24 June 2007

Red Phoenix

The Communist University has past its fourth anniversary in the middle of a strike of unprecedented scale, intensity and duration, in the South African public service, which began on 1 June 2007.

Also unprecedented is the degree of unity and cohesion between the sixteen unions involved, eight of them COSATU affiliates, and the remainder belonging to other federations.

This strike is not over. See the linked item below for the current situation. No doubt the bourgeois media will attempt to spin this plain, direct and simple statement in all sorts of ways. You have the benefit of the full text. You will be able to see that nobody is signing, that consultations with membership continue, and that there will be no grandstand moment for the Minister of Public Service unless she brings something more to the table.

Concerning the CU, we continue to make available discussions of both a theoretical and a topical nature. We meet again on Tuesday, 26 June at 17h00 in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein. The text this week is
The Chinese Revolution and Chinese Communist Party (1939). This is a great classic of political economy – the study of the arrangement and the relative movement of class forces in society – and a model for the way that we can study the situation in our own country.

Some more detailed information is perhaps called for at this stage. Dominic Tweedie is the person who collects material for distribution to the CU’s thousand-plus subscribers, and composes this covering note, or “blog”. It is no kind of authority, but certainly assists people to place the material in some sort of context, as attested by much feedback over the years.

Two problems have recently arisen. There is no reason to expect that they will not be overcome. They are:

Firstly, the exceptional workload relating to the strike and the development and daily editing of “
COSATU Today” This is a hybrid Internet/hard copy publication that has grown out of the former COSATU Weekly and carries media releases from COSATU, its affiliates, its allies and its friends. It has proved very difficult to sustain the CU mailings at the previous rate during this time. But relief is at hand.

For the record, “COSATU Today” now goes to 2255 mainly working-class readers and is rapidly developing into the workers’ daily paper that we have been talking about for so many years. The value of this work is second to none. The CU had to give way, temporarily.

Do please subscribe to “COSATU Today” if you have not already done so. The easiest way to do so is by putting your e-mail in the small box in the lower part of the COSATU home page. Alternatively, e-mail
dominic.tweedie@gmail.com, indicating that you would like to receive “COSATU Today”.

Secondly, there has been uncertainty attending the sectarian attack on the Communist University that culminated in the effective excommunication of Dominic Tweedie from the Johannesburg Central Branch of the SACP since the beginning of April. This was precisely at the moment of his having to take on the responsibility for “COSATU Today” (and subsequently the strike web site, “
TwelvePerCent” - please visit it).

The ugly sectarian rush in April resulted in a subsequent, equally disgraceful, and of course inconclusive, “disciplinary” charade, two weeks ago. This situation just has to be borne for the moment. Suffice it to say that the accusers are the guilty ones, but they have gone as far as they can go. They have not succeeded in liquidating the Communist University, and will not do so. They have not succeeded in interfering with the processes of the mass working-class movement, either. The running sore that these people have attempted to create in the Party will only debilitate themselves in the long run.

Note that the ANC Policy Conference begins this week, on Wednesday.

Click on these links:

Public service workers' strike, COSATU (217 words)

The Chinese Revolution and Chinese Communist Party, Mao Tse-Tung (8009 words)

7 June 2007

Intense Class Struggle

The Communist University has been in abeyance for a few days and some people have complained about it. The reason for the gap is the intense current class struggle and the many other tasks that have to be fulfilled in relation to that.

It is true that political education should not be suspended in periods of heightened political activity. On the contrary, political education should be stepped up in such periods. The CU can only offer its archive and encourage people to download material, read, share, gather together and dialogue. Revolutionary service will be resumed in the previous manner as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, please, if you have not already done so, subscribe for COSATU Today (and COSATU Daily Labour News) at
http://groups.google.com/group/COSATU-Daily-News. Please also recruit other subscribers to this list. This service is South Africa’s working-class daily. In the case of COSATU Today, it comes formatted ready for hard-copy printing as a four-page sheet.

Click here to download the latest COSATU Today, if you do not already have it. It contains the full COSATU CEC statement on the current Public Service strike.

Concerning the Public Service dispute, please also visit, subscribe and take part in the e-mail dialogue at
http://groups.google.com/group/TwelvePerCent. This multi-purpose site is an archive of material relating to the current Public Service strike of around a million workers in at least sixteen unions, including eight COSATU-affiliated ones. COSATU has called for a total shut-down in the Public Service tomorrow, Friday 8 June 2007, and a full general strike of all workers including the private sector, next Wednesday, 13 June 2007, if there is no satisfactory movement from the employer’s side.

James Tweedie is a friend of South Africa. He was here last year December as a delegate from the British YCL to the YCLSA National Congress. He now works for the London working-class newspaper, the Morning Star, as a reporter, and yesterday wrote his first front-page splash. See the link below. The story by James is about the run-down of the British Public Service, especially the National Health Service. There is also a big panel on the SA Public Service dispute.

Please e-mail messages of appreciation to James via
webmaster@morningstaronline.co.uk. You can also send your press releases and other news to that address in future. Click here to go to the Morning Star web site.

Click on this link:

James Tweedie, British NHS Crisis, SA Public Service Crisis, Morning Star 070607 (199 KB PDF)