29 April 2007

Surf Control

The Communist University blog carries links to politically educational articles from newspapers and the Internet, and press releases, as well as documents from the “classics” and other available political writing. Many CU subscribers are also subscribed to COSATU Daily News, so the CU tends not to duplicate material that is distributed through that larger list, in the form of COSATU Week (press releases and campaigning news) and COSATU Daily Labour News (newsclips). COSATU Week is formatted in four-page parts that can be downloaded in MS-Word format for printing.

The CU also publishes less frequently at present. Don’t worry! The reason is only pressure of work.

The first linked item is from Saturday’s Weekender and is a report by Karima Brown on COSATU’s long paper on the leadership challenge,
archived in full here. The same journalist also wrote in the same edition about the SABC, not about its notorious blacklist, of which she is one of the victims, but about its ban on an advertisement from the Sowetan. See the link for further details.

In today’s Johannesburg Sunday Times there is an article by Raymond Louw (not yet available on the Internet) headed “SABC blocks Zimbabwe site”. It reports that if SABC journalists try to connect to the London site of SW Radio Africa they get a message stating: “SURF CONTROL: Access Denied. Access to the requested URL has been denied by SABC policy”. The site concerned carries interviews of opposition and government figures in Zimbabwe as well as of “civil society” personalities there – and sends e-mails to the Communist University, by the way (thanks, comrades!).

Also in the Sunday Times, on its front page, is an item headlined “Chaos as Sunday Times has to recall thousands of papers”. This is yet another case of prior restraint on publication imposed by a Judge in his private rooms (i.e. not in court). One of the judge’s strictures is that his reasons for the interdict are not to be reported! Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya is not noticeably upset or angry. He only apologises to his readers for the inconvenience.

Meanwhile Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP has been trying to invent a system of blog control. They are in danger of usurping the SACP Congress’s sole right to form the Party Constitution, which is the appropriate ruling document. They are not likely to succeed in extending our Constitution into blog censorship.

See also the link to the article from the Johannesburg Sunday Independent (p.12) by Debbie Smit, headlined “Previously invisible info now available at the click of a mouse”. It is mainly about “mash-ups”.

“On the web”, she writes, “mash-ups are at the core of what people call Web 2.0 or the recombinant web”. The Communist University is a “mash-up” between a blog, a group, and a wiki web site, not to mention hard copy and weekly face-to-face dialogue.

There is always a struggle to communicate, and mass communication is especially contested terrain. All kinds of obstructions appear from nowhere, and as fast as new means come to hand, so also do new restrictions and objections. The struggle continues.

Alexander Cockburn is enough of a scholar to know that the public realm has been full of nonsense for well over a thousand years, if we only take the millennium hysteria of the late 900s AD for a start. The new millennialism is about “global warming”. Cockburn has the physics, but whether the rational view can hold back the tide of carbon-credit zealots is another story, as he explains in the linked article.

Paris (picture) is a hip-hop artist from a mash-up outfit called Guerilla Funk. His main point in the linked piece is that life reflects art and not the other way around, so the question is: Who owns the art producers? His answers, generated from experience in the deeply ambiguous world of US hip-hop are worth reading.

Lastly, a late entry from the City Press, an article which at first appears to be a hostile report about the YCL but then rambles off on to page four with a long report about the KZN ANC PEC meeting last week that was attended by President Mbeki, and which is none too flattering to the latter.

Among other things it reports the complaint that: “The national leaders were quick to point fingers without hearing the province’s side of the story. The meeting quoted the example of Mbeki’s remarks on TV about a Sunday newspaper story about a “plot” to create “no-go areas” for him.”

You will recall that in this TV appearance on Sunday 22 April 2007 Mbeki was accomanied by SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary Zico Tamela and SACP Yusuf Dadoo District (Krugersdorp) Secretary Nkosiphendule Kolisile, for reasons that were not clear, since the news item was about KZN.

Click on these links:

Cosatu plans to take control from ANC, Karima Brown, Weekender (1148 words)

Hear no truth, see no truth on SABC , Karima Brown, Weekender (655 words)

Mash-ups, Debbie Smit, Sunday Independent (599 words)

Is global warming a sin? - Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch (1273 words)

Are You a Hip Hop Apologist? - Paris, Counterpunch (2022 words)

Zuma Camp coup, sama Yende and Msomi, City Press (1498 words)

27 April 2007

Whited Sepulchre

Thousands of people are being slaughtered in Somalia by troops of the US client-state, Ethiopia, with US-supplied equipment and ammunition under the US “Africa Command”. The small AU force in Somalia can hardly protect itself, let alone help anybody else.

The foreign war policy of the USA is conducted by a tiny group of “insiders”, over the heads of an ignorant public that is “taken for walkies” every day by a lying press and even worse television, using US military installations located in more than half of the world’s countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. There are a few people in the USA who write against the tide. One of them is Chris Floyd. See the attached link for his blistering response to a lying report in the New York Times, the newspaper of the US Imperial intelligentsia.

Paul Wolfowitz is one member of the small clique of warmongers that run US Imperial policy. He is the President of the World Bank and currently under investigation for nepotism and corruption. Andrew Cockburn describes very well the direct connection between Wolfowitz’ warmongering activities prior to the Iraq War, his cronies in Washington, and the business with Wolfowitz' girlfriend. Follow the link.

Kumi Naidoo is Secretary-General of the funded but South-African-based NGO organisation, Civicus. Civicus is not noted for its anti-Imperialism but on this occasion the worm has turned. Naidoo calls for the resignation of Wolfowitz. See the link

The same USA is where they arrest and lock up children. See the truly shocking Counterpunch report by Sharon Smith, linked below.

