Document 76 Communist Party of South Africa,
What is the Native Independent Republic? ( 1934)
The Communist Party of South Africa had already had a few years ago put forward the slogan of a "Native Independent Republic" as the immediate aim for which the workers and peasants of South Africa should fight. This slogan, which quite correctly reflects the fundamental interests of the Native toiling population, is the banner around which the workers and peasants should unite for a joint struggle for a better life. But for this purpose it is necessary that the slogan should become clear to every toiler in South Africa, that every toiler should understand what the Communists are calling upon him to fight for, what the Independent Native Republic would give him. For it is known that whilst the Communist Party is the leader and organiser of all the workers and toilers, irrespective of colour, there are in the ranks of the masses certain organisations who pretend to champion their cause. These organisations, the African National Congress, the Industrial Commercial Union, not only do not put forward such a slogan but even fight against this slogan put forward by the Communist Party. The African National Congress and its leaders of the type of Seme, Dube and others tell the toiling Natives of South Africa to be patient and submit to the highhanded treatment of the European capitalists, the farmers and the Colonial Government, to submissively bear all their privations and misfortunes, so that the European oppressors will condescend to notice their humility and will cease to oppress the Natives, will cease to get rich at their expense and "Universal peace will reign between the whites and Natives and happiness for all".
Is this really so'? Will the imperialists (the Anglo-Boer landlords, manufacturers, mineowners and the Colonial Government) voluntarily give up the oppression of the Native population and the imperialist exploitation of the white workers and poor whites or not? That is the crux of the problem. And in order to understand it, it is necessary to attentively see how the imperialists are oppressing the Native workers and peasants, to find out what the Native toiling population is suffering from. Not everyone as yet knows the reason why he is suffering, starving and becoming more and more impoverished and how to rid himself of all this.
Let us begin with the peasants, as they compose the overwhelming majority of the Native population. It is generally known that the peasant cannot conduct his peasant household without land. But land is just what the Native peasants have not got. Ninety-two percent of the entire land that is most suitable for agriculture, has been, seized by the Anglo-Boer imperialists. The European population which is only 25% of the entire population of the Union of South Africa, more than half of whom live in the towns and have no connections with agriculture whatsoever, own 92% of the land and the Native population composing 75% of the population, the majority of whom are engaged in agriculture, own only 8% of the land. But at one time the Native population were the complete masters of all the land. The Anglo-Boer aggressors have taken the land from the Native population by force, with arms in their hands, have organised big farms and branches on this land and now sell tens of tons of butter and wool from which they derive huge profits. (There are also poor farmers among them but we shall speak about them later) Then what is there left to do for the Native peasants who have been deprived of the land? Part of them went to the reserves and locations kindly left to them by the imperialists on the Crown and missionary lands, and the other part, the smaller part, were compelled to go upon the European farms.
Until 1913, they lived on the European farms or as squatters renting the land from farmers for money, for a share in their crops or as worker tenants, working on the fields of the farms for the land that they got or, finally, as plain workers. But the promulgation of the Native Land Act by the Colonial government in 1913, prohibited the Native peasants from renting land from the white famers for money or for a share in their crops. These peasants either had to leave the farms (but where could they go) or remain upon the farm as labour tenants who, according to this law, had to work on the farms not less than 90 days a year and now, according to the Native Service Contract Act of 1933, the labour tenants have to work not less than 180 days a year on the farms. Thus a considerable part of the Native tenants were converted into ordinary serfs working half the year for the land owner. I....]
This already suffices to show how difficult it is for the labour tenants to live and how harshly they are oppressed by the white land owners. But the labour tenants cannot get away from the land owners as they have no land of their own and besides, are usually always in debt to the landowner and for that reason the latter does not let them go if he can use them. If the labour tenant is no longer necessary to the land owner, the latter simply drives him off the land.
The position of the Native peasants in the Native reserves is no better. The chief trouble from which the Native peasantry on the reserves suffer is the terrible lack of land as a result of which they cannot feed themselves (in Transvaal, e.g. there is from one to two acres of pastures for each head of cattle, while, according to the opinion of experts, a minimum of six acres is required), and the other part has no allotments whatsoever. [....I
But on these absolutely inadequate allotments of land, the peasants also have no rights whatever. In the reserves where there is communal use of the land, the land is at the disposal of the tribal chief and the use of the land is enmeshed with a thick network of old tribal customs and imperialist limitations. The fate of the peasant is in the hands of the tribal chief. In order to get land the peasant must pay the chief a special tax, work for him, seek his indulgence. All the peasant has to do is to loose the good graces of the chief and the latter proclaims that he is unreliable and with the aid of the colonial police he is driven out of the reserve, and his allotment of land is taken away from him. The peasant has no right to sell, mortgage or hand over his allotment for inheritance to his son, nor has he the right to rent it without the permission of the tribal chief and the European officials. Besides, the constant subpision of the land does not give him any guarantee that tomorrow he will still be able to have use of the allotment upon which today he puts in his labour. I....]
The imperialists, however, are not content with having robbed the Native peasantry of the land.
