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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 2, No. 1, 15 January 2003

In this Issue:

 

Red Alert

Slovo’s legacy: Unity in Action and Intra Alliance Debate are two sides of the same coin

By Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary

Eight years ago this January (6 January 1995), one of the most famous South African Communists, Yossel Mashel Slovo, passed away. At the time of his death, he was a recipient of the Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe Award and held the following positions – National Chairperson of the South African Communist Party, Member of the National Working Committee of the ANC, Minister of Housing in the Government of National Unity. Previously he had been the General Secretary of the SACP, founder member and a senior Commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

The SACP’s 11th Congress adopted a programme of action for 2003 that should also focus on celebrating and honour the memory and contribution of thousands of communist martyrs, heroes and heroines, coinciding with 2003 as the 10th anniversary year of the assassination of our former General Secretary, Cde Chris Hani. To this end the Central Committee has declared January 2003, the Joe Slovo Month in honour of the historic and profound contribution that Slovo made to the South African revolution.

But what in Slovo's legacy is of relevance to South Africa in 2003?

To reflect on Slovo's contribution is to retrace the evolution of South African politics since the 1940s and to draw appropriate lessons to address the present and navigate the future. When future generations look back on the 1994 breakthrough they will be justified in saying: Slovo was central in making it happen. The major themes in Slovo’s role in South Africa are the building the SACP as a revolutionary working class party as part of the indigenous elaboration of Marxism-Leninism in South African conditions; and building the revolutionary alliance between the national liberation movement (the ANC), a working class party (the SACP) and the progressive trade union movement including the elaboration of the alliance’s strategy and tactics.

The ANC-SACP-COSATU Alliance

As it has been said many times before, Slovo was one of the embodiments of the alliance between the ANC, SACP and COSATU. He knew that the interests of the working class were intimately bound up with those of the rest of the oppressed majority in pursuit of democracy and a better life. He knew too that, for the working class to realise these interests, it had to play an active and leading role in the liberation struggle and the liberation movement. He was convinced that an uninterrupted advance to a socialist South Africa would consolidate the goals of the liberation struggle.

He captured this understanding in his brilliant 1988 Umsebenzi discussion pamphlet, “The South African working class and the National Democratic Revolution”. In this pamphlet, written in the wake of intense debates and struggle for hegemony between “workerism” and our movement’s perspectives particularly inside COSATU, he graphically captures the nature of our Alliance and the role of the working class thus:

“The classes and strata which come together in a front of struggle usually have different long-term interests and, often, even contradictory expectations from the immediate phase. The search for agreement usually leads to a minimum platform, which excludes some of the positions of the participating classes or strata. It follows that an alliance can only be created if these diverse forces are prepared to enter into a compromise. And it can only survive and flourish if it is governed by a democratic relationship between the groupings which have come together. But when a front is created the working class does not just melt into it. It does not abandon its independent class objectives or independent class organisation. On the contrary, the strengthening of workers' independent mass and vanguard structures is even more imperative in periods demanding organised relations with other class forces.

Interestingly it was through this pamphlet that thousands of our worker cadres and leaders in COSATU, and broadly within the movement, were armed to ultimately defeat the ultra-left tendency within the COSATU, thus placing the ANC-led Alliance perspectives as dominant views inside COSATU, up till this day. In this same pamphlet he also clearly defined the character of this workerist (ultra-left) tendency as a tendency that “denies that the main content of the immediate conflict is national liberation which it regards as a diversion from the class struggle. Even if it admits the relevance of national domination in the exploitative processes, ‘workerism’ insists on a perspective of an immediate struggle for socialism”. (Emphasis by Slovo).

He further identifies the other key feature of this tendency as seeing the transitional stage of struggle, involving inter-class alliances as allegedly leading to an abandonment of socialist perspectives and to a surrender of working class leadership. “The economic struggles between workers and bosses at the point of production is claimed to be the ‘class struggle’. This is sometimes coupled with the view that the trade union movement is the main political representatives of the working class… This (sometimes) concedes the need for inter-class alliances but puts forward a view of working class political organisation more appropriate to a trade union than a revolutionary political vanguard”. Interestingly none of the Alliance components currently subscribe even remotely to this clearly “ultra-left” ideology that Slovo so neatly characterised!

