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Working Class Monthly Published by the revolutionary soCialist organization

revolutionary SOCIALIST

Issue No. 9 September 2012 Price: Donation

British companies profit!


GBP a month, and are constantly threatened by unemployment. The safety regulations are loose and work conditions dangerous and harmful to health. Miners and their families often have to live in shanty towns and work camps around the mining site. These villages have no sanitary structures and are ripe with diseases. More than that, in some of them as many of two thirds of the inhabitants have an Aids infection. Not only is mining in that way extremely destructive to the work force, it also severely damages the environment with its pollution. British companies profit too! This misery of the South African workers not only swells the purses of the South African capitalists. The British Bourgeoisie also gets a fat share of the cake. Britain has always been one of the main trading partners of South Africa, ruling it first as a colony and then through an invisible net of economic dependency. At the moment the volume of trade alone is 9.6 billion GBP! In 2010 an agreement was reached between the two countries, increasing trade by 50% by 2015. Between 2001 and 2008 it had already increased by 77% and fell after the financial crisis hit that year. This trade also includes, to a not insignificant extent, arms and police equipped, the very same are used to now fight the striking miners. Among the 300 British companies operating in South Africa is Lonmin. This alone is quite telling. For centuries British capital has played a parasitic role, exploiting the third world and feeding off those super profits. Currently the British Bourgeoisie is hitting hard against the workers at home and abroad to make more and more profit. All those workers oppressed and exploited have a common interest to fight back. Workers can act The movement of mass strikes that is now emerging in South Africa ends a period of relative social peace and opens a new phase of intense class struggle. It becomes clear, that the ANC leadership was not able to do away with the fundamental social conflict in South African society. The financial crisis and the resulting intensified greed of capital to make more and more profit have now led to the explosion of this conflict. The South African workers show that only the working class is able to bring about real change and a better society. In struggling both against economic exploitation and racial oppression they show that these two struggles are not separated but one and the same. They are the same because they are products of one and the same system; Capitalism. The exploitation of the working class at home and in foreign nations by the parasitic British bourgeoisie is one and the same too. The bloody events in Marikana are therefore a warning and a call to action for us. It shows us the global scale of the fightback that is needed to get rid of this crisis ridden system!

n August 16th 2012 the South African Police shot dead 36 mine workers protesting for higher wages and wounded a further 78. Not only does this act show whose side the police are really on-namely the bosses-but it also opens up further questions. Even though Apartheid (the brutal system of racial separation) has been abolished for almost two decades, most black South Africans still suffer from inhumane conditions. The massacre also gives a glimpse of the brutal practices in the mining business. On Monday, September 3rd, some miners were again shot at by the police, four of them had to be hospitalised with serious injuries afterwards. By now the incident has sparked a new wave of protests and strikes in South Africas mining industry.
imperialism to plunder South Africas national resources. The official unions were more eager to defend the interests of the Lonmin mine owners than that of the workers. The workers reacted by joining a different, more radical trade union, the ACMU. The bourgeois media tried to portray the Marikana massacre as the clash of two rival trade unions. That, however, is only one aspect of the conflict and not the reason for it. What lies at the heart of it all is the contradiction between the bleak conditions of the working class in South Africa and the bankrupt state apparatus, which many black workers put all their hope in 20 years ago. The failure of post-Apartheid South Africa The shooting at Marikana has been the most deadly clash between police and protestors in South Africa since the 1960s. Its legal justification was a law passed under Apartheid South Africa, Which was designed to allow the police to act against political dissidents. This fact alone illustrates that post-Apartheid South Africa cannot live up to the promises it has made to the people. Of course, many racist institutions and practises have been removed, but some, like the above mentioned law remain. Instead of creating a more equal society, the abolition of Apartheid led to the rise of a black bourgeoisie. Many of those fighting the racist state in the days of Apartheid now live luxurious lives off the back of the people. Men like South Africas former president Nelson Mandela and his successor Jacob Zuma have sold out the popular movement to the interest of big business while themselves getting a share of the loot. This transition is also expressed by

The Marikana massacre The immediate reason for the massacre of 34 workers in Marikana was a struggle about wages between workers and employers at the Lonmin platinum mine. The workers are paid only 4000 Rand a month, thats around 300! This wage is far from a living wage and shows under what appalling conditions South African miners have to live. The miners therefore went on strike to demand a tripling of that sum to 12500 Rand. However, in this struggle the workers were sabotaged by the bureaucrats from the official miners union, the National Union of Miners (NUM) and the South African trade union federation (COSATU). These unions are linked to the governing African National Congress (ANC), the party that ended Apartheid in 1994 but has since worked as a capitalist government, which is happily helping world

