A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO

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We promise the politicians nothing! We demand that they deliver everything! All the political parties have now published their manifestoes; the empty ritual they buy our votes with. We say 17 years of elections without change are enough. Now we make our own manifesto:

We, the people of South Africa, hereby legislate a new law, titled “POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS: USE PUBLIC SERVICES”. This law compels all politicians, from the president to the local councilor, and all public servants, from the Director General to the sweeper and their families to use public utilities: Starting with the following:

  1. Hospitals.
  2. Schools.
  3. Transport.
  4. Housing! (The same standard house given to citizens must be used by all politicians and public servants)
  5. A living wage for all!
  6. Land belong to the people

Our politicians and public servants have neglected public services for far too long because they know they can take their families to the private sector. We say, what’s good for you is good for us. Equality for all, for real!

Our hospitals are falling apart; doctors and nurses are overworked and underpaid. By and large our public hospitals are places of death.  Simply put, no one is safe in our public hospitals. Our leaders, politicians, senior public servants and their families use private hospitals and that is why they don’t care about public hospitals which are used by the poor.

Our public schools are in bad condition, teachers are underpaid and the government is not investing in their training with the result that after 12 years of schooling most children from public schools can’t read, write or count.  This leads to a high unemployment rate amongst the youth who are trapped in hopelessness. Politicians and senior civil servants take their children to private schools.  This explains why public schools are not a priority for them.

Our public transport system is appalling. Every morning and night our people are packed into taxis, buses and trains like sardines. The queues are long and the fares are high. Our leaders, the rich and senior civil servants have big subsidies to get private transport. Some of our ministers can buy cars worth millions with tax payers’ money.

The townships are generally badly serviced. The houses are small and millions are forced to live in shacks. The RDP houses built by our black government are worse than the matchbox houses built during apartheid. Our leaders live in mansions, while the people are forced to live in rat-infested townships.

A living wage, the ANC and DA parties have legislated starvation minimum wages for our people. Farm workers earn a shocking R105 a day. Our government kills workers when they demand a living wage as in Marikana but cabinet ministers and members of parliament give themselves millions in salaries.

Land For 20 years of the ANC has delivered only 8% of land to black. It would take 100s of years to buy back our land.  Why are we buying our land back? We demand that all the land be nationalised without compensation and be equitably redistributed amongst the people.

We hereby commit ourselves to struggle to realize this legislation to hold public representatives and servants accountable to the people!

Together let’s make this law a reality.

This campaign is undertaken in the memory of Andries Tatane who was killed by our government for demanding quality services for all!

Issued by the September National Imbizo (SNI).

 

 

THE IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE TO KEEP SYRIZA ON THE SOCIALIST PATH

THE IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE TO KEEP SYRIZA ON THE SOCIALIST PATH

Parliamentary elections in GreeceSYRIZA came to power after proving considerable traction with the Greek masses on the basis mainly of it’s election promises to respond fully to the peoples needs. It’s anti imperialist, anti capitalist, anti austerity and pro socialist vision as reflected in its election manifest  suggests how SYRIZA intended to respond to the people’s needs once it took office. At that point of taking power the country had already experienced in excess of five years of austerity and it was characterized by all the ills of capitalist imperialism being a high level of unemployment, extreme poverty and general social upheaval. After signing the February 2015 austerity agreement with the “troika” (the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) the country was consequently subjected to structural adjustment plans (SAPS) that plunged it into deeper debt.  Subsequent to paying creditors over €13 billion since signing the agreement in February, Greece was unable to make further debt repayments and consequently begged the “troika” for  further financial relief. However the Tsipras  Government did not meet the expectations of the “troika” who required it to employ tighter SAPS on an already insanely pauperized population. It was consequently also unable to pay the  IMF the £1.6 billion that was due in June 2015.

SYRIZA is now confronted with addressing this question: How can it remain in power without compromising its Marxist principles? Post the national elections five months ago, the SYRIZA leadership, via its approach to austerity signaled a shift to a more “moderate” approach on addressing people’s needs. To this end the commitment to building society along socialist lines had to be postponed so as to deal with the “immediate crisis” (crisis of capitalism) that the country was experiencing. We saw this with the February agreement when the SYRIZA government reached a compromise with the “troika” that effectively via austerity involved the restructuring of the Greek economy. In this context the Left Platform within SYRIZA, which is made up mainly of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), Kokkino and the Anti-capitalist Political Group (APO), has consistently called for a return to the election promises of SYRIZA. The party’s declaration of principles and the political document concluded at its 2013 Congress are exposed to both radical left and conservative right interpretations. It indicates, for example, the renegotiation of loan agreements with the “troika” so as to cancel most of the debt instead of repudiating the debt entirely. It also indicates no desire to leave the Eurozone, but that it must prepare itself for any possibility.

