31 October 2006

Web 2.0

COSATU President Willie Madisha, 2nd Deputy President Violet Seboni, General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and National Treasurer Alina Rantsolase plus leaders of COSATU affiliates are in Vienna, Austria, to take part in the historic launch of the new International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). This is a merger between the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL). It will create the most representative and united international trade union organisation in history, a global workers’ challenge to the worldwide problem of globalisation. See the linked article from the London Financial Times, below. Meanwhile Mr George W Bush (a.k.a. “Mr Danger”) is trying in his mind to go even further than Imperialist globalisation, and right out into space. Why didn’t President Thabo Mbeki think of that? asks Rehana Rossouw in the linked article below, from the Weekender. Peter Bruce’s article on Saving Capitalism set off alarm bells concerning the political basis of apparently “innovative” but actually quite ancient “Social Credit”-type ideas, all of them designed to do precisely as Bruce’s apt headline suggests, in other words to rescue capitalism from its crisis. The last ditch of capitalism is of course fascism. The link between social credit and fascism is not necessarily obvious to the happy-go-lucky Bruces of this world (although the ethnic nature of the scheme he describes is a give-away) but to students of political history the link is quite well known and clear. Dr Derek Wall is a British green socialist who writes a regular blog called “another green world” and is the author of a book on anti-capitalism called “Babylon and Beyond”, published by Pluto Press. Dr Wall has kindly lent us an extract of his 2003 article “Ecosocialism of Fools” (linked below) which nicely pulls apart the actually very nasty fantasies of the pre-war Social Credit guru Major Douglas, as well as his modern successors. Never mind the names - follow the political argument. Wall’s title is adapted from August Bebel’s remark that “Anti-semitism is the socialism of fools”. See the link below for an example of how to place, and then deal with, the wackier side of “liberal” politics. The crisis of capitalism is not so much one of over-production or under-consumption, and is certainly not just a monetary fiddle. It is rather a crisis of imagination. The bourgeois mind, facing an open road to a freer future, collapses into a frantic fit of petty utilitarianism. Hence Peter Bruce’s phrase about “a slightly better life”, meaning a very marginal increase in the availability of the current categories of perceived good, and nothing more than that. South Africa has been an extreme example of this kind of philistine bourgeois reaction during the nearly thirteen years since the 1994 election. Another kind of reaction awaits those who try to introduce new ways of working into existing institutions. It turns out that what the outlaw Communist University, outside established institutions, has been doing has a name in “IT” circles: “Web 2.0”. Do click on that link and read the other definitions on that page of the latest jargon, such as “mash-up”. Shamus McGillicuddy and Carol Hildebrand, two specialist writers published by the US journal “SearchCIO” (CIO stands for Chief Information Officer”) write of the subversion of corporate “governance” brought about by the increasingly communistic nature of the Internet. This produces more-or-less acute anxiety among specialists about the attribution and credit for work that is now shared and mutually edited, and among managers about control and possession. At root it is a question of agency, where agency is slipping out of the hands of the owners of property, and into the collective imagination that is materialised as the Internet. Socialist Group, Keep Left and Socialism from Below are holding a Marxism Day from 10h00 to 17h00 on 25th November at Careers Center, Soweto (Old Potch road, past Bara taxi rank, behind BP Garage at Immink Drive) on eight bullet-pointed topics. Contact Claire Ceruti, czerwoni@gmail.com . Click on these links: Global realities demand new unionism, Ryder and Thys, ICFTU-WCL (777 words) Star-spangled banner over space, Rehana Rossouw, Weekender (458 words) Social Credit, Ecosocialism of Fools, Derek Wall, Capitalism Nature Socialism (6744 words) IT execs eager to exploit Web 2, Shamus McGillicuddy, SearchCIO (1252 words) Is Web 2 just another technology?, Carol Hildebrand, SearchCIO (1012 words)

30 October 2006

Write On

South Africa is a friendly place. Even though there are 40 million people here, it seems like they all know each other personally. Enrique Orta is a good friend and comrade from the Cuban Embassy in Pretoria. He wrote a letter to the Saturday Star complaining about Michael Schmidt’s previous bad-mannered, unkind and insulting article. Both items are linked below. Schmidt could not even have the grace to leave it at that. He just had to have a second bite (see the bit in italics below Cde Enrique’s letter). Schmidt is a declared anarcho-syndicalist who uses his Saturday Star column as a bully pulpit. The proprietors obviously don’t mind so long as he keeps bashing the communists. Nobody is checking his facts, least of all himself. If you want to defend the honour of our Cuban comrades against the loud-mouthed vulgarian, Schmidt, please send your letters to the Saturday Star at saturdayletters@inl.co.za . Mac and Zarina Maharaj are going up against the NPA/Scorpions, challenging the constitutionality of the NPA act which allows powers like those taken by the ancient Greek Draco or later on in England by the Court of the Star Chamber. It is hard to see why, if ours is the “best constitution in the world”, we manage to end up with summary procedures like these, and like the “asset forfeiture”. Read the article, hope that you never fall into the hands of the Scorpions, and support Mac and Zarina! Makhosini Nkosi has had enough, at least. He is quitting as the Scorps’ public mouthpiece, for reasons given in the article (see the link below). The CU is not vindictive. We hope he gets a more respectable job this time round, that’s all. And we hope nobody else takes the stinking job that Nkosi has wisely left behind, no matter how desperate they may be. It’s a small world for Richard Calland, all right. He has talked to nearly everyone who is anyone, including the man who told him that “The President always takes the call” from his big capitalist boss (see the linked article). Which confirms what the CU has contended: the poor get toy-telephone “consultations”, and sometimes not even that. But the rich man’s telephone call gets answered by the President in person. “The rich man’s fart has no smell”, as Ngugi wrote in “Devil on the Cross”. But what Calland has also done is to take seriously the May 2006 SACP Bua Komanisi on State Power, which makes one realise how little the communists themselves have taken advantage, so far, of the discussion period opened up by the 2005 SACP Special National Congress and their own discussion document. Lebo Mathosa was killed in a car crash. People were shocked and saddened. South Africa is a family, after all. But as in an ordinary family, we don’t have to pretend that everything is perfect all the time, when it is not. The story of Lebo has more than one side. Here linked below is one version from the Sunday Times. Meanwhile the City Press went completely over the top and covered its paper with a special four-page Lebo supplement, as if this was Lady Diana all over again. Click on these links: Unions in Cuba support Fidel Castro, Enrique Orta, Saturday Star (470 words) When Castro falls unions will celebrate, Michael Schmidt, S Star (556 words) Angry Mac fights back, Makhudu Sefara, City Press (746 words) Makhosini Nkosi forced to quit Scorpions, Ngobeni, Mahlangu, S Times (332 words) With Richard Calland in the SA parlours of power, Sunday Times (1354 words) Lebo, made in a free South Africa, Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times (1371 words)

