3 March 2007

State and Revolution

There are no other statements quite like the COSATU Central Executive Committee’s. The CEC is the (usually) three-day high-level delegate gathering of COSATU’s 21 affiliates. These statements are like revolutionary bulletins from the Smolny Institute in 1917 (see also “Ten days that shook the world” by John Reed). They are full of detail and specificity, but also full of fundamental theoretical challenges. For example, are apparent “shifts” in government policy to be denounced as mere window-dressing and reformism that disguises the continuing vicious dictatorship of the bourgeoisie?

Or, is gradualism at last successfully materialising after more than a century since Eduard Bernstein published “
Evolutionary Socialism” in 1899, triggering Rosa Luxemburg’s 1900 response in the form of “Reform or Revolution” and V I Lenin’s 1902 riposte in the form of “What is to be done”, the book sometimes regarded as the blueprint of the communist parties?

Or is it simply a matter of picking up the incidental gains of working-class pressure, the better to consolidate the revolutionary potential of the working class? Read this week's CEC statement via the link below, and make up your own mind.

The Financial Mail is playing a strange role in the Fidentia scandal. Two weeks ago when the furore around the billion-Rand rip-off from poor widows and orphans of deceased mineworkers and other workers was at its height, the FM had absolutely nothing to say about it. The next week they carried a full-page interview with chief crook J Arthur Brown, basically giving him a free platform to trot out his pork pies (lies).

But this week the FM comes out with an attempt by one Prakash Naidoo in which this reporter, wittingly or otherwise, misleads his readers into thinking that COSATU is somehow a perpetrator and not a victim of the Fidentia scam circus. He omits altogether to mention that COSATU’s savings management in Kopano Ke Matla is governed, just like Living Hands and the Mineworkers Provident Fund, by a board of overseeing trustees. It is high time these journalists investigated who all these trustees are and were in the past, and sorted the sheep from the goats. See COSATU's full response to the FM article via the link below.

In an otherwise brilliant article, Moneyweb’s Barry Sergeant also begins to lead off into the blue, instead of grilling the people who had been set to watch over these assets. These are the trustees, or former trustees. Sergeant is more interested in the “big wheels in the background” such as a man called Goodwin.

Well, fine, but as the liberated slave said: “I know who bought me, but what I want to know is: Who sold me?” Who sold the beneficiaries down the river? Who sold them away into the hands of the Browns and the Goodwins? See the link below for Sergeant’s nevertheless wonderful article.

In the hard-copy version of the Mail and Guardian there is a very good article by Tumi Makgetla, which does return to the question of the trustees. It is not yet on the Internet.

Finally, the reflector of labour in the columns of the bourgeois business press, Terry Bell, comes out clear in defence of the right to organise and nails the reactionary, backward nature of the employer Vodacom, in the face of the workers' efforts to organise there. What is Vodacom? Are they spies, that they can’t have a union? The union is the Communication Workers Union (CWU) by the way and it needs maximum worker solidarity right now. For shame that employers should flaunt this kind of arrogance in liberated South Africa! See Terry Bell’s article via the link below.

Click on these links:

COSATU CEC statement, 1 March 2007 (5589 words)

COSATU response to the Financial Mail (769 words)

From Kebble to Brown, Barry Sergeant, Moneyweb (778 words)

Vodacom shows unions need a voice, Terry Bell, B Report (805 words)


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