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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 8, No. 8, 7 May 2009

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Defend and deepen the April 22 electoral victory: The tasks of the SACP and the working class after the elections

Dear Readers

The Umsebenzi On-line editorial team would like to sincerely apologise for the late delivery of the edition. The flow of the work of the editorial team was slightly disturb by the august swearing in of members of parliament and the election of the President of the Republic and other officials of parliament yesterday.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.


The Editor

Defend and deepen the April 22 electoral victory: The tasks of the SACP and the working class after the elections

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

The overwhelming victory of the ANC in the April 2009 fourth democratic elections is the clearest statement by the workers and the poor of our country of their continued confidence in, and expectations from, the ANC-led government. Indeed the May Day 2009 COSATU rallies became both the rallying point for intensify working class struggles especially in the wake of the current global capitalist crisis, as well as a platform to celebrate the electoral victory of the ANC.

The significance and some lessons from the elections

The ANC electoral victory underlines other important things:

  1. It is a continuation and consolidation of the democratic advances made at the Polokwane conference, and an affirmation of the popularity of the key decisions taken at that historic conference by the overwhelming majority of South Africans
  2. The electoral victory marks a significant rolling back of the huge ideological offensive waged by sections of the elites against the ANC and its allies. The electoral victory has thus significantly exposed both the bankruptcy and the distance between these elites from the concerns of ordinary workers and the poor of our country. In many ways these election results are an expression of the growing class cleavage in wider society between the haves (including now a small black group of tycoons as represented by Cope) and the have-nots
  3. The huge defeat of the IFP, including a massive ANC victory in many of its former strongholds in KwaZulu-Natal, may as well herald the beginning of the end of the last of the Bantustan parties in particular, and generally the final defeat of all what the former Bantustan parties stood for and their legacy. This confirms what we had always argued since the 1980s that all of these Bantustan parties and their regimes were extensions of the apartheid state that would not survive for long without being propped up by the apartheid regime
  4. The electoral victory was also a massive failure of collaboration by sections of the elite, almost wholly supported by all of mainstream media, including the public broadcaster, to use the 'rooi gevaar', the 'two-thirds gevaar', and the 'threat to the constitution gevaar' to try and dislodge the ANC electorally.

However a deeper reflection on the ideological and class struggles on the electoral terrain also brings out into the open the extent of collusion by these elites against the ANC. Their main plank was that our constitution was under threat from an ANC government.

There is a serious attempt by these elites to use the constitution and other institutions of democracy to try and defend and advance their narrow class interests. There are increasing attempts to assert democratic rights (freedom of expression, of the press, independence of the judiciary, etc), without at the same time saying much about the need to transform, for instance, both the South African media and the judiciary. This is because an independent, but untransformed, judiciary will continue to protect the interests of the rich and propertied classes at the direct expense of the workers and the poor.

Whilst these elites make a lot of noise about alleged threats to the judiciary by an ANC government, they are completely silent about how the criminal justice system continues to fail farmworkers brutalized on white owned farms, and working class women who are victims of rape.

In fact, it can be argued that, the manner in which the media positioned itself during the election campaign, for instance throwing everything into building and supporting the image of Cope is precisely a reflection of the class orientation of mainstream media in South Africa.

These elite ideological struggles to push our institutions of democracy to serve their interests are taking place on a whole variety of fronts in South African society. Another instance is that of an increasing and strident voice on asserting of academic freedom in institutions of higher education, but silent on the need to transform the colonial type production and reproduction of knowledge in those institutions. Even worse, as the study on racism recently released by the Minister of Education shows, not only have we not been able to defeat the racial and patriarchal regimes in many of our higher education institutions, but instead these continue to be reproduced daily in these institutions. In such situations academic freedom, in practice, means the continuation of a racialised, patriarchal and elite forms of knowledge production; that is, academic freedom in favour of the continued reproduction of a colonial-type intellectual landscape. Unfortunately it still happens that at the head of this project are minorities who have continued to dominate our academia and intelligentsia.

Add to the above a South African media that has played more of an oppositional role to the ANC than a source of information for the population, the elite agenda has major weapons in its hands.

The above points to the need for the SACP, our alliance and the working class to intensify the ideological struggle on all fronts and, as our own South African Road to Socialism directs us, in all spheres of power and influence in South African society.

What is to be done?

We have highlighted the above issues not to argue for a reactive and defensive approach to this class offensive, but to underline the importance of building upon the mass energies unleashed during the election campaign to deepen a principled working class led national democratic revolution.

The overall challenge is that we dare not demobilize, but we need to redirect the energies unleashed by this election campaign towards building working class and people's power in all spheres of society.

As the SACP we can proudly claim that we have achieved the main objectives of our main pillar in our 2009 Programme of Action, that of working for an ANC's overwhelming electoral victory. Indeed thousands of communists and all our structures were mobilized in this effort.

However, it must also be understood that the vote for the ANC was not a blank cheque, but a well informed choice based on the expectation that indeed the ANC government still needs to do much more.

