[DEBATE] : (Fwd) More teachings of Chairman Blade
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Thu Sep 20 06:26:18 BST 2007
(Did Dale teach this one though?: "This CC will have to ask itself some very serious questions. To what extent have we fostered a leadership style in our movement that is intolerant of dissenting views, reinforced its power and control through state and other forms of patronage, tolerated, if not encouraged, conflation of (individual) private capital accumulation with public responsibilities, and sought to substitute movement power for state power?")
The revolution is on trial (2): Decisive working class intervention is of absolute necessity
SACP Address to the COSATU Central Committee, Esselen Park, 18 September 2007
Blade Nzimande, General Secretary
The SACP is again honoured for the invitation to address and participate in this historic Central Committee of our ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions. Our main theme for this address is a continuation of a theme we started addressing at the SACTWU Congress some few months ago in Durban - THE REVOLUTION IS ON TRIAL.
Without necessarily repeating all what we said at that SACTWU Congress, instead we intend further elaborating on this theme, it is nevertheless important to briefly restate what we said are the reasons for characterizing our revolution as being on trial.
Why is our revolution on trial?
It can be correctly argued that every revolution is at all times on trial, as each revolution at any stage always faces complex challenges, especially in class and developing societies. In capitalist societies, a progressive revolution is both being shaped and shapes the character and nature of the class struggles underway.
We are however using this theme in order to highlight the fact that much as our revolution will always face challenges but the degree of the complexity and the nature and scale of the challenges will always differ in different periods. These may be very acute in particular phases. So to say our revolution is on trial now is to highlight the acuteness of some of the challenges we are facing now which if not immediately attended to, they threaten the very advance of a socialist oriented and working class led national democratic revolution.
At the SACTWU Congress we had identified and elaborated on some of the trials of the revolution as including the following:
· Firstly, despite the many important and welcome advances made by our revolution over the last 13 years, the fundamental problem remains that we have not succeeded in changing the colonial character of our economy. In other words, ours is a revolution with some (significant), working class buttressed political power, but without economic power. This means that much as the national liberation movement has ascended to political power, but economic power still remains in the hands of the same old white (monopoly) capitalist class as under apartheid. Despite some black economic empowerment and advancement, this has largely benefited a small, and highly dependent and parasitic black section of the capitalist class, without any fundamental change in the ownership of wealth in our country, nor any significant changes in the character of South Africa's workplace. This poses a serious threat to the consolidation of the national democratic revolution
· The current economic growth path over the last 13 years has primarily benefited the white capitalist class, and the (predominantly black) working class has been retrenched through a massive job loss bloodbath, casualised and outsourced, thus leading to a serious threat even to the continued existence of many of our industries and manufacturing capacity
· Our revolution is also on trial precisely because ours was never a struggle to merely replace a white elite with a black elite. Our revolution has always been about the fundamental transformation of our economic realities as a basis upon which we can truly secure the political power of a radical national democratic revolution. Indeed thirteen years after our democracy the primary (economic) beneficiaries are elites, black and white
· Our revolution is on trial also because in its early years our government followed a misinformed policy of tight monetary and fiscal policy that downsized the public service and followed a wholly inappropriate policy of GEAR. It was a policy that led to the white (monopoly) capitalist class to be the main economic beneficiary during the first decade of our freedom. It was for the two above reasons that both the SACP and COSATU respectively adopted the Medium Term Vision (MTV) and the 2015 plan to ensure that the second decade of our freedom becomes the decade for the workers and the poor.
Our revolution is on trial precisely because it has to address the question of women's emancipation and gender equality. BEE and affirmative action has predominantly benefited black males, and used the gender question and the 50/50 representation issue for the benefit of elite women, and consigning black women workers and the poor to the bottom of the pile. If truth be told the question of women advancement and gender equality has in some instances been used by some male comrades to opportunistically advance their agenda to consolidate political and economic power.
The creeping dangers and threat of 'Palace Politics'
Despite the many advances made by our revolution since the 1994 democratic breakthrough, one of the single biggest threats to our revolution and its integrity is the creeping in of what our Deputy General Secretary, Cde Jeremy Cronin, correctly refers to as 'Palace Politics'. Like all palace politics it is the politics of backstabbing, pursuit of individual wealth, use of state organs to settle factional scores, use of media leaks to destroy each other, patronage as means to consolidate political (and often class) power.
