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Volume 13, No. 53, 11 December 2014

In this Issue:

   

Red Alert

Message from the South African Communist Party as delivered by General Secretary, Comrade Blade Nzimande at the Fourth National Congress of YCLSA, 10-14 December 2014

By General Secretary, Comrade Blade Nzimande

11 December 2014, Cape Town

Members of our Central Committee present here today;
SACP Provincial leaders present today;
YCLSA National Secretary Comrades Buti Manamela, and
National Chairperson Comrade Yershen Pillay;
National Office Bearers of the YCLSA;
Members of the National Committee of the YCLSA;
Leaders of the YCLSA from all lower leading committees present here today;
Delegates from branches across the country;
Representatives of the Progressive Youth Alliance; and
Distinguished guests;

Allow me for and on behalf of the Central Committee of the SACP and the entire membership of the Party, now standing at over 210 000 members, to convey our revolutionary greetings to all of you here present, and to the entire membership of our Young Communist League all over the country. The SACP would first and foremost wish this, the Fourth National Congress of the Young Communist League, all the success that it needs.

The Fourth YCLSA National Congress: Strategic content and significance

In particular this Congress must pay attention on the imperative to build and continuously strengthen the Progressive Youth Movement. This means this Congress must not only be about the Young Communist League and its members. It must also be about the role of the Progressive Youth Alliance It must also be about the task of the mobilisation, education and organisation of the South African youth as a whole.

There are a number of important challenges in the mobilisation of our youth, especially by the YCL. Firstly, decisive action is required to confront the financialisation of political and organisational processes that is threatening to liquidate the progressive youth movement in our country. The buying of youth structures (and all of our organisations) by moneyed interests is a scourge that we need to defeat, and we expect this Congress to raise this matter very sharply and come up with concrete programmes to confront and defeat this. Of course, we will ultimately fail to defeat this scourge unless we intensify the struggle against capitalism, as the root of corruption is in the capitalist system itself.

Related to the above task is the necessity for the YCL to prioritise the recruitment of young workers, especially those in the trade union movement. It is clear that the new battlefront in our revolution is increasingly going to be the soul of our youth, especially given the fact that most of our young people today never directly experienced apartheid oppression and the type of super exploitation of the working class associated with colonialism of a special type. Even the types of ideological aberrations we are beginning to see within the ranks of the trade union movement, especially inside the ranks of Cosatu, maybe associated with this reality. The YCL, working together with the SACP, must pay particular and special attention to the recruitment, organisation and ideological development of young workers.

The above tasks are closely associated with the task of building a progressive youth movement that is characterized by disciplined militancy, and not the anarchy and hooliganism that gets paraded as militancy today. We hope that the manner in which you carry yourselves at this very 4th Congress must lay the foundation for a disciplined YCL, that must carry itself with respect so that it can be respected by, and also attract, the rest of our youth and other young formations into its fold.

The Young Communist League must develop leadership and play and a consistent activist role with and on the youth to confront the many challenges facing them. Among others we need to prioritise the immediate problems and challenges facing young people, including unemployment, poverty and inequality; education and skills training; health, including confronting the HIV epidemic; fighting crime and corruption; and driving youth development in all its facets.

This Congress, organised, co-ordinated and convened under the theme ‘Intensifying Youth Mobilisation for Socialism’, takes place at the time when our national liberation movement is engaged in a process of intensifying our national democratic revolution by shifting our transition from the colonial and apartheid legacy onto a second, more radical phase.

This Congress should help develop the youth content, context as well as the strategic and organisational tasks arising out of that task. In other words what kind of youth programmes and priorities should characterize the second, more radical, phase of our transition? I hope that this Congress will be seized with this question, guided by the SACP's discussion document, "Going to the Root".

From the standpoint of the SACP we believe that, a second more radical phase of our transition strengthens the national democratic revolution as a foundation for a transition to socialism. In this task and challenge the YCL must continue to be guided by the SACP's 13th Congress Programme, "The South African Road to Socialism", whose main call is that of building working class hegemony in all key sites of power and terrains of struggle. These key sites of power include the community, the workplace, the economy, the state, ideological sphere as well as in the environment. Our programme especially identify the organisation of the youth in all its locations as a primary terrain of struggle. It is therefore important for the entirety of the YCL membership to study closely the SACP's programme.

