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South Africa

After NUMSA’s Congress

www.socialistworld.net, 04/02/2014
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections

Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement

The decisions adopted at Numsa’s Special National Congress (SNC) in December have positioned Numsa to be at the heart of working class struggle in the next period. If acted upon boldly, this stand is potentially epoch defining in the life and struggles of the working class of South Africa. The decision to break political ties with the ANC and the SACP sailed through the congress without a murmur of protest. This decision alone would justify the SNC going down as one of the most significant in the history of the labour movement. But the adoption of radical decisions did not stop with that. Now Numsa embarks on a process of debate and discussion about how to implement these decisions.

This will be a crucial period for Numsa and indeed the working class as a whole. The position of the SA economy continues to deteriorate. The rand is in ‘free fall’ and the resulting food and fuel price increases will be felt hard. The capitalist class will try and bolster their position by squeezing the living standards of the masses, including through mass retrenchments. The mining sector is in turmoil again and the mineworkers, the backbone of the working class, face an uphill struggle against the bosses and the inadequacies of their own so-called leaders. The 2014 elections loom with the ANC poised to implement the neo-liberal National Development Plan.

What Numsa does in the coming weeks and months can help shape events. If Numsa continues to grasp the nettle as tightly as they have done this far, this will mean helping shape events in favour of the working class. There is an opportunity to turn the tide in the class war that has seen our enemy – the capitalist class – advance steadily for twenty years. But to do that we need to achieve clarity on the tactics and strategy necessary.

Responding to the crisis in Cosatu

We fully support the analysis Numsa has made of the crisis in Cosatu and the strategy they have adopted in response. Numsa recognises that the key consequence of the crisis in Cosatu is the “complete state of paralysis” that means “Cosatu is no longer a campaigning federation”. Fundamentally, the crisis in Cosatu is being driven by the pro-ANC Cosatu leaders’ slavish support for the ANC and their anti-working class policies. This support is bringing the Cosatu leadership into collision with the membership. We therefore applaud Numsa’s clear call for “Cosatu to break from the Alliance” and Numsa’s undertaking to wage a struggle to win the entire federation to this position and restore it as a “militant, independent and unified” movement. Numsa has recognised that if this fails it will likely fall to them to “begin the process of forming a new federation”.

The pro-ANC Cosatu leaders’ frustration of Numsa’s call for a Cosatu special congress, amounts to a denial of the right of the membership to decide on matters as critical as the fate not just of the general secretary whom they voted into office, but of the entire leadership of the federation. In what amounts to a palace coup, the present leadership is keeping itself in office without the consent of the membership. It is therefore entirely justified for Numsa to withhold the R800 000 monthly affiliation fee from the federation until the congress is convened. It is possible that the pro-ANC leaders will use this as a pretext to suspend or even expel Numsa from the federation. If this takes place, the responsibility for the break-up of Cosatu will lie squarely with the ANC and their stooges in the federation’s leadership. They will be cautious however, as the exit of Numsa would represent the near climax of Cosatu’s death throes.

Numsa’s posing of the political tasks

Millions will be looking toward the upcoming elections as an opportunity to deal the ANC a body-blow. But unfortunately, a sufficiently clear position on 2014 did not emerge from the SNC. However, WASP is confident that in the course of the discussions and debates that are now taking place, Numsa members will recognise the urgency of taking a clear stand and act to use the elections to advance the interests of Numsa members and the working class in general. Two resolutions were adopted at the SNC that deal with the question of 2014 and Numsa’s approach. But one resolution does not entirely fit with the other.

On the one hand, one resolution outlined a clear way forward in stating that “for the struggle for socialism, the working class needs a political organisation committed in theory and practice to socialism”. Based on this view, the commission resolution was clear that in rejecting the Alliance “the time for looking for an alternative has arrived” and that Numsa must “be alert to gains that may present possibilities of either the new united front [see below], or any other progressive coalition or party committed to socialism, standing for elections in future. The Numsa constitutional structures must continuously assess these developments and possibilities.” This resolution, in other words, leaves open the possibility that Numsa may yet express support for a particular party in the 2014 elections.

