17 February 2007

Red Or Strange Bed?

The first thing that must be dealt with is that it is not true, as was stated here yesterday, that the Dora Tamana Co-operative Centre (DTCC) is finished. DTCC promotes and advocates the idea of Co-ops and assists them in various ways. The CU is happy to be able to confirm that DTCC is going to carry on with this work. We look forward to hearing more from them and to further opportunities to study the revolutionary potential of the co-operative movement in South Africa.

The next thing is the long message from Mazibuko Jara (linked below). In this case there is no withdrawal or apology from the Communist University. You may judge his message for yourself, as usual. Whatever else may be said here is by way of commentary.

Jara wants to have his cake and eat it. He likes to stride the public stage but at the same time to be protected and sheltered on grounds of sensitivity and confidentiality. His is a false pretence of “public communism” that conceals, not very well, an urge to suppress and to censor that is clearly evident in this message to the CU. Jara is an experienced person who is being disingenuous. He writes as if nobody else is as experienced as himself and as if he can bamboozle anybody at will, whenever he pleases, like a kind of political J Arthur Brown. Let us look at a few examples, because they are instructive.

Jara’s previous complaint to the Communist University arose when in November 2005 he sent his “
Red or JZ” paper and we published it. His request was: “I ask that you circulate it to your communist university email list.” But Jara didn’t like the response that it generated. Of course it got into the papers, including the “Hogarth” column, and Jara turned on the Communist University as if we were supposed to publicise his paper on an open list without the possibility of it getting into the press. This was complete nonsense, especially coming from Jara, who is a media specialist.

Now Jara is making the same complaint, in effect, several times over. One of them is his complaint about the e-mail he sent, he says via the SACP and COSATU, soliciting introductions in the USA. But the Communist University did not receive this message from the SACP or COSATU. It came from America, from somebody unconnected to the SACP or COSATU, asking in effect: Who is this Jara? Why should I introduce him to my contacts? Jara must know, and does in fact know, that you can fire an arrow into the World Wide Web but you cannot be sure where it will land. In this case he is relying on this very characteristic of the Internet to fetch him a virtual New World of political contacts. He is cruising in cyberspace. Who is he trying to kid by denying it?

Concerning the Mail and Guardian article “
Rumblings over Blade in SACP”, Jara, Vicki Robinson, and the whole media world knows that an article attributed to “sources”, but with a direct quote at the end from a named individual, is a well-known journalistic device to create “plausible deniability” but which everybody is going to understand one way, and that is that the main source is the person quoted at the end. You may judge his denial on its merits, but whether Jara likes it or not, there are plenty of people who are convinced that he is the main source. He will have to live with that.

Comrade Slovo Majola gave no more than the plain truth when he was quoted as saying that there are groups within the Party who want to challenge the General Secretary’s leadership. These groups are strange bedfellows from opposite fringes of the Party. They are liberal reformists like Jara, for example, and ultra-left entryists like Zico Tamela. At least that is what we presume they are. We can only presume, because the main characteristic of factional activity is that it has no politics. These comrades refuse to come out in the open with their ideas for the Party. Instead they “rumble” about the leadership.

Now Jara says he is going to deliver a statement to “2,000 left activists” in the USA. Leaving aside Paulo Freire’s warning against “activism” in “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, let us say at once that we should be eager to publish Jara’s paper as soon as we get it. But why must he launch his demarche from the USA? And why to these motley “activists”? Is this a good way to approach the 12th National Congress of the South African Communist Party? Is Jara the new Tutu? You be the judge.

The two short messages linked below from Cdes Mervyn Bennun and Floyd Shivambu bring us to a profound point of concentration on the question of peace and war. We can proceed very well now with the text that is down for discussion next Wednesday, which is Bill Pomeroy’s
The Time for Armed Struggle”. This text engages precisely with the point to which our dialogue has brought us, and it can take us forward. It will also be helpful in debunking appeals to false notions of secrecy in a Party that has successfully waged a 40-year struggle to rise out of an imposed clandestinity. The picture above is of Eduardo Mondlane.


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