Finally, Moneyweb’s Barry Sergeant thinks that he is on to something, and he should know, because he has been investigating South African financial skulduggery for many years. Follow the link below.

The picture above is of Mogadishu, Somalia, taken this month during a helicopter attack on people in the streets

Click on these links:

NYT Pushes Bush Line on Somalia, Chris Floyd, Lew Rockwell (1817 words)

Puppet of Iraq destruction, Andrew Cockburn, Guardian (887 words)

Wolfowitz, resign for World Bank credibility, Kumi Naidoo, Civicus (1228 words)

The Rights of Children in the USA, Sharon Smith, Counterpunch (1389 words)

A truly momentous occasion, Barry Sergeant, Moneyweb (779 words)

25 April 2007

Behind The Veil

Swaziland Solidarity Network is a group you can join and read and contribute to, and help lay down a body of understanding, critique and revolutionary determination for Swaziland. The first linked item below is from that group. It is short and to the point. Imprisonment and torture of political agitators is not a thing of the past in this region, it is happening now, and will be happening this weekend.

The Swazis are using the Internet and e-mail groups. Meanwhile, in the City Press Goodenough Mashego writes that blog awards should not be an all-white affair. Blacks are blogging, too. Goodenough gives the names of some of these blogs. The Communist University has found them and linked them within Goodenough’s article. Follow the second link below and find out how good they really are.

The third link, from the Guardian, does not mention South Africa but is of great interest to South Africa. It shows how the BAE Company is being protected from investigation by thuggish dirty tricks. This is the same company that benefited from South Africa’s “arms deal”.

From Moneyweb there is an account of certain money flows in the 1990s into South Africa, allegedly to the ANC, from certain other countries. Was this bona fide or was it the precursor of the “1996 class project”? Click the link and judge for yourself.

The CU meets again on Tuesday, May 8th (next Tuesday is May Day), at the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, at 17h00.

Karl Marx wrote three great works on revolutionary France in the period 1848 to 1872. The first was called “The Class Struggles in France” and was written in 1850. It is the prototype of a genre of concrete political economy, and a type of class analysis that continues to be indispensable to this day. This is the main work we will discuss next time. See the link below.

The other one is Antonio Gramsci’s short essay on “Caesarism”. This will help us to appreciate the next following work which will be the "18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte". This particular Bonaparte (also known as Napoleon III) is the one after whom the word “Bonapartism” was coined. It refers to a person who rises to the top by playing each side off against the others.

The image above is of Antonio Gramsci.

Click on these links:

Silent brutality in Southern Africa, Sedition Trialists Update, SSN (374 words)

Blog awards get it all wrong, Goodenough Mashego, City Press (382 words)

UK sabotage on BAE bribes inquiry, Leigh and Evans, Guardian (653 words)

Behind ‘quiet diplomacy’, James Myburgh, Moneyweb (1023 words)

Class Struggles in France, Part 1, The Defeat of June, 1848 (9373 words)

Gramsci, A., The Modern Prince, Caesarism (2265 words)

22 April 2007


The CU is proud to bring you a very excellent speech made by YCLSA National Secretary Buti Manamela this weekend in Cape Town. “Close the gap between the Leaders and the People”, he said. Read it all via the link below.

The other link is from a young US “Hip-Hop Head” and poet, Saul Williams, slightly self-conscious, but making some good points about the struggle of the US youth to assemble an honest culture for themselves.

Nkosiphendule Kolisile and Zico Tamela where on SABC TV News last night together with ANC President Thabo Mbeki. It’s good to see that the two are no longer “going it alone”. It was the top item, reported by Sophie Mokoena.

The CU meets tomorrow, 17h00, 3rd floor, COSATU House, to discuss the COSATU document, “Possibilities for fundamental social change”.

Click on these links:

Power to the People, In Memory of Chris Hani, Buti Manamela (2560 words)

To Oprah Winfrey from a Hip-Hip Head, Saul Williams, Counterpunch (2535 words)

21 April 2007


Some among us, such as the President of the Republic and of the African National Congress, Comrade Thabo Mbeki, think that we need “agents of change”. This phrase carries the implication that there are those who are “change agents” (the President means the ANC) and others who are changed.

This is different from the communist view. The communists are not “change agents”. They exist to render the entire people into agents, or in other words to set them all free, so to realise the slogan “Power To The People” in full.

Agency is another word for power. Therefore “Power To the ANC” is not our idea. Nor is it a case of “Power To The Communists”, as much as our friends the Entryists may try to tell us so. That is a very seductive idea, but it is not a communist idea.

The task of the communists is to educate, organise and mobilise. Agency should not and must not rest with us. Agency must be with the people – the workers and the poor. Nothing less will do.

Our text for Tuesday, April 24th is the COSATU discussion document called “Possibilities for fundamental social change” (see link below). We meet at the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street at 17h00.

From Monday to Wednesday there is a COSATU extended CEC meeting taking place in Braamfontein to discuss the 13 documents of the ANC policy conference.

The Communist University programme has been revised to conform with the new arrangement of meeting on Tuesdays. See the link below.

Some people have been writing in the bourgeois press that Paul Wolfowitz’ crime of nepotism by arranging big pay rises for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, was not so bad after all, and that he should be forgiven. Others say that he is guilty for Iraq and if he is wrongly sacked for what he did for Shaha, it is all to the good, and poetic justice. These apparently opposite views are both wrong. The fact is that the Shaha story is part and parcel of a general corruption, or web of generally corrupt relationships that surround Wolfowitz and all the other "neocon" cronies. The linked article from Counterpunch spells this out with facts and details.

