The Programme of the Marxist Workers Party
South Africa faces a crisis. The capitalist economy in SA and worldwide is in a dead-end. Poverty pay and the threat of retrenchment weigh down the majority of workers. Mass unemployment threatens to leave an entire generation on the scrap heap. Working class communities are engulfed in a social crisis. Widespread poverty drives crime, drug addiction and violence against women. Neither the ANC government, nor any of the parties represented in parliament, have a way out. Instead, these defenders of the capitalist profit-system police the working class on behalf of the bosses. The very right to organise and to strike is under attack. Only the working class is capable of leading society out of this dead-end. This will require organisation and mass struggle armed with a bold and revolutionary socialist programme. Only along this path can capitalism be ended creating the pre-condition for the socialist reconstruction of the economy and the rebuilding of society in the interests of the working class majority.
Work & Unemployment
- Fight all retrenchments and closures. Struggle for the nationalisation of job shedding big businesses under democratic workers control, enforced through workplace occupations.
- Once a member, always a member. Retrenched workers to retain union membership and full democratic rights in union structures. Organise the chronically unemployed under the leadership of the trade union movement – build unemployed-workers and unemployed-youth locals in communities.
- Workers’ economic planning to end unemployment. Struggle for a reduction of the working week to 30 hours with no cuts in pay. Demand democratic control of hiring and firing and the re-design of shift patterns by workers’ representatives. Share out the work with the unemployed.
- Reject the ANC’s poverty-level minimum wage. Organise the workplaces to win a living wage of R12,500 per month for all full-time workers backed-up by a rigorous regime of workplace inspections under the democratic control of workers’ representatives. Nationalise non-complying big business; on the basis of proven unaffordability, subsidies and tax relief to small and family businesses adequate for the minimum wage to be paid. For a basic income social grant of R8,000 per month for all those not in work – unemployed, pensioners, disabled etc.
- Expose the bosses’ lies! Abolish so-called ‘business secrets’. Demand that the financial accounts of big business are opened to inspection by workers’ representatives. When the bosses say “we can’t afford it”, the workers’ movement must say “prove it!”
- Abolish outsourcing and labour broking! Build a mass campaign to enforce anti-labour broking legislation. Make all EPWP workers permanent.
The Trade Union Movement
- Defend the right to strike and organise! Scrap the LRA amendments. Organised mass defiance of unjust labour laws that prevent workers defending themselves. Scrap the category of “essential services” – workers themselves will determine the level and organisation of emergency cover during strikes. Fight for the passing of a trade union freedom bill increasing the powers of trade unions, drafted by workers’ representatives.
- Revolutionary in word AND Revolutionary in deed! Build the principled unity of the trade union movement on the basis of class independence from the bosses, democracy and workers’ control. Campaign in every federation and every union for a programme of revolutionary trade unionism that links workers’ struggles on day-to-day issues to the struggle for socialism. Cosatu out of the Tripartite Alliance.
- One working class, one struggle! For maximum workers unity in struggle. Build workplace, industry- and sector-wide action-committees that unite the workers of all federations, unions, and those not members of unions.
- Struggle against bureaucracy and careerism! Trade union leaders are not CEOs! Salary and wage control of all trade union officials determined democratically sector-by-sector. Abolish trade union investment funds – cash-out all investments into fixed-interest savings to fund membership benefits, strike and solidarity funds.
The Social Crisis in Working Class Communities
- Nothing for communities, without communities! Build democratic, accountable, mass community organisations in every community. Build direct links with workplaces and trade unions. Link-up all community organisations in a country-wide socialist civic federation to unite and co-ordinate service delivery protests and campaign and fight for:
- A mass decent house-building, electricity, water, sanitation, road and public transport infrastructure programme. Nationalise the big construction companies, building wholesalers and big building retailers. Full community involvement in the design of houses and the planning of communities. Place housing waiting lists under the democratic control of community organisations, with allocation on the basis of fair and objective criteria, including current housing situation, number of dependents and length of time on waiting list.
- A publicly-funded, free, accessible and high quality national health service – reject National Health Insurance. Nationalise Mediclinic, Netcare, Life Healthcare, and the big pharmaceutical companies under the democratic control of health workers, patients and communities.
- Funding and resources to end violence against women and children. For (i) a free, accessible, secure and high-quality network of women’s shelters for survivors of domestic abuse and rape, with provision for children, giving women the freedom to leave abusive relationships, (ii) an increase in the child support grant, (iii) free, accessible, secure and high-quality pre-school child-care and elderly-care centres to relieve the domestic burden on women, (iv) free, accessible and high-quality sexual health and family planning services to allow women genuine choice over if, and when, to have children, (v) dismiss all police officers, magistrates and judges guilty of victim blaming in cases of gender-based violence and LGBT+ hate crimes. Scrap the discriminatory anti-woman Traditional Courts Bill.
- Publicly-funded, free, accessible and high quality education from nursery to tertiary. Re-establish parent-teacher-learner committees to place schools under democratic community control. Cancel all student debt and end financial and academic exclusions.
- Make communities safe! Organise against crime, drugs and gangsterism. Organise community watch programmes in every community, including patrols of crime ‘hot spots’; mass community mobilisations against gangsterism and organised crime. Campaign for free, accessible and high-quality community drug rehabilitation programmes linked to guaranteed jobs for recovering addicts. Trade unions andcommunity organisations to campaign against gender based violence, LGBT+ hate crimes and xenophobic attacks, taking up the defenceof women, LGBT+ people and foreign residents in workplaces and communities with their full involvement.
