Build people’s power: defend the unity of the ANC, the unity of the Alliance and advance to socialism!
The SACP wishes to express its appreciation for the invitation to come and address this august body, the National Congress of this important, militant affiliate of COSATU.
On behalf of the General Secretary of the SACP, our PB, the Central Committee and indeed on behalf of the entire membership of the SACP, I greet you all to this important congress.
Your Congress is taking place at very crucial domestic and international conjunctures which though may seem distinct but are deeply interrelated developments: the global crisis of finance capital and the splinter group from the African National Congress. I say these are related because we are part of a global capitalist system, whose impact on our shores go beyond just the economic realm, but has had disproportionate influence on our politics as well.
The current global capitalist financial crisis
Although there were some systemic dips, generally in the post-1994 period the global capitalist economy appeared to be going through a relatively sustained expansion. This was certainly the orthodox belief here in South Africa and our fixation became how to link up, catch-up and generally benefit from what was supposedly a guaranteed path to growth and all things good. Needless to say, the SACP constantly warned against this illusion – but after 1994 the government pursued policies of rapid opening up and liberalisation through drastic tariff reductions (far ahead of what was even required by the GATT agreements) and the dropping of exchange controls. Impressing foreign investors became more important than developing a national industrial policy, or addressing our skills challenges.
We warned against these neo-liberal measures, but we were scoffed at by many in government, not to mention the financial commentators. However, by 2007 even the always-cautious Bank for International Settlements, the club of rich country central bankers, said in its Annual Report that the world was “vulnerable to another 1930s slump”.
That warning now no longer looks alarmist as the wave of bankruptcies and forced mergers of banks, mortgage providers and insurance companies mainly in the US and the UK rolls on. Over the last weeks, the US Federal Reserve has effectively nationalised the mortgage lenders Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. It has lent $85-billion to insurance and financial services firm American International Group (AIG) to help it avoid bankruptcy. Earlier in the year, it doled out $30billion to help JP Morgan acquire Bear Stearns and avoid bankruptcy. The sum total of these bail-outs is some three to four times larger than South Africa’s annual GDP – which gives an indication of the sheer size of the crisis.
Many commentators have remarked on the irony that Bush’s right-wing administration has spearheaded the most comprehensive “socialist” programme of our era. The Business Times of last week had a headline reading “Welcome to the United Socialist States of America”. While the irony of the reversal of long-held neo-liberal dogmas from within Washington itself should be appreciated – it should also be emphasised that what we are seeing is not socialism. It is the socialisation of DEBT – the middle and working classes of the US, and the rest of the world, are being forced to pay for the super profits and the profligate recklessness of the corporate rich. As Marx noted nearly a century and a half ago – this is the iron law of capitalism. Profits are privatised, debt is nationalised.
Should we be celebrating that there is a global capitalist crisis? Yes, but no when this is not accompanied by sustained working class offensive against the system itself. We can only celebrate if progressive forces world-wide are able to seize the moment to force through a major change in the direction of global accumulation. Without such a change, the crisis will impact mainly upon workers and the poor, and especially those in the South.
We are, of course, being told that, thanks to “the sound macro-economic policies” associated with GEAR, South Africa is not as vulnerable as it might be. Unfortunately, almost the reverse is true. Yes, we concede, that to the extent that there has been a degree of fiscal discipline, our vulnerabilities are less than they might have been. But our argument as the SACP has never been with fiscal discipline as such. We have always argued that we need to be extremely disciplined with public resources, ensuring that we use them for sustainable transformation. It is for this reason that we have argued against the corporate capture of our state, and against the costly white-elephant mega-projects like Gautrain, Coega, the arms procurement package, the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, and the Dube Tradeport. Billions of rand have been spent on these costly projects whose viability and sustainability are highly dubious. Some (including some within the ranks of the ANC) have got very rich on these projects. But where is the much trumpeted fiscal discipline in all of this?
We are constantly being warned that whatever the changes in personnel in the cabinet the one iron law that cannot be broken is the imperative of no change in economic policy. This argument is an argument living in a fool’s paradise, and even many of the neo-liberal high-priests secretly admit this.
What is to be done? If we remain stuck on our current trajectory there is a very serious danger that we will be forced to go to the IMF. This must be avoided at all cost. Once trapped in the IMF we will lose sovereign control over our economic policies and our new democracy will be become redundant.
We need to look once more at:
- Serious exchange control measures to lessen our vulnerability to what will continue to be major financial instability. We need real economy investment and not hot money that flows in and out at a whim;
- Import controls – even when our economy grows we tend to suck in more imports than we export. We import capital goods, luxury goods and many manufactured goods – these are items either that the majority of South Africans do not need, or that we should be producing ourselves.
- Comprehensive, accelerated, state-led industrial policy measures that also address job creation and retention, skills development, and agrarian transformation that prioritises national and household food security.
- Addressing our energy crisis through proper pricing to ensure that the major corporate energy guzzlers (like the capital intensive aluminium smelters with paltry job creation spin-offs) pay, instead of being given long-term special deals way below what ordinary South Africans pay for their electricity. We also need to renationalise SASOL. As an interim measure, in this regard, we must impose a windfall tax on SASOL. The windfall tax should be ring-fenced and earmarked for energy-related interventions to safeguard, as much as possible, our national energy sovereignty, including the rolling-out of sustainable, renewable energy and investment in public transport.
The progressive trade union movement, especially a union like SACCAWU has a very important role to play in these struggles, and this fundamentally relates to the next question we wish to address today, that of the character and role of the progressive trade union movement in the national democratic revolution.
The role of the progressive trade union movement in the national democratic revolution
It is important that when approaching this matter, we return to the basics, the Communist Manifesto,
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle….Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word; oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”
It is important that we remind ourselves about this reality, because there can be no ways that trade unions can divorce themselves from these broader class battles in society. Whilst the working class creates its own political party (the Communist Party) to spearhead these battles, trade unions themselves cannot narrowly limit their struggles only to those matters relating to the workplace, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, trade unions themselves in their whole history are subject to contestations by various class forces in society. These contestations have taken different forms in different historical periods. It has historically been the mission of the bourgeoisie for instance to destroy, failing which to co-opt the trade union movement. One method that the bourgeoisie has used in trying to destroy or co-opt the trade union movement is by arguing that unions must exclusively restrict themselves to workplace matters.
