The roots of the APDUSA can be traced back to the Workers’ Party of South Africa (WPSA) which was established in 1934.

The WPSA sought to implement a Marxist-Leninist approach to the South African struggle. After submitting its guiding theses to Leon Trotsky for comment and criticism it moved to play a critical role in the struggle. It was instrumental in the creation and building of the Non-European Unity Movement (later renamed, the Unity Movement of South Africa) out of which APDUSA subsequently emerged.

The programme and policy of the UMSA which expressed the Trotskyist concept of uninterrupted revolution, stood in stark contrast to the Stalinist “two stage theory” and the multi-nationalist ideology preached by the South African Communist Party. The latter , as the UMSA and APDUSA consistently warned, laid the door open for the fraudulent negotiated political settlement concluded in South Africa in 1992 between the Communist party backed African National Congress (ANC) and the apartheid regime.