30 June 2006

CU Tonite

The Communist University convenes this evening at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. The Topic is excerpts from Karl Marx’s (1867) Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1. Next week (July 7th) we meet again at the same time and place and the topic will be excerpts from Value, Price and Profit”, also by Karl Marx (1865).

Constant Vigilance

Rev. Frank Chikane announced something about the Scorpions yesterday, but there is considerable disagreement as to what the meaning of it was. The Johannesburg Star on its page 3 says: “Scorpions reined in and gagged after months of scrutiny”. But the Johannesburg Business Day on its front page says: “Scorpions to keep sting after cabinet reprieve” Were they reined in or were they reprieved? The SACP statement brings some clarity to the matter. Investigation and prosecution should not be combined in the same unit. The SACP calls for the full implementation of the ANC National General Council resolution (of July 2005) on the full incorporation of the Scorpions into the South African Police Service. See link. The African National Congress itself “welcomes and supports the decision” in its bland, praise-singing statement (see link). The NPA/Scorpions' “Hollywood” practices were condemned in the Khampepe Commission (which the ANC praises). Yet the chief NPA/Scorpion “Hollywood” practitioner, Makhosini Nkosi, was immediately in front of the SABC television cameras putting his odious gloss on the matter, effectively claiming it was business as usual, almost as if the whole process belonged to himself from the beginning! The struggle continues. Statistics show that South Africa’s growth is practically speaking jobless growth and COSATU has immediately responded with a call to a programme of strike action. See the link to this major story below. COSATU picketed the Australian mining company BHP Billiton in Johannesburg yesterday in solidarity with the Australian working class suffering under a reactionary government. Metalworkers from many African countries gathered in Durban issued a common statement in opposition to the Imperialist WTO manoeuvres. Working class internationalism is the oldest and strongest kind and it is practiced every day. See two links below. COSATU has also not hesitated to issue a full condemnation for the unspeakable atrocities of the Israeli colonialists in Gaza where they have destroyed that country’s power-generating infrastructure and arrested the elected representatives of the people. See link below. A fifteen-year-old boy was killed in an animal feed-mixing machine in Vryburg, while working illegally for a farmer. The Department of Labour is going to open a criminal case. COSATU adds further information about child labour and calls for the complete elimination of theis practice. See link. Click on these links: SACP on cabinet announcement on Scorpions future, 29 June (324 words) ANC statement on cabinet Scorpion decision, 29 June 2006 (135 words) COSATU threatens strikes over jobs, Amy Musgrave, Business Day (269 words) COSATU on Australian reaction, An injury to one is an injury to all (893 words) African metalworkers on WTO agreement (758 words) COSATU, Israeli attacks condemned (428 words) COSATU, Child labour tragedy (327 words)

29 June 2006


After the Telkom down-time came the power failures (another one yesterday evening). These cut into the time available for composing this Communist University mailing. Yet the requirement for discussing the SACP discussion document is pressing. The difficulty of the matter is great. The fear of making an embarrassing, hasty, loose response looms large. Sometimes it seems as if the telephone and power problems could be the work of Renée Descartes’ “wicked demon”, re-politicised for the 21st century. Therefore please accept these roughly-sketched notes with apologies. Yesterday’s Chris Hani Institute debate at the Sunnyside Hotel was well attended and of a high standard, but finally indeterminate. It showed us to have been brought close to a “Hic-Rhodus-hic-salta” moment where choices will have to be made, or chances lost. The day before (at his Monday press conference) SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin said the following (according to Business Day): “Our core constituencies are exactly the same and we have to ask — why do it? We have about 73 MPs in the National Assembly. As a party, we have huge influence in Parliament.” Cde Cronin’s ability to get to the heart of the matter is evident. If the SACP’s and the ANC’s core constituencies are exactly the same there is hardly even a need for two organisations. Or alternatively if the SACP is already in the National Assembly “as a party” then it does not need to make any changes - and changes are risky. So why are the SACP and the ANC still separate organisations, in alliance, as opposed to one single structure? Is it no longer the case that the working class is distinct and that the SACP is its vanguard party? Is it no longer the case that the working class needs an overt alliance with non-working-class masses through an organisational vehicle of popular democratic power, such as the ANC? The Deputy GS seems to be saying that these questions are best left unresolved for the present. Others have certainly taken the view that the SACP (and by implication the working class as a whole) can “go it alone”. But such comrades are scarce. It is hard to find even one individual who will own up to this foolish position in public. Others again speak of winning a parliamentary majority and forming a “Communist Government”, without specifying what is to be done about the other, and more powerful, constituent parts of “state power”. These are the “special bodies of armed men” (the police and military), the “sovereign” constitutional judiciary, and the administrative bureaucracy. Without dealing with these there is no question of possession of “State Power”. In South Africa, the elected legislature is by design the weakest component of the state. The “levers of power” are not found there. A “Communist Government” would be obliged to manage capitalism, like any other parliamentary “labour” or “social-democratic” government of the past. Others, including some at the CHI event yesterday, believe that the National Democratic Revolution should have been, and should now be, “led by the SACP”. By what means this imposition could be effected is not clear. If, on the other hand, this SACP leadership is to be won and not imposed, then there is no impediment and has never been. In fact the discussion process now under way appears to be, precisely, an assertion of the leadership of the working class and its vanguard party, in practice. The elected presence of the SACP in parliament “as a party” in its own right should not preclude the continuation of the alliance. It is hard to see the force of Cde Cronin’s argument in this regard. Practically speaking, in an SA parliamentary election, there is no confrontation of candidates at local level, but only a “list process”. The existence of a separate SACP list could as easily relieve as exacerbate the scramble for ANC seats in the next parliament, none of which are guaranteed to the SACP. In terms of the whole, concrete picture, some comrades at the CHI event were asking what was the SACP’s intention, or in fact prescription, for the future. The SACP’s purpose, like that of any other communist party, is not to render itself, or the state, into the sole historical agent. Its purpose is only to help make the working class a class-for-itself. The intention, as before, is to realise the slogan: Power to the people! Linked below are the Business Day report of Jeremy Cronin’s press conference plus Zwelinzima Sizani’s excellent article from the current Umrabulo. Click on these links: Cronin rejects going it alone, Wyndham Hartley, Business Day (360 words) Motive forces and the ANC, Zwelinzima Sizani, Umrabulo 25 (2341 words)

