The Crisis of the System
The social and political crisis that has racked South Africa since the early 1970s has its foundation in the crisis of a system of production which is increasingly unable to provide for the most basic needs of the population. The mounting intensity of resistance to the apartheid dictatorship is sustained by the mass of working people who more and more must struggle in order to survive.
The bourgeois economists measure the health of sickness of an economy by the criterion of capitalist profit. They are blinkered by the narrow needs and interests of their class. The demands of the population as a whole enter their comprehension only as a ‘problem’ for the system and a potential threat. Their world is populated by inhuman forms – of statistics, margins, flows and balances.
The Marxist approach, in contrast, concerns itself with the ability or inability of an economic system to provide for the people as a whole the goods and services which are needed for a decent life. How will developments in the economic situation affect the strengths and weaknesses of the capitalists in their battle to retain power? It is from this point of view that we study economic facts and figures.
1974-75 was a turning point, not only in world capitalism, but also in the development of the South African economy.
Between 1961 and 1974, production in SA grew on average at the rate of 5,5% a year. But in 1975, against the background of the world crisis which had set in, the growth rate fell to 2%. In 1976-77 it was under 2%. In 1977-78 there was an absolute drop in production of 0,25%.
Thus the dependence of South Africa on the state of the health of the world capitalism was sharply demonstrated. For a country with a rapidly growing population, with the majority sunk in poverty and already afflicted by large-scale unemployment, the effect was devastating.
In the factories and on the construction sites lay-offs and redundancies became commonplace. Black unemployment quickly rocketed to two million – and by 1976 was rising by 30 000 a month.
Because of the lack of any real unemployment benefit for the workers, the effect on working-class families was to force them to feed and support more people on fewer incomes. In the cities and the rural areas poverty, hunger and homelessness tightened its grip.
Meanwhile the capitalist disease of inflation continued to infect the economy. Prices rose, while people had less to spend.
In the workplaces, the bosses fought to raise profits by forcing longer hours and harder work out of fewer workers – and for lower real wages. Because of the threat of unemployment, industrial struggles became harder for workers to sustain. The trade unions faced an uphill struggle to defend their members, as the organised labour movement passed into a period of lull.
According to calculations by the chief economist of Barclay’s Bank, there was an average drop of 17% in the real income per person, taken over the whole SA population, in the three years after 1974. By 1977, living standards were below those of 1969.
It was against this background that the intolerable burdens and tensions mounting up in the body of society broke furiously to the surface in the Soweto uprising of 1976, and the nation-wide movement of the youth and workers that followed.
But the crisis of capitalism does not develop in a straight line, and in the case of South Africa its course is particularly convoluted.
The cycles of the SA economy tend to run about 12-18 months behind the advanced capitalist countries. The partial recovery of world trade from 1976 onwards eventually began to have its effect on the growth of South African exports.
Moreover, the turmoil in the international monetary system (explained in Chapter 3) led to dramatic leaps in the price of gold. At the end of 1979, it reached $800 an ounce, and then eased to an average of $615 in 1980. As the producer of half the world’s gold, this meant an absolute bonanza for South African capitalism.
Stimulated in this way, there was a strong recovery of growth in the SA economy – just as the industrialised countries were once again sliding into recession.
Feeling immediately the upturn in production, and sensing the new wealth bulging in the pockets of the employers, the black workers began flooding into the trade unions again and launched waves of struggle for higher wages and industrial rights.
For their part, the capitalists became drunk with profits and proclaimed the 1980s a “golden decade” which would usher in prosperity, peace and happiness for all South Africans! These were heady-days of ruling class confidence in their ability to bring about reforms of the system without endangering the continuation of their own rule.
But this euphoria, in which the liberals particularly were caught up, showed an utter blindness to the realities of their own class system. For the mass of working people – the blacks – the very years of boom, from 1979 to 1981, have been years of record unemployment, record homelessness, record price rises and record poverty.
A study carried out by a researcher at Witwatersrand University found that, in Soweto for example, the real incomes of black families declined by about 20% between July 1978 and December 1980. In the latter year, the share of net national income which went to blacks was proportionately less than in 1975.
In fact, in 1980, all employees together got 7,7% less of the ‘national cake’ than in 1979 – and 1980 was the peak of the capitalist boom!
With a growth rate of 8% in 1980, there was a meteoric rise of profits for the bosses. The Anglo American Corporation, for example, reported a 64% increase in the year up to March 1981. In fact, the Financial Mail commented that any company unable to increase its earnings by more than 30% or 40% was in danger of being laughed off as an under-performer!
Yet, for the working masses, conditions continued to worsen atrociously. From 1977 to 1979 unemployment rose further by an estimated half million, and continued rising through 1980.
In Mdantsane, for instance, 35% of the population were unemployed in 1981; two-thirds of the people were earning R25 per week or less; and there was an average of 15 people per house.
Conditions in the rural areas have grown ever more hellish. An organisation called ‘Hunger Concern’ estimated in 1980 that 50 000 children would die of hunger that year. Today more than half of the 2-3 year old children in the Ciskei are malnourished. Half of black children in the rural areas of the Transvaal are under-weight. Infant mortality in some Bantustan areas is put at 400 per 1 000 in the first year of life.
Doctors at King Edward Hospital in Durban report that nearly half of the children admitted during the past 16 years suffered from nutritional deficiencies, and a quarter of these died of chronic malnutrition. Now, the onset of cholera in epidemic proportions in several reserve areas provides further graphic proof of the nightmare conditions facing the mass of people under capitalism.
If there was ever a time when capitalism could have ushered in reforms and raised the living standards of the working people, the past few years of boom would surely have provided that opportunity. Its utter failure in this regard is conclusive proof of the incurable sickness of the capitalist system.
Why could the swelling wealth of the bourgeoisie not go to improve the life of the people as a whole? This is an essential question for our movement to confront, and to explain.
The answer lies in the class system on which South African society is based; in the system of private ownership of the means of production, and an economy governed by the laws of private profit.
The pressures of this system, now in decay internationally, make it impossible for capitalism in SA to produce and distribute the goods and services needed by the mass of the population for a decent life.
In our epoch, investment in large-scale manufacturing is the key to economic prosperity. Under capitalism, investment takes place not on the basis of social need, but only where the capitalists are confident of reaping future profits. This is the inherent law of their system. Capitalism can no more escape these constraints than a fish can choose to live out of water.
