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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 10, No. 18, 7 September2011

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Not in our name and that of our people!

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

The SACP has been consistently warning about the dangers of a (neo) liberal agenda that seeks to undermine the majoritarian character of our democracy. It is an agenda that is also thoroughly threatened by the unity of the ANC, its united African majority support, and yet at the same time an African majority that seeks to lead a project for an inclusive non-racial, non-sexist society whose foundation is the political liberation and economic emancipation of the overwhelming majority of our people.

This liberal agenda (often acting in concert with the opposition political parties and the mainstream print media, and now seemingly joined by SABC News) has a well-written script through which they seek to portray and denigrate our liberation movement and the government it leads, as inherently corrupt (often because all government led by former liberation movements are "corrupt"). This liberal agenda seeks to project our movement as "anti-constitutional", "anti the rule of law", and anti-media freedom. We are all being blamed as a movement as "corrupt", "racist" and "sexist". Our battles were, so these forces attempted to claim, little more than an unprincipled game of palace politics, a struggle on both sides for positions in 2012 and 2014.

Yet this liberal agenda is conspicuously silent about the unequal property relations in our country, the growing class inequalities, the conspicuous consumption by the middle and capitalist classes, and the obscene salaries being paid to corporate executives, all in the midst of growing poverty. Instead it is the very same liberals and their agenda that supports the erosion of hard-won workers rights and their defence of labour brokers, the modern day slave owners. For them all that is important are check and balance on government, but with no check and balances on the filthy accumulation by the rich at the direct expense of the workers and the poor. For them, constitutional democracy means controlling government, but with absolutely no control over the accumulation of riches by the capitalist classes!

The liberal agenda in South Africa today seeks to mobilize every platform of our constitutional democracy and its institutions to undermine major decisions by government, and especially the President. This is often accompanied by a malicious rather than progressive use of our institutions of democracy in order to undermine government by the majority. It is a project that seeks to subvert the clarion call of the Freedom Charter that the people shall govern, but instead seek to elevate `civil society` as if it had won elections. It is clearly a well-resourced project, whose sources of funding are often obscure and kept secret, whilst demanding transparency from everybody else except themselves!

The most concerted expression of this offensive has been around the President`s nomination of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to be the Chief Justice. No sooner had the President made this nomination that a well co-ordinated and orchestrated campaign was launched to try and discredit Justice Mogoeng, not so much in opposition to him, but to spite the authority of a President whose party was voted for by the overwhelming majority of our people. This was also a thoroughly dishonest campaign, largely informed by the fact that the choice of Chief Justice preferred by the liberals was not nominated by the President. Much as the liberal offensive pretends to be seeking a seemingly `neutral` and `objective judge, this was all a campaign for the appointment of a chief justice not above class and political interests, but a judge symphathetic to the oppositionist (if not capitalist) agenda of the liberals.

Indeed the SACP does recognize and acknowledge that some of the NGOs who entered this fight are genuine NGOs, like Sonke Gender Network and others, who are genuinely concerned about gender issues in the judiciary and in broader South African society. But as we have consistently argued, it is important that the working class in particular is not misled to join a liberal offensive whose goals have nothing to do with gender, racial and class equality, but all to do with defending class elites which are threatened by majority rule!

Therefore the entire debate about the Chief Justice has little to do with the person of the chosen candidate but is part of an ongoing battle by the liberals in our society to consistently challenge and show the ANC and particularly it`s President as unable to take good decisions. That is why the SACP fully agrees with the Secretary General of the ANC that this is all a proxy war to discredit the President and the government and Alliance he heads.

The strategy of the liberals fits hand in glove with the political strategy of the DA to try and maximise votes in the next elections. It is quite unfortunate that some of the genuine civil society organisations find themselves caught up in this dilemma.

The hypocrisy of the liberal offensive is further illustrated by the fact that at every point in time when the ANC and/or its allies criticizes the judiciary and some of its decisions, it is told that it is undermining the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Yet when the opposition and its liberal tentacles are unhappy about aspects of, or developments in, the judiciary they forget about the protection of the integrity of the judiciary and go on an all out attack, like it has happened with the nomination of Justice Mogoeng. In other words, the judiciary must be respected only if it acts against the ANC and government, but to be condemned if it does not act in the interests of the liberal agenda!

