Address by the National Secretary of the YCL to the Provincial Lekgotla of the YCL, Northern Cape

Category: Speeches

18 April 2004

Cde Chairperson,
Members of the PEC and CEC of the SACP present,
Members of the PSC of the YCL,
District Representatives,
Branch representatives of the YCL,
National Committee member Cde Thembisa Mlatha,
Members of SASCO, COSAS, ANCYL present and all guests already acknowledged.

The Young Communist League National Committee and NWC acknowledges the invitation to come and be part of this meeting. This is the first ever Provincial Lekngotla of the YCL in the Province and in Provinces. The NWC and NC acknowledge the action that the PSC has taken in convening such a gathering.

These meeting is taking place amidst an ANC National and Provincial victory in elections. This victory, which was decisive in the Northern Cape and in the other six provinces, and were visible, although minimal in the other two provinces, should be analysed by the YCL and the SACP and be translated into ultimate and continued victories for and by the youth of the country.

The victory in the Western Cape and in KZN has meaning because, as the YCL perceive, will mean a maximized presence of the ANC and the Alliance in government, and most probably mean an ANC Premier in that province.

As the YCL, and as socialists, we need to define the overwhelming mandate that was given to the ANC by the electorate, both with regard to the ANC Elections Manifesto and with the continued advancement and deepening of the National Democratic Revolution.

We say so because we recognize the NDR as a path, a building block, towards the attainment of a socialist South Africa, and we also understand the advancement of the NDR as the resolve of the immediate struggles that the working class of this country are engaged into. That includes the struggle towards national emancipation and gender liberation, recognized as the interrelated struggles as espoused by the NDR.

We need to also, as young communists, to discuss and prepare ourselves for the next elections. This is because of two tendencies. The one being the interest and promotion of the various political parties towards and during elections, being the United Democratic Movement in the previous elections and the Independent Democrat in the current, this being spearheaded by the media. Secondly, and most importantly, the strategy to hold accountable the ANC led government, because we believe this is not the role of the opposition, but the role of those of us who worked tirelessly to ensure that the ANC leads and is in government.

We will deal with this issues one after the other.

Defining the ANC Victory as a path towards Socialism and as the Advancement and Deepening of the NDR

The ANC government has for the past 10 years made various achievements, which where highly related to the social, political and economic development of our country. This achievements were in line with the tasks as outlined in the Medium Term Vision of the SACP and the Strategy and Tactics of the ANC. These achievements are also part of the overall strategic objective of the National Democratic Revolution, which is the liberation of Africans and blacks from economic and political bondage.

The SACP has historically identified this as its tactical objective towards the attainment of Socialism and, has in fact, identified this as a critical building bloc towards that objective.

This dates as far as the Communist International and the banning of the CPSA.

What is also critical, which we need to note and capitalize on as the YCL, is the fact that the renewal and extension of the AN C mandate, gives the Party and the YCL a further role to influence the role and impact of government to the working class and the poor.

We should as the YCL participate in the discussions that relates to the leadership in government, and ensure that the Alliance plays a role in the ultimate appointment of the premiers and national and provincial cabinets. We should, as the YCL, ensure that capable cadres, without taking a lot from the President, are deployed in such responsibilities.

We should also, in our capacity as ANC, ANCWL and ANCYL members scrutinize the process of appointment of cabinet and Premiers. We need to ensure that, with equal due respect for the role of the President in that regard, maximize the involvement of ANC and Alliance structures in that regard. This, we should do, in the interest of broadening participation of the structures of the ANC and of the Alliance. This, we should also do, in the interest of limiting relaxation of comrades towards ANC work with an intention of impressing the President, that is, working to impress him.

We need to pronounce, unashamedly, that the overwhelming victory of the ANC is a socialist victory, rejoiced by the YCL and working class and the poor, in this regard:

The Promotion of the UDM in the previous elections and the ID in the current, and the labeling of the gains by the ID as Women Power!

We have seen how in the second democratic elections of our country the bourgeoisie media popularized the UDM as the future opposition party to the ANC. This, they did, because the UDM of the time was formed under very controversial circumstances; presented itself as an outright liberal organization with very distressful and unimaginable economic policies; and was prepared to take the ANC head on. At the time, the UDM was also seen as the new black led and capable political organisation and, as per the trumpeting made by the bourgeoisie media, only a black political party can challenge the ANC.

Usual in the media, and the whole bourgeoisie class, the UDM was discarded because the UDM prooved to be an illigitimate, but unpopular representative of any class in society. It has lost its ?love at first sight? from the working class in the Eastern Cape in particular.

It came as no surprise when the UDM was ditched for the ID. An equally opportunistic political party. The party that unites all opportunists, political amoebas and jellyfish, which sought to capitalize on the emotions and frustrations of the coloured working class. Dellilism was what the media romanticized and popularized as the coming of the new and the end of one party dominated political governance.

