How support the mineworkers’ strike?
Four months into the AMCU-led strike in South Africa’s three giant platinum producers, with the bosses, the government and the ruling party and its allies attempting to move in for the kill as the mineworkers are now taking serious strain, many working class people in South Africa and internationally are asking themselves how they can support the workers.
A strike is not just a test of strength between the workers and the employer, but also a battle for the hearts and minds of the public. The fighting strategy in any strike should not only maximise harm to the business of the employer in the shortest possible space of time but also raise the pressure on the employer, the capitalist class as a whole and the government.
For the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), the most decisive support we can offer is political – mobilising for trade union solidarity action, as well as for support from other workers and communities and from working class people across the country and beyond. WASP is therefore campaigning for a general strike to be called in defence of the platinum workers. We are lobbying NUMSA members, for example, to work to make NUMSA’s offer of solidarity action reality. WASP is working to urgently raise money to support this work and the building of a genuine socialist party rooted in the working class which is critical to the struggles not only of the mineworkers but of the working class as a whole.
With the platinum workers having held out so long without pay, and workers and their families suffering actual starvation, support in the form of food for the day and boosting a strike fund that should be able to provide the strikers with some form of income is also important. WASP applauds AMCU’s initiative to launch a strike fund. Besides providing relief to the workers, the fund could also be an important tool for the rallying of support within mining- and other communities, with other workers and working class organisations. WASP advocates for trade unions to prepare for strikes by using membership fees to build up strike funds, and to account to the members by reporting regularly to workers on fundraising efforts as well as subject the use of the funds to workers’ democratic decision-making.
Victory or defeat in the platinum battle is decisive not only for the workers on strike but for the whole of society. If the bosses, and their line managers in government, succeed in crushing the workers’ heroic struggle they would be emboldened in pushing ahead with further assaults on the working class, such as the attacks on the right to strike in the public sector and the whole National Development Plan-project while it could throw back working class self-confidence and struggles for a long time to come. If the workers win – even if not the full R12 500 – that would on the other hand strengthen the struggle for a living wage and generally steel the determination of workers, the youth and the unemployed to fight for a greater share of SA’s vast wealth.
WASP has therefore decided to make an extraordinary appeal for support for the platinum strike. We urge all those in support of the strike who have anything to contribute to make money donations to the AMCU strike fund. The details are:
AMCU Strike Fund, Standard Bank, Account Number: 332 748 634, Branch code: 052750
Please use the reference ‘WASP’ when depositing or transferring.