28 October 2006

On The Lump

It’s great to see that Vukani Mde’s Political Diary is back in the Weekender. No apologies also for repeating his article on Zwelinzima Vavi from the current Maverick magazine, although it was in the COSATU Daily News yesterday. This one needs to be archived on the CU. It is good in itself, and is also good evidence that the previous wall-to-wall reaction in the South African bourgeois press (what in the USA is called “MSM” – main stream media) is breaking up like an ice floe in the spring. See the link below. Another one repeated from the COSATU Daily News is George Stacey’s article from Business Report on the phenomenon that used to be called “the lump” in England when it started there (linked below). The “lump” means you get paid a lump sum for your work as a “labour-only subcontractor” instead of being properly and legally employed with all your rights as such. This system of contracting is now rampant in South Africa. It creates a hybrid class spanning from lumpens through self-disciplined workers to self-conscious petty-bourgeois entrepreneurs, and it requires new forms of organising. In England “the lump” caused the construction workers’ union (UCATT) to shrink down to a small remnant of government and local authority employees. Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) members in the union at the time took the view that anyone who went on the lump was a traitor and had to expelled and shunned. This turned out to be a big mistake. What else could the workers do? They had to eat. They had to take the work on the terms it was offered, or starve. Stacey, as a reasonable businessman, can see a lot wrong with the lump system. He hopes for government intervention and a change of heart by employers. It won’t happen. Either very clever new means of organising workers will have to be devised, possibly exploiting the Internet, or else we will have to wait for the dictatorship of the proletariat before this evil can be done away with. The Communist University has decided to meet on the first floor of COSATU House in future. We had a good attendance and a good discussion yesterday evening on the National Democratic Revolution, opened by YCL National Secretary Cde Buti Manamela. Next week’s reading is Volodia Teitelboim’s “1000 Days of Popular Unity”. The next Branch General Meeting of the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch will be held November 5th at 10h00 in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison. Our discussions on the NDR, state power and elections will continue in that BGM. Today’s Saturday Star carries a refutation by Cde Enrique Orta, Counsellor at the Cuban Embassy, of the liberal-syndicalist journalist Michael Schmidt’s disgusting previous article on Cuban Trade Unionism. Schmidt, in typical liberal fashion, wants to drive a wedge between the organised mass of the working class and their proletarian political leadership. Cde Enrique’s letter seems to have been subjected to some hostile sub-editing (e.g. President Fidel Castro is referred to simply as “Castro” in the cold-war manner), while Schmidt has been given a privileged “right to reply” in italics where he adds insult to injury concerning what he pompously calls his “position”. The letter is not yet on the Internet but it will be transcribed later this morning and put on the SA Friends of Cuba Dialogue Forum . Letters, please, in support of Cde Orta and the Cuban revolution, should be sent to the Saturday Star at saturdayletters@inl.co.za . Click on these links: The man in the middle of the storm Vukani Mde Maverick (2022 words) Job statistics hide crisis in building trade George Stacey B Report (1319)

27 October 2006

What is the NDR?

The Communist University meets this evening in COSATU House, 1st Floor, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. Start time is the usual 17h00 but we will be gathering from 16h30 to partake of some small refreshments for once. We are honoured to have Cde Buti Manamela, National Secretary of the Young Communist league, to open today's discussion on SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s article from the current Umsebenzi Online called “What is the National Democratic Revolution?” Other suitable reading for this discussion includes COSATU’s 9th Congress resolution on the National Democratic Revolution and Socialism, and possibly the liberal-bourgeois Patrick Laurence’s article for the Helen Suzman Foundation called “Withdrawal from the ANC alliance in the offing”, which speculates on a right organisational split from the class alliance. The venue for the next session (November 3rd) will be decided today. The topic will be “1000 Days of Popular Unity”, which is an examination of the reasons why it was possible for the Chilean military to mount a coup d’etat on September 11th, 1973 against a broad alliance government which enjoyed great popular support, including that of the Chilean Communist Party. The question before us is: Could it happen here? Peter Bruce is the editor of the Business Day newspaper. He has written an article called “Saving Capitalism”, for a monthly magazine called “Maverick” (see the article link below). It seems that the bourgeois ideologues have, like the communists, realised that it is not possible for things to go on as they have been doing. The article is notable for being (a) very silly, and (b) quite in keeping with the spirit of the (ANC) government of the day, which, like Bruce, is looking around for any kind of lifeboat to carry the tattered remnants of capitalism’s credibility to some hoped-for safer shore, somewhere, somehow. One sure sign of a revolutionary situation is the inability of the ruling class to rule in the old way. Hence the attraction of wacky, solecistic “social credit”-type schemes such as the one proposed by Bruce, or otherwise of “businessmen’s government”, or even of the Chile option, from the point of view of the bourgeois class. Another sign of a revolutionary situation is the appearance of institutions of dual power. In “Some aspects of the Southern Question”, Antonio Gramsci wrote as follows: “The Turin communists posed concretely the question of the ‘hegemony of the proletariat’: i.e. of the social basis of the proletarian dictatorship and of the workers' State. The proletariat can become the leading [dirigente] and the dominant class to the extent that it succeeds in creating a system of class alliances which allows it to mobilize the majority of the working population against capitalism and the bourgeois State.“ Comrades, are we playing games or are we serious? The Chilean fate lies in wait like a hidden rock, whirlpool or quicksand for the unwary. The late Comrade Yasser Arafat used to say that peace is for the brave. Others say that if you want peace, prepare for war, and that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There is to be a Chris Hani Institute Seminar on Swaziland on November 10th. It appears from their announcement that the main part of the presentation will be a reiteration of PUDEMO’s current paper position, strategy and tactics. What is really needed, but what has been continuously postponed, is an AGM of the Swaziland Solidarity Network. Without an organised, democratic, mass movement of South Africans in solidarity with the people of Swaziland there is almost nothing that can be done for them in Johannesburg apart from making speeches. Click on these links: Saving Capitalism, Peter Bruce, Maverick (2173 words) CHI Seminar on SSN, November 10 (notice)

