15 February 2007

The Revolutionary Struggle For Peace

It is fair to say, without mentioning any names, that the medium-sized group that gathered yesterday to discuss the summarising Chapter 1 of Carl von Clausewitz’On War” yesterday were broadly agreed that war was “necessary” for revolutionary purposes.

Others did not find it exceptionable that South Africa might consider using armed force to effect “regime change” in neighbouring countries, such as Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Talk of the possibility of nuclear war by the USA/Israel alliance, against Iran, produced little response from these comrades. If they were not indifferent, they were certainly detached.

The comrades have familiar memories of the South African armed struggle, including the names of many of the leading personalities and events of that struggle. Yet all present except one were far to young to have taken part in these events as military actors.

So the legacy of the South African armed struggle has clearly left us with a conception of war that is far from revolutionary. War is regarded favourably by the young men of South Africa. War is not regarded by them as it is regarded by most ex-combatants, i.e. as a hateful thing to be avoided by all possible means.

It is not the first time in revolutionary history that this terrible error has arisen in the minds of the revolutionaries. It is an error that has had disastrous consequences in the past and in different places. Next week we will study the case of the Philippines, with the assistance of Cde Hepworth Moyikwa, using Bill Pomeroy’s 1974 text “On the Time For Armed Struggle” (linked below).

Pomeroy was one of the thinkers who influenced Umkhonto we Sizwe commanders during our armed struggle, and was personally in contact with them. At the time that he was writing this piece he was living in exile in London, like many South African exiles at the time.

Here is part of the conclusion of Pomeroy’s paper:

“The PKP is the party of the Filipino working class. It rejects putschism, coup d'etat, foco guerrillaism and anarcho-terrorist revolutionism that stands apart from the sentiment of the masses. It does not sanction any political activity that attempts to split the masses from their vanguard party.”

“The conditions for violence are necessarily determined by those who possess the instruments of violence, namely, the ruling circles of imperialism, feudalism and monopoly capital.”

“The PKP and all revolutionary forces must be vigilant and must always be in a state of preparedness in every way to prevent the enemies of the people from obstructing the people's way to peaceful revolutionary transformation of our society. The PKP upholds the right of the people to use force against those who use force against the people.”

This is not a simple matter, comrades. Please read the linked text below, and join us next week on February 21st in the SACP boardroom, third floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, corner Biccard, at 17h00 for a good discussion of this question of war.

Click on this link:

Pomeroy, On the Time for Armed Struggle (6800 words)

CU Flyer for 21 February 2007 (44 KB MS Word file download)


Post a Comment

Post a Comment