VUKA DARKIE SPECIAL EDITION – BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST: THE STRUGGLE FOR FREE SOCIALIST BLACK CENTERED EDUCATION CONTINUES

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BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST: THE STRUGGLE FOR FREE SOCIALIST BLACK CENTERED EDUCATION CONTINUES

BLF applauds those who continue to play their part in the student struggle for Free Education, recognising the courageous work done in 2015, including the continual planning over what was meant to be a “festive period”. The principled position taken by the #FeesMustFall movement who rejects the idea of “Business as Normal, in an Abnormal Society”, is exemplary and speaks to the desire for black liberation from an anti-black, white-supremacist society.

APPLYING SANKOFA WISDOM WE LOOK BACK AND LEARN FROM KEY MOMENTS IN THE 2015 #FEESMUSTFALL STRUGGLE:

Unprincipled Unity is No Unity at All! – At the beginning of the #FeesMustFall struggle, BLF warned that an unprincipled unity with ANC via PYA, SASCO and other affiliates is no unity. Later, the #FeesMustFall movement was hijacked by the ANC, where they tried to dilute the radical politics of the movement, which saw it splintering and in need of rebuilding.

Why call unity with ANC aligned organisations unprincipled? Because it is the ANC that makes laws that exclude blacks, it’s ANC laws that legalise outsourcing and it’s the ANC government that killed workers in Marikana.

We call on #FeesMustFall to take a principled Black First position, recognising that the decolonisation project must essentially be rooted in Black Struggle. Furthermore, we warn against the liberalising of the movement, which is a product of unprincipled unity.

CONCERNING VIOLENCE –

We live in a violent state that sees black people as animals. The brutality by police on the UWC, TUT and CPUT students, when these notably black students refused to continue as if the struggle for liberation could simply be postponed, showed us the disdain for black life. Worse still, when these students defended themselves by using anti-black structures to counter institutionalised racism, they were rendered barbaric. We must be clear that violence is the only end toward social change, and to condemn the use of violence for liberation is to be anti-black. Impossible to have a Decolonised Institution in a Colonised Country – All institutions form part of society and has the purpose of serving the ends of society. These colonial institutions of learning thus serve only to promote an anti-black society and to groom black people to be machine operators of an anti-black system that safeguards land theft. We ask, what is education without land? Frantz Fanon says –

“For a colonized people the most essential value, because it’s the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.”

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

The struggle for Free Socialist Black Centred Education must be rooted in the quest to take back the land.

We must continue to use the program of #FeesMustFall to build principled black unity that prepares us for the liberation of the black majority. We recognise that Black History has deployed us into these anti-black institutions to move the black struggle toward liberation. While participating in an anti-black educational system, our analysis of oppression must assist us in the fight for liberation.

We must continue the struggle to End Outsourcing Now! – we reject the slave wages paid to our parents, the postponement of insourcing, and the continual refusal to allow worker rights. We must continue to demand that our parents earn a Living Wage, enjoy the full benefits at the institutions they work in, and are seen as co-leaders with the students of the institutions they make up. Without students and workers there will be no institution.

We are the institution, we must decide its future!

The Worker and Student Alliance is thus imperative. There is only one black struggle!

We are principally united Black First. The struggle for #FeesMustFall and the struggle to #EndOutourcingNow is a struggle for liberation, and exists in the context of reclaiming the land that was stolen, the land that brings justice!

BLF recognises that the utterances of Chris Hart and Penny Sparrow have far reaching ideological implications for the consolidation of the white power structure to further its anti-black project in all aspects of the black condition including education and most importantly land. To this end –  BLF maintains its demand for the “criminalisation of racism with the provision that blacks can’t be racist” and urges that the rallying call for #FeesMustFall incorporates the complete liquidation of racism.

“NO BUSINESS AS NORMAL, IN AN ABNORMAL SOCIETY”

1) Free Registration – No student should pay for education and all unemployed persons should register to learn
2) Free Education – No student should pay for education, including all human requirements to participate in education (housing, food etc)
3) End Outsourcing Now – In-source all workers, pay living wage with full employee benefits
4) Criminalise racism with provision that “Blacks can’t be racist”
5) Shut down all campus’ nationwide – No campus should be allowed to function if they refuse Free Socialist Black Centred Education and to Insource Workers, paying them a Living Wage, extending full employee benefits and recognising Students and Workers as the highest decision makers.
6) Occupy institutions of governance – Parliament of South Africa, Union Buildings as well as Lethuli House
7) Shutdown SONA – 7pm, Thursday, 11 February 2016

LET’S TAKE BACK THE LAND FOR FREE SOCIALIST BLACK CENTERED EDUCATION!