It must be stated that the Left Platform’s unrelenting struggle to radicalize the political program of SYRIZA flowing from the party’s congress resolutions bore it’s revolutionary fruit when Greece voted NO to austerity in the referendum held on July 5, 2015. The future of Greece now depends very much on the continued commitment of the Left Platform within SYRIZA to keep the Party on it’s revolutionary path to a truly socialist society.

The September National Imbizo (SNI) now re-issues two statements of Sotiris Martalis and Antonis Davanellos who are members of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), the Left Platform as well as the Central Committee of SYRIZA. These statements were also attached to the article “Greece says no to austerity and yes to solidarity” published in the Socialist Worker website on July 6, 2015:

“Sotiris Martalis

EVERY ONE OF you knows the news, but I want to have the pleasure of telling you again. With all of the ballots counted, the “no” vote has won with 61.3 percent of the vote.

The second thing I can tell you is that in Syntagma Square, there is a huge demonstration taking place right now against austerity and in celebration of the “no” vote. At the same time, in the opposite camp, the conservatives have asked for the resignation of the former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as head of the New Democracy party. Meanwhile, a meeting has been called of leaders of all the governments in Europe because Europe faces a crisis.

This was a hard struggle. They used everything against us. They closed the banks. They canceled bank cards. Every day in the news, for hours and hours, they would show pictures of lines of people out of banks. They spread fear, promising that tomorrow, you will have no money. Tomorrow, you will have no medicine. Tomorrow, you will have no pension.

The European governments and media also helped to spread the terror. They changed the question of the referendum from “yes or no on the austerity agreement” to “yes or no on the eurozone.”

They tried everything. And against all this, the people succeeded.

We have come a long way, but we have a very long way still to go. Our goal–socialism–is a long way off. This was the second victory in the battle, but the war is not over. We must continue the war. We have many problems in front of us, and we must work to overcome them.

How did we get to this point? The first victory came with the election of January 25, which created a huge disruption for the ruling class and its austerity program. They tried all through these months to reverse the result of the election. But today’s vote showed that the opposition was deep, and that people want to continue this fight.

What was the basis for these victories for SYRIZA? One was the party’s promise to stop austerity. But the leadership of SYRIZA said to the people that there would be an easy way to accomplish this. They said they would be able to stop austerity by negotiating with the lenders. They said that because the right’s program has reached a dead end and is destroying Greek society, we could make an agreement with the lenders that will be a win-win agreement–one where both sides will benefit.

But from the beginning, the Left Platform in SYRIZA said that this promise was false. From the beginning, we said there must be a hard challenge to the lenders.

In February, the leaders of the government made an agreement that was a serious mistake. They said that we would pay all the debt, and do so on time. And for this, the promise was that the lenders would release some funds for the bailout. But in the five months since then, nothing has gone to Greece. On the contrary, they have taken 17 billion euros from Greece–7 billion euros since the victory of SYRIZA in January.

And still, the leadership of SYRIZA retreated further and went back to the lenders with a proposal that was unacceptable to the people inside and outside the party that supported it. Their proposal accepted the privatizations, increased the value-added sales tax and so on.

The Red Network stated its disagreements with this proposal. We said openly and publicly that we would not vote for this kind of agreement, either in the Central Committee of the party or inside the parliament. We organized with other forces to make this statement at public meetings. And other forces of the Left Platform said the same thing, at least with respect to the vote in the Central Committee.

Tsipras was caught in the crossfire. On one side was the lenders, who want to smash this government in order to show Sinn Fein and Podemos and every other force of resistance in Europe that there is no alternative–that this is what happens if you challenge austerity.

But on the other side was the left of SYRIZA. We said we would not vote for this agreement, and Tsipras knew that the government would fall.

How will Tsipras act now that the referendum is over? His main line was that we needed a “no” vote so that he will have the democratic demand of our people to go back to negotiations in a stronger position. Our campaign for a “no” vote was different. In the unions, in the branches of SYRIZA, in the communities and everywhere, we said simply that a vote for “no” was a vote to stop austerity, to stop the privatizations, to stop the layoffs and to increase the wages of the people.

These are very different positions. And this is the problem we will face in the coming days. I can think of 20 scenarios of how this might play out, but the point is not to guess about them.

