24 November 2007

Revolutionary Pluralism

The Communist University aims to publish on weekdays, not weekends, yet this is the second posting on a Saturday morning. Why? To answer that question, let’s look at something that was reported here on Wednesday, 21 November 2007:

ANC has issued a statement detailing the stages in the nomination process prior to its 52nd National Congress scheduled to start on 16 December in Polokwane, Limpopo Province. Provincial Nomination Conferences will have a second bite at the process, in between the branch nominations and the National Conference. Why? Is this normal? Do other organisations do this?”

The bourgeois mass media, and in particular the SABC, have been using the occasion of these “Provincial Nomination Conferences” to project a picture of the “succession race” in which there is a “close contest”. What makes this picture suspicious is that no one can easily know if it is true or not.

But where there is a solid, recent record of grass-roots action on many fronts, as is the case in North-West Province, it seems very unlikely that the leaders of those grass-roots actions, such as for example COSATU’s Provincial Secretary, Solly Phetoe (see his statement linked below), would be completely out of touch with ANC branches. Yet Cde Solly’s view on the matter is contradicted each night on SABC TV and once again in the Weekender report (in the last paragraph) also linked below.

In other words, concerning the ANC Conference, it seems that what the bourgeois media are failing to illuminate, or are even acting deliberately to obscure, is the answer to the following question: Are the branch nominations being interfered with at provincial level, and are the branch delegates being suborned or bought off?

Comrade Solly Phetoe’s message is very timely and should be respected and paid attention to. What is happening in North-West Province is likely to be happening elsewhere.

Another reason for publishing a second extra edition of the CU on a Saturday is the arrival by e-mail of a copy of Mondli Hlatshwayo’s assessment of the “Social Movements” in South Africa, given last Thursday at UKZN.

Is unity just another word for centralism? If centralism is not a necessity, then in what sense is unity a necessity? We could propose different regiments, one army; or different armies, one war. The requirement for unity is specific, not dogmatic, and the specifics are determined by the actual strategic goals and the tactical situations from time to time.

Whether one has arrived at the present conjuncture in company with the vanguard party, or with the massed ranks of COSATU, or like Mondli Hlatshwayo, in association with the Social Movements, there is a certain commonality of terms in which the new circumstances have to be faced. This is very clear from reading Cde Mondli’s presentation. If we are all beginning to problematise our future in similar terms, then there is great scope for movement forward. That is to say: not bureaucratic unity, but de facto popular unity in action, without permission and without commandism. Power to the People!

The picture is from the cover a magazine of the Paris Commune called [in a rough English translation] “Son of Old Man Duchesne, Illustrated”. The caption, given by Wikipedia is: Le Père Duchesne looking at the statue of Napoleon I on top of the Vendome column: "Eh ben! bougre de canaille, on va donc te foutre en bas comme ta crapule de neveu!… (Well now! buggering rascal, we will knock you the fuck off just like your crook of a nephew!…").

That was the end of Bonapartism in France for a while, at least!

Click on these links:

ANC NW Provincial General Council held on 23 November 2007 (916 words)

COSATU hands Zuma its wish list, Musgrave and Omarjee, Weekender (808 words)

Genesis of Social Movements Indaba, Hlatshwayo, Wolpe Lecture, UKZN (3421 words)

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