Marikana massacre - a proposed way forward
Just before the Marikana massacre, the NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni encouraged the police to shoot the strikers. This is what he said: ‘Andries Tatane was killed [by the police]. And in this case they don’t act?’ We call on all mineworkers, spearheaded by the Platinum mineworkers, to immediately come out on an indefinite strike in support of the strikers at Marikana and to honour the workers who have been slaughtered by the state on the 16th August 2012.
For this to happen, we call for the setting up of strike committees uniting workers, irrespective if which union they belong to, even if they are permanent or casual or unionised or not, local or immigrant. The Marikana massacre shows that workers have to set up self-defence committees, as part of the strike committees, to defend themselves from the murderous attacks of the state. The NUM leaders have shown themselves to be in the pockets of the bosses, Lonmin, Anglo American, etc. They should be kicked out.
We call for this solidarity strike to take the form of an occupation and seizure by the mineworkers. Mineworkers should compel both the NUM and AMCWU to release their money that they have in their accounts, for the duration of the strike. At Marikana, where such occupation may be difficult, ways should be sought to blockade the mine from any production taking place. Why occupy and place under workers control? In the Cosatu August-Sept 2011 The Shopsteward, it was reported that the mining bosses have taken out 20% of GDP (this is R600bn) in 2007 through transfer pricing (exporting goods by understating the real value). Transfer pricing by the mines takes place every year since the days of apartheid The strike and occupation should continue until workers’ demands are met, including:
* The immediate release of all the bodies of the fallen mineworkers
* The immediate release of all arrested strikers
* Arrest of the police and their commanders who perpetrated the massacre
* The arrest of the Lonmin mine owners and board of directors (Lonmin met the police before the massacre and are thus complicit in the slaughter of workers)
* The arrest of all the mine-owners guilty of transfer pricing (including Anglo American)
* The return of all assets stolen through transfer pricing through the years
* A R12500 minimum wage for Platinum mineworkers (the Platinum price has increased 300% over the past 10 years, while workers get starvation wages)
* Compensation of the families of the mineworkers slaughtered by the police
We call for the rejection of a Commission of Inquiry by the state- how can the murderers investigate themselves? Like other Inquiries, this is really to cover up the truth about the massacre.
Immediate preparations towards an indefinite general strike whose demands could include:
* A living wage for all workers
* Reducing the working day, without loss of pay, to share all work among all who can work
* An end of casualization and labour broking
* Open the books of the mines to a workers’ inspection
* An end to all transfer pricing
To clarify: the capitalist media and the Cosatu and SACP leaders want to falsify events:
* They claim workers were armed but the ones with semi-automatic rifles were the police- workers had sticks and metal rods- if workers had any guns it was one or two that had been taken when police had attacked strikers;
* Thus it is a myth that there was a ‘shootout’- the only ones doing the shooting was the police
* Vavi claims violence was being organised by some unknown third force- yet the TV evidence is clear that the police shot down workers who only had metal rods and sticks in their hands. Vavi tries to cover for the mine bosses who colluded with the police to massacre the workers
* The DA covers for the bosses by calling for the bloodletting by both sides to end- yet only workers blood was being spilt on the 16th August 2012
* The workers were sitting on the hill, just looking that the mine, watching out for scabs- here the workers had turned the tables- they had besieged and locked in the mine bosses- it was the police, receiving instruction from the mine bosses, that attacked the workers to disperse them. The workers were being driven over by Nyalas (armoured police vehicles) and shot with a poisonous blue spray, they were being shot at even where they were hiding. They were running away from a slaughter, which they capitalist media distorted as a charge by a group on the police. This was the words of NUM General Secretary being put into practice by the police (‘Andries Tatane was killed. And in this case they don’t act?’). When profits of big capitalist are threatened, now and in future, the ANC-SACP-Cosatu leaders all support the bosses, calling on the police to shoot their own members. Both SACP and Cosatu leaders do not condemn the massacre. The SACP even calls for the arrest of the worker leaders and wants to suppress workers right to choose which union to join- such devoted servants to big capital are the SACP and Cosatu leaders. We call on the rank and file SACP and Cosatu members to confront and condemn your leaders- break with the SACP over their betrayal of the Marikana workers- kick out the treacherous pro-capitalist leaders of Cosatu- join in solidarity action in support of the Marikana strikers’ struggle.
Let us be clear, the leadership of the ANC gave orders for rank and file members of the ANC to be massacred. Ex-NUM Secretary, Cyril Ramaphosa is an executive director of Lonmin and an ANC NEC member. The former Commissioner of police entrenched a ‘shoot to kill’ policy which was adopted by the ANC-SACP govt. At the same time, the special militarised police was set up and trained by the FBI. The massacre is evidence of the real meaning of the shoot-to-kill policy of the ANC-SACP govt- when bosses steal R600bn every year, SARS and other state organs leave them alone. When workers stand up against the theft by the capitalists, workers are shot down like dogs.
Let us take forward the fighting spirit of the Spanish mineworkers of Asturias and Leon, who have been occupying the coal mines in the north of Spain for more than 50 days now- they set up their own self-defence committees to protect themselves from the attacks of the state.
We call for marches across the country to all ANC offices and to all SA Embassies across the globe under the slogan: The ANC is not our govt; you are the agent of Lonmin, Anglo American and other mine capitalists. Workers’ pickets at Cosatu offices against the betrayal of the strikers by the leaders
Now is the time to kick out the treacherous Cosatu leaders; break the alliance with the capitalist ANC and SACP. Now is the time for a revolutionary working class party to be formed, locally, regionally and internationally. The state and big capital are organised internationally, why are working class fighters divided among ourselves? Workers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win. Forward to Socialism!