We have already shown, in chapter 8, how because of the pressures of world capitalism, the system of the capitalists in SA and their “success” has necessarily been built on the exploitation of cheap labour. They still depend absolutely on cheap labour; but increasingly this system is caught in its own contradictions.
Cheap labour has severely limited the domestic market; the majority of workers are not paid the money to buy the goods which increased investment would produce. At the same time, as world capitalist production slows down, as the purchasing powers of workers everywhere is slashed by the capitalist class, as competition between capitalists for the remaining markets intensifies, the South African capitalists face increasing difficulties in exporting.
In other words, the narrow limits of the domestic market, coupled with the unfavourable climate for manufactured exports in the world market, means that there is relatively less and less scope for the investment of capitalist profit in industrial development in SA.
Profit-making for the SA bourgeoisie is becoming more and more dependent on gold and other minerals; on speculation in property; on stock-market manipulations; on currency deals; and on loans and investments abroad.
Already by the early 1970s, this relative lack of opportunities for profitable investment was becoming apparent in SA, as the declining world market imposed a corset especially on manufacturing industry. Gross domestic fixed investment continued rising (from 22% of Gross Domestic Product in the 1960s to 27% in the 1970s) – but this increase was almost entirely in the state sector.
Real fixed investment in the private sector grew at an annual average rate of only 0,7% in the 1970s, compared with 7,7% in the 1960s – and the bulk of this was in mining not manufacturing. The bourgeoisie was increasingly unsure of finding markets for manufactured products.
In the mid-1970s, as the world recession bit deeper, gross fixed investment in SA plunged. It fell by 7,5% in 1976-77; by 6% in 1977-78; and again by 5% in 1978-79. Despite expansion in the mining industry (particularly gold and coal) private fixed investment dropped overall by 10%, 1%, and 11% during the same years. In the crucial metal and engineering industry, investment fell 31% in 1978, while in iron and steel it fell 72%.
Although economic activity began to recover in SA towards the end of 1977, it was only in mid-1979 that the four-year slide of investment was halted.
Taking the 1970s as a whole, the surplus generated in manufacturing grew at a slower rate than for industry as a whole, and little more than half the rate in mining. The rate of growth of fixed rate investment in manufacturing also lagged well behind mining, construction and electricity.
Private sector investment rallied during the recent boom, rising by 22% in 1980 and an estimated 12% in 1981. But now a new downturn in the economy has begun, with some of the bourgeois economists expecting an absolute fall in investment once again in 1982.
With the economic growth rate for 1982 falling to about 2%, there will be an especially fast drop in the manufacture of consumer goods.
Foreign investment in SA industry is likewise expected to stagnate this year, because a lower rate of profit is anticipated. In fact, the rate of return on foreign investment in SA has been generally falling since the 1960s, when this country was the most profitable for such investment in the world.
For the American bourgeois, South Africa has returned a lower rate of profit on investment than the world average.
British capitalists have recently been given a sombre prediction of likely returns on their purchases of SA shares in 1982. While this is expected to be 28% in mining, industrial shares are thought likely to yield only 9%. By comparison, their rate of return from Japan is expected to be 22%, Hong Kong 39%, the USA 16%, and even the UK itself 13%.
Despite the advantage of cheap labour, SA capitalism has been falling further behind the major industrialised countries. Thus the Financial Mail (1/1/82) reveals that the growth of productivity in South Africa has averaged only 0,3% per year in the period 1972-1980. In Japan, the comparable figure was 3,0%; in West Germany 2,7%; in the USA 1,9%; and even in sinking Britain it was 1,5%. (In the same period Taiwan’s productivity grew by 6,8% per year!)
If this trend continues, it suggests a dire prognosis for SA capitalism.
Already, because of the relative feebleness of SA’s manufacturing industry, the country’s foreign trade has been slipping further and further into deficit. Imports of manufactured goods (especially machinery and heavy vehicles) have risen at a much faster rate than exports, particularly during the boom.
In 1979-80 the rise in the gold price more than compensated for the difference, and SA began 1981 with a surplus of about R3 billion on the balance of payments. (I.e. it was owed more by other countries than it owed to them in respect of the previous year’s deals.) But by the end of the 1981 financial year this is expected to have turned into a deficit of R4 billion!
In 1982, the slowing down of the economy is likely to cool the growth of imports but still leave a year-end deficit of a further R2 billion.
The whole situation highlights the lag of SA’s manufacturing industry, and the economy’s increasing dependence on the world price of gold and on finding markets for the increase export of other minerals.
The New Downturn
The new economic downturn which has set in in SA is likely to continue right through 1983, especially if the current recession in the USA delays and weakens the new world upturn.
Again a period of lay-offs and redundancies, together with slow industrial growth, will lead to a spiralling of unemployment. Inflation is forecast to continue at almost the same rate as in 1981. Thus there will once again be catastrophic consequences for the real wages of the working class, and for the poverty of the masses.
The bourgeois economists – well-fed dogs yapping at the gates of their masters – are already warning that consumers will have to “pull in their belts”. Meanwhile, the Standard Bank complains of “excessively high consumer spending” in 1980 and early 1981 – this in a period of mass impoverishment and starvation!
The incurable disease of inflation continues to shrivel the pay-packets and gnaw at the measly pensions of the working people. An overall inflation rate of 15-16% last year swelled to 20-30% for township-dwellers. Since 1976 the price of chickens and tea has more than doubled, eggs have doubled, and sugar has gone up more than three times. In 1980-81 there were astronomical increases in the price of meat (70%) and in rents (30-40%). There is no prospect of relief from further rises in the new recession.
While for the working people inflation is a life-and-death concern, for the capitalists it represents a danger to the stability of their system. For instance, a rate of inflation higher than SA’s competitors makes it harder to sell South African goods abroad, tends to weaken the Rand, and would cause the economy to lag further and further behind.
Internationally the bourgeoisie is pre-occupied with the problem of inflation. In SA, as in almost all capitalist countries, the ruling class and the government have adopted stringent monetary policies in the hope of curbing inflation.
In Chapter 3 we dealt with the effect of government spending in pushing up prices. What is noteworthy in South Africa is the high rate of inflation against the background of the most miserly state expenditure on the welfare of the majority of the population.
Between 1977 and 1981, despite all the rhetoric of ‘reform’ by the regime in the face of the insistent demands of working people, real expenditure on housing and other social needs in fact fell without interruption.
The 1981-2 budget contained a 40% increase in spending on the military instruments of repression. Overall, however, government spending rose by only 2% in real terms.
