The people of the world are on the march in a great crusade against Fascism.
Fascism is not something found only in Germany and Italy.
Hitler's strength has not come only from his guns and tanks and planes. It comes also, and chiefly, from his friends the Quislings, the Petains and Lavals who are found in every land where there are wealthy parasites who put profits before patriotism. Fascism means the subjection of the many to the few -wherever there is a privileged class striving to maintain its position at the expense of the common people -
THERE HITLER HAS HIS FRIENDS.
Fascism stands for the domination of one race over all others -wherever there is racial discrimination or privilege -
THERE ARE TO BE FOUND PEOPLE WHO WANT HITLER TO WIN.
Fascism is fighting against the citadel of the working class -the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Wherever there are people refusing to support the U.S.S.R. in its heroic struggle for civilisation -
THERE ARE THE FASCISTS.
Fascism smashes all working-class organisations -a strongly organised working class is the main defence against Fascism.
Wherever the Fascists gain power their first attack is against the Communist Party.
Fascism wins its victories by deceit. It pretends to be anti- capitalist, anti-imperialist, and what not, in order to win the support of the people. It is only the Communist Party in all lands that has been able to expose these lies, because the Communist Party is the only consistent party of the working class.
South Africa must also play its part in this world-wide crusade against Fascism.
It can only do so effectively if the vast masses of the people of all races and colours are mobilised in the common struggle. Such a struggle calls for the co-operation, sacrifice and energetic action of all those who love freedom and hate oppression.
For this reason the Communist Party is launching this great "Smash Fascism" Campaign on the basis of six broad demands for the people.
Point 1: DEMOCRACY FOR ALL
Successful war against Fascism demands the full mobilisation of the human and material resources of the country.
The war against Hitler and Fascism cannot be fought in a half-hearted way. But how can this country take its proper place in the common fight when four out of every five men are denied the right to bear arms? How can this country develop its industrial strength, either for war or for peace, when four out of every five of its men are denied the right to take part in skilled occupations?
A pided country is a weak country. How can this country present a united front against foreign foes when the small ruling class keep the people pided on racial lines, denying to the majority all rights of citizenship?
Awar for democracy must be fought democratically. It demands great sacrifices of many kinds, but not the sacrifice of democracy itself. If, while the war is going on, we see a few getting rich whilst most people are going short, or if we see inequalities of various kinds increasing, then we can be sure that it is not being sincerely fought for democracy.
THIS WAR CAN ONLY BECOME A REAL WAR AGAINST FASCISM WHEN IT IS REALLY A PEOPLE'S WAR.
During the war new Colour Bar laws and regulations have been introduced in this country-stricter segregation in the factories, stricter segregation on the beaches, stricter residential segregation, stricter segregation in the schools. That is fascism, not democracy.
New dictatorial powers have been given to bureaucratic factory inspectors, marketing boards, etc., giving them power over the conditions under which you work and the supplies and prices of the things you need to buy. These people are not responsible to you. That is dictatorship, not democracy.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA DEMANDS -
A PEOPLE'S WAR AGAINST FASCISM;
A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA AS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE TO A
FASCIST SOUTH AFRICA;
NO SEGREGATION OR COLOUR BARS;
NO POLL TAX, HUT TAX OR PASS LAWS;
EQUAL DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS FOR ALL;
A PEOPLE'S ARMY WITH EQUAL RIGHTS TO BEAR ARMS, EQUAL PAY AND ALLOWANCES IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE OR COLOUR, AND PROMOTION, EVEN TO THE VERY HIGHEST POSTS, TO BE BY MERIT ONLY AND OPEN TO ALL, WHATEVER THEIR RACE OR FAMILY.
Point 2: RECOGNISE SOVIET RUSSIA
Throughout South Africa people are expressing surprise and amazement at the tremendous resistance of the Soviet people to the Nazi invader.
AMONG THE GENERAL PUBLIC THIS HEROIC RESISTANCE HAS COME AS A COMPLETE SURPRISE.
For years we have been saturated with misleading propaganda about the Soviet peoples, about their system of government, about their standard of living, about their organising ability, about their morals and their views on religion. For years, since the revolution in 1917 in fact, the relations between Socialist Russia and the people of the rest of the world have been poisoned by a lying press, a press controlled by the monopoly capitalists of the kind who made Hitler, who sabotaged peace efforts and finally plunged the world into this bloody slaughter.
We have to remember that even if the truth about Soviet Russia is leaking out in the capitalist press to-day, this is no guarantee that it will be so to-morrow. They can switch their propaganda in a day. They have done it before.