26 October 2006

Avoiding The Coup

The 1000 days of the Popular Unity (broad front, unity-in-action) government in Chile was brought to an end with a military assault by Chile’s military on its own motherland on September 11th, 1973. The criminality of the Pinochet coup is not in doubt. What is more fruitful for our study is the question of why it was possible for this to happen? Or to take the matter a little further: Could it happen here? Volodia Teitelboim was a member of the Central Committee of the Chilean Communist Party who was abroad at the time of the coup and so escaped the brutalities. Hence Teitelboim was able to bear witness to what had been done and what mistakes and omissions there were in the Chilean revolution under the late Salvador Allende. Read about it in the document linked below. YCL National Secretary Cde Buti Manamela long ago promised to open the session on this text, which will take place on Friday, November 3rd. In South Africa the preparations for a coup (but by stealth, and not direct force of arms in the first place) have been taking place in front of our eyes, for example in the resistible rise of Penuell Maduna. Many of the events in that process have been clearly traced by Ranjeni Munusamy in her article from last Friday’s Mail and Guardian, linked below (downloaded from the Friends of JZ site). That coup could still happen, but it looks less likely than before, because of the determination and persistence of people like Ranjeni. Patrick Laurence flirts with the idea of a right-wing reaction in his article for the liberal Helen Suzman Foundation’s magazine, FOCUS. Read it (linked below) for the understanding it gives of how the other side thinks. How many of our “liberals” would stand up against a right-wing putsch, if it was dressed up as a way of dealing with the communists? Buti Manamela does not mince words. See his speaking notes on credit amnesty, linked below, which is actually a tribute from the YCL to the ANC Youth League for its long and proud history. His bottom-line concern is jobs. Renee Grawitzky unpacks some of the miserable logic of capitalism to expose the fact that there are no effective plans to deal with unemployment in South Africa. There are no plans for raising human needs to the higher level of culture that would provide the work for today's unemployed. This concept of raising the level of need is another one that needs rescuing from the neo-liberal bonfire. Blaming the situation on “lack of skills” is blaming the victim. In any case it is not the supply side, but the demand side of the economy that requires remedying. Why is demand (not utilitarian demand but imaginative demand, i.e. the “free development of each”) not expressed in such a way as to insist on satisfaction in our society? Demand is a moral question! The right is on the side of the receiver, and not with the supposed “deliverer”. Demand is by necessity that which defines what is right. Demand cannot be left to superstitious belief in a "hidden hand", or treated using a trite concept of petty-bourgeois housekeeping. Click on these links: 1977, Teitelboim, Popular Unity Rule in Chile (5158 words) Not where you fell, where you slipped, Ranjeni Munusamy, M and G (1999 words) Scrambled Egg, HSF Focus 43, Patrick Laurence (2223 words) YCLSA Nat Sec Buti Manamela on once-off credit amnesty (702 words) New jobs unlikely to reduce poverty, Renee Grawitzky, B Rep (1081 words)

25 October 2006

Change of Venue for the CU this Friday

In accordance with our decision last week, a different venue has been secured for the Communist University on Friday, 27th October. It will be at 1st Floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. The time will be 17h00 as usual. Some limited refreshments will be available. The main reading material is SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s article from the current Umsebenzi Online, entitled “What is the National Democratic Revolution?” You may also wish to refer to the resolution passed last month at the COSATU 9th Congress on “The National Democratic Revolution and Socialism”. Another article you may read is from the liberal Helen Suzman Foundation’s current FOCUS publication, by the well-known bourgeois journalist Patrick Laurence. It is titled in full “Withdrawal from the ANC alliance in the offing”, although the article does not exactly bear out this title. Comrade Nzimande will not, as we had hoped, be available to open the discussion. We trust that Cde Dinga Sikwebu will not mind if we impose this brief task upon him. In any case, as always, what counts in the Communist University is the quality of the dialogue on the floor.

Bearing Witness

Perhaps the tide is turning and the monotonous conventional media “framing” of working-class and class-alliance political matters is going to be swept away at last. Richard Calland’s book-extract from the Sunday Times could be a sign of better understanding from the media fraternity. Let’s hope so, for the sake of peace and goodwill if nothing else. See the link below. COSATU’s Gauteng Province together with the Gauteng Safety and Security MEC Firoz Cachalia are intervening in the scandalous, murderous Karan Beef dispute. Let’s hope this mess gets fixed up good this time. See the link for the details. CU reader Prof. Devan Pillay had a very strong letter published in yesterday’s Business Day about the surreal Dali Mpofu and the bizarre crew at the head of the SABC. See it linked below. COSATU also commented on the SABC shenanigans in a press release, but more related to the attempt to “isolate and neutralise” the popular John Perlman for speaking truth to air. This follows earlier and similar bluster in relation to COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi, concerning which the federation has never had a satisfactory response from the Auckland Park megalomaniacs. See the links. COSATU affiliate SADTU joins with the YCL in an initiative to take the question of school violence properly in had. See the detailed statement linked below, which among other things calls for a stakeholder summit with a clear agenda for action. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is the first new version of this browser in 5 years. It goes faster, looks better, reads easier and has a convenient tab system that saves time and screen space. It can be downloaded free from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ . Click on these links: COSATU a force to be reckoned with Richard Calland S Times (1432 words) MEC Firoz Cachalia to visit Heidelberg Police re Karan Beef strike (346 words) Narrow Nationalist thinking Devan Pillay Business Day (354 words) COSATU condemns SABC disciplinary hearing (223 words) SADTU supports YCL call for summit on school violence (739 words)

24 October 2006


Our good comrade and Communist University advanced scholar and gentleman Tony Hall wrote in to the BBC with questions for their recent programme on Jacob Zuma. Read what Comrade Tony wrote in the document linked below. Yesterday we complained about the Snukification of the Business Day Weekender. The same day the Business Day produced some cracking critical copy, starting with the editor Peter Bruce’s no-holds-barred engagement with Dali Mpofu (see link). Mpofu is somebody the Communist University and the old “Combat Team” have confronted at a Wolpe seminar, at just about the time when he got his present job. Rob Rose is the hired gun brought in by Bruce to replace David Gleason on the Business Day. It has taken Rose long to rise to anything like Gleason’s level, but here he does very well in defence of John Perlman, who is facing a Snukist disciplinary at the SABC for shamelessly telling the truth to his listeners. Read the link below. Rose also lays out the position of Vuyani Ngalwana, a man who in his own way fought the monopoly finance bourgeoisie in defence of the petty bourgeoisie and the workers (see link). But after some early gains it now looks like Ngalwana is going to be taken to the cleaners along with the rest of us - unless he gets a bit of support, that is. COSATU reminds people that the SACCAWU strike at Sun International is still on and urges people to boycott the forthcoming concerts of the Leverts at Carnival City in particular. See the linked statement below. The major HIV/AIDS conference scheduled to take place in Randburg on October 27th and 28th is coming close. The discussion documents have been published on various web sites. See the linked document for details. Lebo Mathosa is no more. The CU sympathises with her family and her fans. Click on these links: Questions for Jacob Zuma from Tony Hall (544 words) A compulsive, sophisticated liar, Peter Bruce, Business Day (581 words) Who is bringing SABC into disrepute?, Rob Rose, Business Day (384 words) Manuel should hold on to Vuyani Ngalwana, Rob Rose, B Day (544 words) COSATU supports Sun International strikers (304 words) CIVIL Society Coalition documents for HIV Congress Oct 27 (355 words)

