21 September 2009

Strategy and Tactics

[CU for Thursday, 24 September 2009]

“The art of revolutionary leadership consists in providing leadership to the masses and not just to its most advanced elements…”

The above line from the ANC’s Morogoro Strategy and Tactics of 1969 (linked below) can be taken as the idea of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) in a nutshell. Politics is in the subjective realm – it is about the ultimate subjectivity - freedom – but politics can only have an existence within the limits of objective realities.

The NDR has a steadily built organisational history of personalities, of events and of documents, working within, and at the same time changing by its action, the balance of class forces in South Africa.

Next to the Freedom Charter, the ANC Strategy and Tactics document of 1969 is the most prominent of all the NDR documents. In discussing the military activities of Umkhonto we Siswe (MK), it outlines alliance politics in terms that are sometimes crystal-clear, and sometimes not so clear. For an example of the latter, the enemy is not well described. Still, the Morogoro S&T is the best one to use as the basis for a discussion of the subjective political action of this period, and for some remarks on the underlying class realities, as well.

The Treason Trial had come to an end in 1959 with acquittal of all the defendants. New campaigns were then launched, but came to an abrupt end following the Sharpeville massacre and the banning of the

ANC and the PAC. Umkhonto we Sizwe was launched in 1961. Technically it was neither a “wing” of the ANC, nor of the Party, and a new structure had to be put into place to make MK accountable to the political leadership. Dr Yusuf Dadoo played a leading role in that structure.

The SACP published the Road to South African Freedom in 1962. It is a long document, and it has a long section on the NDR, where the SACP endorses the Freedom Charter and the Congress Alliance, and also rejects “non-violence”.

Also in 1962 came the dissolution of the South Africa United Front (of the ANC, PAC, SWANU and SAIC) that had been put together after Sharpeville.

The linked document is a contemporary article by Dr Dadoo about this break-up and the causes of the break-up, which had to do with the behaviour of the PAC, in particular. This document is useful for its description of the political structures and for Dadoo’s enunciation in it, of the general principles of (NDR) alliance.

The last supporting document is the famous 1967 “Arusha Declaration” of Julius Nyerere and the ruling TANU party of Tanzania at the time, on Socialism and Self-Reliance. This document reflects TANU’s view of the political economy of their country and how it would be led to a better condition. It helps us to remember that contemporary with our own struggles, others have also been travelling the road of National Democratic Revolution.

[Images: NDR personalities: Tambo, Slovo, Dadoo, Nyerere]

Click on these links:

Strategy and Tactics, Morogoro, 1969, ANC (5882 words)

Road to South African Freedom, 1962, SACP (18552 words)

Disruptive Role of the PAC & United Front Failure, 1962, Dadoo (1020 words)

Arusha Declaration, 1967, Nyerere (7171 words)


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