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Direct Action in South Africa

 The recent attempts on the part of the Rand miners at Johannesburg to gain their ends by force of arms affords another striking instance of the futility of adopting such methods in the face of the organised, well-disciplined force of the governing class. Into the pros and cons of this particular case we do not propose to go. The broad facts of the case are sufficient for our purpose. In the mining districts of South Africa we find the masters organising for wage reductions; in fact, throughout the Capitalist world the same thing is going on all round. In England we had the coal mine owners making the first grand onslaught towards wage reductions. The Engineering industry at the present moment witnesses another great move on the part of the masters to force a reduction of wages.

Redundant Directors

Walter Goldsmith, Director General of the Institute of Directors, did not like the fact that the Thatcher government averted, at least for the time being, the threat of a countrywide coal strike. He commented (Guardian, 20/2/81): “The events of the last few days have reduced the . . . government’s economic policies to a shambles . . .They have caved in on all fronts . . .They are . . . reinforcing trade union power”. Well, isn’t this jolly hard cheese! Here are the directors, rubbing their hands gleefully in expectation of the miners being put in their place, only to find the contest called off at the last minute! Unfortunately for the directors, and those who think like them, the capitalists cannot live as capitalists without the workers, from whom they extract the surplus value from which their profits come. Consequently, when these confrontations arise, concessions sometimes have to be made if the cost to the capitalists is less than that of a stoppage of production.

Film Review: 'Gold'

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'Gold', directed by Peter R. Hunt

(A correspondent in South Africa has sent us this account of the screening of a film based on life there).

"Gold" has well-known actors in the leading parts, and several hundred Africans — of whom two are named in the printed programme. This film, recently screened in Johannesburg, was made in and around this city and London. It was produced with the co-operation of a major South African gold-mining corporation, so it would be safe to assume that it does not misrepresent the gold mining industry — adversely, at least.

Remember Featherstone!

The Britishers have proverbially short memories. Even when organised into Trade Unions they emblazon their regalias with such meaningless phrases as "Defence, not defiance," etc. If they were class conscious they would substitute the names of the battles they fought, even though lost, with the dominant class. But they are not class conscious, hence the easy and well paid jobs of their "leaders," the decoy ducks for the capitalist party. How many of the workers, how many of the miners even, remember Featherstone? Yet the circumstances were such that they should remain fresh in the minds of the people, and be told and retold to their children and to their children's children.

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