However, not only was Slovo warning us about the dangers of “ultra-leftism”, but was also equally scathing of a tendency which as the SACP we have described as right-wing opportunism, a tendency which, if unchecked, is prone to grow particularly under conditions where the national liberation movement is in power. He had this to say about this tendency:

“At the other end of this debate there are views which tend to erect a Chinese wall between the struggle for national liberation and social emancipation. Our struggle is seen as ‘bourgeois-democratic’ in character so that the immediate agenda should not go beyond the objective of a kind of ‘de-raced’ capitalism. According to this view there will be time enough after apartheid is destroyed to then turn our attention to the struggle for socialism. Hence (according to this view) there should be little talk of our ultimate socialist objectives (BN’s emphasis). The working class should not insist on the inclusion of radical social measures as part of the immediate agenda because that would risk frightening away potential allies against apartheid” (Unless indicated all emphases by Slovo)

This latter tendency can clearly be detected in some of the contemporary charges of “ultra-leftism”. Our programmatic slogan “Socialism is the Future, Build it now”, precisely builds on Slovo’s understanding that whilst the NDR is not a socialist stage, socialist organisation, ideology and propaganda cannot be postponed until the objectives of the NDR are met. Hence the importance of revisiting some of the theoretical works of a giant like Slovo (to “consult with the ancestors” as it were) as part of navigating the current situation and mapping out the future. It is for this reason that as part of celebrating this great communist and patriot, the SACP will be holding a seminar to discuss the meaning and relevance of his works in the current period.

To recall Slovo’s role in building the alliance is not to ``paper over cracks'' as Zapiro once suggested in one of his cartoons. Our disunity creates space for all manner of demagogic forces to take leadership of popular concerns. Even hardliners in the Inkatha Freedom Party and the white-right wing have gained confidence. Even the bourgeoisie has developed confidence to laugh at us and undermine workers' rights. External forces are not standing idly by as passive observers while we hurl recriminations at each other. To silence all of this, we need a united, determined, revolutionary alliance, more than ever based on our shared commitment to a democratic revolutionary transformation and shared programmes. The SACP, as Slovo himself would have done, will play its role in ensuring we achieve this. In the immediate period alliance unity, consensus and leadership will be required as we cannot approach the Growth and Development Summit, the eighth COSATU Congress (to be held in September), and the 2004 general elections disunited. In the view of the SACP, our successful 11th Congress, the positive outcomes of the 51st National Conference of the ANC and the ANC’s January 8th statement lay a foundation for positive alliance engagements.

A People's Economy and the transformation of the banks

The defenders and champions of privilege and concentration of wealth for a few could not understand why Slovo identified with the wretched of the earth. Slovo knew these were the creators of wealth and they deserved their fair share in the economy we inherited from apartheid, which is still characterised by a low skills base, unemployment, skewed income patterns and massive accumulation by a few, which leads to a life of misery, poverty, disease and ignorance for the overwhelming majority of our people.

In his short period as Minister of Housing in our democratic government, Slovo sought to concretely translate these perspectives and commitment into reality in the sphere of finance for housing the working people and the poor. In many ways he is one of the major pioneers of the concrete struggles for the transformation of the financial sector in the era of democratic governance, a campaign that the SACP has taken to even higher levels.

Opening a community bank in Benoni in 23 July 1994, he had this to say about the banking sector:

“We all know that the run of the mill commercial bank and the large institutional investors are not charitable institutions, and that they are not branches of the Salvation Army. But in the new South Africa we have growing demands that they measure up to their social responsibilities – not just in words but in performances. There are few cases which demand that they do so more, than in the sphere of low-cost housing. At the moment their doors are firmly shut in this area. In this sense the Community Bank is a trailblazer… The first priority of the Community Bank will be to see to it that ordinary people have access to loans they can afford… Rather than being dominated by an unbridled profit motive.”

With regards to commercial banks Slovo put the challenge to them very forthrightly

“Ultimately, it will be up to the major banks and lending institutions to come in to the new South Africa and to play their full and responsible part in helping to solve what is one of the most fundamental problems facing this country – housing. I’m hopeful that this is going to be a voluntary process within a short space of time… But should it turn out that this reluctance on their part becomes a permanent feature, then we are going to have to look for other ways to encourage banks to open their doors to the lower end of the market – if necessary through legislation”.

