30 September 2006

Zuma, Gays, Oppression and Freedom

Today at 10h00 the Gauteng Red October Transport Campaign will be launched at UCS Building, corner Rissik and Smit Streets, Braamfontein, led by the SACP Gauteng Province. The national launch will take place in Qwa Qwa. There will be a Branch General Meeting (BGM) of the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch at 10h00 tomorrow, Sunday, at the SATAWU offices, 13th floor, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison Streets, Johannesburg. Matters before us include the consequences of the COSATU 9th Congress, the upcoming YCL National Congress in December, and the next SACP Gauteng Provincial Council. Debate around the COSATU Congress at the Communist University yesterday was lively and revealed big challenges that require critical thought, determination, leadership and prompt action at scale. On Monday at 16h00 at WISER, 6th floor, Richard Ward Building, Wits University East Campus, Raymond Suttner will present a review of the ANC’s history since unbanning in 1990, or some similarly defined review of post-apartheid politics. Suttner’s paper is already out, but the Communist University does not yet have it. This could be a controversial discussion, and worth taking part in for that reason. The next Harold Wolpe event, on the other hand, is set to be a love-in between two politically identical people (Ferial Haffejee and Mondli Makhanya), and therefore of no educational use. Communists support people in their struggles against persecution, without applying sectarian tests to the victims. Dreyfus was not a Communist. Nor is Malcolm Kendall-Smith. It is a question of unity in action against the oppressor. In this regard the great words of Pastor Niemöller often come to mind: 'First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.' The SACP and COSATU supported Jacob Zuma in his struggles against victimisation by the Maduna/Ngcuka clique, who were using law enforcement agencies as a political tool, thereby degrading the legal system as well as threatening a de facto coup d’etat. As part of his contribution to this unity in action, Zuma volunteered publicly, without being forced, that when he was through he would reveal the details of the plot against him. Ten days ago his case was struck off the roll by Judge Msimang in Pietermaritzburg. What is Zuma waiting for? At a press conference he called on the Friday following his court victory, Zuma was asked the question repeatedly: Who plotted against you? He declined to answer. Instead, later the same weekend, he started some nonsense (of which we do not have the full text) against gay and lesbian people, only to apologise later (see the link below, plus for good measure, Oscar Wilde’s “Soul of Man Under Socialism”). If Jacob Zuma does not speak out in the way he undertook to do, then he has broken a promise, and so it is reasonable to ask: Why? It becomes reasonable to ask: Has Jacob Zuma been bought off by the same coalition of forces that orchestrated his persecution for the last six years? Or is he merely reverting to political type? Nobody should be surprised if the latter is the case. Jacob Zuma is not the Deputy President of the African National Congress for nothing, as his speech to the COSATU 9th Congress demonstrated. This situation confirms the correctness of the longstanding policy of independence and autonomy of the SACP and COSATU. It adds strength to the call for independent SACP Members of Parliament. But it does not take one atom away from the correctness of defending the oppressed, even in spite of themselves. Next week’s Communist University will discuss James Heartfield’s “Death of the Subject Explained”. Below is a link to the brief concluding chapter from the work. The following week we will discuss Peter McLaren’s and Gustavo Fischman’s essay on Gramsci, Freire and Organic Intellectuals, which may well give us clues as to how to deal with the current situation within the organised working class and beyond in South Africa. The SACP Gauteng Arts and Culture Newsletter is also linked below. The page numbering is not working properly. Apologies for that. Today’s Business Day Weekender contains some discussable material, if you can get it. More on that possibly tomorrow. Click on these links: On remarks made about gays and lesbians, Jacob Zuma (281 words) 1891, Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism (14381 words) Conclusion - The Subjective Factor, Heartfield, DOSE, 2002 (617 words) SACP Arts and Culture Newsletter - Sep06 (download)

29 September 2006

People We Know

The Communist University meets this afternoon at 17h00 in the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill to discuss the COSATU 9th Congress held last week in Midrand. For the purposes of that discussion we can use comrades’ own first-hand reports and also the Congress Final Declaration, linked below. Next week we will discuss James Heartfield’s “Death of the Subject Explained”. One common illusion of bourgeois society is that human beings are basically anonymous. In this view, an individual might rise up from the status of “unknown” to the status of “famous”, “well-known”, or even “celebrity”, only to sink later back into “obscurity”. To be a nothing in the world is treated as the normal, or as they say in computer jargon, the default situation. There is nothing natural or scientific about this cruel and inhuman, hierarchical way of thinking. There is nothing other than our memories that stands in the way of all human beings knowing all other human beings in a personal way (and as Tony Buzan reminds us, there is practically no limit to what a human being can remember). Linked below are four texts from people we know – including three YCLers. The first is from James Tweedie, of the British YCL, on his journey to Venezuela for the 10th Congress of the Venezuelan YCL, together with his YCL comrade Ben Chacko, who wrote the second report, on that Congress itself. Next is the letter of Communist University stalwart Kimani Ndingu, from yesterday’s Johannesburg Star, writing about an encounter with xenophobia in Braamfontein, near where we meet each week. Finally, Floyd Shivambu, mainstay of the Wits YCL and its political education work, has a letter in todays’s Johannesburg Business Day. The bourgeoisie does not open doors for us. We open doors for ourselves. Viva the Young Communists, Viva! Click on these links: Final Declaration of the 9th COSATU National Congress (2733 words) Venezuela - Solidarity in Struggle, James Tweedie, YCLUK (1106 words) Juventud Comunista de Venezuela 10th Congress, B Chacko, YCLUK (1109 words) Insulted in my own country by policemen, Kimani Ndungu, The Star (454 words) Broad input, Nyiko Floyd Shivambu, Business Day (314 words)

28 September 2006

Struggle Africa

A person could wish that while great events are happening, other things are suspended, but it is more likely that the reverse will be the case. The SACCAWU Shoprite dispute is still going on. The SATAWU contract cleaners dispute is still going on. Some of the other things tat are happening in South Africa and nearby are reflected in the six documents linked below. The SACP held a press conference yesterday to announce the details of the 2006 Red October Transport Campaign and the broad support that it has already gathered. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe announced the extension of his term of office by two years, to 2010, while at the same time encouraging his police thugs by commending them on the assault the made on ZCTU trade unionists fifteen days ago. COSATU in the Western Cape has stood up for an agreed kind of democratic process, as against arbitrary administrative change without consultation to reverse the result of an election. Moving the goalposts after an election is not acceptable to the workers. Judge Edwin Cameron used to be though progressive, but is really very conventional in his opinions. When in doubt, he supports the bosses, it seems. How are workers to deal with employers who will take cases so high up the appeal ladder until they find a Cameron to oblige them with a reversal of a CCMA ruling? POPCRU approves of the latest police rearrangements in South Africa. Their Press Release does not tell us much else, however – such as, precisely what are these new arrangements, as distinct from the old? On a good note, COSATU’s Jobs and Poverty Campaign appears to be generating some results, if we believe the figures given by Stats SA. Click on these links: SACP on 2006 Red October transport campaign consultative (934 words) Assaulted unionists deserve beating, Mugabe, SABC News (412 words) Now COSATU slams Dyantyi, Essop and Dentlinger, IOL (818 words) CCMA overruled by Judge Edwin Cameron, IOL (413 words) POPCRU, Developments in SAPS have our blessing (266 words) Unemployment rate down, Stats SA, Business Report (597 words)

