Cosatu Shopstewards Council, Tshwane

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By Peter Mothiba

SACP'S Dr Reneva Fourie's address COSATU shop stewards in Tshwane
SACP’S Dr Reneva Fourie’s address COSATU shop stewards in Tshwane


Cosatu Shopstewards Council, Tshwane

Cdes Mike Shingange, Boitumelo Pheleo, Nwabisa Majova, Joe Khokhela and all leaders and shopstewards of Cosatu, comrades and friends, good morning.

Congratulations on organising these shopsteward councils throughout the country as we mobilise towards workers day on 1 May.

We meet in an historic month, a month in which we lost several leaders. These include:

 cdes Winnie Mandela on 3 April and
 Violet Seboni on 4 April
 On 6 April we commemorated the execution of cde Solomon
Mahlangu, and

 10 April we commemorated the assassination of cde Chris Hani, and on

 24 April, we will commemorate the passing of cde OR Tambo.

All these comrades made significant contributions to our hard-won democratic transition from apartheid, which will be thirty years old on 27 April.

As we intensify our election campaign towards 29 May, it is important that we assess the international balance of forces and locate our domestic environment within it. Lenin says,

Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production … Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private.

The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The general framework of formally recognised free competition remains, and the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable.

Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) is an essential source for understanding modern-day capitalism.

All the main predictions of that work concerning the concentration of capital, the dominance of the banks and finance capital, the growing antagonism between nation-states and the inevitability of war arising out of the contradictions of imperialism, have been confirmed by the history of the last 100 years. However, Lenin’s analysis is based on the balance of forces at the time. Much has changed since then.

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union and GDR established a period of unrivalled US hegemony.

This ushered in critical structural changes in the capitalist world economy, namely hyper-globalisation, financialisation and digitisation.

These changes were underpinned by an ideology of free market fundamentalism known as neo-liberalism.

However, US hegemony is in decline. While neo-liberalism, in various forms, continues to be pushed, including in South Africa, the narrative that used to underpin a global ideological consensus is diminishing due to a series of crises, whether it be economic, political, social, technological, ecological or pathological.

Unilateralism is being challenged, and a multilateral world order is being born.

In this regard, one key feature is the rise of China as a significant industrial power.

Although China’s industrialisation mushroomed during the era of hyper-globalisation, it decidedly did not follow the neo-liberal policy prescriptions imposed on many other developing countries.

Instead, its industrialisation was a product of a state-led industrial policy.

And, while China has managed to eradicate absolute poverty, the bottom 50 percent of Americans did not experience improvement in their living standards in 70 years.

In the US, poverty has deepened, and inequality has widened.

Russia is also on the rise despite the post-Soviet containment strategy.

It has the second-largest global economic power backing its development, and Russia’s intervention in the conflict in Syria improved its diplomatic standing and helped shift the geopolitical balance of power in its favour.

The US is not easily giving up its hegemony.

It is deploying a significant effort to demonise China and provoke tension around Taiwan.

The US has successfully drawn Russia into a war with Ukraine by enabling the Ukrainian regime, which emerged through a US-orchestrated coup, to persistently commit atrocities against the historically Russian people located in the Donbas region and by fuelling NATO expansion into former USSR territories, including encouraging their puppet Ukrainian regime to seek NATO membership.

Now, the US, using Israel as its proxy, is trying to draw Iran, which is a global power in West Asia, as well as Syria and Lebanon (collectively called the’ Axis of resistance’) into yet another war.

The daily slaughter of Palestinians, the regular bombing of Lebanon and Syria, and most recently, the attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria are aimed at provocation.

By the way, the Iranian consulate that was bombed is in very close proximity to where we used to live ¬– and the January attack was in the very street where we used to live.

Watching tens of thousands of Palestinians die is extremely painful.

But while we salute the Yemenis for their brave military defence of the people of Palestine, the strategic thinking of those in the’ Axis of resistance’ deserves admiration. Our hearts bleed as the death toll in Palestine, in particular, as well as in Lebanon, rise daily.

But, were it not for the intellectual prowess and extreme discipline of the leaders of Hezbollah and the governments of Syria and Iran, in the face of excessive provocation, the death toll in West Asia would now be in the hundreds of thousands.

These acts of aggression occur because the aims of the imperialists have not changed: they remain a struggle for markets, raw materials and spheres of influence.

The US is unwilling to allow a multilateral world order to emerge and is intensifying its fights on all fronts.

