12 July 2017, Birchwood Hotel
“Let’s Consolidate the Left, Strengthen the Party and Build A New Front for Socialism”
The 4th National Congress National Committee, the YCLSA delegation as well as the rank and file membership of the Young Communist League of South Africa, conveys warm comradely greetings to the 14th Congress of our mother-body the SACP. We further convey our greetings to all international delegates that have graced through their presence on this congress. As the YCLSA we are fully aware that relations you have with the SACP and your organizations is connected by strong bonds of cooperation, international solidarity, and joint commitment to Marxism – Leninism, proletarian internationalism, and the relevance and necessity of the struggle for socialism to strengthen our friendship.
Comrade’s delegates, a lot has been said and a lot has been written by media about this congress in the main to fuel divisions and speculations about the outcomes of this 14th National Congress. Some comrades wrote letters to the attention of our General Secretary. Their writing shows that they have a personal grievance with the Party. As such as YCLSA we are very angry about the recent attack by media on our General Secretary. We are in the firm view that the SACP is not doing favor on General Secretary, the General Secretary has done a lot for the SACP. It is also important that people must know we don’t have terms in the SACP.
As the YCLSA, we note the apology by MKMVA not to attend the 14th SACP National Congress. We welcome their non-attendance as we understand that the factional leader of MKMVA is going to Dubai.
Our message is let’s Consolidate the Left, Strengthen the Party and Build a New Front for Socialism. As we consolidates the Left, the Party requires a high level of discipline. As we strengthen the Party, we require a high level of dedication and as we build a New Front for Socialism we require a high level of unity not only the unity of the Party but the unification of the working class, the middle strata and society as a whole.
As we convey this message there are areas we want to engage the 14th congress on, which they must be debate if needs be;
Firstly, we want to engage the congress about the current state of the Alliance and the future of the Alliance: currently the Alliance is experiencing moments of regress and turbulences. In the main there are some in the ANC leadership that are arrogant and do not value the unity of the Alliance. Let alone even the unity of the ANC itself. A divided ANC cannot lead and unite the Alliance. Some within the ANC has already established secret but public Alliance with the Guptas and Black First Land First.
Secondly , the left axis , SACP and COSATU leaders speaks of reconfigured Alliance, which is not the first time this has been an option as well debated in the Alliance. As the YCLSA, we don’t see this option working having done a concrete analysis of concrete conditions. We want to argue that the material conditions suggest otherwise.
Thirdly, we want to engage this congress about the obvious, that ours is a struggle for socialism. With NDR in the state of conundrum and we say NDR is the direct route to socialism. When a revolution is delayed and NDR is betrayed it is the working class that bear the brunt. Therefore, the famous question by Lenin “What is to be done “This 14th congress needs to analyze, engage and respond on this famous question?
Seize the moment SACP, YCLSA Say So! : Towards a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism
The South African Communist Party (the Party) is the vanguard party of the working class in South Africa. Since inception, the Party has always been deeply engaged and actively involved in the struggles of ordinary citizens. The Party is a product of the struggles of ordinary South African citizens fighting for an end to Capitalism and a better life for all. In his paper, South Africa – No Middle Ground, Comrade Joe Slovo argues that, “For those who live in
Apartheid’s reality, not in debate but in their daily experience, the need to destroy it in all its manifestations is a self – evident truth. That is the starting point and the only remaining question is how?” The same can be said about Capitalism today. Therefore the only remaining question is how do we end Capitalism in South Africa in contributing to the end of Global Capitalism? What type of Society will replace it? What then is the Party’s projection in this respect?
In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte, Karl Marx wrote, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by them, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.”
As communists guided by the ideology of Marxism – Leninism, we are therefore called upon to make our own history by circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.
What are these circumstances?
Our society is in crisis. Our state is in decay. The fundamental cause of the societal crisis and state decay is the untransformed semi – colonial capitalist economy and a governing party plagued with the diseases of capitalism thus incapable of leading a programme for the radical transformation of this capitalist economy.
The ANC itself is no longer capable of leading the victory of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). As a governing party in a capitalist society it continues to suffer from the life threatening diseases of capitalism such as greed, competition and accumulation. It is an organization besieged with patronage linked factionalism, gate – keeping and corruption, unable to lead the victory of the NDR. It has become a meditation committee for conflicting bourgeoisie interests where the political representatives of the dominant bourgeoisie exercise their influence, power and authority. This is precisely why very little content and direction has been provided to the second phase of the NDR. The embourgeoisiement of the ANC has led to very little or no appetite for the development and implementation of radical economic change that favors the working class. Some examples of change can be found in certain segments of the economy but none of which can be viewed as radical enough to transform the economic base and property relations in the country.
Post – 1994, we have continuously accepted and managed unholy alliances manifesting themselves in different shapes and forms within the ANC. These manifestations are bound to continue long into the future thus stifling the building of work class hegemony in society and deliberately postponing the Socialist Revolution. This is in direct violation of the principles agreed to in the South African Road to Socialism (SARS) whereby we have clearly stated that the advancement and consolidation of the national democratic revolution does not mean the suspension of the Socialist Revolution.