Here in South Africa, we have had a tendency, called ‘workerism’ that threatened to engulf our trade union movement in the 1970s into the 1980s. This tendency sought to insulate the trade union movement, if not actually isolate it, from the struggle for national liberation. This tendency was defeated with the formation of COSATU, and had it been allowed to succeed we possibly would not have had our democratic breakthrough in 1994. The mobilization of the progressive trade union movement, as part of the broader liberation movement, ensured that the working class became the head of the offensive against the apartheid regime.
Secondly, whilst all trade unions should prioritise workplace issues, but not a single workplace issue can be won without for instance ensuring the participation of workers in the ANC and the SACP, thus ensuring that a political climate is created in which those workplace struggles can be won.
Thirdly, and in our case, trade unions are contested by the bourgeoisie, now together with BEE types, since they have a lot of resources in workers’ pension funds, insurance policies, etc. Had COSATU stood aside in the SACP-led financial sector campaign, this campaign would not have made the gains that we have made now.
Fourthly, there is no contradiction between the independence of the trade union movement, which must be protected at all costs, and its participation in broader struggles in society, and in alliances that would advance the interests of the working class. To counterpose the two is to be thoroughly un-dialectical, and can only serve to weaken the trade union movement in its very workplace struggles it must wage. Instead the correct way to pose the question is how should the trade union movement ensure that there is an appropriate political climate within which it can wage successful struggle to transform the workplace?
Fifthly in South Africa, there has been a coincidence between class and race. As Slovo has successfully argued in the past, many South African workers have acquired their initial class consciousness from their experience of racial oppression both in the workplace and in broader society. But also it has been through this class consciousness that has taught South African workers that their class interests cannot be advanced unless colonialism of a special type and its racial regime is completely destroyed, not only in the past, but also in the current period going into the future.
In concluding this matter it needs to be said that any attempt to isolate the trade union movement from broader struggles in society can only weaken and ultimately destroy the trade union movement itself. Building the capacity to successfully wage workplace struggles is integrally intertwined with broader struggles in society.
To ask of the trade union movement to restrict itself only to workplace issues in a narrow way is also disingenuous in another sense. The bourgeoisie, whilst its core mission is to make profit, it is daily heavily involved in politics, using all manner of strategies, including economic blackmail, the golf-course, etc, to try and influence if not determine the political direction of the country in order to create fertile grounds for expanded capital accumulation. Therefore to ask of the trade union movement to focus on workplace issues only is actually asking the trade union movement to abandon all politics to the bourgeoisie and other class forces. It is actually to destroy progressive trade unionism, and leave the field wide open to reactionary trade unions, and the bosses, understandably, love such unions.
It is also a contradiction for any union to characterize itself as being committed to socialism, but then at the same time stand aside from the broader class and political struggles in society. Socialism is a struggle that must be led by the SACP, but cannot succeed unless workers are an integral part of this struggle. Socialism is a political struggle and a political project that must involve the key motive forces of the NDR in the political battles required to achieve this objective.
For example, there is no way that the struggle to organize farm-workers can succeed, unless this is coupled with the struggle to transform South Africa’s country-side, and to actively seek to influence land and agrarian transformation. Trade unions cannot stand aside from these struggles and hope that the appropriate political environment conducive to trade union organization of farm workers will fall from the skies.
Whilst trade unions are not class political parties, but they are class organizations, that should always locate their struggles within the context of broader class struggles in society.
In this period one critical task of the trade union movement is to make sure that the second decade of freedom benefits the workers and the poor. Part of this struggle includes precisely the struggles that have been taken up COSATU, struggles against poverty, against high food, fuel and electricity prices, against HIV/AIDS, against women’s exploitation, against narrow BEE, and indeed against the capitalist system as a whole.
Today the SACP is proud of the role that COSATU for instance has played in contributing towards a very clear Alliance programme post-Polokwane, a programme that has prioritized the following:
- Decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all
- The transformation of the health and education sectors so that we can overcome the huge inequalities and disparities in these areas, and also to fast-track skills development for the children of the working class
- The transformation of the criminal justice system, because it is hugely failing the workers and the poor. Abandoning this terrain can only result in the consolidation of a rule of law for the rich, and a legal system that can be used to undermine worker organization in the workplace
- Rural development and agrarian reform in order to prioritise food security and sovereignty for the workers and the poor
Our 2009 Red October Campaign
Last week in KZN we launched our 2008 Red October Campaign in Umlazi, eThekwini. Our Red October Campaign will focus on two main areas: the building of street committees and ensuring mass mobilization for our communities to actively participate in local governance.
For instance, the Municipal System and Structures Acts, require that communities must be consulted before any major decisions are taken including alienation of municipal land and outsourcing. Yet this is not happening, and it is for this reason that the SACP will seek to educate our communities about these laws, and mobilize them to actively shape progressive governance at local level.
We will use the Red October Campaign to build street/block and village committees as organs of people’s power in defense of the revolution. This we will do by deepening the Know Your Neighborhood Campaign.
Indeed our Red October campaign will also be a platform to campaign for an overwhelming ANC electoral victory in the 2009 elections. The SACP will participate in these elections in support of the ANC within the context of a reconfigured alliance where matters relating to joint development of the election manifesto, deployments and other related issues will have to be dealt with completely differently than from the past.
Defeat the reactionary splinter from the ANC
In line with what is contained in the Communist Manifesto, what we are actually seeing happening with this splinter group must be properly understood from a class perspective and in its historical context.
The SACP, since about 2006, from a lengthy debate that started in early 2002, had characterized the problems in the ANC as a manifestation of the simultaneous rise and subsequent crisis of a particular class project in the movement and the state, which we correctly referred to as the 1996 class project. This project we said is a class alliance between sections of global and domestic capital a certain cadre in the state, together with the emergent sections of the black sections of the bourgeoisie. This has been a project highly dependent, for its success, on the control of the ANC and the state in order to achieve its objectives.
Polokwane marked the severe dislodging, albeit not total defeat, of this class project inside the ANC. Therefore this splinter group is nothing else other than the continuation of the objectives of the 1996 class project by other means, now that it has been severely weakened inside the ANC. The splinter is an elite class project highly dependent on:
- Control of the levers of the state
- Control and transformation of the ANC into an electoralist party, using the masses only to vote in order to ascend to state power
- The marginalization of the allies, including the ANC itself from key policy decisions in the state
- Shifting of real power away from the Alliance into the state
- Backing by powerful capitalist interests, especially in the financial sector.
The 1996 class project is also compradorial in character, as it seeks to consolidate its hold over government through a parasitic relationship between capital and the state, with sections of the BEE types as the main conduit through which this parasitic relationship is cemented. Therefore it is not an accident that BEE has been narrow and benefitting only a small elite.
