7 November 2007

Compromesso Storico? No, Thanks!

Today is the 90th Anniversary of the great Russian proletarian Revolution of 1917, led by Lenin’s Bolsheviks following a relentless seventeen year struggle against reformism and “economism”. South Africans have tended to call the latter condition “workerism”. The distinction between workerists and revolutionaries is the reason for the vanguard party. See the Lenin excerpt linked below.

Yesterday we looked at the differences of approach between the main mass organisational centre of the working class in South Africa, COSATU, and the vanguard party of the South African working class, the SACP, as we go towards the ANC’s 52nd National Conference starting 15 December in Polokwane, where the substantive question is the configuring of the Tripartite Alliance for the 2009 general election.

The SACP wants a Reconfigured Alliance, while COSATU wants a tightly-prescribed Alliance Pact. An Alliance is a voluntary adherence of independent institutions, whereas a Pact is a binding contract.

The basic unity-in-action of the National Democratic Revolution rests upon the grassroots organic relationship between South African workers, peasants and petty-bourgeois businesspeople. This is a self-conscious solidarity of family membership and of wider lived and shared struggles for generations past. It is a community of struggle, forged in struggle, and it is the foundation of all our hopes.

This popular unity-in-action has in the past found general organisational expression in an ANC designed for the purpose under the guidance of the SACP and which is therefore, in itself, already an alliance. Yet because of the current special position of the ANC as the sole electoral vehicle of the National Liberation Movement, and therefore as the party of government, we now need a special mediation between the ANC and the separately organised working class mass and vanguard. This is the Tripartite Alliance. On top of this, if COSATU has its way, will be placed an additional layer of formality, called the Alliance Pact, to rule and to bind and to hold the Alliance to a rigid programme.

And then what? Nobody is suggesting that the Alliance, even with new its “Pact” hat on its head, is about to overthrow and subordinate South Africa’s “elephant in the living room”, the monopoly bourgeoisie. We all know, and keep reminding ourselves, that this monopoly bourgeoisie owns the crucial assets in South Africa, makes most of the critical economic moves, and holds a veto on socialism.

If the bourgeois monopoly power is not to be overthrown by COSATU’s proposed Alliance Pact, then the Pacted Alliance will have to co-operate with the monopoly bourgeoisie, and then this de facto collaboration with the big bourgeoisie will become the real Pact. If this is the truth, then the Alliance Pact project is no more than a circular route back to where we are now. Because so long as the monopoly bourgeoisie is not to be fundamentally challenged, then it will have to be accommodated, and at that point the power and glory of the “Alliance Pact” will droop like a wet paper tiger. De facto collaboration with big capital will not in practice be different from the open and explicit class capitulation advocated in the new draft ANC “Strategy and Tactics” document, with its semi-fascist class-neutral vision of an all-inclusive “NDS”. Both Pact and NDS stand in danger of merely consecrating the status quo, and even of permanently institutionalising the status quo, based on economism, playing into the hands of corporatism, and leaving the class enemy in the “pound seats” (and the “lobbying environment”).

In contrast, the SACP has not proposed an end to class struggle. It has said that acceptance of the status quo is not an option. It has identified one reconfiguration problem to be dealt with by 2009: that the ANC, for no good reason, still has an exclusive hold on the parliamentary representation of all classes in terms of the current Alliance. One of the alternatives to this situation is for the SACP to stand candidates. This would leave COSATU as what it is now: a militant extra-parliamentary mass organisation of the working class. Working-class parliamentary political business plus overall revolutionary strategy would be led by the SACP. (These studies will continue).

Terry Bell is up to his tricks again (3rd item). Like the character Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”, he always thinks he is just about to achieve his lonely lifetime’s quest, which in his pathetic case is merely to leave a dirty mark on the SACP or its ally, COSATU, or both. How does a freelance journalist in Cape Town “come across an account” in Emmarentia? Bell is trying to disguise the source of his florid, breathlessly infantile disorder (a.k.a. ejaculatio praecox). The source of Bell’s odious insinuendos is the liar, Willie Madisha.

The London Guardian reports a snippet from the new Mark Gevisser book about Thabo Mbeki (see the fourth item, below. A link to the Virodene chronicles is also given). A further revelation - that Mbeki conspired with Bulelani Ngcuka and Penuell Maduna in the notorious 2003 “prima facie case” public smear of Jacob Zuma, is in the papers today and will feature here tomorrow.

Click on these links:

‘What is to be Done’, Chapter 4, C., V. I. Lenin, 1902 (5767 words)

SACP 2002 Political Programme [Medium Term Vision] (9261 words) (next week’s text)

Another funds scandal rocks SACP, Terry Bell, The Star

Mbeki admits he is still AIDS dissident, Chris McGreal, The Guardian (785 words)

The Virodene Affair, James Myburgh (5 parts, link)

Coming Events


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