28 June 2006


Today at 11h00 at the Sunnyside Park Hotel, Comrades Oupa Bodibe (head of NALEDI) and Ashwin Desai (of CCS) will debate “State Power” under the auspices of the Chris Hani Institute. The SACP has issued a statement on the deaths of 14 teachers, SADTU members, from a single school in a single road accident; and also the deaths of four policemen in the Jeppestown shootout. See linked document below. SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin gave a press conference in Cape Town yesterday. The Star reported his remarks on transport, including road accidents (Cde Cronin is also chairperson of parliament’s transport portfolio committee). News24 reported the same press conference but covered only the political aspects and whether it will be possible for the SACP to have its own candidates and still remain in an alliance with the ANC. Cde Cronin thinks it is not a good idea to try. See two documents linked below. As requested by a comrade by e-mail, the South African Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act, in their latest amended form, are now archived on the CU web site, as downloadable files (one is a Word file and the other a PDF). See links below. More and related material can be found on the Department of Labour site. The Johannesburg YCL political school is now meeting on Sunday, and not as per the previous schedule. They will be discussing excerpts from “Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution” by V I Lenin. Please refer to the YCL for details of time and venue. Also today, Israeli war machines are advancing into Gaza, as they have been doing for nearly 50 years, to kill and to destroy. The Israeli colonialists came into power in the same year as the Nats in South Africa. Down with colonialism! Click on these links: SACP on SADTU members accident and Jeppestown killing of 4 police (324 words) Fix transport woes, Cronin, Star (390 words) Alliance split would hurt SA, News24 (630 words) Labour Relations Act, Amended, South Africa, 2002 (1019KB Word download) Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Amended, South Africa, 2002 (534KB PDF download) Two Tactics of Social Democracy, Lenin, 1905 (10805 words)

27 June 2006

Picking Up The Pieces

After depriving the Communist University of its land-line connection for the best part of a week and the voice phone for nine days, Telkom phoned to ask if we would like a cellular phone from them. No, thanks. The press comment during that time has to be water under the bridge for us. The links below will be confined to major Alliance statements, starting with the ANC’s response to the SACP “State Power” discussion document. Umsebenzi Online, as well as SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s piece on Intellectualism and anti-Intellectualism, also carries a press statement in response to the ANC’s response. The YCL also responded to the ANC and also to the SABC banning scandal in one press release. In another riposte, COSATU reminded Smuts Ngonyama of the nature of the Alliance. Meanwhile, police were rampaging around the offices of COSATU affiliates in Upington. COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the ICFTU Executive Board in Brussels with an important input. Then ANC Today, the on-line weekly magazine that also carries President Thabo Mbeki’s blog, launched another (anonymous) broadside at the SACP’s document. Ki kulacho, ki nguoni mwako. Click on these links: ANC response to SACP discussion document, bilateral, 19 June 2006 (7167 words) Umsebenzi Online, 21 June 2006, Intellectuallism and anti-Intellectualism (2524 words) YCL on ANC briefing notes and on SABC censorship (460 words) COSATU response to Smuts Ngonyama (295 words) COSATU, Union offices stormed in Upington, 21 June 2006 (352 words) COSATU Input to ICFTU Executive Board, Brussels, 22 June 2006 (1042 words) God save us from false prophets, ANC Today, 23 June 2006 (3116 words)

23 June 2006

Who's Who

The Communist University meets this evening at 17h00 in the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, to discuss Chapter 4 part C of “What is to be Done” by V I Lenin. This work makes very clear the difference between a trade union and a political party, and hence the general difference between the mass, the party, and the class. It should also begin to make clear the unique nature, as a class, of the proletarian workers. This class sells its labour power, produces surplus value (thereby maintaining capital) and is organised in turn by capital, as well as exploited by it. The linked short piece on trade unions by Dominic Tweedie from the forthcoming Umsebenzi (by permission) on trade unions may assist in understanding this general relationship, or at least part of it. In the next session (June 30th, same time and place), we will look at Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1 (see link below) by Karl Marx, and after that proceed to Marx’s “Value Price and Profit”, so as to understand the question of surplus value more precisely. Having understood the unique position of the modern working-class proletariat, we should be in a better position to differentiate between it and its allies (which are not identical with itself). The communist parties have always advocated alliances. That is the reason why the SACP’s symbol, like many other communist parties, is the hammer and the sickle. The hammer represents the proletarian working class. The sickle represents the petty-bourgeois peasantry, and by extension, the urban petty-bourgeois poor. This alliance is not optional. It is essential if the workers are to achieve their aims. The Communist University is still crippled. Telkom keeps promising, but has done nothing to repair the connection we rely on. Anyone who wishes to help could call (free) 0800 375 375, and press 3 (“to check progress of a fault”). Then give the reference 23ARK180606 and ask them when it is going to be fixed. Click on this link: Trade Unions, Dominic Tweedie, Umsebenzi June 2006 (388 words) Capital, Volume1, 01, Commodities and Money, parts 1, 2 and 4, Marx, 1867 (9044 words)

21 June 2006


The public broadcaster (SABC) has been using “analysts” as a way of fixing the meaning of what they report in the news within a controlled range of interpretations. A reporter relates the facts, and then the snobby anchorperson immediately turns to the pompous “analyst” to voice out the previously-approved meaning of the event. All three types of people (reporters, anchors and analysts) co-ordinate their presentation to give an impression to the viewer or listener that theirs is the only possible or at least the only reasonable way of understanding the political matter in question. It is safe to assume that Communist University students are wise to the way the news is spun on the SABC in this way. The e-TV News is practically the same. If anything it is even more patronising than the SABC, and that is normal. The capitalist commercial media might feel obliged to match the standard of the public broadcaster, but they are not likely to exceed it. Now Snuki Zikalala, the manager of SABC news, has managed to destroy the whole carefully-constructed illusion at one stroke. By black-listing Vukani Mde, Karima Brown, William Gumede, and Aubrey Matshiqi (see linked Sowetan article) he has blown the whole game right open. All “analysts” have now crudely been given notice that if they say anything Zikalala’s goons don’t like, that is the last time they will be welcome on SABC. What is more, all the viewers and listeners will also know that the previously tacit system is now explicit and blatant, or as the US Imperialists have it: “in your face”. This is a very shocking situation. So long as Snuki Zikalala is in post, there can be no more credibility where the public broadcaster is concerned. It is hard to see how Dali Mpofu can stay on, either. Or rather, they can stay, but the SABC is not likely to be taken seriously until they have both gone, and the news service reconstructed in a way that restores some trust. This is not a reversible situation. The set-up will have to change radically. The snooty “celebrity” anchor people will have to go. The whole idea of pre-cooking the news has to go. Real people have to take over and bring the content to us fresh and raw. People, that is, who refrain from using verbal and grammatical tricks. The most believable people now are four: Mde, Brown, Gumede and Matshiqi. More names have been added to the list (which is rapidly becoming a roll of honour) such as Vuyo Mvoko, Xolela Mangcu, Sipho Seepe, Moeletsi Mbeki and Zehir Omar. Those still appearing on SABC now have to carry the stigma of being Zikalala’s stooges, whether they are or not. This is the unintended but inevitable consequence of black-listing. Of course we do not need to exaggerate the politics of the ostracised ones. None of them are communists. The commies were frozen out long before. John Perlman on SAFM Morning Live this morning at about 07h15 rescued his own credibility to a large extent while interviewing the SABC management spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago. The latter, grasping at a newly-famous phrase for support, kept claiming that the bannings were “only a discussion document!” Perlman pressed on and eventually insisted that he knew from his experience that these bans are being applied already. Kganyago said: “Well, I am not in the News Room”, to which Perlman replied: “I am!” This is a crisis “of our young democracy”. It is one of those occasions when a previously deadening and meaningless cliché all of a sudden comes to life. Karl Marx had his own pet phrase for such moments: Hic Rhodus, hic salta! The Communist University has its own problems, courtesy of a Telkom ADSL line fault reported on Sunday and not yet fixed by today, Wednesday. CU has to go wireless. Telkom’s copper cables are not being properly cared for any more. If today’s edition reached you late, this is the reason why. Click on these links: SABC blacklists disloyal critics, Kingdom Mabuza, Sowetan (335 words)