But the other resolution, whilst advancing the historic call to break from the ANC and SACP also said Numsa would not support “any other political party in 2014”. We believe that the views of the former resolution are far more in keeping with the overall approach Numsa has taken to this question than the latter. However, the specific decisions adopted in that resolution do not fully answer the general understanding of the tasks facing the working class indicated in the quotes above. The resolution calls on Numsa to “establish a new United Front that will coordinate struggles in the workplaces and in communities” and that “side by side with the establishment of a new United Front, Numsa will explore the establishment of a Movement for Socialism as the working class needs a political organisation committed in its policies and actions to the establishment of a socialist South Africa”.

It is clear that the comrades are grappling with the key question confronting the working class: on what basis can the class be united and its fighting capacity maximised in order to advance its collective interests in the struggle for a socialist society?

A ‘United Front’ and a ‘Movement for Socialism’?

The fracturing of the organised labour movement as a result of the crisis in Cosatu is a process that has been underway for many years. This is reflected in splits from nearly all Cosatu affiliates and the rise of a new generation of non-Cosatu unions. This fragmentation has led to destructive competition between rival trade union bureaucracies with the interests of the workers taking second place. The rivalry between NUM and AMCU in the mining industry is the most high profile example of this. The explosion from 2009 of service delivery protests has been an important escalation of the class struggle but communities have remained isolated from one another without a clear national leadership or united strategy to win decent and accessible basic services. Amongst the youth and the students dozens of organisations vie for dominance and much of the energy of the youth is dissipated. The explosion of ‘single issue’ campaigns and other civil society groups is also a reflection of the absence of a clear strategic centre.

It is clear that Numsa intends the United Front to be the umbrella under which all these struggles and organisations should unite. We have raised the call for an Assembly for Working Class Unity. But whatever the name, it is clear that Numsa and WASP are aiming for the same thing: the unity of the struggles of the working class.

Up to now WASP has approached the question from a slightly different angle to that suggested by the United Front. Given the specific conditions of different sections of the class, which require different ‘types’ of organisation and methods of struggle, we have identified three main ‘theatres’: workplaces, communities and the institutions of education.

We have proposed the launching of a Socialist Trade Union Network to unite workers’ organisations whether they are trade unions, trade union structures, independent workers’ organisations such as the strike committees used by the mineworkers and farmworkers, or groups of unorganised workers. The Network would be open to participation regardless of union, federation or political affiliation. The Network would not attempt to duplicate the traditional functions of a trade union but would be a centre for the unity of workers’ struggles, nothing more. That unity would be based on struggle and mutual support. WASP invites Numsa to co-launch STUN alongside WASP, the National Transport Movement and others.

We also call on Numsa to support initiatives such as the Socialist Youth Movement – WASP’s autonomous youth wing – which is aiming to unite the struggles in the institutions of education and simultaneously reach out to the unemployed youth in the townships and elsewhere.

We are at the early stage of discussions with forces that could form the basis for a new civic movement that could set about the task of uniting the service delivery protests of the communities.

It is not entirely clear what the difference between the United Front and the Movement for Socialism will be. At the very least there appears to be a significant overlap between them. The central task of socialists in workplace and community struggles must be the linking of the immediate day-to-day demands of the working class to the wider struggle for a socialist society. Socialism is the generalised expression of working class interests and as such is the very basis for unity. The common struggle for a socialist society can subsume the narrower sectional interests of different layers of the working class inevitable within the framework of capitalism. Socialism is the fully conscious expression of the instinct amongst the working class that “an injury to one is an injury to all”. Thus a Movement for Socialism is appropriate to unite the struggles of the workers, communities and youth on the political plane in the common struggle for a socialist society.

But it is not clear what forces the United Front would bring together that would be different from those that would coalesce under the banner of the Movement for Socialism. It seems that the most important benefit of a Movement for Socialism is that it lays down a clear ideological marker and at the same time sets up the strategic objective of the emergence of a mass workers party on a socialist programme. We would therefore suggest that Numsa subsumes the United Front into the Movement for Socialism and works with WASP to create out of these forces a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme.

Movements and parties

The SNC decided that “Numsa will conduct a thoroughgoing discussion on previous attempts to build socialism as well as current experiments to build socialism. [Numsa] will commission an international study on the historical formation of working class parties, including exploring different types of parties – from mass workers parties to vanguard parties”. We will of course play a full part in this process. However, at the outset, there are some preliminary remarks we would like to make.