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BLF CONTACT DETAILS

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Zanele Lwana

Cell: +27 79 486 9087

Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

Lindsay Maasdorp

Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com

 

Face book page: Black First Land First

Twitter: @black1stland1st

Blog: http://www.black1stland1st.wordpress.com

 

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BLF CELEBRATES MAO ZEDONG’S 125TH BIRTHDAY

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BLF celebrates this revolutionary force whose name has attained historic proportions. We note that a full appreciation and true appraisal of the merits of Mao Zedong’s legacy is yet to be gleaned  retrospectively via the lens of a future truly liberated world. Mao’s revolutionary personality was exceptional. He was a spokesperson for the oppressed peoples, a leader of audacity, courage, wisdom and of an extraordinary capacity to discern the will of the people. Mao had a tremendous capacity to appreciate knowledge and experience, to understand a situation in its totality while maintaining his eye for the details, an unwavering commitment to achieving the strategic objective of the revolution, the ability to politically forecast events, great capacity to unite and lead the people in action, deep love for the people, strong faith in the future revolutionary society and was instrumental in leading the people in creating the powerful apparatus of the Chinese Revolution.

 

Many of us can’t identify a counter revolutionary current and those that drive it and are also not capacitated to deal with this phenomena. We are also often unable to distinguish between the contradictions prevailing between the oppressed people and the enemy, and; the contradictions that exists between the people. Mao Zedong gifted us with his revolutionary legacy that helps us to understand exactly how the various contradictions ought to be addressed. To commemorate the 125th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth BLF reflects on the essence of his immortal contributions “on the correct handling of contradictions among the people”. The following extract is useful:

 

“The question of suppressing counterrevolutionaries is one of a struggle between us and the enemy, a contradiction between us and the enemy. Among the people, some see this question in a somewhat different light. Two kinds of persons hold views different from ours. Those with a Rightist way of thinking make no distinction between the enemy and us and take the enemy for our own people. They regard as friends the very persons whom the broad masses regard as enemies. Those with a “Left” way of thinking magnify contradictions between ourselves and the enemy to such an extent that they take certain contradictions among the people for contradictions with the enemy and regard as counter-revolutionary persons who are actually not counter-revolutionaries. Both these views are wrong. Neither can lead to the correct handling of the question of suppressing counter-revolutionaries or to a correct assessment of this work.

 

Qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods. For instance, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is resolved by the method of socialist revolution; the contradiction between the great masses of the people and the feudal system is resolved by the method of democratic revolution; the contradiction between the colonies and imperialism is resolved by the method of national revolutionary war; the contradiction between the working class and the peasant class in socialist society is resolved by the method of collectivization and mechanization in agriculture; contradiction within the Communist Party is resolved by the method of criticism and self-criticism; the contradiction between society and nature is resolved by the method of developing the productive forces. . . . The principle of using different methods to resolve different contradictions is one that Marxist-Leninists must strictly observe.”

 

Birthday Greetings Comrade Mao Zedong!

 

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

 

26 DECEMBER 2015

 

Contact Details

 

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

 

Zanele Lwana

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 486 9087

Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.com

 

Lindsay Maasdorp

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.com

BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST COMMEMORATES THE BIRTHDAY OF THE FATHER OF PAN-AFRICANISM ROBERT MANGALISO SOBUKWE

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On this day the 05-12 1924 in Azania the God of Africa gave to us a warrior, a leader, a servant of the the African people and that was Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. Even his name Mangaliso which means a “Miracle” really for Azania, his birth was almost miraculous because Africa was in great need for a leader of his stature. Today we remember not only the man but his service to the realisation of a free Azania, where black people will be able to call their souls their own.

 

As BLF we draw our strength from this giant of Africa, to continue with his vision of a free Azania that truly belongs to its people. Today is a day all black people should use to reflect; organise ourselves and check whether we are still on the path which was charted to us by Sobukwe. BLF recognises that it is due to Sobukwe that we can affirm unequivocally without fear of contradiction, that for any meaningful freedom to be realised it must be for Black people first as we continue to be the most oppressed people in South Africa.

 

BLF knows that Sobukwe cannot be happy where he is when after 21 years of the so called democratic South African rule its people still remain the most poor and landless. We know this because for Sobukwe the land remained until his death the most essential, for he realised that without the people owning their land there can be no freedom, for without the land that nation is doomed.  The PAC’s famous rallying call “Izwe Lethu” which puts the land question at the centre of our peoples struggles attest to why the land question cannot be compromised.

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This fundamental pillar is what led Sobukwe to breakaway from the ANC in 1955 when it adopted the Freedom Charter in Kliptown. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe was totally against the notion that our land belonged to all who lived in it, meaning even those who colonised us had a rightful claim to our land.