20 June 2006

Publish And Be Damned

The ANC National Working Committee has produced an 11-page response to the SACP’s discussion document on "State Power". This response has been given to the media but is not yet on the ANC web site. The CU has a hard copy only. The impression it gives is that the writers think that the SACP discussion is not about South Africa but about them, the ANC. On the first page the NWC document refers to the ANC as the “ruling party”, in contradiction of the ANC National General Council which last July reaffirmed that the ANC is a liberation movement, and not a party. The ANC NWC has nothing to say about the question of SACP candidates in elections. They must know that this is the main reason for the SACP Commission (for which our discussion document is only a guide). The tone of the NWC reply is impatient and condescending. It tells off the SACP for “subjectivism” and ignores the question of freedom. Without the “subject” there is no freedom. When their document surfaces in electronic form, it will go up on the CU site and be distributed by e-mail. In last Saturday’s (Business Day) Weekender Hopewell Radebe opened a piece on Dali Mpofu’s difficulties at the SABC as follows: ‘When the courtesan Harriette Wilson threatened to publish her memoirs and the contents of secret letters she had received from the Duke of Wellington, he is said to have replied: “Publish and be damned!”’ Now comes a letter from Ronald Suresh Roberts, which the Business Day has published for this literary courtesan in the same bold Wellingtonian spirit. And indeed, spiteful though Roberts is, his incontinent viciousness is not going to forestall his own damnation in this case. By accusing Vukani Mde of being “embedded” (because Mde once worked for COSATU) Roberts has managed to insult the major part of South Africa’s press corps, namely all those who have come through the ranks of the movement, and gone on to the mainstream media or to government. What on earth got into him? Of all examples of embeddedness, his own was among the most flagrant (when he was running Kader Asmal’s amen corner). The accuser accuses himself. All his bluster and reckless hazard of his own reputation was quite wasted, of course. The lack of good coomunication between COSATU and the government cannot be denied. It is a truth generally acknowledged. Even the ANC (in the current discussion paper on leadership) shows this awareness by proposing four permanent seats for COSATU on its National Executive Committee. Far from damaging Mde’s career prospects, Roberts has only added to his own professional notoriety. If he continues to make a virtue of unpleasantness he may find himself not published any more but only damned as a simple bore, and rightly so. See his letter, linked below. Zalmay Khalilzad is the US ambassador, or viceroy, in Iraq. A message from himself to Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, recounts what is going on among the three Iraqi women and six Iraqi men who work in the “Public Affairs Office” of the huge US embassy (as big as Vatican City) in the closed-off “Green Zone” in Baghdad. This ambassador seems to be in the position of so many whites under the old regime, who had no contact with reality other than through their domestic employees. Helena Cobban on her distinguished blog “Just World News” sets out the background and the significance of this communication, which appears to be genuine. See link below. e-Naledi is an e-mail magazine from the National Labour and Economic Development Institute. See the linked version below. It includes reference to a book called Labour Pains: Women’s Leadership and Gender Struggles in COSATU, by Liesl Orr, available from NALEDI. To subscribe to e-Naledi, contact lebogang@naledi.org.za . Click on these links: Impartial truth, Ronald Suresh Roberts, Letters, Business Day (393 words) Khalilzad reports things falling apart, Helena Cobban, Just World News (1321 words) E Naledi 15 June 2006 (423 words)

18 June 2006

Uyindoda eMadodeni

In pure class terms, the working class has two possible choices of alliance partner, or it could try to “go it alone”. One option is for the working class to go with the big bourgeoisie in a corporatist pact. There was a small group of enthusiasts who promoted this idea in the early 1990s, led by Professor Eddie Webster. The product of that agitation was NEDLAC. Corporatism has never been fully consummated in SA, however, because neither partner really fancies the other one. Plus it has a bad name, inherited from Benito Mussolini’s association with the term “corporatism”. The Italian Fascist version was the descendent of anarcho-syndicalism, just as ours is the descendent of South African “workerism”. But nobody wants corporatism any more. “Going it alone” as a class would simply mean the working class abandoning the other main section of our population, namely our long-time allies the peasant and urban petty-bourgeoisie. These are the ones referred to as “the poor” in the SACP’s slogan: “With and for the workers and the poor”. Such an abandonment would result in a liberal or reformist pan-bourgeois pact against us, of the kind that exists in many so-called “social-democratic” countries. Such a pact would at first exclude the revolutionary proletariat from power and then infiltrate it, splitting it and “bourgeoisifying” it until bourgeois ideology rules supreme over all three main segments: monopoly-bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, and working-class. “Going it alone” is just another form of liquidationism. The only revolutionary road is an alliance of the workers and the poor petty-bourgeois against Imperialist monopoly finance capital. This is what our tripartite alliance (institutionalised around the African National Congress) has been in the past and can be in the future. Those who think that the popular movement that we have built can be abandoned are forgetting that this would put the actually-existing ANC straight into the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie as a free gift, and leave the task of building another institutional vehicle of popular alliance to take its place, or rather to compete with it. The clear realisation of the necessity of a popular anti-monopoly alliance in South Africa, and hence the defence of and strengthening of the presently institutionalised Tripartite Alliance, is personified in the full array of senior alliance figures in Durban on June 16th (see first linked article). The only significant exception was the outgoing ANC and State President, Thabo Mbeki. He was in Soweto on that day, doing an artificially-contrived walkabout for the cameras. The big headlines, however, were correctly given to the Zuma-Nzimande-Vavi Pact. We have seen the future, and it rocks! None of the above precludes the SACP standing its own separate candidates in elections. On the contrary, an elected SACP will be a stronger component of the present Tripartite Alliance, making the whole alliance stronger. But the important thing is the underlying class alliance, of workers with the poor, (which is to say with the petty-bourgeoisie), against monopoly capital. The three discussion documents of the ANC, SACP, and COSATU are all now downloadable as PDF files from a page on the Sunday Times web site. They are still available, with links to other historic and relevant documents, from the Communist University’s amadlandawonye site, here. The Sunday Times’s three separate commentaries (linked below together in one document) constitute the first contribution to all three discussions (which are really one discussion) at the same time. Well done, Sunday Times! Christelle Terreblanche’s article in the Sunday Independent (linked) is not as good. The Sindy does much better with the case of Khalid Rashid, in its editorial and in its report of the Wits Law Centre’s research on the whole question of renditions from South Africa. See the linked document below, which contains both articles. Finally, the son Neil, of two South African revolutionary stalwarts, Ben and Mary Turok, has reinstated a materialist theory of the universe that looks like putting the mystical “Big Bang” theory into the dustbin of history (science section). See the last link below. As Bishop Tutu might exclaim (but probably not in this particular case): Wheeeeeee! Click on these links: Zuma stars as saviour of the movement, Harper, Sunday Times (782 words) COSATU laments, ANC tackles, SACP mulls, Xundu and Boyle, S Times (1758 words) Cosatu will have to make friends, win influence, Terreblanche, Sindy (1037 words) Khalid fiasco undermines the rule of law, plus Wits Law Clinic, Sindy (1405 words) South African gives radical history of time, Philp, Sunday Times (726 words)

