20 October 2007

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Lucky Dube sang to the heart. He knew the loneliness of the individual under capitalism, which is the dark shroud of the necrophilic system, and the scourge that people in a bourgeois society feel compelled to constantly use upon each other.

In capitalism the deprived and the ostracised are the necessary haunting validation of the system. Lucky Dube understood the house of exile, and the sweet longings that the lonely people have. His tender voice was like no other. He had sung our life and his own fate. How can we forget?

The beautyful ones are not yet born.

Joe Slovo was already pushing 25 years of exile when he wrote “The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution” in 1988. This work of the former SACP General Secretary towers higher with every passing year. It describes exactly what the NDR is. It can be revisited time and time again, because it is rich in meaning, and there is always more value to be got from it. It is today’s “codification”, linked below.

Michael Sachs is the defender, and reputedly one of the authors, of the draft of the new “
Strategy and Tactics” document of the ANC. This document creates two categories previously unknown to Marxism or to any other literature: the “national democratic society”, and the “national democratic state” (NDS for short in both cases). These neologisms, if they have meaning at all, can only signify that the ANC thinks that history has ended and been replaced by a sterile, self-congratulatory, permanent incorporation.

Joe Slovo rejected such mediocre delusions. He wrote that yes, there are stages, but the point about a stage is that it is followed by another stage. Michael Sachs’ document holds out no such hope. After his NDS there is nothing, except more of the same - the frozen gestures of a morbidly institutionalised revolution.

COSATU’s Central Committee discussion document,
The NDR and Socialism, the NDR and Capitalism, leans heavily on Slovo’s work. But the resolution actually passed by the Central Committee shows more of Sach’s influence, when it says: “We insist upon a radical national democratic state… as opposed to a capitalist state”. This is confusion worse confounded. Rejection of capitalism is now pretended to be achievable by resolution, and no longer requiring revolution. Then for encouragement, the zombie “NDS” is politely draped over with the word “radical”, like a coffin draped over with a flag.

All of this is clear evidence of the weak mental condition in which the working class is approaching the ANC Conference in Polokwane, and these are the matters the Communist University discussed last Tuesday. We have with this post concluded the task that Comrade Sbusiso Mchunu, our chairperson by virtue of long acceptance, said should be carried out, namely the creation of a record of that discussion.

We said in the previous post that what Polokwane is all about, in a nutshell, is whether we have a revolutionary class alliance, excluding the oppressor, or whether we fall for a hopeless corporatist class collaboration. This is the same stark choice as between a National Democratic Revolution, in the manner of Joe Slovo, or otherwise a National Democratic State, in the manner of Michael Sachs.

With stale promises of class-blind so-called “development”, the young one has tried hard to cloud the vision of the old departed revolutionary. But Joe Slovo’s words will not die so easily, even if the beautyful ones are not yet born to give them life at Polokwane.

We meet on Tuesday, 23 October 2007, in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein.

Click on this codification:

The SA Working Class and the NDR, Joe Slovo, 1988 (14985 words)


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