There has been a great deal of confusion over the past twenty-five years – dating to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the capitalist triumphalism that followed – that has attempted to discredit the idea of parties, whether so-called mass workers parties or vanguard parties. In their place has been substituted more amorphous talk of ‘movements’. This had an objective basis in the betrayals of the working class by the mass social democratic and communist parties in Europe over decades and the liberation movements that turned into capitalist governments in the neo-colonial world. But this in turn was rooted in the specific conjuncture of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic upswing of the 1990s and early 2000s, the consequent capitulation of the workers leaders, and the resulting widespread (and we would add temporary) quiescence of the working class in the face of capitalist propaganda to the idea that there is ‘no alternative’ to capitalism. The compromises of the ANC at Codesa can be situated against the objective situation prevailing internationally in the 1990s. Fortunately, due to the specific features of the struggle against apartheid and the nature of the class compromise reached the dimming of a socialist consciousness was not as pronounced in South Africa as it was elsewhere especially in the advanced capitalist countries.

Internationally this situation has allowed petty bourgeois and middle class confusion to come to the fore for a whole period. In South Africa NGO and academic led organisations reflect this. All too often the clear and unequivocal conception of a working class party committed to the revolutionary struggle for a socialist society was shown the back door. In its place was substituted the eclecticism of ‘movements’ where a thousand contradictory and mutually exclusive ideological flowers can bloom. This befits the heterogeneous social position of this layer and their tendency to vacillate between support for the capitalist class and the working class. This layer is frustrated with capitalism and wishes to act, but by virtue of the very fact that it neither produces society’s wealth nor owns or controls it are incapable of playing a decisive role in society and incapable of providing the leadership to the working class that they imagine they should. With no decisive social weight they simultaneously engage in ritual denunciations of capitalism but fear the consequences of directly posing the question of political power, always falling back on some utopian project to prettify capitalism. If the question of political power is not confronted head on, a movement can only ever have tactics, but no strategy; it can only reform capitalism, never overthrow it.

Excellent as the name “Movement for Socialism” is, because it makes the ideological content clear, it is not clearly a call for a mass workers party on a socialist programme. This is a significant limitation. There is undoubtedly a role for a general and all-embracing ‘Movement’ for Socialism. But unless it is built for the purposes of crystalizing the forces for a mass workers party with a clear socialist programme that directly poses the question of political power, the movement will ultimately dissipate and lapse into confusion.

The role of ‘the vanguard’

We fully support the necessity of a vanguard party to lead the working class in a socialist revolution. By vanguard we understand the organisation of those with a clear understanding of the necessity of a socialist society as the fundamental answer to the struggles of the working class and the tasks that will be necessary to realise such a society. Although we prefer to use the term ‘revolutionary party’ due to the damage the concept ‘vanguard’ has undergone in the course of the twentieth century as a result its association with the crimes of Stalinism. That said, we must caution about becoming hung-up on labels. It is the content that is decisive.

We do not believe there is an unbreachable wall between the idea of a mass workers’ party and a vanguard party. In fact, to separate the two into self-contained boxes is to try and introduce a static schema when a dynamic living interaction is the reality. A leader of the Russian Revolution explained that a revolutionary vanguard should be thought of as a piston-box that channels and directs the energy of the masses. The masses are the steam. But he cautioned that whilst without the piston-box the steam would dissipate, what in fact drives the process is not the piston or the box but the steam.

The construction of a revolutionary vanguard cannot be carried out in isolation from the struggles of the working class. Rather, it is out of the struggles of the workers that a vanguard will distil itself on the basis of experience. Whilst such a vanguard must organise itself within the broad mass, it must not separate itself from the masses. We believe that at this stage of the working classes’ development, where it has neither a mass workers’ party nor a clear vanguard, the task is best formulated in the following way: for a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme with an organised revolutionary leadership at its core.

A mass workers’ party with a revolutionary leadership at its core is the only vehicle for the conquest and consolidation of state power. The quagmire that the ‘Arab Spring’ is mired in resoundingly confirms this. The masses in North Africa and the Middle East rose up against the dictatorships with a burning desire to end their rule but without a clear idea of what should replace them. In these circumstances the strategic task of a mass workers party on a socialist programme with a revolutionary leadership at its core would be to set out the vision of a socialist society and the strategy and tactics necessary to achieve it. It is only through the conquest of state power that the economic levers of society can be seized and placed under the democratic control of the working class through the construction of a workers’ state as the foundation for building a socialist society. The working class must reclaim this long established ideological conquest of Marxism. The working class of South Africa with its firm support for socialism does not need to take an ideological detour.

