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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 9, No. 19, 6 October 2010

In this Issue:


Red Alert

The ANC National General Council and the SACP's Red October Campaign: Critical platforms to further consolidate the national democratic revolution

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

The outcomes of the recently held ANC NGC as well as the successful launch of our 2010 Red October Campaign, are two critical and deeply interrelated events and platforms upon which to intensify the struggle for the deepening of the national democratic revolution. These are events that once more require us to focus and not be distracted by other things, but mobilize our people behind the priorities of our revolution at this juncture.

On the ANC NGC

At its first meeting after the ANC NGC last Friday, the SACP Politburo undertook a comprehensive review of the ANC NGC, as well as reflections on our participation in it. The PB was overwhelmingly of the view that this gathering was a huge success, despite attempts by the media and other detractors to predict that the gathering was going to be a political showdown and a dress rehearsal for 2012. If indeed it was a dress rehearsal for 2012, it showed an ANC that has gone a long way in uniting its forces since the Polokwane conference, and more than ready to take this unity to new heights in 2012, its centenary.

The Politburo welcomed the fact that the ANC NGC went a long way to achieve what we had expected from it and somehow even went beyond. It acted in a united way in approaching the business of the council and focused its attention on evaluating and strengthening the implementation framework for the Polokwane resolutions.

The NGC further emphasized the absolute necessity of our alliance, and reaffirmed its character as articulated in the President's political report which was adopted by the NGC:

"The Alliance was formed out of struggle, and out of the shared vision as articulated in the Freedom Charter. It is based on the understanding that each Alliance component enjoys political independence from the other, but also acknowledges the central role of the ANC as the leader of the Alliance and the political centre. "There are no components of the Alliance that can be wished away or be replaced by others. All fulfill aspects that have been proven over the long history of the Alliance. "We must emphasise as well that the Alliance is not based on conformity and monolithic interpretation of events. It is a strategic Alliance. We must avoid a temptation to change the historical character and purpose of the Alliance, regardless of challenges we face today as a sector, group or individuals. "Each Alliance component partner has a political responsibility to guard against tendencies that threaten the unity of the Alliance. The Alliance is a unique political entity, and none of us must celebrate when it faces challenges. All the bold headlines about the imminent death of the Alliance are a waste of time and ink because the Alliance will live for a long time to come".

This is a very important re-affirmation, which also went further and distinguished between allies of the ANC as independent formations, as distinct from its leagues, which are integral components of the ANC mother body. This will go a long way in undermining those who opportunistically seek to reduce the allies into leagues of the ANC as part of an attempt to silence the allies. For the SACP this message clearly spells out that there is no place for anti-SACP elements in the ANC as this goes against its strategy and policies.

The very strength of the ANC itself lies in that it is a broad multi-class movement that unites a wide range of forces. It is precisely because of its character, that unity and renewal are the most critical components in the very character of the ANC, and that it must always pay ongoing attention to these.

But it is precisely this multi-class character of the ANC that for decades in the past and in the present, enemies of our revolution, opportunists within our ranks, and other detractors have sought to sow suspicions and divisions amongst the constituent components of the ANC. Today these attempts manifest in attempts by those who seek to capture our organizations for purposes of narrow capitalist accumulation to rehash old and tired methods of accusing communists of what they call ‘double-dipping' and that communists want to take over the ANC. This agenda had no place and space at this important ANC NGC.

However, the example set by the ANC NGC also places particular responsibilities on its allies. Amongst other things it means that whilst we must always maintain our independence, we must not be reckless such that our actions cause divisions in the ANC and the Alliance. Instead it calls upon the SACP, and COSATU, to continue to organize workers to join the ranks of the ANC in their numbers. It is through this that we can also ensure that the ANC's own commitments, that it is an organization with a working class bias, can become a living reality.

The ANC NGC also took further steps towards the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI), with a determination to move even faster. We are indeed encouraged by this.

The SACP particularly welcomes the fact that the ANC decided to formalize the debate on the nationalization of the mines inside its own structures and processes. This will go a long way in making sure that this debate is conducted in a rational manner, thus also giving the allies an opportunity for principled engagement on this important question.

However, as the SACP we must also warn that in taking forward this debate, we must not lose sight of the broader strategy for a new growth path. Nationalisation of mines is an important but only one component of a broader strategy needed to put our economy on a new growth path, and away from its current semi-colonial trajectory.

The SACP Politburo also expressed its disappointment that unfortunately the economic commission at the NGC spent most of its time on a single issue - the nationalization of mines - to the exclusion of other equally important matters that are important for a new growth path eg. Industrial policy, the financial sector and so on.

We are however heartened by the fact that there will now be a sober process to discuss the issue of nationalization. Our optimism is further strengthened by the President's commitment to speed up the discussions on a new growth path by government. For the SACP this is the most critical challenge facing the national democratic revolution today.

The SACP therefore appeals to all in our movement to engage in robust, but constructive debates on all these critical economic questions!

The SACP's 2010 Red October Campaign: Financing development with and for workers and the poor

There is indeed a deep interconnection between a new growth path and the mobilization of resources in the public and private financial sectors towards such a new economic trajectory.

The launch of the 2010 Red October campaign was a highly successful event held in Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga. It was a lively event, attended by thousands people, and truly became a red festival! This shows the extent to which a campaigning SACP, especially our Red October Campaign, has captured the imagination of our people in the many issues it raises.

The transformation of the financial sector, as well as mobilizing the trillions of rands in its hands, is a critical factor in placing South Africa on a new growth path. Our campaign aims to foster a dialogue on how, amongst other things, these resources can be mobilized to support the five priorities of our ANC-led alliance and now government's programme as well: decent work, access to education and health, intensifying the fight against crime and corruption, and rural development.

To this end the SACP calls for the convening of a broader financial sector summit, but unlike the 2003 summit, this must include both the public and private financial institutions. This summit must amongst other things evaluate progress in the implementation of the commitments contained in the financial sector charter signed in 2003, and map a way forward. Much as we have made a lot of progress and achievements on this front, we still remain concerned that the private financial sector is not doing as much as it should.

For the public Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), it is important that we mobilize to support government in transforming the mandate of these institutions such that they serve our broader developmental agenda rather than narrow BEE. At such a summit we would therefore expect an honest, but critical evaluation of the past role of these DFIs and get a report on how they intend to reposition themselves to fund development, including support for the government's five priorities.

The SACP also calls upon COSATU in particular to support this campaign as it has always done, but to particularly focus on mobilization of the workers to have an effective say on how their retirement funds are invested.

The SACP further calls upon ANC structures to support this campaign, as its weight and muscle will go a long way towards the realization of a transformed financial sector capable to support a progressive development path for our country.

The SACP provincial, district and branch structures will in the coming weeks and months be deepening this campaign, through creating awareness amongst our people about its importance, as well as having ‘Red Days' in the various districts to highlight the need to harness resources in the financial sector to support development.

See www.sacp.org.za for the full message of the SACP delivered at the launch of the 2010 Red October Campaign.