May Day – organise for struggle, mobilise WASP vote for May 7
The Workers and Socialist Party sends its solidarity and fraternal greetings to all the workers of South Africa, the African continent and the world. WASP stands firmly in the working class tradition of internationalism – workers of the world unite! We send our solidarity to the striking mineworkers on the platinum belt and the striking Numsa members in the Eastern Cape. We send our solidarity to the striking Chinese factory workers and the striking London train drivers and all those workers across the world struggling against the capitalist system.
May Day 2014 comes just days after the twenty year anniversary of democracy and the end of apartheid. This historic victory belongs, first and foremost, to the working class. It was the emergence of the independent trade unions in the 1970s and 1980s that sounded the death knell for apartheid. But the reality is that the working class and poor are still second class citizens in capitalist South Africa. Democracy has brought rights but they mean little to the millions trapped by capitalism in dire poverty. The most basic right – the right to work – it still denied to over seven million who cannot put bread on the table for their families. Next year it will be 60 years since the adoption of the Freedom Charter which demands a 40-hour week and decent work, yet those in work still work an average of 46 hours a week, are employed by labour brokers, as seasonal workers especially on the famers, and permanently as temps in supermarkets.
Less than one week before the general election we see many making a mockery of May Day. The ANC, their supporters in the Cosatu leadership and the SACP are using their rallies and events today to try and channel the hopes and aspirations of workers into political support for their mortal enemy – the capitalist class – at the ballot box next Wednesday. The ANC is not a government representing the working class and poor. Nor is it the leadership of a liberation movement. The ANC NEC is an executive committee of the capitalist class. On the ANC National Executive Committee, over 50% of its members are company directors and a third are directors of more than one company with over 1 in 10 holding five directorships or more. 72% of ANC NEC members own shares, 50% own shares in more than one company and 18% own shares in more than five companies. Fifteen members of the Zuma family are involved in a staggering 134 companies, 83 of which were set up after Jacob Zuma became president.
President Zuma’s friendship with the Gupta family of capitalists is a national embarrassment as is the R 246 million spent on the president’s private residence at Nkandla. Deputy-president of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa, whose wealth is estimated at over R6 billion was rewarded for his role in the Marikana massacre with the deputy presidency of the ANC. The butcher of Marikana is poised to succeed Zuma as president.
But for the first time in twenty years, the working class and poor have a real working class party they can vote for. WASP is standing in the elections on a genuine socialist manifesto with the demand for nationalisation under working class control at its heart. The wealth of society – created by workers – must be used to raise the living standards of all not just to make profits for the bosses. Our candidates are not the millionaires and business owners of the ANC but working class men and women – workers, trade union activists and shop stewards, youth and community campaigners, entrepreneurs and street traders. A vote for WASP is a vote for placing the genuine voice of the working class in the National Assembly to support the struggles that will take place in the workplaces, communities and institutions of learning.
WASP calls on all workers to celebrate May Day, but to also use today to discuss and organise for the struggles that loom as the position of the South African economy deteriorates and the ANC prepares to roll-out their capitalist manifesto – the National Development Plan. The working class, the poor, communities and the youth must use May Day 2014 to prepare for the task faced by this generation – the building of a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme. Workers of the world unite!