As the SACP has argued over decades of its existence, for the liberals `separation of powers` and independence of the judiciary and other institutions supporting democracy can only be honoured and protected if the decisions of these institutions are against the ANC-led alliance and government. This is tantamount to saying that the majority cannot rule without the consent of the minority, which is a logic that is consistent with that of the apartheid regime! It is a case of liberals and their fellow travelers seeking to impose their agenda against the will of the overwhelming majority of our people - the workers and the poor.

It is for the above, and other, reasons that we urge President Zuma to use his own judgement in appointing a new Chief Justice, and not succumb to this anti-majoritarian and often racialised, if not racist, liberal agenda against a democratically elected government. Our constitution allows the President to appoint a Chief Justice, even if it is at the displeasure of the liberals who often parade themselves as `constitutionalists` par excellence`.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the liberal offensive against our own movement is being reinforced by what we have described as the new tendency within our own movement. It is a tendency whose sole mission is to capture all of our organizations in the alliance in order to pursue a narrow, selfish agenda of accumulation, including the building of a kleptocratic state. The tenderpreneurial practices of the new tendency are used by the liberals to `prove` that indeed our movement is corrupt. We are then all painted by the same brush, when in fact only a fraction within our movement are tenderpreneurs.

It was in this context that the SACP in 2008 boldly (and correctly) began to characterize this right-wing demagogic tendency for what it was and is. We pointed out its underpinning class support, and characterized it as a "new" tendency that had certain proto-fascist features. We noted that it was deeply embroiled in tender-preneurship and other parasitic primary accumulation tendencies. We linked its appearance in part to the impact of the global capitalist economic crisis on our economy and its resulting effects on BEE deals (not least, but not only, in the mining sector). We linked it to the persistent chronic levels of youth unemployment, marginalization and a growing sense of youth alienation.

The trashing, mayhem and destruction caused by elements of this new tendency in the ANC Youth League in Johannesburg last week further shows the extent to which the tenderpreneur element is willing to go to discredit our movement in order to advance its narrow accumulation interests. Such behaviour shows the extent to which the `new tendency` is willing to even mobilize the lumpen elements within our society to achieve its own selfish interests. Such behaviour has correctly been condemned by all of our formations, as these actions represent not the interests of our revolutionary movement, but those of the most decadent and corrupt, parading as members of our movement.

The SACP therefore calls upon all the genuine cadres and leaders of our movement to close ranks against the liberal offensive and tenderpreneurs. The glue for the unity of all the progressive forces in our movement is the working class, acting in concert with all other progressive strata in society and within our movement. The SACP further calls upon the mobilization and conscientisation of all our cadres against such regressive liberal and tenderpreneurial tendencies, by focusing on the most important tasks of our revolution, premised on the five priorities of government.

That is why the SACP says that neither the liberals nor the new tendency are speaking on behalf of the overwhelming majority of our people. Let the working class and the people as a whole stand up to distance themselves from such tendencies, as tendencies that are deeply against our revolutionary traditions and values.

It might as well be that both the liberals and the new tendency inside our movement are two sides of the same coin - parasites dependent on each other try and capture or, if not, destroy our revolution and its political organs.

The SACP calls upon all its members to go all out, acting together with our alliance partners and other progressive formations, and reach to all our people to explain the critical challenges and threats facing the national democratic revolution. All revolutionaries must go all out to isolate and expose both the liberal offensive and the tenderpreneurial tendency, both inside and outside the ranks of our movement.

Part of isolating both the tenderpreneurial new tendency and the liberal offensive we need to firmly say not in our name and that of our people and the working class! None of the sections of the leadership or membership of our Alliance must allow themselves to be fooled or co-opted by either the new tendency or the liberals. All genuine revolutionaries must always be guided by a class analysis of developments in our country, at all times and without fail!

Let us mobilize all our forces behind our Red October Campaign to defend our movement, its revolutionary values and morality, and take up issues that will change the lives of the majority of our people for the better!