23 October 2006

Moving On

The Communist University is for communists, and communists are partisans of the working class. They cannot ignore the organised mass component of the working proletariat. Hence there is plenty of trade union material in these mailings but to a large extent we have been duplicating the work of the COSATU Daily Labour News, which relays media comment on proletarian issues, and the COSATU Weekly, which carries COSATU press releases and other items and goes out to the same list. COSATU Weekly will be archived in printable format. So it makes sense to subscribe the entire database of the Communist University to the COSATU Daily Labour News/COSATU Weekly list. If you don’t want it, the “unsubscribe” procedure is simple. Please refer any problems to dominic.tweedie@gmail.com . The transfer will be done in the next few days. You will continue to get these e-mails, which may carry less of the material we presently pass on from COSATU. For further reading on the topic of the NDR in South Africa, following our study of Gramsci’s “Some aspects of the Southern Question” last week and in anticipation of our discussion next Friday on SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s “What is the National Democratic Revolution” from the latest Umsebenzi Online, here linked below is the resolution on the NDR and Socialism passed at the COSATU 9th Congress. In the Sunday Times business section Thebe Mabanga quotes figures on the rise of “developing-country multinationals” (see the linked article below). This is what Imperialism is like. Capital nestles everywhere. Capital partially transcends the nation state but is unable to abandon it altogether. The bourgeois state survives, proliferates, and even has a golden age. The “export of finance capital” does replace the “export of goods” as the defining feature of the system, but not in the same way. Even more than the movement of goods, the movement of finance goes in all directions. The Weekender has been Snukified! The glorious season of Vukani Mde’s Political Diary, among other things, was all too short. Mde’s column has disappeared without an apology. We now have columnists who oblige their handlers with sneering snobbery towards the working classes. Jacob Dlamini tries, but fails, to become some kind of black Bullard. See the link. A good woman, Saras Govender, passed away yesterday. Many comrades who spent time in London can still remember the kind hospitality at her West Hampstead home, which cheered up many an exile over the years. Saras leaves her writer husband, Goni Govender, and son Krish. The Communist University sends its sad condolences to them and to all who knew and loved Saras. Click on these links: COSATU 9th Congress Resolution on the NDR and Socialism (809 words) Indifference to FDI, SA goes it alone, Thebe Mabanga, S Times (782 words) Struggle English of revolutionary comrades, Jacob Dlamini, Weekender (772 words)

21 October 2006

Rumble In The Jungle

Yesterday’s Communist University discussion on Antonio Gramsci’s “Some aspects of the Southern Question” was vigorous and fruitful and all at least agreed that this text is very helpful to South Africans at this time. Thanks go to our Australian comrade Andy Blunden (of Marxists Internet Archive) for introducing us to this particular piece of writing. WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! The CU decided to try to get a bigger venue for next Friday, in COSATU House, to discuss SACP GS Blade Nzimande’s latest Umsebenzi Online article called “What is the National Democratic Revolution?” and to respectfully request the author to open the discussion. In any case the CU will print plenty of copies of the text and publicise the discussion as widely as possible, and supplement it with copies of COSATU’s 9th Congress Resolution on “The NDR and Socialism”. COSATU’s post-Congress ideological offensive finds expression in the bourgeois media with General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s article from yesterday’s Mail and Guardian, linked below. SASCO’s Nyiko Floyd Shivambu has written a chapter-length work on the position of his organisation in relation to the NDR (see the link below). This young comrade will be writing book-length works very soon. It is good to see that there are comrades coming through who are not shy to write. We cannot do without such people. COSAS also makes a political intervention in support of its former and founder member Billy Masetlha and against “the voices of darkness that are howling trying to sell our revolution”. See their chairperson Kenny Motshegoa’s statement, linked below. Neva Makgetla no longer works for COSATU. She has moved to the President’s Office, but is still continuing to write her Business Day articles, which we sorely need, as her “personal views only”. See the link below. On the same page as Cde Neva’s article yesterday, there were two long articles by SACP Deputy GS Jeremy Cronin, on public transport in general and taxi recapitalisation in particular. Read both articles in the one document linked below. Quantity is necessary as well as quality. Could it be that comrades are at last beginning to write in sufficient quantity to match the bourgeois ideologues word for word? It’s about time. Click on these links: Media are capitalist triggers, COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi, M and G (834 words) SASCO ideological character revisited, Nyiko Floyd Shivambu (4907 words) COSAS Reaffirms support for founder Comrade Billy Masetlha (421 words) Poverty only part of SA unemployment monster, Makgetla, B Day (734 words) Recap or redesign, SA and Bogota, Colombia, Jeremy Cronin, B Day (1991 words)

20 October 2006

Revolutionary Trip

The Communist University meets this evening to discuss Antonio Gramsci’s 1926 work “Some aspects of the Southern Question”, which concretises a very similar set of circumstances to those of South Africa in 2006. Venue is the Women’s Jail and time is 17h00. Next week at the same time and place, and subject to the decision of today’s gathering, we will discuss Cde Blade Nzimande’s article in the current Umsebenzi Online, called “What is the National Democratic Revolution?” COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi has personally carried federation policy to the tourism industry this week in more ways than one. In his speech to a Tourism Skills Indaba in Johannesburg, linked below, he notes the potential for jobs in this industry but also that these are presently often poorly paid jobs. “Job creation in tourism cannot be to establish a class of oppressed and unskilled servants for the rich”, he said. Not only should more workers be better paid in this industry, but more workers should become tourists in their own country and not simply be selling their heritage to foreigners who are much richer than themselves. Subsequently the COSATU GS struck a blow for the same tourism workers by refusing to go to Sun City where SACCAWU members are on strike. As a result a meeting of the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee was moved from that venue to Sandton. Quite right too. See linked items below, including the report from today's Star. The YCL concluded a very successful bilateral with the Afriforum youth yesterday and all agreed to take part in a Youth Summit as soon as possible. See the linked document below. The YCL’s National Congress from 14th to 17th December in Umlazi in KZN is one of the major political events of 2006. Previously omitted but worth going back to is the speech of COSATU North West Provincial Secretary Solly Phetoe to the SACP rally held on 14th October in Khutsong to mark the launch of the Red October campaign in Gauteng and also the 85th Anniversary of the SACP. See the last linked item below. Click on these links: COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi, Input to Tourism Skills Indaba (877 words) LOC solidarity with hotel workers, COSATU Media Release (197 words) Aint gonna do Sun City, Vavi tells 2010 board, Smillie and Kalideen, Star (451 words) Joint YCL, Afriforum statement from bilateral of 19 October 2006 (441 words) Speech by Solly Phetoe, COSATU NW Province, 14th October, Khutsong (709 words)