Communists Soaring

What a pleasure it is to see a big headline saying: Communist Numbers Soar! This was on the top of the front page of The Weekender, the Business Day’s new Saturday paper, yesterday. Although it costs nearly ten rand, this one was well worth the money. Not only is the top story (linked below) music to Communist University ears. The rest of the paper is full of goodies, too. Maybe the best of all is Vukani Mde’s set of bite-sized chunks in his Political Diary. Every one’s a winner! See the second link, below. If you don’t get at least six good laughs out of it, you probably need therapy for depression. This man is on the top of his form. He can write about anything. Even the mention of the death of his friend, Jabu Sithole is done lightly, yet respectfully, and does not seem out of place at all. Look well, O students of the Communist University. This is a master craftsman at work. The SABC under Dali Mpofu is well dealt with in the Weekender’s (linked) editorial. Mpofu’s air of glibness and charm, tinged with a hint of menace, may well not be sufficient to carry off the trick of hegemonising the airwaves as a new condescending “Auntie” in the mould of the old BBC. The days when such a thing was normal are gone. Mpofu may have to bend if he is not to break. Right now he looks as if he is losing it, like a performer “dying” on stage. He should take a holiday. Jacob Dlamini uses a visit to William Kentridge’s exhibition (“Black Box/ Chambre Noire”) at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Joubert Park as an occasion for a short but brilliantly perfect exposition of the thought of the recently deceased urbanist Jane Jacobs. It would be a wonderful thing indeed if more of our journalists were even a little bit more able to appreciate the true nature of cities. If only a few of them could achieve again what Dlamini has done in this one (linked) article, it would be a liberation. The Weekender’s report of the June 16th youth rallies on Friday are opportunisitcally pegged to the appearance of Billy Masetlha at the Durban event. Surely the statement of ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula was more significant? He said (as reported towards the end of the article) that the youth would determine their leaders and would not allow themselves to be ruled by “surprise leaders". That one hit the target all right. Long may this blaze of great writing continue in the Weekender. South Africans have always been able to do this thing, given the chance. Here is an example of the chance well taken. Click on these links: Communist numbers soar, ANC leaders row, Brown, B Day Weekender (999 words) Political Diary with Vukani Mde, Business Day Weekender (1383 words) SABC problem, bias or bungling, Editorial, B Day Weekender (663 words) No still life in teeming Joubert Park, Jacob Dlamini, B Day Weekender (814 words) Masetlha opts for Zuma rally, Musgrave and West, B Day Weekender (616 words)

17 June 2006

What's Goin' On?

When newspapers write about people and things that you know, they always look stupid. A reporter who has only had a short time to learn the facts is bound look superficial from the point of view of an insider. That is understandable. It is different matter when the writer is obviously attempting to mislead. Such is the article of Matuma Letsoalo in this week’s edition of the Johannesburg Mail and Guardian, linked below. So as to invent an imaginary stampede heading out of the doors of COSATU House, Letsoalo has totted up all the people who have left in the past eighteen months, pretending that they have all left at once. Then Letsoalo carefully avoids mentioning that NALEDI, where three of the people have gone to, is COSATU’s own think tank (it is located right inside COSATU House). One of the latter three is Neva Makgetla. If asked, Neva tells people that she does not regard it as a move at all. At NALEDI she is still working for COSATU. Yet her picture appears in the hard-copy M&G under the heading “Senior officials quit Cosatu” and next to the caption “Zwelinzima Vavi is losing his left-hand woman”. This is gutter journalism. It gets worse. Tanya van Meelis has gone to Standard Bank. This is not mentioned – only that Tanya moved “for personal reasons”. So she needed more money? So what? That is neither grounds for condemning COSATU nor Tanya van Meelis, who has done tremendous research work for the movement, especially on the WTO issue. Both these comrades have addressed the Communist University in the past, by the way, for which we are grateful and which we do not forget. Yolanda Mokhantso, whose name the M&G manages to mis-spell in two different ways in the same article, has recently had a child and her husband has been sent by his employer to another province. All of these normal movements of people in and out of a large organisation are put down by Letsoalo to one imaginary detrimental thing or another. What for? One of the quoted anonymous sources gives the game away a few lines before the end, by referring to the upcoming 9th COSATU Congress, which is scheduled for September. Once again, the Mail and Guardian is scrounging around for tittle-tattle in the hopes of being able to interfere in somebody else’s business. How pathetic. A better example of journalism is the veteran Allan Greenblo. This is the person whose book on Sol Kersner was banned following aggressive legal action by Kersner, a far richer man. Greenblo lost that battle, but honourably. He concludes this (linked) article by saying that South Africa “needs broad-based BEE that is broad-based BEE, which can help finance ownership equity, skills development and social upliftment, not a huge transfer of wealth as an end in itself.” True enough. Last week’s Mail and Guardian carried an article by Zehir Omar, the lawyer for the family of Khalid Mahmood Rashid. Rashid is the man who (as this week’s paper has it from a government statement) was “deported as an illegal immigrant with the help of Pakistani authorities because of his terrorist connections”. As Prof. Shadrack Gutto pointed out on the radio yesterday, this statement alone is enough to cook the government’s goose. Pakistan has a death sentence for “terrorism” and our government is not supposed to send people under these circumstances without a guarantee that the death sentence will not be applied. The government has also threatened the lawyer Omar himself with imprisonment. Joel Netshitenzhe has said that the government can’t be expected to know about individual cases when there are so many deportations all the time. But the SA government did know all about Rashid’s so-called “terrorist connections”. The government seems to be digging a bigger hole for itself with each passing day. Omar’s article eventually appeared on the Internet. Here it is, linked below. You will sometimes read, from miserable Imperialist outlets, that Che Guevara made no impression in Bolivia, where he was murdered by the CIA and their paid local thugs. The linked article from Granma shows what a lie that is. President Evo Morales of Bolivia honoured Che Guevara’s memory in the village of La Higuera, to popular acclaim, in a remarkable and moving event. Lenin’s “What is to be Done” is the clearest exposition of the dialectical relationship between vanguard and mass. Without an understanding of this relationship it is not possible to organise effectively beyond the level of “economism” (reformist trade unionism). See the linked text below, which the Communist University will discuss next Friday. Click on these links: Senior officials quit Cosatu, Matuma Letsoalo, Mail and Guardian (626 words) Broad-based BEE a synonym for elitism, Greenblo, Business Report (743 words) Minister hides behind state security, Zehir Omar, Mail and Guardian (853 words) Following the path of Comandante Guevara, Evo Morales, Granma (629 words) ‘What is to be Done’, Chapter 4, C., V. I. Lenin, 1902 (5767 words)