In 1958 Sobukwe said on the adoption of the Freedom Charter:

“according to us the Freedom Charter is an irreconcilable conflict with the 1949 Programme seeing that it claims land no longer for Africans, but is auctioned for sale to all who live in this country. We have come to the parting of ways and we are here and now giving notice that we are disassociating ourselves from the ANC”

Today, on the birth day of the father of Pan-Africanism in occupied Azania BLF wish to reaffirm our commitment of the return of the land to its rightful owners (Africans) without any compensation or compromise. We wish to reaffirm as Sobukwe did before us that we will reject and expose anyone or any organisation that seeks to promote the “sell-out Freedom Charter” to our people as a solution to the return of our stolen land and our long lost freedom.

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The Freedom Charter is not a bible for liberation, it is a program of surrender. It was written by whites to maintain white supremacy and it is a tragedy that black leaders have been coerced by agents of whiteness to promote it as a programme of liberation.

Sobukwe as a leader served, suffered and sacrificed for the realisation of a free Azania. In an age where leaders of political partys in South Africa would not dare do what s/he asks of her/his members, Robert Sobukwe serves as a shining example of true revolutionary leaders that led from the front, instilling the type of leadership that institutionalised the moto “a leader must walk the walk and talk the talk” to engender confidence in the masses. Sobukwe remains one of the most feared revolutionaries in the history of the liberation struggle,  because of his non compromising stance on land, there has been focused efforts to systematically erase his powerful legacy.

We commit ourselves to never sell-out Sobukwe’s dream by deceiving the landless and the oppressed! We know the Freedom Charter is a programme of surrender not revolution! We stand with Sobukwe and Biko in the total rejection of the Freedom Charter!

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We thank our black Gods for Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe.

Azania shall prevail! Izwe Lethu! Sobukwe Lives!

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT

5 December 2015

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@­gmail.com

Zanele Lwana

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 486 9087 Mail: zanelelwana@gmail.co­m

 

Lindsay Maasdorp

(National Spokesperson)

Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Mail: lgmaasdorp@hotmail.c­om

A PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO

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We promise the politicians nothing! We demand that they deliver everything! All the political parties have now published their manifestoes; the empty ritual they buy our votes with. We say 17 years of elections without change are enough. Now we make our own manifesto:

We, the people of South Africa, hereby legislate a new law, titled “POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS: USE PUBLIC SERVICES”. This law compels all politicians, from the president to the local councilor, and all public servants, from the Director General to the sweeper and their families to use public utilities: Starting with the following:

  1. Hospitals.
  2. Schools.
  3. Transport.
  4. Housing! (The same standard house given to citizens must be used by all politicians and public servants)
  5. A living wage for all!
  6. Land belong to the people

Our politicians and public servants have neglected public services for far too long because they know they can take their families to the private sector. We say, what’s good for you is good for us. Equality for all, for real!

Our hospitals are falling apart; doctors and nurses are overworked and underpaid. By and large our public hospitals are places of death.  Simply put, no one is safe in our public hospitals. Our leaders, politicians, senior public servants and their families use private hospitals and that is why they don’t care about public hospitals which are used by the poor.

Our public schools are in bad condition, teachers are underpaid and the government is not investing in their training with the result that after 12 years of schooling most children from public schools can’t read, write or count.  This leads to a high unemployment rate amongst the youth who are trapped in hopelessness. Politicians and senior civil servants take their children to private schools.  This explains why public schools are not a priority for them.

Our public transport system is appalling. Every morning and night our people are packed into taxis, buses and trains like sardines. The queues are long and the fares are high. Our leaders, the rich and senior civil servants have big subsidies to get private transport. Some of our ministers can buy cars worth millions with tax payers’ money.

The townships are generally badly serviced. The houses are small and millions are forced to live in shacks. The RDP houses built by our black government are worse than the matchbox houses built during apartheid. Our leaders live in mansions, while the people are forced to live in rat-infested townships.

A living wage, the ANC and DA parties have legislated starvation minimum wages for our people. Farm workers earn a shocking R105 a day. Our government kills workers when they demand a living wage as in Marikana but cabinet ministers and members of parliament give themselves millions in salaries.

Land For 20 years of the ANC has delivered only 8% of land to black. It would take 100s of years to buy back our land.  Why are we buying our land back? We demand that all the land be nationalised without compensation and be equitably redistributed amongst the people.

We hereby commit ourselves to struggle to realize this legislation to hold public representatives and servants accountable to the people!

Together let’s make this law a reality.

This campaign is undertaken in the memory of Andries Tatane who was killed by our government for demanding quality services for all!

Issued by the September National Imbizo (SNI).

 

 

THE THOMAS SANKARA OATH FOR POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC SERVANTS  

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I the undersigned, hereby voluntarily, without any personal or business interest, have chosen out of my free will and without prejudice to serve the public as an elected representative of the people /  an employee in the public sector.

I understand that the most important principle and  my duty  is to  serve the public through providing  high quality services to all persons alike and that this necessarily entails performing the duties of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability!

This OATH is undertaken in the spirit of Thomas Sankara who set a shining example of how the public service must serve the people and not politicians or public servants.