27 September 2006

Tales, Legends and more COSATU 9th Congress Resolutions

The South African Communist Party held a really excellent Consultative Meeting yesterday on the 2006 Red October Campaign for Transport. The SACP is highly respected these days by all sorts of South Africans of every rank. There were comrade business people, officials of parastatals and many others in attendance who altogether gave a very full exposition of the status of the transport sector and its relationship to the needs of the South African people, which are frankly not being adequately met. The SACP will hold a press conference today at 10h30 in their boardroom on the 3rd floor of COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, to report on the above and on the new Red October campaign programme, whose theme is “affordable, safe and reliable public transport for all”. Karima Brown in the Business Day article linked below gets warmer and warmer as she approaches a full revelation of the Maduna/Ngcuka assault on the Presidency, involving ruthless use of state institutions as well as sudden riches for both of them. The sooner she gets to the heart of the matter, the better. When all the intrigue has been exposed and laid to rest, with any luck South Africa can return to a political consideration of its future, as opposed to a presidential “beauty contest” or otherwise “ugly contest”. Uri Avnery is a great scholar. In the Counterpunch article linked below he lays bare the trick-cycling machinations of Pope Ratzinger. This Pope is not stupid but not nice, either. He thinks the rest of us are stupid, and that is his big mistake. Avnery sorts him out. The next four linked documents are the raw texts of another four of the COSATU 9th Congress Socio-Economic Resolutions. Click on these links: Shadowy tales find purchase in ANC, Karima Brown, Business Day (796 words) The Popes Evil Legend, Uri Avnery, Counterpunch (1815 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 7 of 11, Trade policy (840 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 9 of 11, Police Brutality and State Repression (663 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 10 of 11, NEDLAC (802 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 11 of 11, 2010 Soccer World Cup (607 words)

Tales, Legends and more COSATU 9th Congress Resolutions

The South African Communist Party held a really excellent Consultative Meeting yesterday on the 2006 Red October Campaign for Transport. The SACP is highly and visibly respected these days by all sorts of South Africans of every rank. There were comrade business people, officials of parastatals and many others in attendance who altogether gave a very full exposition of the status of the transport sector and its relationship to the needs of the South African people, which are frankly not being adequately met. The SACP will hold a press conference today at 10h30 in their boardroom on the 3rd floor of COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, to report on the above and on the new Red October campaign programme, whose theme is “affordable, safe and reliable public transport for all”. Karima Brown in the Business Day article linked below gets warmer and warmer as she approaches a full revelation of the Maduna/Ngcuka attempt to steal the Presidency, which involved ruthless use of state institutions as well as sudden riches for both of them. The sooner she gets to the heart of the matter, the better. When all the intrigue has been exposed and laid to rest, with any luck South Africa can return to a detailed and serious political consideration of its future, as opposed to a presidential “beauty contest” or “ugly contest”. Uri Avnery is a great scholar. In the Counterpunch article linked below he lays bare the trick-cycling machinations of Pope Ratzinger. This Pope is not stupid but not nice, either. He thinks the rest of us are stupid, and that is his big mistake. Avnery sorts him out. The next four linked documents are the raw texts of another four of the COSATU 9th Congress Socio-Economic Resolutions. Click on these links: Shadowy tales find purchase in ANC, Karima Brown, Business Day (796 words) The Popes Evil Legend, Uri Avnery, Counterpunch (1815 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 7 of 11, Trade policy (840 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 9 of 11, Police Brutality and State Repression (663 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 10 of 11, NEDLAC (802 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 11 of 11, 2010 Soccer World Cup (607 words)

26 September 2006

Quintal plus COSATU Socio-Economic Resolutions

“Framing” means the artificial context into which a newspaper story is placed. It is a ready-made substitute for the specific “back story” or true past history which the journalist omits to supply. The Independent Group’s Political Editor Angela Quintal frames her stories in a relentlessly monotonous way. A report from Quintal concerning Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s alleged statements at the ANC Free State Provincial General Council (PGC) appeared in yesterday’s Star (see link below). Quintal’s “intro” (first paragraph) quickly insists that this is a story of somebody “calling for unity and discipline amid the latest crisis”. You are supposed to think that Ramatlhodi must be suppressed - or else the sky will fall down. For Quintal South African life is a constant replay of this same phoney “crisis” story using a limited and all-too-familiar set of props. There are imaginary “camps” (“Zuma camp”, “Mbeki camp”). These camps are supposed to be contending for an ineffable “power”, which for Quintal can only mean the capacity to boss people around, or alternatively to apply bourgeois discipline with a firm smack. Quintal’s facts are massaged into her pre-set “framing” with liberal verbal lubrication, with cuts to fit, and typically with the trick known as “the passive voice” - whereby the subject, or agent of an action, is turned conveniently into an object. So Quintal has the President “under siege” by an invisible army. The President’s absence abroad, the headline says, “forces delay” of a meeting. An absence becomes a force. And so on. (We will discuss Subject and Object more next week using some of James Heartfield’s writings). The actual meeting in question could only be the routine, mundane, Monday gathering of ANC office bearers that Jacob Zuma frequently mentions. Once you know that, and also bear in mind that yesterday was a holiday in South Africa, the frantic pace of Quintal’s narrative becomes absurd. To be fair to Quintal the essential fact behind the story does get a brief mention among her 600 breathless words. She allows, ever so briefly, that Ramatlhodi lost out politically after the Scorpions investigated him, leaked the investigation, and then refrained from charging him. In other words the Penuell Maduna/Bulelani Ngcuka regime at the NPA gave Ramatlhodi the “Hollywood” treatment. But now Jacob Zuma with the support of COSATU, the SACP, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League, the ANC itself plus countless ordinary South African citizens of goodwill and common sense, have faced down the illegitimate use of state institutions for the purpose of “power” politics. So Ngoako Ramatlhodi was made bold to speak up in his own cause. This happened at the ANC Free Sate PGC. It was not any kind Machiavellian intrigue. On the contrary it was a denunciation of intrigue. We should hope that many more of the victims of the “Hollywood” purges are now going to speak out openly, as Ramatlhodi has done, because the Quintals will not do it. They prefer to blame the victims. All this is not to say that President Mbeki does not have egg all over his face during the declining years of his presidency. While Maduna and Ngcuka were running wild, the President said nothing against them. The press and broadcast media happily drummed up support for the purges, even though the victims were, as often as not, just as bourgeois as themselves. They lent their pages and cameras freely for the public smears and did not trouble to ask why prosecutions so seldom followed. Mbeki in particular kept quiet while a letter he had written and sent to a parliamentary committee via the hand of Jacob Zuma (in the latter’s capacity of head of government business) was used in evidence against Schabir Shaik to establish the phantasm of a “generally corrupt relationship” with Zuma, a category never heard of before in law. By means of this stratagem (plus the flimsy “encrypted fax”, which Judge Msimang rightly called “notorious”) a pretext was cobbled together. This was to enable Mbeki to sack Zuma from his position as Deputy President of the country and to appoint Ngcuka’s wife Phumzile in Zuma’s place. Except that Mbeki said “release”, not “sack”. Presidents also use the “passive voice”. Later on Mbeki found it prudent to admit his authorship of the letter, lamely adding that Shaik’s defence lawyers had never asked him about it. In other words he sat on his hands while Maduna and Ngcuka went about their skulduggery. Our struggle is not to give “power” to one boss or another. It has nothing to do with “camps”. Our struggle is to render the people of the country powerful as a mass collective subject, and as the only legitimate historical agent. This is called democracy. Sitting in the midst of the frank, loud, open, astonishing mass democracy of the COSATU 9th National Congress last week, Angela Quintal hardly noticed it. What she did notice was that Ngoako Ramatlhodi was briefly present, and so was SACP GS Blade Nzimande. Among the thousands of delegates, international guests, government ministers, and all the rest, the decisions taken, and the leaders elected to office, Quintal figured that the significant thing was the presence of these two in that vast hall. Surely they must have been conspiring, she thought! Writers who like the Bourbon Kings of France “learn nothing and forget nothing” are simply useless. The Communist University aims to learn from history, not ignore it. Among the resolutions passed by the COSATU 9th Congress are the ones linked here below. Once again, these texts are still not perfected in terms of numbering, spelling, punctuation etc. But when the press “medium is the message” it becomes necessary to contradict that false message and to get down at once to studying events using what we ourselves produce, raw as it may be. The COSATU 9th Congress meant business. It took decisions. Revolutionary democrats must take note of these decisions and act on them with all possible speed. Click on these links: Absent Mbeki forces delay, Angela Quintal, The Star (602 words) COSATU Resolutions: 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 1 of 11, Jobs and poverty campaign (1594 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 2 of 11, Import-parity pricing (254 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 3 of 11, State involvement in the economy (346 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 4 of 11, Farm workers (800 words) 9th Congress, Socio-Economic, 6 of 11, Broad-Based Black BEE (571 words)

