Down With The Growth & Developement Summit (GDS) False Consensus Can Never Replace Mass, Working Class Struggle!

Thursday 5 June 2003 by APF

Down With The Growth & Developement Summit (GDS) False Consensus Can Never Replace Mass, Working Class Struggle!


The Realities of South African Society When the ANC government introduced the capitalist GEAR macro-economic framework in 1996, they promised that it would result in economic growth and investment that would ’deliver a better life for all’. Instead, hundreds of thousands of workers have lost their jobs, hundreds of thousands of people (mostly poor) have died of HIV-AIDs, millions of poor have become even poorer, and the few capitalist elites have grown richer. Over 40% of South Africans are now unemployed, up to 70% of the entire population is in poverty, millions can no longer afford the most basic needs/services like water, electricity, housing and healthcare and less than 2% of all land has been redistributed. On the other hand, GEAR has certainly ’delivered’ to select capitalist elite that has grown incredibly wealthy and arrogant on the increasing exploitation and misery of workers and the poor.

The Intensification of Working Class Struggle As a result, working class struggle has intensified. Organised workers in COSATU have embarked on several strikes against GEAR and its policies (especially privatisation) and angry working class communities have been fighting against cut-offs, evictions and landlessness. Because of this, the leadership of the organisations that make up the ruling Tripartite Alliance (ANC-SACP-COSATU) are seriously worried. They are afraid that they are losing the support of the millions of workers and poor and that many will not vote for the ANC in the upcoming elections. They are afraid that they will no longer be able to dampen the increasing militancy of organised workers and poor communities. They are afraid of working class struggle. Likewise, the capitalist bosses are afraid that unless the intensified struggles of the workers and poor are brought under control, they risk losing their super-profits and the power and privilege that comes from their sweetheart GEAR relationship with the ANC government.

Another attempt at False Consensus We must remember that all attempts by the ANC government to force a false capitalist consensus (e.g., NEDLAC, Jobs Summit, NEPAD) on South African society have only resulted in increased poverty and hardship for the poor. The GDS will be no different. The GDS, which will involve leaders of government, business, organised labour and so-called leaders of the ’community sector’ (mostly SANCO), is taking place to try and achieve a false partnership and consensus around the continued implementation of GEAR (and its continental twin - NEPAD). The GDS is taking place to try and convince the millions of workers and poor that a more caring capitalism will create jobs, reduce poverty and lead to economic prosperity for everyone. Above all though, it is taking place to find new ways to contain anti-capitalist, working class struggle.

Why the GDS will fail the poor The main reason why the GDS will fail the poor is simply because it will not confront the capitalist GEAR economic framework that has brought such high levels of social injustice and economic inequality. As a result, the GDS will only deal with minor changes in the ’policies’ that flow from GEAR and agree to throw a bit more money in the direction of the poor. It will do nothing to confront the real source of meaningful development and growth - redistribution of ownership and wealth. The forced and false consensus that will come out of the GDS will mainly benefit the capitalist bosses and the new black elite that the ANC government is so keen to build. The poor will simply be asked to embrace and celebrate their continued marginalisation and to be happy for the crumbs they will be thrown from the ’masters’ table.

THE GDS is a trap! Forward with Mass Struggle for Real Change The APF believes that it is only through mass struggle that the millions of workers and poor in South Africa can effect genuine and long-lasting change in their lives and in society. It is through mass struggle that the power of the working class is truly felt by the ANC government and capitalist bosses - that is why they are afraid and that is why they want to create a false consensus and trap the workers and poor through the GDS. If we play by the ’rules’ of their ’game’ then the most powerful weapon that the working class has to change society - mass, anti-capitalist struggle - is taken away.

The APF calls on COSATU to pull out of the GDS and instead to put its energies and resources towards organising and mobilising workers to directly confront the ANC government and the capitalist bosses with the full power of organised workers through strikes and in mass struggle with poor communities - in the urban factories, in the rural workplace and on the streets. We call on all organisations and movements of the poor to reject the GDS for the fraud that it is and to expose SANCO as a ’civic’ front for the ANC’s control and containment of the emerging and ever-growing militant anti-capitalist struggles of the poor. The ’developmental’ future of South Africa cannot, and must not, be handed over to the political and economic fat cats who will dominate the GDS. That future lies in the hands of every ordinary worker and every poor person, where we live, where we work and where we struggle.

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