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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2013

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched

CWI reporters, South Africa

On 21 March - coinciding with the 1960 Sharpeville massacre memorial day - over 500 Tshwane workers, mineworkers' delegates, trade union and community activists packed Lucas Van Den Bergh Community Hall in Pretoria, South Africa, for the launch of the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP).

The hall could not accommodate the turnout and attendees over-spilled onto the neighbouring field.

The launch surpassed all expectations. It is without a doubt that WASP is striking a chord with working class people.

This new political workers' formation has been born out of the titanic strike struggles of workers in 2012, especially in the platinum and gold mines following the Marikana massacre when 34 miners were gunned down by police on one day last August.

Struggles against the rich capitalists and their political allies in Jacob Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) government have also developed among farmworkers, service delivery users and the wider working class.

The Socialist Party's sister organisation in South Africa - the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) - has also played a pivotal role in both the workers' struggles and in taking the initiative to launch WASP.

The launch will have worried many in the establishment - the ANC and their partners in government, the Cosatu trade union leadership and big business.

A new power is rising. The working class is getting organised and preparing a mighty challenge to the status quo. The ideas of socialism are being re-embraced.

Delegates

The meeting was chaired by Weizmann Hamilton, the general secretary of the DSM. Headline speakers included Mametlwe Sebei (WASP spokesman and DSM executive member), Elias Juba (chairman of the national mineworkers committee), Ephraim Mphahlela (president of the National Transport Movement NATAWU), Elmond Magedi (Socialist Youth Movement), Liv Shange (DSM) and Joe Higgins (Socialist Party MP in Ireland).

Speakers from supporting organisations included workers' delegates from Klerksdorp Uranium, Kumba Iron Ore in Northern Cape, Bokoni Platinum, Gold Fields KDC, Harmony Gold, Mpumalanga coal mines, Anglo Gold Ashanti among others.

WASP will now prepare for its next phase of development. It will shortly announce a date for a conference to establish democratic structures and a leadership and to flesh out its manifesto.

There are many other fronts WASP plans to open up: a campaign to recall corrupt councillors, taking up the issue of labour broking, the collection of one million signatures in support of WASP, and preparing the ground for a general strike should the mine bosses and government dare to enact mass retrenchments (sackings) in the mining industry.

The launch of this new political formation, to give workers a political voice in the fight against capitalism, is an example that should be embraced internationally.

WASP outlined the following manifesto points:

WASP's principles:

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 March 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!

NUT conference: Serious attacks require serious action

Cameron whips up immigration fears to divide movement against austerity

What does the budget really mean for the housing crisis?

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Them & Us: Budget special


International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus bailout: Return of the eurozone crisis

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS budget day strike - M20

Thera care workers prepare for action

Striking against the 'fast track to the sack'

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex university occupation: 'they say privatise - we fight back and organise'

Why we're standing for TUSC

Sick of Your Boss gets going in London

Fighting the cuts: Birmingham and Exeter

Socialist Party appeals


The Socialist: readers' comments

Disability hate crimes - accomplices and victims

Danger: New secret courts in Britain


 

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Related links:

South Africa:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Marikana massacre in South Africa

triangleLeeds & York Socialist Party: How apartheid was ended in South Africa

triangleSouth Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign

triangleSouth Africa: 60 years marking the Sharpeville Massacre

triangleSouth African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action

Socialist:

triangleSouth East Wales Socialist Party: World in Crisis - Can capitalism overcome it?

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How can we change the system?

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: What's the future for young people?

Africa:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The lessons of the Black Panther movement

triangleViolence against women in South Africa

ANC:

triangleSouth Africa: new workers' formations herald fightback against Ramaphosa's capitalist agenda

triangleCWI news in brief

Jacob Zuma:

triangleZimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

COSATU:

triangleSouth Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

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