16 June 2006

Soweto Plus 30

June 16th this year has a special significance. Not only is it the 30th Anniversary of the Soweto Uprising of 1976. It also coincides with a new uprising of militancy and political consciousness among South Africa’s youth. This is evidenced by the spectacular growth of the Young Communist League of South Africa over the last three years to its present membership of 30,000, as well as the parallel growth in militancy of the ANC Youth League during the same period, and the strong fraternal bonds between the two organisations. The YCL is to hold its First National Congress this year in Umlazi, at Mangosuthu Tecknikon from the 13 – 17 December 2006. There will be a total of 1500 delegates present, drawn from local structures. The June 16th (Youth Day) statements of the SACP, COSATU and the YCL are all linked below. The messages of President Thabo Mbeki, the ANC, and the ANC Youth League are all in ANC Today, published yesterday. The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is in a negotiating process. For the Communist University, these procedures are of great interest. Watching them, we are able to learn how workers struggle tactically to defend their position under conditions of capitalist state power. In this case a facilitator has framed a proposal (see link) which now goes out to membership for their approval, or rejection. Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum is an ad hoc network of “civil society formations” essentially led and held together by an NGO, the Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), supported by the SA NGO Coalition. It will meet at 10h30 on June 22 in Braamfontein (see linked notice). It is in the nature of such a body, without formal membership or constitution, that one can never be sure of who has the right to be informed of or to attend their meetings. Clearly in the circumstances, and in the absence of any other substantial broad forum for Zimbabwe in South Africa, it needs the greatest possible support. An e-mail address is given. The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a think-tank and a child of the old liberal-monopoly-capitalist Urban Foundation, which was unbundled in the early 1990s. Its current Senior Research Fellow and former director is Steven Friedman, the very model of a post-modern “analyst”, in which capacity he now has a host of imitators. The current director is Chris Landsberg, of “Native Club” fame. Like the CSVR, the CPS is fond of invoking the phrase “civil society”, and so conjuring up an imaginary legitimacy free of all material evidence of any democratic content. For its latest attempt at projecting influence from leafy Rosebank, the CPS is joining forces with the CSVR to invoke yet another indeterminate buzz-phrase: “developmental state”, which in the CPS’s case is an undeveloped mental state, willfully uninformed of the expressions of organised masses of people. The deliberate exclusion of the vanguard and mass movements (SACP, COSATU and ANC) from the latest CPS/CSVR programme, in favour of nebulous “civil society”, at a time when all three major structures of our leading Alliance have recently launched their own debates on the state, is only like a ram trying to bust a billion-kilowatt dam: high hopes. Those with time on a Tuesday morning to “engage” with these ladies and gentlemen should respond to the notice linked below. But this is a sideshow, to be honest. There is no Communist University today. It is a public holiday, and many comrades will be spending the day at rallies. The reading for next week is here. More on this tomorrow. The Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP will hold this month's BGM on Sunday, June 18th. This is one week earlier than originally planned. The reason for the change of date is to avoid a clash with the SACP Johannesburg District Congress, which is to take place the following weekend, on June 24th and 25th. The BGM will debate the SACP “State Power” discussion document, and elect delegates for the District Congress. Click on these links: SACP on 30th Anniversary of 1976 Students Uprisings (1940 words) COSATU National Youth Day message, 16 June 2006 (1044 words) YCL of SA, June 16 30th Anniversary message (1370 words) SAMWU, Proposal being considered by members (251 words) Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum meeting, CSVR, 22 June 2006, 10h30 (notice) Civil Society Developmental State, CPS, 27 June 2006 11h00 (notice)

15 June 2006

Problems of Peace and Socialism

The CU overlooked a good article in Sunday’s City Press by YCL National Chairperson David Masondo, and this was pointed out by a subscriber. Here is the article, linked below. Business Day carried a report on Tuesday about oil and gas drilling in Cuban waters, from the US news agency, Bloomberg. It is not immediately clear whether it is good news or bad. If Cuba has its own oil, that is great news. See the linked article. Bongani Masuku is the Secretary General of the Swaziland Solidarity Network. Linked below is his latest article about HIV/AIDS in Swaziland. The shocking story of Nepalese Communist Party leader Chandra Prakash Gajurel being sentenced to 3 years “rigorous imprisonment” in India for a passport violation (which he denies) was found by accident. The sentence mainly seeks to legitimise an incarceration which has already happened. See link. Lastly, a (linked) article from a US specialist business magazine about the use of wikis in organisations. The SACP, or the ANC, for example, could have collaborative wikis in each branch, district and province and for specialised purposes as well. Click on these links: Mbembe false prophet analogy faulty, David Masondo, City Press (546 words) Cuban Oil and the US embargo, Bloomberg, Business Day (1088 words) HIV and AIDS, a political question in Swaziland, Masuku, SSN (1232 words) Nepalese Communist sentenced to 3 years in India, The Hindu (219 words) Working with wikis, Paul Gillin, SearchCIO (2145 words)

14 June 2006

A Young Movement

The Young Communist League meets this evening at 17h00 in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, (between Loveday and Harrison), Johannesburg. They will discuss the March, 1850 Address to the Central Committee of the Communist League, by Karl Marx, in which he mentions “permanent revolution” – meaning a completed revolution and not a half-baked one. Next week at the same time and place the YCL will discuss Joe Slovo’s 1988 “The SA Working Class and the NDR”. See the link below. The YCL held a packed press conference yesterday and touched on various significant and even controversial things. See their own actual statement, linked below. As the CU some time ago suggested it might, the Business Day has moved a long way towards supporting Jacob Zuma for president of the republic. See Business Day political editor Karima Brown’s article below. COSATU’s Gauteng Province marched yesterday to the Australian High Commission in Pretoria and handed over the memorandum linked below, in solidarity with Australian workers facing anti-working-class legislation under the Howard government. Cuba is to be the next chair of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM). The linked document gives a lot of information on the XIVth NAM Summit and the Cuban-style Online Debate around it. See the linked document and find out how to participate. AND LAST, BUT NOT LEAST! COSATU’s Political Discussion Document is out and contains plenty of challenging material to respond to (e.g. on “business communism”!). This document is to form the basis for debate at COSATU’s 9th National Congress in September. It will be the subject of a press conference this morning at COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein at 11h00. You saw it here first! The link is below. Click on these links: SA Working Class & National Democratic Revolution, Slovo, 1988 (14985 words) YCL on SACP, Intelligence, Youth Month, and 1st National Congress (1798 words) Business and President Zuma, Karima Brown, Business Day (819 words) COSATU Gauteng memorandum to Australian High Commission (619 words) Online Debate, Cuba, venue of the XIV NAM Summit (1372 words) COSATU Political Discussion Document for 9th Congress, draft 5 (14712 words)

