Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The South African Freedom Day

South Africans mark Freedom Day on Tuesday and South Africa still has a lot to achieve before all South Africans are really free, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Monday.

"We cannot ignore the 58 percent of South Africans who live in poverty, who cannot really benefit from political freedom as they face a daily struggle to survive," spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.He said massive inequality had made South Africa the most unequal society in the world."Such inequality mocks our struggle to build a free, fair and equitable society. Neither can we celebrate freedom when our society is scarred by such high levels of crime and corruption."

He said there was a continued restructuring of the working class into a two-tier labour market.

"We suffer from the gross exploitation of workers, as capitalists seek new ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class and dodge around the labour laws." He explained that the first layer of workers enjoyed most of the rights contained in the constitution."They are covered by collective bargaining and enjoy better work security and better pay."

The second layer was of super-exploited workers without any rights or freedoms."For them, joining a union is a personal risk and upward job mobility is an illusion. It is a large and growing army of workers employed in low-paid, temporary, casualised jobs or employed through the enslaving labour broking system."

"The black working class, despite government provision of thousands of new houses, are still located far away from workplaces, forcing workers to spend a lot of the little wages they receive on ever-rising transport costs."

Workers bore the brunt of the recent capitalist crisis, caused by the greed of capital.In the first nine months of 2009 the country lost 959 000 jobs.

Craven said the only way for workers, their families and communities to win real and total freedom was for them to get organised in strong, fighting trade unions.And while Socialist Banner fully supports the efforts of the working class to unionize and resist the encroachments of capitalism , we need to heed the observations of Karl Marx and qualify the limits of trade unionism . Socialist Banner reminds the South African worker that only socialism will bring true emancipation from wage slavery and free the working class from capitalist exploitation.

"...the working class ought not to exaggerate to themselves the ultimate working of these everyday struggles. They ought not to forget that they are fighting with effects, but not with the causes of those effects; that they are retarding the downward movement, but not changing its direction; that they are applying palliatives, not curing the malady. They ought, therefore, not to be exclusively absorbed in these unavoidable guerilla fights incessantly springing up from the never ceasing encroachments of capital or changes of the market. They ought to understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economical reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto: “A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!” they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword: “Abolition of the wages system! "

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