The picture above is of Govan Mbeki, the President’s late father, who was a communist. He wrote the book "The Peasants' Revolt" and was a Rivonia Trialist.

Click on these links:

2006, COSATU, Possibilities for Fundamental Social Change (14712 words)

2007 Study Group Draft Programme, revised, with links (Table)

Wolfowitz Quid Pro Quo, Mekay and Lobe, Counterpunch (1316 words)

19 April 2007

Mea Culpa

Umsebenzi Online came out on Wednesday. It is an account of things in the Northern Cape, where the SACP General Secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande, has been visiting, during the Chris Hani month.

The CU overlooked the previous issue, also relating to Chris Hani and the SACP’s Chris Hani month.

Both these documents are linked below.

The murder of trade unionist Santiago Rafael Cruz in Monterrey, Mexico is really a story about organising labour in the United States. See the third link.

The picture is of Pancho Villa, the revolutionary military leader who successfully invaded the USA (in March 1916).

Click on these links:

Umsebenzi Online, Vol 6, No. 7, 19 Apr 2007, Northern Cape (1300 words)

Umsebenzi Online, Vol 6, No. 6, 4 Apr 2007, Chris Hani (1265 words)

Farm Labor Organizer Murdered in Mexico, Dan la Botz, Counterpunch (1251 words)

18 April 2007

Re-open The Inquest

The Polish Ambassador to South Africa, Romuald Szuniewicz, responded to an enquiry as follows:

“I return your greetings and thank you for making me aware of the article in the Morning Star of 12 April 2007 about a "campaign" in the city of Radom waged by a local man who has petitioned the city council demanding that it changes the name of a street to commemorate Janusz Walus. Apparently, this one man campaign does not enjoy any support from his fellow citizens of Radom, local or central authorities or political parties. I am sure that the city council will treat the petition with the contempt it deserves.”

See the first link for South African media response to this matter.

It appears that the Janusz Walus anti-communist naming story is not an isolated one. There is a big witch-hunt going-on in Poland. Hundreds of thousands of communists and others are being persecuted, required to sign self-incriminating forms, and threatened with the sack if they refuse. The former President is being set up for humiliation as a public scapegoat. See the second link.

The new anti-communist President is the identical twin brother of the new anti-communist Prime Minister. But this comical touch should not take away from the seriousness of the wave of anti-communism throughout this large and important country, Poland.

In the nature of the thing, if the anti-communists are not stopped they are bound to start exporting anti-communism. The proposal to name a street after Chris Hani’s murderer is an attempt to do just that. It is an international anti-communist provocation. This phenomenon is not something that has passed already, or is dying away. It follows the banning of the Young Communist League in the Czech Republic and similar events elsewhere. It is danger.

In Britain meanwhile, white South African terrorists (e.g. Lambertus Nieuwhof and Arthur Kemp) have found a happy home in the fascist organisation called the British Nationalist Party (BNP). These are people who were investigated and released for, among other things, complicity in the murder of Chris Hani. See the link to the very recent article in the Guardian (London) about it.

See also the link to the South African YCL’s media release concerning the Walus naming proposal in the Polish city of Radom, home of the original anti-communist “Solidarity” (Solidarnosc) so-called union, which is the fore-runner to the white racist “Solidarity” so-called union in South Africa today.

The bottom line is that the inquest on the death of Chris Hani must be opened as soon as possible, and all these leads followed up exhaustively.

In Iraq, the prestige and morale of the Communist Party is high. See the final link below.

The picture is of Ruth First, once National Secretary of the YCL SA, also assassinated.

Click on these links:

Walus street an insult to SA, Sapa, IOL (194 words)

Former Polish president harrassed, Raw Story and AFP (554 words)

British fascist took part in SA terror, Matthew Taylor, Guardian (577 words)

Proposed renaming of street after Janusz Walus in Poland, YCL (365 words)

Crowds pack Iraqi CP celebrations, Indymedia San Francisco Bay (312 words)

17 April 2007

We Are The News

Jacob Zuma, current Deputy President of the African National Congress, speaking to the COSATU KZN Shopstewards’ Council on Sunday, appeared to be addressing one of COSATU’s expressed concerns, namely that there is too much power in the state apparatus and not enough in the democracy. See the link below.

That’s good. Now what about representivity for the working class on the ANC NEC? And representivity for the youth, as well, please. And what about COSATU’s Jobs and Poverty Campaign? COSATU needs to have answers spelled out clear, and not just by Jacob Zuma. These are questions the people have put. Where are the answers? Let people give us the honest truth as to where they stand.

In Port Elizabeth, when an SACP and ANC member in the service of the city told the truth, he was fired. See the second item below. This is the Zanufication we have been warning about, which is the same problem Jacob Zuma was talking about on Sunday.

YCL National Secretary Buti Manamela had an article published in the City Press on Sunday demanding free education and the general opening of the doors of learning and culture. See the link. If the YCL did not say so, who would?

The Commander in Chief is the great Comrade Fidel Castro. He is still giving us an example. If only the whole YCL membership would write. We know that their leadership is urging them to do so. Some of them are afraid of the risk of making a mistake. How much more of a risk is it for Fidel? What happens if he makes a mistake? He is brave enough to do it. Let all our young people be brave like him

Madibeng Kgwete of Soshanguve wrote a brave letter to the Star, published yesterday. See the link. If you don’t do it you will never know if you can. This comrade made a good contribution.

Solomon Mahlangu died 28 years ago, killed by the apartheid regime. It is hard to believe it is so long since that day. Solomon is forever young and brave in our minds. The ANC named its school in Morogoro, Tanzania after him. That, too was a long time ago. It is good that the ANC Youth League is going to commemorate Solomon again, on the morning of the 22nd of April, in Mamelodi where he grew up. See the link.