13 June 2006

Capitalism is Capitalism

Tokyo Sexwale bought his wife an 8-seater Lear Jet for a Valentine’s Day present. This is the kind of thing you can do if you are “deployed to the private sector”. And if Comrade Tokyo should be re-deployed back into politics, would Judy get to keep the jet? You bet she would! Khathu Mamaila does not usually criticise the bourgeoisie in his City Press column, but this example of conspicuous consumption was just too much even for him. See the linked article below. The SACP’s discussion document on “State Power” (729 views) is one of the most popular pages on the Communist University web site. At the bottom of that page, links are provided to many other related documents. Not so many people have viewed the ANC NEC discussion document on challenges of leadership as yet (63 views). Linked below is the City Press’s short version of it. The truly sensational reports in the Johannesburg Star carried here two days ago have brought forth a response, kindly sent to the CU by Dale McKinley. It is by The Reverend Nicholas Mkaronda of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and it is linked below. It includes the following paragraph: “I want to first of all thank the newspapers for bringing these stories to light, and must say that I do not doubt in any way their observations about the issues of Zimbabwean refugees at the church. I think one of the roles of the media is to inform society of the burning issues in a community. Thank you very much.” This is a lot different from Hassen Lorgat’s letter to The Star yesterday, which starts off like this: “The article "Place of worship now a den of inequity" (The Star, June 8) by Solly Maphumulo, with a picture of a once "posh church", is a hatchet job that should not be allowed to pass off as quality journalism. It is motivated by xenophobia.” Lorgat is the Communications Manager of the SA NGO Coalition. In an inter-union dispute over affirmative action, COSATU affiliate NUMSA lambastes FEDUSA and others for seeking to put a time limitation on affirmative action that is unrelated to the achievement of the general goals of that policy. See the linked item below. Today’s Young Communist League Press Conference will inform us of the YCL’s initial response to the SACP discussion document, their demand for release of certain papers from the Intelligence Ministry, and their plans for the current YCL Youth Month. See the notice link below. There are two COSATU marches today in Gauteng. About 1000 FAWU members will be marching to the head office of Kraft Foods SA at Woodmead (Woodlands Office Park) at 13h00. The union will be handing over a memorandum detailing a list of demands. And the Gauteng Province of the Congress of South African Trade Unions will be picketing at the Australian High Commission, 292 Orient Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, (Opposite USA Embassy) from 12h00 till 14h00, in solidarity with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, who are fighting against draconian new labour laws passed by the Howard conservative government. Click on these links: Capitalism is capitalism, Khathu Mamaila, City Press (733 words) The ANC’s future, by the ANC, City Press (2301 words) Response re Jhb Central Methodist Church, Rev N Mkaronda (2020 words) NUMSA, Limiting affirmative action will distribute resentment (363 words) YCL press conference, State Power, conspiracy, youth month POA (notice)

12 June 2006


Guantanamo is a part of Cuba stolen and occupied by the USA. In that place the US holds people and tortures them in defiance of all the rights that have been fought for and won over centuries, and in particular the right of “habeas corpus”. The USA refuses its victims the status of prisoner of war, but will also not submit to a civil court. They use particularly one-eyed, arrogant and cruel people to run camps for them, such as the Guantanamo base commander Rear Adm. Harry Harris. When three detainees committed suicide at Guantanamo last week, Harris called it an act of war by the poor dead tortured detainees against his grand self and his horrible imperial superiors. See the Reuters article linked below. The process by which people end up as non-persons in the US camps (the new “gulag archipelago”) around the world is known as “rendition”. The European part of the rendition flight network and its destinations can be glimpsed in the linked report from the London Guardian below. The scaly claws of rendition now seem to have reached down to Waterkloof air force base near Pretoria. In November a man called Khalid Mahmood Rashid was sent from there in a Gulf Stream jet, possibly to Mombasa, or possibly to Pakistan. A mordant, short description of what has happened was given by the Rashid family’s lawyer, Zehir Omar, in the hard-copy Mail and Guardian last Friday. Unfortunately it cannot yet be found on the Internet. The South African government’s “justice, crime prevention and security cluster” (actually the husband and wife team of Charles Nqakula and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Safety and Security and Minister of Home Affairs respectively, plus Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla, and Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils) issued a statement blaming Mr Omar, as follows: "Omar's unfounded and deleterious insinuations that our country can engage in abduction - and his unethical behaviour in handling this case - are not only harmful to community relations in our society, but they also have the effect of undermining the international standing of our country." For more from this statement see the News24 article linked below. The Mail and Guardian’s general article on the subject is also linked below. “Habeas corpus” refers to the power of courts to command the state to produce a person. It is one of the foundations of the law as we know it. It goes back at least 700 years. It means that governments are not allowed to “disappear” people, and must account for them when they are arrested. Before “habeas corpus” the “Magna Carta” in England established that the will of the king (i.e. the state) could be bound by law. A court could from then on make an order over the state, such as a “habeas corpus” order. On 18 September 2001 US President George W Bush signed a “Military Order” purporting to suspend the right of “habeas corpus” and to invent from nothing the category of “enemy combatant”, who is neither citizen nor prisoner of war – in effect, a non-person. This “Military Order” is certainly unconstitutional but the US people have not yet got up the courage to throw it out. Outside the US, the Bush policy has been to move people around secretly, often in Gulf Stream jets, so as to avoid the possibility of lawyers applying for “habeas corpus” in any fixed jurisdiction, and so to defeat the ends of justice. This is what they call “rendition”. The linked Sunday Independent article means that there is now going to be, in effect, a “habeas corpus” application to the international criminal court in The Hague, with the intention of compelling all concerned to produce the missing man at a specified place and time. If our government has a good explanation as to why they treated Mr Rashid in the way that they did, then they have been extremely slow to come up with it. In the leary worldwide climate generated by the US “renditions”, it does not look good at all. Click on these links: Three detainees kill themselves in Guantanamo, Reuters (645 words) European involvement in torture flights, The Guardian (1043 words) Rashid wanted to be deported, Omar to blame, News24 (461 words) Khalid Rashid, Government cover blown, Mail and Guardian (1025 words) Rashid hunt goes to the world court, Gordin, Naran, Sindy (716 words)

11 June 2006


Johannesburg’s “Star” newspaper seems to be going downmarket. But sometimes popular journalism is vivid journalism. The two linked reports below (one is from the photographer on the story) about the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg are extraordinary. This is a terrible situation that these reporters, Solly Maphumulo and Dumisani Sibeko have exposed. Diane Christian’s article from Counterpunch is about the grotesque exhibition of the head of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi after he and some others with him were killed by US bombs. Tony Karon is a South African-born journalist working in the USA. His linked article is on the relationship between politics and the World Cup, and celebrates the memory of CLR James among others. Click on these links: Place of worship now a den of iniquity, Solly Maphumulo, The Star (1184 words) We hate journalists, they expose us, Dumisani Sibeko, The Star (517 words) Sanitized Beheading, Zarqawi's Face, Diane Christian, Counterpunch (603 words) World Cup, Politics and War by Other Means, Tony Karon, Tomdispatch (3532 words)