The important point is that the left is in a much stronger position going into the next steps of the struggle.

I want to finish on a personal note.

These have been disastrous times for people like us in Greece. They have cut salaries by 35 percent. The cost of taxes has increased by eight times–not by 8 percent, or 80 percent, but eight times. There are 1.5 million people who are unemployed, which is 30 percent of the working class. And in addition to that, there are 800,000 people who are working, but they haven’t been paid in weeks or months.

There is so much misery. But at the same time, I am happy. We are making history in Greece. We are living history now. These are chances that revolutionaries do not always get even in their whole lifetimes. And I have seen it twice in my life–once after we overthrew the dictatorship in Greece, and now we have a chance to overthrow austerity.

You are fighting in very difficult conditions here. We know that you are in the heart of the capitalist system, but you must know that at the same time, we fight for you and with you, and we have gained a great deal of support from your organization.

And so I will close with the words that have been chants in Greece: SYRIZA, Podemos, venceremos! Oxi, oxi, oxi!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Antonis Davenellos

Dear comrades, we are living in a historic moment in Greece. As we write this message, we don’t know the result of the referendum. We don’t know whether we will suffer a major defeat or we will achieve a huge political victory, against mighty enemies.

As all the leaders of the European Union have said, the referendum in Greece is a choice between accepting and rejecting austerity policies. That is why the neoliberal leaderships all around Europe are weighing in decisively in favor of a “yes” vote.

They are openly blackmailing and threatening the population of Greece with economic strangulation. Their stated goal is to overthrow the government of SYRIZA, the first government in modern European history that is led by a party to the left of social democracy.

Inside the country, the referendum has created a clear class and political divide. On the side of the “yes” vote are the capitalists, the rich, the upper middle class that still has savings in the banks. Politically, they are supported by an alliance of the right wing, the social democrats and the “post-political” center-left Potami party. Most importantly, they are supported by the mass media and the constant blackmail of employers who are campaigning actively in favor of a “yes” vote.

On the side of the “no” vote are the workers, the popular classes, the poor. Politically, they are supported mostly by SYRIZA and–thank god–ANTARSYA, which had the courage to overcome sectarianism and take a clear stand in favor of a “no” vote.

The Communist Party, in this incredibly polarized situation, chose the road of abstentionism. They advocated a spoiled ballot, neither yes nor no! They are giving a better chance of victory to the worst enemies of our class. They will pay a price, both in elections and on the streets, in the years to come.

We state again that we don’t know whether we will win or lose. What we do know is that we fought, we are fighting, and we will continue to fight. That is why we believe that the left in Greece will remain strong and continue the struggle.

Many people, even among the international left, believed that SYRIZA was like a star falling from the sky in the middle of the night–that it would shine for a while before it disappeared forever. Underestimating the harsh difficulties we were facing, they preferred to provide us with predictions, rather than solidarity: SYRIZA will be a betrayer in the future, SYRIZA will be a betrayer right now, SYRIZA has already betrayed us. Together with thousands of activists of the left in Greece, we have proved them wrong.

Today, all around Europe, our class is facing a major assault, one of historic importance. This is what neoliberalism is about–a war unleashed by our enemies, a war that until now they are winning.

In Greece, the workers’ resistance escalated to such a point that it caused a political break. It gave rise to an anti-austerity party, SYRIZA and brought it to power in government.

We are aware that we are the “advanced guard” unit of the European left that has reached the enemy lines and is facing the ferocity of the enemy forces. As a unit that is leading the charge, it is possible that we might be defeated–that we might suffer major casualties. But we will have paved the way for our brothers and sisters who are coming after us–in Ireland, in Spain, in Portugal.

We will hold on as long as we can until the major battalions of our class arrive at the battlefield–the left in France and Italy. And then we shall win.

Forgive us for the warlike tone of this message. But this is how we are experiencing the situation in Greece right now. We are facing a merciless political and class war, and we are under heavy enemy fire.

We understood SYRIZA and related to it in this open way from the beginning, with our most important criterion being the escalation of class struggle and the political struggle. This never meant that we underestimated–or even worse, collaborated with–the retreats of SYRIZA’s leadership. We could easily provide you with a long list of persistent and difficult conflicts with the leadership of SYRIZA.

But for us, the important thing was that we had built the left wing of SYRIZA systematically and in an organized manner. This left can raise its voice on the front lines when it agrees with the party’s policy, but it can also prevent compromises and unacceptable retreats when it disagrees. Today, everyone, from Angela Merkel to the Greek mass media–knows that they cannot make plans for Greece without taking into account the strength of a genuinely radical left current inside SYRIZA.

