South African Communist Party 1934
First Published: 1st December 1934 as A call to National and Social Emancipation. The pamphlet was sold for 3d.;
Written: by John Gomos District Organiser of Communist Party Cape Town Branch.
Transcribed: by Ayanda Madyibi.
On the 1st December, 1934, it was a 100 years since the “abolition” of chattel slavery. The christian priests and missionaries called the people to church services on that day to pray and give thanks unto God for the “emancipation” of slaves. The newspapers and churches made quite a great deal of FUSS over this event, as if the descendants of slaves are so distinctly better off today.
Also, in January 1935, a pageant of magnificent dimensions is to be staged in order to celebrate the “EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES” in 1834. We deliberately put the “emancipation of slaves” in parenthesis, because, in face of the persistent increase of exploitation, oppression, and injustice suffered by the non-Europeans particularly to-day, to talk of “emancipation” is sheer hypocrisy. In order to expose this hypocrisy the COMMUNIST PARTY has published this pamphlet and has laid down in it as precise, enlightening ,and frank exposition as only a TRUE WORKER’s PARTY like the Communist Party is capable of. It is the aim of this pamphlet to show to the workers, particularly the non-Europeans, the slavery in one form — CHATTEL-SLAVERY — has been abolished, its place taken by another form — WAGE SLAVERY — and therefore not to rest content with that ,but to struggle for final emancipation from capitalist-imperialist oppression and exploitation.
Under chattel-slavery the slave was bought and sold and became the property of the buyer. Under the system of wage-slavery, to which workers of all races in all capitalist countries are subjected at present, the LABOUR or LABOUR POWER of the individual worker is bought, a wage is paid to the worker by the employer, and the employer only takes an interest in the welfare of his workers in so far as it helps him to make profits out of them.
Under chattel-slavery the slave was oppressed and exploited by the slave master and slave rebellions took place time and again led by the instinctive surge to freedom. The wage-slaves — workers of today — are exploited and oppressed by the capitalist employers. As under the system of wage-slavery, so under capitalist slavery, workers are constantly struggling for better conditions and for the ABOLISHMENT OF CAPITALIST SLAVERY in South Africa and in all capitalist countries. The struggles of the industrial workers and oppressed colonial peoples take on more and more a bitterly conscious fight against exploitation and imperialist slavery, for that OVERTHROW of this FINAL slave system of the government and for the establishment of a government led and controlled by the workers and all toilers.
This shows that the fight for freedom, economic, and political is yet to be continued. The abolition of slavery in 1834 has PAVED THE WAY FOR THE FINAL STRUGGLE AGAINST THE LAST FORM OF SLAVERY, CAPITALIST WAGE-SLAVERY. We will show in this pamphlet by comparing the present conditions of wage-slavery with the chattel-slavery of 100 years ago, that the Native, Coloured, white, and other toilers in South Africa have very little to be over-jubilant about. Each December 1st should NOT ONLY be a day to pray, celebrate and rejoice over the “emancipation” of chattel-slaves in 1834, but must be a day to review their forces for the struggle against the economic, political and social COLOUR BARS, exploitation and oppression. Present day conditions necessitates this struggle more than ever.
As the majority of Native, Coloured, and Indian toilers of S. Africa are still under the mistaken impression that their economic, political and social problems can be solved within the scope of the present capitalist-imperialist system of government, the Communist Party will make it clear in this pamphlet that it is only by overthrowing this system of government and by the setting up of and INDEPENDENT NATIVE REPUBLIC — WITH A WORKERS'AND PEASANTS'GOVERNMENT AT THE HEAD will the way further have been paved to economic, political ,and social freedom.
Up to hundred years ago, men, women, and children were sold by auction like cattle. Greedy adventurers from Europe in search for wealth did not hesitate in capturing men, women, and children from Mozambique, West Coast of Africa, India and the Far East to be sold like cattle to farmers and plantation owners in the Cape in the West Indies and other places. This “odious traffic in human souls” was of course a most profitable one.
Consideration for the unfortunate slaves was, however, of no importance. Father, mother and children were offered for sale individually and sold to different slave masters. Husband and wife, parents and children were offered for sale individually and sold to different slave masters. Husband and wife, parents and children would never see each other again. It was not unusual for them to be beaton up by the cruel slave drivers as cattle are never dealt with. 20 to 50 slaves often used to be herded together under on roof in a gaol — like dormitory . Within the 24 hours of day and night there was no limit of a working day for slaves. In many cases the dogs of the slaves . Yet “illicit union between European farmers and slave women produced a new race of half breeds” , as Prof A.F. Hattersley writes in his book “South Africa.”