Indeed Slovo went on to sign a memorandum of understanding with the banks to finance low-cost housing. Indeed they have failed dismally in this regard, and we are pleased that the current Minister of Housing has gone a long way in passing legislation to force banks to play their role. The SACP has made major strides to bring the banks to play their role in relation to the poor with the historic agreement signed at the NEDLAC in August last year. We will continue to mobilise our people to ensure that this agreement is implemented, also as part of honouring the pioneering role that Slovo played in this regard, within the overall context of building a people’s economy responsive to the needs of the overwhelming majority of our people.

The non-capitalist path of development and the Growth and Development Strategy?

One of Slovo’s major theoretical contributions to our revolutionary theory, strategy and tactics was through his critical engagement with the question of the necessity, desirability and possibility of a non-capitalist path of development. In a way what is at the centre of the very necessary debates inside our Alliance today is the question of the kind of growth path for our country. Re-reading Slovo’s works, within the context of the NDR’s origins premised on a non-capitalist path of development, it is absolutely imperative that we revisit this debate as we approach the growth and development summit. Slovo’s own works is an important source in this regard. Is our NDR still premised on a non-capitalist path of development? Is this path possible under current global and domestic conditions? If it is not, how can we engage private capital currently without losing sight of some of the fundamental goals of the NDR?

What hope can the Growth and Development Summit to be held later this year offer to poor and working people and what development paradigm should underpin a growth and development strategy? This extremely important summit cannot just be any other summit without practical delivery within a measurable time period. From an SACP perspective, the summit can be an important opportunity for government to engage private capital leading a united front of progressive forces whereby private capital is locked into specific agreements. This will be possible only on the basis of an extensive ANC-SACP-COSATU-SANCO consensus shared by a broad range of progressive forces, including NGOs, the religious sector, youth and other sectors.

Building a working class-driven momentum for socio-economic transformation should be the basis from which we drive a broader growth and development strategy. This momentum should aim primarily at overcoming and transforming the stubborn, skewed accumulation (and dis-accumulation) regime that still characterises our society. We need a growth and development process driven by and benefiting the overwhelming majority of our society – workers exploited by capitalism, a black majority still suffering the legacy of race domination, and millions of women oppressed by persisting patriarchal relations of power.

In the view of the SACP, such a growth and development strategy must be premised on the defence, and extension of a democratic, accountable and efficient public sector as part of building a national democratic, developmental state. The state must play a leading role in coordination and driving such a growth and development strategy premised on a strong, democratic and accountable public sector.

Non-racialism

Slovo did not see himself as a white South African but as a South African. He was an integral part of the democratic majority, acting together with them for a just and democratic order. Slovo was among the few white workers who understood their class interest and sought common cause with their class brothers and sisters irrespective of race. In this sense, Slovo left the South African working class black and white a challenge of building unity across racial lines. Very specifically, this challenge requires that the white section of the South African working class realise that its future does not lie in retreating to a laager of any form whether it is the Democratic Alliance or the white rightwing. The future of white workers and all white South Africans lies in a democratic South Africa with equal opportunities for all led by the ANC. This message also applies to coloured and Indian workers whose most basic and human wish is a decent and affordable life. The SACP will use this year to advance the goal of working class unity and non-racialism.

Slovo was an outstanding socialist theoretician and strategist

The most central factor in his approach to struggle on any front was the understanding of the political situation, the balance of forces and thus the approaches necessary to advance that struggle. He knew when to compromise. Yet he never compromised his principles. He was a militant who knew how to plan, assess concrete situations and emerge with rational solutions to problems. Slovo was as radical as reality. Although Slovo knew that individuals do not make history, he was one those few individuals who was endowed with the acumen and personal bearing to direct the course of events. He was an African revolutionary, a communist, a leader, a patriot, a father, a fighter, a negotiator, an internationalist, a theoretician and an organiser. As comrade Nelson Mandela said at Slovo's funeral in January 1995: ``Indeed, it is the combination of all these qualities so splendidly in one individual, which made comrade Joe Slovo the great African revolutionary that he was.''