the example of Cyril Ramophosa, who himself was a militant trade union leader in the 1980s. As the leader of the National Union of Miners he fought the racist Apartheid government and for the improvement of the situation of the miners. After the fall of Apartheid he has since become a multi-millionaire and an executive of Lonmin, the mining company which is now brutally exploiting its own, mainly black, workforce! The situation of most black South African workers has not improved in the last two decades. They are still facing extreme poverty and benefit only very little from the new political freedoms. Mining; digging in the dirt This bleak situation is especially shocking in the mining sector. Mining has always been one of South Africas most important economic sectors and source of large revenue. The most important sector is gold mining. However, with the rising demand for platinum, especially in the car industry where it is used for catalysts, this metal has become even more profitable to mine. The excessive exploitation of natural resources is very typical for the economies in the third world. It leads to a very strong dependency on foreign capital, and so a lot of South Africas mining is controlled by foreign capital. South African miners, as mentioned above, have to survive on extremely low wages, most are on around 300

revolutionary SOCIALIST

Issue No. 9 / September 2012

A brief summary of the political positions of the RSO
The Revolutionary Socialist Organization (RSO) is fighting against capitalism and for a new socialist economic and social order. Every day it becomes more evident that the so-called free market has nothing to offer for most of the worlds population. Capitalism means hunger, poverty, environmental destruction, war and misery. Even in the richest countries in the world, millions live at or below the poverty line. In contrast, a small portion of the population owns the majority of the assets; in Britain 1% of the population owns more than a third of all assets. Two classes are facing each other in the capitalist society. On one side are the capitalists who own the means of production. They are faced by the wage earners who are forced to sell their labor power. Many workers today are isolated, discouraged, and full of capitalist political ideas and filled with capitalist prejudices. Nevertheless, only the wage earners through strikes and other collective forms of struggle can bring the capitalist mode of production to a halt and hit the capitalist class at the critical point, their profits. Capitalism in its neoliberal phase after the collapse of Stalinism in 1989-91 is politically and militarily on the rise world wide. The working class of the European countries is subject to massive social attacks. Trade unions and social democratic parties are unable to oppose this, but are perfectly integrated into the system. Their representatives participate in cutting public services and creating racist divisions. The Green Parties are not an alternative, they are bourgeois parties, some of which have a progressive rhetoric on human rights issues, but, where they participate in government, show that they are part of the normal capitalist state. The different imperialist blocs are arming themselves. The imperialist global player is still the United States. But the EU is trying to downsize the military gap with the United States and is also more and more acting as a militarily independent bloc. In contrast, we support the resistance against imperialist wars and occupations and combine this with the slogan: The main enemy is at home. To secure its domination, capitalism is (also) using and fostering the division of the working class. We are fighting against the oppression of people because of their ethnicity, gender, age or sexual orientation and we oppose these divisions with the unconditional support of every fight for equal rights. We are for the socialization of large corporations and their transformation into co-operatives under democratic workers management and control. Capitalism can not be eliminated by a few votes or parliamentary reform. All attempts to overcome capitalism through reforms have failed (and have often led to bloody defeats). Only a fundamental upheaval, a revolution based on the active participation of large segments of the population can destroy the state of the ruling class, eliminate the bases of inequality, oppression and exploitation and create a free society. We are Marxists and follow in the tradition of the left opposition against Stalinism by Leon Trotsky. Our alternative is socialism. Our socialism is a free, democratic society built on elected councils. We refer positively to the Russian October Revolution of 1917. This revolution has indeed failed in the Stalinist degeneration in the twenties, but the idea of an alternative to capitalism retains its validity. Our socialism has thus nothing to do with the social democratic parties, or with the Stalinist dictatorships in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba and China. Capitalism is internationally organized and networked. Therefore, our revolutionary alternative has to be international and internationalist. The RSO is not the revolutionary party. None of the currently existing organizations can claim that for themselves. A new revolutionary party will emerge from a process of transformations and mergers. The RSO will try to play a positive role in this process to build such a party and therefore put forward a revolutionary alternative to capitalism. If you are interested in this project, then get in contact with us and support us in building a revolutionary and socialist organization!

US-Imperialism: Protecting Genocide

here are certain events that happen every now and again that markedly demonstrate the shameless hypocrisy of international politics. The USAs decision to deny the extradition of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, wanted for charges of genocide, is one such example.
In October 2003, the pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sanchez ordered security forces to suppress the growing protests against his energy and globalisation policies. The massacre that followed left 67 men, women and children dead and a further 400 injured. Those killed were almost all poor and from the indigenous Aymara communities. In the several months before, scores of protestors had been killed by government forces sent to quell the uprising. The reaction to his crimes united the workers of Bolivia who forced his removal shortly after; he fled to the US where he has been protected ever since. The recent decision to block Bolivias request for extradition is completely inconsistent with the US dogged determination to see Julian Assange extradited to Sweden. The rights and wrongs of that particular case are not the subject of this article, but it is worth noting the obvious hypocrisy of the American claims of defending democracy and freedom. Clearly, Gonzalo should face trial for his crimes, surely a country who sought unswervingly to see Assange brought to justice would also do the same for a man who is accused of such atrocities? There is a simple answer. US foreign policy seeks not to bring justice and freedom to the world, but to serve its own economic interests. Gonzalo Sanchez is a multimillionaire mining executive, educated in the US and, when he ran for president in 2002, was an unpopular figure within Bolivia. He hired a Washington based consulting firm owned by several American politicians to run his campaign. Their strategy was

