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)


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