An important legacy that Slovo has left us is that of promoting the culture of debate, criticism and self-criticism within the ranks of our Party and movement. He was fond of making timely interventions to open debates on crucial fronts of the struggle. His pamphlet for instance, “Has Socialism Failed” became an important contribution in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc of socialist countries. Similarly his earlier contributions, including his paper arguing for sunset clauses into our constitution as we were finalising negotiations at the World Trade Centre, opened an important debate that propelled us forward towards a negotiated settlement. This is a tradition we dare not compromise or throw away. We need more of such debates today as we seek to deepen our NDR on a hostile global capitalist terrain, and we dare not get tempted to foreclose debates or get into the habit of labelling each other. Rather the complexity of the period requires that we nurture this culture of debate, so that all views within our movement, our alliance, and within the progressive movement as a whole are properly canvassed. It is for this reason that we will hold a memorial seminar towards the end of January in order to carry forward this tradition of debate and Umrabulo.

Conclusion

Of course Slovo would not have regarded himself as infallible and without mistakes. He also would have hated that we take his views as always correct. He would have urged us to debate issues openly and frankly and have no “holy cows”.

But when the poor and working people start enjoying, as a right, a roof over their heads, affordable medical care, quality education and a rising standard of living, they will be right to say Slovo was one of the chief architects who helped lay the foundation for a better life. Slovo has left us a legacy, which we must use to guide our approach to building and struggling for a better (and socialist) South Africa. Let us take it forward!


The January 8th Statement and the SACP  

The January 8th Statement of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress is one of the first steps in taking forward the positive outcomes of the very successful 51st conference of the ANC which enriched and adopted the many progressive policy positions.

From an SACP perspective, the Programme of Action for the year contained in the January 8th statement lays the foundation for mature and strategic alliance unity and engagement in action. Most importantly, the programme of action is premised on the mobilisation of the mass of our people towards building a better life for all. In the words of the SACP’s 5 year Programme of Action, the ANC must lead a working-class driven momentum for fundamental socio-economic transformation. In other words, the all-round and ANC-led mobilisation of our people is central in achieving our objectives of job creation and poverty eradication, as well as the progressive transformation of the state and our economy.

The SACP itself has adopted the theme for 2003 “Build People’s Power Where We Live, Work and Study… With and For the Workers and the Poor”. This in itself provides a unique platform through which we can harmonise the programmes of our two formations as well as that of the Alliance as a whole. We need to consolidate mass mobilisation as part of a general offensive against poverty, with the mass of our people and the working class at the centre taking a leading role in transforming their own conditions.

In many important ways, the relevance and absolute necessity of mass mobilisations rests on the extent to which South African working class is united and has a strong socialist outlook and consciousness. Practically, this implies that the fundamental task of the SACP, as the political vanguard of South Africa’s working class, in the immediate period is to deepen the socialist outlook, consciousness and unity of all sections of the working class in order that this working class can be the bedrock of a mass momentum for fundamental socio-economic transformation.

The January 8th Statement correctly identifies the key tasks for 2003 as being:

  • The Struggle against Poverty including the Consolidation of the Social Security System
  • The need for Economic Growth and Equity
  • Building Co-operatives
  • Consolidation of Local Government and Accelerated Service Delivery
  • Building the Alliance

The Struggle against Poverty and the Consolidation of the Social Security System

Given recent government statistics (report released by Statistics South Africa in mid-November 2002) confirm that, in terms of income poverty and inequality, the average South African household became poorer between October 1995 and October 2000. The income share of the poorest 20 percent of households dropped from a miserly 1,9 percent in 1995 to an even more shocking 1,6 percent by 2000. Even more sobering is the fact that, while the average white household improved its income by 15 percent, the average African household suffered a 19 percent fall.

The SACP believes that there are important lessons from these indicators. In particular, where we have tried, even if unevenly, to defend and consolidate the public sector (education and health); where we have, at least until recently, held on to key parastatals and provided them with a relatively clear developmental mandate (electricity and telecommunications); where we have rolled back, to some extent, the capitalist “user- pays” market principle (water and electricity); where we have strategically intervened into the capitalist market with active subsidy policies (housing) – in these cases we have had a tangible transformational impact on the apartheid socio-economic legacy.

It is in this context that the SACP welcomes the establishment of the Food and Price Monitoring Committee which needs to be supplemented with other interventions such as zero-rating of additional basic foodstuffs beyond milk, bread and paraffin

The ANC call for mobilisation of communities for social security registration will be supplemented by the SACP’s ongoing national campaign for comprehensive social protection, launched in October last year. This year, the SACP will continue to mobilise Red October brigades to visit house-holds, holding township and rural people’s forums, and monitoring pay-out points throughout the country.