19 October 2006

Red Alert

What is the NDR? SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande in the latest Umsebenzi Online problematises the National Democratic Revolution in its concrete historically-determined current South African circumstance. See the link below. Antonio Gramsci’s “Some aspects of the Southern Question” (our Communist University reading for this Friday’s discussion) is very relevant to this SACP-initiated national debate on the nature of the NDR. It covers the revolutionary relationship between the workers and the poor in Italy at a time when that country had many of the features of South Africa today. Among the other things he complained about in his “political overview” at the recent ANC NEC was the new political slogan President Thabo Mbeki put in Comrade Nzimande’s mouth, namely: “Imperialism is not invincible”. It is hard to see what the President of a sovereign independent nation should see wrong with this slogan. The terminal, coercive, military phase of Imperialism is a manifestation of capitalism’s critical weakness, not of strength. With solidarity and determination, the US jackboot can be kept off African soil, regardless of what the person George Bush once called his “point man in Africa” may be afraid of. Will our President use his new position on the UN Security Council to protest at this blatant statement of US neo-colonial intentions? Such tests always come sooner than you think. If the South African government fails to deal with this US provocation, it will have to enter the Security Council with its metaphorical tail between its legs, which is no doubt just what the US intends. What right has the USA to establish “a U.S. military command on African soil”? What is arrogance, if not this? See the link below for the vile and presumptuous US insult to Africa. It should be rejected immediately and with contempt, especially by those among us who like to declare: “I am an African”, as well as by those of us who are internationalists and unashamed anti-Imperialists. The Zimbabwe degenerate regime, following an all-too-common pattern prophesied by Frantz Fanon more than 40 years ago, is moving to eviscerate mass democratic politics altogether. In this case it is seeking to impose a gang of stooges on the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) in place of their elected leaders. “We stand by our leaders!” is an old South African slogan which can be recommended unreservedly to the Zimbabwean working class. See the link below. In Harare there is now something like a Soviet, called CHRA (Combined Harare Residents’ Association), facing up to another imposed stooge “Commission”. There is dual power developing in that city, and dual power is a sign of a revolutionary situation. See the link. The KSM is the Communist Youth Union of the Czech Republic. In a move similar to what the Zim regime wants to do to the ZCTU, and in violation of all principles of democratic freedom of association, the government of that country has “disbanded” the KSM. YCL (Young Communist League) formations in South Africa and in London have not been slow to alert the world about this disgusting reversion to the worst habits of European history. See the link below. The National Secretary of the YCLSA, Comrade Buti Manamela, will be meeting with representatives from the AfriForum and the Freedom Front Plus Youth today from 09h00 in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, Braamfontein. The meeting will discuss various issues affecting the youth in general and the Afrikaner youth in particular. It will be folllowed by a Press Conference at 12h00 in the same venue. For more information please contact Castro Ngobese, YCL Spokesperson (cell 082 567 3557). The next “Wolpe” at Constitution Hill, on November 2nd, will feature Geoff Budlender, Advocate of the High Court of South Africa, and Zac Yacoob, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. These are other words two distinguished lawyers of the struggle period who are now in high positions. They will speak on “Socio-economic Rights, the Judiciary, and the Developmental State”. Time is 17h15 for the drinks and the snacks, and 17h45 for the seminar in the Conference Room. Click on these links: Umsebenzi Online, Vol 5, No. 66, 18 Oct 2006, What is the NDR (3605 words) US military sharpens focus on Africa, Mark Trevelyan, Reuters (673 words) Zanu PF turns to Parliament over ZCTU, ZCTU Media Release (405 words) CHRA mobilizing Harare residents to defend their rights (597 words) SA, London YCL statements on suppression of Czech KSM (438 words)

17 October 2006

Spin Me A Winner

The SACP’s statement following the special politburo meeting yesterday is plain and clear. It contains significant material and it is free of any double meanings. See the link below. Yet the Business Day and the Star gave very different reports of it. Judge them for yourself (linked below). Karima Brown’s short item for the Business Day’s “In Brief” panel on page 3 is fair, as far as it goes. Moshoeshoe Monare’s in The Star is a different story altogether. In fact it is two alternative stories, as we shall see. The version that is actually printed in the hard-copy Star is a blatant example of what the SACP referred to in its statement when it said that newspapers are “positioning themselves in debates and disagreements inside our movement in a factionalist and often provocative manner”. But in a further twist, the version of Monare’s report that is posted on The Star’s web site contains additional material (put into bold lettering in the linked document) which would have made the report a lot fairer, if it had been printed. What this discrepancy means is that behind the spinner Monare there is another, powerful, faceless spinner in The Star’s office who is prepared to be even more economical and selective with the truth than the front-man Monare is. Click on these links: SACP Extended Politburo Statement on Alliance developments (767 words) SACP politburo backs GS, Karima Brown, Business Day (104 words) SACP backs Blade but warns him, Moshoeshoe Monare, The Star (424 words)

15 October 2006

Super-Natural Things


On October 1st in the post titled “Hoity Toity” the Communist University boasted of various statistics. The visits to the blog were certainly overstated in that post, for which we must apologise. In fact, the CU blog is not very successful as compared to the wikispace web site. “Pages” on the blog are running at about 15 per day and “Hits” at about 50 per day. What is more successful is the e-mail distribution and the consequent page-views at the CU wikispace web site. These continue to run at about 1000 per day, so that the total CU page views by tomorrow (since last November) should number 315,000 as compared to 300,000 at the beginning of the month. What’s new is that the Google Groups have developed new features, which you can see by clicking on “View in Groups Beta” at the Communist University Google Group, or by going direct to the new “Beta” Communist University URL. You can now customise the appearance of a Google Group site. But more than that, you can upload files and you can create pages with unique web addresses. As a way of beginning to learn to exploit these features the Communist University has uploaded the remaining readings for this year to the Google Group site in MS Word format, starting with this week’s. See if you can find it and open it! It looks as if it will be possible to do everything needed for a good, interactive, Freirean political education programme, or for an organising and mobilising structure, on a Google Group site alone. It is certainly worth trying this as a design project for any branch or other formation that wants to start something now. Please let us know. The Communist University would be glad to assist. Some points to ponder:

  • It looks like the “wiki” principle of common editing rights for web pages now fully exists in Google Groups.
  • The new Google Group developments are an acknowledgement that the innovations pioneered by Adam, Dom and James at wikispaces are likely to be generalised.
  • This synthesis means that the Communist University’s choice of a combination of e-mailing and archiving corresponds to the kind of system that is going to be maximised on the Internet by service providers like Google.
  • The Internet is moving towards more simplicity and more interactiveness.
  • The bloated, encyclopaedic sites that are kept going by professional “webmasters” are likely to be somewhat eclipsed now by new forms of collaborative, voluntary and non-specialist ways of working, on sites like these Google Groups with their uploads and their easily edited pages.

The Communist University will be off the air now for two or three days due to a “bosberaad”.