The struggle for the victory of the NDR post – 1994 has been abandoned to a political project of state capture by the dominant bourgeoisie as is the experience of many other liberation movements on the continent. It is a political project managed within the ANC leading to the capture of the state so as to win a share in the continued exploitation and domination of our people.
The Post – 1994 ANC is at best capable of leading the country ‘out of the Capitalist crisis’ but not ‘out of Capitalism in crisis.’ The result of which would be the continuation of the capitalist system through the exploitation and domination of our people. To advance ‘out of Capitalism’ towards a Socialist Developmental Path would not be acceptable or beneficial to the needs and interests of the dominant bourgeoisie that has captured the ANC. It is only the SACP with the interests of the working class that can successfully and meaningfully lead the working class and other progressive strata ‘out of Capitalism in crisis’ and towards a more humane and just social order.
Capitalism was founded on the exploitation of man by man. It is based on the principle of ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and gives rise to competition, greed and inequality. Democracy was founded on the principle of political equality implying that the majority rule. It is therefore impossible for Capitalism to be compatible with the victory of the NDR and Socialism. To achieve the victory of the NDR and Socialism requires the end of Capitalism in South Africa and the means to achieving this objective is the formation of a New Front of the working class in alliance with the rural peasants, non – comprador bourgeoisie and progressive sections of the urban petty bourgeoisie. This New Front will require a new organizational vehicle that displaces the current organizational vehicle which is led by the ANC.
A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism
The political representatives of the differentiated and competing bourgeoisie have entrenched themselves into the ANC to the extent that the working classes have gained the least and suffered the most from the legislation and policies adopted by the ANC post – 1994. The current conjuncture requires a new alliance of progressive revolutionary classes that can be mobilized in support of the victory of the NDR and Socialism. A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism requires a new organizational vehicle with a new leadership to achieve its goals.
The SACP should lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism focused on building the unity of progressive revolutionary classes and other strata in South Africa in deepening, advancing and consolidating the NDR as the most direct route to Socialism. It is only the SACP as the political vanguard of the working class that can meaningfully lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism united across racial and gender lines. We can no longer afford to be in alliance with and to be led by an ANC that has abandoned its revolutionary progressive nationalism of the past in favor of a traditional bourgeoisie nationalism that we see today. The ANC of today is a party that exercises state power in the interests of a dominant bourgeoisie and not in the interests of the working class. It is a party of the bourgeoisie who have welcomed the personality flaws of President Jacob Zuma, as they did of former President Thabo Mbeki, and have cultivated such flaws for their own ends. This tendency of the bourgeoisie in the ANC will continue long into the darkness of Capitalism.
The Party has previously argued that a rupture has occurred in the multiclass consensus post – 1994 around the national democratic revolution. This rupture requires the formation of A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism. It is only the SACP as the vanguard party of the working class that can lead a mass democratic movement, a Red Forward Movement, of the working classes in alliance with other progressive revolutionary classes. A New Front for a New Democracy and Socialism will place the working class as the primary motive force for deepening, advancing and consolidating the NDR.
There are a series of questions that we may need to address in the discussion around this New Front in relation to state power. These questions have previously been posed by the Party for discussion but have not been sufficiently addressed:
1) What constitutes a revolutionary approach to State Power?
2) What would be the consequences and impact on the Party directly contesting elections in a multi-party setting as the head of The New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism?
3) What are the immediate struggles and how do we link these struggles to the struggle for Socialism?
4) Other than political power, what are the other key sites of power to establish working class hegemony?
Peoples Power for State Power and State Power for Socio – Economic Transformation
One of the most immediate struggles should be the revitalization of the motive forces and the re-establishment of the working class as the primary motive force in the NDR. The organizational vehicle of a tripartite alliance led by the ANC is incapable of such a task given its leadership deficiencies and its new primary role as a mediator of competing bourgeoisie interests. The current epoch has also seen significant differences emerging between the Party and the ANC on the main content, strategy and tactics of the national democratic revolution. This is further compounded by the lack of joint decision making by all partners in the alliance.
The 12th Congress Programme adopted in 2007, “The South African Road to Socialism (SARS),” provided a basis for a revolutionary approach to state power. The SARS 2007 programme argued that a revolutionary approach to state power is the antithesis to a narrow, electoralist approach to the capture of state power by the working class.
Marx and Engels argued that the working class could not effect the economic and social transformation of society without state power but they also argued that achieving state power was impossible without conscientizing the masses, through struggle and through their own experience, that Socialism and ultimately Communism was possible.
Popular peoples’ power is necessary for state power and state power is necessary for socio – economic transformation. For the Party to lead the victory of the NDR it will need to end the unholy alliance with the national bourgeoisie, comprador bourgeoisie and parasitic bourgeoisie. It will have to forge a new alliance of revolutionary progressive classes united behind A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism. The revolutionary progressive classes would be the proletariat, the middle class, the non – comprador bourgeoisie and progressive sections of the urban petty bourgeoisie. A New Front would result in a New Peoples’ Democracy, not in capitalism, and would lay the basis for a Socialist South Africa.