25 September 2006

COSATU Organisational Resolutions, Plus

The resolutions of a Congress are the real collective decisions of the combined membership. If people complain that there is too much attention given to personalities, then they may find themselves to be the ones to blame, if they themselves are guilty of ignoring the resolutions. On the Communist University you get the resolutions of the 9th COSATU Congress, not yet complete or in the absolutely final form at first, but sufficient to begin to study them. The CU’s aim is to get them all up here this week. Nobody can say that these resolutions are irrelevant or uninteresting. See the links below for the Organisational ones. The Socio-Economic ones will start appearing from tomorrow.. In addition, the very significant post-Congress interview of COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi from the Sunday Time Business section is linked below. In this interview the position as between the organisation COSATU and the question of ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma’s individual political trajectory is clearly laid out. The movement has good reason to be grateful to Jacob Zuma because he was the one who bravely stood up to the Scorpions and stared down their relentless intimidation (with the support of COSATU the SACP, and the ANC itself of course). Without his stand the movement would have found it very difficult to deal with this cancer, which arose within the ANC itself. Yet as the Vavi interview clearly shows, the COSATU support for Zuma against the Penuell Maduna/Bulelani Ngcuka plot does not amount to a political carte blanche for Zuma at all, and never has done. Others, like Ngoako Ramatlhodi, are now free to come out and bear witness to the campaign of smear and victimisation, almost amounting to a Stalinist purge, that was carried out during the Maduna/Ngcuka rampage, and the spotlight may well turn on those who watched the “Hollywood” events of the last few years with folded arms, doing nothing, like for example the President’s Office. Vavi’s interview also spells out emphatically that he believes that our movement is “finished” unless it finds means of organising the casual workers and the unemployed of this country. This task is on the extreme frontier of political experience. If successful, such a drive by revolutionary cadres to organise the inherently unorganised will be a first in the world under capitalist conditions. Hitherto, the revolutionaries have depended upon and taken advantage of the fact that capital creates the a priori organisation of the workers as employed people (giving rise to its own “gravedigger”, the working proletariat). Now, we are forced to provide even the primary degree of organisation, or face fragmentation and a menacing lumpen proletariat, like that of the time of Louis Bonaparte (and which he suborned with “whisky and sausages” - see Karl Marx’s “18th Brumaire”). Those who have stood up to US Imperialism on the world stage during these same terrible years will also be remembered forever. One such is Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the heroic Hezbollah “Party of God” which stood up to and fought off the murderous Israeli terrorists who bombed and invadede their country of Lebanon in July and August of this year. Last Friday Hassan Nasrallah made a speech in a huge open square in Beirut. As’ad Abukhalil says that it was the biggest demonstration ever in the history of Lebanon. Nasrallah’s speech is linked below. These things are heritage, worthy of preservation on our South African Heritage Day weekend. Don’t forget the Red October Transport Campaign meeting tomorrow at 10h00 in COSATU House. There is also a Helen Joseph memorial meeting at the Bunting Road Art and Architecture building of the University of Johannesburg (formerly RAU) at 17h00 tomorrow, at which Minister of Arts and Culture Cde Pallo Jordan will speak, among others. Click on these links: 9th Congress, Organisational, 1 of 5, Constitutional Amendments (339 words) 9th Congress, Organisational, 2 of 5, Quota System in Federation (581 words) 9th Congress, Organisational, 3 of 5, Solidarity amongst affiliates (440 words) 9th Congress, Organisational, 4 of 5, Non-trading Public Holidays (196 words) 9th Congress, Organisational, 5 of 5, HIV and AIDS (321 words) Pro-poor is real COSATU candidate, GS Zwelinzima Vavi, S Times (949 words) Nasrallah, full text of Beirut rally speech, 060922, Just World News (7623 words)

