17 February 2006

Zuma affair or crisis of judicial/political system?

This list is designed for distribution and subscribers don’t expect communcations on it other than the daily Communist University post. I must apologise for making a mistake when I passed on Cde Madoda Mbuqu’s questions this morning. I meant to reply to him personally, but posted his message to the group instead. Nevertheless, Madoda’s questions are strong and direct and deserve to be answered. Let me make my own contribution, and suggest that further comments be added to the blog at http://domza.net/ where these messages are displayed full time. Madoda’s questions were: “What is the relationship between Zuma and communism/socialism. Is he a communist? Do all communists receive the same kind of support from SACP/Cosatu? I am interested in understanding Socialism but the agenda of SACP these days is so dominated by Jacob Zuma, one wonders whether the mission of SACP is solely to have Zuma as a president. “What is behind this support for Zuma? Is it mainly to ensure that justice is done in Zuma's case or does SACP believe that Zuma's leadership will lead to the implementation of socialist policies in government? If so, how?” I am not going to reply on behalf of the SACP, but only in the spirit of the Communist University, trying to uncover some of the politics underlying these current problems. What follows is adapted from an exchange with another comrade written two days ago. (Another exchange on this topic, between David Masondo and Mazibuko Jara is linked from the home page of the Communist University’s web site at http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/ ). Concerning Jacob Zuma, there is no question of supporting a fairly convicted rapist or corrupt person. The demand has always been for a speedy and properly conducted trial. In this respect the Business Day headline (Feb 15 2006) about "Zuma's delaying tactics" is an outrage. Zuma has been hounded for at least five years and there is only a year and a bit before the ANC Conference where he is expected to be a candidate for the ANC Presidency. It is his opponents who have everything to gain from procrastination, and they have put Zuma in a squeeze. Of course he must opt for a proper trial in the circumstances, and not accept any compromised judge. The proximate reason for supporting Jacob Zuma at this moment is therefore to oppose the manipulation of the justice system by the NPA/Scorpions in an attempt to currupt the political system. And with the rapid elimination of four judges in the rape case this week, even the bourgeois press is beginning to wake up to the fact that this affair is a crisis of the justice system, and not just a "Zuma affair" Even leaving this aside, I can't agree with the idea that one can be held to be biased for supporting a person who is innocent, until proved guilty. This would open the door to effective conviction without trial. If a person can be driven down without due process, what need is there then for trials at all? I'm afraid the tone and often the explicit words of media comment on this case are very much of that kind. The question of the alliance is in play as well. An alliance in politics is only necessary and significant if it is an alliance between different (essentially class) forces. Within a particular class we would strive for organisational unity. Whereas between classes organisational separation and autonomy is absolutely necessary and even a precondition for alliance. So the working class vanguard, the SACP, and the big mass organisation of the working class, COSATU, are allied with the ANC precisely because they are autonomous and not identical with it. Otherwise we would all dissolve into one big amorphous blob, and find that we are on a slippery slope heading downwards towards fascism. To make a proper alliance requires interlocutors on both sides who understand the principles of alliance. Jacob Zuma is valuable because he is able to do so, and supports this kind of alliance, even though and especially because he is not a communist or a proletarian. Those who want a dreadful, monolithic polity of "governance", managerialism, technicism, utilitarianism et cetera do not choose to attack the autonomous expressions of democracy directly. Rather, they attack first those on their own side of the class divide who are ready to deal with the autonomous working-class organisations with respect, like Zuma - and he is not the only one who is being attacked. In that sense, we did not choose Zuma as a battleground - the statists did. We have no choice but to defend him, and then it must be wholeheartedly, and not with half-measures, unless and until he is properly convicted of a definite crime. And this is the feeling of the masses, too, at the present time. Of course our approach to alliances does not begin and end with Jacob Zuma. On the contrary it is part of a long historical conversation that is illustrated, for example, by the "generic course" I have got on the web site called the "Cronin Series" (which opens at the stage of the Freedom Charter, but could as easily be taken much further back, even as far back as Marx in Brussels in 1845). It's about the National Democratic Revolution and what that means or doesn't mean. One of the best texts on this is Joe Slovo’s 1988 text, “The SA Working Class and the NDR”. The main thing to grasp is that we are not allying as "identical" forces, but rather as different forces, tactically combined for the achievement of common goals of liberation. It used to be called "unity in action" and before that, "popular front". Finally, neither the SACP agenda nor the COSATU agenda are “dominated by Jacob Zuma”. Subscribers to the Communist University have no excuse for making that mistake, although if you only read the bourgeois media, you will get that impression. Please check the decisions of the COSATU CEC published here yesterday, and the decisions of the SACP Central Committee (which is meeting right now). Then if you can show where we are “dominated” by Zuma, please be my guest. I have to post this now with or without errors.


  1. -- Forwarded message --
    From: "Mlamli Zenzile"
    To: Communist University
    Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 10:39:19 +0200
    Subject: RE: [CU68] Re: Zuma's Back! (Madoda Mbuqu’s message quoted in full in the blog)

    Thank you for such an interesting and honest enquiry in this not so
    sensitive matter. I really do not understand as well what does SACP seek to achieve? The matter is with the court of law now and let us give our justice system a chance to finalise the matter. I think there are cliques in our liberation movement and SACP on this matter. One principle I have learnt is that organizations, principles and ideas are greater or more important than individuals who will die, but it seems that a new lesson to the opposite will be learnt from the Zuma case. Very disappointed.

  2. Thanks to Mlamli Zenzile for the above comment.

    My response to Mlamli would only be that Jacob Zuma still has not had his day in court on the so-called "prima facie" case of corruption after so many years. All he has had is appearances to fix dates for trial in that case In the rape case, the prosecution came with late evidence (the SMS records) effectively forcing and adjournment.

    On the other hand the justice system found no difficulty in convicting Zuma of a "generally corrupt relationship" in a trial where he was not allowed to have his say because he was not listed as a defendent.

  3. I fully support cde Madoda's view.

    Every working class area in Johannesburg has several families thrown out onto the street by landlords who pocket the money & don't pay the council, etc.

    How come communists roll-up their windows when passing workers & poor thrown out
    onto the street, or turn a blind eye to families who have their electricity & water cut-off.
    But will make sure they attend & support the Friends of Zuma.

    Every person should be entitled to a free & fair trial.
    The Zanu/PF clique within the ANC has used Mugabe style tactics against Left &
    working class protestors against their Neo-Liberal & self-enrichment policies.
    In Cato-Manor peaceful protestors where shot in scenes reminisent of the Apartheid
    police ie shooting civilians with live bullets, rubber bullets.
    APF protestors were denied bail, kept in jail when they could have been released, etc.

    where were all these 'Friends of Zuma' or do people only turn-up for the rich & famous???

    Clive Swan

  4. Previous one was from Clive Swan. This one is from Unathi.

    Greetings Comrades
    I would like to sleep in with the same blanket with Madoda,
    therol eof the SACP is to drive for the advancement of
    Communism through a powerful communist party. Cronin has
    also advised the SACP to advance away from this fatal
    decision to support Zuma isn the document that he published
    in December.
    Its not that I am anti Zuma, but the SACP has to focus on
    its reason for existence, which is the attainment of a
    Communist state. Anything that is away from the attainment
    of that objective shoudl not be pursued at all.



Post a Comment