'Going to the Root'

Let us briefly capture the main arguments, observations and propositions in our discussion document.

The SACP appreciates the massive redistributive advances that the successive ANC-led governments achieved since our democratic breakthrough in 1994, including:

  1. The over 3.5 million houses built for free benefiting over 16 million people including the youth;
  2. The over 7 million strong household electrification programme, compared to 5 million on a racist basis in the preceding century by the colonial and apartheid regimes;
  3. The over 400 000 free solar water geysers; the expansion of access to potable water to 92% of South Africans compared to 60% in 1996;
  4. The expansion of social grants from 3 million just after 1994 to 16 million people in 2013, benefiting the elderly, children, and veterans;
  5. The expansion of child support grants to include all eligible children up to age 18; the transformation of the Tertiary Education Fund of South Africa in the new National Student Financial Aid Scheme and its expansion to benefit over 1.4 million students;
  6. The massive rollout on HIV treatment more so after the 2009 general election benefitting over 4.6 million people.

The Young Communist League was not a bystander in the pursuance and realisation of many of these achievements. Indeed these include, and were guided by your own,Ten Youth Demands that the Young Communist conceptualised and struggled for. This is why our November 2014 Augmented Central Committee congratulated the Young Communist League, it's national leadership led by Cde Buti Manamela and the National Committee, for the role that it has played since its re-establishment.

While noting the fact that, like all other revolutionary organisations, the Young Communist League always has the duty to mount a relentless struggle against its own weaknesses, it must build on advances made by our revolution. In addition, as the SACP 13th Congress urged all of us, we must build on our achievements in order to confront our challenges. The SACP's strategic and programmatic posture in the here and now and the period ahead is that of taking responsibility for the national democratic revolution.

The SACP must also congratulate the Young Communist League for the role it has played in exposing and confronting the demagogic wave that emerged and took root among some sections of the youth especially in the wake of the 2008 international capitalist crisis. Let me for and on behalf of the SACP once more thank you, dear comrades. All of the roles the Young Communist League has played must be strengthened, broadened and intensified on all fronts! And you have made a major contribution to, and have become an indispensable part of, the progressive youth alliance.

Back to our document. The major redistributive advances, as well as the youth, women and workers’ rights achieved during the first phase of our transition, are important gains that we must defend. However, these redistributive advances never transformed our mainstream economy, and this remains the fundamental task of the second phase of our transition. Despite these advances, mainly achieved through the struggles and dedication of the working class, a new alliance of workerists and business unionists are seeking to opportunistically abandon the Congress movement, mislead the workers, divide COSATU and seek to position sections of the working class as an opposition to the liberation movement. These elements are pursuing a political agenda whose aim is to capture power in the trade union movement and the state in the service of a narrow agenda of business and workerist interests.

Therefore, the YCL must strengthen its presence especially amongst young workers to defeat this counter-revolutionary and anti-working class agenda. It is an agenda that seeks to divorce the labour movement from the liberation movement, thus helping to achieve one of imperialism's priceless goals, that of weakening and defeating both the liberation and workers' movements in our country and continent! As Lenin succinctly puts it in the ‘The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism’, we must be wary of the danger where:

People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.

This brings us to one of the important themes of our SACP message at the YCLSA’s Third National Congress in December 2010:

Mobilise our Youth to defeat the unholy alliance between the anti-majoritarian, liberal and neo-fascist, media backed, regime change agenda

One of the principal challenges facing our movement at the moment is that of defeating what the SACP has correctly characterized as an anti-majoritarian, often racist, liberal offensive, whose objective is regime change to dislodge the liberation movement from power. What we see happening in parliament today is an attack on majority rule and all its institutions, especially parliament. We are told that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Cde Baleka must step down, and yet she is elected by the ANC as the majority party. And this is the essence of majority rule, just like in the Western Cape province and in all the DA controlled municipalities, where all the Speakers are DA members and leaders! So the agenda is simply that where the ANC is the majority, the opposition must rule through the courts, the Public Protector, etc; and where all this fails, the opposition must resort to hooliganism and disrupt institutions legitimately led by the ANC! We must put an end to all this, resolutely and firmly!