It is therefore only this agenda that can be pursued by the splinter group, to find new outlets to pursue a class agenda. For these reasons it is also a reactionary agenda that will only be interested in using the mass of the people for narrow class agendas.
It also needs to be said that this project goes back to 1994, if not earlier. It is the same project that was guided by the strange document that appeared in our movement in August 1994 titled, ‘Umandated reflections’ , undemocratically imposed GEAR on our country, sought to massively privatise state owned enterprises, sought to drive the SACP and COSATU out of the Alliance through the infamous ‘2002 Briefing notes’ and sought to continue controlling the ANC at Polokwane.
Interestingly elements of this splinter, who are today crying foul of lack of democracy in the ANC, presided over what will go down as one of the most undemocratic practices inside our movement.
But comrades with due respect to Terror, Mbhazima, Mluleki, Smuts, Macozoma and them, these people are using the name of the former President Thabo Mbeki to divide the ANC. Why is the former President quiet, his silence is indeed the loudest. The movement he once called “Lekgotla la sechaba, Umbuthu we sizwe” is being attacked and destroyed by his own close associates.
We need to defend the movement without any reservations, so let’s engage the nation on the side of the movement against the reactionary forces.
Over many years when our movement and our alliance went through difficult times, we pointed out to the fact that there were strong provocations for the alliance to split. The provocations at the time were initiated by those who at the time where at the helm of our movement, the ANC. We refused to bow to this pressure.
The membership of the ANC saw this for what it is and acted in the manner in which they did in Polokwane.
When we were confronted with these problems we analysed the problems facing us and and we came to no other conclusion but about an existence of what we called the “1996 Class Project” whose main thrust was to modernize the ANC from a mass based campaigning organization to a narrow electoral party, marginalization of the ANC and the alliance partners on issues of governance, a pursuance of economic policies meant to advantage capitalist profitability and forging a new kind of a cadre in the ANC.
These attempts to change the ANC into what it has not historically been have dismally failed. The attempts to marginalize communist from the ANC have failed.
The last option for the likes of Terror Lekota and others has been nothing else but to achieve these goals which they failed to achieve inside the ANC, by establishing a new political party.
We can however state it for the record that to our knowledge, some of the problems referred to in the announcement are the legacy of the previous leadership of which Terror Lekota was part of.
As the SACP it is our understanding that there have been preparatory meetings to form this Party since January this year. This is nothing but a coalition of the ill-disciplined who cannot accept democratic processes inside the ANC.
It is for that reason that we are ready to defend the revolution against a right wing attack from within. This is not new, the breakaway of the PAC, the group of eight and the latest formation of the UDM are but some of the historical breakaways that we have had to deal with and defeated in the past.
These characters will meet the full might of the organized working class. And we shall meet in the next elections to teach them a lesson!!
Expulsion of a Conspiratorial Clique
Statement by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, Morogoro,
11 December 1975 (abridged)
A small discredited conspiratorial group of dissidents, some of them formerly active in the African National Congress, and other splinter movements, have recently intensified their campaign of lies, slander and malicious distortions intended to cause disruption within the ranks of the African National Congress and create confusion and demoralisation among the oppressed people of South Africa and the world public.
Determined, at all costs, to attract public attention to themselves, they deliberately conspired to use the name of the late Robert Resha and the solemn ceremonies connected with his death and the unveiling of his tombstone for an outright and unprecedented attack on the African National Congress of South Africa, its policies and its leadership. The attack was carried under cover of a booklet ostensibly published in memory of the late Robert Resha. This action was the culmination of a persistent and prolonged treacherous and subversive campaign by some of the ringleaders of this faction.
The overwhelming majority of the members of the African National Congress of South Africa, have for little less than a decade, been aware of the activities of some of the leaders of this faction, their arrogant defiance of decisions of the movement as well as their clandestine and futile attempts to discredit the organisation and its leadership.
Every effort was made to try and persuade these ringleaders to desist from their acts of subverting the struggle, but the tolerance and constructive approach of the movement was mistaken for weakness on its part and rewarded by these conspirators by an intensification on their part of attempts to sow division and confusion.
The mature silence of the organisation in public about the activities of the clique apparently made them shout their slanders louder and louder, and publish and distribute documents which challenge the very basis of the policies and decisions of our organisation. In fact, from their clandestine meetings, mainly confined in the U. K., they proceeded to create an organised clique with a constitution contrary to the principles and policies of the ANC of South Africa.
It was clear that what the faction tried to exploit as a London or U. K. problem arising from the decisions of the 1969 Morogoro Conference was a mere subterfuge for their activities against the ANC as a whole, its policies and its leadership of the revolution in South Africa against the fascists and their allies.
. . . . [T]wo of the ring leaders of the faction, Ambrose Makiwane and Alfred Kgokong [Themba Mqota], were suspended from the National Executive Committee for 6 months in 1969 for their factional and disruptive activities and for defiance of the instructions of the organisation. They never abandoned their subversive campaign. The roots of this clique therefore existed before the Morogoro Conference in 1969. . . .
Let it be made abundantly clear that the policies of racialism and anti- communism have been and still are diametrically opposed to the policies, traditions and practices of the African National Congress. . . .
It now becomes clear why the behaviour and activities of the Mqota- Mbele group has received wide and thorough coverage in the South African and imperialist press. The enemy press and radio have blown the so-called ‘divisions’ in the ANC out of all imaginable proportions for their own propaganda end. . . .
It is not and can never be a revolutionary approach to seek to isolate ourselves from any actual or potential allies in the struggle for the liberation of our country. . . . For us, now, it remains a constant task to win over to our side all those whites who recognise the injustice of extreme national oppression in our country and are prepared to fight for its destruction, however primitive the level of that recognition and however timid that preparedness. . . .
Over the last 10 years, the National Executive Committee of the ANC has sought and obtained the guidance of the broad membership through conferences attended by delegates drawn from all levels of the organisation and reflecting different shades of opinion on issues affecting the struggle. Members of the Mqota-Makiwane clique have either participated in, or if they did not, voluntarily stayed away from these conferences. Invariably, however, these meetings were a great success and the resolutions were unanimously adopted. . . .
The ring leaders of the faction were each called upon to denounce the treacherous activities in which they participated or to face expulsion from the organisation. Alfred Kgokong Mqota, George Mbele, Ambrose Makiwane, Jonas Matlou, Tennyson Makiwane, O. K. Setlapelo, Pascal Ngakane, and Thami Bonga have categorically and arrogantly refused to denounce their counter-revolutionary activities and are now busy intensifying their anti-ANC activities. The National Executive Committee of the ANC hereby declares that these traitors stand expelled from the African National Congress of South Africa.