For a start, in line with the other pillars of our 2009 PoA - at the heart of which is the building of people's power and ensuring public participation at local level - all our structures, leaders and cadres need to re-do the election trail, by going back to as many of the areas in which we campaigned as possible. The key task here would be to ensure that the many problems and challenges we identified are being attended to, whether it is lack of sanitation, housing, clean drinking water or existence of rampant corruption. In addition communities will need to be mobilized to attend to these problems and challenges, in line with the ANC's own manifesto 'Working Together, We Can Do More'!

The ANC Manifesto and our Medium Term Vision

Let us take this opportunity to thank all our Party cadres for the major contribution they made towards the ANC's electoral victory. We also wish to congratulate all those communists who have made it into the legislatures, including those who have been appointed to additional positions of responsibility. However, we need to remind ourselves of the very clear directives given by our February Central Committee on communists deployed in government. This time around, the CC said, there must be a change in the manner in which communists relate and account to the SACP, much as they are deployed in the first instance as ANC cadres. In particular the SACP will not allow itself to be used as a stepping stone to positions in the ANC and government only to be abandoned by some of those cadres once they occupy such positions. Working together with our allies, the SACP shall seek ways to enforce its own right to recall in such instances.

Our cadres must be guided by both the SACP's medium term vision as well as the ANC's Election Manifesto. Whilst the two are distinct, there is no contradiction between the perspectives contained in these two documents. Instead there is a great deal of complementarity and dialectical inter-connections. For instance the MTV places emphasis on building working class hegemony in key sites of power and influence. Indeed many of the commitments contained in the ANC's Election Manifesto will not be realized unless the working class is organized to lead a struggle to build a stronger COSATU for decent work; people's education committees for free, quality education; local health committees for quality health care for all; street committees to fight crime; and people's land committees for rural development, land and agrarian transformation. In other words, the working class, using its organized muscle, must stamp its authority as the leading motive force in the national democratic revolution.

Similarly, the working class stands to benefit immensely from the most thorough and consistent implementation of the commitments contained in the ANC's Election Manifesto, thus creating fertile conditions to realize some of the key objectives in our MTV.

Indeed the consolidation of the April 22 victory is a task being carried out on a terrain that is not of our own choosing, especially given the current global capitalist crisis and the emerging destabilizing threat of 'Swine Flu'. But we must refuse to be cowed down by neo-liberal ideological blackmail about what is to be done about this crisis. We believe that the only sustainable solutions that can effectively deal with the current capitalist crisis are leftist solutions, not more of the same liberal dogma whose failures are the direct cause of the current crisis. At no stage in the history of our democracy have we needed a developmental state, buttressed by popular power, than at this point in time.

Communist Cadres to the Front, to build a better South Africa!



SACP Congratulates Cde Jacob Zuma

The SACP congratulates the President of the ANC, Cde Jacob Zuma, for his election as the fourth President on the Republic.

For the SACP the election of Cde Zuma as President of the Republic marks the victory of the will of the people over the evils of abuse of state institutions for narrow political goals. With this victory the people of South Africa are sending an important message that never again should we allow abuses of state organs to settle political scores with opponents. It is therefore also a challenge to the incoming government to ensure that state institutions do indeed serve the people and not partisan interests. The SACP is indeed confident that the Zuma-led government will indeed rise up to this and many other challenges, and will play our part in the interests of defending and deepening our democracy in favour of the workers and the poor of our country.

The SACP further commits itself to continue being on the ground to mobilize the working class in particular, and the poor in general, to build people's power in order to ensure that indeed the priorities set out in the ANC Manifesto are realized working together with an organized people.

Cde Zuma assumes office against a backdrop of a resounding electoral victory by the ANC in the April 22 elections. The SACP will continue to work with the alliance led government to better the lives of our people and deepen participatory democracy in order for all of us, working together, to achieve the targets we have set ourselves in the election manifesto.

The SACP would also wish to condemn the opportunism of the renegades of democracy now misnamed COPE. They went to Polokwane and they were defeated. Instead they opted out of the ANC. Their ill conceived political organization went to the polls on the 22nd April 2009 led by a little known priest and their agenda was rejected by the electorate. Consistent with their disrespect for democracy and their inability to accept the views of the majority, they wanted to sneak in their priest through a nomination in parliament. What man of the cloth accepts to be a political pawn to this extent?

Whilst we accept that every political party in parliament has a democratic right to raise whatever matter it feels strongly about, this has to be balanced against other important considerations like national interest, reconciliation, nation building and the fight against vindictiveness and bitterness in our political system. Cope has to accept that their leaders were defeated in Polokwane, their party roundly and emphatically rejected by the people in the April elections, and that Jacob Zuma is the President of the ANC, and on Saturday will become the President of the Republic. History will judge Cope harshly for being bad losers.

The SACP wishes to also take this opportunity to congratulate all the SACP cadres who have been delegated various responsibilities in provincial legislatures and Executive Councils.