Solidarity with the Miners in South Africa!

Marikana massacre – protest at 3pm today outside parliament

Statement from the Workers International Vanguard Party (South Africa), 17.8.2012


Introduction by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT):

Below we publish a statement from the Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVP), a Trotskyist organization in South Africa. According to official reports police forces have murdered at least 34 miners. The miners at Lonmin, the world's third-largest platinum producer, are fighting for higher wages. Their struggle deserves the full solidarity of the international workers movement!

The WIVP comrades point out correctly the treacherous character of the popular-frontist ANC government of which the South African Communist Party (SACP) is a central part of and with which the bureaucratic leadership of the main trade union federation Cosatu is closely affiliated. This shows once more that the SACP is a “communist” party only in words, but a Stalinist, reformist, pro-capitalist party in deeds. This however does not stop the various “orthodox” communist parties like the Greek KKE to consider and present the SACP as defenders of Marxism. Those who support a government which is murdering workers on strike for higher wages, have nothing to do with Marxism. They are simply enemies of the working class.

The RCIT fully supports the call of the WIVP comrades for the struggle inside the Cosatu trade union against the bureaucracy, for forming grassroots strike committees, with self-defense committees that are accountable to the strike committees and the call for a general strike in support of the miners struggle. Finally, the struggle underlines once again the desperate need of a workers party, based on a revolutionary program.

It remains to be seen, what are the consequences of the police massacre against the miners. South African commentators are already comparing this tragedy to Sharpeville - when police massacre against demonstrators led to the start of the armed struggle against the Apartheid regime. Also the Lena massacre in Tsarist Russia in 1912 comes to one’s mind.

While we cannot foresee the consequences it is clear that now is the hour of solidarity and joint struggle! We call the international workers movement to support the South African miners in their just struggle! Indeed, as the WIVP comrades say: We are all mineworkers from Marikana!


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We support the call by a number of activists for a protest outside parliament today 3pm to protest against the massacre of the mineworkers.

The mining companies have long been massacring the mineworkers in the region through sending them to early deaths underground in unsafe conditions. These same mining companies are taking R600bn out of the country every year through direct theft through transfer pricing – the Cosatu leaders know this but do nothing about it – how many millions are being massacred through hunger and starvation that results from this and from the profit-making system.

The Platinum price has tripled over the past 10 years but workers wages are rock bottom. The fact that so many workers are wanting to break away from Cosatu is because the Cosatu leaders are in bed with big capital, signing away the rights of workers. We call on workers not to form splinter unions but to fight to remove the treacherous Cosatu leaders and to break the alliance with the capitalist ANC-SACP.

Even under these conditions we call on all the mineworkers to unite, irrespective of union affiliation, forming grassroots strike committees, with self-defence committees that are accountable to the strike committees. Let us not fight each other while the bosses laugh all the way to the bank.

The police had a meeting with the mining bosses before the massacre took place on 16th August 2012. Thus there was collusion between the bosses and the state which used semi-automatic rifles against the workers – thus far 45 have been killed, many more injured.

We condemn the Cosatu leaders who even now, have not condemned the massacre. This sets a precedent that whenever workers rise up against the bosses and defend themselves from the bosses, the Cosatu leaders will side with the state. In future, more massacres will take place – such is the betrayal by the Cosatu leaders.

We call for a general strike in support of the Marikana workers and their legitimate demands for a living wage.

Down the capitalist ANC-SACP govt. Break the alliance with the ANC-SACP – we need a new workers party, here and internationally.

We are all mineworkers from Marikana.

Expropriate all the mines and banks, without compensation, place them under workers control! No to the fake nationalisation of Malema and the ANC - these are just minor shares to become the butchers of the masses on behalf of Anglo American, Lonmin and other imperialists.

Workers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains! We have a world to win.