I also understand that mutual respect between the State and its citizens is key to realizing true equality and I therefore, as a politician/public servant, do hereby commit myself to engage in prior consultation with the public to determine their needs so as to ensure that public services which are provided respond to the real needs of the people.

At no point shall I involve the police or any repressive arm of the state in dealing with matters related to the provision of public services to the people. It is not a crime for people to demand that the State provide public services to all its citizens in equal measure. The people are not criminals!

I commit myself to help build and promote an efficient public service system that ensures the real and legal dignity and equality of all. As a practical indication of my acknowledgement that the only way to ensure that the services that I provide are of an acceptable standard, I hereby undertake to use the services that the public sector provides to the people.  What is good for me is good for the people!

I THEREFORE declare that it is a criminal offence to use private services for myself, my family and my dependents, including but not limited to: education, healthcare, housing and transport. I’m committed to public service therefore; I use the services I provide.

 

DATED THIS   DAY OF

 

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DEPONENT

 

THE IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE TO KEEP SYRIZA ON THE SOCIALIST PATH

Parliamentary elections in GreeceSYRIZA came to power after proving considerable traction with the Greek masses on the basis mainly of it’s election promises to respond fully to the peoples needs. It’s anti imperialist, anti capitalist, anti austerity and pro socialist vision as reflected in its election manifest  suggests how SYRIZA intended to respond to the people’s needs once it took office. At that point of taking power the country had already experienced in excess of five years of austerity and it was characterized by all the ills of capitalist imperialism being a high level of unemployment, extreme poverty and general social upheaval. After signing the February 2015 austerity agreement with the “troika” (the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) the country was consequently subjected to structural adjustment plans (SAPS) that plunged it into deeper debt.  Subsequent to paying creditors over €13 billion since signing the agreement in February, Greece was unable to make further debt repayments and consequently begged the “troika” for  further financial relief. However the Tsipras  Government did not meet the expectations of the “troika” who required it to employ tighter SAPS on an already insanely pauperized population. It was consequently also unable to pay the  IMF the £1.6 billion that was due in June 2015.

SYRIZA is now confronted with addressing this question: How can it remain in power without compromising its Marxist principles? Post the national elections five months ago, the SYRIZA leadership, via its approach to austerity signaled a shift to a more “moderate” approach on addressing people’s needs. To this end the commitment to building society along socialist lines had to be postponed so as to deal with the “immediate crisis” (crisis of capitalism) that the country was experiencing. We saw this with the February agreement when the SYRIZA government reached a compromise with the “troika” that effectively via austerity involved the restructuring of the Greek economy. In this context the Left Platform within SYRIZA, which is made up mainly of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), Kokkino and the Anti-capitalist Political Group (APO), has consistently called for a return to the election promises of SYRIZA. The party’s declaration of principles and the political document concluded at its 2013 Congress are exposed to both radical left and conservative right interpretations. It indicates, for example, the renegotiation of loan agreements with the “troika” so as to cancel most of the debt instead of repudiating the debt entirely. It also indicates no desire to leave the Eurozone, but that it must prepare itself for any possibility.

It must be stated that the Left Platform’s unrelenting struggle to radicalize the political program of SYRIZA flowing from the party’s congress resolutions bore it’s revolutionary fruit when Greece voted NO to austerity in the referendum held on July 5, 2015. The future of Greece now depends very much on the continued commitment of the Left Platform within SYRIZA to keep the Party on it’s revolutionary path to a truly socialist society.

The September National Imbizo (SNI) now re-issues two statements of Sotiris Martalis and Antonis Davanellos who are members of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), the Left Platform as well as the Central Committee of SYRIZA. These statements were also attached to the article “Greece says no to austerity and yes to solidarity” published in the Socialist Worker website on July 6, 2015:

“Sotiris Martalis

EVERY ONE OF you knows the news, but I want to have the pleasure of telling you again. With all of the ballots counted, the “no” vote has won with 61.3 percent of the vote.

The second thing I can tell you is that in Syntagma Square, there is a huge demonstration taking place right now against austerity and in celebration of the “no” vote. At the same time, in the opposite camp, the conservatives have asked for the resignation of the former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as head of the New Democracy party. Meanwhile, a meeting has been called of leaders of all the governments in Europe because Europe faces a crisis.

This was a hard struggle. They used everything against us. They closed the banks. They canceled bank cards. Every day in the news, for hours and hours, they would show pictures of lines of people out of banks. They spread fear, promising that tomorrow, you will have no money. Tomorrow, you will have no medicine. Tomorrow, you will have no pension.

The European governments and media also helped to spread the terror. They changed the question of the referendum from “yes or no on the austerity agreement” to “yes or no on the eurozone.”

They tried everything. And against all this, the people succeeded.

We have come a long way, but we have a very long way still to go. Our goal–socialism–is a long way off. This was the second victory in the battle, but the war is not over. We must continue the war. We have many problems in front of us, and we must work to overcome them.