That is how the “civilised” gentlemen who hailed from “Christian” Europe treated the “backward” and “uncivilized” peoples. These unfortunate people, whose rights they outraged, whom they stole from their country and people, dragged husband from wife and children from parents, were not considered as human souls but as so much profitable wares. We have for instance on record and advertisement in the “Gazette” of 12th October, 1821;"THERE WILL BE SOLD A FEMALE SLAVE 54 YEARS, WITH 5 CHILDREN (13, 10, 9, 7, 5, YEARS OLD), EACH TO BE PUT UP SEPARATELY.” The utter callousness and insensibility of these slave drivers was indescribable. But chattel-slavery was a landmark in the progress of mankind and the terrific denial of human rights did not neglect to produce its effects.
The slaves many a time revolted against these in-human conditions to which they were subjected by their slave masters. Many fled and escaped into the mountains from the captivity of their slave masters. These runaway slaves became known as “drostders.” Near Stellenbosch there is a “drostders Cave,” which used to be the retire of such runaway slaves. If it was not for the fact that the number of slaves owned by each slave owner were small the number of slaves revolts would have taken on more serious aspects. It was otherwise with the Negro slaves of the West Indies who worked together in large numbers of the cotton fields and other occupations under slave matters. There slave revolts were more frequent and of enormous expansions. The slaves put up disputed fights against slave driving and for freedom.
Chattel-slavery was not only a form of exploitation under which the black people of Africa and Asia suffered. It was a definite STAGE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN SOCIETY. Chattel-slavery existed in Europe and hardly a race of people escaped this scourge of oppression. We read in the Bible of the Israelite and other slaves under the rule of the Pharaohs. History tells us of the enslavement of the Britons by the Romans; of slavery in the Roman Empire; of how the Moors of Africa conquered the Andalusians in Spain and made them slaves. In the early days of human history a tribe or nation were made slaves by their conquerors in war. Even the stronger Native tribes of Africa made slaves of the weaker and more backward tribes, some even to this day.
Slavery was abolished or a number of reasons. Primarily because of the improvement and changes in the methods of producing the necessities of life. Secondly, because of the development of the material conditions of humanity and on the basis of which developed and advancing and progressive working class in Europe. Chattel-slavery under which the slave is bonded to the land of the master, became a cumbersome and too backward form of exploitation. It was necessary to have more “free” and technically advanced slaves to do the work of the TECHNICALLY ADVANCED INDUSTRY. When workers were needed for a few days, for casual work, it was certainly more expensive to buy slaves and to be bothered with their upkeep when the boss had no more work for them. The changed face of the world, the changing methods of production and distribution required “free” labourers WHO WILL BE PAID FOR THE TIME THEY WORK AND NO MORE! There food, clothing, shelter etc. they must find themselves. IF THEY HAVE NO WORK THEY STARVE!
Various churches, missionary bodies, liberal institutions and persons will and have celebrated this famous centenary with pompous clamorousness and claim credit for the emancipation of slaves. But as we have stated above the setting free of slaves was foremostly due to the changing material conditions in human society. More over, the slave owners in the Cape were VERY LIBERALLY PAID BACK THEIR COIN, to the extent of $3,000,000 by the British tax payers. In the interests of the industrial capitalists of America, the North went to war against the farmers and plantation owners of the South in order that the chattel-slaves should become “FREE” WAGE-SLAVES.
But even then there were certain churches, representing the interests of the slave masters, who were persistently opposing the liberation of the slaves. Precisely the same today, the CHURCHES OPPOSE THE LIBERATION OF LABOUR AND OF THE NATIVE AND COLOURED PEOPLE FROM WHITE IMPERIALIST OPPRESSION, because they represent the owning capitalist class. If the ministers, missionaries of religion and “liberal” gentlemen honestly detest slavery and oppression, LET THEM COME OUT OF THE BRICK AND STONE WALET THEM “PREACH FROM THE HOUSE TOPS” the organising of the oppressed and exploited non-Europeans who groan under the tyranny of British and Boer Imperialism. But from experience we know, on the contrary, that they are the sycophants and tools of the white ruling class, assisting to keep in subjection the black and white toiling masses. Those who are not hopelessly put to sleep by the slimy “presently craft” can very clearly understand the Dean of Cape Town, Very Rev. J.C.H. Brooke, while preaching at a special service to commemorate the Centenary of the Abolition of slavery at the Good Shepherd Church, Maitland, Sunday, 9th Dec., compared the Native and Coloured people of S. Africa with the younger brother of the family; that they were not quite ready to use all the powers of freedom, as their elder brother, the Europeans, who had centuries of experience under older civilisations; that the non-Europeans should wait until they were trained, educated, experienced and proven themselves ready and fit to govern and enjoy the other privileges of complete freedom before trying to trust themselves into the councils of their elder brothers.