There are no further links or attachments today.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin


Breaking news is that the SABC is taking the Mail & Guardian to court to force them to remove the 200KB PDF file of the Sisulu – Marcus report on blacklisting in the public broadcaster. See the Mail and Guardian’s article linked below, and find a further link to download the PDF on that page. The report exposes “His Staliness” Snuki Zikalala’s posterior to the cold winds and the rude gaze of the multitude, and rightly so. In contrast to the flagrant Snuki-monster, is hard to take up the pen against Terry Bell. It is not just that his writing is professionally guarded. It is because the motivation for his deception is so tragic. And Terry’s tragedy is the struggle’s tragedy. Ki kulacho, ki nguoni mwako is a kiswahili saying, popular in the town of Morogoro, Tanzania. Maybe Terry remembers it. It translates as: “If it itches, it’s in your clothes”, meaning that the people who trouble you most are those closest to you. Terry lives in Cape Town now and writes a unique weekly labour column in the Business Report. This is a supplement that circulates throughout South Africa with the Independent Group newspapers. In spite of his half-century or so of familiarity with what we still call “the movement’, the picture he paints in his column is often unrecognisable. To borrow a word from SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, Terry’s view is a “construct”. His is an Alice-in-Wonderland world where things are oddly distorted and often upside-down. Who cares? No doubt the one hurting most is Terry Bell, as he worries away at his ancient sores. But it does hurt others too. The longer you have known Terry, the more likely you are to be shocked at the way he has turned. There are people in Johannesburg who remember “Terry and the boys”, from when they fly-posted and painted slogans in the 1960s. Now he posts for the other side. Here are some examples:

  • Although information flows constantly in his direction from the SACP, COSATU and the ANC, Terry insists on giving his readers a false picture of secrecy in the movement. He even blames the SACP for the fact that it was forced into clandestine conditions in 1950, and claims that it is forever tainted by this actually heroic passage of history. Why does this false charge apply to the Party, but not to Terry Bell?
  • The internal democracy of both COSATU and the SACP are in very much better shape than the ANC’s and Parliament’s. All kinds of matters are vigorously discussed and voted upon in the working class formations. Terry Bell was present at COSATU’s 9th Congress but now dismisses all of it as “power plays and political bickering”. You have to wonder whether he has any idea of what democracy looks like.
  • “Schism” has already happened, he writes, at the very moment when the SACP and COSATU have rededicated themselves to the Alliance. Does Terry know what schism means?

His articles remind you more of a messy soap-opera fantasy of divorce, resentment and personal grudges than of anything political. Terry tells that leaving the Party is “seen by some SACP members as desertion and akin to treachery.” Where did he get that idea? It is completely and impossibly false. People move in and out of the Party all the time. Terry Bell has been close to the SACP for decades. Whether he was ever a member, we don’t know. Whether he was ever active in a union, we don’t know. But this thing is certainly not about ignorance. It has to be that somebody, somewhere, has slighted him. Or that Terry must have had a “Rosebud” moment some time in his life, like “Citizen Kane”. Whatever it is, he should get over it. If he imagines that people are shunning him, he is wrong. Just to straighten out some aspects of Terry Bell’s upside-down world, here is a more normal view of some of the matters covered by his latest article (linked below): “Unions are built on an immediate, common need of workers… Unions are invariably the site of bureaucratism, corruption, self-seeking and petty-squabbling. They are also the well-springs of solidarity, class-consciousness, and emancipation. In short, trade unions are an arena of struggle.” (These words are from our good friends at the Marxists Internet Archive). “I think I have shown that (the working class’s) struggles for the standard of wages are incidents inseparable from the whole wages system, that in 99 cases out of 100 their efforts at raising wages are only efforts at maintaining the given value of labour, and that the necessity of debating their price with the capitalist is inherent to their condition of having to sell themselves as commodities. By cowardly giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, they would certainly disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement… “Instead of the conservative motto, ‘A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!’ they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘Abolition of the wages system’’’ (Karl Marx in Value, Price and Profit).

In other words the working class must have a revolutionary political party as well as, and in addition to, its trade unions. The Party’s job is to serve the class as its revolutionary political instrument, not to boss it, “influence” it, or “use” it. COSATU knows this and the SACP knows it. Terry Bell knows it, too. Terry Bell’s imaginary framework, erected for the gratification of his Business Report readers, shows an innocent but stupid working class being manipulated by its own revolutionary party. This is the distorted and jealous bourgeois nightmare shared with Terry by Tony Leon and most other liberals. It is only a mirror image of the greedy, commonplace bourgeois dream of capturing the working class in a fascist capital-labour bloc, such as is described by Antonio Gramsci in our current reading, “Some Aspects of the Southern Question”. These matters need to be kept clear in the mind at this particular time. In the triangular space between Terry Bell, Tony Leon, and Thabo Mbeki, there are all too many odd characters who would like to drive a wedge between COSATU and the SACP. They must not be allowed to succeed. The next four items linked below are one normal day’s COSATU press releases (Friday’s). These go to about 500 media contacts, including Terry Bell, from the very same COSATU leadership that Terry accuses of behaving like “an exclusive sect”. How ridiculous can you get? Terry makes his money re-writing these and other press releases, such as those of the SACP and the ANC. Is he trying to claim that these press releases are his exclusive material, or what? The mind boggles. Click on these links: Inside the SABC blacklist report, Ferial Haffejee, Mail and Guardian (3010 words) Schisms in tripartite alliance, according to Terry Bell, Business Report (802 words) Action against TU repression in Korea, November 15th, COSATU (541 words) COSATU condemns rise in lending rates, Media Release (245 words) SABC blacklisting report, COSATU Media Release (284 words) COSATU GS Z Vavi address to POPCRU bargaining Council (2365 words)