African National Congress (S. A.)
P. O. Box 680
11 December 1975
Attacks on the General Secretary of the SACP
We have recently noticed with great concern, as the basis of the 1996 class project’s protection of its own ill gotten riches, a relentless and sustained personalized attacks on the persona and integrity of the SACP GS comrade Blade Nzimande. These attacks as we now know have been orchestrated from within and outside the SACP and the broader liberation movement. Amongst these were the following:
- That he is extra ordinarily arrogant – in a veiled attack on his commitment to defend the poor
- He lives in a mansion with many cars – the newspaper later apologized
- Then came the R500k lie – we later knew who it came from – Madisha and Dexter with the coordination of the then ANC President – this is in court papers as part of the friends of the court by a lawyer Zahir Omar
- He is a former member of the IFP by a certain Hlongwane who himself has worked with reactionary forces. These are all lies meant to attack his political standing because of the bourgeoisie and media accusation that he is the main influence together with Vavi on comrade JZ. What nonsense! The ANC makes its decisions independently as an organization.
- These latest attacks are part and parcel of the new movement bent on destabilising the ANC and isolating the Party and its leadership from the ANC.
- Terror must be exposed for his poor knowledge of the ANC. Comrade Dan Tloome was in the fiftees both the National Chairman of the ANC and the SACP at the same time.
- Comrade Moses Kotane was the GS of the SACP and the National Treasurer of the ANC for many years
- Comrade Walter Sisulu was the SG of the ANC part of a three man Politburo of the SACP in the 1950s let alone many others like Alfred Nzo, Duma Nokwe who held dual and senior positions in the two movements without any contradictions.
- The whole members of the Rivonia trial that included Nelson Mandela (with his exception) were senior members of the SACP and they held the torch of our liberation struggle without accusations from the people of being communists.
- So there is contradiction when comrade Gwede Mantashe is the National Chairman of our Party and the Secretary General of our movement the ANC.
The political manifestation of this project post-Polokwane:
Again it is also important to understand how this project manifests itself politically since Polokwane:
- Its attacks and venom are solely directed at the ANC, and its attempts to try and derail the ANC’s election campaign, and clearly seeking to forge a relationship with some opposition elements on the right of the political spectrum in South Africa. This is not surprising given the class orientation of this splinter, as it has more in common with the class interests of elements within the opposition than the resolutions adopted at Polokwane
- Its anti-worker and anti-communist streak is coming out much more forcefully as it is joining the opposition in making the slanderous claim that the ANC is now controlled by the communists, and complaining about the ANC Secretary General also being the national chairperson of the SACP.
- It is intensifying its attacks and smear campaigns against the SACP, COSATU and their leaderships
- It’s political outlook and motto is that “Either we continue to control (and transform) the ANC or we destroy it”
- Its attempt at the continued hold over the levers of the state and other public institutions including the SABC and long-term appointments to boards since Polokwane
- In trying to justify its existence it is trying to steal the Freedom Charter from the ANC and our people
- Recruitment of renegades from the SACP and COSATU, elements with a proven record wanting to divide and destroy working class formations and who also tried to use these for their personal accumulation
- All the above reflected in lack of any policy content in their pronouncements
It is for these reasons that this splinter has sought to defy internal democratic processes, by planning to leave the ANC because they failed to control it. One lesson for all of us in this is that we must never allow leaders who are removed from leadership position to turn around and want to sink with those organizations. LEADERSHIP IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT, BUT IT IS EARNED, NOT ONLY ONCE, BUT MUST BE EARNED DAILY THROUGH ONE’S BEHAVIOUR AND SELFLESS DEDICATION.
Therefore the working class as a whole must defend the unity of the ANC and our alliance from this renewed offensive of the 1996 class project. An attack on the unity of the ANC and the alliance is an attack on the working class. These splinter forces must therefore feel the full might of the organized working class.
Comrade Fikile Majola reminds us this, “Addressing the Central Committee of COSATU last year our General Secretary comrade Blade Nzimande said the revolution was on trial! A few months ago he told us that the revolution was on track! Indeed our National Democratic Revolution is entering a new period that is pregnant with revolutionary possibilities. At the same time, and in a contradictory fashion, the revolution is also facing major threats.
We are now more than nine months since the ANC Polokwane Conference, an event that will surely go down in the history of our movement, especially the post-apartheid history, as a major turning point. There has been several ANC National Conferences in our post-apartheid period, including the Mafikeng and Stellenbosch, but none of these Conferences (important as they may have been) can occupy the same political significance as Polokwane!
Arguably comrades, Polokwane could occupy a significant place in our revolutionary history as the ANC Morogoro Conference in 1969. Many of us already refer to Polokwane as Morogoro two. But why do we say that?
Comrades, over many years the SACP has consistently advanced the perspective that says, “at the heart of the many challenges and tensions within the Alliance, is whether our revolution should take a socialist road or capitalist road”. This question was posed not because we were not sure in what direction our NDR should proceed. We knew then and we know now, we know precisely because there was a historically shared understanding within the Alliance that it is the working class that must drive and lead in the NDR and that through its leadership and hegemony our revolution will move towards a socialist society.
We knew then and we know now, that the Freedom Charter is the basis that unites us all around the NDR as the Revolutionary Alliance. While the Charter is not a socialist manifesto, it cannot be fully implemented under capitalism. The wealth of our country, as demanded by the Freedom Charter, can never be returned to the ownership of the people as a whole under capitalism. Our revolution will need a socialist society (which is why the so-called “national democratic society” must necessarily be a socialist society!) if we are to realize the demands of the Freedom Charter, especially the demand that the “People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth”. Viva Freedom Charter Viva!
We posed the earlier question because we had reached theoretical and political conclusions that a particular class project – “the 1996 class project” – had emerged within our movement, a project that challenges the leadership of the working class in this revolution, a project that dismisses nationalization and other revolutionary demands of the Freedom Charter as “out of date”, a project that sought to replace the revolutionary Alliance our people, with a reformist alliance made up of the state, state managers with emerging black business (and behind it and under pinned by it established white business), a project that sought to demobilize (and even marginalize) our movement as the Strategic Political Centre, including marginization of COSATU and SACP, a project that concentrates power in the State Presidency and Executive, thereby marginalizing parliament, NEDLAC, and de-mobilizing our movement.