The rhythm of the struggle

WASP takes its marching pace from the terrain of the objective situation and the drumbeat of the class struggle. It is from this that we determine our orientation and tactics. A truism of Marxism is that it is not the task of revolutionaries to make revolutions but to prepare for them. At the SNC, Numsa announced plans for a series of rolling Section 77 socio-economic actions. Such actions could be used to prepare the ground for political general strikes in the future. We wholeheartedly support this bold initiative. We are confident that Numsa is doing everything it can to build a broad alliance to bolster its own significant social weight and ensure successful mass mobilisations.

But we must raise a note of caution. At the SNC, some speakers gave the impression that one of the motivations behind the planned Section 77 actions was to act as a catalyst in the birth of a new political movement or organisation. We fully support Numsa testing the mood by giving a lead in these actions and attempting to galvanize support against the ANC’s neo-liberal policies. But a detailed schema for the class struggle cannot be laid down in advance. It is one thing to seize the moment in an organic struggle as the founders of WASP did in the course of the mineworkers’ strikes of 2012, and another to try and lay down a schedule for the class struggle.

The general consensus seems to be that a new workers’ party will emerge out of the process Numsa has embarked upon. However, we must point out that this process is an objective one, driven by the pressures of the class struggle and the contradictions of capitalist society. It cannot be subsumed into Numsa’s internal timetable, whether the timetable for the Section 77 actions or the 2015 deadline for “work to explore the formation of a Movement for Socialism”.

We would argue that we are at a historical conjuncture where the case for a mass workers party on a socialist programme has decisively been made in the minds of significant sections of the working class. This understanding has developed incrementally over the past two decades of democracy. In this time the class character of the ANC has been revealed by its consistent adherence to capitalism and its determined drive to the right from the abandonment of the Freedom Charter to the adoption of Gear and now the NDP. This has been further and emphatically confirmed by the expunging of nationalisation from ANC economic policy, the adoption of the Youth Wage policy, the imposition of e-tolls and above all the Marikana massacre. Numsa’s decision to prepare for a mass workers party is based on conclusions that have been drawn by the overwhelming majority of organised workers in Cosatu.

In recognising this long prepared objective basis, it follows that depending on the further course of social and political developments, at the outbreak of every struggle and in indications of changing moods amongst the class or sections of the class, Numsa must be prepared to accelerate, amend or review decisions previously taken. This is the only way to seize opportunities to advance the interests of the working class and blaze a trail for the political independence of the working class. The 2014 elections are precisely such an opportunity to advance the interests of the working class. In breaking with the ANC, the working class is looking to Numsa for a lead in where to place their political allegiance.

The birth of WASP

The decision to found WASP was based on the recognition that the mineworkers had undergone a rapid education during the 2012 strikes and the experience of the Marikana massacre. The mineworkers were already one of the most class conscious sections of the working class as a result of the conditions on the mines. The betrayals of the NUM leadership and the ANC that culminated in the massacre revealed the brutal reality of capitalism and that the NUM leaders and the ANC were firmly in the enemy camp. The overwhelming support for the idea of a new workers’ party when it was raised at mass meetings was the natural extension of the mineworkers’ decision to take their fate into their own hands in the establishment of the independent strike committees that led their struggles after NUM’s betrayals. The founders of WASP, in recognising that what had been a latent possibility up until that point had changed into a definite possibility, struck whilst the iron was hot. Accordingly, WASP was founded in December 2012 by representatives of the Democratic Socialist Movement and six independent strike committees. Shortly after, WASP received the backing of the mineworkers’ national strike committee, which at its height represented over 150,000 mineworkers.

Eighteen months after the 2012 strikes ended, NUM has regrouped and consolidated its rump membership. AMCU has become the majority union in the key mining areas of the platinum belt and the Gauteng goldfields. However, its leadership has pursued a sectarian policy towards NUM members and treated the independent strike committees that led the 2012 strikes – and founded WASP – with suspicion. The AMCU leadership has actively sought their dissolution and co-option into AMCU’s own questionable internal structures. In recent weeks, several of the leaders of the strike committees who gave AMCU its mass membership have been witch-hunted by the leadership. As the accidental beneficiaries of the mass rejection of NUM – and with it the ANC – the AMCU leadership has imposed a so-called ‘apolitical’ policy. This is a step backwards and completely contradicts the mood expressed by the mass of mineworkers at the height of the 2012 struggles that they needed their own political party. Even as AMCU members embark on strike action in the platinum sector, who would seriously argue that against this complicated and fractured landscape that an initiative like the founding of WASP could be taken.