13 October 2006

Keep It Political

The Communist University meets tonight at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill to discuss “Gramsci, Freire, Organic Intellectuals and Critical Pedagogy” by Gustavo Fischman and Peter McLaren. The title is actually much longer than this. It is shortened for convenience. There are people in the SACP, such as the current Gauteng Provincial Secretary, whose view of political education, as the CU understands it, is that old texts should not be used, only newly-written material. The CU uses both. One reason is that the older material is often clearer and describes events which are more easily comparable to our present experience. This can be shown by a comparison between this week’s CU text and the one set down for discussion next week, “On the Southern Question”, by Antonio Gramsci. Reading the original Gramsci is a lot easier than reading a twenty-first century intellectual, even if it was Vishwas Satgar himself, writing about Gramsci and attempting to “explain” him to us. See the link below. Tomorrow SACP General Secretary Dr Blade Nzimande will address a Red October Launching Rally in Dr Yusuf Dadoo District (Khutsong Stadium, 10h00) and later attend the fundraising dinner of the Gauteng Province (Emperor’s Palace, 18h30). This, also, should present us with a nice contrast. In the first case the masses, without money. In the second case money (we hope), but far from the masses. Communists are not usually at home in the palaces of emperors. Let us hope that tomorrow will be a temporary exception, and that a good time will be had by all. If that happens, it will be because people have managed for the time being to suppress their urge to take offence. This is not an easy task for some people. For example, Karima Brown’s short article on the alliance in yesterday’s Business Day, linked below, was unobtrusively tucked in between an advertisement and the “gutter”, down at the bottom left-hand side of page three. Yet somebody’s ego was offended by it, to the extent that the mighty ANC had to issue a full statement rebutting the “wrong impression” that the issue of the President’s notes for his bad-tempered “political overview” at last weekend’s NEC was the work of Smuts Ngonyama. The ANC statement insists on implicating ANC Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe. But this is only achieved by means of another “wrong impression”. The statement omits to mention that the “political overview” had already been leaked long before it was issued to the media in hard copy. Somebody is trying to “cover his ass” here while claiming to “clarify any misunderstanding or confusion”. That somebody is not Cde Kgalema Motlanthe. Work it out for yourself. People who excuse themselves, accuse themselves. War is the continuation of politics by violent means. The working class does not want war, but only politics. So for us the study of war is not for the purpose of learning to use violence, but rather to learn some politics from the supercharged political dynamics of a war situation. The article below details how “Hezbollah scored a decisive and complete victory in its war with Israel”. The way this was done was political. The Israelis, on the other hand, “failed to articulate clear political goals in the aftermath of the conflict or sketch out a political exit strategy should the (military) offensive fail”. It is political considerations that are finally decisive. The lesson is that war has to be avoided. It is simply an unnecessarily hard road to a destination that can be reached by different means. In all cases the political work is what has to be done. The linked document is the first of two, with the next one showing how the Israelis lost the ground war. The law, too, is amenable to the same kind of logical or scientific treatment and Mervyn Bennun does a very good job in the article from yesterday’s Business Day linked below. It finishes up with a call to action to clean up the NPA. Let us hope that the abomination of summary “asset forfeiture” is also removed in the same sweep-out. What Max du Preez wants to sweep out is the communists and the organised working class. This man doesn’t know if he is Arthur or Martha, Oom or Dominee. His personal agonies are too dull (see the link). He should take his previous advice and retire to “cultivate his garden”. Click on these links: 1926 Gramsci Some aspects of the southern question (9675 words) Alliance tries to limit fallout, Karima Brown, Business Day (270 words) ANC claims wrong interpretation, ANC Press Release (259 words) How Hezbollah Defeated Israel, Crooke and Perry, Counterpunch (3031 words) NPA out of order, Mervyn Bennun, Business Day (2614 words) The madness of Max du Preez, The Star (860 words)

12 October 2006


The Alliance Secretariat met yesterday and issued a statement, in the wake of ANC President Thabo Mbeki’s leaked notes for the ANC NEC which say: “We must engage in a determined ideological and political campaign within the movement to educate our membership of the serious danger posed by the positions enunciated by (SACP GS) Nzimande. At all times, we must pose the question – whose interests do these positions serve?” See the link below for the Secretariat Statement. In the light of all this the Star’s Moshoeshoe Monare has discovered that there are a lot of problems for the SACP in Gauteng right now (see link). One of the problems is that the SACP Gauteng Provincial Council has failed at least four times during the year 2006 to elect new members of the Provincial Executive Council. The last occasion was last Sunday’s PC. Nobody can explain this continued postponement, but the consequences are clear. The incumbents are unrestrained and are incurring financial liabilities without fear of retribution. Whoever inherits this situation will be politically crippled by money debts and all the attendant embarrassments. This is the consequence of delayed democracy. In the first place the delay was caused by the incumbents in the PEC who did not want their majority diluted. It is understandable. It was overcome. But then followed an inexplicable further delay. In the mean time, the Monares of this world are circling in the darkness beyond the camp-fire light, scavenging for scraps. Who can be surprised? The SABC blacklisting of particular “analysts” such as Prof Sipho Seepe may be over for the time being. Seepe at least was on SAFM’s “AM Live” this morning. But it looks like no heads will roll. Instead, Dali Mpofu will most likely have to fall on his sword, as his predecessor had to do, and the Snuki-monster will live on in his impregnable lair, spreading fear and loathing and threatening the destruction of even more good people in the future. Read the full story, well covered in the Business Day (3 items in one document). E-Naledi is an electronic publication giving further links to resources such as in this case, Gwede Mantashe’s review of Karl von Holdt’s book “Transformation from below”. Click on the link for a stripped-down version of this publication (i.e. re-formatted to make it smaller as a file). Just to show the difference between a slightly more hostile newspaper and a slightly less hostile one, see the last linked item below. It is based on the same COSATU press release as the Star’s report yesterday, but the Star reported it as “Mboweni and Vavi still at odds over Chinese imports”. From this kind of comparison you can easily read what each paper wants, and what it wants you to believe. In today’s Business Day and Star there are articles from Mervyn Bennun and from Max du Preez respectively. They will be featured here tomorrow but are already on our web site. Compare them to see how much more you can trust an old revolutionary like Mervyn Bennun as compared with the liberal Max du Preez. Who ever could have thought that du Preez would be calling for an anti-communist witch-hunt? The Communist University could, actually, because liberals can't be trusted. Click on these links: Statement of Alliance Secretariat 11 October 2006 (325 words) Rift in Gauteng SACP over Mbeki award, Monare, The Star (498 words) Snuki Zikalala and the Analyst Blacklist, Business Day (1610 words) e-Naledi V2 Number 10, 09 October 2006 (e-publication) Cosatu, Mboweni closer on quotas, Mathabo le Roux, B Day (480 words)

11 October 2006

Ways Of Dialogue

Yesterday’s post was headed “Morogoro Not Forgotten”. Unfortunately the wrong link was given to the 1969 ANC Strategy and Tactics document, passed at the Morogoro Conference. Thanks to Riaz Tayob for pointing it out. This classic document, whose name was on the lips of the liberation through the worst times, must be saved from revisionism. The SACP Yusuf Dadoo District will be holding a Rally to launch the Red October Campaign in the West Rand on Saturday, 14 October 2006 at 10h00 at Khutsong Stadium, in Merafong. The rally will be addressed by the SACP General Secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande. Long live the brave people of Merafong. Linked below is the statement issued by COSATU on the meeting between GS Zwelinzima Vavi and Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni. Substantial matters were agreed upon including the need for an industrial strategy in general, which is COSATU policy in terms of the resolutions of the recent 9th Congress. The GS and the Governor agreed on the priority of employment and of preserving employment in a planned way, and not just in the clothing industry. They achieved a lot in one meeting. ANC President Thabo Mbeki “threw his toys out of his cot” at the ANC NEC meeting last weekend. He tried to scapegoat SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, this time round, for problems the President has brought upon himself, as usual. The YCL came out early with a statement of support for Cde Nzimande. By now a total of six SACP Provinces have also made statements of support. Gauteng Province has not done so. Unfortunately the SACP Gauteng Provincial Office has for years been incapable of sending even a simple e-mail. The good news is that the SACP Gauteng Provincial Council met last Sunday and has begun the job of cleaning up the stables. Moshoeshoe Monare works in the ridiculous so-called “Political Bureau” of Independent newspaper. His job is to try to make as big a mess as he can, wherever he can. Hence he is already trying to split the South African Communist Party even though its next Congress is not scheduled until July 2007. His article is long and tedious. If you are short of time just look at the last few paragraphs to see what he is up to. Bill Johnson does a good job of humanising ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma for the owning classes. He even suggests that Zuma could be a “safe pair of hands” for the bourgeoisie. This was on the main features page of the Business Day, opposite the editorial. The ruling class may turn to Zuma any day now and say, after all, “You are not our problem, you are our solution”. At that point Thabo Mbeki will not just be a lame duck, he will be a dead duck politically speaking. The Business Day’s Karima Brown links the question of the conspicuous extravagance of leadership such as Paul Mashatile to the question of electoral reform towards constituency-based elections, as recommended by a resolution passed at the the COSATU Congress. It’s nice to know that there are good journalists who do read the resolutions, unlike the Independent’s pretend “political bureau”, whose output belongs more on the gossip pages. Do they know what news means? Real news can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. There are still plenty of people around who were watching live when Tommie Smith and John Carlos made the famous black power salute on the podium at the Mexico Olympic Games thirty-eight years ago. That was news. The third man was Peter Norman, who has now sadly passed away. What a story that was. Read it by clicking the link below. Ship-loads of caviar can never buy as much honour as belonged to a single ant in the Mexico grass on that day in 1968. It is a legacy you can accept, or throw away. Cheap gossips need not apply. Click on these links: COSATU GS Z Vavi on meeting Reserve Bank Governor Mboweni (666 words) Messages of support for SACP GS Blade Nzimande (2184 words) Operation red flag, Moshoeshoe Monare, The Star (1279 words) All eyes on the man from Inkandla, Bill Johnson, Business Day (1961 words) Caviar comrades, electoral reform, Karima Brown, Business Day (782 words) Peter Norman, Brother of the Fist, Dave Zirin, Counterpunch (878 words)