If the achievement of state power is an objective of the SACP, and indeed it should be, who then has the role of conscientizing the workers if not the SACP as the vanguard party of the working class? It is only the Party through a New Front of progressive revolutionary classes and other strata that can consciously and actively lead a programme for the development of workers’ class consciousness.
The Twin Task of the SACP
In its approach to unity contained its ‘Strategy and Tactics’ document, the ANC states:
We are revolutionaries, not narrow nationalists. Committed revolutionaries are our brothers to whatever group they belong. There can be no second class participation in our movement.
The post – 1994 character of the ANC clearly suggests a deviation from the Strategy and Tactics with the introduction of narrow nationalist tendencies within its rank and file. This deviation has subsequently led to a rupture and disunity in the revolutionary alliance with the working class. How does the ANC of today intend to lead the victory of the NDR when it has deviated from its strategy and tactics and serves only as a mediation committee for the different interests of the competing bourgeoisie?
We refer back to the argument by Marx and Engels that the working class cannot effect the economic and social transformation of society without state power but state power was not possible without conscientizing the masses that Socialism is possible. Based on this logic, the Party has the twin task of deepening and advancing class consciousness amongst the people as necessary for state power and that of pursuing state power necessary for radical economic transformation in the interests of the working class.
These two tasks do not exist in isolation or have a certain hierarchy where first comes political consciousness for state power and then follows the task of the capture of state power necessary for effecting socio – economic transformation. The task of deepening and advancing class and political consciousness necessary for state power goes hand in hand and evolves side by side with the task of seizing state power necessary for radical economic transformation while laying the basis for the construction of a Socialist economic order. The dialectical nature of this twin task constitutes the theoretical underpinnings for the Party not to go it alone in the quest for state power but rather to lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism.
The twin task of popular peoples’ power for state power and state power for socio – economic transformation must include the struggle for working class hegemony in all other key sites of power in society. It must include the building of a popular national sovereignty around the state. Any discussion around the formation of a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism must adopt the strategic thrust of the 12th Congress programme adopted in 2007 which directs us to build working class hegemony in the state, in the workplace, in the economy, in the battles of ideas and in our communities.
The SARS 2007 programme of the Party argues that for the NDR to succeed the working class will have to assume a hegemonic role in society and in the state. The reconnection of the motive forces with the NDR should not be placed before the capture and exercise of state power by the political vanguard of the working class. Instead the capture of state power by a new revolutionary front of united revolutionary class forces must constitute a necessary and immediate task of the Party based on the realities of the current conjuncture.
The Relationship between the YCLSA and the SACP! Independence and Autonomy!
The YCLSA was formed as a result of a resolution of the SACP in a National Congress. This subject the YCLSA to the political vision and ideological articulation of the SACP. Members of the YCLSA above 18 are members of the SACP and are bound by the decisions of the SACP, but also, the YCLSA itself has a task of ensuring that the SACP, in its articulate policies and principles, represent the needs and interest of youth. The YCLSA is not, therefore, a political organization, but serves and advance the interest of the SACP.
The YCLSA has the task of ensuring that it contributes to the building of the SACP by an intensified mass mobilization of youth and focused political education. However, the YCLSA, in its founding constitution and policies, proclaim itself as an independent and autonomous organization. What does this mean? The YCLSA is independent as it relates to the political administration and execution of its duties. It has its own leadership and organizational authority. And the YCLSA should use this in order to ensure that it influences the outlook and character of the SACP. The YCLSA is no equal to the SACP. Period!
There is a growing tendency that some comrades or leaders in the YCLSA, when they lose debates in the YCLSA they use their positions and proximity to the party leadership and mislead the party so as to save their personal ambition.
This is the tendency that as the YCLSA we must expose and this is also need vigilance from the party not to quickly welcome what is said without critical analyzing it. When there are problems in the YCLSA, we don’t expect the Party not to intervene and work with YCLSA to solve the matter. The Party in that process should not be seen taking side but it should be seen as unifying us.
Our call for SACP, State and popular power is a principled call. It is not an opportunistic call, it is not a call out of anger, and it is not a call based on the state of the ANC. This is the principled call based on the Party programme, conditions of the working class and society in general for the Party to lead NDR!
We further want to say the Party does not want socialism for itself , it want socialism for the workers and the poor as such if the Party contest election the notion that it will go alone is fallacious the Party won’t be alone but the Party will be with the workers and the poor.
As the YCLSA , we are in the firm view that this is not just an ordinary congress of the Party, if then the Party agrees with YCLSA on this view extra-ordinary measures and radical resolutions should be taken in this congress . It is up to the delegates to engage frankly and robust and craft a way forward. We say to comrade’s delegates and leadership of the party, seize the moment and lead revolution towards socialism.
As the YCLSA, we wish the SACP14th Congress a fruitful deliberations and resounding success!
Forward to socialism, forward!
Viva YCLSA, Viva!
Long live the SACP, Long Live!
Once I can get the PayFast plugin and the images from Mawande then we can launch at the beginning of March