For the oppression of the Native population, the Colonial Government maintains a large staff of officials, police and an army. And in order to maintain this apparatus for the oppression of the Native population, in order to pay the high salaries of the officials and also in order to force the Native peasants to go and work for miserable wages, the Colonial Government has imposed high taxes on the Native peasants and the Native workers and these taxes are constantly being increased notwithstanding the "respectful request" of the African National Congress to decrease the taxes. [....I
Deprived of land, pressed down by taxes, exploited by the merchants and money- lenders, the Native peasantry on the reserves have no means for the technical improvement of the farms. The technical methods on the peasant farms is still most primitive and simple. [....I The increase in the shortage of land, the stagnation of methods of technique, the reduction of pastures, the decline in the crops and the collection of wool, the impoverishment of the peasantry -these are the tendencies of development of the Native peasants holding in the reserves.
The lack of land, the seizure of the land by the Anglo-Boer land owners (in addition to high taxes etc.) -these are the main troubles from which the Native peasants suffer. Then, where is the way out? Is it possible to hope that the Anglo-Boer land owners and farmers will voluntarily return at least part of the land to the Natives? It is clear to everyone that this is not so. The white big farmers and land owners will never voluntarily give back a single acre of their land to the Natives, even if it were not needed by them and was not being used (and there is a great deal of such land). It must be understood that it is necessary for the imperialists to have a landless Native peasantry, not only to assure the white farmers of land but also in order to compel the landless peasantry to work on these farms, factories and mines, as a peasant who has enoughland (and of course implements of labour) will not go to work for others. Perhaps the Hertzog-Smuts Colonial Government will make the farmers return at least part of the land to the Natives as the peasants in the African National Congress try to believe. [....I
The Colonial Government does not want to return to the Natives even the land which is not yet pided among the European farmers and is at the direct disposal of the government, the so-called Crown lands. It prefers to collect rent from the Native peasants who live on these lands. No, the Colonial Government will not make the farmers return the land to the Native peasants.
Perhaps the Native peasantry can purchase their land from the white imperialists who stole it from them, as some "friends" of the Native peasantry advise? But, first of all, the purchase of land is severely restricted, almost prohibited, and secondly, even with the maximum amount of savings on his food, with the maximum reduction of his expenditures, the Native peasant who is extremely poor, could not collect enough money to buy back even a tenth of the land if he were permitted to do so.
It should be clear to all that the peasant will not get the land and will not be able to get out of his poverty as long as the Anglo-Boer imperialists rule in South Africa. Only by driving the imperialists (the land owners and miner owners) out of the country and making the Native people of South Africa independent will the peasants get back their land.
Let us now proceed to the Native workers. Besides farms the imperialists in South Africa have several thousand factories, mills and a big mining industry. Here, just as on the farms, they need Native labour. Everyone knows that the European mine owners in South Africa get bigger profits than in any other country in the world. Why is that so? Where do these profits come from? This is only because the imperialists do not pay the Natives what they ought to get for their labour, because the wages of the Native workers are much lower than those of the white workers in the capitalist countries of Europe, not to mention the wages of the privileged part of the European workers in the Union of South Africa. It is only the labour of the Natives and nothing else that is the source of the big profits received by the European capitalists in the Union of South Africa. The Anglo-Boer imperialists have done, and continue to do, everything to compel the Natives to work for them for a miserable pay.
Very often we hear and read in the papers complaints of the mine owners and the European farmers that there is a shortage of Native labour power. However, even the most superficial acquaintance with South Africa will show that they are complaining not of the shortage of labour power as such, but of the shortage of Free, cheap labour power. While depriving the Native peasantry of all means of subsistence converting the majority of them into paupers, imperialism does not permit them to become proletarians in the capacity of free workers who sell their labour power on the labour market. In order to compel The Native to work for miserable wages on the neighbouring white farm, the imperialists have chained him to his place by means of the pass system, have deprived him of the opportunity of freely looking for work and in that way have made him work on the neighbouring farms for a few pence. Not having the possibility to feed his family and to pay the taxes, being enmeshed in debts to the European merchants and moneylenders, the Native peasant would willingly go to work
for wages. Immediately he steps out of the boundaries of his reserve, he is arrested by the first policeman whom he meets. For, together with the innumerable quantity of his passes, he cannot show a receipt that he has paid his taxes. While wishing to go to workhe is compelled to sit in the reserve until the agent of some recruiting company arrives and recruits him to work in the mines or on the uropean farms and plantations. Only by signing a contract, not as a free worker but as a serf, deprived of all opportunities of choosing his work, he, together with the others, can leave the reserve and go to work on any conditions proposed to him.
But even those peasants who have paid their taxes and who freely go to work in the town, having a tax receipt in their pockets, are deprived of the opportunity of freely selling their own labour power. The pass system does not permit a worker to remain without work in any place for more than six, or at best, twelve days, and the same pass system does not permit him to move about freely from one place to another. Arriving in the town the peasant is compelled to hire himself out to the first employer he comes to and at any condition or he has to return back to the reserve and wait until he is contracted. Otherwise he will unavoidably be arrested by the police, put into prison and from there will be sent to work for the farmer as a prisoner. In either case the peasant cannot freely sell his labour power. He is a serf to imperialism both as a peasant and as a worker.