The 2002 Red October Campaign’s focus on social security emphasised the need for a major overhaul of our social security system. A key lesson from this Campaign is the need to link the struggle for a comprehensive social security programme and system to the growth and development strategy and thus going beyond welfarism. The key issues for discussion and action are a basic income grant, a national health insurance system, the proposed Social Security Agency, the transformation of the Road Accident Fund to become part of a comprehensive social security system and the strengthening of Postbank and the public sector in general as the preferred service providers in the social security system.

The need for Economic Growth and Equity

The biggest challenge we face this year is to develop a progressive growth and development strategy whose centre piece should be job creation and arresting the current growth path that is shedding millions of jobs and constantly making the working class to be the only class being sacrificed on some vague promise of future job creation. We therefore warmly welcome the emphasis placed by the January 8th Statement on the important Growth and Development Summit.

Of course the Growth and Development Strategy will not happen only through a single summit, but the summit is an important moment to lay a basis to grow and develop our economy. This summit must differ from all others in that it must have clear targets, time frames, implementation and review mechanisms if it is to lay a basis for sustainable job creation. It is a summit that requires the Alliance to reach very firm agreements, so that we approach private capital with a united people’s voice. We expect the ANC to take decisive leadership and steps to ensure such unity of the Alliance and all progressive forces towards the growth and development summit. The lead up to the Summit is also an important moment to develop a common Alliance programme around growth and development, thus building on the Ekurhuleni Summit resolutions and programme. In other words it is an important opportunity to overcome the debilitating Alliance differences and lack of a common programme of action. It is an opportunity to decisively correct what is wrong inside our Alliance.

Building Co-operatives

The SACP welcomes the emphasis in the January 8th statement on the building of co-operatives. This emphasis represents an important convergence on policy around the prioritisation of co-operatives. A study published in 2001 by the National Co-operative Association of South Africa (NCASA) estimates a total of 60 000 participants in co-operative enterprises. Economically, the co-operative movement is still small in our country. A recent survey of 654 co-operatives in South Africa found that their aggregate turnover was R1,3 billion – however, this figure falls to a mere R84 million if the agricultural sector co-operatives from the previous era are excluded.

Co-operatives can be an important response to the poverty crisis in our society – they offer a feasible strategy to pool scare resources, collectivise efforts and help to build sustainable local communities;

Significant strategic emphasis has recently (and correctly) been placed on fostering black-owned small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs). However, the model for these enterprises has often assumed a single owner-entrepreneur, and the tacit assumption is even sometimes that every owner-entrepreneur should be an aspirant Harry Oppenheimer or Bill Gates. These assumptions set up the great majority of SMMEs for failure. The pooling of limited resources through the co-operative approach, and the strategic orientation to different objectives (sustainable livelihoods and community development) are, we believe, more likely to provide an effective basis, in many cases, for SMME success.

Co-operatives are extremely important for the social values that they can help to nurture. Co-operatives build on traditions of collective endeavour, they are more attuned to the spirit of vuk’ uzenzele (than free market competition) that we are seeking to deepen, and they can, therefore, play an important role in the moral regeneration identified by the ANC as critical. Progressive co-operatives can build the economic power of workers and the poor, they can nurture a sense of class capacity, and they build confidence in socialised forms of economic activity.

The principal problem faced by progressive co-operatives is inappropriate existing legislation governing co-operatives. The legislation was enacted by the apartheid regime to promote marketing co-operatives among white commercial farmers.

Government must enact appropriate legislation and develop an enabling policy framework to create the appropriate environment for the building and sustaining of a vibrant, progressive co-operative movement. In all government departments and in all spheres of government, building and sustaining a co-operative movement must enjoy strategic emphasis. In many instances, existing awarding of tenders guidelines, BEE small businesses are mentioned, but without any reference to black-owned and controlled co-operatives. Progressive co-operatives must be given the necessary recognition and preference, including access to what must become a much more extensive programme of public works. Government and parastatals must direct funding towards the progressive co-operative sector – start-up funding, poverty alleviation funds, research and development, and state assistance with marketing are all possible and necessary. Land restitution and land reform measures must be much more aligned with a co-operative enterprise approach.

The existing banking and broader financial sector is completely inadequate for the developmental challenges facing our country (as noted in the section on transforming the financial sector above). Co-operatives, like other SMMEs, battle to get effective funding.

