TERROR AND DEMOCRACY - Two Faces of the Krugerrand

The reformist De Klerk regime in South Africa is not the only government which is implicated in the massacres of black proletarians by Inkatha mobs.

The international ruling class approve of and support the massacres, just as warmly as they support the abolition of apartheid. The EC decided to drop the ban on investment in SA after sending a delegation there at the height of the terror. The delegates must have known that the police and army were working with the Zulu fascist movement Inkatha to terrorize the working class in the townships. As the terror grew, the USA lifted sanctions against the SA government, welcoming it back into the community of civilized nations.

Democracy cannot succeed without terror and vice versa. Both are means to neutralise the class struggle. SA has been one of the main centres of class warfare since 1976, with various highs and lows, and since 1985, has seen a permanent mobilization of proletarian autonomy on numerous fronts - rent strikes, workplace struggles, attacking local councillors, squatting, defying racist laws. This has seriously disrupted the accumulation of capital, and forced the Afrikaner ruling class to undertake a remarkable shift to the left, even abandoning the Population Registration Act, the central pillar of apartheid.

The working class of SA was not prepared to give up its struggle in return for Nelson Mandela at the beginning of 1990. The newly legalised ANC were unable to control the class struggle, so the role of Inkatha was greatly expanded. Random murderous attacks on commuter trains were added to its rampages through the townships. The resulting climate of fear has undermined the working class's ability to organise itself. The ANC call for police protection for the townships and the inhabitants are often so desperate they go along with this. For all its talk of armed struggle, the ANC has never actually armed its supporters inside SA. Instead it has negotiated with Inkatha; as if the slaughter it perpetrates on behalf of the state is just the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding. The South African state has been developing Inkatha as a scabbing and policing organisation since 1974, making use of the division between permanent township residents and male migrant workers in hostels. It is significant that only in the last 18 months has this been really successful. Without the pacifying influence of the ANC terror could be nowhere near as effective.

When eventually the ANC deliver what the government wants - the suppression of the working class struggle - the pogroms will be wound down, and the ANC can tell the proletariat not to make trouble, for fear of provoking another wave of terror. Then democracy will be fully implemented, with the new nominally non-racial National Party and the ANC as the two major capitalist parties, together with all kinds of racially-based political gangs continuing to divide the proletariat.

The ANC has been put in its place. The international bourgeoisie were genuinely worried about the unreconstructed Stalinism of most of the ANC leadership, and found their Damascan conversion to multi-party democracy unconvincing. ANC leaders were among the few people in the world to announce support for the short-lived coup in Moscow. The ruling class didn't want a Romania in SA, with Winnie Mandela playing the role of Elena Ceausescu.

Hence her trial, and hence the attacks on ANC hacks as well as on the working class. They didn't charge Winnie with the murder of 14 year old Stompie Moeketsi, because she and her husband are too important. But they made clear to the Mandelas and their private police force, colourfully known as "Mandela United Football Club", that they must clean up their act. For example, bribing people to keep quiet about ANC torture, murder and abduction may be just as effective as threatening to kill them. The ANC, like Winnie Mandela's victims, is being whipped into shape.

Terror and democracy constitute a powerful capitalist offensive against the working class which is difficult to fight. There is no doubt that the class struggle in SA is going through a setback. We don't know how long it will be before the working class turns against democracy as effectively as it fought apartheid.