We symbolically traced the beginning of the implementation of this project to 1996, when a policy called GEAR was implemented with determination by government despite our protests. But its real begginings can be traced in the late 1980s, to what the SACP calls the 1988 class project.
While economically GEAR affected negatively the whole working class, it is workers in the public sector that bore the brunt of this project. Let us remember those periods of “downsizing”, “supernumerary”, “outsourcing”, “and restructuring of state assets “,” reducing of budget deficit” (meaning budget cuts). All these were direct attacks on the income, benefits and jobs of the workers. More than 100,000 workers, especially those whose work is to clean, cater, secure and maintain state property, lost their jobs. More so, the rest of the working class was feeling the effects of GEAR, especially on the provision of basic social needs.
The goal of Gear was to reach 6% of growth which, it was hoped, would deliver low unemployment and end poverty. But to achieve this goal, all what was required of the working class was to accept low wages, outsourcing/privatization and casualization of their jobs and so on. In other words, growth would be attained through intensified exploitation of the working class.
Indeed comrades, what that growth brought about in the last 13 years (even though it did not achieve its 6 percent target) was rising profits of the capitalist class (and the bee capitalists) and ever-declining wages of the working class, leading to further inequalities and widening wage-gaps in our society. It is not rhetoric therefore to say, that the first decade of our freedom (1994-2004) has been the decade of the bourgeoisie.
Later on we were told GEAR was nothing but “economic stabilization”, nothing more than that. But if truth be told, there was more than “economic stabilization” in GEAR. Gear was also an ideological and strategic political determination to restore the crisis of South African capitalism to profitability.
We were quite justified to say, something has gone wrong with our national democratic revolution and that the main beneficiary of the first decade of our democracy has been the bourgeoisie and middle strata. This, we said, must change; future decades must be decades of the workers and the poor!
In the whole period, especially post-1996 period, the most important revolutionary task facing working class going forward was to dislodge the 1996 Class Project, and of course we refer to a democratic process of dislodging this project!
This was a task that involved mass mobilisation and saw the Party embarking on independent campaigns on the ground, and at times jointly with our socialist ally, COSATU. It was a process that requirement development of working class consciousness and mass political and ideological work across with Alliance.
The task ran across the whole Alliance precisely because the class project cannot simply be demarcated into “camps”, which by definition may mean “those in one camp are for a class project and those in another are against”. The impact of the class project was across our movement and the Alliance, not limited to government.
Our conclusion comrades was that the 1996 Class Project delivered not only major economic benefits for the bourgoisie, but also crises for itself, crises of chronic proportions. We today still see the symptoms and feel the effects of this all-round crisis!
The present electricity crisis is a crisis of the class project due to its failure to invest in Eskom. The reason for this failure to invest is clear, it was the intention to privatize Eskom. The corruption crisis is a crisis of the class project because of its pre-occupation with narrow BEE. “I did not struggle to be poor”. This ideology of “there is nothing wrong to be rich” has now spread like a dangerous virus in the body of our cadreship from national to local.
The ugly contestation for positions of power that we now see everywhere often has very little to do with political or ideological differences. It is a dirty struggle over resources, and often public resources. Those who are “in” are fighting to keep their positions so that they can keep control over power and resources and so that they can continue to dispense patronage.
Those who are “out” are fighting to be next in the queue in order to access the loot. The tragedy is that when all this is happening service delivery suffers and more and more of our people are likely to lose confidence in us and in politics. They will join the chorus of cynics “politicians are all the same”. The food crisis is partly a crisis of the class project, because of its failure to speed up the land reform process and invest or ensure investment in agricultural production.
Those who produce, produce for foreign markets at the expense of domestic food security. More broadly the food crisis is the crisis of global capitalism. More and more the world produces food crops to feed motor cars and not human beings. The SACP`s position that the sooner the current President leaves office the better is a correct position. In the context of next year`s elections decisive action is needed not only at national but in some of our provinces as well.
The failure of ANC grassroots structures (and of the Alliance) in the face of the xenophobic attacks on our fellow working class brothers an sisters are partly as a result of years of de-mobilization of our movement.
Above all, what the 1996 class project has produced is a leadership crisis in government. The palace politics that this project represents – that of back-stabbing, factionalism, corruption – have created a situation in which we have seen lack of leadership in government to confront a number of crises facing the country. This is something that the SACP brought before its Central Committee on the eve of the Alliance Summit this month.
As such comrades, we believe that Polokwane marked a turning point in the post-apartheid history of our movement. It closes a chapter where the very question of the NDR was in doubt, and opens a period full of revolutionary possibilities. From a strategic point of view, the 1996 class project was democratically dislodged in Polokwane. But not completely dislodged. What we dislodged in Polokwane is only one aspect of the project.
We dislodged the project tendency to concentrate power in the State Presidency and consequently we restored the ANC (and its Alliance) as the Strategic Political Centre- meaning that it is the ANC-led Alliance that provides political direction to transformation, not those deployed in government. We must be clear we are not in opposition to government. This government is ours. Those who serve in government serve at our pleasure. In the words of the January 8 statement, those who are outside government must never work against those who are in government, and those who are in government must never be allowed to undermine the ANC.
So Post-Polokwane comrades, the struggle continues.
While Polokwane has produced progressive policies and resolutions, which we proudly welcome, the successful implementation requires us to continue with the task of dislodging, democratically, the 1996 class project.
In other words, we cannot be satisfied with change of leadership at national level, and ignore the fact that major change has to come at provincial, regional and branch levels of the ANC itself. The ANC must be rescued from the jaws of the 1996 class project from branch upwards! The Alliance itself must be reconfigured at all levels!.
We must renew the ANC and ensure that by 2012, when ANC is 100 years old, we have a radically different ANC in which a radical working class political culture is dominant, in which working class leadership and working class interests are dominant, in which majority of COSATU and SACP members are active and reliable working class cadres of the ANC.
The Alliance Summit – an historic and successful event
The recent Alliance Summit which took place on 9-10 May 2008 has been a hugely successful event, taking us along the direction of a reconfigured Alliance as the Strategic Political Centre of the national democratic revolution. As the Alliance Summit declared, in the next few weeks, months and years we will witness and participate in an Alliance that does the following:
- Building Alliance capacity to play its role as the Strategic Political Centre;
- Alliance Meetings regularly at leadership levels, at national, provincial, regional and local levels
- Working together as Alliance to jointly formulate and monitor implementation of policy;
- Working jointly in the deployment of Alliance cadres;
- Working jointly in the drafting of the 2009 Election Manifesto;
- Working toward a National Economic Policy Conference taking place from tomorrow
The recall of President Mbeki
It is important to remember that it was the SACP that first proposed a recall of this kind back in May of this year at the Alliance Summit. We remind ourselves of this fact, not to claim a copyright over this relatively drastic step, but to situate clearly the reasons why the SACP made the call in the first place, and why, fundamentally, we support the NEC’s decision now.