Fundamentally because of the narrow basis of domestic industry and the cheap labour economy, the sources of tax revenue to the government are relatively small. Any major expansion of services would have to be paid for by deficit financing, and thus lead to rampant inflation.
The fall in the gold price to around $400 an ounce in 1981 meant a decline in tax payments by the gold mines amounting to a drop of 40% from 1980. Thus, even the stingy budget of 1981 meant a deficit of R2,7 billion which could not be covered by taxes. Total public debt rose to R19,9 billion, involving interest payments by the state of R1,48 billion a year.
The 1982 budget reveals even more starkly the squeeze on government spending with the gold price lowered and the world economy in recession. Overall spending in real terms is budgeted to fall. Yet, even though tax rates have been raised, the budget deficit will again be over R2 billion.
Thus rises in certain areas of government spending, such as education, will be more than cancelled out for the people by rising prices, taxes and unemployment.
Given a socialist transformation of South Africa, with the nationalisation of the means of production and the organisation of a planned economy under democratic control, it would be possible to undertake a massive programme of public expenditure on health, education, housing and welfare, without this leading to inflation. But on a capitalist basis, any significant expansion of government spending in this direction would send inflation through the roof.
This would be the situation facing any government in the future, including an ANC government, if it remained on a capitalist basis. This is a constraint existing independently of the existence of the apartheid political system.
Thus, in 1981, the East Rand Administration Board had an amount of R34 million ‘idle surplus’ which it wished to spend on housing but could not, because of curbs imposed by the Treasury on public spending to limit inflation. At the time, the official housing shortage in the ERAB area was 21 000 units.
While the housing needs of the people are growing apace, the capitalist system is less and less able to finance the building of homes. The government admits an official housing shortage of 160 000 homes in urban African townships today. In greater Durban, for example, half a million people (one-third of the population) are living in shacks.
According to a conference of the SA Institute of Housing in September, 75% of the black population will be living in urban areas by the year 2000. Some three and a half million houses would have to be built at a cost of R30 000 million to accommodate them. The achievement of this is absolutely ruled out on the basis of capitalism.
The abysmal condition of education in South Africa is a further example of the impasse of capitalism. In 1981 barely 10% of the country’s workers had Standard 10 or higher. 30% had no education at all, and 36% had only primary school education. Despite a 51% increase in spending on black education, allocated in the last budget, there is still discrimination of 10 to 1 in the spending on the education of white and black children.
A massive shortage of skilled labour has accumulated in the economy. There are now at least 20 000 artisan jobs unfilled, despite a big increase in white immigration. In 1980 only 82 blacks were registered as apprentices, and this figure is considered unlikely to have risen above 1 000 in 1981.
Now the capitalists are baying for further spending curbs in the hope of attacking inflation. In recession as in boom, they can mount this attack only by lowering still further the desperately poor conditions of the working class.
Thus the Financial Mail (1/1/82) – an organ of the supposedly liberal capitalists! – demands policies of greater austerity and says that this will be possible to impose because trade unions are weaker than in Europe and because the state carries no heavy social security obligations. In short: “Hold the workers down and kick them while we can!”
Whether ‘liberal’ or ‘fascist’ in their individual consciences, the SA capitalists are compelled by the logic of their economic system to inflict further savage hardships on the mass of the working people. With profits falling during the recession, the employers will lose no opportunity to slash at the real wages of the working class. The plight of the homeless, the pensioners, the jobless and the hungry will inevitably grow worse.
This is the economic perspective for South Africa, despite the confident predictions of the bourgeois of fresh prospects for profit-making in the course of the 1980s.
Capitalism is torn by internal contradictions – but does not face imminent collapse. Although it is impossible to make a definite prediction, the mining companies are anticipating future rises in the gold price as high as $1 000 an ounce by 1987. In other sectors of mining (especially coal, where output could double in the course of the decade) production could undergo sustained advance.
If, overall, imports continue to rise faster than exports, South Africa’s chronic balance-of-payments problem will persist. This is indeed the most likely perspective, given the general stagnation of the world market for exports and SA’s undiminishing dependence on the import of machinery from overseas. But in and of itself this would not precipitate economic collapse, as the foreign bankers are likely to remain willing to cover South Africa’s deficits for a considerable period.
Nevertheless, it is indicative of the lunacy of capitalism that the government is obliged to borrow vast sums abroad at the very time that massive profits generated at home cannot be fully invested in production.
The profits ‘deluge’ in 1979-80 led to massive excess liquidity in the SA economy – large sums of money sloshing around in the banks and flooding the financial markets, unable to find avenues for profitable, productive investment. It was for this reason – and because the huge increase in the money in circulation was leading to runaway inflation – that the government was compelled to dismantle exchange controls and allow the bourgeoisie to send its money abroad.
The movement of capital from South Africa overseas is likely to be an increasing trend on the part, especially, of the mining monopolies. The Anglo American Corporation, for example, which recently bid for control of Consolidated Gold Fields in Britain, is also investing heavily in Latin America, the USA and elsewhere.
The crisis facing South African society is rooted in the contradictions between the imperatives of the profit system and the needs of the people.
The working people cannot eat the gold, the share certificates and the title deeds which make up the wealth of the capitalist class. While the mass of people suffer in want of housing, education, hospitals, decent wages, facilities and, above all, jobs, the bourgeoisie is sitting on an enormous heap of gold which it cannot devote to social spending and which it is less and less able to invest for productive purposes.
Indeed, as production becomes more mechanised, even the investment which does take place is less and less able to provide jobs for workers.
Between 1960 and 1969, the rate of increase of capital stock per worker employed was 2,4% per year; and it increased at 4,3% per year between 1970 and 1977. Thus a given amount of invested capital created fewer and fewer jobs.
Total employment grew by only 3% in the whole period from 1977 to 1980 – a rise of about 150 000 jobs. Yet it is admitted that 200 000 jobs a year would have to be created just to stop unemployment rising.
This would need a consistent growth rate of 6% or more without interruption. That was beyond the capability of capitalism in SA even during the spectacular boom years of the 1960s. As in the 1970s, so too in the 1980s, the crisis of capitalism as a world system bars the way to such development.
Capitalism in South Africa, along with world capitalism, is passing into its death agonies. The disease of the system, explained by Marxism, is reflected in South Africa in the growing disparity between parasitic wealth and mass impoverishment; between the growing sophistication and fantastic potential of the productive forces, and the sinking of the world population into destitution.