BROTHERS? IN THE MEANTIME THESE PRIESTS, “WOLFS IN SHEEP-SKINS,” ARE DOING THEIR DAMNEST NOT TO GIVE THESE NON-EUROPEANS A CHANCE TO PROVE THEIR WORTH AND TO KEEP THEM CHAINED IN THE SHACKLES OF WHITE IMPERIALIST SLAVERY.
While the Hottentots, Bantus, and Bushman were never bought and sold as chattels and were never slaves in the real sense of the word, they nevertheless became worse off than chattel-slaves.
The British and Boer landgrabbers successfully stole the land from the Native people — Bantu, Hottentots and Bushman -of S. Africa. The Hottentots and Bushmen were deprived of tilling the land for a living, deprived of grazing ground for their cattle, and were imprisoned under the Vagrancy Law when roving about the COUNTRY OF THEIR BIRTH. “Bushmen were shot at sight” by the farmers or landlords, because they dared to take even roots off the land which had given them a living for generations.
Innumerable restrictive laws were imposed on the Hottentots and Bushmen people — Vagrancy, Pass, Poll Tax, Master and Servants Laws, Compulsory Services, etc. Thus the non-Europeans, were at the mercy of the cunning British and Boer landgrabbers. These INVADERS has become the masters in judgement over the aborigines of this country. After the abolition of slavery, the “freed” slaves were then coming under laws ruling the “freed” persons of Colour. Under such conditions, it is understood, the Native and Coloured people were only free to starve or to be exploited for a miserable pittance by the white bosses of the country — “We have taken your land, now for us our probe or starve! “
Most of these restrictions affecting the Coloured people in particular have subsequently been alleviated under changing conditions but in the main are still very brutally operating against the non-Europeans. The British and Boer Imperialists have deprived the non-European races of the very PRIMARY MEANS OF EXISTENCE — THE LAND. With the aid of the political machinery the economic and cultural development of the non-Europeans has been hindered purposely. This is clearly done with the intent to keep the non-Europeans in the position of “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for the white ruling class and the aristocracy. Lord Milner, once Prime Minister of the Cape stipulated that it should be the policy of the government of see that skilled and official jobs should remain the exclusive occupations of white workers and that they should not be allowed to sink to the level of doing unskilled work. The latter is to be done by the non-Europeans. In the year 1716 Von Imhof, representative of the Dutch East Indian Co., said in Cape Town:
“Having imported slaves ... every common or ordinary European becomes a gentlemen, and prefers to be served rather than to serve. We have in addition the fact that the majority of farmers are not farmers in the real sense of the word, but plantation owners and many of them consider it a shame to work with their own hands.”
We will yet have to learn when and where the governmental policy of “gentlemen” has turned out according to their wishes and guidance. If Mr Von Imhof and Lord Milner and other lordly gentlemen, who guided the detinlens of S.Africa, could raise their heads out of over 300,000 “poor” whites, for shame they would prefer to remain in their graves. So over one third of the white population are not “gentlemen” today, the present S. African Government persist that they should replace unskilled Native and Coloured labourers. However, their policy of repressiveness against the Native and Coloured people, succeeded. Threat leaves the “gentlemen” rulers, Smuts, Hertzog, Pirow etc. with the Native and Colour Question — A PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED.
Whereas the Native population of S. Africa number about 6,000,000, The white ruling class permits the Native people to use and occupy only about one-eight (40,000,000 acres) of the land of S. Africa. While seven-eighths (260,000,000 acres) are occupied, used and owned by about 1,750,000 white people. All reports on the conditions of the Native people on the land give the most fearful picture of poverty and hunger due to overcrowdedness. The Native people on the land are living at starvation point.
The inadequate allocation of land to the Native people and the imposition and forceful collection of unbearable taxes from them is a means of compelling millions of Native toilers to work at a starvation low wage for the white farmers, in the mines , factories, docks, etc., the imperialist ruling class is consciously aiming at robbing the masses of their country is still more of their land. General Hertzog now proposes to incorporate Bachuanaland in the territory of the Union in order to provide the Native people to submit to GREATER EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION.
Under these conditions, is search for a living, the Native masses are driven from pillar to post. The black worker has not even the rights of the white wage-slaves. Pass laws, Master and Servants law, Poll Taxes, Urban Areas Regulations, everything restricts his freedom of movement, his right to organise and to strike for better conditions.
The Native peasant working on the white man’s farm under Mr Pirow’s new Contract Service Law is literally a serf, if he is not a chattel-slave. He must render 180 days free labour to the landowner merely for the right exist on the land, the LAND OF HIS FORE-FATHERS, REMEMBER. He is bound to the landlord together with his wife and family, as surely as any SERF was in Europe hundreds of years ago.
