29 January 2007

God Save Us From Our Friends


The article Christelle Terreblanche wrote about the World Social Forum in Nairobi is dreadful (see below). It begins with not one but two journalistic clich├ęs in the very first line. It is a classic example of a journalist who does not have the story, writing it up as a mystery instead. Terreblanche failed to connect with COSATU Deputy General Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, who was in Nairobi when she was there, or with COSATU Deputy International Relations Secretary, Mandla Rametsi, who was also there. These two comrades were involved in just about the only constructive thing to come out of the Nairobi WSF, which was its statement in relation to the World Cup to be held in South Africa in 2010 – that it must be a people’s world cup both in terms of jobs and in terms of sport.

But worse than all that is the short interview Terreblanche did with Zico Tamela, who is international secretary for SATAWU, and therefore a senior representative in the international field, of the federation of which his union is a member, namely COSATU. Comrade Tamela happens also to be a PR Councillor in Johannesburg, elected nearly a year ago. And until March 2007, when the Gauteng Province of the SACP is supposed to have an elective Congress, he is the Chairperson of that structure. He is also a member of the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch and a founder member of the Communist University back in 2003.

At the last meeting of the Johannesburg Central Branch Cde Tamela insisted that the Communist University should be carrying a disclaimer, following a decision of the SACP Gauteng Province, of which he is the chairperson. From that time on the electronic CU has carried the following disclaimer: The Communist University is not a constitutional structure of the SACP.

Cde Tamela disburdened himself with Terreblanche of the pungent but sanctimonious line: There is still little will on COSATU’s part. Tamela knows full well that the task of uniting mass organisations in a revolutionary class alliance belongs to the vanguard party. He knows that proposals have been put forward in his SACP branch for years concerning broad front organisation in Johannesburg, which he personally has ignored. One of these proposals is provided below. Others can be found in the minutes of the Branch.

Only the vanguard party has the theoretical basis to distinguish between a class alliance and a class collaboration. Tamela knows that if the vanguard party neglects this task, its place will be taken up by false prophets and Judas-goats, leading the working class and its genuine allies into a trap. He has personally neglected the task in the party, but now wants to point a finger at COSATU, where he also holds a senior position. It is useless to accuse the mass movement, if the party is not doing its work. It is disingenuous of Tamela to accuse the mass movement, when it is his own so-called will that is inadequate.

We may not say that Cde Tamela is not permitted to break ranks and criticise his comrades through the bourgeois mass media, even if we do not like it very much. And we must at least applaud him for not doing so anonymously. We don’t have to ask him for any disclaimer. But he must know that as it says in the bible, if you want to point out a speck in another’s eye, you had better take out the piece of stick that is in your own eye first.

The Labour-Urban Federation document linked below demonstrates that Cde Tamela could hardly have been unaware of what has long been on the table proposing a popular broad-front alliance in Johannesburg. The document was first published on the electronic Communist University on April 7th 2006. At that stage the document was already in its fourth draft and had been widely distributed in hard copy, with no disclaimer asked for. Comrade Tamela was at that point the Chairperson of the SACP Johannesburg District.

The SACP Johannesburg Central Branch meets at 10h00 on Sunday, February 4th in the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison streets. It looks like we will have plenty to talk about.

There is a peculiar odour to religious dispute, like the pervasive smell of boiled cabbage in a beautiful monastery. These sky-pilots are not nearly as nice as you would expect from their scriptures. Rev. Michael Lapsley is not a particularly nice man, as one imagines he himself might occasionally confess. In his article published in the Sunday Independent yesterday he could not manage to restrain himself from plugging his own biography. Nevertheless he did a great job (see the link below) of showing up the foot-washing ex-minister of apartheid law and apartheid order, Adriaan Vlok.

Vlok is obviously looking for a new career as an anti-communist preacher. In other words he is looking to do what has always done, but in new conditions, using new tactics. Frank Chikane is another God-bothering character. Reverend Frank, who is now the chief flunkey in the Presidential office in the old Union Buildings, was happy to oblige the reptile Vlok with a big free commercial by letting his feet be washed and then blabbing about it afterwards to the mass media.

Finally, Minister Ronnie Kasrils had words to say to the Brenthurst (Oppenheimer) Foundation about blacklistings and Muslims, but without mentioning renditions, and with a weak explanation of terrorism in history. Terror is what all armies use, especially Imperialist armies. Read it, anyway, via the link below.

Click on these links:

Cosatu must walk the talk, Christelle Terreblanche, Sunday Independent (705 words)

Johannesburg Labour-Urban Federation, Fourth Draft (1971 words)

Faith is an obstacle to healing, Michael Lapsley, Sunday Independent (1168 words)

Human rights must not be trampled, Ronnie Kasrils, Sunday Times (1288 words)

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