supports the call of the Social Movements for either a boycott or
a spoilt vote in the 2004 General and Provincial elections.
Without exception, ALL the parties taking part in the elections,
despite their promises, will deliver a future of more unemployment,
lower wages, more hardship, more evictions, more homelessness, more
exclusion from education, death and destruction through starvation
They are ALL fundamentally
in the pockets of the capitalists.
Fundamental change will not come through parliament but rather outside,
and against it. The elections will come and go but our struggle
will continue. For this struggle to be successful there are a number
of tasks that the working class needs to tackle:
We need to ensure real working class control over our fighting organizations
– this means setting up broader committees of workers to control
our Unions and Social Movements; we need to replace the current
leadership with fighters who are prepared to put the interest of
the workers above that of the capitalist and their alliance partners
Our fighting organizations
must be independent of the capitalist and the government.
We must build unity in action of the unions and the Social Movements
Most importantly we need to build a new political force that can
lead the struggle for working class demands – this means building
a new network of fighters across every working class area and factory
from Cape Town to Limpompo. Let us pool our experience and develop
a common programme of struggle that meets all working class demands.
WIVL extends the hand to all militants, activists and working class
groups to start work on a common programme that will form the basis
of the new political force, a revolutionary working class party
that is internationalist in character.
We, the WIVL, would have participated in
the 14th April General and Provincial elections but the law passed
by this government and supported by all the parties in parliament
demands a R460,000 (four hundred and sixty thousand rand) deposit
before participation. How can a working class grouping like us whose
members are ordinary wage workers afford this? This high deposit
has effectively excluded us and all other working class organizations
wishing to take part. This government and all the other parties
are afraid of real revolutionary working class opposition.
Why would we want to participate? Let us
assure you NOT because we are looking for cushy well paid jobs but
because it will afford us the opportunity if elected, to publicly
expose the fraudulent, capitalist nature of the existing parties,
its leadership and indeed the capitalist nature of parliament and
the state itself. Elected Wivl representatives would have been subject
to instant recall and would have received a salary of R3500 with
the rest of the salary being paid to WIVL for advancing working
class struggle. No other party can offer this as the parliamentary
salary is used to buy off their representatives to advance the interests
of the bosses.
We will challenge and expose the legislation
which is detrimental to the interest of the working class. We would
have proposed legislation that will genuinely advance the interest
of the working class. The opposition by all other parties to our
proposals would have exposed the class allegiance to the capitalist
of all these parties. This is why they want to keep us out. If we
have to choose between electioneering and supporting workers on
strike, we would always choose the workers on strike.
The Cosatu leaders have abandoned the Equity
Aviation strikers, now in their 4th month on strike, in favour of
campaigning for the very party, the ANC, that is responsible for
privatising baggage handling at airports. This privatization has
created worsening conditions, such as forcing workers to work a
45 hour week rather than the 40 hours they had won.
If the ANC government cannot even meet this
simple demand of workers to maintain their 40 hour week, what hope
has the rest of the working class, for their demands??
We maintain that all the parties participating
in this election are capitalist parties, servicing the interest
of the capitalist class and middle classes. They are funded by the
capitalists and are so shy about this connection that they are not
prepared to reveal to the electorate who their funders are. Their
promises to the working classes a better life if elected is patently
false because under decaying capitalism the capitalist is fighting
to maintain its rate of profit hence the continued retrenchments,
low wage increases, extra working hours, etc.
Also the State, which is the executive arm
of the capitalist class, is cutting down on social spending on the
working class, cutting the taxes of the capitalist; and makes many
concessions such as subsidies on water and electricity to facilitate
The manifestos of all these parties are riddled with contradictions
and false promises. (See our article on the ANC and DA manifestos)
The programmes of all the parliamentary parties are based on keeping
the working class permanently in starvation.
People’s contract or Police state?
On Thursday 1st April 2004, police opened fire repeatedly on strikers
at Lombardi foods in Strand. We condemn the actions of the state
in the strongest possible terms. Several strikers were injured and
a bystander was critically wounded. The actions show us that the
role of the police is to control the working class and defend the
bosses. The training of 150 000 more police is not to fight crime
but to crack down on the working class while we strive for our rights.
The unanimous support for the Anti-Terror
law by all parliamentary parties show that they are all on the side
of the bosses and imperialists. Even though this law was temporarily
put aside, it is sure to make a comeback once the parties have our
votes. The parliamentary parties are preparing for the role of policeman
for imperialism in South Africa as well as the rest of Africa.
We propose simple demands which can easily
be implemented if one is at all genuinely concerned about the appalling
conditions of life of the vast majority of the South African working
class. Millions are unemployed, homeless NOW, millions earn low
wages, live in overcrowded conditions NOW, the state must take responsibility
for everyone NOW.
HERE ARE OUR DEMANDS:
1 Unemployment: As opposed to the ANC proposal
of public works which is supposed to create a million jobs in 5
years (hopelessly inadequate because these are short term jobs and
every year 400,000 new work seekers enter the job market). We propose
a more bold and imaginative initiative referred to as a SLIDING
SCALE OF WORKING HOURS. This means that all available work must
be divided among all those who can work (meaning all employed and
all unemployed), without loss of pay. This means shortening the
working week to 30 hours or less.