The Natives, who are becoming proletarianised, the Native proletariat, not having an allotment of land and not running their own farm, (and there is already a considerable number of them in the towns in South Africa) are also not free workers. On the labour market, the Native worker first of all encounters the so-called colour barrier. In 1927 a special law was enacted -the Colour Bar Act -officially rohibiting the Natives to do skilled and semi-skilled work in the mining industry (this was also done before by the white employers, but it was not obligatory for them). The law applies only to the mining industry, but in the manufacturing industries the position of the Native workers is no better.
The policy of civilised labour which is now being carried out in the secondary industries means that the Native workers will be entirely excluded from doing even semi-skilled work. In 1922, a law was passed about apprenticeship according to which minors, who become apprentices, have to pay a definite training fee, but as the Native minors have no opportunity of getting this fee, and the majority of them are absolutely illiterate, this means that Native apprenticeship is virtually prohibited. The Natives have [been] deprived by legislative easures of the opportunity to acquire skill. They have been prohibited from doing skilled work and are thus forced to do heavy unskilled work and after that it is stated that the Natives are in general not capable of doing skilled work, that his lot is "Kaffir work".
This heavy "Kaffir work" is not paid as ordinary unskilled labour but like some sort of special work, as work done by some inferior being. A skilled European miner in South Africa gets ten times higher wages than an unskilled Native miner and often he gets considerably more even in cases where he does the same work as is done by the Natives. This disparity between the skilled work of the Europeans and the unskilled work of the Natives cannot by any means be justified by the different standard of living of the skilled and unskilled worker and there isn't a single country in the world where there is such a group disparity between the two.
In 1930the Ballinger, the Industrial-Commercial Union, appealed to the Transvaal Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a proposal to call a wide conference of the Chamber with representatives of the Natives and a number of European organisations to establish a minimum wage for Native workers. The Chamber refused to consider thequestion of Native wages altogether and cynically stated: "No, there is no serious reason for raising the wages of the Natives. If this were done they would have an opportunity to earn the same money as they do now in a shorter period of time and as a result the influx of unskilled Iabour power would be cut down and this would be of no material advantage to anyone." In this way the imperialists acknowledge with cynical frankness that low wages are a powerful means in their hands for compelling the Natives to leave their villages and go and work for wages more often and for a longer period of time.
This the situation of the Native workers. Land-robbery of the Native peasantry which causes a big influx into the towns, the pass system, the colour bar, etc., the restrictions imposed upon the Native, the miserable wages, the absence of any defence of the Native workers by the colonial government -these are the main troubles which afflict the Natives as workers. Is it possible to hope that the imperialists will sometimes or other abandon this exploitation of the Native workers, remove all the restrictions from Native labour. and raise the wages for the Native workers'? Of course not. They will never satisfy their greedy appetites for cheap Native labour and will not make the situation of the workers any easier. It is naive to think that any European capitalist will voluntarily agree to reduce his profits and raise the wages of his Native workers. Perhaps they can be compelled to pay higher wages to improve the conditions of labour, etc? If the workers form strong trade unions and in solid ranks will conduct a systematic struggle against the employers through the united front, they can, of course, force them to give some concessions to the workers. But these will be such concessions which cannot under any circumstances substantially change the situation of the Native workers, and secondly, these will be temporary concessions which the employers will take back again as soon as the workers slacken their pressure upon them. In the European capitalist countries the working class has strong and old trade unions, a great deal of experience in the struggle against the employers, and still the employers, with the assistance of their capitalist governments, systematically worsen the conditions of the workers, reduce their wages, etc. In addition to this, it should not be forgotten that there is a great deal of difference between the European capitalist countries and the colonies which the Union of South Africa is for the Native toilers.
No it cannot be expected that the imperialists will make any improvement in the situation of the workers. Only a harsh joint struggle, on the basis of the united front, can the workers achieve some temporary concessions and only if the imperialists will be driven out of the country will they attain a radical improvement of their position.
In order to still more strongly consolidate their rule in South Africa, to secure for themselves the possibility of exploiting the Native toiling population, depriving them of all possibility of defending themselves, the imperialists deprived the Native population of all political rights.