In view of this CELEBRATION OF “100 YEARS EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES” and in view of the slave conditions the Native people suffer, we MUST AGAIN ASK “WHAT IS A SLAVE? It is a person who can be bought like cattle, like and ox or an cow. It is one who has no freedom of movement, who cannot come and go as he pleases. Are the Bantu than slaves today? Well, they may not be slave entirely, but in many ways their lives are the same or in most cases even worse than those of slaves. Though slavery has gone, the slave laws have come and are being strengthened from day to day.
Resulting from the long historical repressive treatment of the non-European races by the invading European landgrabbers we have now reached the “CROSS-ROADS,” when the “Black and Poor White Problems” can only be solved by a RADICAL CHANGE in the economic, political and racial policy of S.Africa.
The policy of depriving the non-European races, in the first place, from the ownership of land, restricting them from performing skilled work — engine-drivers, conductors, shop-assistants, clerical work, artisans, etc. refusing them representation on the same basis as whites, created a bitter racial hostility and social prejudice between the white ruling class and the black workers on the one hand, and between the white working class and the black toilers on the other. The economic and political Colour Bar against the no-European people — “No equality between white and black, in Church or “God” — is the root cause of this whole SILLY superstructure of race hatred, white against black, and black against white.
THEAL, the S.African Historian, wrote : “The system of Negro Slavery caused the Colonists to regard the black man as properly the hewer of wood and drawer of water.”This idea, propounded and pursued by the capitalist governments of the country, has become with the passage of time, long after the abolition of slavery, a deep-rooted character of S. African white people. But today the bankrupt feudal- capitalist agricultural policy of the government, and therefore incapable of dealing effectively with eliminate the white from the land and turned them into poor-white from the land and turned them into poor-white and thus into hewer of wood and drawers of water. The point is, if there are poor blacks there will be poor whites!
The International situation will give us some idea as to how the S. African Government will attempt to find a solution for the problems of S. Africa, since it is the international situation which in a very large measure influence the position in S. Africa. The world of capitalism is faced with an ECONOMIC CRISIS THAT HAS LASTED SO FAR FOR 5 YEARS. This crisis has brought all the contradictions of class rule to breaking point. Capitalists in all countries are seeking a way out of this UNEXAMPLED CRISIS by adopting forceful measures of dictatorial government — FASCIST GOVERNMENT — to worsen the standard of living of the toilers, depriving the workers of the right to organise, of free speech and Press, thus still further increasing the CLASS CONTRADICTIONS and causing fierce and bloody struggle between the toiling masses and ruling class State.
The imperialist powers are also feverishly preparing for ANOTHER WORLD WAR as a way out of the crisis. Disagreements and antagonism between the imperialist powers on the question of the redivision of the world’s markets have brought the world again on the threshold of WORLD IMPERIALIST WAR. RAPID WAR PREPARATIONS ANF RUMOURS OF WAR ARE ON THE ORDER OF THE DAY.
Hand in hand with the policy of increased exploitation and FASCISM directed against the working class, poor farmers ,and small business people, monopoly capital is steering towards war and INTERVENTION AGAINST SOVIET RUSSIA, as a way out of the crisis, Never has the world situation been so pregnant with war as now. The fact that war has not yet broken out is primarily due to the consistent policy of peace pursued by the Soviet Government and to the FEAR of the capitalists of the working class consciousness and revolutionary movement of the workers and toilers.
Somewhat similar methods are being attempted by our ruling class to find a solution for the problems of South Africa. The capitalists and landlord’s continual boasting of “PROSPERITY,” is an attempt to conceal the further impoverishment of the masses and the sharpening of the national and class contradictions in S. Africa. It has to be clearly understood that, firstly, the so-called “prosperity” is confined chiefly to the gold mines and secondary industries mainly on the Reef and to a very insignificant extent to the other industries, which are far below the level of 1929. Secondly, the present “revival” has been brought about through a merciless attack on the conditions of S. African toilers, through the abandonment of the gold standard, increased speeding up and more rationalised methods of production.
Only an insignificant number of the unemployed workers have been absorbed in industry, and those chiefly Europeans and THROUGH THE “CIVILISED LABOUR POLICY.” The Civilised Labour Policy” is chiefly directed against the Native and Coloured workers and must result in the lowering of the standard of living of the workers. Thirdly, the crisis in agriculture — the means of livelihood of bulk of the people of S. Africa — is becoming worse. This results the growing impoverishment and ruination of the landless Native peasants, poor white farmers.