The cost of life has never been an issue to them. The country exists on the very genocide of the indigenous peoples of America.

They have the blood of millions of Vietnamese, Afghanistanis, Iraqis and Syrians on their hands.

They seek war because it feeds their military-industrial complex and it allows them to steal other country’s oil and other natural resources.

But it is primarily this aggression that should make us super vigilant. Our government, as headed by the ANC, has aligned itself with those who support a multipolar world, a more just application of international law, and people-centred, pro-poor public policies through its role in BRICS plus and its position on Palestine. While the West maintains strategic relations with South Africa, it would prefer that the ANC be replaced.

In June last year, the Brendhurst Foundation hosted an international conference in Poland titled ‘Rolling back authoritarianism’.

Several key South African political players were present. These include the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Maverick, the DA’s John Steenhuisen and Gordin Hill-Lewis, the Mayor of Cape Town, IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa, Greg Mills, the Director of the Brenthurst Foundation and Bishop Luke Pato, of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

Other attendees included delegates from the US-backed RENAMO, which destabilised Mozambique after independence and UNITA, who led the counter-revolution in Angola.

At that conference, they adopted the 21-point Gdańsk Declaration. Under the guise of solidarity for democracy, the declaration is nothing more than a Pan-African regime change programme overtly sanctioned by Western powers.

One of the points in the declaration states, ‘Defending democracy requires common purpose—of solidarity—among Democrats inside and outside all countries.’

The declaration then proceeds to encourage the establishment of financial, military, and media network.

It openly promotes the establishment of coalitions to remove sitting governments and instructs political parties to ‘accentuate common interests between opposition groups and seek to find common ground over differences.’

In other words, that conference outlined the blueprint for the Moonshot Pact programme.

Two of the Moonshot Pact signatories, the DA and the IFP, were in attendance.

This coalition of the right, which in addition to the DA and IFP, includes ActionSA, the Freedom Front +, the Independent South African National Civic Organisation (Isanco), the United Independent Movement (UIM) and the Spectrum National Party (SNP), and also the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Ekhethu People’s Party (EPP), the United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) and the Unemployed National Party (UNP), has only one mission: to unseat the ANC and usher in a multi-party government following the 2024 National and Provincial Elections. The Pact is structured to produce a win-win for the DA.

However, more than wanting to unseat the liberation movement, the Moonshot Pact has committed to advancing neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism emphasises private individual and corporate interests and relegates the public good.

The Pact’s founding principles promote a higher place and role for the private sector in society and emphasise private activity in an open market economy.

The core Pact parties have opposed National Health Insurance, sought to reduce minimum wages and aligned themselves with the apartheid-Israeli regime.

Monopoly capital, the custodians of imperialism, is organising to unseat us from political power.

We, the working people of South Africa, can prevent it.

The current environment requires that we do everything possible to defend the South African national democratic revolution.

The situation in our country could be better.

Although more individuals are employed now than in 1994 and before, high unemployment persists.

Despite progress in reducing poverty, we remain with the unyielding problem of high poverty rates.

In addition, we require greater efforts to counter the prevalent and persistent levels of inequality.

These challenges require our government to take the lead in creating large-scale employment opportunities.

We further need the macroeconomic framework, including budget and monetary policies, to support industrialisation and sustainable employment creation.

We need to ensure that the National Health Insurance is implemented and that the Social Relief of Distress Grant is extended and improved to form a foundation for a basic income guarantee.

We must continue prioritising women and youth empowerment and work towards eliminating racial and gender inequalities in our developmental priorities.

At the same time, we must not forget the needs of people over 35, including the elderly.

These issues have been raised within the alliance and are included in the ANC’s election manifesto.

Thus, the current ANC election manifesto is a product of the alliance.

As we head towards 29 May, we draw on the qualities of our departed heroes and heroines.

They were humble, selfless and non-opportunistic. They had impeccable integrity and would not have associated themselves with corruption.

Importantly, they adhered to revolutionary discipline, subjecting themselves to democratic centralism, whereby decisions made by higher leadership organs are binding on individual leaders, members and lower structures, regardless of whether they held a different view.

The manifesto developed by the alliance offers the best programme to improve the quality of life of our people.

However, it can only be implemented if the liberation movement successfully counters the current imperialist offensive against it and secures a decisive victory on 29 May.

This requires that we exercise optimal discipline, unity and commitment.

I thank you.

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