Palace politics is precisely political manoeuvres in the palace because it is characterized by political manoeuvres at leadership level to outmanoeuvre, smear each other in order to achieve narrow personal and elite (class) power, where the mass of our people are turned into spectators, if not voting fodder. In fact were it not for the continuing campaigns and class struggles of the working class, which are now cynically dismissed by elites as populist, the masses of our people would have ceased to be active participants in the struggle to consolidate and deepen the NDR.
The single biggest casualty of palace politics has been the increasing hollowing out of the some of the dearest values that have built this movement of ours; open and frank comradely debates, service to the people without expectation of personal reward, loyalty to the movement without using one's position to advance individual motives. This has been accompanied by the vulgarisation of the theory and practice of the liberation to suit these palace manoeuvres.
At this CC we have to admit that this is taking grip in our movement, and requires decisive intervention to uproot all this, as none of our organizations are being spared this spectre of palace politics. Principled, inclusive and comradely debates are increasingly being replaced by imputation of motives into genuine positions held by comrades on political issues and challenges of the day. This is new in our movement, and if truth be told, it is threatening to tear our movement apart unless it is urgently confronted.
One key feature of this current period of palace politics is that we are increasingly outsourcing political decisions that we have to make, internal comradely debates and responsibilities to state organs and the media. For instance with regards to the media, palace politics has led to giving the media in our country so much power and influence, such that many of the things we have to deal with in our organizations are now determined through this medium.
It is now very common that when concluding and summarizing a debate in many of our internal meetings, we couch these in terms of press releases rather than concluding the substance of the debate for purposes of engaging our own structures internally. In other words, the first question we tend to ask in concluding a debate on any matter is how are we going to present this to the media, rather than asking the question of what have we, as an organization agreed upon, and how are we going to engage our own structures around such decisions. We then end up 'spin-doctoring' our own decisions to ourselves as leadership and to our members, because the primary medium of communication is now the media! Indeed our revolution is on trial!
As historical materialists, let us go back to our recent history to try and underline the dangers of palace politics. If during the period between 1990 and 1994 we were in the current state as we are now, how long would it have taken us to remove the apartheid regime from power? My answer would be that many more years than it took us and possibly a very, very long time indeed.
The period 1990-94, our revolution was faced with very complicated challenges. It was a period during which the Soviet Union collapsed at the same time as we unbanned our liberation movement; a period during which the apartheid regime intensified its low intensity warfare from the killing fields of KZN, to the train massacres in Gauteng, to the Boipatong massacre, to the Bisho massacre, to the assassination of our late General Secretary, Cde Chris Hani.
The 1990-94 period was also a period in which we had to, internally, debate very complex issues facing our revolution, including: the meaning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, how to rebuild the internal legal structures of the liberation movement, the relationship of negotiations to armed and mass struggles, the role of the Alliance in the new period, etc. These were indeed very difficult questions in a very difficult environment. Our revolution itself was indeed on trial during this period!
Now consider the following scenarios and possibilities, transplanting the challenges of that period into today. If when Joe Slovo argued for sunset clauses and a government of national unity in order to secure our transition to democracy, today others would have avoided engaging with the merits or demerits of this argument in a comradely and frank manner, but instead call upon the NPA to investigate and possibly charge him on some concocted charges? If Blade Nzimande argued against the sunset clauses, he would be accused of stealing R500 000 from the SACP or be labelled 'extra-ordinarily arrogant', instead of listening and engaging with his arguments in a frank, but comradely manner.
During the period mentioned above, if one comrade argued that the Soviet Union collapsed because of the bureaucratisation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he would then be accused of abusing a union credit card, an 'ultra-left', a 'populist', and possibly even be labelled a racist! Another comrade during this period is caught with his hands on the till, stealing millions of rands meant for building self-defence units and SACP structures on the ground, then turns around in his/her defence, saying I am being targeted for being pro-Mbeki and anti-Zuma as a cover of the millions he/she has stolen at the direct expense of the organization!