The starvation in the Native reserves has increased; the “poor white” problem has become a problem of almost a third of the white population; unemployed among the Native and Coloured people have increased and will continue to increase with the Government’s “civilised labour policy.” Whilst the earnings, general conditions and standard of living of the black and white workers and toilers as a whole has declined.
But the black and white workers and toilers in a number of cases are not taking the attacks on their conditions lying down. Accordingly we see the discontent of the masses becoming more and more translated into concrete mass actions, demonstrations and strikes against imperialist exploitation and oppression. A considerable number of strikes took place in 1933, the recent strikes of Native laundry and miners in Johannesburg and Nigel; the strike of the coal miners in Natal; the strike of Native food workers at Krugersdorp; the strike of 1,150 furniture workers on the Rand; the spontaneous demonstrations of unemployed workers in a number of centres the struggles in the locations against the police pick-up vans and police terror. The struggles of the Native peasants at Wiener against taxes; the strikes of the white miners all these events testify the growth of the national and class struggle and rising spirit of the workers and toilers to resist the growing exploitation an oppression.
In this situation the policy of the capitalists and landlords is based on the attempt to still more tighten the noose of national oppression to intensify exploitation, to sharpen the terror and ruthless repression of the growing mass movements of the workers and toilers, to prepare for and war at the dictates of British imperialism.
This policy has been expressed by the introduction of the Native Service Contract Act; in the increased police raids and pick-up in towns, locations and farming areas, in the ruthless suppression of strikes of Native workers by means of brutal police forces at Nigel, New Castle, Johannesburg; and by the Masters and Servants Act and Riotous Assemblies Act (arrests and imprisonment of the Rand furniture workers and illegalising the collection and paying out of strike funds), in attacks on unemployed and Communist Party meetings; in wholesale evictions of Native workers from the towns; in wholesale evictions of unemployed workers from the towns; in evictions from farms and a sharpened drive for taxes.
The policy of intensified repression is also expressed in the huge subsidies given to the rich landlords an exporters. The purpose of the present Wage Legislation Commission is to reduce the wages of the higher paid skilled and semi-skilled workers and to foster the “civilised labour policy.” The Poor White Conference at Kimberley has revealed the attempt of British and Boer Imperialism to lull the discontent of the poor white and unemployed with the perspectives of solving their problems AT THE EXPENSE OF THE NATIVE AND COLOURED WORKERS, through segregation and by driving the Native and Coloured workers out of employment.
Along with these preparation for wage-cuts and oppression the Coalition of British and Boer Imperialism under the leadership of British finance capital is steering towards fascism. This is expressed among other things in the attempt to muzzle the working class press (persecution of the Editors of the Communist Party organ Umsebenzi — S.African Worker), in the prohibition of collecting an distributing strike funds for the Rand furniture workers, in the threat to interdict the funds of the trade unions, the formation of the Special Service Battalions, which is done under the cloak of the “black menace” cry and in the increased incitement to racial hatred against the Native and Coloured people.
The increased expenditure on armaments, Pirow’s 5 YEAR PLAN for increase of Defence Force, the Joint Conferences of the British War Office and local military officials, the payment of $8,000,000 war debts to Britain; the announcement by the Britain War Office that in time of war S. Africa will have the task to defend British interests on the continent of Africa, shows that our S. African Imperialist Government not only supports the war preparations of Great Britain, but that it is and active participant in these.
In these preparations for FASCISM and WAR, British finance capital as represented by the Chamber of Mines and the bank have fostered the FUSION of the main force in that direction. It also tacitly tolerates and supports the activities of the “Greyshirts” and other fascist organisations, which will be used by the fascist capitalist when the necessity arises.
The growth of the economic crisis and the growing discontent of the toiling masses, as well as the sharpening of antagonism between the various sections of British and S.African capitalists and landlords is further revealed in the formation of, a number of new parties, such as the Centre Party, Malan’s Party and Stallard’s group which basicly aim at organising for their own purpose the discontent of the poor white farmers, bywoners and white workers into reactionary channels and directing them from the revolutionary path of struggle for the betterment and freedom of all exploited and oppressed toilers.
This is how the S.African Government is attempting to find a solution for the problems of South Africa:- the economic crisis, the Native and Coloured questions, the poor white problem and the problems in general affecting the black and white workers and toilers.
This is THE NEW FORM OF SLAVERY and its menace in reality is to a great measure by far more serious and abominable than this slavery abolished in 1834. In the face of this glaringly apparent injustice, slavery and oppression there ins only ONE political party coming forward with a true revolutionary programme, with a concise, scientific platform pointing the WAY OUT. The Communist Party of South Africa, section of the Communist International, only is capable of leading the working masses to fullest emancipation from slavery, because the Communists linked with the workers and oppressed peoples in all countries, have at their disposal the tradition an experience of the fighting revolutionary working class throughout the world, experience of daily struggles, of victories and defeats.