The impasse of capitalism as a social system of production is perhaps summed up in South Africa by a ruling class which attempts to launch a television industry, and a special television channel for ‘blacks’ – when the mass of the black urban population do not even have the benefit of electricity!
Similar and more intolerable absurdities will be more and more revealed in the coming decade. As the sickness of capitalism weighs down more and more ruthlessly on the condition of life of the masses, so the resistance to tyranny, to poverty, to homelessness and low wages will mount. The deluded hopes of the liberals and reformists for the achievement of ‘peace’ between the classes on a capitalist basis will be shattered. Through all its twists and turns, the class struggle will inexorably rise in intensity.
Our people – the oppressed working people – have no choice. For the sake of survival, we are forced to take the road to revolution.
The Regime in Crisis
The new era of economic decay of capitalism, and the hammer-blows of mass struggle, have driven the regime into the gravest political crisis in its history. Features of this crisis are the growing dissension, class division and turmoil among the white population generally, together with division and confusion in the ranks of the ruling class.
As Trotsky put it, the wind blows the tops of the trees first. Often the first indication that a revolutionary storm is brewing can be seen in the splits which emerge at the top.
Fundamental divisions in the ruling class are an indication of the fact that capitalism has no way forward – that the bourgeoisie can neither continue to rule in the old way nor find a new and stable basis for its rule.
Divisions always exist within the bourgeoisie, as they do within all classes. Different sections, or fractions, among the capitalists contend for policies most favourable to their particular interests. But in conditions when capitalism in general is advancing, despite the political squabbles between the opposing sections of the ruling class, there exists at root a firm cohesion among them.
Thus in the 1950s and 1960s, for example, while policy differences were intensely disputed within the ruling class, while the ‘liberal’ big capitalists publicly condemned the extreme racist policies of the Nationalist government – all sections of the class became basically more and more reconciled by the success of the regime in containing the movement of the black workers and in securing the profitability of capitalism as a whole.
Every worker who has taken strike action knows the readiness of even the most ‘enlightened’ employer to rely on the police and officials to repress the workers.
Compared with the past, however, the divisions in the bourgeoisie from the mid-1970s have taken on a new significance. On the surface, there has appeared a greater unity than ever before between bug business and the leading spokesmen of the government, with the emergence of the ‘verligte’ or ‘reformist’ element within the Nationalist Party and the cabinet. But in reality the whole ruling class has never been more deeply disunited internally.
The capitalists are consumed by doubts and fears at every step. Like a gang of thieves chased by an angry crowd up a blind alley, they discover to their desperation that neither retreat nor advance offers any way out.
The established methods if undiluted baasskap, of white supremacy and police dictatorship, have proved insufficient to hold down the black working class. Yet, as the bourgeoisie now realises, to attempt to change their method of rule would require reforms which their economic system cannot sustain, and which would spur on the onslaught of the mass struggle against them.
It is the rising power of the workers which underlies the crisis of the system.
Against the working class, the ruling class would like to extend its social base by incorporating as collaborators growing sections of the black middle class to curb the movement of the workers. The liberal wing strains in this direction.
But to be able effectively to do this, the ruling class would be obliged to extend to the whole (or at least most) of the black population democratic, wage and welfare concessions which would threaten the very foundations of capitalism, Simultaneously, given the explosive latent power of the working class, the historical weakness of the black middle class makes them too feeble an instrument for the sure domination of capital.
Moreover, the bourgeoisie cannot afford to weaken its established basis of support among the white middle class and labour aristocracy. The cohesion of the state apparatus depends on this. Yet every move towards ‘reform’ raises among the white middle class and workers well-grounded fears that their privileged position will be whittled away.
The ruling class thus finds itself entangled in hopeless contradictions. Hence its own irreconcilable splits, its zig-zags and paralysis.
Its inability to solve these contradictions impels the bourgeoisie towards destruction, and society as a whole towards the socialist revolution.
Without a doubt the bourgeoisie faces today, as never before, the pressing need to reform. But in SA today there is fundamentally no way out of the impasse of capitalism. The bourgeoisie can undertake no concerted reforms and give no convincing lead. Racism is bound to fester in the impasse of the capitalist economy and the decay of the social order. It will be reinforced among wide sections of the whites in their rearguard actions to defend old privileges.
Brought face-to-face with its own political bankruptcy, the capitalist class nevertheless contrives to hide this fact from public view. Using its control of the major section of the press, bug business continues to strut about as the champion of ‘reform’. Private enterprise is advertised as a ‘force for change’.
The very economic system which has brought South Africa to its present condition is offered as the basis for a new society!
The essential barrier to change has been said to be the right wing of Afrikanerdom – the ‘verkrampts’. The country’s future is said to depend on the outcome of the battle for pre-eminence between the ‘verligtes’ and the ‘verkramptes’. The capitalist press preoccupies itself with every shift in the balance of forces between them. Every compromise on the ‘verligte’ Botha’s part, every temporary stalemate, is attributed to the liberals solely to the power of the ‘verkramptes’.
Thus the capitalist class diverts attention from its own incapacity to change, and mystifies the fundamental crisis of the system.
Capitalism has developed historically on white domination in SA – and will continue to do so. The wishful thinking of the ‘liberal’ bourgeoisie, severed up in tons of newsprint, cannot alter the harsh realities of class power on which capitalist rule depends. If this is temporarily hidden from the masses, the grinding pressure of the class struggle will inevitably expose it more and more.
The crisis of the Nationalist Party government merely gathers together in especially concentrated form the elements of the crisis of capitalist rule itself. This is because for an entire generation the NP has been the historical instrument of white domination which has provided the main pillar of the system of bourgeois dictatorship in SA.
Class Divisions Among the Whites
The wish of the bourgeoisie to introduce changes or adaptations in the existing system of rule has resulted not only from the untamed movement of the black workers. It results also from the fact that capitalism, over time, has found it more and more difficult to pay the cost of maintaining its old basis of white support.
Even before the crisis began to bite in the 1970s, cleavages began to widen between capitalists and white workers. Shortages of skilled labour, created by the rapid growth of the economy in the 1960s, led to erosion of the ‘job colour bar’ which has protected the position of the white aristocracy of labour.
Increasingly, the capitalists have sought to fill ‘white’ jobs with trained black workers. This has most often taken the form of job fragmentation: artisans (mainly skilled whites) are replaced by a number of semi-skilled workers, each doing part of the former skilled worker’s job. In every case the same work is done by black workers at a lower rate of pay. This is how the capitalists interpret the ‘rate for the job’!