Yet another comrade during that period argues that there is no contradiction between, on the one hand, the negotiations process and, on the other hand, maintaining the armed struggle and building the self defence units, a brown envelope would be delivered under the door of a newspaper editor accusing him of all sorts of improprieties.
One way of reflecting on the rot that is creeping into our movement is to adapt the infamous saying that 'I did not join the struggle in order to be poor', and substitute it with the slogan that 'I did not join the struggle and liberate this country in order to carry 3 cellphones because my main cellphone is definitely tapped by some of the very state organs one helped to bring about, and one's security is being approached to inform on one's movements, in a democratic South Africa'!
The fundamental problem is with the leadership not with the masses!
This CC and indeed all of us will have to ask and answer the question of how have we come to be in such a situation, threatening to destroy the heroic legacy and sacrifices of Bill Andrews, Moses Kotane, Dora Tamana, Chief Albert Luthuli, J La Guma, JB Marks, Lilian Ngoyi, Francis Baard, Vuyisile Mini, Poobie Naidoo, Ruth First, Oliver Tambo, Alpheus Malivha, Chris Hani, Joe Slovo, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Moses Mabhida, , Stephen Dlamini, Harry Gwala, Lawrence Phokanoka, Elijah Barayi, Mzala Nxumalo, Thozamile Gqwetha, Jabu Ndlovu, Mbuyi Ngwenda - indeed the list is endless- and indeed our very dear Nelson Mandela!
How have we come to be where we are, threatening to wipe out the legacy and memory of Shaka, Soshangane, Mzilikazi, Moshoeshoe, Ngungunyana, Hintsa, Sekhukhune, Bambatha ka Manciza, 1912 in Bloemfontein, 1921 in Cape Town, the 1946 Mineworkers' strike, the spirit and the letter of the 1949 Programme of Action, the Pondoland Revolt, Sebatakgomo, the launch of the armed struggle in 1961, the Road to South African Freedom, the Wankie-Sepolile Campaign, the Morogoro Conference, the 1973 Durban strikes, the 1976 student uprisings, the formation of the UDF and Ongoye massacre in 1983, and the formation of COSATU in 1985!
We must however stop the habit of just blaming our lower structures when we have problems; 'it's the non-functionality of SACP branches', 'it's the shop stewards who double up as mashonisas' or 'it's the ANC councillors'. Yes indeed there are many problems in our local structures, but these problems are also being reinforced by the political environment we have created as leadership - playing palace politics!
This is a period in which we have to own up to the fact that we find ourselves in such a situation primarily because of the problems within OURSELVES - THE LEADERSHIP. It is not the masses who are playing palace politics, but us as the leadership, individually and collectively. Instead the mass of our people are interested in rolling back the power of the credit bureaux over them, joblessness, casualisation, poverty and lack of basic services. Instead of approaching them as objects of endless izimbizo and as recipients of delivery decided upon by the leadership, they want to be active subjects, participants and drivers of the national democratic revolution!
This CC will have to ask itself some very serious questions. To what extent have we fostered a leadership style in our movement that is intolerant of dissenting views, reinforced its power and control through state and other forms of patronage, tolerated, if not encouraged, conflation of (individual) private capital accumulation with public responsibilities, and sought to substitute movement power for state power?
In order to explain why we are where we are we need also need to go back to our theoretical, strategic and programmatic bases. 'The history of all hitherto existing society is a history of class struggle'. This means that our revolution is on trial precisely because it is faced with an intensified class onslaught against the working class (joblessness, casualisation, rolling back of worker rights especially in the most vulnerable sectors of our economy, the job-loss bloodbath of the 1990s, a strategy of 'lowering the cost of doing business for business', and positioning the white and new black elites for using state procurement and economic policy for enrichment of a few, etc).
At the base of this onslaught and offensive against the working class, including against the SACP as is happening currently, is an alliance between imperialism, white domestic big capital, sections of emergent black bourgeoisie, and sections of our own cadre located with the state, and elements located in strategic positions with our very own working class movement and formations! The latter would include sections within our working class formations which have either been compromised through business interests (an alliance between business unionists and business communists) or sheer opportunists who see in this new dispensation opportunities to enrich themselves or ensconce themselves in power.