The Communist International can show in its record of its victories the establishment and consolidation of the workers and peasants power in Russia, covering one-sixth of the world surface. The Communist International can show the liberation from the imperialist yoke, 90 millions Chinese workers and peasants and the establishment of Soviet Rule on a fourth of China. To show a concrete example of real emancipation we will deal below with the achievements of the workers in the UNION OF SOCIALIST SOVIET REPUBLICS AND SOVIET CHINA.
17 years ago on the 7th November, 1917, the workers and peasants of Russia, under the leadership of the Leninist Bolshevik Party, wrested all power from the hands of the capitalists and landlords and established their own rule over what had been the domain of the Tsarist feudal-militaristic Russian capitalists. That revolution has shown that only by the dictatorship of the proletariat, ONLY SOVIET POWER, on the path led by the Bolsheviki Communists, will bring the working class and all toilers out of the burdens of oppression to which they were doomed by capitalism.
TSARIST IMPERIALIST OPPRESSION. Under the Tsar of Russia all toilers, including intellectuals and small business people were deprived of capitalist democracy and its most elementary rights. Particularly all minority nationalities were mercilessly oppressed, robbed, deprived of the right to use Native tongue, deprived of culture. The were considered out casts though they wee natives of the land. The capitalists of Russia proper (Great Russia) used the outlaying districts inhabited by the non-Russians as they used colonies in foreign lands: they took their raw materials, they grabbed their grabbed their most fertile lands they turned the Native toilers into slaves. No rights were allowed of organisations, no schools, no newspapers or books in the language of the local population were allowed.
THE NEW FREEDOM. The Bolshevik Revolution smashed the power of the capitalist and with it abolished national exploitation. Every nationality was given freedom to form its own Soviet Republic. Each State is independent in local affairs. Soviet Russia is only one part of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics; the others are national republics, and autonomous regions. In Russia proper, with a population of about 80 millions, the language is Russian. In the other republics and regions, with a population of over 84 millions, the languages vary according ti the local population. The local language — be it Ukrainian, Bashkir, Usbek, Georgian, Marian, Tartar, Eskimo, Kalmucks, Kirghiz, etc. — is the language of the administration, of the educational system from the grammar schools to academy of sciences, of poetry, of fiction, the theatre and movie, and even the Red Army.
The U.S.S.R. knows no ECONOMIC CRISIS and has abolished the scouge of unemployment, which always characteristic of capitalism which in the capitalist countries has become especially during the last 5 years is a source of terrible night -mere for the capitalist politicians. Under the 5 YEAR PLANS the Soviet Government is investing the huge sums of money in building factories and railroads, is improving agriculture, is developing higher economic and cultural standards. Proportionately greater investments were made in the building up of the district of the backward and formerly oppressed nationalities than in Russia proper.
Hand in hand with the tremendous industrial and agricultural progress has come progress in housing, in sanitation, in culture. A new life is stirring in those regions where only a few short years ago poverty and superstition ruled supreme. The library and the reading room, the movie and radio, made their appearance among the masses. Books are published now and taught in schools in the USSR in over 70 languages. The increase in culture activities may be seen from the tremendous rise in the number of books published in the small Native republics — in 1928, 2,721,000 copies; in 1930, 11,650,000; in 1933, about 5 times the figure of 1930.
Together with economic and political advances, came the emancipation of women; in Kasakstan for instance, where under the Tsar, 99 per cent, of the Native could not read and write, over a quarter of the judges and of the members of the local soviets (Governments institutions) are women.
The Native tongue had to be developed in these regions.
A written language had to be invented where there was none. This was done not because of nationalism but because the Native language was the instrument best adapted to lift the masses out of the county. The national republics speak over 70 languages, but THEIR AIM IS ONE: THE BUILDING OF SOCIALISM — OF A CLASSLESS SOCIETY.
It has succeeded in drawing the most backward sections of the 175 million people into the struggle for a better life. And today the Soviet workers can boast of social legislation, which no other country in the world can show. $450,000,000 social insurance annually! And this figure is to rise with the further development of the Second 5 YEAR PLAN. Wages in the USSR has risen in 1933 by about 35 per cent. of the level of 1929. What a comparison to the decline in the standard of living of the masses in S. Africa! The reduction of wages to mere pittances and the degradation of hunger of thousands of white workers and farmers to the position of poor whites Nearly every tourist from S.Africa, who has travelled in the USSR has returned with an indelible impression of progress and advance, of true emancipation of a 170 million people.