Click on these links:

Zuma - Limit state power, Sipho Khumalo, The Star (426 words)

PE housing manager suspended for protest participation, Sapa (344 words)

State must spend more money on education, Buti Manamela, C Press (563 words)

A brutal reply, Fidel Castro Ruz, Granma (9132 words)

Ousting tyrants no guarantee for oppressed, Madibeng Kgwete, Star (648 words)

ANC Youth League commemorates Solomon Mahlangu (206 words)

16 April 2007

Poles to name street after Janusz Walus

This one is urgent enough for a special. It is an article on Poland from the London communist daily newspaper, the Morning Star. See the document linked below.

The article says that names are being changed in Poland to erase the memory of the communist past. In the particular case of Janek Krasicki Street in the city of Radom, the proposal (and it seems these proposals usually go through) is to rename the street after Janusz Walus, the murderer of the late SACP General Secretary, Chris Hani.

This is such an outrage!

You might like to send an e-mail to our South African Ambassador in Poland, H E Ms F C Potgieter-Gqubule, whose e-mail address is
saembassy@supermedia.pl, asking for information about this matter and what she is intending to do about it.

The contact details for the Polish Ambassador in SA are as follows:

Poland (Republic of): Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary - H E Dr R Szuniewicz

Counsellor (Consular) - M G Kolanski; Second Secretary (Consular) - B Roszko; Second Secretary (Admin) - G Ostyk-Narbutt; Third Secretary (Political) - A J Morstin; Attaché - E Wereszczak (Ms)

Pretoria: 14 Amos Street, Colbyn, 0083P O Box 12277, Queenswood, 0121Tel: 012 430 2631/2, Fax: 012 430 2608, E-mail:

Commercial & Trade Office, Counsellor (Commercial) - I Bartosiewicz
56 Sixth Street, Houghton, 2198
P O Box 1547, Houghton, 2041
Tel: 011 788 6597, Fax: 011 442 5375, E-mail: brhpljhb@iafrica.com
First Secretary - M Kijewski

This information comes from the SA Department of Foreign Affairs web site at

A flood of e-mails to both the Ambassadors would be in order, as well as letters and articles in the press, demonstrations and all possible actions to prevent this outrage from taking place.

Click on the link:

Poles to name street after Janusz Walus, Boncza, Morning Star (578 words)

15 April 2007

Jock Shock

The journalists of the South African media have been told hundreds of times: COSATU is not going to endorse anybody for ANC President until the candidates’ policies are known. It’s called democracy, which the journalists often pretend to know about, but obviously still have difficulty understanding properly. It happens to be what COSATU is made of. In spite of the simplicity and clarity of COSATU’s position, the merry media folk still like to pretend that it is not so. Consequently, we have absurdities like yesterday’s Sunday Times front page story, where three senior journalists were obliged to put their names to a gossipy and untrue tale about a meeting that took place more than a month ago. See the link below.

The headline did not even fit the story. How typical! COSATU has had no difficulty repudiating this warmed-over mess of potage. If you don’t already get
COSATU Media Releases, you can read it in the COSATU Week, out soon.

The editor of the Sunday Times is Mondli Makhanya. He may or may not be a personal friend of Danisa Baloyi, the former multi-tasking director of companies and simultaneous trustee. But at least he is familiar with Baloyi’s “beautiful garden”. His article about her follows last week’s similar one in the business section of that newspaper. It is designed to create sympathy so that if, by some happy chance, the prosecutors in the Fidentia case should overlook the investigation and prosecution of Baloyi, nobody will complain. So far, the tactic does seem to be succeeding. Baloyi has not been charged. Maybe she really is untouchable, after all. See the link.

Paul Wolfowitz is the President of the World Bank - supposedly an international institution. When he was appointed, his girlfriend was already working there. He arranged for her to be transferred to the US State Department, but still to be paid by the Bank, and then given two huge pay rises, by the Bank. He was found out, and then like Baloyi did with ABSA Bank, refused to resign. So he will have to be fired. Our South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, is Wolfowitz’ friend. Manuel was in Washington while the story was breaking. He is
keeping his head down and saying very little about the scandal. Manuel has been rumoured to be organising a “javelin” manoeuvre for himself to the World Bank.

Penuel Maduna is a different kind of character. This former minister likes to play dangerous games and to “hide in the open”, as they say in Langley, Virginia, headquarters of the CIA. Maduna likes to make a big stink on the principle that if he throws around enough of his cowardly innuendos in public, and at the same time adopts his usual ugly, bullying manner, he can get away with anything. It seems he has succeeded so far, because he is now a multi-millionaire.

COSATU stood up to Maduna and his crony and fellow-millionaire Bulelani Ngcuka in the matter of the suborning of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA-Scorpions) when it was under their joint control. Their principal victim at that time happened to be Jacob Zuma. Now Maduna is working another of his periodical loud and scary-looking scams. See the article linked below by Jeremy Gordin, who appears to have had a very long chat with Maduna. Wouldn’t it be nice if Maduna found his nemesis this time around?

For the lighter side of BEE, see this prescription for rugby transformation from Karen Bliksem of the Sunday Independent: “The Free State Cheetahs must choose five black players, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks must choose five Indian players, the Gauteng/Johannesburg Lions must choose five Jewish players, the Tshwane Bulls must choose five English-speaking players, and the Western Cape Stormers must choose five rugby players”.