It is all these realities that manifest themselves through the fractious processes leading the COSATU Congress last year, the current offensive against the SACP and the problems besetting us in the lead up to the ANC's 52nd Conference in Limpopo in December 2007.
Most importantly, never again should we allow our COSATU to face such fractious challenges and attacks on some of its leaders as we saw in the run up to COSATU's 9th Congress in September last year.
Never again should we allow the SACP to be undermined by forces hostile to a communist agenda, including disgruntled elements within its own ranks.
Never again should the working class of our country allow the dominance of a project such as that similar to the 1996 class project within our dear African National Congress.
Our revolution is on trial precisely because we need to defend the unity of our organizations, and make sure that, especially within our ranks, we get rid of all those elements who are hell-bent on dividing and weakening working class organizations, especially those who masquerade as champions of the working class whilst advancing the class project of the capitalist class, both the white and sections of the black sections of this capitalist class.
When we look at the many once promising, but now failed progressive revolutions, it all started with some of the things we are seeing our own movement. It is also for this reason that the revolution is on trial, and only the working class can rescue it!
The role of the media
However to point out at the above leadership challenges is not to absolve all of us to look critically at the role of media in a democratic South Africa. This is an extremely urgent task. What we were pointing out above is merely the fact part of the media's behaviour we also have to take responsibility for, because where convenient some of us have used the media to fight internal political battles. In addition there are people within our own ranks who leak like a sieve, and suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop acting as sources, practically reporting on many of our internal meetings and debates.
It is indeed very disturbing that the media in general, contrary to its claims of objectivity and fair reporting, it has become deeply enmeshed in some of the factionalist battles within our organizations. With very few exceptions the media has positioned itself in one way or the other in terms of some of the key debates and challenges inside our broader movement. Interestingly there is a mutually reinforcing processes between palace politics and the positions of most of the media.
We have also allowed the media to give us new categories of analysing major events in our organizations, like the idea of 'succession'. We do not have succession in our organizations but periodic congresses in line with the democratic norms in our own organizations. The notion of succession gives an impression that some leaders are entitled to occupy their positions perpetually, as if they were traditional leaders. In fact congresses are not about succession, but about, inter alia, to discuss and adopt our policies and programme, and to elect new leaders as it the end of the term of the old leadership.
It is also going to be very important that the working class leads a debate and serious reflection on the role of media in our democracy, as well as discuss the challenge of balancing between freedom of expression and human rights as contained in our Bill of Rights.
However a much more serious challenge is how we reclaim our internal debates to ourselves, and stop the trend of outsourcing internal debates to media. This does not mean that our debates should not appear in public media, but that we do not lose control of these and mortgage our political responsibility to media.
The challenges facing the working class in the current period
It is indeed correct that this CC has gathered to prioritise discussion and strategy on matters relating to the forthcoming ANC National Conference, our strategy and tactics in the NDR, the kind of ANC and Alliance leadership we need, and the question of an alliance relevant to the current challenges we face. Indeed our revolution is on trial! BUT, it is only the working class that is best placed, through its organizational and ideological capacity, to rescue this revolution. The working class needs to intensify its struggles on all fronts to lead and drive a SOCIALIST ORIENTED NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION led by a development state under the hegemony of a dynamic, campaigning and a liberation movement rooted amongst the mass of our people! The working class also needs to be at the head of the effort to get rid of palace politics and place mass struggles at the centre of our politics.
The above challenge should focus on the following tasks:
Intensify debates on the NDR in general, and the state in particular
The SACP welcomes the COSATU discussion document on the national democratic revolution. The one major strength of this paper is that it assists us in pulling together not only the major issues of debate within the Alliance on the NDR, but also tries to carefully tease out the emerging different conceptions within our movement on the national democratic revolution. This greatly assists us in focusing our theoretical debate as we move forward and can thoroughly prepare many of us for the forthcoming ANC National Conference.
Some of the key issues surfaced by this document is on the question of the type of state we have built, what are its key features, and what kind of state we would like to build? This is a very important complementary document to the SACP's own Central Committee discussion document of 2006 on state power. This is indeed an ongoing debate, which we must deepen, especially because we unapologetically want to lead a socialist oriented national democratic revolution.
The document, amongst other things, points to some divergent perspectives within the very ranks of the working class over the characterization of the current state. Our last SACP Central Committee also discussed this question.