AND SOVIET CHINA! China is a country with a population of 400 million people. This great country has been torn to pieces by the warring influence of various imperialist powers. 400 million people paid a penalty of bloody slavery and oppression for the interest of international imperialism. But the Chinese workers and peasants have revolted and already established their own form of government in a number of important provinces. More than that. They have succeeded in building up a mighty RED ARMY, well equipped to defend the Chines Soviet territories against the continuous campaigns of Chiang Kai Shek, the head of the Nanking National capitalists Government. This general, Chiang Kai Shek has sold his country and people to foreign imperialists. he allowed the Japanese capitalists to take away the North of China and did not only not raise a finger against them but even actively supported them.
Only the Chinese Soviet Government, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, has FREED 90 MILLION CHINESE FROM FOREIGN OPPRESSION; has began the development of industry and agriculture; had given the law back to the peasants and work and bread to the workers. Even capitalist commissions investigating the problems of China, have had to admit, that the Chinese Soviet Government was the only efficient government in the whole of China.
The glorious examples of the USSR and the Soviet China point also THE WAY OUT FOR THE S. AFRICAN WORKERS AND OPPRESSED MASSES,
The emancipation of humanity from all forms of slavery and oppression is the historical TASK OF THE WORKING CLASS AND CAN ONLY BE REALISED BY THIS CLASS. In S. Africa, however, a section of the working class, are privileged and thriving on the backs of he exploited and downtrodden Native and Coloured masses. Karl Marx, the founder of Scientific Communism, and his historical statement: “No people can be free that oppresses another people” has had its drastic confirmation in this country. Witness the degradation of the poor whites already mentioned; witness the total industry enslavement though the elaborate machinery of capitalist industrial legislation. It is clear from this, that even if the white workers wish to achieve their own emancipation they must exert all efforts IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE TOTAL EMANCIPATION OF THE NATIONALLY OPPRESSED NATIVE AND COLOURED MASSES. The white worker MUST HELP TO SMASH THE COLOUR BAR, the Pass Laws, Native Service Contrast Act and all the hundred and odd laws an Acts, which make the bar him from every road to enlightenment and progress. The white workers and poor white farmers must assist in the struggle of the Native and Coloured masses for land, work and bread. Not unless the white workers and poor white farmers of S. Africa will realise that, will they be able to achieve their freedom, FREEDOM FROM CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION.
But the main responsibility for emancipation rests on the shoulders of the Native and Coloured workers themselves. Only true, militant, revolutionary organisations of the oppressed people of this country, fighting in revolutionary actions against national and class oppression,
AGAINST COLOUR BAR AND WHITE CHAUVINISM, FOR NATIONAL EQUALITY, FOR LAND AND WORK, MOBILISING THE SUPPORT OF THE WHITE WORKING CLASS, CAN WREST POWER FROM THE BRITISH AND BOER IMPERIALISM AND INTRODUCE A GOVERNMENT OF FREEDOM JUSTICE AN EQUALITY.
The history of the African National Congress and of the I.C.U., these, once, two mighty mass organisations of the non-European masses of S. Africa is a valuable lesson. They have in the period of their most militant activities, awakened the admiration, sympathy and support of the white workers and have made the bosses on the throne, the rulers of the country to tremble in the face of the grow strength of the libratory movement. But both the A.N.C. and I.C. U. were led by people, who lacked a definite programme, who lacked the experience an traditions of struggle of the international working class and oppressed peoples. As a result their leaders smashed the organisations (A.N.C. & I.C.U.) of the working class and oppressed people of S. Africa.
But these organisations, trade unions and a national emancipation organisation will be built up again, and put of the past mistakes, the S. African masses will learn to see that ONLY WITH THE PERSISTANT FIGHT FOR THE DAILY ECONOMIC NEEDS, AGAINST THE OPPRESSIVE DISCRIMINATIONS, AND FOR A GOVERNMENT OF WORKERS AND PEASANTS AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE SOVIET UNION AND SOVIET CHINA, WILL THEY BE ABLE TO EMANCIPATE THEMSELVES FROM NATIONAL AND CLASS SLAVERY.
The A.P.O. LED BY DR. A. ABDURAHMAN is another organisation that pretends to defend and “fight” for the rights of the Coloured people. But the method of fighting of this organisation and its leader has never been anything else but to MISLEAD THE COLOURED AND NATIVE PEOPLE, and to maintain the APO as a vote catching machine for the white imperialist parties. The APO has in this manner STAYED AND CONFUSED the non- European people from the correct method of struggle that is to be forged in order to go forward to progress and emancipation. the APO and its leader, Dr. Abdurahman, had served the white imperialist ruling class as a MOST SUBTLE TOOL AND DECOYDUCK TO KEEP THE COLOURED PEOPLE CHAINED IN SUBJECTION CONFUSED AN HOPELESS AS TO THE CORRECT METHOD OF STRUGGLE AGAINST THE RUTHLESS BRITISH AND BOER IMPERIALIST OPPRESSORS. Dr. Abdurahman, the lackey an tool of the white imperialist ruling class, despite the MERCILESS AND OPPRESSIVE TREATMENT METED OUT TO THE COLOURED PEOPLE BY THE S.A.P. GOVERNMENT in the past has never for once stopped exhorting the Coloured people to VOTE SAP. once stopped exhorting the Coloured people TO VOTE SAP.