Khatu Mamaila of the City Press is no admirer of the communists, but has got the general idea of the SACP’s “1996 class project” analysis, all right. See his article linked below. And from the same paper’s front page, a story featuring the SACP’s recently departed spin-doctor, Kaizer Mohau, who is now spinning for Tlokwe (former Potch). He may wake that dorp up a bit, but his talents are wasted there. He ought to be a radio “shock-jock”, or even an SABC TV interviewer. He would be a lot more real than some of the elocution-school graduates they use. And that does not mean Xolani Gwala, who manages the supreme feat of combining urbanity with humanity and sheer awareness. Xolani is the best.

Why the picture? No other reason except to remember Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Click on these links:

Cosatu dumps Zuma, Malefane, Harper and Mbhele, S Times (716 words)

Baloyi, example of corrupting quest, Mondli Makhanya, S Times (923 words)

ANC leaders were paid out for investments, Jeremy Gordin, Sindy (1002 words)

Capitalism in Safe Hands, Khathu Mamaila, City Press (674 words)

Cracks in JZ camp emerge, Wonder Hlongwa, City Press (697 words)

12 April 2007

Power To The People

We are switching to TUESDAYS!

The next session of the Communist University will be next Tuesday, April 17th, at 17h00 in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein.

The document that will form the basis of our dialogue will be the “State Power” discussion document published nearly a year ago (see the link below). You should be familiar with it by now, comrades! Please come and air your views. Nobody is claiming the document is gospel, or perfect. It is our job to improve it, in debate. And the 12th SACP Congress is approaching fast, not forgetting also the ANC Policy Conference in June. It is time to get our business done.

Concerning the move to Tuesdays, there are good reasons for it, having to do with clashes. The schedule will be re-written as soon as possible and published on the Internet and in flyer format. Reminders will be given. Please help to make this switch a success.

The YCL is running an Internet poll on the question: “Do you support the opening of an inquest to the death of Cde Chris Hani?” (Yes or No). You can find it at the bottom right-hand corner of the
YCL Home Page, which is at http://www.ycl.org.za/ . It hardly takes a second. Please add your vote to this poll, today!

Today is the day of the Swaziland border blockades. If you can’t be there, find something to do in solidarity. Write a letter to a newspaper, for example, or start organising a meeting.

The picture above is of the late SACP General Secretary, Cde Chris Hani.

Click on these links:

2006, Bua Komanisi V5 No 1, Special Edition on State Power, final (20515 words)

11 April 2007

Conspiracy Theories

The Communist University meets this evening at 17h00 in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein.

In case you have forgotten it during the Easter break, the topic is the ANC “Green Book” of 1979.

There are a number of comrades in the SACP who are eager to “prove”, by means of documents said to be lodged at Wits University, that the ANC “officially adopted” the Green Book.

It would then follow, presumably, that the Green Book could be cashed like a cheque, and the present-day ANC NEC and leadership in general would shame-facedly hand over the keys to socialism that they had wrongfully denied us for so many years.

This is double foolishness. It is first and foremost a conspiracy theory, and secondly, it is not political.

Conspiracy theories are useful, because conspiracies do exist. But when conspiracy theory becomes a substitute for politics, then we have moved into a “Twilight Zone”. A hundred Green Books sworn on the Bible, the Koran and the Tibetan Book of the Dead would not, of themselves, change the political balance of forces in the present moment, at all.

We study the Green Book for the lessons that may be in it, if we can find them in dialogue. We should not expect to find in it a stick to beat the current ANC leadership with. See the link below.

Sanders Research is a conspiracy-theory web site, and one of the best, no doubt. Another one the CU keeps an eye on is
xymphora. The second part and final part of the Lockerbie cover-up story we started yesterday is linked below.

What actually happens in politics is that decisions are ground out in a sustained hard-slog process, often face-to-face with the class enemy. A good example is COSATU’s pursuit of justice in the Rustenburg Platinum Mines case (see Rudi Dicks’ account of it from today’s Business Report, linked below).

You can be sure that no dispatch rider will gallop into the yard of the Constitutional Court at a late stage, hot-foot from Braamfontein, carrying a decisive, dusty document dug from the bowels of the Wits University archives, and save the day thereby.

No, the business will be done more like a cricket innings, out in the open. Mostly, slow and steady wins the race.

Click on these links:

1979, ANC, The Green Book (10658 words)

Lockerbie Cover-up Part 2, The Lie Unravels, Sanders Research (1938 words)

Court returns us to apartheid workplace, Rudi Dicks, B Report (1112 words)

10 April 2007

Moving Along

The City Press gave over most of its “op-ed” (opposite the editorial) page to an article on unions, regulations, “flexibility”, casualisation and policy. These matters are rightly considered mainstream in this country and are not confined to a ghettoised section in the South African media. See the link below.

Likewise, we as the partisans of the working class must pay attention to developments in the media. The Sunday Times is going to deliver a daily newspaper unilaterally to its present subscribers, without at first asking them for extra money. They say there also will be a lot of related “digital products” to go with the new paper.

At the same time, COSATU’s hitherto “digital product”, the former COSATU Weekly, now called
COSATU Week, is transforming itself so as to be capable of country-wide publication in hard copy. It seems that the integration of media is the way things are going, with the Internet as the central, commanding platform.

In August 2005 the CU picked up a story from The Scotsman which seemed to show that the Libyans who were convicted of blowing up a Pan-American Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, causing great loss of life were not guilty and had been “framed”. That story is archived

Now it has been pointed out to us that a fuller investigation of this episode is available at the
Sanders Research web site. There seems to be no doubt about the innocence of the Libyans. The writer’s own theory about the guilt of some Iranians is another matter entirely. See the link below. Second part tomorrow

The City Press carried a letter on Zimbabwe broadly in favour of diplomacy and against “loud” diplomacy. See the link below. This seems to be a widely-held and popular view. In other words, no bellicose ultimatums are called for by the South African masses. We do not want war. We want peace and the rule of law under democracy for ourselves and for our neighbours.