The heart of the debate is that the state is both a material reality, embodying certain practices with some salient features at any historical point in time, and yet it is also a contested reality. This underlines the 'dialectical' and 'material' reality of struggle (including in the state) at any given point in time. This also calls upon the working class to always be thoroughly dialectic in approaching these nevertheless material realities.
Put differently, the state is both a given (material) reality acting in particular ways and dominated by particular class forces, whilst at the same time being a contested terrain. Our challenge is that of grasping these two realities of the state. To emphasise one over the other is to fail to grasp the relationship between the two. For example it is patently wrong and 'unMarxist' to avoid teasing out the salient and dominant features of any state, in particular historical conjunctures or periods (eg 'a bonapartist state, a post colonial state, a capitalist state, etc) merely because the state is contested. Any state does have its dominant features at any particular historical conjuncture. The state is not an amoeba! That it is contested must not be used as a licence to avoid a proper characterisation of its key features. In fact our 2006 CC Discussion Document does tease out some of the key features of the type of state we have built thus far. From the standpoint of this argument our current South African state is indeed a post-colonial, but predominantly capitalist state.
On the other hand, to characterise the contemporary South African state as capitalist (its conjunctural material reality) must not lose sight of contestations within such a state and forces that are arraigned against each other contesting that 'state reality'.
My critique of the COSATU paper in this regard is that whilst it surveys these contrasting perspectives within the ranks of our working class formations, it tends to want to shy away from characterising the key features of the state and rather tending towards saying it is contested. This does not help us much towards teasing out the key features of the current state. That the state is contested does not mean it does not have particular prominent features.
Debate is of absolute importance but it must be founded on:
Intensify working class struggles on all fronts
One of the key lessons we should learn since the 1994 democratic breakthrough is that ascendancy to state power is an absolute necessity, but not sufficient condition, to drive a working class led, socialist oriented NDR. This is because of the reality that seeking to deepen and consolidate a socialist oriented NDR in a class society depends on the nature of class struggles and the balance of (class) forces in that society. And no state is uncontested, even the US state is principally contested by various fractions of US and imperialist capital.
The period since the adoption of GEAR in 1996 and the privatisation thrust of the late nineties should act as instructive lessons in this regard. Were it not for the intensification of working class struggles against this wholly inappropriate macro-economic policy and against wholesale privatisation, as well as the upsurge in struggles around wages and working conditions, we would not have seen some of the positive expansionary investments by the state and its enterprises and the rolling back of the privatisation offensive that we see now. It is for this reason that working class struggles must be escalated.
But as we are also discussing the forthcoming ANC National Conference it is also important to salute the role of ordinary rank and file members of the ANC in rolling back some of the offensive directed against the working class in late 1990s and early 2000s. We need to salute the revolutionary farsightedness of the ordinary ANC cadres in rejecting the 2001 Briefing Notes which were intended to alienate the allies from the ANC, if not drive them out of the Alliance.
We must also salute the revolutionary far-sightedness of the ordinary ANC cadre in building upon the rejection of briefing notes by reclaiming their own organization at the 2005 ANC NGC, and fundamentally raising the question of the dangers of shifting power away from the organization into the state. Both the adoption of GEAR and the privatisation thrust were manifestations of state driven decisions leaving not just the allies behind but the ANC itself.
This revolutionary farsightedness of the rank and file cadre of the ANC has in policy terms been largely consolidated through this year's ANC Policy Conference. We are confident that your deliberations at this CC will further contribute towards the consolidation of these progressive perspectives and policies at the 52nd ANC National Conference.
On our part as the SACP, we are launching our membership month, which we shall use to intensify recruitment for the SACP through convening of red forums throughout the country. This will also be used to mobilize for our 2007 Red October Campaign. Our Red October campaign this year is on intensifying the struggle for accessible and affordable public health system. We intend visiting hospitals and community clinics in all areas where the SACP has structures. We will use both these months also to inform our membership about the outcomes of our 12th Congress, the state of the SACP campaigns as well as challenges facing our Alliance in the run up to the ANC National Conference. We also want to listen to the views of our communities on these matters.