10 June 2006

Fun With Letters

One subscriber was not pleased yesterday’s post. Therefore some clarification may be in order. The SACP does not support Jacob Zuma for President. Nor does it oppose him. The same applies to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The choice of one of these two or of another candidate is a matter for the ANC to decide, in the manner prescribed in its constitution. The Saturday Star today is trying to boost Terror Lekota for president. They have that right, but the ANC will decide who its candidate is. Yesterday’s remarks referred to the “Hollywood” days of the NPA/Scorpions. The term “Hollywood” was used boastfully by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s husband Mr Bulelani Ngcuka when he was the head of that notorious institution. It referred to the Scorpions’ technique of arresting a person in front of pre-arranged television news cameras, only to release the person later once he had been well and truly smeared. These and similar things happened many times. This is what was referred to by COSATU in its CEC report of 25 May, as follows: “the main concern of the CEC centres on signs that we may be drifting towards dictatorship. This appears in the use of state institutions in narrow factional fights. We see it in the use of sections of the media to assassinate the character of individuals through off-the-record briefings and the leaking of sensitive information in the hands of those charged to investigate crimes.” The problem of Ngcuka was not that he pursued Jacob Zuma in particular, but that he used a state institution, and frequently, on behalf of his faction. Under Ngcuka the NPA was being used to crush and eliminate people who might stand in the way of Ngcuka’s political ambitions, and those of his friends. What was being destroyed was more than any individual. It was democracy itself. Zuma bravely resisted, and is still resisting. Without him standing up to the bullying it is hard to imagine how the rot was going to stop. Which does not make this a “Zuma affair”, or guarantee that Zuma will be president. It is much more than that. It is a test of our ability to defend South Africa’s democracy from a well-disguised surprise attack, launched from right inside the state apparatus. The significance of the opinion poll that says that Jacob Zuma is expected to be the next President by 51% of the people, as opposed to a much smaller number for Mrs Ngcuka, is primarily that it shows that most of the people are not fooled by the ambitious anti-democratic manoeuvres of Mr and Mrs Ngcuka and their hidden friends. Ngcuka has not disappeared. This lawyer and sometime government official has quickly popped up again in the guise of a multi-millionaire haute bourgeois. How he made the transition is not clear. No doubt it was a variation of the “javelin” technique. As a big businessman now, Ngcuka is sometimes in the news, even if he hides behind his personal spokesperson. When these stories come out, we must pay attention as students of politics and as citizens of South Africa. Hence yesterday’s post. The first two linked items today are a little bit lighter in tone, for once. The letters columns of the papers are open to all, and sometimes they give rise to good-humoured exchanges (see first two linked items). Mark Malloch Brown is a Deputy General Secretary of the United Nations. He is a British citizen and somewhat liberal. Yet the inoffensive statement he made a few days ago caused the US “Mr Angry” at the United Nations, John Bolton, to go completely potty once again. See the link. Also from the USA, from Counterpunch, here is an article by the military theorist William Lind, who explains the “power of weakness” in military campaigns. See the link. Click on these links: Swarpofs unite, Roger Southall, HSRC, Business Day (207 words) The DA and the ghost of Joe Orton, Bryan Rostron, Business Day (917 words) Mark Malloch Brown, Deputy UN SG, Power and Super-Power (2615 words) The Power of Weakness, William Lind, Counterpunch (798 words)

9 June 2006

Leaders and Bandits

The Communist University convenes this evening at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, to discuss credit bureau blacklisting and the SACP’s campaign for a credit amnesty. Comrade Nkosiphendule Kolisile, Secretary of SACP Yusuf Dadoo District, YCL National Committee Member and YCL National Working Committee Member, will open the discussion. Next week Friday is June 16th and the CU will not, repeat not, meet on that day. On Sunday, May 18th the Johannesburg Central Branch is going to meet and will debate a motion on the “State Power” discussion document. Therefore this week is a good time to read it again. Our next CU session will be on June 23rd, when we will discuss excerpts from Lenin’s “What is to be Done?”. COSATU has not hesitated to denounce the wanton economic vandalism of the Reserve Bank’s interest rate increase, announced yesterday by its governor, Tito Mboweni. See link below. In response to loose journalism in the Citizen newspaper yesterday, the Young Communist League has announced that it unequivocally supports the Alliance of the SACP, COSATU and the ANC in the current phase of the National Democratic Revolution. See the link below. Bulelani Ngcuka, former chief Scorpion, who once persecuted ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma and many other innocents, but released Mark Thatcher, must be the only businessman who never speaks except through a full-time spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema. This time it has to do with Ngcika’s resignation as chairman of Amabubesi Investments. Perhaps this is so as to appear to distance himself (although he keeps his shares) from the embarrassing Amabubesi mission statement which says: “Most businesses interface with the government at all levels, either for business or to influence strategic thinking. Our association with decision-makers at the highest level enables us to influence strategic decisions in our country.” Mr Ngcuka’s wife is the current Deputy President of the country, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She was appointed following Jacob Zuma’s removal from his position in the wake of Mr Nguka’s leaks, briefings, public smearing and prosecutions of Zuma when Ngcuka was head of the NPA/Scorpions. As much as Nguka’s business manoeuvres may seem complex and obscure, yet the overall picture is all too clear. Distancing and spokespersoning are not going to succeed in hiding this scandalous picture, even if most of the media plays along (for the moment). See the linked document. An opinion poll yesterday found that 51% of South Africans believe that Jacob Zuma is most likely to be South Africa’s next President. 51% is not 100%, but it is still a winning score. The Progressive Women’s Movement, daughter of the ANC Women’s League, is having a meeting today in the larney Sandton Hilton, where it will launch a “concept document and proposed constitution” for this organisation of “political parties, women in business, unions, faith-based organisation and non-governmental organisations”. See the linked notice. Umrabulo 25 is the latest issue of the theoretical political journal of the ANC, published yesterday. It contains a (linked) discussion document on the leadership succession, specifically that of the President. Meanwhile Xolela Mangcu in the Business Day has some kind words to say about the SACP and COSATU for once in his life. See link below. Click on these links: COSATU condemns interest-rate hike (247 words) YCL statement on Citizen article of 8 June 2006 (190 words) Bulelani Ngcuka goes it alone, Roy Cokayne, Business Report (504 words) Meeting of the Progressive Women's Movement, ANCWL (notice) Addressing challenges of leadership, Umrabulo 25, May 2006 (5751 words) Nongqause comparison shirks analysis, Xolela Mangcu, Business Day (782 words)