South Africa needs to know about the Soviet Union, about its people and their institutions. It needs to know about a country which in twenty years changed from a backward, poverty-stricken country into a powerful state strong enough to challenge Hitler's armies. It needs to know about a country which managed to raise the standard of living of its citizens at the same time as it built up a powerful defence force. It needs to know about a political system which brought an end to national hatreds and conflicts between different races and united them in their love for their country and in their determination to defend it.
South Africa needs to know all these things and to understand them.
YET THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA REFUSES TO RECOGNISE THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOVIET UNION. SOUTH AFRICA HAS NO DIPLO- MATIC, COMMERCIAL, MILITARY OR CULTURAL RELATIONS WITH THE SOVIET UNION.
Only after a tremendous outcry had been raised by the whole of South Africa at the Government's dictatorial action in banning Soviet literature was the ban lifted to a certain extent. There is still a ban on "Communist propaganda."
The Government is appeasing the most reactionary forces in this country by these actions. It would have the support of hundreds of thousands of South Africans if it ceased to appease them.
FOR SEVEN YEARS NAZI GERMANY WAS RECOGNISED. FASCIST ITALY WAS RECOGNISED.
WHY NOT THE SOVIET UNION?
Is it because there are elements inside the Government which dislike Socialism so much that they are willing to insult the government of a people fighting as much in the cause of South Africa as in their own?
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA DEMANDS -
THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA RECOGNISE AND ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.S.R. THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA RENDER THE FULLEST POSSIBLE ECONOMIC AND MILITARY AID TO THE U.S.S.R. THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA REMOVE THE BAN ON ALL SOVIET AND ALL OTHER PROGRESSIVE LITERATURE.
Point 3: NO PROFITEERING
In this war against Nazism the tendency is to think only of getting rid of Hitler and Mussolini. But the Fascist system represented by these scoundrels is merely the expression of the rule of German and Italian monopoly capitalists who seek to dominate the world as a field of exploitation for themselves.
There is a grave risk that even if German and Italian monopoly capitalist are conquered at the tremendous sacrifice of hundreds of millions of lives, some other monopoly capitalism would be substituted.
In Britain, United States, and certainly in South Africa, the owning classes are making gigantic profits out of the war, while the common people are making unheard-of sacrifices. It is not enough to say that the wealthy classes are the heavily taxed. For instance, in Britain, taxation leaves a certain wealthy brewer with only £8,000 a year out of a normal income of £350,000. This looks like enormous sacrifice. But when £8,000 a year is contrasted with the allowance paid out to soldiers' dependents, there can be no talk of equality of sacrifice. Although taxation is heavier in South Africa than it used to be, it is still very much lower than in Britain, profits are much higher, and the rich have all sorts of loopholes for escaping taxes.
Attempts have been made to prevent profiteering. But mainly these resolve themselves in prosecutions of small traders who overcharge by a penny or so. There has been no prosecution of anybody except small men. What is happening here is that the big men are becoming richer and more powerful, and that the steadily increasing cost of living is hitting the worker and ordinary consumer.
Here is one example taken from the press of the way in which this business of "equality of sacrifice" works: Lever Brothers-Unilever accounts for 1940 show an increase of 22 112 per cent in trading profits AFTER ALLOWING FOR TAXATION. Lever Brothers, South African Subsidiary, operated from Durban, reported that it was making good progress in conducting the group’s interest outside Europe.
Yet Lever Brothers applied to the Union government for exemption from paying the cost of living allowance to its employees.
For the big men it is "business as usual". For the masses of the people it is "we must all make sacrifices". When the Government says "We must destroy Nazism," we agree. But we say that in the face of the fact that profiteering is so obvious that everyone can see it, it is impossible to expect the wholehearted enthusiasm that characterises a people's war.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY DEMANDS -
For the efficient conduct of the war against Hitlerism, there must be NO PROFITEERING. The people of South Africa are prepared to make sacrifices,
BUT THERE MUST BE EQUALITY OF SACRIFICE.
RAISE LIVING STANDARDS
To the man in the street it seems easy enough to understand that a worker who gets little pay can buy little food, must live in unhealthy conditions, cannot hope to provide his wife and children with food, clothing, education. But to the Government the problem is not nearly so simple. To discover why men and women live in tenements and pondokkies, suffer from tuberculosis, malnutrition, try to add to their meagre wages in a variety of legal and illegal ways, the Government thinks it necessary to appoint commission after commission, committee after committee.
At the Johannesburg sitting of the newly-appointed commission investigating the economic, social and health conditions of Africans living in urban areas, it emerged that Africans living in Orlando Township are paid wages that average £4 2s. 6d. a month. (It costs an African, at a modest estimate, a minimum of £6 a month to keep himself, his wife and an average of two children.)