This is why we are standing before you with pride, because we know that we have done our duty. And that is why our organization is stronger and healthier than ever.

Dear comrades, we know that you are fighting for the same goals we fight for, and in this struggle, you are facing the mightiest enemy on the planet. The best help you can give us is to keep up this struggle. With one additional goal: Defend and strengthen the International Socialist Organization. You are providing an example–as we do and as other comrades all over the planet do–that in the most different situations, the insistence on the building of revolutionary socialist organization is an indispensable part of the more general plan for the political victory of our class.

And in this struggle, you should know, dear comrades, that on the other side of the seas, in a small country called Greece, a large and active left will continue, under all circumstances, to fight for you, too.”

We Are The One’s We Have Been Waiting For

Issued By September National Imbizo

South Africa

9 July 2015

SEPTEMBER NATIONAL IMBIZO RESPONDS TO THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REGARDING THE MARIKANA MASSACRE

SEPTEMBER NATIONAL IMBIZO RESPONDS TO THE REPORT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY REGARDING THE MARIKANA MASSACRE

MARIKANA 5“as we correctly call Zuma to account (he is the president), and we correctly recall that it was the deputy president of the country and anc who called for action against the striking mine workers. we must remember the face of the whiteman who wrote a 600 pages thick document to try hide a massacre and shield white capital and its agents like Ramaphosa. I ask you to remember the role played by Judge Farlam in this second 600 pages massacre, killing the murdered again. I ask you to imagine Farlam and his assistants with large brushes working the Marikana Koppie whitewashing the blood of our brothers who were murdered for demanding a living wage. we must condemn not just the politicians but also those who labour to make a lie look like the truth. in my view judge Farlam is as violent as the police who took orders to shoot. he is as guilty as Cyril and co if not more.” Andile Mngxitama Face-Book update, 26 June 2015.

It must be stated that the September National Imbizo (SNI) has right from the beginning rejected both the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and the civil society call for its own Commission of Inquiry. As a sharp retort to the BLOODY report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry SNI maintains its position and to this end re-issues its statement dated 24 August 2012:

“MARIKANA MASSACRE: SNI Rejects Both The Presidential Commission Of Inquiry And The Civil Society Call For Its Own Commission Of Inquiry And Declares September 2012 The Month Of A Living Wage!

We all saw it with our naked eyes. The police opened fire on black people who have been demanding what is fair, just and reasonable: a living wage. Their’s is a legitimate protest against the shocking injustices they have suffered under Lonmin. Two days before the Marikana Massacre the media reported that a pattern of non violence had developed. Workers would emerge in the morning to occupy the mountain and wait for management to come speak to them as promised, and every evening they descended the mountain to travel back home.

We saw it with our eyes. The police opened fired and killed over 30 workers! We have heard how the miners were ambushed; how they were crushed by inyalas; how they had water bombs thrown at them from police helicopters and how the disorientated miners were rounded up and arrested. What more does government and civil society want?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt2016_2qhM&w=560&h=315] What does Jacob Zuma not know already?

If the ANC, which sent the police to kill blacks does not know what happened, we will tell them. If civil society is also not sure, we will explain to them. If anyone is still lost as to what happened in Marikana, we shall assist with an explanation. What happened is simply this:

MARIKANA 4Workers who have been treated like slaves, who risked their lives every day to enrich Lonmin and ANC leaders, had had enough. They wanted justice and the dignity that comes with a living wage. They made their demands known to all. No one can say they didn’t know the workers’ demands. Lonmin decided to hide behind government, instead of heeding the reasonable demands of the people. Lonmin hid behind labour laws that are approved by Cosatu and NUM, the very labour laws that legalise wage slavery.

According to SA’s labour law it is acceptable to pay a mine worker a monthly salary of R4000! It is acceptable to pay a farm worker R1500 per month! It’s acceptable to exploit and oppress black workers. These laws are made by the ANC alliance which includes the South African Communist Party and Cosatu! They all support wage slavery and then turn around and pretend to fight against it. If the ANC wants to end black suffering, why do they not use their political power to do so?

We also saw that Lonmin management used NUM to divide workers. We saw government come and side with NUM and management against workers. We saw that instead of engaging workers, government brought in a well armed police force and army. They surrounded the workers, shot them from all sides and water bombed them from above with a toxic substance that immobilized them! After the shooting 34 workers were killed by the police under the control of the ANC and instructed by Lonmin.