10 October 2006

Morogoro Not Forgotten

COSATU discussed the question of more effective solidarity between industrial unions at its 9th Congress in September. One result has been the meeting held yesterday between representatives of 10 COSATU-affiliated unions. See the linked document for details of the specific priority actions identified by the meeting. This document is placed first because it represents COSATU initiative. COSATU’s response to the ANC President, Thabo Mbeki’s remarks directed personally at SACP GS Blade Nzimande is principled and correct. See the linked document below. Among other things it quotes the Ekurhuleni Declaration of April 2002. In his already notorious “Notes for Political Overview”, Mbeki had written of “Blade Nzimande’s extraordinary arrogance which leads him openly to despise our movement, the 2002 Constitution of the SACP lays down an approach towards fraternal organisations whose spirit and intent Nzimande does not respect.” These ugly comments were leaked to the media during the NEC meeting. As COSATU’s statement points out, these notes of Mbeki’s, which are five pages consisting mostly of copy-and-paste quotes from various documents and speeches, were only later issued in hard copy and the Communist University has no time to transcribe them. Three points will have to suffice for now. The current SACP Constitution is the one passed at the 2005 (not 2002) Special National Congress. But this is not material. The clause quoted by Mbeki (which is one that the CU has often drawn attention to) has not changed. It says: “6.4 Members active in fraternal organisations or in any sector of the mass movement have a duty to set an example of loyalty, hard work and zeal in the performance of their duties and shall be bound by the discipline and decisions of such organisations and movement. They shall not create or participate in SACP caucuses within such organisations and movements designed to influence either elections or policies. The advocacy of SACP policy on any question relating to the internal affairs of any such organisations or movements shall be by open public statements or at joint meetings between representatives of the SACP and such organisations or movements.” Mbeki’s idea of the spirit and intent of this famous clause is revealing only of his own state of mind, because the meaning of the words is clear. Open public statements are what Mbeki is complaining about, such as Cde Blade’s speech to the COSATU 9th Congress and to the earlier SADTU Congress, and open public statements are what the SACP expects from its General Secretary. It seems that Mbeki wants to take possession of the SACP Constitution and give orders to the SACP, but the SACP is an independent organisation. Mbeki is not an SACP member and so holds no position in the SACP. Allies cannot order each other around. The second point is the quotation from Cde Nzimande’s speech to the SADTU Congress, with which the Communist University and its supporters are surely bound to heartily agree with. Why would the ANC President expect the SACP to have any other position than this? “People’s education must also include a SADTU-led campaign focusing on curriculum transformation and development in line with the developmental objectives of our country. The SACP is strongly of the view that amongst other things, it is now time that we demand the teaching of historical and dialectical materialism in our schools. The working class did not struggle for political liberation only for its children to be fed with capitalist propaganda daily at school. It is a shame that much as South Africa was liberated by a movement whose strategy and tactics was informed by this philosophical outlook, only capitalist ideology is taught in our schools. The SACP is committed to work together with SADTU to achieve this objective, and teacher development must include the training of our educators to be able to teach relevant modules on historical and dialectical materialism.” Thirdly, ANC President Mbeki quotes, again from the SACP constitution, the following sentence lifted out of a clause which we shall afterwards here quote in full: “The main aim of the unfolding national democratic revolution is to complete the national liberation of the African people in particular and black people in general, to ensure the destruction of the legacy of white supremacy, and the strengthening of democracy in every sphere of life.” Mbeki’s selective quotation is designed to give the wrong impression that this is the high point of communist aspiration. But the full clause is: “4.2 To organise, educate and lead the working class in the struggle for socialism and the more immediate objectives of defending and deepening the national democratic revolution and of achieving national and social emancipation. The main aim of the unfolding national democratic revolution is to complete the national liberation of the African people in particular and black people in general, to ensure the destruction of the legacy of white supremacy, and the strengthening of democracy in every sphere of life. By participating in this revolution, the SACP aims to eradicate patriarchal relations, weaken and ultimately destroy the economic and political power of the capitalist class through struggle for working class hegemony over society, in particular the ownership and control of the economy and the achievement of one united state of people's power. In this state, working class interests will be dominant and the economic conditions will be created which make it possible to move towards social emancipation and, eventually, the total abolition of the exploitation of person by person in both public and private spheres of life.” This clause describes the uninterrupted movement through the NDR to the dictatorship of the proletariat annd then to communism as envisaged in Joe Slovo’s 1988 “South African Working Class and the NDR”and other SACP documents down the years. It appears that the ANC President is trying to push through a complete reversal of the famour Strategy and Tactics of the ANC passed in 1969 at Morogoro, as well as to bury the 1979 Green Book in whose formation he took part, but which he does not personally own. People wishing to study more of these documents can find plenty linked from the SACP State Power discussion document page on our web site. See below for unequivocal statements of support for SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande, who is already today under attack in the bourgeois media thanks to ANC President Mbeki’s irrational, misleading and bad-tempered outburst. These statements are from the SACP in KZN and from the YCL. Let us hope that other statements and demonstrations of support are now forthcoming. Click on these links: Solidarity with striking workers, COSATU Media Statement (419 words) On remarks of ANC President concerning SACP GS, COSATU (681 words) Statement of the ANC NEC, ANC Press Release (1109 words) South African Communist Party KZN statement on ANC NEC (270 words) YCL Statement on ANC personal attack on SACP GS, YCLSA (868 words)