24 September 2006

COSATU 9th Congress Political Resolutions

The resolutions of the COSATU 9th Congress are not yet in their absolutely final form. The amendments have been incorporated but the numbering is not yet quite perfect. The authoritative versions will appear soon in printed form and on the official COSATU web site. In the mean time, here linked below are the most nearly correct versions that exist as yet, for those revolutionaries who have no time to waste and need to start internalising the resolutions without any delay. The COSATU 9th Congress Resolutions are divided into four categories: Political (8), Organisational (5), Socio-Economic (11) and International (number not known yet). There may be other resolutions again that were presented to the Congress, but not debated at the Congress for lack of time, and which have been referred back to COSATU’s Central Executive Committee for consideration. The full picture will become clearer during the next few days as a consequence of the work of certain diligent and dedicated people. Then it becomes a matter of conscientising the masses about the decisions the combined delegations have taken and the implications of these decisions, and then of moving to convert decisions into action. The eight resolutions linked below are the Political ones in their current form. Click on these links: 9th Congress, Political, 1 of 8, The Alliance (1020 words) 9th Congress, Political, 2 of 8, Working Class Hegemony in ANC (972 words) 9th Congress, Political, 3 of 8, The SACP and State Power (595 words) 9th Congress, Political, 4 of 8, The NDR and Socialism (875 words) 9th Congress, Political, 5 of 8, Strengthening Democracy (356 words) 9th Congress, Political, 6 of 8, National Womens Movement (441 words) 9th Congress, Political, 7 of 8, Monument to worker heroes (178 words) 9th Congress, Political, 8 of 8, Special, Deputy Pres of ANC (439 words)

23 September 2006

Leadership and Mass Determination Part 2

As this second dispatch goes out, the Yusuf Dadoo District of the SACP is marching in Westonaria to demand credit amnesty and fair lending to all South Africans. In another South African Communist Party initiative, a dialogue is called for 10h00 on Tuesday, September 26th on the 10th Floor of COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, South Africa. Safe, Affordable Accessible and Efficient transport for all is the demand of the 2006 Red October Campaign. All organisations and individuals are welcome at the dialogue on Tuesday and to join this campaign. See the linked PNG file, which is a more detailed poster for this event. The three exceptional speeches by Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and Evo Morales, democratically elected Presidents of Venezuela, Iran and Bolivia respectively, to the United Nations, are full of power and individuality. See the linked documents below. Click on these links: 2006 Red October Transport Campaign Poster (377KB PNG file download) Rise Up Against the Empire, Hugo Chavez at UN, Counterpunch (2825 words) No Superior Nation, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at UN, Counterpunch (3008 words) We Need Partners, Not Bosses, Evo Morales at UN, Counterpunch (2379 words)

Leadership and Mass Determination

The basis of the Communist University is: When the struggle intensifies, the necessity for political education intensifies. Political education should never be suspended, and least of all in times of heightened activity. But in all struggle there is “attrition” - meaning the wearing down of forces, and so it is that the CU has lacked the resources to continue during the days of the COSATU 9th Congress. The next session of the Communist University will be at 17h00 on Friday, September 29th in the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. The topic will be the outcome of the COSATU 9th Congress. For reading we will use the documents linked below, plus suitable critical writings that we anticipate will appear during the week, e.g. from SACP Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Zico Tamela, and we hope, from “Umsebenzi Online”, which usually appears on a Wednesday. The first linked document, from the Business Day, by Vuyo Mvoko, is a recognition at last from the pages of the bourgeois press that it is a matter of “foot soldiers”, as he puts it, and not of “big men” such as Jacob Zuma or Thabo Mbeki. When the masses are consciously united in action, the leaders are relays and avatars of the vox populi, the voice of the people, which the Romans said was vox dei, the voice of God. (We will read about and discuss the question of mass popular agency in the following week, using Heartfield’s “Death of the Subject Explained”). But Mvoko is wrong to imply in his second last paragraph that the “Zuma denialists” have no foot soldiers. All the anti-Zuma press coverage (including Zapiro cartoons) has been tainted with a vile pollution of racism. Zuma is not good enough, according to the settler mentality, because at bottom he is unassimilated, or not evolved. He is an unreconstructed black man, according to this heavy and obvious sub-text. He, it is currently implied, is what the colonial Governor of Kenya called Jomo Kenyatta: “a leader to darkness and death”. Mvoko is not guilty of this racism, but is somehow unable to spot in this context the large and well-resourced white foot-soldier constituency which is very strongly in tune with such innuendo. Of course, just as in the case of Jomo Kenyatta, as soon as Jacob Zuma looks like succeeding, this same white bourgeois constituency will start flocking to his side, trying to crowd out his proletarian supporters. If the Kenyatta example is anything to go by, this switch will happen very fast. It may well be happening already. It is a test that Jacob Zuma faces, and we as political students must watch closely how he deals with it. COSATU is highly organised and militant. See the linked report on the strike wave. This was the starting situation of the 9th Congress, when the incumbent President of the federation made his very revealing opening remarks, also linked below. SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande addressed the Congress at the beginning of the third day and was very well received. His speech is also linked below. (It was later the same day that the news came through that Jacob Zuma’s case had been “struck off”). The Final Declaration of the Congress (linked below) is among its first fruits. We can use it to assess the Congress. When the amended texts of the resolutions come through they will also be passed on. Another part of the first fruits is the new set of office bearers, which as it turns out is not a lot different from the old, and it therefore feels that it must find internal means of renewal in a bosberaad. See the extraordinary and very frank final linked document. Let us hope that the means of renewal will be the tried and tested ones of unity in action, and not some touchy-feely Arcadian psycho-nonsense. As we may be permitted to say on a holiday weekend: It takes Tutu tango; three’s a crowd; six is politics. Click on these links: Only Zuma denialists say it was not a victory, Vuyo Mvoko, B Day (881 words) COSATU on Strike Statistics 060922 (309 words) Opening by COSATU President Willie Madisha to 9th Congress (5381 words) SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande to COSATU Congress 060920 (6271 words) Final Declaration of the 9th COSATU National Congress (2733 words) COSATU NOBs elected 21 September 2006, meeting to come (448 words)

