Editor's Note: Below is a response by African Socialist International (ASI) Secretary-General Luwezi Kinshasa to an Open Letter written by Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) President Trivani Lybon Mabasa. Following Secretary General Kinshasa's response is the Open Letter by Comrade Mabasa.
The struggle in South Africa is against imperialist neocolonialism
By Luwezi Kinshasa; Secretary-General, African Socialist International
We, the African Socialist International, welcome the letter from the president of Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA), comrade Tiyani Mabasa, about the violence imposed on the people by the neocolonialist government in power there, led by the African National Congress (ANC).
We believe that the leadership and line of the ANC movement, and now government, has historically betrayed the African working class and poor peasantry in Occupied Azania (South Africa), in Africa and around the world.
Twenty years before the fall of direct white power (apartheid) in 1994, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) understood that the struggle in Occupied Azania was/is a struggle for land and black workers’ power. A struggle for national liberation and a leading entity in the quest for a United and Socialist Africa. And that it was/is not a struggle to replace white settler colonialism with black face neocolonialism, which is the end result of the African National Congress coming to power.
The Burning Spear newspaper archives holds countless articles and analysis on the struggle in Occupied Azania and the entire Southern Africa region.
ASI Chairman Omali Yeshitela, delivered a dynamic keynote presentation to the 8th Congress of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania in December 2002 in which he laid out the way forward for anyone who wants to complete the Azania revolution for real black power. [This powerful presentation is included in a video documentary covering the Chairman's first organizing trip to Africa and as a downloadable audio file from the Uhuru News store.]
Today, the South African state and government are run by the African petty bourgeoisie in the form of the African National Congress and other opportunists, black and white.
It is a land where the white people, whom makes up only ten 10% of the population, own 87% of the land. It is a land where there are more white millionaires now than there were during the apartheid years.
And it is also a land where ANC leaders have joined the list of millionaire parasites. And it is a land that left the nuclear capacity in the hands of the white oppressors.
The ANC, like any African petty bourgeoisie organisation, represents it’s treacherous social class. It is a selfish conscious class. It does not matter that they claim to speak or to mobilise on our behalf. it is a class for the benefit of a tiny minority of petty bourgeois collaborators. It is also a violent social class in the service of white imperialism, while at the same time calling for the people to be nonviolent in the struggle against neocolonialism and imperialism.
WE are not surprised by the assassination of the Andries Tatane, a science teacher who comrade Mabasa mentions in his letter. Nor are we surprised by the support Jacob Zuma’s ANC government’s backing of the aggression on Libya by white power NATO military forces as its voting for the genocidal UN Resolution 1973 indicates.
The ANC was nonviolent with the white settlers before the end of apartheid and after its end as well, as its Truth and Reconciliation Commission affirmed by pardoning known white war criminals, and by not opening up the prison doors and setting those free who had been illegally imprisoned by a rogue regime of declared anti-black white nationalist militants like the now dead terrorist, Terre Blanche.
We understand that the African petty bourgeoisie, white settlers and white imperialist rulers have an antagonistic social relationship with the masses of people in still Occupied Azania. And this contradiction between black workers, poor peasants and other oppressed social forces is an antagonistic contradiction that necessarily requires violence to maintain the colonialist relationship.
It does not matter if they use tasers or not, lethal weapons or not, they can only solve the contradictions with the peoples militarily. That is why the ANC is in a state of constant warfare against the workers.
If today, another black political formation of the African petty bourgeoisie went to power in Azania, they would do the same thing as the ANC. South African bourgeois democracy like any bourgeois democracy in the world is organised violence of the haves against the have nots.
In south Africa, the state is an instrument of violence in the hands of the African petty bourgeoisie against the African workers, peasants and the people in a contest of irreconcilable national and class contradictions.
That is why comrade Amilcar Cabral, communist revolutionary and son of Africa, could make the statement with clarity, that the “highest expression of democracy is Self-Determination.” It is not simply counting the number of votes cast; It is an act of national liberation victory; it is the smashing of the neocolonial state; it is the reorganisation of the national economy to serve the needs and aspirations of African people; it is African Tribunal for Africa and African people to put on trial all those who committed crimes against African people and Africa,
It is the acceleration of industrialisation of Africa from Azania; it is the acceleration of the unification of Africa under the leadership of African workers.
We should not waste time talking about the symptoms of imperialism like corruption, unemployment etc. Instead, we must focus on structural solutions , which begin by the recognition that the building of a revolutionary party of the working class is an urgent priority.
This task cannot be done satisfactorily outside the existence of the African Socialist International, which is the custodian of struggle against opportunism within the International African Revolution or anything which claims to be that. The ANC state must go; opportunism in all historical national liberation organisations must be defeated.
Build the ASI! We want our land back! Complete the Azania revolution! Power in the hands of African workers!
The brutality of the ruling elitist regime
14 April 2011
By Tiyani Lybon Mabasa; President, Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)
"BASIDUBULELA IZINGANE ZETHU ZISEZINCANE LONKE ILIZWE, BALAWULA NGEZIBHAMU," is an isiZulu struggle song.
