The South African political year usually begins with a statement on the anniversary of the passing of former SACP General Secretary Joe Slovo (pictured) on 6 January 1995.
This year, on 7 January, the first scheduled meeting of the new ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet.
On 8 January, ANC President Jacob Zuma will make his first Anniversary Address.
The Communist University hopes that there will be an early start for Umsebenzi Online year. The CU has taken up some of the work of building the circulation of Umsebenzi Online, and intends to use this publication more frequently than before in our weekly “contact” study sessions in COSATU House.
For this reason we are currently adding all the CU subscribers to the Umsebenzi Online list, but we need more than that. Please assist the SACP to grow this list. Click here to enter an e-mail address of a friend for subscription to Umsebenzi Online (the link is given again below). Your friend will receive an e-mail and can confirm or refuse. This is not spam! (You can find a similar box on any page of the SACP web site. Scroll down and look to the left of the page).
Lekgotlas will follow after 8 January, and shortly after that, the opening of Parliament.
We must unfortunately also expect that the former ANC leadership will continue the pattern it has already established (particularly in the person of the former ANC President, Thabo Mbeki), of scheduling repeated unilateral provocations, synchronised with the “Hollywood” monstrosity unpopularly known as the “Scorpions”, and popularly known as the “Goggas”.
We can also expect reactionary initiatives from other parts of the former leadership. For example, Education Minister Naledi Pandor has announced further neo-liberal commodification of education, including “non-negotiable” performance-related pay for teachers, based on tightly defined commodified “outcomes”, to streamline the formation of commodified, alienable and standardised human labour power. Freireians detest this mockery of the word education. It is “banking theory” to the extreme. Interestingly, Pandor is claiming support from the ANC 52nd Conference. But the resolutions, constitution and strategy and tactics documents from the conference have not yet been published (click here for the dedicated 52nd Conference web page).
The SACP has typically, and commendably, used its New Year message to call for a concrete effort to build an organised people in South Africa from street committees upwards. Please read this short but powerful message in full (linked below). Party comrades have to get down and organise this year, right where they are.
In contrast to the Party’s, COSATU’s New Year message is much more of a detailed “line” on a great number of topics (see below). This message, like Pandor’s announcement, also in part claims the authority of the ANC 52nd National Conference, which we have not yet seen. COSATU’s message especially claims support for its concept of centralism based on the Tripartite Alliance “as a central player”, and “taking centre stage”. But COSATU immediately reasserts “its role as an independent defender of workers’ rights”, apparently seeing no contradiction between centralism and independence.
COSATU also, somewhat controversially, claims that “the delegates made it clear that… the ANC government must serve out its full term until 2009”. This is news to the Communist University. We would love to hear the reasoning behind this position, which appears to contradict what ANC Youth League President Fikile Mbalula has said on the same subject, for one example among several.
The published texts of the ANC 52nd Conference resolutions may assist in resolving this, but it is also possible that they will not. The CU for one is not committed to a kind of “resolutionism” that procures textual documents and then uses them as authority over living people in their continuing democracy, to close them down, bureaucratise, or technocratise them.
Click on these links:
Umsebenzi Online, box for new subscribers (web page)
Build Active, Safe, Healthy Communities, SACP 2008 New Year Message (646 words)
COSATU, New Year message for 2008 (1625 words)