2 August 2020
Today, we celebrate the 99th anniversary of our party, the South African Communist Party – the only vanguard party of the working class in South Africa and the first in the African continent. It is not by mistake that today we celebrate the 99 fighting years characterized by active campaigning, armed struggle, a fight against post-1994 neo-liberal policies, anti-state capture campaigns that today resulted in the remnants of the parasitic network launching a fight-back on our party.
We pay tribute to the heroes and heroines who lost their lives in the battlefield against the covid-19 pandemic. We are here to pay tribute, on behalf of the children of mineworkers, domestic workers, security guards, municipal workers, the health workers, teachers – the entire working class in our South Africa. Being workers ourselves, being the unemployed youth and youth in education; we find it our duty to honour this event of our party that has over the years fought selflessly in the best interest of our struggles.
Our Party, the first non-racial organization on the African continent and surely the second oldest political organ and liberation movement on the African continent has consistently, for almost a decade, been at the forefront of the struggle for social, political and economic justice. Throughout these years, many disliked the party for its general honesty, scientific analysis, strategy consistency and tactical flexibility.
We are not here to quote history or to at least narrate it, however, we are here to maintain the historic mission of the party and advance it. Our slogan, socialism in our lifetime is our entry point to whatever task we set for ourselves.
No organization in the entire movement has been as consistent in deepening, advancing and defending the National Democratic Movement as the South African Communist Party.
Today, we must indeed correctly locate this point. We have to prove our argument for the party and state power, and the need to unite the movement, uniting the working class including the Progressive Youth Alliance and isolate criminal and corrupt elements regardless of position of responsibility.
A year after the establishment of the SACP in 1921, mineworkers embarked on a strike in 1922 – the popular mineworkers strike of 1922. In the Party’s message to our 98th anniversary a few months, the party correctly stated that “the Communist Party regarded the strike as primarily a battle in the class struggle between labour and capital, but strongly condemned and distanced itself from the racist elements associated the strike. As the way forward, the Communist Party correctly pointed out that a white South Africa must be ruled out altogether and called on workers to unite on a non-racial basis and intensify the overall class struggle to win their momentary objectives and ultimate goals”.
At this point in time, racists already disliked the party for its non-racial posture much as some dislikes the party today for its posture against a pseudo-black consciousness campaign which claims that black elites should be empowered through the state as a means of economic transformation.
As a result of the posture of the party towards the 1922 mineworkers strike, the party was rejected outrightly by racists in the 1924 elections. Just like all these pseudo workers parties emerging today, racists white workers joined forces with Hertzog’s National Party to fights Smuts in the racist elections of 1924 – the same National party that legislated apartheid. The white workers did not vote for the party which made the biggest sacrifice in the strike and played the most critical role. The only sin of the CPSA was that it advocated for a non-racial South Africa on socialist principles where the economy of the country would rest upon the hands of the people and not a few white racist elites.
Our call for state power does not mean that the party should ignore this historic fact, but rather to save the working class and the congress movement, which is obsessed with fighting itself, the party must cease the moment. The resolution of the Special National Congress which took place last year is very clear – we are not orphans to the ANC neither does our electoral contest through the ANC mean that the African National Congress is a bigger sister of the SACP. All alliance components are equal partners.
When the party was banned through the Suppression of Communism act, the party never requested the ANC to equally ban itself, rather, the Party sacrificed and neglected itself most of the time to build the African National Congress. That is a historic fact.
Whenever the ANC faced challenges of factionalism, the party had to rescue the ANC from itself without compromising the struggle. The resolutions of the Morogoro congress says it all and so is the Polokwane Congress and this post Nasrec moment that we are faced with.
The Polokwane moment is not about Polokwane or any individual leader within the ANC. The Party correctly characterized the post-1996 epoch as the beginning of the era of neoliberal policies within the movement. From the onset, the party did not compromise but rather mobilized a broad front against the 1996 class project.
Polokwane represented a significant political shift within the ANC, the alliance and governance, however, with less zeal to implement fully the resolutions. It was equally a victory for us as young people as the moment ensured huge state expenditure in education and somewhat a progressive advancement in the National Youth Policy.
Indeed, the role played by the left forces within the movement towards Polokwane saw a revolt within the Congress Movement against neoliberal policies and practices, a revolt against the use of state organs to supress the movement and against a leadership which had deviated from the historic democratic culture of the movement, policy perspectives and collective traditions. This is the same energy needed in the current epoch to confront neo-liberal agenda head-on.
However, a deliberate mistake that occurred during the Polokwane moment continues to haunt the Progressive Youth Alliance until this day – the integration of PYA components into ANC factions and the tradition of tenderpreneurship to loot state resources. Young people within the movement obey this tradition hence the dilemma of a youth generation within the congress movement that continues to defend wrong things because they are beneficiaries of these wrong tendencies.
On the other hand, a group that of pseudo-radical forces who claimed lack of discipline as militancy have since established their own sort of independent factional machinery which remains part of the factions within the movement.
Mangaung seemed genuine for the restoration of the cultures, policy perspectives and traditions of the movement. It later turned out that those entrusted with this responsibility were not genuine even though the efforts were genuine, and this led to the Nasrec moment.
In between Nasrec and Manguang, the Party correctly launched a war on corruption and corporate capture of the state – later termed state capture. It was the SACP that first came out against state capture and termed it corporate capture of the state.
Today, the Party is faced with the re-emergence of the struggles that led to Polokwane and Nasrec. We witness the re-emergence of the hegemony of the neo-liberal agenda within the state – a leadership that seeks to be more powerful in the state and against the culture, policy perspectives and traditions of the movement, wanting to project the state as a mandate-giver to the movement. There is a deliberate attempt to relegate the ANC to be a part of the state machinery and cease influence over state decisions. This is done deliberately to enforce the neoliberal agenda sponsored by international monetary institutions such as the IMF.
The centre must hold, the liberation alliance must never be silent in its fight against corruption and rife-factionalism either by the neo-liberal detachment or the pseudo-left rhetoric parasitic network.
Young revolutionaries must refuse to be recruited into a factional defence brigade scheme even against other young people.
Towards the centenary, the Party must intensify its campaign against neo-liberalism much as we should reject the pro-bourgeois pseudo-left agenda which seeks to justify corruption under the rhetoric of Radical Economic Transformation.
The youth of this country can no longer tolerate the two malfunctions confronting the current epoch. It is a fact that 1 in every 2 young people in this country are unemployed. We need a radical industrialization agenda that will create jobs including through the empowerment of youth co-operatives.
We need a functional, compulsory National Youth Service to fight unemployment and ensure that no young person lives in poverty or is declared unskilled and that no young person should live without an income.
With that said, we wish our Party more strength and more years of advancing the class struggle.
Long live the undying spirit of Harry Gwala long live!!!
Issued by the Young Communist League of South Africa [ufasimba]
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