Usually the white workers have been promoted into supervisory or white-collar jobs. While apparently raising their status, the effect has been to weaken their bargaining position as they cease to perform work central to the process of production itself.
The sharpening of the economic crisis has driven a deeper wedge between the capitalist class and the mass of the white population. The capitalists have been obliged to undermine not only the job privileges, but also the standard of living of the white middle class and labour aristocracy as a whole.
Many small businessmen and farmers, already operating on the margins of profitability, at the mercy of finance and monopoly capital, have been pushed to the edge of ruin and beyond. For example, the abandonment by whites in the past few years of some 4 000 farms in the Transvaal, and 60% of those along the Botswana border, has been the result mainly of economic bankruptcy.
At the same time, in their battle to raise profit rates and maintain competitiveness on the world market, the capitalists are intent on lowering the cost of labour. The relatively high wages paid to white workers are considered a ‘luxury’ which the economy is now less able to support.
Already leaders of white trade unions, such as Bornman of Yster en Staal, complain that their members have lost 23% in purchasing power since 1975. White teachers have responded angrily to the fall in their real incomes extending over several years. Civil servants complain that since the early 1970s pay increases have fallen at least 40% behind the rising cost of living.
Attacked in this way, the white workers and salary earners have inevitably begun to respond. The organisations, especially the white trade unions, which have served in the past as vehicles of concession and control from above, have been the first instruments through which the white workers have attempted to mount resistance.
At the same time, however, the white workers find themselves severely weakened in the confrontation with the employers by the effect of decades of class-collaboration. There is always a bitter price to be paid by workers for collaboration with the class enemy. After a long postponement, and in a confused way, the white workers are beginning to discover that price.
While the black workers have proved (for example in the motor industry and in engineering) that militant and united action can secure impressive gains, the white workers discover the feebleness of their tiny, racially exclusive organisations. As the crisis worsens, the ageing bureaucracy of the white unions find it more and more difficult to reap rewards for their members from collaboration with the ruling class. Having no alternative policy to cling to, they look increasingly absurd and pitiful before their own rank-and-file.
It is only with the greatest reluctance that any of these unions have turned to struggle. Here the Mineworkers’ Union has made the most noise – not surprisingly, since the rupture of the old ‘pact’ of class peace between the white bosses and white labour has been clearest in the mining industry since the late 1960s. But despite the belligerent bluster of Paulus and his racist clique, the Mineworkers’ Union – an organisation of exclusivist privilege – has only shown its ineffectiveness in its confrontation with the bosses’ Chamber of Mines.
The reactionary strike in March 1979, called by the Mineworkers’ Union leadership in an attempt to preserve job reservation intact, was an unadulterated failure. Even the union’s membership failed to give general support to the strike – let alone the remainder of the white workers on the mines.
The white Confederation of Labour (and the racist trade unions in general) are a blight on the whole labour movement and on their own members – but no alternative is offered by the ‘pragmatic’ leadership of the Trade Union Council of South Africa. In place of the extreme racism of the confederation, which the TUCSA leaders consider suicidal, they have nothing to propose to the more privileged workers except to follow the lead of the so-called ‘progressive’ bourgeoisie.
This means accepting capitalist attacks on their living standards without any perspective of future advancement. Already in 1975 the TUCSA leaders were rushing to sign a so-called ‘anti-inflation’ pact with employers and the state, and were urging their affiliates to restrict wage demands to less than the rate of price increases.
It is little wonder that all these capitulators to capitalism can offer nothing but gloom to their members. While Grobbelaar of TUCSA was wailing impotently about the ‘inevitability’ of rising unemployment, Paulus declared that 1980 marked the beginning of the end for the white worker!
With the power of the white unions dwindling, and with the Nationalist government less and less willing to come to the aid of white workers in their confrontations with employers, these workers have turned their attention increasingly to the political plane, along with many disgruntled white teachers, farmers, small businessmen, dominees and Afrikaner intellectuals. Out of this current there has emerged an extreme reactionary opposition to the Nationalist government.
Splits in the Nationalist Party
In the Nationalist Party there is an ever-widening gap between the leadership and the rank-and-file members and supporters.
The NP has always been a bourgeois party, representing from the outset the aspirations and class interests of emergent Afrikaner capitalists. Its historical ‘mission’ has been to promote the development of a class of Afrikaner industrialists, financiers and mine-owners as partners with the imperialists and English-speaking capitalists in the exploitation of the working class.
The Nationalists’ rise to power, however, depended on the ability of the leaders to mould together a coalition of small farmers, urban middle class and workers under the banner of the ‘volk’. The cement for this coalition was the guarantee of material privileges, protection of jobs, higher wages and the provision of social welfare for whites. It promised the defence of the mass of the whites against, on the one hand, the pressures of big business, and, on the other hand, the rising demands for equality from the black majority.
But nothing stands still. The very ‘success’ of Afrikaner nationalism – the achievement of wealth and power by the Afrikaner bourgeoisie, the exhaustion in this sense of the original aims of the Nationalist movement – has undermined the class coalition on which it was built.
Economic growth, especially during the 1960s and early 1970s, has led to the social and economic integration of the Afrikaans- and English-speaking bourgeoisie, weakening the cohesion of Afrikaner nationalism. The upper layers of the middle class have been drawn together, and separated more and more from the lower layers of white society.
Not only has the class division in the Nationalist Party opened into an unbridgeable growth; the commanding stratum of the state apparatus has increasingly been consolidated and refined as the reliable instrument of big capital.
This is most noticeable in the case of the army, where, since the 1960s, the old general staff have been systematically retired and replaced by a new and politically more flexible generation of officers to carry out the policies of the bourgeoisie.
For more than a decade, behind the backs of the white population, the limited racial ‘democracy’ of the white parliament and of the Nationalist Party itself has been whittled away. The focus of decisions has shifted more and more from parliament to the executive, and within the executive from the cabinet as a whole to a narrow ministerial clique.
In the 1970s the secret cabal of Vorster/Mulder/van der Bergh became notorious. Today Botha manipulates a variety of cabinet committees, playing off rivals against each other while concentrating executive power more and more firmly around his own axis with General Malan.