Most importantly for this CC, we intend embarking on intensive engagement with the organized working class, especially COSATU, by linking up with all your forthcoming shop stewards' councils, affiliate congresses and other activities, to engage on the same issues as outlined above. In addition we will seek specific co-operation with all the COSATU affiliates in the health sector (NEHAWU, DENOSA, SADNU, SAMA) around joint programmes around our Red October Campaign.
The Red October activities will flow into November, as a month during which we will continue with our Red October activities as part of commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Great October Revolution in Russia. In short we foresee intense mass activism by our Party over the next 3 months hopefully culminating in a mass rally in late November to close mark this anniversary. We hope that COSATU, as has been the case before, will join us in these activities, and possibly even have joint activities and events.
The South African Road to Socialism
Our highly successful 12th Congress adopted our programme, 'The Road to South African Socialism', which attempts to map out our perspectives on the road towards a transition to socialism in our country. We are also pleased to say that part of the success of our Congress was to increase the number of worker leaders elected onto our Central Committee. These now include Cdes Senzeni Zokwana, Noluthando Mayende, Crosby Moni, Frans Baleni, Slovo Majola and indeed many former trade union leaders, including Cde Gwede Mantashe who is now our new National Chairperson.
We define our road to socialism in our country as that of consolidating and deepening a working class led, socialist oriented NDR. In the medium term this means intensifying struggles to build working class hegemony in all key sites of power and influence in society, with priority given to the state, the economy, the workplace, the community, the ideological and internationalist work.
As part of this short and medium term working class tasks we would like to suggest that it is important that the jobs and poverty campaign of COSATU, as part of your 2015 plan be intensified. Such intensification must simultaneously included but also go beyond collective bargaining struggles and other struggles thrown upon us (e.g. against privatisation), to creative targeted campaigns that should include specific joint campaigns between our two organizations. For example our two formations have, amongst other things, committed themselves to the renationalisation of Mittal Steel and SASOL. We need to take this beyond paper resolutions and come up with a complete programme of action and mass mobilization to realize these objectives, as a matter of urgency. This should include working campaign around some of the ANC Policy Conference recommendations, like the creation of a state owned mining company and a state bank to, amongst others, finance low-cost housing. This should also include waging further struggles around what seems to be noises for complete privatisation of Telkom and selling of Vodacom to a British multinational, Vodafone.
For us concrete programmes and campaigns around the above issues should be seen as part of a working class led, and socialist oriented NDR aimed at building a developmental state whose priority is to address the developmental needs of the overwhelming majority of our people. Our two formations need to take a lead in this regard.
It would be proper for this CC to mandate the leaderships of our two formations to immediately draw up a concrete programme of action on the above matters, also as part of implementing the resolutions of our bilateral that we held earlier this year. If we are to make the second decade of freedom, a decade for the workers and the poor it is critical now that we shift GEAR, and move away from fighting defensive battles against privatisation as was the case in the late 1990's, INTO FIGHTING OFFENSIVE BATTLES FOR NATIONALISATION OF KEY STRATEGIC SECTORS OF OUR ECONOMY AS PART OF BUILDING A DEVELOPMENTAL STATE IN LINE WITH THE VISION OF THE FREEDOM CHARTER!
As part of the above offensive we also need to effectively engage and for the working class to guide the strategic priorities of public finance institutions in our country to finance development that will challenge the hold of monopolies in our country and effectively respond to developmental needs of our country. As a matter of urgency we need to engage around the developmental priorities of the IDC, the DBSA, the Land Bank and the PIC, amongst others.
Our South African Road to Socialism must be spearheaded by a new wave of a working class offensive, so that we take direct charge of the direction of the national democratic revolution!
The reconfiguration of our Alliance
This CC is also discussing a matter of fundamental importance in our revolution, that of the need to seriously review the functioning of our Alliance, as part of strengthening this alliance as the epicentre of people's and working class power in our country.
In our own bilateral earlier this year, as well as at our 12th Congress we adopted a far-reaching resolution on the SACP and the working class relation to state power. Amongst other things we committed ourselves to the continuation and strengthening of our Tripartite Alliance, participation in ANC-led elections but in a new way. We posed a number of options in this regard, including the possibility of a separate SACP electoral list or some kind of pact, including ways and means of ensuring a common deployment strategy and alliance oversight over government. We committed ourselves to convening a policy conference next year to finalise our positions on these and other related matters. In other words we said it can no longer be business as usual in terms of the functioning of our Alliance. Our alliance has to operate in terms of the new post 1994 realities, where we change the current situation of all jointly campaigning and winning elections but leave all key decisions to one ally and government.