Over several years the SACP has developed an analysis of the post-1994 South African transition. We have argued that, notwithstanding important advances, monopoly capital in our country has succeeded in asserting a relative hegemony over the broad direction of our post-apartheid state and society. This hegemony was secured, in part, thanks to a leadership collective around cde Mbeki. It was a leadership collective that attempted to drive a neo-liberal restructuring programme that required the marginalisation of the SACP and COSATU, the demobilisation of the ANC, the suppression of popular struggle, and the forging of a close alliance between monopoly capital, senior state leadership and an emerging BEE faction of capital closely linked to our movement.
The think-tanks in Washington and in the corporate headquarters of the trans-nationals and local monopoly capital interests quite openly called for an ANC leadership with an “iron will”, a leadership that would be prepared to act undemocratically to suppress popular energies and concerns, to downsize the public sector, and use privatisation and liberalisation measures to allow the cold winds of the market to blow through our society in order to restructure, amongst other things, the labour market.
A great deal of political commentary in the past week has spoken of the supposed “tragic personality” flaws in President Mbeki. His aloofness, and his intolerance of debate and difference are frequently mentioned. What is forgotten, however, is that these so-called personality flaws were precisely the attributes that monopoly capital was calling for, and sought to cultivate for its own ends.
It is imperative now that we remember all of this. The democratic defeat of Mbeki within ANC ranks at the ANC’s 52nd National Conference in December, and this past week’s recall of cde Mbeki as president of the country, will prove to be false springs if we fail to connect his presidency and its failures with the failures of policy and programmes that we now confront. It is now imperative that, as the SACP and as the broader ANC-led alliance, we advance a clear transformational programme.
It is true that the new cabinet that is in the process of being put together will largely be a caretaker arrangement for a few months ahead of next year’s elections. There will inevitably be considerable continuity in terms of programmes and personalities. A more substantially transformative programme will only be able to emerge after elections – and it will only emerge if we work diligently with our Alliance partners in the present.
However, the global financial crisis and its impact on our own South African reality mean that we cannot just mark-time, even in the following six or so months. We must not allow ourselves as a movement and as a country to be bullied into submission by the deluge of political and economic commentators who warn of dire consequences if there are ANY changes in policy. Even in the United States Congress, even within President Bush’s own administration there is an appreciation that the present capitalist crisis cannot be addressed with the same package of so-called orthodox economic policies.
Apart from the recall of cde Mbeki, and partially linked to it, was the other dramatic development of the past fortnight – the judgment of Judge Nicholson in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. This judgment and appeals against it from the side of the NPA and former president Mbeki have obviously been the final tipping points for a majority within the ANC in ultimately coming to the decision of a presidential recall.
However, it is important to underline that the ANC’s decision is not a legal but a political decision. Likewise, the SACP’s support for this decision is based on political grounds – and, indeed, as we have pointed out, we made this call long before the Nicholson judgment. It is important to insist on this for many reasons. In particular, there are already voices in the public domain and, more significantly, there is already a legal challenge from the side of former President Mbeki to find against the suggestion in Nicholson’s judgement that there was executive interference over the NPA.
Let us remember Judge Nicholson’s ruling is definitive in regard to one crucial matter – the procedures the NPA followed in re-charging cde Jacob Zuma were fatally flawed. In regard to other matters, Judge Nicholson refused (as the NPA had requested) to expunge the Zuma defence’s claims that there had been a political conspiracy as he found that it was perfectly reasonable to believe that there had been a conspiracy, and he offered many examples to show why.
However, the ruling was simply a culmination of the things we had said for years.
This is why the SACP insists on two matters:
- The recall of former President Mbeki was a political and not a legally grounded imperative. The executive interference referred to by Judge Nicholson was not news to those of us in the ANC and broader alliance. Nor was it confined to the examples provided by the Judge. The recall of Mbeki was necessitated by a prolonged process whose impact worsened after the ANC’s 52nd National Conference, creating dangerous gaps between the ruling party and its deployed cadre in government. Disunity and factionalism was worsening. Under the leadership of President Mbeki, prior to, but especially after Polokwane, we were being thrown into a situation of fire-fighting on many fronts (for example, the appointment of an illegitimate SABC board, and the suspension of the National Director of Public Prosecutions). There was no decisive and cohesive leadership being given by government in all these areas, and lack of a proper relationship and co-ordination with the Alliance. The move taken last week had become a POLITICAL imperative;
- Which is not to say that we are complacent about the legal dimension to this whole episode. And this is why, in particular, the SACP now calls for a full judicial inquiry into the suspension of the former head of the NPA, advocate Pikoli. The present Ginwala Commission, a commission hand-picked by the very forces that appear to be implicated in wrong-doing, is entirely inadequate. Judge Nicholson was not required to make a definitive legal finding on this and other related matters. It is now time to ensure that such a definitive finding is made.
The Nicholson judgment
The Nicholson judgment concerned a particular case, but its import is much wider. It confirms what has been our consistent argument – justice is indivisible, justice does not only start when one has ‘his/her day in court’. Justice must be seen to be applied in the entire legal process. Citing and endorsing an earlier court judgment, Judge Nicholson had this to say on this matter:
“What the learned judges were saying in that case was that the independence of the prosecuting authority is vital to the independence of the whole legal process. If one political faction or sectional interest gains a monopoly over its workings the judiciary will cease to be independent and will become part of a political process of persecution of one particular targeted political enemy”.
This goes to the heart of the kind of rule of law we are struggling to build in our country, and is a devastating criticism of all those who have called for Cde Zuma to have ‘his day in court’, whilst conveniently and completely ignoring the manner in which the NPA has investigated him. Put differently what Judge Nicholson is basically saying is that unlawful behaviour by any component of the criminal justice system compromises the entire system, including the judiciary. In other words, justice is indivisible!
It was high time that the judiciary had to express its strong displeasure at the antics (and dare we say, the antiques) of the NPA, not only to protect the NPA but to protect our entire criminal justice system. In many ways, as others have also observed, this judgment is an important contribution towards rescuing the judiciary from being tainted by the behaviour of one component of the criminal justice system.