This bonapartist development in the character of the regime stems from the growing need of the capitalist class to concentrate the levers of power more directly in the hands of their own chosen agents, more and more out of reach of the white electorate as a whole. As their old social base in the white population becomes less and less compliant and more and more unstable, the ruling class can only elevate the state machinery further above society, while resting its rule ever more directly on the military and police apparatus.
This is the purpose behind the attempt to transform parliament by various constitutional amendments into a mere talking-shop. It is also one of the key reasons for Botha’s attempts to restructure government around a collection of racial councils and committees at so-called ‘presidential’, ‘confederal’ and ‘cabinet’ levels, giving freer rein to bourgeois manipulation from the top.
Thus the hostility of the bourgeoisie to democracy – which has been the lifelong experience of the black population – is now reflected also in the attempts to water down the effects of the franchise of the whites.
The growing crisis and instability of the regime is clearly reflected in the processes taking place in the Nationalist Party. The rank-and-file is feeling the pinch economically, and is gravely worried by the uncertainties of the political situation. But the ‘verligte’ leaders, expressing the need of the capitalist class to ‘adapt or die’, are obliged to commit heresies against the enshrined racial ‘principles’ of old party dogma, as they grope in search of new policies.
‘Afrikaner nationalism’ in the mouths of the leadership has become a mere defensive cry for maintaining a semblance of unity – for papering over the widening class chasm that has opened in the ranks.
As their economic position comes under attack and their privileges begin to be eroded, many among the small farmers, urban petty bourgeois and workers who make up the majority of Nationalist Party members react in a backward-looking rage and panic. ‘Reforms’ and ‘concessions’ to the blacks – pathetic as these have been – are seen as the root cause of their problems! This offers a fertile field for the ambitious demagogues of the ultra-right.
For a whole period in the past, the conferences of the NP and its parliamentary caucus served the leadership as clearing-houses where capitalist policies, secretly formulated by the Broederbond hierarchy, were translated into the language of the white electorate and rubber-stamped.
Political struggles, where they occurred at all, were generally muted by the conditions of the economic boom and hidden behind closed doors. Then, as the crisis deepened, the forums of the Party became the arena where conflicting interests were bitterly vented. Gradually, however, as vital parts of the party apparatus were gathered into the hands of the ‘verligtes’, even the NP conferences increasingly became hollow shells, with many ordinary delegates either not bothering to attend, or walking out in frustration and anger.
Again, however, the process has not run in a straight line. While the Cape and OFS divisions of the NP are now under ‘verligte’ control, the Transvaal party machinery has served as a base for the ‘verkrampte’ counter-attack. This is because, from the outset, The NP organisation in the Transvaal has been more directly under the influence of the lower layers of the middle class, while the Cape NP was always in the hands of the rich.
By capturing the Transvaal leadership, Treurnicht emerged as the rallying-point for ‘verkramptes’ within the Nationalist Party. This, however, did not halt the Party’s loss of membership and electoral support.
The 1981 white election saw a 14% swing to the ultra-right HNP, which, while it gained no seats, attracted 200 000 votes. One-third of all white voters in the Transvaal voted HNP!
In the face of this development the ‘verligte’ wing of the NP retreated. Their problem was summed up in the words of the Minister of Manpower, Fanie Botha: “The government must have the total trust of the country’s (white) workers. It would not have come to power if it did not have that trust.”
Biding his time in the face of the verkrampte upsurge, P.W. Botha back-pedalled on all his promises of reform. Then in February 1982, taking advantage of a temporary ebb in the verkrampte tide to forestall Treurnicht’s advance within the NP, Botha staged a showdown with Treurnicht’s advance within the NP, Botha staged a showdown with Treurnicht and routed him in his Transvaal stronghold.
Driven out of the NP but with an important foothold in parliament, Treurnicht and his followers will serve as a rallying point for the forces of ultra-right racism. This will continue to put pressure on the regime, forcing Botha and his successors to constantly adapt their tactics to the mood of the most reactionary whites, whom they cannot afford to alienate completely. More Nationalist M.P.s, anxious for their seats in the next election, could well crumble towards the right.
The capitalist class at the present stage are pinning their hopes on Botha’s attempts to manoeuvre between the conflicting class pressures in society. The last thing they want to see is a government that would provoke the black people into generalised resistance and threaten to plunge the country into racial civil war – at a point when the ruling class is by no means confident of winning such a war.
If Botha is able to hold the bulk of the NP together for the time being, this is because most whites are afraid and demoralised at present before the awe-inspiring power of the black mass movement, and hope to postpone for as long as possible the inevitable confrontation.
‘Maybe’ Reagan and Thatcher will come to their assistance; ‘maybe’ moderate black leaders will prevail; ‘maybe’…. While this mood of fearful hesitation persists, Botha may continue to command if not their confidence then at least their passive support – for as long as he seems able to safeguard their existence in privileged, sheltered suburbs.
But this precarious balance could change very rapidly under the pressure of events.
Social crisis is generally characterised by splits and polarisation between the classes, within the ruling class and also within the middle layers on which the ruling class leans for support. The present drift to the right among the whites has its counterpart in the rise of the ‘liberal’ PFP at the other end of the narrow, white political spectrum.
Since the mid-1970s there has been a steady growth of PFP support especially among the better-off, more educated sections of the white middle class. In their eyes the PFP is the party of compromise with the forces that threaten them, of ‘gradual change’ towards some miraculous stability – in a word, of ‘evolution’ instead of ‘revolution’.
Thus in the recent period the swing towards the HNP has been matched by a swing of similar numerical proportions to the PFP.
But the policies of the PFP can hold no attraction for the vast majority of whites. Beneath all the rhetoric of ‘peaceful change’ the PFP stands purely and simply for the protection of capitalist interests at all costs. It cannot meet the demands of the black people – but white workers and lower middle-class are deeply suspicious that it could and would compromise their privileged position in an effort to reach agreement with black leaders.
It is thus towards the right that the fears and frustrations of the broad mass of whites will tend to find expression within the existing political framework.
In the next chapter we will deal with the conditions for the growth – and for the defeat – of white reaction in the unfolding revolution. Here the point to stress is that the potential threat of the ultra-right inside and outside the NP constitutes a growing problem for the ruling class and the regime.
Although, under the pressure of the mass movement in the coming years, there will be new lurches and zigzags by the regime in an attempt to adapt the system, fundamentally it is paralysed by these internal and external contradictions.
In turn, the more the regime reveals its own impotence, the greater will become the volatility among the whites. Under conditions of social and economic crisis, with no alternative visible to them, extreme racist and reactionary tendencies will be strengthened.