17 September 2006


Starting with the first of three e-mails sent to the Communist University, a very detailed and vivid account is given by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (Informal Economy Desk) of the torture of the ZCTU leaders including the systematic breaking of hands. It is linked below. The third e-mail is a response by the SACTU veteran Ron Press to the article in Friday’s Business Report by Terry Bell. Comrade Ron was a witness and a participant in meetings that resulted in the successful dissolution of SACTU in favour of COSATU. See the link below for this important document. The second e-mail is a press release from COSATU announcing that the commission set up to investigate some matters, not specified, has come to its conclusion and been disbanded, with thanks. The commission’s decisions or recommendations are also not given. What do we make of it? As a communist university, the right course is probably to take careful note of what the press release says, and then to stay alert for further details, statements, and actions. The meaning of this commission will probably become clear at the Congress, which is both the first and also the last main opportunity to resolve COSATU’s leadership issues at the National Office Bearer level. Two newspaper reports, one in the Saturday Star and the other in the Business Day’s Weekender, appear to show that journalists are becoming more sensitive to what is at stake at COSATU’s 9th Congress beginning in Midrand on Monday, September 18th, as well as at the Jacob Zuma hearing, which re-commences in Pietermaritzburg on the 20th, the third day of the COSATU Congress. Linda Daniels and Moshoeshoe Monare argue that the question of which candidates will prevail at the COSATU Congress is no longer crucial, or that it has already, in effect, been decided. Karima Brown and Vukani Mde, referring to the relationship between Jacob Zuma and the working class, begin to spell out the likely trajectory of development under a Zuma administration and a Zuma-led ANC supported by the SACP and COSATU. They mention much better health services, free education for all, an anti-imperialist foreign policy, and more intervention in the economy, to some extent in partnership with South African capital, but no longer benchmarked to imperial “FDI” (foreign direct investment). COSATU’s Secretariat Report is the main report to Congress. The Secretariat Report for the 9th Congress is Book 1 in the documentation, although it was the last to be released and printed. The link below takes you to a page from which this document may be downloaded as a Word document. It is 159 pages long but well structured into Political (p.2), Organisational (p. 25), Socio-Economic (p.87) and International (p.147) sections. These are the same categories used to divide up the Congress Resolutions. The organisational report, in particular, will help people who are unfamiliar with the 21 affiliated member unions of the COSATU federation. The full final Congress Programme (still subject to possible alteration under the stresses of live conditions) is also linked below. Click on these links: Social Unrest and Twisted Justice, ZCTU Informal Economy Desk (728 words) Statement on meeting of COSATU Affiliates and the Commission (153 words) E-mail from Ron Press re Terry Bell, SACTU and COSATU (253 words) Foes set for re-election, Daniels, Monare, The Star (760 words) Zuma backers demand pound of flesh, Brown, Mde, Weekender (1015 words) Secretariat Report to the COSATU Ninth National Congress (Download, 986KB) COSATU Ninth National Congress Final Programme (Programme)

16 September 2006

Alliance Is The Way

SADTU, NEHAWU and SACCAWU members plus local community supporters were arrested on Thursday while picketing a Shoprite supermarket in Thembisile municipality, KwaMhlanga, in Mpumalanga. Among those arrested was the secretary of the COSATU local. This solidarity action for the striking Shoprite/Checkers workers organised by SACCAWU, led and structured by the COSATU local, is a good example of unity in action in the present stage of struggle. See the linked article below. Another very remarkable example of well-organised unity in action between different mass organisations is given by the youth. Following their common experience in their joint actions relating to Zimbabwe, the Progressive Youth Alliance Secretariat announces a boycott by their members of Shoprite/Checkers, as well as joint action in relation to the Bayer and JC Morgan workers strike, as led by SACCAWU and SATAWU respectively. See the linked statement issued by the Progressive Youth Alliance Secretariat of the seven allied structures. More detailed reports have come through from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and COSATU has issued a statement. See the link for both messages combined in one document. There is bound to be further action on this matter during and after next week’s COSATU 9th National Congress, from Monday 18th to Thursday 21st September. Some of the assaulted and tortured ZCTU leaders were due to join the COSATU Congress as fraternal delegates. Let us hope they are still able to do so. Meanwhile in the South African bourgeois media a different rank of keyboard warriors has stepped forward to fire a pipsqueak volley against the massed columns of the actually existing organised working class, as compared to their own fantastic dreams of how it might have been, if only… In the process two of these writers reveal a lot about themselves. Terry Bell’s nostalgia for the old days when he campaigned in England with the Socialist Workers’ Party to raise their profile as well as his own, using the image of Moses Mayekiso, is obvious. Bell nowadays lives in Cape Town and writes for the bourgeois financial supplement, Business Report, which goes out with the Independent (O’Reilly) Group newspapers. As Bell rather reluctantly records, Mayekiso rejoined the ranks of the Congress Alliance, or rather never left them. So what is the real story of the last 21 years? It is of a growing and better-organised mass working-class movement and not, as Terry Bell loves to dream, a resurgence of Trotskyist or any other kind of factionalism. See the linked article. It is a good example of what is meant by the phrase “warped perspective”. Tim du Plessis, the editor of the Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport, writing in the English-language daily Business Day yesterday revealed his own kind of Boer wishful thinking, not in practice all that different from the Anglo kind of Terry Bell. Du Plessis writes, in the course of an irrational rant against Jacob Zuma: “He does not have the intellect, the vision or the spiritual power to handle one of the most difficult governing posts in the world.” As the Communist University has noted before in relation to the Mail and Guardian, this kind of disparagement of a black politician who has a record second to none in the liberation movement is racist snobbery of the worst kind. Du Plessis’ appeal is for the reassertion of an imaginary, safe, capitalist version of the African National Congress. This, also, is a fantasy which never was and never will be. See the linked article. Over 200 journalists have already been accredited to the COSATU 9th Congress, including a party from Al Jazeera and another from CNN, plus print, radio, TV and Internet media. They are not mistaken about the significance of this event. Comrade Randall Howard is confirmed in his position of General Secretary by SATAWU’s National Congress, as were SATAWU’s three presidents, Ezrom Mabyana (National President), June Dube (First Vice) and Robert Mashego (second vice) and the treasurer Nadeema Syms. All these comrades were returned unopposed. There was a contest for the post of Deputy General Secretary. The new Deputy GS is Cde. Nelson Lamityi. Click on these links: COSATU members arrested in Mpumalanga, 15 September 2006 (247 words) Progressive Youth Alliance supports Shoprite Checkers boycott (389 words) ZCTU Protests and COSATU solidarity (569 words) COSATU, How I miss Moses Mayekiso, Terry Bell, Business Report (908 words) SA dare not rely on judge to halt Zuma, Tim du Plessis, B Day (846 words)

15 September 2006

COSATU Business As Usual

The Communist University convenes this evening at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constitution Hill to discuss Christopher Caudwell’s “Pacifism and Violence”. There is no scheduled session for next week, and we will have to decide what to use for the following week (September 29). The topic could be the COSATU 9th Congress, which starts on Monday september 18th and finishes on the 21st. A major document was released yesterday. It is the “State of COSATU” assessment by NALEDI. The statement made to the Press Conference is a concise summary of the document (linked below). The full document can be downloaded from the same Internet page. The class struggles of COSATU affiliates and their members are not suspended for the COSATU Congress. COSATU affiliate SACCAWU is in dispute with Shoprite Checkers. There was a big demonstration in Johannesburg yesterday, addressed by COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi. He called for a boycott of the stores belonging to this group. See the linked article below. Cde Vavi also addressed the ETDP SETA with a solid, hard-hitting and progressive statement of the nature and the priorities of worker education, linked below. COSATU has also raised its voice, once again, to condemn the treatment of Zimbabwean workers in struggle by the state in that country. Large numbers of workers were affected in Wednesday’s ZCTU-led protests, but in particular, senior leaders who had been expected at COSATU’s Congress next week were tortured in a shocking way. Details are in the COSATU Press Release linked below. SADTU is the militant teacher’s union affiliated to COSATU. Like COSATU itself it has been assaulted with rumours and innuendo. SADTU sets the record straight in the statement linked below. Some of the dubious anonymous-sourced material relating to COSATU can be found in Moshoeshoe Monare’s report from yesterday’s Star newspaper of yesterday, linked below. This is one example of a lot more such stuff in several of the bourgeois newspapers and from the approved "analysts" on television and radio. The CU has ignored most of it, but it does not do to pretend it is not there. In any case the Congress will purge the nonsense. Click on these links: Press Statement on the State of COSATU, NALEDI plus download (2021 words) Boycott Shoprite Checkers, says COSATU, Shoba, Mail and Guardian (543 words) COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi, Input to ETDP SETA 14 Sept 2006 (1595 words) COSATU condemns ZCTU arrests and assaults, 14 September 2006 (388 words) SADTU NWC rejects vote rigging allegations, 14 September 2006 (588 words) Moshoeshoe Monare's version of COSATU, The Star (453 words)

