22 February 2007

Comrades Are Writing

The SACP General Secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande, writes every fortnight as a rule in Umsebenzi Online. English is his tenth language but he is a master craftsman in it. In the edition that came out yesterday Cde Blade writes frankly, humorously and humanely about language in a democratic South Africa, including Afrikaans. Please see the link below.

The Communist University’s attempted contribution to the language question in South Africa is our own
gateway to the Wiktionaries. Wiktionary is a free, on-line facility whereby if there were enough people taking part, the ordinary speakers of our eleven official languages could probably build full dictionaries of each of those languages in a matter of days. Every language needs its own dictionary in the language itself. Yet many South African languages are deficient in this respect. The English wiktionary is of course huge, because there are contributors in many countries. But the Afrikaans wiktionary is also well advanced, bearing out Dr Blade’s suggestion that the Afrikaners have much to share with the other language groups about preserving and advancing the condition of a language. Laat ons praat! Asikhulume!

At last, other comrades are writing as well. Today we present, on the 16th anniversary of the death of “Comrade Mzala” (Jabulani Nxumalo), a tribute to this great intellectual, who died young in exile in London, by Seshupo Segole (see below). Build the Alliance, he writes. The Communist University Mzala Archive
is here.

We also present Kaizer Mohau’s lively polemic contradicting Mazibuko Jara (see below).

There was more feedback in recent days, mostly very appreciative, but in one case quite angry. The irate comrade wrote concerning the new
ANC discussion document:

“Aside from petty personal attacks on individuals, rhetorical flourishes and armchair accusations that other people are cowards it would be interesting to know if the CU has anything constructive to say about the ANC's debate on strategy and tactics.

“Is it all in vain unless we have a 'revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat'? If so, I don't see why you even bother to comment on the ANC and its debates. Why not refocus your energy on destroying the ANC, since 'for it the struggle ends with bourgeois democracy' and re-constituting an SACP, purged of all bourgeois elements and 'right wing deviationists' in preparation for the envisaged dictatorship. You'll find a good models in the CPSA of the 1930s!”

Let’s just say that it is early days. The ANC discussion document is only just out. It needs to be tested, thoroughly and hard, if it is going to prove strong enough to be a common basis for the continuing and necessary class alliance (which as yet hardly features in the draft). “Alliance” is actually mentioned only twice in the 13,000 words, the main occasion being on the page where the ANC is chillingly described as the “ultimate strategic centre of power” with the "Tripartite Alliance" being in support of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) “as commonly understood”. Of course this begs the question of the whole exercise. What exactly is that common understanding of the NDR, if it exists at all? And what should it be?

In testing this document, we test our own communist ideas too, and lay them open to dispute, as the comrade has noticed and taken full advantage of. We did call the document cowardly (but not any individuals). Perhaps that was rude in any case. But remember the words of Karl Marx at the end of
Value Price and Profit: “By [the working class] cowardly giving way in their everyday conflict with capital, they would certainly disqualify themselves for the initiating of any larger movement.” For communists this is the basic class question of whether the working class is going to fulfill its historic destiny, or not.

The comrade is furiously defensive of the ANC, to the point where he sees discussion of the ANC’s own discussion document as evidence of a desire to “destroy” the ANC. Yet the original, 1969 “
Strategy and Tactics“starts with two references to socialism in its very first sentence and concludes with a long and crucial section on the working class. The use of this famous title to sell a new document which is opposite in character to the original is actually intended to be destructive of the historical memory of the South African people. It is intended to write the communists out of history, just like a US Hollywood film would do. So who is destroying who, actually?

Also, nobody in the CU has ever advocated purges. In general, purges only re-locate, and do not solve problems. Liberals and social democrats are constantly being drawn towards the Party. They bring their politics with them. The solution is to put them to work and at the same time to educate them. Even ultra-left entryists, with their subterranean double life, can be tolerated up to a point. They should be constantly encouraged to contribute their ideas to the Party, openly. What becomes intolerable is unprincipled secret horse-trading between these fringe factions, against the elected leadership and outside the open constitutional process of the Party. In this connection,
see the page on the SACP web site where answers are given to the recent questions of the Mail and Guardian newspaper concerning the ambitions of Mazibuko Jara and related issues.

Bolivia Information Forum looks like a useful resource. Their bulletin (linked below) contains very interesting material that we have not been hearing about through the bourgeois media. See the link below. The contact is: Alex Tilley, Coordinator, Bolivia Information Forum, www.boliviainfoforum.org.uk, enquiries@boliviainfoforum.org.uk

Click on these links:

Language in a democratic SA, Blade Nzimande, Umsebenzi Online (2096 words)

Build the alliance, tribute to Mzala, 16 years on, Seshupo Segole (2015 words)

SACP for Socialism not socialitism, Kaizer Mohau on Mazibuko Jara (1387 words)

Bolivia Information Bulletin 5, February 2007 (109 KB PDF download)


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