Socialist Alternative

Breakthrough for the CWI and the Working Class in South Africa

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The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM, CWI in South Africa) is growing at a rapid pace due to leading a mineworkers’ strike and initiating a new political party: the Workers and Socialist Party.

Independent, rank-and-file-led strike committees outside of the existing unions and normal bargaining methods emerged out of the 2012 mineworkers’ strike. These shaft-based committees were created by the Democratic Socialist Movement in the mining heartland of Rustenburg. The strike committees then spread nationwide, culminating in a national mineworkers’ strike committee.

The strike itself, the activism of rank-and-file miners and their network of strike committees were opposed by the pro-capitalist African National Congress (ANC) government and their Tripartite Alliance partners: the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

The mineworkers were abandoned by their leaders in the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and COSATU. NUM leaders actually collaborated with mine bosses. On August 16, 2012, South African police armed with automatic weapons opened fire and murdered thirty-four striking miners. This horrific repression reopened some of the deepest wounds of the apartheid era, such as the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960.

Out of workers’ anger over the Marikana Massacre, the striking mineworkers finding themselves without a political voice, and the tireless organizing of the DSM, on Thursday, March 21, 2013, six hundred delegates from all over South Africa launched the Workers and Socialist Party.

The mainstream media in South Africa is unable to ignore the emergence of the DSM and its role leading the mineworkers’ strike and starting the Workers and Socialist Party. The DSM has moved from branches in only a few areas at the start of 2012 to energetic branches and members in twelve cities, towns, and villages across South Africa at the beginning of this year.

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