How did we get to this point? The first victory came with the election of January 25, which created a huge disruption for the ruling class and its austerity program. They tried all through these months to reverse the result of the election. But today’s vote showed that the opposition was deep, and that people want to continue this fight.

What was the basis for these victories for SYRIZA? One was the party’s promise to stop austerity. But the leadership of SYRIZA said to the people that there would be an easy way to accomplish this. They said they would be able to stop austerity by negotiating with the lenders. They said that because the right’s program has reached a dead end and is destroying Greek society, we could make an agreement with the lenders that will be a win-win agreement–one where both sides will benefit.

But from the beginning, the Left Platform in SYRIZA said that this promise was false. From the beginning, we said there must be a hard challenge to the lenders.

In February, the leaders of the government made an agreement that was a serious mistake. They said that we would pay all the debt, and do so on time. And for this, the promise was that the lenders would release some funds for the bailout. But in the five months since then, nothing has gone to Greece. On the contrary, they have taken 17 billion euros from Greece–7 billion euros since the victory of SYRIZA in January.

And still, the leadership of SYRIZA retreated further and went back to the lenders with a proposal that was unacceptable to the people inside and outside the party that supported it. Their proposal accepted the privatizations, increased the value-added sales tax and so on.

The Red Network stated its disagreements with this proposal. We said openly and publicly that we would not vote for this kind of agreement, either in the Central Committee of the party or inside the parliament. We organized with other forces to make this statement at public meetings. And other forces of the Left Platform said the same thing, at least with respect to the vote in the Central Committee.

Tsipras was caught in the crossfire. On one side was the lenders, who want to smash this government in order to show Sinn Fein and Podemos and every other force of resistance in Europe that there is no alternative–that this is what happens if you challenge austerity.

But on the other side was the left of SYRIZA. We said we would not vote for this agreement, and Tsipras knew that the government would fall.

How will Tsipras act now that the referendum is over? His main line was that we needed a “no” vote so that he will have the democratic demand of our people to go back to negotiations in a stronger position. Our campaign for a “no” vote was different. In the unions, in the branches of SYRIZA, in the communities and everywhere, we said simply that a vote for “no” was a vote to stop austerity, to stop the privatizations, to stop the layoffs and to increase the wages of the people.

These are very different positions. And this is the problem we will face in the coming days. I can think of 20 scenarios of how this might play out, but the point is not to guess about them.

The important point is that the left is in a much stronger position going into the next steps of the struggle.

I want to finish on a personal note.

These have been disastrous times for people like us in Greece. They have cut salaries by 35 percent. The cost of taxes has increased by eight times–not by 8 percent, or 80 percent, but eight times. There are 1.5 million people who are unemployed, which is 30 percent of the working class. And in addition to that, there are 800,000 people who are working, but they haven’t been paid in weeks or months.

There is so much misery. But at the same time, I am happy. We are making history in Greece. We are living history now. These are chances that revolutionaries do not always get even in their whole lifetimes. And I have seen it twice in my life–once after we overthrew the dictatorship in Greece, and now we have a chance to overthrow austerity.

You are fighting in very difficult conditions here. We know that you are in the heart of the capitalist system, but you must know that at the same time, we fight for you and with you, and we have gained a great deal of support from your organization.

And so I will close with the words that have been chants in Greece: SYRIZA, Podemos, venceremos! Oxi, oxi, oxi!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Antonis Davenellos

Dear comrades, we are living in a historic moment in Greece. As we write this message, we don’t know the result of the referendum. We don’t know whether we will suffer a major defeat or we will achieve a huge political victory, against mighty enemies.

As all the leaders of the European Union have said, the referendum in Greece is a choice between accepting and rejecting austerity policies. That is why the neoliberal leaderships all around Europe are weighing in decisively in favor of a “yes” vote.

They are openly blackmailing and threatening the population of Greece with economic strangulation. Their stated goal is to overthrow the government of SYRIZA, the first government in modern European history that is led by a party to the left of social democracy.

Inside the country, the referendum has created a clear class and political divide. On the side of the “yes” vote are the capitalists, the rich, the upper middle class that still has savings in the banks. Politically, they are supported by an alliance of the right wing, the social democrats and the “post-political” center-left Potami party. Most importantly, they are supported by the mass media and the constant blackmail of employers who are campaigning actively in favor of a “yes” vote.

On the side of the “no” vote are the workers, the popular classes, the poor. Politically, they are supported mostly by SYRIZA and–thank god–ANTARSYA, which had the courage to overcome sectarianism and take a clear stand in favor of a “no” vote.

The Communist Party, in this incredibly polarized situation, chose the road of abstentionism. They advocated a spoiled ballot, neither yes nor no! They are giving a better chance of victory to the worst enemies of our class. They will pay a price, both in elections and on the streets, in the years to come.