The Star newspaper even proclaimed Delille as the ?Man of the Match? in the elections, and glorified her for her so-called achievement. This discussion helps us to prepare our minds for the next elections. Who will emerge in the next elections as the blue-eyed boy of the media? Who will desert their political parties to form another? Lets wait and see what happens in the next opportunity, the floor-crossing period, where we will see the further ruining of political parties and the emergence of new ones.

The other related discussion that we need to take in this forum is the question of the coloured working class. Like the IFP aspires to become to the Zulu nation, the ID and the New Labour Party (who faired very badly in this elections) wants to be to the coloured working class. The DA even played with the emotions of the coloured working class here and in the Western Cape. The YCL should play an active role in the mobilization and political education of the coloured working class. This is important because most of the opposition parties play on the sentiment that the ANC and SACP are not home to this section of the working class.

The Significance of this Provincial Lekgotla to the National Lekgotla and the expectation of the National Committee and NWC from this Lekgotla.

Everything being said and done with the, the time has come that we now fully concentrate on the work of the YCL, and ensure that the efforts that we put towards an ANC victory, is doubled when it comes to building a strong presence of the YCL. This Lekgotla is significant as part of the process thereof. In order to find resonance and rhythm with the national objective, this Lekgotla should assimilate the national intent and purpose. And perhaps the key question we should ask and respond to, is what are the objectives of the National Lekgotla.

Objectives of the National Lekgotla!

Building a mass-based youth organization and intensifying our Political Education.
The YCL should live true to its proclamation in the National Relaunching Congress, that of being the political home of young communists; and also being the political training base of the SACP. We need to be the vanguard, that is, being in the forefront of youth development issues and also respond to the needs and aspirations of students, young workers, rural and township youth and the poor.

It is very easy to organize on campuses of Higher Education institutions. There the majority of youth are literate and therefore will find it easy to read leaflets and other informative material. As it relates to townships and rural youth, if we are to succeed in juxtaposing political education and mass mobilization, the YCL needs to have a strong presence and clear organizing strategy. The other point we should indicate, is that township and rural youth can be subjected to a range of socially damaging ills; these includes alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment, crime, HIV/AIDS, poverty and other diseases. The challenges are more than those on campuses. We need to locate the YCL within the MTV of the SACP and ensure that our programmes, as they respond to this challenges facing young people, also are in line to the ultimate objective for Socialism. This and other issues are key in the discussions of the National Lekgotla.

The Relationship between the YCL and the SACP! Independence and Autonomy!
The YCL was formed as a result of a resolution of the SACP in a National Congress. This subject the YCL to the political vision and ideological articulation of the SACP. Members of the YCL above 18 are members of the SACP and are bound by the decisions of the SACP, but also, the YCL itself has a task of ensuring that the SACP, in its articulate policies and principles, represent the needs and interest of youth. The YCL is not, therefore, a political organisation, but serves and advance the interest of the SACP.

The YCL has a daunting task of ensuring that it contributes to the building of the SACP by an intensified mass mobilisation of youth and focused political education. However, the YCL, in its founding constitution and policies, proclaim itself as an independent and autonomous organisation. What does this mean? The YCL is independent as it relates to the political administration and execution of its duties. It has its own leadership and organizational authority. And the YCL should use this in order to ensure that it influences the outlook and character of the SACP. The YCL is no equal to the SACP. Period!

Campaigns!
In order for the YCL to respond to the needs and interest of young people, we need to have campaigns that youth can find resonance to. This should be campaigns related to the key campaigns of the SACP such as the ?Basic Needs Campaign?, Sustainable Livelihood in our Communities, The Finance Sector Campaign and the Agrarian and Land Reform Campaign. Further than that, the YCL should initiate its own Campaigns. For instance, what should we say about the ongoing exploitation of youth and communities by cellphone giants; what do we say about the continued exploitation of youth by insurance companies; what should we say about the unemployment and exclusion from schools etc. we need to have a thoroughgoing discussion on this matter.

The Role of the YCL in the output of the SACP Provincial Congresses and other Mass Democratic Movement and PYA!

There is a tendency amongst the structures of the Mass Democratic Movement to die for positions because it has apparently become a benefit to serve in this and that structure. To quote the General Secretary of COSATU, as the YCL we need to breath in fresh air. We need to say that the purpose of a Congress of the SACP, or that of the ANCYL or COSAS, is to shape the programme of that organization and further build that organization. As the YCL, we need to have an open discussion, not in some corridors or some clandestine places, but in the YCL meetings, about the political output of Congresses and the manner in which they should shape society, rather than focusing solely on leadership questions.

Those battles that were waged in the past amongst comrades, who were prepared to die for positions, those camps and blocs that were constituted and sustained, because comrades were with so and so and did not approve so and so, as the YCL we were not there and we are not party. We were only launched in December 2004 and we apologize for that. We are here to breathe in fresh air.

On the Progressive Youth Alliance and the Role of the Young Communist League!

The Challenge that we face as an organization is quite enormous. We need to be vigilant, everywhere and anytime in the interest of a stronger and better YCL. Capitalism shall Crush, Socialism shall come, that?s the bottom line, cos the YCL said so!

Thank You!