What will Dr. Abdurahman do now since the SAP and Nationalist P arty have joined together and formed a UNITED PARTY? It will do the Coloured people to watch the antics and manoeuvres of this professional “boot-licker” and “tool-bag-carrier” of the white ruling class. WATCH HIM! What is he calling the APO Conference for ? Suddenly organisers got busy travelling about the country to revive the dead APO branches: telling the Coloured people what a WONDERFUL organisation the APO and the UNMATCHED LEADER Dr. Abdurahman going to tell the Coloured people to support FUSION or is he GOING TO TELL THEM TO ORGANISE AND STRUGGLE BY OTHER MEANS THAN MERELY VOTING FOR THE EXPLOITERS'?
We cannot, of course, expect a thorn tree to bear figs.
According to the UNDEVIATING, MISLEADING AND TRAITOROUS ROLE which Dr. Abdurahman has played for the past 20 years only simpletons and sluggards, too lazy to take stock of the historical role of Dr. Abdurahman can expect a lead from him out of the growing misery, want and oppression, that the Coloured people are suffering at present. NO!
The Road to Freedom lies not by following the Dr Abdurahman type of leader. The road to freedom lies not in voting for one set of rogues after the other. The road to freedom lies in MASS ORGANISATIONAL STRUGGLES which will be conducted OUTSIDE of Parliament — in the factories, and the workshops, on the farms and the streets, along with the native and white toilers.
THIS IS THE STRUGGLE THAT MUST BUILT UP! THIS IS THE STRUGGLE THE COMMUNIST PARTY IF ORGANISING!
In the U.S.S.R. and Soviet China, the workers only succeeded in seizing political power and consolidating their rule, because they were led by a Party of TRAINING LEADERS, of STEELD EXPERIENCE FIGHTERS who had lived through all the struggles of the masses and who always stood in the leading front ranks, equipped with the armament of revolutionary experience. In S. Africa, too, the oppressed masses will only succeeded in their struggles, if they are led by a revolutionary Party with a concise Marxian, Leninist Programme. That party IS THE COMMUNIST PARTY, the same Party that also led the Russian and Chinese workers to victory.
The Communist Party is the only Party that has written on its banner the day to day struggle for the rights of the workers. The Communist Party calls upon the Native and Coloured workers, along with the white workers, to enrole in Trade Unions and mass organisations and to be ACTIVE in both; to form grievance committees in places of employment; to struggle for higher wages and shorter hours; to fight against dismissals, the “civilised labour policy”; and to demand unemployment relief.
The militant, active, coloured, Native and white toilers, engaged in these struggles must RALLY more and more round the Communist Party, must take advice and leadership from the Communist Party, as the only Party representing the interests of all toiling people, the only Party with a programme to advance their struggles and interests to final emancipation.
The Communist Party gathers its strength from and is joined by the most active, fearless, persistent, disciplined, politically advanced fighters in the ranks of the Native, Coloured and white workers and toilers. ONLY such a group of ACTIVE, DISCIPLINE, POLITICAL, REVOLUTIONARY LEADERS ORGANISED IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY can lead the Coloured along with the UNITED STRUGGLE of the Native and White toilers to emancipation and victory over the British and Boer exploiters and oppressors.
The Communist Party organises an leads the fight for the smashing of imperialist rule in South Africa, for bread and land, for SELF-DETERMINATION for the South African oppressed races, for a South African Federation of Independent Native Republics — A Workers and Peasants Government: the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants in the form of soviets (councils), which alone can guarantee full equal rights to ALL TOILING NATIONAL MINORITIES AND WHICH ALONE CAN ADVANCE TOWARDS THE BUILDING OF SOCIALISM IN SOUTH AFRICA.
The 1st of December, 1934, the Centenary of the emancipation of slaves, became for all toiling people a DAY OF STRUGGLE FOR FINAL EMANCIPATION from all forms of national and class exploitation. The capitalists freed the chattel-slaves in order to transform them into wage-slaves; the WAGE-SLAVES WILL FREE THEMSELVES, IN ORDER TO FREE HUMANITY.
Published by the Communist Party of S. Africa
P.O. Box 1176,