Loosely translated, it means "They kill our children whilst they are still young all over the land because they rule through the barrel of a gun."
I vividly remember this song being sung as we marched from Ipelegeng Community Centre in White City to Jabulani Police Station to protest against the brutality of the apartheid police force in 1991.
The march was led by the late Comrade Chris Hani; Comrades Tokyo Sexwale and Mama Winnie Mandela of African National Congress/South African Communist Party (ANC/SACP), and me, representing Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) .
Comrade Hani was, on that day, reminiscing about how he was part of the heroic guerrilla detachment that engaged the enemy at Wankie in then Rhodesia and how the late ANC president O.R. Tambo had come to Botswana to secure his release.
Comrade Tokyo talked about his experiences during their trial in 1977, the “ANC Twelve,” in Pretoria, and recalled how some of us helped the families to attend the trial.
We talked about the violence that had become common course for our people and how we wanted it to be brought to an end and how we wanted to see our people living in peace.
To us at that time, the daily unbridled police violence fully represented the essence and ethos of the apartheid state and its leaders.
After all, the police are but part of the security structure that maintains and sustains state rule.
The apartheid police were known and expected to be brutal because their duty was to impose the rule of an ignoble and illegitimate regime.
While we did not at any point willingly subordinate ourselves to the apartheid regime, we understood the motive force behind their security apparatus.
What we cannot accepted nor even understand today is that a regime that claims the mantle of “democracy” is turning out to be more violent than was the apartheid regime.
If the late Comrade Muntu Myeza were here today, he would most probably have said, "This situation has a diabolical ring of déjà vu.”
Our people are reliving the horror.
Even aside from the unbridled corruption of the political leadership and the police, the “democratic” dispensation, which was supposed to not be a police force (with its full connotation) but a service, has transmogrified into something even worse.
One need only to look into the statistics of those who die in police custody, those who are murdered by the police, or the many cases of assault to understand that the ruling party and its instruments of enforcement have crossed the threshold and have thereby ceased to be just a government; instead, they are a regime and a system.
A few days ago, our country watched in horror as the Ficksburg shoot-to-kill cops, so socialised and trained by our political leadership, gleefully killed a protestor, the greatly respected school teacher, Mr. Andries Tatane.
In broad daylight, in full view of both electronic and print media.
Mr. Tatane was one of the rarest breed in the education of the black child: a math and science teacher.
We should not be misled into believing that Mr. Tatane was killed by a rogue cop, no!
He was a victim of a system, a system that is decidedly repressive.
It is a system that sends armed police with live bullets to put down unarmed, peaceful protestors.
They flout every rule of the use of rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Their political leadership is misspending billions of dollars on arms deals, when in reality there are no foreseeable wars.
Rather than to invest in non-lethal weapons like tazers, they have decided to turn communities into enemies.
In recent months we have witnessed massive protests involving millions of people in North Africa, where no violence was unleashed against protestors, even though they were protesting for things much more serious, comparatively.
Protestors in North Africa were protesting against regimes we had known to be repressive and violent, yet no bullets were fired by the army or police in Tunisia, when people numbering in the millions went to the streets to demand bread and water from very corrupt regime.
The reality is that in all legitimate service delivery protests, this regime has used brutal force.
Just recently we witnessed the horror of police violence in Ermelo, Standerton, Balfour and literally the whole of Mpumalanga.
Such protests have become commonplace throughout the length and breadth of the country.
It isn't as if our people have a choice; what are people expected to do when almost 50% of us live in abject poverty, at under a $1 a day, when more than 60% of young people are unemployed (and here we are referring only to those who actually make it to the statistics, since those who have never been employed are not part of the statistics).
This has been so since 1994. Our people are not being given a break.
Instead they are being met by total and absolute brutality.
There are many today who bear scars or were maimed by this regime’s police 'Force.'
The ones who, it is alleged stage murderous cash-in-transit heists to improve their own ratings and profiles.
This regime can no longer rightly claim to represent all the people when they treat as enemies the very same people who put them into office.
What they have so far excelled in, is only that which they should not have done at all, like rampant corruption from top to bottom and end to end.
Those of us who were involved in the struggle, those who in the dark and hard years made sacrifices, hoped that the reactionary violence and terror against our people would come to an end.
Our victory against the apartheid regime was supposed to have secured for us space and place where our humanity and dignity could be restored.
We thought the nights of terror and anguish had gone but, lo and behold, the worst experiences and fear still haunt us.
This regime only talks to us through the barrel of the gun.
They use the same methods against protestors as those used against our people by the likes of the military strongman and quisling brigadier Oupa Gqozo of then Ciskei.
The system, underpinned by private ownership of the means of acquisition of property, has completely and totally failed our people.
It has been unable to transfer wealth or even well being to the majority of the people of our land.
The black majority are the hardest hit, and the message is quite clear: our people cannot remain silent in the face of such great injustices.
The apologists of the system and government want us to 'stand aside, watch as the tears go by.' We refuse!