With the death of the New National Party, the SACP is the only political party remaining that contested for elections before the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.

Through the years, it has evolved from an active, legal electoral party to an underground military one, and then into a party that operated in a free South Africa with the right to pursue its agenda anyhow.

The problem with our country’s political dispensation is that it determines democracy with periodic elections, and forgets totally about the participation of the people in between elections.

This approach builds and destroys political parties on the basis of their performance in elections, and the SACP has provided yet distinct political activism to both the ANC and other political parties in between and during elections, contrary to the Business Day’s Editorial of the 12 April 2005 (Going it Alone).

The Business Day’s Editorial, with all its pretence of political correctness, was unable to hide such lame feebleness of electioneering claptrap.

Since 1994 and onwards, certain individuals, some within the SACP at the time, have argued we have been caught up in a time warp, and contrary to their views and those of your editorial, we have transformed successfully from an underground and clandestine organisation into the powerful force that we have become.

The SACP cannot and will not succumb to urgent calls and pressures that it needs to stand for elections because your editorial wants it to ‘take its place under the sun’

The Editorial suggests that for the SACP to make an impact in shaping the ideas and thinking in the ANC, it should contest elections because it is no longer what it used to be.

We differ!

Your conclusion is arrived at out of the intervention the SACP made through colonialism of a special type.

That was then! The SACP, and now the YCL, make intervention consistent with the demands of operation in legality and this should not be determined by the impact it will make through elections.

The SACP has recently insisted that the ANC should not trap itself in the glory of a two-thirds majority in parliament whilst it forgets all about building a strong organisation.

We believe that, contrary to your Editorial, the strength and weakness of the ANC lies in itself, and not in parliament.

The SACP insisted that the Alliance should be involved on the ground through campaigns and in addressing the needs and interests of the people.

Back to the Special National Congress!

Its main intention was not to decide on whether the SACP should stand for elections or not (that decision is a foregone conclusion), this is not because of the number of people who attended, but because of the prevailing conditions that arise in, as your editorial insist, the current phase of the revolution.

The decision to constitute a Commission to look into the pros and cons of standing for elections was not a cowing out of a ‘yes we will’ or ‘no we wont’ response.

This was based on the fact that the question was not whether we should, but was whether if we do, how will we do it, when will we do it and how will this affect the Alliance between the SACP with COSATU and the ANC.

These questions to us constitute the major tasks of the Commission that will be set-up by the Central Committee of the SACP.

The YCL was in the forefront of suggesting the constitution of such a commission because we believed that we needed to apply our minds for the next National Congress on the issue.

The YCL will participate, if invited, into the Commission and will ensure that it makes it as meaningful as possible in many fronts.

Firstly that we need to asses what the role of the SACP will be in parliament.

Secondly, what the impact of the decision to contest for elections will be on the existing programmes of the SACP, and whether we will not transform the SACP into an election machinery, like many other political parties, as opposed to its current nature and character of taking up issues that directly affects the working class and the poor.

Thirdly, we need to look into how the SACP will directly impact on parliament to consolidate on its work of building socialism NOW!

It will be of no definite use if the SACP contest for elections and loose.

Unlike many others, we do not solely wish for representation in parliament, warming the benches and shouting supportive mantra to our howling colleagues who will be insulting a certain ANC Minister.

The SACP will stand and make a huge difference in parliament and affect significant changes in ensuring that the working class ultimately and without question remains in power.

The other suggestion made by one Vukani Mde (Business Day, 14 April 2005) is that the SACP is equal to the dead Pan Africanist Congress and the New National Party.

Both the organisations are collapsing and the SACP is on a growing and unstoppable path.

Both organisations are looking for a life-blood through the ANC and the SACP is in alliance with the ANC.

Both organisations – successes and failures are determined by their performance since the 1994 elections whilst the SACP has scored countless victories without participating in elections.

They are both what our country never needed in the building of a new dispensation while the working class and the rural masses relies on the SACP to represent them on the land and financial sector transformation.

For Mde to suggest that the SACP is an opposition to the ANC smacks of naivety and sensationalism that suggests that the SACP will break from the alliance, a similar suggestion made by your Editorial.

The YCL will ensure that the SACP stands for elections not to fulfil prophecies and wishes of some in and out of the Alliance, but will do so with and for the interest of the working class and the poor in mind.

As Karl Marx and Hegel remarks elsewhere, all great events of history repeats themselves not only once, but twice. The first time as tragedy and the second time as farce! We are yet to see the tragedy.

Buti Manamela
National Secretary
Young Communist League
Cell: 082 567 3557