Composing the overwhelming majority of the population, being the original Native population in the country, paying heavy taxes to maintain the apparatus for their own suppression, they are entirely removed from political life, not to mention participation in the government of the country, and are brutally suppressed every time they make an attempt to defend their human rights. The imperialists have converted the Native toilers into their slaves. In the Transvaal and in the Orange Free State the entire Native population is deprived of the vote. In the Natal province there is decisive law according to which a Native has the right to vote if he has been living in his province for 12years, has been removed from the effect of the Native laws for seven years, has a certainamount of immovable property, can present the recommendation of three Europeans regarding his reliability. At the present time there is one (!) Native voter in Natal. In the Cape Province a Native has the right to vote if he owns real estate valued at £275 sterling or receives wages of not less than £50 a year and has a definite level of education (for the European there is no qualification whatever except age). In the Cape Province there are approximately 15,000 Native and Coloured voters. But what does that give them? They have no right to elect their representatives from amongst the Native and Coloured people to Parliament. [....I The Native population is only given the right to have very limited self-government. In the Transkei there is the Bunga, the members of which are selected by the government and the tribal chiefs from among the Natives who have sold themselves to imperialism. But even in this especially selected Native self-governing body, a European magistrate presides and all its decisions are subject to confirmation by the European authorities. In the Native locations in the towns there are the Native Advisory Boards which are allegedly elected by the Natives, but in actual practice the majority of the members are appointed by the European superintendent, and he himself is the chairman. Many Natives are even deprived of the right to participate in the elections to these Boards. All these attenuated Natives self-governing bodies are simply auxiliary institutions for the better suppression of the Native population and they are given the appearance of self-government in order to deceive the Native population. [....I
The Native inhabitant of South Africa is oppressed and exploited not only as a peasant and as a worker, but also simply as a human being. The imperialists do not consider him to be a human being. In their eyes he is some sort of inferior being who only deserves to be oppressed and despised. He is not permitted to live together with the Europeans in the European towns, not permitted to travel with them in the trams, to use common restaurants, libraries or sit together in the theatre, etc. He has to live in the filthy slums of the Native locations. He has to carry on him about a dozen different passes, has to get permission for every step that he makes and he has to pay for it, (while the Europeans do not have to carry passes). He can be arrested in the street by any policeman who might take it into his head to do so. He has no right to be seen on the streets of the town after 10 o'clock in the evening. [....I
It should now be clear to every worker and every peasant that their interests and the interests of the imperialists are diametrically opposed. The British imperialists are becoming daily richer at the expense of the oppression, poverty and the immeasurable sufferings of the Native peoples and this is why they will never do anything to improve the situation of these Native peoples.
In order to do away with this shameful slavery of the Native peoples of South Africa, to liberate the working class and the peasantry from their abominable conditions of poverty, it is above all necessary to drive the Anglo-Boer slave drivers out of South Africa and set up the power of the working class and the peasantry, the Independent Native Republic. Only people of the type of Dr Seme, the president of the African National Congress, can advocate collaboration of the Native population with the imperialists and eulogise General Hertzog as a "statesman who is laying the foundations for the great cathedral of justice, peace and good will with regard to all the peoples of our country, regardless of race and colour of the skin." The African National Congress by calling upon the masses of the Natives to be submissive sow illusions among them regarding the possibility of improving their difficult situation under the rule of imperialism. However, during the past 100 years the situation of the toilers has not improved one single bit, but, on the contrary, it is getting worse day by day and will continue to get worse in the future. Only the driving out of the imperialists and the national liberation of the country will give the Native peoples freedom and an opportunity to immediately and radically change their position. But it is impossible to drive out the imperialists without waging mass armed struggle against them, without an anti-imperialist revolution. So, the Native Independent Republic for which the Communists call upon the toilers to struggle ,first and foremost means the anti-imperialist revolution, i.e., the driving out of the imperialist and the national liberation of the country.[....I
We now have to understand what improvements the Independent Native Republic will bring to the workers and peasants immediately after sustaining a victory over imperialism. The enemies of the toiling people are striving to assure the Native peasants that immediately after the imperialists are driven out the Communists will take away all the property of the peasants. This is a lie and a deception! The Communists will never take away the property of the Native and the poor white peasants, on the contrary, an Independent Native Republic means that the land which has been taken from them by the white landowners will be returned to them and all the conditions will be created for the development of peasant economy. The Communists, of course, do not conceal the fact that the ultimate aim of their struggle is to build a socialist society where there will be no private property of the means of production, where there will therefore be no exploitation of man by man, but the Communists will never permit any violence to be used against the small and middle peasants. the construction of the socialist society will begin only when the peasants, in the conditions of a Native independent republic, will themselves become convinced that a really prosperous and happy life is possible only in a socialist society, when, together with the workers in the towns, under the leadership of the Communist Party, they will themselves take the matter in hand. Then we will have the stage of the socialist revolution. But the revolution against the imperialists, the anti-imperialist revolution in its first stage, when the majority of the toiling population is not yet aware of the necessity of building a socialist society, will be not a socialist but a bourgeois-democratic revolution, as it is usually called. Not the immediate building of socialism but the liberation of the country from the imperialist yoke -this is the essence and the task of the anti-imperialist revolution. Hence the fundamental and all-determining task of the revolution for an independent Native republic will be the defence of the national independence of the country, the suppression of the resistance of the European and Native bourgeoisie remaining in the country, clearing Native society from the old customs and the raising of the material and cultural well-being of the toilers. [....I
These fundamental measures of the Native Republic will be the following:
1. All the land will be confiscated and pided among the Natives, the coloured and the Indian peasants and the European poor farmers and bywoners who have no land. The system of distribution will be laid down in accordance with the desires of the peasants themselves. The land owned by the Natives and also the land of the small farmers which is not used as a means of enslaving the labour-tenants and farm labourers will not be confiscated. The peasants will have the full right to dispose of their allotments according to their own discretion. The local government organs will only see to it that a great deal of land is not concentrated into one man's hands.