Almost equally tragic is the problem of the Poor White worker who, in spite of all the Government's attempts to protect him from the competition with coloured, African and Indian labour, finds that as an unskilled worker he has to compete with the cheaper labour of his non-European fellow-workers, and consequently to live at a level not far removed from theirs.
No Government protection can solve the problem of the Poor Whites, any more than any number of Government commissions can solve the problem of tuberculosis, nutrition and child mortality.
Only abolition of the private ownership of the means of production -the factories, the electricity plants, the big farms -can raise the standard of living of all the people to heights as yet undreamed of. But in the meantime the Communist Party stresses the urgent need of raising wages and controlling prices to enable our people, all of them, to enjoy the benefits of living in a country which boasts that it is one of the most prosperous in the world, while at the same time it admits that the majority of its population, people of all races, suffers from malnutrition -IN OTHER WORDS, FROM NOT HAVING ENOUGH TO EAT.
THE COMMUNIST PARTY DEMANDS -
RAISE THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF ALL THE PEOPLE.
ESTABLISH A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE.
KEEP DOWN PRICES.
NO APPEASEMENT OF South African Fascists
There is in South Africa a large and powerful Hitler fifth column which extends into every branch of public life. It is to be found in Parliament, in Government Departments, in the Police, in the Army and amongst certain sections of the people. These agents of Hitler have openly proclaimed their sympathy for the cause of Hitler, and wish to introduce into South Africa the same barbarous forms of Government that exist in Germany and Italy to-day.
It is impossible to fight Hitler and Fascism successfully if movements like the Ossewa-Brandwag and the Herenigde Nasionale Party are allowed to grow and develop.
Throughout the whole period of this war, these enemies of the people have been allowed to go up and down the country conducting their treasonable propaganda. Their newspapers continue to pour out vile propaganda of racial hatred, intolerance and oppression.
The Government has taken no effective steps against these people and their organisation. It has followed a policy of appeasement towards them.
The Communist Party, in defence of the rights of the people, demands that immediate action be taken against the agents of Hitler and Fascism wherever they are to be found. These Fascist elements must be immediately removed from the government, the Civil Service, the Police Force, the Army and the schools and their organisations and press should not be allowed to exist. The fight against these Fascist elements demands that the broadest masses of people should be made alive to this danger in our midst. It requires the extension of democratic rights to all sections of the people, so as to render these fifth columnists and traitors impotent and insignificant.
The Communist Party calls upon all those who love freedom and hate oppression and intolerance to unite in a struggle against the forces of Fascism which are threatening us inside our own country.
The Communist Party calls on the Government to release or bring before a public Court all interned anti-Fascists!
Point 6: PROTECT Trade Union Rights Trade Unions are one of the most powerful weapons of the people in the fight against Fascism. The Trade Union movement is the bitter opponent of Fascism, because in every country where Fascist Governments have come into power it has been suppressed.
In time of war it is especially important that the freedom and independence of the trade unions should be maintained. The war has given opportunities to large sections of employers to profiteer at the expense of the people, and the trade union is the only weapon which the workers have whereby they can resist exploitation by their employ- ers, and whereby they can secure for themselves higher wages and better conditions.
THE MORE THE TRADE UNIONS ARE PREVENTED FROM EXERCISING THEIR LEGITIMATE SHARE OF CONTROL IN MATIERS CONCERNING THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE, THE EASIER IT IS FOR FASCIST ELEMENTS TO IMPOSE THEIR DICTATORSHIP UPON THE REST OF THE PEOPLE.
If Fascism is to be fought successfully, the workers cannot allow their rights of organisation to be taken away from them under cover of the "necessities of war."
On the contrary, it is more than ever necessary to extend the trade union movement by organising the vast masses of workers who are at present outside trade unions because of racial discriminations.
THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE COMPELLED BY THE DEMANDS OF THE PEOPLE TO RECOGNISE THE RIGHTS OF AFRICANS TO ORGANISE INTO TRADE UNIONS.
Many attempts are being made to curtail the liberty of action of the workers in their struggle for higher wages and better conditions. A few examples are the Government's Emergency Regulations dealing with control of man-power, the "freezing" of building* workers' wages, the declaration by the Government of stevedoring and the sugar plantations in Natal to be controlled industries soon after the workers had gone on strike for increased wages, the tendency among employers (with the sympathy of the government) to refuse to recognise lawfully established trade unions, and to set up "welfare" committees that function as "bosses"' unions along Fascist lines.
This attitude of the Government and the employers constitutes a serious challenge to the entire trade union movement, and if allowed to continue will result in the destruction of the freedom of the trade unions, and the establishment of "Labour" unions along Fascist lines.
The Communist Party stands for a strong, free and independent trade union movement as being one of the main bulwarks in the struggle of the people against Fascism.
The Communist Party demands that the Government recognise the right of Africans to organise into trade unions.