiated united front and movement for socialism.

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Mandela’s economic legacy

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The death of Nelson Mandela reminds us of the great victory that the black masses of South Africa achieved over the vicious, cruel and regressive apartheid system first encouraged by British imperialism and then adopted by a reactionary and racist white South African ruling class to preserve the privileges of a tiny few. Mandela spent 27 years in prison and the people he represented fought a long and hard battle to overthrow a grotesque regime, backed by the major imperialist powers, including the US, for decades.

Despite the efforts of the British Conservatives, particularly under Margaret Thatcher, the winer and diner-in-chief of all reactionaries globally, and the other imperialist leaders, the South African regime was eventually brought to its knees by the sacrifices of millions of black South Africans: the labour forces in the mines; the children in the schools and the people in the townships. They were backed by the solidarity actions of workers and people in the major countries through boycotts, strike action and political campaigning. It was a big defeat for the forces of reaction in Britain and America.

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Mandela and the communist spirit

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Nelson Mandela’s death aroused a global chorus of praise for the man and his work. At the premiere of his biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wept when news of Mandela’s death reached her and Prince William. Bill Gates, who, with $67 billion, is the second richest man on earth, expressed profound admiration for Mandela’s struggle against apartheid and his campaigning on HIV/AIDS issues.

For the wretched of the earth – its 2.4 billion people living on less than $2 a day – Mandela was also their hero. This global carnival of tears; this celebration of his life and struggle, this festival of memories of revolutionary dreams is classless. Mandela’s death signals a momentary lapse into a universal emotional state that commemorates the colossal revolt of the masses against oppression. By unifying the psychic state of the princess and the pauper, the billionaire and the beggar, Mandela, in death, has awakened a moment of global mental unity, in which the idea of communism – of a society where there are no classes – temporarily penetrates the universal mind.

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