8 June 2006

Fault Line

Tomorrow’s session of the Communist University will discuss credit bureau blacklisting and the SACP’s campaign for a credit amnesty. Comrade Nkosiphendule Kolisile, Secretary of SACP Yusuf Dadoo District, YCL National Committee Member and YCL National Working Committee Member, will open the discussion. There should have been a reminder posted here yesterday for the YCL’s Wednesday class. The CU apologises for the omission! The next YCL class will be next Wednesday, 14 June, at 17h00 in the SATAWU office, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Harrison and Loveday. The topic will be the famous March, 1850 Address given by Karl Marx to the Central Committee of the Communist League (see link below). The latest Umsebenzi Online carries a major (linked below) piece of political writing by SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, a contribution to and clarification of the “State Power” discussion initiated by the current Bua Komanisi document. It contains an illuminating passage on the black middle class in general, including the fact that the trading section of the South African middle class has shrunk considerably in recent years (during in the very period when official “SMME” promotion has been at its height). It also includes the full text of yesterday’s Business Day article. The shorter version of this article that was printed is also linked below. The Sowetan is also beginning to take the current debates more seriously and with a deeper understanding of what is at stake. See the linked editorial below. Our Johannesburg Central Branch comrade Hope Mankwana Papo, who is also a Gauteng MPL and a member of the SACP Gauteng Provincial Executive Committee has had a letter published in The Star about the necessity for a revival of mass popular organisation. See the link below. Lastly, from Helena Cobban, the US peace activist and journalist for the Christian Science Monitor, an article on the open reassessment by a senior US military figure of the war in Iraq. See link. Click on these links: Umsebenzi Online, Vol 5, No. 57, 07 June 2006, Class the Fault Line (3987 words) What SACP paper said, and did not say, Business Day (829 words) Masses appeal, Editorial, Sowetan (876 words) Mobilise at local level for stronger state, Hope Papo, The Star (721 words) US field commanders understand their failure, Helena Cobban (737 words) Marx, Address to the Communist League, March 1850 (4120 words)

7 June 2006

War and Relative Peace

The press and the radio media have been trying hard to cook up splits where there are no splits. COSATU’s Gauteng Province lays some of these attempts to rest with a firm statement (linked below) and takes the opportunity of confirming that the anti-Gautrain campaign is on track, unlike the boondoggle express itself. COSATU national meanwhile notes its vindication in the matter of other phantom splits alleged in the ANC (see link) as well as police incontinence with pump-action firearms and Sasol’s latest safety failure, one in a long line of such “accidents”. Some of the most literate, direct and shocking writing about the daily, actually-existing atrocity that is the US war-making organisation comes from the USA itself. Both Diane Christian and Chris Floyd are from there. See the two articles linked below. It is easy to think that the horror has become less. It hasn’t. It is getting worse all the time. As much as we have problems, they are not of this order. The US warmongers must never be permitted to do their dirty business on African soil. Swaziland has only 92000 workers out of a population of 1.1 million. What can one say? This bald fact speaks for itself. See the link below. DTSACCO meets on July 1st. See linked notice. Click on these links: COSATU Gauteng statement on CEC and Gautrain (374 words) COSATU on ANC, police violence, and Sasol explosion (342 words) Negatives, Diane Christian, Counterpunch (986 words) Lesson Plan, Chris Floyd, Moscow Times (946 words) Swaziland has only 92000 workers, Swazi Observer May 31 (395 words) DTSACCO Members Meeting 1 July 2006 (notice)

6 June 2006

Statements, True and False

The ANC had to contradict its own National Chairperson (Mosiua Lekota). COSATU pointed out that it was just this kind of allegation that gave substance to its charges of two weeks ago. See the first two linked items. The NUM has seen fit to have a meeting and subsequent press conference with the South African Conference of Churches. See link. As well as those things for which the late Comrade Uriah Maleka is honoured in the ANC statement linked below, he was also a leader of SACTU, the South African Congress of Trade Unions, forerunner of COSATU. May he rest in peace. Ayatollah Khamene’i is “Supreme Jurisprudent” of Iran. He is a powerful speaker and here he speaks the truth about Imperialism. The speech was given on Sunday, June 4. Click on these links: ANC statement, no such decision against Dep Pres Jacob Zuma (279 words) COSATU, Contradictory statements on Jacob Zuma a serious crisis (386 words) NUM and SACC make peace and issue statement (331 words) ANC statement on the death of Uriah Maleka (161 words) Ayatollah Khamenei Speaks on Iranian TV against US threats (2194 words)

5 June 2006

Free Development of Each and All

The Communist University wikispace web site “amadlandawonye” is where our old and new material is archived. It is the broad field or college in which we are able to hold our conversation with each other as well as with our revolutionary ancestors, and where necessary and useful things are close at hand. From November of last year up to now, it has clocked up 207075 total “views”, making it the fourth most viewed public wikispace in the world, out of a total of 4295. The diagram linked below was done in December 2006 when the CU system settled into the current pattern. The “Blogger” blog feeds the “Google” group with an e-mail linked to documents previously archived on the “Wikispace” web site. The number of people receiving these daily e-mails is now over 800. It works very well indeed. Apart from the PC and the Internet connection, it is all free. It is something (like language itself) that could be described as an “element of communism”. It is a materialisation of Karl Marx’s phrase at the end of the second part of the “Manifesto” about “a vast association of the whole nation in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” In free creation as individuals we make a human society. It all started with a few members of Johannesburg meeting as a study circle in June, 2003; firstly Zico Tamela and Makhi Ndabeni, then Dominic Tweedie and others. Then we discovered the Marxists Internet Archive and began to download short texts for distribution each week for discussion the next week, on a worked-out schedule. That led to the collection of these same texts on floppy disks, and then the first attempt (Christmas 2003) to build an archive spanning from the genesis of Marx’s oeuvre in the mid 1840s, through to the death of Engels 50 years later and the appearance of Lenin as a writer in 1894, and then from the death of Lenin in 1924 to the present day. There are overlaps but this 50-30-80 outline did help to catalogue the whole 160+-year period in an accessible way, and create a core base from which further expeditions become more possible. It soon became a hit in the form of the Communist University CD. From the works came a set of short texts, classified in another way, and then the drafting of “courses”, some occasional and others generic. (These short texts and courses eventually became the basis for the amadlandawonye web site). At the same time an e-mail distribution list was building, first from the participants in the study circle and the branch, and then by word of mouth and of mouse. The list started as a way of announcing discussions of the study circle and distributing the reading in advance. Soon it started to carry other notices and articles and became a de facto newsletter, going out from a gmail address. The limit of the gmail is 500 messages per day, but even at the level of 100 messages it already becomes cumbersome and difficult to manage. The CU grew too big for that and it had to find another way. Hence the system described above and in the diagram, invented and launched with the help of Nhlanhla Mabaso and Shafiur Rahman. Now it has become somewhat well-equipped, so that, for example, in a few days yesterday’s list of links could be built up from collected archives and known resources. The 26 items amount to a book-length set of texts that give an organic view of a 100-year history of tactical struggles around the class and national questions in South Africa, and yielding an understanding of the relationship between these struggles. These now make a good and ready source of reading for the “State Power” discussion. There is no other medium that allows such speed of assembling and publishing work like this. The free development of each only becomes the free development of all when all are freely developing. The working class needs two, three, many CUs and other such inventions to make it free. Let’s hope this short explanation can encourage more people to start such things. Wikispaces are especially good because they are designed for collective and co-operative working (as opposed to the single “webmaster”). Every SACP and ANC branch could have one, and every COSATU shop steward’s committee, and students, and international solidarity organisations. What they are all bound to discover is that there is no separation between the material and the medium, or between the political and the technical, or between the teacher and the taught, or between theory and practice. Not if you are a communist, there isn’t. Click on this link: Communist University Diagram (Word file download)