15 April 2014

The Workers and Socialist Party welcomes the recognition of the comrades launching the ‘Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote “No” Campaign’ that the ANC is failing the working class and poor. We also appreciate their desire to do something about it. But we disagree with the campaigns founding statement because it does not offer a clear alternative to the ANC or the other capitalist parties.

The comrades themselves acknowledge that staying away from the polls does not hurt the ANC in any way.  WASP has also pointed out repeatedly that seats in parliament are allocated based on the votes actually cast. The best the comrades can hope for is a ‘moral victory’ if they persuade significant numbers to spoil their ballots. But with only three weeks until polling day it looks unlikely they will be able to build up the momentum. But more fundamentally, a ‘spoilt ballot’ campaign has the same effect as a stay-away – these votes are not counted toward seats and so have no effect on the outcome of the election.

But the ‘Vote “No” Campaign’ is not a clear call for a spoilt ballot. It also raises the idea of voting tactically against the ANC and the DA because both party’s economic policies support the current system where “a minority continue to own and control the resources of our country.” In other words, they support the capitalist system.

WASP is the only party representing the interests of the working class and poor in this election. WASP’s manifesto is a clear socialist manifesto that calls for nationalisation, under worker and community control, of the banks, the mines, the commercial farms, the big factories and big businesses. WASP is the only party that clearly steps outside of the present capitalist system.

The danger in the ‘Vote “No” Campaign’s’ position is that those who follow their advice to vote tactically against the ANC and DA will merely use their vote to support other pro-capitalist parties. Even the EFF does not represent a clear call for a break with capitalism or for nationalisation under worker and community control.

May 7 will be just one day, but it is an opportunity to put the voice of the working class and poor into the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures. If this is not achieved it will be a wasted opportunity to get working class activists elected who could use the Legislatures as platforms to mobilise popular resistance and help build a mass workers’ party. Unfortunately, a “no vote” does not assist the process of building a genuine working class and socialist alternative. It even fosters illusions in the possibility of the ANC being reformed, something that Comrade Kasrils’ courageous decision itself implies is ruled out. Rather, the strategic aim in this election for the working class and poor is to elect a voice for the working class and poor on a clear socialist programme and in so doing begin the process of developing a genuine alternative beyond the election – a mass workers party on a socialist programme. Only a vote for WASP in this election advances that agenda.