Declaration of the SACP Special National Congress
Polokwane - December 13, 2009
We have met in Polokwane over four days in our mid-term, 2009 SACP Special National Congresss. We are 900 delegates bearing the mandates of over 96,000 Communists from all corners of South Africa. We have convened together with comrades from the Young Communist League, from our Alliance partners, and fraternal formations from across the world.
At the outset of our Special Congress, together, we set for ourselves three basic strategic tasks:
First, we said that we would consolidate, as Communists and allies, an understanding of the current global capitalist crisis – a crisis that is deep-seated, systemic and far from being over. It is a crisis that has deepened the plight and suffering of billions of workers and poor world-wide. Here in SA a million working people have lost their jobs in the course of this year alone.
Faced with this crisis, this Special Congress has underlined the imperative of taking both defensive and offensive anti-capitalist measures. Around the world the crisis has compelled greater reliance of capital on the state for bail-outs, rescue packages and protective interventions. We pledge, here in SA, to ensure that we use this greater reliance of capitalists on the state to advance our own objective of rolling back their greedy domination over the production and allocation of surplus. We pledge to organise and mobilise in our places of work, in our communities, inside the state itself to ensure it is not the workers and poor who bear the brunt of this capitalist crisis.
We have agreed that the present global crisis is, in fact, a crisis of human civilisation itself. The capitalist accumulation drive is increasingly carrying us to the brink, to the collapse of the bio-physical conditions for any sustainable life on our planet. As the world meets in Copenhagen this coming week to agree on responses to climate change, it is clear that capitalism has no answers to the crisis we all face. In fact, many capitalist responses, like carbon trading, will feed the bourgeoisie’s next speculative frenzy and aggravate the mortal dangers we face.
We say: the only sustainable response to climate change is SYSTEM change. The struggle for socialism and the struggle to preserve our forests, our farm-lands, our water, the air that we breathe – these are one and the same struggle. As SACP members, we are green because we are red.
On our internationalist responsibilities this Special National Congress has reaffirmed our commitment, working with progressive forces, to coordinate our peoples all over Africa to resist neo-colonial wars, to struggle against aggressive imperialist impositions, and to build a strong peace movement against proliferation and for the closure of all foreign military bases.
We have committed ourselves to organise massive solidarity with the peoples of Western Sahara and Palestine in their struggle for their basic right to self-determination. We call for both Morocco and Spain to guarantee the full repatriation of Aminatou Haidar.
The SACP will continue to support a progressive resolution to the political stalemate in Zimbabwe by prioritising peoples’ basic needs. We will continue to mobilise against the despotic regime in Swaziland.
Secondly, at the outset of this Congress, we said that we had an obligation to respond to a cruel reality – after 15 years of democracy in our country, after more than a decade of economic growth, notwithstanding progress on many fronts, our society continues to be characterised by appalling levels of racialised inequality, and by crisis levels of unemployment. Patriarchal oppression continues to afflict millions of women. Together, we have high-lighted the underlying systemic features in our society that reproduce this crisis of under-development.
In plenary discussions and in commissions we have agreed on a programme of action to respond to these national realities. We will take forward and deepen our shared Alliance commitment to placing our economy onto a different, job-creating path. We will advance a state-led and worker-driven industrial policy. We will ensure that macro-economic policy is knocked off its throne, and comes down to earth. It must be aligned with our strategic developmental priorities. Shoulder to shoulder with our Alliance partners and the rural masses, we will advance rural development as a key pillar of our revolution. We are committed to turning around the critical sphere of local government, with a special emphasis on building popular power at the local level through organs of participatory democracy.
Together, let us transform the entire education and training dispensation. We have pledged the SACP’s support for government’s HIV/AIDS campaign. Let us all take collective responsibility for the challenge of this pandemic that is sweeping through our society. We reaffirm our commitment to the struggle for a National Health Insurance, built on the principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.
Together let us ensure that working class women organise and mobilise to take their rightful place in all sites of power. Together, as women and men, let us defeat the oppressive shackles of patriarchal oppression.
Together with our Allies, and the great majority of South Africans, we Communists pledge to fight the scourge of crime and corruption. We will carry this struggle forward without fear or favour. Without militant worker vigilance, corruption will devour our democracy.
Thirdly, at the outset of Congress, we agreed that it was our task as the SACP to carry forward the analysis of progress and challenges within our Party, and within our broader ANC-led Alliance. What has happened since our 2007 12th National Congress? What has happened since the ANC’s 52nd National Conference in December 2007? We have noted the important gains made in consolidating Alliance unity. We have noted the fighting unity that was built around the April elections. Let us carry these gains down to every district and community of our country.
We have also noted the early warning signs of a small but sometimes clamorous anti-communist, chauvinistic tendency in the ranks of our broader movement. Together, with all of our Alliance partners, we pledge to nip this tendency in the bud. We pledge to fight factionalism, not with factionalism, but with a principled programme of action. We pledge not to be unduly diverted, nor provoked by what will become an increasingly isolated and incoherent tendency. We shall defend our fundamental Communist principles of solidarity, of internationalism and of a robust rejection of all brands of chauvinism. We pledge, always, to be a disciplined force for unity in the heart of our broad revolutionary movement.
As an SACP we have fought many battles. We are steeled in struggle. We are proud of the dramatic growth in our Party membership since our 12th Congress.
Our opponents, and even some of our friends, are sceptical about the prospects of building a socialist South Africa. They call on us to unveil some detailed, ready-to-roll-out “socialist blue-print”, some fanciful utopia of the very kind that Marx and Engels long ago rejected. As Chris Hani always reminded us, socialism has to be built here and now in the struggles of millions and millions of workers and the poor. Socialism, he always said, is not built in a dream-world; it doesn’t belong to outer space, or another time-zone. It has to be built here through collective action. It is about simple things – food and shelter and work for unemployed hands that long to be active. It is about a life of dignity for young and old. It is about simple things, yet so hard to achieve in a capitalist world. Socialism is about displacing reckless capitalist greed with solidarity with our fellow human beings, with responsibility for our threatened natural world. Socialism is about common-sense itself – common-sense that is constantly undermined in a capitalist world.
Which is why we say: A luta continua!
Socialism is the future! Build it now!