Over the past stormy decade, ultra-right groups have proliferated – from the HNP to the National Conservative Party, Aksie Eie Toekems, the Wit Kommando, the Kappie Kommando and the Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging.
Also among English-speaking whites, there is a development towards the right. An estimated 28% already support the Nationalists, and a significant minority even the HNP and the AWB.
The ‘liberal’ English press deluded itself when it pointed to the shambles at the founding conference of Aksie Eie Toekoms as a sign of the impotence of the extreme right. That organisation was the ‘brainchild’ of fogbound intellectuals, without the slightest idea where they were going or how to get there.
Far more serious and dangerous are the organisations which base themselves on a perverted ‘class’ appeal to white workers and the lower middle class. It is the hallmark of a fascist movement to combine rabid appeals to ‘blood’ and ‘culture’ with pseudo-‘socialist’ demagogy directed against big business. This is the stock-in-trade of both the HNP and the AWB. “Wassenheimer” has come to replace “Hoggenheimer” in the agitation of today’s ultra-right.
The AWB, with its open use of Nazi symbolism, uniforms, storm-troopers, etc., has recently had notable success in attracting Afrikaner and even some English youth, and in recruiting among the lower ranks of the army, police and civil service.
Now it is most likely that all these reactionary forces will be over-shadowed in the short term by Treurnicht’s party or drawn behind it. Combined with the incapacity of capitalism to sustain reforms and improvements in the living conditions of the masses, the revolt of the right-wing adds an enormous political obstacle to change.
The government can no longer tame its white constituency by the methods of the past. Sharp shocks, sudden turns, division and fragmentation will be more and more the features in the political camp of the whites.
From the long-term perspective of revolution, this situation can be turned (given correct policies) into an immense advantage for our movement.
At the same time, even in the short run, it will more and more expose the hopeless incapacity of the present regime to usher in any fundamental change.
Today, even the smallest changes are barred by the fear of the regime provoking the right wing.
Thus the recommendations of the De Lange Commission for a single educational system for all races is dismissed out of hand. The desire of the Stellenbosch students for a referendum on a proposal to open the university to blacks is blocked from above and the scheme cancelled. Botha’s own lap-dogs in the ‘President’s Council’ have their recommendations on Pageview and District Six humiliatingly vetoed. The regime cracks down ruthlessly on the black families who have breached the Group Areas Act by moving into empty accommodation in ‘white’ areas. At the same time the general intensity of repression against workers, ‘squatters’, etc., is stepped up.
Thus the pious liberal hopes of ‘reform from above’ lie in ruins. Time and again those hopes will be revived – only to be shattered by new retreats and lurches to the right on the part of the regime. It is a sign of the times that the Broederbond, which previously booted out those of its members who supported the HNP, has recently been obliged to rescind the expulsions!
Capitalism has created in South Africa the monster of white racism. For generations it has served the bourgeoisie as the means of maintaining its dictatorship over the working masses – the blacks. Now the black working class is rising to its feet and hammering at the gates for liberation. The bourgeoisie can neither give up its instruments of repression nor survive by them alone. It can neither slay the beast of reaction nor satisfy its appetites.
Thus the ruling class is caught in the terrible contradictions of its own making. These are contradictions which only a socialist revolution can resolve.
The Bankruptcy of Compromise
As far as the mass of black people are concerned, it has long been clear that the regime, for all its declarations of intent, and all its commissions investigating ‘change’ in every field, has been able to produce only the most trivial gestures of reform – sops in the main to the tiny layer of black businessmen, potential home-buyers and the like. Even this layer is driven to distraction by the constant frustration of its hopes. Meanwhile the experience of the masses has been of the constant tightening of the screws.
But it is not only the so-called ‘verligtes’ of the government who expose their impotence to change. Few among the black population now believe in the ability of any ‘alternative’ white party – of which the PFP is the most notable – to accomplish change.
The gain of votes and seats by the PFP in the last white election was confined mainly to the better-off – to the upper layer of the white middle class, professionals and the business elite. The PFP has never had a significant base among white workers or the lower middle class, and can never gain one. This section of the whites can never be attracted to any programme of democratic change – however half-hearted – which is put forward on the basis of the capitalist system.
Simultaneously, the PFP is in the process of a subtle, but nonetheless significant, evolution toward the right. There was always a tension in the Progressive Party between the ‘humanitarian’ and ‘liberal’ emphasis most prominently represented by Suzman, and the more ‘pragmatic’, business-oriented wing led by Eglin, which controlled the party machinery. Heavily financed by Oppenheimer, the latter systematically built the party as a pressure-group of big-business interests, with a platform in parliament.
The amalgamation with the ‘Young Turks’ emerging from the disintegration of the UP and the formation of the PFP has accentuated this development towards pragmatism and readiness to compromise. The PFP has no prospect of ever winning an election and forming a government. This reality is more and more governing the manoeuvres of its leadership, while at the same time causing confusion in its lower ranks (particularly the more idealistic youth section).
Under the leadership now of Slabbert, the PFP is projecting itself as a potential partner in a coalition government with the ‘verligte’ Nationalists. At the recent congress of the PFP, Slabbert went so far as to spell out conditions for such a coalition. At the same time, he defended the South African military, and attacked was resisters among the youth, on the incredible pretext of maintaining the SADF as a strong force for the purpose of ensuring ‘peaceful change’!
Thus is the ‘liberalism’ of big business revealed.
But even liberals of the ‘old school’ can no longer evade the implications of the impasse of the SA capitalist system. Wedded to the politics of ‘free enterprise’, more and more aware that this is incompatible with a democratic society, they are obliged to turn their backs on the ideals of liberalism itself.
Thus Alan Paton executes a right-about-turn, and comes out publicly against his own former policy of ‘one man, one vote’. Quoted in the Sunday Times (15/11/81), he declares: “The concept of majority rule is purely hypothetical (!). If it were imposed (!!) on the country tomorrow it would mean the end of white South Africa and the end of much of the prosperity of the country.” (!!!)
This is symptomatic of the inevitable bankruptcy of all ‘liberals’ and ‘democrats’ who base themselves on the capitalist system. The importance of this lesson should be hammered home in the propaganda of our movement in order to ensure that its implications are fully understood by all activists and clearly explained among the masses.