There is of course now a new political phenomenon in our parliament, that of collaboration between the DA and EFF. The DA is the leading force of the racist anti-majoritarian liberal offensive, whilst the EFF is the vanguard of hooliganism. But there is now in parliament an interpenetration between the two. The DA is embarking on hooliganism to try and steal the limelight from the EFF and the EFF has been co-opted onto an anti-majoritarian agenda. And most of the other minority parties have become cheerleaders of, if not full participants in, hooliganism in parliament.

A big component of this anti-majoritarian offensive against our movement are sections of the media, including pockets inside the public broadcaster. These sections of the media have also suddenly become cheerleaders of the hooliganism and anarchy we see in parliament. These media cheerleaders are headlining the anarchy in parliament as "robustness". This is in fact shameful and show the levels to which sections of our media have sunk, praising hooligans as robust. The EFF has brought no robust debate or improved policy engagement in parliament and instead their behaviour threatens to erode whatever debate we have had in parliament.

In order to defeat this agenda, the YCL needs to mobilise and educate our youth on the ground, as well as embark on intensified battle of ideas. Political and ideological education of our young people is one of the most critical challenges of the second phase of our transition. The SACP would like to see the YCL really placing a premium on political education!

As part of defeating this offensive, both its right-wing and workerist components, it is also important to understand it for what it is. The DA is deeply divided and some of its hardline white males have no confidence in Maimane as parliamentary leader. In fact, some of within what we call the DA white brat-pack, are deeply angry against Helen Zille who they see as imposing black leaders on them, leaders they do not know or respect. All that unites these DA factions is their hatred for the ANC.

The EFF is a neo-fascist, demogagogic and populist organisation. It is a political hotch-potch, made up largely of a combination of those expelled from the ANC, and those disappointed that they did not get tenders through their own Ratanang trusts, together with the most backward element from whatever is still left of the Black Consciousness Movement. The only thing that unites them is their hatred for the ANC!

In NUMSA, the leadership clique is an alliance between the old workerist tendency that had always existed in Numsa, together with business unionists, some of whom were in the SACP in the recent past, our own factory faults. These two strands have never trusted each other (and still do not trust each other), but what unites these groupings them is their hatred for the ANC and especially the SACP!

The shameful and opportunistic collaboration between the DA and the EFF is purely driven by the hatred of the ANC. I have no doubt that sooner, rather than later, the SACP will be proven right with these observations!

And this means, amongst other things, engaging in...

The Habit of Class Analysis.

This is more relevant than ever before.

The Young Communist League must develop and deepen its capacity, that of its members and the young people in general alike, in historical and dialectical materialism. This requires rigorous and consistent processes of political education and ideological training. The youth must be steeled in the scientific outlook of society and nature! But in order to do this, youth must also improve their formal education, including post-graduate studies. Young Communist League. This is an important dimension also in contesting academia which is currently hegemonised by the (neo) liberal agenda at the direct expense of the presence of the intellectual and ideological perspectives of the liberation movement.

Let us take the class struggles into all sites of intellectual and ideological contestations, including in our colleges and universities. The class struggle is everywhere in society!

We would also like to encourage the YCL to intensify its campaign to make education fashionable. Our youth, especially from working class and poor families must be encouraged to take up the many educational opportunities provided by the ANC government.

In particular I would like to re-emphasize that the YCL to encourage the university students within its ranks to take up post-graduate studies. For instance the Department of Higher Education and Training is expanding post-graduate scholarships as part of its plans to increase the number of new academics into our university system. Our academics are aging at an average age of 55 years now, and we want to produce younger ones in greater numbers. We particularly also need a good dose of left-wing academics in our university system as our social sciences and humanities in particular are overwhelmingly dominated by neo-liberal perspectives. We need to ensure that there is much more diversity of views and perspectives, especially those aligned to our developmental agenda.

Transform the financial sector to serve the people!

An essential element of the second phase of our transition, that of radical economic transformation, must place at its centre the transformation of the fiancial sector.

The YCLSA must use the opportunity provided by this Congress to take forward the task of developing and streamlining a youth perspective on the character of the financial sector, and on its transformation to serve the people, including the youth. The SACP has developed a broader perspective in this regard, and on what must be done. The YCLSA must take its cue from this.