The mining industry, the railways, ports and banks will be nationalised and become the property of the Republic. This will be absolutely necessary as, unless it is done, it will be impossible to achieve any independence. In the towns only the large manufacturing industries and those that are of importance in the life of the country, and the factories belonging to the run-away imperialists will be confiscated. The remaining enterprises will be left in the hands of their former owners -the white, Native, Indian and other capitalists -if they agree to work under the control of the revolutionary government and obey the new laws of the Republic. The small enterprises of the run-away imperialists will be given by the government of the Republic as concessions to the Native capitalists. Taking into its hands the chief branches of industry and transport, the revolutionary government will utilise the profits that it derives from them, which are now being sent to London or wasted by the employers on the spot, for the further development of the national economy in South Africa, for assistance to the peasantry, for improving the material situation of the working class. For the defence of the Republic from imperialist intervention, and for suppressing the resistance of the class enemies within the republic, the revolutionary govern- ment will form its workers' and peasants' army and will arm all the toiling people. The pass laws and all other inti-Native laws enacted by the imperialists and the entire system of social discrimination will be abolished. The present system of taxation will be abolished and a unified progressive income tax'(the greater the income the more will the person have to pay in the form of taxes) which places the main burden upon the bourgeoisie, will be introduced for the needs of the revolutionary government. Measures will be taken to immediately and radically improve the situation of the working class. The revolutionary government will do away with the colour bar, will introduce legislation for the 8 hour working day, and social insurance, will raise wages,improve the conditions of labour and the housing conditions, will abolish the compound system, etc., etc. The recruting of workers will immediately be prohibited. Workers organised in trade unions will have every opportunity of introducing everything necessary through the revolutionary government for the improvement of their situation and for the protection of their rights by various acts and decrees. Immediate measures will be taken to assist the peasantry -such as irrigation, the struggle against soil erosion and pests, cheap credit, guaranteeing the possibility of cheap purchase of agricultural implements, machinery and artificial fertfiisers, the opportunity to freely dispose of their own produce and sell it to their best advantage. Freedom of trade and freedom of occupation will be granted. Special attention will be devoted to popular education. Free and all embracing education in the Native languages and in the languages of all nationalities inhab- iting South Africa, will be introduced. The doors of the middle and higher schools will be thrown wide open for all the toilers.' Special care will be taken of the women, primarily of the women workers, such as providing them with paid leave during pregnancy, material assistance for the birth of the infant, the organisation of children's nurseries and kindergartens, the prohibition of difficult and harmful work for women, etc., etc. [....I
Active society is not homogeneous in its composition. It is pided into different social groups and classes having different interests. In it we have the tribal chiefs, the Native bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and finally, the workers in the towns who have cut all their ties with the land -the proletarians. It can be asked whether all these classes in the Native society will participate in the anti-imperialist revolution, and, the main thing, which of them will play the chief role as organiser and leader of the masses in this revolution'? Let us analyse this.
Can the tribal chiefs be the organisers and leaders of the national liberation struggle?
The chiefs are not only exploiters themselves, but they also help the imperialists to exploit and suppress the Native people. A considerable part of them are now direct allies and agents of imperialism. Imperialism has maintained the tribal organisation of the Natives and the power of the chiefs, adapting it to the interests of the exploitation of the country and of the oppression of the Natives. [....I
The majority of the present chiefs have been appointed by the colonial government from among people who are entirely loyal to imperialism, who serve it faithfully and truly. The chief collects the taxes and the rent, helps to recruit workers, drives the Natives to work crl the so-called public works, spies upon the members of his tribe and denounces to the police all those who in one way or another show their discontent with imperialist rule. By making use of his authority and the old traditions of submission to him, he keeps back the Native from any struggle against imperialist robbery and arbitrary actions. Imperialism could not maintain itself without relying upon the tribal chiefs, without active assistance from them and the very chiefs themselves could not exploit their people in such a way if imperialism were not behind them. The overthrow'of the imperialist rule, clearing the way for the free development of peasant economy, at the same time means an end to the exploitation of the peasantry by the tribal chiefs. This means that the tribal chiefs, as a rule, are not interested in driving out the imperialists. If some of them now come out against some measure of the existing imperialist order then it is only because the imperialists are grabbing the lion's share of the spoils obtained from robbing the Native peasants and leave little for the chiefs. If they sometimes also come out against different imperialist anti-Native laws, conceal- ing themselves in this with the name of the people, then it is only in order to get greater opportunities to enrich themselves at the expense of their tribes. In the anti-imperialist revolution the majority of the chiefs will be on the side of the imperialists and will help them to strengthen their rule just as they do now. It is not outside the realm of possibility that some of the small chiefs who have little land, for instance, will go together with the rising people against imperialism, but as they themselves are interested in the exploitation of the Nativc toilers they will never go together with them up to the final victory of the toilers against all forms of exploitation and oppression. The tribal chiefs cannot be the ol-ganisers utzd the leuders of the anti-imperialist revolution. [....I
Let us proceed. Can the Native bourgeoisie be the organisers and leader of the anti-imperialist revolution? Some "friends" o? the people are endeavouring to assert that there is no native bourgeoisie in South Africa. This is absolutely incorrect. It is true that the Native bourgeoisie is still weak in its development, that it is predominantly a small bourgeoisie judging by the size of its business, but its existence cannot in any way be denied on these grounds. there is a large number of Native business men who are gradually getting rich at the expense of the toiling Native population. When such a Native business man has four houses (for instance, in the locations in Marabastab inPretoria and other places), rents them to the Natives, and receives £14 to £18 a month in rent, then does he do that for pleasure or in order to assist the Native workers? Of course not. He does this because it brings him profit, because it gives him an opportunity to enrich himself at the expense of the Native inhabitants in the locations. He is an exploiter, he is a bourgeois. [....I And the higher traders, the moneylenders, the owners of small shops with hired labour? All these constitute the Native bourgeoisie who exploit the Native population in the towns. [....I
The business of this Native bourgeoisie is considerably restricted by imperialist rule and their development and enrichment is retarded. The prohibition of Native trading in the villages and European towns, high taxes upon the Native merchants, restricting their freedom to move about, etc., create extraordinary difficulties for the development of the Native bourgeoisie. For this reason there is a definite contradiction between the Native bourgeoisie and the Anglo-Boer imperialists and that is why the Native bour- geoisie sometimes comes out against the anti-Native laws which restrict their activity. The Native bourgeoisie would like to get unrestricted rights to trade everywhere, the right to move about the country freely, would like to get rid of the taxes imposed upon them, would like to limit the competition of the European merchants, etc.