Not unexpectedly, some analysts, especially those who had clearly formulated an opinion that Cde Zuma is already guilty, are now arguing that whilst Zuma might have been vindicated, but he is not exonerated. This is nothing other than an attempt, by the likes of Allister Sparks, to try and rescue their intellectual and moral integrity in the light of a judgement that clearly shows that Zuma, as we have consistently argued, can never, ever have a fair trial. By so saying these analysts also want to ensure, like Zapiro and his offensive shower that a permanent cloud hangs over Cde Zuma, irrespective of whatever the courts have said about his maltreatment.
There are many aspects to this judgment, and it will inevitably be debated for a long time to come. Whilst debate is necessary and welcome, the SACP and the whole alliance must not fall into the trap of endless debates. Instead we should focus on both immediate and medium term measures that must be taken in the wake of Nicholson’s judgment. In other words we have to keep our eyes on the ball, if we are to provide the requisite leadership not only to our members but to society as a whole.
We have always insisted that justice does not begin only when someone appears in court, but in the manner in which the entire criminal justice system conducts its work.
In our discussion document we highlight the need, and have provided the space at this Policy Conference, for the SACP to discuss how to play an active, if not leading role, in the struggle for a rule of law that is genuinely democratic and that is accessible and meaningful to the great majority of South Africans. Justice, security and safety, whatever the fine-sounding rhetoric, that are only available to the rich and powerful do not constitute but rather undermine the rule of law. It would be irresponsible to gloat over the findings of Judge Nicholson, and lose sight of the actions that need to be undertaken to defend the institutions of our criminal justice system.
There are a number of matters that require our attention, but only four will be highlighted here:
It is going to be important to take swift action on all matters relating to the improper political interference in the operations of the NPA by senior political office bearers, and also set in motion the necessary processes to get to the bottom of all this. A very strong message needs to be sent out to the whole of society that at no stage, now or in the future, should we allow organs of state to be used for internal party political machinations or to pursue narrow factionalist agendas. This is the only way we can restore the confidence of our people in these institutions, whose image is already seriously impaired.
The criminal justice system
The Nicholson judgment has fundamental implications for the transformation and repositioning of our criminal justice system, especially the NPA, as well as the behaviour of those entrusted with political oversight over its various institutions, including the intelligence function. This, amongst other things, means that the current review of the criminal justice system underway has to be rethought in the light of this judgment. And if we are to restore the confidence of our people in the system, we need to ensure that such a review also involves the public as much as possible.
Clearly, the matter of the relationship between the prosecuting authority and political office-bearers responsible for oversight over this institution is a matter for urgent attention as part of this review.
The SACP is also of the view that Parliament needs to take urgent steps to call the NPA to account on the very many serious findings made by Judge Nicholson. Most importantly this must also be an opportunity for parliament to correct its very serious lapses in the past in not decisively acting on the recommendations of the Public Protector in 2006. All parliament did was to appoint an ad hoc committee which strangely only endorsed the report without following up on the very specific recommendations contained therein. For example, the Public Protector, complained about the non-co-operation of the then Minister of Justice and National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) with his investigation, let alone the disdain with which the Minister and the Director treated the Public Protector. The SACP had called for action on this and, in hindsight, had Parliament acted decisively and timeously in calling to order those responsible, we possibly would not be where we are today.
A public debate also needs to be launched, with Parliament playing a leading role, to reflect on the strong views expressed by Judge Nicholson on the autonomy and manner of appointment of the NDPP.
The SACP needs to consistently raise issues relating to the class, gender and racial orientation of our criminal justice system. The working class and the poor continue to be inadequately catered for by this system as shown by, amongst others, the failure to protect the poor from abuse by employers, especially farm-workers and the continued shabby treatment of victims of rape.
It is the elitist orientation of our criminal justice system that precisely makes it vulnerable to machinations and manipulations inside the ‘palace’.
The role of the media
Much as we have fought for and shall continue to defend freedom of expression and media freedom, we however all have a responsibility to create much more effective platforms to discuss the role of the media in the treatment of matters relating to the President of the ANC. Amongst other things we need to reflect on the balance between media freedom and individual rights as contained in the Bill of Rights. The media has completely avoided discussing this question, especially in the wake of the confidential press briefing by the former NDPP.
Most of the media has been deliberately blind to the very many abuses of the NPA that the judgment has now sharply brought to the fore. This is indeed a serious indictment on the media, as most of it covered matters relating to Cde Zuma from the premise that Cde Zuma was already guilty and the onus was on him to prove himself innocent.
In this regard we wholeheartedly agree with the criticism levelled by COSATU on the behaviour of the media on the matters relating to Cde Zuma.
Furthermore, we need to use this Policy Conference to reflect on the ANC resolution about the desirability of a Media Tribunal, which will provide another accessible mechanism for redress, with effective punitive measures on serious transgressions by the media, without resorting to the expensive route of court civil suits.
Much more important, we need to use this Policy Conference to further reflect on how we use our internal working class media as part of the broader battle of ideas, as part of the overall class offensive to build working class influence in all key sites of power. This is an essential component of building the SACP as a vanguard Party of the working class.
Another critical discussion we need to have at this policy conference should be about the nature, character and the role of the public broadcaster in deepening our democracy. We are currently sitting with an unrepresentative and illegitimate board of the SABC which does not reflect the entire spectrum of South African society. It is a board with no working class and broader community representation. And it is a board which has also, since its appointment, clearly mismanaged the SABC.
But we need to define what kind of public broadcaster we need, devoid of post 1994 ‘Cliff Saunders’, and factionalist tendencies, but reflecting the broad aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the people of our country. Such a task constitutes an important component of our pillar to build working class influence/hegemony in the ideological sphere, the battle of ideas.
Mass mobilisation and mass awareness
It is absolutely important that we continue to wage mass awareness campaigns around the behaviour of the institutions of our criminal justice system generally, as these institutions are supposed to serve all South Africans irrespective of class, racial or gender location in society.
It is our continued mass mobilisation that has ensured that issues affecting the workers and the poor have found expression in public discourse. Of course elites have been extremely irritated by this as for them the ‘barbarians’ must always be kept outside the high gates of the palace! Were it not for this mass mobilisation, Cde Zuma would by now be history, followed by many other leaders and activists who are not part of the inner core of the palace.
Mass mobilisation and campaigning is also important in ensuring that we defeat palace politics and manoeuvres in our criminal justice system and beyond. Such palace politics seek to turn the workers and the poor of our country into spectators, rather than actors and the leading motive forces for radical transformation in our country.