Yet the increased and worldwide public excitement on the subject of Zimbabwe since the
ZCTU Communiqué of February 24 has caused all sorts of views to come to the fore. The second last item below is from a blog by a man called Stephen Gowans who is linked (or at least his blog is linked) to the CPGB-ML, a tiny British sect that campaigns in favour of Kim Jong-Il, Robert Mugabe, and until he was killed by the stooges of the USA, Saddam Hussein.

Gowans is busy accusing our very own Patrick Bond of taking tainted money for his
Centre for Civil Society in Durban, and all because he and Bond do not agree about the nature of the Zimbabwean state. Bond previously went after Gowans in the (California) Counterpunch, here. Now is defending himself against Gowans’ counter-attack.

Where the once likes of Dave Spart of the “Private Eye” comic and Wolfie Smith of the “Tooting Popular Front” in the TV comedy "Citizen Smith" (see picture above) used to dominate one or two imaginary local pubs, now the passionate diatribes ring across the world via the Internet. When the first time was farce, what is the second time?

As usual, the point is to learn something. There is already plenty of sectarian absurdity in South Africa. It seems to be on the rise. It should not be taken too seriously, and never at its own valuation.

The last item is a late entry announcing four serious SACP Chris Hani commemoration events in Port Elizabeth, today and tomorrow.

Click on these links:

Unions need to draw a new line, Mpumelelo Mkhabela, City Press (1567 words)

Moving with The Times, Adele Shevel, Sunday Times (745 words)

Lockerbie Cover Up, Part 1, Iran Strikes Back, Sanders Research (1242 words)

Shouting will not help, Motlatsi Lebea, Letters, City Press (246 words)

Talk Left, Funded Right, Stephen Gowans, Blog (1393 words)

SACP celebrates life and times of Cde Chris Hani (363 words)

9 April 2007

NPA Three Free

The last time the trumped-up charges were withdrawn they were reinstated. Let’s hope that this time the NPA Three (Marion Sparg, Beryl Simelane and Dipuo Mvelase) will hear no more accusations from their bosses. A proper apology would be nice to have. See the link below for the latest begrudging climb-down from the Justice Department.

The article (linked below) from the Sunday Times (Business Times) about Danisa Baloyi seems to have been inspired by a wish to give her a helping hand following the collapse of her business empire and pending possible further action in the Fidentia case. Fellow-businessman Saki Macozoma, the main source quoted in the article, seems to want to bend over backwards to make sure that “we do not condemn her forever”, although Baloyi has not been charged with anything up to now. As is often the case when excuses are made, the attempt to excuse Baloyi leaves her even more accused than before. Who, for example, knew of her connection with the Gauteng Tender Board? Read the linked article carefully.

The report in the (London) Guardian of recent US claims in Washington that they are funding the opposition in Zimbabwe have been widely noticed - for example on the front page of Saturday's Weekender. The front page of the Sunday Times reports that the MDC-Tsvangirai is denying receipt of such funds. It seems that the US spies are using money like a drug, dishing it out to all and sundry, creating dependency and a hierarchy of money where there should be democracy. That’s what they do.

US activities in Africa is concerted, and more so since their announcement of the “Africom”, a US military command for Africa, and the appointment of former US Ambassador to Pretoria, Jendayi Fraser, as US “Secretary of State for Africa”. The US poison is evident in the report from Nairobi, Kenya about the “renditions” that have been going on in that part of the world, where people end up incarcerated in Ethiopia. The USA brought this rubbish into Africa. See the link below.

Similarly, the last report linked below, which also comes from Nairobi, concerning the war crimes that are happening on a large scale in Mogadishu, Somalia.

What is not usually spelled out in these report with a Nairobi by-line is: why Nairobi? Well, Nairobi is a great modern city with many extremely comfortable hotels, plenty of good food and safe drinking water. It is not so very far from the surrounding countries of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia that you could not fly to any of them from Nairobi in an hour or two in a readily-available hired aeroplane. That’s the excuse. Also, English is widely spoken in Nairobi and there is a white settler remnant in the country. And so the correspondents, who like to be comfortable and safe, often base themselves in Nairobi and don’t very much like to move from there.

And what they never say is that all the countries mentioned are very, and extremely, different from Kenya, and from each other. The reduction of our individuality and our personality to one single constructed “African” journalistic convention is a major effect of Imperialism. So as much as one must be grateful for the scraps of news that these hacks bring, of Somalia and Ethiopia et cetera, scrounged, jobbed and traded in the rumour-mills and bars of Nairobi, the effect that they have overall is detestable.

Photo: the Nairobi Hilton Hotel.

Click on these links:

Charges against Sparg dropped, Dumisane Lubisi, Sunday Times (102 words)

Rise and fall of Queen BEE, Thebe Mabanga, Sunday Times (1131 words)

US reveals efforts to topple Mugabe, Ewen McAskill, Guardian (603 words)

Ethiopia urged to come clean on secret prisons, Weekender (425 words)

EU given war crime warning over Somalia, Xan Rice, Guardian (657 words)

6 April 2007

No Pasaran!

The founder of the German Workers’ Party in 1919 was Anton Drexler, a machine-fitter and locksmith of Munich, Bavaria. The fifty-fourth member to join the new party was Adolf Hitler, soon deployed as head of propaganda. Eighty-seven years ago in April 1920, the German Workers’ Party changed its name to the National Social-Democratic Labour Party, German initials NSDAP, “Nazi” for short. Hitler replaced Drexler as party leader in the following year, 1921.

