Socialist Party of Azania
|President||Tiyani Lybon Mabasa|
|Founded||21 March 1998|
|Split from||Azanian People's Organisation|
|Headquarters||4-16 Renaissance Centre, Gandhi Square, Johannesburg 2000|
|International affiliation||International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International|
|Colors||Yellow, black and red|
The Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) is a Scientific Socialist, Black Consciousness political party in South Africa. In the 2004 general elections, it received 0.1% of the vote and no legislatorial seats at either the national or provincial levels.
The party was formed on 21 March 1998. It was branched from the Azanian People's Organisation. The forefathers of the party were also founding members of the 1970s Black Consciousness Movement which was led by Steve Biko. Among noted members of SOPA are Asha Moodley, Steven Peter, Rose Ngwenya, Dr. Gomoleo Mokae, Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, Musa Kunta Mohamed, Phineas Malapela, Patrick Mkhize, Console Tleane, Ashraf Jooma and the late Strini Moodley.
SOPA's ideological framework is a blend of Bikoist Black Consciousness and Marxism-Leninism. Following from this framework, SOPA argues that the end of apartheid in the 1990s did not truly liberate Black people in South Africa (which the party refers to as Azania), but that instead the post-apartheid South African state - led by the African National Congress (ANC) - has allowed the continuing cultural, social and economic dominance of white South Africans. This, the party argues, is due to the ANC having sold out to white capital. In the Bikoist terminology used by the party, those in power through the ANC can be said to be "non-whites" as, in Biko's words their "aspiration is whiteness" and only their "pigmentation makes attainment of this impossible", as opposed to Blacks who "are those who can manage to hold their heads high in defiance rather than willingly surrender their souls to the white man". The party therefore calls for Black political leadership which stands in solidarity with the Black population of the country.
It is SOPA's perspective that to liberate the poorest of the black majority of population from despair, the working class must lead a proletarian revolution which will abolish the system based upon the private ownership of fundamental means of production, and result in the redistribution of land and nationalisation of basic industries. This plan would, according to theory, reverse the detrimental economic legacy of apartheid and colonialism, which SOPA claims has left black South Africans inherently disadvantaged.
In 1998, leading SOPA figures participated in an international Tribunal on Africa, "to judge those responsible for the murderous course imposed on the workers and peoples of Africa." The Tribunal held that economic policies affecting Africa - as formulated by such international institutions as the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund, and the co-operation of what SOPA sees as neocolonial governments like that of the African National Congress - have led to disastrous living conditions for the majority of Africans. SOPA regards such policies and practices as imperialism on behalf of multinational corporations.
The current president of SOPA is Lybon Masaba. In the 2004 elections, SOPA received 0.1% of the vote. The party is affiliated with the International Liaison Committee for a Workers' International. Although party members include socialists of different stripes, some of its most influential members are Trotskyists, and they comprise the Azanian Section of the reproclaimed Fourth International.