24 November 2007

2008 CU Draft Programme

In previous years the programme for the Communist University has been prepared several months in advance. This year, things are different, for what appear to be objective reasons.

First, we have covered very considerable ground since 2003. The current “probematique”, or “conjuncture” is not the same as it was four and a half years ago. This is partly because of external changes in the world, but a major part of the reason why things are different is the subjective action of our Party and of the organised South African working class in general.

In other words, we have propelled ourselves forward through action and through study, and now we face new and bigger problems. We have less to guide us because less people have reached this point before. We are becoming closer to the condition of pioneers. We are breaking new ground.

For this kind of circumstance, a different sort of pedagogical programme is required for the CU. It will have large amounts of empty space in it, which will be filled up later with texts from Umsebenzi Online and other topical works that will certainly appear in due course, and in abundance.

After our traditional initial session of self-examination (for which we will use Liu Shaoqi’s “How to be a good Communist”), we will proceed with SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande’s Red Alert on “Dual Power”. This text will set the theme for the entire year. We have no doubt that the topical and tactical material that will be produced in 2008 will be easily organised within this prophetic statement of Cde Blade’s.

Then, three major subsidiary or inset themes will be developed. The first is the question of the Party itself, and for this we will go back to the time immediately following the publication of Eduard Bernstein’s “Evolutionary Socialism”, and the contradiction of that book that was given by Rosa Luxemburg, soon followed by Lenin, and further followed by a polemic between these two. In this historical moment, the first six years of the 20th century, great institutions were re-examined and new ones were created or were at least prefigured. In particular we mean the modern Communist Parties.

The second will be the annual series of chapters from Capital, Volume One. Comrades' ability to engage with this work is the bench-mark of our scholarship and the source of indispensable revolutionary pride and self-confidence. Nor is its relevance ever in doubt.

The third theme is provisionally titled “Revolutionary Pluralism”. Some of the titles of the texts given in the draft are invented. If suitable material is not found in time it may have to be specially written. This is the new ground. It is what is pointed to in Dr Blade’s Red Alert on “Dual Power”. It will be done in the weeks preceding the Conference of the Left scheduled by COSATU for 25-26 September 2008.

After each of these three inserted segments, blank periods are left, amounting to about half of the available time.

A text appeared on Friday (on Counterpunch) that would be a suitable candidate for inclusion (see below). This is an interview with the Vice President of Bolivia, Alvaro Garcia Linera (pictured). The Bolivians have arrived at a similar “Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta” point as ourselves, and perhaps a little bit ahead of us.

We are going to have to listen to each other and accommodate each other. We are going to have to learn to cope with, and to make a virtue of, a plurality of democracies within a single country. This is what the “other world that is possible” looks like, in political terms. Concepts such as the dictatorship of the proletariat are challenged, if the centrality of the state itself is challenged. The workerism/charterism dichotomy may be obsolete. The sanctity of institutions may be subverted, to be replaced by an ever-changing and regenerative plurality of democracies, prefigured already by the great mass delegate festivals of COSATU, the SACP and the ANC).

Click on these links:

2008 Study Group Draft Programme (table)

Coming to Terms with Diversity in Bolivia, Laura Carlsen, Counterpunch (2591 words)

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