The working class must continue to be at the centre of this mass mobilisation, and it is for this reason that we have placed the matter of the transformation of the criminal justice system very high on the agenda of this National Policy Conference. It must be from a consistently class perspective that we approach matters of the rule of law and transformation of the criminal justice system.
It is however important that much as the persecution of Cde Zuma has been the main entry point into all the above issues, the struggle on these fronts must be broadened and be part of the overall agenda for transformation, as part of consolidating and deepening a radical national democratic revolution.
The building of mass revolutionary power is an important component of our Programme, ‘The South African Road to Socialism’; which also encapsulates the building of working class hegemony in all key sites of power in society.
There are two critical platforms upon which we must seek to deepen mass mobilization. The first is that relating to re-focusing and intensifying all the mass campaigns that the SACP has been involved in over the last 10 years or so (including the financial sector, the social grants, land and agrarian reform, food security, public transport, jobs and poverty, and the health campaigns). This conference will have to focus on these very important campaigns, which are the life-blood of the struggles of the working class.
The other important campaign is that of building street committees as called upon by the ANC. Whilst this is an ANC campaign, communists need to be at the forefront of this campaign and seek to work together with ANC structures in ensuring that we build these structures as part of defeating crime. However, as outlined in one of our Umsebenzi Online publications, these street committees should gradually expand their activities beyond crime to encompass a whole range of other activities in our communities, as they are the potential to build revolutionary local nuclei for the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism. This means a focused attention on building working class power in communities, in line with our own Programme.
Further, this congress should be a reminder that periodic economic struggles important as they are have limited impact and outcomes. So we need to continuously concienstise the workers of such limitation which fails to replace the system of economic and social exploitation but only relief distress and coercive exploitation as well as to show through this forum the significance of the working class to at all times fight to win political power in order to usher in a hegemonic government of the workers consciously fighting for the eradication of exploitative capitalist system and engage in a socialist struggle to put them in charge of their labour power, their primary wealth in society.
You know better than we do of the challenges ahead, your heroic strike in the Pick and Pay and now Woolworths currently is another reminder of the reposit militancy in this union and we wish further strength and courage as your prepare for another grueling negotiations for recognition and we remain available for unconditional support to your struggle for a living wage and better working conditions.
But comrades it is at times like this that we need not remind you the essence of your oppression. Essentially the entire labour of the workers is reduced to a commodity and is thus exchanged for a means of livelihood. Comrade Karl Marx addressing this matter referred to commodities as “the useful product of human labour that can be bought and sold”. He also based his critique of the capitalist system – the economy of the time (still is even today) that “The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an immense collection of commodities – the individual commodity appears as its elementary form”.
Commodity is the elementary form of wealth in capitalist societies and therefore making commodity form of production the fundamental form of capitalism. So in essence, capitalism is the way to organise social and economic life and social relations around the profit motive and private ownership of the means of production. So commodity form is riddled with deep class interests and connotations. In this conference, we are preparing how to value our labour as we sell it to the greedy capitalists. Down with capitalism and forward with Socialism!
Just lets us not forget that the primary wealth we all have as human being is the labour we possess in ourselves. Frederick Engels went even as far as saying, “Labour is the primary condition of all human existence…”
We live in a country with the largest economy on the African continent with a GDP representing about 36% of all Sub-Saharan Africa combined, Gauteng tourism even boast that the province as the second biggest economy on the continent after South Africa, we have more industries than the rest of the African countries put together, have more cars than all sub-Saharan Africa combined and yet South Africa is the second most un-equal country in the whole world at 59% just after Brazil at 60% (World Facts Book 2004) using the Gini coefficient scale measuring in-equality with a mere life expectancy of 44 years and infant mortality of 73% for Africans of every 1000 live births and only 18% for whites (DBSA), with Seven of the Nine provinces with the poverty datum line at 50% of which the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Free State has these figures above 60% (Stats SA). 57% of Africans, 35% coloureds, 8% whites live below the poverty datum line calculated at One dollar per day (about R7.70) Stats SA
Un-employment at expanded terms hovers shockingly at just above 40%. So of the 16.6 million of the economically active people just about 4 million are employed and 12 million un-employed (Labour Force Survey), and this is further worsened by about 5.6 million people infected and living with HIV and the in-ability to provide them with food and medicine, let alone a further over 3 million people live on the in-adequate state social security system with many falling through the cracks and receiving no assistance.
Where as in Europe a cow is subsidized for between $25-30 a day (more than R250 to R300 a day), thus enjoying more nutritional and social privileges and well being than the majority of the people in the South countries. The Seven most industrialized countries control 67.5% of world production and yet consume 80% of world GDP. The same G7 group continues to spend in excess of $1.6 trillion a year just on advertisement in order to contests and win the markets and domination of ideas. As Fidel Castro once said that in the current period characterized by the crisis of capitalism “ the ideas should be our major concern”. The dominance of the lofty ideas and commitment to the practice of socialism over capitalism should be enhanced and equally, so we should also talk more about the failures of the neo-liberal discourse and the over failures and terminal crisis of capitalism.
So indeed there no more relevance of the saying by the Uruguain writer and scholar Eduardo Galliano that “the first world is doomed to die from cholesterol and the third world is to be annihilated by mal-nutrition”
This is not to demoralize you comrades but to reflect on the situation of the working class. In the past, when communism was regarded as taboo by the reactionary bourgeois and their cohorts, this kind of information will mean long prison terms, but this is their information not manufactured by the SACP. We only probe further and ask questions. Like Don Helder said that, “when I give food to the poor, they call me a Saint and when I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist”. In this regard we plead guilty as charge and will always ask those most relevant questions affecting the living conditions of the poor.
Inversely since 1994 South Africa has produced more than 50 000 millionaires for which over 25 million are dollar millionaires against the backdrop of deepening poverty and uncontrollable prices with the housing sector across the country on average increasing by 500%.
Tasks of the working class
It is therefore important for us to understand the tasks of the working class at the moment and going forward:
- Deepen mass work amongst the workers and the poor in order not to be derailed but focus on the priorities as, amongst others, identified by our Alliance Summit
- Ensure that our members properly understand the form that the class struggle is taking and to expose the class character of the splinter as a renewed attempt at a right wing offensive against a radical national democratic revolution
- Continue our struggle against the rising cost of living for the workers and the poor
- Building a strong and progressive working class formations, prioritizing workplace issues, but involved as combatants in the broader working class and political struggles
- Deepen the relationship between all working class formations including the progressive trade union movement and the SACP
With these few words we wish you a very successful congress!
Long live SACCAWU long live!
Long live the Alliance long live!
Phantsi ngabathenkisi phantsi!