We state again that we don’t know whether we will win or lose. What we do know is that we fought, we are fighting, and we will continue to fight. That is why we believe that the left in Greece will remain strong and continue the struggle.

Many people, even among the international left, believed that SYRIZA was like a star falling from the sky in the middle of the night–that it would shine for a while before it disappeared forever. Underestimating the harsh difficulties we were facing, they preferred to provide us with predictions, rather than solidarity: SYRIZA will be a betrayer in the future, SYRIZA will be a betrayer right now, SYRIZA has already betrayed us. Together with thousands of activists of the left in Greece, we have proved them wrong.

Today, all around Europe, our class is facing a major assault, one of historic importance. This is what neoliberalism is about–a war unleashed by our enemies, a war that until now they are winning.

In Greece, the workers’ resistance escalated to such a point that it caused a political break. It gave rise to an anti-austerity party, SYRIZA and brought it to power in government.

We are aware that we are the “advanced guard” unit of the European left that has reached the enemy lines and is facing the ferocity of the enemy forces. As a unit that is leading the charge, it is possible that we might be defeated–that we might suffer major casualties. But we will have paved the way for our brothers and sisters who are coming after us–in Ireland, in Spain, in Portugal.

We will hold on as long as we can until the major battalions of our class arrive at the battlefield–the left in France and Italy. And then we shall win.

Forgive us for the warlike tone of this message. But this is how we are experiencing the situation in Greece right now. We are facing a merciless political and class war, and we are under heavy enemy fire.

We understood SYRIZA and related to it in this open way from the beginning, with our most important criterion being the escalation of class struggle and the political struggle. This never meant that we underestimated–or even worse, collaborated with–the retreats of SYRIZA’s leadership. We could easily provide you with a long list of persistent and difficult conflicts with the leadership of SYRIZA.

But for us, the important thing was that we had built the left wing of SYRIZA systematically and in an organized manner. This left can raise its voice on the front lines when it agrees with the party’s policy, but it can also prevent compromises and unacceptable retreats when it disagrees. Today, everyone, from Angela Merkel to the Greek mass media–knows that they cannot make plans for Greece without taking into account the strength of a genuinely radical left current inside SYRIZA.

This is why we are standing before you with pride, because we know that we have done our duty. And that is why our organization is stronger and healthier than ever.

Dear comrades, we know that you are fighting for the same goals we fight for, and in this struggle, you are facing the mightiest enemy on the planet. The best help you can give us is to keep up this struggle. With one additional goal: Defend and strengthen the International Socialist Organization. You are providing an example–as we do and as other comrades all over the planet do–that in the most different situations, the insistence on the building of revolutionary socialist organization is an indispensable part of the more general plan for the political victory of our class.

And in this struggle, you should know, dear comrades, that on the other side of the seas, in a small country called Greece, a large and active left will continue, under all circumstances, to fight for you, too.”

We Are The One’s We Have Been Waiting For

Issued By September National Imbizo

South Africa

9 July 2015

THE IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE TO KEEP SYRIZA ON THE SOCIALIST PATH

Parliamentary elections in GreeceSYRIZA came to power after proving considerable traction with the Greek masses on the basis mainly of it’s election promises to respond fully to the peoples needs. It’s anti imperialist, anti capitalist, anti austerity and pro socialist vision as reflected in its election manifest  suggests how SYRIZA intended to respond to the people’s needs once it took office. At that point of taking power the country had already experienced in excess of five years of austerity and it was characterized by all the ills of capitalist imperialism being a high level of unemployment, extreme poverty and general social upheaval. After signing the February 2015 austerity agreement with the “troika” (the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) the country was consequently subjected to structural adjustment plans (SAPS) that plunged it into deeper debt.  Subsequent to paying creditors over €13 billion since signing the agreement in February, Greece was unable to make further debt repayments and consequently begged the “troika” for  further financial relief. However the Tsipras  Government did not meet the expectations of the “troika” who required it to employ tighter SAPS on an already insanely pauperized population. It was consequently also unable to pay the  IMF the £1.6 billion that was due in June 2015.

SYRIZA is now confronted with addressing this question: How can it remain in power without compromising its Marxist principles? Post the national elections five months ago, the SYRIZA leadership, via its approach to austerity signaled a shift to a more “moderate” approach on addressing people’s needs. To this end the commitment to building society along socialist lines had to be postponed so as to deal with the “immediate crisis” (crisis of capitalism) that the country was experiencing. We saw this with the February agreement when the SYRIZA government reached a compromise with the “troika” that effectively via austerity involved the restructuring of the Greek economy. In this context the Left Platform within SYRIZA, which is made up mainly of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), Kokkino and the Anti-capitalist Political Group (APO), has consistently called for a return to the election promises of SYRIZA. The party’s declaration of principles and the political document concluded at its 2013 Congress are exposed to both radical left and conservative right interpretations. It indicates, for example, the renegotiation of loan agreements with the “troika” so as to cancel most of the debt instead of repudiating the debt entirely. It also indicates no desire to leave the Eurozone, but that it must prepare itself for any possibility.

