3 August 2009

The SACP Constitution

[CU for Wednesday, 5 August 2009]

We are still working through our “Basic Communism” course here on the Communist University. The SACP’s Constitution naturally has to be part of the “basics”.

One way of understanding the structure our Constitution is to deal with it backwards. In an MS-Word version, the SACP Constitution is about 12 pages long. The last (short) item, Section 25, is about rules for amending the Constitution. The next last, Section 24, is less than two pages long, and is about the disciplinary processes in the SACP.

Then (still working backwards) there is a series of sections which take up about half of the entire document. They describe each level of structure, from Units, and the basic structure of the Party, the Branch, all the way up to the highest body of the Party, which is the National Congress. All of these sections are simple, descriptive, and easy.

That takes us all the way back to Section 7, a short one of only two clauses, dealing with relations between the SACP and the Young Communist League.

Section 6, called Basic Organisational Principles, is one of the most important. The first clause describes democratic centralism, without calling it by that name, as follows:

“All decisions taken by higher structures are binding on all lower structures and individual members. Members shall have the right to pursue their views internally in the lead up to conferences or congresses with powers under this constitution to determine or reverse SACP policies. No groupings with their own discipline shall be permitted.”

Also in Section 6 is the jewel of the SACP constitution, Rule 6.4, which says:

“Members active in fraternal organisations or in any sector of the mass movement have a duty to set an example of loyalty, hard work and zeal in the performance of their duties and shall be bound by the discipline and decisions of such organisations and movement. They shall not create or participate in SACP caucuses within such organisations and movements designed to influence either elections or policies. The advocacy of SACP policy on any question relating to the internal affairs of any such organisations or movements shall be by open public statements or at joint meetings between representatives of the SACP and such organisations or movements.”

Section 5 is on Membership, including who can be a member, and the duties of SACP members (5.9). Section 4 is on Guiding Principles and includes the basis of the Communist University, to “organise, educate and lead the working class” (4.2).

Section 3 gives the Aims of the SACP, while Sections 2 and 1 deal with the name and the symbols.

Click on this link:

The Constitution of the South African Communist Party, 2007 (6603 words)


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