14 September 2006

More Action, More Information


The Communist University is on a campaign to deal with the increase of information resulting from the high state of both militancy and reaction in South Africa at this time. One part of this campaign is to recruit more people to some of the sources of information that the CU uses. In the first place these are (numbered for convenience only): 1. COSATU Daily Labour News and COSATU Weekly 2. COSATU Press Releases 3. SACP Press Releases 4. ANC Press Releases 5. YCL Press Releases 6. Umsebenzi Online 7. ANC Today 8. The Bottom Line (YCL) 9. Hlomelang (ANCYL) 10. Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS) Press Releases The most direct way to get this job moving is for it to be done centrally. Therefore please send e-mail with the lists you would like to receive to dominic.tweedie@gmail.com. Your own e-mail address is sufficient for subscription purposes. All of these subscriptions are free and all give you material that does not necessarily appear in the bourgeois media. The CU recommends COSATU Daily Labour News and COSATU Weekly in particular. It gives a good selection of items from the media in one economical e-mail, and you also get the COSATU Weekly every Friday, which covers, in brief, a lot of the press releases that have gone out from the federation in any given week. Umsebenzi Online is also a must, but is difficult to join. The CU will collect a list and take it to the SACP. Once again the CU is too pressed for time to do as much as usual, because of involvement with the same various kinds of activism we are usually reflecting on. Not forgetting that the CU is an educational initiative. Please visit the CU web site in this period if you can. Political education must continue or even increase during times of heightened class struggle. Among the matters that might normally be covered by an archived report on the CU today are (numbered for convenience not priority): 1. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) country-wide day of action yesterday and reaction to it. 2. YCLSA delegation to Zimbabwe deported – Press Conference 11h00 today at 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, South Africa. 3. The “State of COSATU” media conference, also in COSATU House at 10h00, given by the authors of the report (NALEDI). 4. Struggles in Durban of Abahlali base Mjondolo (shack-dwellers) 5. Sokwanele newsletter about Zimbabwe Forward to a successful COSATU 9th Congress from 18th to 21st September at Gallagher Estate!

13 September 2006

CU adjusted to higher level of activity

There is presently just too much material to be gathered up in the available time. The Communist University distribution is done by a routine and a formula but at this level of activity the routine does not work. The best that can be done today is to make a list (in no particular order, and numbered for convenience only) of matters large and small that might otherwise have been archived and communicated. Here it is: 1. ANC succession dogfight taking an ideological edge, Karima Brown, Business Day 2. SACP on the passing of Hilda Bernstein 3. ANC Statement on death of Hilda Bernstein 4. Financial Sector Campaign Coalition (Chairperson B Nzimande) on Credit Amnesty 5. The State of COSATU, 93-page report by NALEDI 6. Media conference on The State of COSATU report, 10h00, COSATU House, 14 September 2006 7. Media Statement on the launch of the Free the Cuban Five Campaign 8. Battered Maid’s Sponsor Apologetic of Wife’s Behavior, story from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 9. COSATU support for Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in mass protests today 10. Invitation to SACP diplomatic briefing on SACP discussion document, 10h00 HSRC Pretoria 15 September 2006 11. Speech of ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the SATAWU 2nd National Congress, Boksburg 12. Statement on the Launch of the ‘Free the Cuban Five’ Campaign and related documents 13. A large number of documents relating to Swaziland including from Southern Africa Contact (Denmark), Swaziland Solidarity Network (Canada) and PUDEMO here in South Africa 14. International support for striking cleaners organised by SATAWU from SEIU 15. 1.2 million cluster bomblets; phosphorus bombs dropped on Lebanon, Helena Cobban 16. 237,000 artillery shells fired on Lebanon, Helena Cobban 17. They Never Crushed His Spirit: A Tribute to Richard Williams, book announcement sent by reader. 18. Venezuela's Chavez orders expropriation of sugar mill under socialist reform, International Herald Tribune Concerning other information received: Sometimes information is given carelessly to the Communist University and is then passed on to you in good faith. We are severely embarrassed when such an announcement proves to be incorrect. One such was the announcement of the SACP Gauteng Provincial Council meeting that was supposed to take place this coming Sunday, but which we are now informed will not take place. This is a very great pity. Uncertainty about the times of meetings at the Provincial level has been a burden on the SACP Gauteng Province for many years. It seems that those who would now wish to revive the province do not have this aspect in mind. They are as casual and as lazy as ever, and like the leadership for the past several years at Provincial level in Gauteng, as we have noted before, they don’t use E-mail. What does organisation mean, if not this? How can we say we are organised, if there is no certainty about constitutional meetings?

12 September 2006

National and International

The Resolutions that have been submitted for the COSATU 9th Congress are out. Clicking on the link below will take you to a page where you can click again on an icon to download the whole (361 KB) file. COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi made an input to the NEDLAC Annual Summit last Saturday, laying out the relationship with this body and its constituent parts and the work done there. Click on the link below. NUMSA is taking solidarity action for workers in the Phillippines who are in dispute with a Japanese company. Click on the link below to read the details. SACCAWU continues in militant strike action in their dispute with the Shoprite group. The employers are using unscrupulous and brutal tactics with the collusion of the local State. Click on the link below. A different view of South African government’s response to HIV/AIDS from that of our Treatment Action Campaign is given by the Business Day article linked below, originating from a Washington USA think-tank. Click on the link to read it. There is sure to be a response from the TAC. Today is the South African launch of the campaign to free the Cuban Five. Click on the link to go to the page where the image of the Five as a campaign banner is located. You can download the image with a right-click on the image, then select “Save Picture As…”. Further simple instructions can be found on that page. Please insert the “Free the Cuban Five” banner image (linked below) in your e-mails, web sites and documents during the campaign. It is only 27KB in size. It can even be inserted as part of a “signature” in your e-mail software, so that it automatically appears below every e-mail that you send. We will attempt to insert the banner above this e-mail. If it is successful, this will be the first time the Communist University has used an image in the covering e-mail of the daily distribution. You can see another example of the use of the banner at the CU web site’s home page. Tomorrow the CU plans to carry more text on the Cuban Five, plus material on Swaziland. Click on these links: COSATU 9th Congress, full text of submitted Resolutions (361KB Word Document Download) COSATU GS Z Vavi, input to the NEDLAC Annual Summit 060911 (1631 words) NUMSA protests Toyota Phillippines dispute to Japan Embassy (338 words) SACCAWU Statement on Shoprite Checkers Strike 060911 (825 words) Critics ignore progress on AIDS, Jeremiah Norris, Business Day (789 words) Free the Cuban 5 Banner (27KB downloadable GIF file)