It must be stated that the Left Platform’s unrelenting struggle to radicalize the political program of SYRIZA flowing from the party’s congress resolutions bore it’s revolutionary fruit when Greece voted NO to austerity in the referendum held on July 5, 2015. The future of Greece now depends very much on the continued commitment of the Left Platform within SYRIZA to keep the Party on it’s revolutionary path to a truly socialist society.

The September National Imbizo (SNI) now re-issues two statements of Sotiris Martalis and Antonis Davanellos who are members of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), the Left Platform as well as the Central Committee of SYRIZA. These statements were also attached to the article “Greece says no to austerity and yes to solidarity” published in the Socialist Worker website on July 6, 2015:

“Sotiris Martalis

EVERY ONE OF you knows the news, but I want to have the pleasure of telling you again. With all of the ballots counted, the “no” vote has won with 61.3 percent of the vote.

The second thing I can tell you is that in Syntagma Square, there is a huge demonstration taking place right now against austerity and in celebration of the “no” vote. At the same time, in the opposite camp, the conservatives have asked for the resignation of the former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as head of the New Democracy party. Meanwhile, a meeting has been called of leaders of all the governments in Europe because Europe faces a crisis.

This was a hard struggle. They used everything against us. They closed the banks. They canceled bank cards. Every day in the news, for hours and hours, they would show pictures of lines of people out of banks. They spread fear, promising that tomorrow, you will have no money. Tomorrow, you will have no medicine. Tomorrow, you will have no pension.

The European governments and media also helped to spread the terror. They changed the question of the referendum from “yes or no on the austerity agreement” to “yes or no on the eurozone.”

They tried everything. And against all this, the people succeeded.

We have come a long way, but we have a very long way still to go. Our goal–socialism–is a long way off. This was the second victory in the battle, but the war is not over. We must continue the war. We have many problems in front of us, and we must work to overcome them.

How did we get to this point? The first victory came with the election of January 25, which created a huge disruption for the ruling class and its austerity program. They tried all through these months to reverse the result of the election. But today’s vote showed that the opposition was deep, and that people want to continue this fight.

What was the basis for these victories for SYRIZA? One was the party’s promise to stop austerity. But the leadership of SYRIZA said to the people that there would be an easy way to accomplish this. They said they would be able to stop austerity by negotiating with the lenders. They said that because the right’s program has reached a dead end and is destroying Greek society, we could make an agreement with the lenders that will be a win-win agreement–one where both sides will benefit.

But from the beginning, the Left Platform in SYRIZA said that this promise was false. From the beginning, we said there must be a hard challenge to the lenders.

In February, the leaders of the government made an agreement that was a serious mistake. They said that we would pay all the debt, and do so on time. And for this, the promise was that the lenders would release some funds for the bailout. But in the five months since then, nothing has gone to Greece. On the contrary, they have taken 17 billion euros from Greece–7 billion euros since the victory of SYRIZA in January.

And still, the leadership of SYRIZA retreated further and went back to the lenders with a proposal that was unacceptable to the people inside and outside the party that supported it. Their proposal accepted the privatizations, increased the value-added sales tax and so on.

The Red Network stated its disagreements with this proposal. We said openly and publicly that we would not vote for this kind of agreement, either in the Central Committee of the party or inside the parliament. We organized with other forces to make this statement at public meetings. And other forces of the Left Platform said the same thing, at least with respect to the vote in the Central Committee.

Tsipras was caught in the crossfire. On one side was the lenders, who want to smash this government in order to show Sinn Fein and Podemos and every other force of resistance in Europe that there is no alternative–that this is what happens if you challenge austerity.

But on the other side was the left of SYRIZA. We said we would not vote for this agreement, and Tsipras knew that the government would fall.

How will Tsipras act now that the referendum is over? His main line was that we needed a “no” vote so that he will have the democratic demand of our people to go back to negotiations in a stronger position. Our campaign for a “no” vote was different. In the unions, in the branches of SYRIZA, in the communities and everywhere, we said simply that a vote for “no” was a vote to stop austerity, to stop the privatizations, to stop the layoffs and to increase the wages of the people.

These are very different positions. And this is the problem we will face in the coming days. I can think of 20 scenarios of how this might play out, but the point is not to guess about them.

The important point is that the left is in a much stronger position going into the next steps of the struggle.

I want to finish on a personal note.

These have been disastrous times for people like us in Greece. They have cut salaries by 35 percent. The cost of taxes has increased by eight times–not by 8 percent, or 80 percent, but eight times. There are 1.5 million people who are unemployed, which is 30 percent of the working class. And in addition to that, there are 800,000 people who are working, but they haven’t been paid in weeks or months.

