The first national meeting of the newly formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) was held in Birchwoods, Ekurhuleni, South Africa on December 14 and 15. The two-day Pre-Launch Conference was attended by 1,100 delegates from all nine provinces of the country. The formation of the party has been driven by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)
The party aims to contest in the upcoming national elections in South Africa next year. The conference was aimed both at assessing how far the party has established on-ground structures across the country, as well as formulating a path for the lead-up to the elections.
Declaring itself anti-capitalist, the party seeks to challenge the African National Congress (ANC) and give a political platform to the country’s working class.
After SRWP successfully registered with the Electoral Commission of South Africa two months ago, interim member of the National Working Committee, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, was quoted saying, “Our focus right now is to educate and deliver the consciousness among the working class. So that they know the power that they have because they are the ones who must lead this nation, and they are the ones who must find solutions for all the problems we face as a society.”
Party members have stressed upon the need for uprooting capitalism from the country in order to rid the nation of racist oppression and inequality.
Explaining the need for an anti-capitalist party, Phakamile said, “NUMSA was integral to the national liberation movement to defeat apartheid, they fought side by side, together with the ANC… However, in South Africa, more than two decades after that system has been overthrown, the working class majority continues to live in the same conditions that existed during apartheid. More than half the population languishes in poverty… South Africa is one of the most unequal countries of the world, with the wealth of the country owned by three white billionaires.”
The party also condemned the misinformation being spread about it by certain news organizations. BusinessLIVE published an article titled, “SAFTU rejects Numsa’s Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party.”
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) released a statement soon after, clarifying its stance. The article was in response to an earlier press release issued by SAFTU after a meeting of its National Executive Committee.
SAFTU said the article “fails to find anything in that statement to support either the article’s totally false headline, or to justify the article’s main allegation that SAFTU ‘dealt a major blow to its affiliate, NUMSA on Tuesday, by rejecting its newly registered Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP).’”
In their statement, the trade unions’ federation reiterated its previously declared objective of remaining independent of all political parties while lending support to all working class formations. They said tht this stance had been falsely construed by the news outlet as a rejection of the SRWP.
Following the Pre-Launch Conference, the SRWP released a document outlining its goals for the coming months. The document also noted that “it is impossible to resolve the national, gender, race and class question in South Africa and the rest of the post colonial world without simultaneously defeating capitalism and imperialism and establishing socialism.”
The party aims to hold a National Launch Congress from March 22 to 24 of 2019 The formation of relevant committees will be carried out for this purpose, along with a “nationwide Party Building and Membership Development Programme.” A separate commission will be created to look into the party’s work for the 2019 elections.
The document concluded by declaring, “We depart from our Pre-Launch Conference determined not to fail the workers of the world in our struggle for a Socialist South Africa, Africa and Socialist World.”