11 September 2006

Listening and Not Listening

The SACP Gauteng Provincial Council (PC) is called for 09h00 next Sunday, September 17th, at the NUM offices, former Total House, corner of Smit and Rissik Streets, Braamfontein. The PC is expected to complete the process of filling vacant positions on the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), at last. The Communist University searches for truth, and not, for example, some arbitrary concept of fairness. Truth beats fairness, just as scissors cut paper. Different sources are used but they are not afforded equal respect. In the quest for a true account of the court appearance last week of lawyers for and against Jacob Zuma the Communist University recommends the web site of the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust. We will not be “fair” to the Mail and Guardian, which used the following headline on its front page: “What is Zuma hiding?” or to the Sunday Times which copied the Mail and Guardian with: “Why is Zuma afraid?” These two papers have no respect for truth. They have already decided to make Jacob Zuma suffer as if he were a criminal. Like torturers they are saying that the man they have marked to be a victim must not only appear as an accused person. They must also hound him until he provides the case for the prosecution as well. These are some of the most disgusting and shameful headlines it is possible to imagine in South Africa. The City Press’s headline on the article linked below is not quite so bad, but it is still bad. It implies that if Jacob Zuma goes free it is not, as most South Africans believe, because he is not guilty. No, according to them it would be because Vusi Pikoli, successor to Bulelani Ngcuka in the miserable work of tormenting Zuma, acted too fast! It is too absurd, after five or six years of this, to argue that the NPA/Scorpions acted too fast. Yet that is what they would like their readers to believe. This report and the one by Jeremy Gordin in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, also linked below, at least give some idea of the hiding given to the prosecution last week. The case can now be struck off, or the prosecution can be required to proceed at once. If the latter, it is going to lose, anyway, because it is has no case ready. The third possibility, that of a postponement, is almost impossible to contemplate bearing in mind what has passed in the Pietermaritzburg court. It would amount to acceptance of what Judge Msimang himself described as “double contempt” on the part of the prosecution. But stranger things have happened. We await the judge’s decision on September 20th. Most of the newspapers do not want to hear all this. Is even President Mbeki listening in this instance? His weekly letter in “ANC Today”, linked below, is a sermon on the virtue of listening. It contains a valuable account of the beginning of negotiations with the old regime. O R Tambo knew that a war always ends with a negotiation. This is something the US Imperialists and the Israeli colonialists have yet to learn. They will have to be taught, just as the Boers were taught. A Progressive Youth Alliance delegation led by YCL National Secretary Buti Manamela is going to Zimbabwe today to listen to government, opposition and so-called “civil society”. Their Press Conference announcement arrived by e-mail ten minutes after the event was scheduled to start. The whole movement needs to jack up its communications. A very great and brave comrade has passed away. Her name is Hilda Bernstein. She spent her last years in Cape Town. Linked below is the best information we have concerning the funeral arrangements. Click on these links: If Zuma case folds, Pikoli may be blamed, reporters, City Press (762 words) Days of thunder from court in Sleepy Hollow, Gordin, Sindy (1872 words) President Mbeki, Learning to listen and hear, ANC Today 060908 (2970 words) YCL to lead Progressive Youth Alliance mission to Zimbabwe (Notice) Hilda Bernstein's funeral, Maitland Cemetery, 13h00 15 Sept 2006 (Notice)

10 September 2006

Youth Coming Through

The Bottom Line is the fortnightly electronic newsletter of the Young Communist League of SA. You can subscribe to it at http://www.unwembi.co.za/sacp/subscribe.html . The current edition, linked below, is a full-scale critique by YCL National Secretary Buti Manamela of recent statements of a liberal nature by President Thabo Mbeki and by ANC NEC member Joel Netshitenzhe. The whole piece amounts to a scathing critique of the trajectory of development since at least 1996. This is a good piece of political education by any standards. The ANC Youth League also has a two-weekly electronic newsletter, called Hlomelang. It is not clear from the web site at http://www.anc.org.za/youth/ whether it is available by e-mail subscription, but it can be downloaded as PDF files via links at the bottom of each page, accessible at that address. In the latest issue, linked below, ANCYL President Fikile Mbalula makes brief points about the origins of the organisation 62 years ago, and its influence on the ANC’s break with “pacifism” at that time. The relationship between the two youth organisations is good. In the third linked document the YCL congratulates the ANCYL on its Anniversary and reviews some matters of common concern, such as the political attack, pretending to use legal means, upon ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma, which both organisations have resisted strongly. The clothing and textile workers’ union SACTWU gives an important example in the extent to which they are granting bursaries for university education. We respect all work but we do not say that a person has to work at the bench all her life. Perhaps SACTWU would like to think of starting an electronic university. See the link below. Last but not not least, the SATAWU Congress starting tomorrow in Boksburg is the last of the affiliates’ Congresses before the COSATU 9th Congress a week later. The draft programme is attached. Note that COSATU President Willie Madisha will be speaking on behalf of the federation, SACP GS Blade Nzimande will be speaking on behalf of the party, and ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma will speak on behalf of the movement. Click on these links: Managing Capitalism, Market Fundamentalism, YCL Bottom Line (4292 words) History Has Affirmed The Role Of ANCYL, Mbalula, Hlomelang (1439 words) YCL message on occasion of 62nd Anniversary of ANCYL (1602 words) SACTWU pays out nearly R4m in bursaries for 2006 (278 words) SATAWU 2nd National Congress Programme 12-15 Sept 2006 (Programme)