Our financial sector is dominated by four major banking oligopolies – Barclays (ABSA), FirstRand (FNB), Standard Bank and NedBank. There are also other players like Capitec Bank, and a number of other private financial predators. This includes micro-lenders such as African Bank which imploded this year. Orbiting in the periphery, especially in working class communities, industrial and mining areas, is a multitude of small, plus fly-by-night loan sharks that only impoverish the workers.

There are many workers who, as a result of this financial sector, are not in possession of their identity documents and bank cards which are in the hands of the unscrupulous omashonisa, and are suffering from the abuse of the garnishee order system, the misuse of the courts, and credit bureaux. This have become part of the collection methods, and are linked with reckless and unsecure lending practices.

The YCL must join us in this campaign of fundamental transformation of the financial sector through, amongst others, demonopolisation of the sector, building an alternative but vibrant co-operative banking sector, building a new state bank through the PostBank, and re-aligning our Developmental Finance Institutions to support our developmental agenda of a second, more radical phase of our transition. According to the SACP the architecture of our financial sector required radical restructuring as it is inappropriate for a country like ours, and not in line with our developmental goals. The YCL can also help us with graduate interns that we can begin to trIn as experts on the transformation of the financial sector.

Currently we have a financial sector that is oriented towards financing consumption rather than production. For instance in the retail sector, such as in the food, clothing and furniture chains, these have more and more become “financial services” providers if not “middlemen” rather than selling goods. There are predators in this sector who are preying on the medical aid and retirement funds of the workers through financial exploitation and exorbitant administration costs.

Through our campaign, we also intend to engage the trade union movement around how workers' pension and provident funds are invested, including the role of trade union investment companies. The havoc for instance that is being caused by the Numsa leadership clique in Cosatu has a lot to do with the abuse of NUMSA investment funds to support a personalized selfish political agenda. Mishandling of these workers monies has also led to the development of a dangerous phenomenon of business unionism - use of union monies to pursue private accumulation interests of trade union leaders and/or their families. If this goes unchecked we run the risk of destroying the progressive trade union movement in our country. It is absolutely essential for workers to call for transparency and accountability of leadership in the handling of these monies. These funds should also be invested in a manner that is in line with our developmental objectives.

It is in this context that the SACP welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeals’ judgement last week sentencing J Arthur Brown to an effective 15 years imprisonment. J Arthur Brown is a convicted criminal who exploited workers’ funds through corrupt methods and maladministration. More in this regard still has to be done. In particular, more, thoroughgoing investigations are required with similar crimes.

The SACP is calling for the convening of the second financial sector summit to evaluate progress since the first summit 11 years ago, which we incidentally held a few months prior to the relaunching of the YCL in 2003. For this reason alone you should take an active interest in this campaign!

Defend the unity of the working class, build the unity of COSATU!

The SACP re-iterates its support for the ANC-led process to defend and re-build the unity of COSATU. This must be developed to reflect the broader ANC-led Alliance approach in doing everything possible to restore the unity of COSATU as an independent, militant trade union centre that is part of our people’s liberation movement and Alliance. The SACP calls upon all Cosatu workers to defend the supreme founding principle of COSATU, that of "one industry, one union".The SACP reiterates its call on all metalworkers to remain within COSATU and not follow a leadership clique that is diverting union resources into its private agenda of launching a political party while neglecting the shop-floor servicing of workers.

Last week the clique circulated the “NUMSA exposed document”, blaming everyone, the ANC and the SACP included, except itself. The SACP had no involvement in that document, and we dismiss these allegations by the Numsa leadership clique. In fact these wild allegations from the clique are a reflection of the heat the clique is beginning to feel as some metalworkers begin to rebel from its reckless agenda.

The SACP is looking forward to the success of this Congress and to the Young Communist League’s programme to:

Intensify youth mobilisation for socialism!

We are aware that this is the last National Congress of the YCLSA to a number of National Committee Members, Provincial and other lower leading Committee Members due to effluxion of age. This includes the first YCLSA National Secretary who served in this capacity since re-establishment in 2003. Let us thank the National Secretary and the collective of the leadership of young people who served in the leadership of the YCLSA in various capacities since its re-establishment. This includes, indiscriminately, a number of National Committee Members who are attending their last YCLSA National Congress as delegates due to effluxion of age. The SACP has been, and remains, your home!

Thank you comrades!

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