The September National Imbizo asks, what exactly is it that needs to be probed? What is it that the ANC does not know?

The SNI rejects both the presidential commission of inquiry and the civil society call for its own commission. We recall that after each massacre the apartheid regime instituted a Commission of Inquiry , the function of which was to hide the truth, to police the righteous anger of the people and to break the momentum of revolutionary demands of the people. We say government must pay reparations to the families for their pain, suffering and loss of income. This must be done immediately!

Also the mines must be nationalised and placed under worker control and the dependents of the murdered should get shares in those mines as a priority. Lonmin belongs to the murdered workers! Furthermore, the SNI says: Let all workers, in every sector, get a minimum wage of R12 500. It’s a reasonable demand!

IMG-20150626-WA0032To mourn the murdered workers with dignity and respect, let the workers in all mines embark upon mass strikes for the next month to demand their fair share! It’s a living wage the workers of Marikana were prepared to die for.

It is only a living wage which can bring justice; not commissions of inquiry. We all know what happened. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Out of respect for the memory of the Marikana warriors, let there be justice for workers. Cosatu is part of the problem, so is NUM and the ANC which killed black people to defend white capital.

Let our mourning include building resistance. Let us make September the month of action for a living wage. Let all the mines go on strike. They need us more than we need them!

Viva R12 500!

Issued By September National Imbizo

24 August 2012″

We Are The One’s We Have Been Waiting For

SNI

26 June 2015

THE SEPTEMBER NATIONAL IMBIZO RESPONDS TO THE CALL FOR OUR PEOPLE TO CELEBRATE AFRICA DAY

In a continent still plagued by abject poverty, civil wars, diseases and corrupt governments, this Africa Day, we must ask whether there is anything really that Africans can celebrate? All the big imperialist nations continue to loot African resources ultimately rendering our people hopeless. It is worth mentioning that currently 14 African countries still transfer most of their profits to French banks which serves as a form of colonial tax. Moreover, our people are subjected to abuse and death as they flee from their countries and some even from their own continent in pursuit of a better life. In these new lands the African is treated with contempt as the most wretched of the earth fueling all forms of anti black violence including Afrophobia. Africa is cursed with leaders who crack the whip on its own people in service of its old colonial masters.

As the September National Imbizo we say: Africa is not free! We have no reason to celebrate! Slavery is rife and as is currently evident unaccounted for in the USA. We stand with all the revolutionary black people in America fighting for liberation. Colonialism is very much alive in Africa! We commit ourselves to realise a truly liberated Africa.

To end the current carnage, wrongly called xenophobia, we need radical Pan Afrikanism and Black Consciousness! Only then will Blacks/Africans understand that the cause of this madness is neo-colonialism and white supremacy, only then shall we understand that democracy (political freedom without ending colonial land theft) is in service of white supremacy, only then shall we understand that all the borders in Africa today were not put up by us but by those who enslaved and colonised us! What is shocking is how deeply we Africans have internalised what white supremacy created to serve white interests. Each time we call a black person a “foreigner” we are speaking the language of the colonizer. Whites in Europe are creating a single Europe with one identity document and one currency. Here in Africa blacks don’t get it! We are still holding on to the colonial enclaves which don’t even belong to us. SA currently does not belong to black people. More than 80% of the land is owned by about 35 000 white families and trusts. The resolution of the colonial question, which is primarily the land question, is key to stabilising life in Africa. We shall not compromise! We call for land first (all of it), destruction of the colonial borders, and the establishment of a United States of Africa under one economy and one political and military arrangement. We can only do that if we defeat the comprador who currently rule Africa in service of the master. The comprador is too corrupt to end white rule. They cut deals with our oppressors all the time. Our people are victims of hunger and ignorance hence they attack their fellow blacks. Hence Steve Biko correctly said that our people suffer from both material and spiritual want. It is the duty of all revolutionaries to understand Pan Africanism and Black Consciousness and to agitate for real revolution,  not compromises with land thieves and colonizers! The South Africa government is the epitome of anti black neo colonialism as exemplified by “Operation Fiela” and in this regard SNI condemns its actions.

Until the day Africa is not defined by misery, landlessness and destitution there is nothing that any of us can celebrate! On this day referred to as  “Africa Day” SNI directs all revolutionaries to the good counsel of Frantz Fanon in “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness” in his book  “The Wretched of the Earth”: https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/fanon/pitfalls-national.htm

We Are The One’s We Have Been Waiting For!

ISSUED BY THE SEPTEMBER NATIONAL IMBIZO

25 May 2015