There is so much misery. But at the same time, I am happy. We are making history in Greece. We are living history now. These are chances that revolutionaries do not always get even in their whole lifetimes. And I have seen it twice in my life–once after we overthrew the dictatorship in Greece, and now we have a chance to overthrow austerity.

You are fighting in very difficult conditions here. We know that you are in the heart of the capitalist system, but you must know that at the same time, we fight for you and with you, and we have gained a great deal of support from your organization.

And so I will close with the words that have been chants in Greece: SYRIZA, Podemos, venceremos! Oxi, oxi, oxi!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Antonis Davenellos

Dear comrades, we are living in a historic moment in Greece. As we write this message, we don’t know the result of the referendum. We don’t know whether we will suffer a major defeat or we will achieve a huge political victory, against mighty enemies.

As all the leaders of the European Union have said, the referendum in Greece is a choice between accepting and rejecting austerity policies. That is why the neoliberal leaderships all around Europe are weighing in decisively in favor of a “yes” vote.

They are openly blackmailing and threatening the population of Greece with economic strangulation. Their stated goal is to overthrow the government of SYRIZA, the first government in modern European history that is led by a party to the left of social democracy.

Inside the country, the referendum has created a clear class and political divide. On the side of the “yes” vote are the capitalists, the rich, the upper middle class that still has savings in the banks. Politically, they are supported by an alliance of the right wing, the social democrats and the “post-political” center-left Potami party. Most importantly, they are supported by the mass media and the constant blackmail of employers who are campaigning actively in favor of a “yes” vote.

On the side of the “no” vote are the workers, the popular classes, the poor. Politically, they are supported mostly by SYRIZA and–thank god–ANTARSYA, which had the courage to overcome sectarianism and take a clear stand in favor of a “no” vote.

The Communist Party, in this incredibly polarized situation, chose the road of abstentionism. They advocated a spoiled ballot, neither yes nor no! They are giving a better chance of victory to the worst enemies of our class. They will pay a price, both in elections and on the streets, in the years to come.

We state again that we don’t know whether we will win or lose. What we do know is that we fought, we are fighting, and we will continue to fight. That is why we believe that the left in Greece will remain strong and continue the struggle.

Many people, even among the international left, believed that SYRIZA was like a star falling from the sky in the middle of the night–that it would shine for a while before it disappeared forever. Underestimating the harsh difficulties we were facing, they preferred to provide us with predictions, rather than solidarity: SYRIZA will be a betrayer in the future, SYRIZA will be a betrayer right now, SYRIZA has already betrayed us. Together with thousands of activists of the left in Greece, we have proved them wrong.

Today, all around Europe, our class is facing a major assault, one of historic importance. This is what neoliberalism is about–a war unleashed by our enemies, a war that until now they are winning.

In Greece, the workers’ resistance escalated to such a point that it caused a political break. It gave rise to an anti-austerity party, SYRIZA and brought it to power in government.

We are aware that we are the “advanced guard” unit of the European left that has reached the enemy lines and is facing the ferocity of the enemy forces. As a unit that is leading the charge, it is possible that we might be defeated–that we might suffer major casualties. But we will have paved the way for our brothers and sisters who are coming after us–in Ireland, in Spain, in Portugal.

We will hold on as long as we can until the major battalions of our class arrive at the battlefield–the left in France and Italy. And then we shall win.

Forgive us for the warlike tone of this message. But this is how we are experiencing the situation in Greece right now. We are facing a merciless political and class war, and we are under heavy enemy fire.

We understood SYRIZA and related to it in this open way from the beginning, with our most important criterion being the escalation of class struggle and the political struggle. This never meant that we underestimated–or even worse, collaborated with–the retreats of SYRIZA’s leadership. We could easily provide you with a long list of persistent and difficult conflicts with the leadership of SYRIZA.

But for us, the important thing was that we had built the left wing of SYRIZA systematically and in an organized manner. This left can raise its voice on the front lines when it agrees with the party’s policy, but it can also prevent compromises and unacceptable retreats when it disagrees. Today, everyone, from Angela Merkel to the Greek mass media–knows that they cannot make plans for Greece without taking into account the strength of a genuinely radical left current inside SYRIZA.

This is why we are standing before you with pride, because we know that we have done our duty. And that is why our organization is stronger and healthier than ever.

Dear comrades, we know that you are fighting for the same goals we fight for, and in this struggle, you are facing the mightiest enemy on the planet. The best help you can give us is to keep up this struggle. With one additional goal: Defend and strengthen the International Socialist Organization. You are providing an example–as we do and as other comrades all over the planet do–that in the most different situations, the insistence on the building of revolutionary socialist organization is an indispensable part of the more general plan for the political victory of our class.

And in this struggle, you should know, dear comrades, that on the other side of the seas, in a small country called Greece, a large and active left will continue, under all circumstances, to fight for you, too.”

We Are The One’s We Have Been Waiting For

Issued By September National Imbizo

South Africa

9 July 2015