Amendments to LRA and Basic Conditions of Employment Act must be
immediately passed to implement this demand. The trade unions must
vigorously agitate for this demand. The capitalist and middle classes
will object, some will even proclaim financial ruin. But the question
objectively boils down to this: Starvation and death to millions
of workers OR fat profits and privileges to the minority of capitalists.
All privatization must be stopped and reversed. Production must
first meet the basic needs of everybody. There must be an immediate
ban on all overtime.
2 Housing: A new housing policy must be implemented
to provide secure and decent housing for those who can ill afford
1) All evictions must immediately be stopped
2) Scrapping of all arrears owed to financial institutions
3) Institutions that refuse to scrap arrears must be immediately
4) Write off all housing loans owed to the banks by the unemployed
and the title deed surrendered to the state
5) The government subsidize the loan repayment of the employed workers
in accordance with the formula of income and affordability
6) The present formula of housing subsidy to be completely scrapped
7) The government provides low rental, adequate housing to all.
Unemployed and pensioners to be exempt from payment. No profiteering
8) The upgrading of all facilities such as roads, parks, libraries,
The capitalist financial institutions will refer to these demands
as outrageous. However a decent house for all human beings is a
fundamental human right. That millions cannot afford houses is directly
related to unemployment, low wages and the greed of the capitalist.
The one-roomed structures that the state builds [so small you cannot
even change your mind in it] are not houses but glorified pondokkies.
3 High food prices, poverty and hunger.
a) Immediately and forthwith SCRAP VAT on all foodstuffs.
b) SCRAP ALL VAT on ELECTRICITY, WATER AND TELEPHONE PAYMENTS IN
WORKING CLASS AREAS.
c) A MINIMUM SALARY of R3, 500 per month must be immediately legislated
to meet the basic needs of the working class. Further wage increases
must correspond directly to the rise in the cost of food, electricity
and water. Independent worker consumer councils to monitor prices
must be established.
d) The high food prices in South Africa (a direct consequences of
monopolies) must be investigated and the production and distribution
of food must come under the control of the government – no
profiteering from food.
4 ELECTRICITY, WATER
1) ALL ELECTRICITY AND WATER CUT OFFS must immediately stop and
those cut must immediately be reconnected.
2) All arrears on electricity and water must be written off
3) A minimum of R300, 00 worth of electricity and R300, 00 worth
of water must be provided free to all those earning under R3, 000
per month. These amounts to be adjusted in accordance with price
increases [We take the minimum poverty datum level as R3000 for
a 4 person family]
4) All privatized facilities to be returned to the ownership and
control of the state- no profiteering from the provision of basic
5 Health care
1) The state is deliberately not providing adequate medical care
and drugs to HIV+ patients. This is tantamount to genocide. Immediate
and free, adequate supply and administration of HIV drugs and medical
care to all patients.
2) The conditions and facilities at our hospitals and day clinics
is pathetic, long queues and inadequate medicine is the order of
the day. The immediately upgrading and restocking of our existing
medical facilities and extra facilities to be provided in working
3) The scrapping of all medical charges to all patients earning
under R3500 per month. A sliding scale of medical charges for those
earning above R3500.
4) More doctors and nurses to be appointed in virtually all the
hospitals and clinics.
5) The high price of medicines in South Africa is again directly
related to monopolies. If we compare our medicine prices to those
in Brasil and India, you will be paralysed with shock. Zantac [treatment
for ulcers] cost R50 in India but R350 in South Africa. All health
care taken over by the state including production and distribution
of medicines- no profiteering from health care.
1) The scrapping of OBE, Outcomes based Education, which is depriving
working class students of education
2) More teachers, more class rooms, less students per class.
3) Free liberatory, compulsory education for all up to grade 12.
4) Free, liberatory tertiary education for all students coming from
working class families earning less than R3, 500 / month.
5) Education is not a luxury but a fundamental right, the future
of human culture is dependent on a highly skilled, educated population.
6) Education must be provided by the state – no profiteering
7) No state subsidy for private schools
7 Break with imperialism[the giant monopolies and banks]
The giant monopolies and banks of the world are responsible for
war, poverty and destruction the world over. We demand a cancellation
of the arms deal; an end to arms sales to the US and UK; the cutting
of all ties with the fascist state of Israel. No to the economic
plans of imperialism!
The above demands are our basic demands to
immediately make a meaningful change in the conditions of life of
the vast majority of the impoverished South African mass. These
demands only halt the disintegration and decay the working class
face; they do not eradicate the fundamental capitalist exploitative
relationship where those who own the land, mines and factories,
live on the sweat and blood of the workers.
True liberation, true equality, true freedom
can only be attained when this system of exploitation (known as
the capitalist system) is overthrown and a Socialist Society where,
the land, the banks, the mines, the factories belong to the whole
of society and not to a few individual capitalist and capitalist
companies, is established.
The removal of the capitalist system can only be done by the working
class which is the only progressive, historical force. But the working
class requires a strong revolutionary working class party with revolutionary
programme, and revolutionary and determined leadership to carry
out this programme. We call on all class conscious and revolutionary
workers to join us to form such a party.
Join Workers International Vanguard League now to make this a REALITY.
APRIL THE 14TH IS A GOOD DAY TO LAUNCH THIS EFFORT.
VIVA THE REVOLUTIONARY WORKING CLASS PARTY!
VIVA THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!