The situation in the mining industry today illustrates that in politics “timing is everything”. In revolutionary politics this is true one-hundred times over. In founding WASP the opportunity to establish a lasting reference point from the lessons of the most important workers’ struggle in a generation was seized.

The 2014 elections

Whilst elections are undoubtedly the lowest form of the class struggle, at this conjuncture, the 2014 elections are crucial and an arena of struggle that it would be dangerous to abstain from. Whilst the idea of the necessity of the political independence of the working class has made enormous strides – particularly amongst the mineworkers and Numsa members – not to concretely offer that alternative in these elections could introduce confusion and could see some of the advances of this ideological reconquest slip back. The class enemy – in the form of many different capitalist parties – will utilise any hesitation to draw sections of the working class to their banner. Whilst this would be temporary and would not halt the process towards the political independence of the working class it can introduce avoidable confusion and complications in the next period.

We do not believe it is a viable position for Numsa’s guidance to its members to be limited to recognizing the “constitutional right of its members to vote”. The danger of this position is that it could unintentionally strengthen the pro-capitalist parties Numsa has rejected in its abandonment of the ANC. Such is the hatred for the ANC amongst increasing sections of the working class, not least of all Numsa members themselves, that a mood to punish the ANC at the ballot box will almost certainly emerge. In the absence of Numsa endorsing a positive alternative, whilst millions would certainly abstain, the votes of workers will also undoubtedly go to the EFF and Agang/DA as the best way of punishing the ANC. And of course, in the system of proportional representation, abstention has no impact beyond maybe a shallow ‘moral victory’. The starting point for allocating the spoils of the election is the number of ballots cast, not the number eligible to cast a ballot. Therefore the allocation of seats reflects not the attitude of the voting population as a whole but only those who actually voted.

An abstention can in fact benefit the ANC – the very party that Numsa has withdrawn its support from. In 2004 for example, twelve million voters abstained, yet the ANC’s share of the vote gave them 69% of the seats in parliament. Similarly 12.4 million did not vote in 2009 yet the ANC fell just short of a two thirds majority. The ANC’s level of support amongst the eligible voting population declined from 38% to 34% between 2004 and 2009. In reality they were a minority government ruling with the support of barely a third of the eligible voting population. But the ANC was able to present itself as enjoying overwhelming support. This emboldened the leadership who lifted all restraints in adopting the right wing policies that led to the Marikana massacre and defined the Mangaung conference. The recent imposition of e-tolls is an example of a government acting in blatant defiance of the people.

Similarly, in the absence of a genuine socialist alternative, the partial economic reforms proposed by the EFF could misseducate a generation in where the real road to ‘economic freedom’ lies. The EFF has already retreated on its mine nationalisation policy and Malema’s unprincipled courting of the anti-working class and reactionary leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Buthelezi, shows the destructive path that the youth could be led down if left to the EFF’s leadership.

The failure to place Numsa’s weight firmly behind a party that closely corresponds to Numsa’s own socialist policies and that at this stage is most capable of taking the struggle of the working class and the cause of socialism forward, can have the unintended consequence of strengthening the parties of capitalism that currently dominate the political landscape. As the ANC continues to disintegrate it cannot be relied on by the capitalist class to defend their interests by itself in the future. The incorporation of Agang into the DA shows that a reconfiguration of the parties of capitalism is under way. There is therefore an urgent need to review the decision not to express a preference for a political party in the 2014 elections.

Numsa and 2014

At the SNC, Numsa delegates, in their endorsement of the Secretariat Report adopted a set of criteria that should be used to appraise any political party. These included (1) the class composition of the party, (2) the class politics represented by the party’s programme, (3) the party’s track record, (4) the extent to which the party has democratic structures. These criteria were used to explicitly reject supporting the new Economic Freedom Fighters and Agang SA. In rejecting the EFF, attention was drawn to their failure to call for nationalisation on the basis of workers’ control or clearly naming the alternative to capitalism as socialism. As a minimum, we believe that Numsa should issue the criteria described above, already adopted as policy at the SNC, as voting guidelines to its members and promote them in a high profile campaign.