The anti-imperialist revilution which will establish the independence of the country from imperialism and abolish all these restrictions thus accord with the interests of the Native bourgeoisie also.
Hence the Native bourgeoisie should support the anti-imperialist revolution and help the working class and the peasantry to throw off the yoke of imperialist oppression. But we do not see this in South Africa, just as we do not see this in other colonial countries like India, Indo-China, Egypt, etc. The Native bourgeoisie is afraid that the workers and peasants, when taking power into their hands after driving out the imperialists, will bridle their exploiting aspirations and set up definite boundaries to its development. That is why the Native bourgeoisie vaccilates in the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and prefers the peaceful way of coming to terms with the imperialists, to . get from them the necessary privileges and gradually do away with thef restrictions that are now in force. And imperialism, being in need of the support of the Native bourgeoisie, makes some concessions to them: every year more and more territory is being opened up for Native trade and the Native bourgeoisie have been exempted from passes, etc. [....I But as has already been indicated, there are certain contradictions between the Native bourgeoisie and imperialism. That is why the bourgeoisie very often comes out against anti-Native laws, which retard its development and doing this they conceal themselves behind the interests of all the people, but as soon as the people rise to a determined struggle against these anti-Native laws, the bourgeoisie immediatels calls them to order, to obedience and betrays them. That this is so is confirmed by thc acevity of the Industrial-Commercial Union, an organisation that absolutely reflects the interests of the Native bourgeoisie. During the first years of its existence it pur forward the slogan of "political and industrial emancipation of South Africa" and called upon the masses to struggle. But as soon as the Native toiling masses rose to the struggle, the ICU began openly to voilate the imperialist laws, to organise strikes, demonstra- tions, etc., the ICU hastened to expel the communists from its ranks and to assure the government of its loyalty to imperialism. Since that time the ICU has never again put forward the slogan of political emancipation of South Africa. In 1930when the broad masses of the toilers entered into open struggle against the imperialist regulations(uprisings in Worcester, Byana, Die Transvaal, the boycott of the beer halls in Durban, the railway strike in East London, the burning of passes) the leaders of ICU, Champoin quite openly betrayed them and helped the imperialists to brutally settle accounts with them. The year 1930should never be forgotten! All this shows that when the toilers rise to a determined struggle against imperialism, the Native bourgeoisie will not be with them, but with the imperialists which does not exclude the fact that some section of the smaller bourgeoisie will fight shoulder to shoulder with the toilers in the battle for national independence and freedom, but by no means can they be relied upon as a consistent force.
Neither the tribal chiefs nor the Native bourgeoisie can be the organisers and leaders of the anti-imperialist revolution. The Native proletariat together withe white workers who had come over to the side of the revolution, can and must take the task upon themselves. In South Africa there was not and there is not any other class except the proletariat which would raise the banner of the anti-imperialist revolution. But the proletariat alone, withou the alliance with the majority of the Native toiling population, the peasantry, cannot achieve victory and at the same time the peasantry alone, withou the alliance with the working class cannot drive out the imperialists and secure land. Only by uniting their forces of the working class and the peasantry can victory be achieved. But the leading role in this alliance must belong to the proletariat. The experience of all countries and all revolutions teach us that the peasantry can achieve Cictory only in an alliance with the workers of the towns and only under their leadership. The town workers work in large bodies for one employer, one capitalist and hence they are already accustomed to joint organised axtion in holding meetings, strikes, demon- strations, etc. Working under a definite regime in the factories, they are more disci- plined, already have experience in organisation. The workers in the town are more cultured and more developed politically; they are better able to see who is a friend and who is the enemy of the toilers. The town workers have their party -the Communist Party -which defends the interests not only of the workers but of all toilers. In South Africa there are already considerable cadres of a Native proletariat who have already gone through a lot of schooling in the class and anti-imperialist struggle forming their class organisations -the Communist Party and the trade unions.
So tht we see that the alliance of the workers in the towns with the peasants is the basic force which is capable of bringing about independence of South Africa. But being the basic force they must call all those to their banner of struggle who are groaning under the yoke of the Angl--Boer imperialist regime, all those to whom the interest of the national liberation of the country is dear, all those who want to get rid of the chameful slavery.
