Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) shows intention to take leadership of working class struggles

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Joined: 20-10-12
Apr 17 2014 23:02
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) shows intention to take leadership of working class struggles

Two EFF actions this week caught attention. Julius Malema, the party's commander in chief, condemned COSATU's continued support of the ANC and announced that the party will form its own trade union to organise workers.[1] And in Cape Town the EFF organised an anti-eviction march to the provincial legislature.[2]
In both these cases the party draws attention to real problems facing the working class, to real instances of the capitalist and state elite's attacks on the poor. At the same time the EFF tries to assert its own leadership and control over the struggles meant to resist these attacks.
Over the last twenty years, the so-called service delivery struggles in the townships and informal settlements were taken up by local resident associations who for many years provided the only source of opposition to neo-liberalism that was prepared to break out of the framework that the state set up to manage protests.[3] In face of COSATU's defence of the ANC and its commitment to the anti-worker labour relations dispensation, struggles in the workplace were taken up by strike committees, local forums and smaller independent unions. [4] These new community and workplace based associations in many cases showed a tendency to practice local autonomy, direct actions and direct democracy.[5] They therefore created opportunities for working class people to fight for control over decision making and oppose the authority of the capitalist state and class. This is why the state responded to it with violence that seems out of proportion to the organisational strength and political orientation (which was often not self-consciously revolutionary) of these groups.[6]
The approach of the EFF is not to support and strengthen the independence and autonomy of these working class formations. It wants to replace them or subordinate them to itself. The EFF has a highly authoritarian internal structure and culture based on military ranks.[7] If they succeed in imposing themselves on the independent workplace and community based groups that have grown out of the struggles of the last few years the working class would lose the limited self-organisation it has won in bloody struggles against the neo-liberal capitalism of the ANC.

[2] 'EFF is not a political party. EFF is a revolutionary movement that believes in people's power not parliamentary power. we shall not wait for laws to defend and advance the interests of the people. last night kwaLanga in Cape Town EFF faced up to the combined evil power of the anc/da and banks and successfully defend the right to housing. the banks mobilized the state just like in marikana and tried to evict and elderly family. EFF said NEVER! the evil forces had to retreat! its so sweet to see how they complaining. EFF stands with the People against Banks! asijiki!' - Facebook post by Andile Mngxitama 14 April 2014.
[3] See for example 'Social movements, COSATU and the "new UDF"' by Oupa Lehulere August 2005.
[4] Documented for example in the booklet 'New forms of organisation' published by the International Labour Research and Information Group in 2009.
[6] The main example of this ongoing violent repression is the Marikana massacre.
[7] See for example the comments of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa on democracy in the EFF.