Given the parties that are likely to contest the 2014 elections this in practice amounts to calling for a vote for WASP. We are not shy to say it and Numsa should not be shy about following through on the logic of the positions adopted at the SNC. Although WASP was not mentioned officially at the SNC, it is clear that WASP meets the criteria. WASP was born out of the struggles of the mineworkers. WASP stands for the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under workers control and management as the basis for constructing a socialist society. In its short life, WASP has been central to the struggles of the mineworkers and led and engaged with all manner of struggles of other workers, communities and youth. WASP has a democratic and federal structure in order to lay the basis for the maximum unity of the working class. In the run-up to SNC WASP invited Numsa to “take its place in the leadership of WASP”. We repeat that call with growing urgency as the 2014 elections loom.

But WASP is not asking for something for mahala. We have said many times that WASP is a party of the working class not a party for the working class. Whilst we would welcome a call from Numsa for their members to vote for WASP this would not be sufficient. We appeal for the active participation of Numsa in the development of WASP. We believe Numsa should make WASP its home and take ownership of it. Numsa should stamp its imprint all over WASP. Our call is for Numsa to take its place in the leadership of WASP.

WASP and the road to a mass workers’ party

In abandoning the Alliance, one of the criticisms Numsa has raised is that the ANC is the only real “strategic centre”. Cosatu and the voice of the working class is subsumed within the Alliance to the benefit of the capitalist class. The inevitable outcome is the crisis we see playing out in Cosatu today. Unfortunately, the EFF has taken a similarly high-handed and undemocratic approach as Numsa itself has recognised. Whilst WASP is explicitly based on the working class, and is therefore not attempting to contain irreconcilable class interests as is the case in the Alliance, WASP believes that a democratic and inclusive organisational approach is necessary. WASP has been set up with a federal structure to ensure that no affiliated organisation is “subsumed” and their voice lost. The working class is going through a process of ideological clarification and there are many debates that need to be had. The task at this stage is to facilitate this process not rush to close it down. Upon the basis of agreement with a basic socialist programme, organisations and individuals can unite under the WASP umbrella. We believe this is the only way to begin uniting those forces that can lay the basis for a genuine mass workers party in the future.

This is not a permanent organising principle but rather reflects our belief that this is the only means by which the first steps toward building a mass workers party can be taken given the current fragmentation of our class. We remain open to a more ‘traditional’ party structure being adopted as WASP develops. We believe that the founding of WASP has played a role in accelerating the process toward the political independence of the working class and sharpened the lines of debate. But this process has not ended with the founding of WASP. On the contrary, Numsa’s stand has taken the process onto a higher plane. We are also open to WASP becoming a founding component of any new initiative for a mass workers party on a socialist programme in the future.

Reflecting our understanding of WASP’s role we are taking an inclusive approach to the drawing up of election lists for the 2014 elections and those candidates we hope to send into the National Assembly. WASP’s federal structure offers Numsa the opportunity to send its own candidates into the National Assembly under the WASP umbrella. Numsa could take its opposition to the NDP into the very body that will attempt to oversee its implementation. These would be known and identified as Numsa sponsored candidates, and if elected, as Numsa sponsored MPs. The only requirement would be adherence to the basic programme and principles of WASP, cooperation with other WASP representatives, participation in the leading bodies of WASP and a commitment to help build and develop the party. This includes the crucial requirement that all elected representatives of WASP are recallable by the party and will only take the average wage of a skilled worker with the remainder of the MPs salary going back into the party. This is the only way to guard against the corruption and co-option of workers representatives that the state institutions that facilitate the capitalist classes’ rule encourage.

Even a small group of MPs in the next parliament would be an important ancillary to the struggles that will be waged in the workplaces and the communities in the next period. Using the WASP umbrella to send workers’ representatives into parliament in 2014 does not preclude the widest possible consultation taking place now and after the elections. On the contrary, imagine how immeasurably the case for the Movement for Socialism would be strengthened by already having demonstrated the appetite amongst the working class for such a movement by having elected representatives even at this early stage. In pursuing such a twin tactic, Numsa would make an invaluable contribution to laying the foundation for a new mass workers party on a socialist programme.

The propaganda of the deed can speak louder than a thousand radical resolutions. At the SNC, Numsa adopted all the elements necessary to formulate a clear lead in 2014 and place itself at the heart of the process that will lead to a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme. The 2014 elections present us with an opportunity to accelerate that process. We call on Numsa to seize the moment.



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NEWS

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November