- For community-controlled policing! Struggle for working class oversight and control of policing through organised community and trade union participation in Community Policing Forums, including worker-representatives of police unions and private security unions. Campaign for the election of station commanders, district and provincial commissioners and magistrates and judges; community control of hiring and firing in SAPS to combat corruption and the waste of police resources. Dismiss all perpetrators of bribery, harassment, rape and torture. Abolish the militarised tactical and public order policing units used to suppress working class protests.
For Working Class Unity
- For working class unity, leadership and mass class-based struggle against sexism, LGBT+ discrimination, tribalism, racism and xenophobia. Overcome all possible lines of division within the working class in united working class organisations, built on clear anti-sexist, anti-LGBT+ discrimination, anti-tribalist, anti-racist and anti-xenophobic principles. For the full and equal participation in working class organisations of all foreign-born workers and residents. Build a united working class mass movement to end the capitalist economic foundations of society which guarantee poverty and inequality and upon which intolerance, prejudice and discrimination rest.
- Build a class-independent trade union-led Campaign Against Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Rape and the Murder of Women. United action of men and women workers to end sexual harassment in the workplace. Demand from the bosses (i) equal pay for work of equal value, (ii) employer subsidised healthcare, (iii) housing allowances adequate to allow women to leave abusive relationships, (iv) adequate paid parental leave for all workers, (v) safe employer-provided transport to and from night-shifts, (vi) free workplace childcare facilities.
The Economic Crisis
- No to the privatisation of SAA, Eskom and the
other SOEs! No job losses at the SOEs! Re-structure the SOEs on the basis of socialist nationalisation:
- Recover the stolen R-billions! Organise a worker and trade union-led commission to investigate and drive-out corruption.
- End the looting of the SOEs! End outsourcing. Kick-out big business ‘consultants’. Cancel all contracts and tenders and bring workers and services in-house.
- Sack the boards of all the SOEs! For workers’ control of the SOEs. For fully elected and recallable boards composed of representatives of the workers in the SOE, their trade unions and consumer and community groups.
- Reject the capitalist organisation of the SOEs as profit-driven silos! Integrate the SOEs according to a democratic economic plan, reducing waste and achieving scales of economy, whilst protecting jobs, wages and conditions. Extend socialist nationalisation to support the SOEs – e.g. (i) nationalise Sasol and Engen to supply cost-price jet fuel to SAA, (ii) nationalise the coal mines to supply cost-price coal to Eskom.
- Place the levers of finance in the hands of the working class for planned investment. Nationalise under democratic working class control Standard Bank, ABSA, FNB, Nedbank, Capitec and Investec along with the entire financial sector. For a state monopoly over credit, under the control of democratically elected committees of the working class. Guarantee the savings of all working class and middle class people and small businesses. Bond and debt relief for struggling home-owners and small businesses. Abolish garnishee orders!
- Oppose imperialism’s watch-dogs! Combat the sabotage of Moody’s and the other ratings agencies. Defend the economy from a downgrade via a state monopoly of foreign trade alongside capital and price controls under the control of democratically elected committees of the working class.
- For a socialist economy to meet the needs of the working class majority. Nationalise under democratic working class control the biggest companies in all the key sectors of the economy: agriculture, mining, construction, transport, manufacturing, telecommunications, wholesale, retail and distribution. Integrate nationalised industry according to a democratic socialist plan of production to raise wages, protect and create new jobs and end poverty.
- Restore the land to the people – restore the land to the working class! Nationalise big agri-business and the 36,000 big commercial farms that control 95% of agricultural land; support and debt cancellation for small and subsistence farmers. Democratically elected community committees to determine the use of non-agricultural land – home owner-occupiers and small business premises exempt. Scrap the Traditional Courts Bill and the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act. End state salaries for traditional leaders and abolish the traditional authorities. Put all taxes and royalties currently paid to traditional leaders by mining companies under the democratic control of elected and accountable community committees to spend on social development.
- Socialist planning to solve the environmental crisis. Rapid re-direction of energy generation toward renewables. Kick out the IPPs and build a publicly-owned renewables sector. Retrofit the entire economy to eliminate pollution with re-training and guaranteed jobs for any workers whose jobs are rendered obsolete.
- Workers of the world unite! Socialism cannot be built in one country! Build solidarity and international links with the workers of the world in the global struggle against capitalism and imperialism, laying the foundations of co-operation for a worldwide socialist plan of production.
For Working Class Power
Our programme to overcome the economic crisis is a direct challenge to the rule of the capitalist class. They will resist it ferociously using all the forces of the capitalist state, backed-up by world imperialism. The working class needs to build a vehicle that can take political power out of the hands of the bosses and their politicians and transfer it to a revolutionary socialist government leading a workers state built upon a workers democracy.
- Forge the fighting unity of the working class in a party of mass struggle. Build a socialist mass workers party to unite the struggles of the workplaces, the communities and the youth as a vital step toward the creation of a mass revolutionary party.
- Implement the Saftu and Working Class Summit resolutions on the workers party. Build a unifying, democratic and open socialist mass workers party on a federal basis, allowing unions, community structures, youth campaigns and the existing working class political groups and parties to affiliate.