In the suburban Native locations there are Native handicraftsmen who are not exploiters, who suffer from various imperialist restrictions and limitations, who tp-gether with the other toilers are subjected to social discrimination. Their material situationis not better and sometimes even worse than that of the Native workers. They have nothing to expect from imperialism. Exhausting toil, want and privation is their lot in the conditions of imperialist rule. Only the anti-imperialist revolution, the Independent Native Republic will open the path to them for a real human life.
In the villages and especially in the towns there are large numbers of Native intellectuals, especially teachers. Imperialist rule has deprived them of all opportunities to develop intellectually, opportunities for a cultural life. It has closed the doors of the highest schools to them, has subjugated them to the control of the European missionaries, paid them not only less than the European but even less than the Indian teachers and their pay is hardly more than that of the Native workers. The extremely poor development of Native education and the complete lack of cultural work among the Native population restricts the sphere for the employment of the labour of the Native intellectuals to an extraordinary degree and that is why, despite all the restrictions regarding middle and higher education, there is now such a number of a Native unemployed intellectual. A Native cannot become an engineer, a technician as all the industries have been grabbed by the European capitalists who do not want to employ Native engineers to work for them. As a teacher in a bad, overcrowded school, under the supervision of a missionary preaching the religion of his master, as a government employee suppressing the Native population -this where the Native intellectual can apply his knowledge and all that for a miserable salary in the conditions of social discrimination, derision and mockery.
The Native intellectual, just like the worker, the peasant and the handicraftsman, cannot expect anything from imperialism. Only the establishment of a Native Independent Republic will create the conditions for the full flourishing of national culture, will open for the Native intellectual the path to all-round scientific, pedagogical and cultural work and will place him in conditions such as he cannot even dream of under the rule of the imperialists. The Native intellectuals should give their efforts to the cause of liberating the country and together with the working class and the peasantry, fight for the Independent Native Republic.
Thus the leader and organiser of the anti-imperialist revolution will be the town worker, the proletariat. But for this purpose the proletariat must constitute itself an independent revolutionary force, strengthen the class organisation -the Communist Party and the revolutionary trade unions -and by its devoted and unselfish participation in the common struggle of the toilers, it should secure for itself the recognition of this independent significance and of its leading role. [....I
Let us now analyse the following question: What sort of a government will there be in the Independent Native Republic and how will it be organised? It appears to be clear that if the workers and peasants in an open struggle against the imperialists drive them out of the country and set up an Independent Republic, then they already take power into their hands and organise the workers' and peasants' government. But there are people who assert that the slogan of an "Independent Native Republic" and the slogan of a "workers' and peasants' republic" are not similar, that the first slogan is broader than the second. [....I The question of the similarity or dissimilarity will be decided by the class struggle, by the co-relation of class forces within Native society in the period of the anti-imperialist revolution. This is the question as to whether the workers and peasants, with the Communist Party at their head, will succeed in seizing power after the overthrow of the rule of the imperialists or whether Kadli, Guemedi, Seme and Co., the agents of the Native bourgeoisie and chiefs will seize power. For us this should be absolutely clear that after the imperialists have been driven out, the Native bourgeoisie will attempt to seize power and to utilise the victory of the toiler over imperialism for their own class aims, against the toilers.
Here there is a great danger for the toilers, inasmuch as even the masses of the workers have not yet an entirely clear idea of the fact that their interests are entirely opposite to the interests of the Native bourgeoisie. The latter being but slightlydeveloped, they do not as yet stand sufficiently clearly from among the masses of the Native population, and are not yet sufficiently clearly contrasted to the Native popula- tion and the working class in particular. On the contrary, making use of the hatred of the toilers towards Anglo-Boer imperialism, they sow illusions regarding the commu- nity of interests of the entire Native population and speak of the unity of a classless Bantu Nation. These contradictions will become revealed sufficiently clearly immedi- ately the imperialists are driven out, when the Native bourgeoisie will get greater possibilities for its development and when it will no longer be able to conceal its class interests with talk of a united national front against imperialist oppression. If after the imperialists are driven out, the power will be seized by the Native bourgeoisie, and in that case it would undoubtedly enter into an alliance with the white bourgeoisie remaining in the country, it will utilise this power to again enslave the toilers.
The working class cannot allow the power to get into the hands of the bourgeoisie. [....I The power in the Independent Native Republic must belong to the workers and peasants' government. But it would also be a gross mistake to think that this workers' and peasants' government will be the dictatorship of the proletariat. The dictatorship of the prolctariat is the utilisation of the power by the proletariat for the construction of socialism, and in South Africa, as has already been pointed out, the first stage of the anti-irnpcrialist revolution there absolutely is not and cannot be the task of immediately constructing socialism. The policy of the workers and peasants' government will be determined not by the interests of the immediate construction of socialism but by the interests of the immediate interests of free development of peasant economy, by the interest of improving the material conditions of the working class. The workers' and peasants' government will be a government of two classes -the proletariat and the peasantry under the leadership of the Party of the working class -the Communist Party. The government organised by them will, firstly be arevolutionary government, arising in the process of the revolution and continuing the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and the old order. Secondly, this will be a democratic government elected by the workers and peasants themselves.