At the end of the day, however, the success of a progressive co-operative movement will depend on the mobilisation, the initiative and resourcefulness of millions of working people and the urban and rural poor. The SACP, and particularly it branches and districts, will play an active role, together with our alliance partners, and with progressive community and mass-based organisations in popularising and nurturing a progressive co-operative movement.

The building of co-operatives takes place against the background of an important resolution adopted by the International Labour Organisation for governments, particularly in developing countries, to give priority and practical assistance to the development of sustainable co-operatives. The South African government and COSATU played a central role in the framing and adoption of this resolution by the ILO.

Consolidation of local government and accelerated service delivery

The overall political economy struggles need to be firmly located within the overall objective of the meeting of basic needs of our people. After all, a key dimension to the unfolding revolution is practical delivery and building a better life for all. As communists, our goal is the creation of a society where people have their basic needs met irrespective of their location in society. And thus the understanding that practical delivery and building a better life are not just mere delivery questions but an essential component of massive and fundamental transformation of society through amongst other things, building social capital and power.

We therefore intend to focus on local transformation in order that a progressive growth and development strategy is also applied at this level. Local economic development, strengthening the delivery capacity of our municipalities including the delivery of free basic services, building of sustainable communities and people’s power are key challenges in addressing immediate problems and laying a sustainable basis for sustainable local transformation.

Practically, this means that the SACP, its allies, local municipalities, local organisations and local communities must work together to develop a transformative content to the development and implementation of Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) of municipalities, and positively leading and harnessing working class struggles around service delivery and transformation towards progressive and democratic service delivery and transformation at a local level by working together with the ANC, local councils and councilors, communities and Ward Committees.

The SACP will also throw its weight and seek to interface its work with the COSATU initiative on building Socialist Forums principlally directed at strengthening COSATU locals politically. These Socialist Forums can act as an important platform to debate and strategise around local transformation, harnessing the energy of the workers towards this task, and strengthening the role of the working class in, and brining to bear its weight and perspectives, on local transformation and poverty eradication.

Building the Alliance

Our alliance must strengthen itself by building on the understanding that there can be no effective addressing of the national question without effectively addressing the class question. In the same way these two cannot be addressed without placing the gender question at the centre of our programmes and activities. In other words it is an alliance built on the objective reality of the interconnectedness of race, class and gender in our revolution. We also need to build on the very positive climate and environment from the ANC’s 51st Conference where delegates them made it absolutely clear that not only is the Alliance still very necessary, but that we must act to correct whatever shortcomings are there. This requires the ANC to exercise its role as the leader of the alliance in order to make meaningful alliance dialogue, engagement and consensus building possible. The SACP will play its role to make this possible.

Role of Communists

The SACP has also decided to use the year 2003 to celebrate and honour the memory of communist martyrs, heroes and heroines. This is aimed at celebrating the role that communists have played in the struggle for national liberation and reconstruction and development of our country. Indeed this will be a double celebration, as we will not only be celebrating communists, but we will be honouring the memory of ANC cadres and leaders themselves. We will use this celebration to honour these martyrs for their role in building and being disciplined cadres of this glorious movement of ours, the ANC. It will also be a celebration of our Alliance. As we celebrate the life of Dora Tamana we will also be honouring the memory of Lilian Ngoyi. As we honour the memory of Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, JB Marks, Govan Mbeki and Chris Hani, we will also be celebrating the role of giants like Oliver Tambo. Just as we are celebrating our movement, its leadership and cadres, the SACP has also declared the month of January, “The Joe Slovo Month”, as 6 January marks the 8th anniversary of the passing away of this great communist, patriot and leader of the African National Congress.

Our Party has an unparalleled history. We are a Party that has been in the midst of all the great popular and working class struggles of our people. First in sacrifice, first in commitment and hard work, we are proud of our traditions, and we are proud of our outstanding cadres. In the midst of struggle, our Party has pioneered many of the most important traditions of the South African struggle (including progressive trade unionism, pioneered non-racism, night schools and cadre development, tireless organisational work, unity of women around progressive demands, rural struggles, revolutionary journalism, revolutionary theory, revolutionary martyrs).

Precisely because of the challenges which face us as a living force in the political, social and economic struggles of the present, and the need to ensure we remain a Party of the 21st century, we seek from our rich historical traditions which in the year 2003 can play its role in “united action to push back the frontiers of poverty”, as the January 8th statement calls on us to do.

 

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