twofold. Firstly, they destroyed the reputation of his opponents, before mobilising Sanchezs base, the elite and wealthy sections of society. This strategy gave Sanchez a narrow victory of 22.5%. Once in power he advocated the free market, neoliberal economics that define US involvement in South America. These actions allowed Sanchez and a small westernised elite to make millions while the majority of the population suffered. Ecuador have been the target for unrelenting attack since granting Assange political asylum yet it is clear the case of Sanchez will receive nowhere near the same level of attention. It seems any crime can be ignored, granting it was on the behalf of US imperialism. It is at this point that we can see, without ambiguity the real intention of the capitalistss governments. They act only to protect and serve the capitalist system, habitually the interest of the US capitalists. Phrases such as democracy or freedom are bounded about only in a pathetic attempt to shroud the truth.

Trade Union Council talking tough

he leaders of the unions seem to have finally given in to the demands of more militant unionists. The TUC has threatened the government with strike action unless it backs down in its attacks on public sector pay. At their annual gathering for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton, the delegates supported a motion which stated that the TUC will give full support to all groups of workers in the private or public sector who take industrial action against cuts or attacks on pay, jobs, pensions or conditions of service and coordinating unions taking action.
make these peoples lives even harder. Up until now the leaders of the unions have limited their members activity to action against pension reforms and the fight was conducted in no more than a piecemeal manner. This is while 750,000 public sector workers are expected to lose their jobs duringthe cuts and the government has forced a pay freeze on the workers, which is effectively a five year pay cut when inflation is taken into account. The anger of workers at the attacks on their

Workers in the public sector have suffered from a three year pay freeze, in which time the price of goods has risen by 12%. The government wants to impose further restraint on pay by imposing a cap of 1% on any pay rises for the next two years. The result has already been that workers at the lower end of the wage scale such as dinner ladies, care workers and teaching assistants have had to cut back on buying food, fuel and new school uniforms for their families. The governments further attacks on pay will

livelihoods however has now forced the leaderships to talk about more serious resistance. The Public and Commercial services Union (PCS) has called for strikes as soon as possible after the big union march in London on 20 October saying we need a sense of urgency to turn the words in this resolution into action before its too late. We saw though how, after the march of 500,000 unionists in London on 26 March last year, the leaderships of the unions squandered the energy of the labour movement in one day strikes and empty phrase mongering. The union bureaucrats have shown us time and time again that their commitment to action is only a verbal one. If we want to really fight back against the current attacks we need to learn how to use our own strength and get the job done ourselves. If the TUC wants to do us a favor it should talk less and act more.

Disabled Benefits cut

ith the end of the Paralympics many are hoping to see a Britain emerge that gives more sympathy and opportunities to those that are disabled. With disabled people finally being represented in such a positive way, surely this could have touched the icy hearts of the Coalition, perhaps persuading them to ease up on the war against benefits?
Unfortunately, no such thing has happened. Bullying because of disabilities is on the rise, and claimants are facing a worse hit to their benefits. Leaked documents have revealed that the governments plan to increase the amount docked from disability benefits for those who do not adhere to back-to-work agreements. It will increase from the current maximum amount of 28.15 to 71 a week being cut from a weekly allowance of 99.15. Claimants are assessed for their ability to work by a computer programme carried out by Atos Healthcare. The firm, which sponsored the Paralympics, has drawn much criticism and protests for its poor decisions which are made from a 30-minute assessment. This sees people with severe and incurable conditions being forced back to work, despite being physically and mentally unable. The decisions made can have huge impacts, with cases of suicide and deaths being reported because of the decisions made. Around 40% of appeals against these decisions are successful. The governments back to work scheme deems people unfit to work at the time, implying they will in the future. It has seen stroke victims and terminally ill patients being placed in this group. Along with this news comes the announcement that disability claimants will have to do unpaid work experience without any time limit. If they refuse their benefits are docked. The law was passed earlier this year, but has apparently not been finalised. It will most likely come into effect on the 3rd December.

The decisions made by Atos and the government could devastate the disabled community. Those that actually are physically fit to return to work are often incredibly vulnerable and mentally unprepared to work. Some of them dont understand why they are being punished. Still, people with no knowledge of disability and mental health are risking the lives of many for a bit of free labour and some extra money. The entire scheme is heartless and brutal. The government is showing its ugly face unmasked to the weak and vulnerable, all to save a few pennies. Despite there being no hope, those in charge still think that squeezing money from the poor will save them. This is a deluded fantasy that they try and impose on the rest of us. Well rise from this economic slump they tell us. It is the capitalists and their government who have got us into this mess. Instead of letting them squeeze us we should hand the bill back to the ones who caused it!

Contact: If you want to know more about the Revolutionary Socialist Organisation, check out our English website: or e-mail us at: or just simply talk to the person who sold you this paper.

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