The Native bourgeoisie can be allowed to take part in the elections of the government and the local organs of power if they will not conduct a counter-revolutionary struggle, but the main force will still be the working class and the peasantry under the leadership of the Communist Party. This will be a workers' and peasants' government. While being democratic for the workers and peasants, this government will be a revolutionary dictatorship against the white bourgeoisie remaining in the country and against the resisting tribal chiefs and the Native bourgeoisie, inasmuch as it will have to suppress their resistance. Such a government is called a revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.
The question as to the form in which the power*of the working class and the peasantry will be organised will be decided by the victorious people but the experience of the USSR and Soviet China shows that the best form of power for the triumphant workers' and peasants' is The Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' deputies. [....I
In conclusion we shall once more dwell upon one important question: What will the white toilers who will form a national minority receive from the establishment of a Native Independent Republic? The Anglo-Boer imperialists and their agents try to inflame the hatred of the white toilers against the National Liberation movement of the native workers and peasants. They spread monstrous statements that the Independent NativeRepublic is directed against the whites as a whole. Trying to keep the white workers back from unity with the native toilers, they let loose such slogans as "South Africa for whites", "White superiority" over the natives, and so on. [....]
All the demagogy of the "civilised labour policy" cannot hide the fact that tens of thousands of white workers, who replace the Natives, work 10-12 hours a day for the pay of 2 shillings. It is an indisputable fact that in the so-called "White South Africa" the poverty of the white workers and toilers is increasing. The number of poor whites -toilers, who are deprived of means of subsistence by the very white Anglo-Boer bosses, is about 300,000.The ruination of the poor white farmers is growing daily. Thousands of them are forced to leave the land and to wander about in search of work. The standard of living and the conditions of the white bywoners, tenant farmers and small sub-farmers, is not much better than those of the Natives.
Thus, when we analyse the position we see that for the vast majority of the white workers and toilers the "white superiority" is nothing but a bluff, by means of which the imperialists try to fool them. We see that the system of the Anglo-Boer exploitation in South Africa which rests upon the national enslavement of native people is directed also against the interests and conditions of life of the white workers.
The white worker must therefore understand that he has nothing in common with the imperialists, which his place is in the united struggle together with the native masses for an Independent Native Republic. The rule of the imperialists has brought the white workers and poor farmers to the impasse in which they find themselves now. On the contrary, the overthrow of this rule, the national liberation of the native toilers, will bring them big material advantages as they themselves will be liberated from the imperialist exploitation of the big landowners, the banks, the wholesale firms and from the yoke of debts and taxation.
An Independent Native Republic would first of all mean not a lowering of their standard of living but a rise in the standard of living of the Native workers and the lower paid white workers up to their level, and, secondly, it would open the way to a general rise in the material and cultural well-being of all the toilers such as has never before been seen by the white workers. An independent republic would mean not a curtailment of their political rights, but, on the contrary, giving them political rights, the very broadest worker-peasant democracy, democracy put at the service of the working class and the peasantry, democracy which would make them, together with the Native toilers, the real masters of the country. The white workers of the Union of South Africa can liberate themselves from hired capitalist slavery only through the Independent Native Republic.
The small white farmers have nothing to lose from the anti-imperialist revolution. Their land will not be confiscated. The revolution is above all directed against the landowners who utilise the land to enslave the Native peasantry. The republic would bring the small white farmers as well as the white workers full political rights, complete freedom. The revolutionary government will give them the necessary assistance just as to the Native peasants. The poor whites will get land without having to purchase it, will have an opportunity to return to the land and conduct their own farms. The Independent Native Republic will be the republic not only for the Native population but a republic for all the toilers regardless of the colour of their skin.
This is what the Independent Native Republic for which the Communist Party of South Africa calls upon you to struggle, means. The Independent Native Republic is the path to national liberation from imperialist oppression, the path to clearing thecountry of the Anglo-Boer oppressors, the return of the land to its real owners -the Native peasantry. It is the path to the liberation of the working class from imperialist exploitaion, the path to a better life, the path to the fraternal union of the European and Native toilers. [....I
If the Native workers and peasants will submissively bear the derision and bad treatment of the white masters and support the empty resolution of the African National Congress or the Industrial Commercial Union, then they will not ACHIEVE their independent republic for a long time. But if the workers and peasants will offer collective and organised resistance to every manifestation of imperialist oppression, then the final victory over imperialism will come soon. Hence the workers in the factories, and in the mines, the worker-tenants and the agricultural labourers on the farms and plantations, the peasants in the reserves now have to jointly discuss the causes of their miserable situation, draw up their demands to the employers, to the Colonial Government, and attain their fulfilment by a collective organised struggle. Hence it is necessary right away to form a~d strengthen organisations which would conduct the daily struggle for these so-called partial demands, revolutionary trade unions for the workers, a league of workx-tenants for the peasants on the European farms, committees of action in the reserves, etc. Organisation and solidarity constitute the force which we can oppose to the pact of imperialists. Hence all those who desire the struggle for the independence of the country -the Native and European workers, the Native peasants and the poor whites, the Native intellectuals and the Native city poor should join the existing revolutionary organisations, form new ones and in the daily struggle against the imperialist rule strengthen the ani-imperialist front, the front of the fighters for an independent South Africa, for an Independent Native Republic.