9 September 2006

Violence Against Us

Comrade Oupa Mbhele is a full-time organiser for SATAWU in Gauteng. Last Tuesday during a demonstration in Johannesburg by the striking contract cleaners organised by SATAWU a policeman shot Comrade Oupa four times at close range, obviously trying to kill him. Since then the comrade has been in a serious condition in hospital. See the SATAWU and COSATU announcements in the one linked document below. The Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP, mother body of the Communist University, holds its AGMs, BGMs and other meetings at the same SATAWU regional office where Cde Oupa is based. We must wish him a speedy recovery and that the murderous trigger-happy cop be arrested and charged. The liberal Allister Sparks wants people to believe that it is the revolutionaries who gratuitously generate violence. He would probably report the above act of attempted murder in the “passive voice”, as: “man shot in strike violence”, or something like that. No. A criminal shot Cde Oupa - a criminal in a police uniform. A “Devil On The Cross” as the great Ngugi might say. Two days before Oupa Mbhele was shot, Zobaphi “Jobe” Sithole was shot dead in Meadowlands, while loading his vehicle in preparation for a journey to Pietermaritzburg to support Jacob Zuma at his trial. Comrade Sithole was Chairperson of the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust Fund Gauteng. His funeral service will be on Sunday. See the linked notice below. How would Sparks spin that one? He is quiet. The fact is that capitalism is full of violence and aggression. If you doubt it, take the example of the SACCAWU strike where the familiar friendly workers who help us find things in supermarkets are facing a private army of intimidators led by old-regime characters, namely the so-called “Red Ants”. See SACCAWU’s powerful statement linked below. The Cuban Five were anti-terrorists who were locked up in the USA while actual known terrorists walk free in that country, honoured and embraced by the likes of the Bush brothers, George and Jeb. The South African part of the worldwide campaign for the release of the Cuban Five will be launched by the three nobalas of the alliance on Tuesday at 11h00 at the Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill. See the linked notice below. Please be there to support this event if you can. The violence of the Israeli colonialists against the practically defenceless people of Gaza is unprecedented in its cruelty. The peoples’ enemies like to call Israel a state and even a democracy. The European Union backs up the colonists. Allister Sparks might defend their actions. One-eyed journalists don’t recognise violence when it is done by the oppressors, but they shout and scream when even so much as a stone is thrown by a boy at one of the oppressors’ tanks or bulldozers. Read Patrick Cockburn’s report of that terrible situation, linked below. Click on these links: SATAWU Gauteng organiser Oupa Mbhele shot four times (243 words) FoJZ, Funeral service of Zobaphi Jobe Sithole 11 Sept 2006 (Notice) SACCAWU strikers on Shoprite collusion with Red Ants (687 words) Free the Cuban Five Campaign launch, Con Hill, 12 Sept 2006 (Notice) Gaza is Dying, Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch (1243 words)

8 September 2006

Debate, Indaba, Crisis, War

The Communist University convenes this evening to discuss “Why Revolutionaries Need Marxism” (1976) by Dialego. Dialego was the nom-de-plume or nom-de-guerre of John Hoffman, and his four-part course (of which this is the first) was very popular with Umkhonto we Sizwe. The session will start as usual at 17h00 at the Women’s Jail, 1 Kotze Street, Constituion Hill. John Hoffman also happens to have made a study of the great English revolutionary writer Christopher Caudwell, who was killed fighting the Spanish fascists as a member of the International Brigade. Hoffman used to give classes based on Caudwell in the Marx Memorial Library in London. In our next week’s session (Friday September 15th) we will discuss Caudwell’s “study in bourgeois ethics”, called "Pacifism and Violence" (see the link below). COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi is never afraid to take things head on. Yesterday he delivered a speech on “the succession debate” at the HSRC in Pretoria. Click on the link below to read Cde Vavi’s direct and clear remarks. Good reports of the Jacob Zuma hearing, which is part of the same succession struggle, can be found at the Friends of Jacob Zuma web site, except that Judge Msimang’s verdict will be given on September 20, and not a month later as the site’s report has it at the moment. Perhaps they will correct the mistake. COSATU called some time ago for a “Soccer Indaba”. Now that some individuals from the football world have taken up the call, as well as the SACP, COSATU has returned to this matter. Of course you can't have an indaba all on your own. Yesterday the liberal Allister Spark’s article from Wednesday’s Star was mentioned here. Somebody asked for it, so it is now archived and linked below. When the liberals say the revolutionaries are violent, it only means that the liberals are threatening violence against the revolutionaries. It is the working class that struggles for peace. It is only the working class that can be relied upon. Click on these links: Pacifism and Violence, a Study in Bourgeois Ethics, Caudwell (7989 words) The succession debate, Zwelinzima Vavi, COSATU (1733 words) COSATU call for a Soccer Indaba, COSATU media statement (575 words) Zuma and Mbeki head to head, Allister Sparks, The Star (1222 words)

7 September 2006

Revolutionary Tasks and Unity in Action

Umsebenzi Online as always is an indispensible read. The one that came out yesterday (see link) addresses the present conjuncture and the tasks of the COSATU 9th Congress, throwing aside the diversionary obscurantism of the bourgeois media on the way. “In a historic show of unity on a single industry issue, the leaders of the three federations pledged to mobilise their members in support of the agreement,” says the second linked document. This joint statement issued yesterday by the three trade union federations, COSATU, FEDUSA and NACTU in support of the bilateral trade deal between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China is a rare one, but shows that organisational working-class unity is always possible, especially on a clear class issue like a question of trade and/or unemployment. COSATU GS Zwelinzima Vavi spoke for masses of people yesterday when he said that he thought the shooting in Meadowlands, the night before the new Zuma trial, of the Gauteng Chairperson of the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust, Zobaphi Sithole was a “hit” (an assassination). This is the second or possibly third such murder of friends (in general) of Jacob Zuma, and it shows the ruthlessness of the class enemy. Allister Sparks in the Star yesterday conjured up a vision of revolutionary terror (not archived). He wrote of “…a chain reaction of intra-revolutionary revolutions - from the Girondins to the Montagnards to Robespierre and the guillotine; from the Mensheviks to the Bolsheviks to Stalin and the terror, before it finally produces a thermidorian reaction; from Khrushchev to Gorbachev - and a gradual return to normality. But by then, many people have died, economies have collapsed and rebuilding is a long, hard haul.” Sparks should return to the reporting standards of his famous youthful exploits in the Transkei and ask himself: Who is actually eliminating who? His liberal vision of attenuted, safe revolution is not available. It is not the revolutionaries but the status quo that delivers violence. In another report (not archived) Cde Vavi said "It is clear to anyone inside that court that the ship is sinking," and "The facts and lies don't mix." A report on News24 is headlined “Zuma trial stalls in legal mire”. The time is coming when the state’s ship will have gone under entirely. Let us hope the judge is going to stop the trial. it is becoming absurd as well as dangerous. COSATU’s Western Cape provincial structure sends an unequivocal message of support. See the full linked text by clicking below. POPCRU will be marching in Pretoria on Friday, in one of many industrial actions which are still continuing. See the link. Last but not least, Communist University reader, Gunnett Kaaf, had a letter published yesterday concerning O.R. Tambo International Airport. Read the full thing by clicking on the links. Click on these links: Umsebenzi Online, 6 September 2006, Tasks of the 9th COSATU Congress (2435 words) Joint Trade Unions support China deal, COSATU Media Release (686 words) Chairman of Friends of JZ Trust dies after being shot, Mercury (394 words) COSATU Western Cape statement on leadership issues in COSATU (375 words) POPCRU marches to the Department of Transport 8 September 2006 (265 words) Just commend without blaming, Gunnett Kaaf, Letters, B Day (268 words)