These facts are from the web site
Spartacus Educational. It points out that that Hitler simply “redefined socialism by placing the word 'National' before it”.

A table further down the Spartacus Educational page on the Nazi party shows the results of eight general elections in Germany between 1920 and 1933. In all of these elections except the last, both the Communists and the Social Democrats did very well. After 1933 there were no more elections until the military defeat of the Nazis by the Soviet Union in 1945.

So even in a time of rising working-class consciousness, organisation, and electoral support, it is demonstrably possible for a Nationalist cult to rise within the very same working-class population, overtake the communists, and then hand the entire working-class over to the capitalist class “on a silver platter”. This is what the NSDAP, under Hitler, effectively did. Part of the trick was to sell the whole package as a “developmental state” (see picture above).

It is with all this in mind that the Communist University has been revisiting the new draft “Strategy and Tactics” (S&T) document of the ANC, called “
Building a National Democratic Society” (also here). The prompt is the similarity between the initials “NDS”, and “NSDAP”. The test to apply is this question: What is the difference between the new draft S&T, and fascism? The answer that comes back is one: there is no difference between the new draft S&T and fascism.

That’s it for that topic for today. We will obviously have to come back to it again. Don’t expect the bourgeois “analysts” to be working on this. They will be very happy to wait until after the event to discover what has happened. At this stage they are worse then useless. They will distract people with quibbles in the margins and the corners, while ignoring the fascist “elephant in the room”. This, too, has happened before, even in South Africa.

President of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz is writing of a matter that applies directly to us as Africans. Put briefly, the US is promoting a plan to make alcohol from “corn” for use as fuel for cars. Corn is another name for maize (mielies), which is the staple diet in many African countries, including our own. The worldwide price of mielies and of mielie-meal will rise. The North Americans will still be able to afford to use it for fuel, but the Africans will not be able to afford to eat it. Fidel calls it genocide. See the link below.

History has not ended, and nor has US interference with other countries. To review some of that history, see the next linked item, which is mainly a table of US “interventions” since 1890.

That table is partly attributed to William Blum, author of “Killing Hope”. Blum puts out an e-mail distribution called “The Anti-Empire Report”. The latest one came out yesterday, and is linked below. If you wish to get it sent to you, free, follow the instructions at the bottom of the document.

The contrasting cases of Luis Posada Carriles and the Cuban Five make shocking reading. Gloria La Riva has done a new interview with José Pertierra, lawyer for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in its extradition application against Posada in the US courts. See the link below.

Lastly, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) here in South Africa has a law facility that has just completed its first year of operation. Worth knowing about if you are any kind of journalist.

Click on these links:

Internationalization of genocide, Fidel Castro Ruz, 3 April 2007 (2217 words)

History of US Interventions in Latin America, Marc Becker (709 words, including table)

The Anti-Empire Report, 6 April 2007, William Blum (3221 words)

Interview, Cuban Five and Luis Posada Carriles, La Riva, Counterpunch (3935 words)

FXI law clinic celebrates successful first year of operation (505 words)

Working Class Core

The next session of the Communist University is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 11, at 17h00, in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The topic for discussion is the 1979 ANC document known as The Green Book (see the link below). The discussion will be opened by the SACP National Spokesperson, Cde Francis Malesela Maleka,

The document was produced under the direction of a Commission of 6 comrades headed by the then ANC President O R Tambo and including Thabo Mkeki, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Joe Gqabi and Joe Modise. Other comrades involved included Yusuf Dadoo, Reg September and Jack Simons.

Among others the document contains the following words:

“It should be emphasised that no member of the Commission had any doubts about the ultimate need to continue our revolution towards a socialist order…

“The seizure of power by the people must be understood not only by us but also by the masses as the beginning of the process in which the instruments of state will be used to progressively destroy the heritage of all forms of national and social inequality. To postpone advocacy of this perspective until the first stage of democratic power has been achieved is to risk dominance within our revolution by purely nationalist forces which may see themselves as replacing the white exploiters at the time of the people's victory.”

It will be seen from the document that all the problems we are now experiencing were foreseen.

Zimbabwe Independence Day is April 18. Zimbabwe comrades are holding a braai at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg on April 28 to commemorate the occasion. See the linked flyer.

Next is an article about Zimbabwe which appeared in the Morning Star, a British communist national daily newspaper published in London.

On 2 April a press conference of the MDC (Mutambara) was held in Harare. See the linked document.

The ZCTU stayaway report-back message is modest and clear. See the link below.

The South African media continues to play down the working-class content of the current passage of Zimbabwean history. So, for example, the TV journalist Ben Said sneered while reporting from the Johannesburg demonstration that it had “failed to attract the expected numbers”. Nobody had ever said anything about expected numbers. All of us, even Ben Said, must know that the liberation process is long and involves demonstrations and other actions both big and small, over a sustained period that might be years. The unbanning of the SACP, for example, took 40 years

The journalists’ desire for an immediate decisive result, today, to solve the undoubted brutalities in Zimbabwe (or wherever else it may be) appears infantile. But the true reason for playing down the working-class dimension is political. The net result is ironic, and finally serious. Because it leaves the journalists themselves in the front line with nothing else to do but to appeal to government for help, because they have already discounted the popular movement.

Just such a tragedy is apparent in the FXI statement linked below. A cameraman, Edward Chikombo, has been killed in Zimbabwe. The journalists, having been instrumental in the denigration of the mass movement, now find themselves with no natural support. They turn on the government, whom they have already defined as the only source of a solution. But as Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad has pointed out, the government cannot act without mass support. Instead of sneering at the working class component of the Zimbabwe struggle, the media should have given it more attention.