Unable to hide its nakedness in the realm of political change, the big business establishment turns instead to proclaiming the need for private enterprise to ‘take the initiative’ in reforms of the social plane. But the endless new organisations of the liberal bourgeoisie, such as the Urban Foundation, quickly reveal themselves as little more than benefit agencies mainly for the purpose of promoting the black elite, and intended to defuse the militant mood of the majority.
Increasingly, it is to middle-class elements among the blacks themselves that the bourgeoisie is forced to look to carry the banner of ‘peaceful reform’ and compromise before the working people. The ruling class looks not simply for puppets but for leaders who can mobilise a measure of support among the masses and whose authority can be turned to controlling and disorienting the movement of the workers.
The strategists of capital seek black allies who may sincerely loathe the existing system, and who may give voice to radical opposition to apartheid, but who at the same time fear the workers’ revolution as a ‘fate too ghastly to contemplate’. Because many of these elements themselves suffer oppression at the hands of the state, they can gain for a time a certain authority among the people. The less conscious workers, particularly, can temporarily fall under their spell.
But under the impact of the struggle, such ‘leaders’ must inevitably expose themselves as agents of the enemy, betraying the real interests not only of the working class, but also of the black middle class, whose oppression cannot be ended without the seizure of power and the socialist transformation of society under the leadership of the organised workers.
The most conservative middle-class figures have already exposed themselves as outright lackeys of white supremacy, resting as they do on the Bantustan machinery of the apartheid state. Helping to exercise the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the working people, Matanzima, Sebe, Mangope and other Bantustan puppets, as well as the collaborationist Coloured and Indian figureheads, are already deeply hated by the masses. Only the repressive machinery of the state protects them for the time being against retribution.
Meanwhile Gatsha Buthelezi, the Coloured ‘Labour’ Party leaders, and others of this kind, have maintained a posture apparently to the left of the Matanzimas, etc. They have been able to camouflage their essentially conservative policies of compromise and negotiation, by means of verbal denunciations of the regime and hypocritical appeals to the masses. But in the face of every militant mass struggle – as was clearly shown in 1976 – these ‘leaders’ rush to restore ‘law and order’ in co-operation with the authorities.
Again, it is the state repression of the masses which alone has so far enabled these elements to weather the storm of the class struggle, and survive the penetrating criticism especially of the revolutionary black youth.
The most ambitious of the opportunists has undoubtedly been Gatsha Buthelezi. Mounting heroic phrases about freedom, pretending to stand for national liberation, and waving the colours of the ANC, in reality he has made himself the willing agent of the bourgeoisie and imperialism in their efforts to prevent the revolutionary overthrow of the SA state.
Buthelezi has some support among the oppressed people – but this is mainly confined to the older generation among Zulu-speakers, and to the least conscious workers who have not yet been drawn into struggle. Even this following is maintained only by his careful balancing act, but is at the same time constantly undermined by his inability to deliver any material improvements to the people.
The essential theme of his speeches when addressing mass meetings is the military might of the SA state. Claiming to be its implacable enemy, he maintains that it cannot be forcibly overthrown. Instead he offers the illusion of ‘peaceful change’ and compromise as a supposed alternative to revolution.
At the same time he has been skilful enough to equip himself with a greater force than oratory. Using the Bantustan apparatus in KwaZulu, he has been able, with big-business aid, to construct the Inkatha organisation with several hundred thousand members. This is intended to impress the population with his ‘authority’, to give him a bargaining lever with Pretoria, and to convince the ruling class that he can be relied on to control the masses.
At the head of Inkatha is a loathsome middle-class mafia, which uses its control of employment, housing, etc., under the Bantustan machinery to blackmail people into membership and intimidate them into obedience. The Inkatha leadership relies on backward prejudices to whip up violence and terror against its opponents. Under the shield of the SA state, Buthelezi has been engaged in building an armed corps specifically for use ‘against insurrection’.
Yet Inkatha is full of contradictions. It is riven with class division and held together by fear and ignorance. For most of its working-class members, it is the only legal avenue allowed for political organisation and mass activity. This Inkatha’s viability depends absolutely on the maintenance of state repression over the masses in South Africa as a whole.
Even in the short term, the intensification of the mass struggle must produce rumblings and rifts in Inkatha, with deepening divisions between its collaborating leadership and its working-class rank-and-file. In the longer run, the crippling of the SA state in a revolutionary situation by the explosive force of the mass movement, will also blow the lid of Inkatha.
There will be a mass gravitation of the Inkatha membership to link up with a national revolutionary movement. This will inevitable gather behind the banner of the ANC. In these conditions Buthelezi could move verbally far to the left, in a bid to retain his authority in order the more effectively to obstruct the movement. But it is more likely that he would be cast aside and trampled to dust by his own former supporters.
On the other hand, if the ANC leadership were to repeat its recent error of dignifying Buthelezi by apparently co-operating with him, he could succeed in covering his treachery with a ‘revolutionary’ mantle precisely at the most dangerous hour.
Meanwhile Buthelezi (as he is well aware) remains a key element not only in the strategies of imperialism, but also in the ‘total strategy’ of Botha and Malan. Unless they can incorporate him in their ‘constitutional dispensation’, designed to divide the oppressed people along ethnic and regional lines, the entire obnoxious scheme will remain obviously lifeless.
Behind the scenes, emissaries from the government, PFP leaders, the Urban Foundation, Oppenheimer and the big business establishment, together with agents of the US and other imperialist powers, labour to involve him in their various plans to obstruct the struggle of the oppressed. If Buthelezi so far avoids more blatant collaboration, it is not from any personal aversion to compromise. Rather it follows from the inherent rottenness of all the ruling-class schemes and their inability to bring real freedoms and material improvements to the working people.
Buthelezi understands that to ensnare himself prematurely would quickly strip away even the narrow basis of support he still has in sections of the African population. Thus he must continue to balance precariously, and wait in hope for a more favourable opportunity.
Buthelezi is a particularly cunning and treacherous exponent of the bankrupt policy of ‘peaceful change’ and of illusions in a ‘negotiated settlement’ of the conflict between oppressed and oppressor, exploited and exploiters in South Africa. But among our people there are, of course, others who hold to these illusions quite sincerely, out of ignorance, confusion or fear.
In the course of the coming years, as society polarises and the mass struggle mounts, the bankruptcy of compromise will more and more clearly be revealed. There is no middle way, and only conscious traitors and deceivers of the people will be left proclaiming that there is.
Instead, the oppressed working people will rally more and more to the task of preparing their forces for the revolutionary overthrow of the regime, as the only means of reforming and rebuilding society.