However, the question of the reconfiguration of the Alliance must not merely be treated as a boardroom discussion. Our ability to reconfigure the Alliance rests on building working class power on the ground, such that nothing can prevent such a reconfiguration. What you have not won on the ground you cannot win on the table!
A critical component of this struggle will be to rebuild a large, progressive and socialist inclined mass movement, led by the Alliance, but broader than just the tripartite Alliance. I have an uneasy feeling that we were perhaps overly excited and to hasty in demobilizing the many mass structures that we built in the 1980s. The working class will have to lead the effort of solidifying the many mass struggles taking place on the ground into such a movement.
We therefore look forward to debates and discussions in this CC on these matters, and the SACP will seriously take these into account in its own deliberations. The sooner we finalise our positions on these matters the better. Our delegation will also actively participate in these debates here at this CC.
The challenge of the ANC Conference
The SACP is firmly of the view that it is correct for this CC to thoroughly discuss the forthcoming ANC National Conference, because as allies we will be participating in that conference and that it is the conference of our leading political mass formation, the African National Congress. After all, it is indeed our own organization.
Our revolution is also on trial because the ANC, especially since 2005, is faced with many challenges of building a united organization. Never again should we allow our ANC to be faced with such problems, and therefore we need to ensure that it becomes a more united organization, focused on leading the Alliance and at the head of driving a radical national democratic revolution.
The SACP's approach to this Conference is that we respect the internal processes of the ANC and its right to adopt policies and elect its own leadership. Of particular importance to us would be the consolidation, improvement and adoption of the many positive recommendations emanating from the recent ANC policy conference. These recommendations capture many of the things that we have been calling for as the SACP.
In addition we are deeply interested in the type of collective leadership that emerges from that conference. Amongst other things we would like to see a leadership committed to strengthening our Alliance, but at the same time prepared to engage on our own views and proposals for the reconfiguration of the Alliance.
We would also like see emerging a collective leadership committed to strengthening the working class bias of the ANC, whilst still seeking to unite the broadest range of forces that have the deepest interest in the transformation and reconstruction of our country. We would also like to see the emergence of a collective leadership that is committed to meaningful engagement around a thorough review of our economic policies to break the persistence of key CST structural features of our economy, break its continuing accumulation path, and accelerate the implementation of the vision of the Freedom Charter.
The ANC does not only belong to those of its members who are neither in the SACP nor in COSATU. It belongs to all of us, especially the workers and the poor of our country.
If our revolution is on trial, it is only the organized muscle of the working class that can save it! And saving it, we shall do, without seeking permission from anyone, but ourselves. This is the revolution of primarily the workers and the poor of our country - the overwhelming majority of our people - it cannot be left to whoever might be occupying leadership positions in our movement and the state.
We are confident that you will rise to the occasion. We dare not forget, it was your strikes in 1973 that broke the oppressive hold of the apartheid regime after just more than a decade after the banning of our organizations, thus laying the basis for the resurgence of mass activism from the mid 1970s. It was the formation of COSATU in 1985 that sounded a clear warning sign to the apartheid regime, and I can still hear Elijah Barayi's voice at Curries Fountain in 1985 giving PW Botha a six months notice to get rid of the dompass. It was the blood of the railway, mining and many other workers strikers shot in cold blood by the apartheid police that propelled forward our struggle to get rid of the apartheid regime. Lest we forget, it was the alliance between the UDF and COSATU that was the spear which finally broke the back of the apartheid regime.
We also hope that for the next two months COSATU will convene shop stewards councils throughout the country to report back on the resolutions of this CC, as well as intensify the convening of socialist forums and political schools to discuss the many challenges facing the working class in the wake of this CC and the forthcoming ANC National Conference.
COSATU shall never fail the revolution, as it will never surrender it to elites. An organized working class, with its political vanguard at its head, is our guarantee that OUR REVOLUTION IS INDEED SAFE!
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