The cartoon above is by Martin Rowson, from The Guardian, London, and followed the release of the 15 military who had been captured in Iranian waters.

Click on these links:

1979, ANC, The Green Book (10658 words)

Zimbabwe Independence celebrations, Zoo Lake, 28 April 2007 (flyer)

Zimbabwe workers confront Mugabe, D Tweedie, Morning Star (1019 words)

MDC-Mutambara statement, Harare, 02 April 08 (1261 words)

ZCTU stayaway report-back, 5 April 2007 (311 words)

FXI on murder of Zimbabwean cameraman Edward Chikombo (600 words)

3 April 2007

Unfinished Business

The COSATU-led march in support of the ZCTU will assemble today at 12h00 in Beyers Naudé Square (Library Gardens), Johannesburg. See the link below for the full details and the statement of the aims of the march.

The “Fidentia” affair is another piece of unfinished business. Its affects could last for generations. We all need to look for ways forward and not forget the tens of thousands of widows and orphans, often out of sight in rural areas, who have been robbed. The main aim must be restorative justice in this case. See the link for COSATU’s strong statement on the subject.

Lastly, COSATU is concerned at the reaction to the Ombudsman’s report on the Leaderguard scandal by the leader of the Financial Services Board, Mr Rob Barrow, who is an insider and accustomed to working with and through his fellow insiders. In this case, and not for the first time, they got themselves into a mess. COSATU has made a release on this scandal, calling for the FSB to be transformed. See the link below.

Click on these links:

Why we are marching today, COSATU and ZCTU (653 words)

Fidentia affair after the second Curator Report, COSATU (676 words)

COSATU concerned at Ombud report on FSB (414 words)

1 April 2007

Stayaway Tuesday

The current (2005) Constitution of the South African Communist Party says:

“23.3 (a) Any person facing disciplinary proceedings shall receive at least one week’s written notice of any hearing, as well as the basic allegations and charges against him or her and be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make his or her defence.
(b) The disciplinary proceedings shall be completed within 90 days of the member receiving the notice of hearing.
(c) No member shall be judged or disciplined without a proper hearing.
(d) The CC shall draw up rules of procedure to be followed during a hearing process.”

Charges were laid and judgements made at the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch General Meeting yesterday which did not conform with any of the above. The intention behind these bogus manoeuvres was to silence the Communist University (CU).

As of yesterday the CU had made 460 daily posts. Its “
amadlandawonye” web archive had 2961 pages, which had received a total of 460,000 “page views”. Its blog at http://domza.blogspot.com/ had received an unknown number of visitors. Its two e-mail subscription lists had a total of 1,000 subscribers, many of whom have said that they regularly forward the messages and links to other lists.

Anyone with Internet access and prepared for hard work can start a service like this. The way this one fits together may be seen in the
CU’s downloadable MS-Word file diagram. Advice on starting more such initiatives has always been on offer to anyone and it still is. But the existing Communist University set-up is not transferable. It will continue to serve its subscribers as before.

Should anyone wish to find fault with the CU, its entire product to date is available, navigable and searchable. Anything that might have given offence is traceable. Specific complaints can be processed according to the SACP Constitution’s disciplinary procedure, if anyone should wish to do such a thing, and have the required locus standii and quorum. The CU will not accept ad hoc prior restraints or blanket accusations of “bringing into disrepute”. The CU has not done so. The contrary is the case.

The CU is proud of its contribution. “I know what’s going on,” said Harold Wilson once, long ago: “I’m going on!” For once in its life, the CU follows Wilson.

So what really is going on? At different times the CU has been lambasted for relaying the Marxist classics, for relaying newspaper content, and for relaying current political debates. All of these have been inconvenient for some people some of the time but that cannot be avoided.

What is actually going on in general is a pre-Congress period of debate. The event in question is the 12th National Congress of the SACP, scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth from 11th to 15th July.

The comrades reporting back from last weekend’s 9th SACP Gauteng Provincial Congress said that there were three “slates” on offer for the Provincial leadership. The CU regrets the existence of any slates at all. But the fact that there were three of them and not two should give some of the more simplistic bourgeois commentators pause.

The SACP is not nowadays a clandestine Party and it is contested terrain, including by the “hired hands of the 1996 Class Project”. In the current period we need more exposure, not less. The SACP belongs to, and should speak to, the entire working class. It is not the property of any narrow “slate”.

The CU is for open debate in the pre-Congress period and for freedom from the tyranny of “slates”, factions, anathemas and purges. Our next live session is at 17h00 on Wednesday at 3rd floor, COSATU House, Braamfontein, when we will discuss the original 1969 Morogoro ANC “
Strategy and Tactics”.

None of the South African Sunday papers mentioned Zimbabwe’s ZCTU-organised stayaway scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Google picked up 22 published reports worldwide, all of them variations on the Reuters story linked below. The bourgeois press begrudges the working class “the oxygen of publicity”.

Instead, it prefers to boost its own favoured “hired hands” to hyperbolic, Christ-like proportions. Sometimes it overplays its hand. Thus Johannesburg’s “Sunday Independent”, owned by the former sanctions-busting Irish rugby player Tony O’Reilly, with its ludicrous pre-Easter editorial headline: “Tsvangirai’s blood could save Zimbabwe”. And no mention of the ZCTU which, unlike Tsvangirai, actually does have a
concrete set of proposals for the way forward.

Picture: Young Karl Marx, nicknamed “The Moor”.

Click on these links:

Zimbabwe unions call strike, Cris Chinaka, Reuters (572 words)

Tsvangirai’s blood could save Zimbabwe, Editorial, Sunday Independent (437 words)